Gina’s officially opened for business on January 4th, 2012. In just one week, we’ve learned some pretty important lessons.
First, don’t ever attempt to do anything in life unless you have a sense of humor and can laugh at your own mistakes (which I have in abundance).
Watch everything carefully. You never know when you will have to redo the job you just paid a professional to complete. In the last week, David has had to play the part of plumber, electrician, gas-line maintenance, and general contractor. When we got married, he barely knew how to use a hammer and a screwdriver, but he could take a computer apart and put it back together. He’s a techie guy. It is amazing how 19 years living overseas can change a persons skill-set.
Don’t be caught off guard when your workers want the new kitchen to look just like the old one or when they complain because they now have to take 5 extra steps to reach the oven. They need time to adjust, remember when they complained that the old place was too small (and it was.)
Expect one hour jobs to last all day. Bring extra work from home to keep you (and any children that may have tagged along) sane and busy.
Keep extra tools on hand because often those called in to do a job don’t bring their own. Also, if you don’t want them to use and possibly destroy your new drill, hide it.
Problems abound and they can’t all be solved in a day. Prioritize your battles and be prepared for sneak attacks that try to take you away from the important issues. FYI, gas lines with leaks and flames are priority; the “L” missing from our sign can wait.
Don’t expect American solutions to take place outside of America. So what if you can’t use the dishwasher and the oven at the same time; no one else thinks it is a problem. It is ok if the contractor built the counters in the drink station too narrow; there is plenty of floor space now. Don’t worry about the leaks in the faucet, there are drains on the floor. And you know those extra holes in the wall, they’re barely visible.
Swinging doors in the kids area was a bad idea, but easily removed. Swinging doors on the bathroom stalls was a good idea, but also easily removed (with the help of several local jr. boys playing Tarzan).
January and February are typically very slow months here in Yanji. We knew there would be some bugs to work out in the new place, we just weren’t expecting them to multiply so quickly. These months give us some much needed time to figure out, not only a new system, but the quirks that come with a new place.
The whole process has sometimes been incredibly frustrating and other at other times really funny. I’m tired and in desperate need of a vacation. (So, if my next blog post is from an island resort, you’ll know why.)
Seriously though, I’m so proud of our workers. They have worked hard to get everything ready. Everyone (the baker, head chef, cooks, and waitresses) all scrubbed and cleaned, packed and unpacked, and did whatever was needed in order to open.
I can’t wait to see what great things come out of this place.