Never Let Them See You Sweat

Yeah, right. As if. If you'd spent even 5 minutes in Cary, NC, over the last few weeks of "autumn," you'd be laughing at that, too.

But I'm not talking about actual sweat (though that does play a role--keep reading). I'm talking about making the experience of those who visit me live up to their expectations--and hopefully beyond--despite what's going on behind the scenes.

Take last Saturday, for instance. With 3 private parties on the books, I knew it would be a busy day that required a lot of energy. I left the house later than I wanted to (as I always do) but with what I expected to be just enough time to set up.

Only, Cary doesn't have suspended railroad tracks on my route to work. And both Amtrak and freight trains sit in--I mean traverse--town daily. 'Nuff said.

Anyway, I zoom around the studio when I finally get there, making sure everything's ready. Only I don't seem to have enough labels for the number of bottles for the day.

No problem, I'll print more. #igotthis

But the software I use is in the cloud and my computer's not detecting a wifi signal. #idontgotthis

Fine, I'll set up a personal network from my phone. Done and done. Time to print.

Except, the print heads are misaligned again and half a sheet comes out with wavy lines paler than the skin on my belly. (If you've seen me in person, you get it.)

Okay...I adjust the settings and press Print again. #yesssss

But this time the printer decides it doesn't recognize the label paper resting gently in tray 1 and keeps telling me to fix the jam or reload the tray. #areyoufreakingkiddingme


Essences get stacked neatly and in alphabetical order on each organ, beakers and cylinders get counted out and positioned slightly out of the way of my guests' reach so we don't start the party with shattered glass, and chunky white erasers are laid out in plain sight so that my visitors can joke about how long it's been since they've used pencils and erasers and wonder aloud about why on earth I have them until they're changing their minds not once but three times about what ingredients they REALLY want in their final formula.

Back I go to the labels.

I dig three levels through the "advanced settings" to discover the system assumes I'm using plain paper. Huzzah! Now I know how to make the text darker. Go, me! And I trick the printer into recognizing there's paper in the tray by adding some plain paper underneath for bulk. Gosh, I'm clever!

And it prints. Woohoo...

...on the second sheet of paper--you know, the plain kind that doesn't have the nice adhesive backing and the waterproof texture. It fed the actual label sheet straight through without a single dot of ink as if to say, "Get out of here, you silly thing. I'm trying to print this very important document."

Let's try this again. Reload, toggle through 3 levels of advanced settings again (God forbid they provide the ability to SAVE my settings), and print--on plain paper with blank label stock shooting out ahead, again.

I see the cars starting to arrive outside the window. Is it REALLY that late? I can't give up now--I'm so close!

One. More. Time.

And wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, the labels print. And look lovely. And there's just enough for exactly the number of people making perfume today.


Sweat's legit dripping down my face by this point (luckily I never had a second to apply makeup, so it could have been worse). At least my guests can't smell my panic. (Thank you, Lumē!*) I open the door.

"Hello! Welcome! I'm so glad you're here!"

"Hi, Carolyn. We're going to have a 6th person joining us for the party. That's okay, right?"

And here are all my lovely Saturday guests, none the wiser:


*After trying everything, including the pricey "clinical strength" deodorants, I finally found one that lives up to my nose's scrutiny--and it's all-natural! I've used nothing else since. Note that if you try Lumē using my link, I will get a small affiliate commission, but you won't pay any more than you would by trying Lumē on your own.


50% Complete

Thank You!

Please enter your name and email below to sign up for updates and information.