Quarantine, cashier life & pinatas

Hi! I am the worst at having a blog.

My life has changed drastically just like literally all of ours.  I usually work three jobs, my main job is a full-time nanny and then I have my cleaning business and I work as an assistant wedding planner.  Of course, all three of these jobs stopped existing in the face of this pandemic and for a very terrifying week, I was unemployed.  Then I sat down at my kitchen table with a coffee or cocktail (it was my one week of unemployment to be fair) and applied to every single job that I thought might take a college drop out like me.  I also dmed a few grocery stores because I thought they might be hiring asap and that was how I got the job of a cashier and the most expensive grocery store in the west village.  This is a place that charges $8 for a brick of cafe bustelo and there’s a tomato sauce that costs $12.99 (shout out to Rao’s for apparently being THAT good).  Of course, the pay minimum wage but I don’t have the type of savings that would allow for me to be unemployed for more than a week so I took the job.

My nannying job pays $25 an hour so the price drop has been a lot for me to deal with.  It’s also been hard not knowing when/if my job will return.  My nanny family moved from the west village to their beach house in New Jersey.  At the beginning of the virus, they wanted me to travel there and stay for three days of the week and then go home.  I did this for two weeks and then I had to stop because it felt very dangerous for an asthmatic like me to be traveling on the subway and the train all the time during a very deadly virus.  The day I traveled home from NJ for the last time a stay in place order was issued and I couldn’t have been happier to be in home sweet Brooklyn and not NJ.

The grocery store job is as soul-sucking as you’d imagine.  No one grows up saying they want to be a cashier and even if they did they’d take one look at the paycheck and change their mind.  Most of my co-workers are nice.  Some of them are snappy or up tight but it’s cause they’re miserable and I don’t blame them.  When I’m at that job I’m miserable too. It’s hard to go through eight hours having the same stunted interactions with people.  I ask the same questions to every person.  “Hello, how are you? Do you have a store card? Do you want bags? Would you like to donate a bundle or milk to COVID relief?”  The store I work for is doing a fundraiser for City Harvest which is well-intentioned but it’s so horrible to have to ask people for money during this time.  They’ll say no and then pull out their ebt card and you feel like such a dick for asking them for money to feed other people when they’re struggling too.  I always wish the store it’s self would donate money and leave their customers out of it.

Today was a good day though because I am trying to enjoy my life and make the very best of it all.  At work in my shitty work uniform and same pair of black sneakers, I try to bring myself to the register as well by doing my makeup like I would and never coming to work in my uniform.  I keep my polyester work shirt in my store locker and change into it at the last second so that I can feel like myself for as long as possible.  Today was also a good day because I got out at 12:45 pm and when I walked out of the sliding doors the sun was shining and the birds were screaming their little snow-white heads off.  I went home and fixed myself a drink (my new favorite: sunny d + lime juice + tequila + tajin) and got a facetime from an unknown number hung up on them.  I then immediately realized it was a facetime interview I had scheduled for that time.  I called her back and tried my best to show that I’m a very qualified hardworking nanny that’s good at what she does.

The highlight of my day was making a pinata.  My family and I used to do this many times a year.  We’d make them for my sisters and i’s birthday parties.  I was out of practice but doing it brought back so many warm memories of happier and more than anything brighter easier times.  The smell of the flour and water and feeling of the paste drying on my fingers was therapeutic.  The biggest part of me wishes I had the money and privilege to be fully quarantined and staying home during this time.  I would love to have the time to do all the wild and rather mundane fantasies I’ve had during my life of what I would do if I had time to figure out what I wanted to do.  While sliding the wet pieces of newspaper on to the balloon, I was so focused on getting the job done that I wasn’t thinking about how I was going to make rent, about savings, about food and all the ways I am falling short.  I was just focusing on this task that I had chosen to set in front of me not a bouquet of problems that was thrust into my face.  It was nice to reach out to my childhood in this simple and fun way and to even if just for a half-hour, to think about something different.

Now I have to wait a few days until this first layer of paper mache fully dries and then I’ll add a second layer.  Then I’ll stop being cheap and pull the trigger and buy some paint.  And then the hardest part for me comes.  Trying to be artistic and painting something on it.

Question:  Are you the type of person with enough patience for puzzles?

I for sure, am not.

Also, have you done any arts and crafts during the pandemic?  I would love to hear what you’ve been making 🙂

Pandemic in NYC: #5

I saw on twitter the other day “if your job requires an appreciation week you probably aren’t getting paid enough.”  It’s definitely true.  It was just a nurse appreciation week.  I don’t know if most nurses felt appreciated or felt any difference during that week.  I’m sure they have much more pressing and crucial things to think about than a vague holiday that barely exists.  It’s like the customers that always tell my cashier co-workers and me about the people who make the noise for the frontline workers at 7pm.  They always tell us to thank you for what we do and they ask if we hear the ruckus at that time.  I never have though because I’ve always been… at my register working.  This country is very much about the talk and flimsy gestures in terms of “appreciation” instead of shit that would make us feel appreciated like livable wages.  The people who keep everyone eating and alive and society as close to normal as possible are the ones who are suffering the gravest effects of this pandemic.  The ones who are dying are the ones who had no choice to go to work because their job put profits first and didn’t shut down or the ones who couldn’t miss a days work because they had to make sure they had rent and food for their family.

Speaking of cutesy but flimsy appreciation…

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