-- --

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Glamourous Life

Getting back to work today was tough.

Thinking about work during my last day off was tougher. Once I got in and chatted with some people, it wasn't so bad. I fell right back into things. Unfortunately, there are bucketloads of work to do. I have to travel next week for a some meetings in Aspen, and there's a lot to prepare.

I wanted to post another work story. Sure, I said my job wasn't so glamorous yesterday, but it has its moments.

I posted a month ago about the billionaire client in Montreal, M. M made his fortune from his widget factories and has been a longtime client at my office. We renovated his homes in the city and country, and have built a couple houses from the ground up.

A couple years ago I went on a site visit to Montreal with my boss and a couple of coworkers. Jim, Claire and I worked late the night before, preparing materials and drawings for one of M's country homes located an hour north of Montreal.

The home was relatively small, and shared a large property with some of M's other homes. There was an Entry Hall, Living Room, Dining Room, Sun Room, Recreation Room, Master Bedroom suite and three Guest Bedrooms. There was a carport that kept the entrance covered during the winter, a large outdoor terrace and several smaller terraces along a landscaped hillside. A man-made pond, located at the rear, was framed by tall pines.

The flight from New York to Montreal is only an hour long. There is just enough time to board, settle in, have a beverage and land. You can make the round trip in one day, but it's tiring.

We usually fly up for our meeting, stay the night and return the next day. We take the earliest flight from La Guardia, which leaves at 6 am. This means getting out my door at 4:30 in the morning. There have been nights when we've worked until ten or even later the night before, printing drawings and making sure we had everything prepared. So yeah, it's tiring.

On this particular trip, my boss directed us to a cab instead of our usual short walk to the rental car agency. We were driven to a private airport nearby, where M met us in the lobby. This was new. We were going to the country house via helicopter, and M was piloting.

M loves to fly. He also owns a jet, a Cessna something-or-other, as well as a Carrera GT and an antique Aston Martin. Mark whistled when he saw the photos I'd taken of the cars (I'd be risking awesomely bad karma if posted photos of M's cars or houses. I feel a bit nervous just writing about them).

The helicopter sat two in front, in bucket seats. The three of us worker-bees were strapped in back. Each of us wore a headset with a mike, so we could communicate. My coworkers and I kept looking at each other in disbelief, like 'are we really going up in this thing?' and 'holy crap.'

I should have taken more note of the helicopter, but I don't remember what type it was. It was big. It was shiny new on the outside and had a conservatively taupe interior. And before I was fully mentally prepared, we were off, bound for the country.

Normally, a drive from the airport to the country house takes over an hour. The helicopter must have cut the ride down to less than half the time. We made a detour to one of M's factories, circling above, while M talked about the production process. I was too busy taking in the experience to listen.

Riding in a helicopter isn't as unnerving as I'd thought. But...there is a very subtle turbulence, as if you were in a big tin can, dangling from a string. It's cool experience for people who like roller coasters, but not so cool to me, barely functioning on little sleep and an empty stomach. I get seasick from just viewing video games (Motor Storm is not so bad, but Mark's newest love, Call of Duty just about makes me gag).

Well, you can see where I'm headed. I was fine and then suddenly I wasn't so fine. I kept telling myself 'there is no *#%! way I'm going to puke in this helicopter. There is no *#%! way...'

Jim noticed me first. 'Hey, you look kind of green. Are you all right?'

I must have been greenish-gray by then. I was grabbing my left wrist with my right hand, where there are supposedly pressure points for nausea. I was taking deep breaths. I was looking toward the wobbly horizon. Anything.

'Uh...I'm not feeling too well...' I must have sounded like I was twelve years old.

Thankfully, we were a couple minutes from the house. M's voice was calm on the mike, 'I'm landing the copter, now. Hold on.'

And all I could do was tell myself that we were almost there.

Top photo by myself in the West Village.
Lower photo from the helicopter above Canada.


Reluctant Blogger said...

haha very very funny. The pressure points never seem to work. I've dug holes in my wrists trying to stop myself being sick before now!

I'd love to go up in a helicopter. My life is so dull in comparison to yours!

Kizz said...

Oh god I hate to vomit and vomiting in public is 10 times worse. I would have been in full on panic. Did you have to helicopter back too?

I do not think I would hate a helicopter ride, though. I've been kind of craving one.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

I feel slightly travel sick at the very thought of going in a helicopter!! You're a braver woman than me Kitty :-)

Tammy said...

That is so cool! Not almost puking, but being driven to his house in a helicopter. That guy must have some serious cash.

Kitty said...

yah, he is loaded. LOADED....

I'm glad I didn't throw up. If I had, I don't think I'd tell the story.

I'd go to one of those hypnotist guys and have it erased from my brain.

Ruvym said...

I just realized I've never been in a helicopter. Thanks for making me feel underprivileged.

Suzanne said...

I had my one and only helicopter ride at a fair when I was about 6 years old. It was great because you can go so much lower than planes. The pilot flew me over my house, even though it was a tad farther than he was supposed to go.

What I didn't expect, though, was the rolling forward and feeling that my face was going to be smushed into the windshield at any moment during take-off. Landing, as I recall, was no big deal.

BrianC said...

How funny. This photo is about 20 ft. from my apt. bldg.

Kitty said...

Brian, you've officially made it to my envy list.

That's a cool neighborhood!!

Andrea said...

I am like you, I get so travelsick and I also don't like rollercoasters. My boyfriends thinks I'm a bit weird like that.
Once I was taken up in a two seater aeroplane to circle around the south coast of the Great British Isle and I was actually sick in the cockpit, all over myself. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride by the way. Apart from the bit where we stopped for lunch in a small sleepy little English village and my jeans were covered in puke. EEeekkkk... :-S