Wednesday, May 20, 2015

To Pray or Not to Pray

Tonight I worked an off-site catering event. 

Ask any one who works in kitchens what the thing they hate the most about their job is. They will say when someone calls off and off-site catering. Some of them might bitch about the heat, but those people are idiots. Hello, sweat diet!

So, it's a party for 75 people. Salad, two entree options, bread and dessert. We don't have to bring anything other than food and set up for chafing dishes. Easy as shit.

Of course, two people didn't show up for their shifts and the prep on the restaurant side of things SUCKED SO MUCH ASS, but the guests thought it was flawless and were super happy. 

Here's the thing...

And I am going to preface this with a minor beliefs are my own. As are all of yours. In no way shape or form am I saying anything here that is meant to be judgmental or against anybodies personal freedom of choice. I respect you all and hopefully that is mutual.

We got all the food out and one of the hosts asked us to come out in the dining room to join them in prayer. 


I participated 100%. I didn't even make a face, despite really wanting to. I did what every decent, well-mannered human being would do. But I did not like it.

Is it just me, or is that moderately offensive? I would never ever ever ever ever ask someone to do something that was against their belief system. Especially total strangers who were working for me. Or at the very least, approached it as "we are about to pray, if you would like to join us." It was a request, not a courtesy. 

I don't believe in God. My family is not on the same page. It is frequent that I sit down to meals with them and a prayer is said. The difference is that I choose to participate because it makes people I love happy. To have a total stranger require me to pray on the clock at a work function....I feel like it crosses a line. And it was a high school robotics club award ceremony. It certainly wasn't a bible study that was catered.

It was just really weird to me that they asked the wait staff and the chefs to participate. 

And I know what everyone is's nice that they included you. And I agree, to an extent. If it was presented as an option, it would be nice if they included us. But it wasn't. 

This sort of circles around to something I am realizing more and more as an adult. I live in a bubble. I surround myself with like-minded people with similar morals and values. Some of them are religious, some aren't. But we are all generally on the same page when it comes to how we conduct our lives and how we treat people. 

Then one day, WHAM. I encounter someone who does not fit in this bubble I have created and I find myself shocked that people exist outside of what I am used to.  

Like I said, I went along with it and sort of shrugged my shoulders and moved on. 

It just struck me as odd. What do you all think? Am I the minority in this opinion?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

This may be the most random post I have ever written.

I have been sold. 

I got into work on Friday and was told I was being loaned to another restaurant for Mother's Day Weekend. The company I work for is so freaking amazingly efficient that every single restaurant has identical menus, so once you are trained at one, you can work at any location. Down to the scheduling, paperwork, POS, everything. 

I have never worked for a corporate restaurant, so it is distinctly possible this is pretty common. I have no idea. 

I have also only been trained on one station: the pantry. Which is fancy restaurant talk for salads and desserts. I was supposed to start pizza tomorrow, but alas, I was sold. Like a common street drug. 

And let me tell you something....I am pretty much worthless on the line. Of the 5 training sessions I am supposed to have at each station, my first one consisted of the person who was supposed to train me no call/no showing. The person who stayed to train me spoke zero English. My second day was also the same day they were training the no call person's replacement, so there were exactly 7 billion people on the station and I basically just gave up and helped out prep. Every other shift I was pulled into something else. So....let's just set the tone here.

I got there and waltzed in the kitchen like I knew what the fuck I was doing. Confidence! I have it. (I don't. Not yet) I was told to prep all morning. 

Have you ever worked a prep shift? Or catering for that matter? It is basically standing in the same place all day with a cutting board, a knife and a food processor. And measuring shit. IT IS AWFUL. And extremely painful. My knees and lower back have been screaming since 3. 

Also, prep is one of those things that you can only be good at if you are familiar with your surroundings. Not knowing where anything is adds SO MUCH time to every single prep project. So, I naturally felt like kind of an idiot the whole day. There was lots of "Chef, where are the spatulas?" "Chef, where are the measuring spoons?" "Chef, why for the love of God would you send someone who is barely in training to another store to help on the busiest weekend of the year?" 

Maybe I didn't say that last part. Maybe I just thought it exactly 7 billion times.

Let me just say though, I do love that everyone calls me chef. God damn do I love it. 

So, I am back there tomorrow working pantry and doing prep and hopefully will look like less of an idiot. 

Am I the only person who is so insecure when they start a new job that they spend the entire time second guessing everything they do? And just assuming everyone hates you and thinks it was a mistake to hire you? Ugh. I can't wait for this time to pass. I am the same way in new relationships or new friendships. I never voice this, but I am so hard on myself it is ridiculous.

I digress.

So, tomorrow is Mother's Day and I am going to probably work a 14 hour day. The only shining light in this whole thing is the  management team there. Mine is pretty seasoned at my store...people who have been with the company since it started, about 22 years ago. This management team was young! All around my age. The thought of being a GM for the company at 33....making six figures. Holy shit! And the Exec is a woman! And my age! And seriously, I could see us being friends. I love her so much. I kind of secretly want to get transferred to this store even though it is the slowest store in the district. My current store is in the top 5 busiest stores of the company...of 130 something stores. Vast difference. 

Anyway, there wasn't really a point to this other than to say I am being pimped out by my job and I am very uncomfortable with it. I could probably have just posted THAT statement on Facebook, but there is a strict social media policy and since I have my job listed, I can't really say much about the goings on at work. So, I chose to ramble here. 

Plus I miss being here. It's nice to post again. I am happy I am in a place where I am writing here again. 

The downside of the new job and new hours is man-pants. I saw him tonight for about a half hour before he started falling asleep on the couch. I didn't see him at all yesterday. I probably will not see him tomorrow. He also got a new job (yay!) and starts Tuesday, so hopefully his hours will be more in tune with mine sooner than later. But as of right now, we barely see each other when we are used to seeing each other all the time. Our schedules were identical, we even car pooled to work. Needless to say, it's been an adjustment. 

It's weird being with someone I want to spend all my time with. It's also worrisome that getting away from that quality time will affect our relationship. It's hard to make time for someone when you are so exhausted. But I know us and I know that we will. Despite us both getting jobs that require 55-60 hour work weeks. 

Random ramblings over! Happy Mothers Day to all my mommy friends out there, whether past, present or future. 

And if you do go out to eat, have a little patience and understanding. The service industry is getting it's ass handed to it this weekend. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Politics and Strong Women and Not So Strong Women

I know this girl.
She is a writer of comic books. 

She grew up in a very conservative household.

She is an avid feminist.

She has GORGEOUS tattoos of strong women.

We often happen into each other at the local watering hole and have the most intriguing, intellectual conversations that always leave me thinking for days. 

She is strong.

She is brilliant.

She is everything I wish I was. 

Isn't that weird? You meet a woman who you completely look up to and you are insanely jealous. 

She posts poignant political things on Facebook.

I am equally as intelligent as she is. I just don't really take the time to do the research to have the knowledge that she does. And that makes me mad at myself for being so lazy. I used to follow politics. And to know a significant amount of information about local and national candidates. I used to care. I still do on a very, very basic level. I always vote. But I never know shit about who I am voting for. I typically just vote a straight democrat ticket. And that is SHAMEFUL. 

It makes me mad that she has time to always know what is going on in our city. To know who the local candidates are and why you should vote for them/ not vote for them. It makes me mad that she puts me to shame when it comes to knowledge I once craved. 

She often lectures me on things I say. Calling people pussies or vaginas. Saying I am bad at being a girl. And she is right. I often say things that are a detriment to my fellow woman. Because I am just around guys all the time that say shit like this. And because I never correct them or ask them to stop speaking this way. Because, I don't know.,.is women's rights really being set back by calling someone who whines and cries because they burn themselves a vagina? I think maybe there are bigger issues to fight for. Maybe I am just so politically incorrect I don't even see these things anymore.

My city voted for a new mayor on Tuesday. Our previous mayor has been in office since 1999. He is an amazing mayor and has done so much to build up downtown and to make our city great. When I moved here (in that exact same year) downtown was a ghost town. No restaurant was open except for lunch. The surrounding neighborhoods were crap. And now it is a place people want to live. I know him personally and often wave to him as he rides his bike by me as I am walking the dog. I was heart broken when I learned he was not running for another term.

His right hand man ran for mayor in the preliminaries and the above mentioned woman slammed him for promoting corruption in local schools. She promoted some guy who had zero experience and who I just couldn't bring myself to vote for. So, I didn't. And he lost. TERRIBLY. 

This is a pattern of mine. When I took my last job, it was primarily because I believed the woman who owned the company was a great role model. I looked up to her and admired her as a woman and as a CEO of a very profitable restaurant group. I was wrong.

The latter is a much more serious case of me being wrong than my first example, but still. I am learning a lesson I never thought I would learn at 33. Sometimes the people that I look up to aren't always right. And they are human. And I can still look up to someone and disagree with them. I can also find out that someone I thought was a local hero was also a piece of shit. I always trust my instincts and I always will. I refuse to be someone who believes that everyone is bad or that everyone has an agenda, etc. 

But one lesson I have known for a long time is to form my own opinions. I can admire someone and disagree with their opinion. I can genuinely like someone and not agree with them. 

Everyone at my new job is super right wing conservative and they like to talk politics. I keep to myself and don't agree or disagree with them, but listen to their opinions. Sometimes I can see their side, sometimes I think they are being extremely reactionary (mostly to things they read on Facebook) and want to slap them in the face. 

Agree to disagree. It's my new life mantra. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

A Day In The Life Of....My Sundays

8:00 am: I wake up get a glass of water and talk to man-pants for a while. I ask him to flip on Friends because it is my go to fall asleep show these days. I wish I didn't have to have a lot of noise to sleep. 

11:00 am: I stop lucid dreaming and am finally just awake. Does anyone else lucid dream? Mine are always boring and about mundane things. I wish that wasn't true. I guess the point is that I can change that? Mine don't really work that way. I am just perfectly aware I am sleeping and can change the dreams direction, but not overall situation. Anyway....

12:00 pm: I make myself some lunch and crawl back into bed and eat it while watching Friends.

1:00 pm: Somewhere around here I dozed back off. Paul was being super cuddly and I was literally spooning him while he licked my cheek. Apparently sand paper lulls me to sleep. Along with noise. I'm a strange one.

2:15 pm: Get in the shower, put on work uniform, let out the dog, blah blah blah.

3:00 pm: Arrive at work. I am immediately informed that all of our reservations fall between 3:30 pm and 4:00 pm. The entire line has to be gone by 3:00 because they all work another job at 4:00 pm. Two of them (normally 5 is considered the BARE MINIMUM) can stay indefinitely. By 4:00 pm, I need to have calamari portioned, mashed potatoes made, a line check done (which takes a seasoned sous chef an hour, it takes me much longer), bread veal marsala, cook off meatballs and make 4 trays of lasagna. By myself. Because the other two sous chefs on the clock have to be on the line.

4:30 pm: full rail of tickets and THREE line cooks are 15 minutes late. I learn that the opening sous hasn't done any of the orders yet that all have to be in by 5, so he is off the line and out of commission. I start calling the guys who aren't there, all go straight to voice mail.

5:00 pm: We basically figure out that three of the people on the schedule tonight are not coming in. I am on pantry solo (it was my first day of training on the station, so, yeah) and the other closing sous is working pasta. 

I HAVE BLOCKED EVERYTHING BETWEEN 5 & 9. Let's just call it a very brutal four hours of torture.

9:00 pm: I start closing the station, based on how most restaurants close. Nobody seems to care one way or another. Normally inventory would be started by now. Nope. On a side note: solo with nothing but a book of specs for the station, I ran it and not once was a ticket waiting on something from me. I will go ahead and pat myself on the back after somebody finds me SEVEN MILLION Xanax to calm me down.

9:05 pm: Management mass exodus with absolutely no "are you guys going to be ok?" sentiment of any kind. Awesome. I feel the love.

9:30 pm: AGM orders me random food. I have a vague recollection of eating it while frantically flipping pans and wrapping everything in plastic.

10:00 pm: Inventory begins. This is my new Sunday gig. Inventory. Yay! I kind of go off on how poorly tonight went and how every single thing that I had on my plate couldn't be accomplished because of the am sous chef and crappy time management of the entire day staff.

11:00 pm: Dishwasher starts freaking out about dumpsters. We walk out back to discover the ASS HOLE who stocked the bar today put all of the boxes in the dumpster without breaking them down. Have to remove all the boxes from the dumpster and break them down and then put them back in. Still isn't room for all of the trash. 

12:00 am: My fellow sous has taken like 6 smoke breaks and I am ready to kill him. AGM and sous are also having a fart contest I am sick of being a victim of. 

1:30 am: AGM finishes counting his inventory and hogs the computer to enter it. We are at a standstill. I start absently rambling about nothing because I might be delirious. 

2:30 am: WE ARE DONE. Almost. Let's spend 25 minutes looking at the report that we are going to do NOTHING to fix or change. Hi, tomorrow. There is time for that then.

3:00 am: I clock out. FINALLY I clock out. Fellow sous has a million things still to do and I frankly don't feel bad because he was dragging ass all night and slowing me down. I worked 58 hours this week.

4:00 am: Man-pants wakes up to get water and is sick as fuck. We had been texting on and off and I thought his declaration of having the plague of death was him just being a baby. Nope. Sick as fuck.

4:45 am: Short Dog projectile vomits chunks all over the very cream colored carpet in our hallway. I spend an hour trying to get it out. It just now looks like we are the most disgusting people ever. 

5:00 am: Some fucking punk kid decides it will be funny to throw mulch at the front door (the room I am sitting in is on the street and therefore it is clear that a light is on from the street.) I watched him through the peep hole for a while to make sure he was just a stupid kid and then proceeded to old man "get off my damn lawn" him.

5:45 am: I decide to write a blog post about the terribly shit day I had because, well, I am wide awake and the entire free world is sound asleep and I am bored. 


Tomorrow is one of my two days off and if last week is similar at all, I will sleep most of the day. And I have to be at work at 8 am on Tuesday. 

This job might kill me. On a positive note, I watched the sunrise over the city last week. Maybe that will be my Monday morning moment of zen. Watching the sun rise while sipping on some sleepy time tea heavy on the bourbon and watching Friends until I fall into a fitful sleep wherein I incorporate their shenanigans into my dreams and wake up confused. At 3pm. 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Tu eres mi amigo?

There is one English speaking person on staff at my restaurant that is not a manager in the kitchen. One. His name is Shaggy (obviously a nickname) and no better nickname has ever been applied. If he asked me about Scooby Snacks, it wouldn't even phase me. Not even a little.

I took 5 years of Spanish a very long time ago. I can barely speak it, but can read and understand it fairly well. As long as it falls into the generic public school Spanish that I took. When the amigos asked me if I spoke Spanish, I said no. Because, honestly, I didn't want to look stupid. Which is STUPID. But, spur of the moment's already going to be hard for me and I didn't want to add in fucking up their native language. 

Ugh. Even with my  limited knowledge, the language barrier is terrible. And I just feel like everyone is annoyed with me all of the time. I don't know if that is true. I just feel like they all think I am this giant idiot who can't speak Spanish and can't keep up with them. 

The latter part is only true because every time I ask a question or ask where something is, I just get a blank stare and then a made up answer that makes no sense so I just figure it out on my own. 

I am so ready to be done with training. The person who was training me today literally could not even converse with me. I asked him how long he worked with the company and he said "Si, si. Es bien." Meaning, "yes, yes. It's good." part sucks. And, honestly, when left alone with the various Spanish Pandora stations, I want to impale myself on something very, very sharp. 

Do you know what is worse than talk radio? Talk radio in a language you don't speak. FOR 12 HOURS STRAIGHT. I so far have understood one story and all I know is that it was about Jennifer Lopez. 

Tomorrow I actually start training on the line and will have someone who speaks English there the entire time. IT WILL BE AMAZING. 

A part of me feels bad that I am so miserable because it's not their fault. A part of me wants to scream "YOU ARE IN AMERICA, LEARN FUCKING ENGLISH," but I am not that person. Maybe I am a little bit that person because I just typed that. But deep down, not really.

So, if anyone has access to Rosetta Stone and wants to share, I will not turn you down. 

Being the minority kind of sucks. Is it weird for a very white girl to say that? It totally is. 

I have dealt with sexism plenty, I can put some dudes in their place in a second. I just have to learn how to do that in Spanish. And fast. Or I am going to have exactly zero people that respect me there and that is just not ok with me.