It’s that time of year again. The time when I disappear from most social functions, don’t add a lot to the Hell Bus, and (according to my beloved spouse) become very difficult to live with. (Spouse, you have my undying love and devotion for putting up with me these past couple of months.)
As much as I love this volunteer job of mine, it does take its toll every year. I love the feeling of oncoming autumn, the cool days, the smell of wood and paint as we construct yet another floor plan and new sets. I love seeing the old veterans returning with just as much (or even more) enthusiasm for this business we call scare. I love the rush of Friday and Saturday nights when we have a huge line of people waiting to get their chance to be scared shitless or at least come out laughing. Either way, we’ve done our job. We entertained them.
But every year I return with a little more grey sprouting outta my skull. I worry about stuff way too much. Sometimes I set goals a little too high. And do I ever get stressed out. I go beyond the snapping point at least 5 times from June to November. Just ask the spouse or any of my friends about some of my outbursts.
And, as usual, I’ve had some let downs. I expect it every year. There’s always one person, one manufacturer, one incident or one state official who manages to fail us miserably. Some years it’s been one of each. This year it’s been a few of some, none of the other.
So yes, I’ve already had one good snap. One good primal screaming session. I just had to get it out before something physical popped.
But that was a couple days ago. Right now I’m fine. In moments of complete and utter breakdown I keep remembering the words of my predecessor and mentor (the guy who used to run the place before me):
“The House will run. No matter what happens. The House will open and run itself. The customers won’t know about all the bullshit you’ve put up with until this point. They won’t know how many people have bailed and left you hanging. They won’t know about the props that never arrived, got built or are already broken. You just put on your best make-up and give them the best show you can and they won’t know the difference.”
I also always have Plan B in the back of my skull. Every room in that house has a Plan B. Every prop that fails, every actor that quits, every promise made that goes unfulfilled... Plan B is filed away in the cabinet down the hall in the dusty corner of my brain. I have a back-up plan for everything.
Plus I have some absolutely amazing people who have gone way beyond the call of duty. My Artistic Director has taken time off from his real job and worked odd hours late at night on the house. This mad genius of a man has built some wildly freakish things for us that our little brains could never has conceived. Things that would cost thousands of dollars, this man made for a few hundred, sometimes even less.
Several of my veterans (D, M, L and E) have been there with me every single Thursday night, putting up with the heat, the dust, the filth and the 100lb+ props getting moved from room to room. Bless their little cobwebbed hearts. I love these people. My little worker bees.
And the staff has been good. My one special staff girl (you know who you are) has been wonderful at keeping my mood elevated and talking me thru all the shitty stuff.
So now we’re down to the final week and a half before we open. There’s still stuff to do but every time I walk thru that house, I’m really impressed at how much has been accomplished. Who knows, we might be finished with this thing before we open!
(Some of you have been asking about photos. Friends and neighbors, they’re already up.)