Work never fails to surprise me.

In my work, you never know what will be asked of you. This week I decorated the basket of a "hot air" balloon. I had to add a few romantic touches to it for a special date a couple was to have on a new reality show I'm working on.

My decorations are nothing to speak of , but the experience was fascinating.

The crew arrived in the Temecula, Ca wine country at 5:30 am. The balloon "captain" inflated an simple party balloon and let loose into the air to check the wind direction. A massive tarp was laid out in a open area and the balloon was then carefully spread out. The basket was placed on it's side and the crew began rigging it.

There was a short time for me to add my details, because of the weather and the nature of "hot air", it was best to get the balloon aloft as quickly as possible once inflated. I kept it simple with fabric bunting and rose bouquets. I started my decorating sideways while it was being blown up. This gave me an intimate seat during the process of rigging a "balloon".

I was impressed how professional the crew was, but there was a moment of doubt when triple checking as the captain said to another crew member...

"Wow, you would think after dozens of flights, I would never make a mistake like this"

and he re tied a rope...it was minor, not a good looking "chippy caboodle" knot or something and although safe he wanted it looking perfect on camera. So I felt OK not to share what I heard with the production team and instill false panic. From there they triple checked and triple checked and triple checked once more and all was good.

Once elevated I was able to jump in and finish the side that was on the ground. That's when it was weird because the basket strained to float up but kept down by crew members. As I wired and secured roses to the basket it bounced and swayed all over the place until it settled.

Meanwhile a second or "chase" balloon was made ready for camera people etc.


Soon the couple climbed in and set off into the air.


There was a "oooo" and "aaaaa" moment as the sun rose and they quietly floated away...


over the pretty grapevine fields.


As I marveled at the nice sight and seeing the "chase" balloon follow ...


I suddenly remembered using scissors to cut fabric and immediately freaked out.

Where were they?

I knew I put them back in my tool bucket but was paranoid all the same.

Did I leave them on the edge of the basket in the rush to decorate?

I ran to my tool bucket.

Would they fall off into some field workers head?!

I found them, safely placed in the bucket.

My work never fails to surprise me.



2 comments:

  1. megan Jeffery4/19/2007 7:10 AM

    I was kind of expecting to see a big Photoshopped cartoonily-lettered "POP!" somewhere over the horizon.
    So glad this ended well, I was getting stressed out.

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  2. I am a balloon chase person myself; we do a lot of engagements (although not for television, so we do not decorate the basket!) - a lot of times we have the groom paint a large WILL YOU MARRY ME? sign (on sheets or cloth) and we sneakily spread it out downwind during inflation so the bride sees it once she is aloft.

    And maybe your pilot was joshing you about the knot - my pilot, when asked "how long have you been doing this?" will quip "It's Saturday right? I guess that's two weeks!" before confessing to having 25 years of experience...

    Nice blog.....interesting!

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