August is a Lost Month

Remember the old TV ads touting Saratoga as “the August place to be?”  I don’t know if those ads still run since I do not have cable television.  It is the place to be in August, but I think it’s the year-round place to be and I suggest that people discover that there’s a lot more to this city than horse racing.

The truth is, many of us in the hospitality field would rather be somewhere else than Saratoga in August.  Most of us love what we do, and will continue to do it, but August is a lost month for many of us.  During August I work, I sleep, I mow my lawn, and I sleep some more.  There are too many things left by the wayside this month that really need to get done.

Theresa is a project herself.  Regular readers of this blog know the background, and those of you who know me personally are aware of the effort it takes having her in our home.  In late July she moved in with her friend and her parents for what was supposed to be a trial week.  They changed all her doctors, pharmacy, and programs and benefits to a new county in a hasty manner then decided it was too much for them to handle.  The timing was great!  August is not the best time for me to get everything back on track.

Having a five and seven-year-old at home for the summer can be fun.  I had planned to do more activities on my days off than I followed through on.  We did some things, had some fun, but not as much as I had hoped.  I went into summer knowing that I owed them since last summer was spent wallowing in depression.  I found it difficult to even get off the couch to perform the most basic functions of life.  This year was much improved, and my desire to spend days with the children was certainly better.  There were however too many days that I was exhausted from long weeks and an almost overwhelming workload.  It was better, and I’ve enjoyed the activities we did.  I just wish we had done more.

Having a house with a lawn and garden, and prospective home improvement projects both inside and out requires the kind of time not possessed by a chef during August.  When the time is available, the energy is not.  Jennifer and I have a lot of things we want to get done, let’s hope fall brings us renewed energy and an abundance of time to continue working on our family’s home.  That enormous dumpster in our driveway isn’t going to fill itself.

I also have some personal projects that need attention.  I’ve mentioned that I’m working on a book, and I’m trying to get Chefs 4 Chefs off the ground, an important project that I hope will foster mentorship in the restaurant community and help battle the depression issue in our industry.

All in all, it was a great track season as far a track season goes.  I designed a pretty simple, but good menu for summer, and the kitchen and floor staff performed well.  Aside from the usual number of difficult customers, the clientele was enjoyable and easy to work for.  I’m glad it’s (unofficially) over though.  Moving on to the Fall menu, some home projects, and some real-time with my family will be a pleasure and well deserved all around.

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