Thursday, March 16, 2006

Long long overdue update

Wow. What a difference three months make in our lives.

In my last post, it looks like I was planning on Army, had no job, and had generally lost my way; but didnt know it yet.

Around a week after the last post, I got my job back at TGI Fridays. It wasnt the same job though. I had several months of rest and was in the best physical shape of my life. At fridays, they had lost (or were losing) many servers, bartenders, and bussers to the new restaurants opening in town.

Macaroni Grille, Bonefish Grill, and Cooper Ts all opened within a month of each other. They are all higher-end restaurants and attract the upper echelon of servers (or at least those that thing they are) . The unintended benefit was being understaffed, severely.

How is this a benefit? Well, at times, yes; it was hell on earth. Food out late, always super busy, etc. You needed some real endurance to handle the job full time. When agreeing to come back, I negotiated absolutely NO day shifts and NO doubles, period. This allowed me to set up a schedule for everything. Had planned sleep-time, etc. Well the benefit is MAJOR CASH. Sections were always full sized (4 to 5 tables) and your tables were ALWAYS full. There werent enough servers to cover the entire restaurant, so your section stayed full all night long on a wait. This guarenteed some MAJOR sales; and major sales translate into major cash.

Last year, I was averaging about $80/night at Fridays, peaking by making around $130 or so. When I came back, I had new experience from Outback and more foodservice time, so I was able to really rock the house :) My goal everynight was to make at least $100. I succeeded almost everynight. But on many nights, I was pushing the envelope for tips. Several weeks I took home more than $600 in cash, and on one or two weeks I was bringing home over $700. In Mobile, Alabama; where average income is $18k/year and me working in an average restaurant, this is RETARDED money.

It started dying off a bit; traffic slowed; and they finally were able to hire more help. Just in time for me to be brought to the bar. There weren't enough servers to cover any part of my schedule; so I took it upon myself to come in on offdays and train. I worked for 2 weeks straight with no days off. They bumped me to the bar schedule too and I began full-blown training. I was still picking up shifts as a server to make money since training pay sucks.

Finally, I became verified and began to receive full pay. And Oh My God did I receive full pay. Currently, I am averaging $170 per night. Granted bartenders only work 4 nights a week unless they pick up shifts; its still hella money. I walked with $720 last week, and it was dead on some nights. Thats the big difference. Dead nights as a server will kill your tips... you'll walk with maybe $50-$60. Dead nights as a bartender mean you make only $150ish. Its less work and much more pay. I've got to say I'm enjoying it a lot.

I'll update later with personal life updates about Aimee and Amanda. :)

Monday, January 02, 2006

What it takes to WIN

Currently Reading
Full House: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin
Author: Stephen Jay Gould

Well New Years came and went. I guess everyone is making their New Year's Resolutions that they'll break about 2 weeks later. Lisa and Jeff came over a lot the past few days; I got to see my little neice: a 1.5lb Minature Pomeranian puppy. Her name is Dixie and she's a big fluffball. I'll have to post some pictures up later; we have a great one of her standing inside the refridgerator, looking backwards at the camera.

I got some great reading material for Christmas and I've read one book already. Its the book offered by Its a Special Forces selection handbook; it goes into the dirty details that you'll face while at SAFS. Teaches you different methods of boot lacing, boot care, etc and other tips that will save your ass big time while at selection.

I've recently been working up goals to reach with my training. I think part of the problem of my laziness with training as of late is not having a well defined goal. Its more or less stumbling around in the dark; which won't work obviously.

My first goal is to be able to max out the APFT before I even enter basic training. When trying out for Special Forces, all of your scores in the APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test) are based upon the 17-21 age range. As you get older, normally the requirements drop slightly over time. So I have to max the APFT for the younger age range; since I'm now an old bastard and in the 22-26 year old bracket :)

The APFT is divided into 3 subtests: Pushups in 2 minutes, Situps in 2 minutes, and a two-mile run. I can do quite a few in all three; my training over the past years has helped tremendously. But after my long break, I've got to work hard to catch up; and then even harder to max the score. 71 repititions are needed on the pushup subtest for a perfect score of 100. 78 situps are needed for a score of 100, and the two mile run must be done in 13 minutes for a score of 100; which is flying. That is a perfect score.

What's freaky; is that in SAFS there will be people that score perfect; and it won't be enough; you have to pass all of the other stuff too. But since I cannot control that at this point, I have a clearly defined goal to strive towards. I will need to do BETTER than perfect on the APFT. So when I do get in, I will never have to worry about that side of it. Only the mental and physical toughness required for 30 kilometer ruck-marches and using the good head I have on my shoulder to learn quickly. From all that I've read; I've found exceptionally high ASVAB scores in 18X have an exponentially higher chance of success. Intelligence in Special Forces tryouts gives the student an enormous advantage; because they arent stressed as much while learning; so they are able to handle more at once without having trouble.

I hope that a better-than-perfect score on the APFT and my intelligence advantage are enough of an advantage to get me over the top :) The goal is a <13 min 2 miler, 100 pushups, and 100 situps. :) It will be AWESOME if I can get this before basic. I've got a plan all dialed up; combining 2 week phases of continuous low-intensity jogging over long periods and interval training over similar time periods; then with an assessment week afterwards to see my progress. We will see. I will keep progress on this blog :)