Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Home Again, Home Again

Well, it seems we survived the drive home. I wasn't really sure, but now I am. Fairly sure, anyway. I have weird bits of soreness from being in the car for so long, and the skin on my right hip is a bit raw from the seat belt. 15 hours is a long time to be in a car, my friends.

We left the grandfolks at 4 am, partly because we couldn't sleep and partly because we just wanted to get home. Mom was supposed to drive in the morning so I could sleep, but alas, that did not happen. She has had a severe back and headache since last week and simply couldn't do it. Oh, well.

The Small One did remarkably well on the drive home. It was hard on her, poor little fidget. She is an active little baby and being strapped into a seat for that long was difficult, to say the least. Part of the reason it took so long to get home is because we stopped a lot to let her out. She kept telling me she wanted to get out and play on the grass, even when there was no grass!

I knew going into it that the worst part of the trip would be from Winnemucca to the border, and boy, was I right. Not only had we been on the road for soooooo long, but that part of the drive is so boring. There is nothing to see. However, crossing into Utah was like magic. I felt so much better, not too tired anymore, just anxious to get home. I love coming home.

Having been on the Central Coast for the week, I can tell you, I do not want to live there. It makes me uncomfortable for a number of reasons.

The sun rarely shines. Cloudy, cloudy, cloudy. I require sunshine.
It is HUMID. Oh, my gosh. I cannot bear humidity. Truth be told, I am a desert rat. I likes my dry air.
There are too many trees. I know, it sounds ridiculous, but the area in which my grandparents live is full of trees. You cannot see where you are going until you are right on top of it, and I find that annoying. Plus, the trees are weird and unfamiliar. ;) When we drove into Auburn on the way home, I breathed a sigh of relief. It is up in the mountains, so much more familiar territory. Normal trees and sunshine. Very pretty, too.

My mom loves the ocean, and my grandparents are very near. I like the ocean. I think it is pretty. But I will take my mountains ANY DAY! I love it here. I have lived a bunch of different places, but this is the place to be. One of my old roommates told me she though Utah was rather ugly because it is so bare. She is from a much more lush environment. I like it bare. It feels open and free and breathable. I love looking at the mountain outside my window and seeing the craggy, majestic rocks. And, did I mention the sunshine?

PS-Update on most recent bride. She had gone out of town suddenly and came home to a deluge of emails from me wondering what had become of her. She paid IMMEDIATELY (paypal) before she even emailed me. Then emailed, loved the dress. Whew.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ye Olde Folks

It has been...a week.

After the debacle of the nasty bride and her nastier mom, I was feeling a wee bit of stress (to put it mildly). I had another dress that HAD to be finished, that I was delayed on due to nasty bride and her nastier mom. Not only that, but I had to head out to my grandparents in California. Grandma had to have surgery to clean out a major artery and someone had to stay with Grandpa while she was in hospital.

So, Sunday morning, I hopped in the van with Mom and The Small One and headed out. Mom drove for the first few hours while I worked on the wedding dress. The whole of the dress was covered with hand sewn appliques and I was not quite done. So, whilst Mom drove, I sewed. And sewed. And sewed. And still did not finish. We stopped that night in Vegas, wandered around a bit, forgot to have dinner and returned to our hotel. Where I sewed and sewed and sewed some more. Then undid some of the things that didn't look right and redid them. And then I was done. Well, almost.

We arose the next morning, piled into the van and off we went to Los Angeles. I have been running out of lace and whatnot for some time and needed to get to LA to replenish the stock. However, this trip was not terribly successful. I found a few things that I needed, but the prices on some of the other things weren't really very low and I couldn't afford to spend that much all at once. Especially when I could get it for less with a coupon at Jo-ann. What a bummer. After a few hours in the fabric district, back into the van for the drive up to the grandparents.

Long drive, that. I had to do all of the driving from Vegas on. Mom doesn't care to drive and then at night, she can't see, so there wasn't any other option. Around 7 I started to get very tired and cranky, so we stopped for a bite to eat. And then on again. We arrived at the grandparents about 1:30 am, utterly worn out.

And, here we have remained. With brief trips into town (or surrounding towns) for a bit of shopping and simply to get out of the overheated, overloud, undersized home which my grandparents inhabit.

I had been communicating quite frequently with the hopeful owner of the aforementioned wedding gown and when I got to Salinas, I went over to the post office to post her dress. Express mail, you know, with tracking. She sent me a few emails about her excitement to receive her dress and then, I got the notice that it was received and...silence. Nothing. I have heard nothing from her end. Nor did she make her final payment as I thought she had. Awesome. She has now had the dress in her possession for three days and not a word, not a payment. As of right now, I have offically been stiffed $650 in two weeks.

So, that kind of added to the stress I have been feeling of late. I am sure you understand.

Stress from a nasty bride and her nastier mom, stress from a long drive with The Small One, stress from cleaning grandparents house (oh, you have no idea!), stress from trying to keep Grandpa happy whilst Grandma is in hospital, stress from the incessant noise of a VERY LOUD TV and the level of heat the old folks prefer, stress from the inability of The Small One to go out in play in the yard due to the very real possibility of her being dismembered by falling on something that normal people do not have buried in the weeds in their yards (possum in a cage, anyone?) and her consequent rowdiness in the house and STRESS from another bride who apparently does not want to pay.

Good times, I tell you. Good times.

It kicks one's confidence down when one has but one client who is displeased with one's work. Although in that case, it was the Mother of the Bride, not the Bride, but still. But, when one has two clients who are displeased? Ugh. I feel...lousy. Unable to work. As though I really am that sucky at my job. Last time this happened, I took a year off. I don't know why it does me in in such a major way, but it does.

We leave for home in the morning. I cannot begin to tell you how glad I am of that.

East, West, Home's best.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


As many (or all) of you know, I make and alter wedding gowns for a living. I work out of a studio in my home, but I am a professional. I have a degree in my field and have been doing this for 17 years.

A few days ago, I finished major alterations on two wedding gowns for a bride. And I mean major. And the bride's alterations changed over the course of the 4 weeks I had her gowns. Mostly due to her mother's objections to the gowns not covering enough on top. So, I ended up doing the top of the gowns three different ways, in order to satisfy the desires of the MOB (Mother Of the Bride). It was annoying, but did not really matter as the bride was going to pay for the continual changes. By the time we were done, it was 2 1/2 weeks past her original pickup date and her bill had increased a bit.

She came to pick up her dresses, loved them, and was ready to take them. I was not satisfied with the fit of one of them and wanted to fix it (this was her first and only fitting with the third top). She said she did not have time to have them fixed before her bridals, so I said I would do a quick fix that would hold for her pictures and then she could bring it back for me to fix for real inbetween pictures and wedding.

She said yes, gave me a check for the $650, took the gowns and left. Normally, I do not accept checks because I have been stiffed twice before.

Now, I was looking forward to this money, because my grandmother is having heart surgery next week and I am going out to stay with my grandfather while Grandma is in the hospital. He cannot be left by himself. The money was intended to cover the cost of the trip.

Next day I got a phone call from MOB. She was not pleased with my work. It looked terrible, she said, and would not hold up for the wedding. I asked her to what she was referring and she explained that it was the quick fix I had done. I explained to her that her daughter and I had agreed on it and that it would be fixed before the wedding, but she was welcome to bring it to me right then and I would fix it. She got angry, began telling me it was all shoddy work and that the lace looked cheap. HAHA! It was Chantilly, beaded and VERY expensive.

I told her I would work around her schedule to get the dress back and get it fixed, as she was from out of town. She said okay, she would call me back and let me know what time. I never heard from her. I contacted her daughter (who had gone to Lake Powell), she said she did know what her mom was on about, she liked the dress.

I ran over to the bank, deposited the check and never heard from MOB or bride again. Until yesterday. I noticed my bank account was overdrawn and I was not sure how that was possible. I knew I had plenty of money.

Yep, she had put a stop pay on the check. Did not pay for the work. Took the dress and absconded with it, if you will.


Ruins one's day really. Disappointing. Make's one think people suck.

Here's the thing. Today, one of my online friends offered to deposit the money into my paypal account so I could afford my trip rather than wait for "wheels of justice" to get my money for me. I was floored. In a good way. I guess people don't suck. Just a few of them do.

I did not accept her offer as I can use my credit card if I need to, but it was amazingly kind.

Tastes Like Chicken

We have poultry. You may have noticed them in the post somewhat below. The one with pics of The Small One running about in her skivvies and wellies.

To be specific, we have 12 birds. 2 turkeys, 4 Bard Rock chickens and 6 Rhode Island Reds.

The Small One loves her birds. So does The Man of the House.

The birds are somewhat dangerous.

Why, you may ask? Do they bite? No. Peck? Not really. Rake one fiercely with their claws? No, not at all.

They are dangerous because they spark OBSESSION.

The Man of the House felt he would like a couple of birds. He came home with 10. Then, several weeks later, he showed up with 2 turkeys. Then he began to talk of exotic chicken breeds. Silkies, Bantams, Crevecoeurs.

Then...it happened.

He wants pigs. And sheep. And cows.

The Small One wants a pony. And a cowhouse (as she calls barns). Maybe some gokes. (Goats).

A farm, my friends. The Small One and her daddy want a farm.

I would not have thought it.

In other, related news, three of the hens have begun laying. Teeny little eggs, as they are still very young. The first day The Small One found eggs, this is the conversation I had with her.

SO-Do chickens have eggs?
Me-Yes, they do.
SO-Are they in their stomach?
Me-Mmm, yeah, close enough.
SO-Do they poo them out?
Me-(laughing) Something like that.
SO-(looking quizzically at the egg in her hand) Well, can I eat it?

Naturally, I howled with laughter, then followed her in and she fried herself a tiny brown egg with lashings of butter.

(Yes, I let her cook on the stove. Yes, I keep a very close eye on her. How else will she learn?)

Mmmm, Toasty

I love my bed. It is big and comfy, the pillows are perfect and the sheets are crisp and cold.

After working late on a wedding gown tonite, I went into my room to take my rightful place on the left (stage left) side of the bed, next to The Man of the House.

But, alas, I could not.

You see, The Small One had been eating Cinnamon Toast on my side of the bed and it is rather...sandy.

So, I leave The Man of the House to enjoy the comforts of the bed himself and I shall betake myself off to the bed of The Small One.

Which is delightfully free of crumbs and sugar. Though the pillows aren't as nice.