First, let me tell you a little follow-up story to giving blood on Wednesday (Warning: may not be good for the squeamish to read this bit). It seems they did something funny with the needle either at insertion or removal, and now I have what appears to be a big ol' heroin trackmark up my left bicep. Also a very deep muscle ache, so much so that I think the muscle itself got bruised somehow. Bear that in mind as I tell you of my day on Saturday.
I went to work at 9am, and took down our little blackboards that we list the specials on. I did this as the floor in the main dining room was being mopped. I went down the ramp to the windows in the restaurant, holding the blackboards above my head so I wouldn't get chalk on my black shirt. The ramp was slippery. My foot shot out from under me, and down I went. The blackboards went up. Then they started coming down. I saw them coming down and thought "Gee, I hope they don't hit me in the head." Happily, they didn't, but I still scraped my right wrist on something. Oh, and I dented the wall. Or rather, the blackboards did. Oops.
I finished up at around 2pm, and had some food. I had been asked the previous day to help out at this charity Celebrity Doodle Auction that Public Allies was holding on Saturday evening at The Renaissance Place on Prospect Ave. Twisted Fork was catering it. Bear in mind, we're not a catering firm, but the head honchos for Public Allies had talked with one of our owners, and he talked with our general manager, and he had subsequently talked with one of our chefs, and we had agreed to cater this big fancy-schmancy event. I had no idea what I was going to be doing. I figured they'd have me hosting, as I usually do at the restaurant. 3pm rolls around, and we start getting stuff together. We loaded up Chef Andre's truck. Still more stuff. So we fill up the cars of the two servers who are also helping out. Still more stuff. So I pull up in Pepe the Buick Century (named after Pepe the King Prawn of Muppets fame, due to their similarity in color and because renface 's car is named Kermit), move mom's stuff out of the trunk, and fill it up. Completely. Everything that we have left over fits except a box of desserts and a bag of Sterno cans. Those go in my backseat. Plus Chef Andre's culinary tacklebox, and a carving station with heat lamp. Those go in the front passenger seat. Then we drive the 8 blocks or so to the Renaissance Place. I leave first.
I waste about 15 minutes sitting in the back parking lot, as I've forgotten the loading zone is in front of the building. Then I pull around front, and trying not to step in the slush puddles everywhere, proceed to unload my car, plus move a bunch of stuff from other vehicles. Then, once we're upstairs in the auditorium, we move everything into the little piddly kitchen we get to use, unpack the silverware and plates and tablecloths and napkins and chafing dishes we've rented from Karl's Rentals, go to set up the warming rack and oven (also rented), and find that, lo and behold, they don't work. Andre is less than pleased. While he and our general manager try to figure out what to do, the servers and I start rolling silverware. Four hundred sets of silverware. I don't remember this stuff being in the job description. I don't remember actually getting a job description. But I buck up, start rolling, and generally make pleasant chit-chat with Chuck and Stacy, the servers that were tapped to work this gig. All told, Twisted Fork has sent eight people to work this event; Chef Andre, Chuck and Stacy the servers, Bill the General Manager, Steve the occasional dishwasher and brother to Bill, Laura the pastry chef, Robert the kitchen dude, and myself. Steve helps us roll silverware, as do a few very very very nice people from Public Allies.
Then we go and set up the buffet line. Andre wanted a big long one, with carving stations and pasta bar at the end. Public Allies wanted a U-shaped setup going around the staircase that leads into the auditorium, plus carving station, pasta bar, and coffee table in other locations. Public Allies got their way, making switching items out on the buffet line rather more difficult. To compensate for the lack of ovens, Bill and Steve use Andre's truck to ferry items back and forth to and from Twisted Fork, popping things in and out of the restaurant's ovens. This makes for a few periods of time where the hot hors d'oeuvres were being consumed at a rate that far outstripped our ability to replenish them. Matter of fact, the people at this thing were complete pigs. And rude. One man came up to me as I was running an empty chafing dish that formerly contained said hors d'oeuvres back to the kitchen and said, "I just wanted to let you know, there's not nearly enough food out here." Reining in my impluse to smack him in the face with the extremely hot portion of the chafing dish I was carrying, I merely said, "Yes, sir, I know. We're working on it."
Finally, the face-stuffing quiets down, the auction gets underway, and we in the kitchen have time to catch our breath, grab a couple bits of food ourselves, and sit for a bit, before we go back out to collect plates and put out dessert platters. Which are promptly set upon like Valkyries swooping to a fallen warrior. We run a total of eight dessert platters out, then we start stacking dirty plates, throwing used silverware in a milk crate, and getting stuff packed away. We scurry all over the auditorium, carrying platters, coffee mugs, and napkins back to the kitchen. Once people start trickling out, everything is gathered up, we strike all of the food from the fridge, pig out on leftover dessert bits, and start running dirty cutlery and plates back down to get washed back at our restaurant. Our manager hands out some beer, we sit for a bit, and realize we've been running about like crazy for about 9 hours, from 3pm to just after midnight. They others go back to the restaurant for free booze, but since I have to drive back to Grafton, I decline.
The next day, Sunday, my arms and legs are aching like crazy, especially the left one that had blood drawn from it, and a massive bruise to boot. I didn't know on Friday when I said I'd help that I'd be lifting and toting, and running, and bussing and helping with food prep. The lifting was the worst. Well, that and being around tons of food, and having precious few opportunities to eat any of it. My arms are a bit achy today, as well.
And now, I'm going to have a cigarette, take my work clothes out of the drier, and go to bed. I get to work tomorrow morning, as well. Hope all of your weekends were a bit better than mine.