Monday, August 22, 2011

What happened on my day off

I met Jeff from Messer and the guy who was cutting the new trench drain into the concrete out back at 6:30 this morning.  That of course means that I was at the restaurant at 6:00 to make sure all was in line for the work they needed to do.  When we first came into the restaurant there was nowhere to put a walk-in. We could have given up almost half of the kitchen space or somehow done with all reach-ins.  With the amount of business we are now doing, if we had made either of those decisions we would have been screwed. 

So we built the walk-in outside.  That really cool looking white wall with the huge logo on it....yeah the whole reason it is there is to cover the walk-in and the trash (which is a whole other topic).  The ground naturally slopes towards the back of the space and so there was a whole plan with engineers and architects to deal with the slope and the water and the American's With Disabilities Act .  There is also a lake in the walk-in when it rains.  I remember one day splashing about in there first thing in the morning, we had worked really late the night before and it had rained over night. As I tried to deal with cooks getting food to start their day, drivers bringing deliveries and plopping them into Lake Walk-in I discovered I had a hole in my shoe.   Standing in a puddle trying to squeegee water up hill as it squished about my toes was, if I remember rightly, enough to cause me to question my involvement in the whole industry.     

So Messer tried a few things that had marginal or no success and today came through with the trench drain.  It runs the length of the walk-in and we are hoping it will catch all of the water as it runs down hill heading for the walk-in door. 

I am not the best person first thing in the morning.  6:00 am is early for a man who works mostly at night.  I came in, got coffee started and headed out back to move the 14 residential dumpsters where we put our trash, the two Pepsi sales display things that live out back for unknown reasons and the gigantic linen dumpster that was still really full from the weekend. 

Luckily Rumpke beat me to the restaurant so the trash was gone.  The pepsi things had wheels and were empty.  The linen dumpster was full to the top and weighed a ton.  As I moved it a few bags fell off the top, smacking into the wall and landing in a pile of bags of dirty laundry.  I had a moment, see it was also my day off, did I mention that? Yes I was in the restaurant at 6:00 am on my day off. So I had a moment, I decided screw it, those bags are heavy and they can move them out of the way when they go to cut the concrete.

Upon walking back into the restaurant to retrieve my coffee, keys and find my way back to the car, I heard a weird beeping sound coming from the office.  It was not the kind of thing you could just walk away from.  It was one of those beeps that says something is truly messed up in here and you had better investigate. The beep was high pitched and intermittent.  So with each set of beeps I got closer to figuring out where it was coming from.  Not the alarm, not the phone or someone's pager or PDA.  It turned out to be coming from the battery backup for the Aloha computer. The lights were out in the office, the phones were down there was no internet and the computers were all dead.

My first reaction was "blown circuit" .  After looking through all the circuits, and we have a few, I was stumped.  There were no obviously blown circuits.  It was a touch dark since the lights in the office were not working either so I was using the "flashlight" on my phone to look at circuit breakers..  Luckily the coffee machine was working so I got another cup and sent KJ a text that there was something wrong with aloha and good luck but this was not my problem.  So with coffee in hand I continued to poke about looking for blown circuits (this turned into a pseudo key search with me looking at the same circuits over and over.  Admittedly the blown circuit is the extant of my electrical know how)  Things were getting warm in the kitchen so I decided to flip on the hoods to get some air moving (the hoods hang over the hot line and suck out thousands of cubic feet of air) and oh s%*t, the hoods are not working.  This is most certainly my problem.  More frantic key style looking at not blown circuits. 

By this time Jeff from Messer had arrived so I shared my crisis with him.  He investigated the building next door where apparently all electricity originates and came up with no more solutions then I had.  Things had gotten serious.  With no hoods and no computers the restaurant was not opening.  It was time to bring Doug into this.  I sent him a text and waited for the call.  Pretty quick a sleepy grumpy Doug was on the phone.

We came up with a quick plan.  He called the General Contractor, I called the electricians.  Pretty quick we had folks jumping to come fix the problem.  I was worried that we would not be able to open for lunch.  Doug was on his way in.  It is also his day off and he has not had many.  Running two restaurants has meant that old Doug has been in one or the other pretty much every day since we opened.  It made me think of Pulp Fiction when Samuel Jackson asks his boss to say "you ain't got no problem Jules..you chill them out and wait for the Calvary which should be coming Directly ".  Well Doug was right there.  I had the crisis and he was on his way.

So a bit more coffee (yes I realize that is the third cup in one story but i drink a lot of coffee and it was 7:00am by this point).  I went out to watch the concrete get cut and talk to Jeff.  We were puzzling over the electrical problem when I saw an electrical box on the wall of the restaurant.    The big red switch was in the OFF position.  HELL I HAD NEVER EVEN SEEN THAT DAMN BOX WHO WOULD SWITCH IT OFF, THOSE BASTARDS,  THEY WOULD HAVE HAD TO GO BEHIND THE BIG LAUNDRY DUMPSTER IN ORDER TO FLIP THAT SWITCH, unless of course when someone was moving the big laundry dumpster and a giant bag of dirty laundry rolled off.....if that string holding the bag closed had hooked onto that switch, if that happened as someone, well I moved that damn thing then, well I would be responsible for this whole thing.

The electrician was coming in on an emergency call, the General Contractor got an early morning wake-up and  Doug was riding in from Pickerington on his white horse.  A bag of dirty laundry.  I made the calls, Doug was only a block away. The electrician was called off, an apologetic text to the GC Greg Callaghan. 

The hoods came on, the computer restarted, I got a pile of grief from my boss for bringing him in from the burbs and I found my keys, got some coffee and headed out to start my day off.

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