Archive | November, 2012

suck it, wine. there’s a new bottle in town.

28 Nov

Something really interesting about the restaurant business is that I fucking hate wine.

For like however many years, I’ve been acting like I give a shit about the wine list, but the truth is, I really truly honestly completely don’t. There’s like a mute button on the remote control of my life, and, like clockwork, it immediately detonates anytime vino comes up in the convo. For instance, the chick who sells the wine for the liquor company. She comes in and talks to me about blah blah blah barrel aged blah blah dry blah blah blah. And she pours me a sample and  my response is always “I’m pregnant” and then she lays off and rubs my belly which is in actuality just filled with iced tea and Today’s Soup. I feel sorta bad for restaurant people in my boat who don’t have ovaries and various other necessary reproductive organs, and therefore have absolutely no excuse as to why they can’t drink stupid wine.

The reasons wine totally blows are sort of endless. Some highlights:

  • Wine is not refreshing. Nobody* says “Ooh, that shit is spicy! Let me wash it down with a lukewarm glass of water!”
  • Wine is high maintenance. You need to let it breathe. You can’t leave it too long or you need to throw it out. You need to constantly check its legs. It is positively far more difficult to drink a bottle of wine than it is to raise a 2-year-old.
  • Wine bottles are really big. That’s like a serious commitment. Beer is like a few sips and onto a different one. Iced tea is free refills. Wine? It’s like Chinese takeout – no matter how much you have, there’s still a bunch left. The only time that changes is after you’ve finished the first bottle and then it just goes down way too fast and you do silly things like strip karaoke to “Don’t Stop Believin'” at a gay bar or drunk dial your mom to thank her for “just everything” while sobbing like a bipolar madwoman. Or madman.
  • I burned my taste buds on a hot piece of Toaster Strudel when I was in high school and it destroyed my ability to tell the difference between a cabernet and a merlot. It’s a sore subject and I really don’t want to talk about it, ok? Just lay off.
  • There is no way to taste wine without either looking like or feeling like a total schmucko. I naturally feel and look like a schmucko on the regular without any involvement with fermented fruit, so why participate in more awkwardness?
  • No matter how much you know about wine, you don’t know anything about wine.
  • I would rather pay my mortgage than drink wine. If we could all take an honest vote, how many of us can truly (stop lying to yourself, yo) tell the difference between a $42 bottle and a $15,000 bottle. Oh don’t go acting all high and mighty, you’re just saying you can because nobody is testing you. Watch your back, I may just call your bluff.
  • Have you ever gotten lost and somehow ended up by the vines on an Italian vineyard and stolen a few bunches of grapes for a yummy afternoon snack? That shit is nasty. Unlike my cougar mom, grapes simply do not improve with age.

In other words, I switched to beer.

More on that another time, though. (Like maybe tomorrow or something)

Don’t get the wrong idea. There are lots of things other than wine that I hate about the restaurant business. :

  • Mussels.
  • Grammatical errors on menus.
  • Servers with dirty aprons.
  • Customers who get physically abusive upon learning that we don’t have matches. We’re not a 1950s catering hall, ok?
  • Missing the Green Day concert at Giants Stadium because there was a big reservation and I felt guilty about leaving the place understaffed.
  • Ugly people who sexually harass you.
  • Cold garnish on a hot dish.
  • Drinks made with Blue Curacao.
  • Cilantro.
  • Anonymous Yelp! reviews from disgruntled douches.
  • People who try to stick their empty pack of cigarettes in the slot on the ashtray that’s clearly meant only for cigarette butts and maybe a peppermint wrapper.
  • No-shows on parties larger than 6.
  • People in general.

In conclusion, if we go out to dinner please don’t ask me my opinion on the bottle of wine we’re all sharing, because I probably hate it and have absolutely nothing intelligent to contribute to our conversation. Unless it’s Manischewitz on the rocks and it’s Hannukah or Passover or frankly just a Tuesday, ’cause that is one YUMMY GLASS O’ WINE.

*Note: Some people in Europe may prefer lukewarm water to ice water, but that’s just because there’s no ice in Europe.

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dishwashers have the worst taste in music. like ever.

27 Nov

Sometimes in life, you lock yourself out of your office, and subsequently lock yourself out of your car, and are forced to either wake someone up, or sleep at work using wadded up cocktail napkins for a pillow and a bottle of Malibu to keep me warm.

For me, that time has arrived. It wouldn’t be so bad here, but the dishwashers are playing the most godawful music I have ever heard in my fucking life. I feel like I’m on a merry-go-round in Mexico City that is surrounded by an accordion-centric mariachi band. I’m all about world music, but seriously? EVERY FUCKING SONG IS THE SAME (sort of like Mumford and Sons only somehow worse) AND I CAN’T TAKE IT ANY LONGER BUT IT’S RAINING AND COLD AND I ALSO LOCKED MY RAINCOAT IN THE OFFICE TOO.
Know what? I give up. I’d rather sit in the rain than listen to this shit. Why can’t they listen to like country music or the Les Mis soundtrack like a normal person?

So now I’m outside. I opted to call Harry. He woke my babygirl up and will bring my spare set. No offense, restaurant, but I hate you right now and I don’t want to spend any more time inside of you than I have to. I still love you though.

It’s cold. My phone is dying. You can still hear the music. I think they just said “please save us from singing this crapolaaaaaa” en Español. Not positive though. I’m about to start walking.

In other news, Harry just got here and my keys are not in my office. They are, in fact, nowhere. Tomorrow I will search high and low, and most likely surface in the mint basket or in the front pocket of my raincoat, which I am currently wearing.

The moral of the story is: I am responsible for not only a business, but also a small child and 35 brand new poinsettias. Good luck to those suckers!

underage drinking in your hometown during the holidays for dummies.

19 Nov

Aaahh the holiday season is upon us!

You never really remember how quickly it hits. One minute you’re milking a pair of flip flops and totally excited to maybe keep a thing of mums alive for more than a week. Then, in the blink of an eye, you’re trick-or-treating in a blizzard and are literally incapable of making a purchase in a store without waiting 35 minutes.

The arrival of Christmastime is marked most notably by the return of the sweatpant-clad college set. We in the restaurant business devote a lot of time to complaining about little brats and high school kids, and then suddenly a bunch of punk 20-year-olds roll into town to put it all in perspective.

  1. We know you’re not from New Jersey, so please put your fake ID away and stick with the Root Beer. We also know you’re not from Michigan, California, South Dakota and New Mexico. Know how we’ve figured that out? Because NOBODY COMES TO LONG ISLAND FOR THANKSGIVING UNLESS THEIR MOM MAKES THEM.
  2. When we mention Amateur Night, we are specifically referring to you. If you are from New Mexico, Michigan, California or South Dakota, please don’t eat at my restaurant on Thanksgiving Eve. Unless you’re one of those dorky groups of friends who’s yet to “break out of their shell” and then I love you and your sober asses. You’re adorbs and I’m super glad you came down to play Trivia Night.
  3. College isn’t real. It feels totally real. I know. I was there. I still bleed Orange. I lived in a house where I paid a staggering $600 a semester, and I was stoned morning, noon and night on awesome weed that my friends’ parents had essentially purchased for them. (I’m really well behaved and spent all of my parents’ money at CVS.) But when you’re at school, you’re really in some sort of idyllic microcosm of life where a basketball game is considered a holiday. So please remember that while you’re amongst us regular people, you are required to follow our regular people rules. Like tipping your server, and ordering more than a diet coke and side of fried pickles as your meal.
  4. It is not mandatory to play air guitar to every classic rock song. We are all very proud of you for knowing an Eric Clapton song. But you don’t have to prove it. Because really? You look really really really silly when you and all of your friends have your eyes closed and are rocking out on your invisible instruments in unison when Layla plays at my bar.
  5. Put your phone down for like 30 seconds and have a conversation with your parents. For 9 months out of the year, all I listen to is your mom telling me how proud she is that you’re double majoring in Communications and Poli Sci. Your dad tells me that you’ve “figured out how to balance getting good grades with studying abroad in Amsterdam.” Please don’t make them look like fools, believe me, they already do enough douchey stuff the rest of the time for that to happen.
  6. Sweatpants are pajamas. Also, Uggs are slippers. And when did this whole don’t-bend-your-hat-brim thing start, because I fuckin’ hate it. Dress like a grownup, because you never know if the owner of the restaurant you’re eating in is looking to hire an intern for her weed bakery business, but only wants someone who will dress business casual. It is a very very serious operation. If you don’t want to dress like a grownup when you’re popping by for a burger, that’s fine. But at the very least GET DRESSED!
  7. My restaurant is owned by old people. And that old people is me. Right? Like, I’m such an old fart! When did this HAPPEN??? Like, I’m bitching about wearing UGGS when they are my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE FOOT COVERING IN THE ENTIRE WORLD EXCEPT FOR THESE BAMBOO SOCKS I HAVE!!!! I don’t get it, I used to be so fucking cool (You know, after I came out of my shell).  Really I’m just jealous. Not about the air guitar thing though. That’s just lame.

Anyway, so the college kids have landed. The holidays are here. And in case I had instantly forgotten about The Arrival, as a final reminder, tonight I stepped in a lone pile of vomit on the sidewalk outside the restaurant.

Thanks, college friends. Merry Christmas.

waitress kidnapping for dummies.

14 Nov

Something funny about the restaurant business is that oftentimes when you go out to dinner, you get something at a competitor’s establishment that you really really want to steal for your own place. Tonight the particular thing to which I refer is a chick. Me, Harry and Ryan went on a date to a local steak place to celebrate the most fucked up 2 weeks of business ever, ever, ever, and at some point between the bread basket and dessert, we realized that our service was really great. The ensuing conversation wound up something like….

Me: I want our waitress.

Harry: So give her your number.

Me: Well do you want her?

Harry: I don’t answer trick questions.

Me: I’m not going to give her my number if you don’t want her.

Harry: Why don’t you ask Ryan if he wants her? I don’t feel comfortable with this situation.

Me: Ryan, do you want her?

Ryan: I’m not going to answer that question either.

Me: Well if you guys don’t want our waitress then I’m not giving her my number.

Harry: Give her your number.

Me: OH YOU THINK SHE’S PRETTIER THAN ME?? I THOUGHT YOU SAID I WA S SOOO BEAUTIFUL BUT NOW I KNOW THAT IT WAS ALL A LIE!!! 

Just kidding, I didn’t say that last part. I’m not a crazy bitch, yo. But we did all decide that it was a little awkward to give her my card, seeing as we were the last people to leave the restaurant and why would she want to come work for callous, insensitive-to-fellow-industry-folk pricks like us. So I left my blog card and maybe she’ll stumble upon this post and realize that it’s about her and figure out what restaurant I own and come running to me with open eyes and say “YES SHELBY, I WANT YOU TOO!” and we will live happily ever after forever and ever or at least until she gets a really good summer internship at Citi and has to leave to live in the NYU dorms.

Or (and this is 98% likely) the waitress hastily wiped the table, pushed the card on the floor and peaced out of that joint. Tomorrow one of my disgruntled customers (perhaps the one who trashed me on many many social media platforms this week, but don’t worry, we’ll get to that soon….) will pick it up on the floor when she goes there for lunch and read the post that is about her and somehow figure out my nearly-impossible-to-decipher true identity and hire a hitman, or worse, bombard me with 1 star and 0 star Yelp! reviews. THE HORROR!!!!

Sometimes you have to steal a server. It’s a catch 22, because they’re hard to attract – you need good ones to get more good ones. Otherwise you’re forced to do things like train them and manage them. No good restaurant manager wants to train or manage her servers, it’s a colossal waste of time. There’s so much more to be done, like beer inventory and figuring out what to have for lunch. It’s also fairly not nice to do to the establishment from which you’re stealing, but let’s face it – your place is better than theirs. Like way better.

Anyway, If we don’t hear from the waitress by Thursday Ryan and I are going to attempt the far less interesting  “open invitation to join our team” super fake smile business card handoff. BORIINNGGGGGG but far more effective.

My personal favorite approach to kidnapping another restaurant’s fabulous waiter is simple physical force. Usually by the time you’ve tied them up and then taken a little van ride and then cut the ropes, you’re totally bonded and pretty much BFFs. This has only worked once, but look how far Harry and I have come!!!

if i had a cauldron…

13 Nov

If I had a cauldron, after my babygirl drifted off to dreamland, I’d cook enormous quantities of pot butter in the backyard over a lovely homemade campfire. While it brewed I’d lay on a lounge chair staring up at the stars, dreaming up magnificent flavors of cookies. I would make a mental list of alternatives to Rice Krispies with which to create the most delicious treat in town.

I’d despose of the old weed in the dumpster, and some random dudes would stumble upon it and think they were getting lucky, but no beans, my friends. No beans.

I would keep the butter a special refrigerator, and in my spare time I’d whip up goodies galore in my special oven. I would use only the highest quality ingredients, such as organic flour and agave nectar, and source locally whenever possible, such as with Long Island honey and apples (that’s very Jewish, I’m well aware, but I’ve got to go with the demographics, do I not?).

I would hold Baked Sales all over town. I would host Special Pancake Breakfasts for adult softball leagues. I would set up a 10×10 popup tent outside of Whole Foods on the day before Thanksgiving and sell my hyper-local desserts, as a variety of stuffings. Life would be glorious and I would have business cards made up on moo.com because their stuff is just way better than the competition.

My customers would be like chill, man. I’d outsource to cutting edge hipster places that only take cash. I’d hire an intern.

People would accuse me of wanting to be Nancy Botwin from “Weeds” but the fact of the matter is that she converted to be a Jew, and I started out as one. Plus she’s fiction and I’m real. We both wear short skirts, making that round a wash. So I win.

In conclusion, I would like a cauldron for Hanukkah. Also a puppy.

double, double toil + trouble.

25 things you don’t know about….

7 Nov

As the cherry on top of my long ass day, (highlighted by me stomping my Ugg in fresh dog shit courtesy of Oliver, my parents’ favorite child) I received a letter in the mail telling me that my subscription to US Weekly has expired. The only reason I even went to the mailbox was for the damn issue so I could put my feet up and watch the season premiere of Top Chef and just VEG for an hour. Alas, it’s not in the cards.

Since I now can not discover 25 things I didn’t know about Melissa Joan Hart or Carrot Top or whatever, I’ve decided to divulge 25 things you didn’t know about ME!!!!!

1. I wrote a picture book called “The Squashes Cross the Country” about a family of squashes who take a road trip and do clumsy things at various roadside attractions.

2. I started listening to country music because of a guy named Aaron Hoffman in college, who I believe is a preacher’s child but I could be wrong. I keep meaning to find out his address so I can send him a thank you note.

3. I have gotten fired by my dad like 100 times.

4. I’ve quit like 105 times.

5. I’m a really really really fast typer.

6. My favorite TV shows that only lasted one season were My So Called Life and Wonderfalls. You’ve never heard of Wonderfalls but you should watch it on Netflix.

7. I thought I broke my pinky playing tetherball at camp and “set it” with a lollipop stick and two bandaids.

8. I can sing Rent, Annie Get Your Gun, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Les Mis (and like maybe ten or twenty more shows) in their entirety, and I often do.

9. On a high school trip to England I made people sneak out to go to a club and one of the girls on the trip met her future husband with whom she has like I think a couple kids. The vodka cranberries had no ice in them, it was nasty.

10. I played soccer and only got into the all-star game one time because I sucked, but one year I got to do the line flag and wear a referee shirt.

11. When I was a camp counselor I wrote “REDRUM” on the mirrors and almost got fired.

12. I throw up pretty much every time I drink, but usually not til the next morning.

13. I use a record player. My favorite album is Getz/Gilberto. I can listen to the song Corcovado a million times in a row. Bossa Nova sets the best mood.

14. I have been going to the movies by myself since I was really young. I went to the artsy theater because they had muffins and tea instead of candy and soda. I saw anything Parker Posey was in.

15. I used the word cunt in a short story in college and it made my mom cry. I justified it by telling her it that I was referring to a body part. Perhaps one day I’ll post the piece, it was pretty great.

16. My favorite parts about marrying out of my religion are the Christmas tree and the lack of arguments about who’s family we’re going to.

17. I once hitched a ride to Boston for the weekend with nothing to do, no place to stay and no jacket. I bought a North Face fleece.

18. I’m a lefty but not the kind who notices other lefties.

19. I once made pancakes out of powdered baby formula for Charlie’s birthday, which also happens to be my daughter’s birthday.

20. My calves are very muscular from playing sports and I hate them but I get a lot of compliments which is really confusing.

21. I can play the viola, the piano and 3 chords on the guitar.

22. I needed help writing this list so I asked two good friends for ideas. One of them said the pancake thing, the other said I have really good hair but that seemed vain.

23. I crack myself up while I’m writing. I LOL.

24. I’m a really good kayaker.

25. My favorite place in the world is Verona, Italy. Because I like love love.

Don’t you feel so much better now that you know this stuff?

 

how to survive 9 days running a restaurant in a powerless town full of complaining jews and other people.

7 Nov

Last night some friends came in for dinner and, upon observance, accused me of not once cracking a smile the entire time they were there. It’s true. I’m smiling minimally these days. Don’t get me wrong. Business is booming and I have power and my family is safe and life is special and whatever. I’m grateful for these things. But the fact is, I deal with the public.

And the public has reached the 22nd Hour.

Each September, Jews everywhere observe the holiday of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. During this time, we fast for 24 hours in order to be forgiven for the sins we have committed during the year such as driving on the Sabbath, coveting our neighbors’ wives and eating cheeseburgers. Out of the 24 hours, at least ten are spent complaining about thirst, hunger, stinky breath and supreme desire for bagels & lox. The final 2 hours turn most every Atoning Jew into a miserable, nearly unrecognizable hunger beast. By the 22nd Hour, everyone’s just a fuckin’ asshole to each other.

That’s pretty much where we’re at in the spectrum of this whole hurricane thing. The 22nd hour.

Since the stop lights went out on Broadway, (and Jericho Turnpike, Main Street and whatever woodsy street your house is on, just kidding not you because if you live on a woodsy street you are sitting in the dark inside of it and do not have a phone charger with which to power up this post) drivers have developed an inability to: change lanes, participate in an all-way stop sign, navigate around a roadblock (ie. downed wire, parked car, fallen tree, pooping dog). There is also some sort of lack of brain power when it comes to lining up for gas. I have literally resorted to directing traffic. 

You + Active Driveway = Leave a space.

That’s how it should be.

Not Me + You blocking my driveway + Pouring Rain = Me standing in the falling slush letting you know that there are 15 feet between you and the person in front of you so can you please move the fuck up.

A local (hottie) cop came in last night to pick up some dinner, and when I asked him to arrest me so I can finally get some peace and quiet, he asked if I’d kindly do the same to him. “Ummm, yeah, for sure, no problem. A.N.Y.T.I.M.E.,” I winked. (Don’t worry, Harry knows I’m totally not just kidding. Just kidding.) He said that he keeps getting calls to people’s houses so that they can complain that their dogs are cold from the lack of power, and that he has broken up more fights at the gas station in the past 3 days than he ever has in all the local crack bars. I gave him a big hug and we held hands and I told him it will all get better soon, and we stared into each other’s eyes and… oh shit, that’s for the other blog.

Anyway, it breaks my heart that I can now determine whether or not someone has power within the first 30 seconds of them entering the building. Telltale signs:

1. They have eaten at the restaurant 3 nights in a row. The second they walk back in for a 4peat, I know they’re still in the dark.

2. No mascara. (This typically is only used for judging women, but there is the occasional man who’s looking a little puffy around the eyes)

3. Greasy ponytail. I have known some of these bitches for years, and never seen their anything less than perfectly blown out. So once that ponytail swings in, I know.

4. They enter in a single file line. Families are no longer united. They hate each other. The parents hate the kids because they’re annoying and keep staying with friends and it’s not fair. The kids hate the parents for being too cheap and disorganized to check into a hotel til the lights come back.

5. Beeline for an outlet. The obsession with technology is merely repressed, it isn’t going to dissipate with a setback like no electricity. The lack of power to iPhones is literally destroying lives. Like literally.

6. Wearing an inordinate amount of jackets. Last night there was a guy wearing 2 pairs of jeans. Someone needs to buy him some thermals, he seemed really stiff and uncomfortable.

7. They bring a board game, 2 dogs and a sleeping bag to dinner. Brings a whole new meaning to camping out at a table.

 

I’d like to dedicate this post to the following people who have changed me from a sort of negative gal to a full on bitch to everyone I encounter:

Guy with Fanny Pack and head tattoos. Sits at the bar talking to himself for 1 hour straight. Loudly. In his fanny pack, he pulls a back scratcher out Mary Poppins-style and begins to rub himself down. FROM TOE TO HEAD. Harry makes me leave the vicinity because a) EW and b) he’s trying to look down my shirt. DOUBLE EW.

Old lady who can’t stand for long periods of time and should therefore sit at a table before the other 75 people waiting. I directed her to a cushy bench by the host stand, brought her some coffee and make her wait like the rest of the pions. Just like the gas line, nobody in this place is cutting the damn soup line.

Couple who wants free shit during a time that I’d really like to direct my free shit towards those who legitimately need it.  We often run a dinner special on Tuesday wherein you get a free soup or salad, but it’s off this week because we’re offering something different. Not ok with them. When I offered to make a donation directly to the Red Cross for the difference in price, they told me that all they wanted was free soup and that they shouldn’t have to donate money if they don’t want to. “Oh,” I managed squeak out. “OK. You only care about yourselves. No problem. I’ll bring you soup.” They nodded and on the way out, applauded me for “doing the right thing.” Karma’s a bitch, medium old people.

Snobbish Douchebag wearing Argyle. “It’s very rude to bring someone a check in front of their other guests,” he tells me, looking down on me even though I’m standing and he’s sitting. Meanwhile, 4 feet away, I am trying to accommodate a restaurant full of people and help bus tables because it’s Monday night and we’re doing Saturday business. He shorts me by 38 cents because “he doesn’t have change and he doesn’t think he should have to round up.” You keep on with your awesome self, my friend.

Family who thinks the restaurant is housing their own personal thermostat. A table is cold when they get inside. So I make it warmer. Then there’s hot air blasting on them. Then there’s a light shining on them. Then it’s too dark to read the menu. Then one person needs hot water with lemon. Then another person needs hot water with extra extra lemon. Then the first person needs cold water. Then they put their coats on the table next to them, even though we clearly need to use it. Then they put their coats back on because they’re cold again.

Table that won’t leave. I get it, it’s cold at your house. But I have 20 guys from Alabama wearing orange vests and hardhats who are waiting to sit down and eat steaks and french onion soups, and you’re sitting smack dab in the middle of a row of empty tables. I understand that your second cousin put the wrong kind of gas in his generator, but we need to save these thrilling stories for another day. I’ve got mouths to feed.  And you already got yours.

Guess what. I just smiled! I’m sitting in Starbucks and a random dude just took it upon himself to carry a very large flag inside that was about to blow away in the wind. He was just being a nice guy. Humanity is saved! All is right in the world!

So even though I stepped in dog shit this morning and the wifi doesn’t work up in this joint and it’s FUCKING SNOWING, I still think it’s gonna be a good day.

HOLY SHIT.

5 Nov

That’s all I can say. Holy shit. Right? Like what the fuck? Did this week just exist?  Where are we on the spectrum of this subsiding a little bit, because I’m so just exhausted/overhwelmed/heightened/dfgohajsldfkjsfogasldkfj that all I want to do put on some Uggs and go to an Islanders game and have a beer and then go home and go to sleep and have my cat Kitty sleep by my feet. Does tomorrow start feeling a little normal again?

I am lucky. Nothing was destroyed. Nobody was hurt. I didn’t miss any prime time shows or DVR recording. Starbucks opened relatively quickly and they weren’t out of my favorite drink. I have power and I don’t need to submit any insurance claims. I am lucky.

But that in no way means I can’t complain.

I feel like I haven’t written in like a week! Because I haven’t! Wanna know why? Cuz I’ve been too busy dealing with all you cold, hungry,cranky,  gas-zombified powerless peeps. You have kept my restaurant so crowded with your sitting-forever-because-the-house-is-so-fuckin-cold-so-you-cause-a-3-hour-wait antics that we ran out of all the food 4 nights in a row.

So since you’re SOOOO CURIOUS ABOUT MY TOTALLY SUPER EXITING LIFE, here’s a little rundown:

Pre-hurricane Day: Harry and I decide that our getaway to Shelter Island for the night ain’t a great idea. We are devastated, because we were really looking forward to hitting up one of those super scary haunted houses out east even though I’m totally too much of a chicken to go inside. As I have never shopped for hurricane supplies, I prepare most interestingly for the storm, and I spend more at the grocery store than I have ever spent in my entire life except when I did Hanukkah at my apartment when I lived in the city and insisted on purchasing the entire cold cut meal at Zabar’s (I left Harry to order at the deli counter so I could “fill-in” and he got a pound of Genoa salami and that’s how he became the laughingstock of my family for not knowing about Hebrew National. Talk to him about it sometime). I spend my money mainly on multiple varieties of ramen noodles, off-brand peanut butter, Milano cookies (hid that shit) and a case of shelf stable milk. I justify this ridiculous purchase by reminding myself that $15 of that was cat food so it really wasn’t all that much. I conclude my night by refereeing a sword fight between my 9-year-old Stepkid and my 2-year-old naked Babygirl. Cabin Fever begins to set in.

Hurricane: My day consists of watercoloring with my Babygirl while Harry and my stepkid nap, putting purple and navy glitter on a dozen masks while my babygirl and Harry and my stepkid nap, and watching Mary Poppins 3 times while Harry and my stepkid nap. We lose power for 2 hours, but Harry is napping so he misses that. Harry kindly wakes up and cooks dinner for me, the kids and Ryan The Work Husband. Harry tells me he’s going to take a drive to check out the waves. I tie him to a chair. I also notice that the severed hand we had hanging from the shingles has blown away in the storm.

First Day After Hurricane: The hand surfaces on the lawn next door. We’re all pretty psyched. Harry wants to take a family drive, because the winds have died down to 50 MPH. We go check out the restaurants. The lights are out at my restaurant but on at the other restaurant so Harry drops us back home and goes to work, leaving me inside with the kids for the 3rd day in a row. Even though there’s power, I am still not doing well. I’m going deaf, covered in fucking glitter and all the Play Dough in the house is now one big glob of purplish-brown. It is not yet Halloween so I have no Fun Size candy bars with which to drown my misery. No offense, kids. I spend naptime glittering more masks, not even sure if the Bat Mitzvah will go on because the kid will only have a party if there’s a T-Shirt airbrusher, and the airbursher needs a functioning outlet for sure.

Halloween: Still no power. Harry goes to work, leaving me with the kids one more jolly time. Today we make sculptures out of all the unused candles I bought, eat Cup O’Noodles with our fingers, (“Because that’s the right way. It only burns for a few minutes.”) and go to Chili’s for a surprisingly delicious lunch. (That is the last nice thing you will most likely ever hear me say about Chili’s, although I think I like the nachos.) He comes back in time to go trick or treating with the kids even though I believe Halloween might have been cancelled. I can no longer take being home. I try to convince Harry to allow me to open the bar and sell warm beers and “European style” room temperature vodka cranberries by candlelight. I will throw an impromptu Halloween bash. He calls a babysitter and instead we go to Dave and Busters to play Trivia with Ryan. I’m totally the 3rd wheel. Also I’m not dressed like a prostitute. What an odd Halloween…

Day After Halloween (we’ll still refer to it that way even though it was called off or whatever): Pre Bat Mitzvah day. I spend the entire day with a hot glue gun in one hand and a waitress pad in the other. We have sporadic business as a result of our next door neighbors being a Hess station. I walk over to try and bribe the Traffic Director Hess dude with a cheeseburger or a steak. He obliges. I get gas with no wait. I think I’m the luckiest gal ever until I get a phone call from the T-Shirt Airbrusher. She can’t get gas, she can’t get to the party. I panic. I beg. I hold my breath. I sell Hurricane shots for charity. The restaurant is so crowded that I have blocked it from my memory permanently, but I believe there were 4 different families who brought a deck of cards to play while they took up my tables for 4 hours at a time. It was endearing (also, LEAVE ALREADY!). I feel like I haven’t hot glued enough and that I’m going to fail at being a world-class Bat Mitzvah Planner. I leave the restaurant at 1am after erecting the Bat Mitzvah girl’s name in an arch made of 3 foot gold balloons. Harry and I devour an entire (fresh and AMAZING) pizza from Little Vincent’s.

Bat Mitzvah Day: Spotify recommends that I listen to Christmas music so I spend an hour listening to Fiddler on the Roof instead, just to fuck with it. 15 minutes before the party begins, there is a car accident right in front of our parking lot, courtesy of the Hess line. I maintain my composure, even though I haven’t yet taken a Xanax, but I do nearly get in a fist fight with a 250 pound thuggish guy. I yell at him that he is ruining a little girl’s Bat Mitzvah and she doesn’t get this day again. Ryan walks in the middle of the 5 lane road to direct very handsome. My skirt doesn’t have pockets so I don’t have my phone on my to take a photo. It’s fucked up that men’s clothing all has pockets. The police spend the afternoon in our parking lot. Lovely. Airbrush chick shows. So does the hot dog cart, photo booth and VJ (oh yeah, fancy shit). The party goes off without a hitch, except for the fact that most of the guests didn’t have enough gas to get to the party, and that I forgot to order a challah so they did the prayer over a loaf of sourdough bread instead. Also the DJ plays an uncensored version of Grease Lightning, during which John Travolta screams “Well you know that ain’t no shit/I’ll be getting lots of tit.” And Gangnam Style, which is right about when the 10-year-old sister learns how to air-hump an imaginary horsey. Bat Mitzvah night arrives and I spend the night wrapping all of my regular customers in wool blankets and rubbing their shoulders.

Today: It’s the most wonderful time of the year! – I just love wearing opaque tights and inappropriately short skirts! I want to go shopping in the kids department but  there’s simply no time! I can’t walk in my office without stepping on a pack of peacock feathers or leaving a footprint of glitter. My pile of things to do has reached the ceiling but it doesn’t matter because the today is the first day of Long Island Restaurant Week (total ploy brought on by one very smart PR company, but we’ll discuss that another night…) and I have to design and print the menu, and also program the computer, which takes a day or two generally speaking. pen my Party Room as a warming/football/charging/wifi station. I offer free candy (Bat Mitzvah leftovers, so naturally it’s all blue and purple) and coffee. One person comes and she works for me. Still counts, I’m a hero.

Tonight, worst part of the whole week: I ask the guys to just make me some sweet potato fries just as the kitchen is closing. I fantasize about throwing some ketchup in the tin and snacking on them while I watch Homeland. Happiness. Pure, unadulterated happiness. But then an hour later I go to leave and THE FUCKING SWEET FRIES ARE NOWHERE TO BE FOUND. I pout and throw a medium size temper tantrum. I have been wearing 4 inch boots for the past 4 days and I’m THISCLOSE to going home and getting into bed. But not without sweet fries. I remember that Wendy’s has them now. I go to Wendy’s. They don’t have sweet fries. I go to McDonalds. They don’t have sweet fries. I call my Work Husband for sympathy (Harry doesn’t realize the severity of these scenarios, so I have to stick with Ryan when it comes to caring). He tells me to go to Burger King. I go to Burger King. Burger King is closed.

The moral of the story is: You are so lucky I’m back to writing again!

On a serious note, the best contribution you can make to the Relief efforts right now is to donate blood. Many drives were cancelled as a result of the storm, and much blood was lost as well. My mom told me that my blood pressure is too high so my blood isn’t good enough for them, but you should ignore my mom and just do it. She’s just weird. Supplies, food, clothing and money are also being collected at a ton of locations all over the area. Best place I’ve found to look is your local Patch.com site.

And leave the lightest Ecological Footprint you possibly can. And stop beating people up in the gas line. And listen to country music. And don’t forget about the Pop-up on November 28th.