Monday, December 3, 2007

The really bad horrible weekend

Last Saturday Keith and I packed up the car with our easy up canopy, tables, chairs, and boxes of merchandise and drove over the mountains to the coast to show at the Ventura Holiday Street Fair. We've done this show for the past 4 or 5 years, usually selling between 500-800 dollars worth of stuff, which is a lot of merchandise when you consider the average price of my things is about 10.00. Usually we drive down the morning of the show, getting up early and leaving Bakersfield about 6am. This year we decided that the kittens were old enough to leave plenty of food and water out for and go down and spend the night so we wouldn't have to drive both ways in the same day. I made online reservations at a Motel 6 thinking it would be affordable but not too junky. For some reason, maybe a premonition that I should have listened to, I really wasn't too eager to do the show. If we hadn't already paid the 175.00 fee I would have just stayed home this year or maybe just have gone down as tourists. So, we get to the motel, check in, and go to find our room. Right outside leaning against a wall are about 6 used nasty mattresses and box springs. The room was maybe 10x10' with one saggy looking bed and two little flat pillows. We went downtown, did a little antique shopping, had some dinner and visited with Keith's daughter who was working a bartending shift at what used to be the second diviest bar in Ventura, the Star Lounge. The Star is much nicer after a major remodel to try and attract the tourist crowd that visits Ventura. We got back to the motel about 11pm and tried to sleep on the lumpy mattress. About 2 am someone in clunky high heels went clomping up the stairs next to our room and went into her room and took a shower, waking Keith up, who usually can sleep through just about anything. About 6am we both woke up, got dressed and went looking for breakfast. We went to the Vagabond and had some pretty greasy eggs and hash browns served by your typical 60ish coffee shop waitress.
We were all set up for the street fair by about 9am and ready to do some business. The first hour we sold about 100.00 worth of things, so I'm thinking hey this may be a pretty good day after all.
That first hour was the high point of the day. Lots of shoppers but I didn't see a whole lot of buying at all. This show is huge, too, about 6 blocks of Main Street with hundreds of vendors. Maybe it's the shaky economy or maybe the crowds are getting tired of seeing the same things and the same vendors but they just weren't buying much this year. I took a turn around and saw a few booths with things that were really nice, but also a lot of booths where the handmadeness of the items was questionable to me. Too perfect, clothing with tags in them, etc. The clothes may have been handmade, but not by the 'artist', by a bunch of kids in China or somewhere.
So, after a disappointing day, we packed up and got on the road to get back home. About halfway home, the car started making weird noises and losing power, and next thing we knew we were sitting on the side of the interstate up in the mountains. Luckily Keith had his work nextel phone since we don't have cell phones, got his AAA card out and called for a tow truck. We waited maybe 20 minutes, shivered on the side of the road while the car was loaded up, and went back to the town of Castaic. The tow truck driver dropped us off at a motel, we got a room, and spent the night in a much nicer motel than the motel 6 but still didn't sleep very well. I woke up about 5am, got coffee, and called the towing company at 7am to get rental car information. I called Hertz in Valencia and they came to pick us up about 30 minutes later.
We finally got home about 9:30 this morning to 6 cats who probably thought we had abandoned them, and some very stinky cat boxes.
Turns out the timing belt on the car broke, which is about 500.00, maybe 800.00 by the time labor is added in. They can't get a belt until tomorrow, so we'll drive back down to pick up the car on Wednesday.
So, after only making about 230.00 at the craft show, paying for another hotel room, and car repairs, we're definitely in the hole on this show.
There are a few silver linings though, we hadn't gotten completely out in the middle of nowhere yet when the car broke, we have a credit card that we used for the motel and car rental, and we didn't have to sit too long on the side of the road.
But, I think this is the very last craft show that we're going to do. It's so much easier to stay home and sell online in my pajamas.


Jim & Heather on catamaran "Meerkat" said...

I'm so sorry the day turned out so lousy... I was hoping you would do well. It was still nice to see you though (not that that makes up for it...)
Your sister

Karen Kearney said...

Gosh..sounds like a scary movie I once saw.. the good thing is you are home safe and sound. your things are very sweet!