Pay attention to the little things!

May 26th, 2011

Well, I haven’t been on here in months. I did attempt a blog or two a few months back and for whatever reason whenever I went to save my drafts, they disappeared. I took it as a sign that maybe I wasn’t supposed to share my thoughts to the world at that exact moment. I have been busily typing away at the book I promised myself I would write. Two hundred and eighty pages into it, I have made some huge discoveries about why I am the way I am and all the experiences that have formed my unique personaility. The last several months have been extremely hard and wonderful at the same time. I am living full time in the country in my little log cabin by the river. I gave up the fight of travelling back and forth. Too many signs pointed to my underlying need to not be in constant motion. I still get my fix of Seattle city life one day a week and I will admit always feel a little meloncholy when I drive back out to the country at the end of that night. I wouldn’t say I will be forever content where I am currently geographically located, but I am content for now!

Over the last week or so, I have reconnected in some shape or form with four men from my past. One contacted me in a drunken rage via texting accusing me of telling his secrets…..I didn’t do it. One was from so many years ago that I had forgotten so many of the wonderful times I had had with him. Another was really just a friend that I might have kissed once or twice, but always enjoyed his company and conversation. The last man was “my heart” from a lifetime ago. I don’t think any of them wanted to reconnect intimately with me, more just a touching base. Actually the first three found me and the last one, well I just followed my heart.

I found it so interesting that I had come to the place in the book where I didn’t know what direction to take. The last two chapters were full of the epiphanies that I have been able to experience after peeling the many layers of my emotional walls that I have built up over the years. To be honest, I was exhausted after writing them. Funny stories are way more fun to write about, but truth be told, I needed to find the piece of the puzzle that I just wasn’t seeing. Now that I have that missing piece, I feel free. I get it, and no I am not telling you what it is, you’ll just have to read the book. I knew that these four men connected with me so I could see things clearer. My God, do I see things clearer. The one that texted me the nasty message has now been blocked from my life…gotta love technology! And, the one that was “my heart” for so long is still obviously in my heart. I had been so angry at him for so long, but he was the one I wanted to share my realizations with. For various reasons, I don’t think we will ever be together, but I know now that I will always have a special place for him. Even after five years, we are so connected, it is crazy. Do I want to kill him most of the time…YUP? I am learning we all have our own journey to take. How I wish we could have done it together. All in all, some pretty good reminders of how far I have come on my very own trip.

On another subject, I had a customer come into my place last night. I didn’t know her, but I felt like she needed something. She seemed so sad. It was clear to me that she was using alcohol to cover up whatever pain she felt. I have to say that I liked her. There was something so sweet there, but something so desperately sad. I engaged with her and her friend for quite some time. By the end of the conversation, I finally figured out who she was. She had pretty much lost her entire family to a horrific scenario. I mean horrific. Matter of fact, I believe she just by fate missed being involved. Her whole life had blown up in her face in a matter of moments. I am in tears just thinking about it! Sometimes I get little psychic hits and I knew I needed to give her a gentle but stern dose of truth. I did and we had a magical moment together. I gave her something she needed, but I paid attention to her story and realized that the thought of me not having my family around me was chilling. I have been upset with my Mom for a couple of weeks and we haven’t talked. This is not normal for us, but sometimes it happens. As this lovely lady walked out of my restaurant I vowed to call my Mom the next morning and let her know how much I loved her. I won’t lie and say my message was sweet as pie, but I did tell her I loved her. I payed attention to the little reminders from her and so many things that day. They all told me to call my Mom. Fights happen among friends and family. It’s normal and a fact of life, but last night reminded me how much I loved my Mom and I had to put some of my inherited stubborness aside just to let her know how I felt.

Life is always throwing us little reminders of what we should be doing. I guess I just really am learning to pay attention!

Just try and be nice!

October 25th, 2010

Wow, it’s been awhile since I have been on here.  Sorry about that.  I am actually putting most of my focus on writing a book.  I have to say, I never would have imagined that I would actually sit down long enough to put all my crazy thoughts down on paper, but I am. It’s some pretty good shit and quite frankly rather therapeutic.  I can’t give anything away as of yet, other than it is about my crazy life as a restaurant owner and my crazy love life that is just really too much for me these days.

I guess you could say, I am moving into a different stage in my life.  Some might call it a midlife crisis, but I see it rather differently.  I actually see myself growing up.  Instead of always trying to figure out what is going on in other people’s minds, I am trying to focus on mine.  I have realized of late that my brain never , ever stops.  Someone pointed out to me the other day that I can have complete conversations on my own, but somehow I actually think the other person is involved in the chat.  He may be right, but then again, maybe if he knew how to communicate, I wouldn’t have to do it.  Crap, I did it again.

I would have to say that part of my character is that I have to communicate and I have to do it right now.  The internet, texting, and cell phones add to the misery of a compulsive communicator.  I think compulsive might be a bit harsh.  I like to figure things out and communicating gets it done. 

I actually feel better than I have in months.  My beloved Madame K’s is in her final week, my cabin is getting ready to be sold to the county so I won’t have to worry about flooding anymore and I am planning a two week paradise trip to Mexico and maybe even a quick road trip to my favorite Dude Ranch in Republic.  Go figure the name of the ranch is K Diamond K Ranch.  I just love the letter K, what can I say?   Mom’s not so happy about the Mexico trip.  She watches the news.  I don’t….just too depressing.

I am in a strange surreal place with the closing of my baby!  The place has been packed for weeks with well wishers reminding me of the good in  people.  I guess I have realized that people have loved Madame K’s as much as me.  Last night one of my customers told me that he had to tell me a story about….you guessed it, ME!!!!!!  Those are the best!  He told me that several years ago he had come into Madame K’s and I had greeted him very warmly.  He was alone and it is my philosophy that if someone is alone, I always try and give a little extra.  I  tell my staff to do the same.  Well, evidently, I was in a charming mood and I went and got him a newspaper to read from down the street.  He told me last night that when he had come in that night, he was having a really horrible day and that my kindness changed everything. He mentioned  that it changed his view of people.  Tears were rolling down my face as he told me the story.  He said that over the years he has told that story to all of his friends and anyone that would listen.  He told me of my incredible heart.  I was wowed!  You see, that’s how I always try to be in general.  Nothing makes me happier than trying to brighten someone’s day.  Don’t get me wrong, I am no Pollyanna, I have my bitchy just like everyone else, but I try to keep it to myself, well mostly, unless, of course, someone has done me wrong.  Then, I am not always so sweet.  But, in general, I try to treat people the way I want to be treated. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if everyone just took that extra step and showed some warmth?  God the world would be a better place.

I noticed today that I had a little sass to my step.  I threw out smiles at the mall like nobodies business.  I sat next to an old guy at the bar and started a conversation right up.  He was tickled pink.  I left a great tip for the bartender and just generally tried to get a smile out of everyone.  My guess, is I did it becasue someone made me feel good and I wanted to pass it on!  To the boys at Best Buy, thanks for always being so awesome when I have to return crap because I always buy the wrong thing!  And a special thanks to the man that told me the story, he may have just changed my view of people too!

That’s about all I got for today folks!  I’ll be back in a couple of weeks.  Remember to show a little friendly!   We are all just trying to move forward after all!  At least, that’s the way I have chosen to see it!

We all deserve to have a moment!

September 25th, 2010

I can’t tell a lie!  I had a moment of my very own.  It lasted a couple of weeks, and to be rather frank, it messed my shit up!  I am a survivor, clean and simple.  I am the person people come to when they need a jolt of the “Pull Your Shit Together”  reality chat.  I have always been the strong one, the powerful one, the one everyone knows will live to lead another day.  I just didn’t have it in me for those two weeks.  I am not embarrassed by it.  I didn’t hide it.  My poor Mom was visiting and seriously thought I had lost it and recommended the “ole anti-depressant remedy”.  I think it is fabulous if people take them and get better, but it is something that I personally don’t ever want to get involved with.  I feel like I need to go through it,  need to live it, understand it, and work through it!

I am back on track now.  Moving forward on this little adventure called “LIFE”.  I have to admit while I was going through it, I thought about all the people that truly are struggling right now.  Struggling with work, or lack of work, family, sickness, loss and everything else life throws us.  I tried to remind myself that it would all work out and I know it will.  But, what about the people that don’t have the core that I was so luckily given?  An acquaintance  just spilled all his shit on me the other day.  My God, he sounded so miserable and desperate and sad.  He told me he had gone on anti-depressants and when he told his doctor about all his stress, the doctor was like “WOW!  No wonder you feel so stressed”  They asked him if he had ever contemplated suicide and he said “Yes!”   I was busy having a fun day with my Mom that day, but I took the time to talk with him.  Took the time to give words of encouragement and let him know that I actually knew exactly where he was coming from.  I understood the stress of being the boss and being in charge of so much and feeling at times desperate to have some sanity in my brain that never stops.  I listened.  I remember thinking how ironic that this person is telling me his story, all the while thinking  “ Here I am struggling to keep my mental state above water for my Mom, my staff and everyone else, but I am offering a shoulder to someone else that really did sound like he was on the brink of personal destruction. ”  As always, I bucked up, just like my good Ole German Mom would tell me to do.  We ended the conversation on a happy note, and I believe that I was able to help calm his mind a bit.  Sometimes all we need to hear is “You are not alone!”  Now when I say that, I mean that I really felt where he was because I had lived it.  In a way, we are in this together.

I have to say that I didn’t enjoy the crazy place my brain went to over the last couple of weeks.  I didn’t enjoy knowing that my brain was not my own, that it felt like it could explode anytime.  And, I mean that literally.  But, I would not give that up, knowing that that was what allowed me to reach out to another in emotional need and connect with them.  Hopefullly that conversation helped him.  I have had many of those conversations with people since, so I am only led to believe that I was supposed to go through the dark days in order to be able to share a bit of my struggle with someone else in need! 

 Remember to be a little kinder to someone today.  You never know where they are at in their life.  Sometimes a smile, a joke, a bit of compassion or a shoulder can make all the difference in the world.   “What a difference a day makes!”

Patience and Grace

September 19th, 2010

My God, this has been a trying week.  Patience is not a word used to describe me.  Never has been.  Normally I would add “never will be!”  I don’t want to do it that way again.  I have got to find a way that I can have patience and grace.  I have to find a way to “Breathe! Relax and just plain Chill!” 

How do I slow down?  How do I enjoy the ride?  How do I live in the moment?  I have no idea, but I have just never have been able to do any of them.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  I do have times when I can live in the moment, but I admit I kind of always want to know the end result when I start.  I mean really, why waste the time if the end result is not what you want.

I think of late, I am just so overwhelmed with my world and the changes that are getting ready to happen, that I live in a very high voltage existence.  My brain feels like it could explode at times.  I just so badly want to run away from it all.  I mean, I know I can’t and I know things are going to end up ok, but sometimes running just seems like the best choice.  It seems much easier to do in relationships than with my business.  Run that is!

I watched the premiere of The Apprentice the other night.  Old Donald decided on a fabulous marketing gimmick.  He brought in a cast of new victims that seem to pretty much have lost it all when the economy took a nose dive.   You could feel the desperation coming out of these people.  You could feel the emotional turmoil going thru each and every one of them.  Tempers were quick to fly off the handle.  The boardroom was the most viscious I have seen, considering it was only the first episode.  There is a lot at stake for these people.  I feel the same way.  I feel as though I have come undone a bit.  I feel a bit anxious by which direction I want to go!  Due to the stress, I have lost my patience and grace.  I have lost a bit of hope.  I feel a bit overwhelmed!  I know in the end that it will all work out.  Luckily, my Mom raised me right.  I respect money, so I know how to get thru the muck.  I am in a better position than most with investments and such, so there is a bit of a safety net.  For that, I am thankful.  But, I would be lying if I said I felt I had my shit together!

I am trying to count to ten before I do anything rash.  It doesn’t always seem to work.  Trying to breathe before I send the nasty email or text.  Trying to remember that others are also in this painful time in history.  Grace is so needed during these times, especially when personal relationships are involved.  Clearly, there are tools that I somehow missed along the way.  All I can do is try everyday to make my wrongs right.  I have to slow down, as I am assuming most do.  I have to breathe!  I have to visualize the light at the end of the tunnel, but damn it I wish it would just show up right about now!

Living In The Moment

September 1st, 2010

I am a pretty serious girl.  Well , I guess I am a serious woman at this point, as I will be turning 41 in two weeks.  I love to laugh, I love to have fun, but I am definitely serious.  I have been all my life.  I have always been super responsible.  Bought my first house at 26 in Seattle.  The next one was close behind, and then that one became a rental, and I started my little empire.  I have lived in my little cocoon of solitaire in a lot of ways.  Always focused on the prize at the end.  When I say end, I am talking retirement.  My guess is this comes from my upbringing.  Watching my Mom support three of us, the ledger was always close by.  We got what we needed, but life was not extravagant.  Always watching the pennies.  My guess is that is why I went out and got a job as soon as I turned sixteen.  I didn’t want to burden my Mom with my need for material things.  I wanted to support myself.  I wanted to be responsible.  Such a heavy weight  to carry for so many years!

I remember as a child always hanging out with my neighbors.  I enjoyed that more than hanging with the kids in the neighborhood.  I guess, I kinda always felt like I got something more from the adults.  I am pretty much still that way today.  Most of my friends are older than me, wiser than me, and more mature than me.

A few days ago, I decided to take a leap of faith of sorts.  I decided that after two years of licking wounds from a horrible heartbreak, it was time to move forward.  Sounds so easy, but even as I write this, there is a nausea that takes over my whole being.  I often talk about fear in my speeches, blogs and everyday life.  I really don’t have it in my business world.  I refuse to fail, so it takes alot of that away, but my god, put an interesting love interest into my crazy life and complete fear engulfs every part of my being.  “Future Tripping”….a new term for me, consumes me and all my fears show their ugly heads.  “What if it works?  What if it doesn’t?”  My track record is not good here.  I am a runner, clean and simple.  I would rather sabotage something good early on, then wait for the devastation later.  I am aware that this is not a good trait, but it is there just the same.

How do you live in the moment, without expectations?  Those damn expectations have been haunting me all my life.  Whether it is friends, lovers, business acquaintances.  I have always had them.  This new person that has entered my life has basically blown my entire wall that I have created so well around me over the years to a pile of ruble.  How can a person so quickly get in and stir the shit up so crazy that I want to run before it even gets started?  I mean, no one knows if anything will come out of it.  We could just be two ships crossing in the night, or we could possibly be so much more.

He has told me to “Live In The Moment”,  to enjoy the journey!  I am not the most patient person in the world, so this is a rather large challenge for me. I am just too serious.  I am a planner, not a “just let it ride” kinda girl. I want to get to the finish line and see what is at the end, forgetting to enjoy the ride along the way.   But, I am going to work on it.  My new banner on my phone is “Live In The Moment” and his name on my phone is “Mr. Live In The Moment”.  I guess it’s better than “Trouble”.  That was the name of the man that broke my little heart in two.  I am thinking I must be moving forward a bit, if I gave this one a positive name!

Alright, I am done for today on this computer.  The sun is coming out.  After yesterday, I am shocked…..just a miserable end of a summer kind of day.  Downpours of rain, depressing gray skies.   The evidence is my gorgeous river that was a mere trickle a few days ago is now raging down to it’s base.  It’s amazing what a difference a day makes.  Maybe that is how I should look at things!

Eat, Pray, Love

August 20th, 2010

Just saw the movie Eat, Pray, Love.  Have to wonder how many people are going to sell everything, rent a storage unit and get the hell out of dodge!  I have been fantasizing about doing all of that for several years.  My brain is constantly in motion about how much I am worth if I just sell it all and run away to Mexico, Costa Rica or a variety of places.  I guess in some ways, that was what I was doing when I decided to buy a building and open a restaurant in a small, country town!  Just a heads up, it doesn’t always end up the same as the movie or the book. 

As I watched the movie, there were a few quotes in there that definitely hit a nerve.  The first one was when they were in Rome, I think it was Rome…don’t quote me on that.  Sometimes my brain, just exits the seat I am sitting in, and my thoughts roam elsewhere.  But, what I got out of it was “Ruin is the road to transformation”.   My God, that could be the title of a self-help book if I ever heard one!   If you look at my life, you wouldn’t get that I was a train wreck, well maybe on my personal front, but definitely not on the business front.  I have it pretty together.  Getting 5,000 things done a day to keep two restaurants running.  No personal assistants.  I do have a house cleaner that cleans twice a month.  The house looks great for about twenty minutes and then it almost looks like a tornado took over.  Paper everywhere, clothes thrown here and there.  Dirty dishes making it as far as the sink.  I kinda feel like that is my life.  My brain rarely stops.  I do work pretty hard on balancing the cool stuff though.  I always take two days off from the restaurants a week.  I try and do getaways as often as I can. I live for my horse back rides galloping through the fields with my friend Julie and her magnificient horses, Marty Moo and Frida.  I attempt to  exercise regularly, but to be honest, I hate exercising.  I like doing things that are fun as opposed to required.  I hung out with a buddy yesterday that has the workout gene…..oh how I wish I had that gene.  I mean I do work out, but I really would rather eat one of my fabulous pizzas.   So, my guess is that I have the eating part pretty much down….so I am one-third the way through the book as we speak!

Sorry, back to the “Ruin is the road to transformation”.  Is that not like one of the best quotes ever?  I feel like my life is always in a transformation mode.  I am always trying to figure out how to find my happy.  Always trying to appreciate wherever the hell I am.  If things suck, I try and tell myself that it is just part of the process and that there is a lesson to be learned.  Lately, I just tell myself that everything that happens is just material for my book or my speeches.  I try and laugh about it all, but I would be lying if I didn’t say that sometimes it is just totally overwhelming.  There is a scene in the movie where she narrates this.  She says that if you don’t realize that everything that is happening is happening for a reason then you aren’t getting it.  I have several friends that seem to be going through this process also.  We each handle it differently, but nonetheless, we are all going through it in some shape or form.  We are all in transformation and I think it is a damn good thing!

There was a scene in the movie, I believe she was at the prayer place in India and her friend….the one that annoyed her in the beginning, said to her that she needed to forgive herself.  Okay, so here is a bit of honesty.  I started crying instantly.  Several months ago, I had someone that annoyed me like that, say the same thing to me.  Ironically, it was over a text…….this person seems to communicate best that way…or at least communicates that way to me the best.  When he sent me that text, I sat on my couch and just started bawling.  He told me that I needed to forgive my ex, and then he said I needed to forgive myself.  I, of course, used my favorite defense mechanism….sarcasm..and sent something sassy back.  Damit, I thought about his words all night.  Matter of fact, I have never stopped thinking about those words since he sent them.  Who would know that that annoying man, that for some reason I feel pretty strongly  I need to have a connection with would have such an affect on me.  I have no idea what the connection will be, maybe just to throw me a few words of wisdom every now and then.   My guess, is that he had to deal with this somewhere in his life also.  Maybe that is why our paths crossed.  Well, that’s what the book would say anyway.  So, there I sit in the movie theater playing all this in my head.  Realizing that this is obviously my next step in my transformation.  Seriously, though, I don’t see myself headed to India anytime soon.  The flies would kill me and I have no desire to see all of the poverty.  And, the idea of silence for more than a few minutes almost makes me a bit sick to my stomach.  My guess, it just might be what the doctor ordered!

Ok, on to LOVE!!!!!!!!….well, I am just not ready to go there!

Gotta Love the New Age of Employees

August 17th, 2010

Well, well, well……  here I go again, making a sassy little blog about an employee.  Actually, an ex employee, who ironically I really liked when she was in a good place.  My God, am I starting to sound like a broken record? Am I just becoming so sick and tired of the whole thing that my tolerance level is near zero.  One of my regulars mentioned a story to me today.  He was trying to get some service at a shop and evidently the clerk was just terrible.  The story went that he pretty much told the employee that he sucked and that if he worked for him, he would be fired.  I don’t know if I have ever gone that far.  I know I have thought of saying it sometimes, but I just haven’t gotten there yet.  He is also a business owner, and has about 60 employees.  He told me he has just gotten to the point that he is so sick of so much bullshit, that he feels like he just has no tolerance.  Well, I am right there with him!

On to my employees.  I am amazed that an employee would get pissed at me for reprimanding them for not being friendly to my, our guests.  Heaven forbid, that I expect some service.  Her response was “Well, I have been doing this for a long time”….My response, “Well, so have I and you seem to have picked up some bad habits along the way!”  With the flip of a comment her whole energy changed.  This was someone that could not afford to get her tooth pulled.  We are talking a couple hundred bucks..(UW Dental School, I think).  Yet throwing away a job that pays about $500.00 a week seems like the logical thing to do.  WTF!!!!!!!!!  After she left, several customers made comments to me about her not being friendly.  Lovely!  On to the next one!

Not sure if I can even type this without a good laugh…..OMG!  So, I put an ad on Craigslist for a “Rock Star Server”.  I say all the normal stuff, but am very clear on the ability to multitask.  For God’s sake, if you can’t multitask, you cannot be a damn server period!!!!!!!!!!!  So, in walks this super cutie, about a size minus 00.  She’s definitely got the spunk, with purple streaks through her hair, tattoos, and a few piercings on her face.  By the way, two is the maximum on the piercings.  I don’t really care if people think I am being a bitch about it.  It is what I want for my image.  I don’t need to be scaring any kids or God forbid a mom.  So this new hire  is like a whirlwind or, dare I say a tornado,  way more spunk than my last two disappointing experiences.  I figure it is worth a shot.  I mean, at least, she has a bit of character and personality.  Oh my God, what do I keep getting myself into?  On her second night she showed up late.  Lovely!  After the fourth day, she still was not able to figure out the table numbers.  I knew when I made those table numbers up when I opened that I was only lookin for trouble.  The idea that I would start at one and end at thirteen…pretty much all in a row…well, really, that is just silly.  Very, very confusing, I know.

My little “rock star” was definitely out of this galaxy.  When she showed up on her fifth day as crazy and flustered as the day before, I told her that I was just going to have her hostess for us so she could learn the table numbers.  Look, I am a sucker, and I try really hard to give every chance possible before I say “You are outta here!”   She then precedes to tell me how she has just had such a hard time with the table numbers…..um, oh my god…ya gotta be kidding me?  I say to her, “I know it seems pretty complicated, but seriously, I probably wouldn’t be telling your boss that you can’t get a pretty simple task achieved.”  She just keeps goin on about how she is going to work really hard to figure it out and blah, blah, blah.  I thought, I cannot deal with this all night, I don’t give a shit if we get our asses kicked, I don’t want her in my space…..period.   So, I calmly rub her size 00 arms and say, “You know what?  You can’t work here.  I am going to go ahead and let you go.  You are a really sweet girl, but this is not the right place for you!”  She looks at me with pure panic, realizing that she has lost yet another job…and out of the depths of her soul she says “I need to tell you something.  I need to tell you why everything is so crazy!”  On cue, tears start flowing and I think to myself WTF!  Do I really have to deal with this right now?  What is about to come out of her mouth?  Is she going to tell me that she is on her period, that her dog ate her homework, that she is emotionally unstable.  I can hardly contain myself, knowing full and well that this story will go on the blog and someday on a stage for everyone to hear.  I wait, and then it comes!  “My best friend is going to die tomorrow!”  Look, I am not trying to make light on this, but I didn’t believe her for a second.  She had never mentioned a word of it to any of us, and God knows, she jabbered the whole time.  I gently squeeze those size 00 arms as I say to her “Well then, this is a good thing.  Now you can go spend some time with her!”  Tears dry up instantly and she tells me that she is glad that she got to try this out.  Now she knows that it is just not for her.  She frantically grabs her bag and takes for the front door.  She stops as she gets outside and talks to herself for a second.  My guess trying to figure out if she has enough cash to get some kind of a fix.  About twenty minutes later as my restaurant is getting slammed she strolls back in and with a light spirited smile asks when she can get paid for her work.  Let me be clear here.  I am so sick of training these people and paying them.  For God’s sake they should be paying me.  I have never felt that way until the last two years.  I used to be such a great judge of character.  I used to be able to figure it out before I hired them.  Wait, they used to be different!   It’s true, these are different times, and the “kids” well they are just different.  Don’t get me wrong, there are still some pretty awesome ones, but the bad eggs seem to be spoiling at a record pace and I am  just damn scared and pretty much damned over it!

The First of the Month Blues!!!!!!!

August 2nd, 2010

I have decided that the middle of the month seems to be my happy place.  Well, what I mean is that it is the least financially stressful time of my life as a business owner.  God knows, everything else crazy can happen during those times such as a cook saying “adios” or a crazy person finding you on the Internet and then not taking the hint until it turns into a fiasco.  Can you say “FREAK”?  Yup, the middle of the month is when I can breathe for a minute, kinda get my head back on straight and then wait for the chaos to come back into my financial brain.

I just got back from a long weekend to get away from it all.  Probably the last one I will get for the next few months, as I will be ending an era with my first restaurant.  I took off in hopes of not worrying about anything, but really that is just a bunch of bullshit.  If anyone has found the secret to escape, please fill me in.  I think about the finances of my three companies, well, pretty much all of the time.  I swore when I got back from the trip that I would wait until Monday to check all the account balances.  Look, I had the best intentions, but realistically, I just feel like when this computer is taunting me, I need to check out what is up!  Is this a good thing????? NO, but if I didn’t have that neurotic trait I would definitely have bounced alot of checks over the last year.  So, as they say, “It is what it is!”

I have to say that before the recession hit, this was never an issue.  I totally kept track of where I was on my checkbook ledger……..something I haven’t been so good at since I have figured out online banking, but I really never worried about money.  That’s not entirely true, I did worry about how much I could blow at the casino, or a remodel I wanted to do, or a house I wanted to buy……. Way different stresses than making sure you have enough money to pay your staff and vendors.  That was just life then and now, as most of us know, shit has changed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, I crawled out of bed a bit timidly today, knowing that there really wasn’t gonna be a bunch of cash in any of the accounts and already thinking….even before my first cup of coffee, where I was going to be transferring things  from to make it all work.  You see Mondays kinda suck already, because if you are a business owner and accept credit cards, you know, no cash shows up into our account from weekend sales until Tuesday…OUCH!  Let’s throw in the beginning of the month credit card charges for the use of that fine credit from our customers, end of quarter taxes for labor and industries and B & O taxes…….I live in the state of Washington.  They so love to get us little “itty bitty” businesses.  Oh, I forgot that payroll just landed on the last weekend of the month.  Jesus, why the hell did I get out of bed today?  I could have just stayed in my yummy bed with my favorite 600 thread count sheets and chosen to not deal with it.  But, alas, that is not my genetic make up.  My Mom is German and I was always raised to face the damn day.

So,  took care of any disasters that could happen with the business checking accounts first thing.  A little transfer here, a little transfer there and my day had started.  I asked a very wise friend today, “why the hell does this crap keep happening?”  He told me I needed to get over the question “why.”  He also said something that jolted me back to reality from the pit I had chosen to dive head first in to.  He asked, very gently, I might add, “You know you will make it through all of this, right?”   As I was crying, I stopped for a second and realized he was right.  I mean, I never really thought I won’t get through this crappy time in history, I just have been really annoyed by the whole thing.  I might have had a couple of pity parties for myself, but I can flip it around in about two seconds flat.  I still have perfect credit, I am still worth a pretty good penny, I still have two gorgeous roofs over my head.  I have great friends, a great Mom and Rent-a Dad, and a  great support system.  I am alive, I fought another day.  The credit card companies keep sending me amazing deals.  Hell, I can transfer debt back and forth for years, if need be.  I guess this energy of craziness is just in my blood, but I would be lying to you if I told you that I can deal with this kind of blood forever. I see huge changes in my life, and all I can say is that I am ready for a little less stress!  Bring it on UNIVERSE!!!!!!!

How a recession made me appreciate $100.00 alot more!

July 19th, 2010

Today started out with the best intentions.  I had my list in my head of all the crap that needed to be accomplished by the end of the day.  The list included all of the regular suspects such as cleaning the damn car out, cleaning the house, organizing and paying the important bills, yard work, exercise and then the extras like taking the Caddy to the shop for a tune up, sorting through the pile of clothes that seems to become a mountain by the end of each day.  I was ready for it.

Then, the door knock came and my sweet neighbor was crying and telling me that her infant had just had a seizure.  Off to the Emergency Room.  Then the phone call from one of my favorite friends, Rachel, asking to do lunch.  Which then turned into “Let’s run up to the outlet mall!”  Which then, of course turned into “Well, we could go to the casino for a bit!”   I am not sure if I have mentioned before but I have a wee bit of a gambling  obsession.  I called it an addiction when I had plenty of money to burn, but, well since the fabulous recession hit, I have taken it down so many notches that we will just call it a minor problem  now.  

Ok, I will be  totally honest, I was so damn excited to go the casino.  I mean summer has sucked here this year, it was gloomy till almost two.  Why not go to the casino?  I had a willing partner in crime, so the decision really was a simple one.   I think it is so important to have a friend that can just take off with you on a whim.  Well, we grabbed a quick lunch and here’s where the $100. 00 comes in.  Rachel says she needs to go cash a check for some play money.  We both decide on a $100.00.  Now, listen three years ago a $100.00 was nothing.  It wasn’t strange for me to take a grand on any one venture. Sometimes I spent more than that.  I mean, I could.  I had a super successful restaurant, no kids, no husbands, no nothing.  I could do with my money what I wanted and the Gambling Gods were the lucky winners on that subject for sure.  $100.00 today is a pretty big deal.

Amazingly, we make it to the casino in record time.  Just two happy chicks excited to spend the day escaping our responsibilities.  Flying down the highway, windows down, sunroof open, music blaring.  Both of us fantasizing about the jackpot that was waiting for us.  We both felt it.  We knew it would happen.  It was just ours for the taking.  We drive up to the casino, and the same excitement that I always have when I get close to the building surfaces.  I am so excited, it’s like I’m on crack cocaine.  My friend, of course doesn’t realize the intensity of my, ok I will say it “ADDICTION”  I mean, I have been honest about it to everyone, but I don’t really believe anybody really believes me, but I know!  My accomplice  disappears, which is fine by me.  I am focused people.  I am here to win and escape all at once.

When you only have a $100.00 to blow, the intensity is stronger.  As a slot player, you know that you have to win a big chunk up front so you can continue “the high”.  Sounds crazy, but there is a stress that goes with it.  I drop the first fifty in no time flat, but then the $100.00 comes and I am on the ride…..YEAH!!!!!!  I am sitting next to an old guy named Keith, and he seems to be doing fine.  I am always a cheerer for a neighbor and he seemed to be doing pretty good.  So, all of a sudden, we are all doing great.  My friend  has joined the line and is winning left and right.  She is only betting 30 to 60 cents at a time, but she never went down.  We were having a ball!  After about an hour and a half, I said “if I go down to fifty lets take off”   BAM!  I hit another $100.00.  Guess what?  I was done!  I won $75.00 and so did Rach.  We were in heaven!  So proud of almost doubling our money.  We were WINNERS!!!!!!!!!

Here’s the thing, three years ago $75.00 would never have gotten my rocks off.  But listen people, we really are in a recession and $75.00 is a damn jackpot and so was skipping my responsibilities  and hanging with Rachel for the day.  We walked out of that casino like we truly were the “big winners” of the day!  Maybe this recession hasn’t been such a bad thing.  I’ve come back down to Earth and remembered how hard it is to make a buck.  I have to bartend for several hours to make that cash.  Rach and I talk about it all the way home, well, I mean in between some fun AC DC songs and a couple country tunes to boot.  Really, the fun was I was with my BUD!  That’s a rule for me now.  I have to go with a friend.  To be honest, the 150 bucks we won was just as good as if I would have won a grand before.  It’s all good!

Being the Boss Never Stops!

July 15th, 2010

I spent the day with one of my favorite girlfriends.  She runs a business like I do and we commensurate regularly over the babysitting services that we offer. She was nervous about her yearly exam and I offered to hang with her at the doctor’s office .  After we got out of the appointment, she told me she was three years cancer free today.  I felt so privileged that I got to spend the day with her.  I said let’s go celebrate and have lunch at one of our favorite spots.  So off we went, on our little neurotic drive through the neighborhoods.  Come to find out, she  has a little anxiety thing with highways, so it was a windy path to get to our destination, but I didn’t care, as in my brain, I was taking the day off.  (Insert laughter right there).

You see in my world, my world as a business owner, there truly is never a day off.  My phone has to stay on.  You know, in case someone can’t find something, like, oh, I don’t know, broccoli, their tip money, or maybe to tell me the fridge isn’t working, or the air conditioner is out.   Oh, how I live for those calls.  I didn’t get any of those today, but my dear friend had lots of bad shit goin on. So, really therefore, I did to as it is just a constant reminder of our positions in this world. 

We ordered our food and when mine came out there truly was a big hair on it.  I am not that uptight and just took it out and let them know.  I mean they were standing there, but here is the thing on that.  Because I am a restaurant owner, I watch how other places deal with it.  If it had been at my restaurant I would have been mortified, but probably tried to cover it up with humor.  I can promise that I would have comped it.  They did offer to get me another one, but seriously, in my world, it’s not the end of life to get a hair in my food, and to be honest, it had taken forever, and damit I needed to eat.   With that said, they could have comped it, or offered us dessert just as a nice gesture.  That’s what I would have done. So, of course, as I am eating my lunch, I am totally thinking about all this stuff.  Thinking that I needed to use this as an example in my training.  Because to be really frank, you have to tell your people this kinda shit because otherwise they would probably handle it the same way.  I didn’t really enjoy my meal that much, maybe because of the hair, or maybe because, as a restaurant owner I am always thinking of these things.  Hell, if that happened to the wrong bitchy local in my small  town, the entire town would have heard about it before the person left their seat.

Sorry, I start a typing and I just go off.  Back to my friend.  So here we were celebrating three years cancer free and just really enjoying some one on one time.  Of course, her phone is ringing and texts are flying and emails are going.  Jesus Christ, I tell her to turn the damn thing off.  Well, I guess maybe it’s best she didn’t because she got a phone call from a client.  I won’t mention the name but it does start with the capital M and it is based out of Seattle.  Evidently, her project manager said something really dumb, like “Our company doesn’t do that kind of work”  Here’s the problem, she said it to another vendor.  Seriously, use some common sense kid.  In my head as I am hearing the conversation I think, if you don’t know something for sure, just say you will find out.  It’s almost as if young people just don’t get it.  They don’t get that we, as in, business owners spend a huge amount of time creating our brand, our image, our character and the perception we want people to have of us.  We don’t want it to go down the drain, because one of our employees doesn’t know what the hell they are talking about.

My friends blood pressure was skyrocketing and I am sure I didn’t help it with the comment of  “you need to be the face of your company.”  OOPs.  Sadly, it’s true and we both know it, but the problem is we can’t do everything.  We are amazing people, don’t get me wrong, but really, we can only handle so many things in a day, which sadly includes babysitting and holding the hands of the next generation.  Where the hell has the common sense gone?  Where have the leadership skills taken off to?  I have to be honest, I would have fired the girl.  I heard her on the phone with her, I heard her tell her she needed to take care of the mess she created.  My guess, like my server that I caught stealing, she’ll probably just quit.   Hell why not, via text.  I hear it’s the en vogue thing to do!