Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Let 2011 Begin

It's February 23 and the year has finally settled in for me. Hawaii at the end of last year was wonderful, but I came back all discombobulated. Then there was the Week of Weather in Atlanta. Then my father's death. Then rushing to get ready for the BMAC. Now I am back from the show and FINALLY feeling grounded in the new year! It doesn't hurt that the star magnolias and the camellias in our front yard are blooming now and I had my Best Show Ever at the BMAC last week. Really. And it was the best on so many levels--fastest set-up since going to the big booth, made Great New Friends, sang karaoke for the first time ("Call Me" by Blondie--a particularly amusing choice to Todd as he knows how much I dislike talking on the phone), and both my best personal AND best studio sales. I also was tapped by Wendy Rosen to participate in a panel discussion on great outside-the-box ideas for studios and retailers (I presented Date Night). That presentation is now spinning off into an e-document for setting up your own date night--available soon for, oh, probably about $10.

Today I spent some time looking at the little 2/2 house next door to our home (which also backs up to the studio property) which has gone on the market for $62,500. It is a pestilent little pit of a place in which the rats and squirrels have reigned unchecked for several years, and the local thieves have stripped all the wire (for copper) and plumbing (also for copper). It needs complete electrical, plumbing, a new roof, new flooring, new kitchen, and structural support in the living room (the owner at some point took out a support column in the middle of the room and put in 2- 2 X 10 beams to support the entire roof system). The windows are in decent shape, the walls are nice (plaster) and the general bone structure is good, but, $62,500... Really?

As the day has gone so late (it's almost 5:00) and I still haven't done much of anything, I'll post more tomorrow including an analysis of show sales, a review of set-up and breakdown, and some amusing highlights.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Set-Up at the BMAC--Day 2

While there are still a few minutes left in this glorious day, I am going to post. We did, indeed, pretty much finish setting up yesterday. We went back in this morning about 10:00 and puttered and futzed with Todd's work, the wall pieces, the tabletop display in the center of the booth, vacuuming, adjusting the lights--in short, everything we could think of until 2:00 when we finally packed it in and headed out. I have to admit, it felt really good to walk down the aisles towards the doors between the booths packed with harried, scurrying exhibitors who were trying to get set-up.

So this afternoon I worked a bit on my website. I got my on-line payment system set-up and configured for the new class payment processing. I napped. Yes, I napped. And now, with one minute remaining before a new day, I finish my glass of pinot noir and head off to sleep. Tomorrow is going to be another glorious day--beginning with breakfast across the street at Lil Pete's Diner.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Things Come in Threes

Good Morning Campers! I apologize for the long absence from posting, it's been a hard few weeks. Thank you to everyone who has sent me private condolences on the death of my father. I will be writing to you all individually, I have just been too overwhelmed up to now. This post is for Dee (even though she already knows the contents as she is right here--we're sharing a room in Philadelphia).

It's that time of year again and we're gearing up for this weekend's Buyer's Market of American Craft 2001 part 1 (part 2 is in Baltimore in July). The past 28 hours have already been an exciting rollercoaster ride--Here's to the hope that the rest of the show isn't "Interesting Times" too. The title of today's post about things coming in threes refers to studio disasters coming in threes, as so far this morning I have had to fix three doozies.

Disaster #1: Right before I left for Philly yesterday, the studio phone rang and it was a woman who wanted more information about the DealSwarm offer. Umm, the offer wasn't supposed to go live yesterday, it was supposed to go live today. Today when the studio is open so we can answer the phone calls from people with questions about the deal (we were closed yesterday as we were open Monday for Valentine's Day). Today when I have an article about our website clarifying the deal details. Today when we are ready. NOT Yesterday! the article is up, Judy is in and answering the phone, we'll see what we can do.

Disaster #2: I noticed this morning that my bank reversed a $3,000 check I deposited in my account on Monday. The check was from one of my business accounts to another so I know it was good. When I called to ask what had happened (I have checks to my vendors and service providers out against that money), I was told that there was "an erasure" on the check so the ATM rejected it. I miswrote the first letter on the payee line, crossed it out, initialed it, and wrote the rest of the check out fine. The ATM took it, credited me, and then a day later (apparently without a real person seeing the check) spit it back out. When I called to find out how they were going to fix the error, I was told I would have to wait for the check to arrive in the mail and then I could redeposit it. I very reasonably and extremely forcefully explained that I am in Philadelphia, it was their error, I do NOT want checks bouncing from Atlanta to Athens, and they needed to fix it. With Capital One or Wachovia/Wells Fargo I would now be in a serious frustrated huff and planning to move all my accounts to another bank. But the thing I love best about Chase is their customer service. They have given me a provisional credit for the check and when I get back to Atlanta and the check arrives in the mail, I can take it to the bank for re-depositing. Business will go on as usual.

Disaster #3: The question fields on the Date Night Reservation form on the web all got overwritten with a customer's data. So instead of seeing "Date Requested" you would see a date. Instead of being asked for your name, you would be told someone else's name. And worst of all, instead of having to read and acknowledge our cancellation, clothing and other policies, you would just see the word "yes". It took some time, but I got that straightened out too.

Now it's time to have some food, get to the show, and start setting up. Can we finish today? I sure hope so...