Thursday, July 29

7/26 7/28 Pretty Sure That Guy Was An Alien

It's my last week and I just can't bring myself to blog about it. It's not that interesting things haven't happened, they have, it's more that I can feel the end getting near and I almost don't believe it.

Monday I worked and it rained, not hard, but hard enough that we were extra busy. The store was running out of everything. We were out of ranch cups, medium dough, black olives, and were on on our last leg for onions and bell peppers. I didn't have a great night. The only thing keeping it even a good night was the fact that a good portion of my deliveries tipped well.

On my first run of the night I was sent out on a triple. The houses weren't near each other, but there was a straight shot from one to the next, starting just west of the store and stretching to the farthest northern neighborhood to which we deliver. The problem was that as soon as I turned westbound on the freeway access road I discovered that the storm had caused a railroad signal to malfunction, blocking traffic completely. I was penned in. I first called the store to warn the other drivers. Then I called non-emergency police dispatch to ensure that the rail company knew of the issue and that they were going to solve it as soon as possible. Then I called my customers to let them know the situation. My first customer still tipped me $1. Not only that, but my pen ran out of ink on that delivery and I had to go to my car to dig around for a pen, but when I got back to the door we says, "Oh! I guess I could have just stepped inside the study and gotten a pen." I hate that guy on principle for wasting my time in every way. The next two deliveries on my run were not only gracious about receiving late pizza, but tipped very well (the first was an $8 pre-tip, the second tipped $5). It took me more than an hour and a half from the time I left the store until the time I got back to the store. That's twice the amount of time this triple should have taken me and probably cost me at least one complete run.

I made $48 off of 10 deliveries, but I think I had 3 or 4 dollars in my pocket at the start of my shift, so that number isn't entirely accurate.

Wednesday night it rained as well, though only intermittently. I took four waste-of-time deliveries (tips were $1, $3, $1, $2). I was extremely drowsy. The only one i can remember was the last guy whose alien origin was made obvious by his imperfect imitation of human features and expressions and compounded by ordering nothing but three large pineapple & ham pizzas. I would have hoped aliens would tip better, but maybe on his planet they have different social customs, so I forgive him.

I made $12 off of 4 deliveries.

Monday, July 26

7/24 (Not) My Last Night

Saturday night was supposed to be my last night delivering pizza. It will not be. The Boss at Pizzeria hasn't decided what he wants me to work this week, which means it's been impossible to make any plans for the week, and Little Yellow accidentally put me on next week's schedule, so I decided to agree to work any shifts at Big Chain that didn't directly conflict with my shifts at Pizzeria. I could use the money for my upcoming trip to Vegas. Honestly, as much as I like working at Pizzeria, I sortof hope that, at least for this week, I get to work the Friday/Saturday night shifts at Big Chain.

The most memorable thing that happened was that my first delivery was to a fake address. The order was to house number 8315. The street went straight from 8313 to 8401. They ordered online, so it wasn't our fault for mistyping. I'm pretty sure it wasn't a complaint because they specified side B of a duplex and the street is nothing but duplexes. It would be oddly specific to order to a fake duplex address. I called the guy and he didn't pick up, so I called the store and had them call and leave a voicemail. About 10 minutes after I got back to the store, the guy calls back my cell. I didn't pick it up because I knew the Bopper had left instructions for the guy to call back the store when he got the message to resolve the issue. Twenty minutes later he called back again. I still didn't pick up. Honestly, I could imagine the conversation going a few directions; he could argue with me that the address exists, ask me to redeliver, or want to speak to my manager. I couldn't really do anything about the delivery at that point anyway. I was already back at the store, clocked back in. The best possible resolution would have come had he called back to the store (something he never did), gave the correct address, we remade the pizzas, and redelivered them. To top it off, after about an hour of it sitting there on the heat-rack without the guy calling back to the store, the pizza became community pizza and I ate a slice.

The second most memorable thing that happened was when a guy slipped me two dollars "smooth style". "Smooth style" is what you see in movies when a guy goes up to a host at a restaurant and says something like, "Are you sure there aren't any available tables?" and shakes the guys hand, covertly slipping him a $20 bill. First, there is absolutely no reason to try to be smooth about tipping me. It's not a secret and I'm not going to do you any special favors. Second, if I was going to do any special favors, it wouldn't be for $2. $2 won't even buy you a smile from me. Ok, it might buy you a smile from me, in fact, as readers of my blog, you get smiles for the low low price of a hug (or nothing, but a hug would be a nice bonus), but not if I was delivering you pizza as well.

Oh! And I jumped over a waist high chain-link fence to avoid crickets.

I made $76 off 16 deliveries.

Shave Ginger With a Spoon

Saturday morning was my second shift at the Pizzeria. I got there at 9 to observe opening duties. I was surprised at how hot the brick oven stays over night. I had to rake the ash out of it and, even after sitting all night, I couldn't stick my hand all the way into the oven.

Then I got to help with prep. The boss's mom, hereafter referred to as Mom, does most of the prep. I really like Mom. She's a good example of why I like this job more (so far) than any other job I've ever had. She made me feel like family, like a kid she was passing on knowledge to. Not just part of a team, a team works together to reach a common goal. This is more than that, this is a group of people that are all getting to that goal and want to make sure that every other member gets there as well. When I need help, it's there and when I can help, I do. The desire to learn is valued highly and people do things because they want to. Everyone wants everything that goes out to the table to be the most delicious that it can be (which is pretty damned delicious!) and with that as the goal it's easy to get along. Here are a few of my revelations (mostly taught by Mom) from the morning:
  • Curl my fingers under when using the big knife to slice things. I know this is one that anyone who has ever done any cooking already knows, but as someone who can barely manage to make a grilled cheese sandwich, it's nice to get some technique.
  • The wax on the outside of hard cheese tastes disgusting. I will be able to tell the difference between that and what the actual cheese tastes like regardless of what kind of cheese it is.
  • How to plastic wrap things so that they survive the walk-in cooler's circulating air. I was secretly fascinated by the way that things were wrapped in there and couldn't fathom how they were getting that way before Mom showed me.
  • It is my happy duty to try a rosemary potato off of each baking sheet as they come out of the oven to make sure that my seasoning was correct.
  • Use two paper-towels to blot hot crispy salami.
  • I'm glad that I knew that mozzarella is delicious before seeing the balls of fresh mozzarella floating in the brine (because that brine is pretty gross looking).
  • Shave ginger with a spoon.
  • The ends that they cut off the warm foccacia bread made delicious addicting snacks.
  • The reward for opening shift and prep work is warm breakfast cooked in the pizza oven. The other girl who does prep (who will have to forgive me for forgetting her name) made us mushroom, garlic, and goat cheese as well as tomato sauce, fontina, and arugula on half breakfast rolls. We all sat down for a family style breakfast which was not only delicious but a nice bonding experience.
I only made three pizzas during the four hour shift, but the last one the Pizza Guy let me put into the oven (after I nearly dropped it on the floor shaking it to make sure it wasn't stuck to the peel) and turn. I can't wait to get to the point where I'm good at working the oven.

7/23 Food For a Week

Friday I realized that I'm a bad parent to my car. I finally took him in for an oil change and not only was my inspection sticker 6 months out of date (whoops! good thing I haven't gotten pulled over in that time) but I realized that I've never ever changed the air filter. I took care of all three of those things and declined all of the rest of the extra services offered (seriously, super-polite JiffyLube dude, do I look like I'm made of money?!)(Also, the local JiffyLube has about sixteen cute guys working there which made me wish that I didn't look so scruffy Friday afternoon).

The bad thing about having to get my oil changed was that I didn't have any time for dinner before work, which naturally meant that there were no messed up pizzas (that were edible at least, I still maintain that pineapple is an abomination of a pizza topping) and that I was thinking about food all night long. So to continue that theme and to remind myself of how lucky I am to have the means to make this money, here's how I'm going to think of the $50 I made on those 11 deliveries:

$50 is 200 sodas at my primary job (.25 a piece). That will last me 5 months at two per day. Right now I'm off caffeine and sugared sodas, so until I resume my caffeine addicted ways, this calculation is just hypothetical. However, when I get a dollar tip I try hard to think that it will buy my four sodas. This week, I'll probably use .75 on sodas.

$50 is 20 "super" breakfast tacos at my primary job (2.50 a piece). I usually eat 2 a week, so that's $5.

I can eat lunch at primary job for $5 for two weeks (a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter, and homemade jelly from my grandma).

I will probably end up eating out at Taco Bell 3 times this week (I know, terrible) which will cost me $2.14 a meal which is $6.42.

Add in 2 more combo meals from a fast food place at $6 a pop and the rest of my meals coming from scrounging food at work (leftover pizza and my shift-meal at the new place), that makes $29.17.

So as my grandma would say "count your blessings" (she's a churchgoer), which Friday night included food for a week and most of a tank of gas on top of that.

Thursday, July 22

7/21 Turtle Racing (Because my night was otherwise boring)

You would think that for my last week delivering pizza, the universe would crank it up a bit and give me something interesting to talk about. Instead, I had a fairly average shift last night; 9 deliveries, 3 tips were atrocious, 1 was bad, 3 were acceptable, and 2 were good. I called my manager by the wrong name. In my defense, both of their names start with the letter A, they're both skinny, attractive, dark haired, white guys. One is a bit taller than the other and the other wears a necklace.

That was it. Really. So to take up a bit of space I'm going to tell you about turtle racing. Yes, the racing of turtles! After work, the local sports bar (the one that I occasionally have to deliver to) was holding turtle races every hour through the evening. I have an irrational fascination with turtles. To set the mood, you can imagine that I was drinking Michelob Ultra (don't judge, it was half off night and it only cost me $2) and I had just bought tamales off an old mexican guy who was walking around the bar (I have had this gentleman ask me if I wanted tamales before and I had always declined, but being drunk on cheap swill and having heard from a friend that this guy makes his round to all the bars and that the tamales are good, I decided to purchase a dozen hot pork ones).

Now that we have established the setting, turtle racing goes like this:
  • Four turtles in a bucket without a bottom
  • The bucket is lifted
  • The turtles crawl as fast as their legs will carry them (or as fast as they feel like it, which is sometimes not at all) to the edge of a circle marked on some fenced-in astroturf
  • The first turtle to the edge wins and the first turtle to win twice is the winner of the entire race
The turtles all had names and bios. I picked Eastside Eddie (#4). Eddie wasn't the racing type last night (but nothing like #1 who never moved during any of the two complete races we saw). His plan consisted of watching #2 and #3 race for the edge, waiting until they were inches away, then sprinting. I'm sure, to him, it was a good plan. He was definitely faster than the other turtles, but no amount of yelling could make him heed the starting countdown. Eddie, I still love you though.

Oh yeah, and I made $35 off of those 9 deliveries, $24 of which was spent on beer and tamales.

Tuesday, July 20

7/19 McD**'s Hole

9 Deliveries, in reverse.

9. Boring - $3
8. Boring - $4
7. pretended I didn't know my pen wasn't working and scored a new pen - $4
6. pen stopped working - $4
5. pretipped $1 - I made sure they got my last delivery, but it was a middle school kid who looked to be at home alone (parents probably ordered the pizza for him), so I'm not sure they got the message that they're cheapskates who deserve poor service
4. Boring - $2
3. A street named McD**'s Hole Lane. I know you know I took the dirtiest meaning of that which also means I wondered, what exactly is it about McD**'s Hole that deserves a street named after it? - $2.50
2. "Keep the change" - Gee thanks! - $1
1. Don't BLINK! - $4

I made $36 off of my 9 deliveries, an average tip of $2.71.

Monday, July 19

7/17 You Can't Always Get What You Want

I don't know what was with people Saturday night, but they all seemed to want something more than pizza from me. Twice I was asked for cheese and peppers, once I was asked for extra garlic sauce cups, and twice I was asked for paper plates and napkins.

You may remember me ranting about drivers not carrying cheese packets. It used to be one of my pet peeves. In Podunk it was standard policy to not only carry them but to offer them with every delivery. I felt a strange sense of redemption when I was able to not offer them to stiffers, like I was somehow able to withhold from them something that might be vital to their pizza experience. However, at the new store, we charge extra for cheese and pepper packets. It's not a lot, 5 cents per cheese packet, a penny per pepper packet, but the fact that they're charged for means that I don't bring them with me. Bringing them along is further complicated by a different style of delivery bag which does not have a convenient pocket on the front for such extras. What I'm getting at is that I don't carry them and when asked I have to tell people that they must order them ahead of time.

The same thing goes with extra sauce cups. Besides those being ridiculously priced, I wouldn't carry extras even if I could. They would be disgusting after sitting in my car for even the few hours of a shift and they probably didn't tip me enough to deserve the trouble it would take me.

Regarding paper plates and napkins: I will bring them if requested. Unfortunately that request getting through to me is dependent on the Bopper who is taking the order finding and utilizing the "delivery instruction" area. The first guy who asked for plates and napkins probably really needed them. I was delivering 3 pizzas to an apartment complex pool. The guy asks me for plates and napkins. I obviously don't have them on me since I've already disgorged the contents of my bag and aren't exactly going to produce them from my cleavage. I tell him that he has to request them over the phone. He tells me that he did. I apologize that the phone bopper didn't pass on the note. He stands there and stares at me like there's something I'm going to be able to do about it, like I'm going to offer to go back to the store and get him complimentary plates and napkins or that I'm going to tell him his pizza's free for the inconvenience. Sorry dude, I don't care that the apartment complex is (literally) right next door to the store, you're $3 tip on a $36 order doesn't inspire me to go above and beyond. I walk away.

I made $39 off of 9 deliveries.

The Perfect Job

At this point it's not a secret that I've accepted a position as assistant pizza chef at a local pizzeria. I gave my notice to Chain Store on Saturday and I'll be working out my last week there this week with next Saturday night being my last night. This isn't my farewell post. This is to tell you all about my first shift at my new job.

I got there early. I could have sworn during my interview Boss said be there at 4:30, but when I walked in he was expecting me at 5, so I sat outside and read for 30 minutes.

Once I got inside, I started by observing. I got the official tour (they compost and recycle almost everything) and was told to watch as they made pizzas. I watched, I learned the menu and then I started topping pizzas. I learned a few things:
  • goat cheese and blue cheese get all over my hands and there's no wiping them on my apron to relieve that
  • caramelized onions look and feel like worm guts
  • prosciutto is the most frustrating ingredient because it never wants to come off the paper without tearing
  • fresh basil, torn off the plant, is heavenly and not related to the shredded cardboard crinkles that other restaurants try to pass off as basil
  • when Boss yells "Hot Olives!" freeze in place, wherever you are, don't move unless you like the idea of face-melting hot grease (fortunately didn't learn this one the hard way)
After a while of making pizzas and despite being intimidated, they let me start to make crusts. I'm not very good at it yet. I tend to overstretch them making the middle even thinner than it should be. But, I'm sure I'll get better at it with time. I only messed up one dough beyond use through overstretching.

And here's why it's the perfect job. I actually had fun while working. Everyone is friends and friendly, there's joking and helping and teaching going on at all times. The pizza is amazing, I'm proud to be making it. I get a free meal per shift, which could be a pizza of my choice or a salad OR if I don't do one of those, I can have a beer.

Let me tell you why that last option is beautiful.

Friday night, my first night in a long long time that I've had to be on my feet for hours on end, my back was killing me. I wasn't sure that I was going to make it to close... until that beer, which took all the tension out of my back and made me bright eyed and bushy tailed again to clean the store.

I know that every night won't be perfect (I have yet to learn to work the wood-fired oven which I'm sure will come with a share of frustration), but I'm glad that my first night was.

Friday, July 16

7/15 "I love you" and not quite the end

I don't know where to begin. This might be the beginning of the end (entirely dependent on how tonight goes), so all night last night, of course, was not miserable at all and instead I couldn't see anything but the things that I like about working at that store:

  • Mama Bear was being awesome.
  • Hopped on the make-line with ButtSweat Bopper, who really is very nice
  • We have a new driver who is incredibly androgynous looking, but has a masculine voice, so I'm going to go with the assumption that he's male. Regardless, he's pretty, genuinely pretty. He should be in one of those magazine ads where they dress up androgynous pretty people in preppy clothes and have them gallivant in a field of wheat.
  • Name Bopper (now a driver) yelled "I love you" as I walked out the door at the end of my shift, gonna miss that kid
One thing I won't miss:

Stupid ladies who don't tip me. I even apologized that the pizza had gotten there at the outside of our time estimate (just under an hour). Hate that lady and all of the people like her.

I made $42 off of 10 deliveries.

Monday, July 12

7/11 Back from Vacation

First, I know I've been a bad blogger. I skipped blogging a couple of shifts back there. Then I went on vacation. Now I'm back and just going to pick up like skipping shifts didn't happen.

When I got back into town yesterday I called to check my schedule and Little Yellow had not put me on it. However, he also didn't schedule any extra drivers for the World Cup finals, so Mama Bear and her two drivers were more than swamped. Delivery times were running in the two hour range. So Mama Bear asked me to come in right away and I did.

The customers weren't that interesting and I only caught the tail end of the craziness. In fact, I only delivered one pizza that was later than an hour. I left the store with two deliveries, one at 1:21 (hour twenty one), on at 38 minutes. The former pretipped $2; the latter pretipped $8. I took the higher pretip first even though it was half the age of the other.

Only got stiffed once. Highschool kid. Jerk.

I made $45 off of 10 deliveries.