Like Juggling while Herding Cats…
(or Belly Timber’s new adventures in Portland, a three part introduction)
1. In which we leap off a tall cliff without a safety net.
On the final weekend of July, this past summer, we did something rather extraordinary that I never thought weâ€™d pull off: we catered a wedding.
It was our gift to our dear friends, this wedding feast. We took a weekend away from our island home to shop, and prep, and cook up a storm, and we accomplished it all â€” wedding feast and rehearsal dinner for 50 people â€” for just shy of $350 (with, I freely admit, a few key donations from the Belly Timber personal pantry; our friends were on an extremely tight budget and we were determined to wow them with our frugality).
Now, even though we’ve cooked for many of our own parties (and for our own wedding), this was different. Daunting. It’s our friends’ wedding, after all. We can’t screw it up. They’ll never forgive us!
So, to doubly ensure everything would go off without a hitch, I donned my stage manager hat and began making lists. Lists, lists, and more lists. (I love lists.) We were prepared. Frighteningly prepared.
And of course, because nothing ever goes exactly as planned, we ran into tiny glitches here and there: a misplaced corkscrew, a lost container of yogurt, a –
You know what? I canâ€™t think of a third glitch. It went that well.
In fact, I have to say, we loved every minute of it.
And the guests and the wedding party absolutely adored our food.
And when we were all done and weâ€™d nothing left but the cleaning, and everyone was happily gorging themselves on shrimp satay and baba ganoush, we looked at each other and said, Dude. We need to do this again because we kicked some serious culinary butt.
That was the moment. The moment we knew our vague post-island plans had to become much much more than just vague post-island plans. The moment we knew we had to start our own personal chef business.
Oh, sure weâ€™d talked about it before, tossed around ideas, names, researched the local competition, but now we had the confidence to do more than just daydream.
Jump ahead three months.
In the interim, weâ€™ve taken a beating. Iâ€™ve written (and The Catâ€™s written) in brief about dead computers and other internet disasters, and Iâ€™ve mentioned â€” also in brief â€” a small portion of our house woes. Theyâ€™ve been immense. So overwhelming at times that weâ€™ve spent days wondering who the sneaky bastard was who slapped "kick me" signs on our backs.
But even so, we are ready. Not financially ready, mind you, but more than ready in spirit. The return to our own house marks a substantial change in our lives. Not just a change from the nomadic existence of the past 22 months, but a deeper transition from treading water to moving forward. In short, we need to leap so that we do not fall.
A while back, on a certain Sugar High Friday, I wrote a little tribute to Chopper. Happy Chopper Day, I called it, his first anniversary of his graduation from culinary school. "The scariest wagers," I said, "are the ones you make on yourself and on your future success." Well, this, after Chopperâ€™s stint in school, is scary wager number two. Can we do it? Can we be our own bosses and make a success of it? Are we completely nuts?
On this past Memorial Day, I wrote about the caregiving experience, about Dadâ€™s cancer and how this blog was born out of a need for release. Now, as we shift into a new phase in our lives, Belly Timber shifts with us, and as our lives expand, so too will the blog expand to encompass the bigger picture: MizD and Chopper leaving limbo and starting from scratch. A disaster zone house, a budget the size of a postage stamp, and a mountain of student loan debt, and still, we leap. Itâ€™s that or the daily grind, and lordy are we sick of the daily grind.
So, happily, crazily, we leap.
Tomorrow: part two: In which MizD goes crazy with the crafty thing.
Note: This is a repost, as the first edition was devoured in a server crash, with chocolate sprinkles on top. Some of the first edition’s comments and final edits may have gone the way of Pepsi Blue; my apologies to all.