We Can Once Again Travel To Races

By Susan Phillips

The fact that my smiling face has not been up here in a while was not by accident. As most know, my life took a dramatic turn almost two years ago when I lost my job in January of 2013. After only seven months into our new marriage, I found myself unemployed for the first time in my life. To say I was devastated would be putting it lightly. I focused all my efforts on getting a job in my chosen profession as a graphic designer and came up empty.

As I was still trying to get a designer job, last September I chose to take a “survival job” in an area that was one of my hobbies – decorating cakes at a major grocery chain. Although the $12 an hour brought in a little income, it wasn’t the income I needed so much as a purpose. I now had a reason to get up and get going every day.

The trouble was, even though I was considered “part-time”; I was working about 38 hours a week. Sometimes I had to be there at 5:00 am to open up the bakery. I was also guaranteed to work every single weekend, usually both days. I would get home late afternoon every Saturday and Sunday and collapse. I had no energy to watch races or football games with George and lost touch with almost everything.

George works normal hours through the week. I was sometimes working 12 hours per day on weekends. We did not see a lot of each other and when we did, I was exhausted. We essentially had no weekends.

This past May, I asked off for the three race weekends at Indy and they laughed at me. They said there was no way I would get three weekends off in one month – especially after giving me a weekend off to go to Barber in April. I was asked which weekend I wanted to give up, so I chose the Grand Prix weekend forcing George to go it alone that weekend.

When we left Indy on Memorial Day Monday, we both knew our personal racing season was done for the year. George didn’t like being alone that Grand Prix weekend (at least he says he didn’t) and we knew there would be no more weekends off for me.

With no time to look for a real job, being physically worn out on a constant basis, and no weekend travel or leisure time to spend with my (relatively) new husband; life looked bleak.

But late this summer, that all changed. I heard about a job opening with a company that is contracted to Wal-Mart that sends me around to teach Wal-Mart bakery employees how to decorate cakes. It provided a company car and a great salary. Best of all, I was to have every weekend off and vacation time. The only drawback was there would be overnight travel. It sounded too good to be true to marry one of my passions with a professional, high-caliber job.

I interviewed several times and actually got it. I kept waiting to find out what the catch was. But after more than three months on the job, I still have not found the catch. This time, “too good to be true” didn’t turn out to be the case. It was true; all of it. I’ve been given a brand new Toyota Rav-4 to cover parts of Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama and Georgia. Some weeks I’m out a few nights, other weeks I’m home every night. And I’m off every single weekend.

Finally, we are free to travel to a few more races. That’s good, because there are many we’d like to see. Starting out, we are traveling to New Orleans to the new race there. Two weeks later, we’ll be at Barber. Two weeks after that will start the three weekends in a row at Indy. Those are carved in stone.

George has also said he wants to go to Milwaukee and Pocono since they may not be on the schedule after next season. I’m hoping we can go to at least one of those. Our budget may or may not allow it, but at least we have the flexibility to do it with our schedules. He also has mentioned Toronto as one of the races he wants us to hit, but said it may be better to wait and see if a double-header returns for 2016.

That shows how far removed I’ve been lately. Until he explained it the other night, I didn’t know it was not a double-header for next year. Who knew?

But now that I’ve gotten three months under my belt with the new job and see that it’s truly what I thought it was, I’m ready to travel and so is George. Personally, I wanted to go to St. Petersburg since we spent our honeymoon not far from there. But George wants to save that one for another year. He seems really concerned that Milwaukee and Pocono may go away after this year and he really wants to focus on them. He says we can do St. Pete any other year. Whatever. I may now get a little more time to write here and give George a little bit of a break (not that he needs it).

Anyway we’re both very happy that after two racing seasons with my job situation in limbo that things are now settled and we can start taking trips. Now let’s see if I can pull the unthinkable and actually see if he’ll go on a trip that isn’t to a race track.

15 Responses to “We Can Once Again Travel To Races”

  1. Good for you Susan. I wish you continued success at your new job. If you and George decide to come to the Milwaukee race, the tickets are on me. Good luck with getting George to go somewhere besides a race track. That would be icing on the cake would it not?

  2. Mike Silver Says:

    That’s great news, Susan. I’;m very happy for you. When you do get to St. Pete, you would be welcome to stay at my house. Closing on it today. Enjoy the races!

  3. billytheskink Says:

    Great to hear. Maybe I’ll run into you all at New Orleans.

  4. That’s a great story to hear. Just more confirmation to never give up; you never know where your next opportunity comes from.

    I am hoping to go to two races next year; Texas and New Orleans. Both with my good friend, billytheskink.

  5. Yes, continued success and I am jealous about Milwaukee.

  6. Great news to hear on all fronts, Susan. I am so happy that everything wound up working out even better than you could have hoped for!

  7. Congrats Susan. I am so relieved that your new job did turn out so wonderfully for you. I too am jealous about New Orleans since I probably will stay on the West Coast this year. My big dream is to be able to attend the 100th running of the 500 in 2016. May is not a good time to try and get vacation, but I will hold onto that dream.

    All the best to you and George!

  8. Leigh O'Gorman Says:

    Congratulations Susan,
    Fantastic news. Good to hear that things are working out again.

  9. Congrats on the new job. That is great to hear.

    Here’s very much looking forward to next season’s trackside coverage courtesy of oilpressure dot com!

    I may run in open doors with George with the next thought, but Susan, have you ever thought about making a cameo on “One Take Only”?

  10. IndyCarla Says:

    Susan, it’s so good to hear that you finally got the job you want. I look forward to more posts by you – especially at the races. You are one of the few that brings a woman’s perspective. Even the other female bloggers cover IndyCar like a man would. You bring a fresh viewpoint. You and George make a good team..

  11. DZ-groundedeffects Says:

    Susan, I’m so very happy to hear how much your work situation improved and that it will allow more racing enjoyment (and possibly more blogging) as well. I wish I could do all the races you’re looking at as well. Looking forward to seeing you at IMS and beyond next year! Oh, yeah, you too George.

    Agree with Yannick and IndyCarla – One Take Only, and more blogging please! 🙂

  12. DZ-groundedeffects Says:

    Also, I’ve done MIL and POC for the weekends. I’m happy share any insights here or anywhere.

  13. Congrats on the job! Looking forward to more blog updates.

  14. Randy Holbrook Says:

    I’m catching up on my oil pressure reading so I know I’m late but congrats on the new job! That is truly wonderful and +1 on One Take Only.

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