Monday, April 27, 2009

Grip Slide Breach Barrel Trigger

After a long slow winter, the catering season has officially begun, and not a moment too soon. Is that what I'm supposed to say? Not a moment too soon? Well, I take it back, maybe it started just a moment too soon. After weeks of spring rains and chilly weather, Saturday came with 90 degree weather, which is awesome if you're not working, but not so much with long pants and a chef coat. Don't think I'm complaining about the work, cause I'm not... the money is good, and the jobs are like a 12 hour adrenaline rush, but it would be nice to start slow. That's why the first day of school or a new job is never that bad - you have a little time to work your way into things. Needless to say, on Saturday I didn't have a minute to work my way into things.
To be honest, I was getting pretty stressed by Wednesday. Orders were piling in, and workers were hemming and hawing about the prospect of showing up on a beautiful day to work... and by Friday I was knee deep in event planners who were bickering about the room set up and trying to get me to make menu changes at the last minute. By Friday night things had started to spiral out of control - orders came in wrong, another bar was added to the layout, and in addition to needing another bartender two of our hires backed out... which is why it's good to have friends. After a few hours, a minor heart attack, and a few bribes to a Sysco guy and a sushi chef everything was starting to look up again.
By the way, if you don't have a sushi guy, you should really get one. Honestly, treat yourself. Everyone has a meat guy, a fish guy, a produce guy and a bread guy... but a sushi guy, now that's a fun guy to have. Mine is especially cool because he is completely without emotion. Like a ninja. I missed him for a few days this week, and when I finally caught up with him and told him I needed 450 pieces of sushi trayed up on Saturday morning he raised his right eyebrow ever so slightly... until I said I was sure other jobs would be coming his way, and then he every so slowly lowered it back to standard eyebrow level and got to work.
By Saturday morning it was relentlessly beautiful outside, and I was a ball of stress. Went to the bank, picked up the tasty but emotionless sushi, and got down to work. Kate showed, and we had four hours of final prep work to do, a bit of time to plan our night, and then the hires started showing. First Trina, then Ken and Terri. Colleen and Ann came together, then Jessica (the new girl), then Bo, Sam, Susan, Chris, Sue, Jen, Lori, and finally (14 minutes late by my watch) the other Chris strolled in. Within minutes (I planned ahead! Woohoo!) they were busy as bees setting up the bars and making pitchers of the event's 'signature cocktail', cutting desserts, and assembling my "Centerpiece of Stress" - a 24 foot antipasto table complete with vodka and horseradish marinated tomatoes cascading down from risers, hills of roasted peppers, peppadews, boucheron and brie. Rows of olives and smoked portobello mushrooms snaking their way through flatbreads and sausages, carrots and hummus, tamarind shrimp and prosciutto - all leading directly into a tiny artery in my head and putting me on the verge of a stroke with every passing cornichon. Finally, six hours after I walked in the door, the 270 guests start to roll in and the names of the 22 hors d'oeuvres we have stacked up ready to be tossed in the ovens are drilled into the server's heads.
And for the next six hours, we push.
Then, of course, it's all over and I can't sleep. But I'm free to wander the house while everyone else is sleeping and look for band-aids, surgical tape, Tylenol, and vodka. When I made it upstairs at around four in the morning Lily had taken my spot in the bed, so I curled up in hers under pink sheets and ladybugs. By the time the sun was coming up I was burnt, sore, bandaged, and sleeping. And to be honest, sort of looking forward to the next time...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

4:15 - Chess for Beginners, 5:00 - Introduction to the World of Dating the Opposite Sex

Now that Sam is in kindergarten, or should I say the only kindergarten in a 20 square mile radius that isn't a full day program, there are a few days when I dash out of work to get him at 3:20. Aside from the fact that I'm rushing a bit, I can't complain about the time... all in all it's pretty cool. When it's warmer out we play soccer, go to the library at least once a week, occasionally hit Rita's for some water ice... stuff like that.
For the past year or so, Sam has talked about playing chess, I guess because some of the kids in his school play, and he bugs me to play every once in a while. Since I haven't played since I was in sixth grade we're both beginners, and I had to get a chess book out of the library after our first game deteriorated into a fancy looking checkers match. Then, miracle of miracles, the library started a chess club for kids. Every Monday the high school chess club comes in for an hour and plays the kids, some of whom play really well and some first timers like Sam.
Our first week went pretty well. Sam was gung-ho and raring to play, and for his first game he played one of the guys who guided him through the game, telling him how to move & what moves he should make. The second game was against one of the other instructors who was playing two of the kids at once, and still helped him through the game a bit. I just sat back and watched, trying to focus on the positive - chess is a thinking man's game, it takes intelligence, patience, strategy, reasoning and problem solving... but in the end, as I sat and watched I was fascinated by the high school chess club. There, right in front of me, were eight of the dorkiest people I had ever seen. Sure, they were nice guys... but I couldn't get past it and was silently asking myself question after question... How many times have they seen Star Wars? How many cyber alter-egos do they have? How many of them have "girlfriends" who live in the Niagara Falls area? How many of them played the oboe or could speak Klingon? So, to sum up, Sam had fun, and I'm going to hell.
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