Monday, March 31, 2008

Joel With The Soul

There is a dear friend of mine, that used to be my manager, but has gotten a promotion and has also flown our little coop. He is probably the most attuned, conscientious and dedicated person that I have ever met. Not to mention he is the cutest "little boy" I have ever met. When I started with my company, he was a of the best. He is always fired up, boosting the troops, egging us on and inspiring us every step of the way. He is a "corporate" dream come true. I miss and think of him every time that I walk through the door at work. He is ALWAYS positive, always upbeat... and always an inspiration to every person that he comes in contact with. Unfortunately he has moved on to a restaurant that doesn't appreciate him to his full potential. In my thirty years of being a server, I have NEVER EVER met a more dedicated and inspired manager. Obviously in downtown Atlanta, they are either extremely lazy or extremely stupid. He is the epitome of excellence in a leader, manager and boss. He has come into his position the hard way... through the ranks. We can only hope that he can somehow find his way back to us, back to the people that love and admire him... and appreciate him. He is missed on a daily basis, and talked about every time that one of his "little Quotes" is spoken. "Pick it up, don't pass it up " is one of his big ones, about picking up the floor of the restaurant. When my brother in law had open heart surgery; the nurse that took us back to see him was walking down the hall of the surgery floor with us in tow... and there was a scrap of duct tape on the floor.. she knelt down to pick it up, and I just wanted to say to her "Don't pass it up, pick it up" ...but obviously my manager had gotten to her already! It is the small things like this that not only get the point across, but make the difference in perception from the guest's point of view of our restaurant. I am hoping that he will come back home to us, to inspire and encourage us even more.The store that he is currently at is obviously filled with idiots; not knowing what a mountain of knowledge, experience and wealth of information he has to share with them... to not only help the store, but help them as well. COME BACK SOON... We still love you, and live by your rules everyday (at least the smart ones do)... the others will be gone by the time you get back !!! TILL LATER....COTTON

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The In"VINCE"able Force

One of my managers at work is a consummate Drill Sargent.He can rally the troops, or break them down to the point of submission. Another former military man... I can guarantee that he has probably never been late for anything in his entire adult life. If punctuality is his strong suit, I don't know what in the world we could possibly call his work ethic. Some of the servers either can't stand him ( a sign that he is a good manager) or fear the crap out of him. Being a lifer, I get along great with him. As I have mentioned in previous posts... the harder you work for our company, the better you are treated. I know one thing for sure... he is determined at all times to make sure all of our guests have a positive experience at our store, and leave feeling satisfied and happy (even the guests that don't really deserve it). This is the main reason I quit being in management... I just couldn't stomach it anymore. But he does, and the guests love him. When he is in the window expediting food... it gets DONE ! We will have Captain Cunningham on the kitchen side of the window, and our drill sarge on our side of the window... Let the shouting begin! He will call you out when you don't carry your weight, do your job, or support the team effort. Sometimes even I don't agree with his decisions, but at the same time I realize that he in fact IS my boss; in charge of making the decisions, and as an employee, it is my job to follow his questions asked, no comebacks needed... JUST DO IT! The good thing about him is that if you do a stand out job, he will be one of the first ones to pat you on the back, and say "Well done, soldier." If you do a bad job, be prepared to "drop and give him 50. " He looks amazingly like Dave Chappelle ( another one of my heroes) and it doesn't hurt to have a celebrity in our ranks. One of the things that most all our servers don't understand is that when you have a boss... they ARE YOUR BOSS. There is not room to quibble, bitch about or question their authority. They are the ones making the choices, and taking the fall when they have to. Sometimes I wonder who will need the defibrillator first... Captain Cunningham or the Sarge?? We may have to get two of them, just to make sure we are covered. He is a "STRICTLY BY THE BOOK" kind of manager. And if you follow the rule book as closely as he does, the problems disappear, the shift runs smoothly and the job gets done. It's no wonder that "Desert Storm" went as well as it did... He was over there. Maybe we need to send him to Iraq.... Cause I don't see it as going too well at this point. He would have the insurgents running for their lives, and they wouldn't even have to look back, because they would hear his thunderous threats, and would be shaking in their turbans.If all the employees would JUST follow the rules and instructions that management gives them, whether they agree with them or not...our little "battlefield" would run more smoothly... and we'd have a LOT less casualties. Till next time... COTTON

"WOOD" You Like to Meet My Friends?

Some of my favorite people in the world are a couple of my regulars at the restaurant. They are two of the most laid back, genuine people that you could ever be lucky enough to call your friend. He owns a grading business, and she owns him. I think I like her so much for the fact that she is like me. He doesn't have to think when she's around, she shoves her husband down the path of life like I do. "DO this, DO that, you need to order this, I think THIS is what you want." And just like my own husband... it is usually a "Yes Dear." Those probably aren't the words they are thinking, but the ones that they know we want to hear... and they most often comply without thinking. HEY! It's OUR job to do the thinking, and if you roll with it, your life is going to be MUCH MUCH happier! (Not to mention OURS!) We have had them over to our house a couple of times for dinner, and they always supply us with firewood, and tons of other things that we didn't ask for them to bring. My fifteen year old son , thinks they are the greatest thing since sliced bread, and for once is his fifteen years, I tend to agree with him. My kids think that they are "Millionaires" ... by my family's standards, they probably are! The incredible thing about them is that they know almost everyone in America, or knows someone that does, or can find some common link that joins every person you have ever met or known, with whatever you are talking about, and finds some way to link you together. He is a "whatever" guy, and she is a "What about it"? girl. MY KIND OF PEOPLE!! They always ask for my table at work (she mostly DEMANDS it)....once again, MY KIND OF GIRL!! They have helped me out in countless kinds of ways, firewood, great tips, great friendship, advice and opinions... and lots of love and laughs. For some odd reason, they seem to love me, and I am eternally grateful for that fact. My husband... who is a HARD sell on meeting my customers that I talk about, loves them almost more than me! I feel blessed to have met them, blessed that they have taken to me and my family, and blessed that he takes over a week and a half to cash my checks for his firewood. Now THAT is a TRUE friend in my book!!!! All kidding aside (of course that will never happen with me)... they are truly wonderful people, with hearts as big as their truck, and thankfully for me , a soft spot for a loud mouth, bossy waitress, that gives them as much grief as she gives service...Yet they seem to love me, and you know what? ... I love them right back. Thanks for loving me, caring about my problems, always helping me with them... and for coming in to see me as often as you do. I hope to one day be able to repay you for all of your kindness (don't hold your breath till I get all the kids out of my house)... But know just how much you mean to me and my family, and how much your friendship and caring for us has touched our hearts, and made our world so much better in so many ways. And to answer your next question... "NO , I will NOT slice your bread"!! Till next time .... COTTON

Friday, March 28, 2008

"Shrek" Ya Later, Alligator !

ANOTHER manager of mine is flying our little coop. I call him "Shrek" because # 1 he is a pretty massive man...# 2, he has a pretty massive head. Big heads don't bother me, my daughter has one of the biggest noggins I have ever seen, and she is one of the most beautiful people that I know. Back to "Shrek." He literally fell into our lives at the restaurant. He knows exactly what I mean... and because I love him, and have already essentially called him a fat head (a fat head that I completely adore) I will let my last little comment just be known between him, me and all the employees that read my little blog. After he fell into our lives, took a few days off for recovery...he was back with a vengeance. He , like all of my other hard working and dedicated to our store and the company. He has an EXTREMELY quick wit...(and this coming from the Queen of wit). He has a beautiful wife and two kids that drive him as nuts as mine do...DON'T THEY ALL? He has the opportunity to move up in the company, and is abandoning least that's the way that I feel. My twelve year old daughter seems to be more upset than anyone...she LOVES our "Shrek" and even bought him a Shrek antennae topper for his car. He SAYS the "DUNkey" took it, but we just aren't sure. But what I am sure of is that we will ALL miss this man more than he could ever possibly know. He has been a bright spot in my day many, many times. He has been on my butt when I needed it, yet always had my back. He is a hard working , honest man that I respect and admire totally. My daughter actually wrote a letter to our corporate office, demanding they keep him here. It was written on purple notebook paper with a pink pen, in her "swirliest" writing. Thankfully I intercepted that one, and explained that this was a step up for him and his family. We will not be the same without him, he will leave a hole in our hearts and a memory of another great boss that we will miss. Good luck my friend... and I call you my friend because you ARE!! That is the great thing about you; you boss us around when we need it, are concerned for us when we need it, and lift us up when we need it. Plus, I will lose A LOT of good material when you leave, and that just plain HURTS!! Always keep in touch, and know that my voice expresses the voice of MANY,MANY people. You have always taken my kidding so well...although you are pretty darn good at it yourself. I wish everyone had a boss like my "SHREK" ... I know he means the world to us, and I hope he takes that thought with him on his journey to a greater opportunity, and greater things for his family. I want nothing less for him, and he deserves even more... especially after putting up with me for all this time.... maybe I am the reason he is leaving! I love you, and may you have a "RICH" and fulfilling life . Come back to see us or we will hunt you down and make you climb a fireman's ladder...BLINDFOLDED!!! Till next time...COTTON

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The "English"man

Back to the Ole workplace for this blog. When I started working for my company ten years ago, my now manager was the "day" cook. Lunches went so smoothly, special requests always granted. I'll be honest, I hated to lose him to management...he was SO good at what he did, and NEVER cracked under the pressure, but seemed to thrive on the challenge. He has a voice that reminds me of the way gravel feels on your bare feet the first Spring day that you go barefoot. He is a single father now... many moons down the road of life. I always thought he was so cute, with his brash voice and totally arrogant attitude. In the ten years he has been with our company, he has risen through the ranks (which ain't easy in OUR world) gone on to other stores, and once again come home to the best restaurant in the world. His voice can seem like nails clawing down a chalkboard, but his heart is as big as the Pacific Ocean. He started out in management as a kitchen manager... one that watches the dimes and nickels of the operation. You would think that he was SCROOGE, the way he watched and controlled the food costs... that is probably the first thing the company loved him for. After being kitchen manager for a few years, and perfecting his Spanish speaking skills, he came on out front to join us. Always business, always rallying the troops instead of beating them down... if he was there, he was in charge and knew what needed to be done, and saw that it was. He left our store for a brief period, but is back... minus a wife, but with his little "mini me" of a daughter. She is adorable, just as she adores her Dad (smart girl). She is a carbon copy of him... down to the frames of her glasses. When my daughter had to get glasses, she wanted the ones that his daughter, and he had. We are glad ole "VELVET" throat is back in our midst, and back where he belongs...with people that love and respect him, and are lucky enough to be able to call him their friend. He has come a long way in the ten years that I have known him, been through some tough times, but has survived, and is luckily back with his family of us eclectic freaks that we call our LHORN family. HEY! Nobody's family is perfect...but after thirty years in this industry, I have never met a finer bunch of folks (with a few oddballs thrown in just to keep it fun). Till next time COTTON

Angels Take Care of Their Own...

My sister and her husband have not only been smacked in the face with reality of "open heart surgery", but have been wrapped in the arms of Angels. Their church has done the most amazing thing I have ever seen a group of Christians do... think of the best way to help a person who is down and out... and step up to the plate... swing the bat and knock a home run for my sister and her husband. Maybe I should call it a grand slam. She called me at work tonight to tell me that her church had helped them out... above and totally beyond the call of duty. Let me insert here, that my sister has helped hundreds of people out over the years, and continues to on a daily basis. She is my mentor, my best friend, and the only MOM that I have. She would do anything for any one, and often has. But in her time of need... she has been taken care of by genuine love, care and concern that boggles the mind... at least my small mind (which ain't too much). Her weight has been lifted by the love of people that truly and deeply love her, as I do. My appreciation for these "Angels" is probably as great as hers ... although she is a MUCH better person than I am, and deserves it EVERY BIT ... it has made her aware of just how much friends CAN and DO make an impact in our lives. God has blessed my sister not only with her husband's good recovery, but with the knowledge that she is appreciated for the wonderful woman, person and Christian that she is. Thank you "Angels" not only for loving my family, but for giving us peace of mind and some relief in one of the most traumatic times of our lives.God bless you each and every one, as you have surely blessed us. Till next time... COTTON

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My Next Door Husband...

I have been with my husband for twenty years; I have been with my second husband for seven. I say this kiddingly. I am talking about my next door neighbor. He is a single father, raising a tween, and two teens ... and believe it or not, he still has a full head of hair! Of course he has pretty terrific kids, great students and all round good people. You know what they say "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree." He can fix anything... and I speak from experience. He has probably fixed more things in my house than my husband has. From the water heater to the dryer, to my dishwasher, oven and my car and lawn mower. He is always happy to oblige...or at least he always ACTS that way when I ask him for help. I keep wondering when he is going to build a ten foot privacy fence around his entire house so that I can't pester him anymore.I secretly hope that he never remarries...I don't think that I want to share him. I probably owe him thousands of dollars by now, but he will rarely ever take money from me... only an occasional twelve pack of beer, or a meal that I have to force on him. He is always willing to lend a hand or help out with anything we need, and always acts like it is nothing. But it IS something to me. Having him be our friend has not only saved us tons of money, but helped us out of some pretty tight jams. I hope one day to be able to repay him for his countless favors and kindness. Of course I can't see that happening until all my kids are grown and gone... they seem to be great at sucking me and my husband dry... and have perfected their technique almost flawlessly. For now I will just have to hope that he doesn't move or change his phone number to a private one, and that he knows how much we love and appreciate his unselfish help any time we have called on him. You single women reading my posts; don't get any ideas... "HE'S MINE...ALL MINE" !!! But just to rub a little salt in your single wounds; he is not only handy, but smart, good looking and an absolutely terrific father. My kids keep trying to move in next door, but I told them they are stuck with us...unless they can convince "Mr. Ron" to take us all as a family package! He wouldn't save any money, but at least he wouldn't have to walk as far. Till next time... COTTON

Monday, March 24, 2008

Matters of the Heart

Home again from the hospital... I think my car could drive to downtown Atlanta on its own now. Good news to report though... the patient, who we will call "Harvey" for this post, is doing AMAZINGLY well. He has had a couple of setbacks ; low blood pressure, and has been on a diabetic diet for his sugar levels (he has never had this problem before.) But all in all, he has made a great recovery thus far. My kids and I went to stay with him tonight, and he took a nice stroll with my son down the ever busy halls of a cardiac unit. I don't know how he gets any rest. If it isn't a nurse, it is a respiratory therapist, or an insulin shot, or pain meds, blood pressure medicine and a quick check on his vitals, urine or ten other things they are watching and monitoring on an obviously ten minute rotation. Not that I am complaining, but I bet HE wants to ! The heart surgeon that operated on him came by to check on him... was there for about 5 extremely nice guy who probably made $200 from his little chat with us. Once again, I am just trying to be funny ( although that little pop in surely wasn't for free... what IS in a hospital)? My middle son and I were down in the cafeteria taking a break and getting a bite to eat, when Zach pointed out a sign on one of the cooler doors. It was a refrigerator with those TINY little creamers for your coffee... they probably have 1/2 ounce of creamer in them, and they had a sign that said "creamers 5 cents". So you buy a $2 cup of coffee, and you have to pay five more cents if you don't take it black? Are we being punished for not taking it black, or are the Arabs in charge of creamers now too? I try to take the good with the bad though... and just remind myself that they saved my brother in law's life, and while he is in residence there, I will just take my coffee black! He has dealt with the pain better than I thought he would ( he IS a man after all). After the first day of being TOTALLY whacked out on Morphine...LOT'S OF STORIES TO TELL ABOUT THAT DAY!... he has managed surprisingly well, and I am very proud of his total commitment to a successful recovery and rehabilitation. On his second day of recovery, he asked my sister if they had remembered to tip the guy who had brought him his dinner tray. Morphine seems to be somewhat of a "truth" serum... the things that came out of his mouth were absolutely incredible, out of character; and now that he is on the fast track to health....HILARIOUS! My sister and I have decided to keep a log of all his "drug" induced comedy, and maybe send him on the road with it as soon as he is able. You don't even have to know him to find it incredibly funny. We often found the nurses out in the hall giggling over a comment that he had made, or one of his by now famous "Eye Rolling" episodes. They like to get you up and moving as soon as they can, which I am sure is terribly painful. On the second day (after we apologized to the "waiter" and told Harvey we gave him a 25% tip) "Nurse Ratchet" came into the room to roust him out of bed for a little walk to the scale...two feet away from him. In his "Purple Haze", he rolled his eyes in total disgust; and said, quite unbelieving she had even dared asked him to not only sit up, but actually GET out of the bed and stand...."NOW" ??? She smiled and said "yes, now." He has progressed from his haze to a point that even I can't believe. When I was a kid, people that had open heart surgery stayed in the hospital for at least TWO weeks, followed by a year long recovery time. He has been amazing and almost a better patient than he is a brother in law!! TOTALLY JUST KIDDING!! He has been sweet; appreciated every one of our visits, and told us countless times how much he loves us and how much our coming by means to him. We just all pray that this improvement continues, and in 3 months, he will back to his old self, and my sister will receive her "Gold Star" ...for outstanding and understanding "wife"of the year. Till next time... COTTON

Friday, March 21, 2008

Took A Licking and Kept on Ticking!

This post is dedicated to my brother in law who is currently in the ICU at Piedmont hospital, recovering from open heart surgery. He was diagnosed yesterday afternoon at 2 PM with a massive tumor in his left ventricle. He was wheeled into the operating room today before 4 PM he was in the recovery room. We got to go back and see him after about an hour. The tumor was over HALF the size of his entire heart. We saw pictures of the tumor, and it totally amazed me that he had survived this long. He began to feel bad in December, just short of breath and feeling tired. By January he was no better... in fact much worse. Trips to several different doctors told us a few things. He had a bleeding ulcer, which accounted for the anemia. After transfusions, he rebounded slightly, only to be knocked down again by the tiredness and shortness of breath. A trip to yet another doctor yesterday included an echo cardiogram. It showed a tumor, and he was immediately admitted to the hospital. After 4 hours of surgery, the nurse came out to say all had gone well. We went back to see him, and pictures of the tumor they had removed. It covered the entire left chamber of his heart. It was the size of a "hacky sack" those little bean bag type balls you kick around. The doctors in the ICU were all looking at the tumor, the films, and commenting on how large in size the tumor was. It was a benign tumor, one of the doctors said he may have had it since birth. But in the last six months it had grown to swallow up half of his heart. His prognosis is good... other than having a 12 inch incision made down his chest, his ribs split apart, put on a bypass machine, tumor removed, heart repaired, sewn up again and put on a ventilator... he HAS SURVIVED!! He had grown so weary of being sick, not feeling well at all and on top of that, not knowing why ; that it had also taken quite an emotional toll on him as well. The doctor said that once the intubation tube was taken out, his first words would most likely be how much better he felt already. No other blockages, the tumor was benign.. we are just praying for a quick recovery and rebound. God bless Harvey, and God bless us for him still being a part of our lives. It was an extremely stressful day, but more so for Harve... we are glad to have him back, pray for his successful recovery, and thank all of you that have thought of, and prayed for us.. and to have had all of the prayers come to fruition. We are all still in the "waiting" mode, but feel a huge sigh of relief that this section of his journey to recovery is over, and all that is left is a good healing process, and more good luck in the coming days. He took a HUGE licking... but "BY GOD" he has kept on ticking. Thank you Jesus, and Thank you doctors!! We had a great support team of my sister's two great friends , and me as comedic relief. You know that if ANYBODY could get us through this, it would be three bossy, headstrong, women... who supported, helped and carried all four of us through this traumatic day, made it bearable, and probably kept us all sane. Ole Harve owes us one; but we are just thrilled that he is here still, to remind him of how lucky he is, not only to have his life back, but his wife back, his sons back.. and the three musketeers that spent a day in hell; just to be able to call it all HEAVEN at the end of the day. It was truly "GOOD FRIDAY."...and one that I will never forget.... The tomb was rolled back early, and as I saw the full moon rise on the way home, I knew that there was surely a GOD, and that he had not only listened to, but mightily answered our prayers, that we had so feverishly asked for in the Good Friday service in the chapel of the hospital. It is turning out to be the BEST Friday that I can remember in a long while... let's hope for an even better Saturday!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Our Pokey Little Puppy

We have a bartender at work... let's just call her "Pokey." She is one of the nicest, most laid back employees that we have. She is just as pretty as can be ( one of the things that helps her most behind the bar). I am a maniac at work, always "full throttle" and sometimes feeling like I am in a pinball game, expecting to "TILT" at any given moment. But not our "POKEY." I can almost hear a "DUM DE DUM DE DUM" as she gracefully and casually goes through her motions... fills drinks as quickly as she can (which ain't too quick if ya really wanna know.) It is the common name that several of us have applied to her..." POKEY." And it doesn't bother her one lick... she KNOWS that she is slow.... it is her FORTE, her trademark. Of course you can never fluster her, because she never thinks that she is behind or busy... once again "DUM DE DUM DE DUM." I sometimes wonder how she makes it through crucial times at work... but to our "Pokey" there are no crucial times. She is beautiful, has a great body and is REALLY nice. How can anyone get upset at her? She and her husband have a small daughter, who is ALREADY the "Queen" of the house.. and I keep telling my friend... YOU JUST WAIT!!! By the time her daughter grows up into a tween, her husband will be besotted by so many "DUM DE DUM DE DUMS" and "GOTCHA,GOTCHA, GOTCHA'S" that he may well be in a straight jacket by that point. His only consolation will be that he is surrounded by two beautiful women and a crazy female Pug, named Lucy, and probably should just give up at this point in the game. He is helpless, already beaten into submission by the females that have captured not only his heart, but his bank account as well. My daughter who is twelve, absolutely LOVES her "Pokey" and texts her almost as much as she does me. Sometimes when she goes over to babysit, I wonder who she is watching.. Pokey, or her daughter? Maybe it is both! But I love my friend.. she is what mixes up this crazy world, and makes it more fun. Without her... I would have a lot less material. You know I love ya "Pokey". And hurry up with those drinks... they weren't 21 when they ordered them, but they are now!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Home again, Home again... Jiggity Jig

Home from work... back to my "other"job (the one I don't get paid for). We are giving one of our employees a surprise baby shower tomorrow, and I was instructed by the "BOSS" of the shower to bring her personal favorites to the party for all of us to eat ( I AM the Rachel Ray of our restaurant). The shower is for one of our newer hires. A girl who cannot be more than 15 (just kidding, but they ALL seem so young to me). She is cute as can be... a single mother embarking on what I will refrain from telling her will be the hardest, yet most rewarding challenge of her life. The "baby daddy" ... I still can't get over that being a well known term these days.. is a Marine, and is out of state at this time. So we are throwing together a shower for this little girl who is fixin (another term that I DO like) to be a Mother. I could have never imagined being a mother at 21. I don't think that I ever even knew how babies were made until half the girls I grew up with were having sex. I was quite naive, and have NEVER regretted it for one moment. I remember when I was about 13, walking to the public pool with a friend of mine who was several years older than me. We walked through a tunnel underpass that had been recently built, and on the wall , someone had spray painted "Tom made Love to Mary here." I asked my friend what that meant.... and my 13 year old world imploded. She told me what it meant to have sex, and said that my parents had done this on their honeymoon. I whipped around on her, absolutely mortified, and announced that my father was not only a deacon, but an elder in our church, and that my father would NEVER, in a million years do that to my mother !! I turned back in the tunnel and went home, vowing to never speak to this girl again. After about two weeks of me not associating with my childhood friend; my Mother asked what was wrong. I decided to tell her the ugly lies that my "so called" friend had unbelievably tried to tell me. ...That was the end of my childhood. My mama so delicately told me that my friend was telling the truth, and my WHOLE world fell away. THAT IS HOW NAIVE I WAS !! And I want my own daughter to be the same way.It is a world that is rushed, it is a world that has ceased to "stop and smell the roses." It is a world of "HURRY, HURRY, HURRY." I think about that time in my life, and how I felt like an idiot for not knowing about sex. But do you know how many times since then, I have felt grateful and proud that my parents raised me to be a "KID" and not let me be swayed by society or peers... they let me be a kid... for as long as they could... and then gently led me into adolescence.I have always known that was one of the things that saved me from SO many wrong experiences and tribulations. If parents today did the same thing... it would be a greater world, a greater experience for our young people, and less of a contest of being the most popular or "well liked" by the boys. And let's all keep in mind that they ARE in fact BOYS!! This is not a bash on the girl at work... she IS A WOMAN, and has faced her predicament with hat is off to her, and she seems like she will be an incredible mother. I just want my little girl to continue to be as naive as she is, until as long as I can conscientiously let her be. There is absolutely NO reason to skip ANY part of your childhood, nor rush the adulthood that will haunt you all your life. Maybe I am delusional, maybe I am repressing my kids... But hey! They are MY kids, and I will do WHATEVER I want with them, and pray to God every night that I have made the right choice. Our kids are growing up WAY too quickly, and need to BE kids as long as they can. If they ONLY knew what the "REAL" world held for them... they would be begging us to let them go back and stay! Take extreme care of your kids, and extreme cautions in the way you raise them and watch over them. It isn't 1960 anymore... It is a whole new world, with a WHOLE new set of problems, decisions and choices. Help your kids make the right ones, or you will have to live the rest of your life; knowing that you should have stepped in (whether they want it or not.) Till next time... COTTON

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Rebound

After my last post, I realized that I left on a somewhat "somber" note. But to my great and utter amazement... I have been pulled back from depression, and soared to the height that I have always known my kids could put me at with just a few words. Kids are an amazing, terrifying, and if you raise them right; a GREAT experience. I have mentioned before that my kids are my LIFE. They are what drive me, inspire and direct me. When one of my kids has the nerve to admit that they were wrong, admit the fact that I was right... is one of the most fulfilling and tremendous moments in a parent's life. It is the moment that you know you have done the right thing and raised them in the right way. It is a revelation that not only you, but your kids are on the right course, and are finally glimpsing the future that CAN be theirs... the one that we want for them. So they knock you down for a day or two... do you know how lucky I am that it only took a day for it to sink in, and for them to come to me, and tell me that not only do they think I am right, but that they LOVE me ? I am SOOO beyond happy, so relieved and impressed that I think, in fact... I HAVE made a difference and an impression. But worries me more than anything is that I have two more coming up behind the first! Can I make it through all three kids? Can I have my heart broken and fixed this many times? My immediate answer is YES!! To have a child ( even if they are 21) tell you that they love you, and appreciate you is one of the most TREMENDOUS feelings that a parent can have and treasure. Although last night, I was so ticked off at him... today I love him EVEN more for being a "MAN" and standing up and telling me to my face that he loves me, and respects me. It is truly a hard job being a parent; but not a job that I would give up for ANYTHING on this Earth. Kids can knock you down, but if they are raised right.. they will make you proud, and make you happy to call them your own. I think that I will keep all three of mine, and just pray that the next two in line will somehow be easier (good luck with THAT one !) Till next time COTTON

Monday, March 17, 2008

Being a Parent Can Be Such A Mother

The obvious pun intended... Why didn't anyone tell me what a hard job it was to be a parent? You spend at least least twenty years per child, worrying, caring and giving.. to have it all slapped in your face at certain times; thinking to yourself... "IF THEY ONLY KNEW WHAT I KNOW"!!! I love my children beyond belief or comprehension, and they are my main reason for living. But sometimes as a parent, you just begin to feel beaten down...outweighed by their complaints and issues, and want to smack them in the head like a "V-8" commercial, and say "HEY!! Wake up and realize that I am a LOT smarter than I seem, and the older you get...the smarter I will appear to be." Teens", especially... are lazy, unprepared not only for their day, but their life as well. It is an extreme effort on a parent's part not to ride them on a daily basis, and to still be positive with them. I am admitting this fact freely and voluntarily. But in my own admission... all three of my kids have been spoiled by no other than me; therefore they are for the most part "Creatures" of my own invention. But how can you NOT spoil and GIVE and GIVE to the humans that YOU have created ? They are the heart and soul of your life... the reason that you get up every morning and go to a job that you could have NEVER imagined ending up with... But you did. And you know why? Because we never listened to our OWN parents... never took their advice or opportunities that they gave to us when we were young. And now, I sit like a lame duck... knowing that both of my parents are up in Heaven, smiling down on me with a knowing nod.... "MAYBE NOW YOU GET IT "! But how to get this point across to my kids with any sense of diplomacy is absolutely and totally not only breaking my bank account... but my heart. Sometimes I think that they hate me... and I KNOW this is not true... but they just do not understand that whether they like it or not, believe it or not... we ARE parents for a reason. I absolutely remember being a teenager, and thinking that my parents were the biggest "fuddie-duddies" on the face of the Earth. But they stuck by me, encouraged me... until my Mom dropped dead in a store when I was seventeen. That was the day that my entire life and being changed so dramatically that only a person that was in my shoes (or flip flops) on that day could understand or comprehend. In thirty seconds, the woman that I was making fun of a minute ago, was gone from my life forever.. no time for regrets, apologies or thank yous. I am truly hopeful that my kids don't have to experience that; but in the same breath... I hope that they come on their own, to realize that I am ACTUALLY their champion, not their foe. I suppose my own parents had to develop a thick skin.. a way to disregard the comments, complaints, roll of the eyes and smirks that I know I gave them. My wish now is to learn how they did it... how did they survive, raising three kids, working blue collar jobs and still managing to give us everything we needed ? I will totally admit that some days I can be a BEE-"ACH"... but I feel that for the most part, I give a heck of a lot more than I ask for. Thank the Lord, my kids don't read my blog... but THANK YOU for reading, and giving me an outlet for the hardest thing I have ever done in my 48 years... raising three kids, and trying to make it all work out... THEIR happiness, THEIR success, and THEIR one day realization that I did it ALL for them. It is not that I want a medal or any kind of recognition, I just want to have three kids that live their life to the fullest potential, and greatest success that they can achieve. I have to have somebody to be able to come take care of me when I am old... and if they don't quit this silliness.... it will be sooner than I had hoped for.... They aren't gonna move into the assisted living home with ME !! ( Then they would have to help)... and from all I have learned about raising kids.... even if it makes them hate us for a while... in the long run... the hardest lessons are the best learned. Shout out to the kids.... You may hate me now... but you will thank me for it later... and know that I have always KNOWN that even if you don't show it or act like it... I KNOW YOU LOVE ME... and I LOVE YOU RIGHT BACK!!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Our Adoring Public

In the last week, we have had three different people write to our corporate office about their "appalling" experience at our restaurant. These complaints are not taken lightly AT ALL, by our superiors, and "Big Brother" is constantly breathing down our necks. I read all three of the letters, and I for one APPALLED by their petty comments, gripes and lack of discretion in writing a letter that may well just get someone fired. One girl that I work with had to be written up, a note put in her file, and generally made to feel like crap, just because this woman felt the server was giving too much attention to the table next to her, and not enough was focused on her and her companions. Do these people ( who are quite obviously looking for a free meal or discounts) realize that they are putting another person's job "at risk"? The second letter was about one of our servers... a Morehouse football player, who is one of the most impressive, nicest, well brought up young men that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. They had to "ask" for bread, because "he" didn't bring it to them... He would just "walk" by the table, not stopping to chat.. The high chair didn't fit properly at the booth they were seated at (there was a step of about 3 inches at the booth they were seated at.) This server is probably one of the most congenial, sincere and focused young men I have ever met. But for the letter they had written to our home office; he is reprimanded, and told that we need to "step it up a notch." YOU KNOW WHAT? The public needs to step it up a notch. If it is a legitimate complaint, or a truly horrible experience; a server for 30 years can see the reason for contacting a corporate office. But to put someones job in jeopardy, and have them subjected to consequences and punishment, just because they have the unfortunate experience of waiting on a total idiot, who is only looking for a hand out, or a pat on the back for bringing this "horrible" episode to the attention of OUR superiors....completely and TOTALLY amazes me. I have been a server for 30 years. You know how many times I have EVER written about an experience in a restaurant ( and I deem myself to be a pretty good judge of good service and product in the restaurant industry) ONCE... and it was a legitimate complaint that was totally ignored and never responded to. So you know what? I will NEVER go back to that restaurant again. But these people will be back...with their "FREE" dinner coupons, discounts and vouchers... and we will be made to KOW-TOW to their whims, and demands, and hope that we get them when they are in a good mood. They didn't know their server; but I do, and I am totally convinced that I know what kind of person, server and employee they are, and that the facts are absolutely skewed and biased. It is an extremely "SNOOTY" town that we work in.... actually a citizen called City Hall to complain that our lights in the back of the restaurant were "TOO" bright. Yeah; you don't want those security lights too bright by the back door that we take out the trash through... which is five feet away from an office full of cash. I feel so compelled to write the home office myself to give the "real" version of the truth. These people are not dissatisfied customers... they are "GRIFTERS" at best... and we are only re- enforcing their bad behavior by giving them free meals to our restaurant, thus giving them another chance to not only get some more free "stuff" , but another opportunity to possibly make someone lose their job, their livelihood and source of income and support. GET A GRIP!!! Was it REALLY the biggest thing that ever happened to you? I suspect not; and you should be ashamed of actions, punishments and recourse that your petty comments have put in to motion. It may seem a trivial job to you... BUT "YOU COME TRY TO DO IT." ... And I hope that I am sitting at YOUR table, because I would absolutely love to give you a big, fat dose of your own medicine... and see what happens when you O.D. on the verbal abuse that we take on a daily basis. If it is truly that bad at our store... why would you WANT to come back?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Generation Assassination

As I sit and type tonight, I am amazed at what this latest generation has "generated." As my husband searches for a new job to replace the old on that he was so undeservedly "downsized" out of... I am pondering if maybe our Governor may be looking for an escort... I have heard that the hours are short and the pay is ENORMOUS. What in the world is happening to our society, our morals... and our kids? I remember when we were kids; it was always "Momma", "DIDDY" (maybe that one is a little strange, but I "AM" a southerner). I know that when we were even in our teens, the names for them remained the same . My kids started out with 'Mommy", and my middle son called me by my first name for a while... and for some unknown reason he switched to calling me "Mother." Now I am just "Mom"...something kids in the south NEVER called their parents when I was young. I guess you Yankees infiltrated our kid's mind's when we weren't looking, or were drinking sweet tea and watching "wraslin" on Ted Turner's WTBS. Now ; in today's times... it is "Can I have $20 for blockbuster"? or "Can I have $20 for the movies"? When I was a kid, a movie cost $1.35.... Does that show my age, or WHAT? And Blockbuster? That is what we called "The Sound of Music" or "Jaws." The most technological thing we had in our house was from Atari... "PONG." It was in black and white, and it was a simple game of ping pong played by two players that were ABSOLUTELY mesmerized by the straight paddles, and the little "noise" it made when you hit the floating ball. How much greater could it get than the seventies? We thought that we had reached an APEX.. we were almost "Martians". And then the rocket took flight... Technology has even astounded me, taken two of my kids to catch me up to date; and by next year I will probably have to have a daily tutor just to be able to keep up with all the 'TEXTS" "FORWARDS" "ATTACHMENTS" and lingo that is encompassing this Planet like a toxic cloud. I will admit that the new age of "cyberspace" is fascinating... used in the correct way. But what worries me is the smut, the entrapments, and the ....shall I use a "new" word?... SPAM , that is out there, floating from computer to computer, email to email, cell phone to cell phone, is at the least... terrifying for the mother of two teens. Once someone has access to your computer, email, MySpace, or even cell phone.... the BOMBS start to drop, and unfortunately, sometime the consequences are not only bad, but deadly . My kids all think that I am a freak about their welfare.... But that does not bother me in the least. Their safety, health and well being is a small price to pay for them thinking that I am an idiot... I always thought my mother was an idiot... until I watched her leave this life right in front of my eyes, with no warning. She has since become my champion, my Saviour, and the sole reason that I am half the Mother to my kids , that she was to me. I will always worry about my kids(much to their chagrin) but much to my relief. It is SUCH a different world... the times are changing so rapidly and often, that if I did not work with twenty year olds six days a week.. I would be left in the "cyber" dust, and clueless.. as many of the parents of teens and tweens are today. I will continue my CONSTANT watch of what my kids are doing on the internet, cell phone, and Myspace. They may hate me for it now; and I can live with that. What I "CAN'T" live with is losing them, or having them hurt by this totally overwhelming, all too easy to evade life that kids live today, without any worries of tomorrow . But that is what I am here for ... to not only make them seem like I am making their life miserable.. but just to make SURE "THERE IS A TOMORROW." They may hate me for my "checks and balances" of their life... but I am just grateful EVERY DAY when I see them walk through the door. I can live with that.. I don't know if I could live without them. Till next time... COTTON

Friday, March 7, 2008

Time to wake up and smell the coffee

So tomorrow is the big day... our "ALL STORE" meeting of the minds (if more than one mind shows up). It is our big meeting at work that is supposed to change every person and every attitude in our store in 2 short hours. Granted, most all show up... in body..but it seems to me, after ten years of these meetings... no one listens to anything except " Now we will let you all taste the new items and wines that we are adding to our menu." I feel like it should be more of a "Survivor" episode... " I am sorry , but the tribe has spoken (as we snuff out their torch) and now you have to leave the island... please say your goodbyes." No one (except me and a few other pathetic lifers) ever listen or care... The message is good, it is relevant, it is needed... but unfortunately, rarely heeded. I will recommend at this meeting that maybe we need to revert to the "survivor" technique... it seems to work better for me, and I think that it may be listened to more closely than something that they have all heard before. We all have a great, great job at my store. We all have the opportunity to succeed, make money, and provide for the lifestyle we have chosen for ourselves. If ONLY, and I repeat ONLY... they would LISTEN to the management; not make a joke of it; not give continual sub-par performances every time they walked through the door... EVERY ONE OF US WOULD BENEFIT. If we are serving a better product, if we are giving excellent service, if we are making our guests feel welcomed and at home... they will not only tip us more on their visits, but come back more often.. spend more money, and we will ALL benefit from a team effort, and as the saying goes: "WE all look good together, or bad together." This may just be a "GIG" to some of my co-workers... but it is a career to me,; one that I feel that I am quite good at... but the ones that don't care, the ones that don't try.. don't just hurt themselves... they hurt the company ... and they hurt me. And that is what royally ticks me off. Have some pride not only in yourself, but the reflection of yourself that shows in your in attitude, awareness, and level of loyalty to perfection. You know... They don't HAVE to eat at our restaurant... we have to MAKE them want to. I know that in these economic times, people are cutting corners; one of the first being eating out... time to wake up and smell the coffee , servers... or we will be out on the street corner, begging for a cup of it.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Ecstasy Of Trying... The Agony of Defeat

My twelve year old daughter came home a couple of weeks ago to announce that she felt like she would be a good candidate for the track team at her middle school. So I took her for a sports physical, filled out the forms, and picked her up every day after track practice. They had tryouts for a week, she attended every one of them, and was more pumped up than I had seen her in a while. This was the first team sport she had ever shown any interest in, and my husband and I were behind her 100%. She ran the 200 in a pretty decent time (my husband had to tell me that)... but I felt like this was going to be a good thing. A few girls dropped out after the first day, followed by several others during the week. On this past Thursday... the list was posted. I received a text from her...she didn't make it. She was totally devastated. They had cut 3 of them my daughter. I was furious. For Pete's sake; she was there every day, enthusiastic and pumped... for a middle school track team! Why on Earth could the coach just not let ALL the girls who stuck it out, showed initiative and interest, just make the team? I wasn't asking for them to let her be a starter in any of the meets, or be a first stringer... just let her BE a part of something that she had obviously wanted to be a part of. The girl WANTS to run... LET HER! Let her go to practice every day, be a part of something, and feel special. It isn't like they were choosing an Olympic team or headed for great fame and fortune. I always thought that these school sports were for the KIDS, not the coaches. I tried to rationalize with her, that there were hundreds of other girls that did not even TRY OUT... but SHE did, and gave it her best shot. Unfortunately rationalization isn't a strong trait in twelve year old little girls; although petty squabbles, finger pointing and making fun of others seems to come naturally to most of them...especially the "winners". I wanted to email the coach to ask exactly what criteria my daughter did not meet... did she try too hard, did she come to practice too regularly, did she show too much enthusiasm? Of course my daughter threatened not to ever speak to me again if I did anything at I didn't. I decided to put it out there to all my readers (if in fact, there is more than one). If it is a seventh grade track team, and a student gives it her all, loves what she is doing, and it makes her feel better about herself, who are these coaches to take away this good feeling, this feeling of belonging to something important... and replacing it with a total feeling of dejection, a feeling of failure; not to mention an enormous feeling of embarrassment? On day three of tryouts, they took the picture for the yearbook, and placed my daughter on the front row of the picture. That is her greatest fear now... of being laughed at when the yearbook comes out, not really have been being a part of the track team. I am well aware of the fact that I am biased about my own kids... but I should be. After working for the school system for seven years... I know the difference between good kids and bad kids; kids that need a break, and kids that deserve a chance. Let these girls be on the team... tell the parents that they have to pay for their track shirts because all the other ones were given out. But give these girls who want to be a part of this not only a chance, but a boost and some encouragement; not a kick in the teeth and a boot out the door. I am still steaming, but have promised to let it slide. I know that my kids will face rejection and failure throughout their lifetime... but to have it thrown at them at SUCH a vulnerable , awkward and pivotal point in their adolescence, just seems cruel to me... whether I am their mother or not. Middle school girls are probably the most brutal sect of human beings on the face of the Earth... trust me. I just hope that with love and encouragement from home, she will survive it, and be able to hold her head up high when she walks down the halls of her school. Thanks for the vent... Till next time....COTTON

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Golden Rule... So Easily Forgotten

I was at work one night this past week, when we experienced what we like to call a "nightmare" table. Six red necks with nothing but bad attitudes, chips on their shoulders, and "Mullets" down their backs. Like my fifteen year old says; "business in the front, party in the back!" The chief complainer was a big, muscular bald headed "A" hole, who griped from the jump. It was clear from his demeanor, he once had a mullet; probably one as big as Joe Dirt's. It was during our busy time, and YES, the sequence of service was off a bit. Once we cut servers from the floor (they aren't waiting on tables anymore) they seem to forget to help those of us who are still waiting on customers, trying to run out the salads to the tables, and get the dinners out in a timely fashion. Well, unfortunately... this table did not get their salads as quick as they should have... and YES it WAS our fault. But sometimes the customer acts like we are deliberately holding their salads back just to tick them off. But you know what? WE ARE HUMAN, and unfortunately mistakes sometimes happen. At this point in their dinner, I was unaware of any problem, I was busy with my own tables, and training a new employee. I saw their food up in the window, and went to run it to the guests. When I put the food down in front of the guests, I thought it was in the correct order... the cooks always line it up in the order that it should go out. Well, unbeknown to me, the food had already been taken to the table, but our pleasant little friends were irritated that they had to wait for their salads. Whoever brought the food back to the window, put in back down in the wrong order. They had switched places with a nine ounce filet, with a seven ounce filet. When I ran the food, I did not know the temperature of the steaks that I had... A nine ounce filet can look like a seven ounce filet if it is cooked to the temperature of medium well or well done. So my big, bossy unfriendly guest asked me if his steak was a nine ounce, to which I replied ( taking for granted that the servers who had taken the food out before had placed it back in the heat window in its proper order(mistake #one). "Yes Sir, it is." To which our little bit of Heaven replied "Well somebody needs to get a new damn scale in the back." I almost wanted to kiss him on the lips and say "Thanks for being so sweet about It", but the server who's table it was, saw the mistake immediately, and switched the two steaks quickly and apologized. When he made his comment to me, I just looked at him, not really knowing how to respond. Once the two steaks were switched, all seemed to be OK. OHHH NOOOO not by a long shot. They asked for a manager, who they told..."the girl( I am 48) who brought us our food rolled her eyes at us, and just "STARED" at him when he said something to her". Number one, I have been a server for 30 years, and I know that eye rolls come when you are in the kitchen, or at least far away from the guest. "Number two" (appropriate choice of words for THIS guy), when someone is speaking to me, I generally TRY to look at them. They proceeded to complain and gripe until the server was in tears, and a manager had to be called to the table so they could tell them about the horrible "staring" experience they had had with "THAT OTHER GIRL." I offered to go back and apologize for my horrific mistake of looking at a customer while they belittled and berated me... but after a visit to the table, the manager said "DON'T YOU EVEN DO IT." So let me get this right, someone can jump down my throat with no provocation from me, just because a salad gets to a table a little later than it should... we should let them speak to us like we are a hired servant that they obviously under pay as well as treat like dirt? Last time I checked, The Golden Rule was still a rule of thumb.... Had I initiated it upon his response to me, I would have just slapped him across the face, and said "HELL YEAH, THAT'S YOUR STEAK... EAT IT, YA BIG BOOB!!!" It amazed me for a number of reasons... They enjoyed their salads, had time to finish them, and all of their meals were delivered, cooked perfectly and hot; just two steaks were set down in the wrong position on the table. For PETE'S SAKE... where is the HUGE, GIGANTIC, TREMENDOUS, HORRIFIC problem? After I consoled my co worker, and told her that her tears were not worthy of spilling because of this guy's tirade... I started to think... THE GOLDEN RULE... do you really expect to go through life and act that irresponsibly over a steak, and not get it right back at ya? I would love to see his reaction when they tell him he has terminal cancer. If he is THAT ballistic over a steak being set down in the wrong position... not cooked wrong, not cold, not unpleasing in any way... What is his reaction to gigantic, life altering , important, significant news that he may one day receive? Is it such big of a deal, when EVERY once in a while, a server... a GOOD server, makes a mistake, or is trying to recover from other servers screwing up their table? And if you react the way this guy did... do you not expect to be treated a little differently; or at least to realize that you have treated another human being like they are your dog, servant or personal assistant? So for this occasion, I decided upon myself to enforce the GOLDEN RULE.... I felt like saying when he barked at me and made my good friend cry... " SOOO THAT'S THE WAY YOU WANT THINGS TO BE, YOU BIG GOOF... You know what, we all feel truly sorry for you and your misguided sense of importance in life... And GOD BLESS YOUR WIFE..." But what I did was suck it up, and think to myself... I would NEVER ,EVER want someone to treat me or my friends that way over a lousy piece of meat not being set right down in front of me like I was Henry The 8TH . But from what I have read about OLE K H #8, these two guys are a lot alike. I hope this guy's wife , at least gets to keep HER head. Till next time.. COTTON

Sunday, March 2, 2008

My latest Victim

We have a new server at work that has unfortunately become the latest victim of my witty comments, jokes and sarcasm. He had never been a server before working for us, but has adapted with great ease. He is a math major ( Don't ya just hate a brainy twenty one year old?) He tried really hard when I trained him, and picked it all up with amazing speed. He is cute as a button, the girls just love him, the managers like his hard work and he is a great new addition (no pun intended) to our bizarre, eclectic group of worker bees. HEY!! Maybe I can be the Queen Bee!!! Although I already act like it, and all the workers just seem to fall in line, buzzing around me, constantly trying to avoid my stinger of a sharp, acidic tongue. But as I told my latest victim... " If I don't pick on you, it's because I don't like you." So obviously I like my latest victim a lot. He is one year younger than my oldest son, so he's a kid to me....granted a bright kid, but nonetheless a kid. Of course he is also a man.. and we all know how their thought process occurs... randomly and sporadically. We were out of butter trays at work; we keep four trays of parred up butter balls for the bread that we serve (Christian Crack) . So my latest victim goes to the back, bringing up one tray of butter... HEY at least we will be alright with butter for five minutes! My co-conspirators... I mean co- workers, were all over him.. "Why'd ya bring just ONE tray of butter?" Thus all the other jokes just fell in line. I went to the back to get two huge buckets of ice to refill the ice bin, but when I saw my victim, I sat the buckets down, picked up one single ice cube, and said "ice coming down", which is what we say when we are coming through the alley with a load of ice. Of course he got the joke ( not happily) and tried to banter back when he was doing his closing work of restocking the coffee spoons. He had one spoon in his hand, and asked if I would sign off his work. Of course he hasn't fully realized how quick I am with a come back... "NO, you have to restock SPOONS, not spoon, so go back and get one more!" He takes my verbal abuse with the grace and diplomacy that it is rendered... not trying to be mean; just trying to make things lighter, funnier and easier to take. I hope he stays around, because I have had more fun with him working at our store, than I have had in a long long time. Of course he is not a "Lifer" like me, but he is a pleasant presence in our store... an easy target, and a wonderfully accepting victim of our constant harassment. Of course working in a restaurant of 90% females, I fall back to my old line of "harass" is two words in our restaurant!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Captain Cunningham... "HEARD" Loud and Clear

Another one of our cooks at work is a good friend of mine... We will call him Captain for this post. To meet him outside of work is another relationship altogether. He is a mild mannered, soft spoken man of very few words. To meet him when he is clocked in; is like meeting a totally different person. I almost feel like he is a classic "Jekyll and Hyde". When he is off the clock, he is so meek and mild... but on the clock, he is a demon of the culinary arts. He is so high strung, always shouting out orders, replying loudly to requests, and always in the constant state of having a heart attack or stroke at any given moment. Of course he gets the job done, and does it well, but I feel like we are killing him every time we have him on the line. He is a former military man... a man of strict guidelines and patterns. When the bombs start to drop (the crunch times of the dinner rush ) He swings into full battle position.. "AWRIGHT, AWRIGHT... Stand By, You know what time it is !!" Sometimes I feel like I am standing in a mine field on the outskirts of Baghdad... just waiting for the bomb to drop. He is always totally pumped up to do his job... which he does amazingly well. He relays his messages , orders and requests to everyone on the line of fire ( which would be our kitchen staff) with amazing accuracy and precision. The Latinos just shrug and say to themselves.. " This beats the %$@^ out of what we could be doing in Mexico City." He is dedicated and loyal to our company, and a sincere and honest person. I just worry that one day, he will get so worked up that I will hear " We need a defibrillator out the back.. PLEASE!" He is truly one of my favorites, one of my good friends... but a person that I worry 30 servers.. half of who are idiots, will kill my good friend with their mistakes, demanding and sometimes ridiculous requests that just automatically send him into a tailspin.I love my "Captain", love his wife, and feel extremely lucky that I have met them both. Monique, if we don't manage to kill him with our petty requests... We will leave that job up to you! Till next time... COTTON