Olde Square Inn

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August 2, 2016

Occasionally I'm Gordon Ramsay

Posted by: Nancy Skee

You know those days when everything starts out okay and then a little thing happens, and another little thing happens, and then another until you’re having a small mental stroke and your serene veneer cracks and your ability to calmly process a minor crisis temporarily collapses and you sort of become possessed? Of course you do. Me, too.

I don’t usually get too jacked up about things (unless you ask Aimee who happens to think otherwise), but really, I think I can pretty much roll with it. Take Saturday, for example: I was getting breakfast ready, which involved making coffee in the industrial brewer, prepping the fruit, mixing the ingredients, setting out water and juice, cooking bacon, slicing veggies, or whatever. It was fun.

I was in the zone and was rolling out scones when I heard a pleasant sound that reminded me of a lovely trickling brook in the middle of a verdant grassy area resplendent with lush green trees. Hear the birds singing? I did. Then I turned around to gaze at the woodland creatures but noted instead that the coffee pot was overflowing and scalding hot coffee was merrily dripping onto the floor. “Oh dear!” I said. “That’s unpleasant!” and cleaned the floor with a handy towel that I cheerfully tossed into the laundry, humming a happy tune as I returned to make more coffee and complete my tasks. Tra-la-la, but it doesn't always work that way. 

Fast forward to the next day. I was thinking about how I had found myself in the middle of someone else's unending problems, and I didn't want to be a part of that anymore. For now I had to put that worry aside because it was showtime and  Joan and I were about to serve breakfast. We were going to take out starters for all the guests on the porch, so I set a tray on the table and put several plates on it. As I turned away so did the tray, and our beautiful crepes stuffed with strawberries and topped with luscious whipped cream fell to the floor. “Oh, no,” I panicked. “What are we going to do?!?!?!!" I ran in circles flapping my arms while Joan calmly wiped whipped cream off the floor.

More guests were coming down and more crepes had to go out and empty plates were coming back and entrees had to be plated. It’s important to me that food goes out hot and delicious and guests aren’t waiting too long. If it looks like that's not happening, I get a little concerned that things won't be perfect for the people we're serving. I had four piping hot entrees ready to send and potatoes on the stovetop plus an omelet on the way, with six crepes waiting in the wings, and two people ready for dessert. On any given day it actually all works very well unless I'm distracted and can’t align myTetris pieces. Gotta keep your head in the game.

Not sure what happened next, but suddenly no one was ready for entrees yet, it was a thousand degrees in the kitchen, the whipped cream was melting on the crepes, the sausages were getting cold, the quiche was burning up in the oven. It was Hell’s Kitchen and I was Chef Ramsay (except for the fact that we don’t have 16 Michelin stars yet like he does) tossing out demands that nobody in the world could ever meet. It wasn't good.

Lucky for me that Joan pretty much ignored my Hell's Kitchen persona. She got the breakfasts out and told me to take a deep breath. Don’t you wish you had a friend and coworker like that who could ignore your passing ire and be a calming force? I hope you do. I am very lucky to have some great friends and family and business colleagues who are smart and insightful and funny and are wonderful influences in my life. Everyone needs good people to guide them along the way.

Here's what I think. Jim Rohn, an entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker, said that you are the average of the five people with whom you spend the most time. That's kind of scary right there. It matters who will influence you and it matters what goes into your head, so pick positive people and be a positive person. Everyone has off days, but you don’t have to live in them.

Stay away from the negativity and from people whose drama has no place in your life. When you feel yourself being pulled into another person's complaining, just say, “''Scuse, me! Cancel my subscription – I don’t need your issues!!” Haha! I know, so lame and so eighth grade, but true, right? It is.  Think instead about how you will be a great influence on someone today and go and surround yourself with good people. Wishing you a fantastic week!

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