Friday, July 4, 2014

Charlotte's Going Away Scrapbook

Well, I managed to get photographs of Charlotte's scrapbook finally! I had to take them with my cell phone at a bowling alley, but I did get photographic evidence of everything minus one page, which I somehow missed during my quick fire photography session. (You can even see some people’s bowling shoes on the left in some of the pictures. It’s pretty funny.)

The story of this project, though, from start to finish. The whole idea of this came about in the office one day while our staff members were contemplating what kind of gift to give Charlotte before she went home. I recommended that we create a scrapbook for her to take home with her and by the end of April the ball was rolling.

Four mass emails were sent out over the course of four weeks and every day that I went to work, I brought along 6x6 inch pieces of scrapbook paper for people to write notes on. It took huge amounts of haggling, finagling, deception, and hiding what all was going on, but by the time my deadline for submissions hit, I had over thirty notes to put into the scrapbook.

In previous posts, I have mentioned that I’m a semi-professional dog sitter and luckily I work for families who don’t mind me scrapbooking in their homes. During the month of May I was home and animal sitting for three different families who didn’t mind me taking over their dining room tables, so I spent many of my waking hours hanging out with dogs, watching Netflix, and scrapping pages as I could in order to get a head start on the beast. I knew that I would be giving Charlotte the book at a final going away bonfire mid-June and I didn’t want to have to do everything all at once, so I started as early as possible and toted my scrapbooking materials all over San Diego County in order to get pages done between class, work, animal sitting, and studying for finals.

And thank goodness that I did because things got really rough in my world at the beginning of May. On May 4, TJ and I ran the 4th Annual Safari Park Half Marathon again (my second time, her third) and we also had a family friend’s wedding to attend. I suffered massive heat stroke and foot blisters during the race and was almost hospitalized, so it was an extremely long day. The wedding started at 5:00pm and we had been awake since 3:30am without any extra rest. Things got really bad, though, when I got a phone call from my boyfriend saying that his father who had been recently hospitalized may have taken a turn for the worse around 10:00pm. I was more than an hour’s drive from the hospital and it was a really rough night. May 4 was the Sunday before Finals Week at University for both SO and me. I was dog sitting 35 minutes from the hospital from May 4 until May 13 and spent many of my would-be scrapbooking hours at the hospital or over at SO’s house helping however I could. I began my second dog sitting job on May 14 and finished my finals on May 15. I was able to get some pages done before I left my second dog sitting location on the 18th. I had my new job interview on May 21 and began my final dog sitting position on May 23. I was able to get almost ten pages done while I was with my final group of furry friends.  I had my final job interview (and got the job!) on May 29 and went to an amazing Hugh Laurie concert on the 31st. May ended on a very, very good note, but it had been one of the most extraordinarily long and trying months I’ve ever experienced in my entire life.

June was better, but still busy. SO’s dad (I’m calling him FIL on this blog from now on for simplicity’s sake) ended up back in the hospital two more times before Charlotte’s bonfire. It was like reliving the horrors of May all over again, except that I was there firsthand for more of it. SO was a real trooper, too, because he not only had to cope with the issues his dad was experiencing, but also some of life’s other curveballs. We had to put one of my own pets down on June 5 due to mammary gland cancer and he just happened to be up at my house when that happened. Then FIL  had an allergic reaction to his new medicines. I was over at the neighbor MAB’s house. MAB is an amazing scrap booker and was giving me some advice on where to proceed on some pages when SO called to tell me that he and his mom had called 911. FIL was having a bad reaction to his meds and was having a very difficult time breathing, so they immediately took him to the nearest Emergency Room. I didn’t even get an opportunity to pack up my scrapping supplies. MAB and her family did it for me and I spent the rest of my day in the ER waiting room at the local hospital. After that day, I really didn’t have much of a heart to scrapbook anymore. All I could think of was rushing out of MAB’s house and seeing FIL being loaded up into an ambulance after that. It was too much, too soon and was way too overwhelming.

Things didn’t really seem to get brighter until the 11th when I went to Disneyland with Charlotte and two other friends. That trip pretty much saved my sanity, but throughout those six weeks of craziness, I was able to get only those ten or so pages complete out of a much larger total. I was excited to do some Disney scrapbook pages, though. I had all the Mickey Mouse paper and everything ready to go, so I got a little bit of my mojo back in terms of scrapbooking. I was able to get a page or two done here and there, but I was nowhere near being done. I still had something like forty-five pages to complete.

Needless to say, I was really behind on Charlotte’s book. The last forty pages were finished within two days of Charlotte’s bonfire. All I did was scrapbook constantly on June 23 and 24. Charlotte was coming to spend the night at my house on the 25th, so everything had to be complete, wrapped up, and finished before then. With the help of MAB, her daughter, and my best friend Frie, we were able to get it all done. I still don’t know how 40 hours of work got completed in 48 hours, but it did and Charlotte loved the scrapbook. She didn’t cry like we wanted her to, but in her own words, she’s “German. Germans don’t show much emotion.” I did get something like eight hugs at the bonfire alone, though. It was pretty awesome.

So, yeah, that’s the story of Charlotte’s scrapbook. It was a long journey, it was an emotional journey, but it was so well worth it. I’d do it all again if I was asked to, but for now, I think that I will be retiring from making scrapbooks as gifts. This experience was enough to last me a lifetime.

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