Apr 7, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
First, a little background. Back in the Eighties, when I first started working for Jake's, I received a couple of degrees from COCC. One of them was their original class in Computer Science. With the aid of the original PC that was used to start the now large computer software company, ORCOM, I built the original accounting software used by the truck stop. Along with Art Sanchez (who still teaches for COCC), we coauthored the original payroll program of which he used to help garner his Masters degree at the University of New Mexico. That summer while we worked on the program, he gained the first hand knowledge that he used to teach the first PC class at COCC. My translation is I have some Computer Geek in me......at least I used to. I did all of that while running the then small Jake's Cafe. When we built up the business in the cafe so large that we needed bigger digs and Jake's Diner was born, I was given the option of either running the diner or staying on as the computer manager. You all know what I chose.
So, to the present. On Friday, I went out and purchased one of those new super mini mega computers at Best Buy. The hard drive on my PC had gotten so full that I could not defrag it and it had began to freeze up on me. I was concerned of crashing it and the cost of replacing the drive was about the same as purchasing the new machine so since the new machine was also so much faster, the decision was easy. I spent Friday evening, setting up the new machine and placing it next to my old one on my desk. I used an HDMI cable to plug it into my computer monitor which allowed me to run my computers side by side with only toggling between the two on my monitor. The smallest part of the hassle is that I now have two keyboards and two mouses which can be confusing at times.
I got up early on Saturday morning determined to transfer over the various programs that I would need to run my applications on my now new mini mega. My biggest need was to move over the email and the word processing software. Since both were in the Microsoft Office program, I felt that I would not have much problem there. I was wrong. Days later, I still don't have them moved over and I am very close to purchasing the latest Office program in hopes that it will solve my problem.
As I pulled out some of the hair that is still left on my head trying to solve this little dilemma, the diner began to get busy. As I tried to concentrate on my computer problem, a knock seemed to be constant on my door. Things were needed at the register, they ran out of crayons, they needed a price on a special order that was not on our now two pages of small print extras menu, a customer wanted to see me up front, there were complaints that the room was too hot....I think you all understand.
Once, when I was up front helping sort things out on the pass bar during one of the larger rushes, I noticed that the cooks were somewhat out of sync on some things. I then watched waitresses drop things and others grab the wrong plate. We all laughed and said that everybody was having one of those days.
In the middle of this all, Casey called me from Laramie, Wyoming. He and Jessica had stopped there the night before on their way back from Colorado. It had snowed all night long and they had shut down the freeway both ways from Laramie and they were stuck. He wasn't sure what he was going to do and was concerned that he would not be able to find a motel that would take them and their dog. He was having one of those days. I told him to look at the bright side. He was now going to be able to watch both of the NCAA basketball games.
Jim came up to me sometime mid morning and told me that he was going home. "I am having one of those days and am hitting a wall", he said. "I need to go home and rest a while.". Now, since he is now working seven days a week, I gladly told him to get all of the rest that he needed.
We started to slow down just a bit and Judy called to let me know that she was not able to get our computer at home to turn on for her. She told me not to worry but I needed a break and figured I would come home for a short one. I drove home and fixed the problem then sat down for that short "away from work" time to try and refresh my mind to tackle the computer problem at work. My time was very short as Trinity called asking what price to charge for substituting avocado and cottage cheese for hash browns and toast....yet another extra price to add to our growing list. I try to keep adding them to the list for consistency sake. I understand customers frustrations when they come in one day, are given a price, and then come back another day to see that price change. You see, figuring out these small changes takes some quick thinking. You must have the costs in your head and you sometimes have to determine the extra production costs also which can be very arbitrary. In other words, there is no real science just estimates. I admit that I was by now a little frustrated myself and when Trin couldn't hear my answer, I spoke louder and she said, "You don't have to yell. Are you OK, daddy?". "I am just having one of those days.", I countered. With that, I felt I was needed much more at the diner and returned.
As it slowed down that afternoon, I drove away with the idea of just stopping at the bank and then home to put up my feet. I was called on my way to the bank by one of our cooks husbands who is working on the rock in front of the building. The rock was never secured properly and he is helping me to get it secured before it falls down. "Did you get me the red head lag bolts?", he asked. I answered no with confusion since I was sure that he was going to get those since I had no idea what they were. "Lyle, are you losing it?", he said, "Remember, I told you to just go to Home Depot and ask for Red Heads. If they don't know what you are talking about, just get some lag bolts for concrete.". "OK, I will find them.", I answered.
I stopped by the bank and talked with the girl at the counter while she counted Fridays deposit. "How are you doing?", I asked. Looking rather frazzled, she said, "I am having one of those days. We have been slammed and I am exhausted.". I smiled and said, "Well today will end and you will go to sleep and tomorrow will be a better day.". She thanked me and I sped off to Home Depot for the Red Heads.
Arriving there, I found the Red Heads. They are a brand of lag bolts and they had a whole section devoted to them. Nail in, Screw in, Fat, Thin, Long, and Short, I stood there not having any idea which to choose. I called Stacy up on the phone and we quickly determined the size that he would need and I took my purchase to the check out.
I ran into an old friend who was working on his deck. "How are you doing?", I asked. "Not that good", he said, "I keep running into problems. I think this is my fourth or fifth trip down here for parts. I am just having one of those days.". Remembering the bank, I dropped my same pearls of wisdom. "Just remember, today will end, you will put your head on your pillow and go to sleep and tomorrow will be a better day.". He shook his head and thanked me, "Yes, it will.".
I then drove back to the diner and dropped off the Red Heads and the change order that I had gotten from the bank. I went back out to the office and continued to work on my computer program. I called Microsoft, pushed all of the needed buttons to finally get to a real person only to be told that their programs were the propriety of the first PC that I had purchased. They would help but only for a cost. They were nice enough to give me the number of the PC company. I then maneuvered through their push buttons only to find that the company only helped during business hours (not sure when that is) and then turned me over to a answering machine that I am sure will never be answered. Frustrated, I decided to go home.
Now, while working late on Friday and since we were a little busy at the time and I had to go south to drop off something of Jay's, I decided to stop by the Hawaiian restaurant for my supper. I had eaten half of it and was looking forward to heating up the other half that evening. I arrived home to find Judy cooking up some veggies that I thought would go well with my left overs. But, the left overs were not to be found. The only thing that I could figure was that Judy had cleaned some stuff out of the fridge and thinking that my stuff was old, threw it out. I got back into my car and returned to the diner. The evening sales were not very busy and I felt that we would probably have a bit of Prime Rib left over so I had the cook cut me off of piece. I went back home, got some of Judy's veggies, cracked open a beer, and put my feet up to watch the second basketball game. After filling my stomach with the much needed food and washing it down with the beer, I fell asleep with the game on in front of me.
I slept until the phone rang, however. It was Ted, our cashier telling me that they needed my help. I said OK and went downstairs to tell Judy where I was going. As I put my shoes back on, Trin called in a panic. "We need you, Dad!. Trin was pulling somewhat of a double with a short shift on both shifts. "I am on my way.", I said.
Arriving back at the diner, I quickly bussed tables, sorted food, delivered food, chatted with customers, and basically filled in. I did have a couple of ideas on my computer and quickly tried them only to find them futile also. One of our regulars stopped me as I was walking by his table. "We have changed Trinity's name to Speedy Gonzales.", they said, "You need to tell her to slow down.". "You tell her.", I said, "she doesn't listen to me much. I am just her dad.".
Keith showed up at he counter and we all seemed to call back to the kitchen at the same time, "Keith is here!". Keith is an old and dear friend who goes way back to the old Jake's days. He has Alzheimers and his wife Marjorie gives him lists of things to do each day to keep him using his mind. I stopped and chatted with Keith and we both wondered about another old friend, Frank and how he was doing. We agreed to just go by his house in the near future to find out how. The odd funny thing there is that Frank contracted the same decease before Keith. I remember Keith and I talking about it as Frank's wife had asked us both to watch out for him. Now, we watch out for Keith. He eats the same thing for breakfast and supper. Oatmeal for breakfast and a waffle with eggs on it for supper. We make him eat even if he says he is not hungry. An agreement that I made with Marjorie.
Now, at the same time, I was informed of a couple of customers who steal our jellies everytime that they come in. They always ask for a to go container for their leftovers and while no one is looking, they dump all their jellies in with them. So, I took the opportunity to stop and talk to my old friend, Keith,while keeping an eye on the jelly stealers. BTW, they noticed me watching, gave up and left with just the leftovers. I had told the girls to take the jellies off of their table when they come in but they were on a waitresses side that did not know.
Keith slid over his ticket of which he had some stuff written on the back. He had wrote "a small bottle of rubbing alcohol and a oral thermometer.". It was obviously the list that his Marjorie had told him over the phone. "Can you read this?", he asked, " I think I need to get a rectal thermometer.". I laughed and said, "No, Keith, she wants an oral thermometer.". Since it was written on his ticket, I offered to rewrite it on a coaster for him. "By the way, buddy, what are you driving tonight?", I asked. "I think I am in my truck.", he said. "What kind of truck is yours?", I asked. "Not sure, but I know it is white.". I looked out the window and saw his white Toyota out front. "It is a Toyota!", he said proudly as he showed me the Toyota emblem on his key ring.
I handed him his coaster with his list. "Did you remember the rectal thermometer?", he asked. "Oral", I corrected. He ate his supper while I busied myself around the room and stopped back by when he called his wife to ask her if she wanted anything else. He had brought her some Clam Chowder on Friday and she had loved it. I took the phone and told her that the chowder had sold out. We figured out an order of spaghetti and I had the cooks put that together while I readied his coffee to go. "I need to go to Safeway and get that rectal thermometer.". He said as he prepared to leave. "Oral", I corrected and he smiled and headed out the door.
By now, the evening was late and the tide had slowed down, so I got in my rig and pulled around to watch Keith as he headed down for Safeway. I then followed him down to the store as their were a couple of things that I needed.
I ran into Keith in the middle of the store. "Fancy meeting you here, buddy.", I said. "I got the rubbing alcohol and am now looking for the rectal thermometer.". "Oral", I once more corrected. "Oh, can you read what is on my list?", he asked. "Yes, I wrote it.". "Oh, yea, that's right.". We walked over to the thermometers and their was only one there. I flipped it over to find that it could be used for both oral and rectal. We both laughed as I told him that he was in luck because this thermometer went both ways. "Thanks, you are a nice man.", he said. "You are my friend.", I returned, "Say Hi to Marjorie for me.".
We both checked out at the same time and I returned to find the game long over with. I watched a movie that I had taped. It got to the last five minutes and then just stopped. Obviously, the timing was off at whatever station that I had taped it on. I looked to see if it was going to come back on so that I might tape it again and I could not find any coming times. With one more frustration under my belt, I then decided to take my own advice. Put my head on my pillow, go to sleep, and wake up to a new better day.