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I need to tell someone....

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
okay this is my situation...

I am currently working as the lead in the upscale restaurant on the top of a hotel. Great ambiance, an eclectic menus mix, some american classics, some international cuisine, some old school stuff. I came into the place and it was a mess. The kitchen was dirty , a display kitchen, unorganized, the food being badly executed. Just a fricking mess. I changed all that. I got the place cleaned up, the food is great, we are working on a new menu. things are looking good. I got a second job in a small cafe connected with a bookstore. lots of expresso sales and baked goods(done on site for the most part), real low key, laid back.

I also have an exwife and three girls, 11, 9, and 7. They live in Maine, I live in washington state. The ex calls me today and says she can't take care of the girls anymore, her and her boyfriend can't work enough to support them properly, they live in a 25 foot camptrailer on some land, winter is coming on, and the girls need to come back here and live with me. Okay, I know my responsibility and duty is too my children. i love and miss my girls very much. I know i have to let them live with me.

But on a personal level, just how it affects me. I am angry, I am losing all that I am building. things are coming together for me. I am takiing a failing restaurant and making it work! I absolutely love it. I go in fired up hoping we get slammed. Everyone in that hotel from the general manager to the exec chef thinks I am the greatest. And I have to give it up. I can't work nights with my three girls. they need me home. to help them with homework, to making them dinner, to tucking them into bed at night.

And my second job doesn't have any benefits, I have them at the hotel. The only option I have at the hotel is to work a lunch shift in the main level coffee shop/ rest. Alot of burgers and blts. I don't want to do that.

I know this sounds selfish of me, my kids come first. There needs are more important than mine. But I feel mad about it all. Any words of advice or encouragement? Even if its suck it up and quit whining. Well, thanks for listening.
My life, my choice.....
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My life, my choice.....
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post #2 of 19
I couldn't say to you, "suck it up and quit whining". You've said that you know what the right thing to do is, and you're going to do it. I'd say that you're entitled to a little "whining". Even though you are doing well where you are, I'd say change jobs. Find something that is a compromise between your needs and the needs of your children; five will get you ten that your current chef will understand and support you in this if you explain the situation to her/him.

Roll with it, and good luck! Proceed as you're planning and, if you don't already know what the term "mensch" means, you will; you'll see it every day in the mirror.
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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post #3 of 19
Andrew,

My heart goes out to you. I have always been told by my family that there are
three very important things in life. First your health, second, your family, third
your work. I am not exactly sure what lead is,in respect to your position in the
restaurant at the hotel. You are absolutely right about your children being the
most important thing. Your kids are your legacy. They are the one thing that you
created that will be here long after you are gone. If you feel the job at night has the
potential to make you happy and eventually liberate you financially, then, stick with
it. Your kids are at the age when they can begin to accept some responsibility for
thier own lives. It may be hard to accept, but, 7,9, or 11, is half way to 18. I think
you ought to make an appointment with the F&B and Exec Chef. Sit down with them
both,and discuss your future. Perhaps let them know you want to be working with
them. Ask their advice. Sometimes all you have to do is put upper management in
a position to offer help, and they will. Above all,let them know how loyal you are.
Loyalty, straightfowardness, and honesty, are sometimes the most important qualities
to upper management. In work,I always ask myself, how does every single thing I do
contribute to the guest experience. In life I ask myself, how does every single thing I do enhance my life and the life of my family. Never settle for second best. Remember,
my friend, a true man is born out of adversity. Take your anger and ride it. Just so
you know. I have three children ranging from 10 days to 6 years. I am the only
provider in the family, and I to work in the food service as you already know.

I wish you all the luck in the world and am sure you have three beautiful children.
You may not know it, but, you are very fortunate

Let me know if you ever need anything.

Stephen
post #4 of 19
Andrew,

I just moved from Seattle to a small town in California. If I were still there I would come to your kitchen and let you whine as much as you wanted!

I don't know you from Adam, but...

You are going to have your three daughters with you! That is so wonderful!!! Have you checked out the school system? When is all of this going to happen? If you need advice from a female, feel free to private message me. I'll be here. AND the next time I go up to Seattle (which will be soon) I'll come see you at your restaurant.

Regarding your position at the restaurant, it sounds like you have done an amazing job getting that place into shape. The fact that you get a thrill from going in hoping to get slammed... I LOVE THAT! THAT is what it is all about!!!! At the end of your shift, spent and sweaty, cleaning stainless counters on the way out, driving home and crawling into bed....

And you are right, you need to be there for your daughters, and that is a wonderful thing.

Along the same line as Greg was saying, I think that talking with your general manager or exec chef (whom ever you are most comfortable with) would be a good idea. You are stepping up to the plate, and you will be amazed at the amount of help/advice you get when you ask for it.

Bottom line, you sound like a together, determined, and strong individual. Your girls will need that, and so will you because you are going to have to work long hours to support them -- and I have no doubt that you will figure it out. Remember, they are human too, and although young, will have an amazing amount of understanding throughout the process. They are not just pieces of the equation, they will understand things that will blow you away. You may have to chef at night for a while and find a nanny to care for the kids. Get a French/German Au Pair -- there are plenty looking for jobs in the US. Lots of options!!! This may be the best thing that has ever happened to you.

I'm just throwing things out there, and you don't know me either so take it or toss it. Just know that a shoulder is here.
Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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post #5 of 19
Stephen and I posted at the same time -- great advice Stephen!
Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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post #6 of 19
How about paying more child support? That way your ex can afford to maintain the girls.

9 years ago I walked out of a bad marriage where I was a stay at home mom with 3 sons, the youngest has autism. I moved 800 miles and got my sons settled in the school system that would work well for James. Looked at my options....started cooking for a wealthy family 3 afternoons aweek...not enough money....so designed and started personal cheffing, worked school hours, generally cooked what I wanted to and made $700- $1000 a week ave. working 4 days with Friday as the if something comes up day. I made sure my clients knew that if I had a child emergency they came first. I also made sure that I had backup.....it was a balancing act. But I guess what I'm saying is there are a whole lotta options some you just need to think up.

Now, 2 of my sons are at college and the youngest is living with my ex and his new wife. Things change and the world is a fluid place.

workwise now I own a farmer's market with cooking demos every week. catering company anything from small to several hundred, direct food stages and consult with schools on farmer/chefs/RDs, and occasionally write food articles with a VERY GOOD editor.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #7 of 19
You have gotten a lot of good advice and thoughts so I have nothing more to add to that so let me say this about the quote.
It's okay to feel mad about it. Be pissed off, life sucks, get it off your chest. If you acknowledge that you are angry, embrace it, ***** about it, complain to us about it, but don't feel guilty about it. Don't try and supress it, that will just make things worse. Accept it, let it out and then you will be able to get on with a clear head and feel good about what you are going to do about playing daddy once again. Good luck.
My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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post #8 of 19
I can’t add anything to the above. I can tell you that over the years I have found out that the majority of people don’t get their priorities in line until they have some sort of crisis or trauma. This seems to be your crisis. Shoot, when crisis or trauma hits, you’re always mad. There are usually no choices in these events. You do what you have to do.
I used to thing like evenstephen. Health first, Family second, and Work third. After being through a few family traumas, I have learned it’s Family and Health first, and that’s that.
Realistically work is something you do so that you can enjoy the time you have off.
Work should never be the priority over family. I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy work, I do, but I enjoy family much better. When all is said and done, when you shut that door, all you have is family.
You’ll do what you have to do and you’ll be great at it.
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 

thank you everyone....

well, one of my sayings is "self pity is a luxury I cannot afford", but I gave myself a day of it. I knew I had to get all those feelings out of me. It feels great that people who don't know me at all jumped right in and gave me support. I know what I need to do, I know what hat I need to wear. Its dad. I love my girls with all my heart. Being seperated from them is , well, I can't even put words to it.

I talked with my exec chef, he wants to do anything he can to keep me. He even said he is considering firing someone to open a position during the daytime for me. I don't know if thats a good idea. Put someone elses life in chaos just to help me.

Maybe this is one of those cases where one door shuts and another one opens. I am looking forward to being dad and having my girls with me.

Thank you everyone for the offers of support and help and advice. It feels good I a support system.


Andrew
My life, my choice.....
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My life, my choice.....
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post #10 of 19
Ask the hotel to give you a free room for your girls on the nights that you work.
post #11 of 19
I've been in this business a long time. O.K. so you work your heart out at the fine dining place, you said there was an Exec Chef there? And no one's riding his tail about the state of the "show kitchen"? You took over the job, great, do the owners appreciate it? Or when the January blahs come around will they slash your hours, same as everybody elses? I guess I'm sounding rude, but the rest. biz is a cruel buisiness, there is very little loyalty in terms of job security.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Yes it is very true, the biz is harsh and cruel. There can be very little loyalty. Don't worry about sounding rude, I work in kitchens, I am used to it. Sometimes we need a verbal smack to keep things in perspective. One of the reasons I stay in this business is the ability to move around. I don't think cooking will ever be fully automated. They will always need cooks to do it. I just need to find the right place that matches what I need.
My life, my choice.....
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My life, my choice.....
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post #13 of 19
Sounds to me like you have a great perspective on life. Twenty years from now you will have a heart full of wonderful kid memories and job memories will be small blips on the on the screen. More power to you
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #14 of 19
Consider homeschooling in the am. That way you get to spend real time with them and help them with their school work. Pay for child care in the evenings.
I will tell you what I told my friend who had 2 teenage stepdaughters move in with her after being married for 3 months. That is, when there are children involved, you have to assume that some where along life's way they will be moving in with you. The other parent can die or kick them out of the home as in her case. It's a shock when it really happens, but you have to expect it. Life is about bending-not breaking. You have the opportunity to rescue your girls from a life they should not be in. Be smart-document all contacts she makes with the girls, type-date-time. You want documentation for when she decides she wants them back and you don't want them to go back. Talk with a lawyer. That's more than you wanted to read. My husband has been through this with his ex. It's frustrating. Blessings to you all.
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
I have been trying to call her all week, and I get no response. I am so frustrated with her. I almost fell like I am being played for the fool here. I mean I need some information here. Do I change my whole life around or do I go on with what I have been doing? I probably should get some legal advice. I just don't want to start an ugly custody battle. I know the girls will be stuck in the middle of it. I feel so d... frustrated!!!
My life, my choice.....
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My life, my choice.....
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post #16 of 19
Ok-my real job is with the Dept of Human Services, 25+ years. Unless you can prove that she is unfit you will not get the children without a huge fight if she decides to keep them. If they are actually living in an unsafe environment and not cared for, call Child Welfare in the state they live in and have them do a home check. If they determine they are ok, you will not get them. If they find they are in need, they can remove them from the home, put them in foster care, contact you about custody, etc-depends on ethe system in each state.

I assume you are paying child support. You can pressure her a little by asking where the money is going as it is for their needs. You really need to contact an attorney. Why are they in a camptrailer rather than an apartment, etc?

Go on with your life as is but make plans to change just in case. Even if at this time this does not come about, you should always have a contingency plan just in case something happens. In Okla, the judge will give credence as to where a 10 yr old wants to live. Each state is different. So even if she doesn't want to give them up later, the children may decide on their own to come live with you.

Hope this helps.
post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 
Oh yes, I do pay child support. I even paid before I legally had too. I am not sure of the system where they are. I really should do some homework.

From what I have been told by other people in the past about custody battles, what you said is what I have heard. Having to prove the mother unfit, foster care, etc. I finally got a message from her on my voice mail. Of course I was at work at the time. Yeah, friday night , I definetly wasn't sitting around. Well, I will find out more tomorrow.
My life, my choice.....
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My life, my choice.....
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post #18 of 19
A possible answer if you obtain custody would be a live in nanny.
Now this sounds pricy, but it can be done.

There are special provisions in the immigration laws for domestic help, and special immigration status.

Very often, citizens of say the phillipines or the fiji islands will take salaried/room/board jobs as nannies in the U.S. for very reasonable salaries, and with their own strong family traditions make excellent caregivers.
post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 
well, I talked with the ex yesterday. She said that they found a place to rent in a small town near them. The girls will go to the same school, be able to see their friends. Basically, there not coming to me. I have a mixed feeling about this. I miss my girls, I guess I was set in my mind that they were going to be with me. well, I don't know what else to say about this.
Thank you everyone for your advice, and words of encouragement.
My life, my choice.....
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My life, my choice.....
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