Real Talk

 

I woke up to snow falling at a steady pace just on the other side of my living room’s window. It wasn’t like yesterday afternoon where the snowflakes had been wet and the size of my dogs head (that is a pretty accurate comparison by the way) no this morning it was just regular snow, you know, the kind you expect to find in mid-January while you’re freezing and only dreaming of warmer days.

Blankets of the white stuff cover everything this morning. “It will be gone by noon” is what the various people who walk into the shop today will say. Although annoyance will be nipping at the back of their throat just as a small dog nips at the ankles of a human who they want the attention of.

The snow, really, is neither here nor there. Well, actually, from my understanding it is here AND there and just about everywhere. A teeny tiny part of my brain keeps wondering if this is it. Is this the snowpocolypse? Is this how it ends? Snow flurries and cold. It’s like a cruel fucking joke man.

Oh worry not my friends I only tease. I’m sure it will be gone by noon just like my imaginary customers say. I am reading The Stand by Stephen King, so you know, I’ve got a lot of grim and apocalyptic thoughts going on in the ole nog lately.

I keep gazing outside though to find the snow and what I am assuming to be cold waiting for me. For the last two weeks I’ve been walking to work. 4 km there 4 km home. It’s no great achievement, it’s not like, body building or marathon running but it’s something and I’ve been feeling pretty good about it I suppose. I’d like to walk to work today but for previously stated reasons (the impending snowpocolypse if you didn’t quite catch my drift ~boom~) I keep shying away from the idea. Imaginings of an imminent death or serious injury continue to sully the dark places in my brain.

You see there is always the possibility of somehow getting held up in some crazy and outlandish situation that I cannot even fathom right now and freezing to death…You can freeze to death in minus five, right? Well, scratch that, what about the constant worry of pneumonia? It is dreadfully wet out there and a 4km walk in the stuff would only result in the horrendous throes of sickness by the end. Obviously. And we can’t rule out the crazy lunatics that will undoubtedly surface at the beginning of any End of Days. I’m sure that includes the snowpocolypse too.

Ugh, when did I become such a big baby you guys? When did I start worrying endlessly about slipping on ice and breaking limbs? It wasn’t THAT long ago when I was carefree. It wasn’t that long ago when I would throw caution to the wind and do all of the sporadic and random things that now make me cringe. In present time caution is a dear friend who I hold close to my breast with an uncompromising grip.

As I continue to mull over a nice brisk walk to work this morning I imagine trudging my way up the concrete stairs of the walking bridge that connects the Northside of my city to the Southside. With my luck I’d ever so gracefully slip upon the one patch of black ice it holds beneath its snow covered dress and that would be all she wrote folks. Literally. I would tumble down a 20 foot drop all the while bashing my head against not only hard but FROZEN stone. There I would lay on the ground beside my maker, the walking bridge, for hours as falling snowflakes encased me in a catacomb of cold hell.  No one would come to my rescue or even see me because no one in their right mind would be out and about on a leisurely walk in the damn SNOWPOCOLYPSE! And thus it would be sometime after noon when a passerby—safely ambulatory now that the snow had melted—would find me groaning and moaning by the concrete clad staircase in which I had plummeted from hours before. No, today I think I will drive.

Stay safe out there folks, it’s a brave new world now.

Living Stories

The sun slips through a crack in my bedroom drapes and I roll over to put an arm around my snoring Jamie. I should really do some writing today. However the musing quickly slides away as a mounting to-do list takes precedence. There are always so many important things to worry about these days.

I hear the kids perusing the kitchen, likely on the hunt for Lucky Charms—their special weekend cereal. Rolling over and pulling the pillow over my head seems like the best option but the to-do list stops me. That damn to-do list, it gets me every time.

My legs feel heavy as I pull on my burgundy hole ridden sweats. I take a fleeting glance in the mirror but I don’t stay long because this early in the morning I don’t have the self-esteem to deal with un-showered, un-shaven, desperately tired with a side of bedhead Lindsay. Don’t cry for me blogoshpere, the truth is it just takes a bit of time for my girl power to kick into high gear on these lazy Sunday mornings—‘aight.

After an impromptu trip to the grocery store for milk, a quick clean of the kitchen, a shower and some coffee slurping I am off to work. The shop isn’t open today but there are some bakery orders that need filling and a bit of prep that is better not left for the last minute Monday morning madness.

I crank my go-to 90’s tunes and get to baking. I’m dancing and singing and sifting and mixing and I’m feeling pretty fucking good about it too. That is until an old friend creeps gently into the forefront of my thoughts.

God you should write today Lindsay. How long has it been? 3 maybe 4 weeks now. Cobwebs. Oh how we hate going back to the cobwebs.

Often, by this point, it just doesn’t seem worth it anymore. You know, too thick with dust to bother.

The feeling moves down to my lungs and palpitates in a rhythm that cries; it’s over, you’re done, give up, writing isn’t in the cards, everything else is too important.

I wonder if writing will ever near the top of the to-do list again. Or if it really is just, over.

All of the greats say that if you are a “real writer” you will make time for writing. You will allow writing to be your first priority. YOU will live, breathe, eat and shit writing,

I don’t know how they do this.

It honestly baffles me. I am barely, just BARLEY, hanging in there with what I’ve got going on. Owning a business and raising two children, who by the way I’d like to be active members of society, takes all of the energy I’ve got. How could I possibly put writing in front my family’s well-being or my children’s upbringing into awesomeness? Obviously it isn’t an option.

But this angst that has now encompassed the entirety of my body does not let me forget. It tells me that it is my nature. It is who I am. It does not brush easily to the wayside for long. I’m in too deep now. Just a few words would suffice, several sentences, perhaps a paragraph if I’m lucky. However any bit will do for now.

After the bread has baked and the cupcakes have been frosted I sit down at a keyboard. I don’t know what I will write until my fingers stroke the keys and sometimes it is garbage that only its creator can appreciate. Occasionally by some vast miracle of the universe another person can find some sort of weird and unruly truth in it. Sometimes when that happens I smile and remember why it feels good to write for other human beings enjoyment.

But every time, every single time, I put words to paper I feel as though this clutching presence has been lifted and once again I can breathe easy.

I suppose that at this point in life, I am meant to be building businesses and bringing up babies, slinging sentences whenever I can and going a little crazy while juggling it all. I should feel lucky that I am one of the few that know, like really know, what they were meant to do.

And in time the writing will come. One day there will a desk that looks out onto something beautiful, a keyboard waiting to be pounded on and a brain overflowing with tales to tell.

I look forward to that day. But first, we must live the life to tell the stories.

They Are The Reason

As my word processing program boots up and blinks back into existence it scowls at me. It’s been a while old friend, I quietly say, as I am hesitant to let people know that I talk to inanimate objects.

It’s been over a month to be precise. But when I say things have been busy, I mean it literally.

The shop is getting busier and busier as the days go by. I’m not complaining because just between you and me I like money. I like it a lot. What I am complaining about is the achy feet, the stiff joints (because apparently I’m 279 years old these days) and the reeling to-do list which accosts the tiny bits of relief that momentarily surface in my brain. Oh the joys of being alive!

This last week however Jamie and I have got a bit of reprieve from the daily grind.  We shipped the small humans up to my parents house to stay with them for the week and by the looks of the photos I’ve been getting they are in their glory. And James and I have gotten a small taste of what it’s like to run a business without having tiny people in tow.

So, I’m just going to throw this out there guys…All of you humans that have no kids, um, what are you doing? Why aren’t you ruling the world right now? How are we, the exhausted parents, not your underlings yet? You are clearly the dominant species and should be prevailing over all civilisation. You surely have the energy for it!

Maybe that’s going a little far but after experiencing this last week, I have a newfound appreciation for ‘the working parent’ that’s for damn sure!

After dropping the babes off and heading back to Lethbridge we were solemn and sad, wondering how we could possibly stand this week without our darling littles.

After day one back to The Hot Wire there we were counting our float with huge grins on our faces, signing;

 

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For the next week we got up early to prep and stayed open late when the customers just kept on rolling in. We seemed to have endless energy! The work we got accomplished was unprecedented. We felt like we had the world by the small and curlies and there wasn’t anything or anyone holding us back.

Now as I am writing all of this there is a tiny screaming voice in the back of my thoughts saying, “there is a special place in hell for people like you Lindsay!” Because really, who actually talks about how much easier and more productive life is without children? It’s fucking blasphemy. It’s despicable. Its ludicrous!

But it is also the truth.

This morning I was in the shower, enjoying the uninterrupted cleansing time thinking about all of this. I thought about how productive life has been these last six days and how thankful I felt that our business was doing well.

And then just like that, discreet images of my two favourite people started nonchalantly dancing around in my memories.  Sophie mopping the floor at the shop while giving me her famous “Sophie look”. Lars, sitting at the table across from the till playing Uno like a pro. The hilarious things they say and the weirdo stuff they do flooded my brain and  it occurred to me that these two small humans ARE the shop.

They are the reason we started this thing up. They are the reason we work so hard to make it successful. Their smiles brighten the place on Saturdays and their presence gives us the drive to keep on going even when things seem impossible.

Yes a week here or there is nice to catch up on the little stuff. We all (including the kids) need a break from the routine now and then. But as I sit here typing my gaze continues to drift towards the clock and I find myself anxious to go pick them up.

Because as fancy-free as life was without them, the real adventure is experiencing the growth and evolution of our beautiful family together. They are the reason for everything we do and I don’t think I will ever be able to thank them enough for that.

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Buck the f*ck up.

 

Tragic was the first word that came to mind when I thought of my morning. Except is wasn’t tragic at all, it was pitiful with a side of wallowing. I slept in which meant I didn’t get my one and a half cups of ultra-strong coffee and Facebook trolling time. I also managed to misplace my keys so as I was pining over my lost caffeine fix I was also madly running around the house looking for something to start my car with.

The roads were awful from the snow storm that so lovingly triumphed over us these last few days so of course everyone was driving like assholes. Including me I’m sure. We all seem to lose our good driving sense when the snow begins to fly, who knows, must be one of those weird collective-thought thingies. You know, like the Berenstain Bears phenomenon. If you don’t know what that is, look it up right now. I won’t be offended if you leave to Google it, I swear. It’s worth it.

So I pull in to the shop and I can feel the inkling of a mental breakdown on the outer edge of my brain. As I nearly chop off my finger while cutting onions for the soup a tiny voice whispers bitter somethings at my inner ear. It asks me what business I have doing a job like this. As I pull my cakes out of the oven to find they have somehow burnt on the outside and are still batter on the inside the voice cackles and reminds me how worthless I am.

But I’m trying my hardest, I say to the voice. I tell it that I’ve done well so far considering I’ve never worked in this industry before. I rationalize that most things I attempt turn out half decent. My confidence begins to waiver however.

I burn myself for the third time and yell, “FOR FUCK SAKES!” and chuck the empty soup pot into the sink. It clanks loudly against the stainless-steel basin which irritates me even further. The voice pipes up again. Stop kidding yourself. You’re no cook and you’re certainly not a baker. Jamie is the only talented one when it comes to this stuff. You are just here for the grunt work. It’s what you do best. It’s the only thing you’ve ever been good for.

Tears dribble down my cheeks as I look around at the kitchen. I’ve accomplished nothing this morning except scorching myself and perhaps denting our sink with my temper tantrum. I hear the back door open. Jamie’s here. I try to wipe away the wet from my face. The voice chants at me persistently.

You’re never going to be good enough and Jamie will resent you for it.

I know that it’s ridiculous. I know that none of what this voice says is true and it is just insecurity wrapping its ugly talons around my feelings. I know I’m worth more than what this voice tells me. But for the moment I am defeated. My husband walks in to find a woman broken down and emotionally beaten by her own silly reservations. I sloppily relay what the voice reiterates in my brain every few minutes or so. I tell him I don’t know what I’m doing. I tell him I feel lost sometimes. I say that I don’t think I am good enough.

I know what his reaction will be. He will tell me I am wrong. He will say that I am amazing and that he couldn’t do this without me. This is what we do, we hold each other up when the other begins to back step.

Being married is difficult. Being an adult is difficult. Opening a business where you’ve put everything on the line is totally terrifying. So yeah in the last year there has been many a meltdown between the two of us. Our secret to not falling totally and utterly apart? One of us always finds the strength to tell the other one to buck the fuck up.

This morning my best friend held me together for the umpteenth time in our life together. I won’t go into details (because my mother reads this blog) about what exactly he did to pull me out of my funk, but I will tell you that it was fun and it worked.

We all have moments where we wonder if we are good enough. We wonder if we chose the right path. We wonder if there is room enough to grow into the position we find ourselves in. I think the answer is always yes, regardless of circumstance. As individuals we decide who to become in life. But what makes that journey less painful, less scary, is having the people you love ready to pick you up when you falter.

This morning, as I sobbed into Jamie’s shoulder, he grabbed my face and told me to shut up. He kissed me hard and said, “Maybe you aren’t the best cook or the greatest baker but I went to school for this and was trained by professionals and I still have cakes that fall and eclairs that go to shit. We’ve built this thing together and we will keep learning together. We are in this together.”

So it wasn’t a tragic morning after all. It was just another morning where a life lesson presented itself. And sometimes life lessons—despite all the emotions and junk—can end up making you feel pretty damn great.

 

Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down

 

Wow! Two posts in one week? What kind of bizarro land is this? Man alive how things have changed! I remember a time when I would write two posts in one day. Man I was egotistical and obnoxious. Thanks for hanging in there you guys. Because now, now my friends I am the most self-adjusted, well-rounded, down-to-earth person I know. I’m so awesome.

So I’m not even exaggerating here when I say that I had THE WORST DAY OF MY LIFE yesterday. Sure nobody died. And yeah I went to bed with a roof over my head, warm socks on my feet (yes I’m the wierdo who sleep with socks on) and a belly full of a delicious dinner digesting ever so happily in my stomach. But either way, it was THE WORST DAY EVER.

It wasn’t the face that I had been painting the office at work all day that got me down. Even though that is a bitch of a job and nobody in their right mind should want to partake in such activities. And it wasn’t the raging customers that seemed to continue to stroll through the doors yesterday either. It wasn’t even that one guy who kept comparing us to Subway and asking why we didn’t have certain menu items that they did. Despite the annoying eye twitch in the corner of my right eye, this was just another day at the grind.

The real problem was the furious case of mom-guilt that had slowly been inching its way up the back of my spine and burrowing itself deep into the back of my brain.

I should have seen it coming. I should have known that it would be on the brink of my psyche any day now. The signs were all there. I had been so busy with work. My spirits had been way up. I was actually feeling pretty damn good. The mom-guilt is there to knock you back down to size.

All day long this skulking just under my skull was telling me that I could do better. That I must read more with Lars. That I must listen to his long and drawn out stories of Super Mario Brothers more intently than the mere nod of a head and smile I usually offer.

This thing that was wrapping its long, antiquated talons around all that is good in my memory was reminding me that I must spend more time with Sophie. I must get her into the singing lessons she so desperately wants to be in and what about those art lessons she was asking about last month?

The mom-guilt had broken me and by midday I was nothing but a withering urchin shirking my obligations as an operational human being of society. Where is that dark hole and how long can I hide there?

Perhaps it had had enough of telling me how terrible of a mother I was because soon after lunchtime it began in on the other aspects of my life. The mom-guilt never straight up tells you you’re doing a shitty job. It just gives you a little nudge in the right direction. Hints, if you will.

*Boy oh boy, Jamie sure does work a lot harder than you.

*Oh look, that mom can handle her kid having a temper tantrum in public without totally losing her cool, why can’t you?

*Just a reminder friend, you have guests coming to visit next week and you’re home is literally the most squalid habitat on the face of the planet.

That evening when I drearily trudged into the house, I told the kids to play quietly downstairs. Meanwhile the mom-guilt laughed excitedly at how easily I had dismissed the homework portion of our routine. I ran a bath and sobbed; desperately trying to drown away this teeming culpability that had been building up inside of me all day long.

After I hugged and kissed my kids goodnight I too retired to my bed. I didn’t think about much. I literally zoned out on Gilmore Girls and wondered what it would be like to live in the magical hamlet of Stars Hollow. I needed sleep.

This morning I found the mom-guilt had disappeared, gone for now but certainly not forgotten.

Maybe it wasn’t the absolute “worst day of my life”. Probably not even in the top ten. But what I do know, is that the mom-guilt is real and when it takes holds it can be a hassle to break free from. For a long time I used to think it was just me, that I was just the worst mom ever, I was letting the mom-guilt win.

Now I look at it in a different way. I take what it so very subtly tells me, mull it over to see if any of it is viable information (mostly it’s not) and then quietly and matter-of-factly tell it to fuck right off.

And then I go back to being awesome.

So when I use this idiom, “Don’t let the bastards grind you down” I mean the mom-guilt. Don’t let the mom-guilt grind you down friends. Because we all know how much of a raging bitch she can be sometimes.

Post Expo Post

You guys! I’ve managed to somehow, someway, wrangle a whole 40 minutes of spare time to write a quick blurb about, well, life I suppose. Sure I may have skipped wearing make-up today and merely tossed a bowl, the milk jug and a handful of cheerios at the small humans but you know what? I’m writing and I’m friggen stoked about it.

So I’m sure you’ve all been on the edge of your seats wondering how the infamous food and beverage expo went for us. Well, to put it short and sweet—it was fucking fantastical! Like a dream come true folks. The perfect portrait of grace and elegance all wrapped up into one drunken food fest. Absolutely superb.

We had such a surplus of helpers there so our food went out fast and efficiently.

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People were coming back for seconds despite a plethora of other food vendors in the vicinity. It was a blast! I don’t think Jamie and I have had that much fun since we started up The Hot Wire!

Not that slinging sandwiches isn’t, like, the best time ever, but getting to mingle with a throng of fun and fabulous foodies was pretty freakin’ great too!

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The best part is, it’s paying off already. We are on day three now of post expo extravaganza and we’ve already had a bunch of people coming in asking for “The Roma” or “the panini we had at the food show”. There has been folks walking through our doors sayings, “yeah we tried you out at the show and couldn’t wait to come try another panini.”

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So needless to say, I think we will do it again next year.

Mom and Ashley came down to hang with the kids over the weekend while we were busy busting our butts and I couldn’t be more thankful for that. They took the kids to a hotel where they slid down waterslides and ate pizza for dinner. I’m pretty sure the kids had, literally the best time of their lives. And definitely a monumentally more marvelous time than they would have stashed away under one of the prep tables at the expo…which was the alterative if Mom wasn’t able to make it down here.

My eyes keep wandering over to the bottom right hand corner of the screen where the time is displayed. Only twenty minutes left before I have to pull myself away from this computer and get the children to school. Still, that’s enough time to finish up…that’s what she said. Clearly I’ve been hanging out with Jamie too much lately.

For days now I’ve been mentally compiling a blog post to tell you guys how great this past weekend was. How fulfilling it has been to see the happiness spread across strangers faces moments after we shove our paninis down their throats. I’ve been wanting to tell you how excited I am for the future and all of the ideas that are now fighting for attention in my wandering mind.

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But here I sit, in front of my computer and all that occupies my brain is that gleaming fact that I am in desperate need of a refill on my coffee.

I’m sure as soon as I, say, strap myself into the car and am driving to the school some beautifully prophetic prose will come to mind about existence and friendship and fulfilment and whatnot but right here, right now, my brain only processes one thing: STRONG COFFEE=LIFE.

This is probably because in the deep recesses of my mind I know that today is yet another hectic adventure in the demanding life of a panini posse. Maybe it will be so busy we’re run off our feet. Perhaps we will invent the newest fad in sandwich attire. Or possibly some other amazing and newfangled opportunity that I cannot even fathom will present itself, once again turning our entire world upside down. And that my friends, is the best part of it all.

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The Expo

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I haven’t told you guys about the expo yet. The expo. THE EXPO. This thing is what our life is revolving around right now. It’s official name is the Alberta Food and Beverage Expo and The Hot Wire Panini Café is in it. This is not an event to enter into lightly my friends. They are estimating around 6000 people to be in attendance and an average of 600 patrons to visit each booth. Don’t quote me on these numbers, they are just what my frazzled mind picked up when we were going over the details with Chris. He’s the mastermind of this beautiful thing.

Four months ago when Jamie and I were approached about buying a booth we were thrilled! The Hot Wire Panini’s name had travelled far enough for an actual real live food expo to seek us out and ask if we wanted to join. It was flattering and gave us just a big enough boost of confidence to believe that we could pull this off. No problem-o, was probably my naive reaction at the time. However presently, as the expo draws nearer we have begun to feel the pressure.

Here we are, just the two of us running this entire place by ourselves. We eat, sleep, and breathe The Hot Wire Panini and that definitely cuts in to our socialising time. When we told Chris that it would probably just be the two of us working the expo he actually LOL’d. “Sorry guys, there is no way just two of you will be able to do it alone. You’ve got to get some help.” He said after the awkward realisation that we weren’t in fact pulling his leg came to pass.

So this is our first quandary. We need help for this expo that is taking place in two weeks from now and are not 100% sure that we will be able to get it. We’ve lined up a few of Jamie’s chef friends from back home but that is a four hour drive away and we all know how quickly Alberta roads can turn on a person in the mid-January weather. So who knows if they will even be able to make it? We can’t afford to hire anyone, that thought is actually laughable. And we aren’t close enough to anyone here who would be willing to work for the prestigious payment of beers at our place afterwards. So it comes down to one thing, hoping to the good baby Jeebus that the weather is on our side.

Second issue, the small humans. Oh how (hashtag)adorbs it would be to have the wee panini pipsqueaks running around selling paninis to all of the people at the expo, alas, NO MINORS ALLOWED. So now I have the pleasure of attempting to find a babysitter for a 12 hour timespan. No problem-o my ass.

Then comes the prep work of feeding 5-6 hundred bitesize panini samples to prospective customers. Finding all of the necessary decor to make our booth look inviting—alluring if you will. All the while running the shop during its regular hours.

Wowza, by this point you must be thinking that Jamie and I are gluttons for punishment. We’re not, we swear. We just really get off on the onset of regular anxiety attacks.

They say that owning your own business takes everything you have in you. That’s a lie. It takes more than everything. It takes resourcefulness. So much resourcefulness in fact that you must reserve your resourcefulness to uncover more resourcefulness. It takes having the nerve to try new things and pick yourself up off the floor when they fall flat.  It takes so much risk that sometimes you just crave a boring, dreary kind of day. It takes patients. Patients with yourself because everything you do is a trail run and 50% of it isn’t going to work out the way you intended. It takes the ability to make a botched attempt into a new opportunity. And enough confidence to know that all of this pressure and fear and failure and heaviness in your heart will eventually be worth it. It takes the optimism to glance contently into the future. Many of these qualities I didn’t know I possessed until we started really getting into the nitty gritty of entrepreneurship. Perhaps they were born out of necessity.

This expo is a fantastic way to get The Hot Wire’s name out there. We know our product is good. The reviews speak for themselves. Now it is time to showcase our panini perfection in one convenient location for all to enjoy. It isn’t that the shop is doing poorly. Our numbers are good. But we do have our slow days, sometimes even slow weeks. These are the days when it is a struggle to find a positive outlook on things. These are the moments when the fear creeps in and we have to will it away with thoughts of what tomorrow might bring.

It is a terrifying business to be in, but a thrilling and challenging one too. And the only way to achieve our goals is to work hard, takes chances and get the word out. The panini word. The Alberta Food and Beverage Expo is our golden ticket and there is no way we are about to squander that.

With a bit of planning, a little luck and a lot of culinary craftiness I’m confident we will get through it. We’ll make our impression on this city of Lethbridge and they will be talking about that one time The Hot Wire Panini rocked the Alberta Food and Beverage Expo for years to come!

And that, my friends, is what this whole shebang is all about.

Think Big. Act Accordingly. Stay Humble.

Jamie and I are officially on our Christmas break. We get an entire two days off and I don’t think I’ve felt this much Christmas glee in ages! It is the morning of December 24th and I am enjoying a warm cup of coffee at my computer. I’m not stressed out about getting to work on time to make bread or having to get the kids ready for school. I’m not thinking about upcoming Hot Wire orders or money or anything for that matter. I am just here in this moment and that feels great.

This last week has been a trial. We sort of snowballed when it came to making holiday trays. I put an add on Facebook that seemed to attract a lot of attention and long story short,  over the last three days Jamie and I have made around 500 eggnog flavoured cream puffs. This wouldn’t have been so bad if we, say, had two ovens to work with and, oh I don’t know, an employee or two. But really, what would a business be if it didn’t have some trials and tribulations to tell tales about in the years to come?! And you know what? We did it! It was probably a Hot Wire Christmas miracle but we did it none the less.

This time of year always gets me thinking about life and I am in awe at what we’ve accomplished since moving to this city. The friends and connections we’ve made have been irreplaceable and this experience; simply unbelievable.  Some days I come home and my back is killing me and feet feel as though they have lead pipes fastened to them. A better spouse would likely quiet this fact and ask how her partner was doing. Not me.

“Ugh, FUCK I’m so tired!” I will say in a bitter rage to my husband.

“It feels like I slept for an entire minute last night!” Jamie will rebut because if we are anything, it is on the same page about how close to zombies we’ve become since opening The Hot Wire up.

We persevere though because the shop means life and life is the shop. This is mantra as of late. ZOMBIES I TELL YOU — ZOMBIES!

A few days ago we had a couple of fellows stumble, and I literally mean stumble, through our doors. They approached our patrons asking each one if they would buy them lunch. Of course, once I caught on to their shenanigans I quietly asked them to leave.

“Well who the heck do you think you are little girl?” The one man slurred as the other fell to a nearby seat.

“Look guys, I’m not trying to be rude here but if you aren’t going to buy anything you’ll have to leave.” I repeated.

“Well what can I buy for two bucks?” He asked throwing a pile of change on the counter. I knew what he wanted but I find it difficult to give to those who barge into my life with unpleasant confrontations.

“Any of the baked goods.” I replied.

“What only these things?” he said smudging the display case`s glass with his oiled fingers.

“Yes sir…those things.” At this point he must have picked up on the condescension which was creeping into my tone of voice.

“Hey, so what, you work here or something?” He said as he swayed to imaginary music.

“Yeah, I own this place.” Screw Christmas kindness, I’m done being cordial to this jackass.

“Oooh whoopidity doo!” He replied rolling his eyes. “All of your food is too expensive anyways. You`re a joke.”

“Okay well you can leave then.” I reiterated for the tenth time.

I will spare you the gritty details, because in all honesty this conversation (if you can call it that) went on for another five minutes in loop-de-loops which resulted in nothing other than the man calling me a chubby cow and asking if I was smart enough to count change. All the while I kept a pretty decent cool if I do say so myself. Jamie managed to finally get them out of there by threatening to call the cops.

I could dwell on this. I could worry that I said the wrong things. I could waste so much of my precious time rolling it over in my mind thinking about what I could have done differently and how I can prevent this unpleasantness from happening again. But that would be pointless. The sad truth of it is, these things just happen. Rather than being angry about these two men coming into our shop, harassing us and frightening our customers, I am going to feel sorry for their lack of social interaction skills. I do however wish that if these guys were actually hungry and cold, that they would have approached us differently. We are happy to give what we can and provide a warm place from the cold to anyone in need. And I am so grateful that we have the ability to do so.

I`ve come to realise that Jamie really is my best friend. Together, it seems, that we can accomplish anything. We`ve grown a family, moved to a new city, built a business from nothing and created a life together. We are the epitome of the definition of partners; in business but more so in life. At the end of every month when our numbers get tallied we can see our hard work paying off slowly but surely. Our children are growing up healthy and happy and cared for. Yes we are tired. Yes we`ve had to make huge sacrifices. Yes some days it is difficult to find the wherewithal to go forward. But we will go forward. We will keep moving on with our plans and dreams and hopes and aspirations because that is what those who live in happiness will forever do.

Merry Christmas Friends and Family! I hope this post finds you all in positive spirits and looking forward to a new and exciting year ahead.

Grab a ticket and hop on

I’m sitting at this computer, a coffee to my left and a pile of Hot Wire paperwork to my, er, further left. Don’t you know, coffee always takes precedence.  I am looking at this keyboard and thinking, “it’s been a while old friend.” I’m feeling a little dramatic because a life without embellishment would result in me withering away into an endless black hole of worthlessness. And that would be a bummer man.

It’s been weeks, month’s maybe since I last sat down and wrote. Sure, I spew a few lines here and there. When I do write, as I’m sure my long-time Mama readers will vouch, it’s a little on the fatalistic side. I swear, I’m not as angry and disgruntled as my latest writings would suggest. It’s just what seems to be spilling out at the moment, and as they say, you can’t argue with art.

Every week or so I horde a little time to scour through some of my old Me Plus Tree columns or pull out a few Blogging Mama bits and revel in all of the time I used to have for writing these long drawn out blurbs of hilarity. As you also know, I am horribly, dreadfully, without even a little bit of shame one of the vainest human beings I know when it comes to my writing. I literally laugh out loud at my own work. Perhaps I shall seek help one day about this.

The kids have done a 360 on their blogging position and now are loving the fact that I have a treasure trove of funny stories involving them. Some of the more appropriate tales have come to be their bedtime stories and they laugh and laugh as I recite these babblings to them in loud and outlandish voices. This arrangement works well in the fact that we can achieve our nighttime routine and my need to satisfy the teeming narcissism in my soul at one convenient time.

It’s pretty great and I must admit I love being able to make these stories what they were always intended to be; a journal for my kids. Rereading these moments helps remind us all where we’ve come from and how far we’ve journeyed. And that is a really cool thing.

Last night I spun a well-known tale for them about a wee girl hiding under the computer desk with shitty pants and a mischievous twinkle in her eye. They laughed and my heart swelled at the sounds of their giggles over a story I crafted so many years ago. That life seems like it is so far away now and I’m so thankful I have these writings to keep us connected with that time in my young family’s lives.

It got me to thinking. There are so many things happening right now. Amazing, tough, terrifying and thought provoking things and…I’M NOT DOCUMENTING ANY OF IT!!!

Of course there is the fact that we are running a business, working at that business full time, bringing up babes and trying to find a life somewhere in-between all of that too. Where do I find the time to write? I’m sure all of the great story tellers of our time found themselves asking the exact same question. And the answer? Well, I guess the answer is, I have to just find the time. Whether it be a break at work or early in the morning hours or long after the kids are snug in their beds at night.

I could probably just stop binge watching Gilmore Girls a few nights a week and all of my writing quandaries would be solved. Ah! But they are just so saucy, who couldn’t love that quirky mother/daughter duo?!

My coffee has stopped steaming and the pile of paperwork is still staring at me relentlessly so I suppose it is time to start the day. However today I will go about my work, with a contentedness I haven’t had in some time. I’ve wrote. Perhaps it wasn’t the start of a great novel or a short fiction story that really makes you think, but it was something. Something my children will one day rummage up and begin to read, reminding them of our adventures on this wild ride we call life.

We

You and I,

Sipping slop from red solo cups

Signing songs of love and lust

Under a blanket of twinkling gas orbs.

Ablaze with thoughts of what might be tomorrow.

Our bodies curl into each other.

My desires for future days dribble outwards

Into the frigid air of an optimistic summer night.

You speak of daring dreams.

The skin on my arm becomes goose-flesh as you touch me

And the both of us silently wonder

If that was from the chill air,

Or something more profound.

Your heartbeat tangles around mine.

And as though it was of no consequence at all,

The two of us, become “we”.

 

 

Here we are,

What seems to be

Ten minutes later.

Laden down with worries that stop us from breathing easily.

The baby is shrieking for no reason but to hear itself shriek.

A pile of unpaid bills is tucked away in cupboards,

Away from busy minds.

The two year old just shit his pants

Taking no regard to the hours of toilet training we pandered to last week.

We are tired but still

An hour commute is screaming at you

To get a move on.

However, you can see the smog of panic that just set in

Somewhere above my right temple.

It leaves me teetering on the precipice

Of a breakdown.

You don’t want to come home to find me

In the bathtub bawling with a bin of Ben and Jerry’s,

Again.

We wonder if it ever gets easier.

If we will ever find our niche.

We wonder if “we” are strong enough for this.

Can we make it through?

Can we defeat the doubt that begins to creep in from the corners

When the arguments over family, money, work

Builds this wall between us?

Will it wear us down?

Will it ruin us?

 

 

Here we are,

Sullen and sad.

Looking out over sacred green fields

Holding each other close

Anxiously clinging to memories made

With loved ones now gone but not forgotten.

The rigid crackle of leaves upon stone

Reminds us that life is precious.

Life is fast.

A magpie flies overhead and I look up to you.

Your jaw is ridgid, strong.

Your eyes, like always, are soft.

Without looking at me you reach for my hand.

Hours later, after sermons have been said

And our deepest regards given,

We hold our children close.

Despite them being at the age where that sort of thing is frowned upon,

They hold us back. For that, we are always grateful.

 

 

Here we are,

Bones brittle from years spent existing well.

Our hairs have turned like autumn leaves.

Our lives caught up in photographs

Efficiently arranged in a desktop folder

Named, “The Good ‘Ol Days.”

We sip tea spiked with whisky

From bone china once meant only to be looked upon.

We laugh and cry for days sped past.

We wait for the phone to ring,

But not too eagerly

Because we still have each other’s company.

A dreadful thing that nags at our innermost thoughts,

At the inconvenient times.

As I am reading my favourite Atwood story,

While you are looking up some current event

That spiked your interest.

We try not to think about that future.

It is a lonely idea.

Instead we pluck away through memories of

Bringing up babes, career days, accomplishments

The glory days.

I walk over to you and without thought,

You reach for my hand.

I get goose-flesh up my arm

Just like the first time,

The two of us became “we”.

Who Am I?

Image result for Zoolander Quote, "Who am I?"

 

During my last year of being twenty I found myself constantly musing over what it would be like to be thirty. More specifically, how glorious it would be to get the hell out of the awkward and stroppy moments of my twenties and into the self-assured, cool as a cucumber stage of thirty. You see, because everyone I spoke to back then in regards to turning thirty said I’d love it! They told me that thirty is flirty and fabulous. Thirty is the time when you really get to know yourself and blossom into a new and better you.

Well, as it turns out something as simple as age doesn’t define how one acts and feels in day to day life. Huh, go figure.  I don’t mean to be a downer over here but as far as mental stability goes, I’m pretty sure I was better off in my late twenties.

Sure my circumstances have changed from then to now but I still thought that I’d have a bit better grasp of that age old question, “Who am I?” by now.

Recently it seems that a big stinkin’ pile of reality has decided to plop itself warmly ahead of me, hindering my progression in any which way I may desire. This forces me to deal with my “issues” and to “plan for the future”. Blah, blah, blah is what I have to say about that.

To be clear, everything that I thought I had wrapped snugly around my pinky finger in my twenties has hopped over to the middle one and is giving me a big fuck you.

I’m still shoving short stories and manuscripts into the faces of any editors who will read them. I now understand the yarn about the desperate playwright who is relentless in their quest to get someone, anyone, to read their play. I’m the fucking playwright guys! Not only am I receiving polite rejection slips, I’m also getting back not-so-polite rejection slips. Like, “don’t quit your day job” and “you use words like ‘awkward’ and ‘stroppy’ which make your writing awkward and stroppy.”

But at least I have The Hot Wire to fall back on right? If becoming a famous writer and winning The Nobel Prize doesn’t pan out the way I had hoped, then at least I can fulfil my other delusion of becoming famous by co-owning/operating the greatest sandwich shop on the face of planet earth…right?

Not exactly. Maybe we will still get there, but not because of yours truly and her stellar skills with other human beings. It has recently come to my attention that everyone on the face of the planet thinks I come off fake and uninterested when I am working at the panini palace. WHAT? That can’t be right! People love me! I asked Jamie if this was true and he just smiled and gave me a kiss on the forehead. Well we all know what that means don’t we! So apparently even my customer service skills (that I always assumed were terrific) are actually “awkward” and “stroppy” like everything else in my life.

I don’t know any more you guys. I so badly just want to become famous with little to no work involved and live in a big mansion on the outskirts of a rolling hill with a pond and a goat named Angus who keeps the grass trimmed. Why does everything have to be so difficult all of the time?

The kids are doing alright I guess. I think I’m probably, at the very least, not failing miserably in that department. They are growing up to pretty fucking rad so, you know, I got that going for me.

Who knows, I’ve got another birthday coming up, and to completely disregard the whole moral of this entire post…maybe 31 will be the year Lindsay gets her groove back.

Because seriously, hard work and improving oneself is overrated anyways, right?

Night Time Rescues

My eyes spring open, they are hot. My eyeballs are actually hot. Or maybe burning, yeah, burning sounds about right. A quilt of darkness shadows the room and my hands instinctively go for the bedroom lamp.  Someone is screaming my name.

My heart begins pounding rapidly once that filmy layer of sleep slips off of my conscience. I listen to her shrieks as though they are the only sound I have or will ever hear. I fumble for some pants, a long shirt, something because my brain is telling me relentlessly that I must get to her immediately.

Jamie rolls over, “what’s wrong” he sees me struggling and I can see the panic and confusion setting in behind the sleepiness of his eyes.

“Sophie is screaming.” I say as I step out of the room. He is behind me within seconds.

We make it downstairs and our daughter is huddled under her blankets. She screams, “MOM!” and the urgency in her voice sends a shiver down my spine.

“Whats wrong baby?” I ask as I snug my body next to hers.

“I had a nightmare.” She says emerging from the protection of her blanket cocoon. She is sobbing and it makes even her words sound wet.

I glance at Jamie, go back to bed Hun, I say without saying anything at all. Everything is okay now. He leans over and kisses his daughter on the forehead.

I don’t ask what her dream was about, kid nightmares are typically the worst. Their imagination is still so unsullied and ripe, even their good dreams are scary as shit. Instead I wrap my arms around her and try to make her feel safe so sleep will come easy.

I really don’t want to fall asleep in her bed because Sophie may very well be the worst person to share a bed with in the entire universe. She kicks and moves and sometimes merely crawls directly on top of you because your body seems to work as a better mattress than the actual mattress.

So I will myself not to sleep. As an alternative I think about motherhood. I think about how seconds ago when my daughter was calling for me it was the only thing that could have mattered in that moment. I think about how the label, “mom” has become synonymous with day to day life but also a sentiment of caring that is far too profound to even try to begin to explain to the layperson.

I think about how the stresses of money and work and all of that day to day hullabaloo doesn’t begin to compare to how I felt in that instant when I didn’t know why my daughter was screaming in the dead of night.

I squeeze her a little tighter and hear her flush breathing of sleep. I slowly get up to leave when she sleepily wraps her arms around my neck and says, “I love you so much Mom. Thanks for rescuing me.”

I want to tell her that her and Lars have saved me, time and time again. Their existence is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced. I want to say that I love them beyond comprehensible logic. I want to tell her that our little family is mine and her Dad’s reason for fighting so hard in this life so of course I will rescue her.

However, I think that may be a bit overkill. Sleep is about to take her again soon so for now I reply with, “Any time my love, any time at all.”

Self Love

There is a lot of talk these days about self love. Now I`m not really sure if in fact when people use this phrase they are talking about, you know, feelings and confidence and inner happiness and junk…Or, if they are talking about getting freaky with yo` bad self.

I`m cool with both options A and B.

However I`m especially talented at reminding myself how indeed awesome I am. And when I say awesome, I literally mean awe inspiring (probably just to myself, but a win’s a win in my books). So like, deadly awesome.

I mean, I sat down to the computer the other day with a bowl of popcorn, logged onto Facebook and scrolled MY OWN FACEBOOK WALL because I find myself so fucking interesting. And I laughed and laughed at my own clever posts and status updates.

I don`t know guys, I might have a problem. Can there be too much self love? Well obviously the answer to that question is yes because of the unfortunate reality of chaffing.

But when it comes to inner love, I don’t think you can over do it. Sure people may think you are self involved and kind of obsessively vain, but, I’m pretty sure there are worse things to be in this life.

Example: a killer clown who roams dark streets harassing innocent humans who are simply trying to go out on a goddamned jog because they are feeling a little bloaty that day.

**As a side note, regarding the newfound phenomenon of these stupid ass clowns – I will run a face-painted bitch DOWN if I happenchance upon one. I don’t care how scary it is or how fast the bastard is coming up on me, my first instinct is to eradicate the danger. Henceforth go even more psycho on said danger and terrify the living beejesus out of it. Like, probably start singing Adele’s “Hello” in some sort of indistinguishable accent while crab walking towards him with the toothiest smile I can muster across my face. That’s survival right there people.

But this clown conversation is clearly meant for my latter post (Rage Demons) and is feeling a little out of place with all of this self love talk. So I digress…Just, be careful out there friends.

Anyhoo, as I was saying, it’s okay to love who you are and what you got. It’s actually great to do so! Maybe balance it out with some occasional self loathing over awkward teenage memories and the constant worry about a looming apocalyptic future; because we can’t be happy ALL THE TIME that is an outrageous thing to ask of anyone.

That’s why the clowns have all gone cray.

UGH so much more to talk about when it comes to self love! I could go on and on and on and on. But I think you guys get it. I think you feel me when I say go forth and love inwards with fervour and the pure intensity that your bitchin’ self deserves.

And if anyone tries to tell you that you’re a “sociopath” or have a “narcissistic personality disorder” don’t worry about them, they’re probably just a psychotic clown in their off time anyways.

Rage Demons Unite

Have you ever been so angry that you were shaking? Have you ever been so incredibly pissed off that tears streamed down your face and you couldn’t do a damn thing about it? Have you ever felt the intense power of fury rise up from your gut and envelope your being whole?

If so, did you sort of like it?

I was having a good ole chitty chatty with a girlfriend the other day (who I won’t name because I don’t want to inadvertently out her as a Rage Demon, like myself) and we were talking about this mysterious emotion which has recently befallen our everyday lives.

The smallest thing can set it off. There I was trying to get the kids set up online with their schools absentee website. I was attempting to download the app…because as we all know, there’s an app for that and everything else these days and the damn thing kept locking me out. Each time the error screen popped up after entering in the six digit code that they sent me a little inkling of rage would wriggle its way deeper into my better judgement.

“I know right!” My friend said as I told her the story, “and I’ve tried to do things about it. I’ve tried EVERYTHING! Meditation, healthy lifestyle, the works!” She explained.

Now this is where my friend and I differ. Yeah yeah, I try to control my rage because I don’t want the general populous to think I’m bat-shit or anything but there is a little part of me that kind of likes it. The rage, I mean. Like, okay I know how that sounds, totally demented right? It’s just that sometimes when the wrath unleashes and ferocity courses through my body I feel…weirdly at home.

It makes it even better (or worse, depending on how you are looking at this bitch) when someone close to you, perhaps a parent or a spouse, tells you to “calm down” or “take a breather.” Like, please, I beg of you, do not attempt to manhandle my emotions. However I can take a message and get back to you as soon as I’m done completely throwing a fit over whatever it is that has set me off this time. But if you push it and continue to tell me how to feel, unfortunately, I will be forced to be 100% the worst human being on the face of the planet to you. So, just leave a damn message.

As I am throwing my hands up in the air and summoning the deep guttural moans of a manic zoo gorilla enraged by captivity (Not Harambe, NEVER HARAMBE.) I guess I just kind of adore that feeling of pure vitality that rushes over my person. It’s like, “wow Lindsay, you are so out of control right now. It is impressive.” It’s almost as though I have an out of body experience and all I can say as I’m watching myself yell words that aren’t words at all but just offensive slurs and stomp around while the other humans in my midst literally dive out of my line of fire, “Bravo you beautiful bastard, you’re doing this thing right.”

Now I know what you are thinking as you read this. How can she make temper tantrums look so cool?

It’s a gift.

Of course there is always the problematic issues of loss of relationships, high blood pressure and shortened life span when it comes to routine rage’n.  Perhaps that is just the price one pays for such thrills.

Who knows! Ahh the mysteries of life.

Still haven’t downloaded the absentee app, if you were wondering. But I’m saving that baby for next time I have a hankering for a frenzied rage sesh.

So, moral of this blog post….

Hahaha I’m just kidding, there is absolutely no moral here my friends, not even if you dig really really deep.

Let’s Share!

If you are a fellow Rage Demon like me, what are some of your triggers? Here’s a few of mine!

-People who whisper when partaking in non-whispering conversation.

-When the last of the school designated snacks have been devoured without me knowing and I have to use my creativity to pack lunches ten minutes before school.

-When two minutes after scrubbing the bathroom someone takes a shit and leaves streak marks of their bowel movement behind for proof.

-technology of any sort at any given moment.

-When anyone tells me to do anything that is not on my current agenda.

-People who disregard all forms of punctuality.

-People who take blog posts seriously.

(except for this one…this one is totally serious.)

8 Ways to be a Good Customer (and avoid the bad juju)

Ahh the joys of customer service. *she says as an involuntary twitch travels over her left cheekbone.*

I suppose this vocation needs no real introduction because all of us, at some point in our lives, have probably partook in such means of work.

Except, maybe that’s not true. Maybe, there is a portion of human beings who have never had to take an order, clean up after someone or do anything remotely of the sort. Because, correct me if I’m wrong here, I feel like if everyone knew what it was like to work in customer service, well, there just wouldn’t be as many delusional asshat customers as there are.

But that’s not the way we humans work is it? I’m as bad as the next guy. Just a few weeks ago I was a total jackass to the cashier at the gas station because they had changed their pumps to prepay and they hadn’t thought to reach out personally to me and let me know this vital information in advance.

Why did I feel the need to stomp around like a friggen maniac because I had to go in the store and pay before pumping my gas? Now looking back it was outrageous of me and I hope to God that the gas-bar attendant got a good laugh in at me on account of my temporary insanity.

However, I received all of that bad juju and more in karma today at work. It was pretty much a day from hell. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. I need me some redemption, I need to make things right again in the universe. I can’t deal with anymore “hell-days” so I’m here to right my wrongs.  

So here it is. Redemption.

A list. Because everyone loves lists.

8 Ways to be a Good Customer (and avoid the bad juju):

  1. When entering a business location if greeted, it is wise to greet back in a friendly/polite manner…as is, and has always been the social norm since, well, pretty much forever ago. When one does not greet back it is awkward and makes actually no sense at all; leaving the greeter to conclude that they must be in the midst of a total fucking chode-monster.
  2. Do not, under really any circumstances, ask the person behind the register if, “anything is good here.” It’s a completely senseless question. Like, I’m not sure what you expect the answer to be but in pretty much every scenario, whether it’s an employee/owner/volunteer, they are probably going to tell you that the product is good. Even if it is some little shit employee, they aren’t risking their job to tell you all the gruesome truths and malevolent corporate secrets of this establishment. Sorry to break it to you, but nobody is going to think twice about spewing out some rehearsed line, “of course it’s good…Everything is good here at Daisy Dukes Dildo Shack.” So save everyone a lot of weirdness and just don’t ask and judge for yourself.
  3. This one is more for just the food service industry so it pretty much involves everyone on the face of the planet. Do not, I repeat DO NOT, go into an eatery during lunch/dinner to inquire about anything other than eating right then and there. No, they do not want to hear about your cutting edge new knife product. No, they are not interested in your organic vegetables. NO, they cannot give you a minute of their time. Why you ask? Because they are balls to the walls busy with people who are actually spending money at their establishment. Try again in the downtime…or don’t, nobody cares.
  4. Do not treat a cashier any different than you would treat the owner of a business. Plain and simple.
  5. Many of us like to talk about only eating and shopping locally. It’s great. It’s actually fantastic because it is a community minded way to be. I applaud you for that. The thing is, when you shop/eat locally that often means you are doing so at tiny Mom and Pop businesses. Sure they may have fantastic food and yeah, I bet every lunch hour that you go in there they are just hopping busy. That doesn’t mean (even in the slightest) that they can afford employees. So, before offering your breadth of knowledge just know that the last ten customers probably said the same, “looks like you need to do some hiring” spiel before you. And despite the general consensus of these people who have never come close to seeing the financial books of this establishment, unfortunately, that doesn’t make their suggestions even a little bit more attainable.
  6. Sometimes businesses run out of stock. Don’t argue with the staff about it. If they are out they are out. No amount of “well this is ridiculous!” will change that.
  7. If you notice a customer in front of you being a right ol’ bag-O-dicks to the cashier, please by all means, say something. It is in fact your business as a human being to stop the blatant verbal abuse that customer service people endure daily. Be the difference.
  8. If you’re sort of shy and non-confrontational, that’s okay too, once the cashier has so aptly moved the smacktard on his way, show the person behind the till your solidarity by rolling your eyes and saying quietly, “what a jive ass turkey that slime ball was” and then promptly pull yourself out of the 70’s and continue on with your day.

 

Heed these words my friends! And know that out there somewhere there is a retired front desk associate wearing an avenger’s shirt that is two times too small bottling up karma, watching and waiting for the perfect moment to throw it in the face of some twittlefuck who has told off his last cashier.

In other words, the bad juju’s a bitch, and she’s coming for ya.

 

Paninis & Writing

There is one thing you need to know before you carry on reading this little thing of mine. One thing that may or may not change your thoughts on whether this relationship of ours is going to go any further. One thing that might indeed change EVERYTHING.

Well this is awkward, it seems I’ve amped it up so much that I can never make it sound as awesome as it needs to.

So here it is: right now at this point in my life I have exactly three things on my brain. My kids well-being, the panini palace and writing.

A while ago Sophie told me she wasn’t exactly fond of me writing all of these, she says “embarrassing” I say “adorable” stories about her. So I will respect her wishes and the tales of the children will have to be kept to a minimal. Which leaves us with paninis and writing.

Hence, if you choose to continue frequenting this account you will probably be reading about a whole shit-ton of misadventures which Jamie and I find ourselves getting into daily at the shop. That and my ridiculous obsession with pop culture, I will probably throw that in here somewhere too. Example, Vampires. Another example: my love for Mindy Kaling…She’s so fucking cool.

Ahem, allow me to paint you a little picture here.

It was lunch-rush and busier than we’ve ever been before. INSANITY to be exact. But good insanity. Exciting insanity. We were running into each other like chickens tend to when their heads get cut off except babbling back and forth so perhaps more like a pair of challenged baboons. I was panting for the love of God! Panting! I’m so out of shape.

Then everything froze.

Now everything did not actually freeze to be literal, it’s not like there was some kind of super natural force which actually stopped time or anything. This was more of an emotional freezing moment where I looked at my husband and this sandwich kingdom we have assembled and I couldn’t be more honoured to be in this thing with him. Like, how did I become so lucky to have found a partner who I can raise a family with but build a business alongside too? It is nothing short of a miracle.

Time jumps back to reality and Jamie runs past me clutching his hand. He returns to the line a few minutes later with his index finger wrapped up like a mummy and two clear plastic gloves on over top.

“Did you cut if off? Do you need stitches?” I ask with not a hint of yarn in my voice because my husband has literally cut off the tips of his fingers several times before in his career and had to get them sewn back on. So this was a serious and vital question at the time.

“No I just sliced it down the middle.” He said. Then we disinfected what needed disinfecting (becasue a restaurant is nothing without clean and proper health standards) and continued on with the lunch-rush because stopping just isn’t an option these days.

I’m not going to lie, it’s been a tough go of it lately. We are feeling the debt that we created when setting up the shop and it’s proved to be a lot more difficult than we anticipated to begin paying it down.

Of course, it’s all part of it. This is the big shebang of starting a business. Them’s the ropes, as they say. We get it. But if you’ve ever had debt hanging over you, if you’ve ever felt that suffocating fear of relying utterly and completely on your next day’s sales, your next week’s paycheque, I’m sure you can feel where we are coming from.

So today, this fantastic day that we were not expecting but eagerly hoped for had finally come! At one point as I slid in beside my husband on the line and poured a bowl of soup we caught each other’s eyes. He looked at me and smiled this smile that just said, “I may have just sliced my finger open but that’s okay because we’re doing it! We are making this happen!” and it gave me a stomach full of butterflies.

It was a long day, twelve hours to be exact with even more paper work and planning to be done once I arrived home that evening. When they say starting a small business ain’t for the faint of heart, believe them, they wouldn’t lie to you. **I don’t know who “they” are but they sure know their shit.

When Jamie got home we cracked a couple of beers and talked about the day. It was in fact the busiest one we’ve had yet and despite our aching feet and weary brains it was our day! We had done it. Sure there were a few mishaps but we recovered. We moved forward and now are ready for another day, and that my friends, feels fabulous!

 

 

 

Unqualified Business Advice

 (So I wrote this essay for a friend who is thinking of opening up a small business…And then I thought I would share it with you guys, becasue well…that’s what I do.) 

 

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So you’re opening a business.

Well you’ve come to the right place. *She says while looking around maniacally and rubbing her hands together in a untrustworthy manner.

Who I am kidding, I have no clue why you came to me for advice! I’m not suitable to give a cat clad in denim overalls business consult. But here you are needing some encouraging words, and if I can do one thing, it’s string together a few fancy sentences. So here goes nothing.

Not to mention, we’ve have had our fair share of “learning curves” worth of wisdom that I’d love to impart on you.

To start off strong and brash let’s begin with finances. The biggest thing that we learned (the very very hard way) was to over-estimate EVERYTHING. So you go ahead and make up your business plan and say you work out that you are going to need forty thousand to get everything started, you are probably actually going to need around upwards of sixty. Otherwise six months in you will find yourself pimping out your pets to the crazy cat lady next door to pay the electric bill and savaging through couch cushions for rent money. Well, it probably won’t come to that (**looks around awkwardly) But in all honesty there are so many hidden costs around every corner when it comes to something of this magnitude. We are still (and probably always will be from now on) discovering new things in which we knew nothing about and yet having to fork out dough for – no pun intended, actually, pun definitely intended.

Because in the end, everyone (EVERYONE) wants a piece of the pie…again, pun most certainly intended.

Which brings me to the next point. If you are having to get contractors in make sure you do your homework. We got screwed around something awful when it came to our contractors. Sometimes they were just downright ripping us off, or simply not installing things correctly, or—get this—not pulling the permits that they were supposed to pull before working on our bay! So, make sure that you really know your shit when it comes to the contractors, your permits for the work that needs to be done and so forth and so on. This was definitely one of our sorest spots when getting everything up and running, it ate away a lot of our budget and threw us for a loop. *revert attention to pet pimping comment.*

The first few weeks we were open we had at least four or five people trickle in a day telling us how we should run our business. They wouldn’t buy anything, or even surrender a kind comment about our hilarious puns or funky decor. No, apparently their job was to tell us that they’ve “worked in the industry” for thirty years so obviously they have some valid points to divulge upon us. They would proceed to nitpick at every tiny detail that we had put into our place. From the fact that we were charging TOO LITTLE for our product to how they make chicken salad and their recipe sounds much better than ours does.

Finally when we would ask them what restaurant they owned they would say, “oh no, I don’t own anything, I’m a line cook over at the Ramada, have been for the last ten years.” Or something similar. My point is, once you have a solid plan and have begun proceedings on your business everyone with a mouth and two cents is going to want to tell you how to run your shit. Just remember that you are the one who has had the wherewithal to move forward with your plan, trust your instincts and do your thing! Of course if you hear some good advice, take it gracefully but also with a grain of salt. Own your ideas, your goals and your creations. Because they are yours and yours alone.

Man alive there is so much more I could tell you! I could fill a book with all of the mishaps that went on. It seems to me that the things we were really stressing about in the beginning we’ve yet to find trouble with in the now! And all of the things that we never thought of are what is wreaking havoc in our lives daily. I know it feels big, like unimaginably big, like so big that you really have to wonder why the hell it is called a “small business”. But as you move forward, every day you will conquer another few things on the long list of have-to’s. Eventually, you will have jumped more hurdles than what you have in front of you.

And man, that’s a good fucking feeling!

But as for newly-fresh, still in the idea stage of things; make sure you have a strong foundation to build on (did I just say that? Ew, gag me with a spoon).

As a general overview when starting out I think it is important that you build good strong relationships with, your financial adviser, lawyer, accountant (if you don’t have one, get a recommendation from someone because they are your LIFELINE to a business! Although Jamie and I are pretty brain-dead when it comes to numbers so that’s why we are so reliant on him)

Even before you really start building your actual business it would be wise to form relationships with all of these professionals because they are the ones who are going to help you achieve what you need to…but don’t rely on them too heavily because they are expensive as all fuck.

Well hope you enjoyed this ridiculous essay I ended up writing on just some of the crappy things that may happen to you when opening a business.

It really does feel like a lot, it may seem insane and completely unattainable right now. It’s not. It’s just a matter of organisation and planning.

But most importantly rummaging up the courage, having faith in your goals and taking the leap.

 

Early Morning Brain Activity

Well, here I am again. That didn’t last long did it? But, with me being the narcissistic and 100 percent self-absorbed human that I am, I mean really, how long did I expect it to last? So I am back at it. I’m back writing on this blog of epic proportions. It may not be often, it probably won’t be interesting in the slightest, but I’ve got to hear myself think once in a while. Decidedly, this is how I must do it.

So it’s 6 o’clock in the morning, I’m drinking my coffee with almond milk in it and it is probably the worst thing I’ve ever tasted. Hopefully it’s one of those creations that you get used to after a while becasue I’m trying to make “healthier” life choices right now. Or maybe I should just start drinking it black. Like my hair…and my soul.

Just kidding, my soul is grey at best. But it is well on its way. I blame this on two distinct things. One is working in customer service again. Don’t get me wrong, the people I love, I REALLY love—that, may have come off a little too strong, shall I go as far to say creepy? Probably.

We have these regulars that are pretty much the greatest people on the planet! I actually get excited when they walk through the door because I realise that for a mere moment in time I will be relieved of the shit-storm which is the customer service industry. Okay, okay that was dramatic.

But they are just so awesome compared to the horribly awful people that sometimes darken the door of our shop-I won’t go into detail in fear I will frighten you too much. But it makes me realise that nice people are something NOBODY should take for granted. You guys can quote me on this: Nice people are the nicest.

So I’m sure you get it, nice people are nice and rude people can go and suck some big fat monkey balls. Nutshell.

Uhhh what else, what else? *she says mentally sifting through the vast experiences and moral lessons she has had since turning off The Blogging Mama.

Well, I guess the two most important things would have to be that I still haven’t got any fiction work published (my reason for leaving in the first place) and I now have an unhealthy obsession with Vampires. Little late on the last one, kind of missed the boat there.

Which brings me back to my blackening soul. Reason number two for darkened soul: I’ve eagerly turned myself over to the popularly evil side of vampire enthralment. No I haven’t gotten myself wrapped into the whole Twilight mania. I’m more sophisticated than that you guys. I, ahem, have fallen madly and deeply into the grasps of a little production called “True Blood” and it is AMAZING.

Sometimes I wonder what I am doing with my life, and then I pretend that I’m on the run from evil fang wielding vampires and the good vampires have come to save me and then Jamie will turn into a vampire and we will have us some crazy human/vampire lovin’ and it will be glorious until all the crazy religious folk start coming at us because of our taboo Vamp/Human relationship.

And I realise that I am exactly where I need to be in this life.

So Friends, to sum up; still desperately trying to make my fiction work “a thing” (not to sound needy, who me? Never), I love nice people and really really dislike not nice people. I’m going to start writing on The Blogging Mama a bit more regularly than my former verdict of never again because I have a sever inability to stick with any decision I’ve ever made. And, if there is a vampire reading this I’d really like to meet you…But please don’t kill me.

Well, it’s been a slice folks.

And I’m sorry if you got through this post and are now thinking, “What a waste of the last fifteen minutes.”

Jokes on you if it took you fifteen minutes to read this.

 

To Whom it May Concern,

 

If my life were the water that fills a five gallon bucket I would currently be overflowing. Between my beautiful husband, kids and our family business I have about a 2 inch depth left for writing. And that’s okay; that is more than enough to work with…until I want to focus on growth.

A few days ago Sophie told me that she didn’t want me to write on the computer about her anymore. It came to me as a shock and at first I wanted to cry because that is what The Blogging Mama’s foundation has been built upon. It’s right there in the name for fuck sakes. What the hell am I going to do now? I thought.

I always told myself that as soon as the kids said that they wanted me to stop writing about them I would. No questions asked. But I just didn’t think it would be this soon. Well it is and now I have to come to terms with it.

However it’s a good thing someone up there is looking out for me and my compulsion to string sentences together or I’d be a bloody headcase right now. The entire point of writing is, A) because I couldn’t not write and B) because everyone needs something that reminds them of who they are.

A few months ago I really started going strong with some fictional short story writing. It is going well despite the fiction market being a tough barrier to breach-worlds more so than non-fiction platforms. After all anyone can write a funny blog about parenthood (well, mostly anyone) but it takes some special (Steve King) talent to transform an entire world into fictional lore over someone’s home computer screen. Ahem, challenge accepted I do say.

Which brings me back to the damn bucket. Yeah of course I could keep writing funny stories about me, Jamie and the shop. I could perhaps slip a few quips in regarding the small humans. I could keep doing what I’m doing and stay the same forevermore.

Or, I could try something different. Hone in on a new set of literary skills. Follow every urge in my body that is screaming at me to challenge myself to see what the results could bring. Maybe I am not made for fictional writing. Maybe I just won’t make the cut. But if so, at least I will have tried. At least I will know as I lay dying and decrepit on my hospital bed in 60 years from now (I’m very healthy) that I put myself out there and I did all I could do.

So with that my friends I bid you adieu, for now at least. I am going to take an indefinite hiatus from The Blogging Mama in hopes of finding the time, energy and creative well in which to pen a new kind of story.

Adios Amigos, I’m sure we will meet again (because I’m going to use most of you as fictional characters in my cool new stories. MWAH MWAH MWAH—evil laughing: going to have to work on that.)

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The Fundamentals of Making Future Friends

I’m not socially awkward in a wearing dark clothing and mumbling in tongues kind of way…actually, it is quite the opposite. Which may be worse. I don’t really know yet.

I’m okay at taking orders and playing it cool at work. You know, mention the weather and talk about the weekend festivities, boring monotonous small talk I can do—begrudgingly.

It’s when that special thing happens and I feel a click with a fellow human being that things tend to get a little strange.

Have you ever met someone and within minutes of talking with them you’re thinking, “I like you! Now Imma be your best friend.”

 

You start imagining the two of you on a bowling team rocking out in eighties style bowlers shirts with a wacky name like, “Lord of the Pins” or “Ball Burners.” High fiving and drinking beer. Oh how wonderfully odd it would all be since you don’t even like bowling!

No? This never happens to you? Huh, I see. I’m sorry. I’m so so sorry.

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Happens to me on the daily. I get super creepy about it too. I start making all kinds of deep and intimidating eye contact. Really just getting right in there because I feel like if I look at my target hard enough I will be able to tell if they want to be friends too. I’m not going to lie, hasn’t worked yet, but I’m pretty sure I’m close to perfecting the method. I’ll tell you about it when I do.

If staring at them wasn’t bad enough, I start babbling. Small talk doesn’t cut it when it comes to the friendships of Lindsay’s. I don’t want to know how your damn weekend was Best Friend. I want to know what your political views are; let’s fight about it for a while then agree to disagree and come out of our conversation both a little better for having expanded our brains and mindsets.

I want to hear about your views on all of the hot topics in the world today. What sparks passion ablaze in your soul? What gets you talking and doesn’t allow you to shut up? And more importantly than most anything else, do you watch Doctor Who? Are you a 10 or an 11? Me, personally I’m an 11 kind of gal. I just can’t get past the whole Doctor, Amy, Rory team—greatest trio in television history. Oh how my hearts (I wish) swell when I think of those three. And well, now that we’re on the subject, can we please talk about the fabulous River Song? I mean, if I could be one woman in all of the fictional world…Yep obviously it’d be her. Oh the adventures! But I shan’t say too much because, you know, spoilers.


 

Wow, okay so that paragraph sort of got away on me there. Ahem, I apologise especially if you have no idea who, in fact, the Doctor is. That was just a bunch of wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey stuff. Jesus, what am I doing here? I’m sorry I have a serious fandom problem—nothing a little fish sticks and cust…OKAY, I’m seeking help.


 

Back to the question at hand though, so what does one do when they are trying to drag out all of this intimate and vital information from their future friend of fantastical proportions? Well duh, you start talking about really really personal stuff that’s happening in your own life. Obviously, they will reciprocate the sentiment and the two of you will become the Bestie Bests while revealing your innermost secrets within the first few hours of meeting. It’s not brain science guys.

I do like to make a habit of taking my own advice whenever possible. So when attempting to befriend a person I fancy I will begin by staring at them in an intense manner. keeping in mind to smile, because people like smiles.

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This picture has not been distorted…That’s just my face.

I then proceed to ramble about what brought Jamie and me here to the city and what our goals and aspirations are in this great big universe. Often I will tell them my woes of living with psoriasis and how I forget things quite often. I will divulge my love for watching cats videos on You-Tube right off the bat because, who doesn’t love a good ol’ cat VS cucumber vid?! And I use words like universe, humans and fantastical a lot while engaging in said conversation.

So in conclusion you guys, if you ever happen to be in my midst and I start acting like this, I’m not having some sort of an episode or anything I simply want to be your friend.

I’m not saying that my friend finding technique works every time, but there are a group of select weirdos peppered throughout time and space who’ve succumbed to my peculiar bonding rituals. For that small wonder I will always be thankful.

We sail through this life with premeditated and superficial conversation at the tip of our tongues. It’s called common courtesy and I suppose it’s something we must all pander to sometimes.

But isn’t it a beautiful thing when, occasionally, life plops in front of you a fellow human who wants to chat about something a little more significant? Never take that for granted. It could be the beginnings of an exquisitely unusual friendship.

“I hate having to do small talk. I’d rather talk about deep subjects. I’d rather talk about meditation, or the world, or the trees or animals, than small, inane, you know, banter.”

-Ellen DeGeneres