Saturday, January 30, 2010

Weekend Post: The Other Baby (our bread baking business)

Here is PART TWO of or our story of the past 11 years. It is the otherside of my faith journey. You can catch up by reading the Part One from last saturday.

AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER (in real life)
One April evening as I got home to my apartment after work, I found a yellow rose and two envelopes sitting on the table. I opened the one that said “open me first” and the note read, “Meet me at the top of the Empire State Building at sunset tomorrow night”. The other envelope had a plane ticket and a letter confessing his deep love for me. So I boarded the plane at 6:30 the next morning and was off to NYC! Clint hates it when I tell this story but I will continue…. A limo picked me up and drove me to the Waldorf Astoria. As I arrived in the room, there were was a beautiful golden wheat, floor length, silk dress for me to wear to meet him. The dress fit like a glove! I ran downstairs with my heart racing and my hands shaking. I hailed a cab and finally arrived at the Empire State building after fighting rush-hour traffic. When I reached the top floor, there he was with the most worried look on his face. He embraced me and told me he didn’t think I was coming. He wasted no time and got on one knee and asked me to marry him. Of course I said yes and we wined and dined at my favorite restaurant, Kelly & Pings. We ended the weekend with a game at Yankee Stadium and beautiful dreams of our future together.

A year later to the day, we got married in the church that my Great Grandparents built. It was a small, intimate wedding. After the wedding, we jumped into a 1940’s Packard, which drove us to the ranch. Our one hundred guests dined under a white tent that overlooked the pasture, a red wooden windmill and Hackberry Creek. As the sun set behind the vast plains, we toasted with champagne and feasted on delicious food from the land (beef of course) paired with bold red wine from a vineyard in California. After dinner, the entire Hansford County arrived for the big dance in my Daddy’s red barn. The chuck wagon served homemade peach cobbler and the keg beer was nice and cold. After dancing till our legs were wobbly, Clint and I dashed through the red painted corrals as everyone threw wheat and hollered well wishes. As we waved back through the little window of the 1940’s Packard, we were the happiest we had ever been. Especially since we were leaving for Paris the next day! We honeymooned in France for one week. We took a car to the burgundy region and stayed in a 15th century chateau out in the middle of nowhere. One of my favorite memories of the trip was stopping at a tiny village on our way to Lyon. We were so hungry and luckily found a little bakery in the heart of this beautiful village. No one spoke a lick of English and we didn’t know what we were ordering; however, it was the best sandwich and glass of wine we had ever had! The sandwich was so simple made of a baguette spread with butter and topped with ham & cheese. The drive through the countryside was blissfully romantic as we sipped on wine, held hands, and breathed in the fresh country air. After relaxing and enjoying the countryside at Chateau de Messey ( highly recommend it!) we took a train into Paris and stayed the remaining of our time eating, drinking, and eating some more. We loved the quaint little bakeries the most and had no idea that just four years from then Clint would be an artisan baker and we would have our own bakery.

The moment we returned from our honeymoon and moved into our cute little duplex in the heart of Austin, our destiny took a turn for the worst financially. Clint arrived back at Dell computers to news cameras everywhere and lay-offs left and right. Clint thankfully wasn’t layed off but he took a dramatic pay cut. This is when the mid-twenties soul-searching began. Doesn’t most everyone experience that? Not knowing what Clint truly wanted to do with his life, we began praying, journaling, and wondering what God had planned for us. I knew very early in our marriage that I wanted a husband who enjoyed his profession. Seeing Clint come home beat down and not happy with his work was anything but what I wanted for Clint. I started to encourage him to do his passion, which was cooking. From the first meal Clint cooked for me when we first started dating, I knew he had a natural God-given talent in the kitchen. He made anything taste amazing….from a simple sandwich to making his own pasta, he just had “it” when it came to cooking. He applied to culinary school and was accepted but we later realized after discerning and discussing that we didn’t want the lifestyle of a chef. We knew we wanted a family, and frankly, Clint is not a night-owl. He likes to be in bed and asleep by 9:00. A consulting job came up in Amarillo, Texas. We both wanted to eventually move back to the Panhandle to be close to the ranch and our family, but we didn’t think it would be this soon in our marriage. With no other option, Clint took the job and we packed our Uhaul and headed north. We moved in August 2001 and just a few months after starting his new job, 9/11 happened and his job started spiraling down hill. So here we were in Amarillo, Texas of all places (not the most happening place when it comes to job searching), a mortgage on our first home and a very grim future. Things got so bad financially that we were scraping to pay our mortgage. NO ONE was hiring and Clint was beating on every door for a job. He finally found a job at Pride Home Center on the other side of the tracks, making 6.50 an hour. I was working at an upscale linen store making $12 an hour. We were barely making it when he landed an interview with an aquaintance who was a Stock Broker. He and is wife owned a quaint little French bakery cafĂ© a few doors down from where I worked. The morning of the interview, I had a really good feeling about this job possibility. I left a good luck note on the hanger of his suite an anxiously awaited his phone call to tell me about it. As I heard his voice, I asked, “how did the interview go?” He replied, “It went okay.” I immediately asked, “did you get the job?” Clint said, “No, but he asked if I wanted to buy his bakery?” I took a deep breath and couldn’t believe what I was hearing. How ridiculous. Buy their bakery? Are you kidding? Clint went onto tell me that he wasn’t interested in buying it at all but he felt like he should meet with him and just look at the numbers. After talking to the owners about the baking business and seeing the optimistic numbers of owning a bakery, Clint and I decided to pursue the business. The bakery hired Clint for 6.25 an hour to start learning the business to see if it is something he wants to possibly buy. After several months of negotiating and hoping it would work out, we couldn’t settle on a price and had to move on. We were devastated. We wanted to buy their bakery so terribly bad and Clint had fallen in love with bread baking. Back to square one, Clint and I realized that we were not going to get very far in such a small town with limited opportunity; therefore, we sold our home and Clint got a job in Dallas. With the u-haul packed and our hearts broke, we headed south to Dallas Fort Worth.

1 comment:

amwz photography said...

so love this story... thanks so much for sharing... just lovely.

amazing how heavenly glue kept it all together for you.. just not in our timing but in HIS