Co-Workery

 

One of the most common questions we have gotten since starting up The Hot Wire is firstly, “Do you guys own this place?” Secondly, “Wow that’s awesome, you’re married then?” And finally, “Holy man don’t you guys drive each other nuts working together?” This last question is usually followed up by a, “I’d never be able to work with my wife/husband I’d kill them!”

We laugh, nod understandingly and play along telling them that, “Oh boy it’s come close to that before!” And then we all chuckle in good humour and continue on with our trade.

The truth is, of course it’s not easy working with your spouse. It’s also not easy working with a complete stranger or your best friend or a sibling either. The real damn truth of the matter is that it’s not easy working with anyone because all human beings have their own distinct ways of doing things. Isn’t that the purpose of kindergarten? To learn how to play well with others?

Jamie and I met while working together. It was in a little chicken factory…you may have heard of it  – KFC? We worked together for a few years but then went on to pursue separate things in life. Maybe that’s what primed us for our later years of co-workery (cool new word ‘eh?).

When we first began setting up the shop I worried about so many things when it came to working with Jamie. Mostly though, would there be a power struggle? Well, not really because he knew everything about the industry and I knew literally nothing. That basically determined our roles in the company pretty darn quick. Although most of the time I will still pretend to be the boss and he just plays along because he is a gawd-damn saint I tell you. A knight in shining armour! He often calls me “Boss” and I roll my eyes but quietly tuck away a smile because I know he does it just to make me feel good about myself and my place at The Hot Wire.

Don’t get me wrong it’s not all cutesy name calling and flirty ass-grabbing when it comes to spouses working together. There are days when we’ve had enough of each other. When one of us has said or done something to royally piss off the other one and we avoid each other like the plague.

There we’ll be, Jamie sitting on one side of the restaurant, me on the other, drinking our coffee and not acknowledging the others presence. And that’s okay too. I’ll be the first to admit it. We fight. Sometimes we are in the midst of a big ‘ol snap fest when a customer approaches the door and we turn it off like a magic button has been switched in the aggressive part of our brains and say in our most cheery voice, “Hi there! How’s it going today?” and the person walking in knows none the wiser because that’s just what the customer service industry is all about.

The business doesn’t wait for your spat to be through. The business doesn’t care about your hurt feelings or disagreements. The business only knows good service. Relationships and personal tribulations become secondary to that during regular business hours. This is the entrepreneur’s motto.

There has been too many times to count that I will be angry at Jamie and sulking when I realise I need to talk to him about something business related. Maybe it’s our next sandwich special or something to do with The Hot Wire’s bank account.

99.9% of me wants to ignore the issue and continue giving him the silent treatment but I know that is not an option when it comes to the business. So I deflate my ego a tad and continue on with professional matters. Pretty soon the topic of business will somehow shift our stuffiness towards each other and we will begin to work out all of the things that need working out. Eventually we find ourselves back to him calling me, “Boss” and me laughing at his corny jokes and wondering why we were so angry in the first place.

Perhaps both of us subconsciously know that things just go smoother when we aren’t in a huff with each other. Over the last year it seems to me that, although we certainly do not argue less, we do seem to resolve our disagreements on a much more congenial and timely basis.

Jamie and I were friends before we dated and have been lucky enough to only become better friends since then. We disagree on almost everything, we argue over small details, we drive each other crazy most of the time with our vastly differing opinions but we have the utmost respect for those opinions regardless of everything.

You could say we are friends with benefits. However our “benefits” far exceed the sexual favours that in which the popular saying suggests (although that’s nothing to shake a stick at either). My husband and I are lucky enough to have the benefit of choosing our own path. We make our decisions regarding money, business, family, children and life together. We hold each other up in times of stress and we celebrate as one in times of victory.

Working together does have its trials, but the trails seem minuscule when compared to the triumphs we get to revel in together. These are the days we are building up babes and a business simultaneously and some days if feels as though it is too much, sometimes we worry we have taken on more than we can chew. But we move through those rough patches together and just keep on growing.

I look to my side to find my husband and think about how proud I am of us to have built such an amazing team together. And I know that there has never been a better co-worker for me in all of history.

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.

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.