Friday, August 31, 2012

On the Brink

Someone asked me last weekend while we were out leisurely picking grapes on a beautiful day, "How are you handling all of this?"

And I said, "You mean being a full-time working mom to a busy toddler, wife to a busy man, running a vineyard during harvest season, hosting house guests and a revolving door of people at our house every single day, having construction going on, keeping our house clean, getting all of our licenses and permits in order to start a winery and all the other issues that come up with starting a business, trying to keep two humongous dogs out of the way all the time, keeping up with a bountiful garden, cooking, laundry, making final decisions to get ready to start on a major house project, and then being pregnant and preparing for a newborn who is set to arrive in approximately 9 weeks? You mean how am I handling all of that?"

Then I laughed nervously, pulled a clump of hair out of my head, and got down on the ground and started moo-ing.

No, I didn't.


But I did joke that I was on the brink of a nervous break-down.  Really, I'm not.  Just don't ask me to be the poster child for stress-management.  As I have said before, these are all (for the most part) good things happening.  But there is a reason why most people choose to start a vineyard and winery in retirement...and not in their 30s in the middle of busy careers and starting a family.  BUT, we wouldn't trade it for the world.  It is such an adventure and it is still just the beginning!

I told Aaron that for one day, sometime before I give birth, I want my biggest action item and stress point of the day to be to decide which flower headbands I should buy for my baby girl on  Just one day is all I ask.

Aaron, being the good husband that he is, and whose plate is also overloaded with the same aforementioned reasons (plus some), keeps saying to me, "Let me handle this. I don't want you to stress about anything. You just concentrate on nesting right now."

But, I can't.  It's too hard for me to keep my hands out of all this excitement and not be involved!   I told him that I'm a lost little birdie who doesn't even know where to build a nest anyway.  Because, you see, if all goes according to plan, we are still planning to break ground on our house addition/remodel in late October.  Which means, we'll have to move-in with my parents for a while, sometime hopefully before the baby arrives.  Nothing like calling it close, right?  My due date is November 5th!


So, here are some good things that have happened this past week:

  • We harvested grapes! I haven't blogged about this, but have been posting pictures on our Facebook page from our first two weekends of picking.  Despite the morning starting off with a little traffic accident in front of our house, resulting in a car knocking over our mailbox at 8am and a sheriff coming to the scene, we still had a blast that day.  Plus, Uncle Don was in town and had a new post built and mailbox replaced within hours!
  • We bottled 32 cases of wine from our last year's grapes (the amount we kept for personal production)!  Thanks to Aaron's family who all came in from out of town last weekend to help with harvest, they spent all of Saturday night bottling up our Marquette and Frontenac Gris. I don't know what we'd do without them!  Thanks, Schrams!

What a team with such an effective assembly line.

  • We had an awesome response to our bottled Marquette from a wide range of wine drinkers during a wine tasting last weekend.  I am looking forward to sitting down with a glass or two sometime this winter, but am jealous of everyone who gets to drink it now!
  • We had our state inspection and received approval for our State Farm Winery license!  This was the last and FINAL step in getting everything we need to actually start producing wine to be used for commercial production. We got our federal license within 30 days of submitting our application (which might be a world record).  And we got our state permit less than two weeks after getting our federal.   Turns out, persistence pays off!  During this whole process, someone I had been working with on one of our various licenses along the way said in an email, "You are the most prompt person I have ever worked with, bar none!"  I had to laugh and told him that I was on a mission to get all this stuff complete!  And now we are done with all FOUR levels of government approvals--Township, County, State, and Federal. BAM!
  • The winery building renovations are complete! Aaron can move all the tanks in and has the space now to work his magic.  So much better than our basement!  Once it is all spiffed up, I'll post pictures.
  • We got our final, final house plans done.  I know...I've said that before.  But we've been working on making revisions and some cut backs the last few months and feel good about these floorplans.  If estimates all come back as we are expecting them to, we should be in good shape!
  • Baby Schram-ette is doing great!  Doctor had some relatively mild concerns since my tummy was measuring on the small side, so we did an ultrasound to check out baby's growth.  Turns out, she is measuring in the 55th percentile!  Perfect!  Keep it up, little one!  Plus, I got some fun 3D ultrasound pictures and got to see her sweet little face.
  • We had a bunch of trees cut down.  We are starting to make room for house expansion.  Plus, I might sleep a little better at night knowing the tree behind our house that started uprooting during that big wind storm a few weeks ago and has since been lightly leaning on another tree, now isn't a threat to fall on our house the next time we have a big storm.  Phew!  
Okay, off to the store to get ready for the weekend.  More grape-picking tomorrow!  Come join us if you wish!