• Mandy

How did we get here?...

I've written about my delusion about time before. After six months of running the cafe, that delusion is ever rampant and still tripping me up at each turn.


Maybe I should of started with that, but anyone who knows me, is well aware that I'm a creature that grumbles before spewing niceties. It's part of my charm...

So much has changed since April 2, 2016.. This time 2 years ago, we were knee deep in the realization that market life just wasn't working. I'm actually writing this while 2 of my favorite customers from the market are sitting behind me! (more about that later...) Not only was it not working, but we were faced with a list of uncertainties as a couple, as entrepreneurs, as home owners, as Albertans. I felt like I was flailing in a free fall and as I was plummeting I was furiously grabbing at anything to stop it. The realization that I had the ability to make hard life changing decisions halted my desperation softly, yet with a serious jolt, like the quick opening of a parachute opened just in time to grant me a messy landing on my knees.

I made decisions. Hard yucky ones. About my home, about my marriage, about my finances, about my business, about my future.

I had a plan. I had a good one.

I started saving every penny from those market donuts. I opened up delivery to those downtown folk that had bought my donuts off my early twitter posts with enthusiasm. I sold things, I took some part time work, I helped other friends running businesses.

I was going to open a shop.

By mid March I had to reveal that our time selling donuts at the Old Strathcona Farmers Market had to end. Part of my plan was selling my home to pull the equity to help in starting a shop. That meant renovating my little kitchen back into a laundry room, cause it was hard for buyers to wrap their heads around the space in considering an offer on our home. Everything was working, We had survived layoffs and after a year at his new job, Cory seemed to be happy and content.

It was time to pull the trigger.

The first week of April 2016 was one that I will never forget.

On our last market day, we stood filled with so much emotion. You see, the day before our last market and after a year at his job, Cory was laid off, sighting lack of available work as the reason. When you're the new guy on the block, your also the first to get cut when times become uncertain. We knew this, we survived it the year before. My heart broke for my husband. Watching someone you love have the carpet yanked out beneath their hardworking, determined and hopeful feet is a pain that way too many families were facing at that time, and still.

We stood and received hugs, well wishes, encouragement and... love. Lots and lots of love. WIth pitted stomachs, we left that day with full hearts and the determination to get a shop up and running, fast. We went straight to work. We added to the list, sending out resumes for Cory. We found a shop location, we had an offer on a condo in the city pending, it looked like the house was gonna sell and we had hope. Cory was shipped off to Ft. MacMurray for work and I stayed back, working each day to make our plan work.

Then a little fire started in Ft. MacMurray and after 5 days of work, Cory was evacuated out of his camp and we had no idea how long he would be out of work for. He managed to return and put in a few weeks of work before the project he was on ended and we were left to deal with our second layoff of the year. By the fall, the money I had squirreled aside early in the year was dwindling fast. Along with my hopes. The money kept the mortgage paid, the truck on the road, the lights on and the house warm. Looking back now, I know why I had saved. At the time. I was mad as hell.

By fall I had given up the hope of ever having a shop for Frickin' Delights. I announced it to the followers on social media. Frickin' Delights Donuts was now closed and going to stay that way. I remember how many comments, messages and phone calls I fielded in the days that followed. I was overwhelmed. I turned inward and threw a big fat pity party. By Christmas 2016, Cory was laid off a third time that year, the last position he could find only guaranteed him a few weeks of work. We spent the holidays reflecting on the year we had had, we made plans to go and see Victoria, BC. We were looking to leave Alberta behind. We took a trip in early January and fell in love with the idea of starting life in a new place. Charging ahead fueled by the lessons of 2016, the heartache of our losses and motivated to just declare a "do over" and start fresh. We came home and got straight to work in a new plan for a new life. We cried, we reflected, we advised friends and family and we hired a new realtor. We packed up the house into Rubbermaid bins each day and stored them out in the garage. By The beginning of March, Cory's last job called, to offer him a temporary job and it came in time to the last of our survival funds. By April we decided that we were going to finally book a trailer, fill it, drive it out to Vancouver Island and leave all of our earthly possessions in storage and wait for the pink slip on Cory's job... that being the moment we would move with our trailer and the dogs to Victoria and leave the house in the realtors hands to sell for us.

A week before I was to drive our life out to the island to be stored... I happened upon a Facebook ad on our local Buy and Sell group. The little cafe in my town was for sale. It had been for sale for sometime. I called the owner and made arrangements to meet with her on a Sunday Morning.




"Why? Why are we doing this?"

We met with the owner and I knew within moments of breaching the front door.

This is it.

This is my chance.

This is my future.

I didn't hesitate to follow my heart into a field of hope, a sea of excitement on a trail of confidence I had never felt before.

After our meeting, we we're off to do our weekly shopping.




His answers to my prompts in the store were short and curt... bordering rude you could say.

"WHAT?" I finally spat in his direction.

I was scared. I knew I had pushed the limits of this poor man's heart in this little trip to meet the owner, he knew I was excited, I read his demeanor as "NO NO NO... we have a plan, we're moving to the island, we have a plan, you're a silly woman and I'm tired, we have the house packed up, we have a plan!"


"Ya, I'm annoyed with you! We're on our way out the door and you just had to meet with her! And now...."

"What?" "WHAT?!"

"Now we're not moving.... CAUSE WE HAVE TO BUY THAT PLACE!" I looked up and met his gaze. His eyes were burning with excitement and hope too. We hugged in the middle of Costco, we may have even stood and shared a kiss. The world melted away and in our embrace we welcomed the warm sensation of hope spread around us. We drove home smiling, the air was bright and crisp in our lungs, the sky was blue-er, our hands entwined as we drove up Highway 60 home. It was relief and joy. It was Amazing.

it lasted into the evening, We talked, we dreamt out loud, we pulsed with a happiness we thought we would only experience in a new life and a new place and with time we had to wade through.

Then a sharp realization crept in and took hold.

"How are we gonna pay for it?"

That's for another post....

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