December 26, 2012

A Little Christmas Story

The holidays do seem to get crazier.  Things become a drag, traditions a chore, and I may turn into that lady I swore I'd never be:  The one with the tiny ceramic tree on top of the TV.  Couldn't even get cards out which used to be a joy. I'm not old and miserable, just a tad disenchanted with all the hoopla as there's so much more going on.

Things are going pretty well this year considering the aggressive cancer treatment my Dad's been nailing out of the park.  A good friend my age also battles the same cancer as my Dad, they share it like playmates, both of them are incredible--I have no room to complain AT ALL.  So many others I know are having very dark holidays.  So even when the kids have their imperfect moments, I step back to breath...they can shock you with an early college admission...a scholarship!...and an "I love you"...and I thank God for the blessings.  

One of those has been a layoff (the one that happened after I came back from the Federally sanctioned Family Leave Act after helping my folks) which forced my hand to consider my Art as a full time business.  It still feels like cheating, and pays nothing like that day job did, but boy is it rewarding.  Then came that last minute custom Christmas order, the one you know you're stretching to do, but hey, I'll get it done.  It was for Eternabeads, the custom beads I make with, yes, cremate.  And the deceased was fond of trains.  

The tone of the request led me to believe it was a puppy that passed, one that loved to chase after locomotives.   My Eternabead communication with customers is a bit more detailed than my regular glass commision sales, and the requester was surfing the web and found my site a few weeks back.  She asked me short and sweet if I could make her beads with a train.  Sure!

Then the perfect storm:  Slow mail and overlapping commitments.  The beads I can roll in my sleep suddenly stall as my printer goes out.  I can't add the design.  Thinking the customer will understand, I drop her a note with some alternatives.  After two days I start to get a bit fidgety, it's now a week before Christmas and I haven't heard back from her.  I Google her for a phone number, but come up empty.  I try to email again, as I still don't know who the beads actually are...then comes the reply:  My customer is in tears.

And she's sweet like an angel.  These beads are her husband, and they are for her daughters.  Is there anything I can do for now?  Now I'm crying. I ring up anyone who could possibly have the one-of-a-kind printer it takes to make the images.  I email acquaintances, but it's Christmas weekend.   In desperation I call the manufacturer of the paper that I use to print the images, a long shot.  I beg, and Nicole from who's experienced the longest, twisted whine of the century not only sends me the images printed from their printer, they arrive on Christmas Eve.  By the day after Christmas, the beads were completed and sent out to the customer.

In the mean time, I sent her beads with a temporary tattoo of the image so that she would had something to give her daughters.  She loved them, and her email again made me weep.    

So much nonsense in the attitudes many (including myself) hold around Christmas.  All it takes is a "train that could" and a few earthling angels to really get it.  And I left the ceramic tree in it's box, we have grander fir about.

Happy New!