Ms. Turtle Dream was born with a sense of adventure and high energy. She combines that with a good work ethic, initiative and a sincere wish to have lots of money.
In the ninth grade she started down the wrong path by working in sales. Yup- she had a green thumb. This was really, really, really bad and I’m not kidding. Did she get caught? No. When I took her and a friend for a "girl’s weekend" at a resort we were lounging around the hot tub, relaxing and gettin’ all confidential, and the girls were talking about their friends who were getting high on pot. I was dismayed and curious. "So, do you get high?" They both broke into gales of laughter and shrieked "NO!" I asked what was so funny and after a great deal of hemming and hawing it was revealed that TD had been running a lucrative little Tuesday afternoon operation out of the local bowling alley. With the following provisos: She never used the stuff herself. She only sold to kids in AP Bio and Geometry. She and her partner in crime stored their supplies under the mattress of a friend’s older brother who already had been outed as a dealer. She closed up shop the week before finals and that was the end of that.
I’m not sure if she thought I would, in the spirit of the moment, find this all amusing but I didn’t. I ranted, huffed, puffed, raged and stormed, ending with "WHY? WHY would you do something that is illegal (although just barely here in Ann Arbor), stupid, wrong and could jeopardize your future. WHY?"
TD answered that it had been her goal to have a thousand dollars in the bank before she turned 15 and that she did and so she was done with that. She even asked me, tearfully and plaintively, "Aren’t you proud of me that I told you and that I’ve already outgrown my drug phase?" I informed her that no child of mine was going to profit from criminal behavior and she could pick her charity and cough it up. The local humane society got a healthy donation three days later.
For the rest of that summer she continued in greens at the corner neighborhood grocery store; within a month she was assistant manager of the produce department. During the school year she worked at babysitting and was in high demand because of her energy, good nature and athletic skills. I think several neighborhood mothers must have decided the decimation of their homes was fair trade for happy children because tidying up has never been TD’s strong suit.
For a couple summers she went to work as a volunteer at places like the Mote Marine Lab but between junior and senior years the itch for dough returned and she looked for a lucrative job. Around this time she was driving an older bright red Honda that looked as though it had been in the Powder Puff Derby at the County Fair. It was bad enough that we couldn’t believe she didn’t get pulled every time she left the street. The bumper was tied on with rope and the hood was accordion pleated to the windshield. The door was bashed in and the window would only roll up half way, crookedly.
These incidents "just happened"- we never saw tickets, accident reports, insurance claims. TD would nonchalantly say, "That? Oh, I accidentally bumped into a tree…" This child, far more than the first, has driven me to Clairol and Jose Cuervo.
Anyway, she drove off in this vehicle and came back an hour later wearing a cute white polo shirt that read "VALET" on the back and "Kirby’s Kar Service" on the front. TD had secured herself a position valet parking at special events at the University. Mostly this involved wealthy, elderly couples handing her the keys to their Cadillacs and Mercedes in front of Hill Auditorium. She would race them up eight stories of the nearest parking structure. Like Dominoes Pizza, valet parkers are rewarded for speed. I pointed out to her that she didn’t even know how to stick shift and she said, "I guess I’ll learn." Apparently she did, the second night on the job, parking someones BMW Roadster.
She still does parking stuff and recently she did a stint at Steak n’ Shake where she quickly demonstrated enough skill to be recruited into the wait staff trainer program. This cut down on the time she had to make tips and when one of the trainees handed out Braille menus to an entire table of deaf people she quit.
While I was at the cottage this weekend TD got herself another job for which she has absolutely no training, skill or experience. I’m having heart palpitations because it requires a lot of high ladder work. Can you guess how she’s earning a living until she leaves for college in August?