A Slice of Now

Northampton declared a snow emergency today. It sounds worse than it is – but I love that they use the words “declare” and “emergency” because the effect is a feeling of imminent doom.

Some pictures from this morning – how timely of me!

We are hiding from the storm at Thornes, a local shopping complex across the street from our place — where there is consistent warm. It’s quiet here — everyone else must be hiding at home.

Recently things have veered to the slow lane. …I spend most days addressing large teams of men at our property or meeting with men in their warm city official offices. Fitz and I take turns at the computer, oscillating through “Amber Lane’s Greatest Hits”: building design — research about building codes and accessibility — writing Curio’s business plan — working on financial projections — searching for glassware — researching fixtures — and searching Craig’s List for our next coup (and ensuing new friends).

On Thursday we visited Western New England University’s School of Law because we have been selected to receive free legal services for their spring semester! We will be the little test monkeys for the second year law students — as they help us file the paperwork that will give birth to Curio. On Thursday we had our initial interview to determine what services we’ll need. Afterword, we stole a few hours in the school’s lobby (free heat!) to write a narrative about Curio for a loan application.

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How serious!

And, yes, I did say loan application because… despite our best efforts to save money and trim costs… this beast has blossomed beyond our current financial abilities. Our plumbing alone will put our plumber’s eldest through college. The staggering weight of rules and laws beyond our control comes into the edges of our vision, pressing into cracks we didn’t know existed. ABS must become cast iron. 1 bathroom must become 2. And not simply 1 unisex handicap accessible and 1 unisex non-handicap… but no… 2 full-blown handicap accessible bathrooms, large enough for these individuals to do full 360 degree rotations – wheelies of joy within the bathroom walls, private wheelchair dances for 1. So our design continues to shift… slipping further from common sense and the achievable and further into concrete trenching and re-routing the entire plumbing stack. Things like that.

On the bright side, $1.99 gas ensures we can run for the hills at any time and afford the journey!

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$1.99 America!

So we press on. And we try to celebrate as often as we bang our heads into the wall. On Friday we met with the Head Building Inspector to review our final layout and it appears to be right on track! All signs point to yes we can open a cafe. We just have a few more points to wrap up before we submit the application for the building permit and get permission to begin the build out. Yesterday, we met an amazing couple in Amherst who are selling their cafe (and all its contents) after 14 years in business. We secured our triple ware washing sink from them — as well as a ton in incidentals — and two more new friendships to boot! And, we just received presents from eBay — fancy new glassware to continue building our laundry list of supplies to get this business going.

A slice of life from Amber Lane. Forever oscillating between the big and small.

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