*taps mike* Hi. Is this thing still on?
So...yeah. It's been over two months. I won't lie. Once I got furloughed, I've more or less been sleeping All. The. Time. I haven't even been able to get it together enough to apply for unemployment until this week. I'm still doing FB, but my brain is pretty much unable to do anything more complex than yell at the clueless twatwaffles on Vanderpump Rules.
I think I turned a bit of a corner today. I polished my nails, which was a bit weird, because I no longer have "line cook nails." The last time when my nails were this long, I was pregnant with Ashe. I dressed up cute to go on my essential grocery run (my nails matched my shirt. And I even wore mascara!). While three hours on a bus for something that used to take me 45min-hour round trip, it was nice to get out for a bit and run into one of my co-workers from Happy Acres.
I'm sure the bus driver was THRILLED that we were socially distancing....and a little on the loud side because we were trying to talk through masks. At least we were at the back of the bus.
She was the wakeup call I needed. i was contacted by Happy Acres and asked if I'd like to come back as a temp. I asked her what she thought, and she was blunt: "Damn, Red....have you lost your mind? They didn't care about you 2 years ago. Do the words cannon fodder mean anything to you?"
Well, when you put it THAT way....
I just want to go back to work. Or hide inside forever. Not sure which.
In other news, my mask making skills are SOLID. Since Kent is considered essential, he's working all the time. I can do two things: make masks for him and the guys he works with and pack the guys who are giving him a ride in (because our bus system is FUCKED) a meal. I'm starting to get a couple bucks here and there, but I'm not selling them. One of the women I worked with in bakery sent me a HUGE strawberry chiffon cake because I sent her daughter 12 masks in her size. I KNEW there was a reason I'd been hoarding all of the Disney princess fabric for a reason!
Life is weird. And it seems like it is getting smaller and smaller. But I'm not entirely sure that's so bad.
Enough babbling. But the bitch is back. Just in time for my birthday. <3
Monday, I got to show my apartment to potential investors. Anxiety through the roof, but I am fairly certain they ain't buying. I think a shrine to Alice Cooper and a collection of saints candles might be off-putting.
After the stress of Monday, I went into Whole Paycheck seeking solace in overpriced oatmeal or Alphabettios. All public seating was shut down. I sat and ate my Alphabettios under the awning it work. When I knocked on the door and was let in and bitched "There is no public seating at WP! Where am I going to go in the mornings?"
Response from Big Bossman: "Well, not here."
Yup. We're closed. He did tell me to clock in, do some cleaning, pull the stuff that was going to expire to divide and wait for the Meeting Of Doom (tm).
I am a speedy little fuck, especially when i'm stressed. I popped my head out of the kitchen and asked if he wanted me to clock out and come back for the meeting.
"If you don't mind, I'd prefer if you just pour yourself a beer and stay."
He hadn't even turned the lights on. We sat in the dark, drank beer, and watched the local news and our lives falling apart. I found out that I was the only one he didn't call or text to just come in for the meeting because he wanted to give me the hours. He's a good guy. Heartbroken (as am I), but he thought of me.
And i am PISSED at most of the rest of the staff. We had the meeting. Everyone was allowed the spoils of war. And they took the booty and ran. The *&^%%^&*( who routinely takes 30 minute cigarette breaks for a quickie and scams free food cackled and said "Well, I guess YOU get to stay and clean up."
Her partner in crime slapped her on the ass and they left together.
Classy AF, righ?
I DID stay. Did a mountain of dishes. Sanitized, swept, mopped, and closed the kitchen for....who knows how long?
(Pitiful confession: when I shut the lights off, I whispered "Goodnight, John Boy." Feel free to vomit)
I WAS informed that I was the one who stayed will NOT be forgotten. Who knows where we go from here? I've applied for unemployment and at every grocery store within walking distance today (and I met the new GM at TFM. Yeah, I might be headed back. Yippee). All I can do is keep breathing.
On the upside, my pantry is not lacking. I tend to overbuy dry and canned goods, so I'm always ready for the zombie apocalypse...which is probably next. Thanks to Big Bossman, I also now have enough weird, random items to pay for the fact that I also bought the biggest bottle of vodka I can find today.
Anyone up for bratwurst pizza with pesto and Swiss on a cauliflower crust? Because I can TOtALLY hook you up. Just bring mixers. Or more vodka.
"On a clear day....you can see forever."
Oh, holy Christ on a neon pogo stick. No.
I sneak my head from under the covers. 5:55 am. And here comes my mother doing her best impression of Babs, bouncing off the walls and making my teenaged self regret I was ever born to a failed musical theatre major. She could have just stayed in college and not gotten knocked up with me. I am sure I had a quieter, calmer parent waiting on the sidelines. Preferably one who didn't decide if she was awake, everyone in the house had to be...and the best way to do that was through showtunes. Usually Barbara. At full volume.
I wanted someone quieter, calmer.
I am now older than she was when I was convinced when she was trying to torture me.
I get up first in the mornings most days. I make coffee. I try to walk quietly. To be calm, to not inflict my early bird tendencies on the other person in the house.
And yet...some mornings...I catch myself pretending to rollerskate in the kitchen in my slipper socks, so very close to belting out the opening lines to "I'd Rather Be Blue."
He shambles out, all bedhead and grumpy. "Can't you be quieter?"
I blame it on Babs.
I finally caved and called work to find out if I'm working tomorrow or not. I don't know what the hell happened the past two days, but I was told to not worry because I'm "the only one not in trouble" (!?!?!?!?) and I have all the hours starting Tuesday. And I might get more.
Er...okay? I have a feeling i'd better enjoy tomorrow. Eeeep.
Yesterday was lovely. Kent didn't have to work, so we took advantage of our mutual inability to sleep past 5am and made bacon burgers and watched the most recent episode of Stumptown. I kicked his ass at Munchkin Shakespeare, then he took a nap while I went uptown to the 1 year anniversary of our local hemp store.
It was a lot of fun. Given the last couple of days, I needed an event that was so low-key. I also got a (generous) sample of lotion that has done worlds of wonder for my wrists and hands because I am clearly THE ONLY PERSON ON STAFF WHO CAN CHOP VEGETABLES.
As a new bar (or gastropub, as mother insists on calling it. And I'm a chef, not a line cook. The denial is strong in this one), we get a TON of samples from vendors. They get divided among the staff. I suggested we keep a notebook of reviews, so we have an idea of what we potentially order for the singles case and bottle shop portion of the bar. Big bossman loved the idea. Go, me!
That being said, there are inevitably poor, sad, lonely ciders, hard seltzers, canned "cocktails" and "weird" beers that no one wants to touch. It has now become "Give it to Alicia. She might actually like it."
I am the Mickey of my store. GREEEEAT.
I am honest in my reviews, and kind of having fun with it. Part of me wanted to be a food critic for about a minute and a half, so this is a great outlet. Plus, freebies! And stuff that I wouldn't usually buy and/or can't afford. I've discovered I really like sour beers (which shouldn't be a surprise, because I love all things sour. But I never *could* warm up to that whole lime in a Corona thing, so I just assumed I wouldn't like anything sour, beerwise. I was wrong).
My proudest moment of last week was the guys at the bar (called "beertenders." How twee is that?) laughing over the notebook. I was prepping when GymBunnie popped his head around the corner and said "Did you really describe [redacted] as 'tastes like Spring Break when you're 19 with a fake ID, minus the regrettable hookups'?"
I rolled my eyes. "Considering I'm the only one in this joint who still writes in cursive, what do YOU think?"
Cue hysterical laughter from the front. *massive eyeroll*
They're still cutting hours, because we're just not seeing the business during the day. I'm hoping March Madness (and more advertising) will help with that, but I'm looking for a second gig, just in case. It's hard to ignore my FB memories from a year ago, when I was so excited and positive about HRG...and the place is now shuttered, and I'm working with two of my former coworkers from there. Ouch. I heard a rumor about a new place opening nearby, but they require a nine day training period...and I just can't leave my place in a lurch like that. Of course, you're going to lose a good portion of your opening stuff in the first month or so, so I'll be keeping my eye on that.
The good part of the cutting hours thing is that I WILL BE OFF SATURDAY! AND SUNDAY! (I'm always off Sundays, but I can't remember the last time I had an actual weekend off. And it's a post-payday, non-rent-paying weekend, no less). What makes it even better is that Kent has Saturday off....annnnnnd it's the UNC/Duke game, which means we can just stay home and hide. If I were a server, I'd be pissed over the missed opportunity for tips. As it stands, I'm just glad for the missed opportunity for a new ulcer.
I figure I'll do the grocery run after work Friday (I will not let that man loose in a grocery store unchaproned on a payday. And that's not sexism or stereotyping; that is living together for almost 12 years and knowing the damage he can do to our checking account when he's feeling flush and excited about the prospect of a whole day where we can just cook together). I know we'll have to watch the game (*sigh* I support the 'Heels, but remember that whole ulcer thing...? They SUCK this season), but I suggested breaking out the Rick and Morty Munchkin set to celebrate the fact that we FINALLY got the R&M Loot Crate we ordered back in...October?
Talk about delayed gratification.
Okay, off to throw supper in the crockpot (creamy chicken and veggies. Still tring to decide if I want to put it over rice or egg noodles, but I've got time for that). What's up with the rest of y'all?
"How'd you get three days in a row off?"
"Let's just say it involved the day manager, our Sysco rep, and a gallon of the cheap ass olive oil. And those new gloves we're getting."
I almost pity the new guy for looking like he believes me for a second. Of course, I am also pretty happy that I am still considered a possible player in such shenanigans.
"Seriously, I have racked up so much overtime lately that I have been told that I don't have to go home, but I can't stay here. So I'll catch you in 72 hours. Try to avoid burning the place down."
"What are you going to do?"
"I don't know. Stuff. Take over the world. Get a pedicure. Alphabetize my underwear drawer. Maybe read a book. Drink. The usual."
The backdoor closes behind me with a definitve snick and I take a deep breath of the cool air behind the dumpsters. Oh, yes. Three whole days. I am going to sleep in and ignore Foodserviceland and remember who I am when I am not in the kitchen.
Day one, 5:15 am.
Fuck. I overslept, but if I skip my shower and the clothes from last night aren't all that scroungy and...
Fuckadoodledoo. Awake now and in full-on panic mode. So much for sleeping in.
Coffee is for closers. Tea is for a long, leisurely day off.
Tea and some cinnamon raisin toast and a perusing of the magazines I never get to read because I am too busy. I flip through the stack next to my chair, dating back months ago.
Food and Wine. Bon Appetit. Food Network Magazine. Saveur. Cooks Illustrated.
Hmmm...makes more sense to make my own granola, and I have enough time. I clip the recipe. And another. And another. All neatly glued to index cards and tucked away in my recipe box. I wonder if some faraway granddaughter will inherit this some day and wonder how I managed to find time to make all this.
Sweet Future Child...the answer is "I didn't. Maybe a few. But tonight I'm eating Spaghettios and drinking gas station merlot. Maybe I'll try a few tomorrow."
Day two, 4:43 am.
Great. I just woke myself up by yelling "I need a runner!" in my sleep.
I'm sure my neighbors think my sex life is much more interesting than it actually is. Unless you account for my incredibly elaborate fantasy life consisting of a host of celebrity chefs and the new guy. Which they don't know about. Unless I'm starting to yell out specific names in my sleep.
Forget I said that last part.
Granola really is a breeze. And it can be made into muffins that I could take in to work. I turn up the Joni Mitchell, cream eggs and butter; sugar and just a splash of vanilla.
Hold up.. What did I tell myself?
You can't leave the kitchen with tickets on the board or muffins in the oven. I set the timer and settle in my favorite chair with a pile of yarn on my lap. Joni finishes her last, sweet notes, and I flip on the television for something to watch while I crochet and wait for muffins.
PBS is evil. Julia Child, Yan Can Cook, The Galloping Gourmet. There goes my afternoon.
Muffins and merlot for supper. I am sensing a theme here.
Day three, 8:42 am
I SLEPT IN!!! I also woke up assuming it was sometime around noon tomorrow because I spied a crack of light sneaking past the blackout drapes in the bedroom. Light stealing into my room can only mean bad things, most of which involve jumping into my whites and running out the door while I contemplate my life choices. Sometimes, if I'm lucky, I can grab a bagel while my mother enumerates the ways i've disappointed her in my head.
So, again, instantly awake.
I try to remember the last time I slept this late and it makes my head hurt. Or maybe it was the merlot (damn tannins!). Or possibly the incredibly not work appropriate dream I had about the new guy at work. Or the muffins. Anyway, something is making my head hurt.
I'm blaming the muffins. And maybe the new guy.
Time to break out some coffee. The Internet says it helps with headaches, so it must be true, right?
The light through the kitchen curtains isn't that bad. At least I won't go blind fromit. The edges of the curtains are a little raggedy, but I remember buying that cherry print with my first paycheck and making them when I moved here. The feeling of having a kitchen of my own.
I think I'll wash these curtains carefully, letting the suds creep in to the burns and tiny cuts on my hands. Think about my first kitchen, and the one I will step into tomorrow.
Wash, dried, and ironed, I get out my little sewing box and some rick-rack. I have to return tomorrow, but what the hell? I cue up 'Julie and Julia" and escape into fantasy while I repair my own kitchen.
Just another day in paradise, 5:28 am
"See...I didn't burn the place down."
I smile. I try to look pleased. I also try not to blush.
"I hope you enjoyed your days off. Did you have fun?"
I shrug and head straight for the walk-in. "You know...same old, same old. Did we get that shipment I ordered?"
"Yeah. Oh, and the Sysco rep says to say hi."
Yup...same old, same old.
Who lost the extra front door key?
Are we going with Sysco or U.S. Foods?
Polish glasses. Polish silverware. Polish every flat surface in the kitchen thatt hasn't even been touched. Yet.
"Hey! We got aprons! And...they're....red."
"At least it won't show the blood of the noobs."
The air conditioning has already stopped working. The ice machine leaks. Towels get employed. A box fan is purchased. Shift beers get upped to two a day to escape the heat.
"Do you have power to sign a check? Or can you forge a signatue?"
Learn to play cheerfully clueless about why the kitchen radio seems to only play 80s hits on your shift.
Where is that damned key again?
It's a labor of love. Or madness. Or just a desperate search for a place to belong. A home. Or at least a place that won't leave you scrambling for a job in six months.
"Who the FUCK decided to put quinoa on a BAR menu!?!?!? We need a staff meeting!"
Big smiles, folks. We open on Friday. The 13th. I have my chefs knife in my right hand and a left shoulder going numb propping this up. As long as I am standing, it will, too.
I think I have found my next career after my body gives out from being a line cook (which could be as early as next week. Who knows?)
I am going to write greeting cards! Yes, way to put that English degree to use!
I went shopping for supplies for our dinner tomorrow, our anniversary lunch (16th), and brunch on Monday....and realized I didn't get Kent a card. (It's a bigger deal to me than him, honestly. But, still...) I rushed over to the card section and....bleh.
There WAS one I thought about altering. The front read "When I met you, God whispered to me" which I would have finished with "Run." And I would have written "But aren't you lucky I didn't listen?" Neither of us are the treacly sort, so he would have loved it.
But I am NOT paying $7.99 for something that will eventually end up stuck in a drawer. Espescially when I have to alter it to our particular level of romantic snark.
So I came home, broke out some heavy paper, my good colored pencils and a few Sharpies and wrote the following, which ensures my place as the next Poet Laureate:
"Roses are red
Violets are blue (okay, they're actually purple. Humor me).
Hallmark's fucking expensive
so I made this card for you."
I TOTALLY have a career in this.
G comes bouncing it to work (there is actually someone more obnoxious than I am first thing in the morning. Who knew?). He leans on the half door to the kitchen.
"Guess what I have?"
"Nope. Guess again."
A midget and a pony...which would be convenient, because I haven't bought Kent a Valentine's Day present yet.
It went on like this for several minutes (and escalated. You know, one of the great things about working in a bar is that the whole concept of NSFW is....kind of loose) before he presented me with a donut. He'd swung by Dunkin on his way in and brought me a pink frosted with sprinkles.
I'm training a noob, and he was rightfully confused. "I thought your husband works at Fresh Market."
Me: Yup. He does. G is my work boyfriend.
*G from behind the bar* I'm working on it! If I keep plying her with donuts, maybe she'll cave!
Me: I've been given a hall pass for you, ya know!
G: Sweet! You're off tomorrow, right? I'll swing by and we'll go out.. You can ride on the handlebars of a bike, right?
Poor noob is now really confused. I finally explained that I'm poly (well, retired poly? I have barely enough energy to make dinner, kiss the spousebeast, and remember to tie my shoes and put on pants when I leave the house. I couldn't handle another relationship right now) and G and I have worked together in various failed places for years. We flirt like mad, but that's it. But....
That's how I like my life. Complicated.
I also like donuts. I'm such a slut.
Yesterday was brutal. WHY WHY WHY would you schedule one person and a noob on a UNC/Duke home game?!?!? Jaysus. We put out 46 tickets in under an hour. I now officially hate ruben pitas and pretzels with beer cheese. And drunken brats. And cheese curds. And....hell, the whole menu. Gah!
I paid to take GoTriangle and got off at the Hillsborough stop and walked the rest of the way home. I wanted to be home that badly.
But now I have three days off. Yay!
I'm not thrilled with the cut in hours, but I figure I can ride it out. Bossman asked me how many hours I want, and I said 30-35. The next schedule should reflect that. So now I'll just enjoy the time off.
Oh, and I *did* find Valentines/anniversary gifts for Kent. We don't need to give each other things, but I really wanted to this year. Who knew that they make a Steelers apron and chef hat?
Yes, really. I also got him Bourdain's Les Halles cookbook. Maybe he can wear the gear and cook me something from the book? ;)
I remember the day that Avalon closed to me forever.
I'm not sure which reaction hit me first: my heart screaming to get out of my chest, my ears ringing to shut out the words, my eyes wishing I'd never read those words. My soul, crushed on the floor that my guide, my light was not just diminished, not tarnished, but evil.
That she had done to others what had been done to me. When she was my strength. How could her words lift me so high when she brought people like my so low?
I remember the day I discovered Avalon. I was familiar with the myth, but never from a woman's point of view. I got it for Christmas and devoured it in a weekend where I didn't leave my room except for meals and Mass on Sunday (which I met with an inward sneer. The fools). I quickly loaned it to my best friend and it created another world for us, of "what ifs" and "just imagines." We were a coven of two, Sisters of Avalon, desperately searching for the Godess and a way out of our hopeless, humdrum lives.
I remember the day I rediscovered Avalon We've found each other in a small booth in a street fair. We've discovered each other as mothers and the priestesses of our own households. The humdrum was now joy. We talked about sharing the words that had moved us, taught us, changed our lives....with our own children.
I remember the day I forced myself to read page after page of court documents. Everything. Stopping only to vomit and take the occasional slug of vodka.
I remember the day I lit that match. I never wanted to light a book on fire.
I remember the day I watched the pages curl and reach upward, enclosing me in a fine ash.
And the mists closed to me forever.