"Help me hold up the wall!"

Normally Randy would be heard saying this to me while we are setting up or taking down at an art show. This time, it was me yelling it to him during a storm that hit while in Bayfield, WI over the weekend. 

Let me try and tell the tale...

It started with us getting there for set up a little later than we really wanted to. So tensions were already a little bit high. You have to understand that Randy and I have very different approaches to setting up. He's very much "let's do this and do it now!". I am more, "let's take our time and look for butterflies". So yeah, complete opposite. But, we arrived, realized it was a very tight area for parking and unloading and knew we were not going to be able to do any of this with the camper attached. (We use our camper to haul art in as well as sleep in.) So.....off to find our campsite first as there was nowhere to park and ditch it for awhile. Got checked in, found our space, set up the camper and realized the extension cord was about 10 feet short. O.K. Off to see if I could borrow one from the resort. Nope. But, I could purchase one for $50. Fine. At least now we have an extra. Tensions get a little higher. We are now running later which irritates Randy and I hate spending money which irritates me. 

We get back to the park, check in and go find our space for the weekend, #3. Right along the lake, what a view! I was so excited. We get to our spot and...what the? First off, it tilts right towards the lake, but then there is about a two foot ditch that runs horizontally right through the middle of it. How are we supposed to set up here? Not happy. There was no way we would be able to set up our walls and have them safe, let alone even remotely secure or straight. So I get to break the news to the already slightly irritated Randy. It went better than I hoped, as I was still alive (ha). I talked with the woman helping with the set up and she tried to find another spot. Let's just say, Memorial Park was not very even as far as ground was concerned. After going back and forth between two spaces and with every moment that passed Randy's vein starting to pop out his forehead more, we decided to go with #1. Just two down from where we were supposed to be, we were hopeful we could make it work.

So the back breaking work begins of hauling all the walls and the tent out of the truck. Since we are nowhere near our space, it is carrying and hauling back and forth. Let's just say we must have each reached our FitBot goals for the day within that 45 minutes it took. It is not easy work. We are sweaty. But I am excited for all the calories I am burning and ponder if my butt has shrunk any? We get the tent halfway set up, the walls are starting to be set in place and the vein is lessening it's pounding in Randy's forehead. Things are looking up and we might just do this! And then the nice lady comes back and very apologetically informs us the people she thought cancelled are actually here. (Insert a small stifled scream here and imagine every fiber of my body desperately trying not to scream out vulgarity.) O.K., now what?!? (Crap, the vein increases it's pounding again twofold!)

Long story short, they make us a new spot way on the other end. So we schlep everything once again to the other side. (Are you smaller yet butt?) The nice lady helped us and felt so horrible. Mistakes happen, what are ya gonna do. I am happy to report we did manage to finish setting up and came out of it still liking each other AND before it was completely dark. Bonus!

Saturday the weather was perfect. Mid 70's, partly cloudy, seriously a picture perfect summer day. We got set up and waited for the people to arrive. And waited. And waited....

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So it turns out that the attendance was down by 50% or more due to 10+ inches of rain earlier in the week in the region that left many of the major roads closed. So unfortunately with no people, there are no sales. Bummer. Big, fat, bummer. Sigh. Well, let's just say it was a loooooong two days. It's hard when your livelihood depends on people and Mother Nature. And speaking of Mother Nature...

The show ended at 4 on Sunday and the rule is no breaking down until that time. We spent most of the day ticking down the minutes. At about 3 we noticed the sky getting pretty dark. Hmmmm, then glued to the radar. You could see the look of "oh crap" on most of the vendors faces. There we all sit with our valuables and livelihoods in tents waiting. Unfortunately in 2006 (blog post here with pics) the show was hit with straight-line winds and most every tent was destroyed and ended up in the lake. So, people are still a little jumpy. Also, I hate storms. At 3:30 we are given the word that the storm is headed this way, go ahead and tear down! I check the weather and it says it is severe with 60 mph winds and indeed looks to be headed our direction. We start to make a sorta plan in our heads. But really, everything we need to break down is in the Suburban and it is nowhere nearby. It is a mad rush! People running, cars being pulled up...yikes. We decided to ride it out and not try and break down until after the storm. We feel our walls are solid and we have good tent and it is weighted. So we grab what boxes we could out of the vehicle and get back to the tent and box up what we can and get everything in from outside and batten down the hatches and hope for the best. There is a building right next door and if needed will abandon ship if it feels like it is getting bad enough. Well, that seemed like a good plan. Anyway, holy carp, it hit. Wind, rain and hail. No time to abandon ship, we were stuck in the tent. My heart was pounding! At one point I peeked outside and saw people scurrying everywhere, a woman ducked under a tree trying not to get hit by hail. You could hear people screaming and what sounded like things breaking. I admit, I tear up a little when I think about it still. Then the wind picked up and I could feel the one wall caving in. So we held it up and hoped that the giant pine we were set up under wouldn't come crashing down. Normally I would have been terrified, but everything happened so fast, I didn't have time to be. As we were holding up those walls, the water suddenly came rushing in. And not just a little, a lot. Inches. As the wind subsided we let go and scrambled to get anything that was on the ground off the ground. I then peeked back outside and realized we had set up right in front of the storm drain. Well, that explained the rush of water. Yup, everything from the road and parking lot drained right next to us. Sigh. It finally stopped and we unzipped and checked out the damage. I was so happy to say, I saw none. Most people came through o.k. with no major losses or injuries. Thank goodness. It was the same for us, some minor damage but nothing too bad. Sigh of relief! We hugged and were thankful and decided to just take our time breaking down. So we did. We got our first load done and we drove to the campground.

We were met by a gentleman outside of our camper. Weird. Randy starts to unload and he, the man, proceeds to apologize to me and inform us that we had sort of a leak. Leak? Apparently the storm hit pretty hard at the campground and when the man came out he walked around and noticed we had water leaking, well no, rushing out of our camper. I'm sorry what? I have video, he says. I watch it. Yup indeed, there is water rushing out of the camper. Not a leak, a gush. Sigh.... He had turned the water off at the spigot so it was thankfully no longer doing it. I sent Randy in to check it out, wasn't sure I could bear to look. He informs me, yup, it was a good leak! and starts to toss out all of the rugs. So the guy again apologizes and I thank him again and go to investigate. We turn the water back on and sure enough it's a geyser under the sink. A hose had popped off and with the city water connected, it ran and ran and ran and ran. Not good. We fixed it. I am a very positive person and usually try to stay so, but I admit that while I was sweeping out inches of water, I cried. It was a tough weekend. So I cried, but only for a minute. Only because that's all the time I had anyway, we still had more work to do!

We were officially the last people to take down. But we did it just before dark. We are getting pretty good at that.

It was a rough weekend. I won't lie. But in the end, no one was hurt. We made enough to cover our butts. We met some fun people, like the couple next to us and the guy that video taped our camper. They were great. We also ate some really yummy food. Check out these places if you are ever in town; The Fat Radish, the Deli, Maggie's and Gruemke's (I think). Bayfield is also beautiful. The views are spectacular and the town quaint. So that was good.

And lastly, Randy and I got to spend time together and doggone it if we don't have a story to tell now! (I think we'll be back next year.)