Saturday, March 30, 2013

Stolen beads and an unrelated proposition

"The sky's been gray every day since I lost you, but I know the sun is shinin' somewhere, beyond the blue."

I saw the gray heron yesterday. The day before yesterday too. The two days I didn't bring a camera. Naturally.

I'm getting that picture today. At least I hope I am.

Friday was a bit disconcerting. I woke up to this message from my patron saint, I mean my best bead customer.
Elizabeth,

I need your help. this order was delivered on 3-27-13, when my mailbox was stolen. i confirmed this today with my mailman, that the box was full yesterday and when i got home the box was open, and empty. he also confirmed that another theft had occurred on our street the same way. can you track form your end, and let me know how to proceed with a claim. thank you,
I felt terrible. And a bit uncertain what to do. Here is my response.
I am so sorry. The tracking information shows the box was delivered. Even with insurance I doubt that we could can file a successful claim with the USPS, but since you paid with a credit card you may have buyer protection there. After you check into that, please let me know what you find out. We can decide how to proceed from there. Sincerely, Liz
Followed by this.
Another thought. Mail theft is a federal crime. If you haven't already done so, you may want to file a police report and also file a claim with your homeowners insurance.

Please keep me posted. I want to make sure we can get this worked out.

If all else fails I can replace the beads with comparable ones.
And then she said this.
I filed a police report this morning. I have also contacted my homeowners insurance, but it does not meet up to the deductible. Should I make them file the claim anyways?

Thank you for all your help!!
I'm not sure what she was asking, so I begged the question.
Have you checked with your credit card company? Many of them include purchase protection that cover damage or loss.

Let me know what they say.

If you aren't covered I will replace the beads with comparable ones.

Have you considered a post office box that is more secure than a typical mailbox?
And then her last note of the day.
I will let you know. Hubby is installing video surveillance this weekend. He is pissed. I am just violated. I know in the larger scheme of things, this is small. but it is not small to me. Next calling CC company to see what they have. I will let you know, thank you for all your help!!
And the thing is, I know that feeling of violation. Years ago, my house was burglarized. I lost a lot of things with sentimental value, my grandmother's cameo that I loved, jewelry gifts from old boyfriends, my college ring. Stereo Equipment. But what bothered me most was that they took the pillowcases off my bed to carry things. They couldn't even bring their own fucking pillowcases. The idea that they'd touched something as personal as my bed linens creeped me out.

I gave the sheets that were on the bed to Goodwill. I could've bought new pillowcases to match the sheets, but I never wanted to sleep in them. Ever.

So although I know I have no obligation to do so, I also know I am going to replace the beads, even if my customer is compensated for the financial loss. Because I don't want her to be left with that violated feeling and I don't want her to stop buying beads. Mine or anyone else's.

On the Lampwork Etc. forum, there is a topic called the Bathroom.
The place for venting. Attacks not permitted. No politics. All threads are "flushed" at midnight (MST).
I posted the story and asked for thoughts. The most interesting thing was that two other people had gotten the same note. (I'm not really surprised, i never thought she was my exclusive patron saint bead customer.) Both had paid for insurance on their packages. Both filed claims. I'm curious but doubtful whether the USPS will pay a claim for a package that was stolen after delivery.

Anyway, the consensus was that it that was my customer's misfortune and all I should offer was my empathy.

But I have a history with this long-term and very valued customer. And that changes the stakes. Plus what are 7 or 10 beads to me, compared to helping restore someone's faith in humanity.

Initially I thought I'd replace the beads with beads from my inventory. But because I'm an obsessive compulsive perfectionist lunatic, by the end of the day I had (more or less) duplicate beads to the stolen ones in my kiln. I still have to make a few more accent beads, but by Monday they will be ready for mailing. With signature confirmation this time.

Here are some of the stolen beads. If spotted, please report to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.



I did have to laugh when I thought about the thief, who probably wouldn't know artist-made beads from Walmart costume junk, opening the packages.

I got another interesting email on Friday, a much more delightful one, from a New York City firm that runs an international marketplace that promotes the work of emerging artists. It's not so much a design firm as a company that interfaces between between the design community and independent artists.

I'm a little unclear how or where the marketing executive who contacted me came across my beads. He said he'd seen my work on several blogs. Since I have maybe 50 readers (or maybe 5), I can't imagine it's this one. And I'm equivocal about whether anyone else is blogging about my beads.

But regardless, I'm totally flattered.

The firm is working on two projects using glass beads for a hotel lobby. For one project they are looking for 9 inch beads with rainbow colors in different shapes and sizesto be suspended on 9 foot long metal chain. Way out of my scope but certainly feasible for a skilled glass artisan working with blow borosilicate tubing.

The second project is intriguing. They are looking for a glass bead curtain wall that would interpret an abstract art design in my favorite shades of sky blue and pink. The specs for the beads are 1/8 inch to 3/8 inch in size each. The curtain would be 11 feet tall and 10 feet wide.

I did some calculations and, based on a conservative two beads per vertical inch and one strand per horizontal inch, the project would require more than 30,000 beads.

If I were to make 50 simple 3/8 inch beads per day, five days a week (an ambitious goal), putting all other work aside, and assuming no interruptions in production, it would take me almost two and a half years.

I was initially half tempted to submit a bid based on a figure of $3 per bead, plus the cost of hardware, installation, etc. Something in the range of $150,000 to $200,000.

But I'd be setting myself up for epic failure. I think my arm would probably fall off and I know it wouldn't be long before I never wanted to make another bead. Ever.

Just. Not. Doable. No way. No how.

I wrote a response with my regrets and Neil read it and said it was a good letter. Neil has a gift for stating things like this really well, so I was surprised and pleased that he like my note. (He said, you mean you're surprised that I'm not critical of it.)

I haven't sent it though.

Because the market rep didn't say the bead curtain has to be all lampwork beads.

Would I want to propose a project with, for example, 1,000 lampwork beads plus 30,000 nice purchased beads plus another 30,000 spacers?

Deliverable to be 120 strands of beads 11 feet long in the colors and approximate layout of the design shown?

I'd have to source all the beads and make sure they had holes large enough to string on some sort of flexible steel cable.

It would be a boatload of work, especially the layout, so I'm still thinking the bid would have to be $50,000 to $100,000. Closer to $100,000.

In the end though, I think I may just offer to sell the firm simple, pretty 3/8 inch beads for $3 per, in the colors of their design. I might even mock up a few tomorrow. If I do, I'll post pix.

I'm pretty sure they won't bite, but I'm excited about the idea of leaving a door open for the possibility of future opportunities.

Then again, that market rep could be reading this right now, in which case I've probably hosed my chances of being taken seriously (by him) as an artist again.

Ah well, I'm already writing down the bones of my life story here, episode by episode, anyway. Present and past. Taking no prisoners, keeping no secrets.

As I once told Nick, what you see is what you get. I'm an open book.

In the end there's not all that much to say about the end of my (cyber-fantasy) affair with Nick. It ended without bang or whimper on a sunny April Saturday in 1998.

This is from one of my very last notes to my sister-in-law, that improbable pivotal winter of 1998.
I talked to Nick several times, the last was Saturday afternoon. I asked him how he feels about me.

He said he has blocked his feelings about me. He has to put first things first (whatever that means).

Tears were running silently down my face and falling on the carpet. I didn't say anything for a few minutes. He asked me what I was thinking.

I said nothing, just trying not to cry, funny, you were the one who was so afraid that I would reject you.

He said, I'm not rejecting you, I'm still here.

I said I know, but I need more now.

He said, I know you do, and you deserve more.
Overnight I made a deliberate paradigm shift in my mind to think of him as a friend. No more extreme erotic fantasies and no more cyber-flirtation. But I still wanted to play Scrabble with him.
And the funny thing is, I woke up feeling very good. I felt ... released. It's as if he'd released me from some of the commitments I'd made. I had told him I could love him forever.
And of course he was still there. And suddenly writing to me again. Nonsensical stuff.
You R
be
au
ti
fu
l
i
z
b
e
t
h
.

Thought you might like to hear it.
And.
How are you?
I m
is
s
hearing
fro
my
ou.
Me.
There was a time, Nick, when I would have loved to hear it, and when a message from you would just about stop my heart (let alone two messages!).
He.
As long as you simply appreciate my message, I am pleased. And the last thing I would ever want to do is stop your heart. I just want to VALiDATE.
I hope you're smiling.
But that Scrabble game was not to be.

Me.
It's nice to know our love story will live on forever in cyberspace, deep in the archives of sg.com and usa.net.

Do you ever think how stupid it is for us to e-mail each other when we live 15 minutes apart and phone calls don't cost anything
He.
Ohh, you're so sentimental (while I'm simply mental). "Forever in cyberspace" te da, te da, te da.
And you are hilarious. You're so right about the stupidity of using this medium to communicate. But, after laughing about your comment I thought, hmmmm, I wonder why?
((((((((((I-N-S-E-C-U-R-I-T-Y-))))))))))!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! that's why.

Or, who knows, might be that it is awfully romantic.
And in that silly vein our email interaction continued.

I truly was no longer hung up on him, but I still had all those healer-rescuer feelings for him.

And much of our correspondence over the next year was heartfelt and beautiful.

He.
I am so fortunate to have met you.
Me.
The entire first half of this year has been like a dream in a lot of ways. I still think you are majorly talented and insightful and funny and bright and gifted and adorable.

I still marvel at the connection and how much you helped me. In case you don't know, you made me feel all those things about myself too.
He.
You made the very same impression upon me. It is true. You are those things. You are bright and insightful and witty and talented and majorly and adorable and not necessarily in that order. And funny.

But I don't think I made you feel those things about yourself. I don't have that power. But, instead, I think I was (am?) the mirror of those qualities in you. I reflect back the things that you love about yourself. And versa vice-ah.
Sometimes we bickered. Always we held each other up.

And one year later, when he tripped back into the black hole of addiction, I was there to give him a hand up.

"The sky's been gray every day since I lost you
But I know the sun is shinin' somewhere ... beyond the blue
My eyes were red when you said that we were through
But now I can see better days for me ... just beyond the blue

Beyond the blue ... on the other side of lonely
And it's only a matter of time ... until I'm
Lookin' back and feelin' like I'm over you
And these tears are gone and I'm beyond the blue

Beyond the blue ... on the other side of lonely
And it's only a matter of time ... until I'm
On my feet and I meet somebody new
And I fall in love again beyond the blue
When these tears are gone and I'm beyond the blue"

(D. Kent, W. Underwood)

1 comment:

  1. That is terrible that someone would break in to a mailbox. The beads are lovely , I am sure anyone can differentiate those from a store bought bead.
    Hope she can get somewhere with her cc company. I know I would end up remaking and sending them too.
    Can't wait to see what you have made on your bead soup reveal date.
    ~Shari

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for your comment! I will post it as soon as I receive it. Liz