Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Being Home

Since I've been home this past week in the mornings (instead of working) I've been hearing Danielle getting up to get ready for school. 

There is no loud alarm. She just gets up quietly. She puts on coffee. Then she spends about an hour in the bathroom applying war-paint and making herself smell good. She makes herself a bowl of cereal and drinks a cup of coffee and then heads out to catch her bus. 

Just like a tree falling in the forest... this happens whether I am home to hear it or not. 

She has always been like this... 

She gets herself off to school... She has never lost a house key. She actually GOES to school. She looks great. She's alway clean. She works hard in school... she has to work at it... it does not come as easy for her as it does for some people. She gets excellent grades. She's very responsible. 

Over the past few years I have gotten to know her better and our relationship has greatly improved because of it. She is pretty open with me now... and still... anything that she doesn't feel that comfortable coming to me with, she will go to Wally about, knowing that it WILL get back to me...

Because of her daily actions, I do not view her as a drug addict, or as promiscuous, or as a person needing psychiatric "help".... 

I view her as an above average teenager and I am quite proud to be her Mom. 

With that much said.... 

Yes... she has made some bad choices, some mistakes.... mistakes that she is still paying the price for.

I'm not going to blame others for her choices.... but I will say that I am seeing too many similarities to Dani's high school years here and Tony's. I am hearing Dani say now what Tony said a few years ago. 

I also know that my own problems that I've been having here ( in the workplace and with "friends") are not so different than the problems my kids have been facing.

It's giving me a lot to think about.   

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Monday Can Start Now

Well, there were no calls for work this weekend... that's the problem with "temp" work, it usually isn't there when you need it. 

I just bit the bullet and emailed Gina telling her I'd return to work there if she still needs me. I'd rather not go back... It just does not seem like a good idea. Another thing about the job that I did not mention before, is that I found out that she pays "under the table" to avoid taxes... at one time in my life that might've been okay, but now?... It is NOT okay at all... 

I'm just thinking maybe I should try to keep that door open... but I really don't care if she slams it shut in my face... 

I've just spent the weekend resting, sleeping, thinking, worrying and waiting for the phone to ring. 

Today I'm making plans for tomorrow. It'll be Monday and things will be open and I can get some stuff done. There are still a few resources for me to look into here... it just takes time to do it.

I want to call a lawyer, look for housing, look for work, there's a place downtown that will print my resumes for free, a trip back to the opportunity council place is in the plans, (they were a great help the last time I was struggling) and I should also stop into the food bank... 

There's also another "temp" agency in town... I don't think you're supposed to work for both temp places at the same time... but I'll find out... no harm in asking... and I'm feeling the need to get creative.   

Hoping that I'll be able to donate plasma tomorrow too. My arm has finally healed after almost two weeks of babying it... yes another burn... right after the elbow healed,  I fried the inside of my forearm (this time on the pita oven) ... geez I've been really good at getting myself burned the past couple of months.

Yes, all of these plans are made... unless I get called to work... and in that case I'll be working instead.  

Friday, October 22, 2010

Stuck On Stupid

I clearly understand the expression "scared stiff"... I have experienced it a few times...

I've been scared stiff for a couple of days and stuck on stupid.

This morning I woke up and... I don't know... I can't tell you what it is inside of me... because I don't know what it is... 

I just felt good and felt like everything's going to be alright.

It was raining and drippy dreary and super cold, but through my eyes, it was a beautiful morning. The world lays before me... yeah maybe I've lost my mind.

As I made some coffee I put in a call to Blob-Employ to have them put me on the call list for this weekend. Oh, I hope they call... 

I've gotten emails from Gina. She wants me to return to work. Her whole problem is that she can't pay me more than minimum wage. ( Seriously should have told me that on day one...) I told her that I'd have to think about it. Yes, I know.... but work is work, and money is money, and it might be okay just going in there a few hours in the early morning and then going to work somewhere else afterward... At least I have been assured that she IS going to pay me. 

I got some referrals for good lawyers that deal with on-the-job harassment and discrimination. Only waiting to call because I was short on minutes on my phone. All I really want from that is my three weeks pay from February when I was wrongfully suspended. I believe that by law I am entitled to that pay. We will see. Washington state employment laws are pretty wonky.  

I also have forms on the desk to fill out for the Department of Child Support... it won't help me right away but it's a start I guess.

Wally and I made a trip out to go to the bank where I deposited 98 cents and got the rest back in cash. We had to go down and pay the car payment... at least I could pay that! 

Really I had to giggle about my bank deposit... well? At least I have a bank account still... haha!! Well, 98 cents is better than a negative balance.. haha!! Well actually I'm carrying a balance of MORE than 98 cents, not much more, but still, haha!!

Then we made a trip to the grocery store... can't spend more than 20 bucks... hmm... let's see... 

It was our lucky day. We found chicken breasts for 97 cents a pound. We went to look at fresh veggies, but all we can do is "look" at those anymore. (one reason why we frequent the Chinese market, the veggies are fresh and cheaper) Seriously, there is SOMETHING really wrong when fresh raw broccoli costs twice as much as your meat... So we went to look on the canned veggie aisle... 69 cents a can for corn... basically a can of salty water but whatever.. that works for now...

I don't know what will happen about my lack of paying rent... or our eviction... I just hope I have enough time to work and get some money together to find a place to go and keep a roof over our heads... 

All I know is I can't worry a whole lot about it, because I'll get scared, get stupid, and I'll stop... and I can't do that. 

I have to keep on going.  

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Time For A Change

Yesterday was a horrible day... The day deteriorated from the morning when I quit my job.

I came home to blog about it.. blow off my steam and then I collapsed on the couch in a messy lump to drift into a dreamless light sleep... 

Wally was looking at "want ads"... I vaguely recall his voice, "Here's an assistant bakery manager job, you should send in your resume,"

"You send it," I said.

"I want to see you get back on that horse," he told me. 

"I'm tired of the horse... you ride it for a while," and I rolled over. 

I was sleeping good when my kiddo showed up at the door. Tony came to visit. We fed him and talked for hours... I was really wanting to sleep ALL day... sleep FOREVER... but I wanted to see Tony more... 

Then there was a knock on the door and we all fell totally silent... there was a sense of dread.. the air instantly turned thick... we heard the paper rustle, as yet another eviction notice was taped to our door... I probably cannot stave it off this this time... I have no more income coming in at the moment. ( I don't think the joker's at the flatbread place have any intention of paying me anything)

A bit later on we received a phone call from the property management people. Yeah, they probably aren't going to give us much more time living here... we don't have anyplace to go... yet...

I'm kicking myself in the butt for quitting Twilight... It wasn't much but it was something... 

Then Wally took Dani to her mandatory "counciling program" and Tony and I really had a chance to talk... like old times... more was said... we were both more open with each other since it was one on one. It was a good couple of hours.

Then Wally and Dani came back in with long faces.... oh my heavens... What now? 

Dani had just "graduated" in her counciling program a couple of weeks ago, and it was reduced to once a week... instead of three times a week.

Now? She had to sit there, look me in the eyes and tell me what happened. 

"My UA came back dirty," she said...

WHAT??? WHAT???? She hasn't been anywhere! Hasn't done anything! 


She swears she didn't do anything... I don't know what to think... I want to believe her.. 

She's back into counciling three days a week... great... just freeking WONDERFUL!.. (this costs money you see... Jake is supposed to be paying for this, but of course he isn't.. so since I am the primary guardian, it's going on my credit... I have been receiving phone calls regarding paying for it.)

Then I'm also thinking about a UA that came back bad for me once, years ago, (cheap tests...  I've had to take them for years with my employers) and I knew it was wrong. It had to be wrong. I hadn't done anything at all... I insisted on a retest right then and there, which then gave a valid reading... (I had to do a third one and the negative result was accepted after that) ... is that the case here? 

So I am not sure what to think... I KNOW she hasn't had a "party" night... she hasn't been OUT... 

Again... I am thinking of the past when Tony was accused of vandalizing cars. (He'd been grounded and home with me for the entire month) They swore they had pictures of him and everything caught on video and they were going to take this to court... They threatened me... Guilty until proven innocent.. That's the way it is here. 

I told them to bring it on, because I was sure they had pictures of someone else... and they did.. they had pictures of someone else... nothing ever happened further with that... except that I'm still angry over it. 

Then what I went through at Twilight? My test came back clean (of course) and they still insisted on treating me as if I'd done something wrong... couldn't possibly admit that THEY had made a mistake...  

I wish I could just get Dani out of here... Get all of us out of here... Who knows? That might be the plan yet.

I'd planned to get up early today and call blob-employ and get myself some work for today, but I just couldn't get out of bed. 

I'm SO disappointed in SO many ways.... mostly disappointed in myself... 

How long has it been now?... oh, it just seems like every choice I make has been the wrong choice... I am not strong. I am not brave. I am not smart. I'm just muddling on through this life trying to survive. 

I did get an extra check from Twilight... it's enough to pay my car payment. So I am saved there... 

By the time I got up the sun was already shining. (I am usually up WAY before the sun makes an appearance) It's cold here, and I stepped out onto our balcony in my robe with a cup of coffee... took a deep breath of the crisp autumn air... and tried to gather my thoughts... It's a new day. 

What do I do next?

I dunno...

What am I going to do next? 

Ohhhh, I have no clue...

A flicker woodpecker flew up to our feeder... the sun was shining through his tail and it was bright red... he turned his head and I could see the splashed mark of a red streak going back from his eye... it looked unreal... like someone had rubbed red paint on him with a fingertip streaming it back... so bright red... so beautiful. 

It's fall and the birds are changing...

Perhaps I should change too. 


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Spur Of The Moment

I made a decision this morning... a sudden one... but I believe it was the right choice.

This battle was not worth fighting...

I went in this morning to face more crap. 

Right off the bat it was Mr RoadBlock questioning me over the stupid recipes... and to be perfectly honest, since I have only been working four hours a day (because they decided the day after I started that they cannot afford to pay me full-time) I have really not had any time to FIX the dammed recipes. 

"You lie to us," he said, "Why you not tell us you have no experience making bread?"

EXCUSE ME??????..... WHAT????

"I DO have a lot of experience making bread," I told him, "But I'm used to making 150 loaves at a time... not like this, where your recipe starts out with 5 cups of flour. I'm used to starting out with at least 50 POUNDS of flour. You don't even have a mixer big enough to handle it,"

I went ahead cutting pita dough and weighing them up in 4 ounce pieces as he continued to ramble on about the business and their mistakes and their goals... and about their previous "kitchen managers" ( they'd had 2 in the past three months) and both had come in as professional bakers but neither of them knew how to bake either... It was all okay that I had lied because they were liars too...

Oh boy...

I was starting to fume... 

WHO'S the freeking LIAR here?

"I did not lie to you," I told him, "But you and Gina have not been honest with ME," 

(Boy.. did the eyebrows fly up then!)  "What? What you mean?"

"I was told this would be MY kitchen... I was told about GeekBoy... I was NOT told anything about YOU and how YOU would be contradicting everything I say... I was told this was a FULL-TIME position. I haven't worked a full day YET! I was told I'd have two days off per week. I worked SIX days this week and you seem to expect that to continue. The wages I asked for? Two days after I started I was told you couldn't afford to PAY me! I haven't made one thin dime yet!"

I shut up then because it was going to get bad... I started rounding dough as thoughts were going around in my head... could I see myself doing this long-term?... will they EVER pay me?... what about the screaming match Sunday morning?... this is just the beginning... it might get better... it might get worse... but it will certainly remain close to the same for a while... 

I watched the rice flour fly off of my hands as I rounded dough in each hand and I thought...

I'm wasting my time... I AM just wasting my time... and you know what?

Why should I waste one more minute of MY time here? No... one more second... Why waste one more second?

I didn't even wash my hands. I grabbed my notepad and my coffee cup and went to put on my jackets.

"What you doing?" Mr RoadBlock called. 

"I'm leaving," I said as I walked out the back door to head to my car.

He ran out into the darkness and cold, coming after me... "Don't go!" he called, "Was it something I said?" 

I started to laugh... 

They think I'm a liar. They think I'm going to cheat them. They do not trust me. They think I'm not really a professional baker???

Perhaps, in this case it is not a matter of being strong... 

It's a matter of being smart. 

"Goodbye!" I yelled across the parking lot...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Four Is The Magic Number

I've had a day to collect myself... console myself... and it's been good.

I'm trying to decide what to do next...

What the heck do I do next?

The new job has been rough... but... I still feel like I can make this fly... If I'm strong enough.


Am I strong enough?

I feel like if I take this by the reigns I can make us all some money. I just honestly believe it.. but can they believe me? And will I really have to fight them all the way?

Mr RoadBlock called tonight, "We go in at five," he says.

 "No," I said, "We go in at four,"


"Yes.. We go in at four... See you then," I said.

"Okay," he said.


I really couldn't believe I did that. Where did it come from?

 "Was that being aggressive baby?" I asked Wally. He smiled and said, "Baby, that was being assertive and I am so proud of you,"


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Just Stick That Barbari Up Your...

I'm getting pretty tired... I have worked like every day... every day... and you know... there's stuff going on in my personal life as well as my work life.

My daughter wants to do school over the internet like Tony did... I'm having to pause before giving that one the "go ahead"... and then there's the thing about being broke... It looks like these folks are not intending to pay me until the first of next month. My car payment is due tomorrow and I don't have quite enough to cover it.. Rent? Oh... don't even want to go there...  

Every day at work has been a matter of increasing production and tweaking recipes to get them like we want them... and even over the recipes there have been battles. 

Some think that we should add MORE sugar to our Barbari recipe... while I was trying to take it out. Every Barbari recipe I have found so far does NOT have any sugar in it. So whut the ????

There is also the issue of increasing recipes and converting everything to freeking ounces! ( for our own ease, because of our scale) Oh dear heavens... I have NEVER had to mix recipes which start out with 104 ounces of water...Puuuhhhh leeeeeeze!.... 

Here again Gina has the right idea. She wants a "set" recipe book put together. I have been working on it, but here we go... my hours were cut back to 3 or 4 hours per day... (just enough to ruin my life and not enough to make any money... myeh... if they ever DO pay me.) 

My time has been spent doing production, learning their ways and starting to change things to make production go faster... retraining GeekBoy without him really knowing that I'm doing it. I'm getting the other bakers on the same page... (the sweets and cakes bakers)

I've been coming home to rework the recipes and get them typed up and researching more flatbread recipes that would be more cost effective and delicious... I also found THE coolest conversion chart which can make small recipes into large volume ones... you know, you cannot just double the recipe for bread and expect it to come out right. It doesn't work that way... This conversion chart shows you how to do it by percentages.. This percent flour, this percent yeast, and so on... I've never seen anything like it before but it seems brilliant... It should work. (If I can just do the math... might have to phone up Tony to come over and help me with it! LOL!)

Umm... so yes I do still have a bit of enthusiasm left... even after today...

I still have enthusiasm and ... I am hopeful... I don't know WHY I am so dammed hopeful, but I just keep thinking... well?... something has to go my way eventually... doesn't it? And I'm dead set sure that ALL things happen for a reason....

I went in this morning rather late, at 8am, as requested by Mr. RoadBlock. We had a rather good morning as he was being very nice, instead of combative... He started talking about his life... I was captivated. It was so interesting... 

In his country he was a contractor he said. I had to listen closely to understand all that he was saying. I did listen close. I wanted to hear what he had to say. He was in charge of putting up transformers. He is well educated. He went to University. 

He started to laugh... "What a weird life!" he exclaimed... "I never thought I'd do dis!... Here I am baking pita.," 

I laughed along with him, "I never thought I'd be baking pita either!"   

I was tired though and I ended up omitting the oil in the first two mixes I did... I had just missed it when I had copied the recipes from GeekBoys book. ( these were tried and true white and wheat pita recipes that I do not want to alter) I also mixed a Barbari bread batch, a large one, that was correct. 

We started in on the wheat pitas to bake them and that's when I realized I'd screwed both of the pita recipes. Holy Cow! Ohhh Noooooooooo! 

By then it was ten and the shop was opening. Gina and the son were working.. Oh good... I instantly realized why nobody wants to work Sundays, and what kind of boob that I am for agreeing to work Sunday... 

Gina works in the shop on Sunday... That is why no one wants to be there. 

Gina instantly blew her top! I mean she came unglued. Yes, we were low on product on the shelves. We ended up having a very busy weekend and made a lot of sales... a good thing in my mind... (personally I think we should close on Sunday like every other shop in this town)... 

Her explosion resulted in a good hour PLUS,  screaming match between her and her ex (Mr. RoadBlock) in their language... so I was really clueless as to most that was said.. but they kept pointing at me and my name was said and Geekboy was mentioned and it appeared to me as if Mr RoadBlock was coming to my defense. Gina was just full of venom. 

Their kid went out front to open the shop and turned his music on blasting loud. It was so loud that even though I was across the table from these folks in the baking area I really could not hear them... I only heard this weird version of Pink Floyd.. 

Then customers came in, the music was turned down and the arguing stopped.

Except that I found myself confronted with Gina's wrath as soon as the customers left... the recipes... the recipes... this is why we make mistakes... we need the recipe book!

Lookit.. I've worked in bakeries all of my life and mistakes are made, with a recipe book or not. We try to always make things right, but if we mess up we try to fix it... if we can't fix it? What we have is made into something else if possible. 

Before I knew it we were screaming at each other.  

I felt myself getting hot... as she raised her voice to me I raised mine to her, and I totally hate that shit. I got divorced because I hate that shit.  

Well, I need TIME to do it! She told me I should do it on my own time. I told her that I HAVE been! But I need more time in the shop to convert my measured recipes to OUNCES with her crappy scale! 

She went over again what she wants to see with a recipe guide and I cut her off. I KNOW THAT!

"As you asked, I sent you all of the recipes that  are complete and that I want to keep by email. Did you get them?" I asked... "Um, oh. I haven't checked my email yet," she said 


THAT is when the top of my head blew off. I'm quite sure my face turned blood red and my blood pressure shot through the roof. I was royally pissed off.

"Fine... THIS is NOT going to WORK for me!" I yelled at her. I started to blubber... can't tell you what I said exactly but I'm sure it made sense at the time. She expects all this stuff, then she allows me NO TIME to do it. My hours are cut... CRAP!!! I'm in a worse spot than I was BEFORE!

I was seriously ready to just tell her to cut me a check and I'l be on my way... I AM DONE!... Eff OFF!!

Here again I am in this spot where I have worked my buns off and I don't have one flat dime in return yet. THESE people!!! THIS place!!! 

But she did a complete "about-face"... Oh no... everything is great... Would you like me to go print off your recipes now please?" 

Yes please... 

Oh for fux sake... 

I know she's nervous about me. I am nervous about her. My gut is telling me, do not trust someone that does not trust you... 

I will tell you that I was SO ready to just walk out of there today... it's done.. I'm done... this is over... I mean really? It isn't like THEY'VE PAID ME ANYTHING YET... She wants me to work at home on my own time... uh huh... which I have already done... but what I have asked for in wages is too much? 

I mixed another white pita and a wheat pita dough (the right way this time) before I left. 

I was cleaning up and started gabbing with their kid. He asked if I liked the music. "Well, YEAH man, it's Pink Floyd," I said.

His eyes got wide, "You know Pink Floyd?"  (kids... ya gotta luv 'em.. as they think they have discovered all of this stuff that none of us old folk have ever heard before)

"Yeah buddy, I LOVE Pink Floyd... but I don't recognize this... what is it?" I asked.

"It's The Pink Floyd Experience," he said and went on to tell me that this group was given the right to reproduce the music. Hmm... did not know that. 

"Oh yes I saw that they were down at the Mountain Theater," I said.

"Yeah, I went to that concert!" he said. "How was it?" I asked. " IT WAS THE BEST!" he said and starting going into detail...

Mama Gina kept busy and was smiling now. 

I pulled the Barbari bread out of oven and this was a hit with the boy. "Oh, it smells soooo good! I want to eat some NOW!" he exclaimed as he glanced at his mother and she gave him the "okay" nod to cut a loaf. He loved it and said that the texture was just right.

She tasted it too and said it was not right... "It is sweet... WHY is it sweet?"

Four ounces of sugar... FOUR ounces of sugar in a 238 ounce batch of dough and SHE tastes the sugar. (See what I mean with the ounces thing? It's driving me NUTS)  

This was another battle... One that I have been fighting all week... and I explained it then. 

"It is sweet because it has sugar in it," I said, " I wanted to take the sugar out, and I did, but then everyone complained that the sugar should be back in," I completed with a sigh.

"WHO complain?," she asked and when I told her she waved her hands like waving away flies... 

"There is no sugar in Barbari," she said, and I replied, "Yes, I know," 

I went on to tell her that I do have other recipes to try... to try to get closer to what they are missing from home... 

I do understand. They are far away from "home"...  

It's different for me, because I consider where I AM ... wherever it is... it IS  "my home".... but I miss things too.... I miss collard greens... you cannot really get them here... You can sometimes, but then they are small and expensive, and they are just not even CLOSE to the same as you get in the south.

I miss my southern iced tea... I miss Kraft peanut butter... I miss Hellman's mayonnaise.. 

"The texture, the softness, will it still be the same if you remove the sugar?" the son asked. "Yes," I said, "The sugar is not an active ingredient in this recipe... it's doing nothing beyond adding flavor," 

Things were calm then but I was simply DONE. I told her that I was going home. "You aren't going to stay to work on recipes?" she asked. "Nope," I said, "Not today. It's been a bad day. I'd probably mess them all up. It is not a good day for that. I should stop now,"

She kept me over anyway to discuss ordering product for the shop... I surprised her by telling her that I had taken an inventory of the product we had on hand the first day that I started. I know exactly "how much" of "what" we have gone through this week.. three bags of wheat flour, four bags of bread flour, one bag of all purpose flour.. and so on and so forth... 

I am going to email her the rest of the recipes before I fix them...  their tattered scratched mess of recipes will be in a neatly typed form, ready or not, complete or not, converted or not, she's getting them! (let's just waste a whole bunch of time why don't we? We'll do it NOW, but it's wrong) ... just go ahead and laminate THAT! (for our permanent recipe book) 

She is absolutely NOT getting MY recipes... that much is for sure... 

I AM taking tomorrow OFF. 

I am NOT answering my freeking phone... 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Out of a Frying Pan Into A Fire

Like I said before, I expected a challenge. I did NOT expect... a WAR...  and that has been what it has been at this new shop.

I walked in as the new "manager" but Mr RoadBlock is standing in my way barking orders at me AND my baker (Nerdboy)... I've had to have great confidence to stand up to this and "bark" back louder... at this point it has not been confidence as much as desperation... and the fact that I am at my last... straw... in this stupid little ignorant town... 

I know how to make them money.. (make us ALL some money) .. they've put blinders on me and tied my hands behind my back. (Yeah we want to make money but we don't want to CHANGE anything... well, geez, THAT ain't happening folks... changes are coming... IF you want to make money.. ) 

Gina wants me to give her exact costs on everything we produce. Okay, I can do that.

She will not share with me what she pays for anything.. (areyoufreekingkiddingme???) 

Alrighty then... in that case,  I CANNOT give you exact costs on everything if I am not allowed to know how much you spend on a 50 pound bag of bread flour... 

So there you go.. I am kept in the dark... I have been lied to...

THEN I have ( her x-husband) Mr. RoadBlock to handle. He has no bakery experience at all but of course he insists that he is going to run this... although I am in charge and he knows it... he is not quite ready to accept that... sometimes... other times he caves in... he knows I am right.. but he must retain his manly manhood masculinity thing... ( he is very, VERY insecure) 

TWO DAYS after I started, everything changed. A whole new group of bakers were hired in, (on commission basis), a whole bunch of supplies were ordered and I was caught by surprise to be pulled aside and told that the shop was now going under and that they could not afford to pay me as a full time employee.. They would need me only four hours a day.. or maybe six hours...  Would I please surrender my recipes?... 

WHAT?... ( yeah... I instantly had a heart attack...)

Look... It's like this... I just gave up my health insurance, paid holidays, and paid vacations, because I thought THIS would be better in the long run because YOU SAID IT WAS A FULL-TIME POSITION. 

Sure. I'll give you my recipes just as soon as I convert them ( to ounces because all they have is this funky digital scale that only weighs in ounces) ... 

(or as soon as hell freezes over... sooo... this might take a while.. Like... I am NEVER handing over my recipes. How's that?)

Every single thing has been a battle as I've been trying to take control of this place.

I can't get inventory price lists.

No one was even told that I was coming in as a manager. 

I am not allowed a key.

I am told to do things and then as I try to do them it's made impossible to accomplish because I have no resources...

It's been totally cool with the other bakers and the sales clerks. I've been able to manage them just fine. I know what I'm doing and they can tell. I've been able to solve a lot of problems, offer good solutions, make everyone's job easier and more productive... I think that part is going as well as it can go.  

My WAR has been with the owner and her x-husband Mr RoadBlock. ( I have not had enough time to try other Barbari recipes for him by the way..)  

My hours have been cut and I'm soooooo not happy... and I'm not getting any days off... and they've been calling me constantly... and I'm not so sure that I'm ever going to get paid ANYTHING... so I am ready to freakin FLIP OUT! 

They are insisting on making pita bread... neato... but very time consuming and we're losing a lot of money on it. I have suggested cutting back on that. We can make some, but really it's crazy to kill ourselves to make boatloads of pitas and continue losing more and more money and wasting production time that could be spent making other.. larger.. different flatbreads that we CAN cut a profit on. 

They said "Okay,"

Then they continued to panic over keeping their shelves full of pitas. 

I gave GeekBoy the weekend off. I was supposed to take Sunday (tomorrow) off too. As we discussed it yesterday Mr RoadBlock puffed up saying NO... "Dis was never talked to wit me!" he ranted. WHOA! I was right back at him. "We talked about this Monday Tuesday and Wednesday and you were right here, and I let Gina know too,"

GeekBoy got the weekend off.

I had to go in by myself today. I was called last night by Mr RoadBlock and told that he didn't want to go in early. He'd open the door for me at 8am... so okay. Then he called again... he couldn't be there at 8... Gina would open for me at 9:30... (lied to me... the shop opens at 8am... they just didn't want me there until 9:30... well shytz.. just SAY so!) 

I did not return his call that time.. so he called back and Wally answered. I was in a half-snooze sprawled all over the couch and only dreamily registered my love's voice, "It's that @ss again... What does he want now?"  Then he answered the phone, "Hello?... Yes, she's sleeping,.... She's sleeping.... I'm not waking her, she's asleep.... YES, you have the right number. WHAT DO YOU WANT?... Yes 9:30... Yes she knows,"

Even in my grogginess I had to smile sideways... that's my lover *wink wink*... 

So I went in today at 9:30am...  (gag)  Knowing that I'd only have a few hours... (choke) I am wasting my freeking time... 

I started in just making up all of the dough that was already mixed. It really could not sit any more. So I had all of the Lavash and white pita cut, weighed, rounded and ready to go, wheat bread in the proof box and a French bread on the mixer by the time Mr RoadBlock got there to "help" me...

He looked in the mixer and asked me what it was. I told him and he bellowed, "That's not enough! Why you do dis?" 

I'm already totally OVER this... "It's enough," I told him. I made sure I sounded stern... I had enough dough in there for ten baguettes. It was enough. 

Then it was time for the fun to start. I had to roll out the pitas (with a rolling pin) I happen to be pretty good at it but he does not trust me like he trusts NerdBoy.. He barked, "It's TOO big!... It's TOO small!" as I was rolling them, and I was starting to lose it, "They're exactly the SAME size!" He was just barking to hear his own bark. 

Taking a pause from rolling pitas I had to go grab my mini wheat breads from the proof box and put them in the oven and hand roll my French baguettes to put in the proof box, back to back... in a small shop it's back to back, back to back to get it done.

Mr RoadBlock had taken to rolling out the pitas. He is not good with a rolling pin at all. As I passed by with my breads I called out, "THAT'S TOO BIG!" and Mr RoadBlock snickered. On my next pass I called out, "That's TOO SMALL!" and then he was laughing out loud... 

I never heard another word about the way MY pitas were rolled out... except "GOOD" and "NICE" 

Then as I was cleaning up to leave and planning to take tomorrow off... we started running out of their blasted precious pitas... yeah you know.. the ones that we spend more money and time on to make than anything? Yeah, the ones we consistently lose money making... 

Mr RoadBlock comes back to tell me that we have to stay and make more white pitas. 

"No we're not. The shop is closing in five minutes," I said.

I got my way... 

But somehow I agreed to go in tomorrow to make the dammed things.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

This Means WAR...or Barbari...

I started my new job on Monday...

Kitchen Manager... new job.. new shop.. new people... new business... I expected a challenge...

But where do I find myself???

I have engaged in a full out WAR... complete with many little variables        ( flies to swat ) ... and many little battles to engage in... many... many ... battles... and a huge WAR.

I'm not physically exhausted from this job although I am a working manager... but I'm telling you these people get me worn out... mentally. They give me brain damage..

I have had to keep my confidence level at a record high, and I mean HIGH.

And really... I do know my stuff... this is what I do... I have worked in bakeries and restaurants all of my life... At this point I can say 30 years... (ouch!) .. but yeah...

A challenge? Is not even the way to describe this... like I said before... this is WAR...

The bright light of the whole thing is my full-time baker... a culinary school grad geek that knows nothing of production baking but he knows all about the science of the works... He rocks... really... within the last three days we have taught each other more than either of us could ever read in a book.

His information fascinates me. In return I am starting to teach him production baking.

We were "rounding" small pieces of dough. I was doing two at a time, one in each hand. He was doing one at a time with one hand and then he said, "You might do it better if you only used one hand," ... uh huh...

Mine were fine... except I was doing 2 or 4 to his 1...

It's okay.. I just had to smile as I said, "The only purpose of this is getting the air out of the dough. They don't have to be freeking perfect... you need to learn how to work them with both hands... God gave you two hands, use both of them... Plus.. if you do ever work in a commercial bakery, I promise you that they will laugh at you if start in rounding dough with only one hand,"

I was also given a Mr. RoadBlock...

I was not informed that Mr. RoadBlock was going to be a part of my life... let alone such a big fat pain in my @$$...

Mr Roadblock is a very proud man from a Middle Eastern country that has great difficulty with English and no experience at all in a bakery.

So far he has smashed plastic bags on top of of rounded dough making them stick like glue, (we had to rework all of it)  He has reset our oven timers to burn up numerous items.

It has been like running after a toddler... you have to watch him constantly because you never know what stupid thing he'll do next.

That was an issue.. I know how to run this... yet he was trying to give instruction too... No, that's not gonna fly...  

He has cost us a lot of production time.

I suggested that perhaps Mr RoadBlock could be of more use elsewhere...

That sort of worked.

As of today...He is still there... here... but just sits in the corner and does not try to "help" anymore or shout out orders... and that is fine. 

Yep, works for me...

I can't help it but my heart does go out to him. He wants to taste his homeland in his beloved Barbari bread... but what we are making just isn't it.

He looks at me, touches my shoulder and I feel how desperate and homesick he is, "Can you make dis bread?" he asks, "Can you fix dis?"

Well? How can I make something that I'm not really sure what it's supposed to taste like?.. to be like?.. I have found different recipes... here again... guess what? There are different recipes for different regions...

"I WILL try," I told him...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

I Quit

  I am not a quitter. 

I normally do not quit anything... doesn't matter how hard it is for me, how bad it is, nope, doesn't matter, I am not going to quit... I'll wait until it's the worst it can get before I throw in that towel... and even at that.. sometimes I'll yank that towel back in saying... no, I didn't mean that... I'm NOT quiting.

My lover woke me for work last night and I... I don't know... I just had a revelation of sorts...

They have threatened me so many times with firing me. They do not care if I am gone tomorrow. They do not need me. I do not cut their mustard. 

Remind me again? Why am I bustin myself to get there? They have been firing me for a year and a half. I am not important to them. 

They don't pay me enough for any of it to matter. 

This is the truth... I can make more money in ONE day at the cereal plant doing general labor than I can in one WEEK (all night shifts... yes SIX nights) at Twilight. 

Why don't I just work at the cereal plant all the time? Because I can't always get it... In the meantime the folks at Twilight get pissed at me for attempting to work a second job. I should have FULL availability.

I had planned to give two weeks notice, but just cut back my availability (a lot) 

Then I thought... well one week would be enough. I am really done. I do not want to work there anymore. At this point they could not pay me enough to continue.

I have had a taste now of what I used to take for granted. When I went for this new job I was treated like a real person. Instead of being treated like I'm stupid, I was treated with respect and common decency. My ego and my confidence has been renewed. My new employer BELIEVES in me.. 

I had no idea this would happen but I will tell you that it quickly made a major impact on the way I view myself... with someone in my professional life thinking that I am valuable?... It has made me strong. 

When Wally woke me I asked for the phone... I was going to call in sick. I'm tired. I have done night after night after night of short shifts.. for what? Half of a paycheck.... Half... Half of nothing equals nothing. 

Of course they did not answer the phone. I kept trying for about an hour until I got someone finally and explained that I HAD tried to call sooner but nobody was picking up.

With that done we went back to bed to actually sleep through a night... 

This morning I starting thinking about this upcoming week. I told my new boss that I would start for her on Monday. (I was scheduled off on Monday at Twilight) I figured I'd work the schedules around a bit and everything would be okay. 

Then I was thinking... why?... Why do I need to give notice to Twilight? 

They didn't give any notice to ME when I was suspended for three weeks cause somebody smelled beer. It wasn't me I swear and I blew a .0008 (yes that is 3 zeros... I have the results in print) I'm not sure but I think mouthwash probably has more alcohol in it than that. 

They didn't give notice to me after I quit my second job that they were going to cut my hours in half. They didn't give me any notice this last time when I bought my car that they'd cut my hours in half again.

They have threatened to fire me over and over again. If I spit into the wind or fart sideways they are going to fire me. 

So, I decided... although I am poor and totally broke right now and all... it just isn't worth the 40 bucks to go in and deal with any more abuse, threats and demands.... ever... they can keep their 40 bucks.

It's not even worth one more day. So, I decided to at least call them and tell them I quit.

Then they STILL didn't answer the phone..It's a freeking grocery store and they do not answer the phone!?!?! *Sigh* Welcome to The Twilight Zone. On the planet I'm from, courtesy clerks must pick up the phone by the second ring. But alas... I am no longer on the planet that I am from. 

Finally I got an answer and I asked for the P.I.C. .... I ended up talking to Jack... remember Jack from his short stint in the bakery? 

Oh Jack and I went around and around. 

I was frying and he was to be my four o'clock baker... instead of working he was making out a list of more things for me to do. I had a large order, I was falling behind and getting... going.... losing my... I started to freak... I asked him to help me out but he was too busy being an assistant manager. 

I threw my hands up in the air and told him "I'm sick. I'm leaving," 
He said, "no you're not,"
I said, "Yes I am, watch me,"
He said, "Okay then I'll fire you,"
I said, "Okay then, go ahead,"
He paused.
I said, "Go ahead! You'd be doing me a favor!"
He said, "You can't leave it's against the law,"
At that point I just about busted a gut laughing... then I let loose all of the frustration I had built up.. it splattered all over the poor guy. 

Don't you "get it" you stoopid boob? You aren't a "manager"... This is the bakery department. Managers.. all managers are WORKING managers in the bakery department! 

There was quite a lot said and most of it was not nice... and it really wasn't Mr Boobs fault.. he just happened to irritate me on a day when I hadn't slept in 62 hours and was starting to lose my shit. (That was last winter when I was doing the bus thing and had no time to sleep) 

I did apologize later. He did not deserve the huge amount of crap I dumped on him. He deserved some of it, but not all of it.

He transferred out of the department shortly after to be a "manager" on the front end. (managing the cashiers and clerks and all) 

We talked a few times after that and I brought him coffee a few times when the gals down there would load me up with whatever was leftover at night. ( the coffee shop days, when I spent hours there waiting for my shift to start)

So Jack answered my call and I said,"Hi, I just called to quit. I am not coming back,"
He said, "Oh, is it because of Mr All American.. because of the note?"
HA! Oh, hmm..
"The note? Oh I have gotten many notes from Mr All American and I have saved them all," I said, "I'm just finished and done with this,"
Then Jake asked,"Would you come in to the store and talk to me about this tonight?"
"No," I said, "I don't ever want to set foot in that store again. I'll be sending my husband to return my uniforms and pick up my last check," 

Then he asked me to do him a favor... He wants me to write him a letter about why I have been so unhappy at Twilight. ( so he can fix things he says) HA!

He wants ME to write him a letter???  HAHAHA!!!! 

Well, it is already written... I wrote it down... just never sent it anywhere... now I have been invited to! 

HAHA! How sweet is that?