A Labor of Love

Posted: November 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

Over the time I’ve been blogging, I’ve tried not to talk a lot about Jonas Giovanni, the owner of Giovanni’s.   He is a brilliant restaurateur; Giovanni’s is a busy, high-volume eatery, with great food, good value, and consistent regulars, and it has been his hand at the helm as this has happened.  On the other hand, I’ve never been that fond of him as a person.  He’s a bitter old man.  He’s cheap.  He’s hot tempered, and blows up at people for trivial reasons.  I once watched him make one of our hostesses, a little high school girl barely sixteen, cry because she had grabbed a stack of disposable napkins to clean up a spill instead of paper towels or washable rags.  He has a crass sense of humor, and what he generally sees as funniest is making fun of people for being different.  The way he makes fun of Lenny, our weekend dish tanker, for being intellectually challenged and borderline alcoholic, leaves me feeling ashamed and dirty for standing by without protest.  He’s racist, homophobic, and misogynistic.  And while this is probably the least of his sins, he is a very back-of-house restaurateur.  The cooks are his fair-haired boys, the reason for Giovanni’s success, the talent pool he taps when he needs to promote a manager or supervisor.  He’s had several cooks cross-trained to serve so they understand the whole restaurant.  No waitress has been cross-trained for the kitchen; he treats us as interchangeable and the most easily replaced components of the restaurant; he takes our skill set for granted, even though it is a skill set he doesn’t have.  As I said, least of his flaws, but one that particularly sicks in my craw, because I’m prideful and I expect to be acknowledged both for being good at what I do and for the contribution my peers and I have made to Giovanni’s success, an expectation that has gone woefully unmet.  I’ve tried not to talk about Jonas because I always figured no good could come of admitting I tend to think of my boss as an a-hole, even an a-hole with some redeeming values, in a public forum.  I’m only admitting that now so I can confess that when I misjudge someone, I get it wrong by the numbers.

Spoiler Alert: I end up hospitalized...

Spoiler Alert: I end up hospitalized…

Sunday was supposed to be one of my last shifts working before I gave up and waited in bed for my pregnancy to end.  My due date is December 1oth, and I’ve been trying to read all the blogs and forums so I know what to expect and don’t freak out quite so much.  I knew as a first pregnancy, I was more likely to be late than early.  Every one keeps saying every pregnancy is different, so I knew not to take any particular description or prediction as gospel, but the ability to judge probabilities and play odds is part of how I serve so well.  When I felt a heavy trickle down the side of my leg while I was taking my first table’s order, I was embarrassed but not alarmed.  Sadly, it wasn’t the first time the pregnancy had caused me to wet my pants, so I’ve been keeping a spare pair handy.  I grabbed the plastic Walmart bag with my backup pants, ducked into the lady’s room, and hoped my table wouldn’t notice that I changed my jeans before I put their order in.  I closed the door to the stall, and as I was struggling to push my jeans off, that’s when I really, well, had something to be alarmed about.  I panicked, really.  It had to be my water breaking, that much fluid couldn’t be anything else.  But it couldn’t be my water breaking either, because I had read that many moms never get more than a trickle and that the water usually doesn’t break until during or just before labor, and I couldn’t be there, because I hadn’t even had any Braxton Hicks contractions, the false alarm contractions that usually only become strong enough to feel in the last few weeks before the real thing.  I’m not sure how long I just stood with no pants in a puddle in the bathroom thinking, “oh, shit, oh, shit,oh, shit, what do I do?”; it couldn’t have been even a minute.  I pulled my pants on, tried to pull my self together, and rushed back to the kitchen to find a manager.  I walked around Jonas and found Christian, a line cook and supervisor who was working expo line, and I just kind of dumped on him, “Chris, my water just broke in the women’s room and someone has to go mop and I can’t because I need to put table 302’s order in and then I need to go to the hospital and I’m so sorry.”  And Christian is a couple years younger than I am, still living in his mother’s basement, and only gets an extra buck or two an hour when he’s supervising.  By the time I was done speaking, he looked even more panicky than I did.

I’ll admit I walked around Jonas because I tend to think of him as sort of a large mobile obstacle.  Giovanni’s is fairly cramped for space- Jonas is, depending on your perspective, either too savvy or too cheap to allow any space that can be used profitably to sit idle.  Jonas’s ownership style is to wander around, keeping an eye on how every thing and every one is working.  He blocks aisles and doorways, and no one calls him on wandering around like he owns the place because, technically, he does.  But he doesn’t fill any particular role in the restaurant, just watches and occasionally randomly goes off at someone like a claymore mine.  So I was a little surprised when Jonas started barking out orders.  “Craig, quit helping Lenny.  He can’t fall that that far behind while you mop the women’s restroom.  Make sure you have a waitress give you an all clear before you go inside.”  He looked to see who all was in the kitchen, “Mackenzey!  You’re taking over table 302, get the order from Emily.  Chris, just stay on expo line and keep the food going out.  Yell for Davy if things start to back up.  Emily, go and sit down in the office while I call nine-one-one.  Put a trash bag down on the chair.”

I'm not sure this is a medically necessary procedure….

I’m not sure this is a medically necessary procedure….

I think I yelped in the office as the first contraction hit me.  It actually didn’t hurt as much as I feared, but it startled me, a sudden constipated feeling like I had to pass a really large movement.  Jonas put a hand over the telephone receiver to tell me to stay calm and breathe slowly, and I realized he was arguing with the emergency dispatcher.  “I know the EMT’s will come as ‘soon as they are able’, lady, I’m not scheduling an appointment.  I just want to know how long.”  A pause.  “Oh, for fuck’s sake, just cancel the call, we’re only two blocks from the hospital, I’ll take her myself.”  And so I found myself holding onto Jonas’s surprisingly muscular arm, as he ushered me out to the passenger seat of his X5.  I barely had time to try to call my dad before we were at the emergency room entrance, Jonas putting his blinkers on and escorting me inside.  He continued to bark orders to the hospital staff just like he had at Giovanni’s, and before I knew it an E.R. doctor- not Dr. Bob– was taking a look at me. He confirmed I was in labor, only about five cm dilated, he told me it looked like I had breech baby, and that there was time to move me from emergency to maternity.

Time but not much time.  My contractions were only about four and a half minutes apart, so there wasn’t time to try to reposition Piper in my belly.  Instead I was given a spinal block and prepped for an emergency Cesarean.  My memory of the next few hours, between the drugs, the panic, and the sheer emotional whipsawing, is pretty hazy.  I remember sobbing a lot of apologies.  I remember telling the anesthesiologist that I wanted my daddy.  Truthfully, my dad wouldn’t be my first choice to be there for my labor.  I think both of us are more comfortable when Sergeant Marik doesn’t have to acknowledge that his little angel has women parts and those parts have seen use.  However, since I don’t have a relationship with Piper’s father, don’t have a lot of family, and have many acquaintances but few close friends, dad was something more important than my first choice.  He was my only choice, and he wasn’t there.

But Jonas was.  I remember hearing a nurse telling Jonas only family could come into the operating room with me, and Jonas giving a profanity laced reply that he wasn’t going to let one of his waitresses be left alone.  I remember rolling my head in the operating room, trying to see over the sheet so I knew what was going on, and Jonas squeezing my hand and murmuring something quietly in Italian until I was paying attention to him and not the doctors.  I remember someone asking Jonas if he would like to hold his new granddaughter, and that while I was trying to slur a correction, Jonas just gravely replied, “I would be honored,” and I could hear how sincerely he meant that.  And I remember seeing a little wetness in the corner of his eye, once the doctors stitched the incision and propped me up, as Jonas handed me little Piper to hold for the first time.

What makes it all worthwhile...

What makes it all worthwhile…

I think I can say with total accuracy that if my dad wouldn’t be my first choice to be a birthing partner, that Jonas wouldn’t even be on the list.  And yet I cannot think of anyone who would have done a better job of being there for me when I really, really needed someone to be there.  I totally misjudged Jonas and I wanted to say so out loud.  And as a permanent reminder, I filled out Piper’s birth certificate papers slightly differently from my original intent… I’m so happy now to be the mother of Piper Jonasine Marik, who is nineteen inches long, six pounds and seven ounces, and absolutely gorgeous!😍

My little angel

My little angel…

Oh, and the obligatory style card stuff: 

  • Shape: Teen Katie, wk 38 by Cukabebe
  • Skin: Tiffany, by Kids5B
  • Tattoos: Vegas, by Infected
  • Hair: Paloma, Red2 by Dark Mouse
  • Outfit: Team Player (Pregnant Slut) by Ellemeno; source unknown Pink Sneakers
  • Accessories: Graffiti Bangles by Grumble, Grumble; Hearts a Flutter headband by Le Fil Casse; source unknown nose ring.
  1. […] law guarantees my job has to be there for up to twelve weeks maternity leave, and since I went into labor at work, I didn’t use up any of the twelve weeks before giving […]

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