50 Things About Me

Inspired by Much Ado About Nothing’s post, which incidentally was quite interesting, here are fifty things about myself that I’m going to share with the class.

1. I was born in Limerick City in Ireland, and I only returned there for the first time last year. The nickname for Limerick, Stab City, rings true for me in the sense that I’m a hazard to myself when wielding large knives. I’ll probably lose a finger in the name of an oven pizza someday.

2. I was a super happy baby; I rarely cried. The only hassle my parents had with me was getting me to sleep at night, I was the ultimate Nocturnal Baby. Contrast that with my younger sister, who couldn’t be away from my mother for more than tens seconds without screaming the house down.

3. My first memory is when I pulled a heavy plate on top of my head when I was two years old. I can still see my mother phoning an ambulance from our kitchen phone. There was a lot of blood too.

4. I have quite an impressive long term memory. Whenever disputes arise over stuff that happened years ago, I can be called upon to give an infallible account of what actually happened.

5. I’ve been to the Cliffs of Moher, but I was in utero at the time so I guess it doesn’t count.

6. I’m right handed but I couldn’t figure out a conventional way of writing until I was about 19. Until then, I looked like I’d been taught to write by a cat.

7. I never met my paternal grandfather, who died in the ’80s. He was twenty years older than my gran, and would be well over one hundred if he was still alive today.

8. I am half English, half Irish. My mother comes from Sheffield, my father from Co. Wexford. My father apparently has French roots (and a very Jewish looking mother) and my mother may have some African roots in there somewhere. So we all look Spanish.

9.  I hate tea. This is nearly grounds for citizenship revocation in Ireland but I care not.

10. I’m extremely clumsy and uncoordinated. Waitressing has helped knock the worst of it out of me, but I’m still a danger to myself and those around me.

11. I was never, ever sporty (largely as a result of no. 10).  Even today, the sight of a hurley still breaks me out in a cold sweat.

12. I enjoy swimming though, even though I’m useless at it. There’s no nicer feeling than floating around in the sea on a hot day… once I get over how cold the water is.

13. I’m always cold, unless it’s warmer than 18° out. And in Ireland, that doesn’t happen too often, with the notable exception of our current heatwave. I’m like an Eskimo the other 330 days of the year.

14. I’m short, like 5ft 1″ short. Jeans shopping is quite an torturous endeavour at times.

15. Chocolate is my favourite food, and I firmly believe that it cures all ills, especially those related to PMS.

16. If I were to choose a last supper, it would have to be prawns in filo pastry to start, medium rare sirloin steak with garlic butter, gratin dauphinoise and vegetables, followed by chocolate fondant for dessert. All washed down with an ice cold Diet Coke. And yes, this last supper would have multiple courses.

17. I’m really good at culling possessions. It happens every year when I move home from Dublin for the summer and I’ve to try to cram two bedroom’s worth of things into one rather small room. Ruthless is my middle name.

18. Actually, my middle name is Rose. My first name is Emily, so I’ve got an old lady name. Or the name of a fictional teenager possessed by demons. Take your pick.

19. I learned to read exceptionally quickly, according to my mother. I put it down to my long term memory being quite good. But it also meant I got into trouble at school for finishing my work quickly and reading Harry Potter instead.

20. When I was sixteen, I scored in the 99th percentile for kids my age in spelling. Thank you again, memory.

21. I suck at numbers. Anything beyond basic 2+2 arithmetic just puzzles the bejaysus out of me. If it wasn’t for calculators, I’d probably have been sacked by now for unwittingly giving people the wrong change all the time.

22. I hate wearing shoes in the house. It’s just wrong, like wearing your jacket when you’re eating dinner. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

23. I’m far-sighted and as such I wear pretty purple glasses sometimes. The downside is that I’m a bit cross-eyed in photographs. Attractive.

24. I can’t wear any variations of yellow, beige, brown or pastels without looking jaundiced.

25. Every week without fail I make a shopping list, even though I know exactly what I need. But I’ll be damned if I’m walking back to Tesco just for milk.

26.  I’m really lazy, except when it comes to my make up. I won’t exercise if you paid me (unless we’re talking substantial payment…) but there’s no way in hell I’ll go to college without my full face of warpaint.

27. Also, I won’t be rushed. I take my sweet time getting ready in the morning; showering and getting organised for the day will be done at my own leisure.

28. But I’m usually very punctual. Unexplained tardiness seriously annoys me so I usually make a big effort to get places on time.

29. When I get angry, I cry. This usually demeans any kind of stance I’m trying to take; it’s hard to take a blubbering mess seriously!

30. Disney movies are my favourite films of all time. Feck your latest Oscar winner, I’m off to watch the Lion King again.

31. I’ve lived in nine homes since I was born. Two of my favourite smells from childhood are fresh varnish and newly painted rooms.

32. Another favourite smell is Silk Cut cigarettes, as smoked by both my parents and my gran. Probably not very PC, but there you go.

33. My boyfriend and I have a serious guilty pleasure – trash tv. Anything from Geordie Shore to My Teen is Pregnant and So Am I and we’re all over it.

34. My birthday is exactly ten weeks to Christmas Day.

35. I love table quizzes. Love them.

36. Left and right confuse me. Never ask me for directions because I could very easily send you to the opposite end of the country. I’ve turned left instead of right (or vice versa) at junctions without even realising my mistake until it was pointed out to me.

37. I’m a fairly poor driver, partially because of no.37. I see repeated driving tests in my future.

38. I met Fall Out Boy when I was 17. Quite easily the most starstruck moment of my life, which isn’t really saying much.

39. At 3am on a Saturday night, curry chips are my weakness. No regrets.

40. I have a great ability for talking shite with people. If you catch me in a good mood at work, I can exchange pleasantries and nonsense with you like nobody’s business.

41. I am awful at counting, so I could easily have skipped a few numbers.

42. I can’t stand the smell of petrol.

43. I have my nose pierced, and it’s been one of my best life decisions so far.

44. I hate when people take my things without asking.

45. I had over thirty Barbie dolls at once stage during my childhood. We were BFFs.

46. According to my boyfriend, I talk incomprehensibly in my sleep. I even punched him in the back once because he lost his keys in my dream.

47. I get really cranky when I’m tired or hungry. If I’m both, don’t even talk to me.

48. Wine, navy and grey are my favourite colours to wear. I have numerous wine dresses and no intention of stopping buying them.

49. I’m bad with money; anything I get is gone out of my hand within seconds.

50. I’m awesome at writing lists.


The Woes of a Waitress

I must preface this post by stating that it has been fuelled by an awful eight-hour shift at work and a large glass of Soave. But when you get to the end of this post, you will understand how the former necessitates the latter in keeping me sane. I work part time in a busy hotel bar, mostly in food service. I first started my job at the tender age of sixteen, but, nearly six years later, my wide-eyed enthusiasm for hospitality is long gone. And here’s why…

It must be borne in mind that many people, upon entering a retail or hospitality premises, abandon all sense of patience, understanding and, well, common sense. One of my personal favourite cries from a customer is ‘We’ve been sitting here for twenty minutes and nobody has come near us!’. Ah yes. I’m sure you did sit at the table for twenty minutes with your coat still on, just waiting patiently for me to come over to you. And your husband hasn’t even arrived yet. In fact, I think your table’s previous occupants were still eating their dessert twenty minutes ago. So jog on with your twenty minutes.

And on the topic of waiting, it would seem that customers are of the belief that a steak can be cooked well done in three seconds flat on our super nuclear-strength grills. While it’s true that industrial kitchen equipment can be more powerful in some ways, a well done steak just as you asked for it (‘No blood, no blood at all please!’) is going to take a little more time to prepare. So just sit tight and keep sipping your tap water, like a good chap.

Then there’s the customer you likes to keep you on your toes, in case you might get bored on the job. Even after they’ve been served drinks and food, they’ll keep you marching back and forth to the kitchen to get them vinegar, ketchup, garlic dip, butter, bread rolls, gravy and any other condiment or side that tickles their fancy. And heaven forbid that they might ask for all of these things at the one time. Oh no, they wouldn’t taste half as good unless they’ve been requested one at a time. And if their table is half a mile away from the kitchen, even better. And as an FYI to our patrons: the mashed potato is laden with butter. Just taste it. If you ask me to get you more butter for your spuds, you deserve your clogged arteries.

Which leads me on to the Messenger Child. This species of child is one whose parents send them to ‘the lady’ every thirty seconds for more accoûtrements for their meal. After their fifteenth trip to the bar to ask me for something else, the kid’s dinner is cold and barely touched, and their parents are scolding them for not eating enough. Although it’s a step above me being asked for sauces left, right and centre, you can’t help feeling that that child won’t get to eat a square meal until they leave home.

Now for the subject of kids in general, and their parents’ inability to, uhm, be parents. Okay, little India and Mikayla are cute and you love them because, you know, they’re your kids. That doesn’t really excuse the mashed potato smushed into the carpet, the pepper in the milk jug and the sticky hand prints on the wallpaper. You smiling at them adoringly as they scream at ‘the lady’ for ice cream doesn’t fly with me. Your children are turning into little shits and all you can do is give me that ‘Oh, kids! Aren’t they the cutest?’ look. I don’t have kids of my own and to be honest, my job is probably the most effective contraceptive I could ever use. But if I do have children someday, you can be certain that I won’t leave them screaming in a highchair for three hours while I drink myself stupid until they vomit cola and pick ‘n’ mix everywhere (I wish I could say that didn’t happen).

Then, on a different note, we have the lousy tippers. Now I’m not greedy when it comes to tips; I don’t expect a tip for serving a small group or just a sandwich and a coffee. I appreciate a couple of euro or more when I’ve worked hard on a particular table. As a rule, anything over five euro is great; I know that things went really well if a table leaves more than that. And I am mindful of the fact that money is tight for everyone these days. But what gets on my nerves is a 10c tip – your change that you can’t be bothered to put back into your wallet. It’s an insult and I’d rather get nothing than a handful of coppers.If you’re going to tip at all, do it properly! Unfortunately though, I am kind of poor and I still pocket the tip…to my eternal shame.

Another type of customer I hate is the inconvenient customer; the one who wants something after the person who can prepare it for them has gone home. They’re the sort of person who’ll rock up at 11pm looking for a steak (last orders are 10:30 and the chef goes home), or orders a cocktail on a Sunday night when the barman on duty can’t make them because, well, nobody orders cocktails on a Sunday night in our hotel. Nine times of out ten, when the inconvenient customer calls, you’ll find me frantically throwing together a toasted sandwich or making guesswork out of a Screwdriver. I’m not trained to make either of these things, so really, they could be taking their life in their hands.

A question I must ask is where people’s manners have gone. One pet hate of mine is when a customer, upon seeing me walking by, shouts at me for more water through a gloopy mouthful of whatever they’ve been shovelling into their greedy maw. Seriously, it is absolutely disgusting and I usually try to convey that in my facial expression, seeing as I can’t tell them that. Also, what is it with customers trying to get my attention when I’m clearly dealing with someone else? Wait your turn; nobody is going to dehydrate or starve, and I’m going to ignore you until I’m ready to deal with you anyway. In addition, there is a special place in Hospitality Hell (I’m TMing that) for patrons who don’t know how to say please and thank you. For such a simple thing, nothing infuriates me more than hearing ‘I want..’ when ‘May I have…please’ would have been just as easy. Everyone says that manners cost nothing, but a lack of them could cost you a pleasant dining experience if you catch a waiter on a bad day.

While a lack of manners is one thing, patrons becoming insulting or downright nasty is also par for the course in my job. Luckily, I’ve never experienced the sexual advances of our resident alcoholic when he isn’t barred but I’ve had my share of unpleasant experiences. I had one ‘lady’ tell me that I had an attitude problem because I asked her to take a seat as I was unable to take her order right that instant. Another man, standing about 1.5 inches from my face, decided to inform me none too kindly of his displeasure that his wife had been given a sauvignon blanc when she had asked for a shiraz. When incidents like those happen, I’d love more than anything else to show them a photo of a famine-stricken child in Africa and ask them who has bigger life problems. But I could probably get fired for that.

And lastly, there’s that one fecker who pays for a coffee at 10am with a €50 note. You know who you are, and I despise you.

I could go on all night, but my brain kind of hurts and I don’ think it’s humanly possible to catalogue all of the little things that make being a waitress suck. On the flipside, I meet people everyday who put a smile on my face, and my colleagues and I allow each other to blow off steam and laugh off the idiocy that we come up against the rest of the time. However, if one more customer tells me how great the weather is this weekend, and how awful it is that I have to work during the heatwave, they may end up wearing their Caesar salad…

I can’t stop eating today.

No seriously, I can’t. Everyone knows those days; your first waking thought is food and every second thought after that is how to acquire and consume more grub. It’s not so bad in the earlier part of the day; you still have two meals to look forward to after breakfast. But by around 8pm, you’ve taken to stealthily opening the fridge in silence, hoping that nobody will hear you rummaging around for a post-dinner, pre-supper snack.

In general, I like my food. Eating to live is a foreign concept to me. But I don’t eat mammoth portions, and I usually know when to put down the chocolate (with the notable exception of PMS week). Today, however, has been shameful for me, and it’s not even over.

So I started my day with two fried eggs on toast. Absolutely delicious and intended to keep me going for some time – ya know, protein and all that. Ha. Two hours later, in town with my boyfriend, we both fell into hunger-triggered stupors, and had to return home for lunch before the crankiness set in. Well, I was already cranky by this stage but not intolerably so. Lunch consisted of an Innocent sweet potato chili pot, which was filling but oddly unsatisfying. I think I was expecting something more spicy and flavoursome. To fill this disappointing void, I tucked into a bag of O’Donnells salt and vingear crisps. Which, by the way, are the king of salt and vinegar snacks.  This was topped off with two squares of Daim Milka chocolate.

You’d think at this stage that I’d be somewhat satiated, especially knowing that dinner was about four hours away. It was 4pm by then as it was. Alas, no. Channel-hopping on a Thursday afternoon is usually fruitless, so I had to settle on Man v Food on Dave HD. Big mistake; this normally nausea-inducing show actually spurred on the little food gremlins who have taken up residence in my belly. Adam Richman was sampling a twelve-decker deli meat sandwich (turkey, pastrami and beef for those interested) and I was literally salivating. I couldn’t make it to the end of the episode without dashing to the kitchen for half a salami and mayonnaise sandwich. Because, you know, a full sandwich would have amounted to complete gluttony.

That’s the most recent thing I’ve eaten today. And, surprise, surprise, I’m still famished. I had to mute Man v Food because the different cuisines on the screen were distracting me from typing. I could turn it off but I need to know if he can finish this massive calzone. Le boyfriend will be back from soccer training in around ten minutes, and we’ll both start preparing dinner then. Last Monday I made four batches of a delicious chicken tikka masala that I cook from a Patak’s tikka masala paste. Batch four will be consumed shortly with some brown rice. Despite my feasting this afternoon, I know that I’ll eat every last morsel and still be hunting for chocolate in two hours’ time.

I badly need saving from myself. I know, to some people, what I’ve eaten today is hardly outrageous. But when your ass has been nicknamed Jigglypuff and there are minus three weeks until your beach holiday, things are serious. What if the gremlins get greedier and I wind up in A&E needing to have a tub of Ben & Jerry’s surgically removed from my hand? What if I have to be rolled onto the airplane to Spain, and my family have to watch me closely on the beach so that I don’t turn into barbecued pork? My situation is approaching a critical state.

How do people resist the mating call of the fridge when chronic peckishness strikes? Do I need to padlock the larder press and give the key to my boyfriend? I know that boredom has a lot to do with my ailment, which is why I started writing the blog post – to distract myself. However, writing about food hasn’t really had the desired effect, believe it or not.

Here’s hoping that my dinner will alleviate the worst of my symptoms, and that I’ll be fully recovered by tomorrow. I’ve tried drinking copious amounts of water with fruit cordial, but that’s only resulted in multiple trips to the bathroom. Which I must walk past the fridge to get to. A situation such as mine truly is hopeless.

But for now, I’m off to prepare what I hope will be my last supper tonight. While my rice boils, I’ll attempt to distract myself by stitching that unfortunately-placed hole in my boyfriend’s jeans – proof that I am desperate at this point. Wish me luck as I attempt to resist the belly gremlins, and pray for my soul if I do not post again; a sure sign that my fingers have become too sausage-like to type.