Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta christmas. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta christmas. Mostrar todas las entradas

martes, 20 de diciembre de 2016

Christmas dinner

   As always for that time of the year, Adele had to out on her best clothes when working. It wasn’t really well seen if the hostess of a very prestigious restaurant dressed in any kind of clothing. She had to have some nice dresses for every single type of occasion, as she was the face of the hotel on the evening people had chosen to come. She represented everything for them and was the go to person if anything were to happen during one of the many dinners the hotel hosted all along the year. It was always vey busy, a successful business.

 Christmas time was especially hard on the hotel workers. For example, Adele had to wake up very early in the morning every single day leading to Christmas. For a week or so, she would have to put on her best coat to resist the fierceness of the weather and also because she really needed to get warm as soon as she arrived at the hotel as many things had to be checked. And in Christmas this was done in the most exact way, as everything had to be in line with perfection that night, as they always promised their guests the most lavish dinner ever.

 The kitchen staff consisted of several men and only a few women. There weren’t many women trying to breakout in the business and she was only closely related to everything they did on the actual restaurant. Adele was only a hostess and she would never be able to grow much more than that in her line of work. It all depended on very well paid jobs in certain events and parties, which he had hosted occasionally but not as prolifically as the events held on the hotel. There, she knew she was prepared to resist anything and everything.

 In the days leading to the Christmas dinner, the menu was checked several times and many testing lines were done. It was Adele’s job to taste everything and determine if she needed to change something in order to have some more time or make it a more successful menu. Two days before, she even thought it was going to be necessary to change the dessert because it wasn’t very well achieved but the person in charge of confectionery convinced her that he could make it more attractive with some superficial design.

 The day before Christmas he presented his corrections and he was lucky enough to be congratulated by Adele. The rest of the dishes were done and they only needed to cook them early on Christmas Eve in order for everything to be on point for the dinner. Many cases of wine were ordered from around the world, as well as many other alcoholic beverages. They also bought lots of cheese for after dinner and had to go to the market to buy the best and most fresh products in order to cook everything they needed for the menu.

 The night before the party, Adele was not able to sleep properly. She had gone to bed intentionally early but it didn’t work out at all. Not only was she worried about the dinner and the results the hotel was going to get with it but she also doubted her personal capacity to resist everything she was going to be held against. After all, the dinner was practically her show and if anything went wrong, it was her skill which had to come to work in order to fix whatever that needed to be fixed. All those thoughts did not let her sleep for a minute.

 When she arrived in the hotel, she checked every produce than had arrived and gathered the staff around her in order to tell them a few things before beginning. Not only the kitchen staff was present during the speech but also the rest of the hotel employees, as most guest were going to stay the night after dinner. Adele asked for everyone to do their best, to make it an experience that none of them could be able to replicate anywhere else. They needed to make that night one of the most special nights ever for every single guest.

 Rooms began to be cleaned and final details were being put on all over the hotel as flowers in every floor to make it smell divine. The kitchen went into full gear from very early in the morning, as they also had to cook for the rest of the guests in the hotel that were not going to participate in the dinner. It seemed to be chaos in the kitchens but the chef, and to a lesser extent Adele, knew how to make it all seem so peaceful, to always have a certain order that may not be obvious but with which every single person can work with to achieve the goals.

 Adele also had to check every single bedroom in order to personally see that the other workers had done a good job. She had to check first the ones where people had the intention to arrive earlier and then she moved on to the rest, checking for the bed to be perfectly done and for the furniture not to have a spec of dust. She also checked the bathroom, as that had always been very popular after dinner. People loved to have a bubble bath at some point so it was better to be prepared. Anything people wanted while staying had to become a reality.

 As she was checking the top floor, Adele received word that something had gone wrong with the dessert. Apparently the ingredients had been on a refrigerator that wasn’t working very well and they had become useless. Many melted and others were simply not the quality needed for the dessert. Adele ordered for all of that to be stored away and demanded the pastry chef and the confectionery guy to come up with something very fast as her customers couldn’t go without desert.

 Dinner was scheduled for nine o’clock at night. At seven, some of the guests begun to arrive and the desserts were not really done yet. Adele was very pleased to escort the first couple upstairs and tell them everything about the dinner, the usage of the bathroom and of the rest of the hotels features such as the swimming pool, the steam room and the spa, among others. She was lucky enough to check that room beforehand because she had discover dirty towels in the bathroom, so she changed that before anyone noticed.

 She didn’t join everyone to their room as, at eight o’clock, many more people started to arrive and she certainly didn’t have any time to waste. She used that moment to go back to the kitchen and see what they had come up with for dessert. As expected, they weren’t having many ideas. The people in charge were not as imaginative as they needed to be and they were really relaying on clichés to make a proper dessert. But the same old pastries and ice cream were not nearly goo enough for Christmas dinner. It would be an insult to the guests!

 Adele decided to come up herself with a new dessert. She knew they didn’t have much time, so she decided to reuse some of the ingredients they had from past parties. She decided to reuse the chocolate balls that melted when hot chocolate was poured on top of them. She decided to change the liquid chocolate for caramel and told the staff to come up with some sort of truffle at the center of the ball, in order for people to have a nice surprise when having their last dish. She put everyone to work and told them they had minutes to come up with a tasting plate.

 She decided to visit the lobby as they prepared, in order to let in the first guests. It was decided they should wait at the lounge bar, as she preferred to know first if the dessert was a go or no. She returned to the kitchen briefly to taste her idea and approved it when she realized it was good enough. Half of the kitchen staff had to help do all the desert plates needed for the evening. Adele left them again in order to open the restaurant and let everyone inside. The music had been carefully chosen as well as the design of the menus.


 The dinner started with applause when the guests saw their first plate, which was absolutely gorgeous. Then came the other dishes and finally the dessert. People didn’t say much about it but, when coming out of the restaurant, they praised the idea for being “simple but effective”. As some guests headed towards their beds and other towards the bar, Adele went to the kitchens and declared the night a complete success. She wasn’t going to sleep much that night either but at least she wasn’t going to be worried.

sábado, 20 de agosto de 2016

Big versus small

   Amanda hated that big departments store, the one that had being opened just a few months ago by the highway. It was mainly because every time she drove past it, it was packed with people and everyone from every corner of town had at least been there looking around. Besides the crow factor, she really disliked all those big brands that didn’t really specialize in anything, instead selling every single thing under the sun. It seemed greedy to her, from a business point of view.

 Everyone else loved it, even her own family. The day they had the idea to go to buy some of the Christmas supplies to decorate the tree; she was adamant in buying them in the Christmas store she had always gone to in the neighborhood. It was owned by a very nice woman who brought all of the objects from her town, where many of her family members helped in the process of making the ornaments. But now the number of people going there was diminishing a lot due to the new big store opening so close by.

 She decided to due that shopping herself in the small store from the neighborhood and found everything she needed right there. It was appalling it see that there was not one other person buying anything in the store and it was the precise season to do it. The owner of the store was so grateful, so gave Amanda one extra box of silver handmade balls for the tree. She didn’t wanted to accept them but looking straight in the eye of the woman, she decided it was best not to argue.

 When she returned home, she discovered her family was not there. Amanda was very angry because it was clear they had gone against what she had said. Of course, she hadn’t forbidden them to go to the big store but she was very disappointed that her own family was not supportive of the people they had known their entire lives. When they arrived with bags full of stuff, she ignored them and had an early night.

 Her husband even attempted to have sex with her but she refused, turning all the lights off and giving her back to him. There was no way she was going to have sex with someone that didn’t respect her convictions and everything she stood for. So she just closed her eyes and tried very hard to go asleep fast. She took several hours to do so, whereas he fell asleep in a second.

 The following morning, she discovered the fridge and the cupboard had been filled with products from that big store. Every single thing from there was twice as big as a normal product: the cans of beans left no room in their space, the soda had to be displaced next to the fruit to fit into the fridge. And the ice cream occupied almost the whole freezer compartment. To Amanda, it was obscene.

 Every time in the following days and weeks leading to Christmas, it was really hard to pass by the small store and seeing how no one was entering. One day, she decided to do something about it. She stopped by and looked for the owner. She spoke to her briefly about wanting to help her make the store the preferred Christmas store once again. The old woman was not convinced as she thought the big store was too attractive for people to stop going there.

 She confessed Amanda to have been there and told her hat the boxes of decorated balls and other ornaments for trees had many more product inside and the cost was ridiculously cheap. It was practically impossible to sell something cheaper; it would be like giving it away for free. She seemed very sad about her discovery; maybe even to the point she wanted to cry. But Amanda told her they could make something about it.

 The first step of her plan was doing what Fanny, the owner of the small Christmas store, had done before her: Amanda had to go to the big store and see for herself what it was that people bought there and why they all went there instead of shopping for nicer things in the small family store. It was difficult for her to confess that she had to go there and that’s why she waited for everyone to be busy to do it. Her husband and kids were in their final weeks of work and school, respectively, so it was perfect timing.

 The day she went to the big store, she was able to find a parking space in no time, even with most of them being already occupied. For a moment she felt please but then remembered what her mission was there. Inside, she decided not to ask anyone where to go because she thought it would look kind of strange if she ask for Christmas decorations and days later the other store got new things.

 So she wandered around, looking at the frozen foods section, which consisted of five very long aisles, the pet area that was like a small city and the automobile department, which had a very strong smell of new car, an aroma she had always loved. It was something very difficult to ignore but she was able to do it once she finally got to the Christmas ornaments area, which was packed with people looking for stuff.

First, she took pictures with her cellphone of what they had on display. Then, he paid close attention to the items that people seemed to be buying more. She pretended to be curious about some teddy bears to hang on the tree every time a worker went by her. She knew they wouldn’t appreciate her corporate spying at all. After an hour or so, she decided to go back home and analyze the situation.

 The very next day, she visited Fanny to have a talk about the ideas she had for the store and its products. The first thing was to give it a new look, inside and out. So she did a whole presentation, kind of a proposal to Fanny, of what to do and how to it. Fanny was so moved by the passion Amanda had put into it that she decided to go along and let her try to make her store an important part of the Christmas tradition again.

 Amanda’s family began to wonder where she went every single morning and afternoon. Her and her car disappeared so often that her children began to miss her mother’s presence, even if it was only to complain about something or if they needed her to take them somewhere in the car. Those duties were passed on to the father, which was definitely not very pleased to be the new chauffeur of the house.

 Back in the store, Amanda and Fanny had bought supplies in order to start the remodeling. They weren’t going to do something very deep because there was no time to hire professional to do any profound work. Besides, Christmas was not very far away and they had to take advantage of every single day they had. The idea was to have the store ready by December the 1st, in order for Fanny to get at least three weeks of good sales. Amanda felt they could do it easily.

 The first thing was to ask Fanny’s family in her hometown to change the design on the balls. They had to make new designs, more modern but still hand made. They decided to go with new colors and themes for each of the boxes. The idea was to make every single box of ornaments a very unique one. Fanny’s family was very happy with the idea and they got to work immediately.

 The second part of the remodeling was decoration. They spent a whole afternoon looking for the right paper with the perfect colors to do the decorating inside and outside. They also bought a 3D projector, which illuminated a wall in the outside and gave nice images of Santa Claus and other Christmas characters. That was the most expensive thing but she assured Fanny that it was going to be a great investment.


 They worked together intensely for the remainder of November and when December the 1st came, they held a big inauguration party where they invited every single person in the neighborhood. The new ornaments arrived just in time and they flew off the shelves, having to order a second bigger batch the next day. The store was a success and it was Amanda who had made it possible. She felt really proud of her work. She had proven everyone, including herself, that she had a very good head above her shoulders.

viernes, 19 de diciembre de 2014

First time

It was bound to be difficult, David wasn't expecting anything different. Gero had told him everything would go perfectly but he personally didn't felt so.

The week prior to the Christmas dinner, David had gone almost crazy trying to buy presents for every single person that was going to be at the dinner: at least two aunts, an uncle, one grandmother, one grandfather, six cousins or so, Gero's parents and his brother and sister. And the dog and the cat...

It was pure luck or maybe a stupid move that he called Gero to ask what her mother would like better, if an apron or a baking set. His husband stopped him short and told him to wait for him at a restaurant in the mall. He met him there and tried to calm him down but exactly the opposite happened.

David crumbled, crying in silence, saying he felt Gero's family would hate him. Gero told him that was not going to be the case because he happened to be an endearing guy and any person would love to meet him and chat with him,

The man answered he felt guilty for making Gero live so far from his home and for never before having meeting them. And the worst, he thought, was the fact they still had no idea they were married.

Gero answered, calmly, that they did not lived far because of any of them but because of their jobs. Besides, he said, he would go insane if he lives too close from all his relatives. He reminded David they had never met his parents because they had always had a tough time thinking of him as their gay son and that was the same reason he had chosen not to tell anyone but their best friends.

David calmed down slowly and then, he decided he was too hungry to be sad which made Gero very happy. If there was something he loved was sharing a meal with the person he loved and that was exactly what they did.

The days passed faster than expected. David had managed to stay busy, visiting friends of Gero and visiting all the places his husband had loved when he was younger: the park where he had his first kiss, the school he hated so much, the ice cream parlor he and his friends were go to dish about guys. It was like entering Gero's thoughts and that was nice, as he had decided to share his life with him. It meant the relationship was stronger than ever.

They day came and they drove early to be the first ones there. Gero had decided he only wanted his "nuclear" family to meet David first, so the shock or weirdness would be less accentuated for all involved.

Indeed, only Gero's sister had arrived to their parents house before them. For David, it was a relief to see her there. She knew everything and she was very supportive and enthusiastic. Her and her husband had given them some money as a wedding present.

Then, it came time to meet the mother and father. No other situation is more surreal or strange, and all the Christmas ornaments around the house made it even more strange.  The greeting was quite simple: David smiled and the parents did small bows and fake smiles. It was obvious they weren't thrilled about this meeting. David looked at Gero and he was smiling too, but he appeared to be honest about it.

After that dreadful scene, everything was a little bit easier as many things had to be done in order to get the dinner ready. Gero's mother had decided to make fish for dinner so Gero decided to help her with that and David was assigned to do the salad, which was dreadful for him. What if he put in something they didn't like?

But that was not possible as his mother-in-law put every vegetable that needed to be in the salad in front of him. As she did that, she only spoke to herself, reminding to get fish in the oven for the right time and things as such.

When he finished the salad, the woman thanked David with another fake smile and asked him to fill the coolers with the beers they had on the garage. Apparently, there was a small picnic cooler everywhere in the house. Gero wanted to help but David stopped him short and told him, without saying a word, to leave him do this on his own.

He went out to the garage and saw they had a lot of beer cases. "They must love their beer", he thought. Each case was really heavy but he decided to lift it to carry it inside. But he dropped it when a loud honk scared him. As he saw all the spilled beer on the floor, the garage door opened: it was a van filled with people.

As people passed by him, he cleaned the beer of the floor with a mop he found behind the beer boxes. Not one of them said "Hi" but he knew every single one had looked at him, in different ways: with pity, with disgust, with resentment and even with a smile on their faces.

All aunts and uncles and cousins were in there and they settled in the living room with Gero's father, watching TV. They were watching some repetition of an old football game from Europe or so he thought it was. David had no idea about sports.

And as the hours passed, he entered with several boxes of beers and filled the damned coolers. And people that hadn't even acknowledged his presence would ask him for a bottle, even after seeing him putting them in a cooler. He felt like a glorified waiter.

When he finally finished, dinner was ready. They all sat down at the table, which had small names written on papers, placed on each plate. As people sat down, he realized his seat was not adjacent to Gero's seat which was just next to his mother. David decided not to say a word and breath deeply. The night was not going to go on forever.

So he sat between two of Gero's youngest cousins and served himself some of the salad he had made. But when he started chewing the first bite, he noticed something he hadn't put in there. So he grabbed a napkin and put on all the food there, all chewed up. And everyone, now, was looking at him. For a moment, he couldn't speak. He looked at David who had also noticed the attention his husband had attracted.

 - I'm... I'm allergic.

And then David saw his people and realized what happened.

 - Mom, David can't eat peanuts. I thought you hated them, too.

And the mom said she had read they were good for blood pressure and that she had no idea of knowing David was allergic to them. She apologized, but it looked as she was saying it to her glass of wine and not to David.

The dinner went on. They served the fish, which David hated but ate as much as he could, and the a surprise dessert made by one of the girls there, that wanted to be a chef. Her concoction was awful but no one said a word. They all ate at least a bite of it, saying they were too full to keep going.

Midnight was less than hour away when they stood up from the people and gathered on the living room, some chatting, others watching yet another game.

David tried to talk to Gero but that was impossible. His mother was always there, talking and talking and he didn't wanted her to have a reason to kick him out or something. Anyway, there was no need.

Gero's uncle asked for a beer and one of the kids told him there weren't any left in the cooler. The looked in another one and the same thing happened. Then the guy, visibly drunk already, said something everyone heard loud and clear.

 - That faggot doesn't even know how to fill a cooler. And he's allergic to peanuts. What a pussy.

David felt the world crumble around him. Now he was sick, really sick. The stupid lights all over and Santa Claus images and reindeers. All of it made him feel sick to his stomach. He couldn't move though, he was stuck there, in his chair at the dining table, still trying to eat the awful dessert the stupid kid had thought was a dessert.

Then something else, equally awful happened. Gero's dad answered:

 - Leave it alone. Here.

And he gave his brother a beer. "IT. Leave IT alone". It all happened in seconds but it had been enough. David had never been the kind of person to shut his mouth and stay down as he was being insulted. Love wasn't enough to ignore that.

So he stood up and practically ran towards the coat closet. He grabbed his and looked at his husband's stupid family and said:

 - I might be a fucking faggot but I'm not as full of shit as you people are. Merry Christmas.

And he went out the door, the cold night. In the distance he could hear other gatherings and parties but they made him even angrier. He arrived at the car but realized it was Gero that had the keys. He got his wallet out and saw he had some money.

 - Taxi it is. - he said to himself.

He started walking again but then someone's arm stopped him. It was Gero.

 - I don't want to do this now. I want to go to the hotel, have a decent meal and sleep.
 - I'm...
 - I don't care. Just let me go. Stay here and we'll talk tomorrow.

David released himself from Gero's arm and resumed his walking. Ten minutes later, he was sitting on a bus stop waiting for a taxi to pass by but no one drove by. Everyone was with family, obviously.

He knew he had been right all along but even so, he felt bad for leaving and hating Gero's family. He did hate them but he loved him so much. And now, all that had happened.

Then another honk scared him. But this time it wasn't a van full of annoying kids. It was his husband. He lowered the window and said:

 - I'm looking to get lucky tonight. You look hot. Wanna ride?

David burst in laughter and so did Gero. They looked at each other and smiled, with pure love. So the guy on the bus stop stood up and entered the car. After all, it was their first Christmas together as a married couple.