While wearing my “work” hat over the years, I’ve found myself in situations that have reinforced important “life” lessons. In particular, to count on the fact that something will always go wrong. And, conversely, if I remain calm in the situation and flexible on my feet, hopefully a lot of things will go just right.
Last October, I was exhibiting at an art show in a local park. We set up the tent with forty-pound sandbags on each leg. The wind prediction was extreme, so we also lowered the tent down and clamped it. When I left the park, I felt satisfied that it was safe. Overnight, the winds gusted to 50 mph and I was nervous. When I arrived the next day, the park ranger greeted me with the news that the show was cancelled due to the overnight damage. What?! My tent was completely destroyed, and the carnage looked bad. I had to take a deep breath and calm myself. Once I re-grouped, we started the clean up process. About half of the artists' tents were destroyed. It was unbelievable. After all was said and done, I only had one butter dish broken, but of course, the tent was toast. The lesson I learned is that it’s never as bad as it looks, and you need to stay calm in the storm.
Well, my very next show in this area was the Eastern Shore Sea Glass Festival just this past weekend. I had to buy a new tent, so I spent some money on a really sturdy one. My husband put it together and in the bag. I packed the car, but the tent was so heavy I had to back the car into the garage and tip it in. I drove over to his office on Kent Island, picked him up, and we drove to St. Michaels to set up. The wind was howling, it was chilly and it started to rain. Uh oh…memories. We pulled the tent out and I realized…it had no sides! A four hundred dollar tent with no sides? I could not fully set up, so I just put up the tent and sandbags but then got nervous. We went to the hardware store and tied the tent down further, staked it, and drove back to Annapolis. The next morning, I picked up my friend who was helping me for the day and headed back to St. Michaels. The tent was safe! The weather was so much better, the wind had stopped, and the sun came out. Then came the crowd. The line was so long they let customers in early but didn’t tell us. My phone was not reading my credit card device so I said to my friend, “Quick, go find someone who looks smart and young!” Sure enough, she found a lady that worked in technology who fixed the problem the second the first customer was ready to check out. From then on, I didn’t stop moving until 4:30pm – only to run to the bathroom once! We ran out bags, change and just about everything else. I drove home that night and had to find more bags and track down change from the wine shop (poor me) since the bank was closed. I was so busy that I forgot to watch the Final Four game with my alma mater (who went on to win the championship!) Go Hoos!
The next day, I was by myself at the show and nervous. I made friends with my neighbors and told them I was alone. They were awesome and helped me if I needed to leave the booth. We had a great time. I ran into several “wahoos” who had seen the game and re-capped the incredible win in the last several seconds so I felt better. At the end of they day I was so exhausted but had to get everything packed up and home. The only problem was that the tent was staked so hard in the ground that I could not get it out! I had to enlist the help of my neighbors, and three men started competing to remove them, which they finally did. It was amusing. What a great event! Put it on your calendar for next year. In the end, a few things went wrong, but a whole lot went RIGHT!
Back to work, but for now, I’m still on my sea glass and basketball high!