Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Back to the Grind: A Retail Life

It is amazing to me, thinking about how things have changed from pre-trip to post-trip. We really did alter our thinking and things are starting to finally move forward. Matt is currently working two part time jobs and I have a part time job of my own as well. We were looking for full time, but those are hard to come by right now. All three jobs are in retail, a field I at least thought I was well done with.

But something interesting happened when I started work. I realized that I had sort of missed the bookstore grind. I missed running around, lifting heavy books, helping customers, setting up displays, and being aware of all the new and interesting books being published. When I get home I feel tired and accomplished. I'm getting more of a workout than I have in a year and I am happy with this job right now. Everything is far from perfect, but at least we are on our way and moving forward.

What about you unemployed folks out there? Would you go back to retail?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Camping Gear: Food Box

Green Lakes
This past weekend Matt and I went camping at Green Lakes State Park in upstate New York and spent a day or two at the New York State Fair. It was a beautiful Fall weather type weekend and we loved every minute. When we weren't munching deep fried deliciousness or walking around the beautiful Green Lakes themselves, we were chilling at our campsite where we welcomed a new member to our collection of camping gear: a food box.

our new old food box!

Growing up camping with my parents we always had two homemade boxes, one for food and one for cooking stuff. I asked my dad to make us one for my birthday this year and he dug out my his first box and gave it a fresh coat of paint for it's new owners.

Last September Matt and I went camping and shoved everything into one container. Finding anything was a hassle, especially smaller items like forks and spoons, and we never knew if we had everything because it was all buried. The food box is a wonderful solution and I love it.

Here are just a few from the state fair, more details can be read at my fallenpeach blog.

Midway Madness


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Busy Busy Busy

I apologize for not following up on this blog more closely to our return. I intended to, but things got crazy and more focused on fallenpeach. We had a huge craft fair to prep for and I'm still working on setting up a "show" for my photography in a local eatery.

But back to Nowhere Nerds. My article about our trip (written pre-trip) has been published in the new online magazine Joie - please go read it and read the rest of the great magazine while you are at it! My article talks about what I had hoped to get from the trip and why we were taking it to begin with. And I must concur that the Away We Go roadtrip had close to it's desired effect.

When we returned from our adventures, we both had to settle down and get some things out of the way. Bills and other things that were waiting us when we returned. After about a week things started to make their way back to normal - but with slight differences.

One difference is that we realized that maybe we should focus on non-industry jobs for a while. I was very actively seeking graphic design jobs before we left, and although I had a few interviews last Winter - the market had pretty much become dry. It was hard for me, pre-trip, to think about what else I could possibly do to get a job. I had tried agencies, looking for design work, photo work and theater work.

When I returned I set my priorities and realized that I needed SOMETHING. My unemployment was on the verge of running out (although a new law extended it for just a little longer) and so I turned to what I know best after design: bookstores. Within weeks of returning I had cold called 30 plus bookstores throughout Connecticut looking for a job. Several said to come in and apply but that they weren't hiring, one said they were hiring. I applied but too late, the job was already gone because they had been interviewing while I applied. I'm continuing to work on this approach, but come September I'll try something new - maybe an art store or something similar.

I suppose you can say I've lowered my standards for a job. But, my theory is that if I work retail again (something I never thought I would go back to) I can also work on building my business and more importantly I can have a steady income again that will allow me to live my own life for a while. The economy is not healthy and if I can't get a job making the amount I should be making at this point in my life (which is a whole nother discussion - what we grow up thinking our lives will be and what they end up being) I must get a job that will be steady - retail or no.

The moral of the story? Take a trip, it doesn't have to be as long as ours, and when you come back re-evaluate what is most important to you - that job of your dreams or a steady income - and work towards your goals not some job.

What about you? How do you deal with this economy? Are you unemployed as well?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Traveler's Rest SC to Ashland VA to HOME

 We started the second to last day of our adventure with a trip to our last Roadside Attraction of said adventure: South of the Border. For the uninitiated, South of the Border is a mini city of craziness on the North Carolina / South Carolina border. It looked like they had put a fresh coat of paint on everything since the last time I had been there, but it still gave me a weird feeling. I can't really describe it, the place just gives off an odd feeling and most people wander around baffled.

There is a giant sombrero ride, tacky ' Mexican Shop's ', plastic oddly colored animals, a campground, a motel, food courts, and a variety of other shops and madness. It's an experience. And getting there is also an experience as there are billboards for it like every mile for a long long time coming from either direction.

After a quick mediocre lunch there, we kept going to Raleigh North Carolina where we just missed a friend of mine. We had to keep moving, but someday we'll catch up with her. Eventually we stopped in Ashland Virginia and crashed for the night. We took a swim in the pool, which was okay but not great (a few too many dead bugs for me) and I was able to make a few of these blog entries live.

The next day we drove home to Connecticut and our adventure came to a close.

I'll be updating this blog with more of our adventures, when we have them, but I'm also going to begin work on the book I'd like to write about this adventure. Please keep visiting as I may put some of my more personal thoughts about this adventure up here soon.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Point South SC to Charleston SC to Traveler's Rest SC

 Knowing it was a short day allowed us to sleep in and enjoy our morning. It was nice to just sit at the camp table for a little while, even if the blog post I was trying to write wouldn't post to the internet.

I drove us the short distance to Charleston, South Carolina, practically bouncing in my seat. Charleston is, I believe, my favorite city in the USA. Or my favorite city that I have been to. My first trip was years ago, I went with a friend to see the last three concerts of the band Jump, Little Children (Charleston natives). The concerts were incredible, but in the meantime we wandered the city and both fell in love with it. I went back with two other friends and spent half the week in Savannah and half the week in Charleston and fell in love again.

 Something about the old buildings, palm trees, cobblestone streets and GAS LAMPS (!) just makes me happy. Marion Square was holding a Farmer's Market/Craft Fair that morning and we went there first, looking at the photos and crafts and debating the crepes. Then we walked the other direction towards the water and stopped to eat at Sticky Fingers. Delicious.

 Completely full from lunch, we walked to the water where I dipped my toes into the Pineapple Fountain and we blocked our cameras from the spray of water from the fountains the kids were playing in. It was nice and calming just to walk and hold hands and take photos and enjoy ourselves.

Next we went to Market Street and looked at the crafts and wares, some local shops and finally had dessert at Kaminsky's. A dessert place, Kaminsky's only serves desserts, alcohol, and specialty drinks that combine both. Matt had a piece of chocolate chip cherry pie and I had two small desserts - one orange creamsicle and one chocolate and white chocolate mousse. So so delicious.

Now truly stuffed we walked back to our car and drove to my friend Beck's house in Traveler's Rest SC. There we visited and watched movie trailers, chatted about movies and jobs and trips, played with the dog and relaxed. We spent the next day chilling and doing much of the same. We also took time to spray paint our mascots... which backfired. Turns out you need to prime them first or they stay sticky.

 The second day in Traveler's Rest was the Fourth of July and we stayed for a second night to go see fireworks and delay the trip home and visit more. The above photo was taken with light refraction glasses held in front of the camera lens. It does some really cool things to the fireworks.