Shortly after the email notification of my nomination for the top 5 finalists in the Imagine Me art contest, I received another email. This one was super secret and announced that I had, in fact, won the Imagine Me art contest!!!!! To say I was surprised would not have been accurate. Somehow I knew Billie was special enough to take home the prize, but I was still pretty excited! The next step was to get Billie to Las Vegas in time for the IAEDP Symposium.
I would have thought that shipping via UPS would be dead simple, but I was wrong. The first UPS outlet store I visited bemoaned the cost of packing, the size of the shipment and the overall cost to ship. This lack of customer service led me to another UPS outlet where I had had a positive experience in the past. Unfortunately, it seems the individual that helped me the first time was not working that day and I was faced by three women who were less than enthusiastic about my shipment. They warned me about “all the paperwork” involved since the shipment was US-bound and they must have cautioned me at least three separate times about how much it was going to cost. Did they want my business or what? If I had not already agreed with IAEDP that I would ship via UPS, I would have found someone that wanted my business.
So I dragged in my own box – Billie’s legs are just about 4′ high, so I had to purchase a wardrobe moving box from a local storage unit facility. And then I brought in all the bubble wrapped bits of Billie. I had pre-packed her in the box at home so I knew how to put everything into the box to maximize space and ensure she would be safe during her travels. Once we put all the pieces together, we filled up the rest of the box with popcorn and taped her up. After filling out one, very short form (mountains of paperwork, indeed!), I bid adieu to Billie. She was on her way to Vegas!
But the shipping adventure was far from over! I got a call the next day from the Customs Brokerage house. You see, it seems I was shipping body parts, and well, they just wanted to make sure about what exactly was in my shipment. At UPS, I listed what was in the shipment. The document read like this:
1 x mannequin which includes, 1 x torso, 1 x set of legs, 1 x stand, 2 x arms, 1 x bodysuit & 2 x hands.
When the UPS staff entered this info into their system, the bodysuit and the 2 hands ended up on a separate page. So this poor woman at customs calls me and (in a Southern accent) asks me “um, ma’am, you are shipping a mannequin to Las Vegas, but it also says here that there is a bodysuit and some hands. Now are those hands, hands!??!” I immediately imagine that she is seeing a scene from Silence of the Lambs, where I have stitched together some skin suit and have packaged up some body parts to go with. I was laughing so hard as I tried to explain that no, it was all just part of the mannequin. Fortunately, we got it resolved quickly and Billie was released from customs to make her journey West.