PART FIVE: Welcome to Hardee’s, Please Stop Walking On My Wet Floor
When I worked at Hardee’s, I always joked that when I sat down to write out my memoirs, I was going to name the chapter about the happy star, “Welcome to Hardee’s, Please Stop Walking On My Wet Floor” after re-mopping the lobby queue so many times every night. Well, here I am guys, making good on my promise!
After moving to Waupaca, I interviewed at a few different places before landing my Hardee’s interview. I remember the day I got the call from the general manager at Hardee’s. I had gotten up early that morning, made coffee while Justin’s mom was at work. I was sitting in the living room, folding laundry when my phone rang.
I scheduled my interview for a few hours later and went upstairs to wake Justin up.
He grumbled me a good luck wish, gave me a kiss, and then rolled over and went back to sleep while I panicked inside over what to wear.
Funny story: 2013 was the year I got into plus-size fashion blogging so my closet was pretty extensive… and did I mention it was all packed in boxes?
Now picture me digging through a stack of cardboard and throwing clothes everywhere while trying to be quiet and not wake Justin up.
Spoiler alert: I was not as successful as I had hoped, but I eventually found an outfit!
I quietly went back downstairs to let Justin sleep, sat in the living room to do my makeup and braid my hair, and left for my interview with nervous butterflies in my stomach.
My interview ultimately went well. The manager said, “You know, I was reluctant to interview you because you’re Justin’s girlfriend, but your resume is too good not to hire you.”
And that’s how I signed up to sell the parts of my soul that didn’t go to SCAD to fast food for five years.
(I’m kidding… kinda.)
I spent most of the first two years that I worked in fast food getting sucked into some old patterns that also brought me problems at the studio I had quit before moving to Waupaca. I was also making stupid decisions in my personal life that almost broke me and Justin up good. Trying to heal from an abusive relationship and leave that person in your past where they belong is a hard thing to do when they keep popping back into your life when it’s convenient for them.
The good thing, though? I got my photography mojo back.
I started a new 365 challenge and that was fueling my creativity again. I didn’t end up completing the challenge ultimately, but it was enough to realize that even though I had taken a step back from the business side of photography, I didn’t have to let that stop me from enjoying photography on a personal level. I can count on one hand the number of sessions I had in the first couple of years after I moved.
There was one point when Justin accidentally stepped on my laptop, and his was also broken so I started exclusively taking pictures on my phone. I dove into blogging on my personal blog while I took a step back from my photography business. I started to notice all the beauty in my everyday life – how the light moved across the walls in our new apartment, a quiet morning when Justin and I were still surrounded by cardboard boxes and sleeping on the floor under big cozy comforters, the daily gurgle of my coffee maker and the sense of peace that comes with starting a new morning routine from scratch.
I started to notice things more after I took a step back from my business.
I would get up in the morning, make coffee and eat breakfast while I waited for the coffeemaker to do its magic. I would always drink my coffee and catch up on my favorite blogs that had updated the day before. Like I said, I dove into blogging more regularly on my personal blog and I started to notice the patterns of when my favorite bloggers were posting, what they were posting about, and the kinds of content that I loved reading the most.
I’m a 5 on the enneagram. The researcher. The observer. I tend to thrive most after I’ve done extensive amounts of research and agonized over making one single decision for six weeks to make sure I have all the information. (Side note: I’m the best at finding good deals! But ask Justin what it’s like to shop with me and he may tell you a different story, haha.) When I decided to start blogging on a more regular basis, I was flooded with ideas.
It felt like my days were split into two: having a slow morning, waking up with my coffee, reading blogs and creating content by day… and then my nights were filled with the unmistakable beeping of the drive-thru headset and saying, “Would you like regular fries or curly?”
I learned how to create some semblance of balance between the two, and I was always using my pockets of downtime during work to jot down notes in my phone or take a picture of the sunset out the drive-thru window. Still creating blog content even in the middle of a Friday night dinner rush.
My trademark phrases to my co-workers almost every night were:
“YOU GUYS. Look at the sky right now! IT’S SO PRETTY!”
And, my personal favorite… “Thirty-second dance party: GO!”
I owe a decent amount of my (very bad) dancing to Grey’s Anatomy and Mer and Cristina for giving us the gift of thirty-second dance parties in season 9. The thirty-second dance party became our celebration after surviving a hectic dinner rush once I became a shift leader in 2015. They promoted me to closing manager and let me run the store at night. Thirty-second dance parties became my morale boost, my way to bond with my crew every night.
I spent the entire summer of 2015 closing every night with Justin as my kitchen closer. We repaired our relationship from all the damage I had wrought and we spent every night that summer walking across the parking lot to our apartment after work, plopping down on the couch and watched Yu Yu Hakusho in its entirety.
Fun fact: I was that weird quiet girl who liked anime in middle school.
It feels like a lot of adulthood so far has really been coming back to my middle school interests… only this time with a lot less internalized shame for liking the things that make me happy.
The summer of 2015 was also the year that I dove into another former love of mine… scrapbooking.
I have always loved playing with paper and whatever medium I can find to slap on it and call it art. I broke out my art supplies, some leftover from my SCAD days, and scoured Dollar Tree and Dollar General for the rest. I played with paint and paper and scissors and glue. I documented my summer using skills I don’t think I had use at least since my very brief stint in college. My summer mini book fulfilled that creative drive inside of me… And I got some pretty great blog content along the way.
In mid-August, I got a call from my mom that my grandma was in the hospital with suspected pneumonia.
We all knew that that was the beginning of the end.