Tales from the Olive Garden: Part One – To Care or Not to Care

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When I was first out of college, I moved to Chicago and couldn’t get a job right away. So, I did what any 21 year old who is offputting real life does: I got a job waiting tables at the Olive Garden. In fact, I worked there for a over a year. I learned a lot of things in that year – but most of all I learned that the general public are complete and utter assholes.

My first week, I got a table of 6. I was still learning the ropes and this big table was one of the first ones I ever had. It was a family of two adults and 4 kids. Every single item was “special ordered” for the little brats. Carter wants plain spaghetti with no sauce, Morgan wants plain spaghetti with butter and cheese, Brandon wants cheese ravioli with no sauce,but melted mozzarella on top, etc. etc. etc. So, every single time I come back to the table, the Mom barks 10 things they want from me. Carter needs more Coke. Morgan wants extra cheese. Bring more breadsticks. Bring more butter. Bring another iced tea. More napkins. An extra fork! Bla bla bla!

I keep coming back, but I keep forgetting the extra butter because she is confusing me with all the different things she keeps asking for. So, the third time I come back with a tray full of stuff and yet again forgot the butter, the Mom stands up and completely starts to scream at me in the middle of the restaurant about how stupid I must be if I can’t remember something as simple as extra butter. The entire restaurant goes quiet while she goes off on me. The little brats are just smiling as they throw piles of spaghetti on the floor. I stand there for a minute, and then I say something like, “I am sorry that I forgot the butter, but it’s just that your family is very demanding!” and storm off. I went into the back and, yup – I started to cry. I felt so stupid because I did care that I forgot the stupid butter. I refused to go back to the table, and one of the managers took over for me. I got no tip.

Now, like I said, this was my first week, so I was new. I didn’t understand that customers treat you like shit whether you try or not. So, I learned a valuable lesson that day: I quit caring. And, that’s when the fun began. Oy, the stories!

Tune in next time!

Click here for Part 2

Seinfeld…. MAN HANDS!

Ahhh, yes. Another one of my favorites. Man Hands. We actually had a woman we used to work with that we called Man Hands. She had giant hands and shoulders for some reason. A real life Man Hands!

“It’s an eyelash… make a wish!”

The Perfect 70s Mold Meal!

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Yes, I am obsessed with the molds. I don’t know why – maybe because they are so completely bizzare and disgusting. Or, perhaps it’s because back in the day they seemed to be so enamored with gelatin – they would put anything in it. Meat, fish, fruit, nuts, vegetables – nothing is off-limits with the crazy gelatin mold!

I found these two under the “Low Calorie Dishes” section in my giant McCalls Recipe Card collection from 1974. I thought maybe they could go together as a delicious gelatin-themed meal! The Molded Shrimp Salad has unflavored gelatin, skim milk, mayonnaise (of course), chili sauce, lemon juice, green onion, tarragon, shrimp, celery and lettuce. It’s kind of like a milky Bloody Mary suspended in a pink quivering mass.

The Pineapple Orange Dessert Mold is fairly straightforward with OJ, flavored jello, pineapple and orange chunks and egg whites. Wait – egg whites? Hmmmm…. that must give it that extra firm consistency.

Actually, after reading the ingredients, I don’t think it so much “low calorie” as I wouldn’t eat much of it, so therefore the calories I consume would be low.

Oh Fuck! It’s Mr. Yuk!

I ran across this YouTube video of scary Mr. Yuk and almost shit my pants watching it again! In case you don’t remember, Mr. Yuk was invented in the 70s to scare little children out of drinking poisonous substances left casually around the house. They would give little Mr Yuk stickers out at the grocery store and you would stick them on the bleach, cleaners, nail polish, ammonia and other assorted dangers around the house. (No child-proof locked cabinets for us, you pansies!)

Anway, in conjunction with the stickers, they helpfully ran this public service announcement duiring all our Saturday morning cartoons to remind us that Mr. Yuk is scary and mean. It worked too well, I think — as it still scares the crap out of me 35 years later.

Sad, but true: It seems they don’t use Mr Yuk any more, as today’s soccer-playing, juice-box-drinkin’, seat-belt-wearing children would most likely be scarred for life if they had to watch something like this. (Actually it’s because they did some study in the 80s that says that it didn’t work any better than no sticker or something…) Whatever! It worked for me – I’m still traumatized by a bottle of Pine Sol!

I guess today’s children prefer to poison themselves slowly with McDonald’s three times a week and become obese by they time they are 12 – even with the soccer and juice boxes.

Boycott TBS!!!

kramerica!

OK – not really.  I just wrote that because I’m pissed off at TBS and that will be a good Google search headline.

They moved Seinfeld on their schedule! WTF???? Now it’s on at 4-5 instead of 5-6. Who fucking watches tv at 4pm unless your under the age of 10, sick, or unemployed? Then they have one Friends and then three Everybody Loves Raymonds. Who the hell wants to watch an hour and a half of that show? I watched Seinfeld on TBS every day while making dinner for the past 3 years! How can they do this to me?

I am not watching TBS any more until they move it back. I guess I’ll have to watch the local Fox affiliate at 6:30 instead.

You suck, TBS — and you have too many commercials.

Karma Wins Again

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So, I am a Volkswagen nut. I always have been. My parents’ first car that they got brand new when they got married was a sky blue 1967 Beetle. My first car was a 1972 orange Beetle. I learned how to drive a stick shift on that car. In college I had a 1982 Jetta, then I had a 1984 Rabbit convertible and then traded up to a 1997 Cabrio. I sold that a few years ago, but now I have a few collectibles to show for my VW obsession. I have a 1969 red Beetle convertible that my husband had and gave to me a few years ago, a 1969 butter yellow Karmann Ghia convertible and a 1969 tan Notchback. I just love the way they look and sound and smell. All classic VWs have that awesome smell.

There was a big car show this weekend in my local town and I entered my Notchback to be judged. Frankly, I kind of knew it was a crap shoot, as I live in a snooty area and a lot of people have a lot of nice collector cars around here that are way out of my league. But, it was for a good cause, and I love car shows and it was at a nice golf course here in town.

I find out that my Notchback is relegated to the category called “Thinking Outside the Box”, meaning that we don’t fit in with any of the rest of the groups. They should have called it “Goofy Car Group in a Show of Million Dollar Cars.” So, my group is fun — it’s got an Amphicar (half car/half boat), a Isetta, a Messerschmitt, a Nash Metropolitan, and lo and behold a beautiful restored 1958 Beetle. I am excited about the Beetle because it’s the only other Volkswagen in the whole show. Turns out the owner is a total jag.

First off he won’t talk to us, but he manages to tell one of the show workers that my car is from Canada and he knows quite a lot about Volkswagens. (So I guess we are all impressed, right?) Then, he starts ragging on my Notch because the sign says it’s 100% original, but it technically isn’t because although everything else is original, the car has been repainted. OK, so sue me, but I had two choices on the form: Original or Restored. I picked Original. But, he moans to anyone that will listen (including the judges) because I guess he must have been worried that I may win a prize over him or something! You could tell he was the typical Trophy Hound– all he cares about is winning at any cost, even if it’s tearing me down. What an ass.

Anyway, karma’s a bitch, eh? He didn’t win the category (nor did I) but the Messerschmitt did. I was glad the jerk lost — he deserved it. And the show? We were a little outclassed by most of the cars there, but it was still a good time.

I think I’ll stick to VW shows where hopefully my little Notch will get the love and admiration it deserves. And, if I see Mr Asswipe again, I’ll be sure and tell the rest of the Beetle guys what a little baby he is.

AMC’s “Mad Men” is Awesome

When I heard they were making a show about two of my favorite things, advertising and the early 60s, I was probably already hooked. But, happily, the show is awesome. Created by one of the Executive Producers of The Sopranos, this show is smart, interesting, and extremely well written and acted. I feel like I am transformed into it each week while I am watching. I can’t wait a week between episodes!

If you haven’t seen it already, order it from OnDemand or download it from iTunes. It’s worth every minute of your time, and better than The Sopranos in my opinion.