Notes Can Be Broken

Age is a state of mind, or so I thought until 57 years kicked me in the ass this week. Work has always been physical, I credit on the job activity with keeping me healthy, it never occurred to me I could be broken.

The enormity of off site catering is difficult to explain. We can’t run to a shelf for equipment, everything we need is loaded into a truck, loaded out when we’re done. On arrival rented tables, chairs, glassware, ice, plates, cutlery and ovens wait for distribution. Roll out tables, set them and place chairs. Build bars, kitchen and buffets. Four hours of hard labour under our belts before the first guest arrives if we’re lucky, a frenzied hour and a half if we’re in deep shit. We build, adapt and improvise spectacular parties without complaint. Guests remember the meal and libations, nobody cares about logistics.

Funny thing is, my job is to ensure guests don’t care about logistics. I’m a Swiss Army Knife – sturdy, reliable, a tool for any situation. My strokes come from putting clients at ease and comradely moments when staff exhale silent acknowledgement of our work ethic. Before today thoughts of reaching physical limits capable of breaking me down were inconceivable.Now I face a sobering truth, Notes can be broken.

Seven day chronology of a shattered Notes – Last Friday was day one, a 300 person plated dinner under a tent on a sports field. Day two ran sixteen and a half hours, 265 guests on a rural estate for a quarter of a million dollar wedding. Fitbit equipped staff recorded walking over 25 kilometers back and forth from kitchen to party tents.At least the valets got golf carts, my staff operated on stoic determination.I don’t remember driving home at 5 am but won’t soon forget catatonic day 3 unable to get out of bed. Day four demanded 13 hours, the first 8 humping lunch deliveries all over town followed by a 250 guest reception. Day five’s plated dinner came with stairs, mere mortals might cry, we laughed at the irony. Yesterday was day six, 700 guests at an animation studio. 12 themed food stations spread over 4 floors. Routine day seven dawned without adrenaline, driving to work I wondered what was wrong with me. Denial stalled inevitable until a few hours ago when processing realities of the next two days off erupted in spontaneous tears.

Solace kindly reminded me how many staff half my age were broken this week. Thank you solace, point taken. Come Monday morning glue onย  shattered edges will dry. My job is like childbirth – forget the pain and look forward to doing it again.


5 thoughts on “Notes Can Be Broken

  1. I know how that happens. I once worked 19 days in a row as a home shopping delivery driver. On 15 of those I did a full dayshift (8 till 7) then an evening shift (7 till 11). I’d do four runs of up to 750 kilos a shot. My pedometer told me I walked an average of 20 miles a day.
    I burned out. I broke.
    Mind you, I had a couple of years on you. I was 59. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I’m 59 and got tired just reading your blog post, Notes. You do well to manage that kind of schedule – you must be in really good shape! I’m a busy substitute teacher at the High School level and I find that, although I still love my job, I’m getting so I just want quiet .

  3. I am impressed by you, your stamina, your drive, your concern for you staff even while you were tired and hurting. The sign you are a grand person. You must love what you do to push this hard. Special people are few enough, we need more, and should be acknowledged when seen. I salute you. I congratulate you. Thanks for letting us see your stressful tasks. Hugs

    • Thank you Scottie. I do love my job, no two days the same, the satisfaction of creating stunning visual presentations, the rush of calmly solving problems and cheerful dedication of staff just as crazy as I am are intoxicating. One of the first things I tell new staff is “this job will show what you’re made of”, trust me, it isn’t for everyone. ๐Ÿ™‚

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