Thursday, 26 July 2012

Back to "reality"

Wow such a long time since I posted! Oops! It's all been mad as always here....

So, Monday was where I left my last post - my parents' anniversary/birthday present was a night at the Grant Floridian and dinner (paid for by moi) at the California Grill. Well it worked out wonderfully because they had a view of the castle from their room and then when they went to the Grill, they got seats by the window and confetti on their table as well as a Happy Anniversary on their desserts :) Perfect! In the mean time, Nick came over to the villa and he came with Victoria and I to have dinner at Flippers Pizzeria which was good. Then we went back home and watched The Inbetweeners Movie on DVD - LOL. Nick and I stayed up chatting for a while and then he drove home and I went to bed.

The next day I left before my parents had even got back for yet another Mid. I got there for pre-meal and got told I was training the PM. So I was a normal AM server in 510 which was really busy (for a change!) and eventually got cut for my break so I didn't get break until like 3.45pm. Because I was training in the afternoon, we needed to get downstairs as quickly as possible so I only had about a 30 minute break. I was training Katy-Sue on her final day of training so I didn't need to do much - just keep an eye on her. I was pretty exhausted by the evening and I didn't enjoy the shift very much... we also had to be KD because that's what you do on the training PM... oh, and it was EMH. Joy. So it was pretty busy and we were in 514 but eventually we got upstairs to bank out whilst other people were finishing their tables and doing sidework. When we were up there, I had someone scream at me for signing someone else off when they hadn't finished their sidework (there was confusion because I thought they had but I was mistaken) which pretty much tipped me over the edge that day because I was so tired and I got a bit upset. Cue then being pulled into the managers office to have a "chat" about my day and how I thought it went... yeahhh... that was fun. When I look back now, it was nothing, but at the time I just had a bad day. I finally clocked out 11 hours and 45 minutes after the start of my shift just before midnight. Nick was still up so we went for a midnight McDonalds and then I didn't bother driving back to the villa because I was just too tired so I crashed at his instead.

The next day (Wednesday) I was off work so I left Nick's bright and early and was back to the villa by 9am. I had a shower and got changed before heading with the family to Animal Kingdom. It was reasonably busy there but we did single rider for Everest which meant we only waited about 10 minutes and then saw the Nemo show which was cute as always. Then we went and had lunch before queuing about 35 minutes for Dinosaur. Then we'd pretty much done what we wanted to do so we headed home when it started to get really hot... spent the rest of the day by the pool. In the evening it was time for a bit of a 'Meet the Parents' situation because Nick's Mom had come into town and they wanted to meet each other! So we all went to Longhorn Steakhouse which was a good place to go as everyone liked the food and it wasn't too formal... it was a very enjoyable evening (even though I found it slightly nervewracking!). I was totally shattered by the end of the evening so after saying our goodbyes, we went home and I went to bed.

On Thursday it was my last day off during the family vacation so we decided to go to Busch Gardens. It was somewhere that my sister had always wanted to go and now I have an annual pass so at about 9.30am we set off. It only took about an hour to get there from the villa which was good. We parked and got into the park - headed straight for Sheikra as Cheetah Hunt was closed. We saw some animals on the way (I don't remember seeing this part of the park before!) and then only queued for about 30 minutes for Sheikra. Then we headed round and did the River Rapids (where we encountered some very annoying Spanish-speaking queue jumpers... grrrr!) and also got soaking wet. It was a very hot day though so it didn't matter that much! Then we on the train and went past some more animals before getting lunch which took a while because they were super slow. I had pizza. Then we went on Montu with a 5 minute wait before queuing for Cheetah Hunt which had reopened for about an hour. After that we were pretty tired so after an obligatory visit to the gift shop, we went home.

Pretty much as soon as I got back, I changed and then headed to EPCOT to meet Tyler and his friends who were visiting from Canada. We wondered around the UK and Canada pavilions and had a drink in the R&C (standard) before going to ride Soarin'. After that I dropped them back at Port Orleans and then drove home which was a nice random trip to the parks.

Friday I was a 1045 AM... but boy, was this a crazy morning. Okay, so we headed out at 9am so that I could maingate the family into Hollywood Studios. This was done by 9.45am and they headed off into the park to do the couple of rides we didn't have chance to do earlier in the week. Meanwhile, I left DHS and missed the boat to EPCOT by about 1 minute so I had to walk it - not a problem, I had factored this in as a possibility anyway. So I power walked the 1.5 miles to International Gateway and by this point I was somewhat hot and sweaty... the temperature was already hitting 90 degrees. I walked into work and it was only about 10.15am so I had a good 30 minutes to cool down and get ready for my shift... until I went to get changed and realised I'd forgotten my skirt! OOPS!! Therefore I then had 20 minutes to get to costuming and back (another mile walk across the park, backstage behind Test Track and then across a street) which also included getting changed. I managed it and clocked in with 2 minutes to spare but was now EXTREMELY hot and sweaty!! My manager took one look at me and told me to go find somewhere cold and sit there... but nevertheless, I put in for an ER and then proceeded to set up the kitchen. At about 11.10am I got the word that when I'd finished setting up the restaurant and kitchen I was granted my ER - even before pre-meal!! WAHOOO!!! This was the last full day my family had in Orlando so I really wanted to spend it with them. So, at 11.30am I clocked back out, changed again and this time, got the boat back to DHS! What a palava!

I met them outside, by this time they'd done what they wanted to do, and we went back to the car and back to the villa. I spent the day sunbathing and going in the pool before reading all about my upcoming trip to the West Coast (More on that later!!!)... I'd made reservations for Via Napoli in the Italian Pavilion of EPCOT so we got ready and went over to the park. Victoria and I went ahead and wondered around the world showcase before my parents joined us after going to MouseGear. I got a cheeky glass of Banfi Rosa Regale and then we got seated. I had calamari for appetiser which was okay, then I had a Lasagne Verde which was really yummy! Reminded me of my spinach and ricotta cannelloni which I used to eat 2-3 times a week at home! We were all pretty full after this so only my Dad had a dessert, a Tiramisu, and then we paid and left to go to Norway and ride Maelstrom! The fireworks started just as we left so we watched them as we walked out of the park and went home.

The next day was the day my parents were leaving :( So we packed up our stuff and I put everything in my car to take back to the commons. I went ahead of them and signed them into security at the Commons. I picked up a new key for my apartment because one of my French roomates has self-termed (I knew for ages that she would though) and then they got there so I showed them my apartment. We then drove over to IHop which was awfully busy so tried to go to Cracker Barrel instead. I think most of Orlando had the same idea though so that was a fail too. We ended up getting a doughnut at Dunkin Donuts (and I bought a couple of boxes for work) before going back to Commons where it was time to say goodbye :(

I was sad when they left but I had to get on with everything and sort my stuff out before work. I did some washing and tidying before getting ready for work. I took my donuts in and they went down a storm (obviously) but then my shift just went downhill from there to be honest... I just felt meh for the whole evening. I ended up being one of the last out as well and I was super-tired. I drove back home and went to bed straight away.

The next morning I had to be up early to return the rental car. It was very hot walking back from the Marriott Village but once I got back and had a shower I felt better. Then I got ready for work again because I was an 11.30AM. This shift was a lot better but I was training again - this time with the infamous Rob Porter! He did a great job for a first day but it was quite quiet. We had a couple of big tops but we were in dart room so that was good having A/C. Once we finished and banked out, I got the bus back home. Later on I met Nick and we went to Cheesecake Factory for dinner which was yummy.

On Monday, I worked a PM but when I got in, it had been raining and I was given 704 lower deck. I spent 30 minutes drying the tables before we sat a 7-top at one of them... before I'd even had a chance to get their drinks we had to move them to upper deck because it was about to pour down... so I served that table, got another ER and went back home by 7pm! It rained for the rest of the evening actually so lower deck was closed all day. Nick and I went to an Indian restaurant and had curry (nomnomnom) and it was actually almost the same as at home!

On Tuesday I also worked a PM... but of course, it was EMH. I will be very happy when it returns back to a Friday. In the morning, I met Rob (from my first program in 2008) and we went to Wilderness Lodge to rent speedboats! That was a LOT of fun even though I got totally sunburnt. Then we went over to MK to see the MiSiCi parade (again, sunburning occurred) and then I left to get the monorail over to EPCOT. I arrived at work super early so hung around for a while after wondering through Mouse Gear to get replacement earrings for my Mum (as she's lost one she bought already, they'd only been home 24 hours!). For the evening I was in section 505 which was a busy one... I had about 12 tables and earnt some pretty good dollar dollar. I was only Restock as my sidework so I managed to clock out at like 10.45pm woo. That's good for EMH.

Yesterday was my day off... I went to the Living Well Center in the morning which is basically the local doctors surgery for us. It was an interesting experience - it seemed more organised than seeing the doctor back at home. First off, they gave you a buzzer just like we use in the restaurant to let you know when the nurse was ready to see you! Haha! The reason for being there was because I wanted to get my iron levels checked (they were low when I was at home) but because I hadn't been there before, I had to get a check up first. So they did my height, weight and general overview thing including my blood pressure and stuff. Then I had to wait in the room for the doctor to come in and we talked about which blood tests to get. Then he sent me round the corner to the blood work room where they took my blood there and then! After that it was back to the front desk to pay the $15 copay (welcome to America) and then make my appointment for next week to find out the results. So that was fun. After this, I got lunch with Nick at Chilis and then we chilled out for the rest of the day playing computer games like complete nerds :-D

Today I accompanied him to his college campus as he had to take a short exam. That was... fun :P I sat around for an hour and then we got French food for lunch. Now we are just chilling out again - this is how I like to spend my days off, I'm all parked out!!

Ah yes, now I said I'd mention my West Coast trip... well, Nick and I are going to do a whirlwind trip in August in 3 days touching 5 states... to be revealed!

Monday, 16 July 2012

The Magic, The Memories and Me

So on Wednesday we headed out to Magic Kingdom just after some rain had passed through. This was nice because it was substantially cooler than it had been all week. We got to MK at about 4pm and headed to the back of the park to do Thunder Mountain. I was excited because I hadn't done it since it reopened after 5 months of maintenance! It definitely felt smoother and more enjoyable... we did have to line up for like 45 minutes though. We got Splash Mountain fast passes and headed over to the Haunted Mansion which was only about 20 minute queue. After this we went back and did Splash - got appropriately wet! Then we had some food at Pecos Bills before heading around to Adventureland and going on Pirates of the Caribbean and Jungle Cruise (standard!) then we did Aladdin's Flying Carpets (that's another ride ticked off on my bucket list!) before having a Dole Whip and walking to the Emporium to have a wonder round whilst the parade went past. Then we went up to the top of Main Street and got spots for TMM&Y and Wishes which was amazing as always :D

We waited about 15 minutes afterwards for the crowds to clear a bit before heading out of the park. The line for the express monorail was OBSCENE! All the tour groups were in line for it and no jokes, it looked at least an hour long. Lucky for us, I knew better so we headed over to the resorts monorail and only waited about 10 minutes before we were on the monorail and then back at the TTC. It still took us about an hour and a half from the end of the fireworks to get back to the villa though so it was pretty exhausting.

On Thursday we were going to Hollywood Studios. We didn't set off as early as I'd hoped because we were all tired from Magic Kingdom the day before. We eventually got there at about 10.30am and it was PACKED. We went over to Toy Story Mania and only lined for about 60 minutes so that was good and the others enjoyed the ride - I got the highest score in our car though WOO. We went over to Sunset Boulevard to get Aerosmith fast passes but the line was insane! It came all the way out of the stand by entrance and back to the entrance to that area (past the merchandise carts and back to the area where the car is over your head if you've been there!) and the queue was listed as 120 minutes. Shocking. So I got fastpasses anyway which weren't until 4pm (it was only about midday at this point) and we went to ToT but this had a 90 minute queue!! I've never seen Tower of Terror with more than about 50 minutes so I didn't know what was going on. Instead we went over to the other side of the park and went on Star Tours whose queue was in 3 loops round the Ewok Village (technical speak for VERY LONG) so we had to wait about 35 minutes for that and we didn't get a very good combination but I still think my dad liked it so that's good. I didn't see anyone I knew though. After ST we went to get food in the Backlot Express but it was packed to the rafters with Tour Groups! ARGH!!! I can't stand them! So we headed back to Sunset and got pizza/chicken nuggets before seeing that ToT was down to 45 minutes so after we ate we joined that line. It actually turned out to only be about 30 minutes really. By this point it was about 3pm so we still had another hour for Aerosmith but it was very hot and very busy so we decided to quit and go back to the pool at the villa. I had a magical moment at the turnstiles as I grabbed the first group of people I saw coming into the park which happened to be a Scottish couple fussing around with suncream on each other and gave them our Aerosmith fast passes :) Obviously this meant they could go on it twice each so they were very happy and I got a warm fuzzy cast member feeling :P

We headed back and went to the pool for a while. At about 7pm we went to Mall at Millennia (LOVE THAT PLACE) and went to go to Cheesecake Factory. The line was about an hour so my parents stayed with the pager whilst Victoria and I went to Forever 21 and I successfully spent $100 in 30 minutes... oops! I bought three lovely dresses though and sometimes I go in there and find nothing suitable so I took the opportunity and ran with it. Then we got our table so went in to eat - I had chicken enchiladas and then the raspberry white chocolate cheesecake... NOM. Then we headed home pretty tired!

On Friday I had to work another Mid. I headed to work and got to pre-meal just in time. I missed out on an ER from pre-meal by 5 minutes because Carla had already put hers in and it's done first come first served so I was hoping for an ER for the PM part of my shift. I was really hopeful but then Joe came in and my hopes got dashed when he basically say no outright. I was a bit gutted because I'd really hoped to be able to go home. The problem was that someone called in and we also had a 'dine-around' coming in... this meant that dart room was blocked off for this party of 18 whose company were paying for their meal. Well, Disney were invoicing their company for it. Simple enough, right? Well, Joe ended up chosing me as the server because I was on break when he was deciding and I think he felt guilty for not being able to give me an ER :P So I was up for the challenge and when they came in, they were lovely :) Sometimes with the dine-arounds, they can be drunkards and mis-behaved so it's stressful but these guys were great! They did complicate the meal a little bit though because the food and soft drinks were paid for by the company and then one lady was buying one round of alcohol for them... after that they wanted separate checks for everyone that bought their own alcohol! Basically, it ended up with one check for food/soft drinks, one check for the first round and then 13 separate checks for the rest of the alcohol! Exciting stuff. I was proud of myself because I kept on top of everything and didn't stress the whole time... even with 13 cards to put through! The hardest part was finding 13 check pads LOL. Also, because by the time they left it was gone 8.30pm, Joe ended up giving me my ER even though it was only for an hour haha! I went to McDonalds on the way home and then gratefully went to bed - it's been exhausting doing work and a family vacation at the same time!

Saturday I was off again and it was Universal day! Victoria, Dad and myself drove over there pretty early. Getting through the bag check was a challenge because of the amount of tour groups (again!!) but they looked like they were mostly heading to Islands of Adventure (IoA) so we went to Studios! We went to the Simpsons Ride which was pretty much a walk-on and then did ET just because it's cute. Then we walked round and went on the Mummy which had about a 40 minute queue complete with screaming/clapping/chanting tour groups all around us competing with each other - hell on earth. The actual ride was good tho. Then we left Studios and went to IoA... we had lunch at the Three Broomsticks (the others had never had Butterbeer - a crime!) and then went single rider on Forbidden Journey which is really the only way at this time of year! Only about 10 minute queue. Then Victoria and I did the Ice dragon on Duelling Dragons (Sorry...."Dragon Challenge"....) before we all walked over and did Jurassic Park where, for once, I didn't get soaked! Then we walked to Marvel and went on Spiderman where we did Single Rider again and it was only about 15 minutes wait. After that we were pretty tired and we'd done everything they wanted to do/didn't do earlier in the week. We got ice cream and went back to the car.

We did a brief trip to Publix and then had pizza/lasagne for dinner whilst chilling by the pool with some wine. Nice.

Sunday I was back at work just for an AM shift. We left early and I signed them into EPCOT then went to work. They did Soarin and wondered around for a bit then left for the pool again whilst I was training Lesley's first day as a server! This was a bit stressful because I'd not done a first-day before and we had all sorts of guests including one that got so overly stressed about her check that she started getting angry and my manager had to talk to her. Not our fault, probably more to do with the Leaping Leprechaun and half Welsh Dragon she'd drank....! Overall it seemed to go okay - I hope that I did a good job. When we'd finished and banked out, I got changed and went to the bar for a cheeky Magical Star. Nick then met me and we went to do Spaceship Earth. The family turned up after this and we did Mission Space (Mum and Dad on green, Victoria, Nick and myself on Orange) and then went to the  UK pavilion to watch the British Revolution. I got told to come back to the R&C to check in at about 7.15pm so I did... only to have to wait until 8pm to get sat. We did end up on lower deck though because they'd obviously ER'd everyone from Lower Deck as it was so quiet earlier in the day and it had been raining on and off so people had had to pick up tables. Amelia was our server and she did a great job. I had the scallops as my appetizer which were REALLY good and then the cheese plate for my entree (just coz I love it). Then I shared the Mandy's Mess with Nick for dessert. We left at about 9.45pm and walked to the front of the park where we ended up getting the last tram of the night back to the car!

That brings us to today. Not much is happening but my parent's are having their anniversary present of going to the Grand Floridian and California Grill tonight. Victoria and I are staying in, Nick might join us for some DVD watching and pizza eating I'd imagine.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Family and Fireworks

It's been a busy week! On Monday after my last post I was a PM and I don't particularly remember much about the shift so it wasn't that eventful. The restaurant has been very quiet recently and so for the first couple of hours we just generally stand around not doing much... then it tends to get really busy around 7pm for the last couple of hours. Tuesday I was a PM as well, again don't remember much... except I got everything for the picnic ready in the morning. On Wednesday morning I got up and put the picnic together in the cool bag and got everything ready for the beach. Nick picked me up around 1pm (later than I initally wanted but it just worked out that way) and we got some Panera Bread for lunch before stopping by Walgreens. It started to spot with rain when we first got onto the I-4 and then it was torrential downpour for about 20 minutes! Good start to our beach day! Haha! Luckily once we cleared the storm then the sun came out and it was an easy drive over to Clearwater. When we got there it was VERY busy and we got stuck in a little bit of traffic which was expected... I had got us a room at the last minute at the Wyndham Gardens hotel on the south side of Clearwater so we drove round there and by some miracle, there was once parking space left in their car park! So we parked and checked in, easy peasy! We went up to our room which was really nice - the hotel had a renovation quite recently so the room had laminate flooring and such a comfy bed! We got changed and went down to the hotel's bit of beach. It was okay... I mean, the main Clearwater Beach is a lot nicer but we only wanted to go and chill for a couple of hours so it was fine. Had a couple of funny incidences where Nick ended up with a spade-ful of sand in his face as a small annoying child decided to build sandcastles right by him and THEN a bird dropped some sort of half-eaten bread on his face when we'd moved 5 meters further down! LOL.

At around 6pm we went back to the room and had our picnic food before getting changed and going to the hotel bar for a cheeky cocktail. We walked round from the hotel beach along a scrubby bit of sand and around the corner where we were on a scrappy bit of a beach (which had a slight smell of sewage and the industrial-look) however had a perfect view of the main bridge (Memorial Causeway) leading over to Clearwater and that's where the fireworks were getting launched from! Perfect :D We sat on the sand and watched it get dark - took some lovely pictures of the sunset like this one from my phone:

Then we waited for the fireworks, watching other people's displays going off in all directions around us! At about 9.30pm the Clearwater ones started and they were really good - we had such a perfect view and there were no crowds etc it was brilliant. After they finished, we walked back to the hotel and had another cocktail, sat around chatting before going to bed.

The next day we didn't leave the hotel until about 11.30am, we drove back home via Panda Express for lunch. I got back to the commons at 1.50pm and then had to get the bus to work at 2.15pm so it was a bit of a rush! I was a PM shift because I switched my days off this week and when I got in, it was dead as usual so boring to start with. I was in 514 so I was KD which meant I didn't get out until quite late. I was quite tired so I went home and went to bed. On Friday I was a Mid (standard!) so I started at 12... I got a little bit of a lie-in so that was nice. In the morning I was in 307 which was a nice bit of A/C and then in the PM I was in 508.... whoop whoop. This meant it was a crazy finish to the shift and I actually ended up getting out later than the KDs - I was the last server to clock out! I made some good money though and surprisingly from being on that section, the vast majority of it wasn't gratuity!

I should explain what this means... so at the end of each day you get 3 types of tips. Cash, Charge and Gratuity. Obviously cash tips are given straight to you from the guest and you just keep them. Charge tips are added to a credit card bill and they go into Disney's pocket along with the money for the meal... so therefore, at the end of the night Disney have to essentially give the charge tips back to you, so the GT (General Teller) will give you all the money you earnt in Charge Tips in cash. So at the end of each day you take home your cash and charge tips all in cash, good times. Then if you have parties who are 6 people or more, cast members or get Tables in Wonderland discount then they get an automatic 18% gratuity added and that money goes into your paycheck on a Thursday. This is useful because it pays your rent!

Okay, so I went home and had to get my stuff ready for Saturday but didn't do a very good job as I was so tired that I just went to bed! On Saturday morning I had to be up bright and early to go and pick up my rental car at 10am. That walk to the Marriott Village Resort (about 20 minutes) gets harder and harder as the summer progresses - just melting!! I got a pretty basic car this time which was a bit annoying - it has manual locking and manual windows, I mean really?! Anyway, I drove to the Grand Floridian to try and show my ID for my parents reservation next week which was their surprise Anniversary present!! They're staying there for one night and I got a reservation at the California Grill at the Contemporary as well as a $200 gift card to pay for it :) I was so excited to tell them and I'd kept it a secret for 6 months! Now that they know about it, I can put it on here. Anyway, they wouldn't let me show my ID because they said it was 5 days before not 10 (lies) so that was annoying. The traffic on the I-4 was awful so I'd hoped to go to the post office to post Hayley's birthday present but I failed as I ran out of time and instead had to go home and pack my stuff. Then I picked up Nick at about midday and we got Pei Wei for lunch before driving to Sanford airport to surprise my parents! We got there about 20 minutes before their flight got in so we sat around waiting and they just weren't coming out of the arrivals area. Eventually about 20 minutes after the flight arrived, we asked someone and realised that international arrivals come out of a different door!! So then we went over to the car rental desks and found them there so I surprised them even more which was hilarious! We hung around for a bit then drove back home to get stuff from my apartment before going to the villa which is in Davenport - about a 20 minute drive.

We got there and Dad, Victoria and I went to Publix for some essentials. Then we picked up chinese takeaway and ate that with Nick as well before sitting around with some wine for the early evening. They all went to bed around 10pm because they were exhausted, whilst Nick and I watched Ratatouille! How have I never seen that movie before, it's hilarious! Disney fail!

On Sunday, the family went to Walmart for a proper shop so Nick and I lazed around the pool for most of the day. They joined us when we got back. We went to Olive Garden for dinner which was really nice - I had shrimp mezzaluna... nom. We got back and watched some more movies (The Blind Side - REALLY GOOD) and then went to bed.

On Monday, sadly I had to go back to work and it was a mid. I was hoping to get an ER but when I got in, it turned out I was training for the whole day! So I was training Katie and she was great :) We were 510 in the AM and then 106 in the PM. It was quite quiet but she did a good job. I was very tired when I left but I drove back to the villa and crashed out. Then the next day (Tuesday) I was originally a 10.45 EMH Training KD Mid. EWWWWWW. Worst combination possible! In English, that means I started at 10.45am to set up the kitchen, worked the whole day on a Mid and trained KD so I'd be the last person to leave AND it was Extra Magic Hours. However, Katie got sick during the day so I ended up not training so I wasn't KD and then because I was a Mid I got cut at 9pm so didn't get out that late. I ended up on lower deck on my own, with 5 tables!! It was crazy. Charlotte picked up several tables later in the evening as well as did other people. It was a good night in the end. I was SO TIRED by the end though, then I had to wait for Nick to get home at midnight before I went to his apartment and slept for all of 3 hours before I had to take him to the airport at 4.45am as he's got to get a flight to Connecticut for a funeral sadly. After I'd dropped him off, I drove back to Davenport and got to the villa at 6.30am and went back to bed until 11.30am! Since then, I've been sitting here on the sofa watching TV and writing this. Off to Magic Kingdom later, excited!!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

5 days to go!

The Mid on Friday was okay... I was kept busy. I was put in 701 in the morning which is an AWFUL section at any time of day, let alone from 12 midday until 4pm in the blazing Florida sun (the heat index was at about 100F) in that costume... two out of my four tables were physically so hot that I couldn't set a tray down on them because it would be too hot to pick back up minutes later. So, obviously, no guests could sit there... this meant I only had 4 tables for my AM before I made them cut me for my break - I got about 40 minutes before dinner started and for dinner I was in 307. This was a relief - to be in the air conditioning - and it was reasonably busy so I made up for my pitiful AM. Amazingly, my guests all finished and were paid by 9pm so I cleaned my section, banked out, then did my sidework (iced tea & coffee), clocked out at 10pm, was lying on my bed by 10.30pm - incredible. Have NEVER got home that quickly when it involved the C bus. There were probably people still at work doing sidework at that point! So, I made the most of it by having a nice shower and going to bed early.

Saturday I was my first ever 11.30 AM shift! Up to this point, they've all been starting at 10.45am which is a setting-up-the-kitchen shift. It's not too bad but starting later is a sign of seniority AND you get extra time in bed...! So, I ambled in at 11.30 for pre-meal and got given section 311. This is a bit of a sucky section but at least you mostly avoid gratuity (because it's almost impossible to seat more than 5 at the tables) but there's only 3 tables so you don't earn so much. The restaurant was DEAD though so it was pretty unproductive all round. I got out promptly after the AM and went to Crossroads with Sophie for Sweet Tomatoes which was amazing as always. Then we got the F bus home (called the F bus because it's commonly associated with the phrase, "Where the F is the bus?" or as some people call it "The Fun Bus"... neither of these reasons are true but quite funny nevertheless) and I washed my hair and had a low-key evening.

Today I was in for another 11.30AM. Yet again, it was very quiet so very dull - typically it only got busy at 3pm so we all got sat multiple times right before the end of lunch. I was section 510 which is normally quite nice but it was hotter than hell outside today (high of 35 degrees C, without the heat index added!) so I was glad when the shift was over and I could go home and change into cooler clothes. I got the H bus (so called because it's the HELL BUS.... obviously) and went to Walmart. Now, this Walmart escapade is bad enough because the round trip takes about 2.5 hours usually but today it was even worse because there was about 4 different coachloads of Brazilian teenagers in tour groups in there! UGHHH. Horrible. The lines at the checkout were awful as well. The only reason I went through this traumatising experience was so that I could buy picnic food for Wednesday as it is the 4th July! It's the first time I've been in the country for the occasion and NOT been scheduled to work so Nick and I are going to brave Clearwater Beach armed with picnic, suncream and hope to see the fireworks.

Oh, and my parents arrive in 5 days!!!