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  • I haven’t always been a landscape designer.

    Before that I was a live on site manager for subsidized housing and drove an old white Jag. Before that I quit my job to start a landscape and construction management business but eleven days after I started, 9-11 hit and I lost all my clients.

    Before that I worked as an assistant to a project manager in a construction company that was so high end they kept their names off of their trucks. We did homes for Larry Ellison and heiresses and such. Somehow I got used to seeing invoices for a million dollars a month.

    Before that I was a supervisor at a fence company. I over saw eleven fence crews when the industry norm was five per supervisor. The other supervisor, a man, over saw 3 crews. I was too naive to know what the industry norm was. After eight months of 80 hour weeks on a salary, they fired me for non -performance. I weighed a hundred and five pounds.

    Before that I lived in Paradise with Dave and telecommuted to a job as a marketing and business manager for Rob who owned a yacht charter business in Sausalito. Before that I worked for Rob at his home office in Tiburon. He told me he loved me on the day I left. He asked me to stay. I felt obligated to go – to be near my children, my husband and I had only just divorced, and Dave had bought a house in Paradise for me to live. I wish I’d stayed. So did he. He died a few years ago from prostate cancer. We never patched it up. But we heard about each other through the grape vine.

    Before that I worked as a business manager for a certifiable genius with attention deficit disorder. My job became begging people not to quit, buffering them from his tirades, and telling clients that yes, he really does exist. People would come with their raw coffee beans from all over the world to get him to taste, roast, and rate their beans. We sold used and new roasting machines. I helped him with his designs for machines, learned something about the fine points of roasting – after nearly burning the place down. I learned one hell of a lot about the supply side of the coffee business. I was newly separated, crazy out of my mind with grief and trying to hold myself together. The owner of the company, though married, had some dumb idea that I would be interested in him.

    Before that I lived on Maui with my family and wrote a novel. Attended two of the Maui Writers Conferences there and had an excerpt from the novel chosen as one of the ten best submissions to the conference.

    Before that I lived in Washington and had a business that represented craft artists. Women only. I found them by going to local craft fairs. I did trade shows up and down the West Coast. I was always the last person packing up her booth in a huge empty show space. My artists did pottery and glass.

    Before that I had a construction company and held a general contractors license. My husband insisted I hire his brother who had been a contractor in another state and needed the work. He was a good guy. I hired another of his brothers too. My houses were in spec house developments, but I used semi custom plans. They sold in framing stage and that didn’t endear me to the other contractors in the developments. It was the most fun I’d ever had in business. Until the contractor brother began to get pissy that I owned the company rather than he. I began to get pissy that my husband had never allowed me to be involved in his businesses but he couldn’t keep his nose out of mine. After several other business challenges, I decided to shut the business down and go into something that none of them would be interested in. I miss building and designing houses.

    Before that I was a real estate agent for 15 years. I sold houses to first time buyers mostly. I loved helping young couples and singles buy their first home. When I complained of the shoddy construction that was inspired by the housing boom, my husband said: if you think you can do better, why don’t you go out and build houses. I told him he was a genius.

    Before that I was a billing clerk for Sunpak Movers.
    Before that I was a cashier for Model Lumber.
    Before that I was the outside sales girl at a local Jack in the Box.
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