Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Are We Done Yet?

 I'm not really sure how we got from the picture above to the picture below in what seemed no time at all. My oldest is 26 and out making his mark in the world. My younger son turns twenty in the matter of a few short weeks and is busy trying to get his recent marks in the world erased... and doing a pretty good job. I'd rather him be stupid when he was eighteen than when he is married with a wife and kids. Next in line is my last in line. Around this time next year I'll be throwing my last high school graduation party.

Massey has always been more interested in school than either of my boys. They were both just glad to graduate. Massey has savored every minute and each moment.

She (as well as I) enjoyed several seasons  with the Guard, learned some tough lessons about commitment and camaraderie and both made some life long friends. I still miss it.

This past year has been all about her grades (of her own choosing) and for the first time I had a kid in the National Honor Society. I think I was the only parent that cried at the induction ceremony but was so proud I could have popped.

She still remained in women's chorus which doesn't take up as much time, still has some Guard friends in it and is a really talented group of young women.

Tonight was the banquet.

 The teacher is young , excited and most probably a pushover but has produced a very talented ensemble and all the girls  love her to death . This is her presenting Massey with an award.
It was by FAR the largest chorus banquet they have had yet and I've been going to them since she was in middle school. Here's the teacher and three of them doing their "Land shark."

A while back Massey mentioned  they should get the restaurant we both work for to cater the end of year banquet. The teacher called my boss and as a favor to me, he gave them a dirt cheap price for some of the best food on the south side of Atlanta. Spaghetti with marinara or meat sauce, rolls with butter pats, fresh salad and home made salad dressing, iced tea and home made cookies and brownies.

I was in the office talking with the owner the other day when he told me Massey had told the teacher that she and I would be glad to pick up and deliver the food to the banquet.


Len said "I gave them a deal on the food but the teacher knew it didn't include delivery."

So I was looking forward to enjoying a nice relaxing evening off and now it seems I am  catering for 160 people....in a dress!

Here's the thing. I love doing catering jobs for the restaurant and we do quite a bit of it and he pays me really well for it...but HE is always there with me. He has done this for almost thirty years and knows the business forwards and backwards. I just listen to him and do what he says. I didn't mind not being paid, I'd do anything to help out with my kids and their functions, but now it seemed "I" was in charge and if something went wrong it would be MY fault. Like the great boss he is he finally said he would load everything up in his catering van and have two cooks deliver it to the venue, then I was on my own. He said he would have a couple of guys come back and pick up all the equipment. This is something he normally charges fifty dollars for but what can I say? They love me!

I was already nervous and got downright terrified as people got there thirty minutes early and just kept coming. There were over 200 people there. Another chorus mom I have known since the early eighties when I was slinging pizza at Johnny's and she was a regular was there to help me. Several of the chorus girls were there early to help and we kicked into action.

We were originally going to let them serve themselves but I got nervous at  the size of the group and would be mortified if we ran out of food.  We decided to serve them their spaghetti and then let them help themselves to salad, rolls and dessert.

The line got backed up once or twice, but being the genius chef he is, my boss sent an abundance of pasta and sauce so we let people come back for seconds. We should have had someone guarding the dessert table...the brownies and cookies were gone first. For Pete's sake...do people not have the common sense to just take one? Then again, it was mostly teens there and I can't much blame them. My boss is an excellent baker as well and makes all my kid's birthday cakes for me.

When the line begin to dwindle I felt a huge sigh of relief...we had plenty of pasta left over, the salad bowl had a bit left in it and we ended up with two rolls left.

One woman who came through the line asked if I was with Mama Lucia's? I said I was and she said "My son had a sports banquet catered and the food was terrible." My heart sank and I wanted to ask her to speak more softly. She said quickly..."No you misunderstood me. This was GREAT, do you happen to have a business card, we would like to have your restaurant cater our next one. The food is amazing and I love the way  you have it all set up."

Dang...maybe I should have more faith in myself as a caterer after all!

Only when I sat down with my own plate to eat did my nerves calm down. The woman was right...it was "Delicious!"

When  the the van came back to pick me up...it was the owner who walked in. I had every thing pretty much ready  to go back to the restaurant and when I walked out with the last couple of bowls following him to the van, he said "Looks like I delivered and picked up anyway."

He's a good man. He's a crazy, CRAZY Italian but I work hard for him and he returns the favor in kind time and time again. He had another catering job  tonight for the new hospital, an important and lucrative one but treated our banquet with  the same professionalism.

I don't want to jinx myself but I think my bad luck has run its course. We still struggle but who doesn't?  I have a leg up. God loves me, my family loves me and I have so many friends that I can't count them all. I have  bosses that recognize and appreciate my hard work.
I have a husband that hasn't killed me in my sleep yet (most probs because he works the night shift) and three kids that can make me mad but more often make me smile. Throw in two dogs who think I am the bomb.com and there you have it...Urban Utopia!

One more year of high school left for Massey and one year left for me to be a high school mom. You know what? I think I'm gonna miss it.

Including a short video of this amazing group of young women. This was a casual concert..no uniforms just a group of young women loving what they do....Making  this momma's heart sing!

Til next  time..."Catering COTTON"

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