Tashina at Mellow Mushroom

Sent from my HTC on the Now Network from Sprint!

Friday was my birthday, but Monday was a holiday, so I suggested to Deborah that we celebrate on Monday.  I worked Friday, so it would have been 7 o’clock or later before I could have made it up to Pinehurst.

I had my 6 months, doctor’s visit, with Dr. Sloan on Monday morning which had been re-scheduled for 9:30 am.  The week before, I had gone in to get my lab work done (blood & urine).

Things fell into place in the morning.  I got up, showered, and headed to the Rainbow Restaurant for breakfast.  I managed to get a load of wash started, and load the dishwasher and get it going before I headed out the door.

I got to the the Rainbow and sat in one of my usual places, the right corner, just inside the front door.  There are four booths there.  There was a large number of men in the next room, and Marie was rushing around in a “hurry mode.”  I ordered coffee, link sausage, eggs (don’t recall if they were over medium or scrambled) ,crispy potatoes and whole wheat toast “dry not buttered”.  *Although, I sometimes spread butter on the bread.  Erna and Bufford came in and sat diagonally across from me.  I kidded with them that Marie was in a hurry mode and they better be ready to order as she came through.

I got up to get the catsup and hot sauce and as I did, Marie said something to me.  A short while later she realized that she hadn’t brought my breakfast to me.  And, a little while later she remembered the toast.

The Hendricks came in, greeting Erna, Bufford and me.  Both Mr. (I guess he’s Reverend) and Mrs. Hendricks (nee Methodist College/University) are delightful people.  *In fact, as I was leaving, I turned to both couples and stated that they were such fun to play with (maybe not my exact words).  I had enough time to go back to my apartment, get my food chopper out of the dishwasher, and collect all the items I wanted to take with me.  *I brought the ingredients for the mango, avocado, pineapple, & chipotle salsa, and garbanzo beans and ingredients for some hummus (garlic clove, tumeric, Italian parsley, lime).  I brought a can of smoked oysters, but didn’t open it because Deb wasn’t enamored of oysters.

Rev. Hendricks had mentioned about a paternity case in which an native American Indian from Oklahoma (the father) had filed for custody of his child, who had been adopted by a non-Indian couple and the South Carolina courts had upheld his right to the child.  I grumbled, playfully, as I left saying that I would have to google for more details on the case to figure out who I thought should have custody.

Later, in the doctor’s office waiting room, I had a chance to google, from my phone, and found enough of the details to decide that I thought the courts were right also.  There is some kind of federal law, relating to keeping Indian families in tact (as if you shouldn’t keep all families in tact), the father had filed for custody 4 months after his child’s birth and the case had been in the courts for some time.  I’m sure the SC couple love the child, but they had to know that it was possible the child would be returned to the father.  Doesn’t lessen the love & loss.

I signed into the Dr.’s sign-in sheet and sat down.  Not very long afterward, a fellow patient, one seat over to my left started coughing (or maybe it was sneezing), but whichever, it rudely awakened me to the fact that there were sick people around me… sick people that could give me whatever flu or virus they were currently suffering through, so without hesitation, I got up immediately and moved as far away from everyone as I could (by the large window near the elevator & bathroom).  *I felt bad, if my moving made them feel bad, but I would feel worse if I got their disease.

Not too long later, Casey (one of Dr. Sloan’s nurses) came to the door and called my name.  I followed Casey to the weigh-in room, and quickly on the scales, saw that I was weighing about 250 lbs.  (I figured that I had gained about 20 lbs. since my last visit.  Later Dr. Sloan would let me know that it was only 9 lbs. more.  *I’m thinking it is still about 20 lbs. more than the lowest I had been earlier in the year, which was 229 lbs. for one day.)  Casey took my blood pressure (130 something over 85 or so) and after I asked her, it was in the normal range, and probably a little better than my last visit.  Casey directed me to wait at the end of the hall on the right (where I have always waited).

A short time later Dr. Sloan (Jes) came in.  She looked through my numbers and said everything was looking very good.  She even suggested that I might be able to reduce my dosage of Metformin (which has not been a real problem, except for gas, and that, not that bad), so I now bite a tablet in two, and am starting to take half my previous dosage.  I’ll check my bgl and if it stays within a reasonable range (125 to 100) for the next month, I’ll keep the lower daily dosage.  I’m supposed to get blood work in about 3 months (April), and then have another blood work and Dr.’s visit in about 6 months (July 2013).

Found that Dr. Sloan was a graduate of ASU (Applachian State, Boone, NC).  I told her a short story about my yellow ASU rubber duck that I have on my bathtub ledge.  I bought it as a present for Jackson Cooper Sharpe (didn’t know if he would be a boy or girl, or what the name would be when I bought the ducky).  I thought I might buy rubber ducks from various colleges/universities and give them in a mesh bag so that they could all be pulled out for tub fun.  He didn’t float well… he would flop on his side when there was enough water in the tub.  So, I got a baby blanket, and kept the one rubber duck.

It was a little after 10 am when I left the doctor’s parking lot and headed up to Pinehurst, NC.  The day was sunny, mildly cold and beautiful.  I’ve driven the “slightly over an hour” trip between Fayetteville and Pinehurst many times.  The trip is a good time to think about whatever you might want to think about.  The twists and curves are familiar and don’t require much thought to navigate, while you think about things.

I rang Deb’s door bell.  The front door was open, so I could see down the hallway.  No one answered, but I could hear someone banging pots and pans, as if they were looking for one.  I waited, and just as I reached to ring the door bell again, Deb poked her head around the corner from the kitchen as if she hadn’t actually heard the door bell.  *She hadn’t apparently.

She was thinking that pizza would be for dinner, while I had thought we would have pizza for lunch and the salsa and hummus for dinner.  She changed clothes and we headed over to Vito’s Pizza, which was nearby.

When we got to the door of Vito’s, we saw that the place was closed for lunch (just today, not because of the MLK Holiday, but, as Vito would personally tell us when he came out to talk to us) they were putting in a new “something” [freezer, counter, something which would stir up saw dust and make dining unpleasant for lunch] but would be open for dinner (5pm).  I suggested that we go back home and fix the salsa and hummus for lunch, and then go out for pizza for dinner.

We had a good time preparing lunch and eating it.  I slept for a while afterwards, and Deb prepared my sugar-free coconut cream pie (from scratch).

Russ came home from work about 3:30 or 4.  I woke enough to reach up, say hello, and shake his hand from the sofa.  He and Deb conversed about some “time share” arrangements, etc.  Deb gave him the salsa and hummus to keep him satisfied until we went out for pizza, and Deb & I made running commentary as he tasted the items.

I’m not sure why we changed from Vito’s to the Mellow Mushroom.  It might be that Russ said something about there being a new MM in Pinehurst and that they had good pizza, when he and the kids had gone to one with Brian & Julie.  I was all for going to the Mellow Mushroom (we have one in Fayetteville that I haven’t visited yet, but plan to now).

Russ drove us over to the MM.  Russ and I got out and Deb left us to do some quick (turns out, “hectic”) shopping at Wal-Mart while we went in and sat down and ordered pizza and drinks.

We sat around the corner from the front door.  There were various large, fake,  mushrooms hanging from the ceiling.  Large murals painted on the walls and even a large green caterpiller (all referencing Alice in Wonderland).  It reminded me a little of some bar that I had visited when I was first in Chapel Hill, at Carolina, in 1972.

Tashina came to our table, to greet us (Russ & me) which was to be the start of a very pleasant meal/experience.  She asked if we wanted to see a beer list, but Russ ordered tea, and I ordered unsweet tea, with some sweetner, and we said we were waiting for one more person.  Tashina was very “laid back” but personable.  She took what I considered an extreme amount of time talking to us.  *This was not a bad thing.  This was a good thing, but it is not something that most waitresses do, or are allowed to do.  But, when it happens, it is much appreciated, and hopefully our tip, matches the gratitude we want to express to an attentive waitress/waiter.  **I’m never sure if what I think is a good tip, is what the waitress thinks is a good tip.  It would be a shame to be trying to express your gratitude and it be interpreted as a “ho hum” reward.

But, let me say, Tashina gave us all a very enjoyable experience, one that I was most grateful for, as I celebrated my birthday a few days late.

Tashina offered options and suggestions on what we might order.  She said that her favorite pizza was the Thai Pizza.  The ingredients looked good from the menu, but there were several other specialty pizzas, Mediterranean, Buffalo Wing, and House Special (a good old everything on it) pizzas.  And, I especially wanted a good old standard pizza.  Tashina said we could have a half & half pizza, two types on one pizza.  The small pizzas come cut in 4 pieces, which she said could be double-cut.  That was perfect.

We ordered 4 types: Mediterranean, Buffalo Wing, House Special and Thai, and wanted them double-cut so that we could all try each.

Deb arrived, we talked, and the pizza was brought out by another waitress.  I noticed that they weren’t double-cut.  Tashina came over and took them back for the extra cut. *Hey, what does it take to do the extra cut, and yet it provided each of us the opportunity to sample each and determine which we liked best.  A small gesture that meant a lot.

The pizzas returned and we all began to try what looked good.

The House Special was very good, exactly what I had been looking for.  I don’t eat a lot of pizza any more.  I don’t go out with a group very often, and buying a medium pizza, or even a small may be too much for me.  But, then I tried the Thai pizza.  Deb had started with this one, I think, and had really liked it.  It was sweet, and had chicken, Thai basil and tomato, with some sweet sauce.  I liked the flavors a lot and complimented Tashina later for her suggestion.

Earlier, Russ had mentioned to Tashina that we were celebrating my birthday.  He said it only once, and not much more than a passing comment.   But, this is one of those extra touches provided by Tashina that made the experience special.  Late in the dining experience, I look across the dining area, and see Tashina bringing what appears to be a plate with something “birthdayee” on it.  How does one recognize a birthday treat from a distance?  Maybe it is something we learn when we are very small.  I said, before she turned the corner and made it to our table, “She has gone over the top!”  I knew this was for me.  I also was pretty sure that neither Russ nor Deb had made a special request to bring this.  Tashina had recorded the item in her databanks, and had taken that extra step to make my/our experience exceptional!  And it was expectional.  Thanks Tashina!

Oh, it was a three cornered green plate with whipped cream at the three corners.  There was a round chocolate cake brownie at the center, with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, and a cherry topped even higher.  There was chocolate syrup, spelling “Happy Birthday,” written across the plate.  I said, “Let me get a photo,” to which Tashina was quick to offer the pose above.  Obviously, not her first time at play with customers.

We all enjoyed the desert immensely!  Thank you Tashina for your generous and playful spirit.  Much appreciated!!!

During our play, “Tashina” mentioned, to Russ, that her name was that of an Indian princess.  I had earlier asked if she were a Lumbee Indian. to which she had responded to the affirmative.  Her maiden name was Harris.  Not what I normally think of as one of the more famous Lumbee names, such as Oxendine or Locklear.

Please take this as a reference from me, Bill:  Tashina (nee Harris) is an exceptional “people person”.  I’ve only had one brief, but memorable encounter with her, but I left having been made better by our “play time.”  If she wants to work for you, I would suggest hiring her quickly, paying her generously, and stepping back and reaping the rewards of a talented worker.  — Bill.

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