First thing today — really, before the first thing — the 3-pallet shipment from the Atlanta & Philadelphia shows was unloaded onto the sidewalk, then dragged/pushed up the alley for better access to the final destination.
Three of us put it all back: the show fixtures in the shed (heavy lugging!), and glass back into the house — our little homing pigeons. And so welcome on our bare shelves!
Once everything was unpacked, Melinda and I got busy photographing every piece; it's the only time of the year that we have complete collections in the house. Lights, white photo tent and a handy-dandy digital camera. We worked together seamlessly, a choreography of handing pieces off to each other when there was next to nothing in terms of staging space. (We're packed to the gills and then some at the moment.)
The minute – well, I took a 20 minute lunch break first — but (nearly) the minute the photo-shoot was done, I began pulling pieces to fill orders. Seems there is always a handful of orders awaiting completion, missing a piece or two due to any number of errors and/or mishaps. And this time of year, when the big show shipment flies home, it's our version of Christmas morning: an unusual abundance dominates for 2 or 3 days, and then it's back to make-to-order business.
Between pulling cooled pieces from the "kitchen kiln" and doing the final look-at to insure top quality, M. and I moved pieces from 3 orders out to the front porch for signing with the diamond-tipped dremel. (Keeps undesirable glass dust out of the house.) And then back onto the "Hot Shelf" for preliminary packing, double-checking the counts, assembling packets of care-cards to include with each order.
I was running on a minimum of fuel: only four hours of sleep, with perhaps a bit of over-tippling the night before in a week of emotional wallops: life. No reserves at the moment.
So it was push ahead and get the job done and don't think about napping or putting my feet up or sitting down to a relaxed meal. There were orders to process through UPS and shipping labels to print. (Remember to put the label sheets in the printer the right way!) There were credit card numbers to be processed (the joys of $$$) and I had to make at least an attempt at cleaning up.
And in the end, not a piece of broken glass, amazing considering my somewhat fragile sensibility and the general lack of space. Mindfulness was the rule of the day.
About the time I signed out, I sat across the table from Melinda and said,
"We kicked ass today. Damn. This is one complex small business, and we're doing it."
(Or, as my brother, who hardly knows who I am, said to me last year when I mentioned that we'd exhibited at the New York International Gift Show,
"Good for you, getting a little experience." Pat pat pat on the head.)
My "little art job".