Thursday, July 14, 2005

Home on the range...

This is my first chance to write you in what feels like quite awhile, even though I know it’s only been one week since I’ve been here! Time slows down on the ranch and the days run together. If I wasn’t working in the office, I’m not sure that I would even know the day of the week! One of the maintenance guys, who was among three or four people who stayed here through all of last winter, said that there were times when they didn’t even know what month it was for sure. Now that is a little scary…

So far, I’m getting to know the “folks” here a little better, bit by bit. There are still some pretty clique-y groups, but all I really care about is getting through my work day and getting along with the people I have to live with. Beyond that, I spend a lot of time sitting out on our deck, reading and whatnot. The major get-togethers around here take place in “The Barn” (which is literally the horse barn, but it’s also the guys-only dorm on the second floor—air freshener anyone?) and they mostly consist of getting shit-faced and telling redneck jokes. Not exactly my cup of tea, but when in Rome… So far, I have avoided them, but now I’m getting asked why I don’t go, so perhaps I will start putting in appearances.

Being around people in their very early twenties makes me feel old, so perhaps that’s why I avoid them. Although, it must be said that even the older people here (in their 30s and 40s) hang out at The Barn because they just love to drink. Either I will give in and come home a drunkard, or I will leave here a social outcast. We’ll have to see…

I have a highly amusing story to relate involving the evil chef who works here. (For those of you who missed out on a telephone description of this bastard and what he said to me, here is the synopsis: I have been nothing but polite and respectful to him, but he has been very cold to me from day one. So, one morning he wasn’t around taking breakfast orders like usual, and I asked the guys where he was and what the procedure was [this being only like my 3rd day!!] and they said to go into the kitchen where he was making breakfast so that I could tell him what I wanted to eat. So, I go in there and say the following: “Scott, the guys told me to come in and let you know what I want for breakfast, so I just would like some hash browns and bacon and if you could make that really crispy I would appreciate it.” And he SHOUTS AT ME, “LISTEN, I don’t DO special orders! If you want a fresh-made breakfast every morning, then you can eat WHAT EVERYBODY ELSE EATS!!, which is hash browns, bacon, and scrambled eggs.” So, I politely said, “Thank you for telling me that; I didn’t know it before, but now I do. And no eggs for me-I don’t eat them.” JACKASS!! I just couldn’t believe how crazy rude he was after I had been nothing but nice to him. I can think of about a dozen different ways he could have chosen to relay the same information to me in a polite manner, but he obviously doesn’t care to be polite to me. So, basically, from that point on, he has been on my shit list [although I continue to be polite to him out of a sense of professional etiquette—a phrase with which he is assuredly not familiar.]) After I told some of my coworkers about this incident, they all laughed because Scott is universally known to be a total asshole. And I must add that I have personally seen him take special orders from the guys in terms of making their eggs a certain way, so I believe that he just doesn’t like the look of me for some reason. Perhaps he’s afraid of big boobs…

Anyway, now that we’re all up to date on the evil chef, Scott, I can tell my amusing story from this week! First of all, it should be stated that there is supposed to be a sous chef or even just a helper cook who works in the kitchen with Scott, but no one they hire will stay. They had a couple guys before I got here who all left, then when I was here they had this guy who came all the way from Israel (Micah), who was so incredibly nice and soft-spoken. He lasted about a week and then couldn’t take any more, so they let him stay here a few days while he looked for a new job somewhere else.

After him, there was a new prospect named James Jones. James lived in Seattle and needed a way to get here. Well, after getting messed around by both Scott and Dick (the Ranch Manager and my boss), and getting told that he had the job but they couldn’t find a way to get him here, he eventually got on a bus from Seattle to Salt Lake City. He kept calling our office during bus stops and yelled at everyone who answered the phone about how he was getting mistreated. My boss had a tizzy that day because once we knew he was coming, we had to figure out connecting buses (I should say *I* was the one in charge of figuring out buses vs. Amtrak, etc, and it was a nightmare on our dial-up slow-ass computers.) In the end, Dick decided to buy him a bus ticket from SLC to a town near here (on Dick’s own credit card), and then he was going to go pick him up himself in the morning. The money for the ticket would be like an advance on his paycheck.

So, the guys arrives. He grew up in the Appalachians, and boy could you tell it. He had a tiny head and a wiry body, and just looked ODD, like his daddy was also his favorite uncle, if you get my drift. Anyway, he was nice enough once he got here and apologized for yelling at all of us. He was put right to work in the kitchen, and things seemed to be going OK.

Yesterday was my first day off, so I couldn’t wait to go into town. On my way up our very bumpy road, I saw this James walking, as if he was going to walk all the way down into town, which was at least 20 miles! Naturally, I couldn’t leave him there on the side of the road, so I stopped to give him a lift. Nothing struck me as being particularly out of the ordinary, even though he did have his bag with him. I mean, hey-girls have purses, how did I know what he was going to be doing in town that might require putting things in a bag to carry back to the ranch.

So, he tells me that Scott gave him the day off after he was done with breakfast and he had decided to go into town and hang out for awhile. No big deal. As we drove into town, we talked about his job and how it was to work with Scott. He didn’t have much to say beyond that Scott was kind of a jerk, but that things were OK. Once we got into town, I asked him where he wanted to be dropped off and he pointed at the liquor store ahead. Ok…whatever. He asked me to pick him up on the way back if I happened to see him. No problem.

I go on about my business and a few hours later I’m driving back through Granby and notice him on the opposite side of the road, trying to thumb a ride OUT of Granby. Hmmm…. So, I get back to the ranch and I’m in my room not thinking anything about it when Corky comes to tell me the hilarious news that the new cook has RUN AWAY! Cleaned out his room and scarpered. The only thing they just can’t figure out is how he got to town. *sigh* So, I was forced to tell my story and admit that I was his unwitting accomplice, his getaway car, if you will. Corky must have laughed for 5 minutes straight. Everyone who came into our house that night got the full story and when the bartender, Lisa, heard it, she couldn’t wait to tell Scott once she got to work. Fantastic. The man loves me so much anyway.

So, it was with not a small amount of trepidation that I came to breakfast this morning. Sure enough, everyone had a smart-ass comment waiting for me. “So! Here’s the getaway driver!” “Didn’t the bag tip you off?” etc… At least my boss, Dick, realized that the guy was going to go one way or another, so he wasn’t mad at me. Plus, he got a promising application today from a new cook candidate. J Scott didn’t have anything to say except, “Well, it saved me the trouble of firing him.” Perhaps he doesn’t realize that the one constant in this situation is HIM. Everyone else comes and immediately goes because of HIM. What an idiot…

Anyway, it’s almost the end of my working day, so I should probably be wrapping this up if I want to finish what I need to do before I clock off. Which, admittedly, is not much. Today has been spectacularly slow, plus my boss isn’t here to give me stuff to do outside of my usual realm.

Well, I hope that everyone is doing well and that you will all write me soon. I would love to get a letter or even a postcard!!! J You know that YAY! feeling when you’re at camp and you get a letter—that’s what I’m dying for!

Take care and I’ll speak with you soon!

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