Happy New Year!!!!!

It’s my last post of 2008.  I feel like I need to say something profound.  And meaningful.  Or maybe insightful.  Or maybe…

Of maybe I should say…well maybe not.

Dr. Spo posted this earlier today and it seems as good a time as any to do it.  So here goes:

Happiest Event of 2008?

Breaking my ankle.  It really made me realize how many people are in my life that will step up and help me when I need it.  Sometimes it feels like I’m doing this all on my own and I discovered this summer that I’m loved.

Worst part of 2008?

Breaking my ankle.  It sucked.  Let me repeat it sucked.

Most unusual activity I participated in during 2008?

Trying to use crutches in New York.  And Iowa.  And Oklahoma.  And…did I mention that I broke my ankle?  Did I mention that it sucked.

Most enjoyable trip I took this year?

Trip to Maine for a good ole Lesbian wedding.

Most exciting theater experiences?

Designing Candide and Into the Woods.  Both shows were challenging and the end results were beautiful.

Most Embarrassing?

Singing “I’ve Never Been To Me” on karaoke at the lesbian wedding.

Best Movie?

The Dark Knight…I haven’t seen anything that’s opened in the last few weeks.

Best CD?

Two recordings of Candide.  I was not familiar with it before designing it.  The music is beautiful

Most Exciting Night?

Breaking my ankle.  It was more excitement than I ever want to experience again.

Biggest Disappointment?

Not starting to lose weight at the beginning of the year so that I’d be completely skinny already.

Were New Year Resolution(s) kept?

I had two.  To lose weight.  I’m down 63 pounds as of today.  My official weigh in will be this morning.

To work every shift I was scheduled.  I didn’t even come close to doing that.

Were there any major house changes this year?

I completely rearranged the living room/dining room and opened the space up.  When it was all said and done it really was a dramatic change to the room and looked great.

Blogging 2008; any high or low points ?

I started my Sam series.  Which I have not forgotten and already know what my next two or three posts will be about.

I went through a phase of not wanting to post.  And then sometimes editing myself.  I need to remember that I write for me and not to write what I think will make others like me.

I finally showed the world what I look like, for better or worse.

3 Wishes for 2009?
The economy gets out of the dump.

Good health for my friends and family.

And that the Obama presidency is even better than we hoped for.

Sometime I’d like to steal a meme from someone and post it on my blog.  Without changing any of the responses.  Just to see if people notice.

Happy New Year Everyone.  May 2009 be the best and brightest ever.

Be safe and I’ll see you next year.

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Leave a light on…

It’s quiet at home tonight.  My roommate has gone to visit family for the New Year’s holiday and I’m here by myself.  Of course at 5:04 a.m. it’s not like we’d be up talking.  That being said, however, when Chuck goes to bed he leaves a light on for me.  I’m not sure how this little custom started but I do know it’s nice to round the corner of my block and see the light on in the window.  It’s like a little welcome home light.  Tonight there was no light.  Nor will there be one tomorrow night.    And it’s not like it changed my routine tonight.  Nope, everything is the same.  Except the light wasn’t on.  I miss the light when it’s not there.

Ugh. Work.

Do you ever think that people are out to get you at work?  Do you ever think that you should just tell them to go fuck themselves.

That’s how I feel at work right now.

About two weeks ago I had a problem with a check.  And in the process of trying to fix the problem, Matt, we’ll call him immature manager, discovered that I don’t close out my checks throughout the night.  I wait till the end of the evening and close them out all at once.  It’s not like I’m lazy and I’m not doing it.  I’m just busy.  And our stupid computer system has the worst response time ever.  So I never feel like I have the time to do it.  So I don’t.  So Matt discovered that I don’t close out my checks.  And made a big deal about it.  And for a couple of days all the other managers thought it was funny.

And now they’ve all decided that I need to do this.

But no one is able to tell me why I need to do it.

One  manager tells me it upsets the figures at corporate about how fast we are turning tables.  I think this is bullshit because someone would have noticed this six months ago when I came back and started doing it.

One manager says it’s because if the computer crashes then we’ll lose all those checks.  Which is also bullshit because if a computer crash meant we would lose all the checks in the system than a computer crash at anytime could cause catastrophic money issues.  This is supported by my friend Daniel who has told me this is a stupid reason.

So what’s left is a “you have to do it because I said so” situation.  Which pisses me off.  It’s not a reason for a three year old.  It’s definitely not a reason for a 43 year old.  And like I said, it’s not like I’m not closing them out to be a bad employee.  I’m just busy.  So now I’m annoyed, and worried that they are going to start really making a big deal about it.  And of course my response is to just go in and ask the big guy if this is really a problem.  Of course perhaps I could just hand them the checks and let them close them.   What I’m really worried about it that they’ll say that if I’m just too busy maybe I shouldn’t work cocktails.  But that will be shooting themselves in the foot.

And so once again, I’m in a work dilemma. When do you think I’ll go back to just being a regular employee?

Christmas Dinner

I’m beginning to think there’s something that doesn’t agree with me when I host people in my home.  The day after our Christmas Open House I spent the entire day in bed.  Yesterday I got out of bed long enough to call into work and eat something and then went back to bed.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t sleep last night and the last time I looked at the clock it was 4:30.  I have to get some sleep tonight.

Christmas was an experience.   Mostly a good one.

I went to bed late on December 24th.  I was up making all the last minute preparations for my guests.  I tidied up, arranged the flowers, made sure I had everything ready and finally around 3:30 or 4:00 went to bed.

The alarm went off around 10:30 a.m.  I snoozed it a couple of times before I finally rolled out of bed.  My mom had already called to wish me a Merry Christmas, so I filled up my coffee cup and returned the call.  We chatted about 30 minutes or so as she filled me in on the festivities with the relatives the night before.  It sounded pretty much the same as always which left me glad that I wasn’t there.  After I hung up with my mom, I made several other phone calls as I finished up my pot of coffee.

When the phone calls were done, I jumped in the shower, got dressed and finished up the prep that wasn’t done from the night before.

The plan for the day was to have friends come by around 1:00.  We would make brunch, eat, watch some TV and then nap.  Then around 4:00 or so I would start dinner and we would eat around 8:00.

That was the plan.

So I had everything ready to go when I received the first text message.

11:45:  A:  I must wait for my Tylenol to kick in will call you to let you know what time I’ll be there.

I was annoyed at first.  Actually I was rather pissed.  But after about 15 minutes I calmed down.  And then I my first phone call:

12:25: S:  I’m sorry.  We haven’t left yet.  J, went back to his place to pick up some things and he’s not back yet.  We’ll be there as soon as we can.

This really annoyed me, because S was supposed to be the first to arrive and she hadn’t even left yet and it was an hour from her house to mine.

Ah, but it’s Christmas.  Just let it go

I think it was about 2:45 before everyone finally arrived.  And of course, S was last and she had all the stuff for brunch.

It was after 4:00 when we finally sat down at the table to eat.  And my first question to them was:  “If it’s 4:00 now, what time are we going to have dinner?”

Brunch was great.  We all sipped on mimosas, ate tons of food, and just sat around and chatted.  S and J had cooked so A and M decided to do the dishes.  That left me and D to sit and chat.  Which is what we did.  We mostly all sat around and talked about work, which can get old and started to annoy S, but in reality we didn’t have much else to talk about.  If you step outside the circle we have nothing in common once you remove the work component.  S did her best to talk about politics several times throughout the day, but I kept steering the consversation in other directions.  She can go on and on and on when it comes to Barack.  And trust me, I like him.  I voted for him.  But I didn’t want to spend Christmas debating his finer virtues.

Around 6:00 I got up to start dinner.  Yes, we’d just eaten but I was cooking a ham and it would take about three or so hours to cook.  By 6:30 it was in the oven.  It was time to do some more talking.  We had about hours to spend before we could eat, not that anyone was hungry.  When people I work with aren’t talking about work, they are talking about sex.  So the conversation turned to sex.  And  a game of “never have I ever.”  It’s mostly asking questions about what you’ve done and not done and involves drinking.  Also not the way to spend Christmas but it was better than debating politics.  At this point S had fallen asleep so we were all clustered in the dining room.  I was trying to get things ready for dinner.  Even though it was still several hours away, I had to peel the potatoes, both sweet and normal, and prepare the salad.  Eventually the game gave way to more talk about work.

As the night grew later, I spent more time in the kitchen.  At 9:00 I went in to full production.  Which was around the same time that A informed me that her boyfriend had just called and she’d invited him over for dinner.  So now we were 7 even though my table only holds 6.  So once again I was annoyed but it was too late to do anything about it.  So I busied myself with getting dinner ready.

As most of you know, I don’t really cook.  So this was a enormous undertaking.  I was baking a ham, making a mix green salad with homemade cranberry dressing, garlic sour cream mashed potatoes, green been casserole and my friend Todd’s grandmother’s recipe for sweet potato casserole.  And miracle of miracles it was all finished within 5 or 6 minutes of each other.

And we sat down to eat.  As I mentioned I was not happy that our party had become seven.  But by then I was over it.  I did however, refuse to let them make room at the table for him till we had all toasted and were ready to fill our plates.  I spent just as much time setting the table as I did making the food and I didn’t want it offset by the extra person.  Once we sat down, it was fine but until then they just had to pretend we were six.

By the end of the day my friends from work were convinced that I was the gayest thing ever.  When they all arrived there were flowers on the dining room table.  And then while S and J cooked brunch I sat the table and we had different flowers.  And then later I sat the table for dinner and we had different napkins, placemats, napkin rings and flowers.  I had thought all of this through and wanted everything to be perfect.  I’d actually thought all this through the night before and used Chuck’s room as a staging area.  All the new flowers were there, along with the extra table linens etc.  That way I wasn’t looking for things.  I went in, picked up the pile and took it to the table.  Yes, I’m gay.

After we finished dinner and we were on our last bottle of wine for the night, we all sat around chatting.  Finally, I got up and started cleaning up the dinner mess.  I’d actually done a good job of keeping the kitchen clean as I cooked but in the last 30 minutes I thrown in the towel and just wanted it all finished.  Now it was a wreck.  And so I started cleaning.  And cleaning.  And I spent the next 90 minutes doing all the dishes, putting things away, wiping down the counters, cleaning the stove.  And while I was doing this, my friends sat in my living room talking.  And not once, did any of them offer to help me clean up.  The included me in the conversation but not one of them helped.

By the time I was over being annoyed.  By that time I was tired, and just wanted to sit down, have a drink and relax.  By myself.  They didn’t leave till almost 3:30 a.m.  I had a great day.  I was glad I didn’t spend Christmas alone which is what I’ve done the last couple of years, even though it sounds like I’m complaining.  I do have to say that I’m not sure how to not be annoyed with the behavior of my co-workers.  Even though I know they are young, I have a hard time believing that they don’t know better.

Here are some pics:

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We were on our 4th or 5th bottle of champagne by this time.  I forget how many we had.  Mimosas for everyone.  Ignore the pink flowers in the middle of the table.  It was the closest thing to Christmas flowers the boys downstairs had.

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My first Christmas ham.

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The table set for dinner.    I got to use my “new” vintage napkin rings.

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I told you I’m soooo gay.

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Now it’s time to start prepping for the New Year.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!!!!

Saw this today on another site and it made me laugh.  Just click to make it bigger.

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Worked sucked tonight.  Everyone was grumpy.  They were stingy and as one of my co-workers said, “This is longest short shift ever.”

Enough said.

Around 7:30 or so I sat two women in my section.  They didn’t have an accent and so when I handed them their menus and asked them to have a seat I asked them where they were from.  They were from Pennsylvania.  I told them that they were my first American table of the night.  They had a chuckle at that and they took their seats.  I stopped by and took their drink order.  I brought them their drinks.  Told them to let me know when they were ready to order food.  I was called over about 15 minutes later and was asked for another drink.  Which I didn’t understand because they both still had full drinks in front of them.  So I brought the one her new drink and asked her if something was wrong with the first.  The first was a pomegranate martini and the second was a vodka martini.  She told me the first was a little too sweet for her, but she’d work on it after she had a real one.  About 15 minutes later I notice she still hasn’t touched the first drink and so I pick it up and toldl her that she doesn’t need to worry about drinking it and that I’d get it taken off the bill.

And the rest of their visit was not memorable.  I got them a couple of more rounds of drinks.  They shared a cheeseburger.  The last seating in the restaurant was 9:00 p.m. so they stopped taking names around 8:15.  So by 8:30 all the tables were seated.  And the way it worked out all of my tables were paying so by 8:40 and my station was empty.  Except for the two women.  And so I stopped by to make sure they were happy and they asked me what time we closed.  I explained that we’d just sat the last party but not to worry they had plenty of time to finish their drinks and have another if they wanted.

And I’m not sure what was said next.  But we began talking.  And turns out they are a couple.  (I sort of knew this but wasn’t sure).  And we chatted about New York.  About Pennsylvania.  About where I live in the city and how long it takes me to get to work.  About my Christmas plans and my family.  And eventually, as it always happens, I was asked why I was in New York.  And as I often do, I explained that I was a lighting designer and that I free lance and work at the restaurant along with the drummers, singers, dancers, actors, writers, directors, painters that are my co-workers.

And this became one of the most pleasant conversations that I’ve had in ages.  They had been together three years after being in very awful marriages.  One of them was a singer and the other was a drummer.  They’d both given up their dreams of being performers to be married and have families.  And several years ago discovered that it wasn’t working for them and realized that if they were going to enjoy life, they needed to make it what they wanted it to be, rather than just going along for the ride.

I learned all of this in about 20 minutes.  It seemed like there were about 10 million other things we chatted about.  Being gay in New York.  Being gay in a small town.  Life in Kentucky.  My family.  My friend Michelle and the drag shows.  How great it is to be a lesbian in Portland, Maine.  How the Womyn’s Music Festival in Michigan would change their lives.

I eventually had to go back to work.  So I dropped off their check and they gave me Christmas hugs.

And then like many people do, they handed me their contact information.  At least once a week I get the email address or phone number of someone telling me to come visit.  Last week it was a grad student from the University of Washington, Seattle.  A couple of weeks ago it was a boy from Venezuala.  (I might actually go visit him).  And tonight it was Barbra and Lynne.

But tonight I kept their number.  I actually put it in my wallet.

And I will email them.

They were wonderful people.  And as they hugged me goodbye again, I told them how thankful I was that they were my last table of the night.  That it gave me faith in humanity again to know there were nice, generous, loving people out there.

Merry Christmas.

May you find the same warm, generous, loving people in your day.

Tuesday Night in the City.

Do you want the good news first?  Or the bad news?

I’ll start with the bad news.

It’s not really bad news, it’s just what a fucking night.  Allan and Bryan were nowhere in sight so I didn’t have to deal with that.  The managers that were present were out of the minds.  And not in the good way.  They started the shift by reminding us that the economy sucks so make sure we make the best of the busy season.  They also reminded us that people are spending their money carefully, so they’ll be much less likely to tip if they don’t get a great experience while we are waiting on them.

And then our shift started.

I immediately went on the floor and filled some of my empty chairs.  I sat everyone and told them I’d be right back with menus.  I get their butts in the chairs and then I run get menus for everyone.  It saves me a trip and I know exactly how many I need.  Except when I got to the host desk there were no menus.  So I went looking.  And looking.  And looking.  By then it’s been 4 or 5 minutes and I’ve only found four.  For 10 people.  So I explain that we are short menus and ask if they can share and that I’ll be back in a minute.  And then I fill the rest of my chairs.  And I tell those people that I’ll be back in a minute with menus.  And I look.  And I look.  And I look.  And by now all the first round of tables is getting antsy because they are ready to order and I’m not there.  And the second round of people doesn’t understand why they don’t have menus.

And so the night went.  For some reason we don’t have enough menus to seat the restaurant.  And because the menu is changing the first week of January, they aren’t getting new ones.  So tonight, they were seating people without menus and leaving it up to the servers to scrounge around and find enough for people to share.

My first round of tables was such a disaster that I got stiffed on four of the first five tables.  And I don’t blame them at all.  The experience sucked and the service was worse.

Oh, but that’s not the good part.

The good part?

The kitchen crashed and burned tonight.  In a Towering Inferno kind of way.

The fastest ticket time I had during the evening was about 25 minutes.  And that’s about 10 minutes longer than it’s supposed to be.  Food was running anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes.  And then it was anybody’s guess as to whether it was cooked right or even what the person ordered.  I was already so perplexed by the menu situation that I didn’t even have the energy to deal with the food problems.  And there are only two approaches you can take.  You can ignore your guests and their questions and hope they understand.  Or you can explain that things are a mess and you’ll do the best that you can.

I tried both approaches tonight.  Neither seemed better than the other.  By the end I was just telling them that the food was going to take a while.  A long while.  A VERY long while.  So not to be upset or to be surprised.  This way no one can be angry with me.  My favorite tonight was the guy who called me over and said, “You know we ordered food?”  “Yes, I know.”  “So where is it?”  “In the kitchen”  “Can you go get it?”  “If it were ready, you’d already have it.”  “Do you think it will be ready soon?”  “Probably not.”  And I walked away.  Luckily it was a ten top so their tip was included.

I was talking to the kitchen manager tonight at the end of the shift.  His story was that they were staffed for the Tuesday nights we’ve been having not the Tuesday night that we have in the middle of the holidays.  In the kitchen we have a fancy computer system that is used for timing tickets.  When an order is placed, the computer knows what’s going to take the longest and sends that to the kitchen first.  And then after an appropriate amount of time, send the rest.  Broken down as it needs to be.  At one point tonight there were over 50 tickets on the computer that couldn’t be seen because of the backlog of tickets being cooked.

IT WAS A CLUSTERFUCK!

And so the manager’s way of dealing with that.

It’s what a friend of mine calls “Straightening the chairs on the deck of the Titanic.”

They immediately started focusing on the other things that were going wrong.  The little things.  Like someone using napkins to clean up a spill on their table.  Or someone not garnishing a drink right.  Or someone not having plates on the table when an appetizer was delivered.  Or for me…not closing my checks out after someone paid.  I was told at one point that I couldn’t seat myself any more until my checks were closed out.  As if that was going to fix the big problem of the evening.  The manager’s were complete asses to everyone after things started to fall apart.  And the staff was actually doing okay with it till the managers got out of hand.  Then suddenly the morale in the place plummeted.  No one was doing anything to help.

And my night really started off well with a host from our restaurant sitting in my section who left me two bucks on a 35 dollar tab.  What the fuck?  Really?  I went straight to her manager and said what the fuck is this?  I think he got the hint, because when I walked by two minutes later she handed me two more dollars.  Ugh.

And so enough bitching.

It’s Christmas Eve now.

I got my first two Christmas gifts tonight.

Chuck left me a gift under the tree.  I have to figure out when I’m going to open it.  I like to wait.  I like to postpone these things as long as possible.  When I was a kid, and it’s still true, I never peaked at my gifts.  To this day you could tell me not to look in the bag by the door and I’d never look.  I like the expectation.   As I was typing this I realized it might have something to do with the presents I received as a child.  They were not usually what I wanted because my parents couldn’t afford them.  After a while I started asking for things that were easier for them to get.  But I think that I postpone opening gifts because I’m not disappointed in the waiting.  And I don’t have to pretend to like it in the waiting.  But once the paper is off suddenly everything changes.  When I was a kid, I learned to plaster on the smile and make my parents think it was the perfect gift.  Even when I was eight or nine I knew they were doing the best that they could.  I also knew that I had to make up for my brothers total lack of appreciation.  I’ve seen him toss gifts aside saying, “This is NOT what I asked for!”  Or, “This is not the one I wanted!”  So I took the other route, smiled and told them thank you.  Long story short, I like to wait.  And wait.  And wait.  So I have to decide when to open my gift.

And my second gift.

The bartenders gave me back my tipout tonight.  They told me that I tipped them out so much the rest of the time that tonight I could keep it.  I tried arguing with them but they wouldn’t hear of it.  And they did not have a great night.  But I thought it was very sweet of them to offer and to thank me for the money that I give them.  It’s so easy to get wrapped up in trying to make your own money that you forget the people around you.  It may very well the best gift I’ve been given in a long time.

So both good news.  And bad news.

But it’s Christmas Eve now, so the bad really doesn’t matter anymore.

Maddog’s Day Off

My bad mood is all better.  At least I think so.  At least I hope so.

I did oversleep today.  So Lidia didn’t get to clean my room.  I slept right through my alarm.  It also meant that I shorted her money because I forgot to put in my half of the money before I went to bed.  Whoops.  Luckily, she didn’t turn around and leave.  I’ll have to leave extra next time to make up for the mistake.

I actually had a great day today.

I slept late.  I talked to Michelle while I drank coffee.  She and her girlfriend have just finished a small renovation on their house and they are wanting my help in figuring out the new furniture arrangement.  Ah, lesbians.  What would they do if they didn’t have gay male friends?

Then I showered and headed down to the bank.  I needed to deposit my earnings from the weekend.  I also wanted to reactivate my savings account at my bank.  I opened it when I opened my checking account but have had my savings in another bank for a while now.  The problem though, is making it to two different banks when I make my deposit.  I don’t, so I end up depositing all of my money into my checking account and spending it.  So while I was in the bank I had them reactivate my savings account.  At least I tried.  When I made my deposit Fabian could see no sign of me ever having a savings account.  He then told me it would be no big deal to open a new one, that it would take about 15 minutes.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have 15 minutes, so I told him I would do it later.  I was on my way to meet with Daniel, my manager friend at work, to get advice.

I did stop by another branch later.  And they could see the account on the screen they just couldn’t access it.  So they suggested I open a new account.  EXCEPT…I opened my original checking and savings account in California.  And although I can make deposits in NYC, I can’t actually make changes to the account in NYC.  So I could open a savings account but it would not be associated with my other account and it would mean two different ATM cards, two different Online Banking usernames and passwords, essentially two of everything.  OR I could close the current checking account, reopen a different one in NYC and fix the problem.  EXCEPT much of my banking is set up to be automatic.  Direct Deposit, my health insurance and renter’s insurance, my cell phone, my credit card…these all happen automatically and I didn’t want to to spend two days setting them back up.  So I suggested to the nice lady, Asia, that I could just walk across the street to Capital One and open my savings account there.  If I was going to have two completely separate accounts then perhaps I should just have two completely separate accounts.  And what would you know she came up with an idea of how to fix the problem.  She CALLED California (aren’t these new fangled telephones great) and opened the savings account directly with a bank person there.  And in about 15 minutes I was all set and ready to go.

Now back to Daniel.

I got there at 4:00 and he was in a meeting.  So I went to pee and when I got back he was free.  So I sat down to talk to him and one of his manager’s Louis was there as well.  And I basically told him my story.   About being teased.  About having my scheduled threatened.  About his reaction to my going to Jason.  About his treatment of me since I went to Jason.  About his stupid jokes.  About his hot and cold treatment of me.  About his refusal sometimes to even acknowledge me.  About how certain other servers with tits get better schedules than me although she’s a horrible server.  And just when he thought the story was through I’d say “Wait, but I’m not finished.”  He was blown away by how I’ve been treated.  What I didn’t know before I started talking to him is that Allan is one of his employees.  He is one of two of Jason’s bosses, who is Allan’s boss.  They share equal status.  So needless to say he didn’t take kindly to what I was saying.  He also told me that I’m discussed on a regular basis because of my constant performance numbers, and that even Daniel’s boss knows that I do a good job.  So he listened, and then told me as much as he could without overstepping his bounds.  He more or less said that I was not the first person to make these complaints and perhaps it was time something be done about them.  So he suggested I go to his counterpart, Bryan, and sit down with him and tell him what was going on.  And see what he had to say.

And so that’s what I did.  I went downstairs and sat down and told my story again.  Bryan was not as forthcoming as Daniel, but we don’t have as much history as Daniel and I do.  He sat and listened, said “HMMM” a lot and ask questions where he needed to.  His biggest question,  which he asked several times, “Do you think Allan’s just trying to be funny?”  And my reply every time was, “If he’s trying to be funny, he ceased to be funny months ago.  And it needs to stop.”  He told me that he thought what we needed to do was to all sit down and talk this out.  And I told him my biggest concern with doing that is that my talking to Jason made things worse.  How bad was it going to get when he knew I went up the ladder one more rung.  I have this fear that I’m going to be hung out to dry, with all the manager’s mad at me, because this has happened.  And I don’t want the work situation worse.  I just want to be treated like an adult.

So I have this fear that when I get to work tomorrow things will be a little tense.  Of course you’ll get a full report tomorrow.

I ended my day by going shopping for Christmas dinner.  I’m having some friends from work over on Christmas and I needed to get the fixin’s because I work the next two days.

Maddog’s Bad Mood…

I’ve been in a bad mood for about 24 hours now.  Actually it started lifting around 11:00 p.m. tonight.  And now I feel sort of sane again.  This doesn’t happen often but what can you do?  You just take a deep breath and get through each moment, one at a time, till the night is over.

The bad mood started Friday night with all the bullshit from Allan.  And it continued last night.  So by the time I got home last night I was furious.  And today started okay.  Well sort of.  I didn’t get enough sleep.  Which is always the case on the weekends so I’m somewhat used to it.  The best part of the morning afternoon was finally seeing Chuck again.  We have not seen each other since the evening of the party last Sunday.  He works days, I work nights, etc. etc.  We hadn’t seen each other.  So we played catch up and then it was time to go to work.

Of course I realized that tomorrow is my friend Lisa’s birthday.  And the past couple of years I’ve sent flowers.  So since it was Sunday and I didn’t think I’d be able to find a florist open I called 1-800-Flowers.   I’ve only used them once before but it worked out okay.  So I get through three pages of “press 1 for this, press 3 for that, press 7 if you speak Japanese.”  And finally someone picks up the phone.  And we go through the process of ordering the flowers.  And I tell him what I want and he gets all my information and we are just about finished when he asks for Lisa’s phone number.  And in trying to pull it up on my phone I accidentally disconnected us.  Fuck.  And so I wait for him to call me back, because one of the first things he asked was, “Is there a number you can be reached at?”  And I wait.  And I wait.  And he never calls me back.  So I call 1-800-Flowers back and this time I get a girl who doesn’t have a great command of the English language and what little she does have, she speaks at an insane pace.  And I try to tell her what happened and she says to me, “What is your name?”  So I tell her.  And nothing.  “What is your phone number?”  followed by  “I think you make mistake.  You no in system.  We must start again.”  I ask her to repeat herself.  And she says to me that my name isn’t in the system at all so we need to get my account set up before we start.

FUCK!!!!

How am I not in the system.  I was in the system when I spoke to the first guy.  Not only was I in the system, they had my address, my phone number AND MY CREDIT CARD.  So how, six minutes later am I not in the system.  And she says to me, “Clearly you are mistaken.  We must start again.  What is your name please?”  And so not very friendly I tell her that she’s insane and I hang up.  Actually I don’t say that but I do say that perhaps they need to take a look at their system.  And so I hang up and I call back.  And I get someone who is not much better.  And we start over.  What is my name?  What is my phone number?  Yes, you are in the system.  But we have no flowers ordered for you.  Do you have a confirmation number.  IF I HAD A CONFIRMATION NUMBER I WOULDN’T HAVE HAD TO CALL BACK IN THE FIRST PLACE.  Well I’ll need to have a confirmation number to help you.  She’s really no better than the first.  She finally starts paying attention when I tell her that if she can’t tell whether the orders been placed then I’ll be happy to place the order with another company but if indeed 1-800-Flowers delivers the flowers that she’s unable to verify, that I’ll call my bank and tell them the card has been fraudently charged and will happy to report the company to the authorities.  Can I do this?  Who knows but I’m pissed at this point.  So she tells me to hold on.  And I hold on, and hold on, and hold on, and hold on.  Every three or four minutes I make sure she’s still there.  And finally what do you know?  She’s able to pull up the order and yes indeed it’s been placed and is there anything else I need help with.  To which I replied, YES.  I’d like to cancel the order.  I think I would rather call a florist directly tomorrow that has a little more of a handle on what they are doing.

By this time I’m 25 minutes late getting ready for work and I’m in the mood to end all moods.  I actually consider calling in to work, but I promised Ken, one of the managers that I’d actually work this Sunday.  So I tell myself that I won’t call out, but if there’s the chance to go home I’ll take it.  And of course there’s no chance of going home so I’m stuck working.  And I don’t want to be there, and it shows in every fiber of my being.  And so my shift starts and I resign myself to the work.  I tell myself that I’ll do a good job, do my thing and just get through the shift.  And so I seat myself the first round of tables and everyone is happy.  (One of the great things about waiting tables is that I set the pace of how fast things go.  I can’t explain how that happens but I can be fast and moving or I can be slow and methodical.  And it’s really up to me.  I wait on everyone just as efficiently and sell as much food and make as much money).  Today is a slow and methodical day.   And so my first couple of tables get up and I go to get more people from the lobby and when I stop to get menus I’m told that Samantha wants to see me.  Fuck.  What now?  So I seat my people and I go in search for Samantha.  And she tells me to make sure that I get the people’s names taken off the wait list when I bring them in.  It really wasn’t that big of a deal.  Except for how she said it.  And her tone.  And my mood.  Mostly it was my mood.

But at that point I said fuck it.  I’m going to work cocktails just like everyone else works cocktails.  So I didn’t seat myself again the rest of the night.  If people found themselves sitting at my table I would wait on them.  But I didn’t go in search of them.  My chairs at the counter were empty for most of the evening.  And I stood in the wait station drinking Diet Pepsi trying to stay out of everyone’s way.  And that was my night.  I didn’t run around.  I didn’t stress.  I just wanted to go home and while I was there I was going to do the least possible work.  And here’s the funny part.  The other person in cocktails ran around like crazy all night and she sold 200 bucks more than I did.  If I’d been hustling I would have come close to doubling my sales.  And I still made money.  Not as much as I could have.  But more than most of the people around me.

And once my shift was over I started feeling okay.  My not working is kind of my Fuck You to the restaurant.  It’s my way of saying “See, I can work just as hard as everyone else.  I can stand around and do nothing all night, still make okay money and not have to stress, or run, or be slammed.”  And what’s great is they really can’t say anything about it.  I don’t break any rules, no one complains and I basically treat my station like every one else who works it.  And I think having my fuck you to them has helped me with my mood.  Of course it is sort of saying fuck you to me as well.  I would have almost doubled my tips tonight if I’d just tried.  But sometimes you just have to say what the fuck and let it go.

Now I hope the bad mood is out of my system.

Maddog is annoyed…again.

I’m in a bad mood.

I’ve been in a bad mood all night.

I’m kind of annoyed with work right now.  Actually, I’m not annoyed with work.  I’m annoyed with Allan, the server manager.  On December 1, I wrote a post about the shitty schedule I had been getting at work and my inability to talk to him about it.  It was really his unwillingness to talk to me.  I tried twice to talk to him about my schedule and was blown off each time.  In that post I mentioned that it seemed like the only option left was to go to his boss.

So I did.

This all happened almost three weeks ago.

I asked Jason (Allan’s boss) if I could talk to him.  So went over to the private dining room, sat down and he asked what he could help me with.  And I proceeded to explain that for the last two weeks my schedule was being played with.  I was getting bad sections and being scheduled off on weekends.  I also explained that when I tried to talk to Allan about it, he told me that he was no longer able to discuss things with employees unless another manager was present.  And this was a direct request from Jason according to Allan.  And since Allan is my manager I thought that was kind of strange that he not be able to talk to his staff alone.

Jason assured me this was not the case.  He had no idea why Allan would say such a thing and he was quite perplexed about my schedule.  I supported my cause by reminding him that my sales are higher than anyone elses in the restaurant, that all my guests are happy and that no one really has a problem with me.  He agreed with me on all counts and told me he would talk to Allan.  I requested that it be somewhat subtle so that it didn’t look as though I’d “told on” Allan.

And I guess by subtle Jason meant that he’d sit Allan down, tell him that I’d complained about my schedule and that I was to get what I wanted from now on.

Which was not subtle at all.

So two or three days later, Allan makes a crack about it.  Something to the effect that if I had a problem tonight was I going to go Jason again.  And then he made another crack.  And another crack.  And another crack.  Somewhere in the midst of all this he tells me he doesn’t hold grudges and doesn’t retaliate.  Saying this as though if he were that person he would.  Now anytime I need something or want something I’m told I’ll have to ask Jason.  And he pretty much won’t talk to me unless he has to.  Two nights ago, the server I was replacing from the day shift asked me to come on early.  I said sure, so I went to Allan to have him use his manager card to over ride the system so I could clock in.  He told me no.  I was told to see Jason if I wanted to bend the rules.  And it continues and continues.

And then to make matters worse, Samantha, another manager asks to speak to me.  She closes the door and then begins to drill me on why I went to Jason in the first place and not to Allan directly.  I explained myself, the whole time thinking…”why is this any of your business?”  And then she wanted to know why I didn’t come to her first.  And I explained that once Allan had invoked Jason’s name into the conversation I felt that to get to the bottom of it, I needed to go to the source.  It’s not my fault if Allan’s jokes aren’t funny.

His jokes have never been funny.  No one at work finds them funny.  But they really stopped being funny to me three weeks ago.  And now I’m just fed up.  I find myself not wanting to be there when he’s working.  I feel like he doesn’t appreciate the work that I do.  I feel like he’s just looking for a reason to reprimand me.  And I hate that.  I’m good at my job, I make myself and the company a lot of money and I just want to be shown some appreciation, or at least to be left alone.

Which brings me to why I’m pissy tonight.

I was scheduled off tonight.  Yes, it’s a Saturday night and I shouldn’t have been scheduled off.  Allan says I requested it off, but I didn’t.  What has happened all though he’s not willing to own up to it, is that he fucked up the schedule for last weekend and scheduled me to work Saturday and Sunday which I had requested off.  And then what do you know, I’m scheduled off today.  Which makes me think he got the dates wrong in his calander.  Which is fine.  It happens.  So I wasn’t scheduled tonight.  I also didn’t have any plans.  I could go spend my night at the movies but that didn’t sound interesting, I didn’t want to be at home and everyone I called already had plans.

So I decided to go to work and pick up a shift.  To pick up a shift, you have to be in the manager’s office by 4:00.  At that point they draw names to see who’s first, second, third etc.  Sometimes no one shows up to pick up a shift and I’ve seen a night or two where fifteen people show up.  I was the only one there at 4:00 so I was first.  Another server showed up around 4:15 so he was after me on the priority list.  So after they draw names, you have to wait till 4:45 to see if you are going to get a shift.  And the way it works is:  The first people to get shifts usually are plugged into spots where someone’s called in sick or the manager’s fucked up.  Once those are filled the next people get the shifts of people wanting to give up.  At 4:00 you can also put your name on a list to give up your shift for the night.  And sometimes no one is giving up and sometimes the whole staff wants to go home.  So after the call outs are filled, and the give up people are replaced, if there are still people wanting to pick up there’s an announcement made asking if anyone else wants to go home.  And often, very often, some one at the last minute will say screw work and go home.  At which point if there’s anyone who’s picking up a shift that hasn’t been assigned anywhere they are told, too bad.

So I went in to pick up a shift.  Which I never do.  In fact EVERYONE commented that I never come in to pick up.  They also all commented that they’d never seen me wait on a regular table and asked me if I knew how to do it.  Which was exactly what I wanted.  I wanted to go into work, have a regular station, stand in the wait station all night getting in everyone’s way and make five dollars and go home.  I WANTED a regular station.  I didn’t want to work cocktails.  I was not in the mood to be aggressive or to be a speed demon tonight.  So before pre-shift starts I ask Allan if I’m going to get a shift.  He grunts at me.  More people come in and once again I ask him if I’m going to get a shift.  And he grunts at me and says, “YES.  YOU ARE GOING TO GET A SHIFT!”  Hmmm.  So not one to let things go, I ask him what station I’m going to be in.  At which point he says, “You are on a need to know basis and right now you don’t need to know.”  I’m getting annoyed.  So finally he starts announcing the lineup and he announces that I’m in Station 11.  Which is cocktails.  And the sucky cocktail station at that.  And then John, who was second on the list is  given a regular station.  And normally you are asked where you want to go and I would have said not Station 11.

And I’m sure that he thought he was giving me what I wanted.  But if for two seconds he’d let me talk then he’d have known I wanted to take it easy tonight.  But that would have required talking to me.

But wait the stories not over.

So I’m annoyed so I go to one of the daytime servers who’s a madman and ask him if he’d like to stay and work for me tonight.  And he immediately says yes.  So I go to you know who and ask if that’s okay.  And without even discussing it with me he says NO.  NO one is working a double today.  Of course 20 minutes later when the day server asks why he can’t work he’s told it’s because there are no shifts for him.  Not because he can’t work a double.

And still the plot thickens.

Seems the station John had been given was actually Jen’s station.  She’d called to let them know she was running late and so she should have been allowed to work.  But it seems manager Matt didn’t relay this information so when Jen got to work exactly 12 minutes late her shift had been given away.  So I decide that Jen can have my station since I don’t want to work anymore and I can go home.  That way John can stay where he is, Jen can work for me, and all will be happy.  So I go to you know who to tell him this and I’m told to, “Get out of the office.  This doesn’t concern you.”

I just wanted to scream.  Because Allan was unwilling to talk to me about it, it takes almost 30 more minutes for it to happen just as I suggested and for me to be allowed to go home.  I want to scream just typing this.

So I got to work at 3:45.  I left work at 6:15.  2.5 hours at work not to work a shift.

And now I’m so annoyed I don’t want to work tomorrow.  Or Monday.  Or Tuesday.  Or Wednesday.  Or Thursday.  Or Friday.  Or Saturday.  Or Sunday.

I’m sort of just done with him.

So tonight I decided it is going to end.

First stop.  My friend Daniel is still part of the management team although he is no longer part of the restaurant management team.  So tonight on my way out I stopped by to see him.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to talk because he was laying people off.  (Yes, it’s that bad).  But he suggested I come back on Monday.  So on Monday I’m going to go in and talk to him about what’s going on.  And since he’s one of the top to managers in NYC I think he’ll be able to give me some advice.  I’ll wait to see what he says before I proceed.  I’m willing to take suggestions.  But I’m about 15 seconds from going to the big manager above Jason’s head and asking for all of us to have a little sit down.

Anything to clear this shit up.  I’m tired of being ignored, talked down to, teased, and treated like a third grader.  Is it too much to ask to be treated like an adult?

Speaking of which, in the whole restaurant the only management staff older than me is Steven a restaurant ops guy who is two years older than me, and my friend Daniel who is two weeks older than me.

So for fuck’s sake treat me like an adult.

Please.