Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Back on the Island

It is probably only natural to have doubts when making a change of the magnitude involved, both financially and emotionally, in opening Paragraphs, and so it is a relief to realize how comfortable I feel upon my return to the Island.

Thank you again JW for the updated photo showing construction to date on the building. Believe me, it is probably a good thing I was prepared or the shock which I felt when driving up Padre Blvd. Monday afternoon and seeing my building may have been too much to bear.

I am reminded of the experience one feels when riding a roller coaster. My father would reassure me as we slowly made the climb up that first incline, "see there is nothing to be frightened of, we are just moving along up this hill at a nice reasonable speed, just enjoy the view", and then when I began to believe that everything was going to continue at the same leisurely pace, and that the frightening ride I had expected was just in my imagination, suddenly the top of the hill was reached and we began hurtling down the other side at an ever increasing speed.

The feeling in the pit of my stomach as I approached the future home of Paragraphs and it's proprietor, was the same as I had when cresting that first hill and feeling the ground seem to drop from beneath me, knowing there was no way to slow down, stop or escape.

I am here for a day or two, to make some decisions about stucco color, floor stain, interior colors, ceramic tile and a hundred other details. John returned my canvas color swatch and I think we have ended up with an attractive combination which while somewhat different than the predominant tan, yellow, beige and brown, is still tasteful, with a splash of color.

As we did a quick walk-through and John seemed to be able to have all my comments, questions, changes and concerns neatly filed away in his incredible memory bank - I felt like I was totally spinning out of control. After agreeing to meet again Tuesday, to make some more decisions (which I postponed until Wednesday) it was time for a cold beer.

I made this trip alone, and I contemplated going back to my friendly LaQuinta friends and joining the happy hour crowd, or stopping someplace for some shrimp and liquid refreshment. Now I don't think that was even much of a contest, even as much as the staff at La Quinta always make me feel at home, I knew I had to go to Daddy's (I didn't know if Al's had reopened and I was too hot and tired to go that far south). I am pretty shy, sometimes to the point of becoming a recluse, so it was reassuring to be recognized and I felt completely comfortable sitting at the bar while I enjoyed some pleasant conversation with Cameron and a few other patrons, slaked my thirst with a couple brews, savored a half pound of cold boiled shrimp and realized that life couldn't get much better. That is when I knew I had made the right decision to move, work, open a business and live here.

Follow that up with a walk on the beach this morning and I think I have survived the first leg of my roller coaster ride to becoming a bookseller and Islander.


Rob Nixon said...

Don't worry about the color combo on Paragraphs. I am sure that the SPI Forum will let you know what they think. Even if it is the most zen combination ever devised, someone is bound to bring it up!

Sam said...

Aw come on, Rob, I'm sure it's all very tasteful and so far I haven't heard about Joni putting up huge murals (which I love) and funky Pacific islands colors (which in small doses is great). I think we're safe from the paint police for a while.

I'm sure you were tongue-in-cheek about that, since while there are many nice people on SPI Forums, some just are clueless, vociferous, and dogmatic to a fault. Joni knows, don't ya!

Oh well, if it's like the other construction jobs I used to do, get the roof on and then the drywall up and things will go very quickly. Can't wait to cruise the book racks ...

Joni said...

Sam and Rob,

I have been scanning the forum, because I figured if folks were unhappy with my peaked rooks that may be the place to hear about it. I imagine the color thing will be the same way.

The truth is, I think people have too many other things to worry about and the shape or color of Paragraphs probably isn't on the top of the list. I just get a little paranoid.

I do want to have some kind of mural on the south side, since that is such a huge and ugly expanse of wall, required to meet the fire code, but that will have to come later.

Things will move fast now and I'm alternating between excitement and having a panic attack.

I am back in Denver, just spent a couple days down there to get some details worked out. Even if not formally open for business, once I have moved in there will be plenty of used books to dig through, empty boxes to sit on and possibly a cold beer or two for refreshment.

A more realistic date for the actual start of business will probably be middle to late October. A month late for Padre time isn't really that bad, in my opinion.

Lucinda said...

Hey Joni, the building is looking great! I dine solo a lot as well so if you ever think you might like some dinner company give me a holler... -sf