I close my eyes and see…flowers. Soft pink tulips tinged with veins of green, the cheery pom-poms of chartreuse snowball viburnums, light lavender sweet peas so papery thin, luscious flesh-colored stock that exudes a sweet-spicy scent, a stab of bright blue-purple delphinium, and roses upon roses…roses the color of a wild sunset or a rosy tangerine, roses the color of peaches edged with soft green, lipstick red roses, and Deja Vu roses standing at attention on their 3-ft long stems, a clear concise yellow that says, Hello You.
Yesterday turned out to be one of my favorite days of all time, and I’m not much into Valentine’s Day. Well that was BF…Before Flowers. I went into the shop on Monday to help prep the roses (oh yeah, like 700 of them!) and to get some bouquet-making lessons from my beautiful boss lady Peicha. I left with a price list to study and a sour ball of nervousness percolating in my stomach. Would I be able to arrange quickly and confidently and add up prices in my head at the same time? Would I choose the right “color stories?” Would the stress of a lot of retail interaction be too much for me? (The needy masses hungry for brilliant arrangements queuing up to watch me fail.)
Valentine’s Day 2012 arrived with the Tarot Card of Death in an email. I don’t know why I subject myself to these emails that are supposed to tell me how my day will go. Like somehow getting the Knave of Wands randomly generated by a computer means I’ll have an adventurous day. But the Death Card…uh oh…how is that interpreted at 7am? Maybe I’ll impale myself with a rose and die…or get in a car accident on that Big Road called City Ave…or simply die of shame. I dressed in what my brother calls my ‘riding boots’ and a bright red blazer (Anthro of course) and hoped that this geranium red would give me some kind of confidence.
When I arrived the ladies were in full swing, in fact Peicha had been there since the crack of the ass of dawn, making the pre-ordered bouquets and arrangements (in vases.) She was feeling ‘ahead of the game.’ Dear Emily, an ever-bubbling font of positivity, set our mood to Happy. Go Team Falls Flowers! Give me an R…O…S…E! We set into motion together, taking orders from customers, creating bouquets, answering the phone, tying ribbons around the pink tissue that gets wrapped around all the bouquets, and saying “Here you go. These are your flowers, your Valentine will be so pleased.”
Earlier in the day, I took a phone order from a gent who was on business out West. He and his family live right down the street from Falls Flowers. He was scared he wasn’t going to get his order in on time, and wanted 4 arrangements (in vases): 2 for his little girls, one for his wife, and one for his mom. AW. Peicha let me choose all the flowers for these, and I had a ball doing it.
And at the end of the day, after all the madness and yes, making a few mistakes here and there and having to use a calculator as I chose blooms, I got to deliver the 4 completed arrangements with Peicha’s husband Mark, who god love him was out all day delivering our product all over tarnation. The door opens, and a little girl holding a Hello Kitty doll answers. There we are, with flowers popping out of our heads, what must we look like to her? Her face lights up. Delivery for Lila! I say. Mom/Wife comes to the door to see what the ruckus is. HER face lights up. We enter, placing the arrangements around the room, and Grandmom/Mom sees the goods and HER face lights up. I say that Dave/Daddy wanted all of his Valentines to have a very special day and that’s why we made each of you your own special arrangement. Shock and awe. This guy just racked up points that will last him all year. As we’re leaving, little Lila says, “Hello Kitty says Goodbye!” And that’s the end of Valentine’s Day.
Or is it? After spending the day in nonstop motion, working in tandem with 2 very talented and delightful creatures, and using my head heart and hands, I feel fulfilled on so many levels. But a little sad, because where is MY Valentine? Who loves ME enough to give me flowers? When I get home (well my parent’s house because that’s where I’m staying right now) my 2-yr old niece is there for dinner. She is all smiles, sitting in her big girl chair and gobbling up her dinner. We jokingly eat each leaf of the salad separately pretending to be Peter Rabbit. Fun. And after dinner, a very special surprise for Auntie Ann. My very own Valentine with dragonflies, frogs, caterpillars and lady bugs made especially for me by niece. She gives me big hugs and giggly Eskimo kisses to top it all off. L…O…V…E!