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 on  shattered edges will dry. My job is like childbirth – forget the pain and look forward to doing it again.

 

4 AM Birthday Party


Throwing myself a birthday party at 4 am is complicated. Not complicated in my existence, more justification for pouring another glass of wine between laundry’s wash and rinse cycle. Strictly speaking my 57th birthday expired at midnight, I say it’s history when sleep delivers a new day. Half an hour ago pre-dawn wine glow launched an ambush of conscience – everyone knows how much I work, so what if my birthday falls on the 12th straight day in a row and tomorrow makes 13. Why did I tell co-workers it was my birthday? Was I feeling sorry for myself?

My 57th birthday, 12th work day without a break started at noon and didn’t end at 2:30 am when I walked in the front door with a bundle of uniforms to wash for tomorrow’s parties. Oh crap, I’m feeling sorry for myself! Quick, wish me a happy birthday because laundry is done and my wine bottle is empty. Never mind, I’m going to bed 🙂

Baby Ran My Day Off


Waking to an imaginary unplugged serenade of 54 40 Baby Ran proved I had a day off work. Playing gently in my mind, I stretched and went back to sleep. After ten straight days of screaming alarm clocks I was free. In truth freedom began the night before when I rushed home from work to shower and change for the 54 40 concert. Since the 1986 release of Baby Ran, 54 40  has played background vocals in my life. Attending a know every word to every song concert was exceptional. Capping it with an unplugged banjo plucking rendition of Baby Ran made me forget how tired I was.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/54-40

Not once did I look at my phone or care what time it was. Much as I like my job, Baby Ran reminded me how important time off is.

Ghostbuster Caps The Day


Work can be tedious. Dwelling on matters of daunting physical exertion, tricky timelines, spur of the moment demands, sloppy drunks, mothers of the bride, uppity executive assistants or barbecuing in torrential rain are pointless. Not dismissing the probability of needing my head examined, I remain steadfast in belief – attitude is everything. Every so often inexplicable moments of joy remind me why hospitality puts a smile on my face.

I saw his hands first, trembling with effort as they struggled to grasp a burger. Looking up, assistance with cheese, tomato and mustard found the man who made my day. I swear his eyes twinkled when “I like your hat” left my lips. “Thank you” he smiled. Eons beyond “liking” an eighty something year old gentleman gangster rocking a 1980’s Ghostbusters cap, I turned and walked away, happier than I’ve been in a very long time.

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Work Views


I love my line of work. Just when I think I’ve seen it all, along comes a twenty five foot circus marionette dangling wine faeries from each arm. Kicking myself for not capturing clearer images – understand it required considerable effort to take pictures at all – we had work to do. As upwards of 200 guests poured into the concourse of Vancouver Public Library, our service staff offered an empty wine glass to each guest. “David” the marionette from Underground Circus dropped wine faeries from above, filling out-stretched glasses.

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http://undergroundcircus.ca/

Absent Notes


As much as I would rather ponder than leave my house at 4:30 AM every morning this week to oversee catering at a luxury car launch 75 Km. away, sweltering at a race track in 30 degree heat – it’s my job, and I do love it. On the upside it’s a luxury 120 foot yacht this weekend for the fireworks, with a reception for a few hundred people in between.

While going to bed ridiculously early prevents ponders; I’ve discovered the wonder of mist rising from the river and valleys at the crack of dawn. Absent notes will be back in a few days.