Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I'm so happy I did this favor!

Get your tissues out, ladies (and maybe some gentlemen),  this one is a goodie!

Back in October 1984, my brother married for the 2nd time.  His bride, Pam looked lovely in her wedding gown.  My brother and his wife both worked at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, in civilian jobs.  About year after their wedding, Mike and Pam had a baby girl, Shannon.

In 1987, Michael had the opportunity to take a job on Gitmo (aka Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on our Naval Installation) in a civilian job.  They jumped at the chance to live in the Caribbean for a a few (5) years.

I had just gotten my own wedding gown preserved, after sitting in the closet for 6 years or so.  Pam asked me if I"d get hers preserved and keep it while they were in Cuba.  So I did.

They came home from Cuba, back to their home in NJ in 1992 (give or take.... I'm not real sure of the timeline). I had recently moved from NJ back to PA.  I was always going to bring the gown back to Pam, but we never got around to it.

In 1995, Pam, at the age of 37, died suddenly from a cerebral hemorrhage.  We were all just devastated!!!  Shannon was 9 at the time and her brother Ryan, just 5.

Pam's wedding gown stayed on my closet floor, in the box for years.

About a year ago, I told my niece, Shannon that I still had her mom's wedding gown and if she got married and wanted it, I'd be happy to get it to her.  Shannon was quite overweight and told me the likely-hood of her ever being able to wear her mom's gown was slim.  I told her that she could use the material for part of another gown or use it to make a christening gown one day.

A few months later, Shannon underwent Lap band surgery and has lost about 100 pounds!  This chick is HAWT!!!!  And to top it off, every day she looks more and more like her mom!!!  It just takes your breath away when you see just how much.  ( a little side note: Shannon used to get upset whenever her dad started to date someone and it looked like it might get serious.  She said she was afraid her dad would forget her mom.  I told her, as did other people, that all Michael had to do was look at Shannon because she looks just like her mom.  There is no way he could ever forget her!)

Over the weekend, at a Phillies game, Shannon's boyfriend, Ron proposed during the 6th inning.  Their families were secretly waiting at the top of the section they were sitting in, for him to do the deed and to witness this wonderful event!  Of course Shannon said yes!

Tonight, Shannon sent me a message, asking me if I could give her mom's wedding gown to her.  She wants to see if she can use at least part of it for her wedding dress, if not wear the dress as is.  I checked out the dress and aside from a little yellowing (which could have happened in the few years before we had it preserved), the dress is in good shape!  Thank goodness no mice nested in it over the years (it did spend a couple of years in my attic).

So, sometime in the next several months, I'll get the dress to Shannon.  I'm so happy I got the dress preserved and even happier to know that Shannon might wear her mom's wedding gown, or at least part of it.  And I know for a fact that if Shannon wears that wedding gown, there won't be a dry eye in the church!

Friday, April 15, 2011

When the smoke clears, I wonder who will be left standing, besides me?

I see mutiny on the horizon, at work.  Rather than be concerned, I'm finding this all quite amusing!

Here is what happened.

I work for a national restaurant chain.  We were part of a 7 restaurant franchise.  Um... where I work, it's always Friday.  Got it?  Good!

Several months ago, we got word that our owner was selling off the franchise to a company out of California.  Big changes were a comin'!  Five of the seven stores were sold.  We were told this new company would be running the stores like the corporate stores (i.e. STRICT!!)  I heard some grumbling from some of my fellow employees.

I wasn't nervous about that.  I did 12 years of Catholic schools, in the 60s and 70s.  We had corporal punishment when I went to school.  Playing by the rules at work would be a piece of cake!

So the new company takes over.  We're all now on probation for 6 months.  We are all considered brand new employees.  Those of us left standing on September 4 would get back our seniority (I have 8 years in)  and our vacation pay (I was getting 3 weeks paid vacation).  But we all have to prove ourselves!  OK, I can do that.

All of our perks were gone!  No more extra pay to be shift leader (I am a shift leader a couple of times a week).  No extra pay to train new servers (I was a trainer.  Easy extra bucks each month).  My manager told me what was going on.... no reflection on me, blah, blah, blah.  This is the way the new company runs things for all 25 of their stores, blah,blah, blah.  I told him I wish we were still getting the little perks, but I was happy to have a job.  He seemed relieved.

Then, they put in a new computer system and brought people down from NY to train us on the new system.
I felt like a brand new server, left alone on my first day!  Now?  Easy peasy!!  I zip through ordering!  I still have questions from time to time but I'm getting it.  Some, ok a lot of the employees didn't like one of the trainers, but did like the other one.  The one they didn't like doesn't take shit off anyone.  The other would sneak out to smoke with them.

I hear grumbling from some of the other employees.  Some aren't happy.  They don't like the way things are changing.   I want to tell them to shut up and do their job or leave.  No one is forcing them to stay.

Lots of the rules are changing.  The new company didn't realize how things were before (aka lackadaisical, we could pretty much do whatever we wanted).  Now people are getting written up or sent home for being late.  Business is slow but the new company wants more servers on the floor, so less money for us (for now).  

Now they are putting their foot down regarding smoking and also drinking after work.  Lots of employees will go into the bar and give back half their tips in booze.  Now we are no longer allowed to drink in the bar, period, even if it's our day off.  We can sit in the restaurant part and order alcohol, but not in the bar ever.  This rule is company wide, not just the franchise.  No smoking on the property ever.  In Pennsylvania, there is no smoking inside the restaurant, but employees used to be able to go out back by the dumpsters and smoke (I'm sure you've all seen cooks and servers hanging outside a kitchen door, smoking and chatting.)  I don't smoke, and I don't drink (well, hardly ever), so it's no problem for me.  

Every few days, someone else leaves, usually just walking out, like someone did today.  Buh,bye!!  

What all these people who are bitching and moaning don't realize, and I wish I could be there when they do, is that, if and when they go to another restaurant to work, they are going to find the smaller sections, no drinking in the bar after work, they have to tip out everyone like they do here,   They'll be considered new servers, so they'll get lousy sections, cut early, less shifts.  Management could be super strict.

Everyone was spoiled because the manager we had until last year, when he got caught stealing the deposits.  Our old manager wouldn't fire anyone or reprimand anyone (well, hardly ever) because he didn't want to make any waves!  He was trying to fly under the radar so he wouldn't get caught!  Our owner wasn't much better!  Wouldn't give us money to get things fixed or replaced properly, was late in paying bills so we'd lose internet and other things.  

So now that things are being run the correct way, everyone is bitching!!!  This company has MONEY!!!!!  And they aren't afraid to spend it!  They spent nearly $100,000 on a new computer system.  Every few days, new equipment arrives.  They are willing to put thousands and thousands of dollars into our store to make it a better place to work.  And they are hiring a whole bunch of new people to work here.

And ya know what?  When the smoke clears and all the people I've been working with are gone, because they've either quit or management has had enough of their griping,  I'll still be standing and I'll be on top of the heap!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Update on my 3 reading challenges

I signed up for 3 separate reading challenges this year.  I think I'm doing pretty well, so far!  

First off, I'm doing a James Patterson Reading Challenge.  Most, if not all of the James Patterson books I'm "reading" are audio books.  I do a lot of driving, so I listen to the books in my car.  I've challenged myself to read 10+ James Patterson books.  The challenge ends on September 1, 2011.  I have 15 books on my list, as seen on this blog post .  I'm happy to report, as of this morning, I have 6 books under my belt!!

Another challenge I have signed for is the Nicholas Sparks book challenge.  I've never read any of Nicholas Sparks books and I've seen one or two of the movies! I have all of Nicholas Sparks listed here on this blog post.  There are 4 books crossed off this list so far.  This challenge ends at the end of the year.

The last challenge I'm doing is the Outdo Yourself reading challenge!  This one is cool because I can include my James Patterson books AND my Nicholas Sparks books I've read to the list!  I have those books listed here.  I'm happy to report that I have finished 17 books so far and have 3 in the works as I type!

If you click on the links to see the books I've read, there is also a link to the Challenges themselves!

My goal is to read 100 book in 2011.  I hope to read or listen to all he Nicholas Sparks books that are out there (he has a new one coming out soon too!)  I had a big head start on the James Patterson books!  I read quite a few of this books before this challenge even started, so all the books I have listed are his newest ones.  In my more general challenge, I'm including my very favorite authors, among them Sarah Pekkanen,  Jennifer Weiner, Janet Evanovich, Lisa Scottoline, Paul Levine, Stieg Larsson, Eleanor Brown, Elin Hilderbrand and many more!  If you're looking for some new authors to read, why not check out some of these fine authors!  My guess is you won't be sorry!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Dear So and So

Dear Mother Nature,
If you really wanted to play an April Fool's Day joke on Al Gore, why not just make it snow over his town and leave the rest of us alone?  I actually LIKE the fact that it's Spring!

Not amused by any means,

Dear Friends,
If you like Dear So and So, and want to give it a try, just pop over to Kat's Place at Three Bedroom Bungalow, hook up with her Linky and add your own!  It's a great way to blow off steam, and you can read lots of other letters!