Hey y'all. So sorry for the radio silence the past month. I know I'd be irked if I were you. So I'll try my best to get back on the horse and blog regularly. I've finished all my crochet projects (2 baby blankets, 2 pairs of baby booties, and a scarf) and don't plan on going anywhere or throwing any more parties (we had a very successful murder mystery party, to be blogged later), so you should have my undivided attention. Now where were we? Oh yea, I'm about to tell you about my red dress...errr, what was to be my red dress.
Pull up a chair, grab a bowl of popcorn, and maybe a tissue or two. Get ready for the finale to my red dress saga.
Disclaimer: My memory is really fuzzy about the whole situation now (or maybe my brain is choosing to supress memories), so the timelines may not line up.
Last time I saw my dress was on June 24, 2011. I was over the moon giddy about it. It was gorgeous and looked exactly like how I had pictured it in my head (and also how Charles had drawn it).
Dress as I saw it last. (personal photo)
My last fitting was to take place around July 1, a week after the previous fitting. However, due to illness, Barbara had to reschedule. Sure, no problem, we still had over a month to finish it. Well, pretty soon it was August. Then it was 2 weeks until W-day. I was pretty calm about my dress up until this point. Barbara would set up pick up dates/times and then would cancel them an hour before the appointed time. I had internal conversations with myself for awhile before finally voicing my concerns to Jake. We could keep rescheduling, but eventually I needed the dress. And if she's too sick to finish it, I needed time to take it to another seamstress.
Jake encouraged me to call Barbara up and talk to her (I hate talking on the phone, I do so much better via email). I don't remember if I actually talked to her, if I just left a message, or if we played phone tag. I probably left a message...or two. After not hearing back, I started to panick. I emailed her two students to see if they had heard from her or if they could just get in touch with her for me.
Neither one of the students had heard from her. I want to say a day or two later, Barbara informed us that she had been in and out of the hospital. She also let me know that my dress just needed to be hemmed. With one week before the wedding, I asked if I could just pick up my dress as is and take it to someone else to finish the hem. I didn't receive a response.
J, one of her students, took pity on me and tried to contact Barbara. J literally stalked Barbara for me the week of my wedding. I was busy doing wedding things and couldn't go to her apartment to pick up the dress myself. I think we had a pick up time scheduled on Thursday. J went for me. She called Barbara's phone and rung the doorbell over and over, but got no answer.
At this point there really was no hope. Both J and I were ready to give up. At least I had my wedding gown to wear right?
On the Friday before the wedding, as you can imagine, is jam packed with last minute things. I was so frazzled that I had to kick my family out of my house for a bit. I hated having to do it. I wanted more than anything to spend time with them, but I had shit to deal with.
J took the day off (I don't even have words to thank her enough for taking a day off from work for me) and sat outside Barbara's apartment. The plan was that she would take the dress and finish the hem herself. After staking out for hours, J took a break. On a whim, she went back one last time and caugh Barbara coming out of her apartment. She looked awful AND refused to hand over the dress saying that it wasn't finished.
It didn't matter that all of our guests had been told not to wear red. It didn't matter that the schedule of events all surrounded this dress. The red dress wasn't going to happen. I remember waiting for my manicure to dry when I got the phone call from J. I could tell that she was clearly shaken up. Me, being me, I tried to be strong and just brush it off. I fought back the cracking voice and tears. In my most courageous and calmest voice, I assured J that she had done all that could be done. In fact, she had gone far and beyond anything I could have every asked for. I told her (and myself) that there was nothing to do but let it go. Once I was in my car, I lost it for about 30 seconds. I wiped the tears away and told myself that I didn't have the time to deal with this shit. I still had labels to finish. I still had to decided if I was going to put the baby photos on display. I still had a rehearsal to make it to.
I drove home pretty angry that Barbara was screwing up something so simple. I just didn't understand why it was happening. My heart pounded out of my chest and my hands shook like crazy as I worked on the labels for the dessert station. I kept yelling out "What did I do to deserve this?" At some point, I ran into my bathroom in tears. Even though there was no one home, I'm a wierdo. I let myself cry for a few minutes. I just needed it out of my system.
After that, I went straight to my computer. I needed to know, so I emailed Barbara and asked her bluntly "Why are you doing this to me? What did I do to deserve being screwed over on my wedding day?" I even asked her if money was the issue. I think the exact words I used were "Is it the money, because I'll give you the damned money." She wrote back saying that I could pick up the dress 7pm. As you can imagine, I would be hosting our rehearsal dinner at that time. With one last glimmer of hope, I sent J back to Barbara's apartment. I emailed Barbara from rehearsal dinner with a note saying that I was giving J full authority to pick up my dress for me, just in case she had an issue with the arrangement.
J was there at 7. She ended up outside Barbaras apartment ringing the doorbell every 15 minutes and calling her phone for over an hour. Again, no answer. This time it was really time to give up. So in the middle of rehearsal dinner, I finally let the last flecks of hope go.
My wedding day happened without my Chinese dress. Everyone still had a blast.
A week after my wedding, I received an email from Barbara saying she had just been released from the hospital and that she would make it up to me as well as refund my money. She apologized for how she handled the situation and blamed it soley on the fact that she didn't know how to handle being told that she had colon cancer. I don't mean to sound like a heartless person. I am truly sorry that she has been diagnosed with cancer. But as a business, she should have handled the situation much differently. As a business she should have recognized that she wouldn't be able to deliver the product and called in help or something. As a business, there is just no excuse.
I was given a full refund, minus $0.50 because she wrote the wrong amount on the check. I just let it go. I probably could have asked for monetary compensation for all the time, gas, wear and tear on my car, and etc. for all the times I drove out to her attic studio. Like the time she left the skirt of my dress in the trunk of her daughters car that got towed, but she didn't bother to cancel the appointment that time (talk about a waste of my time). I just wanted to be done with this horrible person.
So that's the saga. Not exactly a story that you look back on and think is funny. It happened to me. That's my nightmare wedding story. Maybe someday I'll have a REAL dressmaker make my dress. Technically, the design was my brain child, not hers.
One more thing, I want to give a shout out to my awesome friends that were all working behind the scenes trying to get my dress for me (completely unbenongst to me). Your actions speak volumes and your friendship means the world to me, and I can't thank you enough for your valiant efforts.