On Wednesday I got up and was ready by 8am. Yollana had a phone call and had asked me to watch Ash and Erin. Luckily they already had their breakfast and were camped in front of the TV. There was no bread and no cereal and no peanut butter so I skipped breakfast and went straight to cleaning. I made the double bed, swept and mopped the kitchen, bathrooms, hallway, laundry room and dining room. I wiped down the counters and then it was time to open the cafe. I opened the cafe and rolled silverware, then Matthew came for his coffee. Just after that I had a few other orders for coffee and stayed busy for about half an hour.
I had a few tables that weren't complicated orders, just fussy customers. The one lady ate her Poached Eggs and then complained there was no avocado. She said that was the only reason she had ordered it and she demanded her money back for the avocado. I apologized and gave her $2. I figured that was more than fair for trading out for small slices of avocado.
The next table was two older couples. They ordered three BLTs, two milkshakes and a coffee. One woman had requested avocado so I charged her an additional $2, again guessing. At the same time I realized the first woman wasn't going to get avocado, I realized the second table wasn't either. I went outside and apologized and the woman said it was no big deal at all. I asked if I could get her anything else and she said she was absolutely fine.
I had all of their order out at a decent time. They smiled and cooed at the delicious looks of their meals so I went inside to clean up the kitchen a bit. Around the time I figured they would be done, one of the gentlemen came inside and asked about his fourth BLT. I explained that they had only ordered three and he got upset. He asked if I charged him for four and I showed him the receipt and ticket and assured him I only put them down for three. I offered to make him a fourth BLT and he angrily said it was too late for that now and told me they were in a rush and had to leave right this instant. I apologized again and went back to my cleaning.
A few minutes later one of the ladies from the same table came inside. She demanded a refund for their fourth BLT. I assured her as well that I had only charged them for three BLTs. She wanted to see the receipt and she told me I was wrong, that I owed her money. I was frank when I said I had only charged her for three BLTs plus the milkshakes and coffee. She then realized she hadn't calculated the prices of the drinks. Before she turned to walk off she asked me about the avocado one last time and accused me of stealing money from her for the avocado. I explained that I didn't know we were out until I started cooking and gave her back $2 for the mistake. I offered once more to fix a fourth BLT for her and she told me it was no use. As she walked off I could tell she was still angry but I had no control over that. If she wanted me to fix the problem I would but she didn't. In past service jobs I had learned that some people just want to complain, they don't actually want you to do anything or fix anything. It's really a petty attention type thing I think.
After the lunch rush Yollana asked me to sit with her at the picnic table to discuss an award application for the KI Food and Wine Awards. I asked if we should go inside so we could see better but she said the weather was too nice. As I read through the first question, Yollana wrote it down in her notebook. Half way through the second question she suddenly remembered the laundry and told me to finish taking notes while she went down to the cabins for a bit. I read through question two and wrote my own notes next to it. Question three dealt with the KI Brand and I loved the work KI had done in their branding. I highlighted some of the words and wrote notes in the notebook. My head was spinning with ideas and inspiration and I knew this was a good exercise for not only me but also Yollana. This was the PR building blocks that needed to be examined before moving forward with the company. People quite often skipped these parts, assuming they were unimportant but my degree and real life experience told me that that was a crucial mistake.
When Yollana got back she asked me to come inside with her so we could look at her laptop. I was grateful to go inside where my skin wouldn't burn and my eyes would adjust better. Inside we looked at the bookings for today, there were no new check-ins. She then skipped forward to May and realized we needed to add more volunteers to the end of April. We switched tabs and got on Helpx.com which was a website for volunteers to be hired and posted. We looked through a few profiles and she called the second one we read. When she got a voicemail she decided they weren't worth it. The third, fourth and fifth profiles got emails from us. We emailed a 29 year-old French dude who had great reviews and a killer smile. We also emailed a German couple and an Australian girl named Andrea.
In the middle of an email Yollana stopped suddenly and walked outside, towards the cafe. I played on my phone till she got back. When she came back inside she announced that Julianne was leaving around the 13th and Alex was leaving around the 19th. Shortly after that Yollana and her kids would leave too.
Her phone rang again. I could hear it was someone wanting a room for the night. It was a couple and they were in Vivonne Bay, just a few minutes away. When she hung up she invited me to go with her to the cabins to check and see if number two was ready to go. While we were down there I looked in the window and saw that it was good. Her phone rang again, it was someone we had just emailed. I could hear a man's voice and lots of enthusiasm. I heard him say he wanted to work more than 35 hours and he was happy to help. Yollana hung up and told me it was Arnald, the French guy. I was happy to hear this. He seemed like the most qualified volunteer we had profiled.
Matthew, Yollana and I sat at the table and I told Matt about Arnald. He got very excited at the idea of having another guy around. I told him the guy seemed like good help and he liked the idea even better.
Yollana told us she didn't think the award application was worth our time; that we had other priorities to take care of. She turned to a new page of her notebook and began with the number one priority. Next to number one she wrote “Package” in big letters and then began talking about accommodations; four nights for the price of three, a sealink ferry deal we would arrange, three free meals, a Little Sahara deal...she then stopped and started calling Little Sahara. When she got off the phone Matthew and I told her it would be a good priority to buy new double bedding. She nodded her head and then called another business to ask about pricing. Matthew and I chatted about his evening plans. He had talked to a guy named Ted about the local footy club. I asked if he was going to do it and he said probably. I told him it was a yes or no question. He agreed and decided the answer was yes, he would do it. He then got up and left the room to go change clothes.
When Yollana got off the phone she told me I was done working for the day and thanked me for sitting patiently.
I walked outside and found myself under the control of Erin. She wanted me to play body stretching with her. Before she could explain how to play her grandmother pulled up and I met Yollana's mother for the first time. Her name was Leonie and she was a very proper woman with more of an English accent than an Aussie one. Her and Yollana were very formal in their greeting and once again I felt like the tagalong babysitter during a family event. After the initial welcoming chit chat Erin took me into the front yard to continue her explanation of body stretching. I did a few cartwheels and jumps with her before politely begging her to let me sit out and watch.
Thankfully Matthew came in and said it was time to go to footy. He said I could go and play on my laptop while he practiced and we could eat at the hotel in Parndana afterwards. I was happy he was going to let me go so I grabbed my laptop and hoodie and jumped in the car. Yollana mentioned all of the gang going to Parndana for dinner and we agreed that that would be fine. Matthew just didn't want the whole kit and kaboodle watching him play ball on his first time, he didn't know what to expect.
In the car Matthew told me how nervous he was. He didn't know what to expect. What if the guys were extreme or super good. I assured him his athletic skills were universal and reminded him of all the American football awards he had earned back home. He yabbed on about not having a proper workout in over a month and I told him he'd be fine, he was only 25.
The road to Parndana was dirt. Solid dirt. We laughed at “Highway One” which looked like the dirt road I lived on. At one point we came to a fork in the road and I told Matthew if I were to take a wrong turn on this island I would probably end up driving off a cliff. He said that's why I didn't need to drive, even if we did get an automatic car at the cafe.
Parndana had a nice big welcome sign. In fact, the sign was more fancy than the town. The town reminded me of Tipton. It was small and quaint. There was a hotel, a lodge, a bakery and a quick stop. We had to stop at the hotel to ask for directions to the field. The field was actually a pretty nice complex. Matthew yelled out as he noticed the men were all in uniforms. They looked really good too. Then we realized they were kids, not men. He yelled out again. He said his mouth was dry he was so nervous. I told him he was going to be great and held out my hands as he gave me his wallet, phone and chapstick and told me to put them in my purse—probably out of habit or nervousness because I just sat them in the empty seat next to me.
I noticed a wife and child in the car next to me and decided I was definitely in the supporters section. I told him good luck and watched as he shook his hands wildly and walked towards the group of men, (not children.)
I watched in anticipation as I saw him shake hands with who I assumed was “Ted”, the guy he had talked to on the phone earlier. He then pointed at Matthew's foot and then towards a group of stretching men. Matthew walked over and began stretching too. Not many minutes later him and two other guys started running a lap around the field.
When they finished their lap they went back to stretching before doing some warm up kicks and catches that reminded me of baseball warm-up.
Next they got in a circle and clapped like football before splitting up into a five star sequence that reminded me of the drills we used to do in basketball. One guy would kick, another would run and catch and then kick to another guy. They did this for quite some time. I thought Matthew did pretty good considering it was his first time. He kicked as well as the younger gents and could catch the ball just like he had in football in high school.
The whole group stopped and ran a lap around the field. As they ran they kicked the balls too. I thought that had to take a lot of coordination. I really didn't understand anything about Australian Rules Football and since this was only a practice, I didn't learn much either.
I chuckled at all the guys' wearing short shorts. It made me think of the wheaties that came to oklahoma during harvest. I thought about how many times me and my snotty friends had made fun of the guys for their short shorts. The wheaties always took the teasing well but I thought here we are in Australia and Matthew's normal length shorts make him look like a thug compared to everyone else. Maybe they thought our attire was too lengthy. I didn't like the short shorts though.
I continued to watch as they did some blocking/tackling exercises that looked similar to the football practices I had watched back home. Then they did some push-ups and some more running and eventually they finished by stretching near a warm fire. I don't know where the fire came from but I was starting to get cold and a fire sounded nice.
When we arrived at the cafe Yollana, Leonie, the two kids, Alex and Julianne were all together at one table waiting for us to join them. I ordered a beer and then studied the menu. It was quite similar to ours; chicken schnitzel, burgers, fish and chips, calamari and chips...the plus side was that every entree came with access to a buffet of salads and veggies. I ordered fish and chips and then filled a buffet plate with salad.
Matthew, Julianne and Alex all ordered Chicken Schnitzel and then joined me at the buffet. I was surprised when Matthew said he was trying to down his beer without throwing up. He said he hadn't worked out that hard in months and he was really feeling the pain. Luckily he made it through the meal like the rest of us.
Yollana, her mother and the kids went home while we stayed and finished our beers. When we finished we all four piled in Fiona and made the dark and bumpy ride back to the hostel. We saw six dead wallabies and one dead kangaroo before we got to the hostel driveway.