Monday, February 28, 2011

Hell hath no fury like a woman denied use of her birthday coupon.

Oh hello, I am mid-rage, so please....grab a seat.

Today I finally made it to a certain un-named nationwide import chain (known for yummy smelling candles and a certain style of chairs that are almost impossible to get out of but that everyone had in their dorm room) to buy a sofa.

This has been a purchase long in the making. We have had a second (or third?) hand sofa for about 5 years, and it is a big old rambling sectional that is taking up a ton of floor space we just don't have to spare. I've been looking for a new sofa forever, and finally found one I liked at this particular un-named store.

I have a credit card for this store, and just like every other retail store credit card I have, they send me a 20% off coupon to use "for my birthday" cleverly disguising a ploy for me to charge purchases on their card as a gift they are graciously giving me. Every year I get a few of these, and I inevitably lose them, forget them, or they get delivered after the expiration date, or I use them to buy a $10 candle, take my $2 savings and pay $20 in interest. Happy Birthday to me!

This year I got this particular coupon on time, we needed a new sofa, and they had one I liked. It was like the universe was coming together to provide me with a wonderful birthday gift -that included free delivery.

So I went down and took the couch for a test sit, to make sure the cushions were soft, yet supporting, and to confirm that the back was high enough to recline against comfortably. Then I took off my shoes and lay down to make sure the couch was long enough to fit. Then I sat back up and took the cushions off and examined the frame. Then I sat back down and stretched out and tossed and turned to see if it would be good for napping. It passed the tests with flying colors. I had me a winner! But there was a problem: it wasn't in stock in any color, and they weren't expecting any to be delivered, so it would take 6-8 weeks to arrive. I gave them my name, and said I wanted to buy a sofa, but needed my husband to give his okay.

And then I called Sam.

"I found a sofa. I want it. I need you to come sit on it after work."

Which he did. And then he went up to the counter and got someone to assist him (which is a whole seperate issue - he finds it almost impossible to get an employee to talk to him in this particular store) and explained that I had a birthday coupon, and could I give them the discount code over the phone.

No, they needed it in person.

I had taken the coupon out of my purse to give him the code over the phone, and left it sitting on the kitchen counter. For the next week, every time I was in town I would reach in to my purse and remember the coupon sitting on my kitchen counter. So today, I made a conscious effort. I put the coupon IN my purse before I left for town, and put a reminder on my phone to go to the store and order the couch with my coupon.

I walked in to the store, and the salesperson who had helped me last week was there. The couch had gone on sale, she told me, and we high fived. It was only about 10% off though, so my coupon was still the better deal. I pulled out the coupon and her face fell. "You can't use that coupon on sale merchandise." I thought for a second. "Can't you give me the discount off the original, full price?"

"Oh,would that be a bigger discount? Let me check. Oh, yes, you're right, that would be a much better price. Okay, let me get the manager to approve it." As an added bonus, she told me before she went in the back that suddenly they had one on island, in stock! It was a MIRACLE. I couldn't believe my good fortune.

She came back a few minutes later and started apologizing before she had even gotten to the counter. "He said he's sorry, but you can't use the coupon."

I almost cried.

"When did it go on sale?"


I stood there, frozen.

I walked around, and tried to think clearly.
Living on an island, everything has a "destination charge" which is basically a surcharge added on to the base price of every item to reflect the additional cost of getting the item to our remote location. Most luxury and large items have this surcharge - things are just more expensive here. So if I look on a website for the price of something, I have to keep in mind that here, in the store, it will be a different (higher) price. So even using my birthday coupon, the couch would still only be the price people paid on the mainland. I was basically just saving the destination charge. And since it was already here, and since they hadn't been expecting it last week, that meant it was most likely a return or something, I was taking a piece of furniture off their hands.

But not without my coupon I wasn't.

"You know" I said, as I walked out the door "I need to think about this. It just feels yucky that you won't let me use my birthday coupon for an item I had already picked out, that has only been on sale for a few hours."

And I got right in my car, and called corporate.

Yup. I'm that girl.

The woman at corporate didn't seem to understand why the manager didn't just give me the discount. The sofa had literally only been on sale for 107 minutes when I got there (not to be specific or anyhting). She said she would call the manager and see if this could "be worked out". Which should make me the manager's favorite person right about now. So here I sit, waiting. And waiting. If they don't call back, so help me I am going to drag my husband down there, have HIM open a charge account and get the  20% discount for starting a new account - 20% off the SALE PRICE mind you, and they can all sit and spin as far as I'm concerned. In the meantime, I''m going to light some scented candles that I got on clearance at that very store, and arrange my throw pillows from that very same store artfully on the sectional, and perhaps wrap my legs in the chenille throw I got for my birthday FROM THAT STORE and maybe rearrange my bookshelf I bought THERE when we first moved in, after pouring a glass of wine out of the carafe that THEY have discontinued into a wine glass I bought with 23 others a few years ago IN THAT VERY LOCATION.

My point is, they are about to lose a very VERY good customer, and they may not realize how loud I can be.....

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dressing right for the Oscars

Hello, and welcome to another beautiful Oscar's Sunday, where the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences present awards to the most accomplished members of their community. The celebrities have begun to gather on the red carpet, and excitement is in the air. Oh wait, that's not excitement, the grease on the bottom of the oven is smoking. Hang on.

Okay, and we're BACK!

And everyone just looks so fabulous. I tell you, I don't know how they do it. I am looking at photos of these women arriving at the Academy Awards, women who have small children at home, and realizing that it must truly take a village to get ready for an awards show.

Or I need to work on my time management.

Among other things.


Anyway, here they are, in all of their Oscar Night glory, and here I am, in my own Oscar Night getup. As you can see, I was generously dressed by multiple designers for this special occasion. My t-shirt is a limited edition EV Hawaii shirt from the Eddie Vedder tour. My jeans, a pair of raggedy cutoffs that were, at one time, a pair of citizens for humanity jeans that I bought at a consignment store. The stud in my nose was provided by Brad-the-piercing-dude, and today it's been touched up with a light schmear of antibiotic cream to add that special glistening, dewlike look I am going for. My shoes? Why, thanks for asking! These are actually the fuzzy liners from an old pair of crocs that our puppy ate last year.

And yes, that is a feather in my hair.

I can't hear what anyone is saying, because my son and daughter are beating the crap out of each other with brooms on the porch, and my husband is under the house drilling something that has to do with the phone line an-

AND WE'RE BACK. That drilling was apparently him moving thE phone jack, and we lost our internet for a while there, but now it's on and we're back, and the kids aren't screaming anymore which is wonderful for everyone. I have poured myself a huge drink and I am going to sit here and sip and sob quietly into my tissue because everyone looks so lovely, and it's all so fabulous, and because I don't think I have seen even one of the nominated movies, as they haven't been made available on the Netflix "watch instantly" stream and the only thing I get to see in the theaters is something "the whole family can enjoy" like Toy Story 3 - HEY WAIT I HAVE SEEN A NOMINATED MOVIE.

I don't remember what I was supposed to be doing this afternoon, but whatever it was, it's not happening. I am going to be here, cheering on my nominee, and I might even change into a long (night)gown for the actual awards ceremony, so that I can really feel a part of things. I'll pour my Jameson and Ginger into a champagne flute, break out the Cheetos, and wait for the one category I can speak about with some authority - namely, animated features - and make fun of all of the dresses that cost more than my house but are ugly as hell. And make snide remarks about the guys who didn't think the needed to wear a tie because the Academy Awards are just a little nothing of an internationally televised event, and roll my eyes every time someone thanks Jesus for helping them to win an Oscar because honey, he's got bigger fish to fry.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Honeymoon Period - revisiting life before kids

Tomorrow is Friday, and you know what that means.
Date morning.

We are still at the stage where we feel giddy when the children are at school and we are off together somewhere - sometimes naked, usually not - having fun and behaving like grownups.

It still feels like a luxury to sit quietly on a Friday morning and sip our coffee and read the paper and order whatever we want for breakfast without having to share it or cut it up into little pieces or wait for it to be cold before eating it or sometimes giving up and not even ordering what we *really* want at all because it would be setting a bad example.

That's right: I still feel naughty if all I have for breakfast is waffles and coffee. I keep thinking to myself "you need more protein. Have an egg. Do the right thing. For the love of all that is good, think of the sugar crash later." But not on my Friday. No, on Friday, I steel myself to do something because I am a grownup dammit, and because I SAID SO.

Because that's a valid reason, right?

We're new at this, you see.

And you people out there who don't have children, you just Don't Understand what the hell I am talking about. I live a life where every meal, every phone call, ever visit to the potty, is rife with contemplation and forced enthusiasm and restraint the likes of which you have never known. Parents have no privacy unless someone is locked in or out. You cannot eat without sharing - forced or otherwise - or worse, being studied and fixed with a petulant, watery gaze while you try to enjoy the food that you ordered with no intention of sharing. There is a constant level of noise that is ever present, that you just some how, at some point, learn to tune out. Even during sex. Especially during sex.

Everything you purchase has them in mind, from food to incidentals to worrying about what they will have to do without so that you can buy a new pair of underwear for the first time in 6 years, and deciding that you can't buy anything too sexy because the kids are always playing with the clean laundry and you don't want them playing with sexy lingerie because OH MY GOD IT WILL RUIN YOUR DAUGHTERS SELF IMAGE AND YOUR SONS RESPECT FOR WOMEN. Or maybe you are really worried that your son will try it on and then refuse to take it off. Or your daughter will tell everyone at school that your underwear is smaller than hers. Or all of the above.

So you buy the 5 pack of cotton Hanes at Walmart, and you just remove the door to the bathroom entirely so no one's fingers get pinched, and you eventually forget what pancake syrup tastes like and convince yourself that homemade strawberry jam is just as good - no, BETTER - on waffles, and sugar cereal made your tummy hurt and your teeth rot, and wheat tastes way better than white bread - even the crusts.

Especially the crusts.

Which is why going out to breakfast and ignoring my eggs whilst dipping my hot bacon in puddles of artifically maple-flavored and -colored corn syrup feels DECADENT and I am going to enjoy every last minute of it. And at 2pm when I am shaking and I have a headache and I feel vaguely nauseous don't bother saying "I told you so" because I KNOW THAT ALREADY AND I DON'T CARE IT WAS WORTH IT.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I am rigid. And not in a good way.

No, not frigid.


I like plans. They can be last minute plans, but I like to know what to expect.
And along the same vein: I do not like surprises of any kind.

Today a friend asked me if I wanted to meet later for a drink.

I suggested a restaurant that is just a few blocks away, with dessert and wine. I was envisioning a rainy night, a small table, a bottle of wine, some chocolate cake, and a few hours of girl talk and planning. (Because as I mentioned, I like plans.) (And DayPlanners.) (And the calendar on my phone that tells me where to be, and when, and for how long.) (So I can plan around it.)

We were going to meet at 8. At about 7:40 I sat down with the kids to read stories. My girlfriend was going to come here, and then we would walk together down the street for dessert. And wine. And girl talk. And planning. Maybe. Maybe we'd just stay here and drink my wine and eat ice cream. And plan.

What I didn't plan on, was getting a phone call that went something like this:
"HELLO? CAN YOU HEAR ME? Guys, stop talking I am trying to hear her CAN YOU HEAR ME HELLO?"




"Uh, who's 'we'?"

"I'M WITH (several names - male and female, some familiar, some not - are rattled off) AND WE'RE ALMOST TO YOUR HOUSE." And just like that, my vision of a quiet girls night were dashed. And I had to change gears, and get ready for a PARTY. Only, it is a rainy Wednesday night and the house is a wreck and I haven't hung out with a girlfriend and had a quiet conversation in weeks and..............

"NO!" Upon reflection, I might have been shouting. "No, don't come here with everybody, I'm not ready......I, I'm reading to the kids, just go ahead to the restaurant and I'll meet you there."


"Yes, I will walk over there, but I need to finish reading this story and then I'll head out."


"No, no, it's okay, I'll be there in a minute."


"I love you too, see you soon."

I hung up the phone and turned back to the kids who were staring at me. "Mama, are you going out?" "NOW? You are going out NOW???" "You have to finish the story!" "Yeah, mom, you aren't finished yet!"

"I'm going to finish the story and tuck you in, and then I will go out for a little bit."

"With who, mama?" "Yeah, who are you going out with?"

"That is such a good question, and I am not actually sure, but I will tell you all about it in the morning." My heart was sinking. I looked over at my husband, who raised an eyebrow and rubbed my shoulder. He knows how well I deal with surprises.

I finished the story, and then went to get everyone tucked in. Inhaler for Lucy, nose spray for Max, teeth brushing, one last trip to the potty, books back on the shelf, nightlights on.....Max was still wandering around 10 minutes later. "MAX GET IN BED."

"I am mom......sheesh."

I went to tuck him in and he burst into tears. Something about a boy telling him he wasn't a good engineer ("But LOOK at all the legos I built, and I modified my nerf gun, and designed all of that other stuff..." he sobbed into my shoulder) and a girl he has a huge crush on telling him she didn't like him (he actually sent her the "do you like me? check yes or no" note. She checked no.)  As he clutched me tight and choked into my bathrobe, I rubbed his back and tried to comfort him. He was inconsolable. I glanced at the clock. They had been waiting for me for 20 minutes. I was not going to rush this conversation. So I settled onto the bed and rubbed his hair and told him that this was just the first of many many girls he was going to like, and not everyone was going to like him back, and how many guys I liked before someone ever liked me, and how awful I felt when I was his age.

And when I was done we were both depressed.

My phone beeped with a text "Are you still coming?"

I got up and gave him one last squeeze, and threw on some boots and a rain coat and headed out the door. I walked to the end of the block and realized I had forgotten some things I had meant to bring, but I was running so late I decided to skip it for the night.

I ran down the street, realizing how late I was, and feeling like an ass. Lightning flashed in the distance as I darted across the roadway and hurried up the hill. I raced, breathless, into the restaurant. People eating looked up, startled, as I burst into the dining room and searched the faces looking for someone familiar. I walked to the back of the room, scanning the crowd. No one I knew was there.

I thought I was losing my mind. I walked back outside, over to the parking lot, searching, waiting for someone to call my name.

I sent a text: "Where are you?"
No response.
See, this is why I hate not knowing what is going on. Because it always ends with me standing alone in a parking lot at the end of the night, in the rain, bewildered and annoyed, trying to figure out what the hell just happened and why I always get punked like that.

Fuck texting - I called. "Where are you?"
At the gas station. They had gone to a different bar. They would come and meet me.


Why. How did I become the inconvenience? This is not what I had in mind. I thought I knew what was going on. I did. I really did.

But clearly, I didn't. In fact, one things was becoming abundantly clear.

I should be at home with my heartbroken son, cleaning my messy house and helping my darling husband hang light fixtures. Not standing in an empty parking lot, alone, with lightning flashing and thunder rumbling.

I was rude for being late, I might as well just bow out and let them get on with their evening. It had already started without me, it would carry on just fine. I didn't want to drink. I wanted a piece of cake.

So I trudged home, my phone ringing in my pocket. I finally answered it, tried to explain, make my apologies....but I was so relieved to be home. So relieved to not be out spending money I didn't have, hanging out with people I didn't know very well, chatting about everything that wasn't on my mind because I didn't want to bum people out. Didn't want to be out at all. She understood, my friend, or at least, she accepted my apologies, and went on with her evening, as planned. Or at least, as she planned.

And me? I'm sitting at my kitchen counter, eating a 2 month old cranberry bliss bar from Starbucks that I found in my fridge, waiting for the tea water to boil.

My daughter is coughing, and I'll have to go in and give her another breathing treatment. My son as snoring, clutching a book about relationships and heartbreak that his teacher gave him today when he burst into tears during class and announced that he was going to be alone forever.

Silly boy. Someday, he will look forward to being alone. Like his batshit crazy mother, in her green flannel lobster-print bathrobe and her stale dessert bar and her decaf tea.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

We have to move, because the sofa doesn't fit

Please excuse my delay in posting lo and these many days. My laptop was buried in a pile of sofa cushions under a rolled up rug.

It's a long story. But it all began when I realized my parents were going to be here in one month, and I had no where for them to eat dinner. We sit at the kitchen island - we have 3 stools and one adult stands up for the entire meal so as to easily refill plates and cups of water. We have owned several dining room tables but they are always covered in magazines and art projects, so eventually we got rid of them. We also have, literally, the smallest house EVER. The living room is about 1/3 the size of the living room in our last house. And the dining room tables took up pretty much every square inch of floor space.

But my parents need to be able to sit and eat. They also need cable, and I don't know if that is gonna happen - so I really have to make sure they have a table to sit at.

Now, I love to move furniture. And I am famed for starting huge renovation projects right before a special event, or at bedtime. Like the time we installed a new hall bathroom the day of our anniversary party, so we would have a flushing toilet. But this weekend, I outdid myself. We had been casually talking about rearranging our furniture over the long weekend. With three whole days and nights, we had oodles of time to push and shove and slide and scrape and bang and thump and measure and curse and sweep and vacuum and polish.

 It will come as no surprise to you that the furniture moving didn't begin until Monday afternoon, and finished sometime around midnight. And we are not done yet. We stopped only because we were exhausted. And filthy. And because I decided at 10:42 that what we really needed to do was just "....bump out this exterior wall here, give us another 5 feet, and then relocate the front door to that end of the room. Problem SOLVED. I'll go get the saw."

Sam was not amused. He refused to cut a hole in the side of the house, and harsh words were exchanged, like "Don't be such a pussy worrywart!" and "Where's your sense of adventure?" and "We can do anything we want, we own the place!" and also "Fuck you I'm going to bed."

We mostly stopped because I hated how the furniture looked in it's new layout. Which is why I wanted to remodel the house.

To enable me to move furniture more easily.

But without a remodel, my hands were tied.

Because no matter what we did the sofa wouldn't fit anywhere but the one place we could put the dining room table.

And because the ceiling fan is now approximately 6 inches from the top of our armoire - the top of which had not been dusted in, oh, I don't know, EVER. So when I switched on the ceiling light and the fan started to whir dust went flying directly into our bed AND our armoire full of clothes and then I just burst into tears and took a muscle relaxer and drank a huge glass of wine which was not doctor's orders but I think they'd understand.

What matters is:
I have a dining room table.
And I found my laptop.
And I have another bottle of wine in the cabinet.

There are clothes piled everywhere, and the sectional sofa is now a sofa and loveseat, and we are all sneezing and rubbing our eyes from the dust I dislodged under the bookcases and couches, and I still need to buy a bed before MOM2011....but at least our plumbing is intact. At the moment.

Now about that ceiling fan......

Sunday, February 20, 2011

EVERYONE loves a parade - but especially rollergirls. Whale Day Parade Photos 2011

If you have never been to Maui between the months of December and March, let me enlighten you:

We have a whale season.

I spent my childhood going on these horrific "whale watches" - usually off the coast of Massachusetts. In all of the years of going on those "whale watches", I never saw a single whale. Now, that may have been because we just didn't see any that day, or that may have been that because I was too busy puking into my foul weather gear (which is the best descriptive name for an article of clothing EVER).

Last week, we went on a whale watch that was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING and we saw a "competition pod" of 8 male humpback whales that were literally circling around our boat, leaping out of the water, flapping their assorted fins, and chasing a girl. Because they are males, and they are mammals. Also, the sun was shining, it was 80 degrees, and no one was wearing rubber. In fact, we were barefoot and in bathingsuits. Wood's Hole can kiss my patootie.

I would show you pictures, but in my excitement to take pictures yesterday, I cleared my memory card. And erased the whale pictures.

I know.

But if you follow me on twitter (daffodilblog) a few of them might still be on my feed.

You really can't blame me - I was excited to take pictures yesterday because our whale season is so awesome we have a festival to celebrate it - and one huge party called Whale Day, which kicks off with a parade. And I can assure you, the Maui Rollergirls are big, BIG lovers of parades, pageantry, and excessive costuming with remarkably little actual clothing. Now, this parade is unique for a couple of reasons.

1. It started on time. On Maui. I know.
2. The parade route is short, and is located about 25 feet from the ocean.
3. The theme is always about whales. This year it was "Be Whale Aware" or something like that.

And let me tell you something. Everyone who saw our entry is now EXTREMELY whale aware. We decided to focus on whale safety. The kids (and a rollergirl) made cardboard boats which they attached to bikes and then rode in circles around a "whale" that was fashioned from a classic (and I am taking a wild guess here - '68?) Volvo that was painted a flat whale-like gray.

With a trusty skipper at the wheel, the tailgate open, and a cardboard tail attached that bobbed gently in the breeze, the children raced around getting too close and then (in a few instances) getting whacked in the side of the head with a fluke. Another rollergirl skated along in a bikini (natch) carelessly throwing trash behind her, only to have it scooped up and returned to her with a citation or threat. The rest of the participants wore orange safety vests, safety goggles, and carried enormous signs depicting the mighty humpback, and also signs cautioning all of us to keep our distance.
And by default, because I actually had a policeman's cap and a jumpsuit that vaguely reembled a uniform (do you really have to ask?) I was the traffic cop. The Maui Police Department were very kind, and allowed me to make a total ass of myself. Which is nothing unusual.

We were a spectacle, but then again we almost always are. The rest of the photos can be seen here on my facebook page. Yes that's right, I am calling you out on twitter AND facebook today.
Make it happen.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Facebook is the great equalizer

Daffodil is now facebooking. Wait. Is "facebooking" even a word?

I put off joining for years. I would write for websites and they would say "send us your facebook and twitter info" and I would reply with some version of "I haven't gotten around to that yet." But the truth is, that in my mind joining facebook is like that horrible dream I have of standing on the stage in junior high and nominating myself for student council. In this dream, one of two things can happen when they announce my name: A  roar can rise up from the crowd with everyone cheering and clapping and waving their handmade "Go All The Way with Daffodil" signs....or the sound of my name can result in sudden, extreme silence, broken only by a few giggles from the crowd and a veritable tumbleweed rolling through the auditorium.

So I joined facebook, and put the badge on my blog over there on the right-hand side over there, and for the first 12 hours no one liked me.
I was run over by the fucking tumbleweed rolling across my facebook page.

Since then, people have slowly been jumping on the bandwagon. But I am never going to beat the homecoming queen with good hair who we all know puts out on the first date, and who wants to win so badly that her mother made t-shirts for the entire school with her name on them.

I have to be okay with that.
But it is still hard, and weird, and awkward and embarrassing to put yourself out there and wait for people to respond.

What if you had a party and no one came?

Since there are literally BILLIONS of people on facebook, I am hoping that more people will join the revolution. And then everyone will know all about the terrible plight of turtles with herpes, and how to pee in public, and why I'm not allowed in Walmart with my children anymore. These are important life lessons.

In solidarity,

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Guidelines for public restrooms: If you have to sit down, you have to wait until we get home

Wednesday is family night around here. It used to be because it was the only night we could go roller skating together, but now that I am unemployed every night is family night. Every. Night. Eeeevvvveeerrrrryyyy Niiiigggghht.


As I was saying, Wednesday is family night, and this Wednesday was no exception, gosh darn it!

We met in the Home Depot parking lot, left a car there and drove across the island to the skate rink, stopping off for dinner. As we walked towards the restaurant I checked my watch. "Okay, kids, We are going to beat the dinner crowds. I want to order quick, and get the hell out of here by 6:30 at the very latest." They nodded and Max announced that he would eat extra fast. "Not necessary." I replied quickly. "I am not interested in practicing the heimlich this evening. But thank you."

We had barely made it in the door when Max turned to me. "Mom." he said seriously "I have to go to the bathroom. Now."


I stalled him. "Just choose your dinner first." I begged. "Please, so we can order."

"The burger!" he shouted over his shoulder as he hustled away.

Lucy realized what was going on. "Hey!" she piped up. "I have to go potty too!"

Before I could stop her she had climbed under the table and was making her way across the restaurant, tailing her older brother. I went running after her and got there just in time to block her from walking into the kitchen and tripping a food runner with a full tray of food. "No honey, it's over here" I chirped in my syrupy sweet "I just love being a mommy!" voice. I pointed her towards the restrooms and she headed straight for the men's ro-"NO HONEY OVER HERE!" I dashed after her as the servers muttered to themselves and shot dark looks in my direction.

When I finally got her safely into the confines of the women's room, she walked to the largest stall and before I could follow her in she closed the door and locked it with a bang. So there I was, that mom, the one standing outside the stall, shouting helpful things like "Don't forget to put paper down on the seat, sweetie!" and "Do you have enough toilet paper?" and "Don't forget to flush!"

The minutes ticked by. I finally gave up and went into a stall myself, because WHY NOT.

I came out, washed my hands, and looked back towards the handicapped stall where my daughter had installed herself for the evening, apparently. There was no sign of movement. "Lucy?"
"Yes mama?"
"Are you almost done?"
"What are you doing honey?"

Sweet Jesus.

By the time we finally left the bathroom, Max had returned to the table and finished almost every game in the kid's menu. Sami looked at me reproachfully.

"Do not even start with me." I announced. "Lucy, for the love of all that is holy, decide what you want for dinner."

"The burger, mama." she said, busying herself with her menu and the box of crayons.

"The burger. Great. Fine."

As we sat and waited for the waitress to come back around, Sami assured me she had already tried to take our order several times, but he had no idea what I wanted, so he had told her to come back. "Sorry, sweetie."

"No." I assured him "I am sorry. I am sorry our children can't contain their enthusiasm for using a public restroom until after they have ordered."

The kids looked at me coolly.

"We have a new rule in this family." I announced. "Unless it is an EXTREME EMERGENCY you may not excuse yourself to use the restroom until after we have ordered."

Lucy sipped her water, glaring at me over the rim of the glass, unblinking. She was clearly practicing her mind powers, that she had been honing since I refused to buy her a voodoo doll last month.

Max was just ignoring me and focusing on the puzzle he was working on. "Hey dad, it's your turn."

We finally ordered, and ate, and managed to leave the restaurant without using the bathroom again. A small victory, but a victory nonetheless. We got to the rink, laced up, and took off. After about 45 minutes, Max skated up. "How much longer will we be here, mom?"

I checked my phone. "About 20 minutes or so. Why?"

"Can I spend the last 20 minutes in the bathroom? I have to do number two." he added under his breath by way of explaination.

"Are you fucking kidding me right now?"


I looked across the park at the dim, cinderblock building next to the parking lot that housed some seriously scary toilets. "Jesus. Hang on a minute." I grabbed some money, bought a bottle of water, and skated with him along the dark path. As he went in the side marked "Men" some of the Scariest Men Ever came wandering out - clearly just finishing up a drug deal, or worse. I didn't want to know. I just looked away, avoided eye contact, and willed them to leave the area. Which they did. But there was a constant stream of "men" in and out of the bathroom for the next 10 minutes. Some of whom seemed frustrated by whoever was hogging the lone toilet stall. I found small comfort in the fact that none of them was in there very long and therefore could not have taken my son hostage or tried to sell him something.

But still, it was taking too long. Uncomfortably long. And I was stuck lurking outside this creepy men's room on roller skates, in the dark, oh so casually sipping my water and avoiding eye contact.


After pacing out front for a while longer, exchanging a few awkward "Heys" with various guys walking by, I finally gave up and skated towards the entrance. "Max?"

"WHAT?" he replied, clearly annoyed by the intrusion.

"Dude. Seriously. What are you doing?"

"What do you think I'm doing?"

"You don't want me to answer that. Just hurry up."

He finally come out in pained, silent indignance.

It's pretty hard to look indignant after spending 15 minutes taking a dump in a public park men's room with your MOM waiting outside, let me tell you.

I had to give him credit.

"New rule." I proclaimed in the car as we drove away. "Public bathrooms are for emergencies only. If you have to sit down and think about it, you have to wait until we get home. Period. ESPECIALLY if there is only one stall. And ESPECIALLY when there is no hand soap."

He silently accepted the package of baby wipes I offered over my shoulder.

And the next morning, while I was in the shower, he came in and took a dump.
It only took him 2 minutes.
Then he flushed and burned my ass, and turned out the lights on his way out the door.

"Oops!" he called out as he walked away.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I didn't even know turtles could GET herpes

Tuesday night was ladies night, and after a very challenging day Tuesday I was ALL IN for cocktails and dinner. We decided to go to a new restaurant and got a seat at the bar that fronts the exhibition kitchen - which means we sat in full view of all of the chefs. There were 6 of us, and we were dialed up to about an 11. We spent much of the evening shouting at each other down the length of the bar - usually about something highly inappropriate - and drinking steadily. When I got there they had ordered beers - I gave them the eyebrow, skipped the warm up round, and went right to the whiskey. My drink came quickly, because I concluded my order by looking steadily into my server's eyes and saying "I am very VERY thirsty". She nodded knowingly and patted my arm before she hurried away.

And I was thirsty. So when my drink arrived, I took a huge swallow - and tears came to my eyes. But not tears of joy - I was trying not to retch.

It was salty.

Like, salted rim of the glass salty.

I took another, smaller sip.....carefully considering the textures and smells and tastes.
Still salty. Really salty.

And another.
(because even if it's salty, I still really like whiskey.)

Then I passed it to the girl next to me, who took a sip and gagged while I reached for the menu to re-read the ingredients. Nothing salty.

She passed it to the girl next to her who put it to her lips and shuddered before willing herself to take a taste. She was shaking her head before she even set the glass down. "There's something wrong with that. Something went BAD or something."

"It's gross, right? It's not just me?"
They both shook their heads as a third girl reached for the glass, sipped and flinched. "Oh god, that's awful."

So I made eye contact with our server, who made her way over.

"Um, listen. I hate to be THAT GUY. But there is something wrong with my drink."

"Something wrong with it?"

"It's salty."

"Salty? It is not supposed to be salty."

"Yeah, I know. And it is. Salty. Really salty. You try it." I handed her the glass and she took it reluctantly. "I can't try it, but I'll get my bar manager to try it."

"Someone needs to try it, so I know that it's not supposed to taste that way. Because if that is how it is supposed to taste? It's disgusting and you shouldn't be serving it."

She came back really quickly with a new drink. "I am SO SORRY." she exclaimed as she set down the glass. "There was a mistake."

"No kidding." I took a sip of the new and much improved drink, and was so relieved at the difference that I took another slug immediately before passing the glass down and turning back to the server, who was leaning on the bar studying my reaction. "That is much better. So what happened?"

"It had olive juice in it."

I looked at her in disbelief. She looked at me with compassion.

"They put olive juice in whiskey." I said flatly. "WHY would ANYONE put olive juice in whiskey? THAT IS DISGUSTING."

"It IS disgusting. They mistook the olive juice for the ginger syrup. That must have been awful, I am so sorry!" We were both so horrified that we just stayed there for a moment, reflecting on how someone could do such a thing to Maker's Mark. Tragic, really. She walked off as I turned back to the menu.

Meanwhile, my drink was rapidly disappearing down the bar, so when the server - who by now shared such a tight bond with us that I didn't know how I would survive without her - walked by again, I ordered another one. And then I had a shot of another whiskey that the manager sent over. And then I finally ate something....but it was too late. We had already started talking about whale scoliosis and turtle herpes, and the chefs were all desperately trying to look somewhere - ANYWHERE - except at the line of women seated 3 feet in front of them laughing hysterically and accusing each other of spreading herpes to the turtle population in Maui.

"We went on a snorkle trip and we saw them. The turtles were, like covered with them. So I asked. I said, "What are those, barnicles?" because they have these things growing on them, like barnicles or something. But the guide said they are NOT barnicles. They're herpes. Turtles started getting herpes when more and more dive boats started going out into Turtle Town."
"That's gross!"
"I told you to leave that damn turtle alone." one of the girls shouted at another.
"How was I to know?" we were hysterical at this point, breathless and gasping.
But then we got serious. "Wait, can I catch herpes from a turtle?"
"Is herpes just, like, floating the ocean and I can catch it?"
"Oh. My. God. I am never swimming in the ocean again."
"Yeah, you know there's a ton of whale jizz in there too. It's whale season, after all."
"Oh man, no wonder the water was so gross this weekend. Valentine's Day."
"Oh GROSS! Do whales celebrate Valentine's Day too?"
"No, but you know a ton of people were having sex in the ocean on Valentine's Day."
"That's disgusting."
"No wonder turtles have herpes."

The people at the other end of the bar asked for their check.

And then the cream pie arrived and you can just imagine where we went with that.

In conclusion, if you are opening a restaurant and you are looking for a crowd of women to sit at your bar and critique your drink menu and flirt with your staff and scream at each other about creaming and herpes, well, we're available, and we'd love to help you out.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

And then he unzipped his pants and the rest is history

I was just reflecting again upon my concerns last week that by leaving my job at the bar, I might not have anything to write about.

I must have been out of my ever-loving mind, because JUST THIS WEEKEND I saw a strange man's penis, shoved a fistful of 20's down the front of a woman's dress, showed my ass to an entire bar armed with all manner of recording devices, and walked a beach with a nip of vodka in one hand and a can of tomato juice in the other because really, who has the energy to mix a bloody mary in the heat of the day.

After a night of sushi and razzle dazzle and chocolate martinis (which upon reflection may not have been the best combo) I took a few hours to recover. The fact that I "recovered" by walking a farmers market in the heat of a Hawaiian mid-day was also a poor choice, but my decision-making skills were rivaling George W. "The Decider" Bush's this weekend.

So after waking far too early, and then walking in the sun without hydration for an hour, and then spending the afternoon eating stuffed chiles and chugging sipping sangria, I had to go home and pull myself together for "The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly" - a now-legendary tattoo contest sponsored by the derby team.

In the role of MC, my job was to keep it light, keep it moving, and keep them staring at my tits. (I made up that last part of the job requirement CAUSE IT JUST COMES NATURAL, YO.) We were cruising through the evening, the more serious contests spread between lightening rounds where I would scream things like "SHOW ME YOUR PUSSY!" and then whoever could show me a cat tattoo first would get a prize. I was having a fine old time, still more hungover than drunk, when it came time for the sexiest  tattoo contest.

Our first contestant was extremely enthusiastic. Sporting a blond fauxhawk and skinny jeans, this flamboyent gent leaped right up on stage. "I have one, I have one!" he squealed, and immediately began to unbutton his pants, revealing a very VERY small white bikini, decorated with teeny tiny shirt buttons that may or may not have opened into a fly. I just can't quite recall at this time. "It's a scorpio sign!" I turned back to the crowd and repeateded solemnly "He has a tattoo of his.....wait...what was it y-"  I turned back toward him, bend over slightly to look at his stomach. I froze, finding myself face to face with his genitalia, surrounded by stubble from a recent shave. Or waxing, as the case may be. I didn't think to ask. In fact, I couldn't think of anything to say except "Whoofah!"

There he was, with a stupid grin, like the bat-shit crazy-queen that he was. "It's a scorpio sign? Like Astrology? I'm a scorpio!" I half expected him to jump up and down and clap with glee. But it would have been hard to clap, because his hands were holding his underwear down around his thighs, revealing most - if not all - of his groin and the parts that reside there. He made a hissing noise, then directed a clawing motion towards me, for emphasis. I flinched.

The girls went wild. The bar erupted with hoots and hollers as the flashes went off all around. I stood up quickly, and turned back to the crowd. "Wowzers! How 'bout THAT? I do believe that we indeed have a weiner. I mean, winner!" I looked to my teammates for support and agreement. Mostly I just wanted to give this guy a prize so he would stop showing us

Rather than being shocked that the man had just shown the entire bar at least half of his penis, the girls were all cackling with glee "I can't believe it - he actually made her BLUSH" "She's flustered! Have you ever SEEN her flustered?"

Har Har Hardee Har. I gave the guy his prize, but I simply refused to shake his hand.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sequined hotpants are not just for girls, no matter what your mother might have told you.

There are many amazing, fortuitous, and awe-inspiring things about our team.

The amazing cleavage is one of them, with spectacular legs and tight asses being another.

And the fact that, on such a well-matched team, the coaches would have birthdays on two consecutive days in the middle of February should come as a surprise to exactly NO ONE. It's just par for the course. And that would explain why you haven't heard much from me lately. I have been out until all hours, eating decadent meals and laughing so hard I managed to throw out my back.

It was totally worth it.

So I am here now, peering through the haze of muscle relaxers, trying to get my fingers to work properly and put together words in a way that might make sense.

I had to take a rest, just then. Because coming up with a sentence communicating my struggle to communicate was just......mind blowing.

MY POINT IS, this has been a very well-celebrated weekend. And I am profoundly relieved to be at home for the foreseeable future, except of course for tomorrow night when I already have plans to go out with the girls. And Wednesday night, when I have plans to go out skating. And then Saturday, when I am marching in a parade who's theme is "Be Whale Aware".

Sweet Jesus.

I am not going to spoil any surprises, just know that we have Lots of Excitement coming up. The fact that I was concerned about not having to write about once I quit bartending was some seriously mis-placed anxiety. We're gonna be ALL RIGHT.

This past weekend, for example, we went out for sushi. And I gave the birthday boy the only thing that you can give an utterly fabulous man who coaches roller derby and has a better ass than me.

Sequined hotpants.

I am terrible about gift giving - I like my gifts to be opened right away. I can't stand the suspense, and I hate it when I am not there for the actual present opening - I like to see the recipients reaction, and I usually have to explain why I gave them what I did, because many times my gifts are very specific to the recipient, and no one else has any idea what the hell I was thinking when I picked out THAT.

I had that exact reaction from the two 8 year old boys at the table next to us when the hotpants were revealed and held aloft jubilantly for all to see. There was much exclaiming and hooting, and those boys almost choked on their dinner. They were positively bug-eyed at this man holding up a pair of black, sequined, stretchy athletic shorts.

I mean, these are SPECTACULAR.

Their mother had to physically turn one of the boys back to the table, while scolding him about staring at other people. Then her husband gestured towards the item that had her children so mesmerized. She looked over her shoulder, turned bright red and looked back at her plate, while her husband smirked and the two kids grinned widely.

Meanwhile, we were toasting sequined hotpants and birthdays and making plans for our parade float. Because being whale aware is very important. And we are going to take this theme VERY seriously.

Because Whale Scoliosis is NO JOKE people.

Friday, February 11, 2011

This is why no one carpools with us

On my birthday, I went on a field trip. I was one of the field trip drivers, and a big day was planned: a museum visit, picnic lunch, a whale watch, and I was even going to pick up my long-awaited, much anticipated sandals (more on those later). We got an early start, and I was running right on time. Lunches packed, everyone in the car, I even managed to fire up the espresso machine before we left.

Amazing AND Wonderful.

There were four of us in the car - another mom, solemn and reserved, a woman who I have known for a long time - but not very well, and her son who is Max's age. As we were heading down the road, Max and his classmate were in the back, hurling pieces of paper at each other and throwing down challenges like "I dare you to eat this plastic spoon". (Which, by the way, was halfway gone before the mom in my passenger seat intervened.) In an effort to keep them relatively calm, or at the very least not eating plastic, I handed Max the iPod.

"Here, dude. You be the DJ."

Immediately, he went to his favorite song, and turned up the volume. "GIRLS All I really want is GIRLS Two at a time I want GIRL-"
"THAT IS ENOUGH!" I shot him the look of death over my shoulder, and the other mom snickered and shifted in her seat.
Silently, he returned my death gaze, and then went back to the iPod, scrolling for a more appropriate tune. I felt bad, because he loves that song and I haven't objected to it before. But, you know, we're on a field trip. There are *lots* of things I don't object to, but I don't do them on a field trip. Like shots of Patron, for example.

And then, louderthen before, a new song blared forth-
"KICK OUT THE JAM, MOTHERFUCKE-" "MAX I AM NOT KIDDING GIVE ME THAT IPOD RIGHT NOW."  I reached forward and smacked the power button so hard that I hurt my hand.

The car was silent. The mother next to me sat frozen in stony silence, and the two boys were in silent hysterics in the backseat.

I am pretty sure I won't have to drive any more field trips.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Upon which I shall base my New Year's Resolution

I believe that your birthday is when you should celebrate the New Year. If you make resolutions, you should be making new year's resolutions on your birthday - because that is when your new year really begins, is it not? And as my birthday is finally here, it is time for me to sit down and think about what I want to do with myself for the next year. Changes I want to make, things I want to accomplish. Don't worry - just like the resolutions everyone else made on January 1st, I will start out with the best of intentions, clutching a glass of champagne, slurring my words, and kissing everyone through my tears and regret, then looping arms and singing Auld Lang Syne loudly and out of tune - and then I'll forget all about them after I have sobered up. But for now, I have experienced a bit of a revelation, and I am going to go with it. A resolution I can resolve to be resolute about, if you will.

It all begins with a quote. I read a quote on Antonia's blog that I think is worth remembering, maybe even words to live by - because after I read it, all I could think was "This would fall into the category of Advice I Really Could Have Used Yesterday".

Not that being a day late and a dollar short is anything new to me, that is pretty much status quo. But after reading and then contemplating, I realized that last night, rather than playing the role of the put-upon dutiful employee, I was being a complete and total twat.


I mean, I can come up with all sorts of justification for acting like a petulant 5 year old. It did not help that I was riding a wave of "FUCK THEM you QUIT ALREADY" (a chorus of which had been phoned in from literally around the world) when I got there. Which is admittedly a bad way to start a workshift, I gotta give you that - but the truth is, you always have the choice to suck it up and be the better guy. Especially when it is just for a few hours. And in retrospect, last night - the last night I was scheduled to work - I could have done things differently. Left on a high note. Sucked it up and been the better person. Stopped being so fucking sure of my rightness when I was, in fact, so wrong - and obnoxiously so. I could have gne in there with a smile, enoyed the last night, and left humming a happy tune.

It didn't go quite like that.

No, the switch had already been flipped, the gears had shifted, and I wanted nothing to do with waiting on anyone. I didn't care what anyone wanted to eat, or if anyone was thirsty. I wanted to be home with my kids and my husband enjoying a nice evening completely free of commitments and obligations. Instead I stomped into the cafe, threw a fit, and stomped back out. If I was my mother, I would have given me a big spanking. As it was, I sent myself to bed with no dessert.

I am sure my replacement, who was also scheduled last night and got left holding the bag when I walked out less than an hour into my last shift, must be thinking "My god I hope this place doesn't turn me into such a shrew." Oh, honey, you have NO IDEA.

And so I will spend my birthday feeling like a badly behaved child, which is appropriate because on a regular basis I find myself wondering "just when, exactly, did I become the grown up?" This happens when I am faced with cleaning up someone else's vomit, or when the car breaks down or I realize that I forgot to pay an important bill, or I have to wake up much too early to pack lunches and drive children to school and be someone's mom for chrissake. I had that thought just today, as a matter of fact, standing in the orthodontist's office paying for my almost teenage son to have some sort of metal device screwed onto his teeth. "When did it come to this? How could I be responsible for this? WHERE IS MY MOTHER??"

Enough with the preamble and backstory. Without further ado I give you this quote. The Quote. A rule, if you will, to live by. Consider it MY birthday gift to YOU - because seriously, if I had read this 12 hours ago I would be sleeping peacefully right now and not sitting awake fraught with guilt and composing letters of apology to everyone that had to deal with me and that enormous chip on my shoulder yesterday, complete with foot stomping and dark glares.

Take it away, Doug:
"Seriously any time you ever feel sanctimonious I can guarantee that you are wrong - it's the feeling you get when you are avoiding complexity, when you want a lovely unsophisticated feeling of clear, honest vindictiveness and you feel utterly justified."

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Would you like some tits with that?

Have you ever gotten to work and realized that the outfit you put on, that was just fine at home, was wholly unacceptable for work? Whether it was uncomfortable, or too revealing, or needed a repair that you had forgotten about in your mad dash to get out the door in time? Maybe your underwear or sock had a newly discovered hole, or was just a bit too tight. Or itchy. Or lumpy.

I can't be the only one.

I have this dress, you see. I love it. Designed and made by a friend, it is flattering and just the right length. But. It has a serious problem. The top falls down if I reach forward. The straps slip right off my shoulders and before you can say howdy neighbor, you've gotten a full frontal flash that would make a sailor blush.

So I bought a cardigan. And I don't wear the dress without the cardigan. Because I can't. I'm no fool - no one wants to see my tits while they are trying to eat.

Besides, they look much better strapped in and covered up. "Daffodil Campbell: Keeping the mystery alive since I weaned my kids". You're welcome.

Last night I went to work in my beloved dress, and a new, super push-up bra. Push-up as in, my boobs were up around my neck. It's a great bra - which makes the dress even less appropriate, but oh-so-flattering.

If you like that sort of thing.

So I put on my trusty cardigan and headed out the door. Conservative, yet sexy. Think "naughty librarian". The cardigan kept coming unbuttoned in the car, but I figured it was just because of the seat belt.

It was not.

That sweater came unbuttoned over and over and OVER again. All night long. I was mortified.Throughout the entire night, I had return to the kitchen in a rush to haul up and re-arrange my dress to cover the cleavage, much to the amusement of the chefs, who had side bets going on which table I was going to full monty. I took to approaching each table clutching a menu to my chest. And instead of bending over to put a plate down on the table, I would bend my knees and try not to reach too far lest a shoulder strap slip and my tattoo fly free.

But it was almost impossible to avoid. Much to my dismay, and the entertainment and/or dismay of some of my customers. Some of them were unable to maintain eye contact. Some stared at their menu while we spoke. Some just gave up the pretenses and stared directly at my chest. Others tried to guess what it said based on the few letters that were revealed before I could race back to the kitchen and re-adjust.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love my tattoo. And I wouldn't have put it in that particular location if I didn't expect people to look at it. It sure is eye-catching. My concern was only for the nice people who came to enjoy the food - not my cleavage. I was waiting for someone to say something. In my paranoid state, I just knew someone was going to say something.

"We had such a lovely dinner, and you were so charming, and I thank you so much for your lovely service but I had to tell the owner that it was such a shame, we were sitting there having a nice meal, and then..."
Oh god. What. And then WHAT??? Oh, don't tell me. I know. It's awful. Terrible.
"Then the music started and it was so loud, you couldn't hear anything."

Thursday, February 3, 2011

And then I quit. Again. Even the guy in jail thinks I'm nuts.

"You QUIT?!?!" his voice was echoing slightly on the other end as he repeated this news into the payphone over the noise in the background. "Why? Can you afford to just do that? What are you going to do for work?"

Even sitting in jail with much bigger issues on his plate, he was concerned. I don't know what the hell he's so worried about - I already brought him his new sneakers. But he's far from the only one that is wondering what I am doing leaving a perfectly good job without a new job to go to.

The truth is, I don't know what I'm going to do.
Let's call it a mid-life crisis, that came a few years early. Hell, if I'm going to go through menopause at 30, let me at least enjoy a good mid-life crisis while I'm at it. I am celebrating a birthday next week, and I want to start the next year with the whole wide world before me. Mine for the taking. Birthdays are really more of a "New Year" than the new calendar year.

This is my new year's resolution: A Fresh Start

I stopped smoking cigarettes. I cleaned out my box of junk. I made a to do list and I am crossing it off one item at a time. And we got to the biggie: "Put your energy into a business of your own"


So, I took a deep breath, and I quit.

Nothing happened at work to make me feel as though I had to leave, and it feels strange to have people ask me why I quit, or where I am going to work next, and not have an answer for them.

I don't know. That's my answer. That's the truth.

I had such cause the last time I quit. And I had good reason when I stopped working late at night, too. But this time, there was nothing exciting or terrible or dramatic - I mean, besides the myriad complaints that everyone has about their job, especially when that job involves people who are intoxicated - by food or drink or their drug of choice. It gets old, being the sober one at every party, responsible for the paperwork and clean up, trying to communicate when you have been deafened by the techno music or your voice has gone hoarse from shouting over the crowd. But it was more than that. I was starting to feel less like a server, and more like a servant. I was feeling more defined by my job title than by the quality of the job I was doing. I touched on it a little the other day - but basically I started to feel as though where I worked, and for whom, was just as important as how good I was at what I did. People were constantly asking me if I was the owner, people were expecting to see me every time they came in, people were surprised I was still there, still just a server, still hustling for the dollar bill they threw down on the bar in exchange for their beer. And I was a little surprised too. I can do more, you know. I can do better. When people asked me if I owned the cafe, instead of saying "NO, thank god" I started wishing I could say "Yep, it's mine".

It wasn't enough anymore.

All of that aside, in reality - which is where I live - restaurant work, and bartending in particular, is a pretty good job, with lots of flexibility and minimal risk or responsibility. It was good for a mom with little kids. I was with them during the day, and went off to work when daddy came home. But in time, the act of leaving my house most nights, to spend the evening with other people while my family was home or off enjoying the weekend, was a bummer.

I wanted to tuck them in and read their bedtime stories and braid her hair and turn off his light when it got late. And if I'm not there, I want to have a really good reason. I want to be able to have something to show them for it when they grow up. The family business. Something they can benefit from years from now. I don't want to be gone all the time if I am working for someone else. If I am going to be working, I want to be working for me. For them. For us.

I didn't leave in a huff, I didn't leave because I had to.

I left because I was ready.

Which is saying a lot.

Of course, now I have no idea what I will write about. I guess I'll have to start leaving my house during the day and, you know, interacting with people. Who aren't drinking. Or asking me to bring them things. Or take things away. Or clean up after them. And I think I am ready for that, too.

I think I am finally ready to not work for someone else. I think I am finally ready to be my own boss. I think I am finally ready to take some personal risk, because the rewards will be worth it.

There will be rewards. I have no doubt.

I learned a lot in the years I have spent at the cafe. Not just about restaurant ownership - but about running your own business, and about life in general.

Which is, surprisingly, a lot like restaurant ownership.

I have seen the stress of paying the bills and covering payroll. I have seen an electric bill that is more than the rent. I have seen glass break and toilets overflow and beautiful food that cost real money get thrown out because someone changed their mind or put an order in wrong. I have gone looking for things that mysteriously go missing, I have watched furniture fall apart and seen computer systems fail. I have learned about insurance and incorporations and licenses and health codes.

I have learned that a clean kitchen and an excellent exterminator are requirements, and fancy decor is not.

I have learned that family will see you through your darkest hours.
I have learned that when someone is very good at something, they can make it look easy. But it's not as easy as it looks.

I have learned to stand up for myself.
I have learned to forgive.
And I will never forget.

And I am moving on.