Monday, March 7, 2011

Murphys Law...

Recently I had to delivery a sofa to a client's apartment. With so many things that I am usually concerned about on a job, the size of the elevator for a standard sofa delivery is not generally one of them. Well, murphy's law reared its ugly head once again.

I got the call that the sofa was downstairs and on its way up.
"Great!" I thought.
So I wait.
I wait some more.

For some reason it was taking a bit too long for the guys to be bringing up the sofa. I go to check the status and see them in the hall by the service elevator.

Now, the problem wasn't the actual elevator. It was the fact that the elevator was in its own room and couldn't fit out of the doorway from that area. What brilliant architect or designer did not realize that items coming up in the service elevator were larger than normal and would need to also fit outside of this doorway!!

So I stay calm as I have learned to do. Think. This is a standard 86" long sofa with a standard depth of 36". I cannot be the only person in the 23 story building to have brought in a standard size sofa. I am sure other people have sofas. How can this possibly not fit?

I stand in the hallway while the two guys speak Russian to each other and try to shimmy my sofa through the doorway. They lean it on its side, they stand it straight up and down, they do everything we can think of yet still the sofa does not fit. We even look into using the regular elevators which are not in a little room, but the ceiling is much too low for the sofa to fit in them.

So I find the super of the building. At first he is no help whatsoever. I practically have to beg him just to come up and take a look in case he knows something we do not. I finally coax him to come up. He tells us that for some reason (vents, structure, stupidity...) this doorway was built lower than every other floor in the building. Wonderful! (sarcasm if you missed that.)

So we get creative. The guys go back into the elevator and go down a floor. Since the door to the stairwell was also in that elevator room, we manage to fit the sofa through there since there was more room to maneuver and fit it through. This way we can walk the sofa up to our floor and bring it out of the stairwell doorway which is higher than the elevator room doorway. Up the stairs we go... slowly, carefully...

Finally, we get to the top and need to turn in order to get out of the door on to our floor. With the tight turning radius in that vestibule, it seems like all may be lost. The guys try again to shimmy, shake, rattle and roll this sofa to get it out of this stairwell. They give up. I am not giving up!! There must be a way. I refuse to believe with every bit of my soul that this sofa will not get to it's final destination. Thoughts of a furniture cutting company having to come and chop up this sofa to fit it through the door are running through my head. What a mess that would be!

Finally, when the guys see I am not letting them off the hook, one of them tries one last thing. He is able, just by a hair, to stand the sofa up on its side so that it is almost at the ceiling. This way, they are able to push the sofa through the small vestibule area and get it lined up to angle out of the door. I breath again. So relived. The sofa fits into the apartment with no problem.
One of the most stressful events turned out one of the most important lesson. Yes, there are times to give up and move on, but when you know that it is not one of those times, press on calmly and thoughtfully and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

The Beginning...

Pivotal moments are so.... well, pivotal. I was remembering back to some of mine in the beginning of my career. My father, for those who don't know, is also an interior designer. He had called me up one day while I was still working at another company and told me,
"I got a message today from some company that saw my website and was asking if I would be interested in doing some show... It was HDV or HDGT..."
"Dad, Do you mean HGTV?!" I asked him.
"Yes, I think that was it... let me check the message again."
(silent eye roll on my end.)

Turns out it was HGTV calling about an opportunity to work on their Designer's Challenge show. They had a family in Wantagh, NY and wanted to know if we were interested in competing for the project against 2 other designers. My father told me that he would only take it on if I agreed to do it with him.

Pivotal moment number one.
Here I was, about 25 years old and all I ever thought about was having my own interior design business someday. No boss, my own interpretations of projects and relationships with my own clients. Yet here I was, completely frozen. Scared. I was afraid of failing. The overconfidence of youth drained out of me when a real challenged arose. Then, the excuses washed over me as to why I couldn't participate.
"I had to work, I lived in the city which was too far of a commute, No time (insert generic excuse here)..." Ya dah, Ya dah.

After I got that out of the way, something small inside, very deep down was whispering, "jump!"
So I did.

We ended up winning the competition against the other designers and completing the project successfully. So now what? I proved to myself that there was nothing to be afraid of. That I could complete a project on my own. I also saw how well my father and I worked together and we began talking about joining forces at some point. So why was I still working for this other company?

I was filled with a new set of excuses as to why I couldn't go out on my own. "I won't have health insurance, How will I get any projects and be able to bring in money?, The HGTV show was a fluke and I really have zero talent to pull this off, If I work with my father I will have to commute out to Queens from Manhattan..." Again, a sea of excuses washing over me.

So I made a list (as I like to do) and I wrote down all of the things I was afraid of that I felt I would need to address before I could leave my job.
- Have some savings
- Get health insurance
- Complete my current project at my existing job
- Make space for me at my fathers office so I could work.
and probably a few others I've forgotten by now.

Then one day a friend of mine met me for lunch and I was telling her about the status of my check list when it hit me... it was complete. I had taken care of everything on my list and I didn't even realize it! Talk about denial!

Pivotal moment number two.
At that moment I decided that I would give my notice within 2 weeks. And I did. Conceptual Interiors Inc. was born that year in 2004. What was I so scared of anyway?