Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Back in the saddle again.

I started back at my waitressing job last week and I was relieved to find that not much had changed. I work at an historic old inn and in addition to many dining and banquet rooms, it has 75 rooms available for overnight guests. It closes down right before Christmas (giving me about a day and a half to get my shopping done) and re-opens in the middle of April. Even though I also have a full time job, those three months off feel like a vacation.

Almost all of the regular staff has returned and that makes me happy as I really like our group of servers. Cassie, one of the waitresses, is possibly the horniest woman I've ever met and she greeted me with an offer to goose me, "two times if you want, Honey!"
She disappeared into a different dining room and Vicki stomped in and said, "Jesus Christ, is this going to be a repeat of last year?" I knew exactly what she was talking about but I made her tell me anyway.
Flinging her arm in the direction of Cassie's departing back she said, "Cassie came up to welcome me back and gave me a big hug and then wrapped her legs around my waist!"

I started to laugh and she continued, "And then she lifted her skirt and 'offered' me some! Why does she do that?"

I told her I wasn't sure why, but I do know that she has an 'old man' at home, as everyone in Cassie's family, including her sixteen year old daughter has an 'old man'. Maybe quantity or quality is missing in Cassie's sex life, I suggested to Vicki , and at least I got a smile out of her.

This, being our first week open, has been fairly busy despite the economy, but things were a little slow last Friday night. However that turned out to be a good thing because I ended up with a party of 8 and they monopolized a lot of my time.

They were a group of professors consisting of a normal looking couple, two very quiet men, a very nice gay man, an Einstein look-a-like, an angry woman, and a nun.

Why does this sound like the start of a joke?

I asked if this was going to be all on one check and immediately everyone started pointing at people across from them or beside them and one brilliant individual stated "Bob's on my check." Like I was supposed to know who 'Bob' was.

Higher education indeed.

One gentleman who was taking care of four of the checks ordered a bottle of wine. His reply to my question of whether I was to bring four glasses was, "No, only three, she's a nun." And he pointed to a tall woman wearing a severe black suit. No wonder nuns are so frustrated. It would appear that they have to follow a whole different set of rules than priests, but then I'm not catholic so what the hell do I know!

They were a talkative group and when I urged them to go to the salad bar they told me that they were in no hurry and wanted to 'feel the love'. I immediately informed the chef to hold their order until I gave him the ok to proceed.

I eavesdropped on a lively discussion about gays and a US president who'd apparently been flagrantly gay. I still have no idea which one it was since I didn't overhear that part of the conversation. But it must have been back in the days before Geraldo Rivera or CNN and has been conveniently left out of our history books.

No matter where the conversation veered, the angry woman would jerk it back to civil rights and she was still furious that there was a time when blacks were denied voting privileges. She was by far the most difficult member of the group to wait on and was very imperious with me. If I poured water in someone's glass and not hers, she would wait until I walked away and then in a very loud voice she would say "Excuse me! May I please have some water?" even though her glass was full. After three separate incidents like this I made sure I poured the missing teaspoon of water back in her glass every time I walked by.
Finally, they must have 'felt enough love' and caught me by surprise by running for the salad bar lickity split and were done in no time flat! I raced for the kitchen and told the chef to hurry up with my order. I then informed the group that their entrees would be out shortly and confessed that I'd purposefully held their orders back because I knew that they didn't want to be rushed.

The angry lady snapped at me, "Then why did HE get HIS food already!"(It's called an appetizer dear, and they come out first, I didn't say!!) and she pointed at the gay man. "Because I asked her to!" He replied, and as I walked away I heard him cheerfully say, "Sweetie, you can catch a lot more flies with honey than vinegar, and you've been a bitch all night."

"Oh," She sniffed. And the entire table erupted with laughter.

I was topping off their water glasses and almost dropped my pitcher, when from out of nowhere the nun started a very loud and graphic discourse about foreplay, orgasms and barbed penis's.

I kid you not!

As a waitress, I've been privy to a lot of weird conversations but this one takes the cake. As the rest of the 'love in' crowd enthusiastically joined in the discussion with their own clinical views on 'the carnal act of sex', I shot behind the wait station and tried not to squeak, which is what I tend to do if I can't laugh out loud.

Just then Vicki barrelled around the corner, "Jesus Christ, do you hear what the hell they're talking about out there? They whole dining room is listening!"

I yanked her back into the kitchen so no one could hear us, and when I told her that the speaker was a nun she almost choked.

"I thought only the priests were perverts!" She hissed. And then with a look of horror she said, "Oh my God, what if Cassie'd waited on them tonight!"

We both cracked up at that thought because Cassie, who, as I stated before, has sex on the brain 24/7, has been known to flirt and/or say off color remarks at the most inappropriate times to some of the most inappropriate guests if she thinks it will enhance her tip. She probably would have wet her panties at this blatantly sexual conversation and I'm quite sure that she would have envisioned an orgy in her future.

I peeked back out into the dining room and one of the party members was demonstrating how a male forces the female into submission by sinking his teeth into her neck.

"I have a feeling," I said to Vicki, "that Cassie would've ended up in a cage back at their lab. Wouldn't she be a fascinating study?"

But I'm thankful that they didn't take her because I'd hate to lose a good waitress.

And one never knows when one might need a goose.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Someone's knot waiting... and I'm knot packed!

Can you guess what Hans is standing in front of?

If you guessed a boat, then you're right.

But I bet you didn't guess that it was to be our new home.

Because it is.

I kid you not!

Back in January we took a trip to Boston ala these posts to look at boats. Actually our boat search started in the fall when we took a trip to Annapolis MD. If you've never been there...well you should. You don't have to go to look at boats (and if you're smart you won't!) it's just a beautiful place to be. But first, make sure that accommodations are available. Annapolis is a very popular town!

But I digress.

Back to the boat.

Hans grew up in a sailing family and from what I've witnessed, once a sailor always a sailor. When I met Hans he'd just sold (with a huge sigh of relief) his 42 foot Passport and I distinctly remember him vowing to never again buy another boat.

Well, just like I had sworn (after my divorce) that I'd never get involved in a serious relationship again, one should never say never!

I'm not sure how or when the discussion of purchasing another 'hole to throw your money in' got started. It probably had something to do with our Sunday BBQ wing nights, and hey... anything's possible after a couple of pitchers of beer!

Last October we headed to Annapolis to meet Rich, a broker whom Hans has had dealings with for years. I told Hans before we went that I'd been stalking the blogs of other 'live aboards' and that our trip to Annapolis was going to be a huge waste of time. One man posted that he'd flown down to Annapolis from way up north, and that the people he had dealt with were very inefficient, some boats that he'd arranged to look at were unavailable, and he wouldn't recommend going to Annapolis to anyone.

That's too bad because Rich, our broker, was and is wonderful! We wanted to look at catamarans and that's what we did. From the top of the line to the bottom, if there was a catamaran in Annapolis that was for sale, we looked at it.

What an adventure! One of the boats that we wanted to look at was moored a few hundred yards off shore and we had to use a dinghy to get to it. Of course the dinghy we were to use was rather small and filled half way up with rain water. This required tipping it up in the air to drain it and hoping the outboard engine would start. It did, but the next hurdle was fitting all three of us into it. Rich got in first, I was to be in the middle, and when I realized that Hans was next, I started to panic. You see, Hans is a big guy and I've experienced first hand what happens when a big guy loses his balance in a small boat. It means I get catapulted into a backwards somersault and I didn't care to do that again, in cold dirty dock water!

I was babbling at Hans to be careful and Rich was telling me that we were fine and I said, "But he weighs over two hundred and sixty pounds and you have no idea what's going to happen when he gets in!" Poor Hans got a hurt little boy look on his face and said, "Sometimes I weigh about two hundred and fifty five pounds (like that would make a big difference!) and I again begged him to please be careful.

With Hans in place and my heart pounding wildly, we chugged out to the boat. It turned out to be a disappointment and once again we had to get back in the dinghy. Rich whistled the Gilligan's Island theme as we slowly made our way back to the dock and then he patted me on the back and said, "I think you have a little Mary Ann in you."

Didn't I say he was nice?

We looked at several boats. One had beautiful teak floors throughout (not so pretty when it's time to re varnish!) and came complete with a washer/drier combo and a price tag to match. One boat that hadn't even been wired for electricity yet, was just hideous. The drawers in the galley (kitchen) wouldn't open without almost jerking your arm off, the flooring looked like it was made of cork and was already worn out, and it had two 8 horsepower gasoline engines!! Not a good idea.

So at the end of the day we had seen maybe one boat that was ok and of course I said, "I told you so!" to Hans, who's such a good sport!

As we were leaving the next day we had one more stop to make and I already knew it was going to be a waste of time as the boat we were going to look at was only 35 feet long.

When we decided to look at boats, we had set parameters on what we thought would be acceptable. But just like house or spouse shopping you rarely get what you're looking for. I sincerely doubt that a single waitress with three kids is what Hans had in mind when he went back on the market, but that's what he got, like it or not!

So this last boat was a 35 foot catamaran and we really didn't want to go with less than 38 feet. It had two cabins and we really would have liked at least three. I also knew that between the front hulls it didn't have a trampoline (a nice springy net that spans the hulls and is great fun to sit on when sailing) and I love trampolines.

We found the boat, boarded her and looked around.

"Very nice" we remarked with surprise, because after all it was three feet shorter than we wanted. There was a ton of storage space, and the galley also had more drawers and cupboards than some of the bigger boats. This was a very nicely designed boat. The two berths were queen sized and spacious. A huge bonus was the fact that there were two complete heads (bathrooms). Each had a toilet, a sink complete with triple mirrored medicine cabinets, and full size separate showers that were deep enough to fill with water for a shallow bath if you'd like. Each shower had a full size door in the back of it that lead to the 27 horsepower diesel engines. Walk in engine rooms! Until you've had to pull up floor boards to get to your engine you truly can't appreciate such a feature.

The helm sat in the center back, which is what Hans likes, and the boat was small enough to single hand sail if that's what you want to do. And even though it's a catamaran, it will fit into most single slips which is really nice as you pay by the foot when you dock.

The front of the boat had a big cushion that two to three people could relax on, and the back of it will tilt up so you can lean back comfortably. There's extra storage in the front between the hulls that gives the boat the appearance of a tri-maran, but it's not.
Over all it was a great design and the crowning touch was the fact that it was an American made boat.

Our research had found that if you wish to captain your own boat in American waters with paying passengers, in addition to having a captains license, your boat has to be manufactured in America. If you want to rent it out to bare boater's, it doesn't have to be American made, but we want to live on this boat while chartering it.

You wouldn't believe the rules and laws involved in this endeavor. It's mind boggling!

Well, we fell in love with this boat and planned on making an offer but were told there would be no budging on the price.

And then Hans found 10 other boats just like it. It's an Island Packet Cat and I believe Bob Johnson, the designer, made about 41 of these boats in the 1990's. Two of the most promising boats were in Boston, so Hans got a hold of Rich and together they made arrangements for us to go there. Later on Rich himself flew to Massachusetts to oversee the inspection. So that's why we made a trip to Boston in January which is not the smartest time to look at boats but we didn't want to wait until spring.

We looked, we saw, and we bought.

So this Friday, we're driving to Annapolis and taking a train to Massachusetts. We will then board this boat that we've never sailed before and hopefully within a week we'll arrive in Annapolis where a company has agreed to charter it for us this spring and summer. Next year at this time we hope to be the captain and crew of our own boat.
I'm working on a sailing blog that will tie into our future web site. This will give people an idea of who we are and whether we are the kind of people they would like to sail with. I feel that this is very important!

Two others will be helping us in our little journey next week. One is a friend of Hans' who's sailed with him before and the other is a hockey team mate who's from Massachusetts and has sailing experience, but just not with Hans.

I realize that our recent trip to Europe went far too smoothly for this particular vacation jinx. I fear that someone is trying to lull me into a false sense of security and that the heavens are going unleash some sort unholy hell upon me on this trip!

This is not our boat but it's the same model and gives you a view from above.

This however is our boat.

This is just below deck in the salon (or saloon, both pronunciations are acceptable).

A partial view of the 'head'. The shower is in the background, and that's the door to the engine room in the back of the shower.

This is the sun pad, tilted up for reading, or knitting, or whatever!

Hans says that when we move on board I can bring my sewing machine.

That should be very interesting!

I only hope you don't hear about us on the Today Show!!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

BWOF T-Shirt 07-2007-105

I thought it was time to get some use out of my BWOF magazines. I always see something I like but I really do hate tracing off the patterns. I bought some stretch jersey in Paris and after spending as much as I did, I don't want this stuff sitting around forever.

The first BWOF magazine that I received (via EBay) was the July 2007 issue and it's still my favorite. I picked out the top I wanted and had to laugh when the very next day Angelia posted on her blog that she was going to make the very same thing.

I checked out pattern review and read that the neck tended to gape and that clear elastic would help. I asked Angelia about this problem and she said she used a VERY stretchy fabric and had no problems. She also said that she made her top 2 sizes smaller but added a little extra to the length and the bust.

I made a size 36 even though my measurements are a 38.

I decided to play it safe and tried to put clear elastic in the neck line.

Tried, being the operative word here.

For once I was smart and practiced on a piece of scrap fabric first.

No matter how many times I tried, it just didn't work. I used clear elastic, a ballpoint needle, and just about every tension imaginable but each attempt was a failure. The zigzag stitches just puckered and pulled the elastic and the results had a tunnel like appearance. I thought I would just place the elastic on the edge of the wrong side, zig zag, turn the seam allowance over and stitch.

But there was no way I would have been able to turn that mess under and stitch in place, so I didn't use anything. Luckily it worked and it doesn't gap, but I have to find out what I'm doing wrong.

The next problem was when I tried the top on, I was dismayed to find that the sleeve cap, instead of sitting at the edge of my shoulder, was pulled up onto my shoulder and I should have made the size 38. I then just could have tapered the pattern to a 36 which is what I'll do next time.

As it is, I took the sleeves off and reattached them with a very small seam allowance at the top and then went back to the regular seam allowance in the armpit area. It looks better and should be ok.

If anyone can tell me what I'm doing wrong with the elastic, I'll love you forever!!! I would like to make this top again in less stretchy fabric.

Here is what arrived in my mail today and I'm going to watch it before I head off to work tonight. Angelia (is it obvious that I stalk this poor woman?) said that she thought the Islander Zipper insertion technique was the best. She bought a copy for around $40.00 so I jumped on line and found this. SmartFlix will rent just about any CD imaginable for the do-it-yourselfer at the price of 9.99 total. They send you a CD, you watch it and send it back within a week. I'll give this a try and see if I can understand it. Hopefully, I'll absorb some of it.

Friday, April 25, 2008

10 Things I Hate About Spring!

1. Mowing my yard

2. Mowing my yard

3. Mowing my yard

4. Mowing my yard

5. Mowing my yard

6. Mowing my yard

7. Mowing my yard

8. Mowing my yard

9. Mowing my yard

10. Mowing my yard

Did I mention? I hate mowing my yard.

I have a rather strange relationship with appliances, cars, lawn mowers, etc... They laugh at me and I don't trust them.

When I moved into my house almost 11 years ago, my soon to be ex-husband gave me our old push lawn mower; out of guilt or the desire to rid himself of what he saw as two useless objects, I'm not sure.

The mower lasted about 2 years before one of the wheels fell off. Actually the body of the mower rusted to such an extent that one quarter of the body just fell off. Acting on the advise of a co-worker I took it to a welder and $10.00 later I had an ugly (but functioning) mower.

But all good things must come to an end and one bright spring morning my mower was declared DOA.

Luck was with me because I found an ad for a used mower in the paper and when I called the number, not only was it still available, they wanted my old mower for 'parts.'

I finally found the house on a side street and was pleased to note that the mower for sale looked great and boasted a good brand name.

But, suddenly it seemed like every man in the neighborhood needed to stop by and offer advise or to just stare. One very bold, and very scrawny little man with a filthy pony tail and no teeth hinted broadly that a "little lady like you should have a man to take care of your lawn" (wink, wink) and I refrained from replying that I require a little more meat on my man's bones (and I hadn't even met Hans yet) and if not all of his own teeth, at least a reasonable facsimile thereof!

Unfortunately the lawn mower owner didn't have gas in the machine and couldn't prove that it really worked. Being naive I took him on his word that it worked, so for $15.00 we swapped my mower for his and I was on my way sans the toothless man.

Once I got home I was tremendously relieved to find that the mower did indeed work and I hadn't wasted my money!

Things went well for a few years, although every spring I would hold my breath at the first pull on the starting rope, just sure that the motor wouldn't turn over, but it always did.

But, I guess I must truly be hell on wheels or all mower's belong to the same union because all of a sudden a wheel fell off of this mower.

This time however it wasn't the body of the machine that was the issue. Somehow the bolt that held the wheel in place ripped off and I couldn't figure out how to fix it. So for about 2 years I mowed with 3 wheels. I just had to hold the back right side up while I mowed and prayed that the neighborhood wasn't laughing at me.

Then one day my neighbor, a retired man, who I'm sure regrets the day that a single woman with 3 kids moved in next door, sneaked over and fixed my mower while the kids and I were eating dinner. I was very thankful and very embarrassed.

So last night I decided I'd better get out there and do something about my grass as my neighbor, who lives for lawn work, has already mowed his yard about 20 times! I'm not lying when I tell you that he sometimes mows 2 times a day!

I wheeled the mower outside and of course it had no gas, resulting in a trip to the gas station.

I wisely only put about a cup of gas into it, because if it wasn't going to start I was not about to waste $4.00.

I primed it, yanked on the rope, and... nothing.

Absolutely nothing.

Not even a tiny little burp or spark.

A few more primes, a few more yanks.


Back into the garage for the oil.

This time I only put in about 2 tablespoons. I still remember a couple of years ago when I dumped about a cup of oil in the mower and for something like 2 weeks I was embarrassed about the blue smoke that hung over my yard for hours after I was done mowing.

I waited until the oil disappeared into the bowel's of the mower and yanked the damn rope again.

By now my hands looked like they belonged to a mechanic, complete with grease under my nails and I was getting pissed.

I do not want to buy another mower. I'm in the process of getting a new garage door (much to my neighbor's relief I'm sure) and I don't even want to tell you how much that thing's going to cost.

Finally, I primed one more time. yanked like hell one more time, and almost fainted when grudgingly, the mower spat out a small shot of blue smoke.

I knew it didn't stand a chance after that.

A couple of more pulls and it was happily blowing blue smoke like crazy and I was finally in business.

Now if it can just hang on to it's wheels and I can hang onto my sanity, I hopefully won't have to go back into town and find my toothless little admirer/pool boy.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Another Purse

Here's another purse made from Nicole Mallalieu's day bag pattern. I had a half of a yard of this cute 'cherry' print that I thought I'd better use up. I used old blue jean waist bands for the handles (minus the belt loops), a blue jean pocket on the front, and left over jean fabric as the base.

Here is the back.

Here is the top that shows the zipper closing. It takes a little bit of extra time but I like having a secure closing on some of my purses.

This isn't a very good close up of the bottom but I found a great tutorial on Nicole's web site that shows how to sew a hard bottom onto the outside of the purse and sandwich the ends into the side seams. I didn't think it was going to work because I use very stiff stabilizer but I was able to manipulate it and I LOVE it. It looks really good close up and I'm going to use this technique as often as possible.

This picture is a little better. Actually the bottom of this purse 'screams' for feet BUT, I didn't have anything that would work. I would like to use buttons, but after going through the approximately 1,0000 buttons that I have, none were quite right.
I'll sleep on this one.

I love Nicole's purses, I really do! You need to take a look at Connie's blog and see her latest purse. It is to die for!!! I hate to admit it but I'm going to order that damn pattern. Actually I'm going to order the 'kit' which is pricey but life is short!!! And I don't care.

So there!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The final chapter, Switzerland.

Just a few last photos from our vacation. I promise, just a few!

Here is Hans pointing at ME and telling me that my vacation jinx gene is the reason behind our getting kicked off the train just a few miles short of our destination of Geneva. But what's more important is that in the lower left of this photo, you can see the Amy Butler messenger bag that's tethered to my carry on case. I'm so glad I made that bag! It worked out so well and I highly recommend it!

Here we are at our 2nd night in Geneva at the birthday boy's home (Hans' brother) in Geneva. Of course there is Hans on the left, to his left is Baby Brother, and then lots of family members.

Here is the very same dining area that appears in the above picture after the furniture had been removed for the big party. In the background is the new kitchen that includes a really neat counter top stove that works on some sort of magnetic concept and requires special pans. The control that lays on top of the stove looks like a metal hockey puck. The stove is rendered useless and child proof if the 'hockey puck' is removed.

A very important feature for a childless couple!

This is to the left of the dining room (photo below). It's 3 sliding glass doors that lead outside and this is one of the tents that was set up to make room for the guests. I believe over 80 people were invited.

Here I am in the aforementioned tent in the red satin dress that Hans gave me for Christmas. I can now vouch for Jessica McClintock's fashions. This dress was very well made and I thank God it didn't burst at the seams. I can't say the same for Victoria's Secret's bikini's however! A couple of years ago the chain that held the back and front of my bikini bottoms, broke! That suit hit the floor before my brain could even register that something was wrong! Luckily, I was still in the bathroom when it happened!

It was still a bit chilly so I wore a crocheted sweater (above) which I took off later.
What a fabulous buffet! One of Hans' younger female cousin's (behind me) expressed her interest in the lobster. We decided that it was best to not have a knock down drag out fight over the lobster, so as the mature one I let her have her fair share! However I made up for my generosity by getting two helpings of salmon which happens to be MY favorite.

Here I am minus the sweater but with Hans who caught hell for not showing up in a tux. He ended up borrowing a jacket to put over the long sleeved t-shirt that he wore. The invitation was in French but for some reason Hans didn't notice that formal wear was requested. I didn't care if he was dressed up or not, I still thought he was cute!

It's now midnight and here I am taking a picture of the cake (complete with flares!) and there's the Birthday Boy beside me getting ready to give his 50th birthday speech.

It certainly was a party to end all parties! Family and friends from all over the world were there to celebrate. Some I'd love to meet again and some that perhaps, maybe I wouldn't! One very beautiful Egyptian woman with a definite predator aura, stood on the sidelines, smoking her cigarette and sizing up all the men around her. I took note of that and tightened Hans choke chain.

At one point we were deep in conversation with someone when I noticed the crowd part like the red sea and suddenly a large boned woman plowed straight for us. I recognized her as the same woman who'd butted ahead of me in line at the buffet, knocked me aside like a flea, while demanding more veal from the server.
"HOW DO YOU KNOW HANS-PETER?" She boomed in Hans face and I hid behind him. Just so you know, everyone in Hans' family (his father and brothers) is named Hans. They go by their middle names but since there is no American version of Hans' middle name then he just goes by Hans. Anyway this big woman kept braying in Hans' face even though he'd held up his finger at her in a 'wait your turn' fashion. She scared me to death and I was suddenly reminded of my high school librarian who'd had the same effect on me. His name was Mr. Miller.

Finally Hans gave her his attention and told her that he was Hans-Peter's older brother.

"IS THIS YOUR WIFE?" She shouted, and Hans (who is not a dishonest person) lied and told her I was.

After she left and the earth stopped shaking we both looked at each other and said "Who the Hell was that?" It turns out that she's known Hans' brother for many years and she actually vacations with him and his partner quite frequently. As a matter of fact she'd been along on a sailing trip last year with both of Hans' brother's.

Baby Brother told us about it.

On this particular sailing trip, in addition to Hans' brothers and their partners, there were 2 other women who were going along. Somehow a third woman got thrown into the mix and everyone knows that 3 women together is a perfect recipe for disaster.

It was.

Once on board, the Booming Lady tried to boss everyone around, the ladies (even though they'd been warned in advance of the tight quarters and had promised to behave) fought like tigers over whose turn it was to sleep in the salon area as the boat only had 3 double berths, and finally at the end of the trip there was a huge blow up over a loaf of bread.

No one can blame me for that trip, I wasn't even there!

Guess who's coming to dinner.

This is Lake Geneva and I'm not sure if the duck in the bottom of the picture (who, as you can see, had a major case of tummy trouble) is the reincarnation of Don King, or perhaps a lady duck who's contemplating suing her hairdresser.

Here is Hans when we went bike riding along Lake Geneva. Those are snow covered Alps in the background. A lot nicer in person, believe me.

Here is Hans on our last day, playing the piano for us. It was a beautiful day and very relaxing after a whirl wind week.

After the party everything was put back into place and here I am in the dining area on our last night. As you can see, the Birthday Boy used the place mats that I made for him. I was relieved to see that they were just right!!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Work just gets in my way.

Besides being Hans and my 45th anniversary (months, but I wish it was years) last night was my first night back at my waitressing job. The place I work at is seasonal so I get January through the middle of April off.

In 1999 after 21 years of employment, the company that I worked for eliminated my department. I was lucky in that one of my co-workers, who was an incredible nebby-nose, sniffed out the upcoming job elimination and the company was forced to admit that yes our jobs were headed south.


This gave us about 5 months to figure out what to do. It also gave us 5 months for many cat fights, snotty remarks, and back stabbing, as those who were losing their jobs wanted those who were keeping their jobs to suffer with horrible guilt.

They didn't.

I myself decided to get ahead of the game and pay off all my unneccesary debt which wasn't too much because I'm so cheap. So even though I had absolutely no experience I ended up with a waitressing job which proves that restaurants will hire anyone! Since I still had my full time job I waitressed in the evenings and on the weekends.

What a wake up call.

They stuck me in the bar on my first night and we got slammed! After a full day at my office job and then finally getting home around 3:30 AM from the restaurant, I really wondered how I was going to manage.

But I did.

But the bartending job was in high demand and I was new so they bumped me into the dining room. It was awful and I was awful. Out of desparation they put me in the dinner theater which was where I stayed until they closed for the season.

I was the only one who didn't get invited back the following season. I was that bad! I kid you not.

I was able to get another office job but it did not pay as well as my last (where I had made more than a lot of men which was a big deal in this red neck town). And back to waitressing I went.

This time it was at a very nice country club and it was without a doubt the best job I've ever had and they actually liked me enough to send me the following year to its sister club as a banquet manager. That was without a doubt the worst job I ever had and I walked out one night and never went back. Needless to say I couldn't go back to my favorite job after pulling a stunt like that so I crawled back to the place (where I am now) who didn't want me back and begged them for a job.

Of course they hired me because like I said before, restaurants will hire anybody. Luckily no one dreads working with me anymore and I've been there ever since.

What I was happy about; seeing my co-workers after three months off because they are all so great to work with.

What I wasn't happy about; my uniform is no looser this year than last!!!!!

So now, in addition to a little bit of sewing and my travels with Hans, you're now going to get waitressing stories that involve dropped wedding cakes, drunken golfers, getting screamed at nightly for my hair, and back stage sexcapades amongst the employees.

Stay tuned.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Wrapping things up in Paris

A few parting memories before we leave Paris and move on to Geneva.

Here is Hans holding the French version of an ice bucket.

Our poor little front desk girl had to go down to a lower level to get this for us. I'd forgotten from our trip to Germany last year that it would appear that Europeans don't like ice. If you are gauche enough to order a mixed drink your server will ask you if you want ice. If you are gauche enough to order a mixed drink be prepared to pay about 15 bucks. If you don't want to remortgage the house then learn to drink wine. Luckily I don't have a problem in that area.

This is the bathroom with the defective shower head. Believe me that flimsy little shower curtain did nothing to contain its spray but the hotel did get it fixed.

The day we left.

Oh and let's not forget the potty. The mirror was directly across from it.

Hhhmm, you gotta wonder.

I passed this window every day. I finally had Hans take a picture of me with it. This would be one easy dress to make.

Grabbing us a quick snack; a foot long hot dog baked into a baguette. I prayed we wouldn't get sick and we didn't.

This is in a little cafe on a side street. I had escargot (which I love) and the owner informed us with a sneer that the credit card machine had broken down.

Liar, liar, pants on fire!

I had to stay while Hans went out and got robbed by the exchange machine.

Our mode of transportation and apparently the object of that new Olympic sport: Fling yourself under the train.

And finally. My own little porta-bar. This made the train trip from Paris to Geneva. You can see my cranberry juice in front of me, orange juice stored in the convenient garbage can next to me, and vodka in my purse. Was that necessary?


Thursday, April 17, 2008

I interrupt Paris for this special report!

Much to my horror, I found myself frantically digging through Baby Girl's Easter basket this morning in search of chocolate OF ANY KIND be it stale or not!
Thank God (and my co workers should!) I found a mini Hershey bar.
Myrtle doesn't know that I can see the sun's reflection on her binoculars and I wonder how she'd feel if a 22 pound cat came sailing right through her front window.

I'll let you know.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

... Paris, Part 2

Here I am about 2/3 of the way up the Eiffel Tower. Hans bought tickets for us to get to the top, but once the elevators dumped us at this level, the line to get to the top was awful. Only a small amount of people at a time can go up and the line was huge and serpentined in a horrible, claustrophbic way so we stopped here, otherwise it would have been a long wait.

Below is a foggy kind of view of the Eiffel tower taken from near the fabric district.

Here I am (if you can see me, and I don't know why I'm standing so pigeon-toed) at Versailles under a cupid. We took this picture because I told Hans that about 4 years ago Cupid had to beat the heck out of me with MANY arrows on the night of what I thought was going to be our second and last date. I have no idea what happened that evening but I went into that date expecting to tell him he was a nice guy but... and something just happened.

So I blame Cupid, and for once in my life I didn't make a really stupid mistake.

This above picture of me is hideous but we're still at Versailles and I just wanted to give you an idea of how huge it is. This is the lower end but unfortunately the fountains weren't yet working. Once again we just couldn't fathom standing in the enormous lines that were waiting to into the buildings themselves. There must have been 50 tour buses there. Maybe we should have just done it though, who knows if we'll ever go back.

This shop was just down the street from our hotel. Actually it's right where the body I almost stepped on was. I was excited to find fabric so close to our hotel but once I looked at it, even I could tell that the quality was extremely cheap. Oh well.

Hans outside of Notre Dame. We were fortunate enough to go in and find that a service was being performed. A priest was doing the whole incense waving thing and 2 people were singing and the acoustics were unbelievable.

Below is the entrance to Notre Dame.

Looks like someone lost his head.

Here we are eating yet once again. Hans had a difficult time with the menu and luckily he asked for some help or I never would have known that moule meant mussels. So I got a bucket of mussels saturated with roquefort cheese. I was a complete pig and just ate them straight from the shell. Hans ordered what had to be the toughest steak I've ever tried. He gave me a bite and I chewed it for hours! Too bad because the night before he ordered filet and the bite I had of it was fabulous!

We also watched cars whizzing around the Arche de Triumphe (ala Chevy Chase in National Lampoons European Vacation). There's nothing like watching cars and scooters shooting into the circle, merging, and then exiting. All of this happens in about 5 unmarked lanes and at what I think are unbelievable speeds. I have no idea how anyone knows how to get on or off that insane piece of pavement.
Actually Hans said he once walked across it. He's has done a lot of crazy things in his time, I'm not sure that I want the details.

Next... Good bye Paris, Hello Geneva.

Paris: Part 1

Reine (Hans pronounced it Renn) is a 4 story fabric store that I read about on Pattern Review and that Karen let me know about also. You can see their name running down the side of the building. I only bought 2 pieces of fabric there. I couldn't afford their satin which was about 50 euros so I bought some satin-like polyester (the crazy striped stuff, below) and a piece of stretchy jersey (on the right). Each floor catered to different types of fabric. There was a drapery/upholstery floor, and I know the top floor had wools that were very nice but I'm not a wool person so I passed them up.

Here is the main floor with miniature mannequins wearing dresses made from the fabrics on display. I was naughty and peeked at the insides of some of them and was surprised to note that the hems had been fused into place (with steam a seam or stitch witchery or whatever)! I liked that because I hate hemming and if their stuff looked as nice as they did using that technique then I might do the same thing. Why not?

At Reine the 'help' didn't want to be helpful and they stomped around the store with their scissors slung over their shoulders while purposely ignoring us. I wasn't sure if I was to take my fabric to a cutting table or let them cut it at the bin where I found it as I had witnessed both practices being performed. When Hans (in very good French) asked for help, one of the ladies barked something back at him and he told me that she said someone would be right with us.

She fibbed.

It appeared that two of the ladies had a little feud going on and each felt that they were working harder than the other (Aha! It seems that women working with women equals fight, no matter what continent you're on!). After a few minutes of watching them zip around pretending to be busy and doing absolutely nothing Hans dared to ask for help again. The translation was, "We see you, we know you're there, and you can just wait." That's when I said I certainly didn't need to be treated poorly and that we should leave.
Of course I said it out of ear shot of the scissor wielding ladies.

Eventually they directed me to a table, cut my fabric, told me to go to hell (I think) and we were on our way.

A lovely lady wearing a pretty little coat...

...and a very patient man.

Below is outside of the store, out on the street, but these are not their fabrics. These are from a home dec fabric store. Outside at one point I told Hans to "Stay right where you are! I don't need to lose you!" And some man who spoke perfect English (and obviously hasn't shopped with Hans) remarked, "Don't you think he's too big to lose?"

Below are 2 pieces of silk that I bought at a little shop that's on the main drag. I've placed a business card on one print and my change purse on the other so that you can see that they really are 2 different prints as they are very similar. They are the equivalent of 1.5 yards each and ended up costing 75 euros. Ouch.

The next fabric (below) are nice stretchy jerseys. The black and white is a little heavier than the rest. The last one has some very pretty, shiny gold printed on it and when I remarked that I liked it, the little shopkeeper who looked like an absent minded professor became alarmed and made sure that I understood that it wasn't real gold!
He also told Hans that Hans had a very honest face and a good heart. He then told me that I had a good heart, and were we married?

I will add my comments to pattern review's store reviews for those of you who might get there one day.

Upon my return to the states, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Angelia gave me an E for Excellent award for my blog. This is much nicer than the E's (the same equivalent as an F) that I used to get when I was in school. I'm ashamed to admit that in the 8th grade I got one in Home Ec.

Are you really surprised?

But it was such a nice thought and I do appreciate it! Thanks Angelia.

I will pass this on to a non sewing blog; Mary the Resident Alien. Her writing is very entertaining and as a traveler she understands my pain.

And Laura from Laura's sewing room. She has such vast sewing knowledge and doesn't hesitate to share. If she ever goes on a world wide instruction tour I will be the first to sign up!

To be continued, Paris Part 2