Some of you may know that my mum and dad own a flower shop, Flowers By The Station, about an hour from where I live, near the town where I grew up. Every year I help out in their shop on Valentine's Day since it is always completely crazy busy. This year was no different.
We started at the crack of dawn, pulling runs for delivery. This means going into a refrigerated room the size of a small bedroom and searching among hundreds - literally hundreds - of arrangements, wrapped bunches, vases, ever iteration of flowers you can imagine, looking for the name on the order sheet. When you find it you have to somehow maneuver out of the cooler without spilling cold water on your (or someone else's) feet, breaking any of the blooms and not getting tree fern up your nose. Then you put it on the correct staging table and turn around and go back in for another one. Once you have all the orders pulled for that "run", you have to prep the orders. This means checking each and every one carefully for any broken stems, browning petals, make sure the sentiment card is attached, make sure the address is correct, and then cover it with a weather bag if it's below 40 degrees - but wait! You have to put in a support spike first so the bag doesn't crush the flowers. Then you have to nestle it in the correct travel container.
OK now they are ready to go. This means playing a delicate game of Tetris, trying to fit all the arrangements in the vehicle, making sure that they are roughly arranged in order of the delivery route BUT making sure that they aren't crushing each other.
And that's just GETTING READY to DELIVER!
So the next time someone says "Oh it must be so much FUN to work in a flower shop", well, you can just nod knowingly. It's not all wine and - ahem - roses. Today I am sore, tired, my hands are chapped from being in cold water all day and I have thorn scratches all over my hands and arms and I am really hoping that brown streak on my jeans is lily pollen.
I did however, have a blast! I love being with my mum and dad anytime and the people that work with Mum and Dad are just the best. They really have become family in the very best sense of the word.
So the next time you order flowers, know that a lot of very attentive work and a whole lotta caring went into your purchase. And guys? Don't call at 6:00pm on Valentine's Day and be surprised when the place you are calling is out of ivory roses or birds of paradise or teddy bears in red sweaters with "I Love You" in felt on their hats! Take what you can and be glad the place you are calling doesn't have an "Oh, crap!" surcharge, a policy *I* wanted to institute!
We will return to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow!