Sunday, April 24, 2011

So I've started this 30 Day Song Challenge on f@cebook, and it seems to be taking any residual energy I have. I am starting to wonder if I should post the results here as well, so I feel like I haven't completely abandoned the blog.
The job is still busy, but still mostly good. I am slowly discovering the extent to which the Wine Distributor Guys (WDGs) have been running our store, or at least, our department. Barbara didn't really have (make?) time to run the department before, so it seems like they were just bringing in whatever they wanted, waving it in her general direction, then she would nod and not really take much notice and they would put it on the shelves. As a consequence, only the most pushy guys got anywhere, soaking up as much of our retail real-estate as possible, while the more polite and professional ones (who, as it so happens, also have much better product) have very little space on the shelves. There is one guy in particular who is having trouble adjusting to the fact that I actually am paying attention, and that I want him to bring in what I want and not to bring in what I don't want, and not to just bring in something I told him twice that I didn't fucking want. Arrgh. So, needless to say there have been some recent glitches. I wrote a politely worded e-mail to all of them, basically saying that contrary to the way it used to be, I want everything to go through me now. If (when?) this doesn't work, I will then bring down the proverbial hammer.
Last night I attended a wine tasting party at the home of a lesbian couple who are regular customers of mine. I adore them, and I adore their incredibly smart and polite children, and most of their friend that I met as well. Some of them were absolutely batshit crazy, of course, which was also amusing. One woman had just returned from a trip to the Finger Lakes region of New York, and she brought back two of the worst wines I have ever tasted.
"It's a nice dry Riesling," she promised, plunking a bottle down on the table. Not having had it before, I immediately opened it and poured myself a couple ounces. It was terrible. Or rather, it was sweet, which I was not prepared for, and therefore it was not pleasing to me. I made an attempt to smile and then darted to the kitchen to grab a chunk of blue cheese.
I was being careful about my consumption, wanting to both maintain my professional composure and be able to pilot my vehicle home at a moment's notice when my social anxiety kicked in.
The next crazy erupted from a squat woman in a too-tight sweater who had asked me three times what my name was and where I worked. I don't know how the conversation started, but when I caught it she was on about how absolutely hot she thought her gynecologist is. She then went on to say that her marriage was basically a sexless friendship, which according to her was just fine. And then she was back to the gynecologist. (These things are totally unrelated, of course.)I won't quote here, because the very thought of it is making me uncomfortable all over again, but suffice to say that her doctor would probably turn her on even if he were hideous, because it's the only apparent action she ever sees. That poor man. Honestly, you would think she'd either get a real relationship or at least invest in some heavy machinery from the internet. While this conversation was happening, the host was smirking in my direction and mouthing an apology, and I was trying to find a way to extract myself from the kitchen without anyone else noticing.
After the party I went back into town to meet the b.h.and our other friends at the 3 Penny. I very judiciously ordered myself a soda water, spent several minutes watching what was obviously a fantastic hockey game (it was in double overtime), then made the rounds chatting up our friends with whom the b.h. had had dinner. It was a pleasant evening overall. Today I will probably do some housework and maybe run a couple of errands, but I am trying to make my day off an actual day off.

Friday, April 15, 2011

I held a wine tasting at the LG today. Nothing fancy, mind you, just a sip poured into plastic tasting cups. I had a Pinot Gris from the Willamette Valley, a Rose' from Provence, and a Malbec from Cahors. The demo coordinator prepared a roast leg of local lamb that had been delivered this morning, and I chose wines (aside from the white, which was there to round out the selection) that would pair with it. Everything went swimmingly, and we sold a metric shitload of wine (not to be confused with the Fuckton, which is really the goal). There was one woman, though, who really threw us all off our game. And she is today's Customer Of The Day.
First, she was a hundred and eighty years old if she was a day. She came over to us slowly, leaning heavily on her walker. She pulled up the chair which we were using as a barrier (long story short, our department of Liquor C0ntr0l is ridiculous and requires us to rope off and area that is exactly ten feet wide in which to taste the wines. This is not even the most ridiculous regulation. But I digress.) and sat down directly in front of the table where Erika was handing out lamb samples, thereby preventing anyone else from possibly getting a sample. Fortunately at this point there were no other customers. She sat there and asked a series of increasingly irritating hippie questions about the lamb (Local? Organic? Was it happy? Did they pet it every day? What was it's name? Okay, these were not literal questions, but you get the picture.) Next, Erika asked the woman if she wanted to try some wine with the lamb. I am fairly certain that she was trying to get the woman to get out of the chair and move closer to where we were pouring the wine, thus getting the hell out of the way. She asked where it was from, and when she found out that they were French, she said
"Oh, no. Dr. Somethingorother said never, ever drink European wines. Because of Chernobyl. There's radiation and..."
She went on for a minute or two. Then she said she was sorry to break it to us, and that she was glad that there were no other customers around because she didn't want to spoil our event, but well, you know, the truth hurts, etc.
She sat there for another ten minutes, eventually tasting some of the white, but then telling us why that was also probably poisonous. Hilarious. I hope she's a regular customer.
I have another tasting tomorrow, and then a couple weeks off before we get started again. Hoping to make this a regular Friday afternoon thing.
I dropped by the Three Penny for a beer after work. It was taco night, but I was too late for any vegetarian options, so I had two beers instead. Just as filling, anyway. I get to sleep in tomorrow, then we'll head to the farmer's market before dinner at J and J's. Can't wait.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Had another wine show on Monday last. I got to try a $225.00 (wholesale, so we're really talking around three hundred bucks) bottle of Perrier Jouet Brut Rose Champagne, which was absolutely incredible, as well as a number of other overpriced, pedigreed wines that I would never, ever have been able to taste otherwise. The result? I actually loved the P&J, and if I were fabulously ludicrously wealthy I might even buy it for a special occasion, but I was mostly underwhelmed by the Ch@teau Montelen@, almost disgusted by the C@ymus, and fairly "meh" about the other Napa staples that everybody always fusses over. I did find a few hidden gems, mostly Spanish and South American, that I will likely bring in to the store, and there were several outstanding wines that I will certainly recommend to my wealthier wine customers but that I could not justify buying for the shelf. This was one of my better learning experiences. Now if I could just figure out how to navigate the Department of Liquor Control, my job will be loads easier.
On Sunday the BH and I both had the day off, so we drove out to Bohemian Bread, a small bakery that is well off the beaten path, even for Vermont. We got lost but somehow managed not to get mired in the mud, despite still having snow tires (exactly the opposite of what you want in mud) and a compact car rather than a Sub@ru like the rest of the inhabitants of this state. Robert and his wife were lovely and welcoming, and allowed me to take pictures even though they weren't prepared. We split a lemon tart and a berry danish, and he made us the best cappuccino I have ever had (he imports the beans from Italy because he can't find anything he likes here)anywhere. We bought a loaf of their famous rosemary lemon bread for the road, and promised we'd be back after mud season, which as you will see, is likely our only choice.
This is the bakery:

And this is the road to the bakery;

and here you see their driveway:

This is where the magic happens:

And this is the magic:

On the way home we stopped at a local farmstand and the BH got a fresh duck, as well as some local spinach, while I snapped a couple pictures of the other wares:

In other news, my lemon and lime basils are both sprouting, there is a veritable river running from the woods behind the hose down our driveway, and we have been live trapping mice (several a day) for the last couple days. I have been driving them to work with me and dropping them off outside the office of a dentist that gave us the shaft last year.

Spring would very much like to spring, it seems. Twenty five degrees tomorrow, though, so we're still waiting.
I was in a meeting of Oddfellows Local 151 the other day when I noticed something. Kerry, our rep from the Regional Office, has the creepiest hands I have ever seen on a woman. She has, I have decided, Supervillain Hands. Which is appropriate since she also has a Supervillain Personality. When I went to Steward Training for the OFL151, I was inoformed that my role as a steward was essentially to rile up the base. Not a problem solver, not a go-between, no. I am here to keep the troops excited. Which explains why she is always demonizing the managers in our LG as if they're the billionaire owners of fucking W@l M@rt or something. Scathing, cynical, the consummate skeptic. These are the personality traits of my own arch-nemesis, Kerry. She even has a raspy smoker's voice and (now, delightfully) the bulbous-fingered deformity to match. Now I just have to think of a good name for her. Anyone?

Sunday, April 03, 2011

I drove out to Plainfield this morning to see my friend Lou. He has a house out there with a fairly sizable acreage, and he has enthusiastically agreed to let me garden with him and his family. His aunt, who lives with them, is a big astrology buff and has recently started studying Biodynamics. Neither Lou nor I feel particularly strong about these things, but at the same time we figured what the hell. Couldn't hurt, anyway, right? So according to her instruction, we planted the leafy stuff today: various lettuces, herbs, and spinach. We were helped by his kids, who are a lot of fun to be around, and their enormous dog, who divided his time between sleeping on a giant snow mound and running after cars and chickens. Next week: I teach Lou the way of the electric dog fence, and we plant more stuff. Stay tuned.

So, it turns out my blog has a spam filter(Sorry, Loob). And for some reason it decided to filter comments from a person with whom I regularly have exchanges. I have no idea how this technology works, but let's hope I've set it straight.
I went out basically every night last week. One excuse or another led me to a drink (or two, or three) after work, and then yesterday we went to our friends' house for a birthday/taco party. It was great fun, and we stayed later than I thought my body would allow me to. When I awoke this morning, my liver was sitting on the pillow next to me, tapping its foot impatiently.

"Had enough yet?"
"Well I have, so get your shit together."
"But I-"
"Seriously. I've had it. Beer AND wine? In the same night? Three nights in one week? What the hell are you thinking?"
"I just-"
"Enough. For real. Take a couple nights off, huh? And then pick one. Beer. Or one wine. And slow the fuck down, or I'm outta here."

I have had multiple glasses of water today, along with one small cup of coffee and a large peppermint tea.