LXXVI – What I’ve Done

Greetings, fellow space travelers👩‍🚀! I mean, we are floating through space on a giant rock, so we’re technically space travelers. It’s time for another one of those chapters of the ever-growing blog I write. Here we are, beginning our path into the third decade of the twenty-first century. We might be in 2020, but I in no way have 20/20 vision, unless you’re dealing with hindsight, and that vision is exceptional.

Thinking about some topics to write about, I came across a post on Facebook one day that mentioned some writing prompts about the end of the year, seeing as how we just ended one. One of these prompts caught my eye; it said to write about your two biggest accomplishments of 2019. So, I decided to write about that.

When you ponder it, there are a lot of accomplishments people have throughout a year’s time. Most of them are fairly small and inconsequential. Occasionally, you manage to conquer a larger or major task. One of these for me was obtaining a second job and managing to keep it. I realized that my bills were getting to be a bit too much to bear, so back in the middle of the year, I decided I needed a second job. As I was working 40 hours at Cracker Barrel, I knew I’d have to cut that a little. After all, employers don’t like paying overtime, since it’s 1½ times your regular pay, and that cuts into profits (there we go with the almighty dollar again🙄). I’d looked at a couple of places, including a 24-hour gas station, but to no avail. Then, I went online and applied at the Golden Corral, for the hell of it. Amazingly, within two days, I got a call back from there. That was on Sunday, 30 June. I went in for an interview, and got hired on the spot, to start the next day (01 July). Turns out, the guy that interviewed me was the franchise owner. So, I started, and I told him I would like to get about 20 hours a week. I ended up getting scheduled around 30 hours, plus my 37 (at the time) at Cracker Barrel. I started working, between both jobs, seven days a week. However, that took a huge toll on me, physically and mentally. I cut back a day at the Barrel, working about 30. So now, I work roughly 60 hours a week between both places, and still manage to get one day off every week. Fortunately for me, both places have me on a pretty set schedule now, so I’m getting used to it. Granted, working both places on Saturdays and Mondays can get tiring, but sometimes “ya gotta do what you gotta do”. Now, I’ve been at Golden Corral for roughly six months now.

At Cracker Barrel in the last three years, I would pull upwards of 25 hours overtime on Thanksgiving week, working overnights helping get things ready for that day’s business (it’s a shit-ton of prep, baking pies, slicing turkey and portioning everything needed) with one other cook. I’d take a Bluetooth speaker and blast music from my phone. This year, unfortunately, because of my schedule, I was unable to help for Thanksgiving at all. They were unhappy, yet understanding, that I couldn’t help, but I really didn’t want to work myself to death.

That was definitely an accomplishment. However, there was one even bigger than that. For years now (and many people are now aware of it), I’ve suffered with severe depression. I would get overwhelmed easily, get angry easily and be rather physical or verbal in venting myself. Some people would be scared of my outbursts—rightfully so. I finally decided, around August or September, to finally confront my demons and see a doctor about my mental state. I was extremely self-deprecating and had frequent thoughts of ending my existence. I saw the doctor at the local volunteer clinic, a retired doctor who helps out twice a month seeing people with mental health issues. His specialty was pediatric psychiatry during his practice, and he has over 50 years’ experience. He’s very well-known and respected. He prescribed me Zoloft, starting low and steadily increasing the dose until my current dose, which seems to be the dose I need to maintain my mental stability.

The change in my attitude and well-being has definitely been noticed by those I work with, and they’re pleased with the results. Sometimes I joke, saying that I should revert to my old ways, and go screaming, throwing shit and wanting to break something, to which I’m basically told oh hell no🤣! I’ve noticed quite the improvement myself. In the Cracker Barrel kitchen, we get tickets that print for each table’s order. Sometimes several come in at one time. One particular day in December, there were probably 20 that came back within a couple minutes’ span. It felt like everyone in the restaurant had their orders taken and rang in at the same time. Instead of getting overwhelmed and freaking out, I calmly take one or two tickets, start them, pass them along to the egg station or the steam line, then move on to the next. Ideally, we’re supposed to deliver the completed orders to the pass window in under 10 minutes. When business gets like that, I end up giving absolutely no fucks, and just trudge along. If the food looks good and is hot, most people don’t mind waiting a little bit longer. Sure, I don’t want to take 20-30 minutes to prepare an order, and I want everything to be nice, but sometimes one has absolutely no choice. You can’t cook everything at one time, since you would lose track and burn things, and also there’s only so much grill space to cook on. If you have several orders of pancakes or French toast, they take up quite a bit of room, for example. One Sunday morning, I had on my grill probably 16 pieces of French toast and 25 pancakes of different sorts. I think there was about six inches of space width-wise that wasn’t occupied, out of I believe a six-foot-wide grill, give or take. Thank goodness pancakes don’t take very long to cook!

I’m extremely grateful for having found a solution for my mental problems, now living with my head more on straight and leveled out. I don’t get the wild swings of extreme anger, followed by a bout of really severe depression. I still have depression, and once in a while the self-doubt, self-deprecation and other negativity finds its way into my mind, but it’s nothing like it once was.

Hopefully, there will be other accomplishments for me in 2020. It’s a new year and a new decade. I’m not going to go into that “new year new me” cliché bullshit, because I’m still the same ol’ loveable asshole I’ve always been🤭. A good old motherfucking ray of sunshine🤯😃.

And so, we bid adieu to another week’s post. It’s been real and interesting. Sometimes I even amaze myself with what I’ve accomplished in 2019. Until next Sunday’s post, ladies and gentlemen, be safe and be well.

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