Sunday, July 1, 2018

....and, Life Happened.

Hello Everyone!

I'm sorry its been nearly four months since I wrote an entry. Bad Michelle! As the title says, Life Happened.

It's been a crazy busy few months, filled with caretaking of a family member, doctor and dental appointments, and prepping for two big quilt shows, plus trying to get some work done on my guild's quilt show.

So I guess I should give some bits of what's been going on. For one part, lets just say my part time, 2 day a week caretaking of a family member has increased in both hours per day and frequency. Having had the same schedule for a couple of years now and having that running like a mostly well-oiled machine with the rest of life, the changes threw a monkey wrench in the schedule and I had to re-figure out some things.

Then another family member found out her 'sore shoulder' that physical therapy wasn't helping turned out to be not just a torn rotator cuff, but a shredded rotator cuff, tears in muscles and tendon, and three bone chips floating around. This is requiring a total reverse shoulder replacement in the next couple of months or so, with me helping with driving to doctors appointments and her household chores and day to day life.

Added in to all of this, plus my own family life and household chores, I had two big quilt shows to dye fabric for. I ended up dyeing close to 700 yards. Then I had to wash, dry, iron, cut, and package all of that yardage!  Did I mention I only has six weeks to do all this in, along with everything else going on?

This resulted in late nights, early mornings, and not much time to spend with my husband.

So fast forward to the first weekend in June. My husband took off of work so he could go with me because I had to leave and set up my booth on the same day as our four year wedding anniversary! We borrowed my mom's SUV, loaded up, and headed out early on May 31.

We arrived in Tulsa, Oklahoma, found the venue (thanks to GPS, because I'd probably end up in Missouri without it!), and unloaded. Grabbed lunch at this amazing local Greek place (Thanks Memorie!) and went back to set up the booth.

I had gotten new grid walls and had to put the legs on and figure out the details of my new set up, so we were there until about 5pm. That was a LOT longer than usual! Finally done, we took off to check into our hotel and settle in, then went out to dinner for our anniversary. We were supposed to go see Solo at the theater as well, but decided to see it the next day because we were both exhausted. (just PSA, if a GPS takes you to a location with a mall and says 'you have arrived at your destination' but you don't see it, the location is probably inside the mall and you'll have to drive around until you actually find it! Ask me how I know this :) )

The next two days were slow unfortunately. We didn't have near the sales or even attendance to the show that we were all hoping for, so sadly I won't be able to go back to the show unless attendance improves greatly. But I did get to pick a winner for a shop-sponsored ribbon! I was so excited and I got to meet the lady who created the art quilt! That was an amazing experience!

Saturday we loaded up and went back to our hotel after grabbing dinner. We had originally decided to leave the feet/legs on the grid walls and just hang them off of the edge of the cargo area into the floorboard of the middle seats (they folded down), but there wasn't enough room since there was a gap between the back and middle seats when they were laid down. (Remember this for future reference!)

We had discovered a little pizza shop that had amazing food (also thanks to Memorie!) and went there and the Greek place twice in the four days we were in town. If you ever get the chance to go to Zoe's Kitchen or Andolini's Pizzeria, do it!

Sunday's trip back home was uneventful. We got home, loved on our 5 dogs we missed, unloaded, and relaxed. The next day it was back to work for Rob and a trip to take my mom's SUV back then on to show prep for the next show in less than three weeks!

Fast Forward to June 18. I head to pick up my mom's SUV again, back to the studio, and load up. This is when the gridwall leg story from Tulsa comes in. When I opened the side door to put the poles for the "walls" of my booth in the gap between the middle and back seats, there was no gap! Imagine my surprise when I realized the middle seats can be moved back, created plenty of space to hand the feet of the gridwalls off the edge and into the floorboards! I went back in the studio and put all the legs on al five gridwall sets then! If only I had realized this when we loaded up after Tulsa!

The next day my friend Amanda (who is from England and I learned a LOT about London ways and the Queen's English on the trip!) and I left out about 10 am to drive to Wichita, Kansas. After the Tulsa trip I learned to drive up the day before set up instead of the same day.

We get there, check in to our hotel, and discover they don't have elevators. For someone with hip problems, no elevators can pose a problem! Thankfully they were able to switch us to a first floor room. Then the hilarity ensues.

We were told about a back door that we can use our key cards to enter that is just about right across from our room. We drive around, park, get some of our things out..and can't get the door unlocked! It didn't matter which key we used, it just wouldn't open. Back to the front we went, got the cart, and unloaded our stuff. We told the lady at the front desk the door wouldn't open. Sure enough, it opened for her without problem.

The next day we headed to the venue about 9am, unload, and set up. The entrance for us was up a fairly steep and long ramp. Thankfully they had large carts for us to use to unload our vehicles, so it only took us three trips instead of the usual fifteen or so, but that ramp was a bear getting up it with heavily loaded carts! We got set up shortly after noon and headed to grab lunch then back to the hotel.

Finding ourselves with two-thirds of a day to do nothing, we decided to check out a local 'Wonder's of the World' museum in downtown Wichita. They had a lot of things from different periods of history, including Greek and Roman pottery with really interesting (and inspiring!) designs on them....and two real mummies! It wasn't a large museum but it was interesting!

This was the first three day show I had ever done, and I was expecting a lot of sales. The first day was super disappointing, but the next two went pretty good and I'll be going back in two years with they have their next show!

That first day though, I had signed up to do a demo. I hadn't done one before, and had only even spoken to a group or in front of a small crowd (aka, my local guild or retreat group) a couple of times. I was a nervous wreck already. Then I get there on set up day and realize not only do they expect a large crowd for demos from the looks of the chairs there, but I had to get up on a stage AND have a microphone! Never have I done either of those!

But thankfully the demo went off without a hitch. I was shaking nervous when I got up there, but as soon as I started speaking I relaxed and just went with it. It turned out wonderful, I got some sales and art quilt workshop interests from the demo, and had a good sized crowd-probably around 50 people!

While we were in Wichita, we discovered a local Italian restaurant called Marchellos that was amazing. So good, in fact, we went there three times for dinner! We also discovered a place called The Spice Merchant that sells all kinds of flavored coffee beans (or freshly ground!) and teas! We went there twice as well, and you can order online, so I got an ounce of several different teas and some coffee to try and will be ordering larger quantities when I discover my favorites!

We had a couple of GPS mishaps while we were gone. The first was after dinner one night, we decided to find a Cold Stone Creamery. The address of the nearest one we entered into the GPS took us to a neighborhood and someone's house instead! Thankfully the second address was literally five blocks away and we got there fine.

The second mishap was my own fault. I put in W for West when it should have been E for East and we ended up on the wrong side of town! Ooops!

The trip back was way more eventful than the Tulsa trip though. We checked out about 10am Sunday after getting some much needed rest, went across the highway to IHOP for breakfast. While eating we noticed the sky was getting a darker blue on one side, but we didn't realize that was the way we would be headed! We leave IHOP, make a quick stop by Starbucks, then begin the 4 hour drive home. It just started sprinkling as we got back in the car.

Well, you guessed it, it rained almost all the way home! That 4 hour drive became a 5 hour drive due to heavy rains. We saw I think 5 cars that had slid off into the ditch between Wichita, Kansas and Chickasha, Oklahoma when we finally got out of the rain and onto dry roads. There was also a bad wreck in Oklahoma City on the ramp from I-35 to I-44. Two 18 wheeler trucks with the box style trailers had jackknifed, and somehow ended up with the back ends of the trailers facing each other, on a two lane ramp that went over the highway below! I was so worried about hydroplaning because some of these roads don't exactly drain well.

We finally got home about 430pm. I dropped Amanda and her things off and went home, but my work didn't stop of course.

The next day I took my mom's SUV back and picked up my car. Then I had to hurry back to Lawton because, on the way home from Kansas, in the midst of all that rain, one of my crowns on my tooth fell off! Thankfully my dentist was able to work me in at noon on Monday. But, what I expected to be a quick appointment to re-cement the crown back on turned out to be a hour and a half long experience where they had to numb my gum and lip and pallet.

Why? Because my gum had grown under the crown, which caused it to work it's way off, and said gum tissue had to be burned off with a laser in order to reattach the crown. Needless to say my mouth did not feel good when the feeling came back!

The next day it was back to household work, including all the laundry from the week I was gone plus grocery shopping for the pay period. I had originally planned to do nothing but read or watch TV and relax that Wednesday. Nope! Grocery shopping trip turned into a 'lets make up some stuff with these deals we found for the freezer' trip, and I ended up spending Wednesday prepping 24 ears of candy corn, 2 pans of enchiladas, and 60 veggie egg rolls for the freezer. I'm still not done either. Tomorrow I have 2 watermelons to cut up (one for freezing for smoothies and one for dehydrating), 10 can of pineapple rings to dehydrate, and two bags of spinach plus a pound of Roma tomatoes to puree and spread out to make veggie tortillas in my dehydrator for lunch wraps. Plus my house needs a serious deep clean!

My husband asked me the other night, 'When are you going to take a break?' I answered, 'umm, never?'

My calendar is already filling up for next year with quilt shows, plus I have Art Quilt Workshops to teach, retreats to demo and sell at, and still two more shows just this year alone! And in September I find out if I got in to QuiltCon in Nashville! I so want to go, but don't know if I'll be able to swing the $700 booth fee by the end of September if I get accepted since Tulsa greatly underperformed. We shall see, and I will try to do more blog posts. Until next time Quilters!

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