On Friday Dave and I went over to our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore, since everything in the store was 20% off. We scored a few great deals that saved us lots of money – 5 gallons of driveway sealer for $4, a brand new (in the box) toilet seat for $4, a bunch of stainless steel screening for $2.50 and some cove base to use in the downstairs in the entryway (a whole box of it for $2). As we were leaving, I noticed a flyer for a demonstration the next day on Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint. I’ve heard a lot about it (kind of hard not to if you follow a lot of home décor blogs or Pinterest boards) but had never actually seen it, so I was curious.
So we went back yesterday, and at first we couldn’t find the demo. There was no signage, so we walked through the whole store. I couldn’t remember how long the demo was for, so I started to think maybe we missed it (we got there about an hour after it was supposed to start). Finally, after walking the perimeter of the entire store and ending up back at the front, we noticed a table set up at the far end. Bingo!
The women demonstrating the paint were really nice, and there were a few other people gathered around the table. I positioned myself so I could see their faces, and then started asking questions. Lots of questions. It was awesome – I was able to find out everything I wanted to know, got to see examples of various ways to use the paint and wax finishes, and the demonstrators seemed happy to have lots to talk about. We hung around for about 20 minutes, and then thanked them and moved on.
After we left the store and we were talking about the demo, Dave said, “Boy, you were talkative. Really talkative.” Then we kind of laughed, because usually I clam up in those situations. We’ve been to lots of conventions with vendor/exhibit halls, and usually I just walk by and look, or maybe stand in the back and watch. I never talk or engage the people in conversation. When we used to go to candle conventions, I even knew many of the vendors because we ordered from them; even then, I was very quiet. A big reason is because it’s so hard to hear in those situations; I really didn’t want to be in a position where someone was telling me all this stuff and I was doing the deaf nod, pretending to understand. (Back then I had my bi-CROS analog hearing aids, which had no program to suppress background noise…it was all just LOUD.) Part of it was worry that I’d be pressured to buy something, when I just wanted information. Part of it was just my natural shyness and discomfort with making small talk/casual conversation.
After we started going to HLAA conventions, once I had my CIs, I started to come out of my shell a little bit. I was still kind of shy, but I started to ask more questions, make eye contact (one thing I really avoided, since it invited conversation) and participate more in the product demonstrations.
Even though the ReStore was loud (lots of banging from things being moved around, as well as the general cavernous, echo chamber effect due to the building) I did okay as long as I could also lip read. I didn’t miss anything, and I just had a blast asking all the questions I had about the paint. I could see Dave periodically looking at me, kind of like, ‘Who is this woman and what has she done with Wendi?!’ I know this isn’t a big deal to most people, but for me it’s nice to shed some of that fear of starting a conversation with a stranger!
In non-hearing-loss-related triumphs, I actually picked up Maxie, our former-feral mom cat. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll remember an entry I wrote where I worried about how we’d get Maxie and her two girls, Alice and Grace, into carriers when it comes time to move. Although they’ve been living indoors with us for almost seven years now, we still can’t really pick them up. In all other aspects, they’ve become regular domestic cats (although it took a few years) – we pet them, they come to us when we call them (and also just for attention), Maxie has progressed to sitting on my lap if I’m laying down or sitting on the couch; the girls (we still think of them as kittens even though they’re now seven) are more shy, but Alice has occasionally jumped up on the couch with me, and Grace will lay next to me in the morning if I’m still in bed and Dave has gotten up.
But picking them up, or manipulating them in order to trim their nails or get them into a carrier? Hell no. With Maxie, as soon as you run both hands along her sides, she slinks to the ground, out of reach, and runs away. The younger girls don’t even let us get that far! Well, a couple days ago Maxie was sitting on my desk chair and I wanted to sit down. With our fourth cat Sabrina, it’s no big deal – I just pick her up and deposit her somewhere else. (She’s the only one, besides Maxie, that ever sits in my chair.) Well, Maxie was pretty comfortable and I figured if I slid my hands along her sides, it would freak her out and make her jump off. I was shocked to see her stay in a sitting position, so I figured what the heck…let’s try this. I leaned over, slid my hands underneath her and lifted her to my chest (not a long distance, since I was leaned over her back). She started complaining, making this moaning kind of meow she does when she sees an outdoor cat on the deck. I kept talking to her and deposited her on the floor; the whole time she kept her ears erect and her tail perky so she didn’t have her usual physical signs of distress.
Dave watched all of this in shock, then immediately began to praise her. And that little stinker just strutted around, tail held aloft, as we petted and complimented her on her bravery. I haven’t tried it again but the next time the opportunity presents itself, I will…hopefully we can do this enough that she’ll finally realize we aren’t trying to hurt or trap her when we do it. Yay, Maxie!