Sunday, September 16, 2012

It's Been a While

I know it's been a while since I've posted, and I wish I had an excuse better than I just didn't, but... well, I just don't. I know in the past I've made promises of upcoming, regular posts that never came and for that I am sorry. I won't be making any such promises here and now because I really can't say that I will find the time or the motivation to write regularly. I know that's not so great for a blogger, but it is what it is and at least I'm being honest.

However, what I can do is give you an update on what's been going on in my life lately. I believe I last left off in the end of October when Jason and I got fired from Chili's. I know I've posted since then, but with no real indication of what's been going on in my life, so I'll just start there. (Don't worry - I'm just giving a brief recap.)

So. Jason and I got fired from Chili's. Well, that was fun. At the time I posted about it, I was pursuing some sort of legal action so I didn't want to go into too many details regarding the exact event. That didn't pan out so well (not that it couldn't have - I just didn't really have the time or energy to put the work into it, seeing as how I was trying to find work, still going to school, and - oh yeah, I have two kids). Although the summary of the event is kind of lengthy due to explaining a couple of things for those who haven't worked at Chili's, I'm still not going into all of the details. Believe me - if you think the summary is long, the whole story written out takes up about 6 pages.

It was a Saturday night. I had originally been scheduled to work a key shift in which I appear to the customers as a manager and have some management capabilities on the computer such as comping and discounting food. The position is basically there to give the managers some help without actually having to pay an additional manager to work the mid-shift that covers the busiest times of day. However, the restaurant had just hired a new manager and she was going to be working the mid-shift for that day, so I wasn't needed. I was talking to a friend from work about it and about how I really needed to work that night, and she was scheduled to work but wanted off, so I picked up her shift as a front of house expediter. For those who don't work in the restaurant business, the basic job there is that I stand at the line where the food comes out from the kitchen and match up all the different plates to the right tables, and make sure the food gets sent out. It's not hard, but it does get hectic.

Jason was working in the kitchen that night as well. For the purposes of covering my own ass (more so than the actual privacy of the other people involved), the rest of the people involved in the story will only be referred to by their job title.

Right as the dinner rush was picking up, a table of 30 people placed their order. In the heat of things, somehow a sandwich belonging to that table got lost. I asked the cook in charge of making sandwiches about it and he said he had remembered making it and that if it didn't make it to the right table then I wasn't doing my job right and it wasn't his problem. (I would like to note in my own defense that although the servers were not supposed to be taking food that I specifically gave to them, they still were doing so and I'm pretty sure that's how the sandwich got lost.) I told him that regardless of where the sandwich ended up, the person who ordered it did not receive it and it needed to be remade. Over the next 30 minutes or so, the table's server would come back and ask for the sandwich, and I would relay to the cook that it was still needed, and he would yell belligerently about how I was apparently incapable of doing my job and that someone else should come do it for me, as well as a great number of very colorful names and adjectives about what kind of person he really thought me to be. About 10 minutes into the ordeal, the new manager came to help me expedite the other orders that were going out and was at my side for the entire time all of this was going on. She neither said nor did anything to stop this cook from yelling obscenities at me or calling me names.

Finally, at the end of the 30 minutes, the to-go cook came to me and said that he'd seen the sandwich come up (behind a number of other dishes that I was trying to get sent out) and had taken it to the table. Upon hearing this, the cook began to yell at me. (Please forgive the obscenities, folks - I usually try to maintain a mostly clean atmosphere here.)

"See? I fucking told you I sent that shit out! Don't you EVER do that shit to me AGAIN!"

Throughout this whole ordeal, my husband had been working next to this cook and had been telling him that he needed to quit talking to me that way. At this point he raised his voice.

"You REALLY need to stop talking to my wife that way."

The cook turned to him, raised his arms defiantly (think: "Come at me, bro!") and yelled, "She's a fucking idiot!"

Jason told him again that he needed to quit talking to me that way and the cook responded by telling Jason that he was going to slap the piss out of him, and then got in his face.

At this point in time, I'm still trying to do my job. I'm listening and doing my best to watch, but I'm on the clock and would like to remain employed, so I'm also doing my best to remain professional and still work. It's claimed that Jason headbutted the cook. Jason says he didn't and I believe my husband. (Plus the lack of any red marks on his forehead immediately afterward kind of speak in his favor.) All I know is that directly after the other cook getting in his face, Jason turned around and walked to the back of the kitchen. It was right as they were face to face that the new manager got on her radio and told our general manager, who was in the restaurant checking tables, that two cooks were about to get into a fight.

The general manager met both my husband and the other cook in the back of the kitchen. She told them both that she didn't want to hear about what had happened, she just wanted both of them to leave and we would all sort it out in the morning. Jason came to me and told he he'd been kicked out and the general manager approached him and told him again that he needed to leave. He said that he was asking me for the keys because it was raining and she told him that she didn't care, he just needed to leave. So he set out walking home in the pouring rain. A minute later, I saw the other cook leaving and heard the general manager saying to him, "Call me later."

This was not an instruction from an angry boss to an employee who had just been kicked out, but more like a friend calling out to another friend because they'd like to chat later.

I continued to try to do my job to the best of my ability, but after an hour of crying through my work (I was fairly certain that Jason had just lost the most reliable source of income we've ever had) the new manager assured me that she would be able to handle it and that she'd asked the general manager if I could leave early if I wanted to.

After I knew the dinner rush would be over, I returned to the restaurant to give the general manager my account of the event in the hope that I might be able to talk her into letting Jason keep his job. The new manager was asked to join us in the office so she could hear my account as well as give any differing views of what happened. So I told my story and at the end, the general manager asked the new manager if it happened the way I said it did. Her only response was that she didn't hear the cook say, "fucking."

I was then told that as a leader in the restaurant (a title I never knew I had, nor was I being paid for) that I had behaved inappropriately, but it was not disclosed to me at that time exactly how I had done so. The general manager told me that she had planned on firing me, but was unaware of the to-go person's part in the event and would have to get his side of the story before she could say whether or not I still had my job. I was told to come back on Monday with Jason. Upon leaving, I heard the cook who had caused all the problems back in the kitchen laughing about the whole thing. Not even two hours had passed and he was already back at work.

When Jason and I met with the general manager the following Monday, we were told that we were both being let go; Jason for fighting and me for my supposed inappropriate behavior. I asked for clarification and was told that the new manager said she overheard me telling a co-worker that "Jason should have just kicked his ass." I told her that I never said that, but she questioned why the new manager would say that I did. She was a manager, after all, and apparently managers never lie.

I still don't understand why a woman that I had worked somewhat closely with over the past several months all of a sudden trusted a woman she'd known for hardly a week over me, and I don't think I ever will. I have my own theories as to why this new manager had lied - the main one being that she had witnessed the whole thing and never did anything to stop it from escalating to supposed physical violence, which could have cost her own job. Another is that she's just a bitch, but I've heard from people who worked with her afterward that she's actually a really nice person and was a good manager. (She no longer works there either - I heard she, too, was fired. Funny how that works out.)

That was in the end of October. Jason and I started looking for work immediately, but couldn't find a job anywhere. I was told by a friend of mine who works in another restaurant that her boss approached her and told her that the general manager had been in and told her all about my inappropriate behavior and my husband's nasty violent streak, so we shouldn't even bother applying there. From the information and reception we'd received from most of the restaurants we'd applied to, I was fairly certain that we'd been blackballed.

I did finally find a job in December at Pizza Hut. I was originally told that it would be a management position, but I ended up waiting tables instead. I was really excited at first. I'd worked there years ago, so I knew a lot of the job already, I had several friends who worked there, and I was told the money was good. That last part was wrong. The money sucked. Horribly. I was told that I was still in the running for the management position, but after being strung along for months for a position I was told I'd be hired into, I couldn't justify holding out any longer.

One Sunday in March, an old friend of mine from high school came in to eat with her family and asked me how things were going there. I told her that I was getting ready to start looking for a new job and she told me that a couple server positions had opened up at her family's Mexican restaurant and that I should come in and apply.

I was hired on in April and have been working there since. The hours and money are great and the people are AMAZING. Although I am there to work, it's really awesome that I've been able to make so many new friends and reconnect with so many old friends.

Jason is still looking for work, but there is hope on the horizon. I don't want to count our eggs before they've hatched though, so I'm going to leave it at that.

The girls are doing well. Gracie started second grade last month and is doing wonderfully. Kairi is potty trained. She still needs a diaper at night, but we're working on that.

There's not really a lot more to report on at the moment. There are a few details that I have left out because they deserve a post within themselves. I'm not sure when I'll get there, but I'm excited for it.