Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lest You Think I've Fallen Off the Face of the Earth...

I have been neglecting “Coming to Terms…” again. However, I do thank all of you who gave me your email addy’s in anticipation of my taking “Terms…” private. I’ve decided not to take that drastic step, for the time being. If things should get weird again, I’ll revisit that whole issue…

I have been writing, but posting at “Women On…” (where my political commentary seems to be going over like a fart in church…) and “Hot Flash Café” (where most of my life force has been directed for the past few months…) But here is the nutshell update for anybody who’s interested:

The restaurant has been busy, so I have been either running around like a headless chicken or too tired to write anything that makes any sense. Besides being busy, we are going through more employee dramas…might be that we will experience some real crew turnover within the next couple of months.

All is not well behind the scenes at the café. We are in that space where long-term staff’s know-it-all complacency is running up against ownership’s desire to take the place to a new level. Staff is not particularly interested in going where ownership wants it to go. And is in fact planting its feet and pulling backward on the lead like a recalcitrant mule…

I hate the idea of having to indoctrinate a whole new set of employees. On the other hand, I hate having to drag my current crew kicking and screaming to the place we need them to be. It might just be a whole lot easier to start with a completely clean slate. I am torn between clinging desperately to the devil I know and taking the chance on throwing that demon over for…whatever else is out there. It would be just my luck that the “whatever else” would turn out to be infinitely worse than what I’m currently trying to manipulate. In the end, the choice will probably be taken out of my hands. The attrition has already begun, with the exodus of Flaky Cook and the impending exit of the Good and Faithful “D.”

To complicate matters further, business has been entirely wonky. We’re either empty or swamped, no in-between, and no predicting when or how. Mondays are improving, Mondays suck. Senior Night is crazy, Senior Night is tailing off. Fridays stink, Fridays rock. No rhyme or reason whatsoever. My crew of eight (and myself) were exhausted after our record December. But as soon as I made up my mind to post an ad and bring on more help, sales tanked. Called a halt to the hiring binge, and sales cranked back up to record levels.

As my mom used to say, “I can’t win for losing.”

And then there is the “small-town economy” dynamic with which we have been contending since Day 1. We have learned a lot about which conditions will spell success and which will spell disaster for those of us in the business of vying for the limited dining out dollars within our isolated little market. We keep tabs on the comings and goings of other eating establishments as vigilantly as a cat at a mouse hole. The demise of three local competitors in the fourth quarter of last year has been responsible for our current rosy numbers. One could almost believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel, if things could just stay this way. If no other fool would decide to muck up the water by dipping their ignorant and ill-conceived oars into it.

But then we get word that a new strip mall is slated for construction up the road a piece. And that a big-but-as-yet-unnamed restaurant will be going in. Which causes me to ponder an exit strategy, about which I morosely post over at the Hot Flash Café.

So my life is, still and forever, a roller coaster. Which I’m afraid might be starting to wear me down. But, just when I think I’ve had it, I get my second (third, fourth, hundredth) wind, and I go back at it with a vengeance.

Can’t live with it, can’t shoot it, I guess…


  1. Wow, what a great post, Lisa. Your voice comes thru so loud and clear. I feel like I've just hung up the phone from a long chat with an old friend. I'm following your roller coaster at the Hot Flash Cafe as well, so I'm hanging on for the next chapter.
    Mary Ellen

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  3. I know the roller coaster has to be exhausting, but you really do inspire me.