Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sights from a Golf Week . . .

It always seems to get really busy just before I leave for a trip – and it doesn’t make any difference whether it’s a business trip or a pleasure trip.  This time it was pleasure, but there was business to tend to beforehand . . .

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Gary was adamant that his new candy machine just had to move from beside the front door in the store to the back before I left.  So Zoe and I loaded the pallet jack into the truck and brought it to the store, where Gary announced that he would watch the puppy, while I moved the candy machine.  Jeanette Alley had some fun with her camera while we were moving and was kind enough to share the photos.

I spent Easter Weekend manning the floor camera at church (five services).  As soon as the last service ended, I headed home, finished packing, took a walk with Ryan and Zoe, and then headed south.


Along the way, I texted this photo to Ryan – and he knew immediately what it was.  This is a corn nugget from Sonny’s Bar-B-Q – I am not a foodie, but these things are really good and Ryan loves them.  The nearest Sonny’s is 140 miles from our house, but there was one next to a gas station in southern Kentucky where I filled up, so I grabbed a takeout order to munch on the road.  I spent Sunday night with my friend Ben in Tennessee, and then we got an early start Monday morning on the rest of our trip to Western Georgia.

Our friend Jack was flying from Dayton, and we planned to pick him up at a small airport in Columbus, GA.  About 7:45 a.m., he called to tell us that his flight from Atlanta to Columbus was going to be delayed – on the original schedule, we were barely going to have enough time to make our first tee time.  Since we were only five minutes from the Atlanta airport when he called, we just picked him up there!

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The photo at left is from underneath a pear tree at the highest point on the Meadow Links Golf Course at George T. Bagby State Park near Fort Gaines, GA, and at right are several of the gentlemen in our group of 12.  After a cold, damp spring, three days with temps near 90 and no rain felt wonderful.  We were right on the Georgia/Alabama border, which is also the Eastern/Central Time Zone border.  From the dining room in the lodge, if I faced the lake my phone would change to Central Time (picked up the signal from a cell tower on the Alabama side), and if I faced away it would go back to Eastern time.  Imagine 12 guys sitting around a table asking each other, “What time does your phone say?”


We try to get cabins on these trips, but sometimes only lodge rooms are available, which makes for tight quarters when we get together to play cards or a board game in the evening . . .


Yankee Ingenuity in action – how to turn a freezer of homemade ice cream when you open the box 700 miles from home and discover that someone decided to use the ice bucket to store seed pods over the winter.  Yes, that is the motel room trash can (and the ice cream was great) . . .

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We stopped at this barbeque joint along the road a few miles south of Columbus, GA – good stuff.  Then we dropped Jack off at the airport and I told him I would race him home (not likely since he had two quick flights and I had 600 miles left to drive!).  But we started to wonder as we drove through Atlanta and he called to tell us his flight from Columbus had been delayed by threatening weather.


No kidding – this was the radar long after I had dropped Ben off at his house between Chattanooga and Knoxville.  When we got to Chattanooga, the rain was pouring, tornado watches were out, and just north of Chattanooga I saw what I thought was a big piece of paper floating down out of the sky.  As we got closer, I realized it was a six to eight-foot-square piece of drywall.  Saw a couple more of those soon after and we assume they were from the devastating tornadoes that struck in Alabama.  By the time I saved this radar shot, I was past the heavy stuff and drove through light rain the rest of the way home.

Meanwhile, Jack’s flight from Atlanta to Dayton was delayed over and over again – first because of the weather, then because they couldn’t find relief pilots when the original ones were going to go over their daily service time.  I ended up beating him home by an hour . . .

Friday, April 29, 2011

Addition to the Family . . .

Welcome to Karen & David’s second grandson, Bryden Michael Ihle, born about 6:15 p.m. on Thursday, April 28.  6 lbs. 14 oz. and 20” long.  As I hear it, mother and child (and grandparents) are doing nicely.

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

It’s Here – 5th Annual Marco’s Paper Spring Spectacular Starts Monday!

It's in our store in Dayton and it lasts all week -- the 5th Annual Marco's Paper Spring Spectacular from April 25 thru May 1!  Seven days of fun and frivolity, with Free Make & Takes and Demos, 25% to 40% Off Selected Items -- and a Different Product Line on Sale Each Day!  I realize that you folks out in the hinterlands wish you could be here (and you can – road trip), but keep in mind that the locals wish they could be at shows with you!  Here are some highlights . . .

Special Store Hours All Week Long
Monday, Wednesday & Thursday -- 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday & Friday -- 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Saturday -- 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Sunday (yes, Sunday!) -- 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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Guests from Flower Soft Friday & Saturday!

Learn from the experts -- Mark Lee and Lisa Murphy from Flower Soft will be here for two Make & Takes and a Demo (all FREE)!  Friday from 6:00-8:00 p.m., join Lisa for Flower Soft with Hedgehog Kits.  Then join both of them Saturday for Flower Soft with Faber-Castell from 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. and Flower Soft with Rubber Stamp Tapestry from 1:00-3:00 p.m.

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Oh So Many Free Demos and Make & Takes!

There are just a few examples above -- stop by the store and see many more!  Just look at the schedule . . .

Monday, April 25
9:00-11:00 -- FREE Demo -- How to Use Die Cut/Embossing Machines with Sandy Livingston
12:00-2:00 -- FREE Make & Take -- "Spellbinders Nestabilities" with Judy Davidson

Tuesday, April 26
10:00-12:00 -- FREE Make & Take with Maureen Payne
12:00-2:00 -- FREE Demo -- Faber-Castell's Design Memory Craft with Barry Payne
2:00-4:00 -- FREE Make & Take with Donna Sheetz
4:00-6:00 -- FREE Make & Take -- "Garden Glove" with Rose Banwart

Wednesday, April 27
10:00-12:00 -- FREE "Hands-On" Demo -- "Embossing on Metal" with Libby Friel
11:00-1:00 -- FREE Make & Take with Maureen Payne
1:00-3:00 -- FREE Make & Take with Judy Davidson & Donna Sheetz
4:00-6:00 -- FREE Make & Take -- "Flower Soft" with Sandy Livingston

Thursday, April 28
10:00-12:00 -- FREE Demo -- Faber-Castell's Design Memory Craft with Barry Payne
10:00-12:00 -- FREE Make & Take -- "Origami Bird Card" with Rose Banwart
12:00-2:00 -- FREE Demo -- "Papermaking" with Rose Banwart
2:00-4:00 -- FREE Make & Take -- "Flower Soft" with Ginger Deaton
5:00-7:00 -- FREE Make & Take -- "Glass Etch" with Judy Davidson

Friday, April 29
11:00-1:00 -- FREE Make & Take -- "Embossing/Die Cutting Machines" with Sandy Livingston
2:00-4:00 -- FREE Make & Take -- "Pretty Posy Pin" with Jeanette Alley, Diane Barfield, & Maureen Payne
4:00-6:00 -- FREE "Hands-On" Demo -- "Embossing on Vellum with Pergamano Tools with Libby Friel
6:00-8:00 -- FREE Make & Take -- "Flower Soft with Hedgehog Kits" with Lisa Murphy from Flower Soft

Saturday, April 30
10:00-12:00 -- FREE Demo -- "Flower Soft with Faber-Castell" with Mark Lee & Lisa Murphy from Flower Soft
1:00-3:00 -- FREE Make & Take -- "Flower Soft with Rubber Stamp Tapestry" with Mark Lee & Lisa Murphy from Flower Soft
2:30-4:00 -- FREE "Hands-On" Demo -- "Embossing on Vellum or Metal" with Libby Friel
3:00-5:00 -- FREE Make & Take with Ginger Deaton

Sunday, May 1
11:30-1:30 -- FREE Demo -- "How to Use Die Cut/Embossing Machines" with Sandy Livingston
1:00-4:00 -- FREE Demo -- "Flower Layering Using Metal, Vellum & Cardstock" with Libby Friel
1:30-3:30 -- FREE Make & Take with Ginger Deaton
2:00-4:00 -- FREE Make & Take -- "Faber Castell's Design Memory Craft" with Donna Sheetz

As I said, there will be sale items all week and a featured product line each day – but yesterday, Gary didn’t know which line on which day.  I suggest you stop by each day – or at least call the store at 937-433-7030 and ask the nice person who answers for the featured line of the day. 

As soon as I hit the “publish” button, I am officially “outta here” until Thursday – the next post in this quality publication will likely contain golf photos . . .

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Akron Photos & Other Soggy Housekeeping Duties . . .

I have been home from the Akron show for several days, but between duties at home, monsoon rains, prep for next week’s Spring Spectacular in the store, and prep for my golf trip next week, I have never posted a few choice images from the weekend.  So here goes . . .


This looks like practically every post from the Cincinnati show last August -- “Where’s Waldo" Kim was the first customer to make it back to our booth on Saturday morning . . .


Colleen McGinty from Faber-Castell was on hand Saturday to demo their new Design Memory Craft line, and Donna Sheetz and Judy Davidson took turns showing customers all sorts of new goodies.

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By Sunday morning, all of them had gone home (Palm Sunday, you know) – so Karen bounced back and forth between her cash register and the demo table.  I made two very brief appearances there, but since it’s my camera they were not documented.

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Sue Rothamel introduced a new “Girl Friday” to the masses – this is her 18-year-0ld granddaughter Lizzy.  Of the four USAQ “Girl Fridays” I have seen over the past couple of years, after a single show Lizzy easily ranks third (ahead of her grandfather).


I brought the truck to the store on Tuesday to unload it, just as a morning-long downpour was ending.  Couldn’t figure out why all of the fire trucks were blocking the entrance to Dorothy Lane Market across the street – until I got a closer look.  A stream behind the car wash that sits behind our store overflowed its banks, and the flood ran beside our store, across Whipp Road, and into the DLM parking lot.  By the time it reached the store at the bottom of the slope, it had nowhere else to go once the drains reached capacity.  DLM was flooded all the way back to the meat counter.  My pics didn’t do it justice – the waters had subsided somewhat by the time I arrived.  Thanks to Rae Lynn Cummin for this one.

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And this poster popped up on the wall in our back room a few weeks ago with pictures of a lot of the “regulars” in our store – it’s hard to miss if you’re headed toward the back door or the restrooms.  For the longest time, I thought it needed an addition.  Finally got around to it just before we left for Akron . . .

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dog Treats and Pack Mules and Pigs, Oh My!

We spent last weekend with hundreds and hundreds of friends in Allentown, Pennsylvania.  This is the show that used to be in Pennsauken, New Jersey – but moved to Allentown when the Expo Center in Pennsauken was sold and the new owners announced it would be torn down.  The last time I was down that way, the building was still there.  So then the show was at an Expo Center in Allentown for a few years – but moved to the Allentown Fairgrounds when the Expo Center was sold and the new owners announced it would be torn down.  This is our fourth year at the Fairgrounds, and the Expo Center building is still there.

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I took two quick shots of the crowd just seconds before the show opened (couldn’t get them all in one shot).  The second shot looked much like the first, until I looked real close and saw one person mugging for the camera.  So I cropped her out and we’ll see if she reads this blog and gets to see herself . . .

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Thirty seconds later, the show was open and customers were streaming past me.  Thirty seconds after that, our booth was filled with shoppers and some were already seated at the demo table.

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The first two customers we had proved who the celebrity is at our company.  Bev Parnell brought homemade dog treats for Zoe – rabbits, squirrels, cats, bones and more – and some of them iced.  My dog is in heaven.  And Gwen Emanuel made a very fancy Zoe card, which is now prominently displayed in our kitchen.  Our customers are the best.  As I said to Bev -- “You make my dog happy, I make you happy . . .”


Part of our demo area was taken up by tubs full of scrap packs for a dollar, and a box full of packs of old legal forms, tags and such under the heading “Remember When We Used to Use Paper?”

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I couldn’t resist – these two pack mules were good sports, even though they looked like they were bored out of their minds.  They kept each other company and never moved for an hour and a half while their wives were taking in Sue Rothamel’s demo.  Then they brought big piles of USArtQuest goodies over to me, paid for them, and hauled them out to their cars.

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If you have been in our store, you have probably seen Tammie Hoium working there.  She spent the weekend staffing the Lost Coast Designs booth with her daughter Beka.  The nicely posed shot at left was the second one I took – and I told them that I was going to post the “clowning around” shot as well.


About 4:00 on Saturday afternoon, it finally got warm enough that the fairgrounds staff turned the air conditioners on.  In this building, that means that long droopy tubes inflate and cool air blows out the holes.  But while they’re inflating, the low deep whump, whump, whump sound as each tube inflates is more than a little unsettling . . .

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When the show ended on Saturday, I decided to take in a minor league baseball game at Coca-Cola Park, the home of the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.  The team nickname is a reminder of the steel industry that used to be the heart of the Allentown-Bethlehem area.  Three years ago, I was at the second game ever played in this park – but my seats weren’t this good.  I parked the truck about 50 yards from the outfield wall (for three bucks), and on my way to the ticket window a very nice gentleman sold me one of his season ticket seats (his son couldn’t come) for eight bucks and I sat twelve rows behind the plate.

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Minor league baseball means lots of advertising on the outfield walls – and here, even above them.  And there’s always a show going on.  The Iron Pigs are the AAA affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, and on this night the Phillie Phanatic was on hand.  As team mascots go, the Phanatic is about as good as it gets.

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Finally, this view from Sunday – Sue Rothamel was still drawing a crowd.  And this is proof that her demo is really good – because after Saturday there was very little left to sell on her display . . .