Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Small Change

I've started a new blog called all writey then. It's real plain-jane so far, even more so than this one. I'm not sure what the reason behind the change is.
When I was just out of high school and I started to feel that pressure build up like a storm a coming, that feeling that something needed to change but I felt powerless to make any definitive life movements, I'd put another hole in my ears. I ended up with five in one and four in the other. There was something so satisfying about the chunk-stab of it- like putting a needle through a dried apricot. Or I'd make a dress, or I'd shave my head. Year before last I went through a pie thing where I baked and ate pie every day for about a week and a half. That was great. I love pie.
I guess now I start a new blog.
I haven't been very good so far about replying to my comments. And I haven't put up a blog roll or fleshed it out in any way. It's a new room with a fresh coat of paint and lots of windows and I have a table and a chair there, pen and paper, cup of coffee, and space enough. Would you come to visit? Perhaps I'll even make pie.

When Life Isn't Sweet Enough Candy Pie

1 deep dish pie crust, slightly thawed
60% chocolate bittersweet Ghirardelli chips
walnuts, rough chopped
dried cherries
real maple syrup, B grade

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Cover the bottom of the crust with chocolate chips. Cover the chocolate chips with walnuts and cherries. Sprinkle with more chocolate chips. Pour maple syrup over the whole mess, but just enough to wet, not enough to cover. Fold the walls of the pie crust over the top of the filling (the filling should only go about halfway up the sides) so it's all nice and tucked in, and you have a bit of a top crust. Place pie on a cookie sheet. Bake until the crust is golden brown and not raw looking. Remove from oven and chill.

sour cream
heavy whipping cream
maple syrup

Whip all ingredients together until the soft-but-firm stage.

Slice pie into small wedges and top with cream. Contemplate life.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Absolute power...

I've been wanting to write lately but the words won't come. I want to write about spring, and how every morning the birds outside go wild and wake me up with singing and it reminds me of beauty, so I wake up with the idea of beauty every morning but I'm not going out in it, and I feel sad about that. I wanted to write about my sister on her birthday, but no matter how much I pushed the keys it all came out strange and forced. I will want to write about my mama and my other mother come Mother's Day. It's all off, everything is off. I thought this morning that maybe it is because what I need to write about is what's going on in my daily life, which I don't want to write about, because it is about work, but it is what is swimming around in my head. So please, if you don't want to read about work, feel free to click away.
A few months ago the owner of my restaurant sold out to another restaurant. It all happened very fast and there was little communication involved with the staff. We were told not to worry, that they wanted to keep us on and that we would all have jobs. There was bad blood over the whole thing with the bar manager at the old place, and the bar staff jumped ship rather spectacularly. Their last night open they destroyed the place. They gave away more than they sold, they smashed glasses, they drank straight from taps and bottles. I do not envy the new owners the clean up.
We closed for four days and reopened under the new name and management. Same building, different job. We tread lightly. I likened it to having a foster family- it was nice that they kept us together but we didn't know the rules in this new house, foster mom and foster dad were different and strange, their real kids seemed cocky and didn't know the 'hood. Our regular customers were confused and disgruntled.
After a month and change our front of house manager quit, and I don't blame her, but she did so leaving the schedule unfinished and a snarl of problems that we couldn't even begin to know were there. Five servers and two hostesses were leaving for the summer, we had no new hires and she'd let half the staff request off for graduation weekend.
They asked me to be the new manager.
The new owner explained that she liked the way I am at work, that I'm a good server and I take care of the customers, even if they aren't my tables, that people respect me and that I'm a favorite among the kitchen and front staff. That I have open availability. She wanted me to teach the other servers to be more like me.
It can't be done. The things that make me a good server are not the things that make a good manager. I look after the customers because I cannot stand to see anyone unhappy or needful. I spend every moment when it is busy moving moving moving because even if I do not need to refill my glasses or bus my tables I need the momentum to carry me through the night. I talk to the customers because I am interested in their lives, how they are doing, what they do when they are not sitting there waiting for their food to arrive. I do it because that is what I want to do. To those servers for whom this is only a job they do to have some running around money, it can be almost a painful thing to try to care that much. Most of the restaurant staff in Tallahassee are either drunks or students, and both groups do the job, a rather thankless job at that, only because it has the flexibility to allow them to live their real lives. I do it because I like to walk around with plates and eavesdrop on conversations.
Being the manager is an in between job. I am not the employee, free to bitch and joke about the management. I am not the boss, able to take people's concerns into account and make changes. I get to make the schedule (which no one likes) and walk around saying things like "Don't doodle at the counter" and "Your pants have a hole in them." People come to me and tell me that their paychecks are light, or that the uniforms are too hot for the summer, or that the coffee we carry sucks. I'm told to make the order for drystock (to go containers, tea and coffee, equipment we might need) and I do, and then the orders are cancelled because the owners have those things at home, and then they never bring it in.
The owners have other things going on with their lives, hard things to deal with personally, and that gets in the way and distracts them. I feel for them, but these are not my problems and I do not want these to be my problems. I want to do my job and go home.
We have one more big weekend and then things will smooth out. I have to keep reminding myself of that. This summer, if I hire some good people and get them trained up, will be easy peasy and we can do all the tightening up we need to do. I just have to get there. Until then this job is invading my dreams and causing my face to break out. I've developed a hunger for ice cream that cannot be denied. I'm working way too many hours.
So there. That is what's going on with me. Now that that's out, maybe I'll be able to write. Maybe. I hope.