ADD Post

Posted on Saturday 21 May 2011

Student Loan Madness

For months and months, I have been in touch with SallieMae to straighten out my six-plus student loans taken out over the past 8 years so that my kids could attend the college of their dreams. When you have undiagnosed-but-surely-have adult ADD, SallieMae is not a realm in which to wallow.

Because wallow is all you will do in the SallieMae miazma, through umpteenth forbearance attempts, through faxes sent of your pay stubs and income tax returns to gain that promised forbearance status, through phone calls numbering more than 20 in two weeks that garner a different response that is “the final say” each time, but never is. Just when I thought I had it fixed for a year so that my payments would reflect my “income sensitive” status for six loans, another two loans reared their hideous heads this morning–totaling more than my bi-weekly income. It will be all I can do to muster the focus, the patience, the reigned-in frustration to contact this awful organization for the trillionth time to straighten it all out, AGAIN.

On a positive note: Both kids seem to be following some sort of dream as a result of attending the expensive colleges of their dreams, and I am very, very proud of them for this. But if I had to do it all over again, I’d save more money from the first diaper change through the last teenage grounding for some now-meaningless infraction and point out the virtues of community college as a very real stepping stone to those same dreams.

Prom Theme Haunting Me

I have been invited to a birthday party in the Keys that has a “1950s Prom” as its theme. I love a theme party. I love a costumed event. I look great in pale pink tulle. Now, I only have to find the perfect dress for this silly but great event I cannot wait to attend. Every day before work, at 5:30 a.m. while munching a gluten-free and somewhat tasteless muffin, I peruse the Web for the perfect dress. Which has made me almost, but not quite, late for work these past few weeks, because I cannot focus on the tulle at hand when Etsy and its never-ending links and any number of other “vintage reproduction” Googled dress sites lure me deeper and deeper into their layers of fun, frivolity and unaffordable chic.

Kill Me Before the Kitchen Crashes

Today: Saturday. Fully booked hotel. An over-priced, profit-garnering breakfast was just the ticket for everyone staying in the hotel today. Too bad our great cook was out at the last minute, and I truly hope all is okay for him, because he never calls out–never–and he just celebrated decades with the hotel that mean he was cooking these same eggs for the same place when I was in high school a world away in D.C. wondering how to be a hippie as the hippie era was winding down. Wow. But he called out today. Uh oh.

To say the fourth string cook wasn’t up to the madness is, well, not worth saying. That’s a nice way of saying that from 6 a.m. on I banked my tips on this one phrase: “I hope you will give us another chance tomorrow, and breakfast is on us.” It sort of worked. But I have to say I had a moment I have never had in my entire hospitality career: As a charred French Toast was delivered to a table by my food runner–a plate of a burned-to-a-crisp mess that I mistakenly described to the doubting guests as “caramelized sugar”–a dining room mutiny ensued. Mind you, I was handling a 12-table, 48-plus guests section alone and being quintuple sat every 45 minutes. My busser had vanished, and so it was just me and the food runner feeding and turning tables for the hungry when the blackened French Toast landed on table 22.

“I can’t eat this,” complained the guest. No, you can’t, I thought.

“Excuse me,” piped up table 46 diagonally across and two rows over. “I ordered that, too. I want to change my order.”

“Miss! Miss!” shouted table 53, “Please make sure my eggs are not overdone!”

“Or my pancakes!” screeched table 15.

Which resulted in a ripple effect around every single one of my 12 tables that sought me out of my neck-length weeds to tell me to change their orders to cereal or fruit plates or toast or muffins so that theirs would not arrive as undistinguishable, burned-to-a-crip remains of something they all wanted to amount to today’s perfect fast breaking.

Which was when I watched the host unset two dinner tables and re-set them for breakfast and seat two more four-tops–all mine. When you have undiagnosed but oh-so-real adult ADD, that’s all it takes to send you running, scurrying, crawling into the kitchen, where you tap one of your favorite co-workers on the shoulder and say,”All that is getting me through the next three hours is the vision of us all done and smoking that first post-shift cigarette as we laugh about how horrible today was.” Except he was so weeded in his own far-away section, he couldn’t acknowledge me, except to mumble something about room service crashing, too. And that, I figured, was a great time to swill a quick glass of juice and refill the industrial-sized coffee filters with a bag of coffee that takes me three weeks to go through, but last approximately 32 minutes here. Which made me forget who changed their order to what, and then made me laugh aloud to no one, because the stress, the frantic pace drowned out my adult-ADD-denial two-second laugh break.

Make Time for Best Friends

“I’m coming in June, but I only have these days here and those days there,” emails my best sister friend. I request and get them off. I am broke, but I will pay anything, forgo anything just to see her. So I will drive three hours there then, and three and a half hours to the other there a few days later. I’m okay with that. Road trips force this adult ADD mess that I am to focus.

Oh, Geez

Clean the house, anyway, now that you are home after the worst day of your hospitality life. Then you won’t have to clean it Wednesday when you have your one day off. Yeah, no. It’ll just need cleaning, again, Wednesday. So I’ll wait until Wednesday.

Train your dogs to sit and stay, really stay, so they can pass the upcoming evaluation to become volunteer service dogs, because if you don’t get a life soon and volunteer to bring smiles and cheer to those who have so little, so that your life means something beyond serving eggs and slinging drinks at weekend weddings, what is your actually life worth?

Wait, isn’t the world supposed to end at 6 p.m. today, anyway? Maybe I should drain the $200 in my bank account that won’t last me ’till next pay day and play 25 red on a video roulette wheel at Hard Rock. Hey, the extra points would get me platinum status and preferred parking, right?

Sit. Stay. STAY!

Vacuum, even thought it’s not next Wednesday and your day off, just because. Hmm. I might as well wash the bath towels.

“I won something on the Preakness,” texts my Great Guy, whom I live with and never see, much less connect with anymore, except for tip-toeing around his sleeping, snoring profile that I try very hard not to wake up each morning at 5 a.m. when I dress for work. He got off at 1 a.m., after all.

Great. Guess the world didn’t end.

Did I put the laundry in, because I only have two work shirts and work six days a week, so laundry is as important as flossing. Actually, more. I never floss until two weeks before I am due to see a dentist.

Crazy Shackleford just took a race at close to the precise moment the world should have imploded–a horse with a sure case of ADD as I watched him prance and worry and sweat and fret as he timidly entered the gate to race, and I laughed that his name was that of a very long-ago, very nice boss of Mr. RG. Figures. If I had bet my last $200 on him, then I would have made…right, no more gambling.

Sit. Stay. Please stay. Please be the old dogs who can learn old tricks so that I have a chance to get a life beyond the couch onto which I fall every day after work, exhausted as I always am, with energy only for watching “Sex in the City” reruns that are, happily, all new to me because I was always too busy with my “real” D.C. life to watch them the first go ’round so many years ago.

Bugs in my house. How many times do I have to spray something that is supposed to last 12 months, but never lasts more than 30 days?

“It’s SoFla. Bugs are a way of life,” says my great guy. Really? Never had them in the one place I can no longer afford to live in SoFla because I have $200 in my bank account that won’t last ’till next paycheck.

Stop training the dogs to sit and stay. Stop looking for prom dresses. Check Craig’s List for rentals for bug-less places, just because I can after a two-hour nap.

What? Move again? No can do. And so I spray the useless poison again and again and again every day. And truth be told, bugs aside, I really like this old house.

Sit. Stay. STAY. STAY!

Set the alarm on the iPhone to wake up at 5 a.m. so I can press the “snooze” and sleep five minutes more. Sleep all the rest of the afternoon away on the couch. Wake up groggy, and wish it was 5 a.m. so I could call it a night over.

Shop online for the perfect prom dress. Figure out a way to take on another job. Vow to quit slot machines and casinos, unless the world really is ending.

Remind self that great guy is still great. Don’t think about D.C. Don’t think at all, because one thought cascades into another and another and another, and never a one is complete. So goes the wandering brain of one with adult ADD.

Sit. Stay. For the love of God, please stay. You dogs represent my next best hope to do something bigger, better, beyond my scattered self.

And with that, they stayed.

4 Comments for 'ADD Post'

  1.  
    Bob C
    May 23, 2011 | 8:24 am
     

    I read this so knowingly! So much like my (very different, but surprisingly similar) life.

    I honestly think that this was one of your best posts yet. Thanks for sharing.

  2.  
    May 25, 2011 | 10:49 am
     

    Aren’t student loans supposed to be paid off by the student? (former student)

  3.  
    Restaurant Gal
    May 25, 2011 | 11:41 am
     

    Bob C–Gets kind of crazy, yes? Thank you.

    Joeinvegas–Trust me, they have and are paying their own mountains of student loan debt. I took on the other mountains of debt to get them through. It’s the American way to higher education these days.

  4.  
    June 6, 2011 | 8:58 pm
     

    Well, I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, RG. Been without a computer for 8 months. Definately a bittersweet situation. Seems you’ve been busy. Can’t wait to see what I missed.

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