i went to the cafe this morning bringing with me two packages of frozen porterhouse steaks and a holiday ham i'd purchased back in may but never got around to eating. the mistake i made was not putting the ham in the freezer. so for the past two weeks there was this weird smell in my fridge (like overripen strawberries) that i couldn't figure out where it was coming from until i discovered it was the ham in the crisper drawer. it was leaking and the fluid was sticky. i wasn't sure if i could still eat it (it didn't smell after i rinsed the package) so i brought it to my parents to pass judgement. i think i already knew the answer, and both of them told me to throw the ham away immediately. i didn't pay a lot for it anyway - just $6 - consider it one of those late adulthood life lessons.

so i was at the cafe today - wednesday - to help out my parents. when i got there, the stainless steel 30x60" work table we ordered from wayfair over the weekend had already arrived, two tall boxes waiting by the back entrance. we'd have to wait until later in the day - when it wasn't busy - to assemble the table. we did open it though, and saw it had some dents - one on the table surface, another along the edge. it wasn't too big a deal - but when you pay $400 for something, you expect it to arrive undamaged at least. so i contacted wayfair and it seems like this is a pretty common problem because they already had contingency plans for just such a event. i could either: 1) get a 20% discount (in this case $85), 2) exchange the product for a new one for free (although i may have to drop it off somewhere to ship back), or 3) return the item and get a full refund. we opted for the 20% discount, figured the tabletop would get scratched anyway just from everyday use.

it didn't feel busy today but we still made a good amount with just 23 transactions. that can't compare to yesterday, where there was 31 transactions. my sister still hadn't updated the print menus on the plexiglass (we have our hanging chalk menus but it's harder to see given that the cafe interior is still arranged for social distancing) so i had to call her up and push her to make the changes. wasn't like i was asking her to retype everything, just update the prices. when she finally gave me the updates, some of the prices were wrong, so i told her to change them. when she returned with the revisions, the new version was now 6 pages instead of 4. i taped them onto the plexiglass anyway, just because we didn't have another menu, but this was very shoddy work. hours later she returned with yet another print version of the menus, this time in 4 pages and with color highlights.

in the afternoon we started prepping for the new work table assembly. did you know that stainless steel work tables are the work horses of the restaurant industry? heavy duty and easy to clean, a perfect surface for prep work and food assembly. anyway, we first had to clear the area of the old work table, removing all the pots and pans on the floor underneath the table. then when it looked like it wasn't going to get busy, we moved all the equipment off of the old work table - oven, microwave, air fryer, rice cooker. finally, we disabled the old work table, moved it into the parking lot for the time being. the old work table has a stainless steel top with a backsplash, but the legs corroded a long time ago and there's no undershelf to give it stability. my father rigged up some DIY legs using wooden 2x4 blocks and a pair of iron restaurant table pedestals. the new table has 2 undershelves which will let us store the equipment 6" off the ground, which is in accordance to food safety guidelines.

before we assembled the new table, we cleaned the floor and wall area where the table will be moved to. figured this was our best change to do it, because once the new table goes in, we'll never get access to the floor and area again. we put down a large piece of styrofoam that came with the table and put the table top on top of that, upside down so we could secure the legs and the undershelves. it wasn't difficult, but definitely easier when you have two people. originally we decided to secure the lower shelf first before adjusting the middle shelf, but we discovered that once the lower shelf is secured, it sort of locks the table in place and the middle shelf can't move anymore. so we had to loosen everything and assemble the table with the shelves all at the same time. we did it by working on the table with it on its side instead of upside down.

after securing all the screws, we righted the table. the last step was ripping off the protective sticker on the table surfaces (to keep the stainless steel from getting scratched, but not protect it from getting dented). once that was done, we put the equipments back onto the table. the table surface isn't as sturdy as the old work table surface (it's a lighter 18 gauge apparently); it has a tendency to buckle. but it's still very strong, and supposedly the tabletop can hold 690 lbs. while the shelf each can hold 480 lbs. while moving the equipments, i noticed my father already scratched the surface by dragging the oven and microwave instead of lifting them into place. that's why we can't have nice things!

the thing i was most looking forward to were the two undershelves. this gave us enough space to store all our pots and pans in one place, instead of all over the kitchen and in the stairwell. it also gives the kitchen a less cluttered looked, compared to the way we had it before, where things were just stacked underneath the table, sometimes for years without anyone realizing it.

one downside is now there's no place to store our knives. before - with the DIY work table legs - there was a space created by the wooden 2x4 that allowed horizontal knife storage. now we have to think of something else.

by the time we were finished putting everything back onto the new work table, it was already 5pm. my parents said i could leave, but a few more orders came in, and i helped put them together, so when it was all over, it was already 6:30pm closing time. my mother made me a bento box for dinner, i honestly can't say i've ever had the cafe bento even though i make it all the time. bentos are for customers!

when i biked home, it was almost 7pm. i took a quick shower to wash off the work grime then had my bento for dinner. it was pretty good - i got the charsiu pork - no wonder we've been getting some good business!