Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rejection Notice From Kringle & Claus

Dear Ms. VonPartypants,

I just checked my list and then checked it again, and WOW, have you been bad this year. I regret to inform you that I am unable to leave you presents this year due to the reasons cited by Kris Kringle Standards Board, Partition 3, MN State Codes 16d – 82a.
  • Ratio of naughty to nice exceeds 9:1 (maximum ratio of 4:1 for gift eligibility)
  • Neither cookies nor milk detected in household with freshness date later than 1998, and/or were spoiled, stale, or otherwise substandard.
  • Stocking contained foreign material including but not limited to: toe nail clippings, lint, stale cheese remnants, decade-old candy cane, pet hair.
  • Advanced SantaScan™ technology detected "Nice List" forgery.
  • Substandard chimney due to ongoing “Fix This Fucking House” project.
  • Upon rooftop arrival time inspections, subject was found to be awake, pantless, and a blood alcohol level of 2.3 was detected. Per long-time St. Nick protocol (Article 21, Section 6b), all parties must be in full slumber before delivery of packages as scheduled.
  • Ongoing costumed humiliation of household pets.
  • Miserable failure of blog upkeep
  • Proclamation to younger believers that Santa is "not keeping it real."
Address all appeals to the North Pole office, where they will be reviewed before the next holiday cycle. Fees may apply.

Kindest regards,

Santa Claus

p.s. – you are kinda hot.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

You remember money, right? I think ABBA wrote something about it once.

Last weekend I catered brunch at what I can only describe to other people as "my lottery dream".
The place in question was located a little over an hour out of town, near a lovely little scenic community called Taylors Falls on the St. Croix river.
I wouldn't have looked twice driving by, as the weathered farmhouse visible from the main road hardly screamed "affluent", but after I snaked my little VW Rabbit along the private dirt road cut through the field and come upon what can only be described as a "compound", my jaw dropped.  Various steel-roofed and architecturally-amazing out-buildings housing art studios and living spaces flanked the main house, which was a picture-perfect study in art, style, comfort and eccentricity.  Art and style was everywhere- from the twin beige Barcelona chairs in the entryway, to the unassuming block glass ceiling in the dining room.

I was in love.  And jealous.  Seriously jealous.

I asked the host, the owner of the compound, if she "got" what an amazing little world she had.  She (heiress to a newspaper/art fortune) only half-heard me as she had just gotten up and hadn't had her coffee yet, but she replied, "Um, yeah.  It is nice, isn't it?"


Afterward, over afternoon drinks, I had the discussion with a few people as to whether or not people who are born into wealth can really, truly ever really "get" how charmed, exceptional, and very, very lucky they are.  I mean, can you ever really understand what it means to be poor/broke when you've never had to decide which is more important: paying the rent on time (vs) filling your car up with gas so that you can get to the job that you don't make enough at to pay the rent on time?  

I was just reading about that lengthy interview with Jacqueline Kennedy that has just been published.  At one point, she discusses how JFK Jr. got mugged for his bike when he was 15.  She said something along the lines of (totally paraphrased because I'm to lazy to look it up), "I asked the Secret Service following him to follow from even a further distance after that.  I wanted to give him a sense of normalcy."

Um...OK.  I hope she at least realized somewhere in the back of her head how...
...well, how ridiculous that sounds.

As I've mentioned before, I didn't exactly grow up affluent.  Quite the opposite, actually.  I know the struggle all too well- I've made the tough decisions, I've done without, I've felt the flush of shame that creeps onto your face when you can't hide "poor".  I get it.
I've been lucky in my adult years.  While my early 20's were definitely a struggle, I always managed to keep my head above water, a roof over my head, and I could occasionally splurge on something somewhat inappropriate to wear to 1st Avenue for "Danceteria".  Now at 40, I have a very good-paying job, a lovely home, and occasionally having too much wine and buying full-priced (!!) boots online doesn't break the bank.

I'm lucky, I know.  These days, having a semi-secure job that you actually enjoy is a rarity- I get that.  I appreciate it all and I never let myself forget the flip side of things. 

But I can't help wonder- what would it be like?  You know, never ,ever, EVER having to worry?  Not for a single second in your life?  The bills always paid yet never having to actually work (and no- co-hosting charity fundraisers does not count as "work" unless you are an event planner and if that's the case then I'm not talking about you here anyways), vacations on a whim without having to clear it with HR first, having an entire weekend of parties and meals at your idyllic compound completely catered...

Don't get me wrong- I'm not begrudging anyone born into wealth.  We are served our lot in life at birth, what we do with it after that is entirely up to us- I get that.  It's just that I have to think that you really, truly can never grasp how hard things can really be if that's the case.  You can travel to famine-torn countries on the brink of collapse, you can volunteer at a soup kitchen, and you can develop a wicked heroin addiction and be homeless for a while.  Sure, you can do all that.  But...if you're traveling mostly first-class to said third-world country, and if you leave the soup kitchen early because you have to have your driver drop you off for parent-teacher conferences at your child's very private school, and if your parents finally locate what alley you're living in and jet you off (again, first-class) to that ultra-private and exclusive rehab facility in California?

Yeah...not so much.

Not sure where I'm going with this today, it's just been on my mind all week.  Maybe I'm tired of the term "class warfare" being bandied about when so many people don't even get what the various classes in the US are, or what it does to someone to be born into poverty (not that I was- we were poor, but we weren't poverty-stricken in the purest sense of the term).  I wonder if there even is a middle ground, given how hard it is for either of the extremes to understand one another.
I wonder if things are only going to get worse.

Then I wonder if I'll remember to buy a lottery ticket this week.  I can't say I can ever understand what it's like to never have to think/worry/freak out about money, but I'd sure like a chance to try.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

It's raining, it's pouring, I'm shopping and whoring!

It's gloriously rainy and somewhat cool right now, which is making me all kinds of happy, especially after suffering through yet another "Summer living on Satan's Taint".  I'm feeling like a real, actual, lady-sort of human being, for a change. The cooler temps have caused a number of otherwise dormant traits of mine to spring to life- namely, shopping like Paris Hilton in a 24-hour cocaine and sparkly-stuff store, and cooking and stocking the pantry as if we were hunkering down for the zombie apocalypse.

Boots seem to be my drug of choice these days, having purchased both THESE (in black), as well as THESE in the last two weeks.
On a related note: I will be spending my Friday nights working that corner down by the docks to help pay for this little "problem" of mine.  I accept cash and/or fruity candies- bring a canned good for a $3 discount!

We drove up north Sunday for not one, but two food-centered family events.  In 4-1/2 hours I ate: three kinds of soup, salad, coleslaw, bread, mashed potatoes, roast duck, turkey, sweet potatoes, gravy, cake, green beans, stuffing, bread, and a small baby.  Or maybe it just felt like I ate that last one, I really can't remember due to the food coma and nearly 7 hours spent driving that insufferable stretch of I-35 now that it is clogged by construction that seems to occur every 2.5 miles and bring traffic to a screeching, grinding, scream-inducing halt.

I cleaned up pet barf three times yesterday, yet I'm currently obsessed with getting another dog.  This little nugget is the one I'm currently crushing on:

No, I don't know what's wrong with me either.  At least when I'm on the local news or "Hoarders" you can say, "Hey!  I know her!  She's batshit cookoo!  I always know this would happen!  I don't know why I'm yelling either!"

Also, I'm doing a sort-of version of this cleanse again.  Given the awe-inspiring level of my recent gluttony, I'm planning on setting aside two to three hours each day for quiet contemplation and reading of celebrity autobiographies on the terlet.  Maybe I'll even bring the teevee in there.  If anything gross happens, I promise I'll share.  I'm a real giver like that.

Now I'm off to work, the very thing that has been consuming 6+ days of the week, every week lately.  I'd like to say that I'm sitting on a big pile of cash from being so busily employed, but between the boots & the pet purchasing/hoarding...well, just refer to the above mention of my recent late-night activities. 
Oh well, like the old saying goes, "Every time you give a back-alley blowjob, an angel gets its wings."

Happy Tuesday, my fully cleansed, furry little hooker boots.  Happy Tuesday.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The C word.

Catering. (What did you think it was, dummy?)

If you've ever done it, you get it.
I did a bit of it this summer, and I'm continuing to do it occasionally on the weekend.

These days, chefs and cooks that work in restaurants are respected, enjoying an almost rockstar-like status now that cooking shows are so popular and we seem to be manufacturing celebrity chefs as fast as sweatshops in china turn out knockoff designer handbags that will likely fall apart the third time you use them, sending your fancy new iphone into some dirty public toilet and causing you to blurt out expletives that would make a trucker on meth blush.

But I digress.

Catering and caterers, in the food world, generally do not enjoy this same adoration and respect.  No matter how delicious the food is, no matter how seamless the service is, no matter how the staff managed to pull off a 6-course tasting menu while working out of a garage with no running water in 90-degree heat... matter what, you're still always just going to be the "help" to many of the people both throwing and attending these events.

I remember one event a few years ago- it was a pretty standard event, passed hors d'oeurves and an elegant buffet dinner for the vice president of a major financial institution and his wife in their brand-new, 8 million dollar house.  The wife was a total megabitch to us- bossing us around in front of her guests, changing her mind 35 times about how we were to set up the food only AFTER we already moved everything (again), and not letting us use the elevator they had installed, even though the party was in the lower level of their tacky McMansion and we were lugging hundreds of pounds of crap in so that we could do our damn job properly.  At some point in the evening, one of her drunk and equally gross guests must have decided to rid themselves of approximately 45 pounds of intestinal material, resulting in a severely clogged terlet.  Ms. Megabitch McNastyness walks up to me and says, "I need you to unclog the toilet right now."   At that point, I had decided that I really didn't give a shit (wah-wahhh) about getting any sort of a tip from the she-beast, so I decided to stand my ground.  "I'm sorry, but I'm handling food and we're really busy.  Unfortunately, we won't be able to do that."  I said it pleasantly, but very matter-of-factly.
"Well, what am I supposed to do about it then?  I can't just leave it like that!", she sneered. (Nevermind that there were probably 14 more bathrooms in that poorly-decorated mess of a house.)
"I'm not sure- maybe call a plumber?" I said as I started walking away so that I could, you know, do my damn job.
She just stood there for a few seconds, looking like a spoiled child who was told that they wouldn't be able to hunt hobos for sport anymore, and then she says, "Well, you can BET that I'm going to call _________(the owner of the catering company) about this!  YOU are here working for ME, and I am NOT happy."

She ended up putting up an "out of order" sign on the door of the shitter, we directed guests to the other shitter about 20 feet from the first one, the hostess proceeded to get wasted, and she didn't tip us one red cent.

Other indignities, briefly:
  • One guy, hosting a sit-down dinner for 20 of his rich, white Republican friends got so offended that we didn't know who one of his guests was (some guy that, I guess, is sort of a local god to pasty conservatives and ended up bailing on this party at the last minute anyways) that he pouted all night and had his wife call the owner the next day and say what a "terrible" job we did and how disappointed she was in everything.  Nevermind that I whipped up a gluten-free entree at the last minute and that we were forced to bartend even though they weren't paying us for that.  And nevermind that her guests gushed all night how wonderful everything was and that we left her house cleaner than when we arrived.  What it boiled down to was that we didn't know our place and didn't appease her asshole husband by pretending to be appropriately impressed by who was on his guest list. Silly us. 
  • We were doing a small family dinner party for an aging socialite and her family.  Her 40-something daughter, seated at a table with her beastly children, turns to her preteen daughter and very loudly tells her, "You are NOT to get water yourself- that is what the help is for!"  
  • A woman once called the owner to complain that we put the trash from the party, the trash.  In the garage.  She thought that we should have taken it with us.  Seriously.  
  • One woman, who held parties in her 2 million-dollar condo that was less than a mile from her 10+ million-dollar home, had a party that lasted a long time and was a ton of work.  The staff (us) were each owed around $300 each, which would usually result in at least a $50-60 tip.  She made a huge display (in front of her guests, no less) of handing each of us a crisp $20 bill as a tip "for all our hard work".
Also, in no particular order: Occasional groping from drunk jackasses, one lady who complained that we all didn't wear matching shoes and plastic gloves (?), being forced to move the van/our cars many blocks away so that the guests didn't see anything parked near the house that cost less than $50k, being asked to tend to unruly children, being asked to tend to unruly dogs, being told we were not to "touch anything in the house", and general looks of pity and disgust from self-righteous douchebags.

So why do I do it, you ask?

Believe it or not, I actually enjoy it these days.  For every jerk there are three perfectly lovely hosts that treat us like actual human beings, thank us profusely, and tip us handsomely.  We go to some pretty fabulous homes, we see some pretty crazy shit, and if you are a jerk to us, we will mercilessly mock you every chance we get. We think the jerks are pretty funny, actually.  They may need to feel like a big person by belittling others- whatever, these people register so low on my radar that it doesn't even matter.  We drink their wine and occasionally look through their bathrooms to see what dirty little secrets they have.  We see their wives/husbands flirting with other people.  We see them getting too drunk and picking fights.
They judge us, we judge them.

And then we get to go home.
With a nice, fat check.
And sometimes a bottle of contraband wine.