The Hardest Day
Ain’t gonna lie... restaurant ownership is hard work on a good day. I likened it, before COVID, to swimming in the ocean. Staying afloat is key... while waves hit you in the face from all directions. It’s not all bad... but it is pretty dang constant. Scheduling is an art... made more difficult when given two days notice to turn your place from a storage unit for takeout and delivery to a pleasurable dine-in experience for guests. We reviewed high risk protocols to ensure safety. Guests likely didn’t know that the 24 year bartender who served them last Thursday thru Saturday... was the lead delivery driver until the night before. Our awesome back up driver took his place as lead. So... guess who becomes backup driver on short notice? Either Roger or I.
Thank God we’ve been busy. The guys on the line are doing a great job... but they are stretched thin. We could use more help that way too and while I truly enjoy the satisfaction of working the dish room... I know it’s really not the best use of my time. Bottom line... we are in need of filling a couple of spots but please don’t drop a resume if you don’t want to work. We hope you haven’t felt any hiccups here. Thank you to those who have shown understanding and grace as we changed tires and switched gears once again from “Extreme” to “High Risk” during COVID season.
You might think those were the hardest of days... but no. In 3.6 years of Geppetto’s ownership much has transpired; a water crisis, closure due to arson fire, the pandemic, devastating wildfires and most recently... severe freezing rain. At the restaurant the power outage overnight brought food spoilage. We experienced loss but managed to re-open quickly and resume our work, providing hot food in a mostly power out valley. At home... the heavy ice brought down limbs the size of trees from our giant sequoia and elm. Power lines were downed but still connected enough to arch and pop leaving risk of fire or electrocution. We spent seven nights at The Grand Hotel. Roger remarked the morning we checked out, “I can’t believe we just spent a week sleeping in a beautiful hotel and we weren’t on vacation.” By the way... the staff at The Grand deserves a big time hospitality award. They are navigating all of this very well and their true compassion for others is real.
We were without power at home for one day shy of two weeks. I know it is worse for some and I’m so sorry for what they are going through. We are tired to say the least but the good news is this... Sometimes... from the greatest depth of challenge... comes the most good. A text message from my brother (who lives in Eastern Washington) read like this; “I talked with Kaleb he’s willing to come down and help with the clean up - he’s got a friend he would bring also - may snag Jonas also. We have the trailer & 2 chainsaws. Keep us posted - we could possibly come down next Friday 2/26 in the afternoon or wait a week and come down Thursday 3/4. I’d be happy to come down sooner if you need the generator- let me know.” I knew what we needed... but I didn’t want to ask. You see... he’s my big brother... and needing him would mean I couldn’t handle the situation myself. We had been without power for ten days at that point and the power company was giving no projected date of restoration. We had a restaurant to run and I knew we really had no choice. We had checked out of the hotel and the house was still dark and cold.
Dean, I said, I think we need to take you up on your offer for the generator. His next text message read... “I should be there before 5:00.”
I met him and our son Alex at the house when he arrived. We chained the generator to the elm tree and ran extension cords through an upstairs window. Now, at least, we had heat lamps and lighting for necessities. My brother headed home that night. He left his 18ft trailer for hauling debris along with the promise to return with muscle when we were ready to do the work.
Early Saturday morning... they came; Dean, Kaleb, Jonas and Alex. They were joined a little later by two of my sisters. They took to the debris like a swarm of angry beavers. All I could do was make breakfast and bring refreshments. The restaurant required our time that day. We had opened for dine-in the night before and needed to re-stock and prepare for Saturday dinner rush.
This was the hardest day. When the only place I wanted to be was with my family helping to do the work at home. I checked in a few times and stacked a little firewood... but that was all. At one point I stood in front of the woodpile kind of frozen. I knew I had to leave but it is so outside of my makeup to do so when work is at hand. I was torn to say the least. It took a depth of strength I’d never reached before. I was tearful and felt sick as I headed to Cash and Carry. This was the hardest day. I had to be back to the house at 3:00 to meet the insurance adjuster. I watched over his shoulders as the crew continued working. Distracted, I toured the damage with the man I had just met. I wanted to climb over him and get to work but I couldn’t. As hard as it was... I had to be present... doing what I needed to do in that moment. The crew drove away with the last load shortly after the adjuster left... just in time for the start of the dinner rush. This was the hardest day.
Gratitude isn’t a big enough word. To those facing similar challenges... hang in there. In case you are wondering what keeps us from falling apart... here is a list... We trust that God is in control. We pray always and persist in acknowledging our blessings. We find the funny and surround ourselves with goodness, light and love. We share our experiences, our thoughts and feelings with others. We know that we are never alone. We seek to serve... but when we need help... as hard as it is... we accept it. On the hardest of days... refer to the first item on our list. Geppetto's is currently open for dine-in, takeout and delivery. 11:00am -8 or 9ish.