It's been 1 1/2 weeks on new medicine Symbyax and all is well and stable.
Glee is a good word to describe the feeling I get from
just having a normal, stable, somewhat elevated mood graph. No heart
side-effects. Would that it not be for my therapist and support group I'd be
waiting for the other shoe to drop.
God sometimes plays funny tricks on us, and it's no coincidence. Not to long
ago my Buddhist teacher was telling me that although I'm a "boss" to certain
people, I can't even really control them. He asked me to explore how I
felt about being powerless over the actions and feelings of others.
Well, yesterday, BAM! I got my lesson in powerlessness. I was in New York and
had just finished lunch at the Top of the Tower, accompanied by our British
investor. My cell phone rang and it was the dingbat who manages my restaurant when my
wife and me ain't there. Yes, I said "dingbat" in the Archie
Bunker way, not the adorable little characters one can add to
cyber-writing and typesetting.
She: "I smell smoke and it smells sooo bad. It's coming from one
of the electric boxes that turns on the whole power for kitchen."
Me: "Hang up. Call 911. Tell them you smell smoke. They'll ask
for the address. Have them call me."
She: "Oh, no, no. Cannot call 911 because we can't see smoke."
Me: "Do what I said. Just 'cause you can't see it doesn't
mean there isn't (expletive deleted) fire in the walls of the
restaurant. Get every last person out of that building immediately." (this
was long after the lunch rush so it was just personnel and a couple of
After a few moments she called back. Not only had the fire department come,
but a fire marshal, the electrical inspector from the Town's Department of Buildings, and the Town Board of Health.
Apparently in a crisis that involves electricity and food all these people call
each other and show up. The health department lady explained that if any
"potentially hazardous foods" (e.g., raw chicken) get above 40 degrees
Fahrenheit I need to discard them. Of course I will! I don't serve unwholesome
food to my customers. Sadly, the health department lady said that other people
who have refrigeration turned off either a) don't put bags of ice inside their
refrigerators, or worse, b) believe that cooking rotten food is going to make it
safe to eat. Well, it may not carry bacteria but it sure ain't gonna be
Electrician showed up shortly thereafter; it was just malfunctioning and
overheating on the part of a couple of circuit breakers (gee, that's why I
couldn't get some of the lanterns on the outside of the restaurant to light).
I got back to the restaurant after we quickly picked up the provisions we
needed from our Chinese wholesaler. On the way back wifey couldn't sleep in the
truck as she usually does because
she was so worried. Finally my rhetoric convinced her that the fire
department and electrician would ensure that the restaurant doesn't burn down.
She power-napped and I drove.
Now the damned bureaucracy. Electrician must file an extensive crisis report
for building/fire departments. I must file a crisis control report with detailed
PHF temperature log for the Health Department.
I did not want to be hours away from my business during a crisis. I believe that had I
been there to remove the smoking circuit breaker and call the electrician all
this other crap wouldn't have happened.
I must accept that I was powerless over what transpired. I must
accept that I can't be there all the time or I'll go crazy. I must accept that I
cannot micro-manage my business because it's like trying to teach a pig to sing. Being powerless, of course, is unpleasant but heck, if life
were easy it'd be boring.
It really sucks not being able to hire professional workers because my wife
is too cheap to do so. I'd hazard a guess that if this idiot manager were to
smell smoke in her own apartment she'd be the first one on the phone to the fire
department. No matter what I do by way of training the employees, stupid,
unnecessary mistakes still happen.
Indeed I'm powerless over a lot of things. The fact that it's unfair I must
manage a staff who're aware that I can't fire them without the approval of my
wife galls me. But I'm powerless over the situation.
Hell, with the help of
Buddha, I remained calm during yesterday's crisis and resisted the urge to hire a helicopter to shuttle me off to
Connecticut immediately. (No, I can't afford that, silly; I was just kidding!)
The Good News
It reached 55 degrees in New York City yesterday, and is warm up here in
Connecticut this morning. In New York, the flowers were beautiful; daffodils, crocuses, and
early-blooming trees were doing their best to re-assure me that "spring is here!"
My own crocuses, those brave harbingers of Springtime, have poked their heads
out of the cold, dark earth to show a little color as well.
In the middle of the crisis described above, I traveled over the Brooklyn
Bridge, and found that at a particular off-ramp at the base of the bridge on
the Brooklyn side there was a lovely little garden
planted on both sides. I wonder if the other drivers notice.