Friday, December 11, 2009

Part 1: The ensemble of chaos.

If you followed me to this point, then you will be intrigued to know that 'Part 2' was only the beginning.....or rather the end.... Depending on which way you turn it, the prelude is still to be told. So tell it, I shall.

It was the onset of the weekend of the big event. The day after Thanksgiving, the first of two days at Kenai High, selling pottery at the peninsula's biggest Christmas event. Last year was exceptional. Sales were awesome even though I had no previous sales to this event to compare them to. Mind you the year before, if you remember, would have been my first year doing this show but the old kiln died just days before and completely shot any chance I had to participate. It led to the reasoning that if I was going to do this on a regular basis, sell pottery at local gigs, I needed new and more reliable equipment. That first years' conundrum led to the purchase of a new kiln and a new more modern and precision potters wheel to add to the fleet.

On the way home from a gourmet Thanksgiving dinner at our friends house, I felt a little rattled. Subtly, I told Maryann that I was all set for the early rise to set up the following day. And, I really hope mother nature is kind to me tonight. "No snow, please!"

Oh she is a character that mother nature. Sure as poky, it snowed overnight. Fortunately, being the day after the day of gluttony and overindulgence, most businesses were closed and I did not have to do my regular plow route. At least out the door at 1:30AM. However, I did have to be out by 4:30AM to plow, and if the snow continued, which it did, would be out pretty much the rest of the day plowing frigging snow. But not to fear. Maryann, the blessing that she is was ready to take the tables at the high school and cover me while I plowed. We had a plan!

Part of that plan was that I would call and wake her so she could meet me at the high school by 8:00AM so that I had plenty of time to set up before it opened to the public at 10:00AM. The night before, I had loaded everything into her rig, for no other reason than it is equipped space wise to accommodate everything and keep it all dry. That portion of the plan had nothing to do with forseeing snow in the forecast.

6:20AM: I am done plowing any commercial accounts that need to be opened by 6:00AM or later. Sigh of relief. Phone call from John, stating that I better get out of bed, it snowed overnight and I should be plowing. He didn't realize that I was already on top of it. I invited him to join me for an early breakfast in Kenai if he had time on his way to work. Being the one who sleeps in until two minutes before he has to leave for work...he laughed and declined. His loss, my gain...saved me some money!
6:35AM: I pull into McDonalds to grab some breakfast, call Maryann to wake her and decide I will just wind down and kick it for a while, since I have plenty of time to kill before I have to meet M at the High School. And so I did. It was a McKickin' good time (sarcasm).
7:30AM: I decide to head over to scope out a parking space at the high school to make for easy unloading. I find a place and sit to wait for M.
7:40AM: I get a phone call form Maryann. As I go to answer the phone I think to myself, 'oh please tell me you are on your way'....I am getting a little anxious. I answer. Very calmly she informs me that Seska is gone. Seska is gone.... Seska is gone!! Holy crud!! It seems that the knucklehead decided to go 'nomad'. Maryann has called her name and looked all over the yard but she is nowhere to be found. Do we bail on her and have Maryann just bring down the stuff so I can start to set up, and she can then go back home to look....or do I forfeit and head home to help? What do you do?!
7:41AM: She is our dog...she is our family, and she has never been off on her own while she has been with us. I throw it into drive and begin the journey back home. What would normally be a 20 minutes ride seemed like and eternity as my mind wandered, my heart raced, and my nerves came apart. Not to mention the ice and snow on the road and ealry morning Black Friday groupies out to make savings.
8:05AM: With lightning speed and precision maneuvering. I arrive home. Maryann has already been up and down the road, and talked to a neighbor down the way to alert her of our lost dog, in case Seska wandered into her area while she was out clearing her driveway. Where to even begin! It is still dark at this hour, it is snowing, and she has been gone for over a half an hour now. I decide that the best thing to do is track her. The snow is fresh enough since the dogs were let out earlier, and I know that the other two dogs didn't follow her, so it should be easy to find some fresh tracks. Within seconds, I find her trail leading off into the bush. At this point it appears that she was hot on some tail. The tail of a rabbit that is. I follow the haphazard path through thicket, snow covered holes and everything else known to man and after winding around for a bit, it shifts down towards the lake. "Crap", I say. The hill at that area, is too steep to do without me breaking my ass. I is quiet...I listen. Nothing. Out of sheer frustration I yell her name. It echos across the lake and I head back to the house. The lake is frozen now, except for possibly around the edges. I am worried a little, but not too much. Again, I didn't hear anything. This is a good sign. Besides, a rabbit is going to stick to the cover of brush along the side, not make itself vulnerable in the open of the iced lake.
8:15AM: I get back to the truck in the driveway. I am exhausted, cold, pissed, and trying to maintain poise as I look at the clock, knowing where I have to be and knowing where I need to be. I tear out of the driveway in a gust of white dust. My plan is to drive the main road around to the access road that traverses the area above the other side of the lake. It may be gated becasue it is private property, but if she did make it to the other side, she would have had enough time now that I may be able to literally run into her....if she went to the north. If she went to the south, I am screwed, because that is a backtrack and more time the opposite driection. If she kept going straight through to the east, then it is done. I pray she went to the north.
8:21AM: I am cruising down the narrow unplowed trail scanning through the dark, looking for meat head. I see nothing. Then, I come to the gate and as I suspected, it is locked since it is private property. I cannot get any closer to the other side of the lake now by truck. Only by foot. It would take 15 minutes of walking through untamed bush, and where would I go then. She could be anywhere, and in any direction. Feeling forlorn, and as if I have failed, I begin back home. Why did she bolt. M had only turned her head for a minute, and she usually stays with the other two who are both well trained and never leave our immediate sight.
8:30AM: I pull back in the driveway. I am sad. I don't know what to do. I am also devastated that I will miss the show. I decide that maybe I will just send M to set up and do the show and I will wait until it is light out and begin canvasing the area when I can see better.
8:31AM: I get out of the truck and out of the corner of my eye see one of the dogs flash past the front of my truck. Even they are freaked out over Seska's disappearance. As I walk towards the house, there on the snow looking frisky and's Seska! "Oh, thank God", I say. Happy, pissed and tossed, I go towards her and she begins to bolt. Bad move. I begin to take 3 huge strides across the snow as I will chase her ass down and pounce on her if need be at this point. Keep in mind...she is big, clumsy and tires easily...I already know from experience I can out go her. Before she even gets 10 feet, she turns, see's me hot on her and just stops, drops and rolls! "I give up dad....ya got me" she says. With one felt swoop I grab her and lead her to the door, at which point Maryann comes to the door and is rushed over with a look of relief.
8:32AM: With little time to waste, I pat her (the dog) on the butt, Maryann ushers her into the crate, and like flies late for a picnic we dash out the door. We will be really late....and it will be cutting it close....but I think we can still make it. We move!
9:05AM: Drained, loaded with adrenaline, and happy the dog came back, we arrive at the high school. Without wasting a moment or motion, we get her truck unloaded and begin the process of setting up tables and me unpacking boxes and crates of carefully wrapped pottery to begin displaying it all.
9:20AM: The tables are up, the table clothes properly placed upon the tables. For's show time! I begin the process of unpacking ware. Maryann steps back to finally breathe. She needs to. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a recovering addict. Many years ago I fell to the grasps of eggnog. It took over my life every year from mid November until the end of January. I have kicked it many times, but constantly through the years fall off the wagon.
9:40AM: Maryann arrives back at the high school and hands me an eggnog latte! Oh bless you mama! I proceed to get high.
10:00AM: Loaded on espresso and under the influence of pure eggnog, I arrange the final pieces. We did it! We found the dog, made the show, and set up for opening time. I think, but may never know, that when I stopped at the hillside above the lake and yelled the dogs name, she was somewhere down below or across the lake, heard me and decided that she had enough and it was time to go home. I have heard that Malamutes have a bad habit of doing what she did. A friend of ours has one and he does this kind of thing all of the time. She doesn't worry though....when he is hungry or thirsty, he will always return home! I am in the wrong line of life!

Set up, with people wandering in and finally able to sit and put my hemispheres back into phase, I realize that this day is just beginning. Yes, it is by no means over. With daylight dawning, and the snow starting to tapper off, I have a job to do! YouTube - homer simpson Mr Plow

M and I make a plan. She will watch the tables and I will go out and plow. It is a great plan. However, I am torn. One thing I absolutely love is being able to meet with people who love pottery, see the following of customers who are now looking for my work at these gigs, watching people fondle different pieces...almost like a certain piece calls out to them. It is all a very touchy feely, and visually stimulating thing really. When I stop and think of how many people all over the place have a little piece of me in their homes. I truly enjoy not only sales, but the satisfaction of what I have created, and how it affects so many different types of people. And, lets face it...I love plowing. So today would be an exceptionally difficult day for me.

In the end, I plowed throughout the day. I was able to stop in at the show for a little while, several times throughout the day, but was not able to really focus on pottery. Maryann had an enlightening time of it, and although she was worn out at days end, she went like gangbusters, and in the end, 'Black Friday' had made an impressionable mark on my sales!! And of course, while she was cashing in pottery, I was out raking in 'snow dough', or, 'white gold' which is always a welcomed income.

Later that night when I finally made it home, Maryann shared the days stories, and we were able to sit back and take a breather, reflecting on the drama that encased the day. Meantime, Seska was her happy ol meat headed self, and the other two elated that we were all once again a complete pack! That is the one thing I have to say about my wife. When things start to go down, she is always there 100%. We are always like a team. We take it head on back to back, beat it down, sort it out, and always come out the winners. This is what teamwork does! Our partnership rocks, folks!

Saturdays sales started out slow, but did ok by days end. I did get to experience all that I love about the scene...but not to the extent and magnitude that Maryann did on Friday. She was swamped with activity that day, and was my savior. And, I got to finally meet Erin, the author of 'Adventures On E' (see link at 'Our Favorites' top of page). Ironically, one year to the day, she stumbled upon our blog while searching for info on this Christmas event. We email back and forth from time to time, follow each others' in the same area out north.....but never met, until that day. Too cool.

Unannounced to me at the moment, I would get about two days of mental rest. Then, with little would all cut loose again. Tuesday would dump uncontrollable amounts of snow keeping me in plow mode for the next several days, all the while being held hostage. So would begin the antics and drama, of the lunatic..... YouTube - Pink Floyd-Brain Damage/Eclipse

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