Posts tagged Jobs

Crazy Jobs ~ Stable Hand

Growing up, as with most young girls I loved horses. I still do, but the passion was much stronger back in the day. At age of 16, I was able to land a job as a stable hand at a horse ranch near Rogue River, Oregon for the summer. I was in sheer heaven. The owners raised all sorts of horses. From jumping to show. Their daughter was in charge of the stables. Sassy, that’s what I always thought of her. Sometimes when the family went out of town, I got to stay in the daughter’s apartment. A barn converted into living quarters. Oh I felt so grown up.

My daily routine was to feed, water, walk, clean horse stalls, inspect and generally care for the horses. I grew to love them all. The most disgusting job was not cleaning the horse stalls, but feeding the horses flakes of alfalfa. The alfalfa was stored in the huge barn with the horses. Shrews would make nests in the bales. Being that I tended to be a bit forgetful about these bald little creepy creatures, I often, accidentally, stab them with the pitchfork. It was disgusting. Sometimes I would grab a flake with my hands and see from the corner of my eye, squirming movements. I always screamed and jumped sky high. They were horrid little things. We also had to watch for mice. Double disgusting. Never a barn cat around when you needed one.

I really wanted to mimic everything the daughter did. I wanted to be just like her. One thing that always impressed me was that she could drive the farm tractor like it was a compact car. She could turn it on a dime. Back it up into the smallest spaces. AND, most importantly, dump loads of fresh saw dust into the stalls. The stalls were of rather large size however the opening to get a tractors bucket in to the stalls between the large beams that were attached to the ceiling seemed impossible. There was about a foot space between the tractor bucket and the beams to the right and left of it. Simple!

One day while alone, seems like the daughter was always off having fun whilst I was slaving away and doing both my jobs AND hers, I decided it was time for me to use that tractor. Being that she was gallivanting around town this day, I was about 2 hours behind. My normal routine of using shovel and wheel burrow to refresh the stalls with saw dust was not working for me. I hoped onto the tractor. Started it up. OH BABY! What a powerful machine that was. I was overjoyed. I would get all my work done and be home in time for dinner.

I practiced for several minutes out side of the barn. Piece of cake. Although I had butterflies, I felt confident that using this tractor would make my life better. More time to spend with the horses and all. I was ready. I loaded the bucket with sawdust. Pulled the tractor ever so slowly into the barn. I lined up the bucket with the stall beams. Slowly, painfully slowly, I inched towards the stall opening. Everything was going swell. Over the roar of the tractor I heard a very high pitched screeching sound. Like metal on metal. Or metal on wood? Hmm, I thought, this did not sound good. I stopped the tractor and listened. Nothing. I started her up again moved the tractor a milla-inch at a time. Again that blasted noise. At this time I realized I did not seem to be making much progress. I should have cleared the beams by now. For some reason I looked up. OMG! I hadn’t lined up the bucket well at all. I saw instantly where the noise was coming from. The tractor bucket was just barley touching the beam on the right. So much so that the bucket was pushing the beam from its place. The sounds I heard were the gigantic nails being pulled from their connection to the beam of the ceiling. There was about a three inch gap where the stall beam had separated from the ceiling beam. You could see the nails metallic bent forms in the gap. Freak out time. I shoved that tractor in reverse and hauled it out of there.

I seriously did not know what to do. I knew there was no way in heck the stall or barn would fall over. This was only one beam out of hundreds. And the beam did not completely separate from the ceiling. I fretted about it for hours. I went about my business and finished the stalls in record time. The adrenaline kept me going full speed. I paused every now and again to look at the mess I had made. I pushed and tried to jiggle the beam to see how loose it was. It did not move at all. It was still very very secure. With that I decided to hang my head in shame and not tell a soul.

I worked there the rest of the summer until school started back up. No one noticed a thing. The owners of the ranch loved my hard work and even gave me a letter of recommendation. I never used it though. I still feel ashamed that I never fessed up.

I do drive by on occasion to make sure that barn is still standing after all these years and it is. Thank the horse Gods!

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Crazy Jobs ~ Patient Attendant

Over the years I have had some crazy jobs. Some I’ve liked and most I have not. I’m pretty easy going when it comes to work as long as I have been given a clear guideline of my duties and I receive a decent check. I am a hard worker and always respectful of my superiors. I have never been fired or reprimanded. I just do my job and try to keep my sense of humor in tact to help me through the rough times. Easier said than done. Through the years I have tried many different sorts of employment. I’ve been a horse stall cleaner, hostess, house keeper, sales woman in a children’s dress shop, pizza maker, sous chef, medical receptionist, pharmacy tech and more. One of the jobs I have hated the most was as a Patient Attendant.

As a Patient Attendant at the old Josephine Memorial Hospital in Grants Pass, Oregon, my job was to sit in a room with mentally ill or elderly patients to make sure they stayed in bed, ate or stayed calm. If anything got out of hand and a patient became abusive, out of control or was in danger of harming anyone or anything, I was to yell out at the top of my lungs “Dr. Armstrong, calling Dr. Armstrong”. Or if I had time use the intercom system to page Dr. Armstrong over head. This would cause a herd of hospital employees to come crashing through the door and make everything better. Also usually meant more meds to the patient.

One night I had to watch 2 mentally ill patients. One was quite and reserved, obviously on meds, the other wired and anxious. He was about 6ft and 250 pounds. This patient was in a bed next to the window of the second story of the hospital. He would climb out of bed and try and open the blinds to see out. My job was to keep him in bed and keep him as calm as possible.

As the morning flew by, I must have put this guy back in his bed at least 20 times. As the sun came around to our side of the building, the guy became more and more agitated. His attempts to open the blinds became aggressive. No one told me his condition or gave me an other rules to go by other then keeping him in bed. After much thought I decided to open the dang blinds. I figured at least it would calm him down a bit. WRONG! As I pulled up the blinds and turned to sit back down, he flew out of bed, tore off his gown, pressed his body to the window and screamed something inaudible about the sun.

I screamed DR. ARMSTRONG at the top of my lungs. Three large dudes came flying in and settled the guy down. We tucked him back into bed. Of course no one thought to close the blinds.

About 15 minutes later the guy starts getting agitated again. He flew out of bed, tore off his second gown and this time ran past me faster than lightning. I yelled Dr. Armstrong again and picked up the intercom to do the same hoping for more backup. As I hung up the phone I saw the guy out of the corner of my eye, stop in the middle of the hall. He turned around and faced me nakeder then a jay bird and started running for the window. Stupid me, I stepped in front of the window with my hands out to stop him. He crashed full force into me and we both flew into the window. My head smacked glass and I became instantly dizzy and petrified. The guy pushed me aside and started out the door into the hall way again for a second attempt. Fortunately, the half the hospital staff came flying down the hallway. This startled the poor guy. He panicked and ran smack onto another person who suffered more injuries than I. A broken arm. The hospital staff finally got him pinned down, medicated and back to bed. The staff looked me over, and as they were walking out the door I realized that the second guy I was watching, the quite reserved guy, snuck out of the room and took off while all this was going on. The hospital staff found him safe and sound.

I quit my job that night.

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