Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Bartemptress' Triumphant Return

Holy cow Bartemptees! It's been a while! I can't believe it's been almost 2 years to the day since my last blog entry. It's been quite a whirlwind since September 2008, which somewhat explains, but does not completely excuse my absence.

I fell off the face of blogger earth when my best friend in Liverpool, England asked me to help plan her wedding. I threw all of my spare time and energy into designing and planning a barrel of money's themed wedding at one of the oldest zoo's in the U.K. By the end of 2008, I had been laid off twice in 3 months due to the crumbling economy. I finally got another job a few months before crossing the pond; just in time to gather up a little spending money for the trip. The wedding was a huge hit, and so were the 200 cupcakes my husband and I baked and dressed for the occasion. We spent a wonderful 2 weeks visiting with friends, seeing the northern sights, drinking lots of beer and a little gin & Pim's for good measure. Then we tried to fly home...

Upon arriving at Heathrow from Manchester, we were told our flight would be delayed due to a problem with one of the engines on the plane that was to fly us from London to Washington D.C. We waited, and waited, got a complimentary Caipirinha , and waited some more. Near 1 a.m. Greenwich time, we were shuffled out to the terminal and told they were replacing the part on the plane and they would be busing us out to the tarmac in order to take off as soon as the work was finished. Not with my happy ass on it! My husband and I have seen "Final Destination" enough times to know when not to get on a plane. This was one of those times. Luckily we were able to get our luggage before the ill-fated trans-Atlantic flight took off for it's untested voyage. We found a (ritzy) hotel that would offer us a discount since I was employed by the same hotel chain. We checked in, emailed my friend in London, took a hot shower and got some well deserved rest after a longer day than expected. When we went back to Heathrow the next morning, we were told we could use our tickets for a stand-by flight, but we should wait until after the weekend since it's not likely for people to miss the more expensive weekend flights. This meant that we had Wednesday through Sunday to run all over London, and run all over so we did.

We stayed with my best friends (who's wedding I'd just planned & attended) ex-boyfriend, who very coincidentally, had just gotten married the previous weekend. He and his new (and pregnant) wife were lovely hosts who helped us navigate confusing bus systems and met us for lunch and shopping at my favorite market in Camdentown. I have visited London twice before and have been studying googlemaps for years hoping to one day go back and show my husband everything we've ever wanted to see there. We didn't see everything, but my memory of those maps got us everywhere we wanted to go. I will admit to breaking out the handy A-Z when we got a little lost in Soho, but other than that, I knew London by heart. I can't wait to go back to find a new route through the old city.

By the time we returned from our excellent London adventure, we had both lost our jobs and would lose our apartment soon after. While in London, my father-in-law had another heart attack and was officially diagnosed with congestive heart failure. My mother-in-law, who is also not in the prime of health, called us asking us to move back to Florida to help them in their time of need, in return for free rent. So we packed up the place and U-hauled it to south Florida.

We have now been in FL over a year and have yet to find regular jobs. I picked up a job selling wine and liquor at Costco stores for local distributors. It's nice work and good money when I can get it, but it's only a few weekends a month from October thru February. The rest of the year, we've been getting by on food stamps and doing odd jobs. Unfortunately, fixing the occasional computer and mowing a few neighborhood lawns will not get us on "Forbes Magazine's" wealthiest people list anytime soon.

Working in the restaurant and liquor biz for many years has turned me into quite the successful experimental chef and mixologist. I've had a million and one ideas and written hundreds of business plans for my own restaurant, but who's got the money for that? Not me, and not anytime soon. So I decided since I can't find a regular job and my own restaurant is a pipe dream at best, I'd begin submitting recipes to contests. If I can't make money at a Joe-job, hopefully I can win some by doing what I love to do; cooking and drinking booze! This epiphany has prompted my return to my long neglected blog.

I discovered a recipe contest for kiwi fruit offering a grand prize trip to New Zealand. Being a big fan of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (and the Lord of the Rings films), I have always dreamed of visiting the North and South Islands, but the prohibitive price of airfare has ensured I remain dreaming. Coincidentally, the night before I found out about this contest, I was checking on ticket prices from Miami to Auckland, finding nothing less than 2G's per person. OUCH!

The kiwi contest requires entrants to write a blog entry (on an established blog) about New Zealand kiwi, including an original recipe using the fruit in a creative way. I immediately began contemplating the possibilities of the kiwi and how it relates to my established blog format. Eureka! Time to get the creative cocktail kiwi juices flowing.

So I am here to re-introduce myself before laying down a new blog entry for my first contest. I feel it's the respectful thing to do. But do keep an eye on the horizon for new and exciting blog entries, the first including kiwi, and hopefully a follow-up blog about all the wonderful British beer the hubby and tried and enjoyed over our English holiday.

I will join you again as soon as my kiwi liqueur has finished steeping for a week or so. Until then... Cheers mate!