The Twist and Shout Story
“You want to what?!?” I can still hear my parent’s reaction. “Mom and dad, I want to quit teaching and do balloons full time with David.” Maybe I should start from the beginning of my balloon twisting journey.
The year was 1999. It was late September when a tall, handsome, blue eyed surfer walked into Islands Restaurant. I was waiting tables there part-time while I was doing long term substitute teaching work. Within one week of knowing David, he had swept me off my feet. The first week of dating he had taken me Midnight Horseback Riding, set up hot chocolate and Monopoly in Triangle Square, borrowed a friend’s boat for a dinner and sunset cruise in Huntington Harbor, met my parents where he brought them homemade chocolate chip cookies, and every time I turned around there were notes and flowers on my car. David could write a blog on romantic dates. When he asked me to be his girlfriend, he cleared out his parent’s living room of couches and coffee tables and transformed a romantic night at Top of the World in Laguna Beach. It would take pages and pages to try and describe how he proposed. Not to take any credit away from David but he does have six sisters. He said he used to keep a mental notebook of all the lame dates his sisters went on and knew he didn’t want to fall into that category. But I digress…
So you are beginning to see the picture here. David was romantic, handsome, the total package. That is until I had to explain to my parents that he drove a 1985 Dodge Prospector Van and twisted balloons for a living. I can only imagine my dad’s face 5 months later when David asked for my hand in marriage and my dad asked how he was going to support me. David’s answer, “Twisting Balloons!” David began twisting balloons in high school. Sure, the balloons back then were simple, dog on a leash, fish on a pole, and if he was getting fancy, a monkey on a tree chasing bananas. Almost immediately I began learning balloons alongside of David. As silly as it sounds, it was one of the most frustrating and challenging times in our relationship. His hands would move at the speed of light while I fumbled through learning balloons. The only thing I seemed to be good at was producing the ear piercing squeaking sound balloons make. The frustration eventually moved to ease and I too was becoming an expert balloonologist. I began dreading waiting for the substitute teacher’s call at 5:30am to receive my assignment and wanted to do balloons full time. David was twisting balloons at Joe’s Crab Shack Newport Beach under the advanced tutelage of Steve Hoffmann (Steve-O!). David was really refining his craft and was starting to dream big with balloons. That’s when we received the call, Joe’s Crab Shack Redondo Beach was looking for twisters and were we interested? David had already begun training some friends, brothers, sisters, and cousins. We took on Joe’s Crab Shack Redondo Beach and that quickly turned into Joe’s Anaheim and next thing we knew, our balloons were blowing up! We had assembled quite a talented team and we were growing faster than we could train.
I am not going to pretend that people understood what was going on. We were two idealistic newlyweds building a business on balloons. Our parents supported us but the jokes never stopped. My siblings mocked, in the most loving way siblings do, and we often had to suck up our pride to follow our passions. I will not write this blog under the disguise that I am ultra-passionate about balloons. But I am passionate about traveling and serving at our church. Twisting balloons has given us the opportunity to do both things wholeheartedly. We have been blessed to be able to travel all over the world while at the same time serving Seaside Community Church for 18 years. We have been able to pass this blessing on to the hundreds of people that have worked in our company. And we have had the privilege to entertain for the most amazing group of clients, event planners, and families. I look forward to sharing some of the funny and unique stories that come from running a family business with a whole lot of “twisted” people.