Monday, November 15, 2010

notes on week 2

I'd be remiss not to mention the hardships that tag along with starting a bar.

Before I do so, however, I want to thank our amazing family and friends:
To all who have offered assistance from afar,
Those who have lifted paint brushes and scrubbers,
All who listen to our rants and worry,
And, to those who simply admit, "I have no idea what you're going through,"
thank you so very much.
We are grateful each day (and night) for your effort and care.

Now, on to the dirt...

When an existing bar is purchased, there are many bones to contend with. First, there are the expectations of the patrons who came before---for this bar to be as familiar to them as the other bar was, despite our best efforts to make it something new---dare I say, better? There are just as many complaints about the changes as there are compliments. Daily, we listen, defend our choices, grin with relief when told we've done something right, and always quench their thirst.

When the bar was neglected, there is sooooo much to do. There's an ice machine to order. Bags of ice to keep cold until its arrival. There is a new sink needed to replace the one with a leg so bent it resembles a horse begrudgingly kneeling, ever slowly, to the ground. A quirky dishwasher with which to contend. Draft lines to install. Soda lines to flush out.

And, cleaning. Ohhhh, what a the thick layer of grime. I thought I knew the meaning of that word. Grime. I did not. Dust so thick it resembles mossy hair. Dirt caked on with a stronghold only a putty knife and a bleachy soak may render loose. A basement cluttered with forgotten remnants of years passed. Many hours and four daring people huffing against a thick cloud of astringent air is what it took to get this joint to sparkle.

There is envy. I envy those who are able to drop former professions and delve together into the business. Some friends say, oh, I'd never be able to work with [my partner]! Yet, The Bartender and I are compatible in this sense. We admire, discover and feed our own strengths while equalizing weaknesses.

As each week passes, our time together dwindles and with it my exposure to the daily goings on at the bar. Sure, we catch up over many telephone chats. By not actually being there, I kind of feel left out. Then, I worry that I'm not fulfilling some unmentioned task that I should just know to complete, instinctively.

The Bartender has always shielded me from the bar business. Somehow, I feel like the guard remains strong even though I want to get my hands dirty.

Even if I don't play a daily part in this production, this bar is consuming our lives. There's no time for affection. No time for dates. Our free time is spent at the bar with our friends, since they all go out to the bar now. All we talk about is the bar. All anyone asks about is the bar.

Since the shifts are only split between two, I attend my brother's dual birthday and sendoff alone. Maintain upkeep of our urban abode.

Lack of sleep and days apart render us out-of-sync. Memory is immediate and slight. Keys are forgotten. Alarms are set incorrectly. Opportunities for exercise are slim. Weight is gained. Worry is thick. We grow grumpy. Bitter. These emotions encourage minor spats, which serve as a guarantee that we soon will talk at length about us, reassuring each other that yes, we're okay.

Every little decision seems to hold the weight of the future. We contemplate all of the what ifs. At the same time, we can't plan too far ahead. Any decision seems too final when in the thick of the business obsessing---when all also appears unstable enough to be up-in-the-air.

The frenzy is starting to subside. When most is set into place, we will officially unveil this baby to the neighborhood with a grand opening. There is much more to accomplish until then.

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