Somehow it happened again. *Betty Lou, has moved me into her house so we can collaborate on the new blog-based website featuring southern road trips that she started with her travel buddy *Rhonda Sue. They're using Squarespace. Naturally.
Let me set the scene for you: We're in a 100+ year old farmhouse. There are cows across the street. Sometimes Betty Lou sits beside me and says "Hey! Try this color!" and "What would it look like if you moved this over there, and changed that?" Sometimes she gets up to answer the phone or make us pimiento cheese sandwiches or pour us something cold to drink, and I keep working alone.
Betty Lou retired recently, which works out nicely since this was well-timed with the arrival of all these hot flashes she'd told me about. Which I've now gotten to observe first-hand. A couple of days ago, in the middle of what was apparently an overpowering series of these, we reached a place in this site's evolution that would have made me want to claw my eyes out from boredom if I'd been the one having to sit over there and watch somebody else work. I'm not the only ADD chick in this house. Sure enough, Betty Lou said, "Y'know what? If I walk in here and leave this door open, I can clean out that bathroom closet and still hear you and see what you're doing. You can just tell me if you need my help!" Betty Lou informed me that "this bathroom was once the smokehouse which stored hams and shoulders. We weren't always so high falutin in The South!" I'm pretty sure I've never had a client tell me that her bathroom used to store pork parts. Or say "high falutin," for that matter...
There's really no way to accurately capture the energy of this week's unique rhythms, but I'm gonna' try to give you some glimpses. It's just too rich not to make an effort. If I fail, check back; I'm gonna' do my best to encourage a future podcast. Betty Lou should coach storytellers needing to learn to speak (or write) with an authentic southern accent:
- We'd been planning to get together for this for weeks. Now that our schedules finally lined up, I didn't want her to lose blogging momentum while I was working on her new design. I told her, "You can keep blogging while I'm handling my part. Nothing you do there is going to affect my changes." Her response was quick, and fiercely serious: "Oh no! That only happens after dark!" Because apparently I'm working for a Southern Vampire.
- After I'd finally gotten my brain around the look she was going for and Betty Lou was getting more and more excited to see the design start to reflect what was going on in her head, I got a little concerned. Maybe it was, hm... a little too much? So I asked her. "Do you think maybe I should tone down the flowers a little?" Again came the rapid, serious answer: "No! I love it just the way it is! Betty Lou Does. Not. Believe. that there can evah be such a thing as too many flowers!" Noted.
- From the closet-cleaning project around the corner, as I set up one of the site's photo galleries, I heard, "Do you have a skin care system in place? And do you know about Arbonne? These come in handy sample packs which would be just perfect for my little friend who is a wayfarin' vagabond!" Now I have a new description for when my nomad instincts kick in again.
- And a little later as I started on the next gallery: "Hm. I think I bought this before my daughter went away to college. That would only be 5 years. Do you think it will still firm my skin?" My alarmed answer, "I do not! Are you kidding me? It will not firm your skin...it will melt your face off! Throw that away right now!" Betty Lou just shrugged and said, "I always figured makin' us worry about stuff like that was just the makeup industry's way of gettin' us to spend more money!" (I think she threw it away. However I will not place bets on it.)
- Soon, Betty Lou rejoined me at the computer. I knew she was done with her project when she declared, "I have about an hour's worth of tolerance for any project. Then I start hatin' anything I'm doin!"
Now the site's mostly finished, save a few training sessions on how to manage the various aspects of ongoing maintenance, and a lot of photos she's been showing me that have to be uploaded. I'm sitting in the farmhouse with the cocker spaniel that Betty Lou tells me has The Exact Same Personality As Hers, working on a different project, listening to some nice tunes. Betty Lou went to pick up Rhonda Sue a while ago for another little afternoon day trip.
Before she left, there was a phone conversation and Rhonda Sue "interviewed me," something for which she apologized a bit, explaining it was a carryover from a former career as a journalist. But she had to know some more things about the site, about the work I do, about how great this new discovery of Squarespace is. Before we hung up she declared to me, "You are just my most impressive person in the universe today!" Having been reared in the south, myself, I am well aware that women around here are given over to fits of exaggeration on a regular basis, and so I'm able to take this with a grain of salt. Doesn't matter. I still liked it! Where else, I ask, you, can you find this kind of job satisfaction? Not a bad week. I'm gonna' miss these laughs when I go tomorrow. But I can keep up. I hear there will be more to come, over at southernfriedchix.com. Check it out!
*Of course they're not their real names! And? In the south, we also don't go barefoot everywhere we go and everybody doesn't drive pickup trucks, either. Although let's be clear: pickup trucks kick ass and it's always, always better to take off your shoes when you can get by with it.