my day, and a confession

May 30, 2005

Good things about today:

1. It’s my last day of work until Friday because I have a (work) conference the next three days. This may sound like breaking from work for work, but being out of the actual restaurant for a few days hanging out at a posh golf resort will be nice.
2. One of the people who lives in my house just handed me a strawberry custard shake on his way in from work. I think the shakes are common occurences, it’s just that I haven’t gotten one in a while.
3. I saw a very good movie tonight, the Aviator, while eating a great curry that my husband cook and having a nice glass of Riesling.

Confession: I am about to end my entry so that I can watch my guilty pleasure – La Madrastra. Yes, I am watching a Spanish-language Mexican novela, aka, soap opera. I feel like when I confess my novela-watching hour that I need to back it up with, I am an NPR addict all day. Just a novela-watcher at night. You see, my husband is Mexican, and although I speak a lot of Spanish at work I still have a lot to learn. I figured I could learn something about both the culture and language from purposefully watching a little Spanish TV.

Novelas are a major staple of Latin American television and people in my house are always watching them. I figured a few months ago that if I followed one, I would be able to understand enough over time to get into it and in turn, enhance my language skills. Well, it worked, but it also got me hooked on the story of Maria, estranged from her children after serving 20 years in prison for a murder she didn’t commit, trying to re-enter their lives as their stepmother after being released. It sounds crazy, but it’s really quite gripping. And unlike American soap operas, which take years for anything to happen, things actually happen almost every day on La Madrastra, because it runs for a few months, and then it ends. So that also means that I am not hooked for life, just a few months. See see, it’s okay.

I’m going to miss the show for the next two days while I’m in Lake Geneva.. I guess I’ll have to ask Fermin to let me know what happens.


spring maybe

May 16, 2005

It seems like just days ago my Mexican sister-in-law was commenting how back home everything would be so green by now, and it was still so grey and brown around here. No leaves on the trees – just a hint of buds – nothing but a few early daffodils blooming. But today, it was radiant outdoors. Perfumes of flowering trees are wafting in the streets, pinks and yellows and reds speckling lawns and porches, and the trees have beautiful new green leaves. It’s so sudden. Spring strikes, and it’s great. I never appreciated spring like I do this year, aching to get out into my baby garden and patting myself on the back for at least a few successful tulips. In the whirlwind of hours, activity and labor that is my job right now, it’s great to have the green beauty of spring and the solace of home to look forward to at the end of the day, whenever that might be.


May 11, 2005

This has been a crazy as heck week. I’ve learned a lot in a short time. I’ve been put in situations outside my comfort zone and forced to confront my hesitations and fears about confrontation. I’ve had to hire and fire a few people in my second language.

Tomorrow I have to confront someone about some very minor but nonetheless blatant theft that we proved with our security cameras. I can’t fire her because of a technicality, so I am forced to allow someone I no longer trust to work in my restaurant.

Next week I should get my own business cards. I’m pretty excited about them, I can’t deny it.

My new boss is awesome. Finally, a woman for a boss! It’s so different than having a man for a boss. She actually considers the feelings of people to a certain degree when making decisions and speaking. Plus, she’s just really good, really dedicated, and really helpful. I like her a lot.

I’ve made a new friend in my assistant manager, who I barely knew before I transferred here. He’s actually way more qualified for the job than I am, as he’s been around for several years, and is a really good manager, but he didn’t want the job. I figure some people might be competitive in this situation, but because we’ve been honest about our situations, we can basically make fun of ourselves and attempt to make light of the situation. Our laughter is basically the only link left to our sanity in this place.

You might say my restaurant is teething. It’s alive but persists in a very uncomfortable state. I am struggling to train and manage my staff and still maintain the numbers that are expected of me. There is a lot to do and many days I spend 12 hours there and feel like I have barely scratched the surface of making sure it runs right.

Well, those are just some facts from my life in the past week. I feel void of insightful thoughts tonight, but I had to write.


May 2, 2005

My first day as a General Manager in a store that really just needs a lot of leadership. I’ve just worked a 14 hour day after working a 13 hour day, so I am tired. But other than the exhaustion and dull headache, I feel good, accomplished. I think we made progress even in one day.

Sunday evening was my last shift at the store where I was previously. It was sad turning off that open sign the last time, watching my employees effortlessly and thoughtlessly do their jobs with little motivation or direction needed. We played loud Juanes pop in the lobby after close as I finished my paperwork and they finished their cleaning. It’s great to be comfortable.

When my new store opened today I felt like I hadn’t had a second to even think about the day. Our time was spent in the morning searching for missing invoices, correcting a very messed up inventory and sifting through seriously piles and piles of crap that the former GM somehow managed to work in. Someone made a joke that we are going to start building little forts out of all the extra paper and plastic stuff cluttering the restaurant. Lunch went pretty well considering. Customers seemed happy although just a few days prior at the same store the cooks ran out of cooked chicken, steak, sirloin and rice – which basically eliminates 80% of our menu potential.

I’ve got work to do, but it’s good. My assistant is awesome and I’ve got a few diamonds in the rough as far as staff goes. Hopefully I won’t have to work 5 hours late tomorrow.

Time. for.. sleep…