Dirt Candy: No Exit

I've described Dirt Candy before as my child. My big, angry child. Who wants to kill me. So when you imagine Dirt Candy, realize that it's not so much like this:

 

But more like this:

Last week, however, Dirt Candy was acting more like this:

I had my first Saturday outside the restaurant I've had since Dirt Candy opened 3 years ago, and it turned into a battle of wills that almost saw me dead. Read on for the terrifying tale.

A friend had invited me to come to Passover Seder with her family on Saturday, and I figured, "What the hell?" I've been at Dirt Candy every single night it's been open for 3 years and for once I wanted to go out on a Saturday night. My staff is pretty solid right now, Kristen (who was previously my server) has been learning how to run my station, Mel, my line cook, has been great since he started a few weeks ago, and Justyna, my current server, is rock solid. So, I made plans. Big mistake. Dirt Candy doesn't like it when I make plans.

"You made...PLLAAAAANNNNSSS???????"

The first thing that happened was on Thursday, Armondo, my dishwasher, didn't show up. I'd gotten on his case about something he was doing wrong a few nights previously and I guess that was it for him. I really liked Armondo because he was such a sweet guy, but now it was 4:40pm and there was no one here to wash dishes. A call to my husband got him down here for the night to wash plates all night, and then I called an employment agency to get someone here fulltime for Friday. But it was Easter weekend and most employment agencies couldn't get someone over here so quickly. Finally, I found a place that would hook me up for Friday.

They sent a dishwasher and he was...different? He wasn't a bad guy, but he didn't seem to know what he was doing. He was also homeless, and brought all his laundry with him to work. Then he wanted to know if he could set up a TV at the dishwashing station because he might get bored. I had to let him go after 3 hours, and I felt horrible about it. The last thing I ever wanted to be was the person who beats down someone who's trying to get their life together, but the ultimate reality was that beyond his quirks, he just wasn't doing the job. Even worse (for me), it was Friday night, and now I had no one to wash dishes. Fortunately, I managed to find someone at the last minute to fill, so I could still go to Passover. But Dirt Candy wasn't finished with me yet.

Angry at being denied satisfaction, furious that I still might escape from its clutches, Dirt Candy arranged for my POS system to crash on Friday night. I mean, the whole thing went down and the company that works on it couldn't figure out the problem, which meant that we couldn't run credit cards or enter checks. It took hours for my POS company to get it back up and running, but they finally pulled off a miracle and got it back online. Now Dirt Candy was even angrier that I had defied it. So on Saturday morning, my laptop broke, meaning that I couldn't do any of the accounting for the restaurant.

"But Amanda, you've always been the chef at Dirt Candy..."

At this point, I fully expected that I'd run for the door on Saturday afternoon to leave and it wouldn't open and then the sound of evil laughter would seem to come from everywhere. Fortunately, I escaped, and the evening went really well. My staff were great and they said it was fine running things *sob* without me. But Dirt Candy wasn't done with me yet. That night, as they cleaned up, Mel slipped while moving one of the glass-topped induction burners and it fell and shattered. Cost to repair: $2000.

"Have you learned your lessonabout leaving me yet, little chef?"