Yesterday I went through the rest of the ads I saw in the Help Wanted section of The Pulse. I finished contacting all the ones that had looked like possibilities for me. Not that they all responded, but I had gone through all the known jobs.
I had also had an interview with the person my boss referred me to and he had given me an application to fill out. This morning I took the application back to him. The job would be a split between working on the desk and doing housekeeping. He says he’s got enough coverage for now, but sometime in July he hopes to be busy enough to need more help. To be perfectly honest, I would do the job for the pay, but it doesn’t particularly excite me. I have been praying that God would guide me to the kind of work He would have me do.
After I dropped off the application, I went to the grocery store. There is a little pioneer store in Ellison Bay, but when we go grocery shopping, we usually go to the Piggly Wiggly in Sister Bay because it’s a little cheaper and has more selection. Around the edges of the Piggly Wiggly parking lot are a series of cute little shops, and our neighbors across the street had invited us to come see their tea shop sometime, so I decided this was my chance. I walked in and Lynn recognized me right away.
Lynn asked how we are settling into our house, and I said that the house is fine, but I am looking for another job because Seaquist isn’t working out. She kind of perked up and asked what kind of work I’m looking for, so I basically told her I’m looking for anything that pays and that I don’t have to be fast at. She told me that she and Karen haven’t advertised, but they are looking for help. She asked if I might be interested in talking with her about it, and I said yes.
Lynn and Karen have been running the tea shop for about three years now, but the space next to theirs opened up and they decided to expand and start a tea room. Karen is English and wanted to serve high tea and English tea. They are hoping to have their first tea on Saturday. This is a new venture for them and they are trying to learn everything they can before then, so Saturday the 24th will be their test run. They need someone who can work in the tea shop and also in the tea room. They might even need help in the kitchen with making scones. They aren’t sure how much help they can afford yet, although both of them have told me they are pretty sure they can at least use someone for ten hours a week. It’s not much, but it sounds more appealing to me than working in a motel. I am to go to the tea shop on Monday morning at 10:00 to meet with Karen after she’s gone over their budget and she will be able to tell me better what they can afford.
I left there feeling encouraged, and then I stopped in at the library in Sister Bay. Mark had dared me to go in and ask for a job. I spoke with the manager, and at first she thought I was offering to volunteer. I told her I was a youth librarian in Oregon, but I haven’t done that in six years and I know things have changed since then. I said I’d be willing to be a page (the one who puts the books back on the shelf). She perked up when I said that and she said that the Door County library system is headquartered in Sturgeon Bay, but Sister Bay has the next biggest library. She said that she has been thinking of suggesting to the Powers That Be that they should get a traveling page who could help out at any branch that needs extra help during the summer hours. This is, again, a possibility that hadn’t even been posted yet. There’s always a chance her proposal will be rejected, but I went back later with a library-specific resume and she said she’d send it along with her proposal.
I made one last stop on my way home. There is a bookseller and publisher practically around the corner from me, so I went in and asked the proprietor if I could advertise my freelance editing business there. Mind you, this is the man I talked to last summer about possibly publishing a book of my adventures since so many people have suggested I do so, and he discouraged me. He is an ancient man with a penchant toward being curmudgeonly, and he has strong opinions about what is and is not good literature. He also, as it turns out, has strong opinions about what good editing is. He told me that he once spent an entire year editing half a book, and the author got frustrated and took it away from him, but he said that if one carefully reads the book, the chapters he edited are distinguishable from the rest of the book.
I was not offended by what he said. I know that there is much I could stand to learn about editing. I asked if he’d be willing to teach me what good editing is, and he said he’s too old to teach me. I said, “Well, then, do you have any books here that might teach me what good editing is?” He got up with his cane and slowly sauntered through his aisles of, what looked to me to be, dusty old tomes. He told me that someone had made a list of the fifty best booksellers in the country, and his shop had made the list. He used to be an anthropology professor and he said he has a better collection of anthropology books than the University of Wisconsin.
As I watched him totter through the aisles with his cane, I said, “Could you use any help here?” He said, “Yes, but I couldn’t pay.” And then he asked if I’d be interested in buying his shop. He said he’s looking to get out of it in a couple years. That idea had crossed my mind earlier. I know nothing about the value of the books he has in that store, and I don’t know what makes it good enough to be on a top fifty list. I suggested that maybe I could come and volunteer sometimes and he turned to me and said, “If you volunteer and you’re good, I would pay you.” I’m thinking it could be like an apprenticeship. If I could learn half of what he knows, I might be able to buy a shop like his in a couple years.
So here are three possibilities that weren’t even listed. Could one or more of these be God’s guidance?