Monday, July 14, 2008

Rafting the American River

I just want to say that everyone should have a manly man for a friend. Paul Middleton is a manly man. He does everything cool, rafting being one of them. It is even better when the Manly man is nice enough to take you out to do cool stuff with him. On Saturday we went up to the Middleton's place with our friends the Bouck's and Anderson's and rafted the river. I think we were on the river for 3 1/2 hours, and we loved every minute of it.Don't be jealous of our pasty white bodies!

I think we were the only ones who got the memo that we needed to smile

After taking a few moments to relieve himself in the river, Mike Bouck pulled Matt Anderson out of the water, like a shark was about to take his life. We are saddend to report that Mike's powerful pull was done with such force, that Matt lost his favorite shirt (you can view Matt's favorite shirt in the photo above, his is on the left side) that he had tucked in the back of his swim shorts. After our raft trip the topless Matt and shoeless Dan walked into Old Navy (don't they have a policy of no shirt, no shoes, no service...well not for these boys, they walked in the store like it ain't no thang!) After 10-15mins of shopping Matt successfully found himself a nice new pink polo, and Dan successful found $2.50 flip flops. Why did we have to get Matt a shirt and Dan some sandals? Because we had to eat at our new favorite Italian Restaurant, Macaroni Grill! (See the Olive Garden Post Below) Rachel Anderson was a trooper. She changed in the McDonald's bathroom and went straight to work as a Server at the Macaroni Grill. Rachel served us the best Italian meal we've had in recent memory!

Thanks Paul and Jenny for a great time!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Where is my salad?

So Thursday night I took my wife out on a date. Mock me if you will, but the Olive Garden is my favorite Italian Restaurant. First of all because of the all you can eat salad and bread sticks, and second because I order the same thing every time and am never disappointed, Spaghetti with meatballs. We arrive at the Olive Garden in Folsom and get our table in a little over 5 minutes. Great. A minute or so later our waitress shows up and asks how we are. I say to her "We're great." But in my mind I'm saying "Why don't you have a bowl of Salad in one hand and a Parmesan grater in the other hand?" She takes our drink order and decides to come back with them after about 5 minutes...once again no Salad and bread sticks. Instead she asks for our order and I give it to her. Then she asks "Would you like to add a salad or bread sticks?" I respond, "No we'll just take the regular stuff that always comes." I am trying to be patient with the young lady so I am all the time thinking, why in the world would I pay for some other "special" salad when you are supposed to be filling me up right now with the free stuff?? She takes off.
Now we have been at our table for 15 minutes and not a trace of a breadstick, olive, or garden salad can be found.

It is now 20 minutes we've been seated and the girl appears from no where, drops some breadsticks on our table and says, "here's something for you while you wait." Like she is doing us some kind of favor! As if her manager found out she would get fired. Then not more than a minute later some kitchen guy brings out our food. Still no salad. I sit there, and stare at my food, refusing to eat until I get my warm-up salad on. But this is the type of waitress that you only see like flashes of gold in the pan, there one second, gone the next. I wait, like a duck hunter in the brush. Then I see her and call her over. I ask,

"Where is our salad? Did the policy change since we were here last?"

She responds, "We'll I've worked here for a year and a half and it has always been like this."

"Well the only reason we come here is the salad and breadsticks!"

"Oh you mean the free salad? You told me you didn't want salad."

"No, I told you I didn't want some fancy salad that you all sell, I asked for the regular old salad that you guys dispense by the ton."

"Oh, I'm sorry, I'll go get you one."

As she walks away, I was wondering, if she didn't know I was talking about the salad policy, what the heck was she thinking when she said she had worked here for a year and a half and it has always been like this.

So by this time it is like 7:30, and we've been seated for half an hour. But once again, like 5 minutes goes by and she still doesn't bring a salad. Some other employee passes our table and I tell him:

"Hey buddy, I have no idea where our server is, but can you just get me a bowl of salad?"

"Oh sure."

He walks away and I can hear him, but I can't see him, and a female voice tells him "Tell them I will be right with them. A minute later, Janay was talking a phone call outside, and the manager walks up to me and says:


I look up from my plate, "Hi", and we kind of just had this awkward stare at one another, because people don't usually walk up to me, say "Hi" and watch me eat. After a second, and realizing I'm not going to say anything, she says:

"So I understand you want to talk to me?"

"Ummmmm, no, I just want a bowl of salad."

"Oh, you didn't want to talk to me?"

Mental thought: Unless your hiding a bowl of salad behind your back, then no, I don't want to talk to you.

Actual Conversation: "No, I really just want a bowl of salad to go with my dinner."

"We'll have one right out for you."

Finally, about 5 minutes later, the elusive one, saunters over, with a grin that says "Everything's Fine! I'm the greatest server in the world, so cheery, so friendly, your wish is my every command" she plops the salad bowl on our table 40 minutes after we had sat down.

I eat one bowl, that's it, one. Because by this time I had metally and physically been broken by this Olive Garden waitress, given in and eaten most of my meal already before my salad. For me, 3 bowls of that salad is the norm, before my food even comes out!

If I weren't on a date with my wife, things would have gotten ugly, I would have gone Bakersfield Chimp in this place (true story but since I have to be on my best behavior with her, I kept things pretty cool.

Then, there was the check. We had a movie time to make, and the waitress had disappeared again, so I just put my credit card on the edge of the table. When she appears, she takes our plates, and leaves the credit card! I gave her 3 minutes to come back, or I was headed for the manager that likes to watch me eat. She made it just under the deadline. We paid and left. We made a pact that we will never eat at Olive Garden again, unless friends or family force us to, and we also will go with the understanding and expectation of receiving the worst service in the world.

Lest you think our decision was too hasty, I will recount our previous visits:

Previous Visit: Janay and I go on a Friday night, wait an hour an a half to be seated. Once seated, a black widow starts climbing in and out of the wall we are sitting next to. Rather than kill the spider, then simply scoot our table 2 feet down the wall.

Visit Before that: My family (6 adults, and 2 children ages 2 and 4(the children did not eat)) receive horrendous service, and when the bill comes they tack on the automatic 18% gratuity because we were a "party of 8".

Visit before that: Janay and I out with friends. I order the never ending pasta bowl. After my second bowl of pasta, my never ending pasta bowl ended. The waiter refused to give me more pasta, even though he had brought out 5 different bowls of pasta for my buddies wife who would take a bite and ask for something else, "because I want to try them all!"

So long Olive Garden. It was a love-hate relationship that has now, sadly, and like so many of these relationships, ended in divorce.

Friday, July 11, 2008

4th of July

made it a family tradition to go to Lake Tahoe to celebrate the 4th. They claim to have the best firework show west of the Mississippi. I would have to agree, it's incredible to watch the fireworks burst over the Lake, while listening to patriotic music synchronized to the fireworks.
Next year I would like to rent a boat and actually be on the lake during the firework show.
However if you are looking for a grand firework show on the East, Dan says Washington DC is hands down the best firework show EVER!
Thanks Newcomer family for joining us for our Tahoe fun. We can't wait until next year to grub on that finger lick'n' KFC!