As I drove in to work this morning, at the corner where the service and suppliers' roads must briefly intersect with the roads leading to and from the homes of the elite, I was sorry to see that the fender-bender causing the slow-down was you. You looked so forlorn at the side of your (slightly dented) Maserati, cell phone pressed to your precious ear. Only a few hundred yards from home and yet in a strange land.
The Tesla Roadster in the next lane, (only a smidgen over $100,000 and so cheap to run), was blocking me from your view or I would have waved. I do hope your day got better after that.
I recall first meeting you. You were so important and busy that, of course, I met with you on July Fourth. How frustrating for you, as a foreigner, to be faced with your company's employees lack of enthusiasm for working on Independence Day.
We met at your newly purchased estate. What a long driveway through the gardens and up to the house? Imagine someone selling a house for over $13,000,000 and yet you need to redo the kitchen, bathrooms and fireplaces before it is habitable? All that subtle wood-work will take weeks to lacquer over to a high gloss and all the slab work must be replaced by something shiny too. What were they thinking?
Our first meeting seemed to bode well. You admired the photos in my portfolio and I explained the choices and how each would affect the price. Each time you selected more detailed carvings and more expensive materials, but I felt that you must have understood my explanations and would know what to expect. I spent that whole weekend drawing plans and writing up my proposal, sure we were in harmony and yearning for a signed contract.
You were impressed that I was ready to meet you again on Sunday and had me drive to your original home to present my work. The Maserati was in the forecourt and a Range Rover, but that turned out to be the nanny's car and we had to wait for your wife, who had forgotten about our appointment. The kids were swarming excitedly around the luggage that was being prepared for the trip to Europe and India, departing later that evening. Madame did show up after a while but I'm not sure how involved she really was as she ate a bowl of cereal, whilst standing at the kitchen counter.
Gosh, it took a while to go through all my drawings. I noted your decisions and tallied up your choices. I still don't quite understand how I am to be considered wholly responsible for blowing your budget. I wish you had mentioned your budget needs when we first met, (when I was clarifying how much your choices would cost). It would have saved me a lot of work and I could have had a long weekend like everyone else.
And so this charming reminiscence might end, if I were a quitter, but I am not. I am happy and proud that we worked out a solution to reduce some of the elaborate details, include some indispensable details free of charge and reduce the price as well. Oh, Happy Day! Signing you up for one hand carved marble fireplace was better than none. We'd see about the second one after your trip. Oh, you had forgotten to mention until now that this was a rush job too. O.K. then.
How quaint? No need to show me out. The local customs are different here, we generally do not dismiss visitors and expect them to wander off and find the front door by themselves. I managed though, no worries.
I really appreciated that you emailed me from France with photos of the fireplace that you wanted to buy from someone else so that I could verify the dimensions for you. One would hate it not to fit!
What a great decision to buy it and then ship it by air to save time. The airlines are so reasonable about shipping 1,500lbs of stone. I am sure you told them about your budget. No, no, you weren't my first client to airship stone. I had a lady who shipped 10 tons of pavers to finish her front porch in time for Halloween. Can't have those little Imps and Jack'o'Lanterns tripping up as they Trick or Treat now, can we?
Did I mention that she also had problems with customs clearance, most similar to yours. What a riot, paying all that to ship by air and then waiting, knowing your loot is on a back lot at Kennedy Airport for a couple of weeks. Life is droll, is it not?
Anyhow, seeing you at the roadside this morning brought back all those wonderful memories. You are just the kind of client who inspires one to write a blog.
Bye for now.