Wednesday, December 21, 2005

More grist for the career change mill

So Alex is here and we're having a good time. I told my clients that I would accept small jobs, but nothing major for the next three weeks. And there isn't usually that much around the holidays anyway.

On Monday night they sent me a document. I translated it and sent it back yesterday morning. We were out and about for much of the late morning and early afternoon.

On the way home, we went looking for a Christmas tree. First we went to the place where we got last year's tree. There were still a few decent ones there, but we decided to check out other options before buying one.

The restaurant across the street from my house has quite a bit of land around it. There are outdoor tables and some very scary playground equipment. And they have a little grove of Christmas trees.

So we went to look there. The trees have been shaped as they grow, and are a little odd in that they are very triangular. Not ice-cream cone triangular or, indeed, Christmas-tree triangular, but startlingly close to equilateral-triangle triangular.

Sometimes I care deeply about the Christmas tree selection and sometimes I don't. This year I didn't. I said to Alex, in all honesty, that whatever he and the girls liked was fine with me. (Part of it is that the trees here are not the kind we grew up with. They don't have needles. They're cyprus or some other kind of evergreen that isn't a real Christmas tree, to me anyway. So why care?) (Another part of it is that the girls had been truly insufferable for most of the day and I didn't care much about anything by then.)

That was when my client called me up to ask when I was sending the translation. The question surprised me, since I told him at 9:30 I'd have it to him within an hour, and he should know by now that I am never late. But it's not the first time that's happened. So I came back across the street to start up the computer and re-send the document.

Once I had done so, I tried to call and confirm, but the client's phone system was apparently having the same spasm as their E-mail system, and after three tries the secretary still wasn't having any luck transferring my call, so I suggested she just tell Luis Diego to call me. She thought that was a great idea.

I sat there waiting (and playing spider solitaire) but received no call. Finally I called back again and was informed that Luis Diego appeared to have "stepped out" for a moment. I gave her the name of someone else who could help me, but her line was busy. Finally, the secretary IM-ed (IMed? IM'ed?) her and was able to confirm that the document had been received.

Good. I headed back across the street to where I had left Alex chatting with the bartender and showing him photos of the Great White North (well, you know, a little ice in North Carolina. Cut them a break, they're from the tropics.)

The bar was empty, so I headed back into the grove, where Alex and the bartender had just finished cutting down The Monster That Ate My Living Room.

Based on the blueprints for my house, I calculated that the thing is a little over 8 feet high. But it's not the height. Not really. It's also over 8 feet WIDE. You can't sit next to the thing because it's too close. Your eyes won't focus.


lisa December 21, 2005 10:03 PM  

Um. wow.

I can't wait to see it decorated. But will the ornaments be spaced so far apart you won't be able to tell?

Dad December 22, 2005 9:34 AM  

Or, can you ever HANG any ornaments on it? From the photo it looks too dense for such. Maybe you can sort of lay them on it.

It reminds me of a time when I was a little boy and my mother (foolishly) let my dad and me go out to buy a Christmas tree.

I remember finding the most fantastic tree: It had a fairly normal "center tree," but then, from the bottom of each side, a VERY large branch came out and up. Sort of like three trees in one. It was several feet wide.

My dad either liked it, too, or bluffed well, or wanted badly to please his little boy. (Knowing him, it was probably the latter.)

When we hauled it upstairs to our (small) living room, my mother's face fell on the floor. But I think I was probably more excited about that tree than any other we had when I was little. At least it's the only one I remember!

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