Friday, March 13, 2009


Ramona and I have been working six days a week for the past month. We worked an extra half an hour yesterday, and an extra hour today. We have both (Ramona, more than I) been taking work home. I am going in at 9:00 AM tomorrow, an hour and a half early, because "Grease" goes out tomorrow, and it's big.

We will be closed during Spring Break, but we will be working to get out the rest of the One-Acts, at least two of which are partly done, and hanging all over the shop (along with "Grease"). We need that time, or they will not be done. This is a very busy season for us.

So, today at 5:15, forty-five minutes before we closed, the door opened and a teacher, a couple of parents and about a dozen teenagers invaded. Ramona told the teacher that it was not a good time, and he said they had come all the way from Rockdale.

Rockdale! Nearly an hour away!

They just dropped in; no phone call, no email...nothing! They wanted costumes for their UIL One-Act. They were just "window shopping," and don't need their costumes for a couple of weeks.

Ramona told them they were welcome to look, but that we had no time to help them right now, and that they should not, under any circumstances, move anything. They fanned out through the warehouse, and we could hear them laughing and messing with weapons and such. Ramona and I were still sewing and cutting and pinning and measuring on the last ten characters from "Grease."

After wandering for a while, they must have realized that there was no way they could find what they wanted on their own. Complicated by the fact that the teacher was not very specific as to what period of costumes they wanted. "Sixteenth or Seventeenth Century Spain." Right. Ramona asked the name of the play, as, if it was "Man of La Mancha," we could put it together in a heartbeat, having done it for Rogers High School last year (they won State). But it wasn't, and I can't remember the name because I didn't recognize it.

So then the teacher began to discuss with Ramona what he needed to do in order for her to costume his show. She explained how we usually do things--the director is supposed to submit a script and measurements of all the actors, and make himself available, in person, on the phone, or by email to discuss his vision for the show. When he got to the part about needing the costumes in two weeks, Ramona put her foot down, and told him there was no way we could possibly design his show. It usually takes at least a month, especially if we have others we are working on.

She did tell him that he could come in and pull stuff for himself, but not before the 25th, as one of the UIL shows we are doing goes out on the 24th. It occurred to me that he probably had no idea of what "goes out" means. In the case of "Grease," and also the show that will go out on the 24th, it means pretty much half a day of actors coming in individually to pick up their stuff. Ramona shows every garment to every actor, and explains when and how they are to be worn. Paperwork has to be filled out and signed, and the process is quite time-consuming.

In a way, I feel for the teacher. He said he was new, and obviously had no idea how these things are done. We do have several directors who come and consult, and pull their own costumes, paying for the rental only, and doing the designing and alterations themselves. Some of them bring the students, as this guy did.

But not when we are seventeen hours away from zero hour!

AND, they always call ahead and make an appointment. Hello!

No matter how new and inexperienced this director is, he should be able to pick up a phone. We are in the phone book. We are in several on line directories, too, though we don't have a website.

You don't just load up a caravan and drive for an hour, expecting to "window shop" in a workshop/warehouse. What was he thinking? That we just sit there, with nothing to do, waiting for crowds of people to show up so we can leap into action?

I was nice. Ramona was very nice. Ramona is usually much nicer than I am in adverse circumstances, but we are both a hair's breadth away from a nervous breakdown.

I'm glad I didn't bite his head off. It's probably a good thing that the tub of swords was just out of my reach, as I sat, shackled to that sewing machine.


  1. Bizarre. Utterly bizarre. You'd think that even Rockdale -- which is reportedly very nice but is at the corner of NO and WHERE -- would be able to draw an experienced teacher. For heaven's sakes, how do you get as far as a teaching job and not know these kinds of things?

    Odd and peculiar, odd and peculiar.

  2. There former theater coach and director was the English teacher, so this may be their first actual theater teacher. He said the kids told him where to go. Of course the kids would think they just showed up, not having been privy to any arrangements made between Ramona and their director.

    How are you doing, Julie? And what have you done with Jooley Ann?

  3. Hi Ronni!

    Here's my take. He probably was telling his student's that anything is possible. Dream Big. They probably had a wonderful time driving down to your wonderful shop.

    If I had to guess, I think that you and Ramona are simply frustrated that there is only two of you sewing such beutiful costumes and trying to make sooo many people happy.

    Think about it...

    Not only are you satisfying customers, you are satisfying children, your community, educators, yourselves.

    You're amazing!

    PS - Only do msny units of energy, and so many units of time.

    PSS - You are filling all of those with integrity.

    Your friend,


  4. Sorry for all the typos. I've had this laptop for a year now, and I still can't type on it.

    I just want you to know that I feel your heart and respect you.


  5. MONICA!

    Where you been, girl?

    Shoot me an email or something! Geez! I've been thinking about you, but don't have your email on this computer...

    You could well be right about the teacher, but most people set up field trips in advance...

    Thank you so much for the kind words. Just knowing you're still around makes my day!

  6. I've been doing great, Ronni! My kiddo is growing like a beautiful weed. Life is good.

    I love keeping up w/ you via your blog! I always enjoy your unique, frank perspective on things. I almost feel like I know you better than ever!

    As for Jooley Ann, I recently started a Blogger account (something I haven't gotten off the ground yet), under the name Julie H., and I think maybe that ate Jooley Ann. She's still around, though. Lurking. ;)