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heavy petting: secret to my success.

1 Jan

So lately at work, like for the past year or so, there’s been some heavy petting going on between Harry and Thing 2, one of my middle aged spinster party waitresses. I let it happen because I like to keep morale up in my joint, and what the hell do I care if some weird lady wants to pet my husband’s hair?

Oh wait, did you think I meant that he was like feeling her up or something? Yeah, no. She just really likes to run her fingers through his thick locks. And I’m like “Whatever, Thing 2. I’m just gonna sit here and watch you pet my man,” and she’s like “Oh man, Shelby. Thank you so much, it just makes me feel all hot and bothered” and me and Thing 1 just sit there rolling our eyes at them.

That’s the thing, you guys. You need to keep your employees happy. An upbeat work environment makes for a productive staff. Even if said employee is unhealthily obsessed with your spouse and it requires essentially pimping him (his hair, let’s not be dramatic) out.

This weekend Harry and I are catering our wedding for some other couple in a barn someplace on Long Island. An event like this requires a team stronger than titanium (and I need like sooo many Xanaxes and weed brownies) to run smoothly. Naturally, Things 1 & 2 are vital components to this team, because they know that I’m an anal bitch when it comes to certain party details (angle at which to place tables / level to which water glass should be filled / EXACT time candles must be lit) and that they should BACK THE FUCK OFF and just do whatever I say, and they always have a good stash of pot for the end of night. Knowing these facts, I remain content, which, in turn, keeps Thing 1 cucumber cool. Thing 2 is a different story. She gets a little snippy if I don’t let her fondle my husband, so that’s a concession that I make. Just for her.

It also keeps Harry feeling young and virile, like he’s some strapping pornstar celebrity chef. And in case you didn’t know this about the restaurant business, a cranky chef is a FUCKING DOUCHEBAG. Ask anyone who works with Harry. I mean, a chef. Not Harry, he’s like never cranky. Like ever.

Anyway, Charlie is also working the party. I got him to do it by telling him that I knew for sure that there are going to be some hot guys as guests. Charlie never turns down the chance to rip a heterosexual out of the closet, even if it’s only for a few hours. I’m paying him in bottles of vodka and condoms. There’s also a redhead working the party. But if I write about him he may lose his day job. So we’ll just call him Gregory and say that he would also like to be paid in vodka and condoms, but substitute the vodka for Charlie.

Do we know how to throw a party or what?????

Ya we do! We’re so good at throwing a party that I WROTE A HAIKU ABOUT IT!!!!!!

PARTY PARTY PARTY

Hire us for fun.

There may be weed in your apps.

Pigs in a blanket.

Also, this happened today. It is a clip of me being interviewed by the CW 5pm news about something really crunchy and professional. Which proves that you can be a hippie who wears inappropriate footwear to a legislative session and skateboards around her development on a custom neon pink Penny Board, and still occasionally appear to be somewhat of a responsible adult.

Disclaimer: I like never ever ever associate my blog with my actual restaurant, but due to extreme vanity and egomania, I am doing so this evening. Kindly do not sue me because suddenly you’re putting 2 + 2 together and you realize that I’ve been writing shit about you all along. Moreover, don’t be scared to bring your children to my restaurant just because I talk like a sailor and have a brain like a pervy fifteen-year-old boy. Thanks dudes.

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how to avoid pretty much anyone, even if you’re famous like me.

10 Oct

A frequent recurring trend among restaurant owners is that we eat at places other than our own establishment.

It seems fairly reasonable to us. Sometimes you don’t want to eat the same identical cuisine 35,430 meals in a row. Sometimes you want to be served by a waiter who you don’t know streaked across the parking lot the other night. Sometimes you want to steal other people’s ideas. Sometimes you want to let your kid make a huge fucking mess on the floor* and then leave the premises. Sometimes you want to tip 15% on poor-to-mediocre service and run for the door. And you know what? That’s alright by me. However to you, the customer, the act is completely inexplicable. For the past 20whatever years, every single time we run into a customer at a restaurant, (which is like all the time because we’re famous) we are greeted with a hearty “You’re not allowed to eat heeeerrrrrrreeeee!!!!!!”

Um, yes we most certainly are allowed to eat here. Really, shouldn’t it be the other way around? If you are MY customer, then you should be eating in MY restaurant. Unless we’re at Indian or Vegan food (which I assure you, we are not) then the only place YOU are expected to be is eating the many delicious dishes at my cozy establishment. I’ve got college educations to pay for and it’s all literally going to boil down to your ravioli 2 times a week.

That’s the thing about owning a restaurant like mine. I run it, so I have to really get to know my customers. It gets pretty deep. I talk to everyone, and pretend I think they’re funny/intelligent/nice even when I know very well they’re not. I also have to sometimes act like their husbands aren’t SO sexy or that their kids aren’t SO ugly. I also have to share things about my family (photos of my kids on my iPhone with random self portraits and drunk pictures, quirky stories about how UNFANTASTIC it is to work with your husband and parents, where I shop for my Saturday bras, whether or not Harry and I are trying to conceive) and I’m truly not one to share personal aspects of my life. I don’t know if this is obvious by my ramblings, but I’m actually like really shy and totally loathe human interaction in a way that many people would take medication for.

It is for this reason alone that I am currently hiding under a table in the corner of a Panerabread with a hoodie on, with my laptop open only enough for me to fit my fingers on the keys so as to not draw attention with the bright lights of the screen. I don’t want to get lectured for patronizing a foodservice establishment other than my own. And I DEFINITELY don’t want to chat. It’s way too early, and I forgot my lipstick and I should only have to fake enthusiasm with these duds when I’m at work. This said Panerabread is located only about half a mile from my restaurant, and 3/4 of the people sitting above me at chair level are customers whose faces I recognize. The other 1/4 are most likely either infrequent customers, too generic to remember or they hide under my tables so I don’t know what they look like.

Other than hiding behind furniture, there is one way of avoiding people that I find works every time. You can implement it into your everyday life, such as with the kiosk lady at the mall who wants to ask you if you have artificial nails or your high school English teacher who knows you cheated on the final and definitely recognizes you at the Indigo Girls concert you’re both at. Here it is. Don’t tell your friends or you won’t be able to efficiently ignore them. Ok here it is. Secret to avoiding people:

ONLY MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH INANIMATE OBJECTS.

I did this today at the supermarket when I nearly ran into a customer for whom I did a party. Under some circumstances, it would have been nice to see her. But I was in a rush, she’s definitely not the type to just wave hello and rush on by, and I just wasn’t feeling it. So I stared town that box of green tea like it was gonna run away. And VOILA! No convo needed!

OMG Sidebar. A girl just walked by wearing a little pink denim skirt, striped oxford, blue sweater tied over her shoulders and a bow in her hair. She looked adorable. Is there some sort of part time job that I can get so I can wear shit like that? Like the American Girls store or High School or H&M or something like that. Oh shit, she just passed again. Her shoes are adorbs too. If I weren’t deep in this important document I’d totally follow her and see if they’re hiring. Unless it’s the Gap. Been there, done that. Although they were playing country music there the other day so maybe I’d consider it.

Anyway, being famous in a small town is really tough. You get no privacy whatsoever. People are always wanting to talk to you. They ask such irritating things like “How are you?” and “How’s the family?” and “Is the skirt steak gluten free?” and, worst of all, “How’s your dad?”

My dad is famous too, only he’s more famous in Nassau County and I’m more famous in Suffolk County. Specifically only one town in Suffolk County, and really only one little part of that town. What I’m trying to say is that my dad is more famous than me. But I’m more potentially famous, specifically because of my blog (You know, the one I haven’t written in like a month ever since new TV started) and like maybe I can get some press as like “a restaurant owner who dresses slutty on the weekends so customers will be nice to her.”  I think if you were going to equate us to any father-daughter duo, it would be like Gene Simmons’s nobody daughter trying out for X Factor, except that my dad wears more makeup and I’m a better singer.

Unlike me, my dad never hid under tables . He stood on them (before his cardiologist told him to please stop). That’s what makes him way popular. In fact, already today like 13 people have asked me the dreaded “how’s your dad?” question. What am I supposed to say? “He’s good, right now he’s napping with the baby, and at 4 he’s going to watch Judge Judy.” No, that’s probably not a good idea.

Maybe next time I’ll stare at a very important document so the question doesn’t have to be an issue.

*Speaking of children making huge messes on the floor, I thought I’d share a lovely little story from last night’s dinner service. A little 2 year old comes in with her parents and grandparents. She’s cute. Obviously not as cute as my babygirl, but cute. Anyway, I’m in the other room putting glitter on some masks and doing other important stuff like that, and I keep hearing the kid making choking noises. They’re intermittent so I figure there’s no need to worry and yada yada yada, she threw up her mac and cheese all over the table. Her mother insisted it not be cleaned up because “She’s not done yet,” and the child ate her regurgitated mac and cheese (again). Lesson of the day: If your kid vomits in public and wants to eat it, kindly get a doggy bag.

how to be a really successful madame.

2 Oct

“I can’t believe you sold yourself and kept your clothes on. I’m so proud of you.”

~ Harry

Something really interesting about the restaurant business is that it can easily be confused with hooking. Bet you never knew that! Today I sold my party planning services for a pretty penny and voila! My husband equated me to a prostitute!

Really, you guys, I’m not a hooker at all. If you think about it, I’m more of like a madame, which is way more lucrative so I’m pretty happy. A couple comes in for a date and I set them up in a booth with a girl who will satisfy their every (dinner) need. And then, depending on how well that girl serviced them, she’s tipped accordingly! And I get paid a set fee. See? Decent analogy if I do say so myself.

This whole prostitution analogy crosses over to you, the lowly customer, so don’t think that you’re so innocent. It’s actually where the whole concept of “food porn*” came from. You thought it was Instagram but you were way wrong. It was because men began discovering that instead of paying for sex, they could buy a woman a meal and for the same price (depending on the venue, of course), they could get a steak and get laid because if the food is delicious enough and the vino’s dry enough, a girl will give it up for free! So it’s like a BOGO sort of situation.

Anyway, to show me how proud he was of me for selling myself to a woman, Harry cooked me sweet potato gnocchi with sage butter sauce and that was the first time we’ve used our stove in 6 years.

 

*Side bar: Food porn, Mom and Dad, is where you take photos of something mouth watering that you’re about to sink your teeth into, which also happens to be pleasing to the eye. Then you post the said photo to Instagram and all of your followers like it and say things like “omg did you make that yourself?” and “they serve brunch at that place?” and “#stoptakingphotosoffoodandshowussomethinginterestingalready” and “did you use Lo-fi or Nashville on that photo?”

how to score a perfect rim job and also i was abducted tonight at the gas station.

6 Sep

One of the most difficult decisions a restaurant owner is faced with making is how to get the cinnamon sugar to adhere to the rim of a pint glass when pumpkin beer season rolls around. For me, today was this such event, and I spent no less than 80% of my time at work establishing the perfect sugar-to-cinnamon ratio, and then toying with maple syrup and lemon juice options in order to make it stick effectively. Oddly enough, the I came to the conclusion that the best adhesive is simply the frost on an icy glass, and thus destroyed hours of rim testing and beer drinking. I was so wasted by the late afternoon that I completely forgot to tell all of my servers that we had actually tapped the beer, yet got extremely angry at them when they didn’t sell it. “What the fuck? We need to sell the fucking pumpkin beer!” I screamed at the top of my lungs, spilling some of my brew on a waiter’s apron. “Get your fucking apron away from my spillage, bitch!” I apparently get angry when I’m fictionally drunk. The moral of the story is, my rim job is the best in town and tomorrow I’m going to show my bartenders how it’s done right.

Lately all I want to write is complete lies. Actually, since I’m a famous writer now, I get to call it something else.

Lately, all I want to write is fiction. For instance, tonight I went to the gas station to put some air in my tire (hey, did you know that Hess give you free air, which is like so very ironic, but anyway that makes them the best gas station in the history of the world but I’m also taking the truck into consideration so they sort of had a leg up on the competition to begin with). And I was bending over to attach the little hose to the thingy on the tire (very car savvy) and singing the rest of a country song that had been on in the car and when I stood up, there was this scary dude who’s race I won’t reveal because I don’t want to be politically incorrect and pigeonhole any nationality into being a bad guy but I will say that he wasn’t Asian and he was like “Nice tits*” and I was like “It’s a Saturday bra.” And he tried to grab me and pull me into the back of his 4 door Wrangler but I kicked him in the testicles and made him fall over and then I jumped into my passenger side, locked the door, climbed over the seat and ran him over.

Fine, it didn’t happen exactly like that, but the corner of the gas station where I was filling my tire was like really dark and that’s the sort of thing that could legitimately happen to an innocent amazing girl like me. The ironic thing, had I been abducted by the non-Asian would have been that Harry was a mere 100 feet away because the gas station is right next to the restaurant and you can even look over the fence from the dark air corner and see all the chimney-waiters chilling in the back.

Tomorrow since I was way too intoxicated to do it today, I’m going to decorate my tap handle with one of those little pumpkins from the craft store so everyone will know what it is. My favorite thing about the craft store is that since school started today, it’s officially time to start selling Christmas decorations. Which reminds me that it’s time to start seriously considering how I’ll be dressing my kids up for Halloween. My babygirl is only 2 so it’s a little soon to make her a slutty angel. And last year I made them be Pebbles and BamBam so my stepkid was that boy at the school Halloween parade wearing a skirt. This year I’m leaning towards my babygirl being a Jazzercise instructor and my stepkid being The Dude from the Big Lebowski because I’ve got this bowling bag laying around. But I’ve got at least 36 hours to decide, so we’ll see.

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!!

how to tell when you’re being kicked out of a restaurant.

5 Aug

SPOILER ALERT!: I wrote this post in January, so if you’re one of the 7 loyal readers since the beginning, it may look familiar to you. Although probably most of the people who have stuck with me from the getgo are either weedheads or my parents, and either way you probably tuned out my ramblings in all this time. I wanted to write tonight but zombies can’t write blogs about restaurants and I am a zombie as a result of birthday weekend and not sleeping in awhile and the amount of sugar and carbs I consumed today draining what was left of my energy. I miss So You Think You Can Dance. These Olympics seem really long. Not that I’ve watched anything because I don’t want to feel tempted to out anyone when they win a medal or do something like be the best vaulter in the world but not be able to land on her feet during the most important vault of her life thus far and then be really ungracious when the girl who beats her goes to hug her. Nobody cares when I write about SYTYCD so I just want it to come back on so I have something to write about again.

Ok, without further interruption, an encore presentation of an old favorite….

 

Occasionally we have meals with such beloved and exhilarating people that we wish it never had to end. But all good meals must come to an end. We in the restaurant business prefer that end comes sooner, rather than later, especially on a busy night.

Here are some insider tips to know when you are no longer appreciated at your table:

  1. It took you more than an hour to decide on an appetizer. No matter how the rest of the meal goes, it’s time to get out.
  2. You have been asked if you’d like a refill on your coffee more than twice.
  3. The server, hostess and busboy have all locked eyes with you for fifteen seconds each. They don’t think you’re hot, they want you to go home (or to Starbucks, they don’t really care).
  4. You try to go to the bathroom but the amount of people waiting for tables won’t allow you to get there.
  5. The table to your left and the table to your right have been sitting vacant for almost an hour, even though the restaurant seems packed.
  6. Your waitress approaches you every 45 seconds offering to bring you change, even though you have quite obviously not looked at the check yet. She’s subtly telling you that you need to stick the card in the check presenter and at least give her the hope that you’ll get up shortly.
  7. A small gang of unruly children stands a few feet away, staring at you/pointing/making ugly faces. Their parents stand three paces behind them staring at their watches/pointing/making ugly faces. Hey, they wanted to see where their table was going to be… it isn’t my fault if they get aggressive…
  8. There is LITERALLY NOTHING on your table. The busboy has taken your water glasses, your mugs, your napkins and your car keys, so your vehicle will be nice and toasty when you get into it. NOW.
  9. After sitting open for about an hour, the vacant tables on either side of you suddenly get decorated with giant “reserved” signs. Facing you.
  10. Even though you have already paid, your waitress visits your completely empty table every fifteen seconds to ask if there’s anything else she can get for you.
  11. I am standing over your table hysterically crying because hungry people who have to wait too long get like totally verbally abusive.
  12. The lights are turned all the way up, the music is turned off and the vacuum is the only sound other than your WAY TOO LONG conversation.
  13. Your waiter is wearing his street clothes and jacket, glaring at you in the corner because he can’t leave until you do.
  14. Finally, if it is between 7:30 and 8:30 on a Saturday night, please please please eat and get out. We’ll be your best friend.

Saturday night I served over 250 happy, full-bellied customers. But at the end of the night, the last party of 5 had no place to sit. I pulled out all the stops, particularly #2,3,6 & 7, but nothing. Nobody budged. So i went to my office concealing #11 because the party of 5 couldn’t take the wait anymore, shouted in my face and stormed out the door, still hungry. I know that I try to be lighthearted with these posts, but I can’t tell you how deeply terrible I feel if you have to leave with an empty stomach.

Luckily the shouting man looked a little like Liam Neeson so I was really excited to meet a celebrity.

how i singlehandedly destroyed the olympics.

31 Jul

SPOILER ALERT: This post contains information about world news. If you are not prepared to be exposed to current events, DO NOT READ ON. I repeat, STOP READING NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE WORLD AT THIS TIME. If you have the desire to know what’s going on but don’t want it to be by means of my shitty little blog, kindly visit CNN or TMZ or NBC or ask your mom and then come back and enjoy the loveliness that is this passage.

ONWARD!!!!!

So today rolled around and I was so so so excited to watch the Women’s All-around Gymnastics that I woke up and put my hair in a bun with those little metallic clips that the Romanians have been sporting since like way before I can even remember and I popped my babygirl into her teeny tiny leotard, only to discover that like so many other Olympic events, NBC made the decision to delay televising the meet to prime time. Just like during the qualifying round on Monday, it meant that I would have to stream the meet on my computer. Which was honestly fine with me because I don’t have a TV in my office (I know, seriously ghetto) and I had some shit to do so it was really an effective way to multitask. If you happen to have heard the word on the Gymnastics street, the US team is sort of completely awesome (check #fabfive on Twitter if you don’t believe me) and they are by far and away the team to beat. So they went out and they won. Because that’s what they came to London to do. So they did it. And I was a happy, giggly girl. Naturally, I expressed this happiness the way pretty much everyone on earth (except my husband and one of my friend’s husbands and my 2-year-old) does, and I made it my status on Facebook.

USA just won gold for women’s gymnastics all around. Why the hell isn’t this being broadcasted live??

I honestly thought that it would make people feel excited and proud and patriotic and nostalgic (I mean, we were all little girls once, weren’t we? We all grew up wishing we could fly and feeling it in our throats when the gymnasts stuck those landings and thew their arms in the air like the greatest of all heroes. Well if you didn’t, I sure did. And so did my mom when she was little. And now I have a babygirl who points to the TV and shouts “BEAM!” so do you get why I was excited?). Apparently the first thing on some of my virtual friends’ minds were quite the opposite of what I intended to evoke.

Within moments, my phone LITERALLY EXPLODED. LITERALLY. Like fireworks.

“You just ruined my night!”

“Spoiler alert!”

“Well I guess I won’t watch it later!”

Or my personal favorite, from an old commuting buddy of mine, “MANY people like myself who can not watch live online are trying to stay away from results so we can watch tonight and feel the excitement and get the suprise… sooooo you should have put “Spoiler Alert” before your message”

Tell me, old commuting buddy, and please be honest, had I written “spoiler alert,” would you truly not have continued reading? Why is it NBC’s decision when I can celebrate an amazing accomplishment by these talented and flexible freaks? Why can’t it be my decision to acknowledge a truly great moment in sports when it actually occurs? I believe that social media has given us tremendous accessibility to things as they happen. Why has NBC created an exemption to this rule for a 2 week window? If something happens of significance during any non-Olympic window, networks race to be the first to break the story. But NBC needs to pick up those advertising dollars during prime time, so somehow they’ve managed to create some sort of “Bachelor”-esque suspense and try to not break the news.

And somehow I’ve destroyed the Olympic code, and the lives of my 500-or-so Facebook friends to boot. Egads! I’m so fucking confused! I felt HORRIBLE, and embarrassed for not knowing that I wasn’t supposed to talk about the medals until nighttime, and I kept checking how many friends I had because I figured for sure people were going to delete me for committing such a faux pas. Like, I need all the friends I can get people, please don’t hate me because I’m a Stupid American.

But the thing about gymnastics is that you really don’t watch it for the results. You watch it because these girls do things that YOU CANNOT PHYSICALLY ACCOMPLISH. They are artists and acrobats and curious specimens with occasional natural talent and occasional stage parent-induced, overworked talent. I can swim across a pool. Not as fast as Michael Phelps (I’m not delusional. His arms are way longer than mine so it’s sort of impossible.) but I can make it happen. I CANNOT DO A DOUBLE TRIPLE QUADRUPLE BACK TWIST BLAH BLAH DISMOUNT BLAH. Neither can you. So I didn’t actually ruin your night by telling you they won. I made it better by assuring you that you’d see some amazing moments in sports and feel an immense sense of patriotic pride, something that really doesn’t happen nearly enough these days.

A couple hours later, while I was checking Twitter to see if anyone else had broken the alleged Olympic code, I spotted another headline. This one bigger than the original. Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympic Athlete. In. The. History. Of. The. World. So wait, let me get this straight. These people train their whole lives and accomplish things that nobody else can do and other than the whole bong thing, pose as literally the greatest role models for my kids that I could ever ask for, and I can’t talk about it publicly until 11:30pm because it will ruin your night? Um, ok.

Or you can just stay off your iPhone and iPad and laptop for a few hours.

So now the time has finally come. The Time of Prime. You’re all sitting on your couches with your loved ones in your arms, snuggled up with your favorite blanket or puppy, watching the gymnastics team flip flop with the men’s swim meet, and the whole time, for some strange ass reason, all you really want to do is go see the new Jason Bourne movie, pop open a Coca Cola and maybe strap on our Nikes and run over to the Chevy dealership to buy a new pickup. You really just can’t figure out why. And instead of watching for the meet for 2 hours, which is about how long it took this morning, you have been sitting here for 3.5 horribly edited hours (like, did you not have time to make it look pretty and crop the shots??) and the USA is yet to have their rotation on the floor, and you have to let your kids stay up extra late, and you’re exhausted and your entire family is going to be CRANKY AS FUCK tomorrow morning, but at least you were exposed to the 60 second Chobani and BMW spots so all is right with the world.

The thing is, even though I (and probably you) knew the outcome, and saw photos all day long, watching the girls reaction at 11:18 pm, a mere 10 hours after it actually went down, made me cry like a girl. And then watching Michael Phelps (when did those headphones get so BIG?) become the most celebrated Olympian in history made Harry cry like one too.

Because it really isn’t the headline that matters. It’s the moment.

how to make a waitress hate your guts. (part 3)

26 Jul

Now that I’m all settled back in at work, I’m beginning to remember what sets the restaurant business apart from most other businesses. It’s hungry cranky fuckers like you and me who inadvertently cause strife in the lives of waiters and waitresses. Since it’s been a bit of time since we last discussed this topic, let us review some of the many annoyances restaurant people incur on a day-to-day basis:

  • Let your child scream at the top of their lungs
  • Ignore the server
  • Fill up on complimentary starches & cancel your food order
  • Order soft drinks before being sat at a table
  • Send food back to the kitchen for changes that can be made by you (i.e. no bun on your burger)
  • Start a sentence with “I never really complain but…”
  • Never be satisfied with the climate in the dining room.
  • Think that an 18% tip is impressive.
  • Be gluten free*

Ok, now that we’ve reviewed, let’s move on to some more stuff that makes us want to smack you silly and ask you to please shut the fuck up. Tonight the theme is “shit that directly applies to me as the owner/manager/hostess.” Because in an odd turn of events, I’m more focused on myself tonight than on other people. When you finish passing out from the shock of this rare narcissistic behavior, kindly adjust how you act in the following situations:

  • Accuse me of being a liar. Sometimes people call to make a reservation and insist that last time they were here they sat at a round table, but the truth of the matter is that they’re totally totally mistaken. We don’t have round tables. Breaking the news to them is always difficult because the customer is always right (Oh shit, now I’m lying to you!). And most of the time, when I break the news to them that they cannot have a round table because I don’t have a saw that cuts in a perfect circle, they accuse me of lying to them and ask to speak to the manager. “But I’m the owner,” I tell them and they respond by insisting that the last time they ate here they 100% sat at a round table. As a loving, caring, beautiful owner, I vow to you as my customer that I have no need to lie to you unless it is a fake phone call because you’re talking my ear off and I have someone more interesting than you sitting at the bar waiting for me.
  • Feed yourself whilst chatting with me. Let’s make a deal, folks. I promise you that I will not conversate with you once your meal hits the table, if you promise me that you will not flag me down and insist that I listen to your granddaughter’s wedding plans while you spew your jambalaya in my face. I typically love the outfits I wear to work, and don’t need any food particle accessories to accent them. If you need to ask me or your server for something, PUT THE FORK DOWN. Swallow whatever it is you’re chewing, take a sip of water if you need to, breathe for a second, and then ask for what you need, and then when I’m at a safe distance, pick the fork back up and continue on your culinary journey.
  • Complain at the end of your meal. This one confuses me on a multitude of levels. First, why did you just eat something you didn’t like? This isn’t your mom’s dining room table, you are paying for a meal. So this means that if you hate something, you aren’t forced to eat it. Second, there is no way for me to identify the problem if you have left no evidence of it. Frankly, the conclusion we’ve pretty much made about people who complain at the end of a fully consumed meal is that they really just want something for free. And that makes us want to do less for you because we hate your grubby guts. If you truly don’t like something, complaining off the bat is a win-win situation – you get to eat something that doesn’t make you want to puke and we get feedback on a dish that we may not otherwise know needs altering.
  • Never acknowledge me even though we see each other 2 – 4 times a week. I see many of my customers far more than I see all of my friends and family combined. The vast majority of these people hug and kiss me and/or Harry (people have their favorites, most of the time being me unless they’re a tween or a 50-year-old divorcé). But then there are these few super special asswads who just won’t give us the time of day. Seriously, even though you’re a regular customer and I try to be friendly and wave and grin and say hello and accommodate your entire family’s needs (she can’t have gluten, he can’t have meat or rice or milk or nuts or yeast or sunshine, I can’t have french fries unless they were fried in the oil of a chicken named Steve, my daughter doesn’t speak so you have to look into her brain and figure out her order…) you still never crack a smile or acknowledge that we’ve ever seen each other before. A long time ago, before I could immediately fact check on Google, I got a memo that it takes more energy to frown than to smile. Did you not get this memo as well? Why can’t you just be friendly and nice? Is eye contact seriously that much of a challenge when it comes to loser blue collar workers like me? Were your parents this grumpy and they passed it on to you and your wife?? Am I not pretty enough for you? I think we all know this is not the case… but what I’m really getting at is that you should be nice to the owner of the restaurants you frequent. I promise, we come in very very very handy.
  • Bathroom? This word is neither a sentence nor a question. Kindly try to expand on this thought when you’re asking me where the toilets are located. I totally understand that we are in a world where we no longer use the uber-long forms of the words “you” and “are” when we type, but looking at me and saying “bathroom” is really kind of gross-a-roo. I totally empathize with you that you’ve gotta pee or poo. But it just takes 2 more syllables (“Where’s the”) to eradicate this grammatical disaster. If you say “Excuse me” or “Thanks” or heaven forbid “Thank you,” you can bet your ass that I’m throwing some major cred your way. Expect a free bottle of wine at the very least.

If you think that I’m done letting you know what bothers restaurant people about you, you’re sadly mistaken. So don’t worry, if nothing over the course of this series has applied to you, there’s always tomorrow….

*Sidebar: This whole gluten free thing is getting worse and worse. It started out that the people were just irritating. But now I’m convinced that there is a direct correlation between wheat consumption and brain cells. I received a phone call yesterday from a Gluten Free chick who was looking to come in for dinner. I explained that we accommodate all gluten free diets. “Are you sure?” I told her that I was sure. “So you mean I can get a burger without a roll?”

“No,” I told her. “I’ve made an error. It is not possible for you to purchase a hamburger unless it is attached to a roll. We are experimenting with a new cooking technique wherein we bake our bread with beef patties attached to it, and it becomes so sticky in the process that it is scientifically impossible to remove the meat from the roll. Deepest apologies.”

Just kidding. What I really said was “You gluten people are getting dumber by the second, aren’t you?”

how to make a waitress hate your guts. (part 1)

10 Jul

Unfortunately, this post applies directly to you. Generally speaking, you are well behaved in restaurants, and consider yourself a good tipper who never makes a scene. I hate to break it to you, but this is totally not the case. Here are some inadvertent things you do that really irritate your server:

  • Send food back to the kitchen unnecessarily – If you don’t like asparagus and it shows up on your plate, do not ask the waitress to send the plate back to the kitchen in order to have the asparagus removed. At many restaurants, forks are provided. These are not only useful for eating, but also for removing large ingredients from the plate (and placing them on a separate plate, perhaps a bread one or a side one). Oddly enough, you are also in full control of which items become loaded onto the fork, and which ones enter your mouth. It’s pretty incredible, if you take the time to think about it.
  • Complain that it’s too hot, then complain that it’s too cold. – Unfortunately, I’m not going to be able to do anything about it. Yes, I’ll adjust the thermostat a degree or two, but in all honesty you are never going to be happy. No matter what temperature the restaurant is held at, it is never going to be as cozy as your home. Also, being seasonally specific, complaining that a restaurant is cold during the summer is ridiculous. By the time you become an adult, you need to learn that if you tend to be chilly, you should bring a hoodie or a cardigan with you while indoors. That’s the thing about air conditioning. It makes places cool on a hot day.
  • Start a sentence with “I really never complain, but….” – Once that phrase cruises through your lips, we automatically translate whatever comes after it as “I want free shit.” It honestly doesn’t even matter what you’re complaining about, chances are it will be dealt with in the following way:  1) We’ll try to buy you dessert, which you will decline even though you totally want it, but are holding out for a better deal. 2) We’ll give you a card that’s good for an appetizer or dessert on your next visit. We’ll tell you that the calamari is delicious. You’ll tell us that you don’t think you’ll be coming back because we didn’t fix your problem. Yup, you’ll still be holding out. 3) We’ll lecture you on why it is important to complain before you polish off an entire entree that you don’t enjoy as opposed to when your plate is totally empty, that way we can rectify the situation. 4) You will give us a look as if to say “I obviously am playing you in order to get you to take my food off the bill.” 5) I will show you a photo of my babygirl and mention that you’re literally preventing her from playing tee ball because of the money we had to take off your bill. 6) You will accept the discount and we will make faces at you because we don’t like you. 7) You’ll come back next week, hopefully when the other manager is working, and try it al again.
  • Be Gluten-Free. – This doesn’t apply to every person who has Celiac Disease, just most of them. Because not knowing what you can or cannot eat when you’ve got a gluten allergy is fucking ridiculous. Fine, you have a question on a particular sauce? I get that. I would constantly wonder if I can have the horseradish mustard sauce that we serve with the salmon, because it’s damn good and definitely wishy-washy as far as potential ingredients go. But please don’t ask me if you can have chicken parmesan. That doesn’t even make any sense. You manage to function every other day with your allergy, why today can you not figure out that you should eat a plain piece of steak, some sautéed vegetables and a fucking baked potato? I will humor you and make your damn gluten-free menu, masses. But don’t get all cranky pants when you find us all making fun of you in the server station.
  • An 18% tip on the subtotal is not a good tip. – The general rule of thumb for a “good tip” for restaurant people is 20% of the total bill. So if the bill comes to $50, $10 is like the minimum amount that would constitute a good tip. Writing “thanks for the great service” or whatever else on your charge slip is like automatically making your server the greatest hero in the history of the world according to his managers. So if you really appreciated your experience, leave a 25% gratuity and a little thank you note. It takes like no time and maybe a couple bucks, but goes a hell of a long way to your server. On the flip side, if you are a regular customer who routinely leaves 18% on the subtotal (one guy shows his work… super bizarre) then don’t be surprised when you are always dumped with the shitty new dork socially awkward drink-spilling waiter. You did it to yourself, my friend.

If none of these applied to you, don’t get all cocky and think that you’re one of the good ones. This is simply part one of a LONG LONG LONG series of irritating things that customers (even you!) do in order to make waitress hate your guts. I’m totally one of you, if it makes you feel any better. I order an iced tea and a water at the same time, I let my kid jump on the booth, I’m allergic to tables when there are booths around and I never ever ever remember a server’s name. There, do you feel better? You’re not the only shitty customer in town.

how to be a half-assed hostess.

7 Jul

As a result of a little under-the-weather action by one of my kids, we spent the majority of 4th of July out of commission at the doctor, and unable to do things like buy food, cook it, plant stuff so it looks like we’ve used our backyard this year or windex the inch-and-a-half of dirt and mosquito carcasses off the table. As the hours passed, things got more and more dire. Harry ran to work in order to put out a catering order, stranding me with two bored kids, one empty Starbucks shopping bag, two balloons (until my babygirl popped hers and then one) and a pending meal that we were supposed to be hosting in the late afternoon.

The delay in preparing the festive dinner meant that I’d have to scrap the original menu, which was fucking awesome and I’m still in the mood for it so I better make some friends or have a party so I can enjoy it.

  • Fried Chicken
  • Hot Dogs
  • Cole Slaw
  • Biscuits
  • Orzo Salad
  • Regular Salad
  • Watermelon
  • Chips and Dip
  • Berry Shortcake (Harry beefed it up by switching the shortcakes to fresh waffles)
  • The Ice Cream man, because we’ve got a soft serve guy this year! So how can we not!??!?!

I know, great menu, right?

Too bad that bacteria and fungus or whatever it is that kids transfer to one another while they’re playing dodgeball and arts ‘n crafts totally fucked it up.

Instead we got home exactly 1 hour before our guests were to show with 3 bags of crap from Target and a pigsty house. My stepkid and I washed down the backyard (I had the privilege of cutting back the poison ivy because I am that good of a stepmom). We cleared all the cobwebs, emptied last year’s trash out of the garbage can* and chopped down a weed that had infiltrated the patio. Harry ran to the deli and ordered some cold cuts and bread and cocktail sauce. I defrosted some shrimp, cut lemons that may or may not have been purchased this year and filled a pitcher of water with the finest water my refrigerator offers. I made a fancy salad of lettuce and tomato (I cut the mold off so as not to scare my guests). I clumped the plethora of condiments together on a shelf in the fridge for easier access when we were ready to eat, shoved a few piles of paperwork in a closet, brushed my babygirl’s hair, washed my face and was ready to face my guests.

As a result of our impressive planning, we wound up with a feast fit for kings:

  • Pirates Booty
  • Shrimp cocktail
  • Chips and peach salsa (top layer poured off for freshness)
  • Fancy salad
  • Carrots (nobody ate those, we’re not fancy like that)
  • Hot dogs
  • Cold cuts and a giant thing of Mayo and Italian bread
  • Soupy cole slaw (yum!)
  • I don’t know what else because frankly I’m only concerned with what goes on my own plate
  • Baked Cheetos
The definite lowlight of the afternoon was that we were all in the pool when the ice cream man came, so we couldn’t get soft serve sundaes which totally blew. Fortunately our friends know us well enough to have brought a 12 pack of Crumbs cupcakes, so all was well with the world again.
When they went home, Harry and I high fived and passed out on the floor because being a half-assed hostess is EXHAUSTING!

*Sidebar. Look. It is really tough trying to work full time, raise 1.5 children and a husband, keep up with every series on ABC Family, eat 7 well-rounded meals/desserts a day and be totally beautiful. So just chill out on getting all judgy-wudgy about my nasty backyard. Nobody needs flowers or living grass. Get over it.