Well, of course, a book launch couldn’t go smoothly, could it? Tomorrow is launch day and I had set aside today to prepare things. Unfortunately, my laptop had a mind of its own. Around 11 PM last night, it decided it wouldn’t boot up anymore. And it wasn’t just resting, it was dead.
I tried to get hold of my computer geek first thing this morning. (My apologies to the wrong number I woke up — so sorry!)
So instead of going to the grocery store to pick up the ingredients for the Cuban dishes I had planned to make today, I ended up sitting in our Royal LePage IT office for an hour while our IT folks tried to figure out what was wrong. (A big shout-out to Barry for taking the time to calm me down.) Luckily, it wasn’t the hard drive, but something to do with a corrupt sector. However, they couldn’t fix it so I ran over to Compulite where I left the problem for the amazing Samesh Naidoo to solve.
While I waited to hear from Samesh, I went home and got started on the tostone appetizers. While I fried and smashed the plantains (and quite vigorously, given my stress levels — Cuban food is great for working out frustrations), I put four quarts of lemon Jello in the fridge to set for the dessert I planned to make.
About 30 minutes later, I saw yellow liquid seeping across the kitchen floor. I opened the fridge to discover that all the shelves and vegetable trays were full of yellow Jello–there was a slit in the bowl and Jello had leaked under the shelves and out the door. Gahh! (Even after damp-mopping the floor a dozen times, I’m still sticking to it. My dog may never forgive me.)
Beau’s delivered beer today (I love those guys) and Denis Perrault from Domaine Perrault dropped off wine (can’t wait to try it!). Michael Bein, the manager for Caridad Cruz and Cesar Ricardo, who will be playing at the launch, called me to confirm the time.
After I got off the phone with Michael, I ran back to the store for more Jello and ran into Doug McLarty, who is one of the sponsors of the launch– he made a very generous donation. (He told me he read the book and really liked it. Whew! That could have been awkward.)
Then I ran back home where I managed to get my feet unstuck and cooked the pork adobo and picadillo for tomorrow. The tostone appetizers are sort of done, too (they will be re-fried tomorrow and topped with cream cheese and red pepper jelly) and I managed to re-make the jello dessert that had landed on the floor. I should have time tomorrow to make 200 little Cuban sandwiches, a Cuban coconut flan, and a shrimp mango salad.My amazing pals (at work and elsewhere) are handling the rest.
By the time I’d finished the picadillo, Samesh called to say my laptop was ready. I ran over to Compulite to pick up my computer and when I got home, found I’d missed around 200 emails. One of them was from a fact-checker from Ottawa Magazine who I spoke to for a half hour (Mark Bourrie’s story about TBO will be out in late March).
With a working computer again, I checked Twitter and discovered (thanks to my pal Anne Devereux) that I’m in Zoomer Magazine ! Another friend emailed me a picture of TBO on the front shelves at Chapters in the Rideau Centre! I also discovered that Sarah of Sarah J”s Cupcakes was working on the cupcakes (red velvet with cream cheese icing and done in the Penguin logo) and that Kate Green of Kate Green Cakes is busy making the 1957 Chevy cake (chocolate ganache, buttercream and expresso, in keeping with the Cuban theme).
I hope that today was the day where all the bad juju worked its way out, but I can tell you, it got me thinking about the Cuban orisha, Eshu, who pops up in my books –he’s reputed to be quite a trickster!
I think that despite all today’s glitches, everything is falling into place. Fingers crossed! Stay tuned for pics!
Update: No, the bad mojo was still hanging around right up to launch time. The tostones looked lovely but tasted horrid; threw them all out. The second jello attempt slid off the plate as I tried to load it for transport and joined its yellow friend. And I spilled food on my good outfit loading platters in my car to take to the event (the person who was going to help me was unable to get over on time because someone stole his laptop, so I was rushing) and had to run home to get changed. Sigh. But after that, it all went quite well!