When I first heard there was such a thing as doggy daycares, I thought it was a GREAT idea! Cute little dogs, running and playing all day while their owners were at work. I didn’t have a dog at the time. And when I did get my furry daughter Dave, I couldn’t afford to enroll her anyway. There was one in the city I worked in, but not in the city I lived in.
Then I got the great idea to start my own doggy daycare. I could take my dog there with me, to work every day! I wouldn’t have to miss her! I wouldn’t have to pay to enroll her! I could be making money off other people’s dogs! I could have it right in my own town and alleviate my two hour daily commute!
Why, Dave could be my mascot! She could also be my mascot for my dream of a Jennifer’s Wiener Hut. Hmmm. There must be someway to combine the two business ideas. Customers who don’t pay up, their dogs get ground into hot dogs! Wait, too gruesome? Scratch that. Just a cost-cutting idea 😉
My Dave, the mascot of my dog empire, featured her in an early mock-up
I love organization. I could have spreadsheets about what dogs get fed how much and what kind of food. I could make forms for prospective clients to fill out and submit with their proof of vaccinations and emergency info. I could keep have a file full of dates when I need to nag the owners to get me new annual shot records.
I made a mental plan to get a job at a doggy daycare for a while so that I could get paid training and pilfer their best practices. I looked up all the closest ones online. I watched their job postings. I even took an American Red Cross Dog First Aid class (required or highly recommended to work for most of these places).
My American Red Cross Dog First Aid card
At one point, I even had a job offer from one. At the time, it did not fit the requirements I needed for a job to support my family’s needs. Which, was kind of a huge bummer.
It seemed like a great plan and I held on to that dream for several years. But I finally gave it up. Mostly because our Pointer Parker is such a troublesome dog, he turned me off to spending all day, every day, with dogs. As I speak, Parker is pacing through the house. He will momentarily pee on the floor is I do not jump right up and let him out. It doesn’t matter that he just went out two hours ago. Or that I purposely left his water dish empty since breakfast so that he would not drink the whole thing all at once. I really do not like him. And part of that could be that he took my dream away from me. One of the few I ever had that seemed like I would be able to make it work.
This is the horrible Parker dog who has stolen my dreams from me. Don’t let the Santa hat fool you.
There. I just let him outside, and back in again. Of course, while he was out there, he danced the Riverdance in the mud puddles. He comes in covered in mud (and I know what else) from head to toe. He is entitled and ungrateful. He is actually a cat.
Cats would never be allowed at Jennifer’s Doggy Daycare.
I have returned to my ultimate dream: early retirement. I might need the help of the lottery to make that one happen.
This post will make you laugh, and it will make you cry.
My deep feelings about the Wienermobile are plenty. Let me share them with you now.
I never knew such a thing as the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile existed, until one night on the 11 o’clock news I saw it as the final 30 second special interest feature they always do before cutting away to the Tonight Show. As a devoted follower of all things weird and pop culture, I instantly fell in love.
I sent away to Oscar Mayer for an information pack about the Wienermobile. In those pre-Internet days, that is just how we did things. The packet was a folder full of stuff, containing an 8×10 glossy of the Wienermobile, along with historical facts, and of course a catalog of fine Oscar Mayer products for purchase.
First Wienermobile info packet from Oscar Mayer
Being a good little consumer, I totally ordered a Wienermobile shirt (it was one of my favorites for years), a Wienermobile Hot Wheel, and several wiener whistles, that I then continued to hand out to people who were important to me for years to come. (If you knew me in person, you would understand. Or at least you would smile to my face and laugh behind my back about it. That IS the polite thing to do, afterall*.)
I was instantly interested in how I could maybe one day get to drive the Wienermobile. Unfortunately, it was a college internship thing. At this time, I was only senior in high school. So, I hung the picture on my bedroom wall and wore my shirt weekly. (Can you guess that I was not popular in high school? I was Sue Heck, from The Middle. I was so oblivious, I didn’t even realize how unpopular I was. Except I had glasses instead of braces.) At this time, I may have also came up with my dream of Jennifer’s Wiener Hut.
Sue Heck from The Middle standing in front of a giant hot dog. It is like this picture was MADE for this post!
When I started college and majored in Communications, taking classes in Radio and TV Broadcasting, and minored in English-Writing, I thought that maybe those would be skills Oscar Mayer might find useful. I thought that maybe if I had a Wienermobile internship for a summer, that then I could parlay that into an actual job at Oscar Mayer. Wisconsin is not that different from Michigan. Weather or culturally. I could probably handle living there. I like cows and cheese.
When I was a junior in college, I inquired again in writing to Oscar Mayer about how to become a hotdogger (what they call the people who drive the dog). They sent me another information packet (not quite as awesome as the one from 3 years before). Incidentally, that was the 60th anniversary of the Wienermobile. They informed me that the internship was only for graduating seniors. So, I would still have to wait.
Second Wienermobile info packet from Oscar Mayer (Yes, I DO save everything)
With either the first or second mailing, they had sent me a cassette tape with all the different versions of the Oscar Mayer weiner song on it. Traditional, march, bossa nova, you name it, it was on there. I even used the music (and some of my other memorabilia) to make a commercial for my TV Production class.
[My apologies to the college students who are displayed within. I am withholding their names to avoid any further embarrassment.]
The Wienermobile came to Toledo. I was brave and drove down all by myself to go see it at the Lucas County Fairgrounds. I took many pictures. They wouldn’t let anyone go inside of it 😦
The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile at Ned Skeldon Stadium
As I got closer to graduation, I wandered into the Career Center at the college once or twice. It was useless. Usually no one offered any help in there. Once the adviser guy did talk to me, and admitted that they did not get many job postings for positions in the Communications area. (Gee, thanks. Glad I spent 4 years worth of money here so that you could tell me that now!)
On one of these trips in, I saw it…
The sign to apply for the Wienermobile Hotdogger interships that year! The year of my impending graduation!
The bulletin that Adrian College posted (Note the incorrect spelling of Mayer!)
But F**K! The deadline was just a few days away!
I had to type up a resume and cover letter and get it in the mail, pronto. I am sure whatever I had for a resume at the time was pathetic, so I am sure I had to spend some time in the computer lab to revise it. The computer lab that was always busy, because many students did not yet have their own desktop computers. (Laptop? What is a laptop? A cell phone? Only guys on Wall Street have those. A smart phone? Does not compute.) I went to the post office and mailed it off priority 2-day mail, which I had never used before, because I wanted it to make it there by the deadline.
Then I worried and fretted that I had not made the deadline. I never heard back from them. Not even a rejection letter. By the time summer came and they would have been starting their Wieneriffic journey, I knew I was not worthy of the wiener 😦 I would have missed my then boyfriend, now husband if they had chosen me. But I think he would have understood. And followed me to Wisconsin.
For years, I was bitter about not getting the internship. I still am. In July of 2011, I was laid off from my job of 12 years. A year and a half later, I was still looking for a new job. I had gotten pretty desperate by then, so I was applying to somewhat crazy jobs anyway. Then I stumbled across the Hotdogger job. Again! But this time, it was not tied to anything about college. There were no restrictions, so I applied again!
I knew I wouldn’t get it. And I knew it was crazy, since I had a husband and small child at home who I really couldn’t leave to travel. But I had to apply. Again.
So I could feel rejected. Again.
I always knew someday I would write a blog post about the Wienermobile.
I HAVE ANOTHER SHOT! And because I am a powerful manifester, I will continue to get shots until IT IS MINE!
You think my confidence is cocky? I have a $2000 6 foot tall plush giraffe that I got for free in my house to prove that I CAN make my dreams come true. That only took me 20 years. And it only took me 20 years to get a dog. Hmmm…and to get a Red Wings hockey jersey…
I see a pattern here.
This bodes well for me and the wiener. And for getting a book published sometime soon.
NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS!
RELISH THEM! (hehehehehe)
Once again I am coming down to the wire, though. If you want to enter as well, just tweet #tweet2lease by 2/7/14. But please don’t, because I want to win.
But if you do, and you do win, please swing by my house for a ride. That is all I really want…to have a ride in the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.
…and the Goodyear Blimp. Obviously not at the same time though.
* “afterall” is one word in the funnygurl2 dictionary.
My gramma used to live on the top floor of a 7-story apartment building. I would stand on her balcony and watch the residents and visitors come and go from the parking lot below. I could also see the busy 5-lane road that served as her building’s address.
Across the street was a shopping plaza. It did not contain some of the busier stores in town, but there was lots of traffic that passed by. At the very front of the plaza was a tiny gas station, back when they still made them that way. It had two old-school square pumps out front. I believe it may have even been full service.
But you have to remember, this was probably 25 years ago.
The gas station closed and sat there empty for a long time. And that is when I developed my business plan.
My great consignment store find plate featuring hamburgers and hot dogs
I wanted to someday use that building to open Jennifer’s Wiener Hut. At the time, there were many restaurants along that road. And being at the front of the parking lot right near the street, I would have had great frontage.
I would have put a drive-thru on both sides of the building. This was pretty forward thinking for my age at that time, as I had never seen a Rally’s with that set-up. I would have had my sign be a giant hot dog at the top of the building that said “Jennifer’s Wiener Hut”. It would be drive-thru or walk up only, no indoor seating.
Hot Dog Salt & Pepper Shakers
I would have served hot dogs and sausages. I would have offered chips as sides. I figured I could offer almost anything on the menu as long as it didn’t require a fryer. (I’m scared of bubbling hot oil.)
My restaurant would be known for getting the cars in and out fast. (This would be an advantage of having a limited menu.) People with only a half hour for their lunch would think of my restaurant first. People who were in a hurry would be my target customer. Unfortunately, that would make for a rather crabby customer base.
It’s not that I think hot dogs are the greatest food of all-time. They are not. Although they are a great food choice for picky eaters at a fair or festival. And sometimes a hot dog just hits the spot.
Although, according to the book “Never Put Ketchup On A Hot Dog” (I used to send copies of this book out to stores at my old job), I am sacrilegious because I usually only eat ketchup on my hot dog (and sometimes onions). But, as my mom would say, “Hot dogs are just made of the leftover parts the meat companies can’t use for anything else”. So why should it matter what way I choose to consume it?
I love hot dogs the most because of the kitsch/camp factor. Hot dog advertising over the years is so cute and happy. Just picture the smiling, dancing hot dog with his friends popcorn and fountain pop on the drive-in movie screen. And think of the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. (But that is a whole post of it’s own. Someday.)
The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile at Ned Skeldon Stadium (now torn down)
Over the years I have purchased items with hot dogs on them, and in the back of my mind I always thought maybe I would use them someday in my hot dog stand or as a decoration on the shelf that would go around inside my stand, up by the ceiling.
Hot Dog Towel
On Mackinac Island, there is a yellow hotel across the street from the Straits of Mackinac. It has a little hot dog stand in front of it between the street and the water painted up yellow and white, just like the hotel. I took a picture of it so that I could remember it as a model for Jennifer’s Wiener Hut.
Hotel and Hot Dog Stand on Mackinac Island
The gas station I dreamed of converting is long since torn down. But I still think it is a good idea. And because I would be the owner, I would hire other people to actually work in the hot, steamy, tiny kitchen. I would just beam with pride that I own a business with my name on it and am making money from it.
And if the hot dog stand didn’t work out, I could use the same name for a male strip club 😉