Monday, November 27, 2006

A Holiday Story--Conclusion

I got a temporary reprieve from the bullshit onslaught on Saturday. Oh, wait…maybe not. When I arrived at work Saturday morning, I noted the absence of new cook, late of Monday morning hospital visit, but returned to work Friday, "good as new." "Where’s P?" I asked. "She had an issue…" I am told. About an hour into her shift Saturday morning, she clutched her side, turned white, and said she had to leave. Why was I not surprised? In fact, I was downright blasé about the whole thing. Business was slow, and I would have had to send someone home anyway. I figured her illness had done me a favor, in a backhanded sort of way…

Saturday was, fortunately enough, the day my family headed home…fortified by yet another meal at the café. (Hey…I own a restaurant. Why not take advantage of it?) The weather was clear, if a tad cold. With a gleam in my eye, I talked one of my crew into finishing my shift (I was supposed to close the kitchen) and dragged the husband home to help me hang our outside Christmas lights. Considering the way the weekend had been going, the thought crossed my mind that this was probably a risky move. Yet, unbelievably, we got those lights hung without either of us falling off a ladder or electrocuting ourselves. We suffered nothing worse than a few half-frozen fingers and toes. And the lights, though not as elaborate as in years past, are at least up. Honestly, I wasn’t sure we would get even that much of our personal holiday stuff done this year.

Sunday…was the icing on the cake. I was scheduled to work open to close. Minus new cook, whose ongoing medical issues have taken her out of the picture for at least the next week, I was now the only cook. Not a good situation on a Sunday morning if it should get busy. On top of this, my eight o’clock counter person arrived complaining that she was so sick that she didn’t know if she would make it through her shift. Sigh! I sent her home. Down two people now. So I prevailed upon the husband to come in and lend a hand. He can’t cook, but he can help out front, freeing my counter person to help out in the kitchen. Counter person who was begging me to let her leave early so that she could attend her family’s Thanksgiving celebration. Same counter person who had dropped the ball on Friday morning. And yet, I stand on my head to allow her to get out of there early. I am such a sweet, thoughtful boss. Or a horrible sap.

Exhausted, disheartened and a little shell-shocked, I struggle through the day on Sunday. And if something could go wrong, it did. The grill mysteriously extinguished itself…twice. My biscuits inexplicably cooked up raw in the middle. And husband and I have a major falling out over, of all things, banana bread. I get home Sunday night, husband and I are not speaking to each other, I am tripping over the fallout left behind by the invasion of my kin. Husband retreats to the family room to watch his "previously recorded" football game and I literally throw myself on my bedroom floor and sob. Actually, not so much sobs as wordless cries of frustration and fatigue. And then I scrape myself up, regroup, and apply myself to making some sense out of the mess. Nothing like an endless "to do" list to cut short even the most self-indulgent pity party.

And what about today? Are things better? Do I have an adequate number of employees left to allow me to open the doors? Do I have enough business to keep my employees from leaning against the counters with their thumbs up their…you-know-whats?

Well, all I can say is--it’s snowing…

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