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A couple little snippets

Today was a long day. I opened the store this morning and I closed the store this evening. Good times. Thankfully I had a six hour break in the middle so I was able to have a nice long lunch with Joel and take a much needed nap. Instead of giving you the run down of my entire day I’ll just give you the moments that stood out.

– We have a tip jar at work. Some people drop the extra change in, some people leave a whole dollar. More often than not people don’t leave anything at all. It’s whatever. I don’t really judge you if you don’t leave a tip. Obviously I like you more if you do but like I said, whatever. Your pennies and nickles don’t make or break my day. We have several regulars though and one of them is a really nice, retired guy that comes in most days and does his crossword while he has his coffee. We’ve had several nice conversations and never have I noticed whether he left a tip or not. Until today.

For some reason, after he paid for his coffee and I handed him his 18 cents he felt the need to explain himself. His words were

I would leave you this as a tip but I have a jar at home that I’m saving my change in. It’s about the size of your tip jar but it’s full of quarters. It probably has $1,000. I’m saving for a vacation.

My outward response was “Oh, how nice.” What I was thinking though was “Um, good for you?” I tweeted as much.

The thing is, like I said, I don’t care that much if you tip me. Whatever, it’s your money. However, if you don’t tip me I’d like to think it’s because you didn’t think it was necessary. Don’t tell me that you specifically considered giving me a tip, thought about it and decided you were better off with your 18 cents than I am. Then you just look greedy.

-Joel and I had lunch together at an amazing Chinese buffet near our apartment. We sat next to a couple tables where what appeared to be a class of high school students were sitting. There were probably 10 students and 2 teachers at the table and they were discussing trying new food and some kind of study questions etc. Things you’d expect to hear from a field trip. I only caught snippets of their conversation and wasn’t paying much attention until I heard the teacher say,

“No, I don’t got a pen.

And then I died a little inside. Oh god, our educational system is so broken even the teachers can’t speak proper English. I visibly cringed. Thank goodness not a moment later I heard her say,

“But I might have a pen.”

She was correcting a students grammar by being snarky. And then all was back to being right with the world. It probably shouldn’t have mattered that much to me, but it did.

And now I’m planning to sleep as long as possible. Even after taking the nap I could have slept hours and hours ago. Hanging out with my coworkers was totally worth it though. It’s such a rare thing to enjoy all the people’s company that you work with as much as I do. I’m a lucky girl and I definitely know it.

Accidental overdose

Caffeine has always affected me strongly. Always. There are times that I lie awake at 3am and think “Why the heck can’t I sleep?” Then I remember I had a Dr. Pepper at noon. Yeah.

The thing is, when you’re using a manual espresso machine like what we have at work, you have to adjust the grind, pull a shot and then taste it so you can see if things are set just right. It’s amazing what a difference a few seconds or slight grind adjustment can make.

This morning, something got messed up with the grind when I was out of the room and it was really tricky for me to get it just right again. It took me about 8 tries before I got it perfect.

Oh, did I mention our machine only pulls double shots?

Yup.

Granted, I didn’t drink all 8 double shots. The girl I was working with had some and I poured a little out. I estimate I probably consumed the equivalent of 8-12 espresso shots though in about 15 minutes. About the last one a guy sitting at the counter mentioned we must get wired at work.

And that’s when I felt it.

Within a few minutes it felt like my whole body was shaking. My hands? Visible tremors. And I immediately feared I would never sleep again.

Now, I’m a fairly upbeat person. At work that is amplified for obvious reasons. As a barista I believe a good word to describe me would be chipper. Me, as a barista, on 12 shots of espresso? Ho.ly. moly.

I felt like my mouth was a runaway train. I talked a million miles an hour. I couldn’t stand still. I was giggling about nothing. Frankly, I was annoying myself. Ugh.

The worst part was we weren’t busy so I had nothing to use my excess energy on. I was all “Quick, what counteracts coffee?

Coworker- “Uh, beer…?

I actually considered it for half a second. Except it was like 9am. Oh and the pesky getting fired thing. I still like my job thankyouverymuch.

I really felt like I could have run a mile. You know, like one of those cartoon characters where all you see is the trail of smoke?

Instead I just drank a ton of water and tried to take deep breaths. And tried not to be so freaking annoying. Seriously. Who let me around caffeine?

It’s about 7pm now and I’m just starting to get sleepy. Pretty good considering I only got four hours of sleep last night. And that it’s been ten hours since I consumed any caffeine.

I learned my lesson though. I still have to taste the espresso when I calibrate things every morning. From now on though? I’ll remember to just sip a little instead of downing the whole thing.

After all, I do want to actually sleep at some point.

Covered in coffee

Today I left work covered in coffee from head to toe.

Seriously.

At least of the many smells I could smell like working in a restaurant type setting coffee is one of the best. Joel definitely seems to appreciate it.

The reason I was covered in coffee was because from the time we opened at 7am we were slammed with business. And my lovely coworker called in sick. On the busiest morning of the week. Which turned into the busiest morning we’ve had. Ever. And me left to handle it basically alone. Awe.some.

I reached the breaking point when I had rung in no less than five espresso orders and still had a line practically out the door. Thank God that was the moment one of the cashiers came over and offered to take over ringing people up which left me free to make lattes and cappuccinos like a mad woman.

Next thing I knew it was noon. I don’t know if people ate outside. I’m not even positive how more brewed coffee got made. That whole block of time is a blur of espresso grounds and steaming milk. There was much splashing and spillage. Hence my being covered in coffee and the whole bar area looking like a Javanese war zone. If the Javanese used coffee as weapons, that is.

Honestly, I’ve never had so much fun at work. I work well under pressure. Just ask Joel about my getting ready last minute skills. I felt like a real barista for the first time. I cranked those drinks out. I’m fairly certain I didn’t even mess any up. Or at least not bad enough for anyone to complain. Every drink even had latte art on it. I’m just that pro.

Or something. Some of the art was more abstract. Or happy accidents like a tulip I made on one drink. The recipient probably thought I was crazy the way I was squeeing over her latte.

Me- “Ooooh! Pretty flower!”

Guest- thinking “That coffee girl has lost it

I just have to figure out how to do it again. Then I’ll go pro.

Actually, did you know they really do have World Barista Championships? I didn’t until I did the training with Intelligentsia and saw the shelf full of trophies. It’s a serious business if you get really into it.

Anyway, all the customers were actually really fantastic and totally understanding. Thank goodness it wasn’t a weekday where they were all on their way to the train. I have a feeling there would have been a lot less smiling and a lot more huffing and yelling. With everyone in a happy mood it helped keep me relaxed and having a good time.

So today was a great day despite (or maybe because) a girl called in sick. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been quite so annoyed with her. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Plus? I didn’t have to share the tips.

The coffee girl

When Joel and I were teenagers and just friends we discussed our dating lives with each other from time to time as, I assume, all friends tend to do. One girl Joel used to talk about was a barista at a coffee shop near where he worked. She was pretty cute and he went in to get coffee from her all the time. He’s adorable and was too shy to ever do more than smile at her.

He talked about her a lot though and how great the coffee she made was. I encouraged him to ask her out or, ya know, say anything to her besides his coffee order. He never did.

Now I’m glad, for obvious reasons.

Not that I think he would have ended up with her, since we’re a perfect fit and all. But you never know.

Moving on.

She quit or moved away or something because he eventually stopped seeing her. He shortly stopped frequenting that coffee house. It’s not open anymore. I’m not saying it’s related but….

Because of that girl I always make sure to wear my ring to work. Men aren’t terribly observant creatures but if they get any ideas and think to check my left hand they won’t be confused. Unless they’re the kind who view that as a challenge. But then blech.

Anyway, where I work there several people who regularly come into the store already. Two guys I see every day that I work. I assume they come in when I’m not there too. But how would I know? They’re fairly quiet and don’t seem flirty at all. I do try to be friendly and make conversation if they seem open to it as I do with all the customers who come into the store. Mostly they just sit with their faces in their laptops and work.

Yesterday I had the day off (which was fabulous) and then today, when one of the regulars came in, I asked him if he wanted his usual. He said he did and then he told me,

“Someone else made my drink yesterday. It just wasn’t the same.”

Um, aw! Complimenting me on my coffee skills gives me serious happies.

I made the guy his drink and he resumed his normal routine of quietly working. I went back to working while trying not to let my smile break my face. I get all silly and giddy when it comes to compliments. His was the second I’ve gotten.

The first was the other day when a girl tasted her latte that I made and said it was the best she’d ever had in her life. I can’t take full credit because the coffee we serve is incredible all on it’s own. But the fact that it was the best of her life must mean something. (And don’t say it’s that she rarely drinks coffee. Shut up.)

The dude saying his drink wasn’t the same unless I make it made me remember Joel’s coffee crush. Not that I assume those guys have crushes on me. She probably didn’t assume that either. I just think it’s fun to have regulars. It’s fun to know what someone’s drink is before they order it. And it’s by far the most fun to be told I make awesome espresso.

Now I’m a coffee girl and this one? Is a huge sucker for compliments.

Wordless Wednesdays: My Heart Will Go On

First world problems

I got a super short night of sleep last night. Thankfully it was longer than originally scheduled. I left work around 11:45pm (an hour and 15 mins later than scheduled. Stupid last minute rush that made me tips so never mind.)

On the original schedule I was supposed to be at work at 4:30 the next morning. Not the shortest night of sleep I’ve ever had but dang.

Also, yuck.

Thank god my manager is a nice person and that was a scheduling mistake not a purposeful attempt to make coffee essential to my survival. I didn’t complain about it because I know we’re kind of short staffed and didn’t want to be a whiner. She actually realized it and went out of her way to find someone to switch with me. She actually told me it woke her up in the middle of the night. This made me laugh because 1. Aw, that’s nice and 2. I would so do something like that.

My switch wasn’t too much later though. I still had to be back at work at 6:30am. So a short night but more reasonable than the nap I was going to be stuck with before.

With four hours of sleep and a “taste test” of the espresso shots I was fairly functional. What? We definitely have to do that. So what if the girl who actually opened already had done it. It needed to be done.

Shut up.

We weren’t super busy either so I didn’t have too many opportunities to spill hot coffee all over anyone. I get clumsy when I’m sleepy.

I did get called stupid though which is always fun. Math isn’t my strong point in the first place. When I’ve had very little sleep? Bah. So yeah, the receipt paper ran out and I accidentally put the wrong type of paper in the machine. That meant nothing printed out and I hadn’t noticed the change that was due. Whenever these things happen? I panic. I can do math. Adding, subtracting, multiplying… I can do it. When I panic however? It’s much harder.

I took a breath to try and figure it out (I had to remember the price too) and tried to make a joke about it being early. Instead of laughing the lady was all “No, it’s just your generation. You’re useless without computers.” She then proceeded to tell me the change she was due.

Whatever lady. Psh. I know I’m not stupid but it’s cool if you think so. Super speedy math skills is not the only sign of intelligence. At least I can write good.*

Everyone else was super nice and I even was taught a new drink by a customer. Obviously I don’t know how to make all coffee drinks but if someone can tell me what goes in a drink I can totally try to make it. The drink was a Cuban which is a double shot of espresso extracted with raw sugar. So yummy.

Bonus: Naturally I had to try this new drink. Because obviously.

One of the owners came in later in the morning and ordered a coffee. Until they figure out something different the policy is that everyone pays for everything from the store. It’s definitely weird charging the owner for a cup of coffee but whatever, there’s no confusion then.

As he was paying he was pulling money out of his pockets and putting it on the counter while complaining about carrying around way too much change.

Ok, now I don’t know about you, but when I feel like I have “too much change” that generally means too many pennies and nickels. Maybe dimes. Quarters and up? I’ve never felt I had too much. Maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, the change the owner was pulling out of his pockets mostly consisted of quarters and dollars. And a ten dollar bill. All this change of which there was just too much? He proceeded to dump into our tip jar. It was like twelve-fifteen dollars, people!

I’m not sure if I was clear about the fact that there was a ten dollar bill.

I wasn’t sure if he was serious but yep, he totally was. He laughed about it and then I made some awkward joke about wishing I had the problem of my pockets being too full of money. Tough life.

So yeah, I take this as a sign the store is doing well. The owners are walking around weighted down with annoying little ten dollar bills they have to get rid of.

Like I said, first world problems.

*Yes, I know that’s bad grammar. Irony people.

Baby talk

It was the grand opening at the store today. We were so slammed with business it was hard to keep up. Now I’m dead tired. Like, can barely keep my eyes open to type tired. It was great that the store was so busy but it was hard work.

Anyway, I cannot stay coherent enough to type out a full post. Instead, here’s a hilarious reminder that toddlers? Mimic everything.

Made me giggle.

The one with the lobster

Tomorrow is the grand opening of the store. Pretty exciting. That meant that today the store was closed in preparation. We had a meeting in the morning and, since I was scheduled to work anyway, I stuck around to help out with things.

I made sure the bar was stocked and ready to go which was about all that needed to be done in that area of the store. The kitchen however had tons to do.

I have probably mentioned before that I’m not much of a cook. Plus? A cashier had been chopping carrots the night before and ended up with stitches and a thumb wrapped up like a cartoon character. Yipes. At least it wasn’t her pinky toe.*

I’m pretty confident with my knife wielding abilities (I did sell them after all) but I think the entire store would like to keep all cashiers and servers away from sharp objects for awhile.

Instead I was taught how to make the ganosh we use in our mocha drinks. Not sure why fire is better than blades but whatever. I survived. Actually making ganosh? Surprisingly easy. We make so much of what we serve in house. It fascinates me.

Not sure why that is so fascinating to me exactly.

I’m easily amused. But that’s a good thing right?

Hush.

After ganosh making I was assigned to plucking herbs for the salads. Brainless work but fun because another barista was doing it with me. We chatted and giggled and had more fun picking through leaves than I would have thought was possible.

Side note: Do you know how freaking long it takes to pick apart and fill up a container with dill? Way freaking long. Seriously, once off the stem, dill has no volume. I worked forever and it looked like I’d just been standing there. Although maybe I was just standing there. I was having an awfully good time chatting.

Anyway, while we were standing there along comes a chef with a lobster. They have lobster dishes on the menu but I didn’t really think about it.

Until the thing moved.

It was still alive.

Now I know, I know, that’s how they’re best and everything but this one looked at me.

And then the chef started petting it’s head to “make it relax”. It’s little eyes rolled around and it stopped flailing and started to look comfortable. It was like a cockroach looking dog. I have never felt so sad for something so delicious in my life.

Then cruuunnnch

And little lobster friend got a knife right through his head.

And what did I, as a rational adult do?

I freaking cried.

No joke.

Thankfully everyone was too busy with their tasks, my friend plucking mint and the chef ripping the still kicking lobster to bits, to notice.

But yeah, I cried over a stupid lobster, from which they’re planning on making lobster egg roll things. Those egg rolls sounded so incredibly delicious. I used to want to try one.

Now I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to pass on it.

If I saw all my food um… prepared? I would definitely be a vegetarian.

Meat is just so freaking yummy.

And I? Am a giant hypocrite.

*name that episode!

The working diet

So, my clothes have been fitting way too snug for my liking lately. Possibly Definitely something to do with that year of unemployment. Being unemployed is actually really depressing. I felt useless and worthless way too often. Ironically it made me want to curl up and do less.

Finally starting work again has made me so much happier already. I got up this morning and actually had breakfast with Joel(!). I cannot even remember the last time we did that. I am one to sleep until past the last possible second. I then rush around like a crazy person in order to not be late. Most of the time I make it out the door in the nick of time. Sometimes I don’t. It makes mornings stressful and too often Joel and I end up snapping at each other.

This morning was different for no particular reason. In fact, I did not sleep well the night before. My mind wouldn’t stop racing and I ended up with probably 4 hours of sleep, at best. Normally that would have meant that I would have been next to impossible to get out of bed. For some reason, I was barely tired. In fact, Joel was being nice and was going to let me sleep a little longer but I woke up on my own and was up before he was out of the shower. Just weird.

Anyway, my energy carried through the whole day. Today was the day before the soft opening so the store was a crazy rush to get everything set up and stocked and ready for customers tomorrow. The amount that goes into opening a store is insane! Insane I say!

The first three hours I spent sorting and double checking labels and prices on wine. Dealing with wine? Not as relaxing as you might expect. In fact, I’d say it’s the exact opposite of relaxing. I have been known to have some really clumsy moments. Dropping an expensive bottle of wine (because you know the bottle I would drop would be an expensive one) is not the kind of first impression I want to make on all my new bosses.

The worst was when I had to move an entire cart full of bottles around the store. That cart was holding almost $1,700 worth of wine. You better believe I have never moved so slowly or carefully in my life. All the while with visions of hitting a bump and watching the whole cart shatter around me. Ugh, it still makes me tense just thinking about it.

Thankfully, my practice with walking around turbulent airplanes paid off and all the bottle remained intact. I also have a much better idea of our wine selection at the store (hint, it’s big and amazing*). Had I been doing the project in a tub of foam? I would have been having an absolute blast. Since the floors are concrete instead of foam I just had a cautiously enjoyable time.

After all the wine was put safely back on it’s shelves and I could breathe normally again we had some more barista training. Another rep from Intelligentsia came out, this time to show us how to use our actual equipment and how to make flavored drinks, teas and brewed coffee. You guys know what a Starbucks fanatic I’ve been right? I mean I loooove Starbucks. Yum. This coffee? Makes Starbucks taste like instant Folgers. Seriously, best. coffee. ever. And not just because I made it either.

After the training was more organizing, putting away, labeling etc etc. The next thing I knew I checked the time and it was 5:30pm. I got to the store at 11am! I literally hadn’t taken the time to pee yet! TMI? Sorry. But seriously. Thank goodness I ate breakfast.

I’d like to point out that I wasn’t forced to work nonstop like that with no breaks. I was just so busy I didn’t think about it. I also was having a good time. I know that sounds crazy and you may have to remind me of this in a few months when I just don’t want to get out of bed but for now, I’m having so much of a blast I forget to eat.

And that, my friends, is why this post is labeled the working diet. If I can keep being so busy that I don’t have time to get hungry I’ll be back in my skinny jeans in no time flat.

Of course, as soon as the store opens and I can buy all kinds of ridiculously high quality delicious food on my breaks, my plan may not seem so brilliant.

*thatswhatshesaid

Current song obsession and other things

Sometimes there are songs that just stick with me. I’m one to put a song on repeat for hours if it really speaks to me. This song is my current obsession. It’s been on to the point that Joel has groaned “not again” more than once.

Also, you may have noticed my fancy buttons on the right sidebar. The main reason I blog is so I can look back and remember the fabulous details of my life. A close second reason is to meet new people, find new blogs to read and develop friendships.

Reason number two is why I’ve joined Picket Fence Blogs and created a button for my blog. I’d like to get out there and make more connections in the blog world. You can help me by clicking on any of the picket fence buttons if you’d like. You can vote once daily.

I’m actually overwhelmed by the number of voted I’ve received already. If you’ve voted for me, thank you. If not, you’re cool too. Obviously I’m not doing this for the votes and I won’t pester anyone or even bring it up very often. I just think it could be a fun little side thing.

In other news, I did some more training at work today. It looks like the store is actually going to have it’s soft open on Wednesday. I’m both excited and really nervous about this. In a lot of ways I feel like I have no idea what is going on. Normally starting a new job most of the other people there have experience so you can kind of rely on them until you get the hang of things. In a brand new place like this there won’t be any room for “sorry I’m new” because the whole freaking store is new. ::gulp::

It should be a challenge but I’m always up for a good challenge so I’m not too worried. Even during training we have people almost constantly walking in wanting to check the place out and see if we’re open yet. I don’t see bringing business in being an issue. If it’s everything it seems like it’s going to be then it’s going to be an amazing place to both visit and work.

That’s pretty much everything for now. It’s funny, I sat down expecting to just post the song really quick and be done. Next thing I know I’ve rambled on for almost 500 words. I’m really starting to love blogging everyday. It’s becoming less of a chore and more of a pleasure. I’m not going to lie, the fact that I’ve actually been getting some comments and responses more often helps. I feel like I’m actually talking to people and not a blank wall. It makes it so much more fun.

So, much love to all my readers. I still get all giddy and happy about each and every comment. Inside, I’m still just an excited 12 year old girl. Bubble hearts and kisses to you all.

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