Saturday, May 31, 2014

Pickin' them Peaches #OOTD

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

(No) Service in the Northwoods

I never imagined myself being in the service industry. As we've covered here on Coffee, I' m really not great at meeting new people, and most people don't "get me". So being in a position, where I have to bring you, or provide you with something wasn't in my original agenda. I'm better behind the scenes. But someone extremely savvy years ago taught me some of the greatest life skills a gal can have: The Power to make People Part with their Paper(their money) The other life skill taught by my Dad: Maple syrup goes a lot farther than Vinegar, took quite a bit longer for me to hone.
 
This is what I know to be true: If you run or own a business, You Must:
 
1. Hire the best looking people you can find to work your business every day. People want to buy things from pretty people. It's the honest to the core truth. If you're in sales, and don't have the hair, teeth, skin, and outfit in check, you will be cashing a significantly smaller check, than you would having your look in line. And it doesn't matter if your peddling bicycles, or pouring drinks. You don't actually think people Like the food at Hooter's,,do you? One of the nearest towns to us up north, has 3 different "Gentlemen's Club's". The surrounding communities have a combined population of about 3,500 people. As much as we would like to believe, these women don't just grow up beautiful, live up north, and want to bare their nether regions. So these Club's, bus them in, cart them over the border, or what ever else they need to do to get the spending started. And apparently it works. The Full Moon Saloon is frequently standing- room only.
 
2. Play well with others.
That's right, even I just wrote Play well with Others. You are here to exchange goods or services with these some body's, in exchange for their money. And this may be shocking news, but the better you are to people, the more their going to want something from you. This is where the maple syrup comes in. Case in point: If you've ever been to a small art show, or  Farmer's Market, or a boutique, and you've Really connected with that person, but didn't need to buy some thing? I've found myself looking, again and again. Looking for just Something so I could support their business. And ended up purchasing a present for a friend.
 
So when P and I have time off, we head north to our favorite get-away. We drive almost 5 hours, to unwind, and undo all the stress of the city. We take the trails to taverns, sled to supper- clubs, and sometimes even drive for dinner. And we dream about living in this place. P and I talk about how many dogs we'd have, what we'd do on Sunday nights, and inevitably what would we do for work. It wouldn't be easy at first, but it would be worth it. To run a resort, develop a day camp, and to have a place where families can make a history like the ones P has from his younger years.
But it's different now. These places are numbered. Many of them have leveled and condo'd off. The ones that remain are run down, and run by some resentful owners. They're resentful about buying too high, selling too low, or just having no business. Desperation sets in, and doing nothing is deemed way easier than doing Something.
 
This Sunday, we took a quick ride to a place we hardly ever go. After seeing 3 different owners over the last, going on 4 years, it hasn't been a place with a great track record. But with a new patio facing the lake, and a sunny 80 degree day, we decided to (once again) give it a try. We took a seat outside and soon realized there was no wait staff to be found. 80 degrees and no one working the patio. Strike 1. No problem, P and I went inside and ordered. After round 1, he went back in to order 2 more and to inquire about lunch. After 15 minutes, the drinks were poured and the less than personable proprietor let him know there would at least be an hour to 90 minute wait on food!? He almost felt compelled to apologize for "Bothering" her..Almost(sarc.) She continued to let him know about everything they had going on the day before, and how many orders would be in front of ours. Yes, take 15 minutes to get your drink order completed, then talk you Out of spending more money here on perhaps 2-3 more drinks within that 90 minutes, waiting on your food. Apparently she was missing the memo that it was Memorial Day weekend, and perhaps hiring some extra help, could have been helpful. Did I mention that this establishment is accessible by 2 wheels, 4 wheels, boats, and airplanes?? 
 
This woman may be trying to make her own dream manifest. Maybe she visited this place years ago as we have and got ready to retire a restaurant owner. But I watched her waddle around behind the bar, and want everyone to go away. So can someone please tell me, If there's plenty of people like us, willing to travel, and spend money helping to make a community thrive,
Why is there (No)Service in the Northwoods?!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Bleach and the Bachelor Pad

It happens, to everyone. To every girl I'm sure. How can it not? 
You start dating someone, and at some point...You have to end up seeing their place. God willing, he Has his own place. Luckily my dating days were quite numbered. I'm a serial, long- term kind of lady. I never did "Casual" in any sense of the word, combined with dating or any other "activity". Maybe I've got too many rules, or regulations. And Thankfully, the number of abodes I visited were numbered and few.
 
Earlier this week, a friend and I reminisced about our Bachelors and the pads they used to reside in. I distinctly remember the reaction I had when I first came to P's place. I could tell he was quite proud of being a homeowner, and also an avid Hunter. There were mammels, mammels Everywhere! Bears on blankets, deer on dinner plates, and a foosball table in the dining room.  And don't even get me started on the housewares. Every bachelor enviably believes that the $1 plastic soda cups from McDonalds are drinking glasses. Here's the thing: They're Not Glass!! It was his place though, and had great bones. Thick white woodwork and gorgeous maple floors. The bathroom needed serious S.O.S. I remember the first time I needed to use the facilities. It was after I had been there multiple times and I decided, I couldn't possible wait(Read: Ou Sont Les Toilettes) and lets add to the mix, I needed to use the shower(that's the Only detail you getting). Well,, let's just say, that was the fastest shower I've Ever taken, including the ones I use to take in the communal gym I trained at for years. Rubber shower curtain, bad candle, and even Worse towels, that had an "odor" to them that later had me basting them in bleach.
 
I have to change environments. I have to organize, feng shui, and fluff. If I am not comfortable in a space, I am extremely unrestful. By executing change, I believe I am improving the overall space for the home owner also. And if it' a place I go to on a regular basis, any investment I make is completely worthwhile.  So have me, and have my coffee mug, my down comforter, and my summer floatees. There was only one home I had been in during my dating time that I didn't feel compelled to change..well,, maybe a few things if the relationship went further. He was Greek and willing to spend what ever it took to make his home wonderful. It was a terrific Tudor home, built within the last few years and went on forever. There were no bachelor blankets, mounted heads, or musky towels. Even though his house was completely right, it was all wrong for me.
 
Maybe in the end, perhaps I didn't stay with him, because he didn't Need me. He didn't need me to make his house a Home. He didn't need me to buy him fuzzy slippers and freshen his sheets with linen spray. He didn't need to replace those towels with color coded monogramed ones, and I didn't Need him. In the end, I got exactly what I needed. Even if it did come with a house full of projects,
 I couldn't be happier with The Bleach & the Bachelor Pad

Monday, May 19, 2014

Bad Boat Behaviour

 
My parents never owned a boat. The closest I came to being in a boat was crossing the English Channel in 8th grade when my Mom and I traveled from England to France. But for as long as I can remember, I made my Dad take the longer route, or the shortcut so I could see the water.  It wasn't until I owned my first boat, that I truly felt like a fish, In water. At one time a foolish man once said: The happiest day as a boat owner, is the day you sell it. I couldn't disagree more. My happiest day involved a broken finger, and someone getting carried out of Texas Roadhouse!!
 
Seeing part of this little Blog is a PSA, I thought I'd cover some of the ways of the water. We're getting to that time of the year where the invites will start heading your way. Perhaps one of your friends has a permanent home on the water. Or will trailer out on any given beautiful Saturday and Sunday. This is a friend to Keep, so you gotta grease him(or her).
 
If your the boat owner, you've got a significant obligation and responsibility. As P reminisces, he had a much better time as a passenger, than as the Captain. And as the Stubbing of said vessel, you better have deep pockets, or be pretty handy on order for your cruises to be conflict- free.
1.Every person of your boat needs to be provided a flotation device. And NObody wants to wear a moldy musty vest= Maintain your accessories!
2.If your a considerate person, or you have a thoughtful girlfriend, you'll have back up suits and trunks in storage on the boat. After losing a suit to the lake after a tubing tumble, you'll gladly wear someone else's, than go without. And please,,keep the suit. NObody wants that back. I'd buy 3-4 suits at the end of the season, just to stock the boat.
3.As the boat Captain, you need to be marginally more sober than the rest of your crew. This includes being respectful of the Lake Patrol. Imagine how you would feel coming to work, and Every one's out cocktailing, but you. Have your registration current and stickers displayed. Because if you got everyone out there and have to turn it around= Game Over. Play nice and everyone gets a fun day.
4. Have your launch system DOWN. Pull up to the launch, everyone out of the vehicle, and into the boat. Boats straps un-ratcheted, wire harness out. Driver backs up and have someone behind the boat wheel. As the driver is pulling away the boat should already be started, prop down and boat in reverse. Everything is smooth. I've had this down to a 30 second or less launch.
I've seen More break- ups at the boat launch than I have on Divorce Court. Don't be that guy, screaming at his wife on how she's backing up the trailer. Teach her how to get the boat running and leave the trailer tactics to the boys.
 
And...If your the boat passenger:
1.Bring Something. Cocktails, sandwiches, Suntan lotion? Just Something. Boats don't run on Thanks, they run on Fuel. Your contribution is the price of admission. I'll never invite the guy again who brings nothing, then wants me to drag him around the lake All afternoon, and after 35 attempts, still cannot get vertical on the wake board.
2. Coordinate your cocktails. Glass bottles are asking for a trip to the E.R. Beer can be consumed in cans. And if your making mixers, do it in advance, and have it in a plastic pourable container. I'm a great bartender, but give me an open bottle, and a sippy cup, on the high seas, and some thing's getting spilled! The combining of coolers is key. If you've ever had 8 people and 2 dogs in a boat, you know you need to keep all passageways open.
3. If you throw up in a boat, your cleaning it up. And never coming back in.
4.Keep your bathroom business to yourself. It's bad enough I know what has to "Go" out there. A few years ago at a well known tie- up, there was a kiddie pool in someone's pontoon boat. It was advertised as the Boat's Toilet. Yup, guys and girls went in there, instead of the lake. Imagine who got to "Dump" that..One of Many reasons I wouldn't be caught at that debauchery.
 
and finally,
If you don't contribute cocktails, offer to help at the launch, or bring lunch, Cash is always King. Just as you wouldn't expect to fly somewhere for free, sliding some green in the way of the great friend that extended the invite will always work.
Cash may even cover, your Bad Boating Behavior.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

" You brought a baby? To a bar!?"

"You brought a baby? To a bar?!"
One of my favorite quotes, from one of my favorite movies. And there is nothing more perfect that can be said in that occasion.
 
Saturday night saw a date night for me and P. He'd been working out of town all week, and we wanted just to spend a few hours together. We ventured into one of our favorite communities and stumbled on a new establishment. It had a great vibe, eclectic d├ęcor, and my favorite: Edison bulbs in all their chandeliers. We attempted to swim against the current to the bar and get a pre- dinner drink. That's where it went wrong. Taking up 2 perfectly good paying seats were Jr. And Jr. Miss, at the ripe age of approximately 8-10. Sitting at the bar. Parents standing behind them.
 
If there is one thing that unnerves P the most, it's Not being able to enjoy a good cocktail before dinner. Every evening he channels his inner Ward Cleaver and mixes himself a Whisky Old Fashioned Sweet. If there's one More things that  unnerves him: Children sitting at a bar. Children sitting at a bar, where 2 perfectly paying, emphasis on Paying customers could be. He's even been known to make a comment to the hostess, and watched as she quickly whisked the family a table.
 
Now before you get all Hate Mail-y on me, work through this with me. Did I go out to eat as a child? Yes. Did my parents always pick a family friendly environment? Why yes, they did. Did they Ever think to sit ANY of us at a bar?? Hell No. I was the luckiest girl ever, if I got to park my kiddie cocktail on a windowsill! It's not even the bringing of the brood that bothers me. It's the sense of "Accommodation's" that everyone seems to have to adhere to around them. Timmy's getting restless, "Do you have any Crayons??" "How much longer, Princess seems to have drank all her soda already".
 
Here's a newsflash that may be shocking: 80% of children are impatient, and ill behaved. When adults go out for an evening by themselves, chances are pretty great that they wanted to be ALONE, without their off- spring. Did you ever think that the people around you wanted to have a Peaceful evening? And they had the forethought and planning capabilities to find someone to stay home with the young-ins? I know plenty of thoughtful parents that go out and have an adult evening to themselves on a weekly basis. I think someone researched somewhere, that children need a time- out from their parents too.
 
The coffeehouse I used to regularly frequent, was chock full every morning of the family unit. Shuffling around in their canvas shoes and their aerodynamic strollers, they got their morning brew. I grew tired of being asked to switch my seat, or to take a bar stool against the counter to make room for Riley to throw his cookies all over the floor. I was tired of having to accommodate for someone else, when I really just wanted my own morning Zen time.So I stopped going. I just didn't know that the cookie thrower would follow me to dinner.
 
So next time your considering taking the car seat to cocktail hour, or steering the stroller into the supper club, be thoughtful the people around you. My idea of entertainment for the evening is in catching up with my marital partner, that I've barely seen all week. Dodging pieces of Penne pasta being thrown, or plugging my ears, when the inevitable ear piercing scream happens, will only make me, or P ask,
"You brought a baby? To a bar?!"
 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Ou sont les toilettes?

Today we're going to have a little toilet talk. Not "Potty", not John(poor John) and certainly Not the can. One of the things that keeps this little blog over here going(pun intended) is a certain number of awkward things that keep us connected as humans. Situations, or things that we All have encountered, that are so awkward, but guaranteed Someone else you know has gone though. So before we go forward, you may not know 2 very important things about me:
1.I have a fear of public toilets, or any toilet other than my own( but I'm actually quite fearful of mine too!)
2. I am scared of the dark- different blog post entirely.
 
Having  fear of public toilets, and having a lifelong relationship with stomach disorders really do not go hand- in- hand. For years, after I had a "big girl job" I was afraid to use the community bathroom at work, and damn near threw myself into full blown kidney failure. It was at that time I started to plan my routes and mark the "Safe" zones that I could use. I had to get over the fact that I couldn't Hold It during a 9 hour work day. If your a business owner, and you have a public restroom and you don't have someone go check the cleanliness of your washroom, you deserve an Upper Decker. (look it up) And don't Even get me started if there's no purse hook!! Because then it's me and my thighs, balancing Louis, getting a great workout.
 
I recently had a discussion with someone about what was cleaner, the bottoms of some ones feet, or their bare cheeks? I would rather walk barefoot over the same plot of land after someone than use the bathroom after some ones been in it. There's the total unknown of what's gone down in there prior to your entry. It's always slightly humid, and perhaps because I'm holding my breath, a bit stagnant. I now I'm not alone in this feeling. And old boss friend of mine, chooses to walk clear across his company headquarters to do his business. In the other more heavily trafficked facilities, there's only 2 stalls. So he chooses to avoid the entire awkward :Pass the Sports section when your done with it exchange.
 
For years I worked for a store that was centrally located between an Old Country Buffet restaurant, and a Starbucks. Every Sunday, they would mill in, to use the restroom and unload after their Buffet brunch, which was followed up by a steaming cup of Joe, or a triple venti iced capp. extra whip, heavy syrup concoction. I swear that store spent more in ordering toilet paper, than they did on resister tape. And why? WHY? is it Always me, in front of the person with the desperate look on their face, holding their belly, asking: Do you have a bathroom?..Like could you possibly be more discreet about the crime your about to commit? Like today for instance, 10 minutes before we shut our doors, a man runs in, with a bit of a language barrier, asking: Do you have a toilet.. or Something?" Or Something? Like what else? A paper cup? A cardboard box? I'm still shaking my head.
 
I know this feeling, or this fear I never truly going to go away. Even sharing the bathroom with someone for the first time in 10 years with P has been quite the transition.  Thankfully, we have never fallen ill at the same time, or if your a blog regular(pun again) know that we're Never EVER in there at the same time. Using that room should be like the perfect bank robbery
: Get in, take what you need, leave behind what you don't , make a fast get away, and never EVER leave evidence behind. Because you Never want to have to ask:
Ou sont les toilettes?