We’re not in the food-business. We’re in the people-business, serving food.

I’m a career waitress, a fair share of my life has been spent observing a ridiculous range of personalities and listening to bizarre words exchanging between them. Thankfully, the days of slinging half-price appetizers to seven high school juniors are over and I’ve moved onto something more age-appropriate for a 32 year old waitress.

I wine and dine folks inside a cozy Wisconsin supper club, where the conversations and company are consistently mild, regulars come in the through the back door that we go all Cheers on and our cooks prepare a mean steak. The owner of this quaint restaurant has this saying he loves, not only because I think he probably made it up himself but also because it’s true.

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“We’re not in the food business, we’re in the people business – serving food.”

The other day I experienced this first hand and while I hope you can take something from it, I’m writing mostly so I do not forget the feeling this experience gave me.


A3 is yours and it’s a 62nd wedding anniversary, the hostess spit out zipping past me. Note taken. Swiftly I glimpsed around the corner to decide how I wanted to approach their table. It varies depending on how happy, grumpy, or hangry people appear to be in the .52 seconds I take to assess the situation.

Happy Anniversary. 62 years, wow,  that is really something to be proud of!

You must really like each other.

I wasn’t sure about the last line I delivered – it wasn’t really planned but with a big toothy smile this lovely woman with white curly hair laughs while her husband holds not more than a simple grin. Mentally I jotted down that this was a pair of pleasant people, which happen to be my favorite kind. They ordered two Tom & Jerrys and an order of calamari to start their celebrating and I excused myself from their table by the window.

Sitting nearby, three pretty ladies –  a young grandma, a young mom and an adorable little girl over heard that it was a special occasion and insisted on picking up table A3s dinner bill.

I love it when that happens.

We discussed all the important details and I was instructed to let the anniversary couple know it was all paid for after the ladies had left – not before. As they wrapped up their dinner, I observed the gals make a quick stop and wish the couple a happy anniversary.  I’ve never been good at keeping secrets but always pretty amazing at delivering good news.

I carried over a big homemade cupcake with a candle, forks, and a little coffee. Who celebrates without cake? I told them they were welcome to stay as long as they’d like, I’d keep an eye on their coffees but not to worry about the bill. Confused, I explained that the table right next door had already taken care of it.

The gentleman, with the same simple grin he had earlier in the evening thanked me and his bride sat speechless. Selflessly, she asked if I had been tipped on their tables portion of the bill. I tilted my head to the side and thanked her for asking because, let’s be real, I make $2.68/hour. In this instance, the tip was the last thing I was concerned with and told her that I was taken care of in the process and they do not need to leave a dime.

Another table nearby had been sat and before I even had their water glasses filled, we were talking about how adorable table A3 is. I let them in on the secret that another table had picked up their tab and I gushed over what a great night they were having.

On my way to deliver the new diners cocktails, table A3 was getting ready to leave. The bride with the toothy smile and curly white hair approached me and while it’s not unusual for patrons to give an additional thank you as they exit, she had tears in her eyes.

Not only did she thank me, she hugged me and held onto my shoulders so tight. In a low voice she expressed sincere gratitude while telling me that her husband has dementia and this might be the last time they dine in our restaurant together. Her chin quivering,  I reached back out and wrapped my arms around her while quiet tears rolled down her aged cheeks.

Thank you for making tonight so special.

I told her that I’ll see her next time, and with that she walked over to her husband who was waiting by the coat rack. While delivering the newcomers cocktails, they pointed out how romantic it is that he still helps her with her jacket. Turning around, I watched them walk out the door hand-in-hand.

That is the night I realized that we are indeed in the people business – simply serving food.

12 Things That Happen After 30

[1] Anyone: “How old are you?”

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[2] You realize you’ve accomplished approximately 1/8 of the list you started 10 years ago…of the things you’d do before 30.

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[3] Secretly you hope 20-somethings at the bar either a.) think you’re 28 or b.) think you’re the most badass 30-something they’ve ever met.

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[4] Plans are made roughly three hours earlier than in your younger days.

 Well, ideally I’d like to be in my pajamas on the couch by 9:30 – so, dinner at 6:30?

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[5] You become much more accepting of your flaws, maybe because you’ve reached the perfect level of don’t-give-a-shits or, maybe you’re lucky and embrace them. Either way, this is a win for us 30-somethings.

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[6] You take care of your body, before it’s sick. No. Not like working out… 

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[7] A night of excessive cocktails is rarely rewarded with chipper mornings and brunch. 

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[8] Friends start pointing out stray grey hairs that you’ve been wondering exist for the last 5 years.

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[9] Your social media has become a plethora of pets and babies… and you like it.

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[10] Your body has chosen its desired shape and weight, if you would like something different – good luck.

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[11] The excitement level for a new lawn mower <insert any major appliance here> exceeds levels you didn’t know were possible in your 20s.

 

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[12] You read and contribute reviews. Restaurants, mattresses, curtains, daycares, cars, pens, tables, music, hotels, dogs, movies… anything.

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…Cheers to your 30’s.

RIP Baby Logan

Not often do I use Properly Ridiculous for much more than to rant, rave and shove my opinions on everyone. Today, I am putting that aside and using this platform in an effort to help a family who recently lost their son, Logan.

I went to middle school and high school with both of Logan’s parents, and while we do not have a close relationship today – my heart is breaking for them. A blended family, both mom and dad having children from previous relationships – you have to believe that little Logan was the final piece that tied them all together.

Logan was only three months old when he passed away in his sleep during his afternoon nap, as a result of SIDS.

When I told my husband the sad news, conversationally he asked me if I thought it would be harder to lose a child that young, or after years and years have flown by. I know how it feels to grow a child in my body and lay eyes on him for the first time and the answer was easy – I think the sorrow and pain has to be so great, seemingly unbearable, regardless of age.

I do not know how they are getting by emotionally or financially so I am simply asking you to take this chance to eliminate even a small amount of stress this family is going through.

If you’re not able to contribute financially, all I ask is that you keep them in your thoughts and if you have children, give them an extra hug tonight.

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CLICK TO DONATE

Current Struggle: I want to be skinny but I love calories.

It was 75 degrees and sunny in Wisconsin yesterday, which happened to be Cinco De Mayo, when I walked into my job that specializes in German fare. Given the lovely weather and the holiday that doesn’t make patrons want to go out for Weiner Schnitzel – I wasn’t anticipating a stressful night.

Usually slinging food until roughly 9:00pm, when I was on my home at 7:30 with the sun still shining it only seemed right to stop and buy myself a giant can of Bud Light Lemon-Ade-Rita. I should tell you though, before that purchase, I got the boys in my life some Oreo shakes from Burger King and congratulated myself on my spectacular self-control.

Three Oreo shakes, please…

You ran two miles today! Don’t let it be for nothing! You got this! 

Nevermind, make that two.

Gosh, I’m the best.

When all was said and done, I consumed 600 calories of Lemon-Ade-Rita instead.

Can’t win them all.

Y is for Yelling [At Kids In The Alley]

I took a right turn into the parking lot and saw two young boys, if I had to guess I’d say around 10 or 11 years old. They were huddled near the garages of the townhouses I used to reside in, bikes laying on the ground beside them. Driving pass slowly I tried to observe what was going on and at the last second before turning into my parking spot, I took a glance in my rear-view mirror.

These little shits are starting fires!

I slammed on my brakes, threw my car in reverse and with a squeal of my tires and a mark left on the pavement – I met them at the garages.  I went into full blown, she-must-be-a-mama mode. I opened my door with conviction and these delinquent little beasts got pummeled with my angry mom voice.

While throwing my hands in the air…

WHAT EXXXACTLY DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING?!

Then, without skipping a beat, shaking my head from side to side to show my dislike of the situation…

STARTING FIRES?!

I took one step closer to them, gave them a good stare-down for few seconds and finished up with…

I SUGGEST YOU BOYS GET OUTTA HERE BEFORE I CALL THE POLICE!!

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In my mind, that is what I looked like.

Legit fear immediately covered both their faces. The taller boy threw his hands in the air as if I was an actual police officer myself, with a gun drawn. The smaller blonde boy just stood there with a blank face, nervous.

I make my way back to my house and as I am walking in the front door I notice them taking off on their bikes. Shit, they know where I live. I don’t know these kids… for all I know I just messed with the wrong 11 eleven year old.

A while later, while I was getting ready to make dinner my doorbell rang.

We just wanted to say that we are really sorry for playing with those matches by your house. Is there anything we can do to repay you?

First of all, I never requested or felt as if they owed me anything but I did step outside and chat with to these two young boys. I did my best to explain the serious consequences and risks of starting fires and playing with matches – especially on other people’s property. The taller boy says: Yeah, like……he could have started on fire… pointing at his buddy.

There was a pause, but I replied: Yeah…I would have totally hated that.

We had a little laugh and they went on their way. They never had to come back and say anything, they easily could have gone around the corner and kept doing what they were doing or went home and laughed at the crazy woman in the ally; instead, they made a choice that made me feel good about them, which was so pleasantly unexpected.

They aren’t little shits after all, just young boys.