Friday, May 23, 2008

She Took the Bait

They caught her. My boss set a trap and she totally fell into it. It was the girl I had accused. I feel pretty relieved and a little vindicated, but at the same time, more sad than anything else. I don't think I'm supposed to know all of what's going on, so I don't feel I can share it on my blog. All I'll say is that this girl is caught up in bad stuff and it's taking over and ruining her life. I've felt such a heavy burden over the last few days to pray for her. I don't know that I'll ever see her again, but I really wish I could help her. It hurts to see the enemy bringing death to those around me and feel helpless to stop it. I pray that we, as God's holy ones, will be equipped with righteous weapons to face and defeat the enemy. So be it.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly...

My second day back from vacation was an interesting one. It didn't have anything to do with having a busy night at work (it was) or comical customers (there were). A few hours into my Saturday night shift I (*AH-E-AH-E-AHH* the GOOD) saw something strange and suspicious. On my way back to the kitchen from a table who needed something, I looked to my left, across 3 tables, towards my now vacant table #18. I was beginning to plan my next few minutes thinking of when I was going to clear off that table when I saw the new waitress standing by it. But, she wasn't just standing. I saw her slide her hand off the table and slip it into her apron pocket (*AH-E-AH-E-AHH* the BAD). Just as her hand entered her pocket, I passed into the next section and didn't see anything else. I did a double take only to see wall. Did she really just take the tip from my table? I wasn't completely sure, but the next time I saw her, I nonchalantly asked if she'd taken the tip off my table, thinking she was planning on giving it to me or something. She said she was just grabbing napkins. Hmmm... I did not see any napkins in her hands. I wasn't completely sure of what I had seen, so I continued on my way. Maybe the customers had left my tip at the register. Nope, they hadn't.

As the night progressed, I noticed there were 2 or 3 other tables I didn't get a tip from. It is a rare thing that I get completely stiffed, much less multiple times in one shift. It just so happened that I had actually seen the customer leave the tip on one of the now tipless tables. They were some of my regulars who I'm on a first-name basis with and pray for me every time I wait on them. At that point, I was completely sure someone was stealing my tips, and I had a pretty good idea of who it was. To top things off, another server asked me if I had cleaned off her table. Apparently, she had seen the customer leave the tip as he complimented her on a job well done, and then it was gone when she came back to clean the table.

After hearing that, I went into plan mode. I began thinking and praying about how I should proceed. The first passage I thought of was Luke 6:28-30: Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. So first off, I knew my objective shouldn't be to try and get my money from her.

The next verse I thought of was Matthew 18:15: If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. I wasn't sure that she exactly fit into what Jesus was talking about as your "brother", but I decided I should confront her about it nonetheless. I waited until close to closing time so that I could talk to her without others hearing. I don't think I ended up saying it very well, but I pretty much asked her why she was stealing my tips and offered her more money if she wanted it. She fervently denied any such activities. I guess I was actually expecting her to come clean. I don't know why. She walked away mad. I continued cleaning up, and I could hear her telling the cashier that I had just accused her and the reasons why she didn't need to steal. A couple minutes later I heard her saying the same thing to another server. I've got to be honest. The tiny sliver of doubt I had that she was the thief swelled. I began second guessing myself, wondering if I had done the right thing or hastily accused an innocent person.

When I got off, I called my family and a couple friends to get their wisdom and advice. I was pretty sure I needed to talk to my boss about it even if I had accused the wrong person. If I was wrong, she needed to know there was a thief. There was only 1 other person it could be, but she had worked there for the better part of 4 years.... and had just got out of jail... again. Okay, so maybe she had a few strikes against her, too (*AH-E-AH-E-AHH* the UGLY). My family and friends confirmed what I had been thinking and gave me a bigger scope of things to consider. I needed to tell my boss.

I showed up to work early so I could talk with my boss before the other servers were around. She wasn't there yet. She arrived a half hour later and asked me what had happened last night. She had heard from the cashier who just happens to be one of her daughters. I gave her the rundown of what I had seen. In a roundabout way, she basically said she believed me and would also suspect the new waitress considering who was working. She said that she didn't even think that girl would come back. She did. She strolled in as if nothing had happened. Ya, I felt pretty awkward considering the previous night's happenings. The next day, there was a hand-written sign put up in back saying something to the affect of, "To all waitstaff, Someone has been stealing and we know who you are. You should just leave and not wait to get caught and embarrassed... Thanks" Wow, so tactful. That girl kept coming to work. A couple days later, I found out that the other girl who had been stolen from thought it was the ex-con (some customers had maybe seen her do something suspicious), not the girl I had accused. I talked to my boss and apparently she doesn't know which one it was. The sign was a bluff. Gotta love it.

So, I've just been workin away waiting for the deviant to get caught in the act. It's been weird, because both of the suspects have been acting like I'm their best friend. So strange. I don't know what to do at this point but love them. I don't know if I'll find out who it was, but I don't care much anymore. It's just money afterall.

If you didn't understand The Good, the Bad and the Ugly references, you really need to go watch that movie. Love. It. Great Clint Eastwood western. I'll even let you borrow it, you dirty son of a AH-E-AH-E-AHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Seattle Rundown

I just woke up from an 11 and 1/2 hour slumber. Oh dear goodness, yes. What a great way to end my vacation... well, sort of. I did work a lunch shift yesterday, but had last night off, so it still feels like I'm on vacation. I know you're all just dying to know exactly what I did during my Seattle trip, so I'll give you the complete rundown (as best I can remember).

Sunday: see my last blog.

Monday: Slept in and then Ross and I went to this excellent Thai place called Djan. I highly recommend the Curry Chicken. Oooooh, so good. Next, we headed to the U-district to hit some thrift stores. I was pretty surprised by the Seattle thrifting scene. Apparently, used clothing is so cool there that they think they can charge real-clothes prices. Lame. I couldn't find anything under my $5 limit. I definitely saw a pearl snap shirt, which Wal-Mart sells around $10 new, selling for $17 used! No thanks. So we hit up one of Ross' favorite coffee shops, Zoka's, and he studied while I wasted time on the Internet. Then we headed to an intramural Ultimate Frisbee game, and they even let me play! Despite not much digging of the long ball, we won, finishing out an undefeated season for them. Since it was Cinco de Mayo, of course we went out to celebrate. We tried to go to a place that had a live band, but there was a huge wait. So we ended up going to Jalisco's. I had suspected, but became fully aware that I have become a Mexican food snob. Their Huevos Rancheros were not up to (Los Arcos) par. After getting blasted by Latino music for a while, we moved a couple doors down to Pies and Pints to hang out, then headed home.

Tuesday: Ross had a class breakfast thingy, so I walked down the street to the Rusty Pelican to eat breakfast all by me onesy. Next, we grabbed a bus downtown to check out Pike's Place Market. We didn't buy anything, but we did get free samples and get to see the fish guy heckle onlookers who were obviously there to see the show and not purchase any fish. We proceeded to wander around downtown in hopes of finding an ever-elusive Goodwill where normally priced used clothing abounds. No luck. Defeated, we ate some sub par Chinese and made our way back home via bus. Greta and her sister Heidi came over and we did a little jamming, playing some of our original songs, before getting pizza at Romios. We then headed over to the Tractor to catch a couple bands, J. Tillman and The Monahans. J. Tillman was pretty sweet, playing low-key acoustic folk. The Monahans, from Austin, sounded like the Wallflowers but not as good.

Wednesday: Ross decided he actually needed to go to class, so I spent the morning back at Zoka's getting some stuff done. We met up for a late lunch at the Ram, then hit a used music store before I joined him for his Emergency Medicine class. Fitting. I was surprised by how practical and not-above-my-head the class was. The prof was pretty funny, too. We even talked about wound care, which I could validate some of the info firsthand. Next was a surprise party for Teja that involved a homemade Puerto Rican dish and birthday cake. The plan was to go to swing dancing, which somehow turned into going to Babalu, where they were doing some kind of Cuban dancing I had never heard of.

Thursday: We drove down to the town of North Bend to do some hiking. We wandered around for quite a while before finally finding the Snoqualmie Falls, the ranger station and finally, the Little Si trail head. It turned out to be an easy, 5 mile round trip hike. It wasn't anything amazing, but quite enjoyable all the same. On our way out of town we hit Twede's Cafe for some burgers and shakes. The Breakfast Burger was quite tasty. After a much-needed nap we went to Ross' intramural soccer game. They also won their game, making them undefeated. We finished things off by watching In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. Wow. I don't care who you are. That was a bad movie. But, it was bad in the cheesy-great-guy-night-movie kind of way. It featured a myriad of lesser Hollywood stars including one of my favorites, Jason Statham. It was one of those movies you just can't believe made it to theaters. Oh how. A great way to end a great trip.

I flew out around midnight and got into DFW at 5 a.m. Mark was gracious enough to pick me up me up at 6:30 so that I could make it back for the lunch shift. I ended up getting about an hour of sleep during the car trip back to Abilene, making a total of 1 hr 8 min the entire night. Ya, I can't sleep on planes, especially when a middle-eastern man is trying to cuddle with me. It was a great trip, but I'm glad to be back to being productive again.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Shouldbe Birthday Rule

I've never really made a big deal out of birthdays before. At most I usually hang out with friends and maybe get a meal payed for. This year has been quite atypical. I had 3 birthday parties in 3 days. It all started on Friday when some of my friends, who are part of my church, threw me a post-work-Lord-of-the-Rings-turned-fiesta-complete-with-dinosaur-birthday-cake party in Abilene at 10 p.m. after I worked a double at Los Arcos. It was a small gathering of Abilene folk. The only thing that came close to equaling the excitement of plastic dinosaurs cohabitating with 25 burning wax candles on my b-day cake was being treated to a viewing of a homemade, cheesy, err, I mean, quite well-made scary movie with Erica starring as the frightened babysitter. Quality. We capped the night off with a game of Cranium. There's no need to talk about the outcome of said game.

On Saturday, my birthday eve, after a few games of ultimate frisbee and football, Jonathan and I headed to Arlington for birthday celebration #2. Before the festivities started, my dad, brother and I squeezed in a trip to R.E.I., because I was in desperate need of some cycling shoes/a birthday present. After much debate, I ended up going with some Keen cycling sandals, just in case you were wondering. Man, I love not having to wear socks. Upon return to my parents' house, my family and a couple of my friends ate a quite enjoyable dinner of homemade chicken tenders, Strychnine fries, green bean casserole, tomatoes and red velvet cake. Mmm, so good. Oh ya, I guess I should mention that we were also celebrating my sister's birthday from the day before. It was good times and great oldies all around and ended before the party from the night before had even started. Don't get me wrong, I didn't mind. I had to get up early in the morning.

On Sunday, my actual birthday, my parents gave me a ride to the airport at 6 a.m. not forgetting to sing their annual Happy Birthday Duet. I hopped on the plane to Seattle and arrived by 9:30. We went to church where Ross goes, then grabbed some Gyros and took off for Exit 38 for a mile or 2 hike to my first ever rock climbing site.
(That's me!)
Admittedly, I've never been a huge fan of heights, which would probably be the reason I had never been rock climbing before. I'm pretty much over letting fear keep me from enjoying life or doing something of value, so I decided it was about time. The rope was already set up for a 5.9 climb (translation: not exactly easy, but not terribly difficult for someone who's climbed before) so I decided I'd give 'er a go after seeing Ross go up first. I made it 2/3 of the way, so I was pretty proud of myself. My hands were shot after that. I belayed Ross on his next climb and then watched the other climbers for a bit before hiking down and heading back into town for dinner. A successful first climbing experience all around.

We went over to the house of a family who the dad is in med school with Ross. They're so great. Their 3 kids were hilarious and couldn't get enough of playing with Ross and me. I even got to jump on a trampoline for the first time in I don't know how many years. As if that weren't enough, for dinner, they made steak, Alaskan king crab, shrimp, scallops, fries (which caught on fire), salad, and birthday brownies in a heart-shaped pan. Wow. I couldn't believe they made all that for a complete stranger's birthday. They're such generous people. After exchanging stories for a while and getting in one more game of pentagonal-barbie-dodge-baseball with the kids, we ended the night watching Brick back at Ross' place. Not a bad way to spend your birthday (and the 2 days proceeding it). I think I've officially decided that it should be a rule that you take a vacation on your birthday every year. We'll see how that works out for me next year.