“If you can read, you can cook.”

My mom was a great cook. When anyone would compliment her cooking, especially one of her new, more adventurous dishes, she would reply, “If you can read, you can cook.” Both of my parents taught the four of us kids that if we could read, we could do just about anything we set our minds to. They taught us that each of us is ultimately responsible for our own education. I took this to heart. Through the years, I have had many different jobs and have attempted many different do-it-yourself projects and crafts.

These blog entries will try to document some of my experiences trying new things. They will explore both the truth of and the limitations of my mom’s maxim. This category will be part memoir, part current project reports, part cautionary tale. Taken together they will describe the explorations, accomplishments and misadventures of a restless mind; the confessions of a renaissance man.

Several years ago I attempted to recall and write down all of the jobs I have done in my life so far. I kept having to go back to that list and add more that I had forgotten to include. I lost that document in a computer meltdown a few years ago. I will make an attempt to reconstruct it now. These are only jobs that I did for money. They do not include the volunteer work, hobbies, crafts or DIY home repairs.

Before age 16: snow shoveling, garden weeding, bartending, babysitting, newspaper delivery, data entry, filing

Age 16 – 20: landscape nursery yardman (got to tip over a Bobcat), busboy in a lobster restaurant, grocery carryout, bicycle mechanic, bike store manager, sewing machine & vacuum cleaner salesman, door-to-door Bible salesman, janitor

Age 20 – 30: housekeeping in a hospital surgery suite, floor waxer, painter, wallpaper hanger, machine operator in a machine shop, just about every job possible in a poultry processing plant from grinding bones to running the ovens and chillers to QC lab work, inspection & sanitation, aerial photographer, real estate salesman, computer & electronics salesman/instructor, prison chaplain, apple picker

Since age 30: prison chaplain and volunteer director for over 500 volunteers serving 8 different populations in three jurisdictions, blueprint printer, architectural office manager, project architect, purchasing agent, archivist, receptionist, landscape worker, lawnmower, newspaper ad salesman, roof inspector, roof designer/specifier, architectural specification typist/proofreader, furniture mover, warehouse organizer, scaffold builder, picker/packer, floor waxer, house detailer, painter, electrician, cement laborer, inventory taker, chocolate candy maker, home addition/renovation designer, floor refinisher, security system salesman, printshop worker, graphic designer, writer, icon installer, website builder, entrepreneur, icon maker, woodworker

I’m pretty sure I forgot some of them. No matter. You get the idea. I hope to add blogger and author to the list of paying gigs, but they have yet to come to fruition. I have never worked in fast food, but I’m only 53. There will be opportunities yet.

I will list the hobbies, crafts, volunteer jobs, DIY projects and other miscellaneous skills in another entry. Tomorrow I hope to install my first set of replacement window sashes. I’ll file a report, if I live to tell the tale.

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