Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Questions for the Marriott Hotels and Resorts

Why, in the name of all that is good and holy, would you put a 5,000 watt bulb into a bedside lamp? Are you hoping the the glare will blind me, preventing me from noticing the worn and slightly dingy upholstery on the sofa that is a scant two feet from my face? Because it didn't work.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

And Now The Big Test

We're leaving for Michigan in the morning, where I will be meeting Ash's family. Lots of Ash's family. It seems like every time I turn around, Ash is on the phone with someone new, making plans to meet for lunch/dinner/beers and insisting "I really want you to meet Katze". It's entirely possible that I am going to meet the entire population of the lower peninsula.

I am really quite freaked out. Meeting new people makes me anxious to begin with, and the stakes for this meeting seem... a little bit higher than the average first encounter. What if they don't like me? What if they really don't like me? But I'm also really excited. I can't wait to see where Ash grew up and make some mental pictures to go along with the stories that Ash tells me. I'm looking forward to meeting so many of the people that are important to him.

I am also really looking forward to five days off work. In eight days, I've worked just under 90 hours. And after today's shifts, I'm at the breaking point with the restaurant. After yet another long, crappy day with one cheapskate tipper after another, I asked the closing manager to put in my food order: a lamb roll. It's nowhere near the most expensive item on the menu, and I've ordered it before, so I was shocked when she informed me that I couldn't get it as my meal. I threw a minor fit, and she finally deigned (with enormous ill grace) to order it. I'm sorry, but in my opinion, if you are going to ask someone to work as many hours as I'm working for as little money as I'm making, then you shouldn't fuss about something as small as an employee meal. And they wonder why their turnover has been so high. Oh, and I still haven't received a single paycheck from them.

I'm planning to quit after I return from Michigan. I'll give notice, and hopefully I'll be able to start somewhere else quickly, since I can't really afford not to be working. Two of my tutoring students are taking the LSAT on Saturday, so I'll have slightly fewer tutoring hours, too. But that should give me a little time to actually job hunt. And maybe write!

Monday, September 25, 2006

And Why I'm On Cloud Nine Anyway

Saturday evening, I had a rare night off. My first in a week, in fact. I tutored in the morning for a few hours, then I was blissfully free until Sunday afternoon. Ash and I took the opportunity to do something we've been talking about for a while now: we went ring shopping.

Yes, that kind of ring.

Now, I am not a material kind of girl. But I still want a diamond engagement ring. I can't justify it other than to say I just like it. In all my life, I've never envisioned having anything else for my engagement ring. It doesn't have to be enormous or anything, but I want sparkly, my friends. Ash, however, has moral qualms about buying diamonds. I understand that, and I respect his feelings on the matter, but I really want a diamond. So we've been talking about estate diamonds or possibly a Canadian diamond.

We are, however, total babes in the wood when it comes to this stuff. I mean, we know nozzink. So, we thought we'd just go to some random jewelry store and start looking at rings to find a style I (we) like, and kind of find out what's what. We picked a large chain jeweler's and walked through the front door holding hands and being all lovey-dovey and starry eyed-- which, frankly, is how I feel almost all the time when we're together. A very nice saleswoman approached us, and we told her we wanted to look at engagement rings. She very kindly offered us coffee and led us over to a display case full of settings.

The only thing we'd really agreed on was that we both wanted platinum, so she led us to that particular case and invited us to sit down. Aaaaand then we kind of looked at her expectantly, and she looked at us expectantly, and suddenly it dawned on her: "Are you just starting the process, or did you already have a good idea what you want?" Oh, honey, we're complete rubes. Better lead us by the nose here.

She put a traditional Tiffany-style solitaire setting on my finger, then came back with a diamond in a little carrier. As she lifted it out and laid it into the setting so that we could see what it looked like, she oh-so-casually mentioned that this was their "ideal" cut 1 carat diamond, the top of the line, so to speak. And it costs $7900.

My hands started to shake, and all I could think to myself was "Oh God, don't drop the diamond. You will go to jail and never get out because you cannot afford to buy a diamond that costs... about as much as two days of law school." It was totally noticable, too, because the very nice woman took the diamond away from me and stuck to empty settings and pre-set rings after that.

I think we must have been very frustrating customers. We weren't sure what size we wanted, what style setting we wanted, and we certainly didn't know what we wanted in the "four C's". After trying on a couple of rings, we settled on a setting that we liked (the very first one we'd seen), and then we settled on a range of sizes (during which the saleswoman commented-- as has every jeweler I've ever bought a ring from-- on my tiny little fingers). Oh, but we certainly weren't finished! Oh, no, you silly things!

From there, it was off to the diamond room, where we did a little interactive computer thing that let us look at different diamonds in a specified range of colors and clarities. And that's when the shock started to set in for both of us: diamonds are so expensive!

I mean, duh, right? It's not that we expected to get them 2 for $1 or something, but we certainly didn't expect a .8 carat round cut diamond with a fairly, but not entirely colorless ... um, color (I think it was F), and not flawless (I think it was VS1) to cost nearly $5,000. Ash and I looked at each other, and each of us was, I think, relieved to see the other just as shocked.

See, here's the thing: even if we had an extra $5,000 laying around, we both kind of feel like there are at least a thousand other more useful ways to put that much money to use. And I would feel a little queasy about walking around with $5,000 on my hand.

So I don't know what we'll end up doing. But I do know that he makes me happier than I've ever been in my whole life, in ways that I never even thought about before. I am the luckiest woman on Earth to have found someone so utterly perfect for me, so intensely loving and caring. I can't wait to spend the rest of our lives making each other happy ever after.

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Working 9 to... Well, Sure As Heck Not 5

Both of my jobs have a Tuesday - Monday work week/ pay period. So far this pay period, I have 39 hours in at one job and about 20 or 25 at the other. I still have to work today. That's a lot of hours, people. So for those of you who are wondering at my disappearance from both the virtual and the real worlds, there's your explanation.

I am really enjoying the tutoring for the most part. All of my students right now are putting heavy focus on Logic Games, which happened to be my best section on the LSAT. In fact, I kind of, in a sick and twisted way, really enjoy working my way through that section. So I'm getting to teach a subject that feels a bit like a game over and over again. And a couple of my students seem like really great and very interesting people who I'd like to know "on the outside". One student in particular strikes me as someone I could be really good friends with, had we met in some other circumstance. I also love the fact that I can see how they're improving as we work together, and it makes me feel like maybe I'm having a positive impact.

My other job... not loving it so much. I've never seen such a self-centered, rude, and cheap customer base in my life. At least once per shift, I have a table that leaves less than 10%. I do not believe that this is because I've given bad service to these tables. In fact, several of these tables have gone out of their way to thank me for my service... and then left me $1 on a $21 tab.

I am also developing a grudge against large tables of Indians. Three times in the past four days I've had a group of Indian customers sit in my section, make an enormous mess, be extremely rude to me, then leave me 7 or 8%. There are a lot of servers who will refuse to wait on certain minorities because they have a reputation for not tipping. Debra Ginsberg talks about this in her book, Waiting. She theorizes that it is a self-fulfilling prophecy: servers give lesser service to these tables, believing that they are "wasting their time" on a table that they won't see any reward for, and the customers justifiably leave smaller tips because the recognize bad service, so the server feels validated in his belief and the cycle continues. I've always tried to make a point of not giving different service-- better or worse-- to one table either because I don't anticipate a tip, or because I anticipate an especially large tip. This is only partially out of some sort of noble motives-- it's mostly because it's just easier to set a high standard and treat every table according to that standard, especially when it gets busy. It's hard enough to keep track of a full station without trying to remember which tables get the good service and which get the mediocre. Still, I am only human, and last night, I caught myself groaning internally when I saw the three Indians who were seated in my section less than an hour before the kitchen closed. And sure enough, they fussed about everything, talked to me like I was a lower form of life, then left me 90 cents each on their $11 tabs.

I am getting too old and cranky for this work. I really liked waiting tables when I did it in college. It's not that I never had a bad customer or got stiffed on a tab (heh. Remind me to blog about the table that tried to give me a $1 tip on a $117 bill sometime.), but the thing was, we had so many good customers-- and by that, I don't just mean customers that tipped well (though that certainly helps), but customers that were friendly and talked to us and treated us like intelligent human beings. I haven't met many (in fact, hardly any) of them at this job yet, so I feel like there's no compensation-- monetary or otherwise-- for putting up with crap from the other customers.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Having My Say (by Jenna)

That woman who feeds me is very strange.

Today, for example, she keeps muttering "I swear to God, Jenna, if you keep this up, I'm going to lose it."

I don't know what "it" is, exactly, but I wish I did, because then I would totally hide "it". The Human (being of inferior intellect) would be unable to find it, and therefore think that she'd lost "it". I'm not sure exactly what will happen, but it seems like it would be might be pretty fun to see.

Also, the quality of service around here has really suffered lately. My food is being deposited unceremoniously at random times of the day instead of poured lovingly into its dish every morning after Food Lady makes her coffee. And not one of the cans that have been opened lately has contained tuna. I'm also missing many of my daily massages. (On a side note, the woman who feeds me insists on calling it "petting", as though I'm some sort of dog that needs affection. As if!) In fact, the Bearer of Food hasn't been around much at all lately.

And even worse, when she is here, she's often accompanied by... him. Words cannot express my disgust with the giant pinkface she keeps bringing over here. He follows me around, tries to touch me with his filthy hands, squirts me with water for no reason at all, and then has the nerve to take my spot in bed. Ohhhh, how I hate him! Yet nothing I do seems to get rid of him. I've even gone to the trouble of learning to articulate in those strange sounds they use to communicate, but the loudest and clearest "NO!" I can muster just makes the two of them laugh. What on Earth is wrong with them? It's even in their own language!

Stupid humans.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Confidential to ISP 72.183.210

Do your own damned homework.

Friday, September 15, 2006

There Is No Dana, Only Zuul

Other people carry some keys on a key chain. I have an ever-growing wad of keys attached to a series of interlocked rings. I am always the person other people give their keys to. I'm also the person who ends up being responsible for opening and/or closing various offices. I suppose I should see this as a compliment: people must think I am trustworthy or something. Still, when I need a warm up to pick up my keys, it seems a little bit silly. At one point, I had 13 keys to carry: 4 keys for my own apartment (front door, apartment door, deadlock, and mailbox), 3 keys for Finbar's apartment (front door, apartment door, and deadlock), 2 keys for Finbar's parents' house, 1 key for my parents' house, 2 car keys (door and trunk), and a key for the public interest society office. However, it also happens that I had three mystery keys on the chain that I was afraid to get rid of because I couldn't remember what they were for, so really I had 16 keys on the chain.

Breaking up with Finbar meant that I got to make a serious dent in the key collection. I removed all of the keys for his place and his parents' place and threw them away, and then, in the spirit of out with the garbage, I threw out the mystery keys, too. I reveled in the nearly anorexic condition of my keychain for a while, enjoying the sensation of being able to put my keys in my pocket.

That didn't last long at all: I quickly gained two more keys from Ash. Of course, I'd also moved to a place with only two keys, so I suppose that was a wash. Then we got a locked cabinet for the public interest society office, so that added another key. And I had to put Hulio's keys on the chain (instead of just keeping them in my kitchen, just in case she locked herself out or something) when she was out of town for work and I stopped at her place every day or so to get her mail and make sure nothing was, you know, on fire or leaking or anything like that. And suddenly I had a wad of keys again.

Then I graduated and gave back my keys to the public interest society office. And Hulio moved back to Our Hometown, so I gave back her keys, too. I've been getting used to my svelte keychain. My little Icelandic flag keychain broke off, so I've been trying to decide about what I should get next. I'd like something small that makes me smile when I see it. Everytime I picked up my keys, my old keychain made me think about how it felt to have a dream come true. That's a hard act to follow.

Yesterday, I got a key to the office so that I could come in to do tutoring before the official office hours.

On the one hand, it sure is convenient not to have to come up with someplace else to work when the office is closed. On the other hand, the keys keep multiplying! How did I become the Keymaster for the whole universe? How long until I end up with 36 keys on my ring, necessitating the use of a large ring clipped to my belt loop like the high school janitor?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Bet He Made Lots of Sympathy Tips

Last night, I had my final training shift (Thank God). I was supposed to take all of the tables in Jack's section while he trailed me. First hitch: slowest. night. ever. Seriously. I started at 5, and we didn't get a single table until 8. At the beginning of the shift, the manager on duty held a servers' meeting, at which the first item on the agenda was "No socializing with the kitchen." Ostensibly, this is not because they don't want us to be nice to the cooks, but because the kitchen guys were complaining that they were having trouble getting their work done because we servers were talking their ears off. Maybe. I don't know. Either way, the first thing that the manager did after the meeting disbanded was walk over to the window and start chatting with the line cook.

Incidentally, item number two on the agenda was "There are no side orders of the rice and lentil plate", and item three was "Don't forget that the front bulletin board is for suggestions from the staff, please feel free to use it." I tried to talk one of the other servers into suggesting "Add a side order of the rice and lentil plate to the menu".

When we finally got tables, everyone was very nice. People seem to be charmed by the whole "Hi, I'm Katze, I'll be your server tonight, but I'm in training, so this is Jack"-- gesture behind me--" and he's keeping an eye on me tonight" spiel, and every single table went out of their way to tell me that I was doing a great job, just wonderful. My favorite customer of the night was an older gentleman who looked just like My Favorite Martian and his lady friend. He kept winking and smiling at me whenever I passed, though not in a creepy or flirty way, but more like little bits of encouragement. When I finally brought their check, he told me "You'll be headwaitress in no time at all!" I wanted to pinch his little cheeks, he was just so sweet.

I took and passed my serving test this morning, and tomorrow I start my first shift. One of the managers commented that she was sure glad I passed my test because I'm on the schedule 6 days next week, including two doubles. *gulp* I guess I really will be raking in the cash, and also I will be forgoing my social life, so I'll be saving money at the same time!


Monday, September 11, 2006

I Can't Believe I Was Worried

So training with Jack today was lame. Really lame. He didn't let me do anything except follow him around like a puppy. At every table, he introduced me as "My friend, Katze", which made me want to punch him for some inexplicable reason. For all of his rushing, he's an incredibly inefficient server, too. Even less endearing, during the "lesson" on the next section of the menu, he read out loud to me. It was almost impossible to supress the urge to scream "I can freaking read on my own!" at him, but somehow I managed to choke back the words just as they reached the tip of my tongue. Then, when it came time for the preview of tomorrow's quiz, he just told me to "know the pita section"-- unlike my other trainers, who told me which specific items would show up on the quiz (so that I didn't have to memorize all 30 cakes in the 18 or so hours between shifts, only the 10 that appeared on the test, for example).

Unfortunately for me, I'm also training with Jack tomorrow.

Fortunately, I'm only working at The Restaurant tomorrow.

Wednesday I have to run the gauntlet of fake-serving the managers and take a written test that covers the entire menu at once. If (when) I pass, I can start picking up shifts, and they'll start scheduling me for real next week. And then I'll be raking in the cash! RIGHT??

I've also picked up more tutoring students, bringing my total to five. I'm no longer worried about making my rent for November, which is cause for celebration. My first set of post-law school student loan payments start in November, so I'd like to keep some of my current cash reserves to sort of top off my earnings, just in case. It's beenover a year since I got a paycheck, so I'm really looking forward to getting paid.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Be Careful What You Wish For

I worked a full shift at the Restaurant today. It was long. It's going to take awhile to build up my stamina for these shifts again, especially since it's all new, so I have to think so hard about everything while I'm doing it. I know it will get easier as I go, things will become second nature, and I'll just get back in the groove. But today was rough.

And then I had to teach a 3 1/2 hour class.

It was rough. Because my shift at The Restaurant lasted more than two hours longer than I was scheduled, I didn't have time for a nap between shifts. I didn't even have time for the full run through I wanted to do before my first time teaching. Ash was my hero, driving me into the center to pick up the diagnostic test results for the students, then to the wrong campus for the class, then to the right campus for the class (hey, thanks for the crappy directions, person who told me where this class is being held!), while I flipped through my lesson plans and got progressively more upset.

The mistake in direction meant that I was 12 minutes late to the class. Damn. That's such a bad impression, you know? But the students were pretty forthcoming, for the most part, so I didn't have to pull teeth to get some participation. There were two cutups in the back, but they didn't disrupt the class, so I mostly let them be. Several people hadn't bothered to do the reading ahead of time, but they were trying to make up for it, so... alright. Besides, what am I going to do? I just tried to emphasize the fact that the reading isn't just for kicks and that they won't get much out of the sessions if they're trying to figure the concepts out on the fly. It was very difficult to keep the class moving but also make sure that they were all staying with me. I also made several mistakes, but hopefully nothing too major, or at least nothing that will screw with their progress. It was the introductory class, so there was a lot of material to cover in a limited time.

The upshot? I was on my feet from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. My legs and feet and especially my knees are very, very painful right now. I have to be back at The Restaurant by 12, prepared for another detailed quiz on ingredients in a section of the menu. Man, am I tired. I've already had some interesting customers, but it's just too much to even think about writing about them tonight. The person who's training me tomorrow is... one of the more... ummm... fast paced servers. The other day I worked a shift at the same time as he, and you could literally feel the breeze when he passed you at times. I hope I can take it. No, I hope my knees can take it.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bird on a Bun, Drag It Through the Garden, and Put Legs On It!

In light of the severe deficit in my (non-existant) trust fund, I decided to look for work using the most valuable skill I have: waitressing. I was good at it when I did it in college, I actually enjoyed it for the most part, and most importantly, it's fairly lucrative. Oh, and I won't feel guilty about leaving the job after a short time.

I've developed a list of criteria for potential restaurant jobs over the years: anywhere that is hiring all the time is out (super high turnover seems like a baaaad sign), anywhere that requires you to put your tips into a communal pool is out, anywhere that has a clientele with an average age of 50 or older is out (tips are too low, as a general rule), anyplace that I particularly like to eat is fair game (it's nice to feel enthusiastic about the hash you're slinging, plus many places offer discounted or free meals for employees, so you ought to want to eat that benefit), any place that never advertises for help is good, any place that seems to have the same wait staff for ages is really good, any place where the managers can be seen working the floor on a Saturday night (not just walking from table to table asking if everything is okay) is also good.

With this in mind, I decided to apply at a local middle eastern restaurant that I really like. I noticed when we walked by the other night that they were hiring, so I was pretty sure I could get a job, and sure enough, I walked in today, filled out the application, had an interview, and I start tomorrow!

I was feeling a little... depressed about going back to waitressing until I talked to a professor from Our Law School this weekend. He laughed and remarked "You aren't the first, you won't be the last. I remember those days myself." Well! If he could do it, so can I, right? In fact, I kind of like the idea of taking a year to work as many hours as I can and work on my book. Of course, if the right job comes along, I would be thrilled to death, but I'm not going to force it. If it takes me awhile to find the right thing, so be it.

Anyway, I figure if nothing else, waitressing should provide me with fertile blogging ground.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

More Adventures in Job Hunting

Taken verbatim, albeit with identifying information changed, from a job listing:

Hello my name is Sneaky Sneakerson and I own a few sites and have site managers for them. The job is simple and I am willing to provide full paid training, all I need is for someone to keep track of my site and make sure that agents are posting appropriate ads answer their questions and post unique content to the site. If interested please Fully review our site make note of difficult navigation issues and any bugs on the site. Once you are comfortable with the site it’s material and what goes on please mail your requests to along with any bugs.

Please ask any questions which you may have and write a brief paragraph why you are right for the job. I would like to see your resume.

Please, allow me to translate:

I want someone to find the bugs and other problems with my company's website, but I am too cheap to pay for a proper IT professional to do it. Therefore, I am going to make it sound like finding the bugs is a "test". People who are desperate for a job will want to impress me, so they will kill themselves trying to find the most bugs, on the theory that the person who finds the most will get hired. Then I will take the responses and use them to fix my website. AND IT WAS ALL FREE!

Wait! I guess I'd better have them send me resumes, too. Otherwise, they might wise up that this job doesn't actually exist. I guess I can just throw them in the trash when they get here.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


I've been roundly scolded several times this week, both in person and by email for my lack of updates recently. My humblest apologies to those of you who apparently cannot make it through a day of work unless you are distracted by my musings.

What can I say? I have nothing to say. My topics of conversations currently are:

  1. I don't have a job. Wah, wah. No one wants to hire me. Wah. Wah. Wah.
  2. I love Ash! He's so smaaaarrrrt. And so cuuuuuute. And funnnnny. Ash is so great!
Are these topics you really want to hear me hold forth on? Really?

I thought not.

However. I am trying very hard to get a start on writing a book. For reals. One of my "Things to Do Before I Die" list is "Be Published". And since I don't have anything else to do right now, it seems like a good time to try and write the book part. I have two vague ideas right now, and I'm pondering exactly how to go about honing them.

Also? I am busy writing cover letters. Have I told you how much I hate cover letters? And writing them? I've decided to make one stock letter to attach to all future resume submissions:

Dear Sir or Madam:

I want a job. I need money. If you will pay me money, I will work hard for you. I am smart (see my resume). I have done lots of different jobs in the past. That's why even if my resume doesn't explicitly list the skill for which you are seeking, you should still hire me. I can learn lots of stuff very quickly.

In conlusion, you should hire me.



I think it could work!

Hulio was here for a visit this weekend, and it was far too short. We had a great time, but don't be expecting some sort of exciting tales of wanton, bacchanalian carousal. We mostly just hung out together, doing the same kinds of nothing we always do together. It was great, especially the trip to Target. I have had a massive hole in my life since losing my Target partner. No one else understands the fine art of shopping at Target the way Hulio does. Of course, my budget is probably in better shape as a result...