A Deep Breath Followed by a Shout-Out

Whew. Breathe in. Breathe out. Thank goodness for LeAnn. Well, thank goodness for all of you, really. But it was LeAnn who came in to the cafe on our very first day and put her arms around me (post minor anxiety attack/meltdown in kitchen) and said, "Just take a deep breath," and together we inhaled and let it all go. I do believe it was at that moment that I was finally able to slow down, catch my breath, and begin to accept that sometimes you cannot control EVERYTHING and that sometimes, just sometimes you are merely along for the ride. In fact, Bill Hicks, one of the greatest comedians of all time (No, seriously. So much that I'll say it again: One of the greatest comedians Of. All. Time.) once infamously said, "It's all just a ride." Since that moment E and I have "buckled-up", returned our seatbacks and tray tables to their upright and locked positions, and held on for dear life.

And what a ride it's been over the past eleven days since we opened our doors. A fellow blogger posed the following question that I would like to now sit down and address:
"How is it like? How is it to wake up every morning each day knowing you can walk towards the dream that you had the longest time? To unlock the doors and to clean the tabletop, to let the aroma of your wonderful cooking fill the whole cafe, and to see the delight on your customer's face upon being served?"

Well Sofie, first of all, thank you so, so, so, so much for your delightful and thoughtful question and secondly...

At first, waking up is a little tough. E and I will be the first to admit that we are NOT early risers. David warned us about our hours. Opening at 7am can be a tough gig- especially when you have to go to your bakery by 6:15am each morning to get your baked goods. I swear, when the alarm goes off each morning I think there must be something wrong because I still have a hard time figuring out what on earth I set it that early for. There must be some sort of mistake. For goodness sakes, it's still dark outside. Very dark. Like Apocalyptic dark. But then it hits me. You all hit me. My brain begins to fill itself up with tiny snapshots of all of your faces and all of the things I know the day will bring us. Yes, in those wee early hours I can see:

Our "Biking Lot,"

and Our Unspeakably Decadent, Delicious Pastries,

and Our Kick-Ass Bike Thru Customers in Pursuit of Cold Ice Cream on a Hot Day,

and What Must Be The Perfect Turkey Sandwich,
and Our New Friend, Jim, Serenading Us With His Bandolin,
and What Flavors of Ice Cream the Week Will Have In Store (this week: Sweet Corn, Malted Milk, Lemon Verbena w/ Oregon Blackberry Swirl, Mango-Coconut, and Basil)

That's right all of you North Portlanders, you rockin' bicyclists, you devoted customers, you impressive families and new friends, I picture ALL of you at around 5:30am EVERY morning. And you know what happens? My blood literally starts pumping, the excitement builds, and my hands and feet begin to tingle and I Have. To. Get. Out. Of. Bed. Like NOW.

To answer your question, Sofie, we are, in every single little-itty-bitty sense of the word: Living the Dream. How does it feel to, "unlock the doors and to clean the tabletops, to let the aroma of your wonderful cooking fill the whole cafe, and to see the delight on your customer's face upon being served?" Unbelievable. Ridiculous. Terrifying (but in a good way). Extraordinary. Brilliant. Humbling.

We pinch ourselves daily. There have been several times when I have turned to E and blurted out, "can you believe this is happening to us?" Because that is was it often feels like, like this is all happening to us. For example, do you realize there was a little girl in the cafe the other day who came in to have her first hot fudge sundae ever. I mean, like E-V-E-R. First hot fudge sundae. At our place. Now if that isn't just the raddest thing that has ever happened to us I don't know what is. You cannot plan stuff like that. You cannot ask, demand or pray for stuff that cool.

So far we are just trying to enjoy every minute of it and take in whatever we can when we can. I cannot even convey just how much fun this has all been. The fact that I can actually feed people all week long while thinking about more ways to razzle-dazzle them in form of weekend specials (steak 'n' (fried) eggs sandwich w/ caramelized onions, pomegranate lemonade, biscuits and gravy (both a meaty & a veggie version) and croissant bread pudding) AND chit-chat it up with friends and neighbors, bicyclactivists, the cutest babies in town (hands down- no seriously, let's have a contest), super moms and dads, too-cool-for-school-but-going-back-anyways kids, and dogs fit for the dog of year competitions and all the while call myself "employed" is seriously a head-trip. It's definitely something we're still trying to wrap our heads around. To a certain degree I can acknowledge that E and I worked hard for this. Okay, very hard. But now we've let go of the wheel, jumped into the back seat and now you, you are the ones who are making it happen.

Woohoo! Man, how I've always loved a good road-trip.


Tim D. Roth said...

I seem to recall eating that very turkey sandwich, and it was indeed perfect. For the record, I think you guys are doing an amazing job. In the couple of weeks leading up to the opening of the cafe, I didn't know how everything was possibly going to come together, and what do you two do? Go light years beyond coming together to create an awesome space that is extremely functional and beautiful with excellent attention to detail. You also have a knack for evolving to meet any demands that arise, which makes working alongside you better every day. I just hope that I can be a suitable extension to your mission with Little Red Bike and consistently do your fantastic food justice by providing all the wonderful visitors with excellent customer service. I feel like the cafe is a place where people can really come in for the great food and coffee as well as a positive, interactive atmosphere that seems to be missing at most coffee shops around town.

Cheers to "the ride" and to all the great ice creams and weekend specials to come!

Metolius Mark * Student of...Everything said...

That'd be a good way to put it. No, I guess that's the best way to put it. 'Cause after reading this post you make me want to feel what you feel. It's like you've taken the essence of perfect and rubbed it all over yourselves. Now who wouldn't be a little bit jealous of that? Did I say jealous? I meant happy; yeah, that's it. That's the ticket. Happy for you. And oh, so thirsty for pomegranate lemonade.

Unknown said...

It's hard not to be swept up by what is happening...I should be thinking school visits, SATs, evaluations, grant management, ad hoc committees, etc. but all I want to wrap my head around is LRBC activities, researching/testing recipes, spending time with great people, sharing good times. Thanks for letting me hitch a ride on your meteor.

Anonymous said...

You've become the neighborhood hub. You always fill our bellies with great food and fantastic coffee but the best part of our (almost daily) visits to LRBC is the feeling of pride, joy, and love for what you do. Congratulations to you both. We love stopping by to see the latest. See you soon.

LeLo said...

You don't know how much that means to me: I totally needed that. Thank you.