Let's face it. I do retail almost every weekend, all weekend long. I stand around in (what I hope is) a funky, interesting, and creative outfit. I put on my best "I am only paying attention to you and you only" face and I hopefully sell enough of Michael's ceramics to pay the mortgage, buy new winter coats, pay for soccer, and if I'm lucky splurge a little on the groceries. I don't sell all by myself Michael is there. In fact he is much better at it than I am. Not that I am bad or anything but he is much better with the schmoozing part.
Last weekend we trek, and I mean we trek, to Novi, MI for a show with a promoter that we work with a lot. We get up at 3:30 in the morning on Thursday and we are in the car ready to go at 4:00. We drive in intense fog for hours. It must have been Mother Nature's little "Ha, Ha" on the Terra's and their big white van, Moby. We trade off driving and sleeping about every 3 hours. Xan did some homeschool in the car. We listened to "The Stories of Oz". The original ones, weird, and most of them are not very pleasant. But we feel righteous for having done it because they are classics. We had such an unremarkable lunch that for the life of me I can't remember where we ate. And finally, finally we pull into the Rock Financial Center at 5:00pm to set up our booth. We are there until 8:00 and we are not even done yet. It took us a while to figure out a new set up because Michael is a 'demo artist' (which to us means that we get a free booth space in exchange for Michael working at the show). We get to the hotel and this time it is a good one. We are staying at a Marriott and they have an indoor pool. We go to an 'Olive Garden' for dinner. Michael and I each order a glass of wine and we were all barely able to pick up our forks to eat dinner. Back to the hotel and some tv watching and as usual I am the first one asleep.
The weekend was a bust. Novi is a bedroom community for Detroit. For me, that about sums it up. We were packed all weekend. We worked our butts off and for all our hard effort we broke even. People stood in front of our booth, stared, mouths fell slightly open, heads tilted to one side, mouths open, words come out, "Can you explain this to me?" That's what we did all weekend. Talk, talk, talk, explain, explain, explain. Very little wrapping was done.
It happens. We have doing this enough years now that we take it in stride. Every show is a learning experience and you never how economically successful you are going to be until you try. We know people who who raked in the dough.
At home yesterday sitting at our kitchen table I had out the bill box and was sorting through them picking out which bills to pay and which to leave until after the next show. I am in a constant flux of 'putting all my eggs in one show'. The loan payment can wait because even though it is due the 1st I really have until the 16th before they charge a late payment. Must pay the credit cards because they are nasty, nasty corporations who will raise my APR if I am 2 seconds late in paying. I always try to prioritize 'people' we owe money to right after the credit cards because they are people and they need the money just like we do. I want to give them the opportunity to sit at their kitchen table with their bill boxes and play their version of check roulette.
I open up the Sprint bill. Ouch. It's over $500. $469 of it is Artie's from the 3 weeks that she is in Austin. I just remembered that I haven't told her yet. That will smart. Austin seems like forever ago.
Another show is in the bag. Another day with the bills has been, well, it has been gotten through for now.