Maddog’s tired!

The five short hours of sleep that I got last night are not going to sustain me for long.  I’m exhausted.  I’d go to bed but I have a hard time sleeping when Adam’s not home and he won’t be home from work for at least another hour.  I’m watched TV.  Surfed the Internet.  I think it’s now time to take a shower and sip on some bourbon until he gets here.

What do you think?

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In my head!

Ugh!

I can’t get out of my head.  Not even for a moment.  I’ve been fighting in my head all night.

Not with Jen.  She was actually tolerable today.

Tonight it was with Jason.

And who is Jason?

Jason is a hotel guest.  Who sent a nasty letter to the owners of my hotel after his last visit.  Because his treatment was unacceptable.

Oh.  You want to know why?

Let’s see.  He didn’t get a personal note welcoming him back.  He didn’t get a cookie on his pillow like the first time he came to visit.  The staff didn’t bend over to kiss his ass from the moment he walked in till the moment he left.

This happened about a month ago.

I was informed of this when the owner (my boss) forwarded his email to me and the hotel manager with her concerns.

So.

Guess who was back in house today.

You guessed it.

Jason.

I knew he was coming.  My boss had already sent an email telling us to do our best to make sure everything went smoothly.

I entered the story when I see him at the host stand yelling at my lead host.

(Oh.  A little back story.  His first visit to my hotel was last winter.  Where he stayed by himself.  Had dinner in the restaurant by himself.  And then stood at the host stand and talked to me for about an hour before he went up to bed.  At the time I thought he was a very nice guy and had enjoyed the chat.)

So I walk up to the host and he turns his attention from her to me.  He acted as if we’d never met.

And thus starts his tirade.

I don’t have the energy to go into.  But the gist of it is:  He spent 50,000 dollars two years ago getting married at one of our sister properties and therefore we should spend the rest of our lives with our heads stuck up his ass.

He was mostly pissed because we don’t offer room service and the host had told him to go to the bar.  Order his food.  Wait for it and the front desk would help him carry it upstairs.  And this pissed him off.

A world class hotel should offer room service.  ETC.  Bullshit.  Blah.  Blah.  Blah.  I just stood and nodded.  Made a couple of lame attempts at explaining why we didn’t offer room service.  Tried to defend my hosts who’d done exactly as they’ve been taught to do.   Finally I just shut up and listened to him rant.

He finally said, I’ll just take my complaints directly to Tim and Deb.  (The owners)

And he stormed upstairs.

I picked up my cell phone and called Deb.  She answered which surprised me (it was 5:30 on Friday night) and we chatted.  And I got the real scoop on how she feels about Jason.  To put it in her words.  He’s an ass.  A big baby.  But mostly just an ass.

There.

I didn’t feel so bad.

She actually came into the restaurant tonight for dinner.  We chatted some more.  She really doesn’t like him.  Not at all.

The problem is now, I’m in head thinking of all the things that I should have said to him when I had the chance.  Things I should never say to a guest if I want to keep my job, but things I wish that I could say.  I argued with him all the way home.

He doesn’t leave until Monday.

Ugh!

Did I mention that I hate people.  Especially rich pretentious people.

Maddog’s bad mood!

I’m in a bad mood tonight.  I’ve been in a bad mood all day.

And it’s because of Jen.  UGH.

Adam is tired of hearing about it.

I spent an hour arguing with her today at work.

I’ve been arguing with her in my head for the past six hours.  I’m actually going to have to have a chat with her tomorrow to reign her in.  She’s out of control.  Doesn’t understand her boundaries.  Sometimes I think she thinks that she’s the GM and not me.  But I’ll will that battle if it ever comes down to.  Everyone in the restaurant thinks she’s crazy.  The staff hates her.  The higher ups think she’s missing a few screws.

I just want to be able to go to work and not have to deal with her.

This has been going on since the first day  I met.  I wanted to fire her then but was told I couldn’t.

I’ve been told that every day since then.

It hasn’t gotten any better.

I don’t think it’s going to get any better until she goes away.

That’s all.

I’ll keep you posted.

Skinny People Problems.

As of today I’ve lost almost 55 pounds since I began dieting on January 8th.

Yay for me.

It however presents a whole host of problems.

For example.

At the end of the October Adam and I are going to New York for four days.  It’s a work related trip for me.  My boss is cooking at a prestigious restaurant and we are going down to offer our support as well as eat the dinner he prepares.  It’s a rather formal event.

So.

I need to dress up.  Which means wearing my suit.  Which was bought three years ago.  Which no longer fits.  It no longer fits by a long shot.  When I began my diet I was pushing a 50 inch waste.  I’m now down to a 42 inch waste.  That’s a lot of material I no longer need in my suit pants.  Or jacket for that matter.

And.

I don’t want to buy a new suit for the occasion because with any luck I’ll be another 60 pounds lighter this time next year.

So Adam cast his net into the world and found me a tailor that could alter my suit.  So today we went to do just that.  It’s the first time I’ve had it on since June.  The jacket was huge on me.  The pants looked like clown pants.  The lady who owns the shop was quite nice and turns out lives just up the road from us.  It took about 10 minutes for her to pin and mark the suit and we were on our way.  We are supposed to pick it up on October 14.  Let’s hope she’s on time.  Let’s also hope she’s good and the seams are straight and not too tight.

I’ll take pictures when we are in NYC and dressed up and I’ll post them.  That will be the week of October 20th.

I’ll keep you posted!

Work Problems!

Ugh.

It’s been a long weekend at work.  On Friday, Laura, my favorite manager.  My right hand man.  My confidant.  My biggest support.

Gave her notice.

She’s resigning.

Her last day is October 9th.  Well sort of.  She’s agreed to come back and cover my time off for a trip to NYC that’s scheduled in October.  And I’ve asked her to be available to work on November 1 for a wedding reception that’s being held at my restaurant.  But after October 9th she’s effectively gone.

FUCK.

Life at work is going to suck for the next several months.

First there’s Jen.  She’s my dining room manager.  Laura’s my beverage manager.  I don’t like Jen.   She annoys me.  Often does the exact opposite of what I ask her to do.  I dream of the day that she does something so egregious that I can actually fire her.

Laura on the other hand keeps me sane.  She’s the other adult in the room when we are at work.  And she’s only 26.

I of course knew this was coming.

Why.

Because two weeks ago she came in  to work and told me she had an interview in Boston.

AND.

Needed me to work for her so that she could go to said interview.

How many bosses do you know that would work on their day off so that an employee could go to an interview?

This was last Thursday.  When she got to work on Friday she’d already been offered the job.

FUCK!

AND.

To make matters worse or better or whatever, she’d since then gotten an interview at an even better restaurant in Boston.

And guess what.

She needed me to work for her today so that she could go to that interview.  So I worked today.  My day off, so that she could drive to Boston for her interview.

Seriously.  Am I not the best boss ever.

So no matter where she ends up working, her last day is October 9th.  And it sucks.

It means that I’m going to have to go from working 45/50 hours a week to 65 to 70 hours a week.  Even if we hired someone tomorrow, it will take a month to get them trained and up to speed and ready to be on their own.  It also scares me that Jen is going to be training a manager.  Scares me a lot.  She’s crazy.  She really is.  So for the next 6 to 8 weeks I’ll be working a lot.  I’m still going to get my two days off a week, it just means that I’ll be working 12+ hours a day.

Ugh.

 

 

 

Dining 101!

Repeat after me.

Do not be the last table left in the restaurant.

Do not be the last table left in the restaurant.

Do not be the last table left in the restaurant.

While you are at it.

Do not walk into the restaurant at closing time.

Do not walk into the restaurant at closing time.

Do not walk into the restaurant at closing time.

There.  That’s all you need to know.  It amazes me how many people show up at our door at 9:15 and then get angry when I tell them that we are closed.  We have one particular couple that knows what time we close and at least twice a month show up four or five minutes past closing and demand to be seated.  I make the call on whether to seat them on how long it’s been since we sat our last table.  If the restaurant is still full and the kitchen is still cooking I’ll say what the hell.  If we haven’t sat a table in 30 or 40 minutes, the kitchen is done, and the restaurant is starting to clear out I’ll say no.  It’s not worth it to keep 10 people in the restaurant extra 90 minutes or so because you can’t make it to the restaurant before we close.

And for the love of all things holy, DO NOT SIT AT YOUR TABLE FOR AN HOUR JUST CHATTING WHEN YOU ARE THE ONLY TABLE LEFT IN THE RESTAURANT.  Seriously.  No one likes you.  It’s selfish.  Self centered.  And fucking obnoxious.  This happens a lot at my restaurant.  They’ll just sit and sit and sit and sit and sit and sit.  Completely oblivious to the fact that it’s now approaching midnight and everyone wants to go home.  A couple of times I’ve given up and turned the music off so they get the hint.  And at least two times when that didn’t work I turned the lights up making it clear that three hours after closing was long enough.  GO THE FUCK HOME.

The reason I’m writing this is because we had tables sitting tonight.  Just sitting.  And as the General Manager I’m supposed to pretend that it doesn’t bother me.  They are spending money, we want the business and it’s how we pay our rent.  That’s what I project on the outside.  On the inside I’m stabbing them in the face with a fork.  Very rarely do I let my staff know how annoyed I am that the people aren’t leaving.  Rarely.  Although it has come out once or twice.  Mostly when it’s seriously been three or more hours after closing and the tables are still sitting there.

So once again repeat after me:

I won’t walk into the restaurant at closing time.

And.

I will not be the last table in the restaurant.

Daily Entries

I read lots of headlines.  On Google News.  Yahoo News.  Skimming through Facebook.  Five or six words tossed at me, trying to convince me to click on the link.

“Disgusting Video Proves that Michelle Obama is a Man.”

50 Things about Millennials that Makes Corporate America Shit It’s Pants.”

These two are the first two to come up tonight as I write this.

One such article this week that actually grabbed my attention was about writing in your diary.  Studies had shown that when people went back to re-read entries from years past the ones they enjoyed the most were the ones about every day life.  The stories about day to day existence.  The big events they remembered on their own.  The little ones they needed to be reminded about and thus they enjoyed more.

This led to the question of whether people who journal, or write in their diaries, or blog for  example for me, should write every day when nothing seems to have happened.  Or should they save their entries for big life events like break ups and marriages.  The article led us to believe that the every day writing would make us happier in the end.

The point I’m trying to make is that I need to remember this as I blog.  Often I sit at the keyboard for 10/15/20 minutes trying to decide what to write.  Instead I should just tell you about my mundane day.  Of course, in the article they were speaking specifically of journals and diaries, they didn’t address whether readers of blogs would be turned off by the simplicity of every day life.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

To Beat or not to Beat your child.

I posted this on Facebook tonight:

Just read this on a friend’s page: “I got my butt whooped and I survived.” My take. I survived my appendix bursting but I don’t think everyone should have to go through it. IF YOU HAVE TO HIT YOUR CHILD TO TEACH THEM RESPECT, TO MIND, TO HAVE MANNERS OR ANYTHING ELSE, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG. I was hit as a child. Did it make me a better person. No. It taught me fear. And hate. And a whole host of other emotions that weren’t healthy for a child. A hug and a chat about the offending item would have sufficed far more and I’d have grown up a much happier child.

This is was actually VERY edited.

What I wanted to say was that because of the physical and emotional abuse I suffered as a child I learned all about hate and self loathing.   It took more than 20 years for my stepfather and I to come to a relationship we could both agree on.

I have no use for violence against children.  I don’t think there’s EVER a reason to hit a child.  You may think that’s the only reasonable alternative but it’s not.  Take a look at their experience.  Take a look at their lives.  And then try to figure out why they are responding the way they are.  I bet when it’s all said and done you realize you don’t need to hit them.

That’s all.

Maddog’s Night Out.

It’s been a very long 72 hours.  VERY LONG!

On Friday night I was invited to a party at one of my boss’ house.  My situation is a little weird.  I have 2 bosses that I actually report to but there are a total of 5 of them.  It can make for an interesting day at work.

So I was invited to a party at my boss’s house.  And I went.  Without eating.  Because I honestly thought that I was going to drop by the party.  Make an appearance.  Have a glass of wine.  And be on my way.  The party started at 7:00.  I thought I’d be home by 8:30.

So I arrive at the party at 7:15.  It was early I know but I’d been off work for two hours and just wanted to get it out of the way.  When I got there I realized that either I was told the wrong time or else there was an early party because the place was packed.  People from work.  Locals from the town.  There were well over a 100 people there.  I went in said hello to my boss and starting mingling.  Which I hate to do.  I hate networking.  I hate mingling.  I’m much better in a small group of people.  This was not going to be the case tonight.  So I finally made my way to the bar at around 7:30 and got a glass of wine.  At this point I’m still planning on leaving by 8:00.

Then my two real bosses appear.  One of them I actually needed to talk.  One of my managers at work has applied for a job in Boston.  We need to start the process to replace her.  So I chatted with her about that.  Then I chatted with my other boss.  Then other people from work.  Then I had another glass of wine.  At this point I’m still planning on going home.  Then my first boss who I chatted with about the manager suggested I stay in one of the rooms at the hotel above our restaurant if there was one available.  That way I didn’t have to worry about driving and I could have another glass of wine.  I said sure.  I was two glasses in.

Did I mention that I had not eaten.  I had had a bacon cheeseburger without the bun for lunch.  That was all.  And that was almost six hours ago now.  AND.  I couldn’t eat any of the food at the party because it’s not on my diet.  So much for going home and eating.

So I call my manager, Laura, at work and she discovers that we do in fact have an empty room.  I tell her that she’s now has to come to the party so that she can be my ride back to the hotel.  She tells me that she’ll see me after work.

I chat with people from work.  I chat with locals.  I chat with my managers.  And I drink.  On on empty stomach.  First only wine.  Then someone says, “HEY DON’T YOU LIKE BOURBON?”  So I switch to bourbon.  I remember Laura arriving at the party.

I don’t remember leaving the party.  When I come to I’m naked in the hotel room.  I turn on the light.  I call Laura.  She doesn’t answer.  It’s 2:30 a.m.  I look around the room.  It was not pretty.  I had thrown up on the floor of the hotel room.  I had thrown up all over my clothes.  I call Laura again.  This time she answers.

We chat.  Seems that I did not embarrass myself at the party.  She realized it was time for me to leave and she took me to her car.  She says she was about half way to the hotel when I threw up.  In her car.  All over myself.  UGH.  She managed to get me into the hotel room.  I threw up again.  She reassures me over and over that I no one saw me, and I did NOT embarrass myself.

I get up.  Clean up the vomit on the floor.  Consider putting my clothes on, walking to get my car and going home.  I decide against this.  I get back in the bed.  Turn off the light.  And go to sleep.  I wake up again around 6:30.  Again at 8:30.  At 10:00 I call Laura again.  I want to make sure she’ll take me back to get my car.  She says that she will.  I get dressed.  It’s painful.  My clothes are covered in vomit.  I reek.

She finally texts to tell me she she’s downstairs.  I sneak down the back stairs and into her car.  I sit in silence while she drives me to my car.  I thank her, over and over, and over, and over, and over.

I get in my car and drive.  If I’m truthful I was probably still a little drunk.

I stop and get a Diet Coke and drive home.

When I get home I get out of my clothes and get them into the shower.  They are disgusting.  I want to get the food particles off of them.  I then fall asleep on the couch.

Adam gets home around 12:00.  He’s not happy.  I’m still not sure why he was so upset.  He wanted to know if I was drinking because I was unhappy in our relationship.  Or because of work.  Or because.  I actually only drank to have fun.  On an empty stomach and it caught up to me.

I assure him he’s being silly.  I get in the shower.  I come out of the shower.  Put my clothes into a garbage bag.  I get dressed and leave to go back to work.

To be honest I’m probably still a little drunk.

I’m also late.  Laura had  wedding to go to and needed to leave by 1:00.  It’s 12:45 and I’m just now leaving for work.  It takes 30 minutes.  Without a stop for a Diet Coke which you know I do.

I get to work at 1:20.  I walk into the office and put my head in my hands.  It’s going to be a LONG day.

My boss who is the chef owner comes in.  I come clean.  I tell him that I’m WAY hung over.  He laughs.  Asks if there’s anything I can do.  I assure him there is not.  He goes back to work.  I continue to sit in the office with my head in my hands.

I stay like that for about 10 hours.  I make rounds about every hour.  I tell my staff that I’m not feeling well and to only come get me if it’s an emergency.  They all soon know why I’m not feeling well.  Around 4:00 I throw up again.  This time it’s just Diet Coke and it’s in the office trash can.  Thank god no one sees me.  I basically sat in my office with my head in my hands from 1:20 until around 11:30.  I did the absolute bare minimum to get by.

Of course we have late tables.  Stragglers who don’t know they’ve worn out their welcome.  It seems like they are never going to leave.  FINALLY.  Everyone is gone.  I count the money.  Do the reports.  Send the emails.  I’m on my way home.  I home by 12:30.

Adam is still mad at me.  We barely talk.  I fall asleep on the couch watching Saturday Night Live.  We shower.  Go to bed.  I sleep almost 14 hours on Saturday night.  When I wake up I’m a new man.  I feel like a 100 bucks.

And thank god because Adam stays mad at me for two more days!

More on that later.

 

It’s late.  I’m tired.  I have not proofed this or re-read it.  I’m posting it and going to bed.

September 11, 2001

When I rolled over and looked at the clock it was 6:45 a.m. I didn’t need to be up for two more hours. I adjusted the pillows, pulled the blanket over my head and willed myself back to sleep. After another 45 minutes of this I gave up. Jet lag is a bitch. I’d flown home from Barcelona two days earlier and in spite of my trying I was not going back to sleep. I was wide awake and I didn’t need to be at work till at least 9:00. I crawled to the end of the bed, switched on the computer and checked the weather. It was going to be a perfect day, and since it was clear that I was not going back to sleep I might as well get it started.

At 8:15 a.m. I locked the door of my apartment and headed out into the day. My commute to work was insane. It required me to walk one city block to the south, and one half block to the east. Even after stopping at the grocery store for milk, cereal, and cream for my coffee, I was at work by 8:30. I unlocked the door, turned on the lights, started my computer and then performed the most important task of the day, making coffee. While the coffee was brewing I sorted through the mail that had collected over the three weeks I’d been in Europe on a “business” trip. Finally the coffee pot was full and I poured myself a bowl of Kellogg’s Raisen Bran (it’s funny the things you remember), filled my coffee cup and planted myself at my desk. The time was 8:45 a.m.

I took a sip of my coffee. I dipped my spoon into the bowl and as I took my first bite of cereal my desk moved about six inches. I had no idea what had happened. I sat there. I rolled my chair to the window, opened the window and looked out to my right. The North Tower of the World Trade Center was on fire. Think Towering Inferno on fire. There were flames shooting into the air. I was stunned. I ran down the hall to office next to ours and shouted, the World Trade Tower is on fire. The women from the office ran down to my office and we all stared out the windows. By now it looked as if there were a ticker tape parade occurring. The air was filled with 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper blowing through the air.

I immediately picked up the phone and called home. My mother is a worrier. Even though NYC is a huge place, if it happens here, it happens on my block. In this particular instance she was right. She and my father had visited in May and she was VERY aware of my location. She picked up the phone on the second ring. This was a habit from years of working as a bookkeeper. NEVER answer the phone on the first ring. She was cheery, I suspect because she thought I was calling to wish her a happy birthday. Instead I said, “I have no idea what’s going on, but the World Trade Center is on fire. I’m fine, but I wanted to let you know that before you saw the news and got scared. I’ll keep you posted on what’s going on.” I had barely dropped the receiver when the phone rang. It was my boss. He was calling to check on me. He told me that a small plane had crashed into the WTC and reports were differing on what had happened. I assured him that I was fine. He told me he would see me later in the morning and we hung up. I turned, stuck my head out the window and looked back up the street just in time to see the top of the South Tower explode.

It is 9:03 a.m.

I had no idea what had happened. I did not have a TV or radio in my office and the online sources couldn’t tell me any more than I knew first hand. My boss called back and says that it is now being reported that it was two passenger jets that crashed into the buildings and that from all accounts it’s a terrorist attack. I assure him once again that I’m fine. He tells me that he’ll see me later. I’m staring out the window at the fires when a voice comes over the PA system telling me that my office building is being evacuated. I immediately call him back and tell him what is happening. I also tell him that since I have to leave the building I might try and work my way closer to see what’s really happening. He tells me to be careful and we hang up once again. By this time the announcement has been made several more times that there is a mandatory evacuation in effect for my office building.

I grab my cell phone, lock the door behind me and head downstairs. My cereal and coffee are still on my desk. My computer is still on. The lights are still on. There was no doubt that I would be back in the office in just a short while.

The scene on the street is utter chaos. There are people everywhere. All the office buildings are evacuating. No one knows what’s going on. People are pushing to get closer. People are pushing to get out of the mess. I start down the street toward the World Trade Center, fully wanting to get closer to see what was happening. By the time I get to the corner of my street, I give up and go home. There are too many people and it’s clear that I’m not getting anywhere near the action.

I get to my apartment, unlock the door, turn on the TV and FINALLY start piecing together the puzzle. Two passenger jets have crashed into the buildings. The idea that this was a freak accident has passed and now there are reports that it was a terrorist attack. I sit on my couch watching the TV in utter disbelief. My phone rings. It’s my mom wanting to know if I’m okay. I tell her that my building has been evacuated and that I’ve gone home. I assure her that I’m fine.

My phone rings again. It’s my best friend Michelle. She wants to know if I’m okay. I assure her that I am. I’m sitting on my couch talking to Michelle as the first tower begins to fall. The entire thing is surreal. I am chatting with a good friend, while watching this horrible event happen on TV, all of this being accompanied by a tremor of around 2.3 on the Richter scale. My entire apartment was shaking. And just as soon as it started it was over. I was still sitting on my couch, on the phone. Neither of us was speaking. The awe of the devastation we’d just witnessed was overwhelming.

Then I realize the air is filled with debris. I run to the window just in time to see the huge billowing smoke that is so often shown in the footage. My apartment had three 10 foot tall windows facing the street. As I stood watching, the beautiful day was obliterated and replaced with the blackness of night created by the smoke and debris. I hear loud shouting in the hallway. I open the door to find 10 or 12 people there covered in soot. They had been chased down the street by the cloud of smoke and run into my building. The doorman is letting them use the vacant apartment across the hall to clean themselves. I gather up several towels and wash cloths for them to use.

Looking back, I’m amazed that I still had phone service. Both my cell and land lines continued to function.

My phone continues to ring and ring. My boss. My parents. Michelle. Friends from around the country. I’m talking to Michelle again when the second tower falls.

The apartment shakes harder this time. Things falls. What little light that is left of the day is gone.

The sirens have stopped.

It is quiet.

Within minutes Mayor Giuliani issued a full evacuation of lower Manhattan.

It’s 11:00.

I call my mom and tell her that I’m evacuating and that I will call her when I can. I call my boss and tell him that I am fine and that I’m evacuating. I call Michelle and assure her that I’m fine.

I grab a backpack and without much thought I fill it, not realizing that I wouldn’t return to my apartment for several days.

As I leave my building the sky is blue again. I cross the street and pass someone from the hospital handing out face masks. I take one and put it on. I continue to walk, east toward city hall and the Brooklyn Bridge.

My walk out of lower Manhattan still gives me goose bumps. There are 1000’s upon 1000’s of people moving in mass out of the area. No one is talking. There are no conversations. There are no cell phones. There are no sirens. There are no helicopters. Just the silent movement of people in shock moving toward what they hope will be sanity.

I was walked north with the sea of people not knowing where I was going. I had no plan. I walked. Once I passed canal street it occurred to me that with the mass destruction that had just occurred that surely there would be a need for volunteers. Although I really didn’t care for the Salvation Army’s politics I thought that would be a place to start, so I kept heading north, finally getting to the Salvation Army building on 14th street. There were 50 or 60 people there and we were all told the same thing. You have to go through training to volunteer for them. I exited the building, lost again. I was on 14th street and remembered that St. Vincent hospital was just up the street. I could go there and see if they needed any help. I got within a block and a half of the hospital and found myself in a sea of people all looking to do the same. They were there to give blood and volunteer. While I was standing there I heard my phone ring. It was my friend Stacy, who was in town on business. She told me that she was at her hotel and that I could spend the night there if I needed to.

I didn’t return home for three days. When I finally did return it was an adventure to say the least.

I got to my first military checkpoint at Canal Street. I explained that I lived in the financial district and that I needed to get home to get more clothes etc. They wanted to see ID. Unfortunately my drivers license did not have my current address on it. Luckily I had a prescription bottle in my back pack and they allowed me to pass. I passed through seven or eight more checkpoints before I got to my apartment building. It was dark. There was no electricity. No phone. No water. The entire apartment smelled as though it had been on fire for days. There was a fine dust over everything. The windows were covered in soot. I did not want to stay there long.

As I exited my building I asked one of the guards on my corner if there was any place in the area to volunteer. He told me that there was a place about six blocks from where I lived. I made my way there. People were everywhere. Volunteers preparing food. Rescue crews on break. I asked about ten people what I could do to help before someone said to me, “You want to help. Go find bread. It doesn’t matter if it’s fucking hot dog buns. Find some bread.” So that’s what I did. I walked about ten blocks north to a “real” grocery store and bought all the bread they had. When I got back, the guy that had told me to get bread was in awe. I spent the rest of the afternoon there, making food, cleaning tables, etc. Around 10:00 p.m. they asked if I wanted to go to the site and help at St. Paul’s Chapel. I said that I would.

For those not in NYC, St. Paul’s Chapel is the oldest church in the city. The rear of the church faced the east side of the World Trade Center. It survived without even a broken window. It is believed that the large sycamore tree in the graveyard behind the church shielded it from destruction.

I got to the church around midnight. The next eight hours were long and grueling. It was an endless parade of rescue workers coming in to rest, sleep, pray. Watching these people come in and spend sometimes as little as fifteen minutes resting before they went back to work was moving. It easy to understand why so many of them face post traumatic stress disorder even today. They worked tirelessly at a job that proved to be futile.

Around 10:00 the next morning, I was shuttled back. I said goodbye to everyone, and started my trek back up town.

It was almost three weeks before I returned home for good.