Chaos, Panic Attacks and Memories

The notebook of memories

I was flipping through a notebook I started early on when working at my restaurant. I found it in a stack of things I was going through. I’m not sure why I stopped writing in it other than for the reason of insane frustration that started being recorded in another book titled ‘Night Shift Notes’. My nights have never been that crazy, but if something of note comes along that is important, I record it.

There were some absolutely lovely and funny moments I wrote down in this glittery notebook, and I honestly need to pick it up again.

This is from July 2018:
“The days are calmer with less stress on everyone, so it seems. Nickelle is still a nutcase and is having too many issues, so she freaks out, and doesn’t know what the fat she is doing most of the time. Poor Chef is like at his wits end with her.

I can do the tart dough just fine. The roulade cake alludes me still.”

Ah Nickelle, she was an interesting one. And Coffeeman came into a world of crazy at the beginning. Her, Lucifer, Wildflower. These were the days before Will Turner and me up on pizza. I was a lowly prep chef. Tackling desserts, but the gopher. Golden Oldie has moved up to pantry, out of dish, and now he’s the new gopher. I don’t envy his job. Laughing.

Here’s another gem from July 2018:
“But I must go back to Saturday. Dinner service was starting and Chef, Twin C, and I were busy with Sunday Prep. I think NY Lady (she is our everything manager) was in and out. Then Lucifer called for all of his squirt bottles to be filled and he was impatient and I was rushing to try and fill them. One I started filling with white wine vinegar instead of white wine and the Chef had to stop me, thank goodness. But Lucifer was super impatient and went and got a bottle himself. Then I went to fill his saffron bottle and said I had to go get the saffron on Chef’s desk, and Lucifer snapped at me that it just needed Hot water!
I went back to the prep sing and slammed the top on the sink and must have let out an exasperated sigh because Chef turned to me and told me to tell him “mise en place!”
“What?”
“Take the bottle back to him and say ‘The Chef says mise en place mother f*cker!”
“I can’t say that to him.”
“Yes you can.”
“But he’ll come back at me.”
“No he won’t. Fill the bottle and I’ll be right behind you.”

So I fill the bottle and walk back up to Lucifer and present it with both hands and say, “Lucifer, Chef says mise en place, mother f*cker.” Lucifer looks at me, then glances behind me and says, “Yes Chef.”

And that was that. I didn’t know till later that Coffeeman had stood behind me crossing his arms where his favorite statement “Mise En Place” is tattooed across both arms so they connect when he crosses his arms. ”

To this day, we still all remind each other to “mise en place!” It’s probably the highlight of one of my memories of working with Coffeeman. I may have talked about it in the past, but I can’t remember. I’m just glad I wrote it down.

Those first months were probably the best time of my job, though this last year’s July and August with Coffeeman on pizza were a dream.

Photo by Jesson Mata on Unsplash

For some reason all of these memories had me remembering my panic attacks that were happening later that year when suddenly I went from being behind the scenes to being out in front. And just the overwhelming feeling of not getting it all done in time. I had a sugar crash yesterday while making lunch, and I’m freaking out because my brain is on zero function, and I’m thinking “Gosh, I do this all the time with the added stress of not being able to get something to eat because I have ten tickets up on my board.” I needed my Hostess Extraordinaire with her glass of Pepsi for me!

I miss work like crazy right now. I have not accomplished half of what I wanted while home, but I’ve got a start. If I could just not collect books…. as I consider ordering a couple I wish I had right now. I need help people.

These are just some musings from pulling out a notebook. I have some good poetry to type up here too, I just haven’t taken the time to post it.

Whoops, I went back and started reading other posts about work. They all make me smile a little ruefully, tear up a little cause I still miss Coffeeman too much, and roll my eyes at myself. At least I can laugh at myself.

Kate

2 AM Is For – Poem

This is something from puttering around with all kinds of thoughts in the last week and a half. From meeting this guy that I just now can’t get to know for a bit…. Thank you Covid-19, I hate you right now.  To big 1980s hair and makeup and smelling my grandparents cabin in an instant déjà vu moment. The lava soap on the counter, Irish Spring soap in a metal shower. And well, wishing for a little more than I have right now. Ah, spring is in the air. Here I go again.

2AM Is For

Smell Lava soap , a linger of a déjà vu of a memory
Stepping into the side door of the cabin’s
washroom
mudroom
bathroom
laundryroom
to the upstairs and all else room
Concrete sinks, and propane and the old wood and canned food pantry
Lingering odors
When 2 AM rolls around and the Irish Spring bubbles spiral
down the metal shower drain
spreadsheets have been left behind, sitting open on a screen
Orderly columns and rows, lists for this, itemized for that—
For standing naked in a mirror, curls bouncing on your shoulders
a nineteen eighties fashion girl, big makeup, big hair
Maybe he’s watching a film
Maybe you’re hoping for more than might be there
But you wear your hair down a little more, a little longer
Maybe he’s drinking that drink you wish you were sharing
And you dress a little more carefully
2 AM isn’t for the mundane, it’s for the magic
Past the witching hour,
When all the poets are awake
When night air slips in through screens
Taste the ice on the tongue, mountain’s metal coldness a cold cloak
To your Gypsy’s hide, it’s been tanned smoothed down soft and skin fresh
Aquamarine earrings swing back and forth
Put on a little Pharrell and dance around naked
Your unbridled you, that part of yourself you hide all day
Moonlight could be your sunlight
You are the alive in these waking hours
a longing for something to happen
when colors and magic spells flow
out of your fingers and the air shakes and shimmers around you
Spin out, spin around, dress in silks and feathers,
2 AM is the time to roost and let the whispers in
let the shimmering bubbles slide down the drain
2 AM is for…

Sounds of My Childhood

Sometimes in life I go along not remembering little things from my childhood, even though I do attempt to remember as much as I can.  I suppose writing it down would be a good idea so that when I reach my parents age I’m not going, “What?”  However, I’m not that adventurous, the writing it all down part.  It just seems like too much to write down.

So I go along and something happens that brings back an insta-memory.  That happened last week. I woke to the sound of a hammer pounding on a two-by-four.  Ah, the sounds of building.  Our neighbor was getting a new outside staircase built and the carpenters start early around here.  Okay, 8 isn’t that early, but for me it is.

Okay, getting back to the pounding.  I grew up in housing developments.  My parents built a house when I was five and the whole neighborhood was a new developement.  After our house and the court was built, not long after the open land behind our houses became another developement.  So pounding was pretty common.  Along with that, I’ve lived in other areas where there was building.

Plus my father worked in the lumber business, the family company being a wholesale lumber yard.  Building and wood is in the genes and I have a fine appreciation for lumber and wood.  So, building, and the sounds of building take me right back to when I was a young girl.  It’s amazing how I miss that sound.

The second sound was yesterday.  Ah, Superbowl.  I hate football.  Never really appreciated the game.  Well, despite that, I watched the whole game yesterday, (Go Giants!) (yeah, yeah, I still have teams I root for even if I don’t like the game.  I just have this thing against Tom Brady. Sue me).  All four hours of the game, and it was actually really enjoyable.  I actually enjoyed the game.  The sound that took me back though, was the ref’s whistle. 

I heard it at some point in the game and even though I had been hearing it, that one time was like that moment in Ratatouille when Anton Ego takes the bite of ratatouille and Whoosh! He’s taken back to when he was a child.  Yup, that was me.

Ever holiday my family would gather at my grandparents house.  And all the holidays have a game on.  Especially Thanksgiving.  The game was always on as my grandfather is a big football fan, and my uncles always watched it too. My cousins (girls), sister and I would try to watch the game.  We’d pull out these giant corduroy pillows my grandmother had made, pile them on the floor in front of the tv, and try to understand what the heck was going on.  I never figured it out, and  even now I spit out  really bizzare  things that my parents shake their heads at. 

But the sound I remember the most was the whistles.  Maybe all the teams blurred into one.  Maybe all the years and games just are one big blur, clearly it is that way, and all I remember are the sounds of the whistles.

It’s a good sound.  I can bring it back now just thinking about it.  Same as the pounding of wood.  They are familiar sounds. 

I forgot how much I missed them.

Signing off

~Kate