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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Almost Moved In

Yes, it's true.  We're almost moved into the shop!!  There's still 1.6 million pairs of shoes and a ginormous pile of costumes to take.  Plus the rest of my work room boxes and the ironing stuff.  But still!  SO CLOSE!!
This week was spent  finding a home for everything.  I now have Internet and a phone number too!!!  480-398-1469 - the OFFICIAL phone number for Enchanted Wardrobe!  Now, with the phone hooked up I took our old phones to the shop (we haven't had a home phone for some time now - just the cell phones).   Here's the sad story that goes with the phone... our littles didn't know how to use it.  I had to teach them to pick up the receiver (and then had to explain what the receiver was) and then dial -not just dial the phone like on a cell.  When it rang they got all excited.  Now they know how to make phone calls, and they have a blast calling my cell the whole time we're at the shop... (um yah, that never gets old... ugh).  Here's what the shop looked like on Wednesday:
Top is the view from the back of the shop, below is the view from the front.

See that white wall space near the ceiling?  There is now a rod that goes 40' from the front of the store almost to the back of the store to hang suits and such up high.  :)  

Now, you probably know I have a ton of kids.  Ok, not a ton - I have 9.  The olders are the 6 older kids - ranging in age from 24 to 19.  The littles are the 3 younger kids - they are 8 and 6 (the 6 year olds are twins).  With the olders, I was always praised at how well behaved they were, how they had such good manners, etc.  The littles... well that happens sometimes.  Most of the time people just look at us and are  glad the littles are ours.  I think this is due to two main facts.  Ok, maybe three.  First of all, there were so many people in our home the littles never learned personal space or boundaries.  Between the 11 people living here, and all the friends the olders brought home there was a time that the littles weren't really sure who was their brother/sister and who was a friend.  Sad, but true.  Second, Rachel was 18 mo. old when the twins were born.  All 9 kids lived at home.  The olders were teenagers (or pre-teens) and really just wanted to be with friends instead of helping with stereo crying babies.  It was simply impossible to teach a lot of the manners and appropriateness and personal space, etc to the littles.  The third reason, and probably the biggest is we're tired. Old and tired.  I was in survival mode for a few years and was just happy everyone is still alive.  :)  Now, you may be wondering why I'm telling you this story.  Here it is: because the littles have trouble defining boundaries and personal space, they are having trouble remembering that the things in the store are to sell, not to play with, not to wear and take home, etc.  This week we had some "issues".  There were mannequins dressed in weird costumes and put in the windows.  A chicken.  Next to a gypsy.  And a 80's chick.  It was a week of saying, "don't open or move anything without asking first" over and over and over again... Trying to explain the concept of retail sales to the littles is going to have to be a work in progress.  Meanwhile, there was loads of fun.  And we had a visit from BumbleBee:
I didn't take this picture, it magically appeared on my phone... with some other odd pictures.  The littles can work an iphone and an ipad like no ones business, but they had to learn to use a regular phone.  Oh, and I have some picture vinyl collected that was out in a pile upstairs.  Rachel said, "oooh!  A giant CD!".   Sad. 

I came across Rachel's very first halloween costume.  And, of course I stuffed her in it...

It's hard to see, but there's a cute little stinger on the back.  She ran around the store stinging everyone with her little stinger.  Then we tried to get it off of her... which was harder and more painful than putting it on... 

And then there's the costumes that are just part of life... The creative ones... Like this...
What?  Don't your kids wear their McDonalds bag on their head???  Really?  Why not???

Friday I started taking my actual work room to the shop.  Nothing was so stressful and emotional as that in this whole adventure.  I have no idea why, possibly because I really love my machines and love the creative process - and now it will happen somewhere else.  It's weird.  

Here's the work room last night.  I had already taken stuff from the shelf in the back.  

And then 2 of the 3 machines were on a trailer.  With loads of boxes.  I'll keep one machine at home so I can sew at home if I want/need to. 

Here's your new home little serger!  My magic serger that is amazing and sews 2000 stitches per minute.  My little dynamo.  
And here's the other machine, going to it's new spot.  

And here's a little boy in a box.  Because costumes are everywhere!  What?  Your kids don't wear boxes???  Seriously???  Your kids are missing out. 

And then there's this.  This huge pile of boxes.  It makes me groan.  Because now it all needs to find a home at the shop.  

After loading the machines and boxes at the shop, we came home to work on the dressing rooms.  The Hale Center Theatre donated some little houses they used in "To Kill A Mockingbird".  We're changing them up to make them into dressing rooms that look like little houses.  They were a little big, so first the siding came off so we could make them smaller.

And it was freakishly hot today.  Hot and super muggy.  And this is how I felt about that:
Mid sweating it out in the heat, when we took the piece we decided to use as the back/inside wall of the dressing rooms apart we found a treasure!!!  You see, we had to take the siding off and cut it... or so we thought... See the magic peeking through??? 

Well, I'm pretty excited because this is what was under the siding:
Yes, the perfect size and quantity for the back walls of the dressing room.  I'll put a mirror on them and have a cute little arch over the mirrors.   I know - it's such a cute little treat!  Oh, and bonus because the siding was holding the 2 pieces together!  We didn't even have to cut it! Score!!

And then (even though it looks like I wasn't doing anything, I really was doing lots) after pulling many nails, taking out lots of screws, fetching this, moving that, etc we thought we could run it all to the shop tonight.  And then this thwarted our plans:
 Thunderbolts and lightening - very very frightening!  And it came at us quickly (thank you Arizona monsoons) so we scrambled to get everything in the garage - except we had to make room in the garage first and then unload the trailer, pick up all the nails and screws from the driveway so we didn't get a flat tire, and put the almost done dressing room houses away. Don't get me wrong, it was still hot as hades out there.  But now there was a nice breeze and some hot rain. 

That's all for now folks.  I have high hopes to pass inspections this week and open to the public SOON!  Get ready to PAR-TAY because we're going to celebrate! 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

There's a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow

Seriously, things at the wardrobe are pretty boring.  I fear I will bore you to death with all the gritty details.  Work consists of loading the car at home or storage, and unloading it at the shop.  In a huge mountain.  Then hours are spent sorting and finding a home for all of the costumes.  Yesterday, with the help of my fearless husband, the storage unit is now 100% empty and ready to be swept out and returned to the storage people.  Because there's not enough room at the shop, my entry way is now full of boxes of band hats and the scrap booking stuff I had put in storage.  I'm just waiting for someone from Hoarders to come by and help me sort it all.  On Friday, Jimmy BoBo came by and put some tall shelves together.  He was so patient when he had a little shelf elfs "helping" him... ok, they really weren't helping, they just wanted a ride.

Since Friday was mostly spent loading and unloading the car, and driving back and forth, Saturday was mostly spent sorting and hanging costumes.  Shortly after hanging up some of the stash from storage Rachel found some goodies and I spied her dancing like a rock star.
All that gold stretchy, with ninja leg wrappers and a wickershim brothers fedora.  Oh, and the ninja belt. Yes, this is my child.  And also related to Robin, who wore a similar outfit in red when she was the same age... and danced/sang a whole Brittany Spears Oops I did it again... some of you may remember that.  I will someday find that video and share it with you.  Because, frankly, it's pricelessly awesome. 

Later that day...

 Somewhere mid sitting on the ginormous pile of costumes sorting, I decided I may need a 12 step program because there is simply SO much.  Of everything.  It was all kind of hum drum until we were hit with a HABOOB!  Which, for your information, is my second favorite word.  Second only to shenanigans.  The haboob was full of shenanigans and habobbie trapped us inside the shop.  
Photo by Laszlo Layton

In case you do not know what a haboob is, here is a picture of yesterday's haboob.  It's a giant wall of dirt with huge gusting winds that pretty much sweeps on by, leaving everything filthy and gritty. Shortly after the dust stormed by some giant raindrops fell from the sky and the clouds were pretty bright and clear.  Aaron was busy watching the weather through the window and he noticed a rainbow.   I asked him if we could go on a quest across the rainbow to find the pot of gold.  He said we could, and everyone knows you need a unicorn to cross the rainbow, so I told him we'd have to get a pet unicorn first.  I am shocked to say that Aaron told me there is no such thing as a unicorn.  Silly boy, of course unicorns are real!  Instead he informed me that a unicorn is a horse with a party hat on.  Where does he come up with this stuff???  Then one of the other kids said we could fly with the unicorn and I had to school them on the difference between unicorns and pegasus.  Big difference.  This was some serious conversation.  And if we did have a winged unicorn, it would be a unisus.  All of this while sorting costumes.  Ashley was helping with the sorting/hanging and then found actual proof that unicorns are real.  
SEE?!?!?  Unicorns are totally real.   And come in different colors, like purple.  

To find a unicorn, you must ask a gypsy.  But only this kind of gypsy... 
The matching kind of gypsy.  They are known unicorn breeders and, for a small price will provide you with the perfect unicorn.  

Who doesn't have unicorns???
A cow person.  Because cow persons have horses and cows.  Not unicorns.  Unless it's the horses birthday and they are wearing a party hat. 

After this whole conversation, you may think I need to see a doctor...
But I already have and am thus heavily medicated in order to maintain normalcy.  This is proof that I'm sane and this conversation is true and correct.  

On another note, going through boxes that have been in storage forever have brought many fond memories to light.  I've found pictures and papers and things from the big kids when they were super little.  Things like this:
Oh snap - it's upside down.  It is written on a paper towel.  It says, "Dear Mom, I love you! I want to be my mom forever! Love, Jamie"   Precious.  I will keep it forever.  Unless the hoarder peeps toss it without my knowing.  

Today was a much needed day off from the shop.  I officially did our laundry and actually cooked dinner tonight.  I know, it's shocking but true. Tomorrow there will be more sorting and organizing, along with tons of shenanigans and possibly a haboob.  I hope to open the shop for business on Saturday... we shall see!  Until then, let your life be full of rainbows and unicorns, pots of gold, a unisus or two and the occasional haboob.  All topped off with a healthy dose of shenanigans.  

Thursday, July 19, 2012

"Mom, can you put this on your blog?"

It is now Thursday night.  It's also the season premier of Project Runway.  Our DVR has been set to record it and I haven't seen it yet.  I am afraid to look and see if it got recorded... because I really want to see it and, well, if I have to wait I might burst.  Ok, I won't burst but I might just shed a tear or two.

True to form, we've been working hard on the shop.  Moving is the PITS and I am so tired and sore.  Costumes are HEAVY and who knew I had all this stuff????  I mean, really, how many costumes can one person have?  Well, a whole heck of a lot!  I'll tell you THAT.   I am very grateful for good friends who've come to help me out this week.  There was one day that I literally just sat and stared at the pile (used lightly - more like a mountain) of costumes needing new homes.  Although I had a plan on how I wanted things, actually getting things there changes it a bit.  It has been... overwhelming.  But it's coming together nicely.  It's time for you to meet the helpers!

A big thank you goes out to Kyle C. Green, who not only came and helped me unload the car (aka death trap of hotness), but he also modeled this fancy feline hat.  In addition to helping tons (literally, he helped for hours!) He also brought a CD full of awesome family pictures.  I am SO excited about them - really, my family is very good looking.  So good looking I don't know how anyone stands it.  See for yourself!
I told you!  If you're looking for an amazing photographer, Kyle is the guy for the job!

Now, there was a point where I had set my phone down... and thus I see that it was taken over by small and strange children.... because this is what I found while loading pictures:

You can totally rent these huge cowboy boots.  Except they might be used for playing teddies... See the cat on the top left?  That's Donald.  His hands and feet have magnets in them.  He gets thrown at metal a lot...  because it's funny.  The cat on the right is Rolfy.  He is a super hero.  You already know Sponge Bob, and I have no idea what he's doing here but he was there.  The little monkey is named Monkey.  The littles play with these guys all day long.  They go on amazing adventures.  And, just so you have a heads up, the littles found nice little places to play teddies at the shop... in the middle of the round racks.  Hidden from view.  The very same place Luke liked to climb into in department stores and grab strangers ankles... yes. True story.  

And here's the twins, I have no idea what was going on but the teddies were there too, Rachel took the picture and since they're right by the display case and the register they were probably playing store.  They sure do love playing store in the store! :)  

I'll bet you're wondering who else helped???  
Meet Jimmy BoBo.  Rachel gave him that name after she let him know he had lots of hair in his armpits.  Really, we are super random people.  Jimmy not only took all the plastic off the lights (YAY!!) (and that was a super sucky job) he also came by the next day for more costume torture and unloaded my car full of costumes (aka the deathtrap of hotness).  Know what else?  He also hung up costumes and was able to actually put them where they went!  And figured out what cape went with what super hero.  Yup, that's serious talent.   

Ashley came to help (which, after the super hot painting adventure I'm shocked she'd ever come within 100 feet of the shop) and she used her super awesome Buzz wings to hang up and organize the Disney costumes!  Yay!  She also worked on Star Wars and some other random stuff in the pile.  :) See:
I found Ashely and Jimmy BoBo taking pictures in costumes.  Yes, they belong here.  I know. 

Who can't resist Super Girl and Spider Man with the really hairy armpit??? (this is where Jimmy BoBo went from just plain Jimmy to Jimmy BoBo.) 
And Ashely as Little Miss Muffett!  SO CUTE!!  She just needs a tuffet and some curds and wey.  Oh, and a spider... second thought - no to the spider.  

Austin spent HOURS after working his full time job getting the base boards and thresholds in.  I am VERY thankful for having a handy guy for a husband!  
Here's the view from the back of the shop at the end of the day yesterday.  Today it's MUCH fuller as Katelynn, Spencer, Rachel L. and I were dynamo's at bringing tons of costumes and junk to the shop. Oh, and yesterday the plumber FINALLY came to put in a new sink faucet.  The original one didn't work.  The bathroom was horribly filthy when we moved into the shop and I told myself I'd clean it after the sink was fixed as having running water was a must.  So I cleaned the bathroom last night.  Who knew it was so BRIGHT and white under all that grime??? No, I won't share a picture yet... because I have another story.  

This story is one that, had it happened to most people, you'd never know.  They'd never tell.  It's pretty embarrassing.  It may even pass up my previous most embarrassing story - yah, the one where I took a shower in the Mens shower at a KOA on accident?  Yup,  I did.  I really was wondering why the lady next to me had such manly, hairy feet.  I'm sure he was wondering why the man next to him had toe nail polish on...  I completely took a shower and didn't know I was in the mens shower until I walked out and saw the urinals.  Yes, it's true so stop laughing now.  Because this next one just might be better.    So, you see... this building was actually built several years ago and my unit had never been occupied before.  It just sat in the hot and the dry.  This is the preface of my story because anything else (like saying it's because I'm a fatty or something) is just too much.  We had been at the shop all day.  And I had to go.  Not leave, silly - I had to go potty.  And so I went into my nice clean potty and sat down.  And then I heard a crack, and another crack, and my potty seat was moving underneath me!!!  It totally broke into pieces under my rear.  NEVER had I ever, ever thought that would happen.  Ever.  But it did.  See?
This was taken after I flushed and fished out the smaller pieces from the bowl.  Yes, I did. I touched potty water and broke a toilet seat all in one day.  You're welcome, because I'm sure you're feeling much better about yourself now.  

And now, just 2 more things.  First of all we had that huge monsoon storm over last weekend.  And we've been so busy we didn't notice that it had blown my big swinging couch into the pool... 
Here's Ben trying to get it out.  Ok, mostly he was laughing because it was in the water and super funny.  FYI - it's still in the water.  The seat part is out, the frame and canopy still need rescue. 

And this.  This happened right when we got home tonight. 
Aaron said, "MOM! Come in the kitchen and take a picture of me with the kangaroo!"  And then he said, " Mom, can you put this on your blog?"  Really, how could I resist.  And I already told you we're random people.  

The moral of this blog is: when in a costume shop, try on costumes and have fun.  When going potty, beware of brittle potty seats, when home enjoy yourself and what goes on around you.  

Ok, now I'm gonna go watch PR because I'm DYING to see it.  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Long hours finally paying off

I find myself wondering where this past week went.  Between teaching, working and working on the shop I've been so busy I don't know where the days are going.  Here's an update on what's been going on since we were blessed with power.

We worked on the floor most of the week.  It was pretty time consuming - each board was easy and all, it's just there's a lot of floor to cover.  We moved everything to one side of the shop and started putting the floor down on the other.  Then when we got close to the pile of stuff, I got to move it to the finished part of the shop.  All in all it was lots of moving - moving stuff, moving heavy boxes of flooring and shuffling this and that.  It was also my job to put the vapor barrier and padding down, and keep floor tiles accessible so Austin could lay the floor as quickly and efficiently as possible.  Needless to say my back has been sore for several days now, and it's particularly stiff today.   

Good news though!  We had extra flooring to return to Lowes!
This much extra + extra padding = getting $650 or so back!  I was super excited about that!! 

Between teaching classes and working on the shop I had a couple hours to work on sewing work each day.  I set aside some time to make a backpack for my Jamie.  It's better than mine, as mine was the first - with Jamie's I changed a few things for the better and it's the new and improved model. 
This will go out in the mail tomorrow!  Let's hope it's a good size for her and she likes it!!  

Thursday night it was the moment we had been waiting for.  Yes, it's true - the very last planks were put on the floor!  YIPPE!!!  

See this guy?  That's my husband.  He's pretty awesome.  He put the whole floor down for me.  He also did it all  in a few hours each night after working at his job all day.  He's super exhausted and yet he keeps helping me get set up.  He doesn't even complain - he just comes and works and is so awesome about it.  Yup, he's a keeper. 

Friday we started moving into the shop.  We also made a trip to Gershel Brothers in Phoenix - it's the store fixture store.  It's pretty awesome.  I know, I get excited about the weirdest stuff.  

Here's Aaron and Rachel looking at the pile of stuff we bought.

Here it is loaded into the car.

And in the shop.  I knew I had to put it together, but I was kinda worried about that part so I didn't build it Friday night.  

Saturday morning I was lucky to have a small moving crew of friends and family to help load up some things from storage and bring them to the shop.  

The littles were told to not play on the shelves, but every time I looked over there they were on them.  The shelves were bunk beds, a stage, apartments for their teddy bears... a jungle gym - (which I very sternly and quickly nipped in the bud.)   

And I decided it was time to build the shelves...  I was nervous, but really they were pretty easy to put together.  The directions recommended 2 people put them together but I did it myself and was just fine. 

Above is the first one on both sides.  There's shelves that go on the employee side to keep paperwork and such.  The slatwall side we will use to display small impulse buying things - you know, the crap by the registers everywhere you go?  Yah, the stuff all the kids beg for?  Um hum.  That's it.  

While I was building shelves, Rachel went about dressing the mannequins and setting up a display.  She didn't have much to work with as mostly what's been brought to storage is the odd ball stuff.  But she did great!  And had lots of fun too.  

And then we got a huge and powerful monsoon rain storm.  And I was very glad we were in the shop at the time because the roof leaked!  YIKES!!!  Total paranoia because as you see above, we had just put down the floor.  Thank heavens for an awesome landlord who got right on it and has someone coming out to fix the roof.  Also thankful for having extra rags and buckets at the shop.  :)

Here's the second cabinet I put together.  This one was much more intimidating because of the glass - but it was pretty easy and straight forward to put together and not a big deal at all.  Once this was set up the kids put on some random costumes (cowboy hats and boots and aprons and stuff) and made up a store.  They played store for awhile and put things to sell in the glass case.  Funny, they were selling my hair bandanna, our hammer, our screw drivers, our tape... mostly the stuff we needed to keep working...  silly kids. 

While all of this was going on Bryce, the construction guy came to hang my grid wall.  It's almost done - should be ready to go on Monday.  YAY!!!  I'm sure he's convinced we're 100% nuts after spending the whole day listening to the littles and I in the shop. .. maybe he's right.

After being at the shop since 9:30 that morning I was ready for a much needed dinner break away.  We drove down the street to Dennys for dinner, where Austin met us after his work day. Austin and Rachel found some "no" onion rings in the pile.   So silly.  I love how we find funny things wherever we go and whatever we do. 

After dinner we headed back to the shop for some base board installation.  Austin made it almost around the whole shop and then we ran out of adhesive.  It was late, so we called it a night.  The littles were still energetic and wanting to stay but it was 11pm and time to head for home and get some much needed sleep.  I hope we are able to finish moving in this week and get the shop open!  Tomorrow we will schedule phone and Internet installation.  And get the roof and plumbing fixed.  YAHHOO!