FIRST PERSON | Back in 2011, for health reasons, I left my job. Not just quit my job, left. After a particularly stressful day in which I found out I wouldn’t be able to go to the doctor to get my blood pressure meds adjusted for a month or so, only to have things go from bad to disastrous that day, I packed my things at the end of the day, went home, and broke the news to my wife. I tried to start a business at home, failed for a number of reasons, and threw myself at the task of being a stay-at-home dad for a cute little two-year-old.
Fast forward to 2013. The world and the economy being what it is…well, one job isn’t cutting it. At all. And because of our situation, I have to go back and forth to my daughters’ schools two, three, as many as four times a day. Working at home is really the only viable option right now.
I’ve been going through freelance boards for a while, and if there’s one creative thing I got asked to do regularly in my old life, it was touch up photos. So, I bid on a bunch of jobs…and nothing. Bid on a bunch more; this time around, I got sent some test images, but nothing. Finally, just as I was about to give up, I saw a listing that merely asked:
Looking to have photos touched up and tattoos removed from models.
In all honesty, I replied just because it annoyed me:
Before I give a concrete quote, could I see an example of the pictures you want touched up?
And I forgot about it until my phone alerted me when I was dropping off my daughter at preschool. While she was going to the bathroom, I checked the phone, and the message said,
Images will have partial nudity. Is this okay?
Sigh. What to say? Half the day I have a kid at home, and if I’m sitting at my desk on the computer, she’ll occasionally stop what she’s doing and come over and ask, “Whatcha doin’, daddy?!” Do I want “partial nudity”, whatever that means, on my screen?
On the other hand, she’s gone in the afternoon, and it was afternoon…so, when I got back to my car, I sent back the reply:
Sure, no problem. Just send me the photos and I’ll take a look at them. Thanks and have a great day!
And…nothing for the rest of the afternoon. Crud. And after the girls got home that day, my phone chimed:
Here’s the photos I want edited, although there’s more than I’d thought. Can you still do it for the same price?
Sure, I need the ratings and hours for more cred on this board, I thought, but stopped myself from sending that and started downloading the photos while I got a snack for the kids. Then I came back to the computer, opened the first photo…
…and closed it as fast as I could!
Apparently “partial nudity” means “she’s only wearing high heels”.
“Whatcha doin’, daddy?!”
“Nothing! Just checking my messages! Heh.” Then that daughter walked away, started watching some educational TV show, leaving me to cautiously open the file again. This time, I see why they want the tattoos removed. And there’s another model who was obviously cold.
What to do, what to do? On the one hand, my wife would be seriously unhappy if I was editing these pictures with the girls here. Thankfully, she wasn’t home and looking over my shoulder when I opened it, or she’d be seriously unhappy. On the other hand…at my last job, my paychecks came from selling advertising to bars, adult bookstores, and people who buy gold severely under market value. Not only that, but I didn’t like the way the cash register said, “Unauthorized” the last time I tried to use my credit card.
Sure, that shouldn’t be a problem. I’ll get them all back to you tomorrow afternoon.
Then I went off to play Crazy Eights with the kids, get them a snack, and off to bed with a couple of stories. And then I went back to work, airbrushing offensive tattoos off of a naked lady…
And now, after dutifully airbrushing out offensive tattoos, blotchy skin, and a few lumps and bumps, I now wait for approval and payment…and wonder how often, if I bid on more of these jobs, I’ll end up having to wait until the house is empty.