Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Business or Pleasure? : Business

The first year Joel and I lived together was nothing short of chaotic. I was coming from an abusive marriage and was probably an official alcoholic. He was coming from a failed marriage, looking for peace of mind and order in his life. I was puking in the bathroom every night, stumbling home drunk from one bar after another after to work. He was home, ironing his jeans and color coordinating his shirts in his closet.

We clashed hard. Shouting. Fighting. Objects flying across the apartment. Again, my food business took a nose dive. I was never available to take orders on the fly because I was drunk or hungover. I was more concerned about going to one party after another from school than I was booking future cake orders. Even my once a month customers seemed to stop ordering from me.

As Joel and I sorted out our personal lives; he gave me a choice. He would get me anything I would ever need, take me anywhere I would ever need to go, come up with any money I fell short of, and provide his assistance every single step of the way....for my Business. I had to sort out my priorities. I needed to make a decision and make it swift.

Would it be partying and living in the moment or would it be the business? One chance to make this decision and that would be it.

I gave up drinking that day. I stopped hanging out with my trouble-maker stagier friends. I did not see the inside of a bar again for many years. My body went into withdrawal from the sudden disappearance of alcohol in my system. As I found my equilibrium and nursed my body back to health; Joel nursed my ailing business back to health, as he promised he would.

Instead of huge entertainment centers or extra seating or fluffy couches; work benches, rolling racks, and an extra freezer took up most of the space in our apartment. My fiction and horror books were given to charity and only cookbooks lined our 7 book cases. I didn't have cable for 5 years because it was too much money wasted. Shopping meant buying cake boxes, wholesale ingredients, more vintage cookbooks, out of commission cake pans, or antique cooking tools. Money from cooking or baking jobs that didn't go directly into the joint account was spent on buying more equipment or ingredients. Vacations were working vacations. If we were not traveling somewhere to work, we were not going there for vacation.

Parties, socializing, and get-togethers stopped. We had kept in touch with a couple of people from school and would see them every other month. That all stopped during our second year together. Our business was keeping us so busy, we didn't have time for birthdays, anniversaries or baby showers. I lost touch with my friends, I stopped going out with the crew after work, and if I was not at my apartment working; I was probably visiting my family.

Six years is a long time to stop being young. However, my reputation, my cakes, and my business prospered. We had more money in our joint account than either one of us ever had in our checking accounts. We started looking at co-ops and small houses. My debt was being elimated several thousand dollars a year. Life was finally starting to work out.

This was it. I was going to be a small business owner. All my hard work and sacrifice was going to come to something tangible that I could hold and say, "Look at what I did!"

I can't say it was easy giving up the Pleasure. I eventually started to drink again; a glass of wine on a special occassion. Sociallizing meant date night with Joel once a week; usually dinner and a movie--IF we didn't have a gig that week. It was rare when we didn't.

Nights partying meant I had on a chef coat, dishing out cake at someone else's party. During those years, the Business was my Pleasure. It would all pay off eventually, right?

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