This last weekend I had a craft show in Des Moines. I was looking forward to it because it was the biggest show I had been in and I really liked the vibe of the show. It’s a monthly show that is primarily for modern handmade items. However, as things usually go in life, nothing went according to plan…
**This is a long post, but I try to make it as entertaining as one crazed crafter can**
Typical craft show prep…as in there wasn’t any…
On Friday night before the show, I, of course, procrastinated and was up entirely too late making items and packing up. I’m not sure why I do this every single time I do a show. I panic about how much product I have, decide to sit down and attempt to make thirty items, end up only making like two, and they are rushed, look awful and end up going in my mess up pile to use at home. This is probably why I had 30 burp clothes for my daughter.
So on Friday, I end up staying up until the wee morning hours of Saturday. I go to sleep for what feels like 10 minutes, get up and start packing my car. I feel terrible. Usually when I don’t get enough sleep I feel sick, but this was even worse. So, I test my morning blood sugar and it’s 268. For those of you that haven’t had the pleasure of testing blood sugars, my goal for morning fasting blood sugar is between 70-90. Even after a meal, my goal is under 120. So, to have a blood sugar at 268 at fasting is absolutely INSANE. I cannot figure out how that happened. I took my insulin at the right time, had good readings before and after dinner the night before and hadn’t had anything to eat overnight.
I drag myself into the car and start my commute to Des Moines. Before I can leave town though, I have to hunt down some one dollar bills. It was city wide garage sale weekend, which mean everyone was hitting up all the businesses in town for ones. I had already been turned down by two. It finally got the change I needed with two other businesses, but the time cushion I had built into my drive was now gone. My morning wasn’t going exactly how I had planned. As I did the hour drive to Des Moines, I had to pull over several times because I started gagging and I swore I was going to puke. Finally, after my insulin finally started to make me feel better, I could stay on the road for more than 10 miles.
So as you can imagine, I’m not in the greatest mood. I’m sick, tired, irritated and running somewhat late. Then, the dam bursts. As you will see, that’s a pun.
Damn you Dam to Dam!
As I pull into downtown, I am feeling a bit better. My blood sugar has come down. I don’t feel as sick. I’m feeling a bit more awake, and I’m running early. Life is good.
Then, I see it. I see traffic in downtown Des Moines. What is this? Why is there so much traffic on a Saturday morning? I know Farmer’s Market is popular, but this is a lot of traffic. I mean this is more traffic than I deal with on my daily commute. I tell myself it will be okay. I’m only a few blocks from the show site, with my extra time, I will still make it on time.
As I get to my first stoplight, I see everyone moving from the center lanes into the turning lanes. That’s not a good sign. That means that something is keeping people from going straight, and I need to go straight. As I slowly approach the intersection, I see the “Road Closed” sign. I think to myself, maybe it’s just this one street that is closed. I will just go to the next street and it won’t be a big deal. Then I see them. Oh those nasty little marathon runners. They are like bed bugs. Where you see one, there are millions of other ones. And if there are marathon runners, there is a marathon route and it clearly is going to block every single road I need to go down. (This one just happen to be the annual Dam to Dam marathon.)
Well. What to do now? I didn’t exactly know how far I was from the venue. I could probably walk if I could find a parking spot (unlikely)…however, I had a very heavy door backdrop to carry, and I knew I wouldn’t make it far with it. I inch closer to the road closed sign.
Anyone who has driving in unexpected traffic knows this: people are idiots. It’s like when it snows just enough to cover up the lines in a parking lot. People just lose it. They will park the exact opposite of everyone else and act like it’s perfectly okay. There are norms people! If you have never ever parked like that before and no one else is doing it, why do you think you can do it now?!?
The first intersection I come to, there is a light. I am turning left on the light. However, no one in my lane can turn left because the other direction of traffic is really brilliant and every single light they block the intersection. If you can’t make the light, don’t pull into the intersection! On a “normal” day, you wouldn’t do this…mostly because there would be traffic going straight and would t-bone you. However, today, you seem to think it’s a great idea. I think it’s because they have this “survival of the fittest” mentality. It’s like a scene in Independence Day. You are not driving to escape an alien invasion. You are in the same boat as every other person trying to get out of this downtown mess, and I swear there is no one behind you that is going to eat your face. (Unless you’re in Miami…too soon?)
So, when people aren’t able to turn left and the other traffic keeps blocking the intersection, they join the survivalist mentality and jump on crazy train. First comes the expected: honking, rude gestures, curse words out the window. Then comes the aggressive: cars start to move into the intersection to cut off the people that are blocking the intersection which, of course, leads to more honking from the other lane of traffic trying to go straight through them. Third, you have the creative ones that decide traffic laws are clearly not applicable in this situation. They do a U-turn in the middle of the intersection (blocking all lanes of traffic, and of course, it’s an SUV that has to back up three or four times to turn). Or maybe they decide to turn right from the left turn lane into the right turn lane traffic. (Of course, this also leads to more honking.) Or, you have the person that is four or five cars back from the light, observes this mess, and tries to go in reverse up the street to a cross street…..eliciting more honking.
Eventually I get to turn left and find myself bumper to bumper in all lanes. As I move along, I notice the time until the show starts is creeping closer. I’m not exactly sure what I can do at this point other than move with traffic. I can’t move off this street. There’s no cross streets yet that aren’t blocked off. So I move with everyone. Of course, the lane I’m in abruptly ends. Apparently it was having an identity crisis and wasn’t really a lane, but an area for parked cars. So, of course, the bumper to bumper traffic now has to merge to one lane.
I’m sure many of you have had this happen before. You need someone to let you in to their lane of traffic. You give passing drivers eye contact. You stare them down. Sometimes they avoid looking at you. They’re feeling guilty but are silently justifying practically rear ending the car in front of them. Then there are those drivers that will look you right in the eyes and let you know with a look there is no way in hell you’re going to get in their lane. Of course eventually someone gives you the wave so you can move the 6 feet into their lane, which is moving slightly faster than a 100 year old turtle.
As I am slowly moving along, an oncoming car has their window down and yells something out their window to the driver in front of me. I roll my window down. Maybe this lady has top secret information on how to get out of this purgatory of traffic. As she drives by, she yells this “TAKE A LEFT WHEN YOU CAN, THERE IS A U-TURN AHEAD.”
Is this code? I mean, clearly, turning left wasn’t the answer I had been waiting for. The show was to the right. I had to turn right. And what did she mean by U turn ahead?!? This road leads all the way to the capital. There’s a bridge and everything. It must be code for “keeping going straight and eventually the heavens will open and there will be a way to get to the craft show.” Yes. That is it. There is a way ahead. I’m sure. I mean, look at all these people going straight. They aren’t turning. Not every single driver in downtown is wrong. There must be some enlightened individuals in the group.
Oh how wrong I was. Of course the group mentality is wrong. I should have realized this from any disaster movie I have ever seen.
As I inch along, I come to the “U-turn” intersection the oracle spoke of. So the lane to the right is closed for the greedy road stealing marathoners, and the road in front of me is closed for road construction, and the road to the left is a one way only going down towards marathon lane. So the only option for the hundreds in my lane is to do a u-turn in the intersection and head back the way I came.
This was the last straw. I was sick. I was late. I was tired. I was running out of gas. And I really really wanted an orange juice. I can’t even have orange juice, which made the desire even stronger.
I call my husband and the conversation goes something like this.
Me: I need you to check my e-mail.
Him: *Yawn* *Groggy sleepy voice* What?
Me: I NEED YOU TO GET UP AND CHECK MY E-MAIL
Him: What? What’s going on? Are you okay?
Me: NO! *start to bawl*
Him: Calm down, what’s going on?
Me: *Incoherent crying talk*
Him: I can’t understand you hun.
Me: I NEED YOU TO CHECK MY E-MAIL.
Him: Okay Okay. *starts to go to the living room*
Me: *Crying very loudly now*
Him: Okay, now, can you tell me what is going on?
Him: Okay. What do you want me to do with your e-mail?
Me: I need you to find the contact information for the people at the craft show.
Him: Okay. What’s the name of the e-mail?
Me: I don’t know! It says craft show.
Him: *keys clicking away*
Me: Did you find it yet?!
Him: Yes, there’s no phone number.
Me: WHAT DO YOU MEAN THERE’S NO PHONE NUMBER. *sobbing louder*
---Unknown number on call waiting—
So, I take the phone call and it’s the coordinator of the craft show. At this point, I’m crying, and I’m not going to stop. They ask me if I’m still coming which leads to a sobbing, angry, sad response of I’m trying to make it there. They tell me not to worry that my spot will still be there and just to get as close as I can and they will get people to carry my stuff for me. (And they tell me this in a very alarmed, I don’t know how to deal with the crying lady voice) I go back my husband and try to explain what is going on. I end up getting another call. Apparently my borderline hysteric phone call worried them, and they decided to have someone else call me to see if they could help. Of course they couldn’t because they didn’t know the streets I gave them. (They were unaware of the corner of purgatory and Hyvee Hall).
At this point, I have been traveling the streets of downtown Des Moines for about an hour. It took about another 45 minutes to make to the interstate and the back way to the craft show venue.
You sell what……?
So, I get all set up for the craft show. I’m only about 45 minutes late, so it’s not too busy. I get set up fairly quickly, find a close parking spot and am ready to sell. I’ve got one vendor to my right that sells the most beautiful crochet scarves and kids toys. The one to my left has really cool paper products.
Most craft shows, especially if they don’t allow vendors, will have a few people that sell things that make you scratch your head. And usually at least one of those people will be making a killing selling such thing. Last year I had a booth next to this guy selling wooden roses, and EVERYONE wanted one. It was the strangest thing. They put this awful smelling perfume on them and people were just going crazy for it!
I should have figured this show wouldn’t be anything different. The booth across from me caught my attention pretty quick. The artist was about my age. She made felted animals. (Very cool, very hard and specialized craft) However, she put one interesting twist on this. She just made the heads and mounted them on plaques. Imagine how someone mounts a deer head. Then picture a tiny felted squirrel head instead. She had elephants, goldfish…all sorts of animals. Now. I don’t negate the amazing talent it took to make the fake taxidermy felted animal heads. They were extremely detailed. However, I do wonder where people are putting them. And there was a ton of people interested in them. They were selling like hot cakes! Is there a market for such wears? Apparently.
Behind me was a talented mosaic artist. He did it for a living and had just started making smaller items to sell at craft shows. Also, quite talented. However, he made mosaic light switch covers. Some even glowed in the dark. This is another item I would think would have a very special customer. But, he was selling the ever living heck out of his fancy switch covers. He even had people asking about custom orders for them. I wonder if the same people were buying both. Maybe somewhere in the central Iowa region, there is a fake taxidermy felted animal head hanging above a mosaic glow in the dark light switch cover. There just might be.
What did I learn from my craft show experience? I’m staying home and sleeping in next time.
**Disclaimer: I do not, in fact, hate marathon runners. One of my best friends rocks at marathons, and eons ago I ran cross country. Keep running!**