My Version of a Valentine

As some of you may or may not know, I have gone back to work. A REAL job. I had been looking unofficially for a little while. My previous job with PPS had ended so suddenly because there was not enough work to go around, and I was told to just pack up and leave one day, with no warning, they just didn’t need me any more. Since that happened, I decided that the only way I would give my time and energy to someone other than my family,would be someone or something I truly believed in. In early January an opportunity popped up. A friend of mine had a tiny flower shop up the street and got an amazing chance to move to the Main Street of our town into a prime location. She literally bought the business and moved overnight. While she had never needed an employee before, now she did. She contacted me. I was thrilled. It was a perfect fit.

I started the 2nd week in January. I knew nothing about flowers. But Boss Lady was willing to teach me. I was so ready to learn. I was in an environment with someone who trusted me from the start. She didn’t treat me like an idiot. Boss Lady showed me how to wrap flowers and do pricing schematics. I learned so much my first week. Joking she warned about Valentines Day. Her family comes in and out to help with things. Her husband helps with computer hook ups and her mother helps set ups flowers, her uncle does delivery. They all joked about Valentines Day. I was flat out warned it was intense but nothing could describe it. I was told that it would be long hours. “No problem” I said. I called in the calvary. Aka- Nana. She came down to help with the kids after school for me.

Then Valentines WEEK hit. Oh did I mention the massive snow storm we got the weekend before that delayed all of our roses??? There was a 36+ hour driving ban in MA so the trucks could not get to us. When they finally could drive the snow piles were so high on the corner that they were impossible to see around making driving so dangerous. But Oh My Goodness did Goalie and I have fun!! Punk and Bear were with their Dad that weekend šŸ˜¦

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Oh I’m sorry did you need milk the day before a storm?IMG_2010Kirby Ponders Snow

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Our Neighbor built a cave, note the light.IMG_2089 IMG_2094

We were not even all the way to the ground in these photos!!!

So when Valentines hit I really learned what work was. Let me say before anyone has something mean or snarky to say. I did this 100% of my own choice. At any point I could have cried “uncle” and gone home with no punishment. I chose to stay, I chose to help. I LOVED every moment of it.

I have never been so busy in my life. Every time I went to sit down (which was always a bad idea), or have a bite of lunch/dinner graciously provided by my employer or a member of her family, the phone rang or a customer came in. It was wonderful. I truly expected to see a lot of guys begrudgingly buying roses for their wife because they had to. But I only saw 1 or 2 of those out of thousands. What I did see and hear were men with stories of how much they love their wife/girlfriend and how they wanted to make her happy. Many knew exactly what she liked whether it be roses or not. Some wanted to pick out mixed flowers to show extra effort of doing somethingĀ themselves. It wasn’t always about them just spending the most amount of money to show her they loved her the most. Some of the sweetest stories came from the guys who didn’t have that much but were trying to be creative in other ways.

So in 4 days I worked 57 hours. I didn’t even come CLOSE to what Boss Lady worked. She was amazing. Their jokes, were true. I have never worked harder. Breaks didn’t exist for any of us. I could have taken one, any of us could, but it would put so much stress on the others. Even going to the bathroom was a risk! lol. But the days sped by. Before I knew it, it was 11pm and I hit the wall. I would be home and collapse into bed and get up at 7am the next day, drop the kids at school and head straight to work for 8:30. Ā I stripped thorns from roses, wrapped flowers, cleaned buckets, swept floors, took orders, blew up balloons, organized the cooler, and with any luck made some people happy. I truly love my job. Every day I come in to beautiful flowers fresh from the market. Max, Boss Lady’sĀ Pitt-bullĀ hangs out with us in the shop, and our customers are generally the nicest people going. (you always get a few nut jobs no matter where you are… but they make the job interesting!) I can’t wait to do it again next year!!!

So take a moment and think, before you complain about the cost of flowers on Valentines Day. I never knew before this year, how much work went into it. Months of planing, and one seriously intense week of work. Roses don’t just get pulled out of a box and plopped into some water. Every flower was inspected, stripped of the bottom thorns, then cut on the bottom and had packing petals taken off. And that is just the start of the flower’s journey.

I am so lucky to love what I do. I still get to bake, I also get to learn a new craft and have a new creative outlet. I am just so grateful for this opportunity. And now for your viewing pleasure… some of the beautiful things I get to work with on a daily basis!

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Gerbera Daisy
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I love the colors of the roses she brings in.
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Some of our Valentine Colored Roses

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We had 5,000 RED roses for Valentines Day

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Max Stops to smell the flowersIMG_2204

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Max is ready for the doors to open!

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Chicken Corn Chowdah!

I am a child of the ocean. I was born in PA (shhh donā€™t tell) and moved to Cape Cod before I could walk. I was raised in the bay and cranberry bogs. I lived there for 20+ years among fishermen and cranberry bogs. When I was 15 I went to work for WHOI/NOAA Aquarium in Woods Hole, MA. When I left the other intern and I started the ā€œFree the Lobstersā€ campaign and released all the lobsters in the touch tank back into the ocean. I am sure they got new ones, but at least the ones that had been tortured by little kids all summer had a chance at a new life in the harbor. When I was 22, I volunteered at the New England Aquarium in the Seal/Sea Lion Dept. It isnā€™t as glamorous as it seems. Most of my days were spent prepping mackerel for the animals. But it was totally worth it. But one thing I realized while working for WHOI/NOAA was that for me, eating fish was not an option. It just didnā€™t feel right. I could not eat fish and then come work with them the next day.

 

Then I met the love of my life. His family was amazing. His father used to be an Alaskan fisherman and was now a boat captain. They had looked past all of the mistakes I had made in my past and how I was trying to get back on my feet. The thing I dreaded most was telling them, I did not eat fish. But they accepted that too for the most part. Sometimes they still try. But I just eat around it. It isnā€™t an allergy, it is a life choice. As Bruce in Finding Nemo said ā€œFish are friends, not food.ā€ I donā€™t mind people eating fish in front of me. I donā€™t lecture them, I just chose not to eat it myself.

 

That being said, I did grow up on the Cape, and when I DID eat fish I loved Clam Chowder. The thick kind filled with clams and a white cream sauce was the best, if it had a little bacon in it, you hit the clam chowder jackpot. I do miss it. I have tried corn chowder in a few places, but it is never quite a good substitute. It is too thin or too watery, tasteless or just bland. Then I found this recipe for CORN CHOWDER. I fell in love. I have never made soup like this before. I wasnā€™t sure I could do it. But I did. No cans involved. And it was amazing. Even the kids asked for seconds. Not abnormal, except for the fact that I had forgotten to buy crackers!! They ate soup with no crackers! I will totally do this again. It is perfect for the weather coming up around here. A chill in the airā€¦ before we know it the snow will be here. I will have to keep everything on hand so when we are snowbound, I can make this tasty treat!

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