Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cardmaking - The Reality Series

Sometimes we see on television or in the movies how things are “viewed” in a dream state. We might be having tea on top of a mushroom with John F. Kennedy, or have blue hair, are attending college (although actual graduation was in 1985), or have children that we somehow think are ours but who actually look like the “oompa loompas” from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. You may be living in a house you don’t recognize, may put yourself in an awkward situation (ie naked in Times Square and you aren’t strumming a guitar), or stuck on the edge of a cliff with no means of escape. We’ve all been there at one point or another unless we are continually under the effects of Tylenol PM or a libation…although having been under both…I can honestly say that it often made it worse rather than better.

All of this to say that it is not too often that we find ourselves actually in the middle of the dream state in real life. And when we do…it is either terrifying, too bizarre for words, or just plain hilarious. I am going to attempt to share with you my most recent descent into such a place…and the names are going to be changed to protect the guilty.

Now for the backstory…many of you know that I feel that my life’s calling (other than birthing my two children and being the caretaker for Dixie and Rebel) is to deal with paper. I love paper. I love to write, scrapbook, take photos, wrap things, and read. So, I assumed (with all of its inherent dangers) that a natural extension of this “calling” was to learn to make cards. I mean…I’m repeatedly told by my friend, Cindy, that it just isn’t that hard. Well, of course it isn’t that hard for HER. She has all of the stuff, a creative bent toward making cards, and she can actually part with hers.

I, on the other hand, refuse to part with any of the cards that she’s made me because they are just too pretty. I put them in my scrapbooks instead of mailing them to others. I know that this is selfish, but give me a break. I don’t hoard much…but I hoard Cindy’s cards…and would likely get on the stump if someone tried to relieve me of even one of these treasures.

All of that to say that I volunteered early in 2009 to attend a monthly meeting with Cindy’s card queens so that I could actually learn how to make cards. I’ve now been to two of these…the first and third…because the second one conflicted with Trinity’s play. ANYWAY, the first one went sufficiently well, so I pretty much expected the third one to be somewhat of a cakewalk. Yeah…right.

I showed up and immediately realized that the night was going to be a little bit different. First of all, I could actually see the participants due to the fact that I had just picked up my new glasses from Costco. And a lot of participants there were…the table was full, and there were about four ladies just standing around. I was greeted at the door by the homeowner…who was sufficiently sunny as she always is.

The presentation started, but I was, unfortunately, blocked by a lady who not only took up the entire end of the table, but I found that her size also made it impossible for me to see around her to view the demonstration. Now, being overweight myself, I am not “hatin’” on this woman…I’m just stating an indisputable fact. This was further complicated by the ladies chatting in front of me about who knows what, the arrival of the pizza guy, and a cat who was a little too friendly for my liking. They know I am allergic to them (cats…not pizza guys) and all of them find it particularly hysterical to just rub all over my legs (aren’t you glad I clarified the above?). It is almost as if they know that I will spend hours trying to convince Dixie and Rebel that I am not bringing them home a new friend to terrorize. The leg sniffing did indeed occur later that night…and I distinctly saw that “and you have been WHERE?” look from Rebel when I got home.

But back to the story…I finally gave up and just went to the kitchen where there was a strawberry concoction that was non-Weight Watchers, but I convinced myself to eat it anyway because I could recognize the strawberries…and nuts are healthy, right? I did pass on the pizza and on the wine, which by that time was flowing quite freely. I am not a wine person…whiner, yes…consumer of wine…no. A couple of the ladies were indulging quite a bit including the homeowner. Nobody was loud or obnoxious…and so I just sat by the strawberries, texted a friend to report my current condition (third circle of Hell), and waited for it to all be over so I could sit down, make my cards and go home.

Finally, we sat down and I was really looking forward to the card-making when two events occurred that put me in the “dream state.” The first was the arrival of the homeowner’s pre-teen who I can only describe as the well...the typical pre-teen that has a lot of people at her house and is on a sugar high. Only one of my kids' friends was like this on a regular basis, and she has since been diagnosed as bipolar. ANYWAY, after realizing that this young lady was going to be seated right beside me, I did about four sets of deep breathing exercises and tried to tell myself that it was almost over…much like I do in spinning classes after the first song. (Yeah…one down…seven to go…you can do it!)

The second occurred as the wine was still being consumed, I was trying to stamp fish on a card and was having ink issues, and then realized that we'd moved on to embossing something. The resulting aroma smelled a little bit like gas being passed. I didn’t remark on it until I realized later on (embossing for myself) that it wasn’t the embossing producing this particular aroma at all…it was in reality…someone passing gas. SO, I am trying to stamp, emboss, and put little bubble things and all and I’m trying not to get on the stump or reach across the table and slug the pre-teen, whose every other word is “girlfriend.” The only thing that makes it worse is that her mother calls her by a pet name (let's just make it "Baby Girl")when SHE isn’t saying “girlfriend.” The wine is clearly affecting her by this point, but I’m not really sure if it is that or the fact that she is getting intoxicated by the aroma of the 5,000 candles that are burning in this house simultaneously.

Not that I am anti-candle. I like candles. I am just not used to being in a home that made me think I was on the set of a Sting video. I mean...if I'm lighting is because Alabama Power is dragging around in getting my power turned back on.

Anyway, pre-teen and her mother were taking all of the supplies I needed and pre-teen was giving me smart remarks that I think she thought were clever every time I asked for something. It was probably to her advantage that she kept stealing the scissors and the embossing thing, because had they remained in my possession I might have been sent to "time out" in the Montgomery Detention Facility.

By this time, I was so traumatized that I strongly considered picking up the remnants of the various wine bottles and chugging them as to not deal with any more of this unreality. I finally got my cards and basket made and actually began to believe that I might actually eventually leave this “Twilight Zone” episode masquerading as a card party.

Alas, no.

We had the dreaded order form to navigate. I am silently cursing myself that I do not carry cash...and can't just fling a twenty at someone and say..."please...just order anything." Finally, I got through the form, ordered 50 clear envelopes for the future cards that I may never make, and a punch I can use for scrapbooking, wrote a check, and got out before I heard the word “girlfriend” again.

The only saving graces for the evening were that the kitchen guests were having as much fun as I was as we all squeezed together to attempt to see through the remaining doorway unblocked by Big Mama, I had a conversation (that made me feel better about my life) with a lady whose son is 22 and “finding himself” (God love her) and the strawberries were excellent. I also really do like the hostess a lot - although those of you reading this are probably thinking that I'm a real heifer for not appreciating her hospitality.

As I was preparing to leave, something snapped, and the hostess had enough of “Baby Girl's” mouth and shut her down…which meant that I found out that “Baby Girl” does indeed have a middle name…and a first one other than “Baby Girl.” I made a mental note to pray for this lady because she has a rough decade in front of her from what I witnessed.

I did feel bad because she had also passed from “bubbly” to that place right before “dark” where people who drink too much sometimes find themselves. She didn’t burst into tears…but she was talking about the futility of all of the crap in her kitchen and was yelling at her kid…so I felt that it was definitely time to go home.

I finally sprinted to the vehicle and was pleased to note that I had pretty cards (that will never be mailed…they are for my scrapbook) and still had time to spend three hours on eBay after I got home.

Three months of card parties more to go. Yikes. Later!

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