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.

They Are The Reason

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

But it is also the truth.

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

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

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

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

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

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Buck the f*ck up.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then I go back to being awesome.

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

Post Expo Post

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Expo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Think Big. Act Accordingly. Stay Humble.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Any of the baked goods.” I replied.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grab a ticket and hop on

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

 

 

The Working Joe and The Human Condition

Something sad and not at all nice is going on guys. I’ve been noticing it more and more as I progress deeper into my role of Panini Provider for the People.

But before I get into that I want to tell you about a “study” I read a while ago—I put this in quotations because quite frankly I’m not sure if one can consider it a “study” when the suggested posts under it had titles like, ‘drinking copious amounts of beer now reveal health benefits’ and ‘scientists can now tell if someone is gay or straight by the dilation of their pupils’. If I was ever going to use the hashtag #facepalm it would most certainly be right now.

Anyhoo, regardless of what you want to call it, the thingy I read told me that it is no longer politically correct to ask someone what they do for a living…Like, are you fucking kidding me right now?

No no, it is now bad form to inquire as to what your new small talk buddy partakes in during the daily grind because their answer may or may not be “cooler” than your answer. THUS hurting their oh so fragile feel-bads.

There are reasons upon reasons why people choose the jobs they choose. Sometimes it’s for the passion it evokes in them. Sometimes it’s for the security it provides. Sometimes it’s because they just really really like working with small rodents or dynamite or whatever. Most of the time, if you ask someone what they do there is usually a pretty sweet/funny/semi-interesting story to go along with it. Humans are remarkable that way; we are forever selling mundane antidotes as interesting tales of adventure. Writer of this blog…prime example.

If you ask me, as long as you’re earning an honest living, then you’re doing pretty damn well in my books.

However *holds pointer finger up in exaggerated motion* not everyone feels this way.

Not everyone deems “The Working Joe” as a respectable way to earn a wage. I know this because I’ve seen it first hand and it makes me realise how innocent questions like, “What do you do?” can be made into a hurtful faux pas.

For the most part when a customer comes in, Jamie and I are able to talk with them, get a few laughs and all around have a glorious 5 to 10 minutes of chatter while we cook them up the greatest sandwich in the world. And sometimes the exact opposite thing happens.

A customer will stroll in and look the place up and down. They will see Jamie and me awaiting their arrival from behind the counter and begrudgingly address our cheerful, “HELLO!” with an uninterested, “Hey” of their own. They will look at the menu boards and choose a sandwich all the while trying their damnedest not to make eye contact with us because that could mean talking and stuff.

They will stare awkwardly out the window pretending not to acknowledge our presence. Even though both Jamie and I are undeniably loud at existing. Always have been, can’t help it. 

And that’s fine. Sometimes people just really don’t want to deal with the small talk of strangers. I get that. I can admire that even. Here I am HAVING to be the chipper chicken (where did I come up with that one, I astound myself sometimes) day in and day out! It’s exhausting.

But what I don’t get, what really burns me up, is when the people who come in acting this way completely and utterly change their attitude towards Jamie and me when they find out that the shop we are working in is actually ours. 

All too soon we’ve become exciting. Now we seem worthy of their conversation. And it makes me gasp, gasp I say, with shock. Why is business owner Lindsay more appealing than cashier Lindsay? Why is it now in their interest to be civil and kind to me when moments ago my reality bored, perhaps even annoyed them? How could the mere title of my job have changed their opinion of me so drastically?

So my end conclusion is that “studies” one finds on the internet are weird but sometimes can hold some weight when splattered onto the right framework. But mostly they are probably lame. But *again with the exaggerated finger* being the asshat that belittles a fellow human for working a job that in their stilted definition deems ‘dead end’ is by far a thousand times lamer.

So please, next time you find yourself out and about rubbing shoulders with society tell your stories, be weird, make the mundane look beautiful and most importantly show the asshats how spectacular the human condition truly is.