>Solitary Confinement

30 Aug

>The project that ate my whole summer — or ate my summer whole — is officially over. It went very well. With a few minor lingering issues. But the main thing is…IT’S OVER. Ahh. It’s nice to breathe.

So the way it went is like this: Mom came to town on Saturday the 18th. We got a couple of days of fun stuff in co-mingled with the stresses of getting a first-grader ready for school while preparing for a business trip. The usual. Mom helped the b-partner and me load the mommy-van on Sunday, helped with Bean while I did laundry and packed, and went with us on the weekly jaunt to Whole Foods. We had a couple of nice dinners outdoors and then got to deliver Miss Six to her first day of school before heading out to the big event.

I was having that moment of work vs. child — worrying that the client would be miffed since we were arriving late. (I’d already heard from one member of the team on Sunday and again early on Monday about an issue with the banjo drapes we’d chosen. Banjo drape is trade show speak for tall curtains that separate booth spaces. ☺) The b-partner and I made the two-hour drive rehashing the summer, sorting through our scheduling woes and various other in-depth topics that are inevitable during a road trip. The hubby rode separately with Lady Lou, who had been hired for the day to help us set up. (I should note: The big event in question was also the hubby’s company conference. We had very little overlap though and didn’t even stay in the same hotel. How weird is that?)

So we get there. Park at the loading dock of the Broadmoor and start grabbing boxes of the giveaways. Me, in my infinite wisdom, grabbed the heaviest of the bunch. The olives. So as we start our long walk to the show floor, we hear the lowdown on the “We’re not happy with the drapes.” “It looks like a dentist’s office.” Etc. The whole time I’m thinking, “I’d love to help. But my arms appear to be breaking.” Then we run smack into our old boss. The one who fired the b-partner, leading me to leave, which lead to our business being born in the first place. Now we’re technically competitors. Awkward. But he gave us a hug. We all acted professional and then it was over. But I was still holding those olives. “Can I just put these damn things down already?!” And before I could, I was in it. “These drapes need to come down.” “Where are the signs?” So in we dove. Head first with a 20-lb box of olives that was now making my arms shake.

After a full day of set up, testing the lighting on the controversial drapes, checking and re-checking on the progress of the marquee signs, we finally drug ourselves back to the now illegally parked m-van. We hadn’t even checked in to the hotel. And we were covered in trade show dirt from head to toe.

The one thing I failed to mention is that the b-partner was sick as sick can be during this whole affair. She held it together pretty well — even during the subsequent dinner while the Jack Nicholson look-alike proceeded to tell us his entire life story along with a recitation of a movie script he had been called in for — from start-to-finish. (The trade show had this Hollywood theme, so there were celebrity impersonators every where. For some reason, they all decided to come to our table to sit and provide lengthy tales of woe.) By the time we headed back to our room, it was close to midnight. Day One complete.

The next morning I was up early. My poor friend had coughed herself through the night and seemed to be really out of it. So I thought I would head over to the show floor and make sure the signs had made it. And let her sleep a bit more. I got there at 7:26 a.m. and the client had already beaten me to it. Dang. (And they still weren’t ready. It appears that the light bulbs had all broken in transit from Denver. Yippee yay.) But I had coffee and was ready to function, so I dove in on a few things. Including paying $10 for internet service so I could send one e-mail (the contents of which weren’t even used). Then met the b-partner for breakfast. We didn’t have much to do until later, so I sent her to bed for the day and headed off to explore the Broadmoor grounds. I walked over to the pool and then decided to treat myself and my aching olive arms to a massage. It was a miracle. But probably the most expensive massage I’ll ever have. I then met up with the hubby (who had a short break in his schedule) and made a quick run to Michael’s for a vase to put the tickets for the drawing in. The countdown to the big event was on.

Partially revived, the b-partner got up and dressed in time for us to greet the luges. Welcome to the world of trade shows. We had ordered two 3 or 4 foot tall ice sculptures, carved into the shape of martini glasses. They had one of our client’s logos frozen inside each and we had paid extra to have them lit from behind. The whole point was for a bartender to stand behind them, make martinis in a shaker, pour them into the luge, and have the show attendees hold their glasses in front to catch the goods. And it was a hit. The b-partner and I just scratched our heads in wonder. They looked cool, cost a fortune and served no purpose what-so-ever other than that they looked cool. Strange days indeed.

So the event went off without a hitch — for the most part. Everyone seemed thrilled. We raffled off an Omega Seamaster James Bond 007 watch using the purchased vase, gave away 200 custom martini kits (complete with olives!), heard many compliments about the booth AND the drapes (which now looked fab with the extra lighting efforts) and spent the evening restocking premiums, gabbing with the customers and grabbing glasses of champagne from another agency guy working the event that we chummed up with. All in high heels. So by the end of it all, my head was buzzing, my feet were throbbing, my arms were aching and the sense of relief was enormous. We did it. And the estimate requests have been pouring in ever since.

Wow. I am overwhelmed. And scared. And happy. All the things you hope for as a business owner were happening — and fast. But coming home I was so incredibly tired that it felt like my eyes were crossing. My mom couldn’t wait for me to get home so we could do some fun stuff and all I wanted to do was crawl in bed for three weeks. Instead, we walked to pick up Miss Six from school and found out she had pulled a Mean Girls stunt with one of her friends. I wanted to cry. And almost did. It was just too much. You never want to be the mom of that particular girl. All I could think is that if only I hadn’t gone out of town for her first week of school, she wouldn’t have been feeling abandoned and struck out at her friend. Or if I had been paying more attention to her all summer…Or if I was the kind of mom who could sit on the floor and play Candyland for hours…or….or…or…

It sort of passed. Or didn’t. And the next morning I had a two-hour client meeting on top of it all. But we moved forward into the weekend with Mom determined to fix things for us. (I failed to mention that we hadn’t slept through the night in about three weeks at this point. And it was killing us.) So Mom decided that we needed to get the girls into their own rooms, which meant our entire house had to be rearranged. From top to bottom. Each and every piece of furniture moved. So after a brief outing downtown for breakfast at Lucille’s, we dove in. The only break we took all weekend was for the hubby and Grandy to go get their mid-life crisis tattoos. The hubby got a kanji (to match mine) and Grandy got a heart with wings. So, now permanently marked and feeling sufficiently fulfilled and youth-anized, we returned to the house of disorder. We did squeeze in a dinner out before Grandy flew away. It was so hard to see her go.

But that was only Sunday. Now it’s Thursday and Miss Six was diagnosed with walking pneumonia two days ago. She’s been so sick — and at home — after only one full week in school. The hubby and I made an attempt to celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary on Tuesday night. He set up a romantic table for two on the back deck and we had wine and ate dinner after the girls were down. But it was hard to totally relax when you have a wheezy little six-year-old to worry over. The antibiotics seem to be working their magic, but now Bean has a fever and runny nose. And so it goes.

Our house is somewhat back to normal on the re-org front, but chaos still reigns supreme as little girls keep falling ill. At least I have the “oh, she was coming down with pneumonia” excuse for Miss Six’s bad behavior. Because it couldn’t possibly be her personality or my parenting. Now could it.

And as for Brother Brownnose, he’s gone-gone. All moved and officially a resident of our home state once again. It only took a week before they were hounding mom about “not moving to Colorado!” She’s got some big time thinking to do before she makes that kind of decision. And she doesn’t need any of us pressing in on her. She and Poppy are still hanging in for now — as little more than room mates. But, hey, if it works for them…right? And as much fun as we have together, I’d never want her to make a decision like leaving her husband because she feels anything like pressure from her kids to do so. It’s just that we have so much fun. And that’s it. She becomes this freer person when she’s here. Precisely like I do. Very hard to explain, but very, very real. Just like the hubby and his new tattoo. He keeps looking at it and saying, “What did I do?” I just shrug and say, “What you did. And it’s done.” He thinks it makes him a bad boy. I say keep dreamin,’ Daddy bad boy. ☺

TODAY’S THEME SONG: Mediocre Bad Guys. Jack Johnson. Just because. And I hear the kids losing it. So I gotta go with it.

MISS SIX QUOTE DU JOUR: “What’s a party without dessert?” Amen sister.


One Response to “>Solitary Confinement”

  1. Bubble Girl August 31, 2007 at 12:09 am #

    >Ah, news from Sobo, thank goodness. All is well again. Congrats on your huge success!


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