When you’re alone, it’s punishment

yesterday I was doing a bunch of behind the scenes catering stuff for next weekend’s wedding. You know, doing the stuff you don’t show on facebook… the real work that gets things done. Making dressings, cooking grains, freezing pie crusts…

The bride has asked me to make some mini-baby sandwiches and since I know that making a bunch of tiny bread buns on the morning of the wedding won’t physically be possible, I have experimented over the past few weeks with par-baking bread (baking it just a little bit so that you can finish it later) and yesterday, Saturday, I had a friend come over to help me form the little buns.  520 of them.

[It’s sort of like deciding to get sober. You have a plan but no real idea on how you’re going to get it done. You know you HAVE to get it done, and you have a general idea on where you’re going, but you have to sort of make it up as you go along.]

My friend arrives at 10:30 am, and first I realize that I can’t make a quadruple batch of bread in my giant mixer, nor can I bake that many at a time, so I make 50% of this batch, and start that one.  Then the other one starts to rise, and we have to stop everything and divide it.  It’s sort of like what Quill calls playing Whack-a-Mole, where you’ve got things popping up that need to be dealt with. [It’s like having emotions running weird — oh where did that feeling come from, really? do i have to deal with that right NOW? yes.]

Around supper time my friend leaves to take a break. I am tired. I look at one buckets of dough rising. I look at the counters and tables covered in par-baked buns cooling from their initial bake. I look at my freezer.

Yes, it had been my plan to have a completely empty freezer before I began the wedding.  [You probably had a plan to have a completely stress-free life before you get sober.]

I look at the freezer.  I look at my husband.  I figure I have only two options (black and white thinking).  I can tell my friend fuck-it, we can’t finish today, there’s no room in the freezer. I’ll just have to work a few all-night shifts nearer the date. OR …

I go online to look at ordering a new freezer but they can’t deliver it until Wednesday, also too late to be useful.

I get myself into a serious funk.  A ‘fuck-it’ funk. A”‘why have I gotten myself into this mess, why am I even trying to do this, I should have said I could cater for 10 not for 50, it’s her wedding for god’s sake, this is major shit, i’m going to fuck it up” — that kind of funk.

To top it off it was pouring-pouring-biblically pouring rain right around 6 p.m. and I had visions of her wedding NEXT weekend being saturated with rain.

I whine to husband: “What if it rains like this next Saturday, she’ll be so disappointed. If I was her, today, I’d be looking out the window at this and I’d be soo worried about next weekend.”

She’s not you, says Mr. Belle.

Meaning, she’s probably feeling like the rain is spending itself in advance and that next weekend will be good by comparison.

sharon sends me an email: “Your wedding will be perfect. No worries. You slayed wolfie so a wedding’s a piece of CAKE.”

and I do I wonder how much catering is like sobriety, or how everything is like everything. I put on my big girl panties, I go to the freezer, I take everything out. I ask Mr. Belle to stand beside me with a garbage bag. I throw out all the food that is more than 2 years old (one small kitchen garbage full … not much, but enough), I take out the plastic storage containers holding food and transfer things to flat plastic bags. There is now magically 1/3 of the freezer empty.

In other words, I have a good hard look at what I have, I toss what isn’t working for me, i rearrange what’s left, and I make room for new things to come.

My friend returns from her break, we begin shift #2 and work until after 9 pm. All buns made, cooled, wrapped, and in the freezer.

So yes, I nearly gave up and called the day a write-off. If my friend hadn’t been there, that’s probably what would have happened.  I would have left it to ‘figure out later’. but because I knew she was going to come back and say “what next?” i was temper-tantruming in my head about how hard it all is, but i also knew because she was there, i had to find a solution. Accountability. As simple as your friend saying what next sherlock.

When you’re alone, it’s punishment. As soon as there’s another person it’s a project.

Just like sobriety.

PS: my treat last night after a long day: bath + candle + book + mint tea while Mr. Belle made supper.  For dessert I had four squares of dark chocolate with salted caramel. Today i slept till 10 a.m. and I’m not working. Oh yeah, and it’s really clear and beautifully sunny today. <le sigh>


I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012

  • Amazing! Love how you compared the mini bread making to getting and staying sober! I was feeling your anxiety and frustration and thinking ‘just order 520 rolls from a bakery…save yourself from the mini rolls hell!!!’ But some how you DID IT with your friend! You plowed thru the hard part, the overwhelming ‘how the hell am I going to do this?’ part and then you rewarded yourself for DOING IT!!! BRAVO! Your perserverance got you thru the hardest part of the task and you didn’t give up!!! Exactly like tough hills along the sober road! Your friend is also your guardian angel and your hubby is a dear to make dinner for you! I am sure that this catered wedding will look and taste spectacular Belle!!! Take lots of pictures and show us next weekend! Hugs to you!