Stains on the rug, stains on our hearts.

It is funny what sparks memories and makes us think about and appreciate the little things. 

This week my dog threw up.  That part is not surprising, it had rained all day, every day.  He hates rain and gets very nervous.  One day in the middle of a particularly strong storm he stood up from the rug in the bookstore entryway where he had been sleeping and threw up.  Like I said, that part I expected (well maybe not on the rug), what I did not expect was what I found when I cleaned it up.  After getting up the majority with a cardboard makeshift shovel I scrubbed up the spot with a cleaning brush and plain water. When the spot started to dry I wondered if perhaps there had been bleach on the brush, or maybe I did not get it all,  because that spot was a much different color than the rest of the rug.  After letting it bug me for a day I used a different brush and again just plain water and scrubbed a small corner of the rug.  Again, much different color.  And then I remembered, when we first opened the store the entryway rug was bright yellow, not the beige we have all gotten used to. I had forgotten that!  I was amazed, but also horrified at how it looked now.  What to do, what to do?  Someone, who will remain nameless, suggested three years is long enough for a bargain rug from Tuesday Morning and perhaps it was time to buy a new one.  But you know me, I can’t give up without a fight.

So today I brought a scrub brush from home,  got here bright and early, pulled the rug out to the parking lot , donned rubber boots and began scrubbing.  The funny thing is I found myself smiling the entire time I was doing  the job I have dreaded for the past two days.  Why, you ask? I’ll tell you why.  First there was all this white foam. White Foam? Why?  I was just using plain water – was it possibly my scrub brush again? No, I smiled.  You see over a year ago a lady came in one day with an adorable “Purse puppy” (you know one of those tiny little overly poofed dogs so small they can fit in your purse).  Well we chatted for a good long time about books and eventually she put the pup down , on a leash of course, by her feet while she was at the check out where the dog immediately peed on the rug.  That day I had gone to Fred’s and gotten some puppy spot cleaner and a can of that foam-in rug cleaner and just before leaving that day cleaned the spot then soaked the entire rug – this may be when the rug turned beige in the first place. Well, do you know what happens when you wet a previously foam cleaned rug? Lots of foam, that’s what happens. But I loved the memory because it was a day of book chat in my favorite place – and I like dogs. 

As I continued to scrub I saw more things.  Two red wine stains that were apparently not visible through the 87 layers of grit, a chocolate colored small foot print.  An absolutely unidentifiable stain near the top corner, etc.  And it started an avalanche of memories. 

It is hard to believe it has been three years since we first opened our doors.  Sometimes it feels like I am still just starting out and sometimes it feels like I have been doing this forever but either way I know one thing and that is that I could not be happier (even as my eyes fill with tears of gratitude while I write this).

Rob and I always dreamed in an “over a glass of wine while on vacation” sort of way about opening a bookstore but I never REALLY thought it was REAL.  That is until that day he leapt while I slept and signed a lease.  Three years.  Three years of getting to talk books every day.  Three years of getting to meet hundreds of authors – including my younger self’s crush Andrew McCarthy – yes THAT Andrew McCarthy (who would not tell me I was cuter than Ally Sheedy no matter how much I asked!).  Three years of hosting books signing, and books club meetings.  Three years of going to, and coordinating, literary festivals.  Three years of becoming more a part of the community by hosting local chamber events and club meetings at the shop.  Three years of writing this blog where I get to ramble on about life in a bookshop.  Three years of getting the privilege to be part of your lives. 

As we enter year four I know only one thing and that is that if the first three years are any measure the next will be a wonderful adventure.  This year we hope to make some changes.  More events, both at the store and at outside venues.  Maybe even an expansion - but we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves.  So, as I wait for a rug to dry that as Rob suggested may indeed be beyond salvaging (oops, I named him!) I am so thankful for every day and every one of you who have been a part of our first three years and I cannot wait to see what stains our rugs and our hearts in the future.