Eileen – Chapter 17 – Farewell My Love

Eileen has been an absolute delight to have as an employee at the salon.

She’s 18 and gorgeous. I’m actually surprised I got her.

She called to see if we needed help and I was desperate. She came in dressed to the nines and looked 23. I texted Achilles immediately for where the hell the job applications were.

She called and I really needed help but when I saw her and had to have her.

She was immediately hired, and she took to the salon like it was her own.

I liked that she had a natural knack to service. She’s a hostess at an Olive Garden back at home inn St Louis in the summer. I have found the perfect employee.

Eileen has been amazing in every way at this salon. Achilles is free of the bullshit of staffing and I am bringing him his best.

Eileen is amazing and is the perfect employee that’s always on time. I manage her schedule and Achilles doesn’t have to deal with it. I do this all summer long.

How bad is my life? I kill it at the salon and work with the best girls in the world.

I feed and reward a good staff.

My girls kill it for me. I make the salon my own. They will heave free food and drinks whenever they desire.

Eileen is in a relationship with a boy back in St Louis. They wear promise rings. I take Eileen out on weekly dates to piss him off. It’s funny, because as much rage as Thomas feels, it’s unfounded. I am simply rewarding the fine work I’m getting from Eileen. She’s fantastic and one of the greatest hires I’ve ever had.

Thomas needs to cool his jets and know that I’m not some creepy old guy after his girl but a dad who adores his staff and takes good care of them.

Thomas has been angry lately. He thinks I’m a pervert. I like that. Be worried, child. I am simply rewarding a couple of great ladies for kicking ass during our busiest season.

Eileen and Amelia are the greatest employees we’ve ever had. I adore them both,

I’m honored they’re both in my life.

Ease up dude.

Eileen is a great girl you should honor because she’s amazing and forget about me.

I just loved being with her because she’s amazing.

“I’m not after her. I love the great work she did for me. Settle down, Thomas.”

Eileen is going back to St Louis and her work is done here.

She came in to see us and say goodbye, but it’s bittersweet, because we’re not just losing the Spring help. I’m losing Eileen. One of the best employees I’ve ever had.

But I have to understand. She has to go home. She’s worked so hard on her studies in Criminal Justice at Drexel and given her all here at the salon.

I dream of employees of Eileen and Amelia. We’ve been blessed this season.

I have loved working with both of these wonderful women, and enjoyed my time with them.

Eileen was mostly food and Amelia was more about cocktails, but I love that.

Help has been the major challenge at this company, but I have eradicated that problem with these two wonderful people.

I’ll miss my time with Eileen. She has been a delight to work with. Her personality, her dress code and service have always been first rate. She’s a lovely, smart girl that always looked great for work, and treated the clients with such great hospitality.

I trained she and Amelia and they were both on point.

It made life at the salon so much better during our busy season.

The clients don’t care, they just want to get their base on. But the girls have been amazing and innovative to keep everybody happy. That’s I how I trained them.

I miss Eileen already.

She boarded a jet back home for the summer. She works at Olive Garden as a hostess in her home town. She’s already asked me for a raise when she comes back.

Future lawyer.

I love her.

She texted Amelia and myself when she was going home and said she would miss us.

I know she’ll be missed far more by Amelia and I.

Can’t wait to see our friend again.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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10 Life Changing Things to Do While You Are in Self-Isolation

When it comes to the coronavirus, we are all in this together; but we are not in the same boat.

“When’s my ship coming in?”

“Swim out to it!”

When it comes to the coronavirus, we are all in this together; but we are not in the same boat. You may well find yourself alone at home, either because you are in self-isolation or because your employer has asked you to work from home. You may also find that you have less work to do as this crisis will be putting a stop to many business activities across the globe.

If you are an employee of a cash-rich company, then good for you. You will probably continue to draw your salary.  If you run your own business or work for one that has stopped trading, you could well be in a worse position. Last but not least, many of us will also be concerned about the health risks of the pandemic virus.

This article is by no means intended to trivialize the hardship that many of us will experience over the coming weeks or months, however, I would encourage you to find something positive in this difficult situation. Maybe that self-isolation and extra time at hand could be used to create a positive change in your life, or perhaps even new opportunities for your career or business?

Here are a few projects that you could take on while you are stuck at home, if indeed you are not actually ill (in which case you should rest!):

1. Review your life

Most people are so busy running on a hamster wheel each day that they never make time to stop and review their life from a bird’s eye view. I recommend everybody to make time once a year to reflect on the big questions of your life, such as:

  • Is this still the life I want to live?
  • Do I love my career?
  • What would satisfaction in all my key life areas look like?
  • What is most important to me in my life?
  • Where do I want to be in 5/10/20 years?

If you are in self-isolation, this could be a great opportunity to work through these questions in detail.  A coach like myself can assist you with this. Coaching can be done very safely and effectively via Skype video calls.  In fact, I receive my own coaching via Skype from people I have never met in person.

2. Learn a new skill

Hand on heart: Who here is guilty of having bought an online course in a bout of enthusiasm but then never completed it? I have for sure! Now is a great time to dig it out and work through the course; or buy a new one and actually complete it this time!

Maybe:

  • you always wanted to learn French?
  • you know that completing a software coding course would improve your job opportunities?
  • you have wanted to learn SEO strategies to boost your business?
  • you feel attracted to a creative writing course just for the sheer pleasure of it?

3. Brush up your CV and LinkedIn profile

Speaking of your job, if you are dreaming of greener pastures, how about brushing up your CV and improving your LinkedIn profile? There are lots of guides on how to do this available on the internet or Amazon. You could even go further by reaching out to your network and contacting recruitment agencies or a coach to discuss your career plans.  It is quite likely that over the coming weeks they will have more time to talk to you than normal.

4. Learn Meditation & Mindfulness

If you find it hard to stand still and be alone, it’s likely that you would probably benefit from practicing exactly that. Learning to enjoy being mindful and practicing meditation can be life-changing. It can improve your emotional wellbeing, sharpen your mind and reduce stress levels. You may even find that mindfulness will open a door to a completely new joyful experience of life. There are plenty of online courses on mindfulness available; or try a meditation app such as Calm or Headspace.

5. Connect to neglected friends

This could be the most powerful of all the items on my list.  Scholars of Positive Psychology tell us that social connections are the most important ingredient to our happiness; much more than our career, that dream job or looking beautiful.  Maintaining healthy social connections is particularly important when you are in self-isolation. It helps you keep our mental health on track.

Thanks to modern technology we can still connect to others even when we have to stay at home alone. A skype video call will be almost like having the other person sitting next to you. How about making time to have calls with all those friends and family members that you have been neglecting recently? How cool would it be if this crisis actually brought us closer together despite social distancing?

And don’t forget ordinary phone calls. When was the last time you spoke to a friend and truly listened to them, fully concentrating on their voice without browsing the internet at the same time?

6. Create a business plan

Ever dreamed of running your own business? Do you have lots of ideas but don’t know how to make them happen?  How about taking one of those ideas and think them through in detail! You can download a basic business plan template from the internet that tells you about all the items to consider, such as the basic concept, ideal client, the pricing model, route to market, etc. Do a SWOT analysis (you can look that one up too!) and exchange ideas with your friends over Skype. You can also work with a coach to explore and test your ideas.

Perhaps you could start by creating a website for your business? Sites like Wix and Squarespace make it super easy and fun.

7. Get fit

Get fit at home! How, you may wonder? Well, if you have free floor space of at least 1m x 2m, then that’s all you need to do a tough workout. There are lots of apps that offer workout routines that don’t require any equipment. My favorite is Freeletics. You tell the app your goals, basic stats and fitness levels and it will deliver weekly tailored fitness plans. You may be surprised how tough they can be.  Exercises such as burpees, push-ups and lunges will increase your fitness very quickly.

Obviously, don’t work out if you are actually ill with the coronavirus. In that case, your body will need all energy for recovery.

8. Sort out your finances

Do you know how much money and assets you have, and how much you spend on what? Do you have a nest egg and a retirement plan? These are topics that we tend to avoid, partly because retirement seems so far away, but also because we don’t really want to look into our finances out of fear of what we might find.

Well, now is a good time to do exactly that. Dig out your bank statements and create a list of where your money goes. Are you spending too much on the wrong things? Do you have savings to help you through times of crisis like the one we are facing right now? Perhaps it’s time to change your spending and savings patterns?

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If you find this hard to do, you don’t need to do it alone:

  • There are lots of apps that can help you with spend monitoring.
  • Contact a financial advisor to discuss your retirement plans.
  • Some charities offer free financial coaching.
  • Get a lawyer to finally make a will.  It’s cheaper than you think.

9. Declutter your home

Our home environment has a massive impact on our emotional wellbeing. Any of the following may well affect how you feel at home:

  • Your house is cluttered with lots of stuff that you don’t need.
  • There are piles of work that you think you “should” be doing.
  • Your home looks faded or untidy.
  • There are unfinished DIY jobs in every corner.

These things can be real energy-suckers. How about using your free time in self-isolation for a proper spring clean:

  • Ruthlessly give away to charity what you don’t need.
  • Tidy up your rooms, drawers and cabinets.
  • Apply a fresh coat of paint to your walls.
  • Create a list of all jobs that need to be done and complete one of them each day.

Then enjoy the wonderful feeling of a lighter and fresh environment.

10. Spring clean your garden

Having sorted out your home, how about working on your outdoor space if you have any? Gardening is a fantastic activity with plenty of benefits such as:

  • physical activity that improves your fitness
  • exercising your creativity in a healthy setting
  • connecting you to nature
  • calming your senses and any anxiety you may be feeling
  • satisfaction from creating a beautiful space

What’s your next project?

Hopefully, one or two of the ideas in this article have inspired you to pick a project that creates a new opportunity in this time of social distancing.  Maybe the list even promoted a better idea of your own?

It all boils down to a key life skill that I cherish:

Rather than focusing on what you can NOT do, focus on what you CAN do!

This mindset turns an unhelpful complaint into a resourceful question that can generate new solutions for your life.

You are the master of your own life.  What are you going to do with it?

(Don’t just eat and drink too much and watch TV… That’s on you. This is your moment! Do something productive!)

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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The COVID Quarantine Is Scarily Similar to the First 30 Years of My Life

Here is a piece written by a friend of mine. It’s incredibly revealing, and I never knew this about her. I can understand why. She’s shown incredible courage and patience growing up in that situation. I think we all take for granted how ‘normal’ most of our childhoods were. I’m happy she’s in my life, and honored I had the opportunity to work with her. This is one case where the cypress not only grew in the shadow of the oak, but actually flourished.

https://medium.com/@jackierupp215/the-covid-quarantine-is-scarily-similar-to-the-first-30-years-of-my-life-ca2da29d9906

 

View at Medium.com

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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View at Medium.com

View at Medium.com

Stay Positive: Here are 23 Pieces of Good News Regarding COVID-19

Trying to help…

Check out Number 23!

Headlines continuously read distressing news regarding the virus so we can all take advanced safety measures to protect not just ourselves, but also those around us.

Yet, there’s a handful of worldwide news doling out glimmers of hope in the midst of frightening times, and that’s important too.

So, we’ve rounded up all the good news about the virus worth catching up on.

Read on and click through the slideshow above for all the happy headlines we’re highlighting.

1. Of about 80,000 people sick from COVID-19 in China, more than 70% have recovered and been discharged from hospitals
Per the World Health Organization last week, “Of the 80,000 reported COVID-19 cases in China, more than 70% have recovered and been discharged.”

2. Scientists have figured out how the novel coronavirus breaks into human cells, which will help significantly in developing treatments
After scientists revealed the first picture of how the novel coronavirus binds with human respiratory cells to produce more viruses, researchers in China have solidified images all the way down to the level of the atoms at the binding points, according to Live Science. With this news, understanding how the virus enters cells will significantly aid researchers in finding drugs and vaccines to fight the virus.

3. Due to high levels of self-quarantine, Codogno, one of the two coronavirus clusters in Italy, has reported significantly fewer infections per day
Compared to 35 cases per day at the beginning of the outbreak, just five new infections were announced last week by Codogno’s mayor, Francesco Passerini, according to the U.S. News and World Report. “It is a war. It is a war, but we have every possibility of winning,” Passerini said. “Unlike with our grandfathers, who went physically into battle for our freedom, we are being required to show responsibility — responsibility and calm.”

4. Scientists in Canada have made massive breakthroughs in an effort to develop a vaccine
A team of Canadian scientists has finally isolated and grown copies of the coronavirus, which may now help scientists study the pathogen to develop better testing, treatments, vaccines, and gain a better understanding of its biology, the team said in a statement alongside the New York Post.

5. China is testing five different vaccine options, claiming it could have a vaccine ready by next month
Eight different institutes in China are working on five different inoculations to battle the novel coronavirus, according to the South China Morning Post. “According to our estimates, we are hopeful that in April some of the vaccines will enter clinical research or be of use in emergency situations,” said Zheng Zhongwei, director of the National Health Commission’s Science and Technology Development Center. While it’s true that it would take at least 12 to 18 months to provide a safe vaccine to general public, under Chinese law, they could be released sooner for urgent use in a major public health emergency, provided the benefits outweigh the risks, noted the New York Post.

6. Vaccination trials in the U.S. are already underway
A trial of Moderna’s vaccine has already kickstarted at Kaiser Permanente under Washington’s Health Research Institute in Seattle, of which will hopefully confirm the safety of the vaccine prior to mass production.

7. A team of infectious disease experts calculated the fatality rate of Wuhan’s coronavirus outbreak is about 1.4%, drastically lower than earlier estimates
While this estimate and data applies directly to Wuhan, where the novel coronavirus outbreak began, it offers a hopeful guide to the rest of the world as it notes significantly lower estimate of earlier stats around 3%. A full breakdown of the data can be found at Stat News.

8. Distilleries across the U.S. are making their own hand sanitizers and giving it away for free
Perhaps many Americans can calm down on the panic buying, as according to the Associated Press, distilleries across the country are using high-proof alcohol to make hand sanitizer, and divvying it out for free, or by donation to combat the novel coronavirus.

9. Air pollution has plummeted in cities with high numbers of quarantined individuals, Venice’s waters are running clear
Analysts from the Washington Post have noted a drastic decrease in major greenhouses gases over Europe as individuals self-quarantine and cars stay parked at home. While it’s little comfort to a country ravaged by the novel coronavirus, it highlights the impact humans can make on the environment. “I expect pollution to drop even further as the particles in the atmosphere get either dispersed or absorbed,” Emanuele Massetti, an expert on the economics of climate change at Georgia Tech University who has studied Italy’s climate policies, told the Washington Post. “In a few days, they will enjoy the cleanest air ever in northern Italy.”

10. A Johns Hopkins researcher has claimed antibodies from recovered coronavirus patients could help protect people at risk
A treatment that can be made readily available under urgent circumstances, a team from Johns Hopkins alongside many other researchers are studying whether or not the antibodies of those recovered from the coronavirus could help protect at-risk humans from the virus. “Deployment of this option requires no research or development,” immunologist Arturo Casadevall told Science Alert. “It could be deployed within a couple of weeks since it relies on standard blood-banking practices.” Not to mention, a Japanese pharmaceutical company is nearing approval of the treatment.

11. South Korea recoveries are starting to outnumber new infections
Facing the largest epidemic outside of China, South Korea reported more recoveries from the coronavirus than new infections on Friday for the first time since its outbreak emerged in January, as a downward trend in daily cases raised hopes that Asia’s biggest epidemic outside China may be slowing, according to India Today.

12. China is getting its feet back on the ground, opening parks and athletics, loosening travel restrictions
As the novel coronavirus comes under control in China, parks and tourist attractions have reopened across the country, alongside loosened travel restrictions. “The National Health Commission said on Thursday that the outbreak had passed its peak, and the figures appear to support its claim,” said the South China Morning Post. “On Friday, authorities in mainland China reported just 11 new Covid-19 cases, of which four were in Hubei.” According to ESPN, even professional basketball has reemerged  in Asia.

13. China has also closed its last coronavirus hospital, not enough new cases to support them
China has shut down all 16 temporary coronavirus hospitals in Wuhan as cases of coronavirus have began to dwindle. “The final group of 49 patients walked out of the Wuchang temporary hospital in the capital of Hubei province on Tuesday afternoon to cheers,” according to the Xinhua news agency.

14. Australian researchers are in the midst of testing two drugs as cures to the virus
Scientists in Australia claim to have identified how the body’s immune system fights the novel coronavirus. Published in Nature Medicine journal on Tuesday, the research shows people are recovering from the virus like they would from the flu. “This [discovery] is important because it is the first time where we are really understanding how our immune system fights novel coronavirus,” study co-author Prof Katherine Kedzierska told BBC News.

15. Numerous businesses have stepped up to solve the crisis
Restaurants, sports, and businesses are all stepping up to combat the community effects of the novel coronavirus. The sports world is raising money for stadium employeesUber Eats is divvying out free delivery to help independent restaurantsprofessional soccer players are entertaining viewers with a FIFA tournamentrestaurants are doling out free food to those in need, and Bill Gates is funneling out millions of dollars to speed up development of a coronavirus treatment, to name just a few out of dozens.

16. Apple, Starbucks reopening all stores in China
While stores and restaurants across the U.S. have closed up shop, both Apple and Starbucks have reopened all of their stores in China as the novel coronavirus spread slows across the country.

17. MetroHealthMedical Center has developed a coronavirus test that gives results in hours, not days
“MetroHealth Medical Center becomes the first hospital in the state that can now test COVID-19 samples at its laboratory with results available after just two hours,” released News 5 Cleveland. While supplies are limited, it notes a significant step toward expansive testing of the novel coronavirus.

18. Scientists in Israel have also noted the potential to annouce development of a coronavirus vaccine within weeks
Israeli scientists are nearing development of the first vaccine to combat the novel coronavirus, according to Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis. The vaccine could be ready within a few weeks and available in 90 days, according to a release.

19. A San Diego biotech company is developing a coronavirus vaccine in collaboration with Duke University and National University of Singapore
As the race to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus continues globally, the San Diego-based biotech company, Arcturus Therapeutics, is working on creating one at its lab. The company is working alongside Duke NUS-Medical School, a partnership between Duke University and the National University of Singapore. While developing a vaccine that works hasn’t yet proven impossible, “The major challenge with vaccines is the size of the dose and the feasibility of manufacturing,” President and CEO, Joseph Payne, told CBS8.

20. A Japanese flu drug has proven effective in treating the novel coronavirus
Zhang Xinmin, an official at China’s science and technology ministry, said favipiravir, developed by a subsidiary of Fujifilm, had produced encouraging outcomes in clinical trials in Wuhan and Shenzhen involving 340 patients, according to The Guardian. “It has a high degree of safety and is clearly effective in treatment,” Zhang told reporters on Tuesday.

21. China has reported just one new domestic coronavirus infection for a second day in a row.
For the second consecutive day there was only one more fresh infection in Wuhan, the central city where the virus first emerged late last year,” said the National Health Commission. New cases in surrounding Hubei province have now been in the single digits for the past seven days, down from a peak of several thousand per day in early February, said Daily Mail.

22. Communities are coming together to help their neighbors
Neighbors across the country are stepping up to make grocery runs for those who can’t leave their homes. Local services have also reached out to the Seattle community to encourage those in need of help, to utilize the opportunities available to them.

23. A 103-year-old Chinese grandmother has made a full recovery from COVID-19
After being treated for less than a week, this grandma is going for the gold as the oldest coronavirus patient to recover in China, and motivating elderly across the globe to retain hope.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Eileen – Chapter 11 – Formal and Lost Phone

Eileen texted me and told me she needed Friday off to go to her formal. She’s in a sorority (of course) at Drexel Uni and this is the event of the season. I check with Amelia, to see if she can work. Amelia, is flying to Okinawa with the Air Force Reserves on Saturday and says yes.

I’m relived because I wont be killed at the salon Friday night with her there. Eileen is eternally grateful we have her covered, and because she’s a freshman and in a sorority we have her back.

My staff is great this year like I said before. Amelia is amazing and so good at everything in the salon. I couldn’t have wish for better. Eileen is fantastic with the clients and new intake every night when we get run over with business.

These girls are simply the best I’ve ever hired in the history of the salon.

Finding staff this rich at this dollar amount is nearly unheard of in this industry. I’ve truly been blessed to have girls this good during the busy season.

So Eileen is off Friday to go to her college formal, and I work her Saturday and Sunday.

I text her Sunday night to remind her that Amelia is traveling to Okinawa for two weeks with the Air Force Reserves and that I need her in at 3 on Monday.

She’s down.

I’ll really miss Amelia, because I think we’ve become good friends working here.

But I’ll just miss her presence because I really care for her.

I text Eileen and she’s ready to work all the shifts this week.

Eileen comes in and she is sad.

“How was your formal?”

“I got super drunk and left my phone in an Uber.”

To spare my readers the drama, I will spell it all out here.

Eileen went to the formal, (I’m sure looking fabulous) got plastered due to the pressure of those around her, puked with the help of her sorority leader, wasn’t looked after properly by her sober coach, there’s video of her drunk ass being led into her dorm, lost her phone in an UBER, went to the hospital, and has been brought up on charges of public drunkeness by the college.

I would usually call that, “Saturday Night in my Twenties” but this is a nightmare for my hire.

An 18 year old girl without her phone is like a seal stranded on an ice floe surrounded my killer whales.

I feel her pain.

It’s a bad week. Baby doesn’t have her phone. which is crippling in this day and age. (I’ve felt it myself)

The salon is crazy busy, and Eileen’s doing great. Obviously for a girl her age, without a phone is like losing a limb, but she has her tablet and doing her best.

I hear the whole horror saga and really feel for her. I wish I were there so I could look after her like I would my own daughter Lorelei.

Eileen’s been a pleasure to work with this season, and I would do anything to help her any way I can. When I heard the story of her struggling to get her phone back from the loser driver I actually felt angry like a family member had been hurt.

Four days pass and Eileen is the consummate professional at the salon.

Eileen’s had a hell of a week, and I want to do something to make her feel better. Like I said, these young girls have their challenges in their lives, but they work for us. They’re the best I’ve ever had.

I recognize talent unlike most of the insecure shitstains I’ve worked for in the rat race. Just assholes that have zero talent and can’t work anywhere else and can’t do what I do.

I’m fine with that. That’s just the way of world, and corporate america.

But I’ll never let anybody that works for me suffer. Ever.

Through all of this drama, where Eileen is now facing fines and has to take computer modules on being drunk, I will support her. It’s total bullshit.

College students experiment with everything. Eileen is a good student and majoring in Criminal Justice. She’s a brilliant girl. I see that in her. She can have all of the teenage world drama she wants, but at the end of the day, she’s a terrific person I admire.

I’m happy to work with young people that are on point and they’re willing to work any job and do whatever is asked of them with a smile. That’s where I come from and Amelia and Eileen possess all of that goodness.

I realize with Amelia gone in Okinawa and Eileen picking up all over shifts, coupled with no phone and censure, she’s in a bad place.

But does it affect her performance at the salon during our crazy busy season? Not in the slightest. Because of her not having access to her cell she was actually more productive. (Surprise)

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Eileen – Chapter 3 – Friday Night – Part 1

If anything happens outside of the salon with a client or an employee, it’s no longer a Sun Story. That’s the case here.

The girls are doing great. I love Amelia and Eileen. I can’t believe my good fortune. Normally you get what you pay for in this business and we’ve somehow hit the lottery.

Amelia, 24, fit, cute, and a certified as a personal trainer. Not only will she be a hit here Monday through Wednesday, but she could work here as a trainer at out gym! Home run!

Amelia’s a great girl, Air Force Reserve and a solid focused employee. I like that after three days she takes the initiative with the laundry, towels and vacuuming on her own.

Very impressed.

But now it’s Eileen’s turn. It’s Thursday night and she rolls into the salon at 4:30. She says “hi” and heads to room 5 to hang her coat. I don’t recognize her at first she moves so fast.

She comes out in blue tights and a T-shirt that says: “The Bank of Dad.” I totally get that. She says she’s had it since she was a little girl.

Who knows?

I’m just stupid happy to see my pretty new hire again. It’s been so stressful here and now I finally have help. It’s a welcome relief to have a few people to help and maintain the right level of customer service.

Eileen’s first night at the salon was basically cleaning beds and cleaning up. But I see the value in Eileen. I need to train her in all things salon. This girl who went from $8 an hour at Olive Garden to $9.70 on her resume is a quality girl.

18-year-old Criminal Justice major at Drexel needs to learn the system at the tanning salon.

I’m waiting on clients and Eileen is standing there at the ready with her antiseptic spray gun and fresh towel to clean beds. This is what I need right now, because this is our busy season. But I notice something else. As Eileen is standing there waiting to clean beds (That’s all she knows) she’s watching every key punch I make on the computer touch screen to run the salon.

It’s glorious.

When I trained here I was like a retard and struggled with every aspect of the system. But Eileen is watching and recording.

That’s amazing to an old horse like me.

Friday’s never as busy as Thursday, so I decide to let Eileen run the register.

I’ll run around and clean beds and let the kid run that salon. (I’ll be there for her but she needs to learn.)

This is great. We’ve actually hired some people who can do it all. I’ve worked so many hours here and have been through so many shitty employees that have failed Achilles and me on so many levels, this is a blessing.

I watched my sweet Eileen bring in new clients, set up their accounts, and send them tanning without any stress.

Frankly, I was amazed.

She was so good with our system. It was busy, and she did great. This is what this company needs.

Eileen is a freshman and I’ve already told her about being here every season for the next four years and she said yes.

I’m so proud of Eileen. I’m stupid happy to have her here at the salon. We don’t get this kind of help.

I kind of dug at Achilles and I drove hard to get this amazing girl. He’s so jaded when it comes to employees.

He’s closed 2 salons to relieve his problems, but with me maybe we can open a new one.

I love working with good people.

Eileen obviously needs to learn how to fold the towels better, but I love that she’s magic at the computer.

I’m just going to say this right now despite everything that is going on in the blog. Despite the fact that Eileen’s 18 and a new hire, and in love with her boyfriend back in Missouri.

I’m attracted to her.

Don’t un-follow the blog. I’m not going to do anything.

 

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Sun Stories: Amelia – Chapter 2 – Finally

So I wasn’t sure about Amelia at first. She came through one of the trainers at our gym and was an Achilles hire the morning before I got Eileen. So I had some concerns.

Amelia came in and we made our acquaintance.

She’s 24, new to Philly. I thought she was gay. Works at a gym in Midtown. She’s about to be certified as a personal trainer. Which is awesome because she could bring her clients to our gym and train people and pay us.

She’s blonde and cute. Irish Catholic and from a family of 10. She’s number 8. Wow. What the fuck is that college bill like? I told Achilles and he was like, “That many fuckin’ kids and you can never get divorced.” (He is absolutely correct in his answer)

I don’t know anything about Amelia, but once I met her I liked her.

Solid citizen. Air Force Reserve, and fit. Seems nice and personable. I like the military aspect. Maybe she’ll actually be on point unlike all of the other knuckleheads that have worked here.

First night is always the same. Here’s where to hang your coat. Here’s the bathroom. Just clean the beds when they get dirty.

I’ve got her Monday through Wednesday. The days are busy. I give her the skinny on all of the characters. We build report. I love getting in the heads of everyone I know. Young people are easy. I need to get to know her.

I show Amelia what to do with the basic functions of the salon and she immediately adapts like a good soldier.

I’m happy at my good fortune. Initially I was cross at Achilles for hiring someone I didn’t know. He told me to hire who I wanted. I really wanted Eileen. I wanted her to have all of the shifts. I couldn’t believe my good fortune. But now I have the Achilles hire I have to deal with.

But Amelia is so good on night one I start to question my own choices.

In the three days she’s here, Amelia is really on top of the cleaning and the laundry. I notice at 24 she’s taking the initiative with everything.

Her military training has taught her to think ahead and be preemptive. I love that.

My buddy Church stops in and we’re going to grab dinner after work, and I introduce them. They hit it off because he’s Navy and she’s Air Force. That’s a good connection and he needs practice talking to women in general. Amelia’s a lovely girl.

She’s a natural beauty new to Philly, that lives on her own with a cat which in everybody’s opinion isn’t good. (But she’s young and stop it you y’all.) Amelia’s great and does a great job cleaning.

It’s early in the training and she really takes to the vacuum. I like that. We’re all about the cleaning at our salon. She loves our new cordless vac so much she says she wants to get one for her own apartment.

I really like Amelia.

She’s so good I start to question the Eileen decision.

Could we have finally found not one but two girls that are absolutely amazing for our salon?

We have as a team waded through oceans of shit for so long, could we have finally found a couple of seasonal girls that will actually be good?

I loved Summer, and Haley, but could we have actually found good people that would stick around and work hard for us?

Amelia has a solid week and actually stays ahead of the laundry. The towels can make or break your night. It’s all about service and timing.

But I ask Amelia about it and she tells be they’re in the dryer or coming out in 20 minutes.

I like her!

I’ve been dreaming of good staff for our salon.

I think we’ve finally hit it.

Achilles is oblivious because he’s so wrapped up in the daily grind and the gym now, but I see it.

I’ll train these girls. Not just to clean beds, but to perform every aspect of this business to make them more valuable to us and themselves.

Eileen is Criminal Justice at Drexel. Her dad is a professor, so education is free, but she’ll have to deal with law school later.

These are great girls we have wiping down our beds at the salon this season.

I love them both. I’m happy we finally found good staff!

 

Oh, one side note: I had to tell Amelia about Eileen. I didn’t want to and I wanted to keep them separate, but since Amelia works here she gets free tanning. She said she was going to come in on Thursday and I knew Eileen was working so I told her about how Achilles hired her in the morning and I hired Eileen that night. She was cool with it, but when she came in it was a moment.

“Hey, Amelia.”

“Hey Charles. I’m ready to tan.”

“Yea. It’s been two months, I need to do that too so I can look like I work here.”

“Oh yea…Totally.”

“This is Eileen. Achilles hired you the same day I hired her.”

(Eileen, beautiful with a firm handshake) “Nice to meet you!”

So, worlds collide but my girls have to eat it.

They do and are fine because women are awesome.

“I like your make up it looks awesome.” (Amelia to Eileen)

“Thank you.”

“Maybe I should do more.”

(Me being the dick I always am) “Yea maybe you should. I point to Eileen) “My hire.”

I know I’ve made a joke here. They both like and respect me. But I’ve divided them and I like it.

Amelia’s great, but she has to stop biting her nails. (I’ll help her) I want to.

We all chat and I find out that Eileen likes to drink. She’s not any good at it but I like that she likes to drink.

I thought Amelia was the bad one but I love that Eileen likes to party.

All I think of is how I can take these girls for free drinks at all of my hookups around town.

Not to bed them of course, but I know these girls are my saving grace. It’s so busy at the salon. I’m so happy that I’ve met these women. They can’t even fathom how valuable they are to us right now.

Entering our most busy season. We can’t live with out them.

I’m just happy I’ve had the great fortune to meet two girls who are absolutely amazing. Normally, we get the crazies at $9 an hour under the table. But for some reason I’ve met two girls who are amazing and really work hard and get the system.

I just need to train them right so they don’t lose their shit on a Saturday.

I think we finally have a couple of winners and I’m betting on both of them!

 

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We Have Ruined Childhood

For youngsters these days, an hour of free play is like a drop of water in the desert. Of course they’re miserable.

According to the psychologist Peter Gray, children today are more depressed than they were during the Great Depression and more anxious than they were at the height of the Cold War. A 2019 study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology found that between 2009 and 2017, rates of depression rose by more than 60 percent among those ages 14 to 17, and 47 percent among those ages 12 to 13. This isn’t just a matter of increased diagnoses. The number of children and teenagers who were seen in emergency rooms with suicidal thoughts or having attempted suicide doubled between 2007 and 2015.

To put it simply, our kids are not O.K.

For a long time, as a mother and as a writer, I searched for a single culprit. Was it the screens? The food? The lack of fresh air and free time, the rise of the overscheduled, overprotected child, the overarching culture of anxiety and fear?

Those things might all contribute. But I’ve come to believe that the problems with children’s mental and emotional health are caused not by any single change in kids’ environment but by a fundamental shift in the way we view children and child-rearing, and the way this shift has transformed our schools, our neighborhoods and our relationships to one another and our communities.

The work of raising children, once seen as socially necessary labor benefiting the common good, is an isolated endeavor for all but the most well-off parents. Parents are entirely on their own when it comes to their offspring’s well-being. Many have had to prioritize physical safety and adult supervision over healthy emotional and social development.

No longer able to rely on communal structures for child care or allow children time alone, parents who need to work are forced to warehouse their youngsters for long stretches of time. School days are longer and more regimented. Kindergarten, which used to be focused on play, is now an academic training ground for the first grade. Young children are assigned homework even though numerous studies have found it harmful. STEM, standardized testing and active-shooter drills have largely replaced recess, leisurely lunches, art and music.

The role of school stress in mental distress is backed up by data on the timing of child suicide. “The suicide rate for children is twice what it is for children during months when school is in session than when it’s not in session,” according to Dr. Gray. “That’s true for suicide completion, suicide attempts and suicidal ideas, whereas for adults, it’s higher in the summer.” But the problems with kids’ mental and emotional health are not only caused by what goes on in the classroom. They also reflect what’s happening in our communities. The scarcity of resources of every kind, including but not limited to access to mental health services, health care, affordable housing and higher education, means that many parents are working longer and harder than ever. At the same time that more is demanded of parents, childhood free time and self-directed activities have become taboo.

And so for many children, when the school day is over, it hardly matters; the hours outside school are more like school than ever. Children spend afternoons, weekends and summers in aftercare and camps while their parents work. The areas where children once congregated for unstructured, unsupervised play are now often off limits. And so those who can afford it drive their children from one structured activity to another. Those who can’t keep them inside. Free play and childhood independence have become relics, insurance risks, at times criminal offenses.

Tali Raviv, the associate director of the Center for Childhood Resilience, says many children today are suffering a social-skills deficit. She told me kids today “have fewer opportunities to practice social-emotional skills, whether it’s because they live in a violent community where they can’t go outside, or whether it’s because there’s overprotection of kids and they don’t get the independence to walk down to the corner store.” They don’t learn “how to start a friendship, how to start a relationship, what to do when someone’s bothering you, how to solve a problem.”

 

Many parents and pediatricians speculate about the role that screen time and social media might play in this social deficit. But it’s important to acknowledge that simply taking away or limiting screens is not enough. Children turn to screens because opportunities for real-life human interaction have vanished; the public places and spaces where kids used to learn to be people have been decimated or deemed too dangerous for those under 18.

And so for many Americans, the nuclear family has become a lonely institution — and childhood, one long unpaid internship meant to secure a spot in a dwindling middle class.

Something has to change, says Denise Pope, a co-founder of Challenge Success, an organization based in Palo Alto, Calif., that helps schools make research-backed changes to improve children’s mental health. Kids need recess. They need longer lunches. They need free play, family time, meal time. They need less homework, fewer tests, a greater emphasis on social-emotional learning.

Challenge Success also works with parents, encouraging them to get together with their neighbors and organize things like extracurricular-free days when kids can simply play, and teaching them how not to intervene in normal peer conflict so that children can build problem-solving skills themselves. A similar organization, Let Grow, helps schools set up unstructured free play before and after the school day.

Dr. Gray told me it’s no surprise that the program, which he consults for, has been well received. “Children are willing to get up an hour early to have free play, one hour a week,” he said. “It’s like a drop of water if you’ve been in the desert.”

These groups are doing important work, but if that kind of desperation is any indication, we shouldn’t be surprised that so many kids are so unhappy. Investing in a segment of the population means finding a way to make them both safe and free. When it comes to kids, we too often fall short. It’s no wonder so many are succumbing to despair. In many ways, America has given up on childhood, and on children.

 

This blog has been dating and relationships for years. Should I start to write some more self help pieces like this?

 

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Kita – Chapter 38 – Second Date – Xmas – Part 2

Somehow the subject of sugar babies comes up. I may have been talking about a couple of girls I have spoken to in the salon and they’ve told me about their exploits. I obviously don’t speak graphically about it. It just sort of came up. She finds the idea of girls doing that revolting and has too much self esteem and virtue. She said she could never do that.

(Isn’t that sort of happening between us???)

We start chatting about how excited she is to go to Florida for the winter break. She loves the warmth of the temperature down there. She misses her dog and can’t wait to drive around in her Jeep. She tells me she’ll probably just rest, workout, try to eat better, walk her dog, and cruise around in her jeep. She misses driving!

Best part is, she won’t have to do any studying, write any papers, or go to any classes. Just fun in the sun. She’ll probably be as brown as a penny when she comes back to Philly in a month.

Funny thing is, I don’t hear about anything else. I know she likes tanning and getting dark. I know she likes to eat and digs snacks. She says her mom loves snacks too. Her mother once went looking for snacks in Kita’s room and discovered some condoms. I love the idea of Kita having condoms. (Just suiting up with a condom before plunging into her.)

But I digress…

She works out everyday. I guess what I’m saying here is, Kita is going to do exactly what she does up here as she’ll do down there. I didn’t hear anything about friends or going out or anything.

I think our lovely little Kita may be a bit of a bore. I think I see how a man could tire of her once he’s had sex with her. What do you do with her? She’s very indecisive, needy, confused, sober, etc. Not very fun.

But here’s the thing. I’m attracted to her. I’ve never had her. I want her. She’s adorable and spends time with me. That’s pretty nice for me.

I’ll just keep writing about her until I figure it all out.

 

Near the end of the meal I ask her a question.

“Kita, I like you and enjoy your company. I appreciate you joining me for lunch today. I’d like to meet up with you and see you outside of the salon again. It can be food or we can go to Dave & Busters like we talked about that. I’d like us to do that on a regular basis. Would you like that?”

“Yes. Yes, we can definitely do that. I’d like that.”

That’s all I needed.

The bill comes, and of course I’m delighted to pay. She loved her Salmon salad, and polished off the last of the mac and cheese I got for us to split. I liked when she picked up the spoon and dug the last dollop out of the bowl and put it in her sweet mouth.

 

She’s summoning her UBER and it’s rapidly approaching. We get ourselves together and head outside into the winter afternoon sunlight. She has to go write a paper for her finals, and I have to get to the salon.

“Oh it’s here! Gimme a kiss!”

I take her lovely visage in my hands and peck her plump lips, and she’s off.

I start walking east on JFK Blvd. and light a cigarette. I reflect on the day and my relationship with Kita.

I buy special snacks and fruit for her. I always have a little something there for her to munch on. I give her free water to fill up her water bottle. I took her out to a posh dinner. I bought her a special bronzing lotion to better tan her. I bought her pepper spray and showed her how to use it to help keep her safe in the city. Now I’ve taken her out to lunch and discussing future dates and activities for us to do together.

 

Oh my God.

 

Kita is my sugarbaby!

 

 

 

 

Go on a Date, Girl asks me to do her Homework Instead

this happened several years ago.

My friends had been trying to get me on Tinder for a while. I wasn’t really into it but because I wasn’t dating anyone at the time but I decided to download the app. Pretty quickly I matched with this girl that I thought was really cute and started chatting with her. Now there were some red flags I should have noticed such as that she was pretty immature for her age and one of the main people she hung out with was around 13 to 14.

But I thought oh well, it’s probably not a big deal and I made plans to meet up with her. This was pretty early in my dating experience so I didn’t really know much about making good plans, so I just asked her what there was to do in her town (it was about an hour away from the city where I live). She told me just to meet her on her college campus. Cool, I thought, we can walk around and go to a Starbucks.

I get there and I wondered if I was at the right place because it looked like a high school, turns out it was some sort of small town community college building. The building was standalone, there was no other buildings and the floor was black and white checkered tile so you get the idea it was basically a high school.

When I got there, I asked her about it, but she said let’s just sit and talk in this student lounge. She sat down, pulled out her laptop, and asked me to help her on her homework.

Background: I had told her that I was majoring AND a tutor in a certain field, which she also happened to be majoring in, and she told me she needed some help. I was pretty passionate about this field so I told her I could help her a little bit. We’d FaceTimed once and I gave her a couple minutes of help, but I was of the understanding that when we met up we were going to be getting to know each other and not doing any homework.

I tried to explain the concepts to her but she said forget it and opened up a timed test and asked me to help her with that. I tried to explain it, but the simplest concepts went over her head and I ended up slowly doing it for her, a fact that I was not happy about and I told her so. She’s like, yeah I know you’re doing it for me and that’s okay. I was like, no it’s not. Then she started stroking my legs and arms and I told her that I couldn’t focus on helping her when she was doing that. She stopped touching me for a couple minutes but was soon back to doing it again. At this point I’m just trying to finish the test and get out of there, and finally the time runs out and she got a 40% on the test largely because I’d been spending most of my time trying to explain concepts and I thought she’d be angry, but she was really happy. She told me wow, I usually only get half that score!

At this point I was ready to leave, but she followed me out to the car (her car was next to mine) and basically the first thing she told me was that she was not a virgin and she thought I wouldn’t want to date her and would think she was filthy because of that. I told her that it didn’t really matter to me at all whether she was a virgin or not and then I don’t remember how the conversation went but I left soon after that. I should have told her I wasn’t interested in going out again right there but I knew how virginity is something that is overly prized in some Christian circles (which she was obviously a part of) and I didn’t want to reinforce her thinking that people thought less of her because she wasn’t one so I didn’t say anything then. I also considered trying to go out again, at that time I thought that I was being overly picky with women and I just needed to give them more chances.

That night, she told me to let her know if I didn’t want to MARRY her right away and not to lead her on and that really tipped the scales that I needed to say something right away. I called her on the phone the next day and told her I didn’t want to go out again, and I told her it was because we didn’t share any interests. To which she replied that we absolutely didn’t need to share any, we could go out and do our own thing and then come home to each other every night. I told her that to me the most important thing in a relationship was being able to share conversations and experiences and she tried to convince me that it wasn’t.

I don’t know a good way to wrap up the story besides that she was angry and we didn’t really talk again. I could have definitely benefited by more experience in this situation, but still, it was the first and only time I’ve ever been asked to do homework on a date so it was pretty memorable.

 

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