Friday, November 25, 2005

South Africa is a long way from Paris, nearly fifteen hours. My flight got me to Capetown Saturday morning. After freshening up I joined Dad on the deck. He was reading and we chatted while I checked email.

I spent a great deal of time last week finishing work that would need to be done this week and setting the expectation with my clients and prospect that I would be gone and unavailable. And then in my in-box were two problems.

The first was a subcontractor; I had been warned that he was high maintenance but also very good. I didn’t think it was possible to be hysterical in an email, but I was wrong. His message finished with the demand that I call him immediately, so I did. Talking to him I began to have feeling that I had when dealing with my mother and then it struck me, he’s bi-polar. We finished our conversation and after I hung up I said quietly FUCK. Dad looked up and didn’t say anything.

I felt bad that he has mental health problems, I can identify with that, but it also wasn’t my problem, nor would I allow it to be. I began scrolling through my contacts and placed a call to another fellow. I explained that someone else was unable to finish the work and would he be interested. After explaining the scope and timelines he agreed subject to reviewing the documentation for the project. I linked him to the info and about a half hour later he messaged me saying he’d take the job.

While waiting I turned to my second problem. I spent an hour Friday morning going over the minutiae of her project I couldn’t imagine what she wanted. It turned out she just wanted to yank my chain because she could. I made a note to remember to add a pain in the ass premium to her statement.

Then I called the manic subcontractor and fired him. After that I turned off the computer and mobile phone. Dad put down his book and said, “I guess my baby is all grown up.” Tears were forming at the corner of his eye and that got me going. About that time Julliette came out and seeing the scene beat a retreat. We talked for a while; Dad and I have our issues and we have been working on them. When they came to South Africa I feared that our progress would stall, but that hasn’t been the case.

On Sunday, Julliette and I went to Addo Elephant National Park for a few days. It was wonderful among other things we saw lions, elephants, rhinos and buffalo and very briefly a leopard. Trips to the park have been Julliette’s passion since coming to South Africa, this being her seventh trip in 10 months. I now share her enthusiasm. We were part of a group traveling by Land Rover through the park, each night we camped, if you want to call it that at a canvas hotel.

One of the guides to an interest in ensuring I had a good time (not that type of good time, get your minds out of the gutter). Julliette noticed and commented and we both laughed. On the second day the leopard was seen against a background of bushes. We were at a distance and I was having difficulty finding the cat even with binoculars. Tony came up behind me and directed my view. I shivered a bit at his closeness. This surprised me it usually takes many meetings before I begin to find a man sexually attractive.

Leah and David were at the house when we returned Wednesday evening. Leah was sporting a diamond; David popped the question just before they left. No date yet, but expect the spring of 2007.

Yesterday we celebrated the holiday and I return to Paris on Saturday with Leah and David taking a park tour next week.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep, the wonders of the modern age, always being available even to those whom you'd just rather not deal with.

But 'hand holding' and coddling clients has become a specialty of late. Often it's the pressed underlings and management staff that want you to bail them out of the impossible situations they've gotten themselves into. Or the dude who calls with the critical stats or accounting just hours before the project was due. You might protest: 'Hey guy, this should have been here last week right? You're expecting magic perhaps?' Yes, with all too many of them they expect this all day every day. Grown ups indeed! Cheers & Good Luck, 'VJ'

9:48 AM  

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