Saturday, September 27, 2014

Please... Put a Leash on that Kid Would'ja!

Put a Leash on that Kid Would'ja!

This is just one of those quick stupid stories that kinda reconfirms how things truly are.

And that is...

that your mutha...
knows about EVERYTHING!

Remember Mother Nature in the
Public Enemy Number One entry??

Well, I was hangin’ out with Ronnie again.

That’s right, Mario fucking Andretti.

Only I was doin’ the driving this time.

Gregg Ponciano (left) Tommy Mondello & Ronnie Gallo 3 sheets to the wind  LoL
That's me in the middle and Ronnie on the right.
Not sure what year this was but I had hair... let's leave it at that LoL
That's our other best bud Gregg Ponciano on the left.
I don't know why he was never with us on these drunken lunch excursions.
And yes... all 3 of us are feeling NO pain in this photo! : )

We used to always go to the deli on
Jewett Ave right by Victory Blvd. The name escapes me at the moment, but it was right next to where Al's pizzeria used to be.
This was about 1978, '79 maybe '80ish.

We'd grab a couple gigantic hero sandwiches, some salad's, a few bags of chips and pretzels, along with a couple of six packs... of course.

And oh, don't forget about the crunchy pickles!

We’d drive over to Watchogue Road and park in the Holy Family church parking lot. Which was less than a 5 minute drive from the deli.

Always angling the car facing out towards Watchogue road. It was like we were at a fucking Drive-in movie... LoL

And that's where we would hangout, eat, and have some of the funniest moments and laughs of our stupid lives. Ya gotta love alcohol!

Then we'd usually go pick up some more beer and cruise around Staten Island to drink and laugh the rest of the day away.

We had some of the greatest times of our silly lives during those excursions.

But, of course after drinking many beers, what do you think happens? That’s right, just like during Driver's Ed, we had'ta pee!

Only this time we didn't pee on an overpass wall! Thinking back, maybe we should have?

By this time we were driving along a road called Richmond Ave, out past the mall. This was when Richmond Ave was still a very small road, and not the built up monster that it is today.

So, we pulled the car over to the curb,
jumped out, and ran over to some
tall grass alongside the road.

Hey what can I tell ya... when ya gotta go...

ya gotta go my friend!

We took care of business,
and then continued on our big sandwich eatin', alcohol laced, laughter filled jocular journey.

Well, eventually the beers were gone, our jaws were aching from too much laughter, and hours of very bad loud singing. It was time to call it a day. And besides, it was getting pretty close

to dinner time as well.

So I dropped Ronnie off at his house on
Van Name Ave, and drove around the block
to Simonson Ave to head for home.

I made it just in time for dinner too!
Funny how that works out huh?

My 2 brothers' and I piled our plates high and walked into the dining room where we had our usual arguing about who was going to get the seat with the good view of the TV.

We always watched re-runs of Hogan’s Heroes during dinner time. But never…

with our elbow’s on the table!
(Careful, don’t let that sarcasm
land on your toes! Oh be quiet!)

My parents always ate dinner in the kitchen.
They needed a break from us 3 animals,
for a little portion of the day, anyway.
Just to keep their sanity ya know.

After dinner was over, my mom and I

started talking. And out of the blue,
she hits me with this beauty.

Were you and Ronnie
on Richmond Ave today?

Uuuhhh, I don't think so, maybe!
We could’ve been.

She then said...

I could swear I saw you and Ronnie

standing on the side of the road.
What were you doing there?

As if she didn’t know!

She just wanted me to say it
and admit that I was busted.

I stammered...
and desperately searched for a viable reply.

But it was too late.
My stammering turned to
outright sensory overload... LoL

The pressure was just too much...
And so... I folded...
just like the cheap card table
you use at Christmas dinner.

Okay Okay, we were peeing!
We had'da go to the bathroom!
Crap! Crap!
Can’t I get away with anything!?
C'mon man!"

My mom calmly gave me that little smirk,

the way ALL mothers do,
just to reconfirm the fact
that she was still in control
of all things...... Tommy!

Man, busted again.

And even though she didn't suspect that we were urinating Budweiser, it still bewildered me as to why I could never get away with anything.

And good thing she didn't suspect. Otherwise my ass would've been in a sling for sure.

Being young and stupid

was so much fun wasn't it!!
Man... I was so good at it too! LoL

But it’s got to be a pretty disgusting thing,

to be driving along and all of the sudden
see your stupid son standing
on the side of the road pissing.
Oh what a proud moment that must have been for my poor mother hahahahaha...
Oh man I can't stop laughing as I'm typing!

What a ridiculous thing for a mother to witness.

And, to get busted for!

It was just another tricky day

for us my friend.
(Thanx to Pete Townshend
for that last line. Awesome!)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Not Exactly Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen but...

Not Exactly Gordon Ramsay's
Hell's Kitchen but...

Here are a few funny situations
I found myself in during
my two year run as a caterer.

Mondello catering menu

As you could imagine,
sometimes the run,
well, it didn’t always lead me
towards a red ribbon-ed finish line
engulfed by hugs 'n kisses.

Like for instance, the very first party that I catered. It was nothing too out of the ordinary, and a very nice way to ease myself
into the frying pan!

It was a small occasion that my friend Mike was having, and well, lets just say, that I prepared
a tad... too much food.

Well, actually, you could’ve fed the entire
82nd Airborne Infantry Division for goodness sake with what I prepared. When I only needed to feed about twenty people.

Let the learning process... begin!

My brother Michael gave me a hand on this job and okay, I'm sure even he'll agree
that it was a slight disaster.

We arrived at the house, and as I was inside setting up the chafing stands, Michael began bringing in the trays of food.

And well, they kept coming,
and coming,
and coming…… LoL

Oh, fuck!

I quickly realized that I prepared way too much food for such a small gathering. Man, I looked like a wet-behind-the-ears rookie.
Of which I was by the way.

Oh man it was so funny.

I frantically whispered into Michael's ear
to stop bringing in any more trays.
If he did I would have to begin stacking
them on the floor because there was
no more room on any of
the counters or tables!

I felt like such the dick.

It was like the fucking Red Cross
delivering rations to a disaster area... fuck!

So okay, I didn't exactly have a handle on that “portion control” thing just yet. But hey, it was my first job, gimme a break will ya. I got better. Well in my opinion I did. I think?

Where’s that fuckin' 82nd Airborne
when you need’em?

And oh... when I got home and counted
the money I realized that Mike
had given me too much.
(And yes... I didn't count
the cash until I got home.)
It was $20 too much to be exact. So I mailed it back to him not giving it a second thought.

A couple days later I got a call from Mike
and he was kinda pissed.
He said...

"Why the fuck did you send back
the twenty bucks you dick?"

he was more than "kinda"... pissed.

I explained that he overpaid.

He then said...

"Have you ever heard of a fucking tip!!!
You knucklehead!"

LoLoLoLoL... OH!

Oh boy, am I a full bag'a douche or what... LoL

How the fuck should I know it's a tip?
I just thought he didn't know how to count.
Even though at the time he had a second job, which was counting concession stand money
at Madison Square Garden!

Counting money!!

And then I received this as a gift.
Too fucking cool right!!

Mondello Catering menu with $20 tip Mike sent back to me. So cool right!!
That's one of my menu's with "the"... $20 bill.
Mike framed it and gave to me for my 30th birthday
a month or two later.

And oh, I gotta say this... I have to thank my brother Michael for all the slave labor he provided during my run!!

And even though he suffered right along with me on many of the jobs... LoL... I never realized
that I hadn't given him not one single dollar
for helping!

I can still picture him slumped in the corner wolfing down some leftover linguine & clam sauce from a empty 3 pound container of ricotta cheese after a tough prep and delivery. LoL

One of which actually had him changing into a pair of fucking slippers provided by the customer... every time he walked in & out of the front door while carrying trays of food. Which he then had to haul all the way down the basement steps to where the party was being held.

Too funny! Oh the suffering.

Oh man, I AM a full bag'a douche... LoL
And... a cheapskate to boot!!

Sorry Mike.
The checks in the mail!!
I promise!

But there was another time that I came this close to real disaster.

In fact, it was a party for my friend Mike’s brother, Joe. And, again, I think it was for only about twenty people or so. But don't worry,
I had that portion control thing
well in hand by this time.

Now, I only needed to work on paying attention to the small details. Like maybe, delivering
the job to the right address!

Listen to this near miss.

Oh man, it was so close.

I was solo on this job and before I took off to make the delivery, I remember taking one last look at the address before making the delivery.

I gingerly drove the streets of Staten Island
with a food-packed van until I hit the "X"
that marked the spot.

I pulled up to the house, bolted up the small stairway, until I was face to face
with the front door.

I rang the doorbell.
And for a second...
I had the strange urge to run... LoL

Then, someone whom I didn’t really know answered the door, along with several other unfamiliar faces milling about behind him.
But hey, I paid no attention to that at all.
Remember, I was in the business mode.

Which was... to get the food in the house as quickly, and neatly, as possible. Get the money, and get the fuck outta there! So I had a bit of tunnel vision goin' on.

Anyway, the person let me in, and I told him
who I was and why I was there.
(You heard that right?
I told him who... I was...
and why... I was there!)

Then, without hesitation, I entered the house and nonchalantly proceeded into the kitchen area as if I owed the joint, and inquired where they wanted me to set up the food.

After a second or two of awkward silence, the home owner pointed to the counter. I then quickly ran back out to the van and grabbed the tablecloth, tape, and scissors
to begin my prep work.

I got back inside and actually began...
setting up.

I say again...
I began... setting up!!

Remember now, there were several people in the house besides the person I was dealing with thus far. And... every single one of them were watching me do this. It wasn’t like I was there all by myself or even with just that one owner.

They were actually watching me set up.
Are ya with me thus far??

Well, as I was diligently preparing my work space, finally, someone said to me...

Excuse me?
But who are you?

My jaw hit the fuckin' ground!

I thought to myself, now what kind of a stupid fuckin’ question was that?

These people were the ones who hired me, right? Right? RIGHT? And now they were asking me who the hell I was?

It didn’t sink in at first. But when I looked up, and took a good look at the other faces and still hadn’t recognized anyone yet, I began to wonder.

I answered back...

I’m the caterer, of course!
You guys ordered food, right?

At this point, I didn’t really wanna know
the answer.

Especially, if it wasn’t the one I needed to hear. And, of course, it wasn’t!
You muthafucka you... LoL

We didn’t!

Now, with that said, my fuckin' tongue fell right outta my fuckin' mouth, to follow my fuckin' jaw. Beads of sweat began to run down my now crunched up, tension-filled brow.

What’ta ya mean, no!
Isn’t this 158 such & such Ave?

Again, I got the answer that I didn’t wanna hear.

Oh, no it isn't!
This is 168!

Holy fuckin’ shit!

I was this close to delivering an entire catering job to the wrong house.

And... these fucking idiots
were about to let me do it.

I mean, if someone came to your door and said that they were the caterer, and where would you like the food set up, wouldn’t you say right then and there that he had the wrong fuckin' house!?

I know I would’ve!

I’m not gonna let some knucklehead guy into my home. Watch him barrel his way into my kitchen like he owned the joint, and then go ahead and actually tell him where to place the food.
(That I didn't order!!)

C’mon people work with me here!
You stupid fucking a-holes, you.

Listen to me, I’m tryin’ to blame some poor simpletons for my own asinine mistake!

Hey, I like that word, asinine!

So, that was a near disaster.
We all had a pretty big laugh while I was at the correct house setting up. And yes, it was brought up how I made way too much food for their last family gathering. And how I sent back
the tip money!

Nuthin' gets forgotten does it, especially when you're the douche who fucked up. Too funny!

But I have one more story about this catering thing that beats all. And my ex-wife Lynn
was behind the whole thing.

I was turning 30 and she wanted to have a surprise party for me. How cool right!

Listen to the way she pulled the wool over my eyes... it was so fucking brilliant!

She came up with the incredible idea of having me cater my own fucking party.

Can you believe that idea?
Nothing short of genius!
Not asinine at all.
Man that word is too cool.

Let me run you through it real fast.

First, Lynn recruited a friend from her bowling league to call me and book a party for 80 people.

Which is alot'a people for the small operation I had in place. Man, I gotta tell ya... she had me hook, line, and muthafuckin’ sinker
from the very first second.

It was so funny how I was making fun of Lynn's accomplice for ordering what she did. They were all very easy and relatively inexpensive
dishes to prepare.

I was saying that this woman really didn't have a clue on how to order food. And kept boasting about how I was gonna make a killing,
profit wise.

So much so that I felt obligated to make up a large fruit display for her at no charge.
Too funny.

Another thing is that I never thought it suspicious at all that suddenly my wife, sister-in-law Dawn, and parents joined forces with my brother Michael in the helping out department.

Out of the blue, my parents would unexpectedly "stop by"... while Lynn & Dawn also strangely found their way downstairs... while I was prepping... because they said that just felt like giving me a hand. Which never happened before!

man I'm SO naive... LoL

It was all just so funny. Oh not for me mind you, but for them, it was like they were filming a fucking episode of "Everybody Loves Raymond" for goodness sake... LoL

There they were...

... right there pulling the wool right over poor unsuspecting Robert's eyes.

They were actually giving each other hand signals and mouthing back 'n forth behind my back while I was working, planning out and following up on details of the devious deception.

I hadn't a fuckin' clue of what was going on right under my very own nose. I was too busy yelling at them because the swedish meatballs
weren't round enough. LoL

It was all so brilliant!

Well, the day arrived.

I prepared the last remaining items and began loading up the van to deliver the food to... myself.

When all of the sudden Lynn began giving me shit over my sauce-stained clothes. She was saying that I should take a shower, and change. That it would look better for the “business”.

Just really nagging at me
and bustin' my balls ya know.

Well, I finally blew up, and told her to shut the fuck up. And, oh boy I'm a douche. I even said that I hated her when she persisted like this.

I know I know... I wanna punch myself
right in the face too!

I roared back that I was trying to make the business work, and I didn’t have time for a shower and a change of clothes. I told her I only needed to tie a clean apron over my clothes.

Boy, am I an asshole, or what?

I actually used the word “hated”. Would someone please punch me in the fucking head... thank you!

Anyway, she won out.
As chicks usually do!

She got me so pissed off that I just said, fuck it! Then ran upstairs and took that shower just to shut her up! Again, I feel like such a douche
right now while I'm writing this.

Finally, the van was packed, I smelled... okay I guess, better at least... and Lynn, well this incredible chick was sitting in the front seat rubbing her conniving hands together like a diabolical criminal mastermind as all of her hard work, monetary saving and hopeful planing were finally coming to fruition!

We pulled up to the hall, and as we were walking towards the entrance, Pat, the other accomplice, met us outside.

She then proceeded to lead us into the main hall.

The first thing my eyes focused on

as we walked through the door was the big,
long table at the front of the room
where the food would be arranged.

By the time I had maybe two, possibly three steps inside the room, I already had that entire table pretty much set up in my mind

even before that fourth step was taken.

But then, all of the sudden,

I heard this big roar of...


I already had it in my head that this surprise thing was going to happen. Oh no, not for me. I was getting ready to respond back to everyone that I wasn’t the birthday boy,
that I was only the caterer.

Then I would continue on

with the setting up of the food.

But, after the burst of surprise, as I lifted my head and broke my “work mode” concentration,

I began to recognize people.

In fact, everywhere I turned, I knew the faces that were staring back at me unlike how it was with the near miss delivery I spoke of earlier.

And just then, my brother Michael jumped on my back, and hugged the shit outta me.

Suddenly, I realized that the fuckin’ surprise actually was for me!

Tommy Mondello's 30th surprise party January 19, 1991
 Tommy Mondello's 30th surprise party January 19, 1991
 Tommy Mondello's 30th surprise party January 19, 1991
 Tommy Mondello's 30th surprise party January 19, 1991
 Tommy Mondello's 30th surprise party January 19, 1991

Right away my eyes welled up like a big baby, and I began to shake. I just couldn’t believe what was goin’ on. All of this was for me!

Now, I really felt like a dick

for yelling at Lynn the way I did.

Oh man, I’m sweating right now

at this very second after reliving this.

For years afterwards
people were still talking about it.

We even saw the guy that DJ’d the party,

"DJ Danny", several years later at another function, and even he remembered
the way I was surprised.

"Oh man, that’s right!

You’re the guy, who catered his own party!
That’s still the greatest story I’ve ever heard about a surprise party he said.

It was really something.

I’ve got to say thank you to my ex Lynn,

for putting up with all of my bullshit during the preparation. And thank you to Michael, Dawn and my parents, and Lynn again, for helping out during that brief two years of slingin' hash!

I don’t think I would’ve gotten as far as I did

if you guys weren’t there to help.