Friday, May 21, 2010

My Illustrious Career...Part Eight

1977...the year I turned 21.
I was no longer working at McMahan's Furniture, as it turned out
they only needed my help for the busy summer season. So what
was my next step? Hmm...pick up the want ads again...what could
I do?

Ah ha! Here is some help wanted for a carpet cleaner, let's put
that notch into my belt! So in the summer of 1977, I started
working for A-1 Carpet Cleaning.

I was paired with another gentleman who had a Chevy El Camino,
which was perfect for loading the heavy equipment that we had
to haul around. It was daytime work, but also included Saturdays
and Sundays, which made sense since that is when a lot of
people were home to have their carpets cleaned.

Now THIS job was work...many of the homes we went into were
not air conditioned, and we had to move all the furniture before
cleaning, and then move it back again. We used the steam
cleaning process, which I am told is better than shampooing, but
is also sweatier work, due to the hot steam cascading around you
while working.

In S. California, late summer is the hottest time of the year,
and I am not a big fan of doing this kind of work in hot
weather. I think I lost a lot of weight at this job.

I recall that the movie Star Wars had come out that summer, so
I know this had to have been 1977. My carpet cleaning partner
and I were both huge fans. We used to entertain ourselves by
reciting dialogue from the movie. We got a kick out of those
little paper cups they used to have for coffee that say 'Solo'
on them. (Han Solo...get it?).

Fall came, business was slow, no more work. I did a brief stint
as a department store Santa Clause...I think they paid seven
bucks an hour...and did I work for it! It was hot sweaty work...
with all the padding that I had to wear. In addition, the fake
beard plastered to my face was MIGHTY uncomfortable!

Yes, I did have a few little kids with wet pants sitting on my
lap. I had photos taken with some kids that I knew, I wish I
could find those pictures today. I was not able to bear doing this
for more than a few weeks.

With the Christmas season coming on though, I knew there was one
place where I could get work...

Can you say career reversal?

Peace be with you.


  1. Haha... from Santa to Toys 'r' Us. that is classic.

  2. Ho, ho, ho! Seven bucks an hour, in 1977? Dang, that's pretty good for Santa Claus!

  3. Mrs. was worth every bit of the 7 bucks an hour...I had thought it would be fun...but I was surprised how difficult it was!

  4. I am not sure of the point of carpet cleaning anyway. I truly think it is like a facade...the carpet looks good for about two days and then the stains appear again. It seems a shame all your hard work cleaning those darn carpets was futile...but I bet you got great exercise. From carpets to Santa to Toys R seemed to roll with it from one job to another. Let's see...the next holiday after Christmas is Valentine's Day...was your next job playing Cupid???

  5. I am still a Toy R Us kid. I have Geoffrey on speed dial and i'm his friend on Facebook

  6. Geoffrey on speed dial, PTM? You certainly have friends in high places!

  7. A Santa Clause? Ha Ha! That's great!

  8. Oh my gosh! I did not expect Santa, but it really adds to your list!

  9. The Santa stint was probably hotter due to all the extra padding required from all the weight loss from the carpet cleaning job.

  10. Carpet cleaning sounds like hard work...
    There is no worse place to be than Toys R Us during Christmas time...except maybe jail...
    I admire your willingness to work at whatever wasa available...

  11. You were Santa?? That's really cool! I can't believe how many physical jobs you've done up to now (up to 1977 lol; I'll have to read the rest)'re a very hard worker and you deserved every dollar you earned.