Well...my September went from calm and carefree to crazy and chaotic. Let's review.
Checked off another state! Yeah, boi-se!
We did take a little trip in September. Over Labor Day weekend, we went to Boise, Idaho, to get me another state! We arrived Friday night, and left Sunday afternoon. Might seem like not a lot of time, but turned out to be too much! On Saturday, our first adventure was checking out the Idaho State Penitentiary which was VERY, VERY COOL. I highly recommend it if you go to Boise. : \
Here's the outside:
Here's the inside of the complex. The buildings are mostly in tact and you can go into almost all of them. One of them housed an amazingly awesome weapons display throughout the centuries, including renaissance swords all the way up to WW II and Vietnam War era large machine guns that were on stands. While I am 1,000% against advocating anything related to violence, I must admit that it was a really fascinating display of technological advancements.
Another building was the laundry, where there were enormous machines for mass-laundering of clothes. Several others were still full of cells, some of which you could enter.
The gallows. From below. The trap door is at the top. Used only once.
And there were MANY opportunities for some AWESOME self portraits! (Not selfies, mind you. Still don't know how to do those. Instead I had to bribe my photographer to humor me.)
I mean, COME ON! How can you NOT do this when they have the getup and various signs to choose from!?
One of the solitary confinement cells.
When we finished with those shenanigans (in the 100-degree heat, mind you), we headed over to the World Center for Birds of Prey which is a rehabilitation center for birds like condors, eagles, hawks, owls, etc. They had a rather small area for visitors, where we watched a presentation from one of the employees who had a little owl with him, and we saw the various birds that they had staying with them. They both rehabilitate injured birds, and work on growing populations of rare birds like the California Condor.
Yes, this is a live bird!
This bird does not have those feathers, they're on the wall behind it! Go photographer JC!
Having a midday snack. Yum!
Later that same day, we wandered into downtown Boise and walked through Freak Alley Gallery. This is an alleyway in a busy area of town that allows artists to come once a year and paint murals. There was a wide variety of styles and themes, big and small, so it was a very cool outdoor art gallery.
The image of Martin Luther King, Jr. is actually made of mirror fragments.
In addition, we shopped at a local scrapbook store (that sadly was closing shortly thereafter), went to the train depot, walked around downtown, and visited the botanical garden. I think we saw everything and we were only there for 1.5 days!!
Instead of flying back home with me on that Sunday, JC flew to Seattle, got in a car with our nephew Mikey, and drove Mikey, his car, some of his belongings, and his plant Mandy back down to Denver. We moved him out to Seattle almost a year ago to go to school out there, but then he got this amazing opportunity to study for a Master's Degree in...Sendai, Japan! So the two of them arrived the day after Labor Day, then Mikey hung out here in Denver with us for a little less than a week, flew back to Seattle, was there for one final week, and flew to Japan on the 17th. He spent a few days in Tokyo first, because his student housing wasn't yet available, and then took the train north to Sendai. He's in his dorm now, which is full of international students, is slowly figuring things out, and is starting classes. It's hilarious to get his status updates. He fills us in on the quirks of Japanese living.
I'M SO JEALOUS!! But next year's trip might be Big In Japan...
In the meantime, I went to see She Wants Revenge the day I flew back by myself from Boise. Went with my new concert partner, Heather! They're a band who have a really difficult-to-describe sound; it's like goth rock, but not very rocky. Hmm. Well, the show was great and we even got to meet the band afterwards. Here's me all dorky with them.
Then at the end of the month, Heather and I went to see Adam Ant (yes, the one from the eighties!) and he was great as well. Didn't get good shots of that show because we were pretty far back (the place was full, go figure!), but here we are outside vainly trying to get a good photo. I was impressed that I knew like 60% of the songs he played!
Plays nicely with paper
Yet another event that I had (I told you!) in September was driving down to Colorado Springs with fellow scrappy friends Lisa and Cathy to attend an event for Fun Stampers Journey. It's a direct sales scrapbooking company that I just so happened to be a member of. Yes, I know...anyway, my upline is in CO Springs, and my unit met some sales goal and the prize was to have Richard Garay, the founder and main designer for the company, live in person to hang out with us. I figured, what the heck, let's go!
It was a fun afternoon where we got to do some make-and-takes (small free projects for you non-crafters) and have Richard present to us. He did a Q&A session, gave us some behind-the-scenes info on the company, and then sat down and made a couple of cards. Prizes were awarded and off we went into the thunderstorms that are the dawn of fall.
Turns out he got fired from said company a couple of weeks later for misusing company funds. Oops. Oh well, here I am with Richard, first and last time!
Last but not least, the biggest thing that threw my month into a tailspin was the announcement to the staff of The Scrapbook Shack on Labor Day that the store will be closing. In addition to declining sales, the lease was up and the landlord increased the rent by 22%. Naturally, that's impossible to sustain (I don't even think the store was ever profitable or even in the black). Us employees had seen signs for a few months that the end was coming, but we didn't really know for sure if, or when, it'd close.
The first day of the liquidation sale was Saturday, Sept. 9th--a day that lives in infamy for me. I was not scheduled to work, so I started the day with a relaxing massage, had all day free to do whatever I wanted around the house, then planned to have dinner with JC and the in-laws. Instead, a frantic text came from the owner at 10:30am asking anyone that's available to come work as there was "a line around the store." So I grabbed a granola bar and my water bottle figuring I'd help for a few hours, then meet up with everyone for dinner.
TWELVE HOURS LATER, I was done with my shift, as we had finally gotten through the entire line of customers. At MIDNIGHT. When I got there at noon it was complete armageddon. The line wrapped around the store 1.5 times. The place was totally trashed: empty paper trays and hooks in every aisle, product thrown all over the place, the checkout area just a massive mess of activity. I took one five-minute break the whole 12 hours, and was on warp speed checking people out the rest of the time. People were getting food delivered to them in line. They were taking all the chairs out of the classroom and scooting along in line on them.
At its longest, the wait to check out was SIX AND A HALF HOURS LONG. I cannot make this up! Here's proof.
But here's the weirdest thing of all. No one complained or was cranky with us once they got up to the front of the line. Everyone enjoyed their wait in line by chatting with fellow linemates. Some brought books to read and things to do. Others chatted about scrapbooking and taught each other how to use the products they had in their shopping carts. Those who had to leave to attend events put their stuff in a bag in the classroom, and came back the next day to buy it (well, most of them did). They cheered each other once they were the next in line to check out. It was actually a decent display of humanity that I never expected.
The moral of the story? Many, many people have no problem wasting their entire Saturday in line to get stuff half off. Can you say HOARDERS!? And had they all shopped frequently at the store in the last 4.5 years, we might not have had to close!!!
In addition to that day, I took several more extra shifts throughout the month, basically filling up every free weeknight and Saturday. Originally only one person was scheduled to work each shift, but once the liquidation began, the owner needed at least two people per shift because of how much busier the store got. It's now non-stop customers, and in addition to that we need to be keeping the place clean, pulling empty trays and hooks, consolidating merchandise, and getting the fixtures ready to sell (trays, chairs, tables, baskets, etc.).
It's unbelievably sad, knowing that now there is basically nowhere to get good scrapbooking supplies in the metro Denver area. There is a nice store up north, but that's 40 minutes away. The Stamp and Scrapbook Expo comes once a year (and was the last weekend of September, so between that and snagging stuff at the store, there went all of my money), and there's a couple other small shows that come to town here and there, but that'd be it.
On the other hand, the thoughts of reducing my spending and having a LOT of free time to scrapbook are absolutely DREAMY. I've already scheduled scrapbooking events in the first three weekends of November! I'm going to get sooo much done!
The store is officially closing to the public on October 14th, and has to be empty by Halloween. I have two shifts in October, and that's it.
It was a good 4.5 years and a fun almost 3 years of working there. As crazy as that place was, I'll miss it.
The end of an era is upon us...