Sunday, October 2, 2011

First-ish Impressions

Aside from parents, I don't even know who really still reads this (not that lack of readership will necessarily stop me, since it's a nice way to journal when I don't feel like writing). Since Mom has been bugging me to post something new involving my fairly recent move to the state of New York, and since I have been intending to do it anyway, here goes... (Mom, this one's for you!)

*WARNING: Owing to the boxes still scattered around, I haven't yet taken pictures. This will be a text only post.*
Owing to the numerous items of clutter left behind by the previous roommate, my very first impression of the apartment wasn't that great. Granted, it was also dark (since we arrived after midnight), hot, and I was still stressed with the whole moving process. However, it has more or less grown on me (NOT literally). It is in a converted house, with the main floor being one apartment and the second floor being the other. We are in the second floor apartment. The house is a little older, so some of the numerous repaintings of the doors have made it so they don't fit snugly into their frames. Still, there are a lot of windows, mostly a lot of space (that I have quickly crammed with my a lot of stuff), hardwood floors, a real fireplace!, a nicely spacious and newly redecorated kitchen...
Likes: Hardwood floors, fireplace, large balcony deck (that I will probably like a lot more when the weather gets nice again), shelf space in my room.
Dislikes: No air conditioning (so the first few days, which were hot AND humid, were not as pleasant), not sure about the heating system yet (it has gotten cold, and I don't know when it will get turned on- we don't control it though :/), the shower doors are sketchy (it feels like they always want to fall off, even though I sort-of fixed it so they won't), my closet (I do miss the walk-in closet I had in IN), the musty basement, the dirty attic (where I have tried to clear a space for my numerous unnecessaries at this moment).

Her name is Amanda. She's in her early 20s and is finishing a Master's in marriage and family therapy. She is very outgoing and friendly and, more importantly, enjoys cats (she recently obtained two kittens from her boyfriend, who owns the other two kittens of the litter). She doesn't smoke, but she does occasionally drink, so it was kind of funny last night to come home after work and find a case of Bud Light on the kitchen floor. We don't interact a WHOLE lot because we're both rather busy and both value our space (not unlike Rachel and I). However, when we do talk and interact, we get along quite well. She is into LARPing and is a fan of Castle and Modern Family. I think the biggest thing for me right now is having to relearn the boundaries.
Likes: She is friendly, likes cats (she loves Tonks already, which is nice!), shares some similar interests...
Dislikes: I know I'm a clutter bug, and I know I'm not as diligent with cleaning as I know Mom would like me to be, considering her efforts to ingrain within us the habit of weekly chores, but I will at least sometimes expend my energy to organizing, straightening, washing, cleaning, etc. I know she's busy, but most of her free time is spent in her room, on her computer. I'm not sure how I'm going to address that. I know a little of how Mom must have felt as we were growing up, but it's hard for me to say anything since I often don't have the energy to fix the cleaning problem myself... Still, if that's the only thing I dislike about her, that's not bad at all!

Amanda and her boyfriend really like The Fifth Element, so three of the four kittens are named after characters from the movie: She has Corbin and Ruby (who is actually a female kitten, I guess a sort of homage to the cross-dressing factor of Chris Tucker's character); he has Leeloo (and his other kitten is Skeletor because his face apparently has skull-esque markings). They are hyper a lot of the time- definitely playful kittens. Tonks has definitely had to adjust to having other cats in the house. It has taken awhile, and I still don't think they're bosom pals, but she does okay with Ruby, who is just so sweet and non-aggressive (she's actually quite skittish), and at least she and Corbin don't hiss at each other as often. I think she's getting used to them. They might even be friends by the end of the year. (Of course, then Amanda will be leaving, taking the kittens with her... Oh well, what can you do?)
Likes: They are adorable, they are still fairly tiny (especially Ruby), they are still at that hilarious playful stage, and they sometimes snuggle with me when I sleep (along with Tonks).
Dislikes: Corbin's stinky poo (and the fact that having three cats in general makes cleaning the litter box a much more smelly, and frequent, chore), Corbin's tendency to gnaw on electrical cords, Ruby's tendency to mew for no apparent reason...

I was pleased to find that the transition to the Cracker Barrel in Cicero was much smoother than the one to the Cracker Barrel in Indianapolis. I remember that it was several months before I felt like I fit in with the crew at CB Indy. So many of them were much louder and cruder than the ones I had worked with in Missouri that it was a bit of a shock. However, after a few months, I settled in and, as we got to know each other, I found that I could get along with just about everyone. (Honestly, it probably helped that after a few months, I started teaching and only worked at Cracker Barrel on Saturdays.)

In contrast, I felt like I fit in with the group at CB Cicero within the first few days. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming- just so much more like the co-workers I had really gotten to like at CB Columbia. It just seems that my personality/humor meshes much better with the people here, helping to make the transition a pretty easy one.

I like that this CB so far has been MUCH busier than CB Indy- it does make it harder to get out in a timely manner- sometimes I'm still at work 2 hours after I've been cut off the floor, but I generally make much better money and usually have the hours I need.

For the most part, I like the managers as I've gotten to know them. Of course, some I like better than others (mostly the ones that are more effective), but I haven't had any major issues with any of them (and hopefully never will...). I enjoy most of the servers- I haven't had any major personality clashes with any of them yet.

The dishwashers are mostly nice, but they just aren't as effective. I already miss the dishwashing staff at CB Indy. Dirty glasses/mugs here are fairly common (it's frustrating to have to pull out four or five before finding a clean glass), and dirty silverware had apparently been becoming a serious problem, even before I got here. I think we've found ways to minimize that problem, but it is still a problem getting silverware quickly- servers still often have to sort their own in the dishroom, which is very aggravating because it really is NOT our job to do that. I know the dishwashers have a lot to do, and I sympathize with that, but then, so do we.

Um. What else? Oh, the set-up/layout of the store is different- that has taken a little time to get used to, but it isn't that big a deal, really.

(I do miss some of the regular guests at CB Indy, though, I have to say...)

Likes: Business (the fact that we have a solid amount of it), tips (as a whole, many seem to be a bit better than CB Indy), other servers/workers, getting hours I need, grill cooks that are mostly effective...
Dislikes: Ineffective dishwashers, a couple of ineffective prep cooks, the fact that most of the back-up cooks can't seem to make good, soft (but not doughy) biscuits/corn muffins (they are frequently dry and/or hard), running out of things and not finding out about it soon enough (I had to tell at least four tables throughout the day yesterday that the item they had ordered was gone and wouldn't be available for 30 min. to an hour...), gross sanitizer water (I don't understand what their system of changing it is, but it does NOT seem effective as the water almost always has debris- now sanitized debris- floating in it. I don't care how sanitized it is, debris of any kind does NOT a clean table/work area make.), the fact that we are sometimes so busy that we never have time to clean up after ourselves, Seat-to-Eat is still not being effectively implemented at times, having to roll more silverware than at either of my other CB stores...

(Okay, despite the seemingly long list of dislikes, I really DO like working at this CB.)

Honestly, I haven't taken time to do quite as much exploring as I might like. For example, I haven't seen much of the downtown area, and I haven't explored the beautiful SU campus since moving here (I only remember how nice it was based on what I saw of it this past summer). Most of what I drive in order to get to work is through the more ghetto part of town. I have found some of the nicer neighborhoods/suburbs, but have seen plenty of the grunge of the city, too. I'm also uncertain enough of what the city is like to want to explore too much- I don't know if there are areas to avoid at all costs, if there are truly dangerous places in town or not, and if so, where they are, so I am a bit hesitant to wander too freely right now.

I have found that they have most of the stores I need/want, and they are fairly close by (e.g. Barnes and Noble, the evil-but-necessary Wal-Mart, Target, Lowe's, Aldi). However, I'm having to get used to a whole new set of grocery stores- no Kroger/Kroger affiliates (read: Gerbes) around here. Sad. I have yet to find a grocery store that sells any Denali classic-style ice cream (which means I'm having to live without the amazingly delicious Mint Moose Tracks that Kroger had available with their Private Selection line). Aldi is nice and familiar, but doesn't always have what I need/want.

I also have found that there are no Office Depot stores in the area. Not a huge deal, I suppose, but I just got so used to it. I guess I can either get used to Office Max (:/) or I think there are some Staples around...

Likes: There is a year-round regional Farmers' Market every Saturday morning- love it! Also there is a park about a block away that has a little walking/jogging trail (though I still really miss the Again St. park by the Lowe St. duplex in Columbia...) Other than that, while I certainly don't hate it here, I haven't yet discovered anything so unique or amazing or worthy of mention. Oh, I DO also like that Cooperstown isn't too far away, not is Palmyra!
Dislikes: Getting two tickets within the first three days of moving here. >:-Z I'm hoping I might be able to get them to drop the charges of at least one of them on account of the fact that hey, I just moved here, for heaven's sake! Also, school zones that aren't easy to spot, having to remember which side of the street I have to park on on any given day, having to start up a new bank account (and therefore change all the information with all my online bills/accounts) because there are no Regions banks here, not having Kroger (and Mint Moose Tracks), having to find a new pharmacy because they also don't have Meijer stores here...

Okay, there is my epic entry on my initial impressions/thoughts/ideas of my new living situation.

Up next week, finishing the highlights of my epic Summer Travels simply because hey, we're in OCTOBER already! (How exactly did that happen?!?)


Juliana said...

Hey there, Elise,
I read your blog because I love finding out what you're doing. So, keep posting.

Aunt Juli

Emily S. said...

Good rundown! Thanks! Sounds like you need some pretty fall days of juts wandering to get you excited about the new town and area... It sounds like you're just getting through the adjustment period for now. I hope NY rewards you with gorgeous autumn color, and that things keep getting better. Love you!

Ashlee and Jason said...

I'm still reading! Thanks for the update. I didn't realize all the behind the scenes work of waitressing! Good work!

Julina said...

Just curious, why is Office Max a :/? Aren't all the office big box stores basically the same? Kinda like the big box home improvement stores?

No A/C? Summer's gonna be rough. And your roomie is moving out end of the year? What then? And who controls the climate control/heater? hmmmm - maybe some getting to know you/sucking up muffins are in order...

Hope your week is as beautiful as ours is forecast to be. Be well :)

Jeanne, the mom and grandmom said...

YAY! Thanks for the great update. Can't wait to see everything in person.

Sarah Lambson said...

I would KILL for an Aldi around here!

Also, my word verification word is the following:

munlan-Mulan's twin brother that they forgot to tell us about

Beckie said...

I'm dying to know, what do you need Office Depot for? It must be important b/c you have recognized that there isn't one, and that the other two will have to suffice.
Also, I want to visit you sometime in the future, but it now officially will not be in the summer...I can't handle high heat like others.
Lastly, love that you are getting settled in; my recommendation for getting to know your town is to just drive aimlessly for an hour with a podcast or great music playing at least once a week until it becomes familiar.

Peeser said...

Aunt Juli- I'm happy to know you read it! Comments are never required of anyone, of course, but without them, it is sometimes hard to know who actually IS reading this...

Juli (sister)- Overall, a superstore is a superstore, yet we still have our preferences. For example, I'm sure Home Depot is a lot like Lowe's, but I prefer Lowe's. Though I got to like Borders a lot, I always preferred Barnes and Noble. I have just never been especially impressed the few times I've had to use Office Max.

Beckie- the main reason I'm disappointed that there is no Office Depot is because I had a Work Rewards card there, meaning for almost every purchase, I'd get a little money back on the card. It was just a nice little perk. I am perfectly happy with Staples, though, so I'll be fine, of course... And I'd be happy to have you visit me *anytime* (or anyone else, for that matter)! And I think I may just take your advice for getting to know the town better...

Sarah- I love your Mulan's twin idea! HA!

Thanks, everyone, for your comments. They are ALWAYS appreciated! Love you all! ;)

Ellaniemae said...

I read your posts too, and was wondering when you would post about New York.