Amelia – Chapter 5 – Perfect Storm

Amelia and Eileen have both killed it at the salon this season. I’ve said this before, but I’ve been blessed with seasonal employees that are absolutely outstanding.

I use the word blessed because we’ve had so many failures through here in the last two years.

I can now see why Achilles has agonized over his business and closed two salons because of shitty employees.

But suddenly, this season we’ve been blessed with fabulous employees. I’ve said this many times before, but it really is extraordinary that we have acquired these two girls just when we needed them.  They’re both terrific.

It’s a big deal, because in the retail and hospitality industry, it is so hard to find good employees.

But we’ve done it.

Somehow we have acquired quality help. It’s a welcome asset to the company.

Both girls know I write about everything in my life on this blog, and wait in anticipation for the outcome that won’t come for a year. But it’s here now.

But I have to address something here.

We all adore sweet Eileen as a baby sister or a cute niece. She’s so good with the customers. At 18 she’s a wonderful asset to the company that we couldn’t have expected, but we have somehow acquired. So much better that the detritus we once employed.

Not you Trish, but yea, you. (See: Trish – The She Wolf)

But I want to talk about my girl, Amelia. She works Monday through Wednesday. She’s here one day longer that Eileen except for every other Saturday that she’ll take.

Eileen is 18 years old. She’s a baby and we all love her and she’s great at the job. I adore her and love her performance on the job on a daily basis, but I feel closer to Amelia.

I worked in banking for 20 years. I worked in advertising for 10. I killed it but it’s a horrible existence.

Amelia’s from a large Irish Catholic family that’s incredibly conservative. She went to the college of arts and her degree is in that. So basically she can’t get a job in the arts because that shit never pays unless you make it.

I admire her for what she’s done because I pursued art early in life just like her but if you don’t become a rockstar, you’re fucked.

I ended up in retail and eventually banking like my dad.

That works for the american dream and the whole… I’ll meet a girl and get married, have a kid and live the American dream, but for many of us it becomes an enormous nightmare.

Amelia’s found that she has a degree in something she can’t use currently, and is working her ass off to survive. She’s in debt from school like every other person her age.

But she’s minutes away from getting certified as a personal trainer. She works at a gym on the wrong side of Broad street. She drives for Uber when she can to make money, and has recently taken up with a catering company where she can make some serious loot as a bartender.

I’m rooting for her to succeed and will do whatever I can with my connections to help her.

The last few Mondays we’ve gone to Square 1682 and chilled for drinks. I pound Chardonnay and she goes with her usual Bulliet Rye and ginger ale.

I work so much and so does she that I think Amelia and I enjoy the gentle repose of getting run over at the salon, and then kicking back at my favorite bar for a few drinks and laughs to unwind.

The bill comes and thanks to my man, Roman, it’s $5.50. $60 in cocktails for nothing. We tip him hard.

I was once giggling with a former employee at the salon and an older guy that loved the girl I was working with asked what was going on. He was obviously a little jealous because he loved her in a phicklephily sort of way. I told him that he could adore a waitress but he’ll never have the relationship that she has with her co-worker, because they share a daily experience. I don’t know if he got it but that was a true statement.

Co-workers are so close in a company. When it’s good, it’s magic. Some of the best relationships I’ve ever had were with people I worked with. Duncan. Michelle. All LOVE.

It’s no different here.

I’m just going to say this.

I have feelings for Amelia.

Let’s not jump to conclusions. And please don’t assume.

We work together everyday. We’re in the shit in the busiest season of this salon. We have to run, communicate and keep this baby clean.

It’s not easy. We’ve figured out a way to make the place sing. Achilles has no idea what that looks like. He just knows when the place isn’t 1000% clean.

Amelia and I can arrive at the salon in different moods, and within an hour we’re happy and laughing our butts off.

One of our clients called us the Gruesome Twosome. I don’t get it but we’re a deadly team that are completely in touch every minute we’re working together.

We play a certain music station, Amelia, is on top of the laundry, she get the rolled towels at the back sink, she’s calm and great with all of the clients, (and the new ones) She says when ever she’s here she’s happy.

I love that.

I’ve worked everywhere.

I’ve been a million dollar producer at all of those places. Guess what?  Shitty people drove me out of all of those places.

I’ll never be that to anyone.

I’ve left all of that far behind and wherever I work now I will bring good energy to the people around me. I almost feel like I should have worked in the hospitality industry my whole life because I get my energy from people.

And the girl I get the most energy from right now is my Amelia.

I’m so proud of her everyday.

 

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Eileen – Chapter 3 – Friday Night – Part 1

If anything happens outside of the salon with a client or an employee, it’s no longer a Sun Story. That’s the case here.

The girls are doing great. I love Amelia and Eileen. I can’t believe my good fortune. Normally you get what you pay for in this business and we’ve somehow hit the lottery.

Amelia, 24, fit, cute, and a certified as a personal trainer. Not only will she be a hit here Monday through Wednesday, but she could work here as a trainer at out gym! Home run!

Amelia’s a great girl, Air Force Reserve and a solid focused employee. I like that after three days she takes the initiative with the laundry, towels and vacuuming on her own.

Very impressed.

But now it’s Eileen’s turn. It’s Thursday night and she rolls into the salon at 4:30. She says “hi” and heads to room 5 to hang her coat. I don’t recognize her at first she moves so fast.

She comes out in blue tights and a T-shirt that says: “The Bank of Dad.” I totally get that. She says she’s had it since she was a little girl.

Who knows?

I’m just stupid happy to see my pretty new hire again. It’s been so stressful here and now I finally have help. It’s a welcome relief to have a few people to help and maintain the right level of customer service.

Eileen’s first night at the salon was basically cleaning beds and cleaning up. But I see the value in Eileen. I need to train her in all things salon. This girl who went from $8 an hour at Olive Garden to $9.70 on her resume is a quality girl.

18-year-old Criminal Justice major at Drexel needs to learn the system at the tanning salon.

I’m waiting on clients and Eileen is standing there at the ready with her antiseptic spray gun and fresh towel to clean beds. This is what I need right now, because this is our busy season. But I notice something else. As Eileen is standing there waiting to clean beds (That’s all she knows) she’s watching every key punch I make on the computer touch screen to run the salon.

It’s glorious.

When I trained here I was like a retard and struggled with every aspect of the system. But Eileen is watching and recording.

That’s amazing to an old horse like me.

Friday’s never as busy as Thursday, so I decide to let Eileen run the register.

I’ll run around and clean beds and let the kid run that salon. (I’ll be there for her but she needs to learn.)

This is great. We’ve actually hired some people who can do it all. I’ve worked so many hours here and have been through so many shitty employees that have failed Achilles and me on so many levels, this is a blessing.

I watched my sweet Eileen bring in new clients, set up their accounts, and send them tanning without any stress.

Frankly, I was amazed.

She was so good with our system. It was busy, and she did great. This is what this company needs.

Eileen is a freshman and I’ve already told her about being here every season for the next four years and she said yes.

I’m so proud of Eileen. I’m stupid happy to have her here at the salon. We don’t get this kind of help.

I kind of dug at Achilles and I drove hard to get this amazing girl. He’s so jaded when it comes to employees.

He’s closed 2 salons to relieve his problems, but with me maybe we can open a new one.

I love working with good people.

Eileen obviously needs to learn how to fold the towels better, but I love that she’s magic at the computer.

I’m just going to say this right now despite everything that is going on in the blog. Despite the fact that Eileen’s 18 and a new hire, and in love with her boyfriend back in Missouri.

I’m attracted to her.

Don’t un-follow the blog. I’m not going to do anything.

 

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Sun Stories: Summer – Return of the Outlaw

I’ve been working a lot lately, but the good news is our girl Summer from last season has returned to take some shifts for us. She’s our best hire to date, so I’m glad she’s finally back.

My darling Cherie has gotten a babysitter for Saturday night, so after work she’s going to jump in the car and come for a little visit. Which means we have limited time so I know certain things need to happen. This is the first Saturday I’ve had off in a while, probably almost two months. I get up, hit the shower, much-needed manscaping occurs, and I’m dressed and out the door. I didn’t make my bed this morning because later It’ll be stripped, and then made with fresh sheets for the arrival of her eminence.

I leave my place on Pine and walk north on 19th. The square in Rittenhouse is full of the usual cast of characters. Families together, children playing, dogs being walked, People chilling on the benches, friends sipping coffee and chatting. You can always find a tranquil moment in this metropolitan oasis.

First point of business is, I must go to my favorite Saturday breakfast spot, Rachael’s at 19th and Sansom. It’s been too long. I go in and of course they know my name and know what I want. I pay for my order and then go sit and one of the bar seats along the windows. I love the place because it’s small and intimate but is a classic neighborhood breakfast/lunch spot that doesn’t need to do dinner because that’s not what they are. Tasteful neon signs glow in the front window, but aren’t overbearing or obtrusive to the dining experience. You simply feel that you’ve stepped back in time, and I love that.

I love sitting in the same spot at the window whenever I go there. I read articles on my phone and look out the window and just people watch. When the weather’s nice there are plenty of lovely folks carrying on with their weekend plans.

Breakfast/brunch arrives quickly with diner like speed, but with home cooked elegance. This is a lovely repose to charge up for the coming day.  It’s all perfect just like always. (I like consistency in my life.) When I’ve had enough, I throw a few singles in the tip jar for the cooks and head out.

I get a text from our part-time employee, Summer.

“I am so hung over.”

I send her a pic of a bottle of Jameson in a bicycle water bottle holder.

“LOL! My boyfriend Jax is bringing me a breakfast sandwich.

I know she won’t bail on work because she’s tough and doesn’t shirk responsibilities like some of our other past employees. (Or maybe she’s just been luckier than they have!) She’s a young girl, in college, good grades, smart girl, but what di I do when I was 20? Cut loose and partied hard. I didn’t go to college. I went to L.A. and rocked the fuck out for a few years.

I’ve got a few things that need to happen today, but none are pressing at the moment. I light a post breakfast celebratory cig and walk north on 19th. I get to JFK Blvd., and head east to 18th street, where I know there’s an entrance to Suburban Station and I can get down there on the weekends through this portal.

I need to hit the dollar store in Suburban. The Dollar Store is a glorious fixture of this fine city. I’ll tell you why. First of all, everything is a fucking dollar! Living in this city’s really expensive. If I need a bunch of cleaning supplies for the house, and I mean everything right down to sponges, and I go to one of the major chains? Easily the bill will exceed $40 to $50 to stock your house with the stuff you need.

You go to the dollar store.

$14 bucks. Maybe $11.

I shit you not, my friends.

I used to date a Wall Street lawyer back when I lived and worked in NYC. She ALWAYS shopped at the Dollar Store. She made great money but knew better than to get fleeced by the main stream brands. We would go to the dollar store and load up! She was smart. She worked hard for her money and she intended to keep it. I learned from her.

I go in there and I’ve only come for one thing. Two bottles of laundry detergent for the salon. I know we’re nearly out and there are towels to be washed! (I forgot to pick up chocolates for Cherie) I need to travel light. I could have gotten a shit ton of stuff there today, but I don’t feel like lugging a bunch of things around on my day off.

Must conserve my energy and strength for tonight’s events.

I get to the salon and Summer is there and she looks banged up.

“You look like shit. Is that in style now?”

“Fuck you. Hey, this is my boyfriend, Jax.”

Jax is a tall, nice looking boy who stands up and shakes my hand to greet me. I like that. He has manners. He has dark curly hair and caramel skin. Summer has already told me that he’s of mixed heritage. Maybe someday if we can end racism in this country we’ll all look this good.

“How’d you get so banged up last night? Where did you guys go?”

“A few places, Xfinity Live, and then Tavern on Broad.”

“What were you drinking at the end, Summer?”

“Tequila.”

“Mmm tough one.”

“I puked when I came in here this morning.”

“But you made it in and we’re open. How come you don’t look like this bedsheet with two cigarette holes burned in it, Jax?”

“Hey!”

“Kidding Summer.  She’s so sensitive!”

“I know, man. I’m good. I guess I can hang.”

I like this kid. Doesn’t lose his shit when his girlfriend gets blackout drunk on tequila and makes sure she gets home safe. Even brings her breakfast and spends the entire day with her at the salon.

I do like this guy. He even goes across the street to Chipotle and gets them both lunch. I assure her that it’s okay for her to sit down and eat. It’s off-season and the place is dead. I’ll handle the counter. No one comes in for the half hour they dine. In a bit she’s back at the counter and I’m chilling in the waiting area chatting with Jax.

“Summer. Look up the last time I tanned.”

She does and it’s been a week. I’ve been doing so good, but I’ve slipped off the bronze god wagon. I should tan but I don’t want to be red for tonight. But the more I think about it, Cherie won’t notice my new haircut, or if my face is red or if anything has changed. Because Cherie sees the inner me. For some reason she’s attracted to me. Well… I get some of that. I do have special powers that match with hers. Despite everything going on in both of our lives, it’s a match. I love her and it’s just wonderful to be next to her. To make her laugh, spend time with her, and be intimate.

I’m a big fan of “If it’s not broken don’t fix it.” I don’t even want to tinker with this glorious train that sails down the line with elegance and stability, despite the challenges ahead on the tracks.

I decide to tan, but I’ll do it a bit later. Cherie texts me that she won’t be coming to the city until 6pm. Which in reality means, 7pm because of delays, construction, traffic, parking, and whatever else could arise on her journey to see me.

Cherie is a saint.

I head into the tanning booth for the full 9 minutes. I plug my phone into the unit and listen to my music (Greta Van Fleet – Highway Tune) while I tan. I hop out after 8 minutes and get dressed.

It’s time for me to go. I’ve got things to do and Cherie will be down here in a few hours. I bid Summer and Jax farewell, and head out into the humid afternoon sun.

 

Is it time to say so long to swiping?

While dating apps are as popular as ever, they might not be the best way to meet a potential romantic partner. That’s the takeaway from a recent survey, which found that only 8% of people polled said that they hooked up with their significant other via online dating or a dating app.

RELATED:

What was the most common way for couples to meet? Through mutual friends, according to the survey, which was conducted by market research company ReportLinker. An impressive 39% of respondents replied that they met their spouse this way—just like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Meeting at work came in second place, with 15% of respondents answering that they met their significant other at the office. Next on the list was in a bar or public area (12%), through a sport/religion/hobby events (9%), family (7%), and school (6%). Just 1% of poll takers said that they met their beloved at a speed-dating event.

The poll results cast doubt on the prospect of finding lasting love online, and instead relying on friends (or your local pub) to help you find The One. When asked what they thought was the main drawback of online dating, 30% of single respondents said that potential love interests on sites and apps were “not serious” and 21% said “more lies.”

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Still, singles continue to search for a significant other digitally. Respondents who said that they were currently dating online had a profile up on an average of 2.4 websites.

The results were based on replies from 501 singles and 551 coupled-up people in the U.S. Speaking of couples, the survey also found that 6% of the people who described themselves as having a spouse were still registered on a dating website or app.