I have had the opportunity to hold A LOT of jobs. All of them cool in their own right; bank teller, audio/visual aide, special education aide, administrative assistant, web designer, bartender, waitress, flight operations specialist, realtor, "fabric consultant" at a quilt shop, fitness instructor. But by far my faves are what I am currently spending my time doing.
I have the distinct pleasure of working for a family-run company, literally and figuratively, for the past 6 years. Harbor Athletic Club has been my home away from home, while working from my kitchen table part of the time. My co-workers have become friends and people I can depend on in any kind of pinch. The owners of the club are people that are cut from a different cloth; the most generous, appreciative, refreshing group of humans you'll be lucky enough to know.
It's NEVER felt like work to me. The most rewarding part of doing what I do there is the people, the ones I work beside and the members I work for. I wear a lot of hats there but we finally decided my "title" would be Katy Ripp, Member Services. People are really my jam. Upset people. Happy people. People that need an ear or shoulder or want to listen to me talk...they're my favorite because I like to hear myself talk. And, luckily, on any given day I am at Harbor I get the opportunity to talk with 100 of my best friends. I hope I get to do that for a very long time. Ironically, my co-workers and members have been Mad Lizzie's best customers. Who knew?
Enter the dream we never really knew we had. Most people have a dream in their head and take the steps to achieve it. Not us. In true (Dale & Katy) Ripp-style, we found something on Pinterest (ok...not we. I.) and said, "sure, let's do that." Again, who knew it would be so rewarding, fun, hard, humbling (did I say rewarding yet?) and cool? In reality, there are a lot of flower farmers that know all of that. And, honestly, I am not sure how to even categorize what we are doing. I don't even know yet if there's money in it (sorry accountant and money-motivated peeps). I know I spend a lot of currency on it; physical, emotional, spiritual energy. And, of course, moola. The gains though. OH THE GAINS!
When I starting thinking about writing this I was arranging flowers for a neighbor's wedding. And by neighbor, I mean, "as the crow flies" or within a "country block". But, really they are friends. And to be honest, somewhere down the Ripp/Hellebrand/Meinholz line, family. (By the way, I have been working on a different post about why I love Wisconsin recently...these Wisco-isms are addressed)
I have voiced recently to my 'tribe' that I may not want to do wedding work next season.
What the what?
I get it...that's where the money is and most were I talk to were opposed to this idea. Weird. I mean, we booked almost 20 weddings in 2017 without a whole lot of advertising. On top of that, I have had the opportunity to work with some of best brides and their families this season. But here's the thing, once those baby flowers leave my arms, my fragile little ego goes in to overdrive. What if my vision didn't match the brides? What if all the flowers die? What if the mother of the bride hates her corsage? First world problems, yes I know.
But. There's always a "but" isn't there?
But, this weekend's wedding work allowed me to do something that I may have not had the honor of doing otherwise. I was hired to do a job; bouquets, boutonierres, corsages, arbor flowers, etc, etc. And, the bride is our neighbor, her parents life-long friends of Al & Shari, her fiance a best bud of our best buds so I was happy to accept. I was so very excited to work on this one...for all the aforementioned reasons. Plus that color palette...be still my heart.
And then news came earlier this week that a dear family friend of the bride and groom, and neighboring family and friends, passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. I did not know T. well, but I know she was well-loved and loved well. And, I LOVE that. So, with some extra flowers, I designed an arrangement her family could enjoy. It might have been one of the greatest floral joys of my life so far. You know why? Because I can. Because it's my business and I can do whatever I want. That's the real beauty of a cool job...when it doesn't feel like one. And maybe we can share a little love along the way.
So, happy wedding day J & B. Hope it was everything you imagined and more.
Our family has received so much support on so many levels since Al passed away. This is my little contribution to others that are grieving. So again...eat, drink and be merry. Life is too short to do anything else.