Overtipped

takeout
Pixabay (2013), CC0/PD

I was unexpectedly home alone for dinner tonight. In between working and stressing out over packing the house for next week’s renovations (we basically have to move all our stuff out, and live someplace else for the duration of the job), I figured I’d grab some takeout for a quick dinner.

There are Chinese takeout places all over, but I chose the one around the corner, because it’s around the corner so it would be faster.

I chose poorly.

I called to place my order at 5:50. I waited at least 15 minutes before heading over there, only to find 4 people waiting ahead of me and a 10-year-old running the store. They were slammed. Her mom was doing all the cooking (there are usually two adults cooking and a teenager taking phone calls and filling orders). Two smaller boys (the bigger one was no older than 7) were running around.

The little girl told me my food would be ready in a couple of minutes.

The back door to the restaurant was open; the whole family was working with coats on. I don’t know what kind of crazy had happened today, but it was definitely not business as usual. I slid into a small booth to wait for my lo mein.

I waited.

And waited.

It was after 7 PM and I still didn’t have my food. Other people left. Some politely canceled their orders before leaving, at least, so that overworked mom didn’t have to try to figure out whose food she was cooking for no reason at all.

I texted my husband and told him what was happening, concluding that if I ever got my food, I was leaving a big tip for that kid.

Because really, it was not her fault. She was working hard: running around taking orders, filling orders, going to the freezer for her mom, and manning the deep fryer (except for the time the 7-year-old did that. YIKES.). And her mom was handling multiple woks and answering the phone and keeping the two little boys in line.

Maybe I’ve used up all my anger at situations I cannot control by directing it at other situations I cannot control. I don’t know. I was cold (my feet are still not warm, and I’ve been back home for an hour now) and was working on a hunger headache but I figured that it would be worse to abandon ship and leave that mom and her little girl to try to figure out what other order to cancel, and with one fewer dinner check for the night.

So I stayed, and commiserated with a couple of other customers and expressed my admiration for the poise this kid was showing.

And at 7:25 when they finally called me up to get my food, 95 minutes after I’d ordered, I left $5 in the tip jar after paying for my $7 bowl of lo mein and a spring roll.

I can only hope that the customers behind me did the same.


Copyright 2019 Barb Szyszkiewicz

On Demand

Last night TheKid had a rehearsal, which means that I got in at 9:30 after the Mom’s Taxi run. And then I sat down at my computer and decided to finish up some logo work for work. We’ve got a Virtual Progressive Dinner coming up and I wanted to make a special logo for each course.

Progressive-550x260So I created the last few logos and before I knew it, it was 11 PM (more than an hour after I like to get to sleep.)

I dreamed about working in Canva all.night.long.

When I went to wake up TheKid this morning, I told him about this, and he said to me, “You should have asked me what to dream about before you went to bed.”

“You can dream on demand?”

“Yeah. It’s easy.”

I don’t think I can do that. But I’m not going to be doing any graphic work or playing any word-puzzle games online before I go to sleep anymore, because when I do that kind of thing, it stays in my head all night. I’ll have to stick to reading novels after 9 PM.

Photo credit: ZanBeck (2013) via Flickr; modified in Canva by the author.

Late for Mass: Have I Missed the Boat?

get me to the church on time

Tomorrow will be the last day for 5+ weeks that I can get to daily Mass on time.

That’s because The Kid will be attending theater camp, which begins at 9 AM (the same time as Mass), 3 towns away.

Last summer I tried going to Mass at one of the 2 parishes close to the camp, but I was late getting there, and I didn’t feel comfortable walking into an unfamiliar church after Mass had begun.

Punctuality is a thing with me. I hate to be late. I hate when others are late. And now I have to choose between being late to Mass or not being there at all. I hate that idea even more.

So today I asked Father what he thought about me slipping into Mass late. Yes, I would be later, even, than if I attended Mass at one of those other churches, but I’d be at my “home base” and I felt better about approaching the issue this way.

Father assured me that because I wasn’t going to be late because I was too busy hitting the snooze alarm, but rather because I was doing something my child needs me to do for him, I’d be OK.

I will make a special effort to read the daily Mass readings ahead of time, because I’ll probably miss some of them. Fortunately I can go to CatholicMom.com each morning for the Daily Gospel Reflection and catch the readings there.

And if I get The Kid to camp a bit early, I can send him in as soon as the adults arrive. That will get me on my way a little earlier.

Finally, I’ll slide into a pew in the way back, rather than my usual spot nearer the front, so I won’t be as much of a distraction.

I’m thankful for the reassurance I got this morning about my plan to try getting to Mass after the camp dropoff each day. And that reassurance I got today will help me remember not to judge others who don’t arrive on time. Maybe they’re taking care of a family member’s needs too.

I guess the only thing I still need to know is: who’s the patron saint against getting speeding tickets? I’ll have to put him on speed-dial!

It Never Works the Way You Planned

Yesterday was like a comedy of errors. I had thought that I would do the grocery shopping during Little Brother’s school yesterday and go to Adoration on Thursday during schooltime. There’s an Adoration Chapel in a nearby church–not our parish, but I figure I can take advantage of the opportunity.

Then I found Big Brother’s lunchbox by the front door. I don’t usually “rescue” my kids, but I also noticed that TheDad’s lunchbox, which he had not put in the kitchen the night before & which contained nothing but a dirty container and silverware, was MISSING from the bench by the door where I’d seen it in the morning. I felt all sorry for Big Brother, thinking he grabbed the wrong lunchbox, so I delivered his lunch to school. Then I took Little Brother shopping since we were already out, took him to school, and headed to the church for Adoration. I figured obviously I was SUPPOSED to be there since all the events were putting me there.

I’ve been in that church less than 8 times in the 8 years we’ve lived here. There was a funeral going on, and the sound system pipes everything through the whole building. I found the little chapel and was very confused. Only one little dim light, no Tabernacle, no Jesus, and no other people! There was a statue of Mary and one of the Infant of Prague, and 2 confessionals. Even with my MP3 player on, I couldn’t stop hearing the funeral and when they started to wind up I figured I’d better get out or I’d be stuck in the procession and late for Little Brother.

On my way out the door I found the actual Adoration Chapel.

Then later I discovered that Big Brother did not have TheDad’s’s lunchbox after all–TheDad took it back to work with him!! But Big Brother had money in his pocket so when he discovered that he had no lunch he figured he’d just buy. He got his lunchbox in time to eat that instead.

All was not lost, however, since in the supermarket Little Brother was in rare form. He wasn’t being bad, but he was talking and singing nonstop….while I was getting applesauce he was trying to talk me into buying Sesame Street applesauce for Big Brother’s lunchbox….then he wanted a flavor of Jello (lemon) that I am quite sure he doesn’t like….then he had to spell out every name of every flavor of Ramen noodles….and for several aisles it was “Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells on the way!” I kept running into this one lady who was quite entertained by him. Maybe all this happened so we’d wind up meeing her. She had a good laugh, courtesy of Little Brother.

Resolutions for 2007

I’m always reluctant to make resolutions that barely last a week….but it never fails–I go ahead and resolve anyway. (And who knows–maybe one will stick, one of these days.)

1. Get to Daily Mass a couple of times a week. I purposely chose the “afternoon” session of playschool for Little Brother (11:15 to 12:30) so I could take advantage of our parish’s 11:45 Mass. Two days a week, this will work. I’d usually use Little Brother’s school time to run errands, but this will do me much more good.

2. Get in a little exercise (as opposed to no exercise, which is what I usually get). Unfortunately, hauling laundry up and down the stairs to the basement hasn’t undone that extra belly weight I’ve been hauling around since Little Brother was born. And he’ll be 5 soon. Middle Sister has a new basketball hoop for her birthday, and if I spend a little time out there with her, it would be a fun way to get some exercise.

3. Be a little more organized regarding household stuff. Routines and schedules have gone out the window in the past few weeks. A new year gives me a new opportunity to come up with some new routines. I can be perfectionistic to the point that I abandon a system that doesn’t fit “exactly right” instead of just getting in there and getting something done.

4. I would also like to treat everyone in my family better. So often our families get the short end of the stick, and we treat strangers better. I’d like to improve on that score, this year.

So there you have it….exciting, hm?