working class (finally!)

I figured it was time.

It’s been a hot minute since my last post, but not without good reason! I’ve been working. It feels so awesome to finally be moving again. Harp & Wylie’s Canadian Grill House has been such an experience so far. I did three shifts of “food running”… or in other restaurant jargon “expo-ing”. I also trained on a hostessing shift (which was horrible).

I don’t hostess. It’s freaking stressful. Sure, I can approach complete strangers and entertain them with stories, appetizers, dinner, dessert, wine, and beer for however many hours they decide to stay at our restaurant… but I for sure don’t tolerate the stress of hostessing very well. Expo-ing was great though. I love doing that because it challenges my organization skills.

When you expedite food, you get ahold of the check they’re reading off of in the kitchen and ensure all of the food that is going out has been made properly. For example, our House Stack sandwich must be delivered to the table with a steak knife inserted into it. Does that sandwich come with a soup? Make sure there’s a spoon! Our Harp & Wylie’s Signature Garlic Fries come with a large ramekin of our house made Chipotle Mayo ALWAYS. So, the expo-er makes sure it’s there!

You get the idea.

Anyways, those shifts helped a lot with understanding our menu and what the customers order regularly.
The Grill House sandwich, The Famous House Stack sandwich, The Firehouse burger, Calamari, Ribs, etc. This place has a wicked menu. After those few shifts, I got to shadow two different servers on two different days – Jess and Missi. Both lovely ladies have been at H&W’s for quite some time, and they are absolute veterans. All-knowing. I appreciate them greatly.

My first solo shift there was last week. It was a Friday. It definitely went well, because I rung out like $700 and made just over $100 in tips (Oh, Canada!!!). Also, I’m loving that servers get an actual wage here. In Mississippi, I “made” $2.13/hr. I say “made” because I almost never saw a paycheck. If you spend time with a table and they don’t tip you, you lose money. It’s a downright horrible system and needs fixing BIG TIME. But when it comes to the service industry, Canada has their shit figured out. Since my first training shift, I’ve made an actual paycheck, and pocketed over $600 in tips. Yay! I get to keep my phone on… hahaha.

So not only am I grateful that I’ll be able to pay off the first leg of my adventure, but harness some savings for the journey to Alaska as well. I am still calculating what I’ll need to buy a block heater for Sophie, get a gun for my journeys into the woods, purchase some fishing gear, and make rent. It’s a hefty list, but it’s doable.

The family at Harp & Wylie’s is awesome. I love all of the owners, and everyone is super great about working as a team. Honestly, I’ve worked in places where people pull their weight. But I can’t say that I have worked in a place where everyone pulls each other’s weight too (to this magnitude). It’s fantastic. Oh, and I got a cute uniform shirt out of it 🙂

Black on black - as always.

Black on black – as always.

So – speaking of Alaska… something fantastic happened yesterday! I locked down a dry cabin to live in for the school year. Wanna see? this wouldn’t be exact colo(u)r scheme, but the inside and outside will be just like this.

The front!

The front!

I have my own private outhouse!

I have my own private outhouse!

<3 Private. I think I'll spruce it up a little bit.

Interior. Brand new kitchen :)

Interior. Brand new kitchen 🙂

I’m very excited. A dry cabin has no running water… but that’s cool. I am going to just haul my own water (like everyone else) and I’ll shower on campus. I mean, let’s be honest. I don’t shower that often anyway. I will fit right in! I have also sent out my resumé to a few nice restaurants in the area, and am looking forward to some serving opportunities up there. There is one place that is on the water, and their seafood is boated in every day. Like… what?

I spent a solid 2 hours researching the courses I am going to immerse myself into in the fall. Natural Resource Management is going to be F.U.N. Here’s why:

  • Comparative Farming and Sustainable Food Systems
  • Sustainable Livelihoods and Community Well-being
  • Global to Local Sustainability
  • Evolution of Conservation Concepts and Policy

Those are classes. Yep. Actual courses I get to take. HOLY MOLY. All of those will greatly benefit my mind, body, and soul when (fingers crossed) I get to serve for the Peace Corps. I got an email not too long ago, officially stating my nomination. Now, the waiting! So now that I’ve figured all of that out, there’s simply more daydreaming in store. La la la la la la.

Have I shown you the gnome we have now? On Father’s Day, Uncle Brady constructed a “pissing lawn gnome”. He bought this cool little guy with some shades on… drilled a hole in his crotch area… and installed a tube connected to a pump in the little pond we have in the backyard. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Glen.

There are no words.

There are no words.

That night, we had some dinner… and it might have been then that I made Wookie Cookies? Wookie Cookies are without a doubt the greatest cookies ever. My friend Cody (you met him at the beginning of my journey) described them as “Snickerdoodles on steroids”.

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The mess.

When I was younger, 11 I think, Daddy bought a Star Wars cookbook from Bed Bath and Beyond. I have no clue how I wound up with it, but I did… and I have guarded it with my life since it resurfaced years ago. I modified this batch a little bit, but it resulted in quite the splendid turnout.

The result. They're SO fluffy!

The masterpiece.

A few nights later, after a crazy training shift at work, I went over to Karen’s (a neighbor and friend of the fam jam’s). She was having a going away party for her daughter who has moved to Australia. This was a great crowd of people. My Auntie and Uncle have some pretty awesome friends – all the ones I met back at Blue Rodeo. My friend Matt is actually Karen’s nephew, so he came up too!

I taught Matt how to pour Guinness.

The Perfect Pour.

The Perfect Pour.

Uncle Brady decided we needed to take a selfie.
He thinks he looks like a Muppet.
I think he might be right.

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Uncle Brady.

Fozzie2013

Fozzie Bear.

Aunt Andrea and I spent the next day sunning and enjoying the pool. We watched the clouds for a long time, and these clouds were incredible. It was almost like they were right in front of us. We watched them move – twist and turn in the vast space of the blue sky. Saskatchewan is surely the Land of the Living Skies. But damn. Ontario’s got it going on too.

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To the right, it looked like a hurricane.

This was the day of my first actual training shift. Aunt Andi helped me make a foil pouch meal. I know it’s nothing new, but this was wonderful and easy! We just threw a bunch of veggies into some foil, added olive oil and some spices, and threw it into the oven. I had some grilled Basa (fish) too, and it all worked very well together. Yay for simple, healthy eating!

Pre-shift meal. This is how we do.

So much color!

After training, I came home and promptly passed out. It is SO tiring. There is a lot of movement. And the servers don’t have sections, so we literally never stop. If you’re not at your dining room table, you’re checking up on your patio… not the patio? Let’s look at the bar tops. It’s chaos! A wonderful chaos – but exhausting, nonetheless.

I went and trained at Wooden Sticks on Wednesday. This is a golf course, owned by old Toronto Maple Leafs   (that’s hockey y’all), and it is 85th in the nation. That’s huge! Anyways, I got a bartending gig up there, and it seems pretty relaxed. It will give me some good extra pocket cash at the end of a day. Bartenders there make $12.00/hr. What?

That night, Uncle Brady made spaghetti and meat balls. Those were delicious. We invented a veggie patty for me, made a whole batch of them, and froze them. So he thawed one of those out and then made me my own little pot of sauce and mushrooms and “meat balls”. Of course, served over rice pasta – and it was delicious! If you haven’t figured it out by now, my Uncle Brady is pretty much a chef. And it’s pretty much awesome. Aunt Andi and I took the dogs for a longgggg walk that night. I love these kids.

The Children.

The Children.

We went all the way up the road where I took a pic in front of the Sunderland sign. I love this little town. The house, the people, the air… it’s brought me so much peace. On our little journey, we stumbled upon some turtle nests that had recently hatched. Unfortunately, no baby turtles were to be seen. But on our way back down the hill, right when it started raining, we saw a momma snapping turtle in the water. I loved this. My inner herpetologist came out and I got way too giddy. I can’t wait to go to the cottage with my family at the end of this month! There will be so much nature there!

Keeping a watchful eye, I suppose.

Keeping a watchful eye, I suppose.

Eggs on eggs. It was so neat!

Eggs on eggs. It was so neat!

The next day, I worked again, and then came home and FaceTimed my love, Jessica. We shared tears. I won’t lie. Being away from your best friend, someone you truly and deeply love, without any doubts, is straight up horrible. This girl moved mountains in my life, and the day we reunite, the world will know, because more mountains will be moved 🙂

A snap from Shelbie, Jessica's cousin. Haha.

A snap from Shelbie, Jessica’s cousin. Haha.

The last few days have been a bit blurry. Lots of work, and lots of sleep. Yesterday was Canada Day, a holiday in Canada which celebrates the anniversary of the July 1, 1867. I waitressed at Harp & Wylie’s and my long shift was rewarded with a fireworks show from our patio. They shot fireworks over Lake Scugog in Port Perry, and it was gorgeous. I got home by about midnight and passed out shortly thereafter.

Still in store for my adventures, there’s the aquarium, the science center, a winery tour, a nudist colony excursion, and so on. We’ll see how the list narrows! For now, I’ll leave you with a shameless selfie. I curled my hair that day and was totally feelin’ it. I will leave my struggles with the active side of my life for another post. This one’s seen it’s maximum.
Peace and love!

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