Tales from the Dog Side: The Dog Bites

Wow, what a week we’ve had at Mack Dawg’s Chicago Style Hot Dogs! At the moment of this writing it isn’t even over yet.

There were more than a few times I wanted to cry this week. This past week was the furthest from what we had planned for its outcome, and it all began last Friday morning.

At some point early during Friday’s lunch shift, I noticed a great deal of water pooling near my battery box. We had hot dogs in the steamer and customers walking up. We had to serve on.

We made it through a few customers and had time to check in our issues. We soon discovered we overfilled the fresh water tank and had a little overflow, but that didn’t really account for the sizeable amount of water in the cart. There also was a leak at the pump where the water flows to the heater and sinks.

We noticed a weird bubbling of the hose right where it clamped to the pump. We were clueless. We spent the weekend replacing the damaged water hose and prepared for the new week. (Oh, did I mention we still hadn’t had an on-site inspection yet, so water leaking from anywhere had us in a near panic).

Monday arrived and we were ready to rock and roll for a new week. Week number two. It was gonna be a good week.

It wasn’t a very good week.

I had just noticed a couple of customers walking up to the cart and proceeded to wash my hands to ready myself for preparing their hot dogs.

I had just shut off the sink and was drying my hands when I heard a small pop! The pop was followed by a long hisssssss–followed by a loud sizzling sound. The hiss and sizzle was soon replaced by large amounts of steam that billowed like a smoking hay field. Next came the sound of the pump running.

I freaked just a tad. I quickly shut off the stove and shut down the pump. I then located the fire extinguisher and hoped I would need it. There were no flames just more water in the bottom of the cart. Arghhhhhhhhhhhh!

The newly run water line seems to have gotten pretty hot and the pressure from the pump burst the line, which shot into the bottom of the stove causing to steam rush. Once pressure was lost, the pump kicked on and aged me ten years if a day.

We spent Wednesday evening putting in a much more heavy duty, braided water line and were extremely excited about Thursday.

Thursday was the defining moment at this early stage of business. We had the van loaded and were just finishing the cart hookup to the hitch, and that’s when I saw it.

At this point, had I been in the desert I would have cried at the sight. Not tears of joy but tears of disgust at seeing more fr$&@”!? water. There was another leak.

A frantic inspection lead to the discovery of a loose clamp at the pump. Whew, a few turns of the nut driver and we’d be off! Oops, one too many turns of the nut driver and the beginnings of a tear.

I remembered I had bigger clamps of the sink and went to the rear of the cart to switch it out with the smaller one that didn’t fit the bigger water line.

I’ll probably remember the day as vividly as I do the births of all my children. It’s a day that will soon be looked upon with a smile and a big hearty burst of laughter, but, at that moment, I knew Thursday was broken beyond repair and there would be no hot dogs this day.


On the hunt we went for a replacement sink. There is a restaurant supply store in Springfield called Serv-U, in fact, I’ve gotten a couple of great ideas from the guys over there.

Unfortunately, the sink they had that would fit needed to be ordered and shipped from the manufacturer. A minimum of three weeks.

Thankfully, my father-in-law came through yet again and mentioned sinks at Lowe’s. We found one and got the sink finished late Thursday evening. We were back rolling on Friday.

Friday was great; Monday was horrible. We had a small fire that forced us to have to go back to the drawing board.

That was a week ago and we’re just about ready to rock-and-roll again.

I cried some this past week. I wondered what the hell was going on and, of course, why were these things happening?

I learned something about myself in the process and about those around me.

I learned I can overcome many obstacles in a little time.

I learned my support group is top-notch and I couldn’t do this without them.

I learned to keep going or you’ll never get where you want to go!

6 thoughts on “Tales from the Dog Side: The Dog Bites

  1. Hi Shawn, sorry you are going thru some sad, but resolvable growing pains in getting off to a wonderful, amazing adventure.
    Good thing all this is happening in the early stages, so you can begin to reap the rewards of success and new found customers!!
    Keep pushing forward great friend!!
    Enjoy keeping up with you from way across the States.

  2. I could have cried with you I thought about it all week and hoped and prayed that you get it all back together so I guess maybe we will see you today I sure hope so I’m sorry things happen the way they did but like you say sometimes perfection comes out of tragedies see you later hopefully today

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