I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

To Thine Own Self Be True

Thanks, Cam, for the title to this post - because it pretty much says what I've been thinking all along about this whole issue of readers I wish were not readers.

Two different quotes were presented to me this week, both of which I think define why I won't stop blogging. I may need (or choose) to censor just a bit more, but ultimately I cannot really bear the thought of ending this. I've spent, what? - 4 years? 5? chronicalling my life, my children's lives, my successes, my failures, my "what the...?" moments and my "other mothers are bitches" moments, and I'll be damned if I am going to stop now. In my real life, I am as honest and open as the day is long - irritatingly so, actually, since I lack a filter I often piss people off or hurt people's feelings and don't seem to notice. (Good thing I'm so damn lovable that most people forgive me.)

So, to somehow not be true to myself, to not wear my heart on my sleeve because I am worried about who is reading..well... fuck that. Not going to do it. Which brings me back to my two relevant quotes.

One was - "What other people think of you is none of your business."

Digest that for a second, will you? We all care *so much* about what other people think of us, but really, it has very little to do with us at all, because it's filtered through their own issues and dramas and life view. Ergo, not our bloody business.

The second one was from Judith Lucy, an Australian comedienne best known for ... *drum roll*... putting it ALL out there. She is all about the no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners, brutal honesty school of comedy. She regularly documents her life - and especially the ugly bits - in her shows.

She said, "Whenever I hear that someone's a very private person, I honestly wonder why. Aren't we all in this shit sandwich together? Everyone makes mistakes, everyone's family's nuts, we've all done things we wish we hadn't."

So there you go. I'm going to keep on blogging, because I'm unique...just like everybody else.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bugger, bugger, damn and bugger!

I found out today that there are a couple of people who read this blog which I do not want to read this blog.

*cringes and waves to people who do not know I do not want them here*

I know, I know, the very nature of blogging is that you can't control who is reading what you write, and the nature of ME is that I'm no good at controlling what I blog about.

But - this makes me really very uncomfortable. Mostly because I had no idea that this blog was even known to said people. Of course it's not like this blog is a secret or anything, but...

Bugger, bugger, damn and bugger. This actually will dramatically change what I think I can and cannot say on this blog, and as we all know, censorship here is so NOT what I am about..but... ARGH.

Now what?

A) Get over it, I put shit out there for so long, what does it matter now?
B) Stop blogging. Yeah, right.
C) Start a new blog which is password protected and therefore only readable by the cool kids
D) Keep blogging, but censor or at least try to, or
E) ???

Votes welcome in the comments below. I'm really quite feeling all ruffled feathers by this.

Bugger, bugger, damn and bugger. I hate it when the mean kids take my toys away.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

All I Need Is A Broom

When my Mom visits me, invariably after a couple of days of watching my normal life unfold, she shakes her head and me and says, "Emzee? All you really need is a broom!" The comment refers to a Hebrew saying that all a busy person needs (to make their life even more crazy of course), is a broom shoved up their bum to complete things. Not an expression I've ever really understood, but there you go.

These days, I'm feeling like I need a broom. Life is hurtling along at warp speed, and I am in constant motion from the minute I wake up (or more realistically, get shaken awake by DD2 saying, "Mum. Seriously. You need to get up now!") to the minute I realise that the words on the page of my book are literally doing the backstroke. I quite literally cannot find the time to pee.

Enter poor Biz Guy, who in the midst of a normal conversation today suggested that I needed to add in a few admin tasks to a process I was already doing, or at least trying to do.

*cue emzee going ape-shit at Biz Guy*

*cue Biz Guy wondering what the hell he did to deserve it, and then telling me I was just being resistant to his idea (big mistake, that.)*

*cue me resisting the urge to hurl a grenade through the phone*

Later on, when I started to breathe again, and had the chance to review why exactly I went mental at the poor man (and admittedly felt the teeny-tiniest bit of remorse)..the saying about the broom occurred to me. The problem with running and running and running all day and all night is that you already feel so damn busy, the very idea of MORE things to make you even busier makes you feel somewhat homicidal. In my case especially, I am finding myself looking at the lives of other people and thinking, "How the HELL do they do it?" And then, of course, I am reminded of all the posts on this blog which say, "Hey, mothers and business owners, you DON'T have to do it all! Really, it's okay."

And then I am left wondering why the hell I don't take my own advice.

I suppose it's the old "shoemaker's children" and all that.

I think I now know why the expression is all about busy people needing a broom. You use it to hit the people over the head who tell you that you need to do more things.

Of course.

Why didn't I think of that before?

Must've been too busy.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Blind Faith and Belief

Recently I had the opportunity to tell two different groups of people the story of how I started the business, in specific how I did it with nearly no money. The short version is, I used up all of our savings (which was 20K exactly) to move into proper commercial premises and set up everything. Before that I'd been doing everything from my home kitchen, with no real money spent and no real money earned. I launched my hare-brained scheme by starting at the beginning of the process - eg, working out how much money I thought I would need.

I sat down and wrote out what I thought was an exhaustive list. I even have "broom" listed on there, and things like "rubbish bin" and all sorts of other itty bitty things I thought I would need. Literally I thought about EVERYTHING down to the wooden spoons and a box of tissues. Once I had the final number - gulp! - I added in enough money for 6 months worth of rent and utilities, then added a few more thousand on just for good measure, and came up with something like 17K. We had 20K available, so I took that whole amount (bit of 'play money' never hurt, right?), deposited the lot into a brand-spanking-new business banking account, and got to work.

In took about 30 seconds in my new kitchen for me to realise I needed an oven which was more suitable for cake making...and that wasn't on my list. So I was down $6,600 for an oven. Then I realised my little Kitchen Aid wasn't going to cut it, so another $1,320 went out the window for an industrial mixer. Then I realised I needed other stuff. You know, like maybe some packaging, and possibly some stickers, and what ho!- a decent website, too.

Within a week of taking on the lease of the kitchen, I was flat broke. I didn't have enough money to pay the rent for that month, let alone enough money for 6 months of rent, for that broom or that rubbish bin, and certainly not for playing of any kind. I remember sitting down with DH and saying to him, "OH SHIT. I really screwed these numbers up. Now what?!" He didn't have a terribly good answer at the time, but by the next day we happened to get our tax return refund.

Talk about being saved by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin.

The refund which we were meant to use for other stuff paid my rent that month, plus some bills. I don't know how, but I then earned enough to pay the next lot of rent, and then things just kinda kept going. By about 15 months later, I had repaid the 24K to us in full.

After telling this story, I got the reaction of, "Wow, you must have had a hell of a lot of blind faith!" and "You really believe in yourself, didn't you?"


The answer to both of those is NO. Well, not in any conscious way. I can't remember a time when I thought, "I'll do this or die trying," or "I can't fail at this because I believe so much in it." I rented that kitchen in the first place because I felt it was the right time to move forward with it, and because I made that (subsequently ridiculous) list which TOLD ME, in black and white, that I could do it. Then when I couldn't pay the rent, inertia and a sense of obligation to repay that money propelled me forward to the next step, and the next one, and the next one.

And now here I am, moving forward in a way I never thought possible, having not only taken an entire SERIES of giant leaps forward, but also still basically making business decisions in the same way. Most of the time, I figure out the black-and-white part of it first - I make lists, take educated guesses, wear out the numbers on the calculator, ask a bunch of people for their professional opinions - and then I make a decision and move forward. The black and white is really only 50% of the decision - the other 50% I make on the basis of gut feel. If it feels right, I do it. The first year (and many, many times since) I made decisions which, on paper, looked kinda okay - because we all know how good I am at making paper lists, right? (Ahem, most bakers need a OVEN, how did that get left off the first list?) but then I took the leap. I burnt the boat. I just did what I thought needed to get done and hoped like hell (and worried a lot) about it all turning out okay.

If you asked me today, did I get this far with blind faith? Oh, hell NO. Nothing "blind" about it. I have endless...literally endless...bits of paper where I have worked stuff out and taken notes and made observations and copied sentences out of books and tried to sort out in my head what was probably hiding in my heart. Only THEN did I feel confident enough to make some sort of decision about it. And if you ask me today, did I get this far because I believed in myself? Well, that one is harder to answer, because no, I don't feel like I believe in myself that much. I am motivated much more by a feeling of obligation to my family than I am motivated by a belief that I am somehow fabulously capable of things.

It's not that I believe I CAN do it. It's that I believe I HAVE to do it.

These days, I make much more informed decisions about business matters. In part because you don't get to this point without learning at least something about how to run a business, in part because now I have even more support (thanks, Biz Guy), in part because I've gotten older, and in part because as the business has grown, I've grown. But even with ALL of that, there is still some portion of me which makes the, "Well, seems like a good idea!" sort of decisions on a whim - and while not always, it's often that those ones turn out to be the ones which pay me back in spades.

Again, do I make those "good idea' decisions because I believe in me making them work? Nope. I make those decisions because I believe I HAVE TO in order to move forward.

This week the business managed to stage a major coup in the Australian baking world. I won't go into details and bore you all, but suffice to say that suddenly, my itty bitty cake business got thrust into the spotlight, in a pretty big way. What amazes me, of course, is that it was yet another decision I made using scribbles on the back of an envelope and just a certain bit of "what the hell" chutzpah. And maybe what I call "what the hell chutzpah" really is just blind faith in another name. Either way, while I'm not convinced I necessarily have the traits people seem to think I do (namely the ones of self-belief)...well, you know, this time it turned out okay. Better than okay.

Maybe the lesson here is that the best business decisions are those made both on the backs of envelopes and WITH faith, not entirely with just ONE of those. If you're just relying on the black and white, how many things would you NOT go forward with, and then miss the opportunity of? And if you rely entirely on faith, is the fail rate higher than if you'd taken the time to work out the mechanics of it?

Either way, this week, I was filled with an enormous sense of excitement, pride, and maybe just an itty, bitty, tiny bit of belief.

Hmm. I could get used to this whole belief business.

Monday, July 18, 2011


This week (on Wednesday to be precise) is my fourteenth wedding anniversary with DH.

I think (but am too lazy to check) that in previous years, I blogged a whole lot of lovey dovey shmoopy stuff about my DH, which brought a tear to his eye and further cemented my reputation as "most awesome wife ever." (Although admittedly, my other, ahem, "skills" might have done that for me.) (Minds out of the gutter, people, I'm talking about my cooking skills, of course.)(No I'm not.)(But you knew that.)(Oh shit my in-laws read this blog. Hi MIL AND FIL!)(*embarrassed chuckle*)


So. I thought about writing yet another "ode to the most tolerant man ever" but instead I'm going to write a list of stuff my DH does which makes me love him a little bit more every day. This in turn is going to prove that thing about women being far more attracted to the things guys do which are NOT sexy which make a good marriage last.

DH, I really love and appreciate you. But I especially love these things about you:

1. When you get out of bed (or leave the house) in the freezing cold to do yet one more irritating small job which I am too lazy and comfortable to do. Turn off the heater, pick up some milk, put on a load of laundry, put the dog out, whatever. Thank you for enduring my demands in the middle of the cold, cold night.

2. That you bring me The Epicure (foodie section of our newspaper) every single Tuesday without fail, and if perchance you DO fail, you look a little sheepish about it.

3. That you do my cake deliveries and ingredient pick ups all over town, at inconvenient times, on inconvenient days, and you don't complain about it. Actually, you've even admitted you enjoy it, which pretty much makes your halo impermeable to denting or rusting.

4. You insist on a massive hug and a kiss every single time you walk in the door - and when I look all grumpy and say, "Seriously! can I just please finish what I am doing for once?" - you stand there and patiently wait, but won't do anything else until you get your due.

5. That after 14 years of marriage, we are as sickeningly lovey dovey touchy feely shmoopy as ever. Maybe more so. And you see nothing wrong with a quick grope in the middle of a supermarket. It makes me feel loved and beautiful, and I'm grateful (much as I protest with a "in the supermarket? Really?!").

6. You tell me I'm beautiful and you MEAN it, it's not just words. That you say it when I have bad hair, bad breath, and am wearing saggy unflattering clothes and still mean it...well, see above comment about halos.

7. You give an honest (but diplomatic) opinion about things, even when you think I'm wrong (which never happens, naturally) or when you really think my ass does look big in something.

8. You're helpful with everything from the kids to the dishes to the business to satisfying my craving for popcorn at midnight. And you rarely complain about it - although if internally you were cursing me, I'd totally think that was justified. Sometimes, I'm just a seriously demanding pain in the ass.

9. That you're a far better listener than you are a fighter, so we are incapable of having an actual argument about anything. So I stand there and wail like a banshee over whatever is currently pissing me off about you, and you stand there and look kinda sad and hangdog (which pisses me off even more, of course) and the more I talk, the more you listen. So eventually all our one-sided fights end up with me crying and saying, "but it's because I really, really love you!!" (wail, wail, wail) or both of us giggling like morons through our (often shared) tears and then kissing a lot to make up for the fight we didn't really just have.

10. That you don't have a nickname for me other than just "love"....and that it sticks even when we are irritated. Everything we say, from, "Love, can you take my pants to the drycleaners?" to "Seriously, love, how freaking hard is it to finish the dishes in one go?" and lots more in between - I am reminded of how much I am loved just by you talking to me. Simple and yet apt and way better than "Cuddlyumpkins Sweetie Bear Honey Pie."


11. That all those people who said we were meant to be together were totally right - and that you were brave enough to believe that I really would stay with you as I promised. At the time I found it very odd that not a single person objected to our being together - never mind the age gap thing, the distance thing, the whole too-young-to-get-married thing - NOT ONE person I know (not even my parents, eventually) thought us getting married was a bad idea. I love that every single day, we affirm not only to ourselves but also to those who see us - that sometimes the most unlikely matches are the best matched of all.

Happy Anniversary my love. Now go make me some popcorn. And don't burn it. I hate it when you burn it!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I Suck At Play Dates

I make no secret of the fact that, generally speaking, I have a very low tolerance for OPK*. This was ever so apparent today when I found myself literally hiding behind my bedroom door, then peering through the crack to see the OPK, then tip-toeing into my ensuite and closing the door. Just to make it even more embarrassing (hey, what are blogs for?), I then sat on the toilet fully clothed and read the Sunday paper, so when said OPK wanted to talk to me, I was far too "busy" to talk to her.

You all need to digest that for a minute. I hid from a 10 year old child. In my toilet. If it weren't so pathetic it might even be funny. Actually, it's funny as hell.

Contrast this with the fact that my daughters went to separate play dates yesterday. When I picked up DD1, she came out smiling with a whole bunch of clay figurines and other art projects they had made. When I went to pick up DD2, not only were they in the middle of a feast of a lunch (no lie), the other daughter of the house had HER friend over, too...and one set of girls had made home made play dough while my DD and her friend made cookies from scratch.

Excuse me while I throw up.

I spent my play date today hiding from the kid we invited over, secretly wishing they would not ask the dreaded, "What should we do NOW? We're bored!" and then fed them all 2 minute noodles (for which I was soundly praised.)

The funny thing is, I always wanted to be one of those mothers that had a million kids in the house always coming in and out, always raiding the fridge, and in general ruling the "cool house" where all the kids wanted to hang out. In reality, with a couple of exceptions, I don't want OPK here at all. It's not that they are not nice kids or anything. It's more that, by the time I get to the weekend, all I really want to do is sloth around and relax. I don't want to have to get up early. I don't want to have to get dressed, serve anyone any meals (although I choose to, it's a choice. I'm pretty sure if I didn't bother to feed an OPK that would kinda destroy my already precarious reputation with the mothers of the SSOTH*). I also don't want to act all gracious and hostess-ish and nicey nicey June Cleaver like that, and you can bet your ass I don't want to be doing craft projects of ANY kind. Plus some kids come over and seem to require actual entertainment all the time, and look to ME to provide that entertainment.

I'm perfectly honest here, it's not all that easy for my kids (when all 3 of them are home) to break their unspoken bond and allow another kid into the fold. They are all so used to either entertaining one another, or entertaining themselves, that it's not so easy for them to incorporate another person. So if the OPK cracks it about something, or just isn't a happy camper for some reason, my kids will tend to shrug their shoulders and go back to doing whatever they were doing. It kinda doesn't occur to them that they should come out of their comfort zone and do what THAT kid wants to do (and I'm not THAT shit of a parent that we have not talked about this. We have. It's just that old habits die hard.) So it's not all that unusual to get a, "emzee? DD1 and DD2 are not including me in their game!" complaint, or "emzee? DS and DD1 aren't speaking to me!" and then I need to go and run interference.

I'm shit at running interference, too - because what I really want that OPK to do is either suck it up or just leave so I can go back to being a sloth.

Call me crazy but I'm pretty sure not liking OPK, wishing they would all just shut up and go away, and in general feeling quite anti-social most weekends means I'm never going to be the "House of Cool" Mum that I imagined myself to be.


Yet another parenting plan gone to hell in a handbasket when faced with grim reality. Well, at least it'll be quiet in here when all my kids go to the house with the Cool Mum living in it. Wonder how long it will be before she (she being mythical Cool Mum), is hiding in her toilet, calling me on her mobile phone and whispering, "Can you smuggle me in some Valium through the window?"

On second thoughts, I think I quite like being Sucky-At-Play-Dates Mum.

* OPK= Other People's Kids

*SSOTH = Shmancy School On The Hill

Saturday, July 16, 2011

First Time Mum

Biz Guy and I had a really interesting conversation the other night, and in that conversation he described me as, "still a first time Mum." At first it made me pause but then it made perfect sense, because although I have three kids, I've only ever had the experience of pregnancy, babyhood, toddler hood and so on - the one time. He commented that (in his ever-so-humble opinion), still being a first time Mum has effectively coloured how I behave within my family and of course (being Biz Guy) within my business as well.

The comment came after I mentioned that, while very excited for them and encouraging, I found it all a little bit strange to not have all of my kids at home over school holidays (two of them had been away at camp.) I mentioned how their growing up and be independant is starting to really get to me - not in a bad way, but more a realisation of time passing by too quickly. Wrapped up in that conversation was also a discussion about how I relate to time - how I often feel like I wasted my 20's on pointless pursuits, do not feel like success has come quickly enough, and how I feel I am not moving fast enough to get things done, and so on. I live with an irrational feeling of time passing at a rate I am not comfortable with - meaning that for me there are never enough hours in the day and there is always more I can be doing, and doing it faster, better, and so on.

Biz Guy's comment was that part of all this oh-shit-time-is-marching-on thing is actually related to the whole triplet thing. For me every time a child reaches a milestone - walking, talking, dressing themselves, walking alone to the bus stop, and so on - that milestone is over, and that chapter of my life is over. I don't have another child a year or two or three years behind to experience that with again. Once it's done, it's done. I'm not saying this is a sad or bad thing, but it certainly does affect how I think about time and getting things done. I always feel like things need to be done NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW ... I'm not one for slow, considered decisions. I'm pretty sure resting on my laurels is against my religion, and I want things to happen in the immediate short term. It's not just impatience on my part - it's a real deep seated feeling that if it doesn't happen RIGHT NOW it might never happen, and that is an opportunity wasted. What if I blink and I miss something?

He then went further to say (he's not shy, ol' Biz Guy) that he thinks it's not just the kid thing, it's the husband thing which makes my internal clock tick so loudly. DH is several years older than I am, and so there to is an issue of time moving forward and me feeling like I need to be successful and get things done "in time" to enjoy my life with DH as well.

Damn it, but I hate it when Biz Guy is right. Inherent to my personality is impatience, and excitement, and a need to constantly be on the go doing things and experiencing things and just living every single second of life to it's fullest. Pair that with kids who pass each life milestone at warp speed, and a husband who has (no matter how hard I try to catch up) had 16 more years of living on this earth than I have...and, well, is it any wonder that I feel as though I will never get ahead? Of course the strange thing here is that I'm only 35 years old. A ridiculous age to feel as though I'm somehow running out of time or that I don't have enough time to get done all the things I want to get done. Relatively speaking, I'm quite young. I have nothing but time in which to reinvent myself a few more times, achieve a whole hell of a lot, and in general kick ass in these years called middle age - not to mention keep on raising amazing kids, love all over my DH, and of course talk Biz Guy's ear off several thousand more times. I've got the time in which to do all of this, so why do I always feel like I somehow don't?

I really need to learn to placate my planner-type personality, but to live in this moment and stop worrying about what comes next, what doesn't come next, and what I may or may not have the time for. Ultimately it's not me who makes the decision about how much time I've got left, so it's probably in my best interest to just s..l..o..w.. down the pace a bit.

Who am I kidding? I've got WAY too much to do to slow down. People! Why are you sitting here reading this when you could be out there DOING stuff? Have I taught you nothing? Come on now, on with it! Go, go, go!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Like Pulling Out Fingernails

Shopping. Of ANY kind.

I hate it.

With a passion normally reserved for Republicans, eggplants, raw tomatoes, and Helicopter Mums.


At 35 and a bit years old, I think it's probably time I retired the lovable but not terribly grown up fashion trifecta of jeans/hoodies/runners. While that combo is totally okay for my age group some of the time (like weekend jaunts to the supermarket), it's probably not okay as a general overall "style" such as it were. Right before I went to the US this last time, my daughter and I cleaned out my closet of all the items which were ripped, torn, in need of repair, or several sizes too big. As a result, the stock take of my closet now includes undergarments of various types, 2 pairs of jeans, 2 shirts, a hoodie, some scarves, some way too big pyjamas and a few random bits of formal clothing. No, I'm not exaggerating. Last week, when I realised I could take my jeans out of the clothes dryer, do them up, and put them on (only to need to hike them up again), I replaced two pairs of jeans with two new smaller pairs. Ditto for two tops. I've got a one in-one out policy with everything I wear, so my itty bit of shopping did not actually improve the empty closet situation.

Did I mention it's winter, and really cold? And that I do not own a coat, a warm jumper, or anything even remotely like winter clothing?

This is not a tenable situation, and it's especially not a tenable situation for someone whose word of the year is "progress" and someone who is in the midst of world domination via cake. So it's time to get some clothes of a grown up variety, and also time to figure out how to dress this figure of mine...because, really, I'm not really sure how to do anything other than loose, comfy, figure-hiding and shleppy. But, you know, I'm sitting here typing this in the smallest jeans I have ever owned, and it's probably time I showed that off to someone other than my husband.

Since the font of knowledge is facebook, I asked my friends there if anyone knew of a stylist who could help with this kind of thing. Hell, if you don't know what you're doing, pay someone who does. My closest girlfriends promptly volunteered to be my personal Trinny and Susannahs.



This is bad. *Very* bad. Because I know they love and adore me, and I know they have my best interests at heart...but I hate shopping in the extreme, and what's more I hate shopping with people who KNOW me. Mind, this does not stop either my Mom or Mom in Law from asking - nay, begging - to go shopping with me. None of my family members (especially my Mom) understands why on earth, when someone offers to BUY you stuff, you would say a resounding NO BLOODY WAY ON EARTH. It's not the free stuff which is the issue, it's the needing to go and do it with other people there. Having other people there means you can't stand in the dressing room, pooch your stomach WAY out, and sigh loudly. You can't CRY in the dressing room, either. You can't shop for an hour, decide there is nothing out there, and take yourself out to lunch instead. You can't buy one thing, feel very pleased with yourself, and then take yourself out to lunch as a reward. You can't try on shoes as a distraction method. You can't buy pretty stationary as a distraction method. You can't stop for a coffee before you have started. You can't see what's on at the movies and then browse the bookstore and then take yourself out to lunch because you are exhausted from all that shopping.

When shopping with other people, who themselves are either thin or short or rich or all of the above - you're stuck with THEIR ideas of what will fit you (you mean you won't fit into a size 8?? really?? But a size 8 is HUGE!), or what is affordable (Darling, handbags cost $200. They really do,), or what appeals to their own sense of style, or what they think you should wear, not what you might actually wear. They know what they would LIKE to see you in, not what you would be comfortable wearing, not what you WANT to wear, and not what will work with what you've already got in your cupboard (which for me is 4 pieces of nothjing, but anyway.)

In short, shopping with people you know just SUCKS - which is exactly why I went looking for a stylist who does this sort of thing. Someone who does not know me or my life or my prejudices against certain styles or certain fabrics or certain stores. Someone who will push me right the hell out of my comfort zone, who I then do not need to see face-to-face almost every week of my life from here to eternity.

But publicly announcing that I was finally ready to acquire a style of my own? Yep, I pretty much walked right into this situation.

That being said, my friends who love me really want to do this for me, precisely *because* they love me and want to see me morph from the frumpy middle aged yet teenaged ugly duckling into the cake domination business owner swan. AND as is well documented here, my thirties are all about doing things I would not normally do, agreeing to things which make me uncomfortable, and making progress.

Shit. I'm stuck, aren't I? This is one of those times in life I really, really, really wish I was not allergic to alcohol. Because I'm thinking that a whole day shopping with my closest friends is going to require one - or perhaps several - strong shots of tequila in order to make it bearable.

Hmm. I wonder if, after an hour spent shopping with she who hates shopping, it might be THEM who need the tequila shots, not me.

Wait a sec. This could actually be FUN.



Thursday, July 7, 2011

Little Miss Grumpy Pants

I've had a grumpy couple of weeks, and while I thought things were getting a little bit better, I had an exceedingly grumpy night last night followed by a day full of small grumps.

Here is am embarassing example of something which grumped me to no end. Before I start, this embarassing story has a happy ending, and I've since 'let it go.' Bear with me as I share it, though, because eventually, in a round about sort of way, it ends up being important.

So! The shop has one big fat display window at the front, and this display window has an enormous work table (a nice one of course) which runs along the entire length of it. The plan is that every month we're going to change the items on the table - new cakes, new cupcakes, new toppers, new everything. And me being me, of course these displays are themed (generally by colour.) For whatever reason, I've chosen to make my displays change on or around the 15th of each month, which means we were not due to do this for another week or so. Last night I happened to be working late and I noticed two girls pointing and laughing at the window. The very same window which I LOVE, which features those jars, which is my pride and joy, and which literally makes my heart sing every time I pass the window.

That they would point and laugh - when normally the window is full of mouth-agape admirers - made me realise something was not quite right. So when I left last night, I looked very carefully at the area they were pointing. And I discovered that one of the cupcakes in the jars had gotten a bit...fuzzy. And sadly, not in a "warm fuzzy" sort of way but in a "gee it's hot and moist in this lovely lidded jar, I think I shall grow a beard for protection" sort of way. Not good.

Not good - because I have spent a lifetime laughing and pointing at cake shops too lazy or lacking in an eye for detail to notice that the cakes in their window look like crap, and wondering what shit business owners they must be if they are letting their ADVERTISING (and make no mistake, that's what a window display is) go dusty and mouldy.

You can imagine how much I beat myself up about this. A LOT.

Idiot me thought, "I'm tired, I'll deal with this in the morning," and went home. And then promptly felt grumpy and did not sleep well and debated twenty million times about returning to the shop and getting rid of the offensive cupcake.

Idiot. I SO should have done it. But by then I was tired and sore and just over it all so I stayed home and moped about it instead. Totally useless strategy, that.

This morning I ran to the shop and had a tantrum of the "I'm going to throw out every single item on the display and scrub like a madwoman," sort. I then had a day full of minor irritations. Like the client who stiffed me on a $680 order (which thank god I'd only baked for but nothing else was done, and good cake will always find a home) - you know, that sort of day filled with small things whose sole purpose is just to piss you off.

And then I remembered something. Cooking - or rather, just making beautiful things with my hands - is therapeautic for me. So I spent my entire day creating a nice, new, clean and gorgeous display (and the jars are filled but not with cupcakes). I love it - because this morning I started the day with a pile of naked styrofoam cakes, random scraps of ribbon and bits which I had no idea what to do with - and at the end of the day I had a whole lot of gorgeous cakes to put out for the world to see.

Tonight the last thing I did at work was was stand on the sidewalk with my daughter and survey the display and make sure it had not a single cachou out of place.

Tonight I remembered that I might be a little irrated and grumpy, but the things I have to be grateful for FAR outnumber those which seek to piss me off. I even found a place in my heart to feel sorry for the client who stiffed me, because now her son won't have the beautiful cake and cupcakes at his birthday party which she ordered for him, AND she and all her guests will miss out on the wonder which is a serving of ridiculously chocolatey yumminess which is a 3S cake. Between you and me, I think that means she's the one who got stiffed.

As DD2 and I walked away from the shop to head home, I just smiled to myself about how even a crappy day can end on a high note if you reach far enough into your soul and a bucket of icing. And then we got to the car and I found the can of Pringles I'd forgotten I had in there, and she and I drove home in a haze of salt and crunch.

And, really, is there anyone out there whose grump cannot be cured with cake and crisps? I think not.