April 11th, 2003


Karen's Old Fashioned Ice Cream

Summer of 1988, I was living in Moscow, Idaho so I could establish Idaho residency for school. That meant I had to get a job. I don't remember looking for one, but my friend Chris Olsen knew the manager of Karen's Ice Cream, Karen Linderman. He talked her into hiring me. Starting pay was $2.30/hour, the state minimum wage. Karen didn't normally hire men to work in the store, but she made an exception for me. So for the next 6 years off and on, I scooped ice cream.

The store was family run. Karen's husband Roger and son Ryan made the ice cream. Her youngest son stole the ice cream and borrowed from the register. Her daughter worked there as well. Her dad owned the place. He was a grumpy old man. Took me flying once though, and was kind enough to pick me up and take me to the store once when I was so sunburned I should have stayed home. Ended up going to the emergency room from work that day. But I digress and that's a story for another day.

I'm trying to remember some of the people who worked there, and I can't remember most. Michaela went to the Linderman's church, and I had a crush on her. Del did also. There was another guy who occasionally made ice cream who was a church member too. For a while we had a bunch of ΔΔΔ girls working there. One who had dated a guy who lived in my dorm.

The job sucked. My wrists hurt continually, and I got tendinitis in both wrists at various times. The pay was low. But I kept the job for one reason over the years. Girls. Lots and lots of cute girls came in for ice cream. Not that I ever would really talk to them. Too shy and chicken shit at the time. Although I did get propositioned once by a good looking drunk girl whose boyfriend put her up to it. I wasn't sure what to make of that so I said No thanks. In addition to scooping ice cream there were typical restaurant things like mopping and cleaning. I was pretty good at the job. When it was busy, I was the only person who could keep up with the line. And many times it was quiet. Sunday shifts were great. After the after-church rush (the Linderman's church was in the storefront next door while they were building a big gaudy church on the edge of town), it got really quiet. I could read and relax. That was also where I first got in the habit of picking up the New York Times every day. Across the street was Bookpeople of Moscow, where I could get a subscription for some ridiculously low monthly rate. No delivery though. But I could dash across Main Street and pick up my paper to read during the slow moments of the shift. At least, when a customer didn't steal the paper.

To this day, that job still is my record for longevity with an employer. Although I worked there infrequently. My second longest was 3 years with Pacific Simulation.


One other thing

I should mention that I'm still ruined for ice cream. To this day I cannot walk into an ice cream store without critiquing how they operate, at least to myself. I am no longer able to just enjoy the ice cream.

Every job I've held for any length of time has ruined me in some way like that.