Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Monday the 16th was my Friday the 13th

I woke up Monday morning and felt like I had been run over by a train. I'm good for about three weeks working every day but then need to crash for about twelve hours and let my body catch up. Lucky for me I have a tiny body so twelve hours is about all it takes. I woke up before eight, decided that was way  too early to get up then remembered I needed to cut the back yard. I gave myself til nine but by  then the news about the Navy yard killings was all over CNN so I gave myself another hour to catch up on that horrific tragedy. By ten my bed and pillow felt so good it would have been another tragedy to even sit up so I didn't. I knew I should be cutting the back yard because Monday was the last chance to cut before Friday. I'd be at the mattress store ten hours a day Tuesday through Thursday. I got my front yard cut so at least the part neighbors can see looks good. The dogs are the only ones who really use the back yard behind the privacy fence and so far not one of them have complained so I bumped that to my Friday list of things to do before working at the restaurant Friday night. Problem solved. Around two I started feeling better or maybe just guilty,  got up feeling refreshed and ready to go. I had to be at work by  five and wanted to drop off some Turnip Green soup to a good friend of mine who has been under the weather.

Last weekend while working at  the restaurant I waited on a young couple who after chatting with  told me they owned a BBQ place in Franklin, a town just down the road a bit. (her words not mine) I told her I loved good BBQ and by this time it was late in the evening. I was the closing server and the owner stopped by  the table to chat with them too. They had never eaten creme brulee but tried ours and we make a mean one. Len (my boss) was giving the husband the recipe for it while I chatted with the wife about how to get to their place. These were her seemingly simple directions, verbatim. Go to the end of Franklin highway turn right and we are on the left. Sounded simple enough. Told her I'd stop by Monday before work and get Len and me a BBQ sandwich. They left me a twenty dollar tip on a sixty dollar tab so I made a mental note to be sure and remember to stop by before work on Monday.

I left my house before three and dropped off the soup to my friend. I told her I couldn't stay I had to run an errand before work at five and headed towards Franklin highway.  I knew exactly where it was but have never really gone down it.

I started down the highway and my radiator light came on. No problem, I'd just pull into the next  gas station and put water in it. The next gas station was over eight miles down the road for Pete's sake! I got out and let the car cool a bit while I walked around looking for a water hose. No hose. Once again, not a problem. I keep a handy gallon water jug in the back seat but it wasn't even half full so I walked into  the store and asked the nice Indian (dot not feather) behind the counter if I could use his restroom to fill the container for my car? Super nice guy. He said sure and pointed me in the direction. I opened the door, the light was off but could see  the sink on the far back wall. As  the door started closing I flipped the light switch, the poop fan came on but was standing in total darkness the  second the door shut. I tried stretching my leg behind me to keep  the door open but it was one huge room. I went back into the store and saw a water fountain. Once again, problem solved.  I crammed the jug underneath the tiny spout and pushed the button. The water dribbled out like a  dripping faucet. I was starting to get irritated.

When I left the restaurant Sunday night reminding Len I was going to get us some BBQ sandwiches Monday his wife, Barb was standing in the office too and told me NOT to be late on Monday because she wouldn't be there til later on. I thought about that as I waited for  the water to dribble into the jug.

Now I was getting nervous. It took forever and a day to fill the jug halfway and the fountain was so small that's all I could get in it anyway.

I poured the water in.  Waited for it to go down, poured more, waited for it to go down then topped it off. Now we were getting somewhere!

Got back in, the light was off and so was I. I kept going a few miles, passed the turn off for where they hold the Powers Crossroads festival every year and always considered  THAT event a bit far away from my house. Ten minutes later I passed a sign saying I was entering another county (Heard County) and almost turned around, then thought to myself it's probably just over the next hill. I crested the next  hill and saw three more hills in front of me. By  this point it was almost four thirty. I thought if I could make it to the place in two minutes, order and be back on the road in two more I'd be okay.

Then I  could hear Barb's voice in my head "DON'T BE LATE ON MONDAY." I  finally came to  a red light and was in a town square. They had a sign pointing towards Bowden and knew that was the last town before the Alabama border. I was hoping to see a dead end sign and turn right and see my destination on the left, no such luck. The road ahead was yet another hill so decided to cut my losses, turn around, be on time for work and save my job.

I got almost back to Newnan when my gas light came on so screamed into a gas station to pump a quick five hoping it would get me to work. Gas was sky high so just bought a pepsi because I was sweating to death. I was scared  to  run the A/C with lights coming on for the radiator and thought if I drove with my fingers crossed and windows down would make it to work.  I was paying the attendant when someone tapped me on the back. It was a guy who used  to cook for us and  WAS from Heard County. I told him my story and he laughed, then said which I already knew by his laugh, "You were one minute from the BBQ place."

At least I got to work on time albeit without my BBQ sammiches. Len laughed at my story and said people who  live way out in the country make the drive so much it's nothing to them but when you  go somewhere for the first time and have never been there it seems to take forever. He was exactly right.

I made  a pot of coffee, drank four cups and ate a box of  M&M's I had hidden in a cooler.

Then walks in round two of my nightmare. I had a party of seven women. It was a surprise birthday party in a private room. They stayed three hours and fifteen minutes. They were nice enough but  ran me ragged. It started when the last woman got there. She was late. (and large) We had them in a nice private room with tables covered with nice linen cloths. The tops are glass and just sitting on the frame with suction cups. Big girl went to get up and put both hands on the table to help her and flipped the entire table sending water glasses, silverware and everything else flying. I knew she was embarrassed but told her she wasn't the first person  to do that. They had appetizers and lots of cocktails and wine. (a good thing for me) Nothing runs a tab up more than alcohol and I was glad to oblige.

They  finally ordered but every single time I went into  that room someone needed something. and I mean some ONE.  One at  a time they asked for it.  A dish of lemons, another fork, another plate, extra salad dressing, red wine vinegar instead of balsamic, the list went on and on and dinner hadn't even been served yet.

I had described each and every dish  they ordered letting them know what it consisted of and tasted like.

I ran all the entrees with help from my two co workers and only had to go back to the kitchen five times to grate more Parmesan cheese for them. Sheesh, no pooping from them for a while.

I went back to see how everyone liked their meal when one lady looked up with a sour face and said hers was too sweet. I felt like saying, maybe it was the brandy cream sauce or the Marsala wine the dish was made with, DUH! Then another woman said hers wasn't right and then the birthday girl joined the revolt. You  can't  argue with  the guest of honor so I toted back three entrees, over forty dollars worth of food and they each ordered something different that someone else at  the table was eating and said was delicious.

I know this restaurant, I know Len and I know what quality of food they put out and here's the biggest  thing. We aren't a huge corporate industry. They just cost a Mom and Pop shop over forty dollars plus remaking three more entrees. I was nice , even bit my tongue apologized and asked if the new entrees were better? I had to go back for two more shakers of Parmesan but they were finally happy. I started  to look around the room for a hidden camera or half expected John Quinoes to step into  the room telling me I was on an episode of "What Would You Do?" He never showed up.

I usually don't add a suggested gratuity but got nervous. They had taken up my entire night and only had three other tables, who suffered because I was constantly having to get or fix something for my ladies.

I took the check after three hours and fifteen minutes of intense laboring and crossed my fingers. They even left me ten extra bucks so all in all  was worth it, but a lot of work. They marched out the door and I went in to clean  the room. I looked for  the credit card slip and couldn't find it on the table.


Lucky for me  they were yappers like I am and were in the parking lot talking. I asked the woman who signed if she could check and see if she had the merchant copy? She did have it in her pocket and apologized. I'm sure she didn't mean to take it but that was my paycheck for  the night and I needed it.

Then round three of my nightmare began.

We close at  nine thirty and I didn't leave til almost eleven. I knew I was almost out of gas but knew I could probably make it to the Asian Stasian. It's the Chevron station closest to the restaurant owned and run by the nicest hardworking Asian family. The parents eat at our restaurant and the sons have wonderful manners, their gas is just too high. I usually go to Kroger about a mile away but they close at  eleven and I was,  as Jackson Browne said "Running on Empty."

I went inside and paid for ten bucks so I could sleep  ten more minutes in the morning and not have to get gas til I got off work Tuesday night.

I went back out and started the pump. It pumped sixty two cents and cut off. I went back inside and the son  told me they had run out of gas earlier but the supplier had been by and  filled them up so maybe I should move to another pump. I pulled up  to the next  one, he credited the pump and I tried again. I got to a dollar sixty and it cut off again. Walked back inside reminding myself I liked this family a lot. He apologized and said to  drive over to  the other end if I didn't mind. I went all the way to pump one, I had started at  pump twelve. I got out and started again, this time getting seventy cents worth. That's right, I tried one more pump getting ninety cents worth and when I went back inside he apologized yet again, gave me the cash difference back and I screamed down the road to Kroger  as they were turning out the lights. At least I had once again dribbled enough liquid into the car to get me from here to there.

You  just can't make this stuff up! Well you could but it wouldn't be as funny.

I got home and was exhausted then unfortunately looked at  the calendar on the wall in the kitchen. It was the night to put out the four TV's the Kidney Foundation was going to pick up early Tuesday morning. None of them worked and they were willing to take them all giving me much more garage space, guess they sell them for parts. I dragged two out and even managed to drag the sixty  two inch wide screen that quit working well over a year ago out. It's not like you have to be careful when moving a non working TV. The last one was too heavy  for me so I  went upstairs and woke Zach to move it. It's not like I was giving away flat screens. These were all big heavy sets with huge tubes in the back but at least I was getting rid of them...for free and somehow someway helping the Kidney Foundation.

Barb had given me half a bottle of red wine from behind the bar. If it's dated over four days old she calls it not fit for guests and gives it to me. I poured one glass,  tasted fantastic and tumbled into bed.

I don't think I've had a day that crazy in quite a while, but there's always tomorrow.

Til Next  time...COTTON

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