Saturday evening, 3/5/16. I sit at the counter looking through the heavenly tinted windows across the parking lot at the cars traveling eastbound in Commercial Boulevard. I feel the slightly stuffy air as it is cooled quickly by the air conditioning unit. I notice the repairs of the walls, the four cabinets yet to be removed, furniture neatly arranged in front of the window, and how clean the floor is compared to earlier visits. For the first time in a very long time I just sit and experience my surroundings. No evaluation, no forethought or hindsight. Sensory deprivation or as close as one can or possibly achieve through concentration or possibly lack thereof. I am not sure which. Just being in the moment. A challenge for me, who’s mind is usually going 90 miles an hour and 30 feet a jump. My moment of zen comes to an end abruptly. A bearded old man is sharply rapping on the glass door with a coin. I return to reality and proceed towards the door.

A bit over 5 hours earlier, I signed a lease for this space. After several attempts at finding a location, I came across this one. Issues of zoning, location, and cooperation lead me here. A trips to my lawyer brought me to this point. This is a result of some of the most deliberate actions of my career. Of course I didn’t move as quickly as my landlord would have liked or drank the Kool-Aid flavored with the great deal I was getting and his certainty of my impending success resulting from my choice of this location served with each conversation and meeting since early February. As we prepared for the contract signing, my landlord, his partner, and some guy they brought along as a witness, commented on my shrewd business sense and how they would without a doubt become their new vet; surely with the expectation of a discount, I cynically thought. After a month of being primed with compliments and praise, I never lost sight this was a business transaction. Nothing more and nothing less. I am all for developing healthy relationships, but things have to be kept in perspective. No matter how chummy we would become over the coming years of this professional relationship, I have no doubt they will expect and require me to live up to every word and tenant of my lease agreement, just as I expect of them. As they laid out the contract on the counter for my initials and signatures like an assembly line, I had one more caveat for them.

While they were preparing for the signing, I took one more look around the space. In the process I noted a corner of the rear door was water damaged. I kicked the corner and the wood splintered. I pointed my discovery out to my new “friends.” They promised to fix the door but I stated I wanted the door replaced. Negotiations insured and the landlords agreed to replace the door. I agreed but demanded it be written in to the contract with a specification of it being done in the next 7 days. They reluctantly agreed, the contract was signed and I wrote a check. They invited me to lunch in celebration, but I graciously declined. I had my own celebration planned: I was going to get a hair-cut.

I answered the door as the old man rapped on the glass faster and more forcefully as I approached. I opened it and he asked with his beer tinged breath (Well it was 6:15 on a Saturday evening.), “Are you the new vet moving in? When will you be open?”

Good news travels fast.