My days back in the kitchen were a roller coaster of ups and downs. It is entirely possible to love your job and still not want to come back after a vacation, especially one as amazing as our anniversary/ENGAGEMENT trip!

The week started with what should have been two typically slow days but we ended up with 250 covers plus two 30-top parties on Tuesday and almost breaking 300 on Wednesday. Single-man stations. That sucked. Thursday was supposed to be better since our partners all came back (I’m working with my old station partner – from Plancha 1 – again, yay!) but they ended up spending the better part of service deep-cleaning the satellite kitchen and walk-in. The cherry on the cake was when the opening partners were all sent home just before a huge wave of tickets. I ended up selling about 15 orders of sautĂ©ed shrimp and plating up 12 orders of grilled octopus by myself in the last hour or so of dinner service. Ugh.

On the bright side, everyone has been showering me with congratulations and hugs and excitement for my engagement. I can’t wear jewelry on my hands in my line of work, so every day I string my stunning ring onto a necklace that Honey Bunny gave me for our first anniversary. I love telling the story of how it happened and showing off the gorgeous ring, and I’ve been told that I get so happy that I blush.

Honey Bunny is out of town for work this weekend so last night after service, I went out with a group of cooks for post-work drinks. They have been asking me to go out with them for a while now, pretty much the entire six months I’ve been working there. Plus, I wasn’t looking forward to coming home to an empty house (as much as I love the cats). When I said I was tagging along, one of the girls said she was honored that I would grace them with my presence. I know, it sounds so sarcastic but they were dead serious.

It wasn’t anything special – just closing down the night at a local bar that serves wine and beer on tap. They’re all regulars and even the server/bartender knows them all by name. But it was fun to listen to them rant and gossip and chat. Lots of stories, lots of laughs. Before we knew it, it was 2am; the lights were all brightened and it was time to go home. (Well, you don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here!)

Now I feel old and tired. I think that one of the reasons they all go out to drink after work is that they’re all single. It’s hard to meet people working the hours we work. The best relationships are either with fellow industry people or were in existence prior to starting a culinary career (and managed to survive the challenges thereof). While I did enjoy their company and getting to know them on a more personal level outside of work, it also gave me a glimpse to how my life would be so different, so much more like Kitchen Confidential (minus the copious drug usage), if I had to endure this journey alone. I came home feeling so grateful and lucky to have Honey Bunny in my life, now and forever.

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