Aliquippa, PA

Andrew, my husband is from Aliquippa, born and raised. Prior to dating him, I never been to Aliquippa (past Pittsburgh International airport). The only other time I haver had to venture out that far down Interstate 376 is when I had to go to the airport, or to the Beaver Valley Mall.

When we started dating, he told me he was from Aliquippa. I instantly said, oh that is not too far! I was living with my parents in Crafton, when he and I were dating. As our relationship progressed, and after I met his family. He took me on a tour of Aliquippa. Downtown Aliquippa is almost like a dead zone. Several houses and businesses boarded up all along Franklin Avenue. I think the Post Office is the only thing open. Andrew told me what Aliquippa used to be like back when the steel mills were open. When the steel mills shut down, so did the town. Looking out the passenger side window, I felt sad for the town and what it is now. I can’t imagine that it was booming, but it was at one point.

Andrew explained to me that Aliquippa was divided up into several plans. All different nationalities came over and lived in the plans dedicated to their nationality. Plan 6 is where the owners of the steel mills lived.  If you drive by today, you wouldn’t dare go at night, and you wouldn’t stay long. Plan 10 was where the managers of the mills lived. I wished that one of the mansions could be preserved and made into a Bed and Breakfast, so one could get a glimpse of what it was like to live as the elite of the steel mill times, but safety would be an issue.

There are three gems of Aliquippa. The first would have to be Mac’s Donuts. They make their donuts fresh everyday. I would say they are so much better, than Dunkin Donuts. The second would be the New Sheffield Cafe. They just recently underwent new management. The place is clean and bright now. The food is still the same as it was before. I like their grilled cheese the best. Their menu has expanded. It’s still the same hole in the wall, like Cheers and everyone knows your name. the last is the Aliquippa football team.

Andrew, his mother, his dad, his parent’s neighbor, Chris, and Andrew’s dad’s friend Lou, and myself all went to Aliquippa’s football game. They were playing New Castle, PA, so we had to drive all the way out there. Andrew said it’s not safe to go to a home game. I can’t remember the last time I was at a high school football game. Before you could enter the field, you had to walk through metal detectors first. I can’t remember ever having to do that before for a football game.

As the game got under way, we were in the Visitors section, which was Aliquippa’s section. I have never heard a group of fans at a high school football game. They cheered so loudly  and so encouragingly for their team. One of the Cheerleaders would spell out “Q-U-I-P T-O-W-N, Quip Town! I felt like I was a part of something spiritual. That may sound weird, but this town was booming, then it shut down, the wrong people took over the neighborhoods, and crime happened. They are known for being a “bad area.” However, football is the one thing that keeps this town happy. They look forward to football season, games, and cheering on their home team.

Some of the players are going to go so far, especially Lou’s nephew Solvaughn. The young man is 15 years old and is 240lbs. He plays on offense and defense. He is going places in his career. He told Andrew’s parents that he wants to get out of Aliquippa, and go to Princeton. The young man has such big dreams, and it is going to be fun to watch him throughout the years and see how far he goes in sports. So many big names came out of Aliquippa, and have gone to play in the pros.

Whatever it takes to give these kids something to believe in, and dream for to keep them off the streets, and out of harms way. It is so easy for teens to get involved in crime, and same with the adults. When you stop giving up on the dreams of your youth, and telling someone that they won’t ever make it because they come from “bad areas” that is when crime and destructive decisions happen.

Aliquippa won against New Castle that Saturday night. The score was 44-28.

 

This video gets me every time…go QUIPS!

Worst day, ever.

Today, was a day from hell! When I got in this morning, Paula let me in and I went back to my desk. I saw that there was a meeting was taking place that I would have to attend around 11:00am, is what it looked like. However, I noticed there was a bit of a time change. I thought maybe it started at 11:00am, but then it also looked like it was pushed back to 12:15pm, or maybe even 11:30am. I figured I will just show up early and see if I can finally meet my boss, or maybe someone will tell me what is going on.

When I arrived to the meeting, I was told that I was way early. The meeting wasn’t supposed to start until 12:15pm. I said, oh I thought it was at 11:00am. The women looked at me like I was crazy. They asked if I had met Geri yet, I said, “No.” They also asked if she called me, or reached out to me yet. I said, “No.” They seemed surprised, but didn’t want to say too much, or share their real opinions.   They told me to come back at 11:30am.

Instead of me going all the way back to the Music Building, I went down to HR, and they were in the same building as the meeting. I asked to speak to someone from All Temps. They asked for my name. I told them and they said for me to have a seat it will be just a second. Kristen greeted me at the door to the offices, and she took me back. We sat in her office, and I told her my concerns about the position, and I just got so flustered. I was not having a good second day. I told her that I hadn’t even met my supervisor yet. I had not been given any work to do. I just sit there, and hang out. I said that I have done that type of work before, and I ended up leaving. She said, “Okay, keep in mind this is your second day.” I can take you off the assignment and call you when something else is available. You seem really upset about this position.” I said, “Well it’s just not something that I am used to. It’s not structured.” She said, “Well it is only your second day.” She kept repeating that phrase. I asked her to advise me. I wasn’t sure what I was to do. She then said, “With that attitude, and I wouldn’t use that phrase and those words.” I was shocked. I know I am flustered, and perhaps a bit wrong, but I was just so confused. I had a knee jerk reaction. If this was Christine, she wouldn’t have acted that way toward me. She would have been nicer, and calmed me down and also told me what was available. This woman said, “It was against University Policy to pull me off of one temp assignment and put me on another, unless I gave a notice, or the assignment was over.” Well giving a notice would put me in a lapse of pay, so I said I didn’t want to do that.

When I left her office, I was going to give it until Friday, and then see what happened and if things have changed, that is what we agreed to. I walked outside and called my mom and told her what just happened, and how it is here. She was like, “Well you probably shouldn’t have said anything, and I doubt if they will call you now for anything.” I just about enough of that negative bullshit, so I decided to get off the phone with her and call Drew. When I told him what happened, he was like wow baby, I didn’t expect to hear that and he felt bad for me, but told me that is what happens sometimes in jobs. He said, that I have to try to stick it out until this assignment is over, or unless I get hired on full-time in a different position at Pitt, but he doesn’t agree with how that woman was with me.

Not a minute later, Kristen called my cell phone, and wanted to follow up with me. She said, I seemed a little upset when I was in her office. I told her that I am okay now and I talked to my husband, and I want to stick it out. I made a mistake going to your office like that, I was just hoping to get some advice and to breathe a little, but I am ready to continue on with the assignment and see where it takes me. She said, “Oh well I thought we agreed that Friday was going to be your last day, and that you were really unhappy there.” I said, “No, we didn’t. I want to stay on. I don’t want to leave.” She said, “Oh well I already sent the e-mail. I will call you if anything comes up.” I got off the phone with her and called Drew. Drew said, “Oh my God. Are you serious? He was so pissed off at her and at the situation. Thankfully he wasn’t upset with me. I thought he was going to be, but he wasn’t. It sounded like he was.

Finally, the meeting happened, and it was the most unorganized meeting. It was so long. I couldn’t believe how disorganized this department was. Geri showed up. Had no clue, who I was, and she wasn’t expecting me. I had to introduce myself. She was like, “Oh okay, nice to meet you.” That was it. I was like “Nice to meet you as well.” We discussed the Jazz Seminar and how it was coming together, and what not. What else we needed to do, and etc. I am not sure how I feel about this position, and 6 months is a long time to be stuck.

After the meeting, I walked back to the Music Department, and talked to Paula. I broke down and told her my concerns and she said, come here and gave me the biggest hug, a co-worker could probably give another co-worker. She cheered me up, and said, if you want to stay I will personally e-mail Kristen myself and tell her you are staying. You don’t have to make up your mind now, it can be later. I said, Okay, thank you so much for listening to me and being there for me. I was so glad that she was on my side. However, at the same time, I wish she didn’t offer that option. I wanted out of this position so bad, now there didn’t seem to be an end in sight.

Thankfully, the day was almost over and I could go home soon. I couldn’t wait to see Andrew. When I told him about what Paula said, he was glad. I knew it was going to be one of those intense evenings between us.

Once we got home, I just started crying. I was so disappointed in this experience at Pitt so far, and I just broke down. Andrew consoled me and told me that it was going to be okay, and he was there the best he could be. I don’t know we will see where this assignment goes, but I am just so glad I have his support.

Music Department

Today, was my first day at the Music Department. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but Drew walked with me to the Porch to get our $1 coffee. Our girl wasn’t there, who is usually at the window. She wasn’t there on Friday, either. I wanted to say goodbye to her since I will be working at the Music Department now, I won’t be able to stop by.
Andrew walked me to my building, which is on 5th Avenue, cater-corner from the Cathedral. I wasn’t really all that excited. I wasn’t sure what to expect. When I arrived, I called Paula. She came to the door and let me inside the building. She led me into her office, and we chatted a bit about the job, and my responsibilities. Seemed simple enough, then she took me around the building. The one classroom in the music building, was the old WQED studio, where Mr. Rogers would come to visit, which is pretty cool. One of the professors here, actually worked with Mr. Rogers, kinda cool, I guess. She took me to my office, and it is this little bomb shelter, pretty much with bookshelves and a fancy mac computer. The previous temp left me a thin document of the job descriptions and where to find things, along with a set of keys.

My first day consisted of me actually doing nothing! I was so bored. I logged into my I-Tunes account, so I could at least listen to Apple Music. They have really shitty coffee here it is Maxwell House and this job is so boring. The IT guys came over around 9am and set up my computer, and gave me access to the servers and showed me how to screen share if I want to be on my computer, while attending to the front desk. There is just not too much going on at all. It kind of sucked. I only hoped it would pick up.

After work, I met up with Andrew at the Cathedral, and he could tell by looking at me that it was a long day for me. I told him this sucks. I did nothing all day, and I don’t even know who my supervisor is.  Even Paula was surprised she didn’t reach out to me. Once we got home, we watched Game of Thornes, and had dinner. I made roast again in the crockpot.

My Last Day at Katz

Today, was my last day at the Katz Graduate School of Business. I will miss my ladies; Jodi, Sue, Karri, and Amy. Everyone there was so nice, and it really set the tone for my expectations regarding my experiences at Pitt. I forwarded off my resume to the staffing pool at Pitt, and they got back to me right away about a position with the Music Building. They need an administrative assistant to start Monday, August 8. I agreed to the position and I was glad because it wouldn’t be a lapse in pay, or start dates. I was still employed with Pitt.

When I told the ladies at Katz about my new venture, Sue said that her sister used to work as the administrative assistant and really butted heads with woman named Paula, who is the Music Department Administrator. I said, “Great” However, I felt like it was still going to be okay, and I shouldn’t let little Sue get in my head too much.

After work today, we went home and I made a little dinner for Andrew and I then we watched Game of Thrones, until it was time to go to bed

The day that I broke my big toe.

Today, I felt ready to go into work, but it was definitely a Monday. We loved our little weekend of nothing going on, it was nice to reconnect with each other. We are typically so busy, so to have that time off was really nice. We had to stop over my parents for a bit, once we got off the bus, and I had a roast in the crock pot.

Once we were leaving my parents, it was pouring down rain! Andrew said, lets make a run for it. I am in flip flops, that were a bit too big on me to begin with, but I agreed. I went to go up the back steps, slipped, and fell. I had lesions on my hand and elbow and for some reason, my toe was throbbing when I was walking. I thought great! I can’t believe I fell. This is the second time that I fell up my parent’s walkway in the rain, throughout our relationship!

When I got into the car, Andrew saw how cut up I was and took me to Leanne’s to drop off her key to the tanning salon, and she gave me some peroxide and Band-Aids, then it was back to UPMC MedExpress, only this time we went to the Robinson location. They fixed me up and took xrays of my foot, and said it looks like I may have broken my big toe on my left foot! I just looked over at Drew and wanted to kill him for suggesting we make a run for it. They gave me a shoe to wear and wrapped my toe. I can’t believe I did this and that I am here at MedExpress. All I wanted to do was go home, eat my roast, and watch Bachelor in Paradise.

Once I got home, we did watch the Bachelor in Paradise, and saw Chad confront Chris Harrison. I never laughed so hard in my life! We did eat the roast that I had made. I was just glad to be home.