Sunday, December 11, 2005

Walk-In Break Down and Body Fatigue

I'm caught between watching the Giants in OT against the Eagles and writing a brief blog post. I know its been a while, but I haven't had time to even check my email. My body feels like it ran a marathon without the massage at the end of the line.

This week was tough; the toughest yet. Not hard in what we were preparing, but hard on the body and long long hours. I have one more day tomorrow, which should be a little more relaxed and then a gloriously welcomed two days off.

This was my week:
Thursday: 8 am- 5:15 pm
Friday: 7 am- 6:30 pm
Saturday 8 am- 9 pm
Sunday 7 am - 3:30 pm

After anticipating last weekend to be the busiest yet at the hotel, I think our prep list for this past week shocked us and kicked us in the ass, really.

Besides getting ready for brunch (that had a first seating of 285), there was a party for 400 guests on Saturday night. We didn't finish prepping for that until maybe one hour before the start of the party.

I was determined to crank out my list and help others. As Joelle stated, "Because your new here, your list gets moved around the most."

That means if others need help, I stop what I'm doing to help them. I don't mind at all. It gives me a chance to see what else is going on. The only issue is that my list has to get done in the same amount of time that everyone else's does, so it puts me in a bit of a pickle.

Our small part of the kitchen is a separate room, as well as some counter space in a larger kitchen space. I usually set up in our small room, but decided on Saturday that I needed a change of scenery and I wanted my own little corner so I could really focus and crank out what I could. Despite knowing that I would be called of my list frequently, I still wanted to finish my own prep.

And my 9 pm that night, I did. Actually, I was so completely in my own little world that when I finally decided to take a break, it was already 5 pm.

We all had a rough day and most of us were due to be back this morning at 7 am. When I got home last night, I took a wonderfully hot steaming shower and almost feel asleep with the hot water pounding my back. I was in a wonderful state and didn't want to deal with pajamas, teeth brushing, and setting the alarm.

When I awoke at 5:20 am this morning, I was ready for this Sunday to be the end of this rough week. My mind was enjoying the time, but my body was done. I exited my building into the bitter Chicago cold and headed to work. On my walk from the train station to the hotel, I passed small clusters of pigeons who pinned themselves to a wall with their heads shivering and nestled into their necks. They were ready for the summer and Christmas is still two weeks away.

The morning ran relatively smoothly. Turns out most of the food we prepper for thirteen hours yesterday was not eaten and was returned to our walk in. We were not pleased, however our brunch menu changed accordingly.

If I was paying 80 bucks a head for a brunch at the Ritz-Carlton on this Sunday, I would have asked for my money back; just based on what our department put out. It was embarrassing and I was very surprised that Joelle encouraged it. Apparently the food costs are a bit much in this holiday season, but still the end product should not suffer. Presenting day old Greek Salad where the feta is covered in God knows what and Caprese salads where the tomatoes are soggy is just wrong.

But you know what, it made our morning a little more simple. The day was almost done and James and I were keeping and eye on one of our walk ins. The temperature had risen to 53 degrees. He called engineering and after removing a piece of plastic from one of the fans, the temperature continued to rise. It had completely shut down.

We had to move everything out of it. The size of this walk in is maybe the size of a small college dorm room. There was a lot of food to move:
Three full rolling racks of smoked salmon, deli meats, thawed seafood, cured meats
20 or so 5 gallon vinaigrette cambros
12-15 20 gallon vinaigrette cambros
All of our dairy stock (cheeses, yogurts, sour creams, creme fraiche)
All prepped food for the rest of the day....The walk in is lined with 6 or so shelves on each wall. Each shelf is chalk full of prep.

So our simple Sunday turned into a bit of a mess. I took my break from 2:45 to 3:15 and left at 3:30.

I am a bit delirious. Had a fried egg and some toast for dinner. I soaked my body in a bubble bath when I got home and now I'm waiting for the hot water to return so I can take a shower and zonk out for the night.

Joelle is definitely still rubbing me the wrong way. We get along, but there is just something there that I don't like or don't get...I can't quite put my finger on it. I think she tries to be passively competitive or something...not even sure if that's it. But she has a tendency to make me feel incompetent and not knowledgeable.

She has her day off tomorrow so James is leading. I should be a relaxing Monday but today should have bed a relaxing Sunday.

Will try to write more on my days off....

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