Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Adventures in Catering

Among a fist-full of crazy endeavors that have been monopolizing my time lately is my new job as a caterer. As a person who has spent most of their work life talking to dogs, the food service industry might seem an odd choice. But, the pay is good, the hours are flexible, and I had an in with one of the other employees. It is the perfect second job to put a little spending cash in my pocket. And in fact, it just may be the most perfect job for me ever! It's all about food (delicious, tantalizing food), expressing my anal-retentiveness (napkins and silverware should be straight!), and running around like a mad woman (empty glass there, empty plate there, my god, get that woman some water stat!)--All things I am very good at.

But when you are a diabetic, no new task is ever a simple one. It is always an adventure. Throw in free food (including chocolate cake you can smell from ten feet away), a lot of moving and sweating, and a touch of nervous anxiety, and you have yourself an all out expedition into an unknown land.

I showed up to the catering place for my first gig on Saturday. Nervous, excited--my blood sugars were teetering on the high end of normal. I was thrown in the mix immediately--Fill this up! Put this in the van! Now go get that! Quick! (BS normalizing.) Then it was a one hour car ride to the ranch where the wedding was being held. (BS threatening to climb again.) Followed by an all out sprint to get the tent set up before the wedding party took over. (Dropping.)

By 2:00 we had everything in place and ready for the reception. And it was exactly two hours past my lunch time. Not fully sure of the etiquette associated with eating the food you are serving, I opted instead for the emergency peanut butter and agave sandwich I had packed. The second I took the first bite, the crowd of wedding patrons over at the gazebo started to cheer and stand up. Crap. They were heading for the reception tent where I was supposed to be. But the insulin was already on board. I shoved the sandwich into my mouth one giant, sticky, chocking bite at a time and forced it all down with a bottle of water.

I spent the rest of the evening running around busing the tables, filling water glasses, and serving the best smelling chocolate cake ever. By 8:00 things started to wind down and the servers gathered in the kitchen tent to graze through the left overs in the buffet trays. It was again two hours past my dinner time and the allure of the amazing yet untouchable food I had been handling all night, proved to be too much. I threw all caution and carb counts to the wind and started shoveling the food into my mouth.

The reckless eating combined with an hour long drive home, a staff celebration at the bar after dishes were done, and a full day of not having the opportunity to check my blood sugar led to a spectacular 221 when I finally had time to prick my finger at 11:30 (spectacular because it could have been much much worse, but I had been hoping it was much much better).

But next time I'll know: The chaotic running around doesn't burn as much energy as you feel like it should; The cake is best left to the patrons; and before you fill your mouth with food scraps, take a moment, and take some insulin.

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