Two weeks down - the rest of our lives to go!

So what have I learned at the end of week two? During our first week we were pretty sure Wednesday would be a good day to be closed as our sales were abysmal. This past week Wednesday was our best day yet. So I've learned that I have no idea what the patterns are or, indeed, if there are any patterns. I know that we will need to open Sunday as soon as possible. And maybe we'll just have to choose a weekday arbitrarily to close.

I've learned that plumbers are expensive. As are electricians - both of which we've needed. I've also learned that Davina and I should not screw around with the equipment once it has been placed where it belongs (hence the need for the plumber).

We are rolling out food this week. Well, more food. Pretty exciting. In addition to our other food stuff, we now have Paninis. Chicken and veggie and they're pretty good if I do say so myself.

I've also learned that I'm no spring chicken and I'm tired! We need to hire a part-timer asap, but we sort of need to do a full month to figure things our before we hire, so it'll be just a few more weeks of us doing everything.

We've also realized that we have a damn great space. It's perfect for evening events such as birthday parties, both kiddie and grown up, book launches, art openings and baby showers. If anyone out there wants to use our space for an event, please contact us. We've even got caterers all lined up.

That's it for now I think. I think I need a drink.

_ I’ve been thinking a lot about what moms go through, feeling like their children are an imposition on the people around them. I myself spend a great deal of time apologizing to strangers for myself, my bag, my stroller and my child; I am mortified when my three year old son behaves like a three year old in public. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that I am just as entitled to be on the bus, in the restaurant or walking along the sidewalk as anyone else. It’s just that I’m not sure my fellow TTC companions, café patrons or pedestrians feel the same way and there is plenty of evidence to back up that fear.

Recently, several news media outlets picked up on a story out of London England which described a scenario in which a mother was charged a ‘child tax’ on her bill. Two mothers in two separate instances were charged an extra 3 pounds, or 5 dollars, because they had children in tow who were not ordering from the menu. One child was 6 weeks old and the other was 6 months old. Both were exclusively breast fed. Turns out the employees at the restaurant who added the tax did so in error. The restaurant does reserve the right to enforce their ‘Minimum Charge Policy’ which “is intended for toddlers who eat but not as much as a child. It was and never will be intended as a charge for Prams or for babies”. The restaurant issued a formal apology on its website and that was that. Case closed, ya? Far from it.

News outlets ranging from CBC to Breakfast Television are debating this issue. The big question? Should parents be allowed to take up space with their “spittle-strewn bundles of joy”? Should parents have to pay for the space the stroller is occupying? I’ve never heard anyone ask that about an elderly person’s walker. What about a Seeing Eye dog? For that matter, what about a wheelchair?

There are plenty of places which cater to the stroller and its occupant; toy stores, drop in parent centres, and of course, McDonalds, to name a few. The thing is those places are all for the child; places mom can take baby where everything will be for the baby. But what about the mom? The good news is the tides are changing. Mom and Tot activities are beginning to be available because of the recognition that mom still wants to maintain some semblance of a life.  Raising a child with all of the modern accoutrements is an expensive enough endeavor without having to pay a ‘tax’ just to bring your child/stroller into an establishment. To me that’s just prejudice plain and simple.




As for myself I will continue to apologize in the restaurants, the sidewalks, the streetcars. I’m gracious that way. Most moms are I think. Would I ever pay extra just to enter a restaurant with my kid? Never. I’ll hand my hard earned money over to the establishment that welcomes me, not the one who merely tolerates me.

So ends our first week of the cafe being open. Back a million years ago, on Tuesday, we thought Friday was the end of the week. By Wednesday we were admitting we would need to be open weekends as soon as possible. By Thursday we were arranging childcare and by Friday it was a certainty that we would be open on Saturday. Tomorrow I have lots of stuff for the cafe I should be doing but all I want to do is hang out with Kai and Duff and do play dates and hang around the house. By next week, we'll probably realize we need to be open Sunday, but that's another story.

This week went pretty well. We realized that Wednesday may be our dead day and in the end may be the day we close.

We've had some 'growing pains'. The usual adjustments of needing certain things to be in certain spaces, figuring out which things go best on which plate and trying to sort out morning and end of day duties, not to mention trying to keep the whole cash/read thing straight.

The number of times we've completely collapsed in hysterical laughter is a bit disturbing. Today I tried to refill the whipped cream canister. We make the whipped cream from scratch using organic products and don't like to waste it - obviously. I opened the canister to add more and discovered that it wasn't actually empty, just extremely pressurized. As soon as I started to unscrew it, it virtually exploded all over the prep kitchen. I screamed as I was covered in a spray of topping, as was the floor, the walls, the sinks, the dishwasher, the dishes.... everything.

At the same time, Davina was on her own out front and the coffee carafe which she thought was filling behind her while she served customers was actually overflowing. When she discovered it she frantically tried to hold little cups under the flow to stop the coffee from spreading under the machine, on to the floor and from running down the fridge.

Also, apparently if you dig long enough in a cafe you strike coffee. There are spots where coffee is literally coming up out of the floor. That is a post for another day. But don't worry, it's all under control!