A Gift

You know that feeling after the holidays when you just let out a sigh of relieve it’s all over?  You can finally slow down some, just sit there?  That’s how I feel after Halloween.  Except instead of being able to regroup after the holiday, I roll into cooking Thanksgiving and then finally trip into Christmas.

And it’s not that I don’t enjoy doing it all.   I can explain it by something someone said to me recently;

“Jen, you don’t do anything small do you?”

Best compliment ever.  Also?  Exhausted.

I understand I bring it on myself, but that’s how my brain works.  I love to create.  It’s what sits at the core of my existence.

Sometimes Big Creativity + Time = Screwed Jen.

This year I made a lot of handmade crafts AND turned 40 (Dec 20) so I also had more social engagements than I would normally have this month which left me with less time.

I still had Big Creative Brain Thoughts though.  Damn them.

Come the night of the 23rd and I said something to the effect of needing 100% more cow bell to get done what I needed to.

Melisa responded that she could help me, and that’s how the 24th became a new holiday:  Jew help a Christian day.

If you don’t know Melisa, then let me tell you about this woman I just adore.

I met her online but she lives in the same town as me.  I remember thinking at our first lunch date “I LIKE HER” which is amazing because I tend to not like people.

She’s the kind of person you can invite over when your house is nearly at its worst and she jumps in with no judgment and starts peeling stickers off your floor.  Help you with a craft?  She can do that too.  As a bonus trait, she can read and follow a recipe.

And?

She has enough friends AND sisters now so don’t even think about it.

When she was over, I stopped for a moment to see her in my kitchen working.  Helping me.  I almost started crying because what a great gift she is in my life.

And then I humped her leg.

Thank you Melisa.    (You should read her side of the story too) 

The Unfortunate Breeze

After high school I went to a local community college.  I needed to work to pay for gas, car expenses, and life in general.   I had been working since I was 15 so this wasn’t a big change for me.

I had classes scheduled in the morning so I could work nights and weekends.  When I wasn’t in class, I was whipping chips and salsa at a Mexican restaurant called “Chi-Chi’s.”  Anyone who has worked as a food server knows that most of the money to be made is on the weekends.  If you were extra desperate, you worked the whole weekend including Saturday and Sunday back to back “doubles.”

That was me.

The uniform we had was a shirt in bright jewel tones with a rainbow parrot on the back.  That fashion disaster of a shirt was provided to us free of cost.    We provided our own black pants and shoes. Fair enough because after the shirt, I wanted to make sure the bottom half was on my terms.  Trying to find the cheapest, plainest pants paid off when I shopped at Venture (yes, I’m that old).  For $20, I didn’t get the most stylish pants, but for chips and salsa flinging, were just fine.

Working at Chi Chi’s proved to be more physical than I thought.  There was tray lifting, margarita bending, fried ice cream reaching, and competitive kitchen floor slipping.

And those were just the post shift activities.

One weekend night, I started my shift.  Four top at table 65.  You see, this table was a booth and also on level up from the walking floor.  To serve the far people you would have to step UP and then bend over the table.  The step and bend.  Almost like my own little stair climber among the floating fajitas.  Except not like exercising at all considering how much I enjoyed the employee discount on food and drinks.

The night was taking shape and I started getting other tables in my section.  This was going to be a good night, I thought.  A good night was defined by how close I could get to making $100 in tips.   When you’re a food server, that one good night might be it for the week and you had to take advantage of every table.

As their food came up, I grabbed the tray and carried it out to the table.  I took the first platter and did the “step and bend. “

Keep in mind, I was a poor college student surrounded by margaritas, chips, and fried foods.  You do the math.   Those pants I bought were now being tested in more ways than their $20 seams allowed.

~~~~~~Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip~~~~~~~~

And just like that there was room for 2 more chimichangas.

In my ass area.

Next my brain goes like this:  no, no, no.  Maybe I didn’t really just rip my ass seam open at work.  No.  I couldn’t have right?  Damn those chimichangas.  I can’t leave NOW!  I have a whole section of people and TIPS to make and what color underwear am I wearing right now anyways?!

I clenched my cheeks harder than I have ever before in my life and shuffled to the bathroom to see the damage.

I pulled my pants down and saw the 5 x 3 inches worth of floor through them.

This was no little tear.  This was the grand canyon of “here’s my ass” tears in pants.

I knew that leaving my shift was not an option.  I had to think quickly.

I put my apron on backwards, left the bathroom, and walked up to a manager.

“I need to get into the office.”

The manager led me to the office and opened the door.

Once in, I grabbed the stapler off the desk.

I headed back into the bathroom.

This time I pulled down my pants and started stapling that grand canyon gap into an Eiffel tower of metal beauty.

I left the bathroom and returned to my tables.  I worked cautiously for the rest of the night, only getting poked by one popped staple.  Later when I counted my tips, I made $93, left, and went straight to purchase an emergency sewing kit that I kept in my apron from that point on.

To this day, I can hand sew a $50 seam in no time flat.

Thank You

Over 3 years ago my husband mentioned that maybe I’d like twitter.

“Twitter? What is that?”

“It’s social media.  Like Facebook”

Considering I wasn’t on Facebook, that didn’t really help me.  Twitter just sounded cooler than Facebook, so that night I set up an account.

Hmm.  I wonder if he regrets suggesting that to me?

It was love at the first 140.

For the first year, I tweeted to myself.

I didn’t know what the @ button was.  I never checked it.  I just kept plugging away with my 140 thoughts and noticed that I had a few followers.

One day I decided to click that “@” thing and noticed that people were tweeting TO me.  Like conversation.

OH!  NOW IT GET IT.

Through new found conversation, people on twitter kept asking where my blog was.

This was hilarious to me.  A)  I don’t write.  B) I got a C in college English 103.

That combo didn’t exactly scream “Put paragraphs together!”

After some encouragement from people, many listed here, I would try this blog thing.

And that brings me to today.

Tonight I will stand on a stage to read words that I put together.

Words that would have never been put together without her.

Words that didn’t exist before my rambling daily 140’s.

Words that continued on this blog of mine that you may read.

Words that are possible for me to share because Ann Imig created the Listen to your Mother show.

Three years ago, there was no way I would have seen this in my future.

The love, support, and words of encouragement have been overwhelming.

And it’s amazing.

Thank You.

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And a special thank you to the producers Melisa, Tracey, and the cast who each are beyond amazing.

My show spotlight here