TWELVE Tips to Help You Succeed in Life:Part Eight
TIP EIGHT: QUESTION WHY BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO YOU
The Month of Eating was going along pretty strong following my employment at Plushie Palace. For starters, I was actually excited about getting up early and going to work! To WORK! Even Mom seemed shocked when she caught me eating breakfast at seven in the morning on my very first day. "My, aren't you an early Pteri today?" she teased, taking her seat across from me. She coughed lightly and flashed me her 'I am so proud of you for finally growing up and doing something useful with your life for once' smile.
"I guess things change once in a while," I said casually, munching loudly on my cereal.
"You were never this chipper when you worked at Usukiland," Mom remarked, coughing again.
"Eh, working there wasn't my cup of tea for employment," I insisted. Despite my terrible time as an employee, I was still an avid visitor at Usukiland and I even bought two new sets with some of my savings.
After that, we ate in silence and then I rushed out of the house, fully prepared for my first day at the Plushie Palace—the CUTEST store in all of Neopia! I already told Mom how awesome Cassie is and how working there was going to be easy-peasy lemon squeezy! Of course Mom had to care about the more practical stuff (pay, work hours, employees because she's a gossip) but she was still happy for me and wished me lots of luck. She also kept coughing and, although she insisted she was fine, I felt a twinge of worry for her. Regardless, all I can do now is trek forward with this story, so let's go to my first day at the Plushie Palace.
From the outside the pink and blue building is so darling, and the rainbow Aisha statue attached to the front is so eye-catching. But step inside and you'll be swamped in a world filled with pink wallpaper, pink carpets, blue and pink rugs and dark pink lights that hang from the ceiling. Tall pink shelves line the walls, with smaller (usually heart shaped) shelves squeezed in-between the taller ones. And of course all the shelves—and the round, pink tables littered around the ground floor—are filled with so many cute, cuddly plushie darlings! Seriously, this place is filled with a variety of different plushies in every species and paint brush colour a Neopian can imagine. And besides me and Cassie, a pink Zafara named Lisa-Ann works here, though only on weekends.
My first day started off pretty well, honestly. Yes it was a bit of a pain to unload boxes of red Quiggle plushies and stacking them in a neat pyramid in the middle of the store, but Cassie was a great help and, after we were done and opened shop, she gave me a yummy jam cookie. "I always bake treats for employees," said Cassie, smiling. "You'd be amazed how motivating a plate of cookies can be."
"Gee Cassie, you're the nicest boss ever," I marvelled, devouring my cookie. "I'm pretty surprised we're the only ones here today. Aren't there other employees?"
Cassie shrugged. "The majority of employees I've hired were mainly here for part-time employment. I mainly hire college students, and the majority of them are more focused on their career goals than staying here full-time." She beamed at me and then we set off to welcome the first customers of the day.
Everyday we had somewhat of a routine: unloading boxes and restocking the shelves; roaming the floor, asking customers if they needed anything; and lastly closing up the shop at six o clock. Cassie always paid me a compliment before we departed, and her words always made me feel warm and fuzzy. She really is Neopia's friendliest boss! Not only is she nice to me, but she also makes an effort to get along with all of the customers and to make them feel warm too. An elderly Ogrin, for example, had asked Cassie for help. "I need one of your cuddliest plushies for my granddaughter," she explained. "It's a late birthday gift, but nonetheless. The softer the better!"
"How about you examine our display of Uni plushies?" Cassie suggested, gesturing toward a nearby table stacked with Unis.
The Ogrin admired the darling plushies and, after a few minutes of pondering, shook her head. "No, I need something much cuter."
Cassie and I tried our best, but the Ogrin was still acting persnickety and disapproving. In exasperation, I presented Ms. NitpickMcGee three different Usul plushies: one blue, one baby and a headless green Usul plushie I had no idea was either damaged or an actual product for sale. The Ogrin took the baby Usul plushie and thanked me with a warm smile. "And aren't you so pretty," she added sweetly. With a nod, she headed towards the register.
"Wowzers, you really saved the day there," said Cassie.
"Oh please, who could honestly resist a baby plushie?" I asked, my face burning like a pit of fire.
So all this blissfulness continued on well into the Month of Hunting; my life as splendid as the last day of Neoschool. Cassie was still the world's great boss, and my job was surprisingly going pretty well. Daisy-May and Lucy were my closest friends, while Claudia whatever-happened-to-her-I-don't-care remained far, far away from me. I also forgot about Andrew, but for now, he's nobody important. Maybe later on? Eh, we'll see.
Anywho, things were going peachy for me until the 15th Day of the Month of Hunting. On that particular morning, Mom wasn't feeling well again, so I minded my own business and headed to work as usual. After yet another splendid day, I returned home and saw a note taped to the front door:
By the time you're reading this, I'll be at the hospital. But please don't worry: it's just a check-up and I'll be out before you can say 'Mom, what's for dinner today?'.
I'll take care of dinner when I come home, so have a snack if you want and then meet me at the hospital.
It was weird that Mom's note sounded so calm about going to the hospital, like she was saying 'just going to a regular check-up' rather than it possibly be something far more serious. I tried running, but then I gave up and decided to borrow a neighbour's bike, though I'm not the best cyclist in the world. The trek to the hospital was plagued with constant wobbling, uncertain directions, annoying kids who've never heard of the phrase 'look before you cross the street', and my worries for Mom. Finally I reached the white-stuccoed hospital building and entered, asking the pink Bruce receptionist where my Mom was. When I reached her room, Mom smiled at me and said brightly, "May, you sure rushed your way here. How was work today?"
Gasping heavily, I collapsed into a chair and—after several more minutes of heavy breathing and water-drinking—I blurted out, "How was work? WORK?? Mother, you're in a hospital bed! Who cares about work??"
The doctor entered the room then and turned to Mom with a grim expression and a clipboard in his hands. "I'm afraid your tests don't look so good," the blue Elephante sighed. "The medical team believe you may have contracted Reptillioritus."
"But Mom has never been bitten by a Reptillior before!" I exclaimed. "This must be a misdiagnosis! Call the Defenders of Neopia! I demand a re-trial!"
The doctor shook his head. "The rash on your mother's arms clearly points to Reptillioritus." He turned to Mom and added, "You'll need to spend an extra eight days in the hospital for now, ma'am. We need to conduct further tests on you and plan out an effective treatment plan."
"That would be a good idea," Mom said thoughtfully. "But I don't think our savings can cover all eight days. How about just three or four? Would that be enough?"
"I'm afraid not." The doctor looked grim.
I stood up and, trying to sound calm, said, "Maybe I can help raise the money for my Mom. If I can give you all the required neopoints, can she stay here for the eight days?"
Mom grabbed my hand. "Nadine, don't act so impulsively," she hissed. "Hospital bills are very costly; at least three times more than you'll earn in two months' pay!" She blinked back tears. "Just try not to worry, okay? I'll find a way to fix all this—"
"No you can't! You can't do anything!" I shouted.
The doctor was probably feeling like the…well, the 'Elephante in the room' (laugh!), but I didn't care about him. I had a rant to belt out and nobody was going to stop me. So I continued my speech with, "Do you honestly expect me to just go home ad nap until you're feeling better? You've been sick for at least a month now and not once have you reached out to me! I could have helped earlier! You should have told me all this was going on so I could help and not feel like I'm out of the loop! How could you? HOW COULD YOU??"
"Nadine." Mom sounded firm and acted like she was in-control, but I knew otherwise. Her eyes were tired and her shoulders were slumped with fatigue. "Dear, I understand how upset you must be feeling—why, I'm sure this is the first time you've ever seen me this exhausted! But I will get through this illness. Just be a good little Nadine and try to be patient, okay?"
I shook my head, trying to hide my tears since Mom hasn't seen me cry since I was a kid. "Whatever I have to do, I'll do it! If I have to work more shifts or even find a second job, I'll go do it!" I knelt, grabbing Mom's hands. "You'll see: I will be Neopia's hardest worker, and I'll make sure you stay in the hospital as long as you need to!"
I linked pinkey-fingers with her. "Promise." I forced a wavering smile "Then everything with be okay again! You'll see!"
To be continued…