So B and I have been working at Calico for a little over a month, and we’ve recently met a LOT of our Instagram following (which we’re super excited about)! But there’s been something on my heart that I feel like I need to share and to clarify. Something clicked in my mind today while I was at work. You don’t see a lot of husband and wife couples working together in front of customers. Sure there are couples who work in the kitchen together, or make t-shirts together, or run a business together – but those are usually all behind closed doors. It’s rare to see a couple working together in front of people. And I don’t mean in the same room together; I mean side by side relying on each other together. We have to direct each other, correct each other, work around each other, and communicate effectively – all while talking to customers and getting drinks out quickly. If you’re married, I’m sure you can imagine how difficult that could be. And unfortunately, that doesn’t leave a lot of time or space for politeness.
Our relationship is not your typical lovey-dovey-husband-and-wifey relationship. I’m a hardass. I’m good at what I do, and I’m stubborn about it. B is a compassionate and helpful man who just so happened to be trained by me (and just so happened to pick up some of my stubbornness.) And we’re pretty comfortable going back and forth on things that are important to us. We’re very real with each other, all of the time. And sometimes that can come across negatively as picking on each other. But here’s the deal. We’re very much in love. And one of the BEST parts of our relationship is how real we can be with each other and how grumpy we can be towards the other without it damaging our bond. That sounds backwards, believe me, we know. But it works for us.
One of my main things is being honest about who I am. I want to be real with myself, and my husband, and my customers. I don’t ever want to give off the impression that I’m only nice because I’m supposed to be. I want to get to know my customers on a deeper level than just memorizing their name or their drink order. And I believe that starts with me. If I can’t be real with you, why would I expect you to be real with me? I’m on this earth to build relationships, and I can’t do that if my personality isn’t genuine.
Sometimes you’ll walk in and we’ll be bickering about whether the espresso tastes sour or bitter or salty or whatever. That may not seem important, and it may make you give the ol’ eye roll. And that’s totally cool. But try to understand that we are so passionate about what we do, that an unbalanced espresso is unacceptable in our eyes. And that sounds petty, again, we know. But we go back and forth on different “little” seemingly insignificant details of our jobs because those little details are the things that set our products apart from your chain coffee and mom&pop shops.
Yeah, people will make the argument that the espresso is going to get covered up by milk and syrup so it doesn’t matter if it’s balanced. And we’ve TRIED to use that excuse before. But when it comes down to it, that’s exactly what it is. An excuse. And we can’t in good conscience make that excuse, because we actually care about what you put in your body.
As someone who struggled with my health for years, I completely understand that the things you consume become a commitment to your body. You’re either nourishing it, or you’re destroying it. And sometimes your body doesn’t cooperate even when you’re trying your hardest to nourish it. Sometimes you can’t handle dairy very well, or your body tweaks out when you have caffeine, or your stomach creates a hurricane when you have sugar. AND SOMETIMES YOU JUST DGAF AND THROW CAUTION TO THE WIND, BECAUSE YOU DESERVE TO TREAT YO’SELF. You had a hard day. You had a long week. You’ve been up all night. Whatever the reason – you risk it all to get that good-good knowing damn well it’ll wreak havoc later tonight. So we understand that those are the times that it had better be damn worth it.
So that’s why we bicker about espresso. That’s why we (me especially) tell each other when our milk was steamed subpar. We want to give you the BEST drink that we can possibly make because you deserve it.
We’re human. It’s easy to get offended when my husband tells me I’m not doing my best. It’s easy for him to get grumpy when I’m harping on him about his distribution. It’s complicated and messy when you work so closely with your spouse. It’s a daily challenge to build our character. But it’s making us better; as individuals, as professionals, and as spouses. It’s bringing us closer.
So you might see us bicker from time to time, and you’re probably going to see us flirt from time to time. But what I can guarantee is that you’ll get to experience a genuine, ever-blossoming dynamic. You’ll get to witness two people growing together. We pray every day for God’s grace, compassion, and patience so that we can put our best foot forward and represent Him in the best way that we can that day. But again, we’re human. Somedays we will fall short in representing Him. But every day we try. We try to be courteous to each other and helpful in stressful situations. But we’re still battling our imperfections as people.
I wanted to share this with you because of how important honesty and transparency is to me. I believe that communication is critical, and most misunderstandings are because of a lack of communication. And I don’t want you to misunderstand us. I’m not a professional all the time. I’m hardly a professional 60% of the time. But that’s my dynamic. It’s who I am as a person, and it’s literally who I’m choosing to be. A job doesn’t define a person. There’s an entire 24+ years behind both of us that play into every second of every day and every decision that we make. And while our passions lie within coffee, it’s critical for us to remember that we’re people first and baristas second – every day, all the time.