Monday, June 15, 2015

Nailing It

Got home from work a little after midnight. Number one they had a massive road block at the exit ramp and already were loading the paddy wagon full with violation offenders. Number two was glad I wasn't in my twenties anymore. Number three can't believe my almost twenty year old daughter has never gone through a road block. I asked her to reach in the back seat and get my license out of my nifty clear airport purse and asked if she should get hers out too?

The county was gettin' their bizzy on tonight. My son got stopped in one too coming home from his job thirty minutes later. Thank goodness my Lost Boy learned his lesson the hard way a few years ago and sailed right through just like me.

I write a lot about how great my new job is and how am making more than I ever have but trust me, I earn every stinkin' penny and then some.

I've worked harder at this job than I ever have before, not always physically but constantly mentally. I've learned about wine varietals, food I've never even thought about eating and even more about how to serve in a fine dining establishment.

I finally almost  get it all down and BAM they change the menu four months later. It's a seasonal European restaurant and change the menu four times a year. I have to know how each dish is prepared, where the product comes from and how it was caught or raised. I have (need) to know where each wine comes from, producer, grape and region.

When I first started waiting tables back in the late seventies all I knew about wine was that MD 20/20 was produced by Mogen David and came from the liquor store on Main Street that didn't check ID's.

My first serving job was for Red Lobster in 1979. I had to wear a blue polyester sailor dress complete with white collar, red tie and white shoes.

I can say with almost certain conviction after well over three decades of serving  "Then I learned the restaurant business and  learned it the hard way."

The photo above is from "Mildred Pierce" with Joan Crawford in the mid forties.

If you want to borrow it I have it. Is a must see, especially for servers.

Back in the day, Red Lobster was almost considered fine dining on the south side of Atlanta. We were all still just a bunch of red necks and going to Red Lobster was like being on vacation at the beach. They even had a drink called The Lighthouse and the glass was not only shaped like one but could take it home with you, to put in your cabinet next to the Flintstones jelly jar glasses you'd also accrued.

I managed to get fired and rehired three times but learned the business in my year or so with them.

Then I worked for Steak and Ale for a year or so. Cute short little plaid skirt, black tights and low cut peasant blouse...aah the eighties! It was the nicest restaurant on the south side for quite a while.

I went to work for a small pizza joint after about another year. It had about twelve bar stools and eight booths. I worked there for almost fourteen years and learned the rest of the business moving up to management and pizza slinger. Learned how to make dough, we grated our own mozzarella and made our own meatballs. It was an awesome place to really learn the business. I made a lot of good friends there, met my husband there and still consider those some pretty awesome years.

The owner became not only a good friend but quickly turned into my mentor. I'm still friends with both him and his wife and run into them occasionally.

Then I went to work for a big steakhouse restaurant which I now refer to as Western Sizzler. It was a great job for almost thirteen years, made good money and even a lot more good friends. I got fired for giving my daughter a free scoop of ice cream after she and her friends spent over fifty bucks on lunch one day. My manager who crazy enough was also considered a good friend knew my husband had been out of work for a while and barely getting by. He fired me for theft.

It was the nail in our coffin. We're still not back to where we were and has been well over five years. (and yes I can hold a grudge)

I landed in a family owned restaurant owned by some people I knew next. They hired me on the spot and can say for a fact pretty much saved my family.

They are both a little bit crazy (like me) so we got along just fine for well over four years. They helped me out so many times I can't even count. They loaned me money interest free time and time and time again when we needed it for bills and taught me even more about food and wine. I made even more good friends as well.

When I got offered a new job at the new international terminal of the world's busiest airport in an upscale European restaurant  simply couldn't afford to say no. I was terrified of leaving my comfort zone but on the brink of losing our home so had to take a leap of faith. I worked both jobs for over four months but wore me down quickly. That was the hardest resignation letter I will (hopefully) ever have to write. I remain friends with them both.

It took me a while to figure out and be able to appreciate but do know...

God did have a plan!

He gave us everything for over a quarter of a century then suddenly took most all of it away. He left us our three kids and my brother and sister, about two hundred fantastic friends and last but not least our three dogs.

That's evidently all we needed.

He also allowed us to meet some pretty awesome peeps along the road and every one of them rallied to our support.

Tim has a wonderful job now (albeit a thousand miles away) and I have one twenty five miles up the road. We're so close to being close to close it ain't even funny!

Everything you have today, what you have this very instant can be gone the next...literally.

If not having enough money is the worst thing that ever happens to you, consider yourself extremely lucky...because you are.

Til next time...Lucky COTTON

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