Doing the right thing, after we exhaust the alternatives



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Adventures in management

bigTexan Traveling along I-40 towards Amarillo, one sees billboards telling of the free 72 ounce steak. So many billboards, I hyperbolize, they almost merge into movie frames.

After several hours of driving, we are in need of a good diversion from the interstate; anticipating a welcome change, we pull into the storied Big Texan enterprise zone. The heavily populated parking lot is a promising indice of culinary fare.

The family takes notice of the touristy environs, notably the faux cheesiness of the motel decor just east of the lot. The appearance strikes me as an attempt to imitate the facade of the mid-1800 small town mercantiles. But the execution of the art seems like they went for cheesy and failed. The swimming pool is on the north side, beyond that somewhere is a place for horses to stretch their legs and get down with their bad self.

A white Big Texan limo cruises by and leaves to find more customers. The transport is provided from and to trailer parks, campgrounds, street corners, wherever. It's a nice touch.

If customers licked everything clean, this wouldn't happen

The interior decor of the restaurant has an appropriately western feel, less faux than the motel across the way. Lots of stuffed critters around the dining hall. Cowboy hats on all the staff. Plenty of steer horns for sale, but no way to strap them on your wife's back. I ask for the non-smoking section. The hostess repeats, "Non-smoking", and leads us into the dining area.

Ya, you can see this one coming.

The service is prompt upon seating, taking the drink orders. I unwrap the eatin' utensils. Notice watermarks on the knife. No problem; but what is that? Something crusty on the blade. The good wife notices something cooked onto her knife also. We ask for another set.

The waiter takes two sets off of another table. We unfold them and again find my knife has food baked onto the blade. My wife has a large blob of something dark green cooked onto her fork. Waitress comes by, gags, says she will get a fresh set from the kitchen.

Right now, I'm thinkin' it may be time to find another restaurant. But no one else seems to be overly bothered. And somehow, I have faith in the waitress to make everything right. A customer two tables over fires up a cigarette.

The waitress comes back with clean utensils, takes the medium rare orders and disappears. After about thirty-five minutes of chitchat, we figger the waitress must be having problems bulldogging that steer. We discuss leavin' down the road for another chuckwagon if she doesn't stop by and wave.

The steaks eventually arrive, more rare than medium. The menu said that medium rare beef is warm and pink in the middle. I can't tell, because it keeps pulling on the chain.

As we approach the end of our meal, another customer at the table behind us fires up a cigarette.


We have been to a number of good steakhouses in our time, where they pay close attention to the customer experience. Once had a steak marinated in whiskey, so tender you could cut it with a little sarcasm.

However, it'll be quite a spell before we stop again at the Big Texan.


...and a spider over the sink

The good wife, still needing a diversion from the interstate, opts to spend the night at faux cheesy's.

"Sure", I said.

While examining the loss of room inside my pants, my two brain cells search for a correlation between the law of thermodynamics, entropy and a full stomach. At some point they stop, I'm not sure when. That's why I have two of them to keep an eye on each other; in my case, it's what passes for consciousness.

Uh, oh yes. The motel's desk personnel prove to be courteous and friendly.

The room motif is cowboys and concrete block walls. A couple of pieces of wood were placed in opposite corners for some aesthetic reason that escapes me. Someone did take a lot of time painting western themed pictures. A gold bed lamp, presumably repaired in the 1800's with a sizable lump of gray epoxy, still doesn't work. The fiberglass bathtub has lost considerable gelcoat, exposing strips of dark underlayment. The toilet is one of those small compact designs, okay for women, not as much for men.

Well, amigo. It beats sleeping under the chuckwagon.



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