Friday, August 11, 2006

Setting Up, Making Copies and Unpacking Found Luggage!!!

Well, Bethany didn't have to share her undies after all! This morning, we drove out to the airport, on the advice of the baggage control center in Houston,to check with an actual person to see if the bags had arrived in the wee hours of the morning. Apparently they got into Charlotte around 3:20 am and were promptly locked into a nice room to keep them safe, but no one had entered them into the system as arrived. By going out ourselves, we were able to get the bags back to the hotel and change into clean clothes BEFORE I had to teach my class at 10:45 am. Yay!!
After that, we grabbed some lunch at Chick-Fil-A and did the various running around, making copies of order forms, picking up a few groceries and stuff that I'd fogotten to pack (like clipboards) etc.

The girls were VERY glad to have a swim in the hotel pool at last and now that the room is set up for the show and I have blogged, I am heading off to bed. Tomorrow will be a busy day, but at least I will sleep more soundly tonight knowing that all our stuff is here with us!
Travel Adventures!!!

It's well past midnight back home and my 2 brave daughters are zonked up in the hotel room. We've arrived safely in Charlotte after flying through a crazy Newark airport today under the new security regulations. When we woke up this morning, we discovered that all the rules for flying had changed thanks to a terrorist threat. Arriving at the airport almost 2 1/2 hours early gave us the information we needed and forced us to transfer all but the most essential medications out of our carry-on luggage. All flights were messed up and we waited over an hour in Newark for our plane to leave, but that meant no running between gates with a 20 minute connection.

We arrived in Charlotte this afternoon, only 1 hour late, but alas... only 2 of our 5 bags made it with us!!! One other flight was due in just minutes after ours, so they asked us to wait and see if the bags were on that flight. An hour later, Erin was in tears because Bethany had her swimsuit and clothes but none of the rest of us did. We finally filed the appropriate forms and headed off to claim the rental car.

So here I am at the hotel. The only clothes I have are the ones I am wearing. My models did arrive safely, but the suitcases with the materials for the class I need to teach tomorrow, all of my dress clothes, the extra patterns etc. are somewhere in limbo. A massive thunderstorm this evening has turned at least one flight back, so there is a very slim chance that our luggage may come in at 1 am or not.

Everyone here is very supportive and I am sure that I can teach the class regardless... but it has certainly made things a bit more stressfull that I had anticipated. Kudos to all the airline and security personal who had to handle so many passengers today, like us, who are confused, missing things etc. I have made a point of thanking everyone I dealt with today. I would rather they be extra carefull than rush things and I don't envy anyone who had to deal with grumpy, irrate passengers today.

Bethany was a bit freaked out when Nick told her that she would have to share her underwear with everyone until our bags arrived! We did manage to find some contact lens solution at the hotel shop and a lens case for about $15.00, so at least Nick and I can get our lenses out soon and try to grab some sleep. The master copies for my order forms, trade show handouts and covers for one whole set of chartpacks were in my missing luggage, so I may have to get VERY creative tomorrow....

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Ahead Of The Game...

I am almost giddy!!! For once, I won’t be staying up until the wee hours of the morning to get ready to leave on a trip! I DID stay up late last night to get ahead and that’s when I posted the rambling little entry that was very much due to lack of sleep.

It was almost comical. I finished on the computer around 1 am and crawled up to bed, ready to just crash until the alarm at 7 am, only to have the first band of a massive 3 band thunderstorm roll through our province. Even as tired as I was, it is hard to fall asleep to brilliant flashes of light and massive claps of thunder. Erin was so scared that she crawled into bed with us during the first band and woke up during the power failure on the second band. I think we were all fairly groggy by the 3rd band...

Anyway, we are mostly packed and there is very little I can do now to suddenly design and produce something at the last second, so this is when I actually start to relax a bit. The time for second guessing is done, it is too late to start in on a drawing etc. So I am going to head upstairs and have a nice warm bath, get to bed at a reasonable hour and wake up to get on the road tomorrow. We only have to get as far as Bangor, Maine, so that is a bearable 4 1/2 to 5 hours. I am pretty sure that the hotel in Charlotte has a common internet access area, so I will be able to blog about some of our adventures, but probably not include any pictures.

This is the time when I can actually get excited about the show because the pressure is off a bit. Now I just have to see how the new designs do and what the response is, but the kids are SO excited just to be going back to such a neat city that they couldn’t care less how many patterns Mommy sells... Smart Girls!
The Clock Is Ticking...

Today was an absolute zoo... from washing dishes in the bathtub upstairs because of the broken faucet to desperately trying to finish 2 more illustrations for the children’s book before my meeting with the author... from a wonderful chat with my sister to Erin and a friend thumping directly over my head as I drew with their card game.

It always feels like there are never enough hours in the day before a trade show, but this year that is amplified by needing to work on the children’s book and doing my Weight Watcher’s meeting all tomorrow morning.

There are a few moments... like right now... when I wonder what it would be like to have a 9 to 5 job, a steady paycheque, a pension plan and actual 2 week paid vacation... but then I look at how this creative, wacky career of mine fits in with our family, allows me to be here when the girls get off the bus etc.

Nick always smiles at this point and tells me that I could never go back to working for someone else because I like control too much... and he’s probably right, but sometimes the idea is tempting. At least for 30 seconds!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Charlotte Countdown, Broken Sinks and Early Morning Phone calls...

Today is New Brunswick Day here in our province, a holiday that many provinces get to make up for the fact that Quebec has the St. Jean Baptiste holiday in June. After all, it isn’t fair if one province gets an extra statutory holiday per year that the rest of the country doesn’t! The weird thing is, almost every province names this 1st Monday in August something different (though most name it something to do with the Province) so every year we confuse lots and lots of tourists. This year’s calendar just has “Civic Holiday- Canada” written there, which is correct unless you are in Quebec, so that must be how calendar companies cope with this quirky Canadian holiday.

The fact that EVERYTHING except emergency services and some pharmacies or convenience stores are closed today has also made the countdown to leaving for Charlotte a bit trickier. We made sure to get our US money out of the bank late last week, though it put us in line with everyone else who wanted money before the holiday. We got the last of our photocopying and printer cartridges from Staples, to be sure to have what we needed as the last of the new designs got batched up to sell. All seemed to be fairly under control until last night after supper.

Yes, less than an hour after the stores closed on Sunday, our kitchen sink faucet decided to break a small plastic ring/seal which sent water spewing everywhere! We quickly got the water shut off at the source, but will now have to lug water from the taps upstairs to do mundane things like dishes and rinsing vegetables. Paper plates might take care of some of that, but both Nick and I found it a bit frustrating. As an adult, you just can’t throw a hissy fit because something shows an incredible lack of timing when it breaks. Much as I wanted to stomp around the house and yell “This isn’t fair, this is the LAST thing I need right now before the show!” I took a deep breath and reminded myself that some people in this world have to walk 4 km to gather a pot full of dirty water to stay alive. We take SO much for granted sometimes.

The girls stayed up fairly late to watch a movie while Nick stitched and I batched patterns. He’d gotten a fair chunk done on the model for Santa’s Dragon when he discovered that one section was off by ONE thread. A hazard when you stitch over 2 on linen. Once we got the kids down, I took over and managed to track down where the problem was. After a but of frogging on both our parts and one tiny section I can just change in the final chart rather than rip out, we were off to bed just before the stroke of midnight.

This morning, we were both jolted out of sleep by a phone call from a stitcher who fully expected to get a Dragon Dreams answering machine. Nick explained that this is also our home phone number and then just passed the cordless phone to me. I was able to wander down to the office in my jammies and find the information that she needed as well as have a lovely chat with her. I never begrudge phone calls like that, but it does feel just a little strange to be wide awake early on a morning that I’d planned to sleep in a bit! Oh well, more time to stitch and pack!!!

I also have to meet with the author tonight or tomorrow to go over the last batch of pencil sketches so that once Charlotte is behind me, the last 7 drawings can be completed. Erin joked about the summer flying by but that she’d had a great break from school.... and I just grinned. I’m not sure this summer feels like I really had a rest, but I will always look back on this time with a sense of pride and amazement. Pride that I finally illustrated a children’s book and produced designs that I am very pleased with... and amazement that I survived trying to do both at once!!