Saturday, January 22, 2011
Murphy's Law, In Spades
It all started yesterday morning when I arrived at the restaurant. Suddenly, there is a person at the door from the electric company, signaling wildly that he had to speak with me. As I open the door he is off and running with a rant about an emergency - possibility of fire - arching and sparking - coming from the electric meter "pan" behind the restaurant. Seems that when he replaced the meter the day before, he noted the remnants of the "arching" and burned insulation, so his supervisor asked him to return to "warn us" of this impending danger.
So I met him out back and he showed me the problem. Not good at all. He suggested we call in an electrician, have the electrician call for a "trouble truck" to come out and turn off all power, so the repairs could be made.
Fortunately, our electrician (a feisty 80-year-old gent) was due to check out a few minor things requiring attention. Suddenly, we're faced with a major repair, and quickly. The restaurant sucks up huge amounts of power in normal, daily use - especially the ovens that heat the stones for stonegrilling, which need to be heated to 700' F - but the real danger was from the heating system and the demand for higher temperatures during this extreme cold snap.
Calls were made to the electric company to secure a trouble truck, which, thanks to bureaucratic BS took almost 4 hours and 5 calls before the right department was located. Customer Service, anyone?
Truck arrived, showed the panel innards to the electrician who promptly tells us to turn off the heat pumps. That's fine for the evening, but what about the morning when the outside temps will be in the single digits? No matter. Shut it down. We are forced to use only the 2 gas powered space heaters in the front of the dining room until he can fabricate the new part.
Getting to work 2 hours early, I turn on those heaters (it is so cold that the led displays "L" meaning that the thermostats cannot measure that low temperature. Predicting such a situation, I added a sweater to my work ensemble, and begin the normal routine. An hour later the heaters were registering 48' F and I knew this wasn't going to work out. I mean, it was 12' F outside when I left home. When the kitchen staff arrived the temp was 54' F, warmer than outdoors, but after a few minutes one could feel the cold seeping into the bones.
I turned on the main heat to remove the chill, but only for an hour, that's all it took, and the dining room became pleasantly warm and welcoming.
One line cook called in sick; a server did the same; another server was going to be late and we're to open in less than a hour.
Never mind the time of day, I could have used a martini, with 3 olives, please.
The security company arrived announcing that one of the sensors is sending an "erroneous" signal, that sensor in zone 6 has been tampered with. Problem; they cannot find a zone 6 in their records. Again, not my problem. Annoyance, yes. Problem, no.
I take a deep breath to remind myself "it is what it is" and that's out of my control. I leave everyone to their own devices and chores and focus on my duties. Magically, by the time I open the doors, everyone and everything is in place.
I was ready for a good lunch crowd and wasn't disappointed. The day sped by with flowing margaritas and happy customers who really made my day.
I am exhausted, but feel very blessed. And a command performance is scheduled for tomorrow, and after a good night's sleep I will be ready for anything. Well....almost.
And so it goes.
Posted by the cajun