Lyle's Blog

Happy Memorial Day Weekend

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The weekend definitely started off with a bang. Inclimate weather seems to always bring them out but a baseball jamboree didn't hurt much. Starting early, the flow was steady to strong most of the morning and not stopping until around 1 to 2 in the afternoon.

It was one of those days that you love and hate all at the same time. You love because it is the day that the bills are paid. You hate because of the physical wear that it brings. That and there are always problems that need to be solved on the fly. And today was no different.

At one time, I was cleaning up a mess in the back room trying to make way for yet another large party when one of the cooks stuck his head out of the kitchen and yelled, "Lyle, can you help clear out the pass bar?".

The pass bar was so full of dishes that they were beginning to stack them on the corners of one another. I grabbed tickets and began to sort out the various dishes to the respective wait staff. One of our better girls was off for the weekend and with the back room being used so much, it seemed to throw off the flow a bit. When there are so many tickets up, it is always a chore to match the tickets with the orders. Which omelette is which? Do you need to sauce a dish or add gravy to the hash browns? Is the toast ready? Where is that server? It is almost like putting together a puzzle.

While I am working, one server sticks their head in and asks for a smoothie to be made. Another asks for a special price. Yet another says they are going outside for a smoke...."No, not until this is all done!". The cooks have it in high gear and are filling up the pass bar just about as fast as I am clearing it out. "I just put that order in!", one of the servers complained. I can feel the sweat on my brow as I work to clear up this log jam.

I am just about to the clearing when the new cashier comes up. He is visibly shaken and tries to explain his problem. I quickly grab him and head back up to the cashier station. He is confused over a gift certificate issue and has not paid a customer enough change. I quickly assess the situation and hand the man a five. He smiles and thanks me, heading out the door. I look up and notice that the line now is very long and since the new cashier seems a bit stressed, I take over and give him a break.

Once again, just like in the pass bar area, there is one problem after another to solve. I can see why this has flustered him. Cards not running properly, people wanting to pay for only parts of the ticket leaving me to work out who owes what. People wanting to pay for part on credit card and other parts with cash. While others are confused over charges on their ticket. Some towards the back of the line seem to be grumbling a bit over the length of the line. I understand that as when you are finished eating, you just want to leave.

One man asks me quite a few questions as I ring him up. I realize from his questions that he is new so I ask him if it is his first time. "Yes, it is!", he says, "My cardiologist recommended you. He said the food was awesome but then after he said that, he said that maybe he should not let me know about this place because their are so many good things on the menu that I should not be eating.". I told him that we could always make his meal cardiac friendly. "Heck no!", he says, "That would ruin the flavor.". So I asked him what he thought about his first time. "You know, I have always looked up here at this building coming out of Costco and have wondered about it. I am so glad that I came. I loved it! You know, I watched one of the California Omelettes go by as I was eating. I can't wait till the next time so I can try one of those out!".

As I worked, I mused over the fact that he cardiologist had recommended us. I recalled back last year when I picked up my buddy, Frank, after his colonoscopy (sp). I was sitting in the corner of his room as he was waiting for the doctor to release him. The doc walked in and announced, "You are good to go on down to Jake's and fill back up again on one of their delicious meals.". He seemed shocked as Frank introduced me to him and I thanked him for the referral. "I love your food.", he said.

Between busing, seating, pouring coffee, cleaning up messes, talking to people, making coffee, directing people, making decisions, sorting out food, and taking out orders; the morning seemed to fly by and soon Trinity showed up to do some work in the office. She asked if I wanted to share a sandwich for lunch. I was so exhausted that I was not hungry but I knew that I needed to eat. I stopped for a second and wolfed down a half sandwich realizing that I was more hungry than my brain was telling me.

I was just about to head to the bank to drop the deposit and get some change when I was informed that we were almost out of salsa. That is a needed component of many breakfast dishes and I know we will not be getting a delivery until at least Monday so I head out to the local wholesale grocer to pick some up.

On the way back, Trin calls me in tears. "Harry had heart attack.", she says. My first question is did he make it. She answers that he is in the hospital and is in the same room as Gene was in the week before. Gene was Harry's best friend who passed away and we held his service in the diner.

I headed straight up to the hospital and arrived at his room not to far behind his family. I stepped into the room and just watched as they stood around his bed. His son looked over and saw me. He said, "Well look who showed up.". Harry's wife, Joanne gave me a big hug and thanked me for coming over. We all stood around Harry's bed as he told the story of what had happened. He had been offloading hay and had just finished and gone in the house when he felt pain in his chest. He said he then got cold sweats and so he sat down and called 911. He was so fortunate that he called as the heart attack was a large one and the paramedics rushed him into the hospital. Honestly, he was about the last person that I would expect to see in that situation. Harry always watches what he eats and stays so slim and trim.

I excused myself knowing that this was time that he needed to be with his family and headed home myself. I looked out at a yard that was getting kind of long and knowing that I might not be able to get to it next week, grabbed the mower and did my home chores. As I took off my shoes afterwards, I felt the tiredness creeping up on me. I knew that I might be needed for supper as we were one person short. Ricci had said that their would be no problem as Memorial Day weekend Saturday evenings are traditionally slow.

I layed down on the couch for just a second and was woken up an hour later staring into the panting face of a small fluffy Mia. Her two paws up on the side of the couch, she was looking at me with a worried look on her face. When she saw my eyes open up, she quickly gave me a lick, and scooted out of the room. My watch told me that it was time to get my shoes back on and head back to the diner.

Like Ricci had said, the diner was slow and so I ordered up supper, a couple of prime rib tacos. I made sure to tell Ricci that she was right and I was wrong before I headed out. I stopped at Safeway and picked up a movie before arriving home and once again slipping out of my shoes. Judy joined me and with my feet up, I began enjoying a nice movie at the end of the day.

But....my day was not ended. A buzz of my phone sent me a text message from Trin. "Help! We need you back here.". I called and she informed me that they were slammed. "We are putting people in the back room.", she said. "Don't put any more back there." I told her.

I arrived to find another group of approx 10 heading back into the back room. There were tables up front but they were all dirty. I quickly went to work, filling up four buss tubs as I cleared off the tables that were soon sitting with yet more customers. One man stepped in the door and announced, "I hear your prime rib is awesome. I hope you are not out of it yet.".

I stopped Ricci and made her tell me that I was right and she wrong and we all worked to get the evening supper under control. My time was spent similar to the morning but different in that the crew was smaller making some of the problems even more acute. As the crowd began to thin, I found myself up at the register. I asked one lady how her meal was and she said, "ok". "OK scares me.", I returned. "What was wrong.". She then began to tell me that one of her burgers was a bit burnt. I asked her if she ate it and she said, "Of course, I was hungry.". I took some money off and she thanked me informing me that she had once owned a restaurant on the coast. As she put the tip on the charge slip, I wondered just how true that statement was when she gave the server around a 4% tip. If she had indeed owned a restaurant, she would know that the government makes the waitress pay taxes on at least 8%.

I checked with the girls later on that table and we quickly surmised that they just wanted a discounted ticket. They had stopped by many times and were told that everything was great. I helped them buss the table where the dishes looked as if they were almost licked clean.

With the evening shift under control, I left around 8:30 and headed home. Judy had finished the movie so I started watching it alone. I dozed on and off but caught most of the good parts of the movie waking up with some of the more startling parts. I then pulled myself to bed. I lay thinking back on the day and was very soon out like a light.

Four hours later, however, the light came back on. And here I am typing out my day. Maybe I should lay my head back down. After all, in a few short hours, this will start all over again. At least today, we close at 3.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

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