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April 2008

Thursdays with Max

Today, we got up early and ended up having a mid morning nap and then headed to Ikea to pick up some things for the café. I was looking for a curtain for the door way of the café but ended up getting these great square mirrors for the wall by the bathroom. I can't wait to put those up tomorrow.  Picked up some pitchers for drinking water, broke one while unloading the car.  Found a cute little soap dispenser for the bathroom. And that's about it... Had Swedish meatballs for lunch as did Max. We had to keep him from shoving them in his mouth. His chipmunk cheeks sure do hold a lot of grub.

I am in the process of changing the tea cups we use today. But I have yet to find my style. I found a few pieces at Ikea that I liked but then I thought, "This is Ikea." and I remembered some of the bowls we have from Ikea at home and how easily they chip. So, I am looking into some nice-ish porcelain tea sets. Something that is durable and a bit more resistant to chipping that Ikea.

After we dropped off our shopping buddy, we headed to the café and dropped things off then straight home. Max was a good sport until I got the car parked and then it was screaming banshee time.  But we got home in the nick of time, kicked off our shoes and played on the floor in his bedroom. All was well.  We read books and laughed and threw the ball around.  Max is obsessed with balls these days. I layed on the floor watching Max collect the balls from his new toy as he's throw them again and again chasing after them. Endless entertainment.  I couldn't believe how big he looked. He'd see me laying on the floor watching him and he'd crawl over in turbo mode and plant a big wet kiss on my cheek. Cuddle with me and lay next to me for a few on the floor. And then off he'd go and play again...

I am grateful for this day in the week. As tired as I may feel right now the moments we share are priceless.  We played so hard today that after his bath, when he was freshly powdered and dressed he started to fall asleep in my arms. Sucking his thumb and snuggling in the nook of my neck. I can still smell his clean baby smell on my clothes and hands. I can already tell that memories of our Thursdays together will be of laughter and Baby Magic.



I am so tired.  Exhausted. Drained. 

But somehow in the morning I find myself recharged and ready to start a new day.  The thought of going to my own kitchen in my own café still floors me. 

Another weekend has come and gone. This time no petage de plomb. It was a weekend full of coffee and couples. Students and sweets. Tea tasting and Twittering.  There was even a moment where both Lydia and I were able to sit down and have lunch together (which is rare). Sunday was fairly quiet, we had a steady stream of customers. .  Right at tea time the skies opened up and started to pour down.  Within in a minute, ALL of our tables were full. It remained full until we closed. I was home by 8:00pm.

If this is my new work routine?  I must say, I absolutely love it.

A new tooth popped out...

A new tooth popped out and I missed it.

and I missed it....

The separation from Max is a lot harder than I realized it would be. I kept reminding myself that this would be so good for Max. Good for him to be around other children. A wonderful growing experience.  During his first week, the adaptation week, I cried everyday after I dropped him off. Only one day was it so bad that I broke down in front of Tata.  Now Max has been going to Tata's for two weeks and he seems to really love it. I feel a tinge of jealousy when I drop him off, seeing Tata scoop him up and give him a hug.  I am standing at the door watching someone else take care of my child.  This is the price I pay to pursue my dream.

Do I sound bitter? I feel a little bit bitter. Are these feelings I have normal? I have to think that they are. I just don't know how to deal with them just yet. I think that if I can get my Thursdays organized and prioritized, I can make the most of this day with Max perhaps this bitterness will go away. 

Last night, Max woke up crying and he only wanted his father.  I went to him first because  I hadn't seen him the entire day. When he saw me he cried even harder and moaned for "da da". Julien came and scooped him up and he stopped crying.  Is this his way of telling me he having a hard time adjusting? Two hours later, he finally let me hold him. I was on the brink of tears because I so desperately needed to hold my baby.  He collapsed into my arms and let me rock him while he sucked his thumb. Does he forgive me for leaving him during the day?

I am worn and ragged around the edges and I'm just starting this adventure. No one said it would be easy this dream of mine...Like I really asked around but this is my naive self talkin' here who didn't realize what it'd feel like to miss my son's new tooth. I guess I better prepare myself for other firsts I am bound to miss... but dang it, I hope that I catch a few on my days off with Max.

How to juggle it all?

I work everyday of the week now. Just like I did when I was a stay at home mom with Max. Granted the work I do now is very much different than mothering and nurturing Max everyday.  Harder? I wouldn't say so. Different. Yes, indeed. 

Now I guess I am considered a full time working mom. I work six days a week and have one day (Thursdays) off  from the café.  Max goes to the baby sitters 4 days a week and we spend Thursdays together.  I find that even though I am not physically working in the café, I am still doing café work at home (planning, sewing, calling suppliers, running errands etc..) on my day off and on top of that taking care of Max. 

I need to learn to juggle. Toute de suite!

Right now the apartment is a huge disaster area. The kitchen is a mess. The hall way is a mess. Our bedroom is a mess. Laundry piled all over the place.  I have no idea where to start.  Thursdays is also my day to clean as well.

So, let's see here... on Thursdays:

- Max.
- I get things done for the café that I can't get done every other day of the week.
- I need to clean the apartment.
- Figure out dinner situation for the rest of the coming week.
- Run family errands.

What would I like to do on Thursdays? I guess all of the above and try to find some time to relax.  Right now I am battling a wicked sinus infection and what I really NEED to do it sleep but I can not because of well that list of things up above which looms in my mind.

How do you juggle it all?  Sure, I can let things go like cleaning the apt but after a while it has to be done.  And yes, we can eat take out for dinner but we can't do that every night. Remember Le Muffin Maximus... I'm still trying to tame the beast.


Max isn't having it with the nap today. So, my chance of taking a quick one probably won't happen either.
Give me some time and maybe I'll figure it out but for now... I'm completely lost on how you full time working moms do it. Could you share your secrets with this newbie mama, please?

Café Characters

I'm going to start introducing to the blogosphere the people who are often seen at the café.  Of course, with their express permission.  You will see some of my Paris entourage for sure and some new faces of people who I have met through the café. These people have at one time worked for the café's previous owner. And with the sale of the café,  I have inherited a lovely network of people who truly are amazing. 

I'd like to first introduce you to Louisa.  My quirky part-time server who lives next door to the café. She helps me out on Mondays and Tuesdays.  There is never a dull moment when Louisa is around.

Petage de plomb*

*Or to blow a fuse (literally and figuratively)

Yes, it happened while we were in the middle a huge lunch rush. On a Sunday of all days.  For a moment there, the café was plunged into semi darkness. Only the light from the huge windows filtering through.  The clientele seemed unphased and continued on with their leisurely conversations.  A few looking over to me in the kitchen. I smiled and acted like nothing was wrong. Except that we had no lights in the kitchen, no lights in the bathroom, no dish washer and NO OVEN. The no oven part was worrisome as I use the oven to make the main course for the brunch which is the feuilletés and quiche.  While my staff buzzed around me, I continued to make lovely salade composé for the feuilletés that had been ordered. And watched calmly as they started to pull appliances out from the shelves to figure out another way to get some juice to them. A few frantic looks from my girls, I then figured it was time to call Julien. Within 10 minutes he was at the café with Maximilien in tow.  Good thing my lovely friend, Stefanie (Thank you, Stefanie!) and her husband were there to occupy my very busy 12 month old while Julien went to work.  A few minutes later we had light! The buzz of all the appliances surged on and were fully operational. Brunch was saved and all ended well. 

I was pleased to see that the books that I had brought over the night before were getting some use. Customers started pulling down books to thumb through to pass the time.  Exactly what I wanted these books to be used for. A Spanish couple mentioned to me they were happy to find that  had put a Paris guidebook on the shelf. While they waited for their œufs à la coque they jotted down places to visit later that day.

Standing behind the counter during my very first brunch rush was really surreal. I did not see the time pass except for when the fuse blew and those 20 minutes felt like an eternity.  But I kept cool, knowing that if I did not panic my staff would not either. I told everyone to smile and act normal and that all would be just fine.  I have been dubbed "zen" by my two part-time servers.  I like that. 


Cafe corner

I arrived to work today to find this lovely bouquet of flowers waiting for me. These flowers were sent to me by a faithful reader of my blog who goes by the name of Tiffany.  Thank you so much! What a wonderful surprise to find these this morning. My eyes stung with happy tears as I read your very sweet note.  This bouquet quickly found it's home on one of my wooden tables. 

Again, thank you, Tiffany.  I am overwhelmed by your gesture.  I hope have a cup of tea with you someday soon.

First day, recap.

My first offical day open went very, very well. I was a little late arriving to the cafe so my plan to make my gateau au chocolate fondant in the morning for the day did not work out. I had just enough time to finish taking out the boxes from our tea deliveries (note to self, take care of stuff like this the night before!) before my delivery of salé for the lunch menu arrived and I needed to put everything away.  Elle arrived with the fresh fruits and veggies for the day and then quickly ran back out to the boulangerie for our daily bread run and pick up a lovely tarte aux rhubarbe we ordered the night before. We chopped, and sliced and washed and spun and laughed and worked together like a team. It was so great. 

First_customer_lisa2_3 Then right at 11am my first customer arrived. It was my friend, Lisa. Very fitting that Lisa be my first customer because she was there from the very, very beginning on that day we went to Sunday brunch at the café  and I saw the sign that said fond de commerce à vendre.

Lisa is a writer and as you know writers need a constant stream of coffee/tea and sweets to keep the pen moving.  She's found her spot, in the window. What I call the pink table, my favorite table cloth I've made so far. Lisa wrote a lovely blog about her visit and you can read about it here.  And she snapped some candid shots of me getting things prepared for the day.  It was a lovely way to start the day.  I have her first euros she spent on her Yogi Chai. I must figure out how to frame that. :) 

I had not seen the day come to an end. Working in the café is so different than the jobs I'm used to. I was tired when I got home. It was a physical fatigue not a mental one.  I remember days when I'd get home from my office job where I had spent hours in front of the computer, I felt brain dead and wanted to do nothing but shut down. But last night, I felt mentally energized.  This must be what it's like to work and live your dream. My feet need some time adjusting and I need to invest in some good hand lotion. I washed lots and lots of tea pots yesterday.

Today, is my day off during the week. Thursdays are what I call Max and Mama days.  We got up early (he is my alarm clock) and had breakfast and then headed to the Prefacture de Police and applied for our liquor license.  I called and got Internet installed in the café.  I ran across Paris and got my "lost" package of fabrics which are destine to become table cloths. I even got to take a nap with Max which was so lovely. I know that Thursdays will become a day I cherish from now

There is a huge mound of laundry that needs to be folded. Julien has graciously started in but I better go and help so that maybe we get to bed early tonight. Which means before midnight for once...

À demain from the café... via Twitter, bien sûr.



I've got them. Big time. I feel like it's the first day of school or something. You know how you lay out your outfit for the first day of school. Well, I did the exact same thing. Threadless tee. Black skirt. Haven't decided on the shoes yet but I'll probably wear my old standard Converse All Stars.

The café fridge is packed. We have two of the three shipments of tea. We have good coffee. I'm going to make a mini fondant au chocolat this morning. I think we're ready to go...

I'll be twittering today from my cell phone as we do not have Internet.... yet. 

Have a good day, everyone! And if you're in Paris, stop by and say hi and stay a while. :)