Friday, May 13, 2005

Fire & Ice, Two Ways

It's been a hellish week, but as much as it's been difficult, I managed to survive and am even looking forward to a fun-filled weekend.

It all started about ten days ago but really picked up steam this past Monday, when I was conference-calling for about an hour each day. On top of that, I was getting frantic phone calls from the representative of the building owner, who was also frantic, to say the least. Essentially, and through no fault of ours, the project was delayed about four months, and because of the delay, the client was on the hook for the extension fee , an extra $100,000. But the profits were measured in eight figures, so another $100k is no big deal. But it is a big deal when the fee needs to be paid in full prior to the granting of the extension and when all the money's tied up in the project, not sitting around waiting to be distributed or paid to a banker.

So the tension on the owner's side, which included a half-dozen relative amateurs, was palpable and coming through to me during each phone call. And if I didn't clarify earlier, I have been getting five to six calls an hour from their office. Most of these calls were to confirm prior calls, clarify things that had already been clarified, and go over things that I assumed had been nailed down the week prior.

On top of that, I had an ongoing dialogue with an architect involved with the project who a) spoke only a decent amount of english, but did so in a very sharp asian accent; b) was very nervous about signing anything that his office hadn't prepared; and c) was unfamiliar enough with the project to need to review a 500-page set of the plans, which he first had to order from another office. So I was getting frantic calls from him -- sometimes three or four an hour -- and his office would call me on my cell phone, for the most part, only when I was in the office. When I stepped out to hit the bank, a market to get lunch, or even to use the bafroom, they would find a way to miss me and leave me voicemails -- frantic, repetitive, pleading voicemails -- with regularity. And when we did connect on the phone, we usually spent a good deal of time asking each other to repeat what we'd just said, due to a) semi-reliable cell reception; b) his accent; c) my vocabulary; and d) his random, generous and liberal misuse and misunderstanding of the relevant terminology.

If that wasn't enough, I had a half-dozen other matters that were heating up, and while, for the most part, those quietly heated up on the stove without boiling over, each issued little hints that they're getting ready to hatch. So as I power through the main project I've been handling the entire week, I've got a half-dozen others steaming away in the ass-end of my brain, insuring that this week's sleep has been strictly comprised of long naps. I don't stay up nights worrying -- far from it -- but with so much on my head, it's hard to get anything else accomplished.

It's not all bad, of course...I'm continually amazed by how much I enjoy talking to my other half. We've both had very very difficult weeks, and while neither of us folds under pressure, we both have been so preoccupied with work that we've had less time to actually interact. Despite our mutual work schedules edging into our personal time and our collective consciousness, we still have made time for each other and, without speaking for her, I know she's made this week a lot more tolerable and been, largely speaking, the sole reason for me laughing and relaxing in any way, shape or form. I've been taking work stuff home with me (ie paperwork), but once I'm done for the night we've spent an hour or three going over the world from each our perspectives. On top of that, we've also been trying to schedule apartment visits so we can try and get a soft move date for her into more firm territory.

We've been tossing around preferred living areas of the City; the upper east, Soho, the Village and the Upper West. But since we're not really partial to any one area of the City, I'm guessing we'll wind up finding a place we really dig and then acting on it. In the overall scheme of things, it occurred to me that we've been together for about seven or eight months, and on some level things between us have progressed very quickly. But -- probably because of the distance -- it, on many levels, seems anything but quick to me. And while I am obviously excited about the prospect of waking up with her on a daily basis, I'm just glad she's there in spirit if not physically. That, and I miss our cab-rides downtown and the spooky house, which, one day, I hope to buy and christen "Chateau L'Boogie Aun La Petite Chat." I think it's French -- you can look it up.

The final parting glimpses from my perch are just repetition -- her dad and I have been e-mailing back and forth and he's a genuinely good guy. Honestly, despite the results I encountered the last time I met a woman's parents, I cannot be more excited about meeting hers. I've spoken to both of her parents on random occasions, but meeting in person and getting an idea of where we are -- and presenting it for the public -- is really the interim goal. All of our families and friends know how happy we both are, but until we're viewed in person by everyone, it's sort of hard to communicate. So we'll just go on being happy and making each other laugh and let everyone else catch up later. We've got conversations to have, places to see, stories to share, a life to live and time, while eternal, is far too short.

And we've got a cab to catch.

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