I Am Not Allowed To People Today

It is Sunday; the last day of a major comic/sci-fi festival, and I’ve been working with the public all weekend. My husband sells swords at these conventions. By the time I make it to the last day, I really shouldn’t be allowed to be around people, much less talk to them. Yet they put me over here on the table with the very sharp katanas, the licensed reproduction pieces, and the huge Buster Sword from Final Fantasy 7.

I have sharp, pointy objects right here in front of me. Really, I am not allowed to “People” today, at all.

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Things That Make Me Feel Stabby Today

1. Is this sword real?

Please do not ask me this question. Are they not tangible? Can you not reach out and touch them? Do not proceed to be offended by my dripping sarcasm when I have heard this question all weekend and give you one of the following responses:

  • “What swords? I see no swords here.”
  • “No, they are not real. They are chocolate, wrapped in foil, made to look like swords. Please, bite into one.”
  • “Oh good! The drugs are kicking in! How do you feel?”
  • “No, they aren’t. In fact, the table isn’t, either. We tried to ease your transition when you were checked in, but I feel it necessary to tell you that you are, in fact, in a padded cell.”

2. Bad Parenting

Come on, people. If you have kids, teach them a little respect and make sure they know their manners. I have signs all over my shop saying “Do not touch unless you are 18 years old or older.” Don’t let your brood of children go handling the product anyway, especially when you know they’re going to get their fingerprints all over the blades and probably going to cut themselves. Oh, and then you’re going to blame me because I can’t watch all of your kids.

As for respect… teach your children that it is extremely rude to disrespect a vendor’s product, especially when they know nothing about it. To look at a folded steel katana on display, complete with its own “pedigree” that was signed by the maker and comment that $600 is a bit much for “a sword that’s almost real” (when I haven’t even made a sarcastic remark about whether a sword was real or not) will only show how ignorant your child is, and how poor of a job you have done as a parent.

3. Expecting Something for Nothing

Did you see my product at another vendor’s booth? Was this person really selling the same item for half of what I’ve got it marked? And you expect me to meet that price? Or beat it? So you want me to basically sell it to you at cost, or take a loss.

3a. Oh, and don’t lie to me about that vendor…

Yeah, we vendors do travel show to show and we do get to know each other. We develop relationships. We talk to each other. That vendor you told me about? I know that person. I know he’s selling that same item and I know exactly what he’s selling it for. When you leave my booth I’m going to see him to give him a heads up that you’re going between the two of us saying one is undercutting the other. Because I know you’re about to go to him next and tell him the same thing about me.

4. Dont. Touch. The Blade.

I have folded steel katanas in front of me. I have 1040 carbon steel in front of me. I have weapons priced $300 and up on display that you may pick up, look at, and unsheathe for a closer inspection. However, anyone who knows about these weapons will know that you cannot touch the blade. The oils from your fingers will promote rust and damage the blade. I understand you may not know this, and I’m happy to explain it to you. But after I’ve told you, I don’t understand why you insist on touching the blade anyway. See, now I have to get the cleaning cloth and wipe down every blade you’ve touched, getting all your fingerprints off.

Also, every time you touch these weapons you risk cutting yourself. I’m not talking a small cut. We’re talking stitches here. One festival we were at, a customer had to leave to get stitches in his hand where he sliced himself open. Stitches on the inside first, then the outside. Yeah, he did himself up really good. But I will guarantee you it will be a clean cut. Just do me a favor, will you? Don’t sheath the katana or the sword after you’ve blooded yourself. I can easily clean your blood off the blade, but I can’t get your blood out of anything else. Don’t ruin my product, please.

And above all, don’t be an idiot.

5. Are These Dangerous?

Or, “Are these sharp,” or any other variation on this question. I can’t answer this question with a definite yes or no. By Sunday, I won’t answer this question at all. Any weapon in front of me is dangerous, and you are treading on thin ice by breathing in front of me. I’m wearing sunglasses because the lights hurt my eyes. There is not enough coffee and my migraine meds are in my suitcase, in the car. All I want to do is take one of the throwing axes and use you for target practice. You tell me if they’re dangerous.

6. Ignoring the Signs

I have signs posted all over the shop that clearly state, “You must be 18 years old or older to touch the weaponry.” You are old enough to read. I know you can read because you are making comments about the prices. You are twelve. Get your juvenile paws off of my swords.

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The day is almost over now. I am still here. I haven’t killed or maimed anyone yet, so that is a plus. I managed to sell the Buster Sword, so I don’t have to deal with those questions anymore. Perhaps this day is looking up.

A sense of melancholy

Magickal ScentsFestival season is finally over. Usually, by this time of year I’m just glad to see that it’s done so I can rest, but not this year. Yes, I was exhausted by the end of faire, but I felt a sense of melancholy. I finally got a taste of what it was like to run my own shop and I loved it. Magickal Scents was a huge success and I’m looking forward to doing more festivals. I’ll also return to Texas Renaissance Festival next year!

I made a closing weekend update on my website at TempestMysticProducts.com.  Follow the link to see a gallery of pictures and upcoming festival dates for 2015.

This is the first weekend I will have had at home where I get to do nothing. I’m not quite sure what to do with myself, so I find myself cleaning like a mad woman. But now that festival is over I’ll try to start writing more over here again.

Duch as Ruby Danger

Happy Holidays, everyone!!!!

And Thus Ends a Long Festival Season

Texas Renaissance Festival is one of my favorite gigs. It’s an eight-week run, starting the beginning of October and running every weekend through Thanksgiving weekend. Mr. Magick Man has a few shops out there and I work in one of them.

The vast array of customers who come through every weekend are too many to even begin to describe, and I doubt I could do justice. When dressed in costume, I love interacting with the patrons; especially the children. Sale or no sale, if I can make someone’s experience at renfaire that much more enjoyable, then they’ve had some fun and I’ve had some fun, too.

We always look forward to this festival because our crew is like another family to us. We laugh, we poke at each other, and we stand up for each other. Just like family, we have each other’s backs.

My Teen Boy works in our sword shop, and seems to have inherited a lot of “uncles” as a result. This year I’ve enjoyed watching him grow and interact more with the crew. I looked forward every morning to seeing him at his swordplay lessons when we were finished opening up the shops. One of our crew in particular took the Teen Boy under his wing and started working with him using the practice swords. He was a wonderful teacher, and my kid was an eager student. I’ll have to see what we can do to pursue something like this during the off-season.

Menopause Express Swordplay TRF

I’ll miss the joking comments and the silly moments from the jewelry counter. I’ll miss “Bloody Mary Sundays”. I’ll miss the view of a foggy morning from the castle balcony. Working festival is a lot of hard work and long days. I won’t miss being tired all the time and I won’t miss having my weekends occupied, but I’ll miss seeing my renfaire family.

Menopause Express Foggy Morning TRF

Festival Season

Festival season for Texas Renaissance Festival runs for eight weeks. Longer, if you take into account the work weekends in September. Mr. Magick Man works full time during the week and I take classes. As a result, this time of year we rarely have time to bring our heads above water. The little things go by the wayside. The first thing I always notice is the housework. This shows up in the first week. It’s easy to spot; we have furry children. By the 8th week, the mess has migrated into my office.

My office is in a constant state of organized disorganization. A cluttered desk is a sign of a creative mind. However, the current state of my office has surpassed that, crossed the borders of Chaos and gone into Disaster. It looks like we were hit by Hurricane Renfaire.

By the end of Renfaire, I’m gearing up for finals. Next week is my last week to work on the final projects for my graphic design classes. The InDesign project is eating up all my time. But it will all be over December 10. I’ll have time to breathe again. The first thing I’m going to do is clean this house.

You may ask why I work festival every year if a) I know house cleaning is going to go by the wayside, and b) I can’t stand it by the end of festival. The answer is simple. The crew we have is like another family, and this is the only time of year I get to see some of these people. We have a blast. I’m not on cast – we have a couple of shops at the faire. It’s hard work, but we have fun doing it. And, it seems, every year I have a new little gem from my festival experience.

One of the items we sell is a hand-bound leather journal. The paper inside is a handmade paper, cotton fiber. These were quite popular this season, but customers kept asking how the paper took the ink (whether you chose to draw or write). I happen to have a couple of these at home, one of which I haven’t used yet, so I brought one up to put on the counter. I didn’t bring up my good calligraphy pen (although it is nice to use on these journals), but I did bring one of my good art pens. The result was breathtaking! I had customers come up and draw the most amazing sketches in my book! They would sign their pieces and just chat with me! Most would then proceed to buy their own journal, but the “people watcher” side of me enjoyed seeing the vast array of customers we truly have. My favorite, and the one I will never forget, was the gentleman who came in and drew the most breathtaking mountain scene in under 10 minutes, just off the top of his head. He said he’d been drinking and he left his glasses at home, so this wasn’t his best work. I’d post it but I don’t have his permission. He said he’d come back and show me his sketchbook.

We hear “I’ll be back” quite frequently in retail. While I hoped he would return, I didn’t count on it. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw him the next weekend. I took time and sat down to look at what turned out to be three years worth of artwork. These were just random drawings. He said the paper speaks to him and he draws what comes to mind. It took him three years to fill the book. The images he drew were so beautiful they brought tears to my eyes.

Moments like these are why I love working festival. And these:

Alas, I’ve procrastinated long enough. Time to get back to work on my final projects. Good day, everyone!

On Dreams, Symbolism, and Where I’m Too Hard on Myself

Warning! Contains possible triggers if you are pregnant or have a history of difficult pregnancies.

Before I begin, let’s keep a few things in mind:

  • My blog. This is The Menopause Express. That whole “baby-thing”? Um… yeah.. I’m done now. Have been for a few years.
  • There’s a significant timeline in my dream.
    • We’re gearing up for our major festival (Texas Renaissance Festival); that opens October 6th.
    • Fall Semester ends in December

With this information, you’ll grasp the symbolism.

I dreamed I was pregnant. It was present day – I was my current age, as was my husband and my teen-boy. We were surprised. I mean, really, I did think I was done. But we were happy. Mr. Magick Man just adopted my teen-boy, now he gets another child? How awesome is that? We were just talking about the due date. The baby would be due in December, right around the holiday season. I commented the teen-boy’s b-day would be the next month. They’d be a month apart, but he’d be about 15 years older. That should be fun.

Then something really bad happened. Right around October, I miscarried. I was about 6 months pregnant. Now, I’m not sure what the procedure is in a late-trimester miscarriage, but I know they don’t do what they did in my dream… They rushed me to the E.R. This is where the dream shifted from first person to third person perspective.

They Photoshopped the baby out of me. Yes, that’s right. I saw the moving dotted line and everything. I can even tell you what tool they used. They used the Quick Selection Tool, then they hit Delete.

I woke up from this dream all weepy because all I could think about was being pregnant and having lost the child. But after my head cleared, I saw the symbolism for what it was. I miscarried right at our “busy season”, when I have so many balls in the air I need to be 3 people. My due date, of course, is end of semester. The baby represents my classes, my major, and my new path. I’m afraid of failing. I’m making all A’s right now. I don’t want to mess that up. At the same time, I don’t want to drop any other balls, either.

Really, I still think I can do everything. It’s just that Life gets in the way. :/