Another vintage silver palace

And at the end of the day….well deserved rest at the Airstream

Richard Charpentier Arizona, Notes from Rich, Prescott Leave a Comment

Well, it finally happened.  I can’t believe it happened, but it did.

I had my first “emergency” client.

It used to be that I was electronically tethered by a cell phone and a pager.  I’d be somewhere relaxing for 5 minutes and boom.  The pager would go off with an emergency message.  This switch in this state was in trouble.  Voicemail was down again in Puerto Rico.  PrePay was on the fritz nationwide……..

So, I’d get on the phone, log in with my laptop, and investigate what was going on.  Emergencies happen all the time in telecommunications.  You wouldn’t believe how much stuff breaks down.  And when it does somebody gets the call to get things going.  Seemed like I got the call every time.

Switching careers from running national networks to running a local photography and print reproduction business I never thought I’d get any other kind of emergency call or client.  I mean really, somebody’s going to need a print right away or else?  It couldn’t possibly happen.  But yesterday it did.  It was the start to an absolutely crazy day!

Friday night a new client called into the gallery.  They needed an original piece imaged immediately.  The original was going away Saturday morning at 9 a.m.  The client had been calling all over Northern Arizona trying to find someone who does reproduction work.  Finally she found out about me.  Ian called from the gallery and asked if I could do the job first thing Saturday morning.  Sure, why not?  But how odd, and how last minute.  The one thing that was stressed….the image had to be out of her possession my 9 a.m.

After meeting with my early emergency client I decided to stay at the gallery for a little longer.  I had a few more canvases to finish up from the week.  The clients aren’t picking them up until next week, but might as well get them done.  How busy was I with large canvases you ask?  Well, I went through a brand new 44″ wide roll.  Each roll is 40 feet long.  So, that’s 21,120 square inches of canvas used in a week.  Given the fact that until this past week things were super slow, that’s not a ton of canvas.  Normally clients roll in over the course of a few weeks and go through a roll that size.  But for some reason everybody showed up this week, all at the same time, and all needing some pretty big stuff.

I kept the Art Store busy and cleaned them out of several lengths of stretcher bars.  For some reason, everybody wanted 24×32″ canvases this week.  6 in total for that size!

Right as I was ready to exit the gallery and leave it to Ian for the weekend other clients came in about canvases and prints.  And behind those folks, some more customers.  After that?  A lady who wanted to buy a bunch of my minis……and it kept going like that all day until 4:45 when I finally started to leave the gallery.  And as I opened the front door another print client walked up the steps and saw me packed up.  He was hoping I’d still be in, and hoping that I wouldn’t have taken the day off…….  🙂

You know what though?  Never turn away a customer when you’re a small business owner.  It was a good day.

My life sure has changed a lot over the years

In comparison to the old life and old job, I’m not on call 24×7.  An emergency client, like yesterday’s, is a surprise.  An extended workday because everybody seems to need you that day is a surprise too.  But in this case it’s a welcome one when it’s the rare exception rather than the rule.

Beyond the career change so much else has changed.  That 5 year long horrible illness that I thought I’d be stuck with for the rest of my life?  Yeah, that’s outta here for good.  Since March now my blood work has come back normal.  And since March I’ve felt normal.  Looking back, I can’t believe I lived with a severe (and undiagnosed) infection for 5 years.  But now that it’s been addressed I feel pretty darned good.  And I wonder what the 5 years would have been like had the physicians in 2005 listened to the patient who clearly asked with each new doctor, “This all started with a root canal.  Do you think my current medical issues are related?”  Well, they never listened and I’ll never know.  At least we’ve finally got it cleared up.

Guess the timing couldn’t be better for the resolution of that illness.  It looks like I’m going to have a busy fall.  All week long I’ve been getting to work at 7:30 a.m.  The gallery doesn’t open until 10 a.m., but I had more prints to do each day.  So, get in early and get it done.  Just a few months ago that would have been exhausting, but today, welcome.  I’ll take a long busy day any time.

When the workday is done coming home is nice

Home is still the Airstream.  4 years full timing now.  I never would have expected that had you asked me in 2006 if I planned to full time for a long time.  I didn’t plan it.  The Airstream was the life boat after the illness and divorce.  You never expect to live in the life boat long term.  Get to shore, get out of the life boat, and maybe use it occasionally for fishing.  😉

But I’ll tell you, it isn’t a bad home.  I know, small and not enough room for all of my books but that’s okay.  I seem to be here rarely.  Normally I come home for dinner, a little unwinding and then sleep.  I’m out of here pretty early each day (except on laundry day) and when I get back all I need is a couch and something good to eat.

Plus, well I made the decision in 2008 to open this small business of mine.  The capital I had on hand for another home went into the business instead.  Heck, I’m there so much it is the other home, right?

Well, all in all it was very nice to get home last night after an extremely busy day, put my feet up for a while, listen to the wind outside (super windy right now) and breathe.

Oh, and play a fun game of Star Craft II last night with Ida & Keith!  I may live in an Airstream, but I think you all know it’s a very high tech Airstream!  🙂

Heck, I even did a self portrait when I got home last night.

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