The End

Tightness in my chest begins to consume me and my breathing becomes heavy and fast. Too fast. My heart rate increases despite my responsiveness to it. I try to slow my breathing. I try to back away from the hyperventilation that I know is soon to follow. It doesn’t matter what I do, it’s coming and there is nothing I can do about it.

The kids begin screaming at each other in the basement. My hands clench into earnest fists and I close my eyes to shut out this world. I look for another. One that I fear I’ve forgotten amidst the hubbub of daily life. A blank screen stares back at me. The keyboard feels alien beneath my wandering fingers. I am at a loss and I sense I’ve lost it all. I’ve lost what makes me me.

I cannot remember the last time I wrote a line of poetry or prose without thinking about Facebook in the next occurring thought. I have no clue how long it has been since I have wrote a story or thought of a funny memory or even jotted down an antidote that hasn’t ended up on some sort of social media platform.

Somewhere along the line it has become about the likes and the shares and the almighty feeling of having the other humans of this world commend me for doing just about any ‘ol thing and the glorification of it all is intoxicating. I am addicted to being “liked”. I am captivated by this tiny electronic screen, idly waiting to spot the next red notification bubble pop up simply to tell me that it has happened again; SOMEBODY LIKES SOMETHING I’VE WRITTEN. It’s compulsive.

So now, as I sit here needing to write not for the beauty of the craft but for the exaltation I will receive from those who read it I feel the anxiety creeping up my spine.

Once upon a time I wrote because there was an inherent beast of storytelling existing within me. He encapsulated every ounce of my being and without him whispering words in my mind’s eye I’d merely keel over and die. And that is no exaggeration my friends. There was once a time when I’d surely have withered away if refused the ability to write down all of the beautiful and terrible and heinous and outstanding reveries that happened throughout my travelling mind.

These days however I haven’t scribbled a sentence in over a month and the only reason I began today was because my Blogging Mama page reminded me (with one of those glorious notification bubbles) that I haven’t gotten as many “likes” on the page this week so I should write a post. As you may know, we must collect those likes and those shares as if they were our lifeblood. As if they sustain that air of well-being we tote around with us in our day-to-day existence.

I am tired of lugging around that particular sort of well-being. It comes with too many chains and locks, too many variables.

Instead I want to feel a pencil scratch across a yellowed notebook. I want to write something down and not second guess it because of whom may read it and what they might think. I want to once again feel the joy in having written. I want to believe in writing again and look forward to the challenge. This is where the best kind of self-worth comes from – something done humbly.

So just like that I will say farewell. The time has come for this blogging mama to write something new. It is time to write something that doesn’t comply with notification bubbles or the likes and the shares. Something that is simply about the words and the stories. It is time to remember how to write right and write passionately.

Thank you so much for reading The Blogging Mama.

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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.

Grim Siblings – An exercise in fiction

 

 

 

“The room is getting smaller!” Dale’s persistent screaming wakes me out of my accustomed semi-sleep. I roll to my side and one-eye him. Maybe he’ll stop if I don’t react. A lifetime ago I would have jumped at his unease. So much has changed since then. My brother runs his hands along the inner walls of the room. Although his fingers tremble I can hear rhythmic counting in the back of his throat. Soon he will determine that there are the same amount of wooden wall panels as there were the last time he counted. Seventy two long, twenty three wide. These numbers have come to confine us in our current reality. Never more, never less, never changed.

“Sit down man, you need some sleep.” I say out of habit.  He disagrees just as he always does, and seemingly he is correct. He hasn’t slept since we arrived. At first I thought we had been abducted after the car accident, you know, crazy horror flick kind of stuff.  I expected some lunatic with a machete to bust in through the door (that, by the way, only leads back into this exact room) at any moment and chop us into human sushi rolls. That never happened though. One of the most difficult things I’ve had to do since landing here was come to terms with the fact that my brother and I were not the victims of some crazed psychopathic break. After that realization came to pass, the pressure of waiting set in. It’s like that disquieted feeling you get before a long trip. The sensation that something is about to happen but just hasn’t hit yet. That’s how this place makes you feel.

“Do you know how long it’s been?” He asks me. His eyes are wide and disturbed.

I don’t. Centuries I’m guessing. Logic says otherwise, but I am no great follower of logic these days. Our bodies show no signs of dehydration nor starvation, despite our lack of both water and food. Since arriving here we haven’t had so much as a hunger pang.

“I gave you one job Jason,” Dale lowers his voice and glares under his brow at me, “one goddamn job and you can’t even do that. You were useless before and you’re useless now.” My brother has adopted the coping method of verbally abusing me to make himself feel better. To be truthful the guy can be an asshat and my feelings aren’t anywhere close to ironclad.

“What you do want from me man?” I stand up to match his height. “I tried marking the walls to keep track of the days but they just faded away. There is nothing in this room to keep records on, not so much as a scrap piece of paper! There’s not even a damn window in the place! Can’t you see that we aren’t supposed to keep track?”

There is an unease in my sibling’s eyes, something that use to be a faint glimmer. Nowadays it is becoming more concentrated. Will he ever be able to escape it?

He has not come to the same quiet conclusion I have about our predicament and I am afraid if I let him in on my theory he will lose his few remaining threads of sanity. He turns away from me, I think he is trying to hide the recklessness that is taking hold.

Over these endless eons we’ve become distant. A heaviness pulls over me. Will my brother and I be destined to sit in this room, having these thoughts and anxieties for the rest of time? Will it end? I know the answer, but choose not to confess it. Not right now anyways.

“You thinking about Mom?” I ask.

“Yeah, same old.” He leans heavily on his hands. Even here, in this place we now exist we haven’t managed to lose that extrasensory thing where we can recall an identical thought simultaneously. It’s always the same memory that comes to mind and it’s always the same numbness which it brings. We both become sullen, grim, for what we are seeing is ugly. There is comfort in knowing I am not alone in this feeling.

 

 

A woman’s scream tears through the quiet dark. Mother. She is crying and there is a slur to her voice—a sound that is not alien. Mom drinks because Dad drinks or maybe it’s the other way around. She is saying our names, but it is not to beckon us. She finds consolation in talking about her “babies” while indisposed. She is speaking with as much conviction as she can, but her words come out limp and dismal.

“Dumb bitch.” Dad says in a tone that defines normalcy. If not normal, it’s habitual.

A small blond head bobs across my bedroom floor. When it reaches my bed I can see that it is tear streaked and scared. What a face for a three year old, I think, and shove myself over to make room for him. We don’t speak but find sleep easier now that we have each other.  Later, once we are too old to share my single sized bed, we will work out a knocking system through hollow walls. KNOCK KNOCK= okay, KNOCK= not okay.  Lightly now, we don’t need them hearing our code.

Moments later animalistic grunts and moaning fill the hallways of our doublewide. Their drunken quarrelling turns to love making. I don’t know whether to feel relieved that the scary part is over or confused at how comparable these two sounds can be.

 

“Do you remember the last thing you talked about” I ask. It seems to be beneficial to talk about the before times. We are sitting in the same giant armchairs that we found when we first arrived here. They are identical replicas of the one our grandmother would rock us to sleep in when Mom and Dad would vanish during one of their proverbial disappearing acts.

“She had called me. She was upset.” I hear him say. For a moment I look around the room and I can envision the kitchen of my suburban home. It is clean, decorated and smells of pancake syrup. My wife sings happily in the kitchen to our children. I smile privately and turn my attention back to Dale. “It was just after the repossession, I told them they could stay with me until they got back on their feet.”

“I can imagine how that went.” I said. How did I have no clue about this conversation of theirs? Why hadn’t it come up?

“Yeah, he is a stubborn old bastard. God knows why she stays with him.” Dale replies. I think of my last conversation with Mother. I am about to tell him but for some reason I stop myself.

“Both of them refused, they wouldn’t even consider it. Said they couldn’t stand the thought of being a burden.” His voice is curling desperately around each word that he says, gripping the significance of it—he is looking for some kind of unwarranted redemption. “I told them they were going to die alone out there on the coast.” He looks directly into my eyes and it shoots a lightning bolt of angst up my spine. “That was the last thing I said to her.”

“That’s not on you man.” I don’t know what else to say. Why hadn’t I made the same offer to them that my brother had? The suggestion hadn’t even crossed my mind. Raindrops of bitterness begin to pop in the deep of my gut. My heartrate speeds. Why does the thought of them do this to me? I am a grown man. A successful man. I’ve made a decent living, I have a beautiful wife. Three happy and healthy kids. Once, I had it all.

“I know.” He says, and we sit in a comfortable silence for what seems like years.

The last time I talked to my mother her voice was breaking up over a bad connection. She was travelling through the mountains she said. Invisible eddies of anticipation, I’m sure, were twirling from her head and out towards the compressed skyline of the west coast.

The voices of men drowned her out; I had to strain to hear her.

“I did it sweetie, I finally did it!” She said.

“Did what Mother? Where the hell are you?” I asked.

“I left him.” A man’s voice that was not my father’s came dangerously close to my mother. He was using the word “baby” a lot and I had a feeling that he was not talking to an infant.

“You left Dad? What happened?” For as many years as I’ve been telling her to leave the prick a drape of sentiment still fell over me for Dad. What was he doing now? Who had made him his dinner this evening? What kind of words had the man who took her away exchanged with my father while Mother flitted around the house claiming her worthless knickknacks and dusty photo-albums?

“That asshole had it coming.” There was a brief pause for some dead air space. “Beck’s been telling me to leave him for months now.” A juvenile giggle was followed by, “oh stop it; I’m on the phone with my kid!”

From the time I was young my mother had attracted attention. My father hated it, but he was partly to blame with the double D’s he had bought her when they were first dating. Back then he wanted eye candy; that notion miscarried though once he got too old and fat to scare away the catcalls.

“Who the hell is Beck?” Had she talked about Beck before? Probably just another regular at the dive bar she was waitressing at.

“Oh you know Beck,” She said, “I’ve told you about Beck before.”  Nervousness gurgled in back of her throat. “Anyways…” The phone cut out and all I could hear was static for a few seconds.

“Mother? Ma, you there still?” More static.

The words “north”, “diamond mines”, “roughing it” were intermingling with the harsh sounds of a poor connection. I told her to call me back when she got into a better location.

I hung up and instinctively began to dial Dad’s cell phone but stopped short after the area code. I couldn’t face him; I couldn’t stand to hear what his voice would ultimately tell me. Would it be laden down with guilt and sadness for what he had lost? Would a pitiable half taut noose be strung around each excuse he rummaged up? Would there even be remorse in his words? Worse yet, would his usual predisposed voice answer my call? Would he say, “Yell-o” in his regular way, not vaguely scathed by the evacuation of his twenty-something yearlong marriage? Had he only been waiting, biding his time, for something like this to happen? Would his reaction be as disinterested as it was the day I told him I was leaving?

 

A recollection of cigarettes and an empty Folgers coffee can flood my brain. A few months before the wreck my wife had placed it on the deck so I would stop throwing my stubs in her garden. The thought uplifts me—always so concerned about that damn garden, I think as I chuckle to myself. My brother and I sit, calmly. I am remembering the oversized tabby that wanders down our back alleyway, surely on the prowl for some easy leftovers. My brother looks towards the roof. He has settled but I have to wonder how long it will be until he begins counting wall panels again. There are so many things I should talk to him about. However, the things I need to say are complicated and more than a little convoluted. My ideas on what has happened to my brother and I remind me of when a plane passes over; leaving a thick cloud of smoke in its wake and then just as quickly disappearing. Moments later the humans on the ground beneath will have overlooked that it was ever there at all.

I try to push the coming anxiety involving my parents away, the same way I did when I was playing tag with my kids or making love to my wife.

“Dale,” I begin, “Do you remember what happened right before we turned up in this room? Do you remember the bus? The screaming?” The stranger’s cries are something I don’t think I can ever forget now. I pause and look at my little brother. He shows no signs of acknowledgement but instead stares off imagining entire universes upon one of the four walls of this room. It is not the right time. He is too fragile. His psyche cannot handle it. So I wrap up my thoughts inwardly.

It would explain why every time I think of my wife and children only an easiness floats through me. For those few seconds I don’t feel the waiting or the anxiety. I don’t feel the unease. They will always be a beautiful memory. It’s everything else that needs to be sorted out. In truth, this notion that has been developing in my mind could explain everything. The car accident, the feeling that something bigger is coming, the way my body yearns for nothing at all. There is nothing left for us in that life, except, acceptance over the bad things that once happened. Soon that life, those memories, will simply be a fading jet stream in a yawning sky.

Eventually I’ll tell him. Perhaps together we can talk our way out of this purgatory. This last thought makes me wonder about the people who have to do this alone. For now however I will join my brother in his quiet reflection. If I’m right about this, then I’m sure we can spare a few minutes, or, whatever it is that keeps time in this place.

We do, after all, have the rest of eternity.

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.

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.

 

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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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?

“stop trying to do everything by yourself.”

I woke up last Friday to find that my seven year old’s cheek was the size of a golf ball. It was red, swollen and looking very very painful. I asked him if it hurt and he said, “No but it feels a little weird.” I swear to God if I’d never seen him react to a stubbed toe I would think his tolerance for pain was extraordinary.

Turns out the poor guy had an infected tooth. We got the medicine and I am happy to report that he is well on his way to healing.

The whole experience threw me for a loop. Hello, worst Mother of the year over here, what with allowing my kid’s cavity to get so bad it became infected. We have the appointment booked to get it fixed but not until early November.  Until then, I guess I just have to let this enveloping feeling of guilt peppered with a bit of failure consume me.

Uhh yes the dramatics, hop on board, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the ride.

But seriously, the anxiety as of late, is coming at me from every direction and I don’t know what else I can do to fend this bitch off.

I worry about Lars and his tooth, I worry about Sophie and this newfound teenage attitude she’s dowsing herself in. I worry about school and if I am doing enough to help them along in what is the most important endeavour of their young lives. I worry about the shop and how to bring more customers in. I worry about money. I worry about time, because there’s never enough of it. And each time I conquer a hurdle I am oh so fucking worried about another worry pops up from the shadows. It’s as though it was just waiting there, ready to pounce as soon as I let out the tiniest sigh of relief.

Yesterday I started crying, like, what else is new? I was crying because of this overwhelming quilt of stress that started asphyxiating me. I didn’t exactly know how to remedy it. So I figured after a good ole blubber sesh I’d be able to pull myself together and pretend to be a functioning adult.

Well, the plan would have worked if not for my meddling husband. He was all, “What’s wrong Hunny?” and, “How can I help you right now Lindsay?”  Which was totally sweet, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes a gal just needs to wallow for a little while to get her wits about her.

So with a wrinkled cry-face and on the verge of hyperventilating I told my husband what was wrong.

“I’m just so stressed out Jamie.” I said because I thought it may not be very clear at that point. “I feel like an awful mother. I’m always such a basket case of anxiety, I don’t think I’ve been spending enough time with the kids, I should be helping out more at the school and I just feel like I’m totally failing my family.” My words were barely comprehensible, but Jamie being the star he is, knew just what to say.

“Stop being so stupid.” Awe so sweet. “Stop trying to do everything by yourself. There are two of us you know.” He said grabbing my shoulders and looking into my soul as he does from time to time.

“But what about tomorrow?” I said, “Tomorrow I need to make a fruit platter for Sophie’s class, talk to the office about Lars’ medication, make Halloween treats for the shop, get the kids ready for the Halloween parade at school, AND OPEN THE STORE!” I’m not going to lie, I was hysterical by this time and unravelling more and more by the second.

He pulled me in close and hugged me hard, almost as though he knew that I may explode at any moment and he was merely trying to hold me together. It worked. Once again my brilliant husband held me together. Man, I love that guy.

“Lindsay, you do the things you need to do at the school tomorrow. I will open the store.” He said calmly – not to spook the monster that was retreating back into her hiding spot. “We are a team, we can do this.” He smiled at me, “I fucking love you.”

“I fucking love you too.” I said.

And with the help of my best friend I moved on to the next hurdle that needed slaying.

 

 

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.

 

New Site!

Hey guys, yes yes I know what I said.

But I’m not back for long, just wanted to swing by to give you a link to my new fiction blog, Tales From the Trunk.

Writers often call stories and books that never make it to the publishers, their “Trunk Stories” these are the ones that basically don’t make the cut. I’ve got a plethora of them hidden in the deep dark corners of my laptop which gave me the idea for my newest blog site. With a little shining and some heavy editing work I will whip those babies back into shape and put them out there for all to read!

Now Friends, I want to remind you that I’m strange and I really like strange stuff (it enthrals me) I like strange reading. So naturally my writing is going to be a little strange too. Okay it is a lot strange and dark and weirdly therapeutic. For the last few days as I’ve been spit-shining these tales up and I continue to wonder what section of my brain they are being birthed from and if I should be worried about such imagery that’s busts forth.

Of course I’m not worried, I’m embracing this new adventure of writing wizardry. And I couldn’t be more excited for what is to come.

So please, if you enjoy the odd short story pop by Tales From the Trunk and take a browse!

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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

 

Wednesday Rambles

 

The house has a muggy calm about it this morning. Today is supposed to be devastatingly hot and I’m not entirely sure I am ready for it. I’m not entirely sure I am ready for anything anymore. For someone who used to be chronically prepared for just about everything, I’ve sort of dropped the ball lately.

Maybe it’s the heat. Or maybe it’s my brain being overloaded with menial tasks. Perhaps it’s my brain being overloaded with all of the non-menial tasks that’s getting me down. The worries and what-ifs about the future. I find myself daydreaming all of the time about what’s to come.

Like, I wonder when that multi-billionaire is going to stroll through the doors of The Hot Wire and give us an offer right then and there that we can’t refuse. He will say something along the lines of, “Boy Howdy I do declare this is the best éclair I’ve ever eaten!” or “Well, I tell you what, I’ve never seen a more original and downright delightful sandwich shop in my whole dang life.” I am imagining this person to be from the Deep South with an accent reminiscent to Foghorn J. Leghorn.

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However right here and now I am reminded that none of this has actually happened yet. A wall of heat is currently pressing up against my back and I feel as though I may be slowly melting away into oblivion. I do hope it’s not so hot there.

Usually I don’t mind the heat. I like to bask or whatever. But working in a kitchen when it is 30 above, I’ve come to discover, is most likely the closest impression of Hell that any human being will ever know.

I literally just turned around to see if I could physically see what the “heat” looks like. I am assuming that because it is so god-damn hot in here (at 6 am) that surely I would be able to spot its wrath. I’m really considering stripping down to the buff and going to sit in the cool garage for a few before I head off to work.

Okay by now I’m sure you guys are asking yourselves where in the good and glorious name of Jeebus am I going with this blog post?

Well, to put it right out there; I’ve been a bit of an asshole lately. I’ve pretty much been the assholiest asshole in the history of assholes (but not the literal kind…because that would be shitty. Ha!)

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In these last few weeks I’ve pulled away. I’ve withdrawn because let’s face it, things got scary and things got hard. We were struggling to get the business where we needed it and doubt plus many misgivings were running rampant. I stopped calling my friends and family because I just didn’t have anything positive to say. I didn’t text, and when they texted me I shot back with insincere one word answers.

Assholery I tell you, pure assholery.

Now, it is time for an apology! I’m sorry dear loved ones…I love you all. Love, love, love, love and some more love. Yes, this is in fact my idea of an apology. They’ll get it.

The smouldering and fiery facts—that accompany my current state of sweltering alive—are that I was a little depressed for a brief moment there, and it scared the holy molies out of me.

But then one day not too long ago something happened and although it doesn’t solve all of our “starting a business stresses” it gave me that little bit of oomph I was in need of to get up and get on.

A dude sitting in the shop so very nonchalantly muttered to his Panini one random day, “I love you. I never want you to end.” And in that moment our suspicions about failure vanquished. We realized that we have something here, something good. It was about at that time when grandiose delusions of talking roosters paying us millions to franchise our panini palace came into play.

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Maybe that’s a little much, I don’t know.

What I do know is that I cannot allow the down days to affect the relationships in my life. Our humans, the ones who get us through the everyday, are our everything. There are going to be bad days. Days when the bread doesn’t rise and the cakes all fall. There will be days when the equipment brakes. When the kids act up and lash out. There will be days when we want to tell the whole entire world to just fuck right off.

And then, there will be days when we find a grown ass man telling his panini that he loves it. There will be days when we feel invincible. Some days we will find that we have the ability to do just about anything.

These are the days we must hold tightly to. The days that remind us that we are doing something wonderful and fulfilling.

Some may even go as far to say; these, are the days of our lives.

*mic drop.*

Lindsay Out.

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Life: Open For Business

So going back to work has been a bit of a learning curve.

You know, I really didn’t think it was going to be that difficult to get back into the swing of things. I imagined I would breeze in there all like, oh yeah I’m Queen Bee of working and moming and I am the master of both my domains!

**followed by exaggerated maniacal laugh. **

Except this is not at all how it has been going.

Every day I drag my tired screaming body out of bed and wonder what the fuck I’ve gotten myself into. I think about how easy my previous life was in comparison. I fondly reminisce about all of my worry-free days of stay-at-home mom-ery and I fawn over those memories with longing.

However after a cup of coffee, I punt myself back into reality while I slather on some mascara and get on with life-as does every other person on the planet.

I do the mornings at the shop while Jamie does the long afternoons. I can’t complain. Jamie typically bests my nine hour shifts by two or three hours more each day. He almost lives there. But I do complain, a lot. Not about the fact that I’m tired and I am having a difficult time getting into a routine—these things will come. I complain about the tiny, minuscule things I miss about the ‘before times’.

I miss Sophie’s haphazard and dazed look when she awakens and trudges her way upstairs in search of cereal. I miss the way Lars would hide around the corner of the kitchen only to yell, “GOOD MORNING MOM!” as loud as he possibly can in those wee hours as I myself would be trudging into the kitchen. I miss Jamie rolling over still half asleep, putting his arm around me and whispering that the kids can wait just five more minutes as he nuzzles his cold nose into my neck.

These are the little things that I complain about not getting enough of anymore. And although they are small, the price seems like a big one to pay.

Aside from the mom-things that have been effected, there are a few other aspects of this new life that are quite daunting.

Let’s begin with the fact that Jamie and I are business owners! Do you know how different that is than being an employee?! When I worked outside of the home I always considered myself a pretty star wage earner. I’d show up early and stay late if needed. I went the extra mile. I was always friendly and courteous. I was one hell of a trainer when necessary. And I felt like I treated my position with as much respect as I would if I owned the place.

Except I didn’t. Not. Even. Fucking. Close.

The truth of the matter is, one doesn’t know what it’s like to be a business owner until you are, in fact, a business owner. Before, I never understood exactly how much was on the line if something (anything) happened to screw up. You don’t realize what one bad review of your company could mean. You have no clue how completely and utterly accountable you are until it is only you, you have to answer to.

We’ve done well thus far but the sneaking knowledge that our entire future is riding on this venture is always weighing in the back of our busy minds. It’s a large burden to bear to say the least.

So there’s that.

And about a hundred other things that continue to make me look back on the days before The Hot Wire, before moving, before everything changed, with fond recollections.

How easily it would be to slip back into those days of carefree living.

That is, until I dredge up how ‘carefree’ it wasn’t. Perhaps before the Panini shop (which now feels somewhat like a lifetime ago) we may not have had such *pressing* (see what I did there) issues but we did have issues none the less. We felt like we were standing still and not progressing in the life we were living. We felt like we were teaching our kids to sit and complain about all of the woes in life rather than going out and doing something about it. We felt lost because we simply weren’t doing what we were meant to be doing. We didn’t feel in control of our own lives and there is actually nothing worse than that kind of a thing weighing you down.

Now, those feelings are but a mere story of how we started on this current journey.

I think anywhere we go in life there will always be the learning curve. There will forever be challenges and worries that we aren’t doing right for ourselves and our family. There will be doubt.

It doesn’t matter how far you move, what new challenges you face, there will sometimes be moments of suffocation. There will always be moments of victory. I don’t think any successful human being can have one without the other.

So whatever it is you are doing, keep doing it. Keep trying the new. Keep yourself on your toes. Be scared and excited and thrilled by anything. And do it every single day.

Life is weird and uncertain and totally terrifying at times. But at any given moment it can also be very very magnificent.

 

 

Helping Our Small Humans

Change is great. Change is healthy. Change is good. These are the things I keep telling myself because if I don’t I will spiral into a pool of self-pity and sorrow. Okay perhaps I’m being a bit dramatic, although, our writer-reader relationship has probably evolved to a point where that doesn’t surprise you.

The Brown household has been feeling the pressure of change in these last few weeks and despite my valiant attempts at embracing it all, I find myself withering fast.

Jamie and I are having to work double time at the shop hoping to have it ready for production by early May. However, even that seems to be a long shot now as there continues to be issues popping up left right and center. This in turn leaves the poor children dangling helplessly over the precipice of neglect and abandonment. Again, with the dramatics.

We’ve enrolled them in an afterschool program which I am positive they will love, however it hasn’t started yet. So we’ve been doing what so many Ma and Pop shops have done since the dawn of Ma and Pop shops. We haul our small humans to the Panini factory and they hang out there until we are done our work. Lars definitely has it better as he is in full days of class so it is rare that we need to bring him, but Soph is still in kindergarten which means only half days. Every morning Jamie and I load her and approximately 700 teddy bears into the car to make the journey across town to work.

We then toil away with whatever is on the chopping block that day while Sophie interrupts us every five minutes. She is very good about keeping us in the know when it comes to her hunger or her boredom or when something smells slightly strange in her general vicinity. Occasionally her left toe is bugging her and when it’s not any of that you can be sure that some other peculiar five year old woe has hammered down upon her.
It pains me to say it but we can see the agitation in her everyday life. She is ornery and short tempered. She continues to try haggling with me for mere sport.

“Mom, I will clean my room if you give Sleepy Bear a birthday party tonight. With cake. And presents.”

“Umm first of all that bear has had like ten birthdays already this year and secondly you will clean your room so it doesn’t develop an army of bug creatures from all of the filthy clothes that are peppered around the place.” This is just one example of our bartering conversations.

Oh and the tantrums. How could I forget the tantrums?

There we were in the parking lot of the school while she was screaming louder than I’ve ever heard any human being scream. Her little face was nearing purple while tears streamed down her cheeks.

She was perturbed that her brother had gotten into the car before her.

As the child stomped her feet on the pavement I reimagined the song Hello, by Adele.

 

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As the lyrics swept through my skull I started to think. I knew that these temper tantrums were stemming from somewhere. Sophie wasn’t inherently angry like this—no kid is.

Other Moms were walking past the spectacle side-eyeing my dilemma. In that moment I felt like the worst parent to have ever walked those school grounds. Although I’m sure that most of them just looked at me with a sad pitying kind of stare. Let`s face it, we’ve all been there.

It didn’t take much to realise what the problem was. My daughter was simply missing me. She has never had to share me with a full-time job and that is a big challenge for our little family. So instead of threatening her with no ice cream after dinner. Or pulling out that notorious whisper-demon voice and telling her to get into the car. I wrapped my arms around my little girl and I hugged her hard.

I did say something into her ear as I embraced her, and that was that I loved her. It took a few seconds but she relaxed, melted into my hug and eventually told me she loved me back.

Change is great and change is healthy and it is good too but we must remember that change can only be all of these things if we take the time to help escort the people we love most through the difficult times.