6:15: Hear the coffee pot sputtering the last few drops of hot water. Must be time to get up. Panda and Foxy snuggle one last time before jumping all over me to encourage me to get up and make breakfast.
6:27: Dogs are fed and I have coffee in hand, staring into oblivion in the garden. Will be awake soon.
7:06: Phone knocks me conscious. Oh oh, it's the shop (worry). Just Pat (sorry to bother you but...) Kristi can't find the big sifter, do I have any idea where it might have gone? Finally they spot it on the floor behind a bin where it must have fallen waiting to get washed yesterday. Guess that bin didn't get moved when the floor was swept and mopped yesterday. :-(
8:20: Check Twitter and write blog post about Rosie's King Cakes. That was such a great picture, just had to use it one more time. It's amazing what you can do with an iphone. Learn that my sister has been named one of the 10 most inspiring female online entrepreneurs in the UK. Send her a "congrats" tweet.
8:56: Check the bank balances online and balance checkbook. Write check for rent (it's already the 4th).
9:02: Take a shower and get ready to head to the bakery. Can't leave before giving my doggies a hug and treat for spending the day alone in the house. They are so sweet.
9:21: Just as I pass the exit for Sam's Club and the Bank I realize that I need to go to the bank...
9:31: A sense of bank urgency hits me again as I cross over the bridge into Northport. To my right I see the Bama Nation, or part of it, in town for the big game tomorrow. More RV's than I have ever seen before in one place all parked in the old Tuscaloosa Chevrolet lot just off the banks of the Black Warrior River. Wow! If this is any indication, it's gonna be a busy day, and we have very little change or small bills at the bakery.
9:41: Get change at the drive-through teller at the Northport branch near the shop before heading across the street to the Piggly Wiggly.
9:54: Quick call to the shop to tell them I'm at the Pig "do we need anything?" Why yes we do, tomatoes and green onions for today's chicken salad. I decide to stock up on soft drinks for the drink case at the shop. We have a lunch special that includes a drink and a cookie, so it seems we're always low on water and canned soft drinks. The price is not great, but it's convenient. I'll be reselling the items I'm buying, so I wait for the cashier to go get the tax (exempt) book so I don't have to pay sales tax .
11:02: A guy walks into the shop with a poster for the "Black Warrior Review Annual Fundraising Auction" (to which we've donated a gift card). The BWR is published by students in The University of Alabama's MFA Program in Creative Writing. Turns out that he's from San Jose, just like me. Graduated from Bellarmine (High School) and grew up about five miles from my childhood home.
11:30: Meet with prospective bride and groom to talk about a wedding cake. The bride's cake will be strawberry with ivory buttercream, a linen textured finish, and fresh strawberries. The groom's cake will be a wine bottle and cheese sampler carved from German chocolate cake. We were CRAZY busy while they were here with walk-in traffic for lunch and Bama-themed sweets.
1:00: Down to FIVE King Cakes (2 Bama, 3 LSU), from 38 last night. Time for a quick bite of chicken salad.
1:01: Four King Cakes. Only 1 Bama King Cake left.
1:30: Shop-vac'd the retail area floors. When I was talking with the bride and groom, I noticed lots of red and white sprinkles on the floor from the King Cakes. It was Art Night -- the first Thursday of each month when the galleries in town change exhibits and host receptions. We usually stay open with free cake and live music. Remnants of the samples of King Cake we gave away last night were still visible. I guess nobody else noticed...
2:47: A customer comes in to pick up her cake and complains about the lack of glitter on the bow (as she had requested). The decorators are busy so I put glitter on cake and take it out to her car. As soon as I get back, another customer mentions they will be eating their cake at the restaurant across the alley. I offer to just take it over there (we're friendly with their kitchen staff so it's a breeze to walk over with the cake and put it in their walk-in).
3:05: As I am coming back from taking the cake across the alley, an out-of-town customer who had ordered a cake and cookies for Saturday greets me. She just arrived from New Jersey and is coming in to pay for her order. It's her mother's 60th birthday and the theme is "60 years ago, a star was born." The cake is classic with swags and roses, and she absolutely loves the golden yellow Oscar statuette cookies which we are still bagging. We reconfirm the delivery at 10 a.m. the next morning.
3:59: The phone rings. It's the mother of one of our brides from last week calling to tell us how "absolutely stunning" the cake was. We loved it too, it was covered in pulled sugar flowers. She thanks me about ten times and says how much everyone loved it and how impressed they were. I tell her thank you for giving us the opportunity to play with the sugar flowers and what a nice job the pulled sugar artist had done. Everyone is feeling pretty warm and fuzzy about now.
4:14: We're out of change. No quarters or five dollar bills. It's back to the bank...
4:33: Everyone is busy with customers, so I answer the phones, taking two more orders for Bama-themed shortbread cookies from folks heading into town for the game.
5:21: Must. Sit. Down. I'll use the excuse of downloading photos of today's cakes for our Facebook page.
5:34: The display cases are looking pretty bare. The decorators are finishing up the orders. I pull out a tray of baked cupcakes from the freeze. White buttercream with gray elephants or a big red "A." Then they go back in the freezer for tomorrow. While I'm at it, can I finish up the last order of baby shower cupcakes? They "just" need elephants, red dots, and monograms.
5:51: I close out the cash register and write up the daily deposit while the staff sweeps and mops. Dishes have been done throughout the day, so it's down to cleaning out the cases, putting decorating items away, and cleaning the work surfaces. There are four people left (besides me) so it goes pretty fast.
6:18: Everyone has clocked out. A lady and her daughter walk in just as I am locking the door. She is hoping to find a frog shaped chocolate mold in the consignment shop. She really wants to "shop." We find a mold and I try to make her visit as efficient as possible.
6:38: Almost ready to leave the shop. One last look around... Oops, the cake to be delivered Saturday morning has gum paste roses on top. It is supposed to have a topper. If I wait until tomorrow, the fondant swags might be too dry and crack when we try to move them. May as well do it now. I remove the roses, place supports in the top tier and add the topper. Then I add some buttercream "glue" and replace the roses around the base of the topper.
6:51: I look around for some left-over lunch to heat up for dinner. Yep, gumbo will do. The traffic heading my direction is surprisingly light. I make it home in record time. The dogs greet me with great fanfare. Time to relax and enjoy their company, as soon as the gumbo comes out of the microwave.
And tomorrow, we'll start all over again.