Tag Archive | career

Filling a Gap

This venn diagram is super!

I think I fall into the ‘Lacks Passion‘ part of the equation. 2 for 3… Not bad!  Trying to ebb into the 3 for 3 ‘Sweet Spot’!

I’ve got a few directions to go now and I’m pretty manic about them. No worries, tho. I embrace some of my crazy. Better manic that depressed 😉 I will certainly share these directions after I completely commit.

I hope to get on-board with some career coaching, even. Does anyone have a reference or does this sort of thing? Please contact me with your rates. I see no reason that this can’t all be done on-line these days. So, it doesn’t matter where you are.

To that end, my posts and visits to your blogs will become a bit more sporadic, due to the focus I must place on my journey. I will certainly share posts about Horticulture Therapy, as I have always been a writer and can’t completely disappear 😉 I also learn so much when I write posts, not only from the research while writing, but from the comments section also! Writing about HT will just strengthen my knowledge.

Chase your dreams!!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

My Mom’s Favorite Thing…

imageI’ve been doing a lot of de-cluttering. I have had some stuff since I don’t know when. Time to cut some ties. If I ever intend on becoming a full-time RV-er, the load must be lightened.

I did come across some things I totally forgot I had. Yup. The problems of a hoarder 😉

I did find one of my Mothers favorite things.

This it a ‘Round Tuit’. These are worth their weight in gold, and then some. These can move mountains, end wars or make a child clean their room…

Just in case it was only your first cup of coffee this morning, ‘Round Tuit’ is a play on words, re-interpreting the idiom to get around to it as get a round tuit. First used at the 1964 World’s Fair which was held in Queens (Flushing).

I bet you’ll put it on your Christmas list now, huh?!?

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

A Day in the Life of Me… Annual Day!

There are very few days I love to come to work. However, any of the four, seasonal flower days are worth showing up for and annual flower day tops the list. Even though I generally have to unload these trucks, the aroma and sight of these beauties makes it all worth it.
My summer annual container post will be hot off the ISP’s very soon. However, if you can’t wait, here are some past Summer Annual Container posts from 20132014 and 2015.

For now, let’s just relax and enjoy the purdy fluers!


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Begonias, impatiens and coleus… Oh my!

Three women unloaded four trucks. We all skipped our exercise class for the week.

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

A Letter to the Person I Fired Yesterday.


Dear Ex-coworker,

Three weeks ago, our boss hired you to be a maintenance account representative. I’ve heard stories about the past people he chose to hire without consulting the other higher ups… One came in on her first day with purple hair. He rubbed his eyes and swore it wasn’t that color when he hired her. The next one thought it was OK to run 3 other businesses from her cell phone while on the clock here. After those fails, he asked his sister-in-law, the other maintenance account representative, to interview the next two employees who turned out fine. Those two employees were my predecessor and me.
I know you’re thinking that he was the only one at your interview… And that you told me you like to dye your hair purple sometimes.
I also remember the look on your face when I told you we planted invasive species like pears, burning bush and gooseneck loosetrife… And the lack of interest while I explained one of the many Excel spreadsheets that are used at the company.
I read your resume after the boss told me he had hired you and you were coming aboard in two weeks. Although you did have a degree, it was in botany. Botanist’s and horticulturist butt heads IMO, but that’s off the subject. You really had no landscaping or customer service experience. Your last job was working in the hothouses in an annual nursery. Ironically, that really didn’t set off any alarms, as just because you don’t have experience in something, doesn’t mean that you don’t have the potential to be trained to do it.
The first few days, you were super excited to work for us. Your starting date corresponded with the beginning of our spring color program, which meant going out and planting containers with annuals. Who wouldn’t enjoy that? It would be an awesome job description to have! However, that was only a small portion of your job description. You were only going to be aiding in the color program, not running it like you dreamed-up. Sadly for you, as the incoming employee, you were going to be getting the brunt of the paperwork. No one likes paperwork, however everyone from a McDonald’s manager to Donald Trump has to do paperwork.
After the annuals were completed, you began to spend the next few days in the office with me. I began training you on how work orders flow, horticultural schedules are set and where to find things. Although you took notes, you were constantly checking your personal phone. Then, while explaining the maintenance billing spreadsheet that you were completely not picking up, you huffed and asked why the owner’s wife, who only does the accounting, can’t do this for herself. I explained that she is an accountant, not an account representative that knows what services were performed on the client’s properties. This is part of your job, not hers.
While training you, you didn’t seem to understand that I have a job to do also. I work in construction. Yes, much of the paperwork I was doing was maintenance related. However, by hiring you, it freed me up to quote and process more construction jobs, which are more lucrative than maintenance. I did show you many things that weren’t going to be part of your job because I needed to complete them such as permitting, estimating, designing and how we construct common landscape elements. If you were the ‘go-getter’ my boss had hoped you were, you would have absorbed this free insight and educated yourself in case I ever left, thus opening a promotion to you.
Bits of the information I was sharing did pertain to your job. You were going to need to learn how to read a blueprint, understand how scales work and planting offsets. When I asked you if you had any experience with this, you replied yes. It wasn’t a test to see what you knew, I simply wanted to know if I needed to explain it or not. After two phone checks, a coffee run and to start munching on a banana, you sat back down and asked me if there were more than one scale. Um, yes. You wouldn’t have asked me this if you knew what you said you knew.
At this point, I admit I was frustrated and needed to complete my quote, so I sent you out to water the flowers, which you were more than happy to do. Perfect.
When you came back into the office with your phone blaring music, you continued up to your office and stayed up there for ten minutes with a music volume that could clearly be heard in my downstairs office. As you have no other duties aside from what I was giving you to do, I wondered just what you were doing up there. Your answer of looking into health insurance plans online was not the right answer on company time. I asked that you sum it up and that I don’t mind you having music on, but it can’t be heard downstairs. You said a huffy “fine” and turned it completely off. As I descended the stairs, I heard your office door slam. The accountant-boss’s-wife asked me if that just happened and I said yes.
The next few days were unbearable for all of us. From your attitude, we knew you weren’t happy with the amount of paperwork / days in the office you were required to do. It was not hidden during the interview that this was not a drive-around-in-a-truck 40 hour job. Even on the days that you were out with the other account rep, you showed no motivation to learn any of the things you’d need to know to do your job. We also started to learn that you had no customer service skills whatsoever and you seemed to be missing many basic social manners as well. Such as:

  • How to answer a phone. “Good morning/afternoon, Company Name. Yes, she is here, can I ask who’s calling?” Hold button. You just answered “Hello, just a minute” and didn’t put the client on hold, but put the handset on the desk.
  • Music volume. Be courteous. Client’s or coworkers shouldn’t be hearing it in the background.
  • After showing you a cabinet you can put your food in, you thought it was OK to just take a banana from my cabinet without asking. Your welcome for the yogurt, also.
  • Patchouli perfume has connotations. You also used too much, which only amplified our thoughts as to why you wore it. The oil lingers everywhere you’ve been or touched. Bleeeech!!
  • Sleeping in the truck on the drive back to the shop is unacceptable.
  • No, tank tops and shorts are not acceptable, even if it’s hot out.
  • When asked to go to the counter of a nursery for a pick-up, you asked, “What am I supposed to say? I’m here for roses?”. No try, “Hello, I’m Your Name, from Company Name, here to pick-up our order.” Then after being asked to stay and wait for the order, while your coworker uses the Ladies.. She returns to the meeting spot and you are nowhere to be found. She waits for the order, pays for it and loads it into the truck, all the while wondering where you were. After ten minutes of looking for you, she finds you wandering the isles. You stated you got bored waiting and wanted to wander awhile.
  • Your interest in the crews was not what we felt was acceptable in a managerial position. You asked us too many personal questions, like who was single and also spent too much time chatting with them at jobsites about their personal lives.
  • Yes, there is a broom in the closet for when you track mud all over the office. It amazed me the 6 boot cleaners at the door didn’t tip you off.
  • Even tho we warned you many of our clients have security cameras, you still thought selfie’s were acceptable. We feared you were posting these to Facebook with our company logo on your shirt.

Although you would have thought this was enough for us to part ways, the clincher was when you told me, within listening distance of accountant-boss’s-wife, that you didn’t need to learn how to file, because it wasn’t part of your job, walked away to your office and shut the door.

That afternoon, without the boss, the three of us employees decided that dealing with your ‘tude wasn’t worth the lessening of our workload or stress. You were creating more stress and worse, we thought you would bring shame to our company.

I will remember the morning the accountant-boss’s-wife and I fired you for a long time. We had discussed what we would say. We didn’t want to hurt you, however we had to be prepared with answers when you asked us why we had to let you go. We told you that you didn’t seem happy to be working in the office. You seemed to remember being told you were going to be in a truck all day, working with client’s, crews and flowers. Clearly a delusion. You then said answering the phones, filing and paperwork are not for you, as you have a college degree. That I should be doing it as I wasn’t educated. You seemed pretty surprised when I told you I had a degree also, let alone 3 certificates, an arborist license and countless other endorsements. Since you’re not working for us anymore, I can now tell you I also make twice as much as your educated ass.

It took you almost a half an hour to pack-up all the stuff you managed to move into your office in the three weeks you were here. I had the pleasure (not) of standing in your office to be sure you didn’t pack any proprietary information or delete files on the computer. You mumbled the whole time, I tried not to listen and read work emails on my phone. I also tried not to laugh when you said that we didn’t know how to run a business, that we’d miss you and that I didn’t know how to train people.

I wish you the best. I hope that you can learn from this experience, although I’m shocked that in your 35 years on this planet, you seemed to have picked up little in the common sense/courtesy department.


Your gratefully ex-coworker.


red head quote

How I felt the day before I fired you.

A Day in the Life of Me

Before Spring Sprungs, I have to visit nurseries to look at the quality of stock I’ll be ordering. I used to do this in fall, however I don’t know how bad the winter is going to be and I don’t want to chance stock not surviving. Many nurseries don’t want to drive in their fields when it’s this wet. I know it seems silly, but there is so many things bad with driving in a farm-like setting like this. Soil structure is lost, compaction, pests and disease is spread, flooding, possible irrigation accidents, causes future driving issues… the list is endless.

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Of course, this kind of stuff doesn’t mean a thing to pushy clients or money hungry bosses. They wonder why I wasn’t out there last month tagging. Hmmm, lets see. A sleeping tree looks the same as a dead tree in winter. Unless you want me testing it by scratching the bark and bending and snapping twigs, maybe you just want to wait until Mid-to-Late April and see if they bud??? Just a thought from a professional horticulturist. Remember, I’m here for the betterment of the plant, not for you, evil human.
imageOne nursery didn’t care about all the above mentioned disasters and welcomed me for my own, personal mud derby! I hung tightly to the door that I felt was surely going to fall off the hinges at any moment. The ride was actually quite fun as Juan knew his routes and could keep the speed above 25 MPH. He actually had to gun it a few times to make it through the flooded ruts. Wheee! Mud everywhere!! Because the mud was sucking my calf-high boots off my feet with each step, I really slacked getting the photos I really needed to show my boss. I did have to get out for the spruce though. They are my bosses favorite.

Look! I can see my feet! This spot that wasn’t that bad!




© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Back to Work, You Home Wrecker!


I’ve been on holiday since December 20th. It will be a rude awakening tomorrow for the webowner’s that have decided to anchor to my antenna… Let alone a rude awakening for myself as I trudge back into the torture of a 40 hour work week.

In reality, I pushed averages of 52 hours a week last season. My boss wants to be busier than last year. Not happy. May need to make some changes soon.

Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life…

I believe this. I’ve thrown myself into projects before and even after I’ve sweat, toiled and ripped hair out, I still don’t feel like I do when I get home from work now. I really hate catering to the rich. What a wasteful, greedy bunch. They all think money is the answer, just throw money at the problem, it will go away. Sadly, most of the time it does!! However, sometimes it doesn’t and watching a grown person have a tantrum is hilarious… I can hardly keep my wits about me.

Last June, I put my arborist license on the line for a client that wanted a circular driveway installed that was a bit too close to two, large parkway trees. Village said no, client hired lawyers, our company (professional consultant for the trees (me) & builder) and I said the trees will be well cared for and unaffected by our careful installers (cough-bullshit-cough)…. He won (after a costly court battle) and built his drive. Two months after construction, they sold the house and moved down the street.  =-O

I don’t generally make New Year’s resolutions. I’ve got a better reason than most for waiting, My birthday is Wednesday. Why deny myself anything a week before my day? The days leading up to my day are usually filled with reflection, sometimes regret, sometimes joy. I did have a wonderful year in general, however, I am in need of some changes for 2015.

Last April, I shared a bit more about myself. I have some quick updates.

  • I have completed many small goals that have helped me motivate myself to attempt larger goals.
  1. Cleaning out the annex room of our garage so my husband can turn it into a studio.
  2. Painting/redecorating our bedroom (8 years of threats there!) + revamped his closet so his main storage of clothes isn’t the laundry room!
  3. Lots of stuff either donated, reorganized, scrapped or trashed. I want to down-size, huge. At least 3 cubic yards of crap… gone! Whew!!
  4. Stayed well within our budget  =-) No CC debt and truck payoff is ahead of schedule.
  5. Have kept my blog alive for two years now! Yeah & thank you!! Stay tuned…
  6. I’ve chosen a route I’d like to take with my life (for now) and know I should be chasing it!
  • Have chose to use a Life Coach to kick my ass motivate me to get my grant writing / non-profit attempts started.
  • Have decided the drugs prescribed to me for my brain ailments is not what I need. A swift kick in the ass is what I need (See above). Another reason in brief; I missed a pill by 12 hours while traveling. The DT’s (Delirium tremens) were already setting in with thoughts of paranoia, not a normal issue for me & freaked me out! I will be weening next week. I feel like an addict. I’m way too much of a control freak to let something have that much power over me. (* this is a personal observation, not for everyone!)
  • Become less materialistic. I hope to endeavor to make myself happy with less stuff and more enjoyable tasks!  I want to leave a good mark on this planet. Not just live out my days, aimlessly.
  • Lastly, and most importantly… Keep my happy marriage a happy one! I love you Sweetheart!

To sum-up this post  ~ There is a local singer that I love named Pat McCurdy. He is a hoot as most of his songs are hilarious (Campin’ with Lesbians, Sex & Beer, and his ‘Tribute to the 80’s’ medleys, to name a few). He has a song that goes, “Get up, go to work, get drunk, go to sleep.” This is the EXACT opposite of what I want for my life. For one day, I will go to sleep and not get up.

The Plumber Saves the Day

Do you know who saves more lives than doctors?Plumber-Protects

The plumber has one of the most important jobs in our society and is someone we couldn’t do without. At some point in our lives we will all have to call on the help of a plumber. Their skills are varied and vital in the running of our homes and businesses. There has been a stigma attached to being a plumber lately and many people now see the plumber as the new lawyer or doctor, in terms of their salary and general importance in society. However, what makes a good plumber hasn’t changed over the years. It’s not in the desire to be rich* but the desire to use their hands to do their job well.

Professor Kotlikoff, president of Economic Security Planning Incorporated states, “Yes, doctors have a bigger salary.  But, doctors have to endure nearly a decade of expensive education before making any real salary, after which the doctor is hit by a very high progressive tax rate.  Because of all the costs the doctor incurs, the taxes and the lost wages, plumbers make more, and have almost the same spending power over their lifetime as general practitioners.”

Here’s my hubby, workin’ for a livin’!



  • Believe me, if he was making that much money, I’d be a “stay-at-home-dog-mom!!”

A Day in the Life of Me

Yesterday, I got a call from one of the crews that they had a bad tire on the trailer. They were limping back to the shop.

Today, the slowest-worker-known-to-man was in to fix it. S was the driver here the first year I worked here, however he lost his license and doesn’t drive anymore. He is also the owners brother-in-law and lives in a house that his sister owns. He gets brought in to do odd jobs at the office now, just to pay rent.

He had been working on it for a few hours. Well, he was under the trailer, I could see his feet. I only ass-u-med he was working. Then he emerged and walked towards the office.

‘You’ll need to drive the trailer to the shop.” He said to me. I called his bllsht. I don’t generally trust what he tells me. “Seriously.” I told him I’d need to confirm this with the Big Cheese. I called the boss and his first words were to me, “Am I asking too much?” I said, “Nah. You’re the one that thinks I can pull this off…” image

So, I hooked-up someone else’s truck and pulled out.

I figured if any police black flagged me, I’d say, “What are you talking about? I HAD four tires when I left!

no tire

© Ilex – Midwestern Plants