Our first week of package bees is drawing to a close. It went very well overall as we sold over 500 packages in our first week. However, I feel more like a survivor than a victor. I was very sick on Tuesday, while Quentin was in Redding, California picking up our bees. The bee store had to be open the day before package bee day so I had no choice but to open the store. I hope I didn't pass it on to very many customers. Fortunately, I was rescued in the afternoon when my daughter Rachel arrived from Portland. She took over the store while I laid down upstairs and took a sorely needed nap. She awoke me occasionally and attempted to get coherent responses to pricing or location of merchandise questions. Apparently, I always had an answer to her questions, but few of them could be classed as coherent.
Quentin and Matt Demeter arrived with the bees at about 2:00 am. They stayed up all night to remove all of the packages from the trailer and to vacuum off all of the hitchhikers and stage all of the packages at the bee store. This is a big change from how we've done it in the past. I've always staged them at my house, removed the "cling-ons", and then transported them to the bee store. I was a little dubious, but it worked much better this way. The key to the whole plan was Quentin's willingness to work through the night. Ah, the energy of youth! It made the whole day easier as we were able to start handing bees out right at 10:00 am. We still handed out 80 percent of the bees on the first day, but it was spread over 10 hours rather than 6. As a result there was less time when we had lines of any consequence and the day was much less stressful for all concerned. I later learned that the missionaries had also gotten up in the wee hours of the morning and assisted Quentin with the unloading. One commented that it was the coolest thing he had ever done. I expressed my condolences on his sheltered life.
Package Bee Day went very smoothly. I had Terry Johnson and David Pearson helping outside while Shannon Boling and her daughter Savannah helped Rachel inside. Quentin experienced some serious sleep-deprivation as he refused to go home and sleep for most of the day. Meanwhile, I wasn't really feeling sick anymore, but had very little energy. So I watched package bee day go by in fast forward while I was stuck in slow motion. At the end of the day we had only 120 packages left. All of the heavy lifting had been done by my good friends.