2012.09.12 Plumbing the depths of Chicago for a bed

Written by David Green.

By COLLEEN LEDDY

Maddie was here and gone in a flash it seemed, but she made great use of her time...at least as far as the Observer is concerned. ...or maybe I made great use of her time.

All of our poor kids have suffered through Observer work one way or another while growing up, mostly proofreading pages, but Maddie has probably been roped into doing the most. She’s often entered check register information into our accounting program, Quicken, and this visit I had an entire eight months waiting for her.

She often asks questions as she’s working in Quicken, trying to decipher my handwriting or figure out which category an expense belongs in. This session, I believe she made her first observation. 

“I should be a plumber,” she said.

She had just entered the check amount for Rupp’s Plumbing and was impressed with the amount Ed earned.

I’ve often wished one of my children would become a plumber—we have the slowest toilets known to humankind and our showerhead has a mind of its own. It would be mighty handy to have a plumber in the family.

Maddie hasn’t shown any inclination to go down that path, though. She hasn’t shown any inclination to go down the path she’s currently on either, but sometimes life—like our showerhead—has a mind of its own.

More likely, lack of a hard, firm plan plays a greater role. When you don’t particularly care how you’ll earn money, when you’re not too picky, when you don’t have a well-defined career path...it’s easier to fall into a job. And when you have a pretty good network of friends, it’s easier yet. 

Maddie worked for her friend Sam’s aunt before she left for near west (Wyoming), way west (California), and way, way, western (New Zealand and Australia) travels. When she returned in late August, his aunt was ready to hire her back and even provide lodging at her home.

But then Maddie’s friend Natasha offered her a living-wage job in Chicago—where she is now, about to move into an apartment with two girls who live above a bar. She found them on Craig’s List. One actually works in Maddie’s office building—for Groupon—and the other is a Swedish chef. Too bad Maddie doesn’t like meatballs.

Or writing. She hates writing just about as much as I do—probably more. And her job title? Copywriter. She’s working for a company like Groupon and has to write convincing copy to make people want to buy the special offer she’s writing about. 

We all, even Maddie, find this hilarious. She’s a really good writer, but if her high school writing career is any indication, she’s going to have some agonizing days ahead of her. 

Back then, she used to write one sentence, one beautiful well-formed sentence and then six hours later, add another beautiful well-formed sentence. Of course I exaggerate. But blood and turnips always came to mind whenever I saw her at the computer working on an assignment from Mrs. Walker.

I think part of her job involves actual research in which, as David says, “she gets paid to party.” She will go to bars and clubs and other such places and then write about them. I think that’s what her job is. 

I’ve been concentrating more on her pursuits to buy a bed. She’s short on cash, but rather than using the twin bed of her childhood, she thinks she should get a full size one. And, so, she’s grossing me out by searching on Craig’s List.

I talk bedbugs and she talks free delivery—she lives within the area the bed owner is offering to deliver to. I tell her the disadvantage of him bringing it to her is that she doesn’t see the house it’s coming from.

Then she tells me she just asked if she can come test it out first. Oh, Lord, where will this end, I think.

  “I found him on facebook,” she writes. Looks like a nice kid. Went to DePaul. Might be a personal trainer. I think trainers shower a lot so that’s good.”

Need an apprentice, Ed?

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