I knew in that moment that I still had the power over everybody I ever met. But I had to be careful how I wield that sword.
Are you sill hungry?
Do you want that Eileen?
Can we do half pepperoni?
Eileen and I tan all of the people, sweep, and mop, and do all of the things we have to do to make it perfect for the next shift like always.
I’m sure Thomas (boyfriend back in Missouri) is furious, but I take Eileen to &Pizza.
I love being with Eileen.
We order a sweet pie that is done in 2 minutes. I pay of course and I’m happy to take care of Eileen. I just figure pizza is a good reward for incredible work at the salon,
We lock up and walk over to & Pizza. It’s raining little bit and I open my umbrella to protect her hair, which as she told me, gets so frizzy in rainy weather.
Eileen’s hair is long, luxurious, and absolutely gorgeous. It is like ribbons of coal that tumble about her shoulders like nothing else.
I know those are words of amour, but trust me, I’m just describing here. She’s 18. My daughter Lorelei is 21, I’m a Dad. I’m simply describing my co-worker’s lovely mane.
If you’ve been reading this blog I know what you’re all thinking.
We get to the place and go and order. Eileen doesn’t like her roommates. Apparently they are a bunch of “petty bitches” as she describes.
I get it. Teenage girls living together in close quarters is a dicey situation. Eileen likes to stay out and delay her time at the dorm. So this is welcomed by my employee.
We order and within minutes our product arrives out of the oven fresh and delish.
We grab a table and put our stuff down.
I like being out with Eileen. We work well together and get killed every night by the crowds of people desperately trying to tan for whatever the hell they have going on. It’s a luxury choice and and a needed service for others.
Some for skin disorders, but for the most part this time of year it’s just so they look tan in the sunny summer and don’t burn.
Eileen is such a good actress. She feels all of the frustration we all feel working here, but she always remains cheery and cordial. I love that. That’s a good work ethic I respect and enjoy.
We both know we’re slammed and the air conditioning is busted at the worst time possible, and the guy didn’t show up for the 2nd time, but we make it work.
We do that every night with out fail. We delight everyone and get them tan with a smile.
I feel the pressure of sometimes working on my own before she gets there before school because of her schedule, but when I hear her voice enter the salon I feel nothing but joy, knowing my help has arrived to save me from being run over for three hours straight.
The delicious pie arrives in few minutes because that’s what they do at & pizza.
That’s where we were in Philly!
It’s a chain, but I don’t know how they pay their their $35k a month rent, but I digress!
Eileen is happy and that’s all I care about. If baby’s hungry after a monster shift, I’m happy to feed her.
I’m a huge believer in rewarding your best people, and even though Achilles should be doing this, I do it.
It’s just the right thing to do for your best people. I have the best staff I’ve ever had this year. I wish Achilles knew this, but it’s lost on him and that just makes me think more about Mac Mart, but again… I digress.
They have all of these weird fountain drinks and Eileen wants to try a few of them before she commits.
I paid for the pie and the drinks but she grabbed a little cup before, and now I have a big cup and she has a small one.
Eileen is determined to get a big cup and just grabs one after her first Mango whatever.
“Well you paid for it, so I’m getting a bigger cup.”
I love sitting with her and having our little fun dinner together.
I know her boyfriend is seething back in St Louis. I understand teenage insecurity, but what I’m doing is just employee reward shit. Amelia and Eileen are the best employees we’ve ever had. I’ve been a manager of people my entire corporate life. If you take care of your best, they work harder for you and feel valued.
I know Achilles has been fucked over by so many employees over the years and he’s jaded, but I’m not. He’s always guarded around employees. But now he has me as the buffer. The manager that never got to become the co-owner and grow the company.
This was his moment. We could have opened a gym or another tanning salon, but it never happened. But I’ll still treat my employees like they’re valued because I know how hard the job is every night, and they keep coming in on time and doing everything that’s needed. It’s simply what work is. I wish Achilles realized this but we’ll see.
The pizza is amazing and Eileen seems to be enjoying her slices and her drink of choice.
I get napkins and forks and knives because that’s what dads do. I decide to get a third place setting and tell Eileen we should honor Amelia, because she can’t be here but we wish she were.
Eileen loves this idea and takes a picture and loads it into our group text.
Eileen writes: “Amelia, u r missing out, we set a place setting in honor for you.”
Amelia: “I’m not dead.”
Eileen and I lost our shit over that. Amelia’s amazing and we miss her so much.
This has never happened at the salon. There’s never been this kind of connection between the staff and Achilles is completely outside of it. Which is fine, because he doesn’t need this. That’s what he has me for.
Eileen steals up to the counter and gets a bigger cup and fills it with her Mango delish.
We devour the pizza and I’m just happy to spend some time with my coworker where we aren’t be being overrun with clients.
It’s a moment of repose with a woman I’m grateful is in my life and and decided to call me for a job. I was desperate for staff and Eileen appeared. I didn’t think I’d get the best of the best.
Charming, smart, beautiful, professional. Based on our history at the salon, we don’t deserve Eileen. But we got her and I’m so grateful.
I feel the same way about Amelia. She’s magic.
I am so exhilarated to be out of the rat race. I get to work and be busy, and live a simple life with people I adore.
Eileen goes to the tap and fills her 16 oz cup again for the long ride back to Drexel.
I’m exhausted, and just happy we got to hang out, chat, and have some fun food with a great girl.
We pack up and go our separate ways.
As always, I tell Eileen to be safe going home.
Thomas has nothing to worry about. If anything, he should know his beloved is being looked after by Lorelie’s dad, who would never let anything happen to someone he cares so much for.
Eileen and Amelia have been the best of the best at the salon. I’m so proud of them both. I’m sure I have told them both, but we’re truly in a renaissance at the salon.
When things are this good I think the owner may take it for granted. This surprises me a bit, but I’ll look after the staff as best I can for as long as I can.
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