Monday, August 27, 2012

Crunch time!

Oh dear, the weeks are getting longer, the writing shorter, with longer spans between posts.  Its "crunch" time!  I'm working 24/7, well maybe more like 19/7, and I'm still freaking out about getting everything done.  Most nights I fall into bed so late and exhausted there's no time to write, and it'll probably get worse before it gets better.  So please forgive me if these little posts get further apart.  Getting Pizzalina open is the main priority and keeping myself healthy is second.

I've had a couple high anxiety days this last week, I'm trying to keep calm and focused, but whew, there's so many things that you just can't predict.  All your best laid plans, and then S*%# happens.  You gotta zig and zag, and roll with the punches, go with plan B, C and XYZ.  Though you spend months planning, designing, plotting, thinking, it starts to take on a life of its own.  Its like that joke about if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your well laid plans. 

This week the lighting that I fell in love with had to go.  When they got unpacked and ready to hang we discovered they were too heavy for the suspended ceiling.  They would've had to take down the ceiling, insulation and figure out a way to reinforce the framing = more money than I'm willing to spend.  Didn't love 'em THAT much.  So back to the store they went for a newer, lighter chandelier.

The stone counter tops went in this week and they're gorgeous!  The floors were finished and they turned out beautiful.  Michael Brennan finished the oven surround which compliments the Italian wave mosaic perfectly.  We got our preliminary health inspection and it cleared as well as being able to forgo the "sneeze guard" which I was dreading.  The place is really coming together and I'm so happy with the overall look!

We are pretty much through the building phase.  The only thing that's holding us up now is the store front, which was the first thing ordered?!  It was supposed to be delivered this week, but the latest word is that it'll be late the following week.  And of course we cannot get any of our final inspections until that's in and finished.  So I'm trusting that its a blessing in disguise.  We really do need the time to get our staff together and plan out the logistics of working the place.  However, I could REALLY use the income right about now as opposed to the outgo!  Ah the balancing act.....

Today we held our first round of interviews for the staff.  I'm happy to report we've probably identified a third of our staff.  Which is pretty good for our first round.  I put another ad on Craigslist today and we'll be interviewing all week.  So if you know anyone....... send 'em over!

I just can't wait to get open and make killer pizza!  To stand in the middle of the restaurant on a crazy busy night, and watch people eating, and drinking, and laughing, and enjoying each others company. It's the heartbeat of a community, we are more alive together.

cheers to that day, coming soon..........

Monday, August 20, 2012

Keep Calm And Eat Pizza

Wow, what a week!  Friday they started moving in all the kitchen equipment and its really starting to look like a restaurant!  My long time friend, Bruce Davies of Empire Painting is doing all the painting and his crew was in all week painting the place.  It's been so great to have my buddy on the job site, his crew is great and a lot of fun, just like Bruce.  There is an ease and confidence that surrounds him and it rubs off on me.  Wish I could keep him around me at all times, it might balance out my high anxiety nature!  Hahaha, working on it!

Michael Brennan and his assistant Natasha came in and knocked out the wall and pizza surround with a very artisan technique of texture and color, then painted some whispy swirls as accents.  He made the best of faux pas on my part.  I had been envisioning some thing, which I learned too late, was actually impossible for the way we had started out.  Luckily he understood the look I was after and made the best of what we had.  I love it, and its a Michael Brennan and the wall now makes the space!

Tomorrow I have to meet with the Health Inspector to try and figure out a way to get around the "sneeze guard" she insisted I have to put up.  Its such a long story, I won't even attempt to explain.  I just pray for cooperation and understanding! 

I'm really excited for tomorrow morning to see the floors done.  I think its really going to finish off the place and look fabulous.  John is a concrete artist who is staining and refinishing the beat up old concrete that was there.  I think the restoration will be nothing short of a miracle!

We are now officially hiring!  I've put up ads on Craigslist, Poached, onsite and going over to College of Marin tomorrow.  So my friends, if you know of any willing, able-bodied, fun, diligent chefs, pizza makers, waiters & bussers, please send them my way!

Coming on the final stretch!  So many little details to finalize.  I'm trying not to panic, stay calm, focus, breathe deep, keep my faith and trust this appointment.

My new motto.......

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Every Day Is One Step Closer

Michael & His Assistant Starting The Wall
I'm so grateful for small victories.  It seems in the last week there have been some very pressing trials, but I thank God for the victories.  I don't know why or what makes it so easy for us as a peoples to concentrate more on what's wrong than on what's good.  The glass is half empty or half full.  I had to remind myself this morning to be grateful for all that is going right (and there is so much) and forget about the hurdles.  I'm sure they will become dim and insignificant when all is said and done.  These tests and trails just make my reserve all the more strong, and I'll have an awesome testimony!

I've had to rethink some of my plans and switch around people for timing and such.  Its been a hard decision and one I don't like to make or feel very good at.  My contractor said I've got to be more of a hard ass, which I agree but I don't think I'm very good at it, though I will say I'm getting better.  It's getting easier to be direct with people.  Its a fine line.

Back Stage

 Thank God for my church and my choir, it's where I recharge.  It's what reminds me to be grateful and put things in perspective.  This week besides having a reunion with my old choir mates, The Lighthouse Singers, my church choir was asked to back up Patti LaBelle at the Concord Pavilion.  It was big time, what an honor to sing with such a mega great talent, and FUN!  It was such a production.  I guess because of my little business I'm trying to orchestrate, I stood in awe of what it takes to organize and produce a show of that magnitude.

Things are really coming together with the space.  Michael Brennan is doing my "art" wall.  Yeah!  Bruce my best buddy and longest friend is painting now.  The floors are almost done.  They should start moving in equipment next week.  Now I just have to get a staff!  Which is harder said than done.  In the mean time there is so much more to do behind the scenes and I feel one step behind the eight ball in so many ways. 

My friends Stephen and Jennifer Simmons opened their new Lincoln Park this weekend and I'm so inspired by what they've accomplished.  I went in tonight for a glass of wine and supper and it was fantastic.  The food was great and the atmosphere buzzing.  I hope that I can open with so much style and grace.  Go, go, go, support them and make your town a more vibrant community!

every day is one step closer!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This

The guys putting up the hood
Despite having a real bad day yesterday, there are many wonderful pieces coming together.   This is were faith and optimism must conquer doubt and fear.

Monday was going along marvelously.... I met with Douglas and we got a lot of work done on purchasing, menu final, and he brought me a sample of some knock out meat balls, Gluten-free!  I'm pushing for lots of things on the menu for my GF buddies.  How simple to make meatballs with risotto as the filler!  You could even fry them with rice flour.  Yummy, you'd never know if I didn't tell you.  We'll put the recipe on when they are perfected.

Anyway, my friend Colleen gave me the name of this Frenchman who sells the most beautiful olive wood bowls and platters out of his van.  He pulled up to Pizzalina, opened up his doors and we bought some amazing boards for our antipasti platters.  And he threw in some spoons for Douglas and me.  We'll be buying more!

Then the banquette was delivered.  It turned out great, but we had to have it delivered to my house until its ready to go in.  Its going to look beautiful in the space.

Yesterday was a double drink day!  I've got about 3 people doing key jobs that swore they could do X-Y-&-Z, but it ain't happening.  Maybe some of them will pull through in the final hour, but things are getting too close to not see any real action.  Then its too late to find someone else, you gotta zig and zag to get it done, come up with a plan "B".  And, being the type "A" person I am, my anxiety goes through the roof.  Then I applied for my resellers permit, they want $10,000. deposit!  Like I've got that kind of money to let them hold.  Hell, they still won't give me back the $2,000 they owe me (another story).  Then I got my bank statement, bla, bla, bla..... suffice to say, I was on the verge of going back to bed and having a good cry all day!  I pressed on through my day and went and had a wonderful dinner at Picco with my son.  They have the BEST barrel-aged Negroni!  That pretty much took care of things.

Bring it on!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Anxiety Rising

Oh dear, the days are flying by now.  Each day is jam-packed and I feel there aren't enough hours in a day to accomplish all I need to get done.  My lists are growing, my piles of papers is growing, my bills are just beginning, and  I feel my anxiety levels rising.... oh, peace be still!

Last week the building inspector stopped the job on Wednesday.  I still don't exactly understand why or how or who is responsible.  Everybody starts talking loud, rolling their eyes, and saying things like, "well he shoulda", and "every other city", and "I-I-I- don't know".  Meanwhile, I get to write all the checks!  Apparently the "fire-wall" details (which is the code between two adjacent buildings) wasn't in the plans, the specific insulation, baffling, and other construction logistics I don't understand.  What I do understand is my architect had to draw, spec, copy and resubmit to the Town of San Anselmo Building Department.  So in we march Monday morning with the new specs, an addendum, a fee (of course) and I basically had to plead for them to approve it over the counter.  By the grace of God the inspector did approve them right then and there, otherwise we would have had to leave it with them, and God knows how long that would've taken or how many more days would have been lost!  So between the architect fees, and the additional materials and timing fees that just cost me around $5,000 more.

Today was a shopping day at Economy with Chef Douglas, we picked out our smallwares order.  Got about 85% of it done.  Just last minute stuff left.

Yesterday I had a wonderful day.  Reconnected with an old friend on my way up to Healdsburg to do some wine tasting with sister-friend and fellow stew hen, Colleen at DaVero.   May I just say good friends are a blessing and to be cherished!  Not only did she fill my belly with lovely wines, but we went for a dip afterwards.  Just what the doctor ordered!  So on that 90 degree, Sonoma afternoon we paddled about and caught up on life until the cool water had pickled our fingertips and toes.  Perfect!

Do yourself a favor, google DaVero Olive Oil, join their Club DaVero and order yourself some of their incredible wines, oils, etc and you'll be on their mailing list for upcoming special events.  I highly recommend the Chardonnay (and I don't even like Chardonnay), the So'Bianco, the Dolcetto, the Tannat and the Rosso Di Bea.  Kick my own self for not taking pictures!

So then it was up to my mom's house for dinner and she made me some incredible Vichyssoise soup, which is the perfect appetizer on a hot summer night!  And today I had dinner with another friend I haven't seen in awhile.  Like I said, good friends are a blessing and to be cherished!

So call a friend, tell them you cherish them, and enjoy a meal together.  I think the world would be a happier place if we all did that more often!