Phicklephilly – 2017 – Holiday Party at Gran Caffe L’Aquila

What did that guy steal from his boss at the party?

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I worked at the salon on Sunday. Trish came to visit me with a Latte and donuts. We chit chatted for a while. When a friend comes to visit, it always makes the time pass more quickly.

My lady friend, Mary told me that at Devon Seafood they do 1/2 off bottles of wine on Sundays. I was down for that. After work, I was sitting there waiting for her. I sipped a martini, just to kick off the afternoon. The bar was crowded and a little noisy. But I had an empty seat on either side of me. I heard a voice to my left ask if the seat was taken, and without looking, I said it was. I turn and it’s Mary! (For more on Mary, See: Mary – 2016 to Present – Chapter 1 – Unexpected Table for Two)

We settle on a bottle of red zinfandel. It’s her favorite. So even if the bottle if $30 you’re only paying $15 each to share a whole bottle. We’re chatting, and Church shows up. He wasn’t very talkative, but seemed better after he ordered some calamari. He’s not much of a talker when it comes to more than one person.

We hung out there for a bit, and I could see Mary was getting a good buzz on. She asked me what was in the bag I had sitting on the bar. I told her after our little get together that I had to go to a holiday party for the new company I’m working for now. In the bag was a gift wrapped present of two different scarves. It was for a Pollyanna that they were having at tonight’s event.

When we left, Church went his way, and Mary decided to walk me over to the restaurant. We get there, and I think Mary wanted to go in with me, but I told her it was employees only. She didn’t mind. I told her I’d call her an UBER, but she said she wanted to walk to clear her head.

I went into the bar and mostly everyone was there. I grabbed a drink from the open bar. I was chatting with the owner’s son, Jon and his Asian girlfriend. She’s really beautiful, and apparently an heiress to a clothing company in China. She told me her dad wanted her to come back to China and run the company, but she’s not sure. If I were Jon, I would marry her and move to China and run that company!

After a bit, we all head upstairs to a private area they have set up for us. Everybody puts their mystery gifts on a table off to the side. The restaurant proceeds to serve us a delicious five course meal. It was terrific. I am sitting at the good table. The founder, is to my right at the head of the table, her husband is across from me, and I’m next to the heiress and Jon.

After dinner they begin the Pollyanna. Everybody picks a random number out of a hat. When your number is called, you go to the gift table and pick a gift. Or…you can take an existing gift away from someone else that already unwrapped theirs. It’s pretty intense.

So it’s my boss’s turn and she picks up the present I brought in. She doesn’t know it’s from me. No one does. She opens it, and is delighted with the two nice scarves. They could be worn by anyone, but she puts them both on. She’s happy.

Then it’s another guy’s turn and he gets up and takes the scarves away from my boss! I’m mortified and delighted by this crazy turn of events. Just for office politics, I’d never usurp a gift from my boss, no matter what the circumstances of the game.

She’s being a good sport about the whole thing, but I can see she’s probably disappointed that she lost two nice scarves.

Another number is called out. It’s my turn. I reach for a gift that looks like it’s a bottle of wine, which it is, so I’m happy. Free booze always goes down easy.

Another number is called out. It’s my boss’ husband. He gets up, and approaches the dwindling gift table. He smiles, and then turns to scarf stealer guy, and takes the scarfs right from around his neck! Yay! The gift I brought in that was good, went to my boss. It was taken from her, and her husband steps in at the end and gets it back for her. He puts on the black one and she has the brown and red one on now. It was a great moment. I’m new, so now I have a story to tell them both Monday morning on our face time conference call.

The party was great and a lot of laughs. It’s a fun crew. Hopefully, we’ll all work together for a long time.

 

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Sun Stories – Achilles – The Bronze God

Part of the Wednesday series will be called “Sun Stories.” That’s any interesting things that happen at the tanning salon.

Here is another friend of mine, that I wanted to introduce to this story. So when I’m writing about my adventures and they are involved in the process or the dialogue, You’ll know who they are.

Achilles was a client of mine. I reached out to many clients that were in the system where I formerly worked selling advertising. He was one of the ones who got back to me. I went to see him at the time. He owns a tanning salon/spa and it was his slow season. Late Summer to early Fall. He hadn’t advertised with us before and I convinced him to give us a try. He gave me some ad artwork, and we went over frequency and budget. We ran the ads for about 12 weeks, but after a while we felt it wasn’t working.

He was ready to not renew the contract with me, but I came up with another idea. I came up with some really good ideas for ads to promote the salon. Instead of the standard coupon type ad, I created some really catchy copy with some great images, to capture the spirit of the place. So he decide to give me one more chance and ran for another 3 months.

During that time I would go into the salon on a weekly basis and chat with him about the copy and some ideas. We also became friends. He would tell me all about his challenges with his younger girlfriend. Achilles is a low-key, simple man. When I say simple, I don’t mean simple-minded. He is incredibly smart and talented in many ways. He just wants to live a simple and uncluttered life.

Born to Greek immigrants, he came to America when he was 6 years old. None of the had much and none of them even spoke English. But if you know anyone who is Greek, they are a great proud people. The Greeks had built their own civilization when many of us were still swinging from trees. They work in restaurants, stick together as a family, save their money, and then open their own businesses. Achilles was running around the city at age 10 delivering pizzas. He’s worked his entire life.

But he’s so much more than that. He can fix anything. Build anything. He’s got a head for mathematics and design. He’s good at running a business and making money. He can build structures, like housing. He can fix your car. He can take apart most mechanical appliances and repair them. His motto is, “Why should I pay someone to do it, if I can do it myself.”

Oh and did I mention he’s in great shape. At 47 he is muscular and really fit. 5’10 180 lbs pure muscle. He owns his own business. Has a beautiful house. A few nice cars, money in the bank, and a motorcycle. It seems like the perfect package. (It also almost seems like Phicklephilly is taking a turn with the other team here doesn’t it?)

So I would go into the salon every week, and Achilles would always be either complaining about his hot young girlfriend or his staff.  His girlfriend of 8 years is always creating arguments and fights out of nowhere. We have discussed this several times and we don’t know why she does it. She just does. He even came so close once to asking her to marry him, and he pulled back and didn’t because of her nonsense. If she could just be cool and just enjoy the calm life she has with him, he’d probably take a chance with her. But only time will tell.

One day for like the fourth time he’s complaining about his staff. This one doesn’t clean the place right. That one calls out because she has anxiety. This one is hung over. Weekend guy’s mom is dying again. I tell him maybe he should hire people who are a little more mature and a bit more reliable. I say this as the 10th beautiful, tan young thing walks by me in the lobby. I tell him that I like to work, and would love to work there as a part-time job at night. So after us building a business relationship for over 9 months his response was: “You’re hired.”

I started working 2 nights a week, and then I occasionally got the weekend schedule. When some people left and the schedule shook out I had most of the shifts. I worked Monday through Friday at the advertising job from 8:15 to 4:45, and worked every evening from 5 to 8 at the salon. Sunday I worked 11-4pm. My only day off was Saturdays. I was working 70 hours a week and loving it. I actually really love working at the salon. The clients are nice and it’s a fun and easy job. I’m a good sales guy, so he actually pays me commission for selling accessories.

I’ll probably stay in advertising as long as possible even though it’s a grinding thankless job. But Achilles and I are looking to open a gym or a spin bike studio somewhere in the city. If that happens we’ll be business partners. So stay tuned!

 

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