The past couple weeks have been discouraging on the ice-cream-business front. A co-owner of the Stockton Market told me a week ago Monday that she doesn't have room for my business there after all unless someone else's business leaves.
Tony and I had met twice with people from the market—the first time was with the other co-owner and the then-manager who's no longer at the market—over the course of three weeks and brought samples of my dairy and vegan frozen desserts. The response was enthusiastic, especially during the second meeting, with the co-owner who e-mailed me with the bad news, the new manager, and the owners' daughter. It seemed as though it was a matter of where within the market I would be able to set up shop, not whether it could happen at all.
A spot might open up for me in the months ahead, but I can't just passively wait for that to happen and am working on a Plan B.
The Stockton Market would have been a great location because it's close by and it's open only three days, so I would have had the other days to focus on creating my desserts and looking into ways to grow my business without needing to hire someone to do the retail stuff. The male co-owner made it clear in the first meeting that he understood most vendors can't make a living only from their sales at the market.
I knew going into this process that starting a business wasn't going to be a snap. But everything seems harder than it needs to be: getting the guy from the county health department to respond to my e-mailed questions, finding out basic information from suppliers about their products, even opening up a fucking business checking account has been a mess.
The credit union I have my personal checking account with was going to charge me a monthly fee just to maintain a business checking account. So I went to another bank—one with branches only in New Jersey, so it's not of the too-big-to-fail variety— in the same shopping center, and the people there were flummoxed by the fact a registered agent created my LLC for me. I was able to open the account, and even got a credit card for my business in the mail, but people from the Flemington branch kept calling me to say the account would be or had been closed because the main office wasn't happy with my paperwork. Admittedly, I was realizing every few days that I’d gotten other documents from my registered agent that I should give to the bank. But instead of knowing which additional documents I needed to provide them and asking me for those documents, the people at my bank were claiming the business wasn’t created properly. Which is not something a banker who isn't a lawyer should be asserting.
Anyhow, I got my initial deposit money back Friday because it was clear the woman I’m assuming is the branch manager wasn’t going to allow me to keep a business checking account at this bank no matter what paperwork I produced. So now I’ll have to start back at square one, with a different bank, on Monday.
I'm going to make Huge Hound Frozen Desserts LLC happen. There's no question. I've just got to keep plugging away.
I've also been down the past few days because I've been battling bronchitis brought on by severe allergies. I've felt pretty good today and yesterday, but the past several nights I've slept on the couch so as not to keep my boy awake all night from my coughing.
Early last week, I had some fun with my gravelly-sounding voice; I was serving up Brenda Vaccaro tampon commercial realness. And on Tuesday evening, it was like puberty all over again: Tony said I went through a whole octave during a single sentence at dinner. But now, I'm just so over not feeling like my usual self. I finally went to my doctor on Thursday, and he recommended some herbal medications1: a nondrowsy antihistamine and something for my lung issues. They seem to be helping—and not just in a placebo-effect kind of way—but they haven't exactly been magic elixirs either.
Now I can write about the fun and eventful long weekend Tony and I spent in New York last weekend. We saw two musicals on Saturday, I went to the Game Party on Sunday for the first time since the move, and we got some other things done too, including picking up a marriage license at City Hall on Monday.
The Saturday afternoon musical was She Loves Me, a charming bit of fluff buoyed by the amazingly talented Laura Benanti, whom I was catching onstage for the fourth time. It was also fun to experience live performances by Jane Krakowski (30 Rock and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the latter of which Tony and I are superfans of, even though I haven't previously mentioned that show on the blog, and, on Broadway, Nine, for which she won the 2003 Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Musical) and Zachary Levi (Telenovela2 and, on Broadway, First Date), both of whom I had seen only on TV. The other big star of the show was the main set, the interior of a perfume shop in Budapest, which was freakin' gorgeous.
The evening musical, which we saw with Eugene, was Southern Comfort, a show about a group of friends, most of whom are transgender, living in rural Georgia. Borrowing a line from Tony, I liked parts of the show, including a few memorable songs. But I found the book to be too much expository talk and not enough drama. And I didn't find the conflict between two of the main characters, Robert and Jackson, to be engaging. From the get-go, we see Jackson being only a jerk toward Robert—a man we're told has been a father figure to Jackson and a huge help during the latter's transition from woman to man—and get no sense of the terrific relationship they might once have had. So I didn't find myself rooting for them to reconcile before Robert dies—in a tragically ironic twist of fate—of ovarian cancer, like we're obviously supposed to do. I'm glad I saw the show, at Eugene's suggestion, but I think it needs some more work before it's a fully realized play. (You can watch, for free, the 2001 documentary on which this musical was based here. It took a while for the video to load for me Friday, but it ultimately did. I haven't taken the time to watch it yet.)
Before the show, the three of us had an early dinner at Brick Lane Curry House, our go-to restaurant near the Public Theater. It's moved from "the very little Little India" on 6th Street to a less-out-of-the-way location, on 2nd Avenue, with a gorgeous bar.
After the show, we enjoyed some wine in our hotel's restaurant, Charlie Palmer at the Knick. A bartender took a photo for us as we were leaving:
The next morning, Tony and I visited the Schultieses in Park Slope. Abbe will be a high school freshman in September, and Zane will be starting middle school. Holy cow.
I took the kids their Christmas presents. All books. Despite everyone's best efforts, Zane isn't that fond of reading, and he clearly was not impressed with his gifts: the first three books from the newest Tom Swift series, which has gotten very positive reviews on Amazon.
I never knew until I started working on this post that the highly problematic police weapon the Taser was inspired by and named after Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle, which was a rather racist and capitalist-imperialist book, published in 1911, that was part of the first series of young-adult TS novels. (The ones I read as a kid were from the second series and featured the original TS's son.) And I was reminded of Tom Swifties, bits of wordplay that are an homage to the Tom Swift authors' penchant for using adverbs to describe the ways in which their guy said things.
I'm pretty certain Abbe will enjoy the books I got her: Crossing Into Brooklyn by Mary Ann McGuigan, who hired me at the magazine oh-so-many years ago, and I'll Give You the Sun, which I read about in Tony's Brown University alumni magazine (fancy!).
I didn't take a picture of the whole Schulties family, but here's a good shot of Mr. Peterson. :-):
Back in Manhattan, we tasted potential wine and cocktail selections for our wedding reception at Margaux. To eat, Tony had fruit salad and a bowl of olives, and I had the vegan Lacinato Kale Salad that will be part of our wedding menu and a cauliflower soup that won't (because it wasn't an option):
Someone who I assume is a regular customer brought her pupper into the bar area of the restaurant where we were seated:
The Sunday manager was really busy covering for workers who had called out, but the bartender, Danny, was super friendly and showed us the solarium where the ceremony and dinner will be taking place. I was totally disappointed to learn the plants I had seen through the doorway off the main room when we'd previously dined at Margaux are all—every last one—fake. *sigh* It's still a lovely room:
Next up, we checked out of the Knickerbocker and into our new hotel, the Plaza Athénée. Then I walked uptown a bit and through Central Park to sweet pad–having Game Party host Mark's apartment.
I kicked butt at charades, but longtime Game Partier David kicked even more butt.
Jack and I were leaving the party at the same time, so I asked him if he wanted to visit with Tony at the hotel. Jack took this pic of me in front of a blooming magnolia in the park:
I'm almost too embarrassed to mention here that I got us lost in the park, emerging on the same side, the west side, from which we'd entered. *hangs head in shame* Jack asked at one point whether we were heading back west, but I said I didn't think so and pressed on. I still don't know how I did that.
Eventually, after I'd texted Tony to say why we were taking so long, we made it over to the east side and down to the hotel. Tony was very hungry, so the three of us immediately went for dinner to our standby restaurant near my old office, Lilli and Loo. (Coincidentally, two of my former colleagues at the magazine, on the art team, were named Lily and Lou.)
The next day, our main priority before we had to catch the 1 o'clock bus to Flemington was getting our marriage license. The clerk who helped us at City Hall was sweet and wished us well. While we were waiting for our number to be called, I enjoyed looking at newly married couples emerging from the wedding chapel. Here's the obligatory selfie:
Our second priority was getting something to eat for lunch and stocking up on Guittard chocolate chips, which we can't find anywhere else, at Whole Foods. We didn't have time for me to stop at my New York–based savings bank and close out that account. Maybe I can do that online.
Speaking of chocolate, I developed a very good Chocolate-Ginger Vegan Ice Cream that scoops like a dream and in no way tastes or (mouth)feels like you're missing out by eschewing dairy. When I posted a photo of it on Facebook, my friends went wild:
I still have some tinkering to do with my Tangelo VIC. My first go-round could have used more zest, for flavor, and more thickener, to better offset the greater amount of liquid contributed by the fresh-squeezed tangelo juice:
Btw, I'm referring to these products as "vegan ice creams" here, but when I sell them, they'll be "vegan frozen desserts" because they don't meet the requirements to legally be called ice creams as set forth by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
1I like that my doctor doesn't automatically throw an antibiotic at me. It's part of the reason why I returned to his medical practice after I moved back to the Hunterdon-Bucks area. He and his colleagues aren't opposed to pharmaceuticals (he wrote a prescription for the anti-anxiety drug I've been taking for a long time now), but they consider other options. I fondly remember the time they quickly cured my pink eye by giving me an eye wash containing eyebright, among other herbs.
2There are two things mentioned in that linked post that are worth updating in this here footnote: We did follow through with our contractor about the things in our kitchen that had been left undone or had been done incorrectly, and he fixed everything. Woot! And Grady, who had been starting to make demands of us (and disturbing especially Tony) as early as 4:30 in the damn morning, is now letting us sleep in to a more reasonable time and sometimes as late as 7:45. That's because, at Tony's suggestion, we've started splitting up the dogs' meals into three servings throughout the day, so they go to sleep on a full stomach.