Thoughts from the Cook of The Airship Isabella.
Hello all, I am Mr. Fox of Airship Isabella. If you are wondering why I’m here, I am one of the full time shop crew members. If you don’t already know in this reality, I fill the position of the Assistant to the Business Manager, a.k.a. Amelia’s memory. In the story, I am the cook (in formal terms Galley Steward). I also am the Custodian of the Bellavue Quality Shipyards at the Jerico Nexus. Without further babbling…
Some time in our long since forgotten past, an author said in a very famous love sonnet, “What’s in a name?” I am here to tell you that there is a lot in a name. A name provides power to an object or place. Names help us define individuals from the group. From us you have heard the story of how we began and how our daily life is, but for this blog I would like to give you a bit of insight into the names of where we’ve lived and how they truly have affected us.
Having just been forced to move out of an apartment I shared with Suzeaux, we moved down to “The Shop” in San Leon, TX, with what little we could fit in the 24’ fifth wheel trailer I borrowed from my parents. The Shop is what everyone called it, and that is exactly what it was. A place to work. There was no real social life or existence outside of that shop. We ate (occasionally), slept (some), and worked. There was lots of work. With all that work there was barely any room for even sleeping. The majority of the place consisted of the five workstations that we had squeezed into the very small living room and kitchen of the house in the back yard. The house was even so small that not everyone could even live in it. The highlights of working in the shop were work trips to conventions where you could see more than the same seven people for more than a fleeting moment at the checkout line at the local gas station buying more smokes.
Inside The Shop there was little room for anything but work, and even that there was hardly space for. On numerous occasions, when everyone was home, I distinctly remember sitting on the floor with a piece of plywood on my lap and all the jewelry supply boxes open crafting pieces for necklaces with Kitty. We were there because even with desks there was not enough space to open everything to see what was available.
Then life gave us an opportunity to move from The Shop, and so we did. We packed our bags and a 24’ travel trailer and trekked 7 hours north to Celina, TX, a small town north of the DFW metroplex. Having arrived there we started to get settled with the help of our amazing “Dallas” steampunk friends. We named that shop “The Pit”, a reference to the movie PCU. A name for the ever popular hang out point with every ounce of, let’s call it, awesomeatude available at the time, filled with a host of quirky characters to match. We had the quirky characters and cool stuff, however our version of the pit didn’t turn out as cool. In fact it became just that, a pit. Horrible phone service, no internet, hours from resupply points, and dead in the middle of tornado alley. This was unfortunately just not a prime location. It was also plagued by questionable AC (in the Texas sun) and a total lack of electricity to the workshop (we had a scary amount of extension cords powering all the desks).
Being a highly mobile crew with a major internet presence and community to talk to, we would be lucky if one of the 7 of us could connect to the soul internet connection available in the entire area. Blocked by a hill and the neighbors house, the only company that even offered internet to our block (because the other isp’s stopped in the blocks around us) could not get us service without expensive modifications to the dish. This meant that we sat in our pit with only our cell phones to help deal with everything the internet demands. There were no online supply orders or tax returns. You might manage to load the Facebook app if you were lucky, and text messages never quite proved to be reliable. Even a phone call would drop if you didn’t sit on the dresser and hang out over the edge waving your hands in the air while being drug down the street.
As is life, the tide came in to fill our little pit on the beach and we had to flee. A crazy, chaotic retreat that drug us through a hell we never dreamed of. The week long expedition was emotionally and physically draining and even cost us a few brethren, but we survived. The word adventure doesn’t even come close to explaining this quest to a new land. Arriving at a place already known as “NOLAhaven” (officially Haven – NOLA). Haven was a halfway place that we had arranged with a couple locals to stay at when we were in town working, and NEVER anything more. A haven is just that, a place to escape to; to hide and rebuild. When we arrived we saw a place that showed promise. What we didn’t realize is that we had fled to a den of thieves and smugglers; a drippy, dark, dank hole in the side of a ghostly, beautiful city. We had arrived as story foretold, in New Orleans. Haven became our home. Through major indoor waterfalls, poor electrical, and a myriad of other random twists of fate, we fought our way through. We made a base for ourselves, recovered yet again from an arduous move, and started surviving, again.
New Orleans had proven welcoming to us, allowing us to reside in a desirable neighborhood; close to, well, everything… except Wal-Mart (which closes at 10). What New Orleans had failed to leave out in her welcoming letter was the true magnitude of crazy that would walk through our doors off the streets on a nightly basis. We had characters crossing our thresholds ranging from movie producers to lost tourists to street urchins. We were even visited by a local, self employed cobbler, who would stop in and help us with our blown out shoes.
Once again life decided we had to move on. A haven is not forever and we had been found out and like the Serenity we had to move along. The end of our time in, the later renamed, “Hotel Hell” was coming to a planned end. Though life is never quite clockwork, we were ready to move and move we did. After searching high and low, we found it. A place with the space we needed, rooms for everyone, actual work space, the flexibility for us to change it as we needed, and even the potential for a real store front.
Having just finished our move and settling into place, we sat down and discussed what color the walls will be, if our hot water is working in our new claw foot tub and what we want to name our new residence. A steampunk play land with the room to make the projects we have only been able to dream, thus far, possible. The only name that keeps coming up is “Home Port”. A name takes time to come into being for a place like this, so only time will truly tell. For now it seems we may have found our Home Port. Wish us luck on this name coming true.
On a side note, this blog was written about a week after we had moved. We painted the walls dark green, the floors have wonderful sections of hundred year old hardwood and a new beadboard wall separates a gallery space form the main workshop. All wonderful additions to our home scavenged and assembled from places all across the city (no dumpster lid left unturned). With all things on the right path, the name has stayed the same. Home Port is, thus far, standing the trials of time.