And now for the next installment of Lara’s Larks and Labors! My last post ended with James and I pulling away from Sense of Wonder en route to deliver the giant 8 foot table about 4 hours behind schedule. In an attempt to get things back under control, I preemptively called the rental company there in Massachusetts to find out the absolute latest we could bring the truck in to drop it off. We had been told previously that we had to be there by 5pm but we were keeping our fingers crossed. We shouldn’t have had any problem getting the truck back in time but our planned early morning rendezvous at Sense of Wonder had become a lunchtime affair and our late morning table delivery had turned into a later afternoon affair!
Once I finally got someone on the phone, not only was the latest return time 5pm, but the rental company there told me they had no record of our rental or the fact we we would be trading in this humongous truck for a station wagon! I didn’t even know where to begin in processing that crazy screw-up. Luckily, we were pulling in to Michelle’s beautiful neighborhood and I had to focus on the woman running helter-skelter towards the truck waving her arms excitedly in the air. It took a few beats before I realized that here was Michelle! What a relief.
Like a scene from Leave it to Beaver, Michelle had gone next door to borrow a cup a sugar and had just happened to notice a giant truck driving slowly through the neighborhood (us trying to find the correct house). She guided us back to the right house and we gathered quite an entourage on the way including some of Michelle’s four kids and their dog, Sugarloaf! Once there, we commenced with the hugs and handshakes, officially met everyone in the family (and some neighbors), and got to survey the scene. Michelle and Greg, her husband, gave us a first class tour of their awesome home.
For me, it was like a trip down memory lane because Michelle has been collecting pieces of my work for years. Seeing all these pieces was like chatting with old friends because I really do remember making each one of those pieces. At the time, I didn’t have a person to put with the piece (like a face with a name) and so finally making the connection with where these pieces ended up felt really good. Seeing those pieces had the same sort of feeling like remembering a dream that you once had or a book you once read or a move you once saw while dozing off. If you had asked me to describe Michelle’s Bella Bella pieces before I walked into her house, I wouldn’t have had a clue. But once I saw each piece, I could tell you what I had for lunch the day I made it and exactly when I added the final coat of resin. It’s amazing how the mind works!
With the tour finished and Sugarloaf distracted by the kids, James, Greg, and I got to work unpacking the table and bringing it in. At first glance, we all had been nervous that it wouldn’t even fit in the dining room much less fit through the front door! By turning it on end at an angle, we were able to carry it through the front door and position it on the base as gracefully as a ballet. Greg sent Michelle to get a celebratory bottle of wine and James and I worked to connect the base and the table. To give you a sense of how big and heavy this table is, to attach the base, I had to sit on the top because otherwise the edges would cause the table to bow up in the middle! We got finished just in time to cover everything up with a tarp so that Michelle wouldn’t see the table in place until it was time for the big reveal. Everyone gathered round – neighbors, kids, and Sugarloaf all – and James and I dramatically unveiled the table to big cheers.
The best part had to be how excited the four kids were. This is a family that knows and loves their Bella Bella! Within 30 minutes of the big reveal, the kids were already using the lovely large table like any other. This is what Bella Bella was meant for – shiny happy furniture that’s used everyday and loved!
As earlier in the day, our time was up way too quick and James and I had to get back on the road. Holding my breath, I tried calling the rental company, even though it was already past 5pm, just to see if someone decided to work late that night. No such luck. James and I were now so far behind schedule that we had to scramble for a hotel for the night. We figured that we’d just find something on our way back towards the rental company’s location so that we could switch out the vehicles first thing in the morning and then head to my next client’s house but that was not meant to be. It seemed like every single hotel, motel, and bed n’ breakfast was booked solid. Finally, we managed to find room at the Indigo Hotel which definitely left a lasting impression on James!
Sunday morning started rough as the rental company made complaint after complaint about everything. They were supposed to be open from 9am until noon on Sundays and even though we got there a little after 9, they needed us to hurry up and leave so that they could close up early for the day! To speed things up, they decided to “help us” unload the pieces that we had picked up from Sense of Wonder. I nearly lost it when the guy almost threw one of tables and again when they decided to just pile things on the gravel! Before things got crazy, James took charge with the unloading and I went to figure out the deal with the station wagon. The guy told me that there was no record of us arranging to rent a car after we returned the truck… and then proceeded to tell me that we wouldn’t get a station wagon because they’ve had a car set aside for us as arranged previously! Thankfully, everything somehow worked itself out, we got a station wagon, we got everything loaded up without any damage, and we got back on the road.
Unfortunately, while a timing miscommunication allowed James and I to have a nice scenic tour of Massachusetts, it also prevented us from meeting with one of my other clients in the area. We took this as a sign and decided to ride off into the sunset. Of course, it was early afternoon when we made this decision so the timing would be wrong for that, and that in itself was only fitting considering the timing shenanigans this whole trip. Big thanks go to James who was a trooper the whole way and whose help ensured the success of this trip!
With Bella Love,
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