This weekend I finished up my 4 day work week with three days of actual WORK. Can you believe it? I actually had broke a sweat a few times while earning my paycheck :-)
Here's what happened. You may recall from previous blog entries that we've had some weather here the past two weekends. Two weeks ago we had snow. Last week we had ice. Why is that important? Because people tend to stay home when there's snow and ice out like the kind we had. This is Memphis, afterall, not Buffalo.
The result of all this weather was a slight downturn in the number of dogs brought in to be washed and a HUGE upturn in the number of dirty dogs in the area. No one wants to go out, the dog doesn't smell THAT bad, they put it off a week or two. But once it all melts and turns into slush and mud, that leads to a very dirty dog. First sign of good weather on the weekend and that dog goes in for a bath.
Wednesday was an average day. Middle of the week, people are working, they don't want to have to drop the dog off on the way to work. It's slow. Working 8 hours I made about 11 dollars in commissions. Probably washed two dogs, tops. Thursday there was a bit of an increase. Over 8 hours I made just shy of 95 dollars! Now you're talking more like 7 dogs in for JUST a bath plus several others in for a cut that had to be bathed first. Friday, it dips a little. Only 74 dollars. But on Saturday, over 100 dollars in commissions. In fact, we moved over 25 dogs through the salon, of which 7 were mine. The other bather did 7 more so over half were just in for a bath. Of the rest, we had to bathe most of them so the groomers could get them cut in time.
Now, keep in mind a few things. First, when I say "working 8 hours" that really means just the first 4 or 5 for dog washing. I work 1-9 and those last three hours are pretty much devoted to cleaning the place up. Most of the washing work comes in those first two hours, with a little bit left over, dragged out over the second two hours. Thursday was the only night I had dogs in after 7 pm so I did the bulk of my dog washing within the first 3 hours of every shift.
Put that way, you can understand why it might take a little bit out of you :-)
Day 1 of my 3-day weekend was nice and relaxing. CC and I went to the mall. We bought shower gels and picked up credit card applications for the Manila students to examine while in training for their new account (sort of a visual aid for them). We had Chinese from our favorite stall in the food court and we had a great time just browsing stores.
Day 3 of my 3-day weekend will be a mix of housework and general goofing off. I'll get some things done, sure but I intend to spend a decent chunk doing nothing much of note.
Day 2 was just grand achievement in wasted time. Why? Because we had to go down to the Department of Transportation for a drivers' license.
CC now has a green card. She's a legal, resident alien. Before that, she wasn't able to obtain a valid Tennessee license. Instead, what she had was a "driving certificate" that while it was proof that she'd satisfied all the requirements necessary for a license, she wasn't issued one because she wasn't a resident. With me so far?
Since that certificate wasn't a valid form of ID, there are things she wasn't able to do. She couldn't open her own bank account. She couldn't get a credit card. Mostly it's not important but it has been a little frustrating from time to time.
Now she's got the green card so today we spent the day catching up on making all her other "cards" legal. First stop was the Social Security office. She had a Social Security number but it was only good as proof that she could work here legally. In other words, it was a tax ID and nothing more. They had to be given the proper forms and such to make her number more than just the tax ID. That didn't take very long.
We then went over to the DMV where things got a bit messier. We first tried the one closer to the Social Security office. I saw the line outside and just kept on driving. I know how big, actually SMALL that place is inside and given the line OUTSIDE, I knew we'd end up being there all day. Instead, we tried the OTHER location, which is closer to the apartment. We didn't really do much better there. The line wasn't quite as long I don't think, but the wait was probably worse.
The first obstacle we ran into was that they don't take credit cards or debit cards. Why? Hell if I know. Makes no sense at all. If I want to renew my license, I can do that online and pay by credit/debit card. If I need a duplicate license, same thing. Pay by credit/debit card. If I go to the actual DMV and use one of their "automated" computer stations I can pay by credit/debit card. But if you fill out your forms by hand and take them up to the window, you'd better have cash. So while CC waited in line, I made a quick dash to an ATM up the road to make sure we had enough green to cover everything.
The remaining obstacles were pretty much the workers at the place. Four windows open. You can move a lot of people through an office with 4 windows open. Thing of your bank. How many people can they process with just 4 tellers open? a LOT. Take that same situation, move it to the DMV and it slows to a CRAWL. We spent at LEAST 3 hours there, most of which was just waiting for an available window to open up. Add to that the crowded waiting area, no TV, no magazines, no newspapers, you can see why it's a very unhappy place to be.
What I find rather amazing is that in a city this size, there are only 2 offices. That's it. Two. And worse, the waiting has been like this for a LONG time now. This isn't some new problem that's just crept up recently. It's been really bad for a good 4 or 5 years and seems to be getting even worse.
Bottom line, lots of wasted time. On the plus side though, CC is now pretty much legal across the board. All of her numbers should work now and we can move on.
And let us not forget that while I did lose most of my day off, I still have another one tomorrow so I don't really mind :-)
Washing dogs is like combat. You're waging a war against dirt and quite often the dog you're washing is NOT on your side. So, to better prepare one's self for the trials of dog washing, there are a great number of things that must be learned and understood. Because of this, I am no longer going to refer to my methods as the John Woo school of dog washing. What he does in movies is trivial compared to the grand, earthly mechanizations involved in obtaining a clean dog.
I am now a member of the Miyamoto Musashi School of Martial Dog Washing. Musashi was a duelist in 17th century Japan. When he died, he was undefeated. A bit of an eccentric, he spent all of his time studying was to become better at using a sword. He looked for strategies in everything: nature, farming, flower arranging. Everything was focused on being a better swordsman.
The School of Martial Dog Washing is no different. In order to better clean your dog you MUST understand and accept certain truths about dogs, washing, the washing of dogs and the nature of the universe. The school has obtained a great amount of knowledge over the centuries and I will share some of their pearls of wisdom from time to time . . .
--Dogs are creatures of earth. As such, they will attempt to commune with earth as often as possible. They will dig holes. They will roll their bodies over grasses and in patches of dirt. It is in their nature to do this. Know this, for it is the reason there will always be a need for dog washers while dogs walk the earth.Just a sample of the depth of this study :-)