Walking a Mile in Bad Cake Shoes

20 Apr

Written January 20th:

Not every cake can turn out to be a spectacular creation. Murphy’s Law is bound to visit the kitchen at least occasionally, right? If, by Murphy’s Law, you mean exhausted, frustrated, overwhelmed, and brain dead; then, yeah. It happens. When time allows, we can laugh it off and start anew; but what do you do when time does not allow? You do your best and hand the cake over, hoping that it’s not as bad as you think. After all, by the time we’re done with a cake we’re sick of it. We see every little flaw- every slightly crooked line and every hump that shouldn’t so very few cakes leave this kitchen that we feel are perfect. It’s the nature of the human/cake beast. However, what do you do when, as much as you tried, it really isn’t right?

The basic design was good. The details were not. It simply did not look the way my brain pictured it and I had no idea how to fix it. I brought in the chicklet and she didn’t know, either. She said the whole thing wasn’t right. I said, “This is the approved design. I have to follow the approved design.” She said she didn’t like it and left me to my misery. I asked the head dude around here for his opinion. “It needs something else. This part isn’t right.” Okay, what should I do to fix it? “I don’t know. It’s not right. You need to do something entirely different.” Crud. I can’t. It’s 10 at night, I’m exhausted, I’m supposed to be in bed in half an hour and I haven’t even showered yet. There’s no time for “different” even if I could get the change in design approved at this late hour. The only thing to do is go to bed and hope it miraculously fixes itself overnight. Yeah, right.

The original drawing:

 

The only thing not pictured was a guy walking and the actual colors chosen. The birthday dude racewalked, thus the guy walking. To keep costs down (fondant figures involve a lot of labor cost), I purchased a figure that I hoped I could make look like he was walking. In my defense, the packaging prevented me from touching the actual figure. If I had touched it, I would have known it wouldn’t work. I thought he was wax, but he was plastic. Shoot! You can’t really alter plastic too much. I put gray fondant around one foot and decided he was resting that leg on rocks. That’s as close as I could get.

No one thought it was enough. No me, not the chicklet, not the head dude, and not the client. Not only that, the track didn’t look right and I wasn’t happy with the medallion (too one dimensional for me).

See? It doesn’t look like a track. Looking back, I should have narrowed the lanes, added a third lane, and outlined them-plus put in the starting blocks. The medallion should have been thicker and had a raised edge. I should have figured out how to make the ribbon flow instead of laying flat. See the fondant rocks? There’s a soccer ball underneath. Had I not been afraid I would break the plastic, I would have cut off the soccer ball and left his foot hanging in air- as if he was walking. Small catch, though. Not only is he plastic, he’s hollow plastic. I thought he was solid wax. With solid wax, I could have whacked off the ball and adhered a fondant sole to the bottom of the foot. How I would have explained him slapping his knee, I dunno. So, it still wouldn’t have been perfect, but at least it would have been within the realm of acceptability. But it wasn’t. And I was exhausted. And frustrated. And brain dead. And regretful.  Very regretful.

This cake is one of the reasons I did something I’ve never done before. I quit a job. Not “turn in two week’s notice” quit; “walk in on a Monday morning, pack up your desk, and leave” quit. I was nearly to the point of breaking down completely. It was time to go. Now. Not in two weeks. I was behind on everything that really mattered to me. I wasn’t doing things to help my family other than earning money. Christmas preparations would not be finished.  I was submitting less than stellar work for my college class. I had hardly seen the chicket or junior dude during their free time. The head dude was working by my side as hard as I was and the chicklet was pitching in when asked. It wasn’t enough. We still needed another person to do what we couldn’t. Even if that person had poofed into our lives, we were all still exhausted and brain dead. It sure didn’t help that work sucked. Yeah, sucked. I won’t go into details, but it was bad for my psyche. It was all   simply    too    much. And now I couldn’t even cake any more.

Achieving 80 years is a feat. It deserves a “WOW!” cake and I was entrusted with making that happen. I didn’t. There no “do over” on this. There’s nothing to do but try to clean up the wreckage.  I quit the job and went home to bake, shop, wrap, and clean like my butt was on fire to get ready for Christmas. Once that was accomplished, I decided to create my own “do over.” Nope, not fooling myself. It wasn’t going to make rainbows shine over the land once again, but perhaps it would give me a chance to show how truly sorry I am that the confection I provided wasn’t what was needed. I needed to apologize with more than just words. I did what I did was because I am really sorry to have given bad cake. Not cool.

Cake Redux:

THIS is what I should have done (and placed it on top of the first cake to reach the required number of servings). THIS is a celebration of reaching 80 years and dang! walking more than any of us walk at middle age, much less at 80. My sincerest apologies to Jack, to his family, and to his friends. I hope you get together with them soon and eat cake. Good cake this time.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go make an apology pie for she-who-put-her-work-rep-on-the-line-and-let-me-use-her-as-a-reference.

Today:

Wow! I can’t believe I wrote this way back in January and never posted it. I forgot so completely that I started writing another post about it because I couldn’t find where I had posted it, so surely I must never have written any of this. I forgot how bad it all was, the craziness that was my life a few short months ago, how much I hated that cake, and how bad I felt for letting down the people in my life.

Now that life is nearly completely hunky-dory again, I think it’s high time I posted how I actually made the “I’m so sorry my life screwed up your life” cake.

Stay Tuned for “Taming of the Wild Shoe” or “Ker-shoe!” I haven’t decided on the name yet. Discuss.

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One Response to “Walking a Mile in Bad Cake Shoes”

  1. chick2 April 20, 2010 at 6:45 pm #

    So where’s my pie? 🙂

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