America, Asia, Culture, History, Travel

Good Question

I literally feel like I’m dusting the cobwebs off of this whole blog thing. I’ve had good intentions. I always have good intentions. It’s on my list of best qualities on my resume’. Right under “go getter” and right above “proficient with Microsoft Word”

What happened is: October. It was the busiest month our business has ever experienced. So, I sat down in my office chair, buckled in, and rode it out. 

The last time I wrote something was on October 17. A lot has happened since then. 

– The Cubs won the World Series. (I was in Chicago on the day that went down, and I’ve never seen more sports fans in my life) 

-Trump became our president-elect. (Equally crazy, I stayed up wayyyy too late watching that coverage) 

– I went to Shanghai (which I didn’t even post anything about, how’d that happen?) 

Here’s a quick pic from rush hour in Shanghai, I’ll write more about it later. Promise.

– And finally, we got some new [massive] screen printing equipment, which they sent a tech out to install. 

His name is Walt. We’ve met once before. He came in and said: do you remember me? 

Yes, I remember you, Walt. 

He’s nice and he likes my music. He’s almost done with the install and I’m currently hiding behind a stack of t-shirts, hoping he’ll quit chit chatting and leave so I can go eat dinner. That pretty much sums up how my day has been. 

Pieces of the machine we got

It seems like everyone thinks that owning a business is the ideal set up, the “American Dream”. You get to set your own hours! Mine were 7 am – 6:30 pm today, so that’s how that works, in case anyone was wondering. Not ideal. Everyone thinks you live a life on easy street, but somehow I got stuck around the corner at “this is hard and I don’t know exactly what I’m doing and it takes more time and energy and patience than I ever imagined” avenue. I’m still wandering around with my map, so I’ll let you know when I find this easy street everyone loves so much. 

I’m really not that cynical. It’s definitely got it’s own unique perks and challenges. Like conducting job interviews. Perk because you get to evaluate the people you’re going to work with. Challenge because I’ve never personally been through a job interview. 

That’s not to say that I haven’t had my share of jobs. I’ve done the standard babysitting, lawn mowing routines when I was in school. I worked at my uncle’s local drug store through high school. But, that didn’t really require a job interview. It was more that the phone was ringing while I was there and I started answering it and I knew how to do what the customer needed, so I just did it and started turning in my hours. 

I also did a typical Arkansas job for awhile: working on a chicken farm. If you ever want to know about a dirty job, go work on a chicken farm. But, farm jobs don’t usually require an interview either. 

As we were getting ready to interview a potential employee, Jake told me to prepare my questions that I wanted to ask. So, I spent some time thinking about it over a couple days, trying to figure out what I needed to know about this guy, what things would most effect the way he and I would cohesively work together. I compiled my list and Jake compiled his, so when he asked me if I knew what I wanted to ask, I was ready. 

I’ve heard interviews are stressful, but the interview day came and I wasn’t nervous at all. The poor guy we were interviewing was. I know that because he came in and told us that. We talked for a few minutes before we got down to the questioning. Then, Jake began. 

When you haven’t done something before and have no precedent for you should proceed, you just figure out your pace as you go along. So, he and I switched off on our questions. 

Jake: “what are the skills that qualify you for this job?”

-a pertinent question, pretty basic, one you’d expect

Brittney: “what is your favorite historical era?”

-also a very pertinent question. I can tell a lot about a person by their favorite historical era. If you like ancient Chinese dynasties, we probably aren’t going to get each other very well. His answer: Middle Eastern history. That’s a pass, I can be fine with that. Not the best answer he could’ve given me, but it’s okay. 

Jake : “what were your requirements at your last job?” 

-straightforward, to the point. 

Brittney: “what’s your favorite food?” 

-again, tells a lot about a person. You could pretty much give me any answer and it would probably pass. Unless it’s Pop Tarts or French fries or some other boring thing like that. He said he wasn’t picky and liked pretty much everything. He obviously doesn’t know my personal definition for a person who “isn’t picky”, but I can’t fault him for that. In my mind though, I know he’s probably more picky than I would prefer. I’ll give him a very slight pass on that one. 

Jacob: “how many hours a week do you expect to work?”

-boring, but necessary question, I guess

Brittney: “what’s your favorite genre of music?”

-he said “rock”, which was too generic for me. I listen to music most of the day and my music choices annoy most people, so that was not a pass. 

Jake: do you have references?

-basic

Brittney: what was your least favorite class in college? 

-an Ancient Greek class. Interesting, I’ll give him that. So, point from me.

Jake proceeded with a few more questions that I didn’t really care about. I had all the information I needed. 

So, there it is, ya’ll can consider those cobwebs dusted. I’ve got good intentions to post more often now, but because we know how good intentions go, we’ll just play it by ear. 

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America, Culture, Family, Fashion, Funny

Name Dropping 

Sometimes I wonder if other people notice what a spaz I am, or if it’s just me? I feel like it’s pretty noticeable. I trip over things, spill stuff on myself, get my words confused, ask unnecessary questions, and the list could go on. I always hope that it comes off as endearing. If not, atleast my intentions are pure. That counts right? 

There are a few areas where I shine though. I make friends easily, so that’s a positive. And, I’m usually good with remembering names. Also very useful. I’m afraid my skills might be lagging a little bit lately, though. 

I don’t usually run deliveries for Skyline. There are a few reasons for this:

1) I’m bad with directions. And when I run deliveries, I have to string together a bunch of different places into one cohesive drive so that I’m not back-tracking. It’s a difficult task for me, to say the least. Which is to say that I back track a lot. 

2) I’m the one who sits behind a desk all day and answers emails for all of the customers that we make the deliveries to. So, it’s hard to get away at the time that the deliveries need to be made.

But, occasionally, I’m the one who has to go out. Which happened this week, twice. 
I had to go one day to meet with a teacher that saw us at the Teacher Expo. He’s a spry, little old man, with wire rimmed spectacles. I hope you’re getting a good picture of him. His name is Leroy. He’s sweet and called me to talk for 10 minutes about his robotics team that he needed to order polos for. We had a good chat and I told him I’d bring by some samples. 

Fast forward to me walking into the school. I walk up to the desk in the office and they ask me to sign in. The secretary informs me that they would usually scan my driver’s license, but the machine is broken. (Which was good for me, seeing as how I had forgotten my driver’s license at home that day and was driving around all day without my ID. What was that about being a spaz?) So, sign in. Check. 
Then, she asks me: who are you here to see? 

At this point, I remember his name is Leroy, but I can’t think of what his last name is. So, instead of just saying that, I say the first last name that pops in my head. 

Brown.

Leroy Brown. 

As in the baddest one in the whole town. The one who is meaner than a junkyard dog. 

(If you’re not following me, check out Jim Croce’s album: Photographs and Memories. One of my favorite albums, lots of classics.) 

The secretary looks at me and I’m not even sure she understood my accidental reference. Instead, she says his correct last name questioningly, to which I say, yes! and take off towards his classroom. Like a spaz. 

Next up: an elementary school to deliver 5 cases of shirts. This is a whole new level of obstacles for me. We have a little cart that folds up nicely and fits in my car. But, getting it out and unfolded to haul the boxes in? Not very easy. 

I get it out, stare at it for a few minutes in the parking lot, trying to decipher how all of these parts work together, finally get it unfolded and load 4 of the boxes on, and barely make it in the door without all the boxes spilling off in the entryway.

I bring them into the office, the secretary instructs me on where to put them and goes to take care of something else.

As I’m unloading them in the designated area, the principal (who I’ve never met before) walks by. He greets me and thanks me for delivering them as he’s walking into his office, right by my boxes. So, I respond conversationally, still moving boxes around. He had just walked into his office, when I heard him say: and your name is who?

So, I respond by saying my name. 

I hear him say again: your name is who? 
(I realize this isn’t exactly proper grammar, but we’re in Arkansas and it actually is a “what’s your name?” phrase that can be used.) 

So, I respond again, saying my name more loudly this time. 

He, then, comes out of his office, laughing. And he says, Brittney, I’ve got a student in my office. His name is Who.
 
Guys, I’m officially giving up the name game. If you need me, I’ll be at my desk. 

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America, Culture, Family, Funny

May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor

When you think about starting a business, there are a lot of things you think about. Start-up costs, profit margins, taxes, etc. I’m just now realizing all the things that I didn’t ever think about. Like the fact that I’m going to be expected to conduct job interviews when I, myself, have never actually been through a job interview. And the fact that we have to be civic and sign up to do events, like Teacher Expos and Business Fairs. The Teacher Expo was the first of such events, which I wrote about here.  
If you’ll remember, I traded a t-shirt for a grilled chicken salad. So, it was a good day. We joined our local Chamber of Commerce and they recently hosted a Local Business Fair. I was reluctant about signing up to have a table there because it required giving up a Saturday. But, Jake insisted, so here’s me. 


Each event like this is pretty similar. People come around and ask you about what you do, chit chat, take a business card, etc. But, this one was a little different. This business fair required each table to have a drawing for a door prize. Attendance was a little lacking for most of the morning, so I decided that the odds would be in my favor if I entered every drawing there. So, I did. 

My thought was: I gave up my Saturday to be here, I’ve talked to all of the tables about their businesses, the odds that I’ll win are good, why not take advantage of the situation? 

Let it be known that Jake called me ridiculous for entering all the drawings. 

Well, it turns out that my instincts were good. At the end of the day, I had 4 different booths approach me to tell me I’d won. 

I came away with a lawn chair, a fall plant, and two $25 restaurant gift certificates.


Am I ridiculous? Yeah, ridiculously smart. 

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America, Culture, Family, Missions, Religion, Summer

WWJD? 

My grandma can now text. This is quite a novelty, seeing as how she was the type who swore she would never send a message when she could call. She finally came around and now she’s got an iPhone and an iPad, both of which she can competently send me messages from. Wanna know what I was doing on Wednesday night at 9:30 pm? Texting my grandma about a jello recipe and the merits of different paint brands. Welcome to the 21st century!

Unfortunately, someone updated her phone for her, wreaking havoc on her new texting skills. This resulted in a phone call that went something like “there’s all these little cartoon faces and I don’t know how to make them go away.” Those are called emojis, Grandma. 

One of the most recent texts I got from my grandma said: Brittney, I keep checking your blog and nothing! Please post more.

I have a bunch of posts written that I have lagged in posting. So, now, they’re not as timely as they once were, but still applicable. This was one I wrote after I got back from church camp at the very end of July. So, here you go, Grandma, enjoy! 

I’m unashamedly a 90s kid. I think everyone is at this point, seeing as how the 90s seem to be very “in”. But, I got the good part of the 90s. I was born in 1991, so most of my childhood was in that era. I knew every word to every Spice Girls song. I had a Skip It, a Tamagotchi, inflatable furniture, and a beaded curtain on my bedroom door (which was originally from the 70s, but made a brief comeback).

And, I had a WWJD bracelet. I’m not sure when these made their first debut, but if you were a Christian kid in America in the 90s, you had one. 

What Would Jesus Do? 

These bracelets were to serve as a reminder, when faced with day to day decisions, to ask yourself that question. 

Even though I don’t still wear my bracelet, I do still find myself asking that question quite a bit. It’s straightforward. And when I was young, I think it was a little bit easier to answer. 

Fighting with your brother? What would Jesus do? Um, well, I’m not sure Jesus would be fighting over who got to ride in the front seat of the car this time. But, I’m guessing if He were, He’d probably be nice and let His brother have it. 

Today, though, I asked myself that question. WWJD? Just what would Jesus do? Or better yet, what does Jesus want me to do? And you know what my answer was? Laundry. 

Laundry isn’t my favorite thing to do, but I also don’t hate it. The worst kind of laundry is the “I sweat in these clothes, then stuffed them in a bag and forgot about them” type, which is what I was faced with today.

There was a mix up on bags when we left camp and some of our bags got loaded with another church and to make a long story short, I was the one who was designated to sort it all out. Thus, the week old camp laundry that I’m now doing.


To be honest, I wasn’t even going to do the laundry. I was going to deliver it back to it’s owner in the condition I’d received it in and let someone else take care of it. But, a thought flashed through my mind. What would Jesus do? 

I know the owner of these clothes. I know the conditions she lives in, what her home life is like. And I know it may be difficult for her to access a washer and dryer. I also know that I have a washer and dryer at my disposal to use whenever I want to. I know that this is a fact I take for granted every single day of my life. I’ve never really stopped to think about what a blessing it is to have clean clothes. 

So, I’m doing laundry. 

Someone else’s laundry. Not because it’s what I want to do. But, because I know it’s what Jesus would do. 

I pray to be more like Him. I pray to be used by Him. But, I often look for the big things. “God, what do you want me to do? I want to serve You, I want to be a reflection of You.” These are the sentiments I often pray. And I envision God doing mighty works. 

What if all God is asking of me is to do laundry? What if He’s saying: “slow down, listen to me, look around, see how blessed you are, bless others in that same way”? 

We are all called to serve. But, we were never told what that service would look like. There were days that Jesus raised people from the dead. And there were other days that Jesus washed people’s feet. 

I don’t always know what my life’s calling is. All I know is that today, my calling was to wash clothes. 

“Whoever is faithful in little things will be faithful in much.” Luke 16:10

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America, Art, Canada, Culture, Family, Funny, Outdoors, Summer, Travel

For Hire

I’m not quite sure how we ended up in Toronto of all places, but we’re here. I assumed we’d fly through Chicago then north into Canada from there. That seems the most direct route. But, we were routed through Houston, then had a direct 4 hour flight from there.


Have you ever been bumped up from an economy flight to first class? Yeah, me either. 

But, apparently, if this happens to you, when they scan your economy ticket at the gate, the screen lights up and it makes a happy little sound and you know you’ve hit the jackpot. The reason I know this is because it happened to Jake, who was standing in line in front of me.

 I hoped my ticket would make that happy little sound too, but it made the regular scanning noise, sealing my fate for my cramped little seat at the back of the plane and a lukewarm coffee, if I was lucky. 

Jake politely reveled in his win of the day, while the Frenchman behind me tried to talk him into trading seats. But, two minutes later when we boarded the plane, the Frenchman and I decided economy wasn’t so bad after all. 

Jake happened to have won a seat right next to a screaming infant. The Frenchman and I bid him adieu and made our own jokes about how he had to sit by the be’be.  

As usual, I was seated on the last row of the plane. And as I took my seat, I could still hear the little guy next to Jake yelling. 

Some people might not expect this of me, but I’m not really great with kids. Kids are okay, I don’t dislike them. And they don’t dislike me. We generally get along. They smile at me and I smile back. We make small talk with each other. They hold my hand and look at my bracelets. But, I just don’t really know what to do with them. 

I’m fine with little babies, they pretty much just eat and sleep. If they’re crying, you have about three options for what they need. They’re pretty predictable.

But, from around 1 on to about 7, kids kinda baffle me. They can almost take care of themselves, but not really. They’ve got strong little personalities they’re developing. They don’t like coffee, they generally don’t like vegetables, they’re just not really that compatible with me. 

Jake, on the other hand, loves kids. He knows exactly what they want, he knows how to talk to them on their level, he can engage them, and they love it. If there is a kid in the room, they naturally gravitate towards him. 

I settled into the flight, talking to my new French friend, and putting on my headphones to watch a movie. As the flight attendant came to ask me what I wanted to drink, I took my headphones off and noticed that the be’be had finally quieted down. 

I resumed my movie, until something caught my attention. 


Jake. Walking up and down the aisle, carrying the now content, be’be, also known as Peter. 

Apparently, Peter’s mom couldn’t get him to calm down, so she handed him off to Jake. Peter’s dad and older sister were sitting in economy and as Jake walked by carrying Peter, the dad thanked him for helping out with the boy. 

Unbeknownst to me at the time, Peter had been throwing a fit in first class, in the seat between Jake and his mother. His mom had tried calming him to no avail, but Jake grabbed him up, set him on his lap, and he became content. “Peter likes you, Jacob” was the mother’s consent, and thus, Jacob and Peter were a pair. 

The family was Nigerian, and from what I could tell, the saying “It takes a village to raise a child.” is used in the most literal terms there. 

Upon getting off the plane, Jake told me that he had been commended by the flight crew for making that flight enjoyable for them and the other passengers around him. He also informed me that he had been invited to Nigeria, in case we ever wanted to visit. 

I don’t think we’ll be going anytime soon, but I am having him add Nigerian Nanny to his list of job experiences on his resume’. I’d hire him any day. 

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America, Animals, Culture, Family, Food, Health, Mexico, Summer

T-Shirt Trade

I traded a t-shirt for a grilled chicken salad. And, it was a great swap. We were at a teacher’s fair (which basically amounts to a bunch of crazed teachers trying to get free stuff as quickly as they can) and our shirts were the most popular item.

As we were setting up our table, (pre- crazy teachers) a girl from another table representing a local restaurant came over and asked to swap gift cards for a shirt. She held out 4 cards for free salads, which just happens to be my favorite meal, and I gladly gave her a shirt. I’ll trade veggies for t-shirts any day! 

We had our family reunion this past weekend and my grandma was telling a story about how even when I was little, I’d eat anything. For me, that pretty much sums up my family reunion experience. Inevitably, the conversation turns to what weird things I’ve eaten over the past year since everyone last saw me. I’ve told the dog and egg story quite a bit. If you didn’t catch those the first time around, check them out here and here.

After being at the family reunion, Monday and Tuesday were pretty hectic, just trying to catch up. One of the churches we work with called on Tuesday afternoon (after the teacher fair that morning) and said, oh, by the way, those 400 shirts we ordered: we need those in 3 hours. And we need them delivered to the church (which is one hour from our shop). No big deal. 

Jake’s hands after printing 400 custom dyed shirts


After delivering them, we were exhausted. And, I needed a reward for surviving the day. And the reward I chose? Tacos. 

Jake and I typically eat at the Mexican restaurants that you actually have to speak Spanish at to order. Not really your run of the mill places. We order things like huaraches, tlacoyos, and chilaquiles. This place was an in between place. Not commercialized, but not way off the map either. There were a couple things on the menu I didn’t recognize though. 

Listed under the taco fillings, it had mulitas. I took Spanish in high school and Jake took German, so occasionally, I will recognize Spanish words that he doesn’t. But when he asked me if I knew what it was, I didn’t recognize that one. So, he looked it up on his phone. 

And this is what showed up. 


Armadillo tacos, anyone? 

My first thought was: surely they aren’t really serving that here. My second thought was: should I order it? 

I realized the issue though. Mulita and mulitas are two different things. It turns out that mulita is the name for an armadillo in Uruguay and Argentina). Mulitas, however, are more like tortilla sandwiches. Almost like a quesadilla, but not quite. Either way, mulitas have nothing to do with armadillo. Unless you made them with armadillo meat. So, I guess you could have mulita mulitas in Argentina. 

I played it safe and just had chicken. 

And, I was pleased to find out the next day that the church we made a late delivery for gave us a sweet gift. Gourmet popcorn. 

Trading food for t-shirts? A yes every time. Just maybe not for armadillo tacos. 

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America, Family, Funny, Outdoors, Summer, Travel

Quarters and Dimes

I’ve heard it said that some people grow older, but never grow up. I think I might be eligible for that life category. 

I try, I really do. But then, there are moments that I think I’m just hopeless. Turning 25 wasn’t a monumental event for me. The most monumental part about it was that I actually got to decide how to spend it. Most years, I’m at church camp, so I don’t really have to make birthday plans. Last year, my birthday plans consisted of waking a bunch of little girls up at 6:30 am, serving breakfast to the 300 other campers, cutting up cantaloupe and dancing on the front porch of our cabin. See No Laughing Matter for the full story. 

My main question was: how is a 25 year old supposed to celebrate a birthday? Is there an age appropriate list of birthday celebrations? I decided to just do all my favorite things. Which consisted of going to a basement burger restaurant with my friends and ordering a salad, going for coffee and ice cream, then making a detour to go see a big lit up ball change colors. Good plans, right? 

We went hiking on a trail a couple weeks ago around the art museum and accidentally got lost. It was close to sunset when we went and because we got lost, we ended up being out after dark. I’m not really proving my case for adulthood here, but it turned out to be a happy accident because when we got back to the car, we had parked by this big sculpture. Which (unbeknownst to us) lights up and changes colors after dark. And, we noticed that they had bench-like loungers that you could recline on to watch the lights. 

I put it on my list of things to do and last minute, changed my birthday plans to include a trip there. We went and got ice cream and drove out there and surprisingly found that one of the loungers was available. We all settled in for the show, but as I was leaning back, I dropped my phone. Again, a pretty regular occurrence for me. Except for this seating arrangement is slatted. The likelihood of your phone falling at just the right angle to slide through one of the slats is minimal though. Unless you’re me. 

My phone disappeared into the abyss underneath us, but I wasn’t concerned. Because surely this whole bench thing could be moved around. Which is what I said. No reason to panic, but my friends insisted that we check. Nope. It’s bolted to the ground. Uh-oh. 

Still no reason to panic though, this can be solved. I announced to them that I’d go find a stick that we could use to push it to the edge. After trying about three different sticks of varying lengths and sizes, I finally found one that I thought would work. My original plan of working from the ground and trying to pull it towards me didn’t pan out. But, with some ingenuity, we decided to go through the top slats where it had fallen and inch it towards the edge from there. Should I mention that between the 4 of us present at this point, we have 5 college degrees? We’re well educated, capable women, as obviously indicated by our ingenuity. We’re also prone to getting lost and being klutzy. 

I should probably also mention that this is a Friday night and there are multiple couples arranged on the other loungers around us, trying to enjoy their dates. All while we’re noisily tromping around finding sticks and trying to Macgyver my phone out from underneath this bench. Romantic, right?  

Jordan held the light while I verbally guided Amy, who was wielding the stick, while Devon documented the whole ordeal. 

We finally, after a lot of excessive effort, retrieved the phone unharmed. Triumph! I hope this isn’t an indication of what my 25th year will be like. But if it is, it shouldn’t be too different from the 24 years that preceded it. 25, looks like we’re gonna have fun! 

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