this one time with three managers and a server…

have you ever had a hangnail that you REALLY know you need to take care of but that you KNOW will cause you excruciating pain when you finally rip the sucker off? so instead, you decide to just let it be. 80% of the time it doesn’t bother you… just a little dull ache on your thumb. and then you go do something dumb like grab a towel and you’re like:

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD THE PAIN! Oh they’ll tell you a papercut is the worst kind of pain… it’s a LIE. there are many pains worse than a papercut. this is one of those pains. to me, a hangnail in the wrong place at the wrong time hurts down into your soul. ok so maybe i’m being a touch dramatic.

so one very cool thing that i want to share about my fellow managers… we are kind of a big deal. for reals. so today,  my opening cook had to leave and i didn’t have any major plans so i decided to go in and cook this morning. what you don’t realize is that when the only staff in the house are three managers and a server… things get silly.

out came the iconic 80’s pop dance hits and bad basic-girl dancing. i may have even done the carlton for a minute or two on line. maybe. like just once. or twice. oh… all the managers are chicks. it’s important. we even have a  hashtag… #mightlyladiesofboone

OH and apparantly we are getting ready to have the rain shower of the century here in the high country. i’ve heard rumor that tweetsie (a high country landmark) will close this weekend. this is unheard of. for serial. and it’s homecoming weekend. my life just got a little less predictable.

purple hair, writing, and adventures abound my friends!

i have this routine for writing. i sit down, throw on some music come up with a title. it’s all very third grade… “oh hey ms. winston gave us a creative writing assignment!” and it works. usually. now, as i say this, i look back and i realize that the last time i wrote was over a year ago. so that’s no longer an effective modus operandi for me. so i’m going to word vomit for a few minutes and just let you into a little slice of my life.

my whole life i have enjoyed writing. but only when it’s writing for something that is personal and tethered to my soul. i’ve written in journals, written letters, written books. i actually am combining all of those in a cute little lined journal that i write to my nephew in. true story. almost 3 years ago, the day he was born i bought a journal and started writing letters to him. you see, we aren’t guaranteed anything in this life. everyone knows that… it’s a cliche. so i guess that’s why i write it all down. i know that he knows he’s loved but one day i hope he’ll be able to look back by reading it all as it unfolded and get more than just the specific “i love you” and understand the why… the little tiny things like the little squeaky noise he used to make when he was hungry all the way to the big monumental things like the first time he said “i love you” back… those things that are little and big and all the infinite sizes in between that comprise a depth of feeling that is both not at all and yet entirely covered by the words “i love you.”

so what have i been up to the past year you might ask? well, i shall enlighten you…

i work. a lot.

it’s cool. it’s vastly entertaining… i’ve learned a whole slew of curse words in spanish, i can cook… and not the kind of cooking where you’re chillin in your house trying out a new recipe. no, the kind of cooking where you have 10 steaks and 7 chickens on the grill, all cooked to different temperatures (remember when outback introduced the concept of “slightly more medium” or whatever ridiculous coinage they have dubbed their multi-differentiated steak temperatures. guess what outback… now EVERYONE thinks that is ok.

it’s not.

wow i’ve learned so many things this year. i’ve learned what i can and can’t handle and now to spot the difference between the two. i’ve learned that yes, there is a marked difference between caring about someone and caring for someone (hint… i ain’t your mama, i don’t have to care for you… you’re a big boy/girl). i’ve also learned to light fryers and flat tops and grills (oh my) withOUT burning off my eyebrows. i’ve learned that i have so MUCH more to learn and see and do in this world. and what was i thinking that i could do it all behind a desk and in heels?

and i’ve learned that i can rock purple hair.

helllloooo service industry… i’m back!

Oh I have missed the service industry. I’m one of those who is very much a believer of “you’re either service industry… or you aren’t.” Well guess what my loves… I am service industry there’s no denying it. The hours suck, and it’s hard work physically and mentally but there’s something so awesome about making others happy for a living that makes it all worth it. Well, if you get off on that sort of thing. Plus, it’s something new every single day.

Like today for example.

One of the endless forms of entertainment we have in the restaurant business is regaling each other with customer antics. And know that we do this out of pure love. We love talking about the good, the bad and the ugly, well mostly the ugly because… it’s funny. And sharing helps us bond, see here’s the thing about the service industry… we are a family. Sometimes even more of a family than our blood family, so how do we bond? Same as any other family… shared culture, history, anecdotes, etc.

So here my dears, are some of the things we share, and some of the lessons that you (if you aren’t service industry) can learn from.

Case 1: Appendage bragging.

The way to our servers hearts is through your tips. And your attitude. We are not going to fall for cheesy pickup lines or corny jokes (even though we might laugh along with you because… as I said, we work for tips). Take it from me, the following example is how not to pick up one of my servers: bragging about the size of one of your… ahem… less public appendages. Now there is nothing wrong with leaving your number for a server. At best you may get a call back, worst comes to worst, she or he will be flattered and toss your number in the trash. However, if you leave a note with your name, phone number and a Hail Mary shout out to your penis size… we are going to laugh… a lot.

Case 2: Girls… you’re just as bad.

Just because you are a girl, this does not preclude you from using tact with your male counterparts (and please, apply these situations to you as you see fit based on your sexual identification/orientation… we don’t discriminate here in the Say it with a Damn Smile world). So ladies, lets talk about how you treat your male servers. Trust me, I employ a fair number of attractive servers, both male and female. And because they are passionate about what they do, they are going to take the time to talk to you, and listen to your jokes, and smile. Buuuuuuuuuuuut here’s the thing ladies… attempting to monopolize my male servers time is not the best way to approach these things. ALL my servers have other things to do (and if they don’t, I can give them something to do) so please, talk to them, laugh with them, but do not, I repeat do NOT halt my server in his tracks and retain him at your table for 15 minutes. If it’s going to happen it will. No worries.

Case 3: If you want something free, make sure that the next table over doesn’t hear you planning it.

So this one for real blew me for a loop. Now I know that there are people out there who aren’t just trying to get something free by complaining to the manager. In fact, I’d say the vast majority of people just want to eat and not have to clean up after themselves. As I say to all my customers, I would rather them let me know if I haven’t lived up to their expectations so that I can fix it and make them happy than them leave my restaurant unhappy. However in this particular instance. I had a table call me over to complain about… well everything. I listened and did what I could to make the table happy, which included taking care of a fair amount of their meal. Less than a minute after they left, the same server came to me saying the next table over wished to speak to a manager as well. Now my first thought was “really… two in a row? oh hell.” Turns out… they wanted to tattle on their friendly neighborhood complainers… turns out that the three sweet (I do say that with a grain of salt) septuagenarians were plotting the entire time just what to say to have their meal “taken care of” for them. Seriously. Those devious little grandmas.

So there’s today’s lil lesson in humanity when it comes to your next visit with those who live to serve and serve to live. Don’t be these people.

Kthanksbye!

If it isn’t working, try something else.

It has taken me a week to write this post. You see, the world has enough tragedy in it to last a lifetime. But then we humans have to go and make it worse. Man-made problems can be devastating, and it just breaks my heart that things such as school shootings have become almost commonplace. So yeah, it took me a while to sort out what I wanted to say when all I wanted to do was cry and rage and point fingers.

As a photographer, I know a good shot when I see one. You see it staring you down and it’s like… Oh, hey there beautiful picture… I’ve been waiting for you. Other times it’s just not so easy. You can take the photos until the cows come home (so to speak) and that magic moment just isn’t there. At this point, many of the photographers I know try one simple trick and usually it changes the entire scene and the heretofore unseen photograph becomes glaringly obvious. Want to know what they do?

They change their angle.

This could mean they sit on the ground, they climb on a ladder… Or many other things. The point is that they come at the photograph from a perspective other than their own. And guess what… Therein lie genius solutions.

So here’s the thing… There has been yet another school shooting. These events are becoming commonplace in America which is just plain sad. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be. It seems to me that, when it comes to gun control, America has been polarized into two different camps, each offering solutions that they view to be the best. I have been hearing the same arguments since Columbine in 1999. Guess what?

It’s. Not. Working.

Looking at the issue of gun control from our own perspective is not providing a solution. All it is doing is pitting humans against each other because no one wants to admit they may not be right in the assertion of their perceived solution.

So here is my idea. Let’s strip away our preconceived ideas about gun control, let’s step out of our egocentric comfort zone and come at this from a radically different angle (remember my photography analogy) and look at the issue through a different lens and a different point of view. How about this novel concept… We stop thinking about ourselves and what we think and consider more about the victims and their point of view.

When you were growing up, what made you feel safe? For me, to some extent it was my parents. However as I got older, I realized that a) your parents can’t… And shouldn’t… Be protecting you (and in turn shielding you from) the world. And b) after a certain age, no one listens to their parents rote instruction anyways. But the parents SHOULD and MUST be educating their kids on how to survive this world and to thrive in it.

Only once I was truly educated, and by truly educated I mean not only taught the mechanics and skills, but the consequence of error, did I feel safe in my own right. So my first assertion is this. Educate everyone. Show them how guns work so they aren’t afraid but at the same time instill in them the knowledge and ramifications of what happens when guns are used to harm. Because, let’s face it, they are intended to be deadly weapons.

Think of it this way… would we want our soldiers out there protecting us to simply be handed a gun and thrown into the middle of combat? NO. We put them through boot camp, we test and teach… then we put our safety in their hands. So, lets say we create a “boot camp” for gun owners? Another example… we don’t let teenagers drive without having to pass a drivers education course right? So this is my hope I suppose… teach and test people on guns and how they work and the real-life consequences of a bullet heading in the wrong direction.

I come from a family of hunters. I’ve been eating venison most of my life (even when they had to lie to me and say it was steak so I wouldn’t freak out about eating Bambi) and have a healthy respect for hunting when it’s done for a purpose. I mean really, it’s a key reason the human race survived this far. So one thing I am NOT saying is to outlaw guns.

Another thing to consider is this: look how we control alcohol no sales to people who are minors or appear intoxicated. So could we institute something similar for gun ownership? Like you must pass a knowledge test (because even I’ll admit that when my youngest cousin was not yet old enough to drive and I was old enough to drink, he was more knowledgeable about both the mechanics and the safety of guns) rather than attaining a certain age and a psychological test (instead of an intoxication test although I would maintain that a gun should never be sold to someone intoxicated as well). I don’t know what the solution is, but it’s got to be better than just fighting all the time.

And my last question… maybe the important question is this: Could something as simple as asking what the intentions of people buying guns and what their plans are for said guns possibly help? Say I’m an upset/depressed teenager who is so angry and sad that I fee the only solution is to take out my classmates. Wouldn’t someone asking stop me for a minute and maybe, possibly, make me reconsider. Or at the very least it my response might give pause to the seller if it seems off.

I don’t think this is the only solution to the problem either. Or at least not the entire solution. There is a lot to be said for having a resource officer or the like stationed at schools. Someone who properly knows not only how to operate a gun, but what to look for. Aren’t all police officers taught in their training how to spot something that seems not right immediately? So maybe taking a little of both sides of the argument and finding a third way.

Either way, I think we can all agree that the current status quo is NOT working. It is time to have those discussions people. Beyond time.

Small town things and such

The beauty of a small town is that, as long as it stays a small town, the rhythm and cadence never really changes. I grew up in a small town. It’s a much bigger and busier small town than it was when I was little, but at heart it is and will forever be a small town. There have been times where being from a small town has felt absolutely stifling. There are other times where it has been as comforting as a hug. I have wanted to leave, I have left. I have come back. What I realize now is, that for me, this small town is an extension of my family. No matter where I go, or what I do, it will always be there, steady and welcoming.

Today I did something I haven’t done in a long time. Years actually. I sat on a bench in my small town and just breathed it in (especially the Kilwins smell because… Ice cream.) and watched people. I closed my eyes and I was a kid again. It was neat.

I’m glad that no matter where I go or what I do, I can stop, take a breath and remind myself that no matter what this psycho world throws at me I still can remember when life was simple and because of that, I’m a lucky, lucky girl.

(Who knows exactly where to get the good ice cream)

do work! or just make some bacon.

Work is such a four letter word. It is. I mean really, work is having to do something you really just don’t want to do. Think about it… if you’re doing something you enjoy doing… are you doing work? Or are you enjoying an activity? Ah ha… here you see my point. If you are doing work, you are doing something (at least according to my dictionary) you don’t necessarily want to do. You may be good at it. It may even at times be exciting and challenging. But if you don’t consistently want to do what you are doing, it turns into work. Now, I’ve had a lot of time to think about what work is. Seriously… my job was jobs. I was responsible for classifying what people did in their career. Oh and paying (or unfortunately at times, not paying) them according to what they did on a day-to-day basis. Now in my experience, there were two types of people. People who went to their jobs everyday to do work, and people who went to their jobs everyday to enjoy their career.

Now I can tell you that at different times in my 15 years of employment (yes, I started my first job at the ripe old age of 14 (my parent’s were slave drivers I tell you… or geniuses for instilling in me the sense of accomplishment when you do a job and do it right) I have both worked and enjoyed careers. Ironically, what I thought should be my enjoyable career and what actually has been enjoyable to me were complete opposites (see my post let’s start over… hi, my name is steph for a much longer explanation of this concept all you who are still trying to find your bliss).

So I’ve started a new job. Hell, I’ve completely switched careers. Well, at least that’s what it looks like on the outside to people. So far I… well, I love it. Granted, I go in and (this week) stand over a hot grill everyday, next week will be a flat top, then fryers… see, the thing is that this restaurant I work for (I am in a manager training program) wants you to understand and know the different jobs incorporated in running a successful restaurant. Ha… I’m still learning jobs. Additionally, while you are doing this, you need to be aware of the different relationships between the jobs and how the interact to provide the customer with the best experience possible. This was another aspect of my previous job in HR/Classification and Compensation. While doing all of this, I am supposed to be monitoring, providing direction, and coaching employees to be their best so that they make as much money for themselves and ultimately the restaurant as possible (and ya know… enjoy themselves as much as possible).

So the basics of what I’m doing are pretty dang similar to what I have been doing in HR. But with the added kick of having the ability, should I do my job correctly as manager, to provide the customer with an experience that will make them happy. I want to deal happiness for a living. And I can do this in the form of managing a team that provides awesome hot food and tasty cold drinks (more on my introduction to corporate restaurant management later… needless to say. some of my biases and ideas about it were flat out wrong and I’m not ashamed to admit it).

So yeah, this week I have learned some cool ass stuff:

  • How to cook bacon perfectly, and in very large quantities (I believe this now qualifies me as a perfect wife especially since I wouldn’t eat the bacon so all of it would go to the lucky hubs)
  • How to perfectly cook a steak to desired temperature (with perfect diamond grill marks I might add)
  • That some line cooks and prep cooks are some of the hardest working and kindest people in the world
  • You don’t have to perfectly speak another persons language in order to effectively communicate
  • Knife skills get better with practice (both in the kitchen and in ninja training)
  • Miscommunication is the root of a problem 9 out of 10 times
  • Working in the kitchen is Hot. As. Shit.
  • The kitchen produces the food. Customers want food. Appreciate the kitchen, the quality of the food gets better. The quality of the food gets better, you have happier customers. Win/Win (Check out the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey. It’s neat)
  • I can make great Pico de Gallo… it uses tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalapeño, and the salt from the endless tears I cry while chopping said onions (not really, that would be unsanitary)

I’ve learned so much and still have so far to go. But every day, I go to my job, I learn something new, I have a new interaction, and I see how it all fits into the bigger picture. Then I go home (well my temporary home until training is over) and it is such a gratifying feeling knowing that I made some good food that may have made someone’s day. It’s the same reason I write in this blog (well aside from the fact that sometimes I just plain like to hear… err… see myself talk), even if I don’t know it, there’s that pride in producing something (aka my witty and insightful blog posts) that may make a difference to someone, somewhere (or at least give them a chuckle).

 

Like I said, if nothing else…

 

Bacon.

let’s start over… hi, my name is steph.

I feel terrible, really I do… I tried to do this whole commitment thing and to write consistently, if for nothing else than the fact that I need to be accountable for something. You know, everyone should have their thing. Well, I’ve bounced around from thing to thing most of my life. I’ve not been one of those people who finds a hobby and it’s a consistent go-to, something they can depend on to anchor them to the essence of who they are. Now, this doesn’t mean I’m flaky. In fact, I’m rather the opposite. I’m sometimes annoyingly persistent. I’ve never bounced around from job-to-job, I almost NEVER give up on a friendship (yeah, this one has bitten me in the ass a couple of times). I have a ridiculous level of loyalty when it comes to working. So I need to just remind myself that it’s going to be okay if I’m not perfect (pssst… I’m really not perfect).

So in the interest of getting over myself, here’s what we’re going to talk about today: change. So yeah, change sucks. Even if you know with absolute certainty that in the end you will be better off for it, change sucks. Even for me change sometimes sucks, and I’m one of those annoyingly optimistic, forward thinking people who, as a general rule embraces change with open arms. That does not, however negate the emotional impact that change will have. Especially major changes. You know… life-changing, well, changes.

I quit my job. Remember how I mentioned loyalty? Yeah, I have never actually quit a job before in my life. So in my defense, this has also been a highly charged experience solely based on the newness of it. They say that your career can be similar to a relationship. The phrase “married to your job” immediately comes to mind. I have been married. To my job. For 6 years. I can’t really talk about my job. I worked in Human Resources and as you can imagine, that involves a great deal of confidentiality. Hopefully, in my new job I will be able to regale you with hilarious stories (I’m going back into hospitality).

Ah there I am getting off topic again. Change. So this has been my first big change (aside from going to school… but then again, I never really even left my hometown for that one. Meh. Some things happened and I realized that I really wasn’t happy. I wasn’t where I wanted to be. So, I decided to figure out what would make me happy and how I could get there. You see, I couldn’t understand WHY I wasn’t happy. I did what everyone said I should do. I went to College, Graduate School, bought a house and started a retirement plan. I was ambitious and working my way up the corporate ladder. What the hell was wrong with me that I wasn’t content.

There was a time when I was really just in a bad place. It didn’t help that I didn’t feel well on that particular day. A very dear friend sent me a poem that I really, really needed to hear.

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

Charles Bukowski

Yeah, so this has had a profound impact on my thoughts. It’s incredible really how quickly and profoundly an epiphany can drop in your brain and take over. I have spent the last 29 years of my life doing what everyone said would make me happy. Well, it didn’t work. Not really, not deep down in your gut happy. So after my migraine went away, I started listing the things that would make me happy. Here’s what I came up with:

    1. Making other people happy.
    2. Leaving work at work.
    3. Not worrying so much about how others perceived me, especially not worrying so much about what others have to say about me.
    4. Making time for hobbies.
    5. Being outside or with people I love. Or both at the same time.
    6. Trying new things.

So, yeah. My job was allowing almost none of this. I was very damn good at my job, don’t get me wrong. And I’m not bragging here. I was good because I was trained to be very good. I also was surrounded by a group of people who were also very good at what they did. But it wasn’t enough. Not for me. I started considering the things that were on my list. Then I started thinking about when in my life I felt the most fuffilled and content. Guess what… it was when I worked in a (or several) restaurants. Coincidentally, at this same time, a job working as an Assistant General Manager for a restaurant practically fell in my lap.

Kismet right?

Long story (as if this one hasn’t been long enough already) short, I’ve decided to take the job. So I quit my job. Now this brought up a well of emotions that I just didn’t handle well. I cried. A lot. Like a baby. Because really, it felt like what I would assume a break-up would feel like. Huh… married to your job, I get that now.

I’ve had a lot of reactions to my decision. The vast majority of them have been overwhelmingly positive and supportive a few have been very skeptical, and some downright rude. To the people in my life who have been supportive and awesome. Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. To the others, I hope you will one day be able to understand that, to me, my career is not about attaining some predetermined goal any more than religion is a prescribed, defined “my way or the highway” road (more on that at another time). Each person has to find, and follow, their own bliss. So if this isn’t it for me, guess what… that’s ok, I’ll find another way. Because we were created for change. If we weren’t, we would be born fully grown people with fully developed faculties. Then we would immediately die because there was nowhere further to go.

And, as I sit here in this little coffee shop where I spent the majority of my collegiate experience, I am content.

division and puns. they don’t really have anything in common.

If you google the definition of division you get this result: “the action of separating something into parts, or the process of being separated.” The synonyms include breaking up, breakup, carving up, splitting, dissection, and bisection. I mean, all of those sound painful. Seriously. As a general rule, it would appear that division is a negative thing. This must be why we, as humans work so hard to be undivided.

It was Valentines weekend this past weekend. I know that I have railed on V-Day in the past, and I stand by my assertion that it is the one day a year completely devoted to ostracizing those of us who are single, but this year I questioned the motives for the big red day (aside from the obvious card, candy, and flower sales that is). I wonder if there may be some reason that Valentine’s Day, a day that has more legend associated with it than actual fact, is such a big deal. At the root, it all comes back to division. We don’t want to be divided, so we celebrate a holiday that reflects and exalts togetherness.

Whether it is from each other or from different parts of ourselves, division throws us off kilter. It changes the balance of our life and forces us to reestablish our universe so that it regains some semblance of order. It is why the loss of someone in our lives is so hard. There’s not just the pain of actual loss, but there’s the rebuilding of the constructs of our being that is utterly changed when it is divided.
So how do we deal with that process? Are we puppets resigned to the whims of fate? We don’t plan for division. So when division happens, what do we do? I know that there are healthy ways and not-so-healthy ways of dealing with division. It took me a long time to realize that, as much as I want to be, I should not be the mastermind behind my own universe. I don’t deal with division well. It’s something I am working on.

Thing is though, without division, just as without any negative, it’s hard to grow and fully appreciate the positive. If you don’t occasionally get thrown out of balance, you don’t recognize the ability you have to regain it. It’s all about finding your way. Step by step, trial by trial. It’s where many of us, me included, find faith. Not just faith in a higher, though that in and of itself is a powerful thing, being but also faith that when we are divided, when our bubble of world order collapses on itself, that piece by piece, we can sew back the tattered remnants to create a new whole. It may be a long and occasionally painful process, after all, stitches hurt, but finding that thread that will hold all your pieces together is altogether a marvelous thing.

So in the spirit of togetherness, celebrate your Valentine’s Day. Spread the VD joy as it were. Just not that kind of VD joy…

And I’ll leave you with a list of puns. Because puns are funny.

I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. It’s impossible to put down.
I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me.
I couldn’t remember how to throw a boomerang, but eventually it came back to me.
I did theatrical performance about puns. Really it was just a play on words.
He drove his expensive car into a tree and found out how the Mercedes bends.
Yesterday, I accidentally swallowed some food coloring. The doctor says I’m OK, but I feel like I’ve dyed a little inside.
What did the grape say when it got stepped on? Noting – but it let out a little whine.

on free speech and consequences

I’ve read a lot of things about free speech today. I love free speech, I love that you, and I, and your uncles best friend’s nephew can say whatever we want to say. It is one of the great and beautiful things about our country. I will never tell stop you from uttering words that you want to say. That being said, regarding the Duck Dynasty issue, I have a couple of things to say myself. I respect your right to stand behind Phil Robertson. That is your right, no matter what you personally believe whether you agree or disagree. However, as a publically traded, privately owned company, A&E also has a right to choose the messages that it will send to their viewers.

If they exercise their rights of free speech and choose not to allow a person on their network who has a public record of saying things that they, as a network believe that “His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community,” they have a right to try and keep their network representative of what the image they want to project. They are not covering his mouth with tape or tying his hands behind his back. He is free to go to whatever newspaper, magazine, or other media outlet and express his opinions. They didn’t take his free speech, they just exercised their own right to it.

Furthermore, as a public figure, he is always on the job. Especially when he is giving an interview. It is unfortunate, but it is a fact. This means that what he says can be held against him. If you or I were to say some of the things he said while we were on the job, we would face consequences as well. I am glad that he has an opinion he is willing to stand behind. Regardless of whether I agree or not, there are more people these days who are too afraid to say what they believe and instead resort to passive-aggressive measures or whispers behind closed doors. However, when you do have an opinion and you proclaim it to the world, there is always a chance of consequence. It is why so many people are afraid to say what they really think.

To others who are again saying that because of what he said all Christians share the same opinion and that you can color them all with the same crayon? Shame. For you to judge the actions and beliefs of many by those of one man is no better. I am a Christian. I pray, probably not as much as I should, but I do. And I don’t agree with him. That’s my right. So please, make your arguments with both logic and heart, we all as human beings have the right, ability, and privilege to use both.

I will step off my soapbox now.

A series of very unfortunate events

Come on in,
Sit right down.
I’m gonna tell you a story
About this town.

Now that I’m home
And my day is done
It’s time to tell all about how
The west(ern nc) was won.

I’m not a poet, but you knew that already. I just thought a little abcb rhyming was in order. Sometimes the little idiosyncrasies of life all seem to gang up on you and you have a very bad day. So let me tell you about my day and what I learned from it.

I had a bad day. To begin with, I woke up and remembered that I have no running water in my house because the line connecting my house to the well is, well (pun intended), broken. This isn’t a new development except that when I woke up I was terribly thirsty. It also reminded me of the very long list of to do items I have to complete to get my water fixed.

Fortunately, I was able to take off work to get my to do ta-done. The first thing was to return the rental car. You see, my car… Affectionately known as the Green Machine (both because she is green and because she costs me a lot of money) has been dubbed “around town only” and she doesn’t go faster than 55 mph or below 3,000 feet above sea level. So if I need to travel, renting it is.

I get to Enterprise and find that the car I’m driving has been magically checked in at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. This is incredible because, well, I’ve never been to Chicago. And because the car that is supposedly in Chicago is actually in Boone. How about them apples?

Once we resolved that issue, the awesome guys at Enterprise offer me a lift to my car since I had to leave it off-site. I love the Enterprise guys. They’re so sweet! So we get to the mall, and my car is missing.

Why would someone want to steal my 14 year old, 200,000 mile sporting car?

As I glance up, if see a tiny sign 15 feet in the air that says that all cars will be towed to a lot in Vilas. For those of you not familiar with the area, Vilas is NOT within walking distance and NOT on public transit routes. Oh and it’s gonna cost me $125… In cash.

I burst put into hysterical laughter. And tears. I think I may have scared the poor enterprise guy. A lot.

Once I calmed down enough, he said simply:

What can I do?

I almost started crying again. In short the man drove me to my car to get my checkbook, back to boone to get cash, back to my car and made sure that everything was ok before he went back to work. He helped me out, taking his time and his lunch break to make sure I was ok. And he doesn’t know me from Adam.

It’s Veterans Day. And today I am so very thankful for all of my family, my friends, and my strangers who have given themselves so that I have the opportunity to have a bad day. As unhappy as I was at certain parts of the day, I have the right to drive, to rent a car, to work, to own my own home, live a life of relative comfort because of them. I learned that while the road we travel on may be bumpy or at times riddled with potholes, I am lucky to have one to travel on.

Thank you Veterans for all that you do, all that you give, and all that you fight for. We are a country protected by the bravest of us all. Both of my grandfathers were veterans and I was lucky enough, for a short time, to know them.

Oh… The Enterprise guy who sacrificed his day for me? A Veteran.