Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Do I miss??

Saturday evening I received a phone call from an employee at Tex & Shirley's. You know that they had to be special if they had my phone number! During our conversation they asked, "Do you miss Tex & Shirley's?" Easy question, tough answer. I tried to explain how I felt, but am unsure as to how successful I was. So I am giving it another try today

Do I miss Tex & Shirley's? Yes, no, maybe. Before I left, I received an e-mail from a friend. It ended with this advice from the friend's sister, a minister: "Sometimes God forces us to do something that we would have never thought of doing. That is the right thing for us." I got that advice on November 5 and I have stuck with it ever since. There's the impetus for my long range plan in life.

I don't miss the stress associated with operating a business in the "Obama" economy. I don't miss the few customers who thought that the price of a meal included the right to abuse the staff and management. I don't miss people calling in sick. I don't miss people who can't get to work on time. I really don't miss dealing with the Child Support Enforcement folks or the morons at the Employment Security Commission. The morons at the ESC decided that an employee arrested in the parking lot for felony possession of marijuana was eligible for unemployment compensation or as they call it in Florida now, "re-employment assistance". They ruled that dealing drugs in the parking lot "did not rise to the level of misconduct." I guess that it would require a capital crime.

What else don't I miss? I don't miss people with bad attitudes, bad breath and bad habits. I don't miss being disappointed by people that you try to help, only to catch them stealing from you. William P. leaps to mind on that one. I don't miss long days caused by poor attendance habits of employees. I don't miss people who won't wash their hands. I don't miss cooks and waitresses arguing. Wait!! I may miss that just a little. I don't miss people who won't use the ice scoop.

Is there anything that I miss?? Yes, I miss my friends. I miss the employees who were my extended family. I  miss the opportunity to help people. I miss the early morning calm of the restaurant at around 4:30 A.M. when I was the only one there. I miss the satisfaction of compliments from customers. I miss the smell of coffee in the morning and I don't even drink the stuff.

I don't know what my son William's going to decorate at Christmas. The Christmas in July celebrations are probably over. How will Ed Andrews take that news? No Magic Cookie bars. No lemon pound cake and cookies. No lemon bars. No scones and sweet potato cookies. I'll have to go out for prime rib on Valentine's and Father's Day. Or I will just cook for Vickie and Rick on those days. I am getting hungry just writing this. This does explain why I have lost 10 pounds since leaving. I may serve wings and watermelon on the Fourth at the store. I'll let you know.

Is there anything else specific that I miss? Of course there is, so hang on. It's in no particular order or significance. If I leave you out, I'm sorry. I will try again later. I miss talking to regular customers. I miss talking to The Queen about politics and current events. I miss swapping gun info with Tom.  I miss listening to Craig struggling to tell a joke. I miss Mary telling my Aunt Kitty, "You're too nice to be related to Gilbert." I miss answering Susan E's questions about everything. I miss being Lesley's "meat consultant." I miss watching Michael struggle with the crossword puzzle. Sure that you don't want me to do that? I miss Susan A. wanting sweet potato cookies.I miss watching Anna walk with those prissy little steps. I miss Linda too. HUH!!

I miss picking Shaun up at 5:00 A.M.on Tuesday. I even miss Charles, the Hashbrown Nazi.  I miss Bobby AKA "L.A.", "Fabio', "Chef Bobby" or "Fat Boy". This is taking way too much space, let's change the format. I'll just give a name and a brief comment or smart remark.

Here we go-
Anna- My fashion consultant. Thanks for everything. White or dark chicken??
Louise Hight- compliments on shirts
Tom Hight- concealed carry and gun talk
Joel Fleishman- My sarcasm and insult mentor for 21 years. More on him in another post.
The Burlington Industry guys on the first Monday- great conversations about business and social issues
Peggy and Bobby- Lemon bars and knives, in that order.
The girls from The Mangos office and Laura and Lindsay- Funny conversation- Lindy rubbing Bobby's hand
Betty- Toy talk
College Park Men's group- Thanks for the dollar Denver!! Loretta will outlast you guys for that table.
Loretta- Stay in your seat! Anna will get that diet syrup.
Talmage- Sorry about the diamond thing, Honey(or Shirley).
Brittany C- Don't hug me!
Gainey- Put some gas in that Caddy! You can stop calling me Daddy!!
JoElle, Leigh, Erica, Jamacus, Mari, Dwayne, Kelly- Put those cellphones away!
Ginger- Thanks for the entertainment.
Paula- I don't care what the waitstaff tells you about seating. Yes, the employee meeting, "I don't care...."
Lesley- I mentioned the cookie bars. I'm not going to sue.
Dwayne-  Get a name tag that says, "I'm not Will Smith."
Lainey- My second favorite Carroll. I will leave out comments about your old boyfriend. I'm sure that you're the only girl he ever dated.
Patrick- If you weren't from Jersey, you would be OK.
Tyler- Keep up the good job. Anna owes me a suit!!
Elaine- You are right about the cornbread!!
Lacy- Thank You notes and "What care I?"
Woody Starnes - Best delivery man in 40 years.
Anne and Charlie- Thanks for the hat and the medical advice. Someone referred to Anne as my nurse.
The guy at table #7 early on Sunday- Miss our sports talk on Sunday!
Mike- Thanks for keeping Michael Joyce in line
Bubba- Thanks for the info on Halyburton.
Kate and Dennis Duquette- Thanks for the peanuts.
Al and Brenda Taylor- Don't forget to call me before the auction!
Frank M.- No, you can't take that cloth napkin at the Christmas thing. Looking back, I should have let you take it.
Charles- (Hashbrown Nazi) Thanks for being dependable.
Robert B. Thanks for that compliment on my last Wednesday
Ann and Ron- You will only have Jeff to talk sports with now.
Jeff- Walter suggested "Go Wolfpack!!"

That's it for today. There are hundreds of "Thank You's" left unsaid. Maybe another time.

Alice and Grand Gil

Alice was crying because I wouldn't let her wear my pink tie.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sudoku Update, February 17


Sudoku- For those who are unfamiliar with Sudoku, it is a sadistic puzzle devised by the Japanese to torment Americans. For the last couple of years, I have watched a growing number of people work these puzzles.

I tried one several months ago and quit after about an hour of high grade frustration. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to give it another try. Let's face it, I have a little more time on my hands now.

Day 1- The puzzle was rated as Level 1, easy. Yeah, right!! After two hours, the second hour sent polishing up some match grade profanity, I gave it up. I called a friend who works the Sudoku everyday and got a little pep talk.

Day 2- This puzzle was a Level 2, a little harder. Level 2, my fanny!! The high grade profanity kicked in at about the 45 minute mark today.

Day 3- Another level 2 puzzle today. I maintained my composure until the 70 minute mark. By that point, the frustration had grown to a point where I was questioning my own intelligence. I stopped and worked the crossword puzzle in 12 minutes (in ink) just to make sure that my brain was still functioning. Needing further affirmation, I knocked out the Word Jumble in 4 minutes. The only question that I couldn't answer was "Why am I working the ##@@## Sudoku?"

Day 4- Level 4 today, very hard. I stunned myself. I maintained my composure and refrained from profanity while I struggled two hours with the puzzle. At the two hour mark, I dropped the Sudoku into the shredder. A warm feeling of satisfaction came over me.

So for the remainder of the next two weeks, I spent an hour or so on the Sudoku almost every day. Still unable to complete one. I mentioned this in an e-mail to The Queen a few days ago. I know that she works the ##@@** thing. At our Wednesday night dinner at church, she brought me a copy of Monday's Sudoku, complete with how she solved it, broken down by numbered steps. Thank you.

So yesterday, I reviewed Monday's puzzle and worked through it following her guide. No Problem. Then I started yesterday's Sudoku, Level 3. Sometime in the afternoon, after more than 4 hours spent on the puzzle, I realized that the ADHD king had slipped into hyperfocus. I worked on the puzzle after dinner at home last night. I ended up spending about 8 hours on it. Did I solve it? NO. I even spent about half an hour on it this morning before deciding that it would be easier to write about it than to solve it.

I'm going to give it one more try today. I am going to call the doctor and see if this will substitute for a stress test on my heart. I'll also put him on alert in case it goes bad.

What have I learned from trying to work the Sudoku?  If you want to quit smoking, drinking, using drugs or cursing, stay away from the ##**## Sudoku. These puzzles are for people with more patience than I.

Here's a few pointers on working Sudoku:
1. Make several copies before starting. The newsprint will wear easily with erasing.
2. Caffeine- I think that the Sudoku must be accompanied with coffee. I don't drink the stuff.
3. Eraser- You will need a large eraser. I wore the eraser off of a new pencil yesterday.
4. Quiet space- In a noisy room, you won't be able to concentrate or hear yourself cuss.
5. Shredder- You will need a shredder.

Well, that's all for Sudoku today. I'll try one more time this morning.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Valentine's at Buffalo

Last night at Buffalo Church we celebrated Valentine's Day. All of the women eat free, so there was a pretty good crowd. Of course, all of the men have to pay $10 instead of the usual $5, so it almost balances out. I got cheated because I was there by myself. It was pointed out that I paid for two women at our table who came alone. I guess that I can live with that.

I didn't cook last night. Van has cooked several Valentine's Dinners and he did this one. All I had to do was pick up the flowers and the candy. We bought carnations for the ladies and a large flower arrangement as a door prize. "Whipped Cream Annie" won the drawing for the arrangement. That was good since I was sitting across the table from her.

David Long did a great job with a story about a funny sermon. It was really funny. He told me that he had to come up with something funny after my performance last week.

The worst part: The men had to gather by the piano and sing. Yes, sing. Anyone who knows me is aware that I cannot sing. It was an embarrassing performance. Picture me singing, "Let me call you Sweetheart". Yeah, it was pretty ugly. Next year, I will help clean up and wash dishes rather than sing.

I knew that I had bottomed out as a singer when Jesse turned to me during the first song and said, "You really are worse than me." I guess that it was all for a good cause. Next year, the dishes!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Morning After?

No, it's not what you think. This is the morning after Valentine's Day. Men across the country are waking up and thinking "How much did I spend on yesterday?"

Obama's next stimulus package should just make Valentine's Day a monthly holiday.That would boost consumer spending.  It's also an election year. That move would bring the women voters into his camp. In Obama related news, I gave a Valentine's Day card with Obama on the cover to a friend who voted for him. Wondering what this card looks like? I wrote about it a few weeks ago on this blog. I have probably just reduced my friend count by one!!

Valentine's Day serves to remind men of the inequities that exist in our relationships with women. Don't believe me?? If you're a man, what did you get yesterday for Valentine's Day? Sex doesn't count unless Valentine's is your day for the year. I figure that men outspend women at about a 50 to 1 ratio. Maybe higher. More than once, I have been told that is how it's supposed to be. Of course, that's the view from Venus.

My wife came home yesterday and told me that her office was abuzz with the news that one of the men in the office had a gift basket delivered to him at work for Valentine's Day. His wife, or the woman he loves, I'm not sure about the particulars, sent him a large fruit basket. They are all agog that he received a gift basket. What does this say about the fairer sex?? Do you think that any of them were thinking "I should have sent my husband something." No.

Who do I really feel sorry for this morning? The unrequited love crowd. Yes, the guys who pick Valentine's Day to try to get the object of their desire to notice that they are alive and in love. Every man has been through that at some point. Unrequited love in men is so common as to be considered a rite of passage. It has no age limits. Whether it's the little red haired girl at the desk in front of you in school or the sixty-something with the beautiful smile, we have all been there. It's almost always a heart breaker.

How do I know about unrequited love? Valentine's Day, 1978. It's been thirty four years and it still haunts me. Before you ask, that was before I met my wife. That day, I learned my Valentine's lesson for life. Don't do anything for Valentine's Day expecting anything in return. That way you will never be disappointed. I still observe that rule. Valentine's Day is a day to express your love for someone. There are no guarantees on results. I'm not going to write any more about that fateful day today.

For some guys the lesson above is a day too late. Sorry, fellas. Check the blog archives next year for a reminder before February 14.

If you are reading this and thinking that I need professional help, it's okay. I'm fine. It's just a brief moment of reflection. It's the same feeling that a lot of people get the day after Christmas. It's the Peggy Lee song, "Is that all there is?"

If Hallmark didn't say it well enough for you yesterday, here's a quote from a song by the late Jerry Reed for you to use in a note or e-mail today. Maybe I'll even use it with the woman I love!!
"No, I'm not a poet. But if I were a poet and had every word in the world at my command, my poem would still be I love you. I love you, what more can I say?"

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Whitney who??

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day Dinner??

This morning I received an e-mail from my friend, Rick.

"The attached invitation not withstanding, the Fetching Mrs. Loman was wondering if there will be a candle lit, prime rib special at Gil's Military Surplus & More tomorrow evening?"

I hate to disappoint the Fetching Mrs. Loman, but there will be NO prime rib special at Gil's this year. If only she had inquired earlier, I might have been able to pull it off. There's still a better chance than there is of it happening at T&S.

I sent a copy of the Fetching Mrs. Loman's inquiry to a friend who responded, "Not room for many tables inside - later in year - Gil's Military Surplus and Outside Supper".   Maybe for Mother's Day, Vicki!!

I may have to go back into the restaurant business. Ken, who despite evidence to the contrary, continues to claim that he is my only friend, wants me to open a BB-Q place and gun store. We are going to call it Ribs and Rifles. I am leaning towards a breakfast and lunch place, Gil's Grill. We will see what happens. The investor line forms on the right.

So, if you are the fetching Mrs. Loman and you are reading this, maybe Valentine's Day next year!!

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Alice at Gil's

Friday, February 03, 2012

Valentine's Day

I was watching "Frasier" on television last night when  a heart appeared on the screen with the message that read "12 Days until Valentine's Day." Yes, it was on the Hallmark Channel. Coincidence? Of course not.

Valentine's Day? The skeptical among us believe that Valentine's Day is a contrived holiday controlled by a group of candy and card manufacturers. Wait! Let's not leave out the florists and the flower farmers. Then throw in the restaurant owners to round out the controlling syndicate.

I almost left the jewelry stores out of the picture. Schiffman's in Greensboro is including chocolates with some purchases. It wouldn't work for me. I would buy the earrings and then eat the chocolates before I got out of the parking lot. Sorry about the candy, Honey.

Valentine's Day serves to fill the gap between Christmas and Easter. If you're a sports fan, it's kind of like the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. That issue serves to fill the space between the Super Bowl and the NCAA basketball tournament.

Hold on!! I left the lingerie manufacturers out of the syndicate controlling Valentine's Day. For places like Victoria's Secret it must be like Christmas! I still believe that most of the lingerie sold for Valentine's Day is either not worn or only worn once. Like a lot of things, maybe once is enough. There's a business that someone should explore, lingerie rental. It should be like tuxedos for weddings. You could have a 24 hour lingerie store and rent it by the hour. I can see it now, "No time to cuddle, Honey. I have to get this back to the lingerie store before I get charged for another day (hour?)".

I guess that only the deranged among us would notice this, but since Valentine's Day is a day dedicated to lovers, you want to make sure that you don't abbreviate it. I mean, who wants a card from your lover that says Happy V.D. That one's been waiting more than forty years to be in print. Some kid pointed that out in high school biology class.

Here's my favorite Valentine's Day story that does not involve me. A lady who used to come in at T&S for lunch with her husband told us several years ago about her Valentine's experience. Her husband came home from work and walked into the house carrying a little bag from Victoria's Secret and a card. He handed her the bag. She looked in it and saw a very small red outfit. He then started to hand her the card. She looked at him and said, "Darling, unless there's cash or a check in that card, you're going to look pretty funny in that little outfit."

If the lingerie and card is your plan, go to Friendly Center in Greensboro. The Hallmark shop is right next to the Victoria's Secret story. How convenient!! If you read the above story, there are several banks at Friendly where you can cash a check.

In the restaurant business Valentine's Day is a very good day. Even at T&S, we had a busy lunch and dinner business. The last couple of years, we even had a prime rib dinner special. Note to the fetching Mrs. Loman, I wouldn't look for that there this year.

I'm going out on a limb here, but I don't think that Valentine's Day is going to cause a surge in the military surplus business. Even in Reidsville, I can't picture some guy running in and telling me, "I need a camo shirt for my wife for Valentine's Day." The first guy who tells me that can have the shirt free!

By this point, you are probably thinking, "This guy hates Valentine's Day." You are wrong. I just needed to get all my whining done about the day. Valentine's Day has provided some of the best and worst experiences of my life. Deep inside, I'm really a romantic kind of guy.  I realize that for many reading this, I will have to provide references to prove that. Yes, I keep it pretty well hidden. So here are a few thoughts about Valentine's Day from a "romantic" guy.

I decided that I needed a Valentine's Day tie to wear this year. I went online to look for one. Since I am probably going to wear this to church, I avoided the tasteless (funny) ones. I found one with little hearts. It will probably be available at my store a couple of days after Valentine's Day. Shop early for next year!

For men everywhere, Valentine's Day is a reminder that we have inequitable relationships with those we love. If you're a woman reading this, hold your outrage for a minute. Women will tell you the same thing about their relationships with men. Let's just agree to disagree.

In regards to relationships, it is interesting to realize how things change over the years. With apologies to Abraham Maslow, our hierarchy of needs changes as we mature. Guys, there's an expiration date on the great sex thing. Great relationships involve sitting across the table at breakfast or dinner talking and laughing.

Unrequited love is an experience that is so common for men that it is almost a rite of passage. Valentine's Day is a stressful time for guys in that position. Like most other guys, I have been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. So if you are in that position, go ahead and send her something. What's the worst thing that will happen?

I have two great stories about Valentine's Day in my life. One story I have told  four people and only three of those are still alive. You're not going to hear that one. The other is entertaining and I have told about thirty people that story. You may have a chance of hearing that one. Don't bother e-mailing about these. There's no way that I will put either story online. You will need to hear it in person.

Here are a few practical notes. Make those dinner reservations now. If you haven't ordered flowers, get to a phone. If you are buying your sweetheart jewelry or candy at Wal-Mart, go ahead and put that sleeping bag on the couch. If you're hoping for great sex on Valentine's Day, one final thought, "Candy's dandy, but liquor's quicker!"

It's only eleven days until Valentine's Day. What will this year bring??