Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The death of opposites

In a post mentioning death today, I have to mention Rosa Parks, a lovely and brave lady who changed our society for the better. She will be missed.

My mother-in-law went home to El Salvador Saturday. Last night, her sister died. She was run over by a car. It was, I imagine, a horrible death.

Jose was in a bad mood all morning and, of course, wouldn't tell me why. Since opening this business, he's had more than a few days of bad moods and I just thought it was the usual woe-is-me-we-don't-have-any-money bullshit and didn't worry about it. My parents came to eat with us this afternoon and he finally decided to tell me.

"If you want to know what's been wrong with me today, I'll tell you," he says.

"Oh he finally decides to tell me."

"My mom's sister died last night. That's why I've been in a bad mood. She hated me because she said I wasn't really part of the family, but it still makes me sad."

To clarify, Jose was abandoned on a doorstep when he was five months old and the lady he calls his grandmother took him in.

Ok. I guess he did have a reason. But my question is, if she hated him because he wasn't part of the family, why make a big deal of it all day? He even said that he never saw her much because she didn't live nearby.

Now, is he stupid or is he just a very good person? If it were me, I would be sad but it wouldn't ruin my day. Why put so much energy into someone who always treated you like shit?

But this is the story of his life. The only person who didn't treat him like shit is his grandmother who he (rightfully) treats like gold, but along with her he treats all the other assholes around her equally well. I don't get this. I understand he probably has issues, but damn. Stop obsessing over people who only want to fuck up your (and my) life.

I never have and never will understand this. Is he just that much better of a person than me or is he that much more misguided? I mean, I can forgive people, but only if they stop doing what they were doing and actually act like they may have done something wrong. I can't if they keep doing the same thing and actually get worse. It's like rewarding a dog for pooping in your shoes. If you pat her head and scratch her ears, she'll do it again. If you let her know she did something wrong, she may do it again but at least she won't be so happy about doing it.

Sheesh. Am I wrong here?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Everyone in the world is crazy

I've been so busy and tired for the past few months from opening the restaurant I haven't felt like blogging. It seemed like too much energy to spend to sit upright when I could lie down and be perfectly still. Now that things are starting to settle into a routine, I'm getting that itch to write again. Maybe it's because I'm getting more sleep at night. Or maybe I'm just getting used to working 12 hours a day.

Last week, we fired one of our waiters. Through another waiter, we found out that he had been trying to get everyone to quit by telling them that Jose was an asshole and asking them why they put up with his shit. He wanted them to quit all at once when we were busy so Jose and myself would be left all alone with no help in a crowded restaurant. He was offering jobs to everyone at another restaurant where he said he was going to go work. I don't know how or why he thought he could get them all jobs at this place or how he could even get himself a job there. We could tell something was up with him because he suddenly started being rude to Jose and me. Jose was getting ready to fire him anyway because of his bad attitude.

This made me think as I have done so often about why we attract demented people. Maybe not me, maybe Jose. His mom for instance. She is the most evil person I have ever met. She's not the usual mother-in-law, making snide comments and being a pain in the ass. She really has it out for me and goes to absurd lengths to piss me off. (See previous posts.)

Even though his mom has completely fucked the both of us, together and separately, he still actually talks to her. Not as much as he used to and at least he doesn't still think she's a saint , but he still actually talks to her. If she were my mother I would talk to her as little as I possibly could.

More than just those two, we seem to attract a lot of crazies. It's almost like every other person we meet ends up fucking us over. I know there are fucked up people in the world, but why do we have to find all of them?

Or is it us? Maybe we are the fucked up ones and everyone else is normal. Every time someone turns on us, I analyze what went wrong and try to see how it could have been my fault. So far, I can see nothing we have done to make these people want to hate us. They just do. And it's not just those two.

Jose's former business partner showed up hours late to work every day, had an attitude problem, made ridiculous demands and thought she was above us. So he got rid of her. Everyone who knew the situation told us she needed to leave. They thought she was a huge problem and they were right. After she was let go, she started telling everyone she met about how we fucked her over and how I talked Jose into kicking her out. I was supposedly having an affair with one of the waiters who had been my friend for 10 years and we both made Jose get rid of her. The scary thing is that doesn't even make sense. Later she tried to sue us for $5,000 in "worker's compensation" and physically attacked my supposed lover in a club one night. But is it something about us?

Jose's former friend, now aquaintance, started to abuse his girlfriend who eventually broke up with him. While trying to get her back, he made up stories about Jose cheating on me with various other women. Of course his girlfriend, who was my best friend at the time, told me everything he had said. After analyzing and investigating his claims, I found them to be false. Mostly because they just didn't make sense. This ended our friendships. Why would he say these things knowing they would get back to us and could have ended our relationship when he was supposed to be a good friend? I know part of the reason he did it was because he thought Jose told me about him cheating on his girlfriend and I had told her about it. This didn't happen, but a comment his girlfriend made to him made him think so. I guess he was trying to get Jose back by making Jose sound much worse than him.

Another example is a former waitress who quit because she said she was working too much even though we offered her extra days off all the time. After she quit, she told everyone that we wouldn't give her time off and she was working seven days a week. We aren't even open seven days a week.

Or Jose's former boss and owner of another restaurant who accused us of hiring someone to steal his truck. He couldn't say why or how we would do this, but he was sure we did it because he thought we had a problem with him. He couldn't explain why we would have a problem with him either.

Or another restaurant owner and former boss of Jose's who fired him because he was convinced Jose was going to open the same kind of restaurant right in front of his in the middle of the parking lot.

It seems like Jose attracts them more than I do, but I'm still not sure if it's us or them.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

The other day I fell out of the bar

I mean, I really fell out of the bar. I was walking down the steps of the bar at the restaurant, slipped on one and fell on my ass. It was during business hours, but not many people were there. So at least no one laughed. Or I don't think anyone did, although the next day Wes told me he was trying not to laugh because he was concerned. Thanks.

Things like that don't embarass me too much. I'd be more embarassed if I had farted really loud. It hurt my butt more than my pride. I have a huge, black bruise on my lower back from where I landed on the edge of a stair. I worry that people will think someone beat me up when I wear shirts that rise up in the back when I sit down or bend over.

At least now I have a good excuse to buy more shoes.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The mail wars of 2005

So I got home tonight after another 12 hour day and headache after fucking headache all day long to a surprise. Mail on the door step. We still get a few pieces of junk mail at SIL's house because Jose used to live there.

The problem is that it had rained. And every piece was soaking in water for who knows how long.

Included in the pile was a letter from the Alabama Revenue Department saying that we had made a mistake on our tax returns. Or actually Jose's uncle, or whatever he is, made a mistake. He used SIL's address for them instead of ours even though Jose hasn't lived there in at least 3 years. Why did I ever agree to let him do our taxes? GAH. I read the letter and we are owed $68. At least it was in our favor.

Otherwise we would have been extremely late paying them because the mail was 2 months old. Yes. TWO MONTHS OLD. That's the second problem.

I continued sifting through the mail. There was the check sent 2 days later.

The thing is that we STILL, STILL get some of their mail at our house. After THREE F-U-C-K-I-N-G years. Since SIL is such a loser, MIL has all of her bills in her name. We get most of them here. WE give it to them on time even though we've been trying to get them to get their own shit at their own houses for the past THREE YEARS. We don't give it to them TWO MONTHS later. And WE don't leave anything outside in the rain. IN THE RAIN. Thanks for giving me my mail TWO WHOLE MONTHS LATE and thanks again for letting it get rained on. Fuck you very much.

The mail wars have been over for several months but I guess they've gotten bored. This means I get to start redirecting their mail to their house through the postal service instead of giving it to them. Or I can leave it in the trash can for them. Maybe I'll throw it in what's left of the swimming pool for them. Or dip it in the toilet before I deliver it to them. Anything to return the favor.

Fucking bitches.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The day that will otherwise be known as the unluckiest day of this decade and probably the next

We had our Grand Opening on Thursday night, July 21st.

Jose and I had been having a lot of problems with his business partner which led to him giving her an ultimatum: either she starts doing what she’s supposed to do and showing up on time or she’s out. She decided to quit instead. He asked her to be there for the Grand Opening and she just didn’t show up. Her sister, who was the hostess, was let go Monday because she couldn’t mind her own business and caused a lot of problems. On purpose. The busboy was fired Thursday morning for not doing his job and having an attitude problem. Not to mention stealing money (which we never caught him doing, damnit). Ara, one of the servers, left to do something right before we opened and wasn’t back until almost noon. Meanwhile, we got slammed at about 11:30. Well, hey, we’re way short-staffed and this sucks but this is a good sign, right?

A radio station did a live remote for us from 4 – 7 pm and announced the winner of a trip for two to Orlando, Fla. We had been taking entries all week. People don’t usually start showing up until 6 or 6:30 pm. Why did they decided to be here so early? To attract people here earlier they said. They sat around. We sat around. They did a few live plugs. We got one table. An eccentric regular who always comes by himself and sits by the window. My dad came early to take pictures, but left around six because no one was there and probably because he was bored.

About 6:30, a few tables show up. They did the drawing for the trip about 6:45 because Scotty Mac had to be back on the air at 7 pm. (Why did we pay until 7? Oh yeah, they came a few minutes early.) They announced the winner on the air and left.

We found two busboys for the night just in case we needed them. We talked a server friend from another restaurant to come help us out for the night. We let one busboy and two servers go because it was so slow. Had the “Grand” Opening been a complete disaster?

Then we got slammed at almost 8 o’clock. We had almost lost hope. The day had been saved! Jose was starting to think we were cursed. Anyway, it worked out ok. We didn’t break any records, but it was pretty close. Everyone knows that whenever you have something big planned disaster strikes but this was ridiculous.

The next day some of our regulars returned. Where had they been? Why did they pick THURSDAY NIGHT to not come? That’s how we found out. The electricity in most of the surrounding area was out and they thought we would be closed. What the fuck? It had rained for a few minutes earlier in the afternoon about 4 pm and there was some serious lightning. I guess no one was listening to the radio. What a waste of money.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

GAH

MIL finally came to the restaurant yesterday. We have been open five weeks. I was standing at the bar with Jose and Wes when Wes said, “Hey, look who’s here.” I turned around. Oh shit. Jose asked me to go seat them. Yeah right. “You go fucking seat them.”

MIL, FIL and SIL’s kids came in and Jose put them directly behind me. From where I was standing and behind the freaking register. Thank you very much. I really want them that close to me. But it was fine. I acted like they were any other customers that I didn’t know. I didn’t say anything to them, they didn’t say anything to me. I didn’t even look their way except once and MIL was staring at me evilly. But then I continued ignoring them.

SIL’s kids didn’t even say anything to me and they ALWAYS do now when I pass by SIL’s house. Coaching? Threatening? I don’t know. When 5-year-old M. saw me looking at him, he turned his head quickly with a “What?” look on his face. When they were leaving, I said bye to 4-year-old N. She quickly said, “Bye Susana” and ran outside. Hmm. A little suspicious. And they usually both call me “tia,” aunt in Spanish. They always have. Now all of a sudden she calls me by my name? Tsk tsk. Fucking with children’s heads and bringing them into your bullshit. How fucking pathetic and psychotic.

Then to top off the ridiculousness, MIL says thank you to me when she leaves. From across the restaurant. I ignored her. This would be a nice gesture for a normal person, but to ignore me for months then say thank you to me in front of people so you’ll look good after you’ve just ignored me for the past hour? Why bother? Honestly, I wasn’t sure she had said anything to me until the busboy told me. I mean, why the hell would she say anything to me? I’m sure she’s telling everyone she knows that I was mean to her and see why she doesn’t like me? And Sam’s boyfriend, Marvin, who is a friend of MIL’s and everyone she knows was there at the next table. Hmm. Maybe he’ll tell everyone for her.

GAH

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Also, we figured out that the busboy has been stealing everyone’s tips. They had been making $90 to $100 a day then all of a sudden they started making $60 to $70 a day. When business started picking up. That makes no sense. And it coincides with when the busboy started working with us. To make it more obvious, Sam, who is the biggest moneymaker, made $65 Friday. Wes made $150-something and Ara made $130-something. That’s more than odd. The second cook told Ara that the busboy told him he had been stealing tips and Ara saw him actually do it once. She hasn’t been tipping him out since then because of it.

We set a trap for him Saturday night but it didn’t work. Everyone had been talking about him stealing all day and even though he doesn’t really speak English I’m sure understood some of it. And Jose made it so freaking obvious that we were up to something. He and Wes put a five-dollar bill and a one-dollar bill on a table between the salt and pepper shakers to see if he would take it. That would have been fine, but he also dropped a five-dollar bill by the register and put $2 on the bar. Ohhkay. That’s not a setup. So he didn’t take anything. Obviously.

And since he knew something was up, he got really pissed off and started slamming things around while he was cleaning up. He threw a tablecloth on the floor when Jose asked him to do something and dragged the chairs inside from the balcony, bumping them against the door. Then he argued about his check because he thought we weren't paying him enough. Hmm.
If he has been taking tips, he has probably stolen close to $1,000 over the past three weeks. On Friday, he must have stolen about $100 just from Sam. Instead of $65, she probably should have made $165. With his attitude, he will most likely be gone soon even if we don’t catch him stealing anything. Good riddance.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

It was good but...I threw everything up

A man came to the restaurant the other night about 15 minutes before closing. He sat at the bar (We FINALLY got our liquor license. Yay! Now we can serve alcohol.) and ordered a margarita.

Me: You were here the other night weren't you?
Man: Yes. I was here last night.
I remember you.
You know, I wanted to tell you guys...last night I got the shrimp something...
Quesadilla, fajitas, nachos?
Something like that. Anyway, I wanted to tell you guys...when I went home, I threw everything back up.
Everyone at the bar (no customers, thank God) stops what they are doing and looks at him.
Me: You threw everything up?
Man: Yes. I felt a lot better.
I had shrimp last night also. Nothing happened.
Something sure happened to me. Maybe it was something else.
Probably. I hope so.

Then he asked for a menu and ordered something to eat.

Ok. That was weird.

Later, he thanked everyone, said he enjoyed it, paid and didn't leave a tip. I can't wait to hear what he has to say next time.