Saturday, November 25, 2006

A Holiday Story

This past seven days have been the very definition of the week from hell. Sales are plummeting, and I am clueless (apparently) how to stop the skid. We tried a holiday open house last Saturday, which we advertised lightly with signs and posters at the cafĂ©, and an ad in the local paper. NOBODY came. In fact, even our few remaining regulars stayed aggressively away from our doomed little effort. Not only did we not experience even the slightest spike in sales for the day…sales actually dipped. I had wines that nobody tasted, hot cider that nobody quaffed, and Cookie Lee jewelry that nobody looked at. The poor Cookie Lee rep came all the way from Beaverton for the event. And, of course, I was so sorry for her that I dropped nearly two hundred bucks on jewelry…

I was mortified. All I wanted to do was crawl into a hole and pull the top in after me.

Then came Monday. A beautiful day. I had scheduled my new cook to open the kitchen, freeing my morning for, oh…let’s see…a walk on the dike with the dog. Luckily, I decided to jump into the shower before the walk. I’m getting dressed, the phone rings. It’s my opening counter girl. New cook has called in with some story about being in the hospital (does this sound at all familiar???) and can I come in to work now? Poor neglected dog gets rammed again and Mom rushes into work. New cook’s condition degenerates from burst ovarian cyst to bloody urine to passed kidney stone in the space of 36 hours.

My entire family is due up from Eugene for Thanksgiving. I have already decided to have the meal at the restaurant, thereby saving me the trouble of cleaning and destroying my kitchen several times over before the end of the holiday. However, since I am now pulling double shifts on Monday and Tuesday, and working open ‘til almost close on Wednesday, I’m trying to figure out exactly when I’m supposed to prepare sleeping accommodations for imminent family invasion. I talk husband into closing the restaurant for me, rush home after only twelve hours of work and attempt to speed-clean the guest bedrooms.

I am lucky…I managed a fairly thorough cleaning about a week and a half ago, and since we don’t actually live in the house anymore, it is a relatively simple matter to kick it back into shape. But I’m so tired that it takes me three times as long as it should; and I decide to have a couple of glasses of wine on an empty stomach and end up getting waaaay loopy. When I finally give up and try to go to bed, I am so tipsy I cannot lie down without setting off major room spins. So, though I have to be at work at 7:30 the next day, I am up until after 2 am, waiting for the effects of the alcohol to dissipate to the point where I can lay my head on my pillow.

Thanksgiving dawns blustery, cold and rainy…but I manage to get my vacuuming done, and set things to rights in the house before going out to the restaurant to begin preparations for the meal…

I wanted to fit this all in one post, but I’m so tired, I’m falling asleep at the keyboard. I’ll write the rest tomorrow…


  1. Oh Lisa....Oh....

    I don't even know what to say.  I hope the story takes an upturn.

    You deserve a break.

  2. Big virtual hugs going your way.

  3. Oh, HUGE HUGS your way ... I wish there was anything more I could say.

  4. I'm tired just reading this half of the story!

  5. I do hope trade picks up ~ you sound so overworked I look forward to reading the rest of your entry ~ Ally

  6. How awful! I sure hope this story has a happy ending. :-) ---Robbie

  7. Hope things get better for you.
    Jenny <><

  8. Lisa, it's time to start scheduling a weekly appointment with a shrink to explore WHY you are killing yourself...

    Whatever gave you the idea that Thanksgiving was YOUR responsibility? If the whole fam dambly came to you from Eugene, why didn't you and hubby just drive down to Eugene and back on Thursday? It couldn't be any more exhausting that what you did do...

    Stop this insanity now, before you become really sick. Focus on your restaurant, hire a dog walker and a cleaning service and let the dry cleaners pick up/deliver  the laundry at work. You are both headed for a major, no, catastophic crash and there is just no good reason for it to happen.

    My .02¢ worth.


  9. This reminds me so much of my own entrepreneurial days.  Employees calling in sick, marketing extravaganzas that don't work, neglecting's really hard.  I imagine that Turkey Week is bad for the entire restaurant industry as people stay home and eat leftovers.  Hoping this week is better for you!

  10. I just want to offer this comment as (late) support) since I was reading and not commenting from Chicago.  The agony seemed too great to encompass in a  few short sentences.