Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Show me the Cash Money

Our story begins last week Saturday. The Rhino and I had to get up super early so we could formally purchase Bloomy1, our very first food truck! Boss! We were so excited about this fact that we went to Rhino’s company holiday party the night before, which was being held at Chino Latino in Uptown, and proceeded to have one* cocktail.
* More than one

We then meandered over to Williams, which apparently has gone from an “early 20s preppie crowd trying hard to impress all the other early 20s preppies” that I loved dearly when I was 22 (somehow, just tossing your peanut shells on the floor without getting yelled at seems both devious and delicious, like you’re breaking the fundamental rule learned when you were three that “YOU DON’T THROW YOUR TRASH ON THE FLOOR!”) to an “early 20s hipster crowd trying hard to impress all the other early 20s hipsters” that, being an almost-30 grown up, now makes me cringe and think, “look at all those deviants just throwing their peanut trash on the floor. Would you do that in your own house? I don’t think so!” In any case, we had one* more cocktail before hailing a cab back home.

* More than one

We finally made it to bed around 3:30am and fell into a blissful sleep. Less than five hours later, my alarm clock started chirping, and we had to pry ourselves out of bed and go to Ham Lake to pick up Bloomy1. We were very, very grumpy. We are not morning people. 

We had procrastinated on picking up the funds for this purchase beforehand so needed to make a bank stop to take out a rather large stack of cash. No worries though, I had it all planned out. We would go to the Eden Prairie bank, take out the large stack of cash, and get to Ham Lake by our mutually agreed-upon time of 10:30. When we got to the bank, however, we discovered that their lobby was closed on Saturdays (despite what was noted on the website). What?! Ever the optimist, I responded by saying in a loud cheerful voice “Okay! We’ll just go to the drive thru!” Once in the drive thru lane, we were made to understand that the cap on cash withdrawals was $3,000. We needed more than two times that much. I started sweating.

At the teller’s advice, we drove to the Wayzata bank location, a mere 25 minutes away. Neither of us knew where in Wayzata this bank was, even though I’d lived in Wayzata (a city of just 3.2 square miles, according to Wikipedia) for two years before I met the Rhino. We fought. However, with the help of our smart phones, we figured out where the bank was (after at least one wrong turn) and I immediately realized that I had driven or walked past this very bank over 1,000 times before. The lobby sign said “closed.”

At this point, I decided not to be optimistic anymore and started having a whack attack. I figured that I would be forced to go to the drive thru and default to my verbal judo tactics in order to negotiate my way into the large stack of cash we needed, despite the $3,000 cap.

Here’s a transcript of what ensued:

KJ: Drives up to the teller window
Teller: “How can I help you today scary lady?”
KJ: <This is the point at which I cast my verbal judo spell using what I learned during Basic Training:* large words, distraction techniques, active listening, and street truths.>
KJ: Pause for response
Teller: “Well, you can’t take out that amount of money using the drive thru window so you’ll have to come into the lobby!”
KJ: “Wait, the lobby is open?!?!”
Teller: “It sure is!”
KJ: “Um…”

*I have never taken Basic Training.

So, needless to say, my verbal judo tactics were successful and we walked into the fake-closed lobby to get our dollars. By the time we were halfway to Ham Lake, we were both staring googly eyed at the stack of cash and saying things like “Do you need some change? Oh, well let me see if I have any!” and “Ok, it’s my turn to hold it now!”.

Rhino enjoyed holding the dollars.

The guy we were buying Bloomy1 from lives in a ginormous castle with a circle driveway and stone lion statues everywhere. I like pretending that I live there. He invited us inside to his office/library/museum and we spent the remainder of the time signing paperwork and trying not to touch any of his fancy museum pieces. We sadly handed over our cash money but drove away with our very own truck!! This moment made me remember the story about letting birds (money) go free and sometimes the birds (money) will come back to you.

Anyway, we are very gratefully storing Bloomy1 at Rhino’s mom’s house until we drop it off at the makeover garage for its transformation from empty truck shell to fully operational Bloomy’s on wheels.

Rhino spent the remainder of last weekend and early week learning neat things about food, as he had to take his official Food Manager exam on Wednesday at 1pm. This exam required all of the following things:

1. $175
2. Extensive preparation and completion of numerous learning modules
3. An easy-to-use flash card system created by yours truly (#goteam or #nerd, your choice)
4.  A one hour drive to the exam station, in Mankato, which necessitated 
5. That Rhino take a PTO day

I am happy to report that the exam went without hitch and the Rhino passed with flying colors! Now he spends his days informing me of proper food storage techniques, and I practice multi-tasking by both listening to him and reading the new (and very funny) Tina Fey book. I’ve had to learn to laugh on the inside.

Last Friday brought our first meeting with Mr. Mark “Awesome” Palm from Chameleon Carts. Mark is the brains and brawn behind the Bloomy1 makeover. We got to see the inside of another food truck makeover he had done as well as a warehouse stocked with equipment as far as my eyes could see. I stared, Rhino drooled, and we both got a little giddy. With Mark’s help, we are about 1,000+ steps closer to finalizing the details of the Bloomy1 makeover. And he gave us some kettle popcorn to boot. We ate all of it. We were happy.

The ensuing week was spent putting the dozens of Kickstarter reward packages together and making the handful of last minute holiday package shippers who were waiting in line at the post office very very very angry. After three Christmas celebrations and lots of laughs and memories with our families, the Rhino and I settled gratefully into our week of vacation time away from our day jobs.

So that brings us up to the present. I am attempting to convince the Rhino to make another video (for a top secret project) but it is a tough sell considering what happened last time. He’s avoiding my sales techniques and celebrating the fact that he won the Fantasy League chalice this year. <Insert Rhino comment here: "Whatever! It's engraved!">> We never put up our Christmas tree. Well, you can’t win them all.

Happy new year from these two food truck fanatics. We’ve had an amazing 2011 and hope you have too. 2012 - bring it on!

Peace, love & roast beef,

Rhino & Katie

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Verbal Judo & the Rhino Rap

First off, I have to share that I actually wrote this blog like a week and a half ago and then forgot to post it. So… oops. Anyway. Here it is although updated in the form of small rant and a picture at the end.

The Blog.

Ok, I know that this is supposed to be an educational and informative blog but can I just take a moment to say the following:


For those of you who have followed the blog since its inception in May, you can understand how completely crazy this whole adventure has been. I mean, think about it. I remember back to that mind blowing day in May when I realized my lifelong dream of making money (after which I Googled “how to make money” and explored the extensive and very attainable list of options provided (such as “design and execute a complex con situation during which you get ridiculously injured by a rich person. Then sue them for causing you psychological issues”. See first blog for other enlightening ideas.)). Now, 6 months later, the Rhino and I have done exactly all of the following things:

1) Brainstormed a wicked business idea.
2) Wrote a 65 page business plan that took approximately over 100 hours.
3) Bought stylish, 007-like dark sunglasses for our sleuthing operation.  I lost mine immediately and had to get new ones. Then I lost those too.
4) Got almost-approval for an actual bank loan (which is a nearly impossible process right now given our awesomesauce economy. Thanks guys! Good job!).
5) Made a minor motion picture (I’d watch your back M. Night Shyamalan. Just saying.)
6) Ate approximately 17 pounds of roast beef, each.
7) Got engaged. Ahhh! This was my favorite part, obvi.
8) Met a few new foodie friends.
9) Made our HDTV debut before which we deep cleaned the house for two days straight.  
10) Bid our prized nest egg a very (very, very, very) tearful adieu. I still find myself crying for no reason and figure that I am stuck in the fourth stage of mourning. 
11) Perfected our “working relationship” so now we don’t want to strangle one another anymore (this only happened occasionally). This achievement now requires that we fight like grownups, which isn’t nearly as fun as throwing tantrums and saying things like “you’re a dummy head!” 
12) Started planning an event for over 100 people! I have never done this before and am really scared/excited/nervous/anxious/excited. Mostly excited.

Wow! Phew! I feel like I blinked 1.5 times and now we’re here. This reminds me of a special story my dad used to tell me when I was a kid: “life just gets faster as you get older, so enjoy it while you can.” Actually writing it down makes me realize that it is not a story at all and probably one of those things that everyone says (but important to note nonetheless).

In any case, I have a feeling that the next 6 months will be more exciting, more slamazing, and more life changing than the last. Bring. It. On.

Bloomy’s at the bank (again).

The Rhino and I went back to Anchor Bank last week for the “beginning of the end” mega-paperwork signing marathon during which I received a finger callous and a hand cramp and we both discovered extra closing costs that came to no surprise for anyone in the room except for us. This latter discovery prompted the Rhino to share several personal opinions that succeeded in severely pissing off the head bank lady and resulted in me verbally judoing* the Rhino in the parking lot. But, we prevailed and we’re on schedule to close next week.

* verbal judo (n): tactical communications. Involved in this are things like (as quoted from the verbal judo Basic Training description): professional intervention, peace phrases, active listening, and street truths (such as two people equals six people). The Rhino and I can't figure out if they just don't know how to do math properly or if they have some sort of awesome replication/holographic service.

** Update **
We’ve unfortunately run into yet another bank obstacle. You’d think that getting a bank loan so you could start a business to provide yummy sandwiches and economic support would be slightly less difficult than achieving the gold medal for the 400 meter hurdle event in the Olympics. But, alas, it is not and the Rhino and I are now navigating more paperwork that the bank says will take (but we hope it won’t take) another 60 days to process. You can imagine my demonic reaction to this news, but we’re brushing the dust off of our butts once again and trying not to ask them, “um, why did we not learn about this until the week before we’re supposed to close? Could we not have learned about this 3 months ago when we first started this thing?” Anyway. <Heavy sigh.> I’m going to go listen to some Boyz II Men and cry a bit. BRB. 

Bloomy’s in the news (again).
A few Thursdays ago, the Rhino and I met up with a lovely freelance writer who is doing a foodie story with the City Pages. We rolled out of bed long before the sun came out, bared the chilly 14 degree weather, and headed to a nearby coffee shop to meet with the charming Tricia Cornell.

We proceeded to chat Tricia’s ears off about Kickstarter, Bloomy’s, adventures, life in general, and deer hunting season (during which the Rhino didn’t get anything but after which he saw two trophy bucks taunting him in various ways. I saw the second one and said “look, there’s a moose!” <Insert Rhino eye roll here>).

The story – hopefully minus the moose sighting - should be out in the next few weeks.
**Update ** It’s out now, just yesterday! Here you go! City Pages Article

Thanks to Tricia for braving Bloomyland! We’re glad we met you before we learned about our new bank obstacle cuz we both have fury flying out of our eyeballs right now, and I’m thinking it’s a bit scary.

Social Media Update

For those of you who rely on Facebook to get Bloomy’s business and blog updates, you will now need to become an official fan of Bloomy's on Facebook as the Rhino and I are reclaiming our personal profile pages. So, if you haven’t already, “like” Bloomy's on Facebook otherwise you will lose out on all future Bloomy’s Facebook updates. And we all know how awful life would become if that happens.

Backer Reward Update
We’ve officially received all responses from our wonderful backers and have the rewards ordered and on their way! You should be receiving them just in time for the wintery holiday coming up. I know everyone will want to wear their comfy Bloomy’s apparel around the yuletide log while drinking egg nog and singing carols. I know I do.  
Misc. Updates
So we’ve been toiling away on our various to do lists but have also been fortunate enough to take some much needed R&R and spend time with our wonderful families. I also got to see the Rhino in full-on kiddo mode over Thanksgiving. A mode that included piggy back rides, a game of Hungry Hippos, and a spontaneous + spectacular performance of the “Holiday Conga Line Featuring Rhino and the Fantastic Five Nieces & Nephews.”  The Conga Line quickly became a source of endless, low-cost holiday entertainment for everyone involved (and fulfilled my physical exercise quota for the day, even though I only participated by sitting on the couch and clapping my hands. It’s the thought that counts, as they say.). In any case, the Rhino and I truly enjoyed our much needed time away from Bloomyland reality but are excited about the…

Next Order of Business


The Rhino and I MAY have some very exciting news about the food truck. We MAY have found said truck and MAY have decided to purchase it. I MAY have posted a picture below for your viewing pleasure (if you’re wondering what’s up with the weird crappy paint job that does absolutely nothing to cover up the Doritos logo, pay no mind. We’re on it.). 

The Rhino was so excited that he immediately broke into song (rap song, that is). It went a little something like this:

The Rhino Food Truck Rap

“I hope I don’t have to look no more
Cuz I been lookin’ at trucks till I hit the floor!”

That’s all he has so far. I think it’s coming along great though.

Anyway, stay tuned for some exciting news about the where, when, and how behind one of the most important pieces of this roast beef endeavor. Until next time!