Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Buon Giorno!

Hi everyone! It's been so long since I've actually posted here. Things have been crazy, but it's all getting ironed out and seems like all is well!

The kids are back in school and for the most part it's been a smooth transition. Elliot seemed to have some trouble last week. Lots of tears in the morning. He was SOOO excited to be starting first grade. Apparently it didn't really hit home that he would be gone all day until Day Two. I know he said he missed me, but more than anything, I think he just wanted to be playing with his stuff. I tried to tell him it wasn't really ALL day, just til the afternoon. I don't think he bought it. Each day got a little better and this morning he mentioned not wanting to go, but there were no tears. It's an adjustment for all of us. I finally told him that even if he stayed home, Mommy had to go to work. He thought about that for a while. I swear you can almost see the gears turning in that kid's head!

Claire and Kate have slipped back into their routine without incident. For the most part the friends are the same and the workload is similar. I don't expect any real problems with either of them. Christian is really ready for Kennywood to close if you can believe it! He has had his share of Kiddieland for one summer! He is only working on the weekends now and some of those are spoken for with band commitments. I'm not entirely sure what his plans are for Fall employment, but I'm a little tired of nagging so he's on his own. No money, no driving. Simple. He has a very heavy workload with almost all AP, college prep, classes. I know he CAN do it, but he's not the most self-motivated kid I know. For example, guess when he finished his summer reading and writing assignments? Yep. The Saturday before school started. I seem to remember Keith doing the very same kind of thing at Edinboro. "Sorry. I can't go out tonight. I have to write 35 journal entried by 7 AM." Genius by birth, slacker by choice. Christian does get it all done, though-I've got to give him credit. It's much like his driving...he doesn't do things (i.e. brake) as soon as I'd like, but he manages to avoid catastrophe.

Work has been interesting. Last week I started training with the servers at Bravo! Italian Restaurant even though I'll be hostessing. My manager wanted me to learn the menu since I'll be doing the To Go orders on my shift. The down side to this is that Bravo! has a huge menu and each item has a thousand ingredients. The up side is that I got to taste everything they make! Their food is amazing. For as much as I like their pasta and more traditional Italian dishes, their meat and seafood is unbelievable. Everything from the grill is great. I tasted every single dish and I can honestly say that it all tasted different (you know how sometimes everything tastes the same?) and I liked 95% of it. The 5% that I wasn't crazy about I would still eat any day of the week given the opportunity. And the desserts...don't even get me started. One word. Cannoli.

I am probably older than most of the people working there, but I don't think they necessarily would guess me to be as old as I am. There is a lot of turnover in the restaurant business so unfortunately most of the host staff is only slightly more experienced than I am. As a result, we have new people training new people and it's a bit messy. There is no one way to run the seating board either, so that's problematic. I like to do things in an orderly fashion, so it's killing me to just fly by the seat of my pants, but I have adopted a "keep your mouth shut" policy at work (except for the cannoli, of course). I don't intend to be a doormat, but there are enough people there that complain and gripe all day long and I don't need to be one of them. I've been a bit sheltered for the last 15 years (those of you in a clergy family are probably saying, yeah right!!). People are so angry and mean and impatient and miserable! My word. I can't imagine getting so upset because you were seated at a table near a plant or under a light or because you didn't have enough ice cubes. Good service is very very important, but to get angry about such things?! Personally angered? Geeze.

But, for every person that is negative there are many that are helpful, pleasant and appreciative. This week I've been helped so much by employees and guests alike. I am constantly asking for help with things at work. Apparantly it doesn't make any sense to look for Chicken Alfredo when the guest orders Chicken Alfredo. It's much simpler to order Chicken Woozie. Of course. Silly me. Gotcha. And don't even get me started on the salads! Do we really need to have six different kinds of lettuce and greens in a thousand different combinations!??? Some of them are free with a meal, some are discounted, some have a surcharge. Uggh. But anyhow, someone is always willing to answer my dumb question and set me straight. Did you know that you can actually order something at Bravo! that isn't even on the menu? Shhhh. Don't tell anyone. Please!

I like work. I like seeing the people and I like making their experience an enjoyable one. A lot of the service tips they pounded into our heads make perfect sense to me. Maybe it's a Mom thing...anticipating someone's needs or going the extra mile. That's what makes it such a nice experience. I keep busy and always find something to do like bussing tables or resetting other tables. There's always something that needs done and why shouldn't someone do it. I can always go right back to "my job". (And I hate that, too....it's not "my" job.) People really appreciate what you can do to help them out and the servers get really really busy. They are actually in the spotlight, so I don't mind getting drinks or dropping off dessert menus. And afterall, don't they have to tip out to me??! I took a drink order from an elderly couple expecting an order for water or soda, maybe coffee. Is that ageist? Sorry. Anyhow...they ordered these rockin' bar drinks that I had no idea how to even ring in. I was just honest with them and they got a real kick out of it! Maybe I made their day a little funnier. I usually just admit what I don't know (a lot!) up front instead of pretending to know it all.

Well, those are my thoughts for this week except for two things.

One, I must have the most wonderful husband in the world! He had dinner ready every night that I was in training, filled out FOUR SETS of school emergency cards and papers and even picked up groceries and school supplies. He has just been fantastic. If I had to come home and make dinner those first few nights I would have passed out. It's very weird to not share lunch together after 10 or so years of eating lunch together. I know he'll manage, but he's adjusting, too.

And two, God bless anyone out there, including my sister, who actually makes a living doing this! It is hard, hard work. It is physically challenging (the dinner size lasagna with its oblong dish and charger weighs almost 20 pounds!) and mentally stressful. The floors are slippery, the doors swing both ways (can you imagine?!...don't ask) and those knives are sharp. So, next time you go out for a nice meal, be good to your server, compliment the chef and be patient with the hostess!