Friday, April 07, 2006

Lenox Mall, Atlanta - Project for Macy's Flower Show

Finding myself alone in a city where I don't have the distraction of a lover -- or anyone else -- to hang with, I thought I would use this fast but pricey inroom internet connection to document a sandcastle project from start to finish. This is a departure from my usual blog style and not everyone will find it interesting -- but if no one else I bet Momfeets will slog her way through the whole thing -- I love you too, Mom ;-)

Not that this is likely to be a typical job. First of all, my room at the Marriott is really topnotch -- spacious and very luxurious with all the amenities. The room itself has been comped, but I can see how the incidentals alone can quickly erode my profit margin; $12/day for internet and no telling how much this little bottle of merlot I found in the refreshment center is going to set me back. No matter; its worth it.

Arrived uneventfully in Atlanta where I was met by driver who proved to be quite interesting; a native Atlantan, he has a masters degree, writes music and is working on a book; has lived all over the world and found he could earn more money and interact with more interesting people making airport runs for Carey Limo Service right here in his home town. After half an hour in the back of his SUV I felt like we were old pals.

The Macy's ladies - Cyndi & Tina & her daughter Autumn - had the sand in the box, the hose (and nozzle) hooked up and a security guard in place -- in short, they are a model of organization and efficiency. The sand sculpture is just one very small element of this special event and they have lots of other details to attend to, which makes their success at meeting all my needs all the more impressive. They made me feel very welcome and treated me to a nice lunch after which I was eager to get started. Autumn helped me find my way back to my room (this is a _really big mall!) to get my forms and we got the first layer filled, knocking off at 7.

Finding sand for this job proved problematic. Cyndi had sent me 5 samples over the previous week, none of which contained more than a trace amount of the silt/clay that is so essential to making sand stand. (Most sand in its natural state has at least some of that sticky stuff in it; commercial sandlots wash the sand to make it more useful for construction purposes.) So yesterday I told Cyndi to pick out the prettiest sand she could find while I started googling for a local supplier of dried clay -- 3 big bags of which showed up at the site just when they were needed. Infusing the sand with clay slows down the process but I feel fairly confident that there will be something to carve when the forms come off and that the sculpture will have a reasonable chance of standing for a week or so, anyway.

And anyone who still thinks that the life of a sand sculptor is glamorous and stress-free can just disabuse themselves of that notion right now. It's hard not to feel self-conscious about my mud-spattered work clothes while riding the elevator up with the beautiful rich people who are my fellow guests at this fine establishment. But I guess over the years I have gotten used to people looking at me funny; hanging out with the likes of Amazin' Walter will do that to you, I reckon...


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