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.

16107514_10154719384011068_2915479832107996382_o

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!

15966093_10154719382936068_8159993873190423848_n-copy

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.”

15977683_10154719382291068_1248950550203086974_n

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.

15975118_10154719384241068_6030790487861409549_o-copy

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.

20160603_073001

Advertisements

The Expo

f2a9e5617abbc576767aa59bfa1dff93

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.

Embrace the good things…They only come once in a while.

From the time the kids were wee babes Jamie and I have drove older vehicles. Some may refer to them as beaters, beasts, or even pieces of crap (whilst booting the wheel well over and over again because the damn thing broke down for the fifth time that month).

But who’s keeping track right?

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful and I’m not. For the most part these ‘beaters’ have continued to get us to our intended location…

Well except for that time we were driving down the highway and the power steering went due to the serpentine belt busting. Or that other time that I never did make it to work because the car mysteriously forgot how to start its engine.

And then there was all of the minor problems we just simply learned to live with. Like only having one headlight. No the answer was not a simple headlight swap, of course it couldn’t be that easy! It was an error in the control module, this is what I was told at least, and the problem would cost us well over what the van in question was worth. Ever since, we have opted to limit our driving to the daylight hours.

We have learnt to live without passenger side mirrors, windows that roll down and a working radio. The latter is probably the worst since I have nothing to drown out the children’s incessant whining with.

And in turn we have learned to live with funky smells wafting in through the heat vents. Odd and eerie noises when turning the wheel too sharp or slamming on the brakes. We have also come to terms with the unnerving reality that at any moment that two ton piece of metal and iron we are hurling down the road could easily fall to pieces.

But we do what we have to to get from A to B.

It was just recently that husband and I were looking at our financials and came to the invigorating conclusion that we were indeed in the market for a new vehicle. Well, a newer vehicle at least.

So we began our hunt where else? Yes you guessed it, Kijiji. Unfortunately James and I are not big car people and looking at vehicles did not prove easy over a computer screen. I don’t remember the last time we had argued so vehemently with each other. It only made matters worse that we were bickering about what the nicer color between orange and blue is for a car. Or how tall the actual SUV must be in real life. In all honesty the kids probably were thinking their folks had finally gone off the deep end into wacky-land.

So we decided for the sake of our marriage to go into the dealership and look around in person.

And boy howdy I’m glad we did! For two people who were bound and determined to buy privately we had the best experience at the dealership. Our salesman Kevin was spectacular! We were initially looking at a more expensive vehicle but he directed us to a Chevy Equinox that was considerably cheaper and it fit our needs as a family better.

Once we decided to take the plunge and buy the beaut I got to ring the bell that was located in the middle of the store. Everybody looked and clapped and smiled and I was in my absolute glory being the center of attention with all those strangers- even if it was only for a few seconds.

And the aftermath of purchasing my Equinox has been pretty glorious too! Yes this is our first time buying a vehicle and yes we are currently thousands of dollars in debt with car payments…But you know what? Totally worth it.

As I am driving down the road listening to my tunes that are cranked to the max, rolling up and down the windows as I please and smelling nothing but new car smell I think about how fortunate our family is. We are fortunate for our health and happiness foremost but also for how much we as a family unit have evolved in our 6 years together.

We have worked hard to receive the good things in life. The things we can enjoy together. And that I guess is what life is all about.

So next time you see a family cruising around in a Chevy Equinox looking insanely overjoyed to be driving safely down the road, give them a wave.

It may just be my family and we may just be busting out to some Journey…Just because we can.

IMG_1145[1]