Monday, December 19, 2011

Grace Under Pressure

I hope everyone had a good weekend.
I know I did.
On Friday night I expanded my culinary prowess by making Coq Au Vin for the first time ever and it was a mighty success. Even the picky eater of the household agreed! On Saturday I went to see a performance of The Nutcracker with my daughter and my step mom at a college. It was done by the New Jersey Youth Ballet and was so much fun. It was geared towards children and it was narrated which was a great help in keeping the kids engaged and from asking 100 million questions throughout the performance.

My father suggested that we meet up with the menfolk afterwards at my husband's favorite Italian restaurant for dinner. It is the kind of place that is cozy, intimate and where the food is all prepared fresh to order with seasonal ingredients. The food is always delicious. We sat down, opened a bottle of wine and just as we were   starting to converse the waitress came with the children's sodas and dumped the whole tray straight down my back.
I was in such shock at first it took me a good couple of seconds or so to react. The poor girl dropped to her knees scrambling to pick up the now empty glasses apologizing profusely. I grabbed an empty glass that was now resting in the curvature of my lower back and handed it to her. I could feel my blood pressure rising as I grabbed napkins to start drying off my wool skirt, my wool coat and my button up shirt. I was very quiet at first but I didn't lash out. Other waitresses had now rushed over and our own waitress just kept muttering apologies. I asked politely for some kitchen towels since the napkins weren't very absorbent and I was very wet.

Without any premeditation, and despite being wet, sticky, embarrassed and totally uncomfortable I actually found myself starting to laugh it off and telling the poor girl that accidents happen and not to worry about it. My father chimed in and we both were convincing her that it was no big deal. She was so shaken she never returned as our server and I didn't see her helping anyone else either.
My natural instincts took over and I was glad that I reacted as I did. It was not "put on" and I'm sure she was worried as I could have handled it differently.

Once upon a time, quite a few years ago I was out to lunch with my boss at the time, a loud and pompous woman who was a few years younger than myself. I remember the waitress bringing us our drinks and dropping the tray down the front of my boss who was neither kind nor forgiving of the accident. I recalled how terrible I felt for that poor girl as she started to cry as my former boss berated her. It was dreadful. The manager of the restaurant came over and she went after him as well with such venom that I in turn was embarrassed to be seated across from her.

Reflecting on that incident as well as what just happened to me got me to thinking about how we handle things. What happens when instincts kick in before the mind can make a conscious choice on how we will react. It also made me think about who really had it worse in my situation. Myself or the poor waitress who was probably so shaken she couldn't work the rest of the night and lost out on her pay. Hopefully her boss didn't come down on her. My shirt went straight into the wash when we got home and my skirt and coat can go to the cleaners and all will be well again. Plus, now I have a laughable story to share with friends and family. It is my guess that the waitress had it far worse and I am glad I did not add to her already traumatic experience.

How do you handle the unexpected? 

Today was my daughter's class Christmas party and this is what I wore. I am not a huge fan of the cardigan, but this drape front one is the perfect solution. It fits the way a cardigan does not and that makes me happy. Imagine my surprise when I discovered it in my dresser this morning with.the.tags.still.attached.
I forgot I had bought it and it was a pleasant surprise to "uncover" it. Like shopping without having to spend any money!

*Don't forget there is Free Shipping over at Katy~Did through January 1st!*

cardigan: express
top: vera wang (thrifted)
jeans: express
boots: coach
necklaces: express
ring: vintage, heirloom
earrings: ?
sunglasses: banana republic


  1. You look gorgeous! The flowy silhouette and neutral colors are so pretty!

  2. How girly!

    Good job keeping your cool. It is hard for anyone to do that- but you are so right. It is the right way to react. Hopefully they gave you a free bottle of wine or something for the inconvenience!

  3. Eleanor I would have reacted the same way.
    One thing that has stood me well over the years is the fact that I am very calm and I never lash out at anybody. I have a very slow fuse and I truly do not sweat the small stuff. That has helped me so much as a Mom just for starters! I am sure you have had the same experience.
    Your outfit is gorgeous and you look beautiful! I love the flowy top under the cardigan, repeating a theme and making it better!

  4. these photos of you are just beautiful. these must be your colors b/c they truly are gorgeous!

    this has happened to me TWICE! both times, i too remained calm. i've been a waitress before so i know how stressful that job can be. i think the thing about it is that it is just so cold and shocking when it happens. both times it was a coke full of ice!


  5. And when other people there or the waitress recount their tale of what happened, you will be identified as this cool, nice lady who didn't freak out. The waitress will remember that with gratitude. That is a great way to be remembered - much nicer than 'that lady who freaked out and swore'.

  6. Fortunately for me, my first instinct is always to laugh. Even when the situation really doesn't call for it, so I have to be careful.

    I can't imagine berating a server who dropped a tray...she'd already feel awful enough. What more could I possibly add? :)

  7. I have always admired the way you put your clothes together, but now, I admire the way you handle yourself. The way you graciously handled the situation by NOT MAKING THE WAITRESS FEEL BAD ABOUT HERSELF, restores my faith in humanity! You go girl!

    p.s. Love your outfit.

  8. Hi Eleanor! Always best to stay calm in these situations! I love your oufit and the boots are fab. Have a lovely week:)

  9. hi Eleanor! First of all, you are beautiful! And, secondly I love your outfit. I think it was so kind how you handled the drink situation. As someone who waitressed in college during summer break, and to this day remember my embarrassing mistakes;) I'm sure the poor girl will always remember you fondly.

    It's so nice to meet you and I thank you for leaving your "calling card"! I absolutely adore Maine too!

  10. oh, and Merry Christmas to you and yours!!!



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