I took a half of a vacation day on Friday for pre-cook, and since that left me with extra time, I decided to stop by the north campus of work on my way home and check out the new digs that we'll be working in come the 15th. I kind of wish I hadn't. They're terribly depressing. The original floor plan had the attorney's offices in an L along two walls, the conference room kind of taking up the opposing corner, and the support staff in a cube farm in between. Things happened. The layout that actually happened stuck the conference room smack in the middle creating three hallways around it, and strings the support staff out along the walls in those hallways. It's dark, it's closed in, and I think it's going to keep everyone isolated. The Chilean miners trapped in that mine came to mind. I went over there expecting to like it, and came out disappointed and disturbed. I think this is just going to accelerate the current lack of any sort of community feeling in the department. But who knows - I could be wrong. I'm certainly hoping so, because what can I do about it?
So on that cheery note, I headed home to pack up the rest of my things for Simplefare, picked up Charlotte and headed up to Manchester. I'm not sure how helpful I was at precook - everything is harder with a two-year old in tow, and Bob wasn't going to get there until later because he was going to stop at Hall's archery to pick up a new backstop for the range. I helped peel some apples, was roundly criticized for crimping my pie crusts too prettily - and gave a fast crimping lesson. After that I settled in to clean and de-stem mushrooms. Bob arrived, without a backstop. It seems that it was just slightly larger than anticipated, and would not, in fact, fit in his car. Then after talking to Camma, he departed again. It seems they thought it would fit in the back of HER car. So they went back, and decided that instead of the 48" standard backstop, they were going to upgrade to the 52" high density backstop. That *didn't* fit IN Camma's car, it was going to have to go on top. But they had no tie downs. So Hall's held it for them, and they decided that they would go over the next day and strap it to the roof rack. I can't recall what, if anything I did after that, but we headed home at a decent time. Of course, that's when I discovered that if Charlotte was going to have garb to wear on Saturday, I needed to do not one, but TWO loads of laundry (one of whites, and one of colors that I *knew* were going to bleed.) So it was a very late night.
Said late night led to a distinct disinclination to get up in the morning, so we got a later start than I'd hoped for. Bob headed for Cider Day up in Massachusetts, and I headed for Manchester. vynehorn made a lot of procedural changes this year (all good, I think), but it made for (I thought) a more frenetic atmosphere. We also were missing some usual folks and had some new ones, which always changes the dynamic a bit. I was very apprehensive about how and if I was going to be able to work with an active toddler in tow, although I think Vynehorn was more concerned than I was. All in all, Charlotte did FABULOUSLY well. She spent a lot of time in her baby jail playing and coloring, and she took a huge nap in the middle of the day. She woke up sort of fussy, but lady_kathryn_r was sweet and allowed herself to be taken for a drag for quite a while as Charlotte went looking for daddy. See, Bob had called to tell me he was heading down, and would be there about 2:00. I asked him to send Camma in to tell me that he had arrived and they were leaving for Hall's, because I knew that if Charlotte saw him and then he left, there would be hell to pay. Unfortunately, she apparently associates Camma with daddy, because that set her off. Congratulations Camma, apparently you're part of the family. Sigh. Then I got ready to get the Sterno going in the warming oven - and discovered that the rental place had only given us eight cans. To get it to the temperature we need, I usually have six to eight going at a time. So I called and asked them to pick up Sterno while they were out. Then I called back to ask for more paper towels. How did we manage before cell phones? :-) Luckily, about the time Kathryn needed to go spend time with HER family, Bob and Camma got back and Charlotte got her daddy fix.
Plating also seemed a little more frantic to me than usual, and I think a lot of that was due to the differences in our procedure and the effect it had on available work surface. If you had asked me, I would have sworn that we were sending the courses out with less time between them than usual, but I'm quite certain that was just the changes in staff and process screwing my perceptions. Also, because galingale couldn't attend this year, I was running the industrial dishwasher for the first time. That was kind of fun. Dishwashing used to be my old job at Simplefare, but that was during the years when we had to wash all of the serving bowls from the second course before we could plate the third course. By hand. I used to spend Simplefare up to my elbows in dishwater, and my back was a disaster by the end of the evening. Just having to run the serving bowls through the industrial dishwasher before putting them away - that's delightful! Then at the end of the evening we were inundated with a flood of chivalry who came in to clean up the kitchen. That hasn't happened in YEARS.
As usual, I fell apart at the end of the evening and became completely useless, but Vynehorn is used to that. I got everything gathered together, and Bob hauled it all out to the car, bless him. Then, unfortunately, I had to keep it together enough to drive the hour home. Blegh. Charlotte was awake for most of the ride, surprisingly, but then she fell into that dead, limp, rubber-chicken-neck sleep, and we were able to just pour her into bed and go unload the cars. Camma showed up with the backstop shortly thereafter, and we got the backstop into the garage and the cider into the downstairs shower pan (in case of unplanned fermentation.) Camma headed out, and I went to bed. Finis.
There were some great high points to the day. It was particularly nice to see safiya_shirazi and her family. The batlet is absolutely adorable! Hearing that both an old member who has been coming to Simplefare for decades AND the family of our newest member had a great time and a good meal was really nice. Grabbing dibs on the leftover spinach for anarra was my good deed for the day, and what I actually ate all tasted quite good. I particularly enjoyed the blanche poiree this year, and it was very tasty for breakfast this morning. And a day with Vynehorn is always fun.
My feet hurt, though.
Okay. Charlotte is napping on the couch, Bob is out cleaning the gutters. Back to my laundry.