Friday, December 21, 2007

Road Trip, Plus Dogs.

So we'll be bringing our boys home with us for the holidays. I'm a bit concerned, but mostly excited. They have only seen snow once in their little doggy lives, and since Wyatt's legs are only about six inches long, it ought to be a hoot. I just hope we don't lose him :)
The thing is, my folks aren't used to having dogs around, and since their only grandchild is rapidly approaching legal drinking age(holy crap I feel old), it has been years since their house was anything like child-proof. Our boys are sweet, but they are big and clumsy, so we're going to have to be careful.
Today the b.h. and I ventured out to get some supplies (new dog bed, car charger for the iPod, doggie treats with breath freshener, and other various trip-related needs). It took about three times as long as it should have, due to last-minute shoppers and a few "extras" that we stumbled across, like a new pair Clarke's shoes for the b.h.; One more reason I love the British), but we made it. Now I am finishing up the last of the laundry. I gave Kilgore a very thorough bath so he'll be extra grandparent friendly. The b.h. will have to wash Wyatt because my back has had it today.

Sigh. Just realized that I have to run back out. Gotta go.
In case I don't get back before then, Happy Holidays, y'all.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I just got off the phone with K. She seems to be enjoying New York (if not her job and the weather, then at least the adventure). She talked about getting a job on the subway. I first thought she was talking about getting a job at Subway, the mediocre-at-best sandwich shop chain. I of course assumed that she was saying it sarcastically, expressing frustration at the current restaurant job. Finally, I realized she meant The Subway, not A Subway, and I though that might actually be a kind of cool job.

I suddenly had a memory of a woman who used to drive the Blue Line train I rode when I lived with my sister and brother-in-law in Oak Park. She was young, I thought, for her job. She was exceptionally pretty- model-like, even. She always wore a collared shirt and always, no matter what the weather, wore gloves. I never spoke to her, but since I often rode home late at night I would sit in the front car (safer, as at least you know you won't be alone) and watch what she did, what her job entailed. If you ride in the front, you can see all the traffic signals and speed limit signs. I realized that it was quite similar to driving. I also realized that like most drivers, many of the conductors had their own interpretation of the speed limit.

Anyway, one night I was riding home, and there were no other people on the train aside from this unnaturally beautiful conductor and me. The train stopped and a few young guys got on. They were loud and cocky and I don't know if they knew her or not, but they were sure paying her a hell of a lot of attention. She just kept on doing her job. They stood in the aisle a few feet away from her. A few more people got on at the next couple stops, mostly working people who were either getting on or off a shift, based on the way they were dressed. After a while these guys started to get aggressive toward some of the other passengers. They were looking for a fight, trying to prove that that were men. (They weren't). Several of us were getting nervous, and eventually having a hard time avoiding eye contact. And this girl, this young, quiet, incredibly striking woman, stopped the train at the next stop and basically told them to shut the fuck up or get off the fucking train. She didn't raise her voice. She didn't lose her cool. And they didn't really respond. They just shook their heads and walked out, laughing and not looking back. When the doors closed everybody in the car relaxed. Nobody looked around. A few stops later, I was gathering up my stuff and heading for the door. I walked up to the booth where she stood and thanked her. She didn't turn around (the train was still moving), but she smiled and nodded in my direction. And when she turned her head just a little, I noticed, for the first time, the skin on her neck, just above her collarbone, that was peeking out of the very top of her shirt. It was covered with what could only be burn scars.
Not that this has anything to do with K or her potential new career. It was just something I thought of. I wish K would come back.


I just got back from the ER. A friend of ours had a wreck on his bicycle today, and wound up with both elbows broken and a very mashed up face. Before you get the wrong idea, he brought this on himself. D is one of those guys who rides a tiny bike and does tricks and videotapes himself doing the kind of hideously dangerous shit that makes people cringe (and moms freak out). He's going to be pretty fucked up for awhile, unable to use either arm for at least six weeks. Poor guy.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Customer of the Night #412

This one is pretty common, actually, and would hardly land her in a blog post if I had had any trouble or anything interesting to say about work this week. But I didn't, so I'm using it. This may not make sense to non-bar types, but trust me when I tell you that it drives us all crazy, and it happens all the time.

My first customer of the night. Youngish woman, maybe twenty-five, walks up to the bar. She has obviously already been drinking, but is not wasted. She has a somewhat goofy grin on her face.
Me: Hi- what can I get for you?

Her: I want a Jag- I want a STRONG Jager bomb.

Me: Okay.

I pour the shot. And, because she made a point of telling me she wanted it strong, I actually measured exactly one shot of Jager into the glass. Usually I free pour, and there is a much better chance that you will get more liquor on a free pour, but since she was obviously expecting something "extra" for free, I was making absolutely sure that she was getting exactly one and a half ounces. This sounds passive-aggressive, I know, but this kind of request is totally stupid, and as I said, it happens all the time. (You want me to steal form my boss so you can get drunk on less money? And we've never met? Sure! I'll get right on that!)
So I bring her the drink, set it in front of her, and reach for the money she is handing me. As I grasp her money in my hand, she jerks it back and says

"Wait- is it strong?"

And rather than drinking it myself (eew) and telling her to go fuck herself (which any bartender will tell you that I would have been totally justified in doing), I smiled politely and said
"I guarantee you that there is a whole shot of Jager in there."



Friday, December 14, 2007

The B.H. Puts His Foot In His... Something

So we were at work the other day, and a regular customer came in and handed out some stickers. They said I (Heart) Head.
The b.h. and our boss each had one on their shirts. One guy put his on his daughter. This was only funny because it was only us. Obviously we all knew it was in poor taste, but we were having a laugh. Then we got back to business.
There was a lot of work to be done. Our Christmas party is coming up, so I was cleaning shelves and mirrors and trying to gussy the place up a bit. We also got a lot of liquor in that day for a big party coming up. By the time we left, I was exhausted. Still, we needed to stop at the grocery store for a few things.
When we got in line, we were both talking animatedly about whatever was on our minds, so we didn't notice at first that the girl at the checkout counter seemed slightly weirded out. Finally, our total was totalled and I was counting out my money. The b.h. was bagging our stuff and the girl said
"I love head? Does that mean what I think it means?"

The b.h. turned several shades of red- purple, even. He immediately ripped the sticker off of his chest, crumpled it up, and said
"It means I'm a really classy guy."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My House Just Got Another Enema.

That's why I haven't been writing lately. I'm a pack rat at heart and I can't help it. I have been through boxes and boxes and closets and piles and files. It has taken a long time and a lot of effort.

Oh, and it has been almost eighty degrees for the last four days, so I have been making myself busy outside some of the time. I know that should be awesome- beats the hell outta snow, right?- but it's not. Eighty degrees in December scares the hell out of me. And the geese are confused. I think they've been back and forth a few times. They look tired and angry.

So there are a lot of CDs in a pile that are going away. Those of you who know me and have any requests, speak now or you will have to fight Ort for them at Potter's House. Oh yeah- I have some pretty cool vintage dishes, too. Anyone? Bueller?

I figured out that our lawn mower is broken. We haven't used it in months, because the lack of rain has meant that nothing is growing. But now I'm starting to lose sight of Wyatt when he goes out there so I thought I would cut the grass. No such luck. Anybody got a mower I can borrow? Or buy?

In other news, some of the jelly I made is actually jelly, as opposed to syrup. That makes me happy. I finally found unsweetened coconut in a store and now I can't remember what recipe I needed it for. Martha Stewart is still the devil. (How does she always have EXACTLY WHAT I NEED?) Dog biscuits are on the agenda for this evening. I'm baking those and some chocolate chip cookies. With the doors open. In December.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

You're Kidding, Right?

Note to a former Athens resident with an already questionable reputation who visited my bar last night:
When you open a tab with a useless credit card, get drunk, and make a run for the door when we ask you to pay up, coming in the next day with a resume' is probably pointless.

Nope, I'm not kidding.

Monday, December 03, 2007

The Healing Power of Rock and Roll.

If there is a more energetic live band than J. Roddy Walston and the Business, then I'll eat my hat. Of course, I don't really wear a hat, but I do have a nice chocolate bar in the cabinet...
Anyway, J. Roddy and the Business played a show at Tasty World on Saturday night that was unfuckingbelievable. Seriously. I cannot recommend this band enough. I was extra happy because my friend J has never seen them before on account of his having two jobs and always being at work when they play. Saturday night the Rock Gods were smiling on J, and he finally got to see them. I had talked them up so much that he could only have assumed I was exaggerating, but midway through the second song, he came over to me with his arm held flat in front of my face and said
"I literally have chills."

They are just that kind of band.

I remarked to J that the thing I love about JRoddy is that they play like every song is their last. Not the last song of the set, mind you, but the last song they will ever play. Ever.

I am still basking in the afterglow.

Customer of the Night #193

This kid seemed a little dim from the word go. He was young, kind of beefy, and bearded. He had come to see one of the bands. He opened a tab and asked what my cheapest beer was. (This, for those of you who are not in the service industry, is almost always viewed as Not A Good Sign by those of us who are. Unless of course, you are in a place where tipping is not the cultural norm. I don't know what those folks think).
Anyway, COTN 193 proceeded to order six of my cheapest beer, one at a time, over the next two and a half hours. When his friends were almost through playing, he came up and closed his tab, leaving me no tip whatsoever. Whatever. I did not react, but merely continued closing down the bar. About five minutes later, a guy I know came up to the bar and told me that COTN 193 was smashing a beer bottle under the table where he was sitting. He hadn't just accidentally knocked it over (which would have been understandable after six beers), but was in fact smashing the broken pieces even smaller with his boot heel. His friend looked on in what appeared to be mild amusement. I thanked the guy who told me and went on closing the bar. When the band finished their last song, I went back to the supply closet, retrieved a broom and dustpan, and brought it out the COTN 193. Shoving it at him, I explained that he was now "Going to clean up that bottle you just smashed all over my floor."
He took the broom and dustpan without a word and went to clean it up. I followed him, shouting across the bar for D to turn on the lights so that COTN 193 could be sure to get it all. His friends looked puzzled, then embarrassed. They started loading out their gear.
After he finished, he handed the broom and dustpan back to me and said "I left you a good tip." As if this was somehow going to make up for his general stupidity and utter lack of manners.
"Actually, you didn't. But that's beside the point. You're acting like an asshole. Stop it."
I went back to cleaning the bar.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Sometimes I'm Socially Awkward.

On Wednesday night I went to Farm 255 to see a show. It was a benefit for the Robert Osbourne Film Festival, which will be coming to our fair city early next year. The main reason I went was to see Dave Marr, but also featured on the bill were Patterson Hood, Don Chambers, Bo Bedingfield, Dave Barbe, Brad Morgan, John Neff, and, occasionally, Clay Leverett. It was fantastic. Dave sings like the smoothest shot of honey-flavored whiskey you've ever had. He played several of my favorites. Patterson pulled out some old tunes you never get to hear anymore (well, at least I don't), and Donnie did a cover of Gordon Lightfoot's Sundown that was so good it deserves to be in regular rotation at his shows. As for Bo, well, I think he is maybe the best songwriter you haven't heard of (yet) in Athens.
I came in just as they were about to start, and went up to the bar to grab a beer. "Grabbing" wasn't really possible, however. There was a sizable crowd and the bartenders both had their hands quite full. I ran into Dave at the bar and we were still waiting to order when the first couple notes were struck from the stage, so he asked me to order the beer he needed and went off to start the show.
I got my beer, got the beer he needed, and made my way past the stage area, dropping off his beer on my way as surreptitiously as possible, and scooted into a seat at a table nearby. The table was occupied, luckily, by a familiar band of Trucker wives and friends, all of whom I was happy to see. I noticed several songs into the set that He Who Must Not Be Named was at the other end (the head) of the (very long- there were several tables connected, actually) table. I remembered that I had joked years ago that I was going to title my Athens memoir "An Illinois Yankee in King Michael's Court." I smiled to myself a little, savoring that moment and the memory and thinking about how I was going to go home and blog about it- and then I realized that I probably looked like a stalker, gaping at the poor man from the other end of the table. A got up quickly and went to the bar for another beer. When I returned to the table, I made certain not to look like I might even be thinking about turning my head in his direction. I kept my eyes riveted on the stage. I'm sure it all looked very natural.