Archive | August, 2012

ode to a one-hit wonder (a haiku).

31 Aug

Thanks, Semisonic.

The DJ played Closing Time

Now I can go home.

Except tonight, because the amateur DJ who I had spinning his iPad in the coat closet apparently didn’t get the memo that when a DJ plays “Closing Time” it means that it’s time to finish your whiskey and beer and get the hell out of the establishment. Because he followed it up with fucking “Tubthumping” by fucking Chumbawumba to an entirely empty bar save his three friends. So like how do I nicely tell this dude that when the bar is empty, you play “Closing Time” and when you play “Closing Time” you don’t put on any more songs. Especially ones about puking and then continuing to drink.

Other highlights of my day:

  • My friend came in for lunch with his little kids and they asked me to take them to the bathroom so they could go poopy, so I sat in the bathroom washing the 3-year-old’s hands like 45 times in a row while the 7-year-old took his shoes off to sit on the potty.
  • I started working on a deal with the massage place across the street to give rubdowns away as prizes for Trivia Night. So we can officially be the only place in town offering the chance to win a happy ending or an order of nachos.
  • This crackhead bartender we had working for us like 5 years ago called to ask if she had a paycheck waiting for her. “Yeah, it’s just an envelope full of cash,” I told her. “I can either leave it for you or just trade it in for cocaine so you don’t have to do the extra work.”
  • I went to my shrink where we talked about good movies, Jimmy Buffet and why I’m weird for not enjoying gambling. Really feel like I made some progress.
  • My bartender TOLD ME THE ENDING TO THE “PRETTY LITTLE LIARS” SEASON FINALE BEFORE I GOT TO WATCH IT. I know we’ve discussed spoilers in the past, but that was about the Olympics, not ABC Family shows. That shit wasn’t right. I nearly poured a pitcher of margaritas on her head but I was running low on triple sec.

Tomorrow maybe I’ll write again, we can discuss how much Labor Day weekend sucks when you’re in the restaurant business because you have to work even though clearly nobody is going to eat anyplace where there isn’t a late summer breeze caressing their shoulders.

it takes the owners to raise the owner’s daughter.

26 Aug

Something that probably crosses your mind every so often is what sort of strange people made me the lovely lady I am.

Well, this is my dad. In this photo he’s doing one of his favorite things, “treasure hunting.” He learned it from the classic Steve Martin film Housesitter. His other favorite movies include Spaceballs and Rudy. He does not like movies with more than one word in the name.


And this is my mom, wearing one of her favorite shower caps. She wore it to a bridal shower we had today because she didn’t like the way her hair came out. I thought it looked just fine, but who am I to vote?

Here’s a picture frame that they proudly display in their kitchen. In it are their two favorite children, and me. Kindly note that the dog is the only adequately captured subject.

Here are some closeups, just in case you can’t exactly figure out what these are photos of.

Here’s me, sitting on my parents’ boat.

On this particular afternoon, they invited a few too many people to join us, so I didn’t get a seat. I was sad. I recall them cackling when they snapped this shot. Also, I was expected to serve boat drinks when I wasn’t in my hole. And pizza. It is for this reason that I now refuse to board a boat that is less than 50′ and fully staffed. I’d like to point out at this time that I bait all my own hooks whilst fishing. It doesn’t matter if the bait is living or dead.

And then here’s my brother standing on the front porch with his head cut off. Not literally, silly! But the dog looked really good in the photo so they were like fuck it, we’ll just frame this one. My therapist told me not to fight my brother’s battles, so I’m just letting it be. But honestly? All the other photos in their house are JUST of the dog, so they could have swung for a full face shot of my bro. Since this photo was taken, my brother has not returned to the house. He got his own dog and stopped shaving because “mom and dad don’t give a shit anyway.” It’s a little awkward, maybe I shouldn’t talk about it, I don’t know who you’re going to tell. By the way, he won’t bait his own hook when fishing. Even the lures made of rubber.

And those are the people who shaped me in a nutshell!!

#fuckingobsessed #whenwillthehashtagsend? #drinkmybeerbeforeicry #xanax

25 Aug

Tonight’s post is going to have to be extremely brief because I’m totally distracted and like literally completely obsessed with getting Instagram followers for the restaurant and I’ve been working on this sentence for 3 hours. Damn you, interesting Facebook conversations, text messages, iMessages, iChats, movies starring Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds, raspberry peach Briemere Farms pie, IMs, new hipster pizza places that I found on the internets, #Instafriends, #Instaphotos, #Instaenemies. I feel like my life has turned into one ginormous hashtag. I’ll never look at tic tac toe the same. Hashtagging is literally a huge component to the de-evolution of society. It feels like yesterday that we started shortening the word “you” when we wrote our away messages, and now we’re suddenly typing “#ESB” in some blank space on our phone to be consequently SLAMMED with realtime photos, videos and news about a shooting outside a building in a huge city, making this big world the size of an iPhone (or Android, if you’re a loser). #crazyhowthisworldischanginglikefasterthanyoucanreadthisblogpost

Also, I’m freaking out about the craft beers. I started the list tonight and sold a whopping ONE, (to one of my employees but it still totally counts) yet I’m so excited that you might mistake me for a Bat Mitzvah girl, not just a pretty restaurant owner. I did weird things with the beer like talk to people about hops and drink a bottle of stuff that didn’t taste like water. I organized the beer cooler and fondled each of the beautiful new bottles and read the labels and had an Instagram photo shoot. I spent so much time in the cooler that when I cut my hand open on a piece of glass and I had to leave it to get a BandAid, my glasses fogged up and I fell up the stairs.

I LOVE MY NEW BEERS.

But that’s where the panic starts to set in. What if nobody else does? What if I only have 20 #Instafollowers FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE??? What if people see the fancy beer and see the Corona and say “That’s nice, but I’ll just stick with the Corona.” What if that really happened tonight?

In this fit of anxiety is where I found myself frantically signing up for every online beer thingy that ever existed, namely some thing called beermenus.com where you input your whole selection and what size glass you’re using and whatever and they organize it for you and make you easy to find. And there’s even an app! Like, if you’re on an app, you’re golden. It makes you super fancy. And then someone Likes my link to the post and even though I know it’s my hostess using her phone in the bathroom, I still consider myself a smashing success and I give myself a promotion.

Just so you know, I’m going to be writing a new blog, sort of related to shelbytown except I’m going to be associating it with the restaurants so I can’t say things like about how much I fucking hate so many of my customers. (Just kidding! I only hate like a couple. And probably it isn’t you.) I’ll keep you posted, and if you want to read about boring things like recipes and interviews with bartenders, you can indulge. But don’t worry, I’ll still be writing about the sex lives of line cooks here.

#instaseeyalater

epic battle: water flavored beer vs. marijuana flavored tea.

24 Aug

One of the best parts about my job is that I basically get to do whatever I want to. For instance, today I took glamour shots of lobsters for the restaurant’s new Instagram account and offered a girl who was celebrating her 17th birthday at the restaurant a martini with no booze in it so she could impress her friends with her mature glassware. Some things are more long term, and require acute planning and execution. Lately, I’ve been devoting much energy to two arenas: Trivia Night and Craft Beers, both of which I knew literally zero about providing for my customers until like yesterday.

Trivia night came about because I’m tired of watching Jeopardy! all alone at the host station every night at 7 and impressing only myself with my vast knowledge of three syllable Shakespearean characters and shit like that. I hired a “professional” host, this man-child who lives down the way who has really good posture and taste in music (as far as I know, although he can’t tell the difference between the Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel so now I’m like seriously questioning that judgement) but does not know the definition of the word sibling and will only drink weed in the form of tea. I have him there so that I can feel free to participate and frolic around the restaurant with other trivia nerds and whisper sweet answers in random ears. He’s both entertaining and strange, two characteristics that I find close to my heart, so I like totally love when he comes, even though I think he’s drunk when he arrives but who cares because drinking makes you funnier and more interesting. No wait, you only THINK you’re funny and more interesting when you’re the drunk one. No wonder he giggles so much and mutters under his breath. Mystery solved. In any case, trivia night is literally the greatest thing that’s happened to the restaurant in years, unless you count regrouting the tiles behind the bar to stop it from smelling really bad. That was also pretty great.

Then there’s the beer. As we’ve discussed in the past, I like to drink whatever brew tastes the most like water (most often this is Bud Light but I’ll also settle for MGD 64). But it turns out that some people actually like their beer to taste like something, and I’ve made it my mission to make that available to them in the form of hipster-friendly Instagram-worthy bottles. Of all the things I’ve done in my life, and this includes taking the SATs and birthing a child and picking out a paint color for my office, choosing a craft beer list was by far and away the most difficult, stressful, awful occasion of my life. Like, the destiny of a beer lover’s evening literally lies in my hands. That is just way too much pressure. Plus, in the typical procrastinator fashion I’m so accustomed to, I waited until I had exactly 27 minutes left to order for my weekend delivery to choose a totally perfect list of beers. So basically I Googled the name of every craft brewery and whichever beer came up after the name on that instant result thing, (Harpoon……., Dogfish Head…….) that’s what I chose. And then just to solidify my decision, I asked the Spanish speaking women in the order department of the beer companies, who literally don’t give a fuck if I do or don’t order beer, and have no idea what is “trendy” for their opinions. And honestly? I feel really good about my decisions. Who cares if I’ve tried it or not, nothing is ever going to compare to my refreshing Bud Light.

Don’t think I’m gonna unveil my final list to you on here. You’ll have to wait patiently until tomorrow just like my customers. What, you think because you read this shit you should be privy to some sort of insider information? Um, no. Not happening.

In all honesty the list is like all the way on the other side of the house and I’m way too lazy/tired/comfortable/cold to go get it.

PS. My makeup bag is one of those purple drawstring felt bags that bottles of Crown Royal come in. That’s yet another perk of the restaurant business. INSANE free shit.

another day, another doily.

22 Aug

Today was my first day back at work after spending 3 luxurious days in Amish Country with the fam (Just in case you’ve been frantically searching for some new entries, it was virtually impossible because my babygirl had to listen to Spotify on my phone and watch Yo Gabba Gabba on my iPad, literally cockblocking me from technology and FORCING me to read September issues of fashion magazines while I sat in the back seat of my father-in-law’s pickup truck ignoring the kids.

It was just your average Wednesday workday, with normal things happening from dusk ’til dawn. These things included:

  1. I used my trusty pink tool kit. Today it was to disassemble an easel chalkboard and hang the two sides on the wall so that I can have a fancy craft beer list. I used the following tools: level, phillips head, tape measure, (I had to take the one off my keychain because as I’ve mentioned in the past, some asshole fucking stole my pink one and now it clashes with the rest of my tools and it’s bullshit) pencil stuck behind my ear. And when I went to Home Depot to pick up what I needed and some chick who worked there asked if I needed help finding something I just looked at her like “I built this place, bitch” and rolled my eyes at her, shooed her away and continued shopping. Like, who does she think I am? Someone who can’t navigate a hardware superstore? COME ON.
  2. I chatted it up with my shrink. Subject matter today ranged from the high quality mac & cheese that one of my competitors concocts to my having the maturity level of an old tween to me being sad that I didn’t get to go on more roller coasters at Hersheypark. We also discussed how good I am at throwing parties in barns and how I should be accepting of Harry even if he’s sometimes annoying, because I’m sometimes annoying too.
  3. I ate my weight in carbohydrates. Charlie has been like starving himself and doing some ridiculous workout video (I think it’s with that sexy guy Richard Simmons but I’m not sure. Just kidding. It’s Insanity. Give Charlie some credit) and he’s got this crazy will power, and I think that every time he tells me that he’s getting harder abs and bigger arms, I eat one entire birthday cake. It’s like, I look at how motivated he is, and instead of feeling inspired to get my heart rate above 45 for more than 22 seconds, I give in to the fact that I’m a mom with a station wagon and only medium good looks and an overgrown haircut and I console myself with sugar and then I feel like I’m on top of the world. Being thin is not as great as a short stack of homemade chocolate chip pancakes with Trader Joe’s organic butter and whipped topping.
  4. I googled shit. I’m in the midst of planning a party for someone who wants a real rustic theme, so I needed to find this old-soda-crates-and-shit store upstate that I once drove past when I was planning my wedding. So I used the Google street view thing and proceeded to spend 2 hours taking a “driving tour” of Kingston NY. Exhilarating to say the least. Other things I googled today: curiosity shops in Brooklyn, Prince Harry uncensored, “wagon wheel mason jar,” cool beer.

In addition to normal things happening, weird things also happened.

  1. 7 customers asked for 7 different checks. Normally this situation would be normal, but today was an exception because the group was ALL DUDES. They were old dudes, so that makes it a little more normal, but they all ordered pretty much the same thing (burger, water) so why did they need separate checks? Why couldn’t they just split the check? And why couldn’t one of them use cash? How many miles are you getting with a hamburger? The highlight of their meal was that one of the old dudes insisted that a little old(er than them) lady at a nearby table give him a hug goodbye.
  2. Pandora played 5 BEATLES SONGS IN A ROW. Look. I’m as big a Beatles fan as the next guy. So don’t think I don’t appreciate hearing a little bit of Taxman and Octopus’s Garden. But I wholeheartedly LOATHE hearing the same artist two times in a row (and five? a lyrical tragedy) when I’m listening to a mix. After the 3rd song I said “If they play another Beatles song in this hour I’m taking the Pandora and throwing it in the dumpster and we’re listening to my Spotify mixes. Pandora’s being a real asshole.” And sure enough, they played again. So out went the Human Genome Project, but not in the dumpster because frankly I’m super scared that there will be a raccoon out there and I’ll be all alone and trapped in the fence and I’ll get rabies and die and honestly proper disposal of my music thingy isn’t worth it. I just threw it out the back door.
  3. I shot a thing of watermelon Italian Ices all over my face. This actually happened at home, because apparently whilst we were frolicking in the meadow with the Amish folk, my freezer decided to crap out on me and turn the entire contents into garbage-o. So for some reason it was near my face and for some other reason I squeezed it, yada yada yada, watermelon ices up my nose.
  4. A food critic called me out. At some point in time, I informed the restaurant reviewer  at a local popular newspaper of ours that I recognize her voice anywhere as a result of our occasional gossip sessions about the industry. I told her this because she’s a regular customer and I didn’t want her to think that she had to wear a wig and fake mustache every time she came in because I don’t know her by sight, only sound. However she called today and caught me off guard, and so for some reason I played really really dumb and didn’t acknowledge that I knew it was her and she CALLED ME OUT BIGTIME and now she hates me and I’m never going to get press again and the restaurant is going to go out of business and I’m going to have to sell my computer in order to make my mortgage payment and I won’t be able to keep up with CNN and therefore won’t be able to have a normal conversation with anyone and will become a recluse and write an epic novel that I am too ashamed to publish and it will come out of the woodwork long after I am dead and be published and win the Pulitzer but it will be too late because my babygirl will already be totally fucked up and socially awkward and have hippie children that she home schools in her trailer and won’t give a speech to accept the award on my dead behalf so they’ll revoke it.
  5. A child magician left a note on a doily for one of my waiters. See?

Another day, another doily.

songs i could listen to everyday for the rest of my life.

17 Aug

So for the past 21-or-so years, I’ve been compiling a mix tape of songs that, if forced, I could tolerate hearing every single day until my end of days. I realize that this is somewhat unrealistic, but seeing as 2012 is supposedly the apocalypse and we’re sort of getting to the end of the year, I figure that I should be prepared just in case. Like, I’m not trying to be a downer, but I wouldn’t all of humanity to end without finishing this list, because like I said, I’ve been working on it for quite some time, and I don’t want to leave (m)any loose ends. Kindly keep in mind that this isn’t necessarily a list of my favorite songs. Particularly #11. It’s just that every time I hear each of these, it puts a smile on my face. And during the zombie apocalypse, I reckon a smile is imperative.

I highly recommend that after reading this list (and most likely making fun of me and assuming that I have horrible taste in music once you hit #11 and proclaiming that your taste is significantly better which is WAY OFF but you can think what you want) you compile a list of your own. Take a gander, my friends. When it comes down to what makes you smile over and over, it’s probably a shitty song to a whole lot of people.

  1. Margaritaville, Jimmy Buffet – This song actually inspired my mix tape, and the scenario was of course that I’m trapped on a deserted island with only a tape player (fine, now it’s an iPhone with no reception but my Spotify set to offline and I have a charger so it’s ok)
  2. Hotel California, Eagles – I had to use the Gypsy Kings version on the playlist I made based on this blog post because the Eagles aren’t on it, but that is not the recording I’d choose. Obviously. Because I associate that with John Tuturro (in the Big Lebowski, loser) and I don’t need that odd negativity in my brain everyday for the rest of my life.
  3. Big Sur, The Thrills – Because I want to be taken to the coast of California every single day. So that I can regret never learning how to surf on a daily basis.
  4. Walking After You, Foo Fighters – This is the melodic equivalent of a dream. Blanket of clouds? I’ll take one of those everyday for sure.
  5. If I Could, Phish – I love Phish. This is by no means one of their great songs. But Allison Krauss on the studio cut is really beautiful and it’s just simple and whatever.
  6. Good Old Fashioned Loverboy, Queen – I don’t know, there’s this flamboyant flamer inside of me that’s just itching to get out! I love it! It’s a little bit sparkle, a little bit rock and roll. Clearly Charlie has had some sort of mystical effect on me and now I’m a gay boy. Instead of this song I really wanted to put Some Nights by fun. but I don’t think we’ve seen the best of them yet and just in case the world doesn’t end I don’t want to regret prematurely adding them.
  7. Wish You Were Here, Pink Floyd – Good lord I am one angsty chick!
  8. Crash Into Me, Dave Matthews Band – I was a teenager in the 90s. I had a hemp necklace and a sterling silver mushroom ring. It’s obvious that Dave was gonna make the list.
  9. Against the Wing, Bob Seger – This song, for absolutely no reason, makes me think of John Candy. And I love him, especially in the movie “Who’s Harry Crumb.” Sometimes if I’m very sad/angry/wanting to run away from home and move to a farm/pensive I sit in my car and listen to this as loud as my speakers will allow it. It’s my own personal “Rocky” theme song.
  10. Call Me Maybe – Just kidding. Promise. No, I really promise. In fact, if that made your list, please stop reading my blog. Thanks.
  11. CU When U Get There, Coolio – First off, that’s some killer foresight with the shortened text language, Mr. Coolio. I mean, in 1996 how could anyone ever have imagined that we would replace actual human interaction with shortened spellings of “you” and “see” and “laughing my fucking ass off?” Only a homie with the word “cool” in his actual name, that’s who! Second, it has really hopeful meaning that you’ll accomplish what you want, for instance getting off of an island with your Gay Asian Former Waiter or surviving the zombie apocalypse.
  12. Take Me For A Ride, Neon Trees – I’m not 100% positive about this, but we’re down to the wire here! I’ve got to get some new music because I don’t believe all the haters who say that there is no good music being made these days. That doesn’t even make any sense. There is more inspiration than there ever was in history thanks to iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube. So shut the hell up, there’s awesome music you just need to look for it.
  13. Wake Up Alone, Amy Winehouse – I cannot survive this earth without Amy Winehouse. I really can’t live without her. I chose this track solely for irony.
  14. Downtown Train, Rod Stewart – This reminds me of being on a subway. I can’t figure out why. There’s a chance that this song created the first hipster.
  15. Corcovado, Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto – Mmmmmm. Too bad this Spotify list/mix tape isn’t a record. This song would be better with some scratchiness but what can you do?
  16. Smile, Version Revisited, Lily Allen – Happy song with cursing. Mark Ronson remix. Nice.
  17. Three Little Birds, Bob Marley – Happy song without cursing. Hopefully there will be some good weed on this desserted island.
  18. Name, Goo Goo Dolls – I mean who isn’t going to have this song on their list?
  19. You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome, Miley CyrusI TOTALLY PUT HANNAH MONTANA ON THIS LIST. Maybe you should give it a listen, it doesn’t blow. I kept trying to leave it off but I really don’t think I can.
  20. Grandpa (Tell Me Bout The Good Old Days), The Judds – The very first country music that was introduced to me by my dad back when I was like 8 and we were driving to the Nevele. And now my dad is my babygirl’s grandpa, so you know. Extra sentiment. Stop crying, daddy.
  21. Mr. Brightside, The Killers – Every apocalyptic playlist needs one song that you can just scream along with. This is mine.
  22. Waterfalls, TLC – I’m assuming that it will rain on my island, and this is a good rainy day song. And if it never rains, then it will be a good song to remember what rainy days used to be like in the olden days.
  23. Jesus, Etc., Wilco – It’s like not a fast song, and not a slow song, and not a mellow song, and not an uptight song. I know I’m a Jew, but a good Jesus song never hurt anyone.
  24. These Days, Rascal Flatts – I tolerate country music in a different way than you do, so I don’t expect this to be on your list unless you’re one particular person I used to know and I’m like totally curious to see what’s on your list.
  25. Interstate Love Song, Stone Temple Pilots – Just in case the scenario in which I have to listen to this playlist everyday until I die is that I’m forced to be in a vehicle, I threw this in.
  26. Something, The Beatles – I’m not explaining this. Oh, and also it’s my wedding song. A better version than what I put on the playlist, although it was too long and we didn’t dance, we mostly just sang.

I don’t think I can do this. The list is going to change tomorrow. I’m not trying to say that I want the world to end or that I want to be stranded on an island with only Spotify and a volleyball, but in this particular instance, it would make my life easier because I wouldn’t have to stress about this fucking list anymore.

In other news, I wish I were a professional Spotify playlist maker. It’s now tied with weed dealer for career aspirations.

Just in case you didn’t see it before, here’s the link to the playlist. AS THOUGH YOU GOT TO THE END OF THIS POST!!!

sex, fries & videotape.

15 Aug

Something really interesting about the restaurant business is that it elicits lots of romances, many of which last for about 8 minutes in the back seat of a car parked next to the dumpster at work.

What is it about this industry that makes people want to take their clothing off for one another?

At first glance, you figure well, if you put a bunch of people who are the same age-ish in a room that they can’t leave for 6 hours, then it’s inevitable that sparks might fly. Except what about the uniform? It’s less than flattering. All the girls wear men’s shirts and the men wear aprons that look like skirts. The guys don’t shave and the girls don’t wear makeup or brush their hair unless we force them to. So what’s the attraction?

Is it the inevitable workout of a busy night that causes all of the touching and sex talk and massages? Is it the undeniable sexiness of a sweaty Salvadorian covered in black bean dip and fry oil that gets those juices flowing? Is it the allure of an eerily empty restaurant and recently mopped ladies room that makes people want to go at it?

But then I delved further into the general pickup practices of the Normal People population. When the workday is done for you, the 9-5er, you hit up happy hour and that’s where you find somebody to fuck, then you go to bed. But in the restaurant business, when you’re done with work the next stop is normally bed because you’ve worked well past happy hour and all the good flings are off the table. So you need to find someone before you leave work, and thus explains the swinger party that is a restaurant staff. Essentially, a dinner shift at the restaurant is one very long, very sober happy hour. Unless it is an all female or all male staff, and then it’s like total misery for the single set.

Don’t think that my restaurant is some sort of exception to an otherwise angelic group of foodservice workers. People have been fucking their fellow waiters and line cooks for eons. This sort of stuff happens everywhere from Pizza Hut to Pastis. If you think I’m the first owner’s kid who married a kitchen guy because the hanky panky went too far, then you’re just plain crazy. And if you think that Harry’s the first kitchen guy who I adored, then you should really consider reading my blog a little more closely. Because HELLO I went through puberty in a restaurant. Do you know what that was like for my raging hormones? Plus bedding the owner’s kid is like literally winning the Heisman Trophy of the restaurant industry. Harry scored bigtime (so did I).  I’m surprised he isn’t endorsed by the Food Network! Why does Guy Fieri have a show and not my husband? What the hell? Who’s daughter did he get???

In case you’re wondering about the “videotape” in the title of my post, the reasoning is twofold. For starters, I’ve got this newly single liquor rep who is OBSESSED with women, and today he kindly informed me that he only reads my blog if the title makes it look like the topic is sex. His recommendation for a title was “sex, lies & steak,” which is lame lame lame so I amended it to be far more hilarious. (I can devote quite some time to the “VENDOR-VENDED” hookup between someone like a liquor rep or dumpling salesman, which is quite unlike the waiter-waiter connection in that there’s a slew of mutually beneficial perks, but I’ll just stash that idea away for a rainy day.) Secondly, we have a closed circuit camera system at the restaurant which the smart people (me and Harry) have learned to navigate quite efficiently. And for the rest of the idiots, me and Harry basically have free porn.

a woman’s place is in the home (depot).

13 Aug

Honestly? What is UP with guys thinking that they are the only people on Earth who can use a screwdriver? Have they not gotten the memo that I have a pink tool kit and I know to use it?

The other day the handle on the front door of the restaurant cracked and broke, making it pretty much impossible for a customer to get inside without being really confused and a little bit creative. Harry called the door people to come down and fix it, who proceeded to charge us $330. For a handle. I told the fixit dude to GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE (a little nicer in that I didn’t drop the F bomb) and I did it myself, using a handle from a door we never use, a pair of pink pliers and a wet paper towel (MacGuyver has nothing on me). I did this all while singing showtunes and getting honked at because it was “Short Skirt Saturday” in my neck of the woods. My waiters kept asking me if I needed help. Harry said he’d do it in a few minutes. My dad offered to come down and do it if I couldn’t figure it out. Does he not realize I am his child?? I fix shit. Like all the time. Like I use my pink tool box more than you use your manly blue one. Like I know what’s down every aisle at Home Depot. Like the people who work there say hi to me when I come in. Like I use the self checkout even if I’m buying a piece of wood that’s taller than me. OK? So take your man parts and your socket wrenches and let me change my own damn lightbulbs. K?

In an odd turn of gender stereotypes, Harry was gifted with a new washer and dryer for his 35th birthday (punishment for not paying close enough attention to my blog is that I out Harry’s age, and if he doesn’t take heed, I’ll tell you his middle name and his mom’s nickname for him. So maybe you should do us all a favor and warn him) by his incredibly generous daddy-o. He couldn’t have been more excited to drop a load into his new machine and I couldn’t have been more excited for him to finally figure out where in the house we keep these useful appliances. The day after they were installed, I was informed that Harry had requested that my birthday gift be an iron to “complete” our new and improved laundry room.

“Why the fuck would I get an iron?” I asked my father-in-law when he told me. “I mean, in my world, there is literally no difference between an iron and a dryer.”

This statement led us into a deep discussion over the actual differences between a brand new steam dryer and an iron. Here’s what we came up with:

1. You can’t throw a dryer at your husband when he does something stupid.

2. You can’t make toast with a dryer. Also you can’t make grilled cheese.

3. You can’t dry your sneakers with an iron unless you want them to melt and/or light on fire.

4. You can’t get all the wrinkles out of a king size sheet with an iron because you would get way too tired and the TV show you’re watching would end and you’d have nothing to do.

5. You can’t use your dryer as a door stop.

6. You can’t get yelled at for ruining your husband’s favorite dress shirt for letting the dryer sit on it for too long and causing a burn.

7. A dryer won’t spurt water all over your otherwise dry shit.

8. If your iron breaks you don’t need to refinance your mortgage to afford a new one.

9. I use dryers, I don’t use irons.

10. You can crease pants with an iron, not a dryer. Luckily we don’t generally integrate creases in our everyday lives.

In other news, I’m sitting on my ass doing nothing and writing this post while Harry and his dad paint the basement in preparation for a new carpet delivery tomorrow, during which time I will also sit on my ass doing nothing. Just because I can do something doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to watch someone else do it. Duh.

Also, my 9-year-old stepkid said “douchebag” today and felt really bad when I informed him that that is a bad word. I felt like a good parent because a) he feels bad when he says bad words and b) I told him that he can use the word, but not around parents and teachers.

perks of sleeping with a chef.

10 Aug

Something that might make you be incredibly jealous of the fact that I get to be in the restaurant business that you don’t is that today we had to taste test hamburgers from a new meat vendor. If you’ve never sat around a table prodding at perfectly charred rare meat patties with your family, I assure you that you are missing out!! I should probably mention that in the regular restaurant business, managers and other front-of-the-house employees don’t usually have the pleasure to taste test unless they’re sleeping with the chef. Fortunately, I am doing just that!

Basically the way a taste test goes down is simple. The delivery comes (usually via salesman but in today’s case, from the delivery truck) and Harry calls my dad to come to the restaurant, then cooks up whatever shit we’ve got that day. Sometimes it’s dumplings or tortillas or salad dressing or pork chops or, in my favorite instances, molten chocolate lava cakes and flourless chocolate raspberry tarts and chocolate chip cookie dough and if we’re fortunate enough, small batch farm-to-freezer hand churned ice cream in flavors like dark chocolate sticky toffee pudding deliciousness and jumbo marshmallow honey roasted almond madagascar chocolate rocky road. Today it was chop meat. I’m not trying to sound unenthusiastic about that but honestly compared to the flavor I just invented, would you really have any desire in the slightest to eat a burger with no cheese or bread or pickles or bbq sauce? No, I didn’t think so. Well you know what? We have to suck it up sometimes and taste test what the sample gods put on our plate.

Anyway, my dad got to the restaurant, and Harry placed a fancy post-it label on each of 4 plates. And we grabbed some forks and glasses of water with which to cleanse our palates, and we dug into each hunk of juicy fatty meat one by one. We all taste differently. Harry takes a big giant bite and rolls it around his mouth like it’s a fine wine. I try to fork a decent cross section of the specimen and judge my opinion immediately, because you can’t take back a first impression. My dad really mulls it over. He grabs a medium-size bite, chews a few extra times just to drain the meat of any life that may have remained, and then makes some sort of “tsk”ing noise by pressing his tongue on the roof of his mouth, as though to extract each minute element of flavor from whatever it is he’s eating. By doing this with something like a sauce, he can tell you in no more than 4 tsks each and every ingredient that comprises it. I’d say he’s a genius but I’ll just let him tell you that himself if he sees you.

SPOILER ALERT!: Don’t look at this photo if you’re a vegetarian.

So we all chew the meat and then we discuss each bite as we take it. We analyze how the fattiness in one creates a terrific sear, and how the mix of meats gives another incredible depth of flavor, and how the packaging on a pre-formed patty might make the burger become too overworked and therefore make it chewy. Bet you didn’t know there was so much to a burger! Well when you serve the best burgers in town, there sure as hell is a lot of shit to analyze. Next week is bun week, another personal favorite of mine. The best part of bun week is that we’ll have to try many breads from many bakers. It’s a tough job, but somebody (bloated) has got to do it!

My father-in-law was also at the tasting. He thought everything was delicious, but mostly because instead of chasing it with water he opted for more of this scenario:

We concluded our tasting with a family high five and final decision to switch meat vendors stat.

Speaking of burgers, I AM NOT A PIECE OF MEAT. I get it, random middle aged man customer, you are really happy to see me and you think I look great and you can’t even tell that I had a baby. But my eyes are located approximately eighteen inches above my breast, and it would be like totally awesome if you could perhaps pay a little attention to them. Your wife notices when you do that, just so you know. And she thinks you’re just as pervy as I do. So stop.

In other news, next week I’ve decided to write an exposé about the difference between Shelbytown and Regular Shelby. Surely it will be as enlightening as the Hunger Games and/or Great Expectations (the movie version with Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Deniro, but it’s kind of you to equate me to Dickens). Also, Harry brought me a cheeseburger for dinner but after looking at the above photo I’m reminded that 4 is enough for 1 day.

tory burch for foodies.

9 Aug

Something that you and I might have in common is that we both maybe wear Tory Burch ballet flats to work. I’m not trying to judge you and assume that because you are a girl from Long Island who is most likely Jewish or friends with Jews at the very least, because it appears as though that’s basically the only audience my blog attracts other than my parents and my father-in-law the seaman, but let’s just assume that you or your mom and/or sister and/or wife and/or mistress owns a pair of Tory flats. Perhaps they sit in their box in your closet and only get pulled out on special occasions like casual girl’s night outs and trips to the Miracle Mile. Or maybe when fall rolls around and flip flop season concludes, you’ll slap on a pair to run out for some self-serve fro yo. There’s also the chance that you have them in 14 colors and textures, although that’s a little bit of overkill because a) that means you have a totally flatlined footwear fashion personality, and b) you have dropped $3000 on flats that you LITERALLY could have purchased for $30 each at the Capezio store and you therefore have a skewed sense of bargain shopping as well as no desire to be tall or make your legs look slimmer in which case go screw your skinny self. Regardless of the circumstance, if you have a pair of these shoesies and you wear them to your place of employment, then we have something in common. I hesitated for a long time because I thought that owning a pair meant that I was selling my soul to the Conformist Devil and it went against all the Indie bands I listened to and all the Christian propaganda teenager program I subjected myself to on ABC Family. But then my mom got me a pair for my birthday and I was like “Wait why would I miss out on this? This shit’s comfy!” and I haven’t turned back.

I’m not going to act like I treat mine well, because I really don’t. I tried at first, but it lasted like 2 days. On day 1 I tiptoed around the restaurant and polished the gold logos on the top of each shoe with the Brasso that’s usually reserved for shining up the beer tower. On day 2 I refused to wrap takeout orders because I felt as though it was too close to the ketchup dispenser and I might stain my black shoes darker black. Day 3 was a huge turning point, because one of the double swinging doors in the kitchen sliced a gash in the leather so deep that if my shoe were alive then he totally would have needed stitches (I made my shoe a boy because girls are sometimes cranky and nobody wants cranky flats). It was on that day that I decided to treat the fancy shoes like I treat every other pair of my work shoes – Like really pretty construction boots.

As we have discussed in the past, the key qualities that I look for in a work shoe are: comfort, closed toes, heels that won’t get stuck in the mats, major sex appeal especially for weekends and good support for my left big toe because it’s totally broken but I don’t feel like going to the doctor. My work shoes are fucking nasty for the following reasons:

  1. Greasy mats. 
  2. 12+ hours of being on my feet a day except when I work less than that or wind up sitting the whole time talking to my slutty liquor rep.
  3. Generally speaking, my feet don’t smell so good.
  4. I have an inability to find shoes that I like, so I wear pretty much every pair I have until there are at least 3 holes in the soles.
  5. There is no such thing as a “work shoe” during the summer for restaurant people, because we need our toes covered. So we only have the opportunity to purchase appropriate footwear 2.5 seasons out of the year. 
  6. AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST Sometimes you pour a mop bucket of warm dirty bleach water all over your Tory flat. This, in fact, I did just a few lovely lovely lovely hours ago! I was trying to be a nice boss and clean up someone else’s mess, and when I went to roll the big yellow mop wringer outer thing back into the kitchen, I suddenly felt a warm sensation on my foot. Like pee, only it wasn’t pee, it was the nastiest water I had ever laid eyes on – remnants of an hour long grout-scrubbing session that I had earlier initiated behind the bar mixed with like equal parts bleach. And my lucky left foot was soaking in it as though it was fucking lavender water at a pedicure. I remained alarmingly calm. I’m not sure if my pills kicked in or if I was sort of excited to have one white flat and one black flat. Plus the gold logo on the sopping shoe was shinier than ever!

So in case you ever find yourself daydreaming about how cool it would be to have a restaurant, think of me scrubbing grout in my now-poop-and-bleach-scented Tory Burch ballet flats that were once sort of shiny black and now are matte black and have rapidly forming holes in the soles and on the sides but at least have shiny logos. If that sounds as fun to you as it did to me, then maybe, just maybe, this is the business for you!!