I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, and when that happens, I can’t sleep. So last night I took a Tylenol PM and had a dream that was rather Tim Burton-ish.
In my dream, I volunteered at a major quilt show to help hang quilts. (And this was not an established quilt event company, this was something from the dream world). The quilts were to be hung in multiple halls, and I was assigned to a hall that looked like a barn: dark wood walls, low lighting, faint odor of hay, and a little drafty. I knew the people who worked at the event company, and after they greeted me kindly, I donned my white gloves and said, “Put me to work!” They all snickered and the volunteer coordinator looked at me slyly and said, “Here, Pokey, why don’t you take this one and hang it over there,” pointing to a far, dimly lit corner.
The box that had the quilt in it was rather heavy and unwieldy, and when I opened it, it really was a nightmare: a box within a box, within another box, within yet another box, taped within an inch of its life, and packaged in a sea of peanuts. Plus, there was a cooler in the box, filled with dry ice, a carton of milk, a jar of chocolate sauce, and a bottle of Kahlua. In addition there were three carefully wrapped hand-blown glass sconces with instructions that said, “Be careful! These glass sconces are hand-blown by the quilt artist and are the embellishments for the quilt.”
The quilt itself consisted of four bright orange quilted panels that were stitched onto an organza and cellophane base, which was shaped into ruffles and pleats, then burned at the edges to seal.
The instructions for hanging the quilt read:
1. Puff up, shape, and press the ruffles and pleats if necessary, being careful not to scorch the plastic and organza base.
2. Dip the rims of the hand-blown glass sconces in the chocolate sauce, then fill with the ingredients for White Russians.
3. Shape the cellophane in a fashion that is reminiscent of waves in the ocean, being careful not to crease the cellophane wrapping.
4. Press the organza in case it creased in places during shipping, but be careful not to burn or melt the quilt.
5. Carefully shape the handmade wire brackets that are to hold the hand-blown glass sconces, then gently place the sconces filled with White Russians into the wire brackets.
6. Don’t spill chocolate sauce onto the quilt.
A little frustrated and overwhelmed with the challenge ahead of me, a fellow volunteer offered to help me out with this task. As we were working I stepped out for a minute to make a phone call, and when I came back, the fellow volunteer gleefully pronounced that she was finished and we could go back to our housing. I looked quickly over my shoulder, noticed that the quilt didn’t look quite right but it didn’t really register what was wrong until we got back to our bunker. (Yes, you read that correctly: at this event, we didn’t stay at a hotel, we all slept in a bunker.)
I sat on my cot and it finally registered what this fellow volunteer had done to this quilt. Instead of following the quilter’s instructions, she splattered the quilt with the chocolate sauce, burned areas of the quilt with a lighter, scrunched up the cellophane and punched it in place with a staple gun. And if one looked closely, buried underneath all of that scrunched up and stapled cellophane was a twenty dollar bill, which after some thinking, I realized was the $20 return fee for the quilt.
I then thankfully woke up.
Needless to say, I think I’m going brave another sleepless night and do what I usually do around 2:00 a.m.: watch “Lock Up” on MSNBC. At least that’s a little less nightmare-ish.