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.

 

The Expo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who Am I?

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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?

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.