“I have a job for you,” is commonly the best phrase a person can hear. But not when it’s coming out of the mouth of my dad. In that case, “I have a job for you,” could mean any number of things. It could mean you are going to drive a flatbed truck across the Canadian border filled to the brim with used Peavey electric guitars, it could mean you are going to be a pallbearer for a guy you never met, or it could mean you are going to need to dig up a graveyard in the back woods of Washington state.
My path to that last example started with a call from my dad over Memorial Day weekend.
“I bought a piece of property down in Skagit County and I want you to help me get it fixed up this summer. It’s an old farm, up past Rupertville, and I’m going to turn it into a Bed and Breakfast for your mom and me to run for when I retire in a couple of years.”
“Does mom know about this?”
“What do you mean does mom know about this?”
“But you mean you are making like an AirBNB of the thing? Maybe you should hire a professional, or two, to ‘fix it up?’”
“I have no idea what hair BandB means, but look, I know you don’t have a summer job lined up except for that radio show you keep trying to start.”
It never sat right with my dad that I was a teacher who never took a “summer job,” despite me telling him that 99 percent of the reason I decided to become a teacher was so I didn’t have to work during the summer. The “radio show” he referred to was a podcast I had given up on after six episodes that was about an unsolved murder in my hometown of Cedar Valley, Washington. A total of four downloads per-episode wasn’t enough for me to keep chasing my dream of being an NPR rock star.
“Well, my roommate offered to sublease my room to his friend for the summer for extra cash if I had another place to go, so it might not be the worst idea in the world.”
I envisioned my dad standing on the end of his fishing boat in the river giving a fist pump with his hand that wasn’t clutching a Coors original.
“I’ll pay you twelve thousand dollars the three months you are up there and you can stay on the property. Combine that with the money your roommate gives you, and you’ll be making the salary of an actual job instead of teaching.”
I hated every bone in my body for doing it, but I agreed.