Monday, December 28, 2009

A Total Wirlwind of Activity, Pleasure and Progress

Moored Starboard Side too, Naples Florida

Where does all my good fortune come from? I certainly seem to be a lucky guy and this week has kept the trend moving forward. First off, my social calendar has gone from zero to sixty rapidly. With my friends Mike and Amy (owners of the dock I'm using) here, my good bud John visiting his mother, Emily, Amy and John's daughter on scene, Mike and Cheryl here after just buying a condo Naples and Mike Durrand (lots of Mike's no doubt) visiting M & C and then me parachuting into the mix. Well lots of visiting to do. It has been grand.

In between visits, I have been aggressively seeking work. I put in applications at Bad Ass Coffee Company, Book a Million, three Starbucks and two West Marines. And another coffee shop in downtown Naples. It this last application I need to brief you all on.

I sweep on in and ask Alison for a job. She tells me a story I have heard several times before. That she can't find enough hours for her current employee's. But she says maybe I should go next door to Ridgeway Bar and Grill and put in an application. The two places are owned by the same man, Tony Ridgeway and Allison is his daughter. So I head on over and notice straightaway that this restaurant like all others on 3rd Street Naples would be considered high end. You see I'm in a little bubble here. A bubble surrounded by opulence. Shrimp Cocktails for $18.95 type of opulence. So I filled out an application for server, of which I have no experience. I roll.

 A couple of hours later while shopping with my bud John and his mother for Lazy Boys, I get a call. It's Tony Ridgeway, the man himself. He wants me to come on down to the restaurant for an interview. He has a position open for Expeditor that needs an immediate fill as someone had just quite. I arrive and we have a great, crisp, professional and 15 minute interview. He offers me the job and I except. Boom just like that.

72 hours prior I hadn't a clue what an Expeditor did, but now I am one and with two shifts under my belt and having been thrown squarely into the breach and I can now explain. Apparently, it is maybe the most important job in the whole place. An Expo works in the kitchen and coordinates the timing of all the food. The Expo orchestrates when the chef's "fire" the meals so everything comes out hot and on the heals of the soap and salad. Collects the food in the window, gets it on the tray, wipes the dishes free of finger prints and sends it out via a "runner." The expo does more, but don't want to bore everyone with all the details.

Here is what I want to say. I was a busboy as a teenager, but that is the extent of my restaurant experience. So why was I hired? Well, I was able to explain to the owner that surprisingly much of what I did and learned in the Coast Guard will translate well to the Expo position. All I really did was coordinate, sometimes under much stress and strain; that each new position I had in the Coast Guard I really was not trained for, but Coasties have an ability to figure things out and are comfortable with confusion. In short I can deal with a sink or swim situation. The processes in the kitchen are structured and once I figure out the structure and once I can identify one meal from the next, I'll do fine. Tony agreed.

I am working 7 days a week from about 5pm to 10pm, at least for now. Really 30 to 40 hours a week and the restaurant is maybe two blocks from Christa's dock. Beautiful, I just peddle a bike to work. With unemployment being so high, I feel lucky to have scored a job in 3 days since arriving. And so far, I have found the job fun and very busy. It takes a lot of concentration and being 3 steps ahead at all times.

Where does all this good luck come from? Not sure, but keep it coming!

Capt Chris

PS: Below is a shot looking toward the beach from outside the restaurant.


Mark Dietrich said...

Best of luck as the expo and congrats - seems like a solid gig!

Anonymous said...

happy new year. thinking of u!