The big task at hand was purchasing a three-well deep fryer from some guy on Craigslist who's been listing this thing for sale for the past few weeks. I went and looked at it a couple weeks ago, thought it looked just about perfect, and toyed with the idea of just buying it and stowing it in my garage. But reason won out, I realized that if the restaurant deal fell through I'd be stuck with a big ole deep fryer in my garage, and I passed, figuring that at the price the guy was asking ($500), it'd go.
It didn't. I saw it listed last night, so jumped on it and set up a time to meet the guy in River Forest, where he had it stowed in HIS garage.
But, as you can see, it's a beast, and there's no way that I'd have been able to handle moving it around myself. Especially with my bum arm, which is still hurting me enough that I just iced it for over an hour.
Rodolfo is my first hire. Unofficially, at this point, but I'm going to hire him. He worked at PP's and PP spoke very highly of him. In fact, he called me during the negotiation period especially to talk to me about two employees, who he highly recommended that I hire. He said they were super-dependable and great, hard workers. I plan on hiring them both, and have filled them in on the plan, the timeline, and when they can expect me to call them to come to work.
It's great from my perspective, since finding dependable help can be difficult, it's great from their perspective, since I'm sure they're daunted by the prospect of looking for a new job right now, and it's great from PP's perspective, because he gets to walk away without feeling like he left these two quality people high and dry by selling the place.
I happened to run into Rodolfo in the bathroom (the bathrooms are located in a common area of the building, so are shared by all three retail tenants) yesterday. He explained that he was coming back from his other job and just stopped in to say hi to some of the guys at the restaurant next door. Perfect coincidence, I thought...so I asked him if he'd be willing to help me move the fryer, and he was happy to earn a little extra money doing it. We made plans to meet at the restaurant this morning.
He was punctual, so we hopped in the truck and drove down to River Forest. Everything went pretty much perfectly, and I ended up giving the guy only $300 for the unit. It's a leap of faith, of course, as is the case when buying anything off Craigslist, but even if only one of the three wells is functional, I'm still ahead of the game, since most used single-well fryers that I've come across are going for $400-$600.
Once we got back to the restaurant, Rodolfo enlisted the help of some of the other various busboys and cooks hanging around the alley (there are always a few out back smoking or whatever) and we managed to wrestle it out of the truckbed, clean it up a bit, and guide it gently into the restaurant and onto the hot line where it will live. All in all, it was a pretty smooth operation. Hope it works!
The fryer was a big accomplishment, but what I think I'm most pleased with today was laying the groundwork for a good relationship with Rodolfo, who will be my all-around cleaning, dishwashing, busboying, and prep guy. He's a good-natured forty-something guy from Mexico, has lived here in Chicago for 15 years, and isn't shy about sharing his philosophies on life, love, and work. We spent a good three hours in the truck while sitting in traffic on the way there and back, and chatted, switching back and forth between English and Spanish, almost the whole way. Lots to know.
After we were finished, I bought him lunch, we ate together, and then I paid him and sent him on his way. I genuinely like the guy and have a lot of confidence that this relationship will work out well. He seems like a well-grounded, happy individual and clearly has a strong work ethic and a great attitude. I'm lucky to have him.
After he left, I puttered around a bit, reluctant to tackle anything big since I had to leave at five for an airport pickup. But, lo and behold, the phone company guy came a-knockin' on my door, ready to do whatever needed to be done to get my phone, fax, and internet lines working.
He needed to find the phone box, which I had no idea about where it could be, so we went exploring around the building and finally found it, in the basement of the restaurant next door. After looking at the huge old bundle of wires for about four seconds, he declared that he couldn't do it and started asking me a bunch of questions that I not only didn't have answers for, but had not the faintest clue what the fuck he was talking about.
Phone Co. Guy: "Oh....this could be an issue. It says here that I'm just supposed to tag the nid. Is that what you want me to do?"
Me: "I have no clue what that even means. I want you to do whatever you need to do to make my phones work."
PCG: "Well, what kind of phones do you have?"
Me: "Uh....cordless? I don't know? Normal phones."
PCG: "Well this phone here seems to be part of a phone system. Do you want this phone to work?"
PCG: "Well, that's gonna cost extra, then. It's a system."
Me: "Ok, well I don't need it to work as a system, I just need it to function as a phone. How much extra would it cost anyway?"
PCG: "I don't know."
Me: "Ok, well let's just get the regular phones working and we can worry about the system later. Can you do that? What do you need me to do to get the regular phones working?"
PCG: "Well, this just says I'm supposed to tag the nid. But to get the phones to work, I might have to address some of the interior wiring."
Me: "Ok, well let's do that, then."
PCG: "Well, we might not have to do that. I need to find out. Do you know where your up-level switching station is?"
Me: "I don't have a clue what that means. Look, when I talked to the lady on the phone, she said that this would be a pretty easy deal. The previous owner had four working phone lines in this space just last week, so can't you just, like, flip a switch or something and get'em working again? Do you need to call into the home office or whatever and ask them what to do?"
PCG: [Chuckling annoyingly] "It's not that easy."
Me: "Ok, well, I don't think I'm going to be able to help you. All I know is that the phones were working fine last week, so I don't see why you'd have to do any interior wiring. Just get'em working the same way they were working last week. I'll be upstairs if you need anything. Thanks."
After all that (and I'm posting a vastly abbreviated version of that conversation), I picked up a phone about five minutes later and heard a dial tone. I guess it wasn't quite as hard as PCG was making it out to be.
What-EVER! The phones now work, and my number is 847-xxx-EDZO. Cool!
Ok...it's now late, and this post has become far longer than I intended it to be. Today's victories were getting a fryer, an employee, and a dial tone. I hope every day is this productive.