From STL to Arkansas: The evolving job status

Before you assume what I do for a living, let me go ahead and tell you.

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I didn’t have a dream job in St. Louis. It was a decent paying gig and I did my best to make do without hating it. Ronnoco Coffee was the warehouse and I did a number of things for them. I worked the dock-unloading and loading trucks-as well as working in the production and picking areas. I drove the transfer truck and even roasted coffee for a few weeks. When you work in a warehouse, you do everything but sit around and count the squares on the wall. It’s busy physical work.

When it comes to warehouse grunt work, I’m a veteran. I’ve worked in six different warehouses for five different companies. Park 370 Schnucks, Senoret Chemical, Bommaritto Wines, Conway Trucking and Ronnoco. Each place has their own personal rigors and delights. You haven’t loaded a truck until you’ve pushed 60 skids of chemicals onto a 53 foot trailer with the driver sleeping inside his truck. I’ve driven a Yale, Toyota, Kawasaki, and a few other fork lift brands. The smell of propane in the morning is worse than a bad instance of gas from a football fan who loves bratwurst.

In December of 2014, my wife had an opportunity to acquire her own store. She was an assistant manager at the Tile Shop in Sunset Hills and had a chance to be a Store Manager but it would have to come in a different state. Florida and Alabama were possibilities. Then, Arkansas came up. Little Rock, Arkansas. It seemed harmless at first. A new beginning in a different place. The cover of the book looked great but if you flipped the pages inside too fast, the general climate of change would pass you by. 

What it represented for me was a chance to get out of warehouse dirty grunt work. Bad uniforms, shitty breakrooms, bad hours, and oversight that wasn’t worthy of a business card handout. Moving down to Arkansas for me was having the chance to write for a living. Granted I had been writing furiously for the past four years. I’d write 1-3 articles a day on sports and entertainment. KSDK News, Arch City Sports, Cards Conclave, Film-Addict, and the Dose of course.

If it had an HTML, I had words to throw there. This move would give the chance to do more often and whenever I wanted. Being a sports writer and entertainment commentary writer, you have to be ready to go when news breaks. My mind never slows down and I sometimes pull over in my car to writes notes or a thought down.

The move didn’t come without hardship. Since Arkansas daycares aren’t the greatest and it’s not easy to get your 3-4 four year old in a school at his age with a September birthday, I became a stay at home parent. My wife worked 60 hours a week and I had to take care of the kid, the house, cook, and also find time to write for 3-4 websites. If there was money with the writing work, I flocked to it. I dropped work I didn’t want to in order to make some money. While a stay at home parent job can suck the life out of you, I wanted to quietly push a career.

Quietly, this move gave my wife a chance to pursue her dream job and for me to start carving away at mine. Since my move to Arkansas, I’ve written for the following websites:

*Cards Conclave

*Cardinals Farm

*KSDK News

*Up All Night News

*Hidden Remote

*Fansided

*Redbird Rants

*St. Louis Game Time(paper and site)

*St. Louis Sports Minute

I also did radio hits on River Country 96.7 in Jonesboro with Rob Butler. I did segments on ESPN in Columbia, and lately do a lot of work for CBS Sports We Are Live radio. I started doing a weekly podcast with Daniel Shoptaw on the Cardinals and hosted United Cardinal Blogger radio once a month and started my own pod here.

Add this to tireless fitness work and being a loving and dedicated husband along with spending 24/7/365 with my son Vincent. That has been my life since our move here in December of 2014. Clean, cook, care for, work out, write, and some sleep. Most of the writing is by choice but I do make some money.

I contribute to a lifestyle magazine in Eaglebrooke, Florida. I interview families, business owners, and write up stories on local restaurants. I make part time money so far in my journey of being a fully paid writer. I also save my family a ton of money with my cooking, cleaning, and caring for my son Vincent. All together, I think I do a good job and make a different kind of living.

Vin

Why am I writing about this? Well, many on social media(where I am an active pariah) think I don’t do anything all day and make my wife slave over her job. These aren’t just trolls that suggest this but people I know personally and have even edited a few of their columns for STLSM. Others I’ve discussed sports with and spoke with many times. Sometimes, you really don’t know someone until the ugly in them arrives.

Here’s what I want to say to them. They must be from a different time period where men had to do all the work and make the most money. I call that the Mad Men era. Here’s what I’d say. “So next time my wife asks me if we can rip the roots out of our life in St. Louis in order for her to get a great job opportunity that could change our life, I should say no. No honey. Let’s stay in St. Louis and keep working decent jobs that move us from paycheck to paycheck until all the oxygen is sucked out of our heads. Let’s do that so I can keep working a deadend warehouse job.”

Fuck that. I told my wife let’s do it. At first, it was bad. I got severely homesick and went to a dark ass place. I nearly lost everything. I recovered and dug in with both feet. Now, I write a ton, get paid, and watch over my kid while my wife settles into her dream job. I didn’t put a restriction on my wife because I felt my testosterone count had to measured high every month. I didn’t get in her way. It wasn’t easy but we did it. We are stronger than ever.

So next time you think you know my personal life and situation, please direct yourself to this post. It won’t go away. If you aren’t a parent, don’t ever make a comment on lifestyle to a parent. Different worlds people. Don’t tell a parent how to raise their kid, especially if you aren’t even a parent. You look dumber than shit.

It’s not easy. There are days where a headache doesn’t vanish and I do three loads of laundry while two loads of dishes and meals have to be cooked. I write an article in 30 minutes and edit for five before running off to do something. Sleep is optional but always tempting. The gym beckons and dinner has to be made. Did I say I am in charge of a tiny human being too?

I hope you learned something today. I hope I enlightened you and brought something to your attention. Cleared it up like I was teaching math to a 3rd grader. I’m here to clarify and help.

A job is a job. Sometimes you clock in and get dirty. Sometimes you do a variety of things inside a 24 hour period that some would say is unconventional yet a worthy living. It’s important to not judge a book by its cover, even with the idea of work and what it means to each family.

*Please relay all your grammar errors and suggestions to GetALife@grammarpolice.com. It’s best to not worry so much about commas and hyphens when you might miss the entire point of the article.

Author: D. Buffa

A regular guy who feels a journalistic hunger to tell the news. I blog because its wired into my brain to write what I think in print. I offer an opinion. A solo tour here. Take regular stories and offer my spin on them. Sports, film, television, music, fatherhood, culture, food, and so on. Commentary on everything. A St. Louis native and Little Rock resident who wants to write just to keep the hands fresh and ready.

2 thoughts on “From STL to Arkansas: The evolving job status”

  1. Powerful words dude. I didn’t know you in STL but three of us are pretty happy to know the three of you here.

    Also I know understand why your infatuation with coffee is so intense, I’m sure it’s in your blood at this point!

  2. Excellent! Thank you for helping your beautiful wife to become a stronger, more fulfilled person. As for you…. Enjoy your Dad time, it is fleeting as the years go by quickly. Vince will remember your quality time with him. Both of you are being the best parents you can be… Be happy doing it for such a wonderful little guy. Enjoy😊

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