Archive | July 2007

The framer

29 July 2007

Expensive people are better than cheap people.
Quite logical, isn’t it? I pay for craftsmanship, a neat finish, accuracy and certain guidelines in dealing with me, the customer. When paying for a service or purchase I don’t want too much interference from the selling or serving individual. The salesman or staff member himself is only a tool between me and the desired gadget, or between me and the wanted service. And that ‘tool’ should not disturb the joy (or necessity) of a purchase in the form of a … body odor, unclarity about the course of the events, a distracting ulcer on the lip or crankiness. The job of a salesperson is only to get the customer and the gadget together. A smooth transaction is included in the price.
Not too difficult, right?

So, we looked for someone who could frame my paintings.
The found framer did a nice job. A little to the slow side, but maybe that was normal in this country.
The man himself was very timid and polite. That was okay, personally I’m not long-winded in conversation too, so that was matching fine. And as a bonus his prizes were very reasonable.

After 2 successful orders, the 3rd fell through. The timid framer could not deliver a certain frame and his embarrassment was apparent by not daring to inform us about this fact. We visited him 3 times, asking about the progress. He replied: “Yes, I will call the wholesaler again.”
And we never heard anything from him …
Okay, that can happen. Perhaps we are the kind of customers you’d rather don’t want.

The next framer was located in a busy shopping street with logically higher prizes He was cheerful and easy-going. His unsolicited statement about how much money he monthly need to earn to be able to rent his shop, wasn’t particularly necessary info for me (we all suffer from life), but hey, everybody has his little rants. I have them too. It’s like sneezing.
This framer also was significantly faster in delivery. The fact that the invoice suddenly was a bit higher than we had agreed, we devoted to the matter that we happen to be very good at drawing a straight face when someone calls his price. We might give the impression that it didn’t sound too bad for us. Or that we didn’t hear the price at all. Perhaps we need to work on that.
For now we shrugged our shoulders because in the Netherlands we were used to even higher prices. So. We ordered him to create 8 frames more.

We would screw in the paintings by ourselves, so we agreed a ‘pick 8 and pay for 7 deal’. The framer himself already did the haggling (with himself) for us. I suspected a sliver of guilt about the higher invoice.
“But you need to drill the holes for us” we extra underlined.
“Yeah, of course, I will drill the holes. That’s part of the job”, he said.
“And getting all these frames to our home … how do we do that? They are pretty big, huh?”, we tried.
“Yeah no worries, we work that out. I will look around to see if someone has a van. I’ll pack them well in bubble wrap. It will be alright”.
Great. I love the words “It will be alright”. I myself rarely use them because I always see problems everywhere.

After a week the order was ready. Luckily just in time we saw the requested holes were not drilled. “But, said the framer … that was because it was easier to drill the holes if the paintings were attached”.
That indeed would be easier. For him. Because the attaching should be done by us … Remember?
“And did you think about the carriage?”
“No, no way.”
“What no way?!”
It is surprising how one day the same words can have a totally different meaning than the other day.
Well … okay, we are no dickheads. Maybe we could organize an roof rack ourselves. We would come back the next day to tie the largest frames on top of the car. In the meantime ‘could Mr. Framer ensure that everything was wrapped in that bubble foil he talked about?’
“Well, umm … bubble foil is very expensive, you know. Then I need many meters of wrapping”, he replied.

I gave him an intense (and quite long) mean look. With all the bitterness that I could find in myself. Hoping that my eyes hurt him.
To that list of expensive demands at the top of this story, from now one I also want to see ‘pride’. Believe me, I want to pay for the pride of a salesman!
Our last request was to make the promised drill holes. Of course we could do it ourselves, but he has a huge working table, a spacious studio and certainly a lot more experience in measurement. We, however, had to do such a job on a carpet full of dog hair, between the pushed aside furniture. I’d rather he makes the errors, than we do. And -a small thingie- finally it was part of the deal, right?
He disappeared, loud grumbling into his workshop, his hands raised. We waited a while. Maybe he was interrupted by a ringing phone, or something?
But there was silence in the workshop.
He didn’t return to say g’bye. Or to say ‘see you tomorrow’.
Speechless we looked at each other.
We shouted goodbye, but no answer came, so we left.

The next day we drove to the framer again. With a roof rack on our car. The key in my back was turned up to the limit. I was ready to shoot.
He came to us with a red stained face and waved with his hand that we had to come inside the workshop …


Two large frames on the roof rack

The night before he had drilled the holes all wrong!
He realized this just after drilling the very last frame and then almost had burst in tears. He had filled them all in with putty, sanded and repainted the spots and was busy until late at night. Early in the morning he drilled the holes again, in the right place. The repainted spots were barely visible, and he asked if it was okay with us. Frankly, I thought a painting would exactly cover them, so I did not mind.
And, they were all packed up … !!!

So, now I know I really can shoot a killing stare! Good to know.


25 June 2007

There is going on some kind of inspiration-challenge in blog-land, asking to write about 3 bosses you have had in your life. Or your 3 worst purchases. Or 3 holidays, or 3 shameful happenings, etc … Well, you get it.

Suddenly I realised that my first boss, as well as my latest boss, both were my fathers in law. However, these were different jobs and different fathers in law. In both cases I caught their sons earlier than the jobs. So you can say I got my jobs via the mattresses.
My first job was in the school holidays in summer at an insurance company. I had no clue what to do at that company and also my colleagues had no idea what to do with that 15 years old kid. Probably they thought: “Maybe she will disappear if we no pay attention. We are too busy to entertain her.”
I remember I got tiny chores that I had done in 10 minutes, like for example; putting stamps on 10 envelopes … And then I had to disturb the older guys again with the same question: “What needs to be done now?”. More and more I started to generate for this recurrent question and eventually I didn’t repeat it anymore. I found myself starting to hide. In the kitchenette staring to the coffee machine, or half into the office supplies storage gazing to the dust.

The best memory of that summer was the joy on my bike at the end of the last day. I can’t remember whether I ‘forced a last day’ or eventually took my bag and disappeared. Silently, quickly and too embarrassed to say goodbye.

My second job was cleaner in the hospital for a few weeks. The most intense memory was the horrible smell of centrifuged blood in the laboratories. That’s needed to separate (and then store) the ‘ingredients’ of donor blood, but since that time I disgust the smell of blood if passing a butcher.


1987: My first REAL office job. Here I’m the red one.


1983: Dishwasher in a lunchroom. I’m the blue one, between the 2 red ones.

Then I went to a cosmetics factory. Standing at the assembly line. The work consisted of freshly poured lipsticks keeping in a flame for a few seconds so they got their shine. After a few days I discovered that a large number of workers were brought with a special van from the house of the mentally challenged. Maybe that was the explanation of the difficult connection I experienced in the canteen. They didn’t allow me to sit beside them, because every seat was ‘discussed’ already, what was made clear by a pointed look.
More days later, I found out there was a separate table for temporary workers …

Fear and pride

19 July 2007

In the meanwhile, we have been to the marae 6 or 7 times, without me blogging about it every single time. When a new lesson in marae protocol was announced, Gina phoned us to ask whether we want to participate again. We play public. In exchange for food.

After 4 or 5 times, I thought it would be nice to truant, but because Frank always picks up the phone and without exception says yes to everything, my unwilling movements didn’t make any sense.
He draws his sorry face  photo kweetniet_zpshfnjdtqq.gif and shrugs. Sometimes I think I see an evil glint in his eyes.

A few visits ago (could be around that same 4th or 5th time) Gina began to proclaim that Frank too should do a speech next time. That didn’t happen, so we began to believe it was just a joke.
But today -in contrast to the previous times- we suddenly were recalled to the marae again after finishing lunch in the dining area. Gina’s students also came back from the dining area and obediently sat down on mattresses against the walls of the marae.
In a few words each of the students had to tell what his thoughts were about the last lesson. Preferably in Maori (a lot of Maori people don’t speak Maori), but English was okay too. Gina was sitting between us and suddenly began wildly whispering to Frank. She gave him possibilities of what he could say soon …
Now Frank was already somewhat prepared, so he let it come over him.

fear pride

That brave man over there … has a very childish spouse.

For Maori not only their ancestors are very important, but also their mountain, their lake and the marae where they live closest to. So Frank stood up and told that he was the Pakeha from Holland and was born in Heiloo (a Dutch village) near the Puke Ngeru (the cat-mountain of 10 meters high) and near Roto Hukupapa (the IJsselmeer, lake) and the Ma Whare Karakia (the little white church). And that he was in this marae to learn something about the Maori culture. His translations were a kind of self-taught.

Isn’t that great?! How brave! I was proud on him.

While assenting applause, Gina started pushing me.



NO …

All previous times I never was threatened with the request for “public speaking” and so I was not prepared! Since the compulsory lecture in elementary school at the age of 10 years old, I had decided I would never speak in public again. The lecture was the first low point in my childhood, and I swore I would never grant such a request for the rest of my life. I also never did the opening speeches at my art gallery, 25 years later.
The compulsory lecture in elementary school in itself was a sufficient reason to not reincarnate after this life.
Now you got the feel for my aversion and fear. By the way: I read this is the # 1 fear to most people. Even more scary than death itself.

Together with my most adorable smile I tried to radiate a NO as much as possible. And I hardly could distract my eyes from the side door, which behind I knew our car was parked. The getaway car. I put my attitude to unyielding and made subtle, but hopefully scary looking movements with the muscles in my jaw (you know, that are so typical for serial killers and psychopaths). Happily that worked. Gina ran to Frank on stage and together they did a little impromptu Dutch wooden-shoe-dance. On a completely unknown tulips song.

I still was proud mixed with fear and relieve.

Poooooh … thanks Lord, for left alone the rest of the time. But hey Lord, next time be a bit quicker with your intervention.

Exquisite corpse: One dollar

14 July 2007

This is the second part of my excorps project with Peter van Oostzanen.
In the creation of this drawing we followed the same procedure as the first one, only this time the roles have been reversed. I started with the left halve, masked off most of it and next Peter finished the other halve.

This is the part I created ...

This is the part I created …

And this was the only part visible for Peter ...

And this was the only part visible for Peter …

This is what Peter added to the small visible part ...

This is what Peter added to the small visible part …

And this is how the totally result looks! Exquisite corpse: One dollar

And this is how the totally result looks!