Tuesday, August 31

Guest Blog: AjaTheFairy gets stalked

I'd like to welcome back a good Twitter friend of mine, AjaTheFairy, for a guest blog. Y'all might recall my own history with going inside people's homes: I very very rarely did it (and for damned good reason). In fact I can count the number of times on my fingers: little old lady who called me mamushka, huge parties where I was carrying more pizzas than I could reasonably handle and still take payment at the same time, schools, churches, etc. I personally would never do most of the things she is willing to do. Other delivery people, would you? [-PizzaGirl]

In my job as a pizza delivery driver I often have to give special attention to some customers. There once was an elderly woman who ordered $40 worth of food at 10 p.m. and asked if I would stop and buy her some milk. She didn’t need the food, just the milk (and also someone to show her how the TV works). Another elderly woman orders food regularly and has me put it on a plate, grab a coke out of her refrigerator and literally serve her dinner (and she has never tipped me one time).

Eight months ago, I started delivering to a man with cerebral palsy. I don’t know his name, but we’ll call him Bob. He has one big arm and one little arm and cannot take the food from me at the door. I have to bring the order inside his house and set it down. The first couple of deliveries, I was asked to set the food down on a little table right inside the door. He tipped me $3 each time. Soon Bob started asking me to come in and set his order on a table in the dining room or the kitchen, for which I received a $5 tip. He obviously can’t cook and orders a few days worth of food at a time. I got used to seeing him twice a week.

On my birthday, I wore a money bouquet with birthday wishes from everyone. It was a good way to let my customers know it was my birthday and it really worked in raising my average tip. When I arrived at Bob’s house on my birthday he noticed my birthday badge and felt it was the perfect excuse to grab me with his good arm and hold me close to him while he kissed me on the cheek. For this crossing of personal boundaries I received $10. Things went back to usual after that except my regular tip was now $7.

In July, I let Bob know that I gave my manager two weeks notice because I was moving across the street to a different pizza chain. He asked me if I would change my mind and reconsider staying. Bob said he didn’t like the food from my new company and he would miss me. I won’t say that he cried, but he did get all choked up. Again, he used this as an excuse to hug me and kiss me on the cheek.

Since I started my new job about a month ago, Bob has ordered from my store three times. I was never assigned the delivery and each driver who took the order came back with reports of Bob asking about me.

Last Saturday, I took my dad’s van to work because my car has a bald tire. I was assigned a delivery located in a dingy apartment complex on the other side of town. The apartment was on the second floor of a building that isn’t near a parking lot, but faces an alley that serves as a fire lane. The alley is at the very back of the complex and it is illegal to park there, so there are never any cars back there. Of course I parked there because it was right in front of the apartment I needed to get to, and pizza delivery drivers love to park in fire lanes. We do it every chance we get.

I noticed a car pull into the alley as I was getting out of the van but I didn’t pay it any special attention. It wasn’t until I had delivered the pizza and was walking back down the stairs that I noticed the car had stopped and parked right behind me. As I got closer, there was a honk and a wave from a little arm and I knew it was Bob. I was shocked! We were far away from his ritzy part of town and how could he possibly know I was in that van?! He’s never seen me in a van and I was sure he wouldn’t have any friends at this flea bag apartment complex.

“Hey! You need to give me your number!” he yelled as I approached.

I replied, “Why do you need my number? I am engaged, you know.”

“So I can call you and make sure you are working before I order,” he said.

I know most of you are hoping that I didn’t give him my number because that would be stupid. Yes, I did. I did it to keep getting the tip. I gave him my number and told him he could request me as his driver. Yes, I am a pizza whore. I didn’t let him pull me in for that kiss on the cheek though. He tried to pull me in but I turned it into a funny handshake and told him I had to get back to the store.

It is obvious to me that Bob, who lives close to my store, watched me get in the van and followed me 8.3 miles to my delivery waiting for the chance to talk to me. He hasn’t used my number yet, but I am a little disappointed in myself that I gave it to him. I should have told him to just call the store and ask for me when he was ready to order. Although I am creeped out, I don’t believe I have any reason to be frightened by this man. Bob doesn’t seem violent or sinister, just extremely lonely.

Monday, August 30

I once ended a date for a marinara violation.

Customer: Hey, can I get a side of marinara sauce?
Front of House turns around to the owner and asks if we can do that, Owner says we can and asks if he wants it heated.
Customer: ...because, you know, that's such an essential part of the meal...
Owner: Would you like your sauce heated up?
Customer: ...It's really expected that I have some marinara sauce to dip my crusts in. I don't know why you don't offer that on the menu or as a part of the meal...
Owner: Would you like us to heat it up for you?
Customer: Uh... sure.

Sometimes I'm reminded how nice it is not to work with customers.
There is a special place in hell reserved for people who come in and order food 6 minutes before closing time.
I cut myself on the bread knife again (I figure if I do this enough I'll learn to keep my fingers out of the way). I had to wear a rubber glove on that hand for the rest of the night which meant that I couldn't work the pizza oven because it was my left hand (the hand closest to the fire when putting pizzas in the oven) and the layer of sweat between the glove and my skin became excruciatingly hot every time I even got near the mouth of the oven.

Wednesday, August 25

New Job Update

I've been at the new job for a few weeks now. I'm still liking it though I think the honeymoon is probably over. Here are a few things I've done:
  • Learned how to get pizzas in the oven intact and in a mostly round shape fairly consistently.
  • Had to go back to using the scales for salads because I was making them too big.
  • Two more lessons in knife safety while I sliced potatoes and chopped rosemary.
  • Cut my finger doing the much easier task of cutting bread with the serrated knife.
  • Found that I'm just not a fan of fresh greens on a pizza. We made (while the local farmers had it) several pizzas with fresh arugula on them. Yuck.
  • Singed some hair off of the back of my left hand and arm. 700 degree heat will do that.
Things I still need to do:
  • Perfect cooking the pizzas and especially cooking more than one pizza in the oven at a time.
  • Learn to tend the fire.
  • Stop crushing on the Sunday morning day pizza guy and his pretty eyes.

Tuesday, August 17

I Should Tell You I'm Disaster

I've started writing this post a hundred times. I don't think I can adequately express how much that little second job changed me, but I'll try.

I used to be pretty timid. I didn't do much. I was a wife and mother and a worker bee. Not that there's anything wrong with any of those things, but I had committed to them so early, I had committed to the "right" path before I learned that the American dream in and of itself is stifling.

And then...
Money got tight. We (my ex-husband and I) had just bought a house and just had a second baby. We didn't really understand credit and the thought hadn't crossed my mind that one day my student loans would start hassling me to pay them. All we knew was that we needed more "stuff" and while our heads were above water we couldn't touch the bottom of the pool anymore. So I decided that, since he was better with the kids, I would get a second job. I was in luck; our little podunk town only had one of the Big 3 chains represented and a second had just opened. I applied. My interview was two questions: Do you have a car? and Have you killed anyone with your car?

I liked delivering. I started this blog. I thought it would be fun to document all the wacky people that I delivered to and I thought it made an interesting statistics experiment. That was October 2008.

Then, things started falling apart and I took on more and more shifts. Partly because I didn't want to be at home, partly because the extra money gave me a taste of freedom and I couldn't get enough of it. New Years Eve 2008, I made a stupid life choice. I slept with one of my managers. I won't go into details because they're not important and I was extremely foolish. It's funny how grown up I felt at 18 living my adult life and how much I know now that I really had no idea how to handle myself or relationships. I hope I've grown up since then.

I moved in with Other Chick Driver and started living the life of drama. Work was drama. Coworkers, family, friends, roommates, roommates friends, lovers. Drama. I tried to focus the blog on the funny things, the ironic, the things that kept me sane, that reminded me that in general life is absurd.

But the driving is what kept me going. There's a lot of time to think, there's a lot of time to play out conversations that should have happened and time to let out conversations that shouldn't be played out in the real world. I spent a lot of time talking to myself in the car. I spent a lot of time singing really really loudly to songs on repeat. I took a lot of detours over my favorite low water crossings.

Some days I hated customers and consequently humanity. It seemed perfectly logical that customers that didn't tip lacked empathy and courtesy and therefore lacked the building blocks that qualified them as people. Their arrogance in seeing themselves as being above the obligation to pay for my service gave me a reason to hate them.

And some days I loved customers. When they were tipping well, I loved them. I smiled and thanked them and brought them extra sauce cups when I could.

Now, I see it all as evening out pretty well. I look back fondly on my Saturday mornings spent sleeping off a hangover under the driver station.

I moved out from OCD's at some point and changed stores to be closer to my new place and my primary job. The drama dropped to almost zero as far as work was concerned (despite my talent for making mountains out of mole-hills). I don't have a bad thing to say about working at the new store (except the sulfur water, yuck!) . People came and went, I was outside of the drama for the most part, and pizzas got delivered.

Somewhere in there, maybe a little bit back at podunk store, my absolute love of pizza was sparked. It saw me through separating from the Ex, being heart-wrenchingly apart from my children, losing several friendships that I had put a lot of energy into, learning that crushing on guys is completely different after highschool, learning that dating after highschool is brutal, and that I will always be a work in progress, there is no ending point. The pizza was there through it all. All I had to do was fold boxes, cut the pizza, put pepperonis on one slice at a time, check out the delivery, drive, smile at the door, accept my pittance, drive, and repeat until I was anesthetized.

Somewhere in there I made new friends. Most of them were internet friends but they were more real to me than most of the people I knew in real life. I met some of those friends in real life. One of those new friends got me back into scifi. I can't say it was single-handedly, the disposition was already there, but he inspired me and took me on a trans-dimensional emotional roller-coaster.

Back to the love of pizza...
I'm making pizza now. In the middle of learning that dating sucks, I actually made a friend out of one of the boys and we started going on Pizza Adventures. Our first one was to a little local pizzeria where I had my first Margherita pizza and my first pizza out of a wood-fired oven. Later, I got a job there. I'm now making pizzas instead of delivering them. I love it so much. I look forward to every shift. Just last shift I finally figured out getting pizzas into the oven in fairly round shape. I'm now making them round(ish) about 75% of the time and getting them in intact about 90% of the time. My dream is to one day run my own pizzeria.

I am a new person, still battling, still learning, and it all started with the decision to get a second job, random internet surfing, the Twitter "Follow" button, and pizza.

Sunday, August 8

Vacation Post: Pizza Porn

As you are probably aware, I started a new job at an independent Pizzeria not too long ago. Before I got the job though, I was a customer. Here are pictures of the wonderful pizzas that I have eaten there and am now proud to be making for other customers.

The margherita pizza is about as simple as a pizza can get. It is crust, crushed tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella (we also serve one with just regular fresh mozzarella) and fresh basil.

Here's the upskirt. We cook everything in a wood fired brick oven, which means that there are definitely char spots and tons of bubbles, which just make the pizza more delicious.

This is the sausage and mushroom pizza. The little red flecks are roasted red peppers.

My favorite pizza so far is the potato and goat cheese pizza. I think the secret (not so much of a secret since you can taste it through the whole thing) is the rosemary on the potatoes.

This, while being a gorgeous pizza was my least favorite (which isn't saying much since it was still delicious). It's the "Noble" which contains pork belly, dates, goat cheese, and arugula. I just found it to be lacking the moisture that I need in order to feel satisfied with a pizza.

Friday, August 6

Vacation Post: Pictures

Mmmm, food that is not food. Spotted at the local Walgreens.

I hope that after viewing the above picture, you understand why I have nothing but disdain for most of the folks that do dishes around Big Chain. This is what the sink looked like after they got done doing dishes and drained the water. That means that all this crap was floating around with the dishes that were supposed to be getting clean.

My new work shoes. Because, damn it, if they have to be ugly non-skid shoes, they're going to have chartreuse laces.

Spotted on the street between apartments.

Found this little guy in the hallway of an apartment complex. I felt a little bad for picking him up. What if his child is missing him?

Wednesday, August 4

Vacation Post: The Engines that Search

The best part of having a blog is reading all the search engine terms that led someone to my page. Here are a few:

  • paying pizza delivery guy with underwear
  • how do pizza deliveries work in rain
  • pants epidermis
  • hot girl in towel
  • he tipped me over the edge
  • squished girl
  • what do grasshoppers hate

To answer their questions

  • feel free to try it
  • wet
  • in general
  • I don't deliver in a towel
  • as long as he tipped ;)
  • well yes, sometimes, when I get stuck between Insectosaurus and the oven
  • probably not me as they seem to be everywhere I am