As I begin my third week of work in my new "smallon" (that's my new word for a really small salon — think it'll catch on?), I am discovering the perils and pitfalls of opening a very new business in a very old building.
And by "very old" I mean not quite 100 years, since I live in California and let's face it, nothing in California is all that old. We have a tendency to tear down anything that looks too historic and replace it with "modern" so even if you do happen to come across a building out here that's over a hundred years old, chances are it's been remodeled with some sort of new-fangled drop ceiling or what-have-you. So my new location is on the fourth floor of "the old bank building" (still a bank building) which was built in 1923. Which is really old around here.
Over the years, the building has been upgraded here and there to accommodate the growing technological needs and expectations of businesses that have come and gone. So we have air conditioning and two elevators (mind you, here in Visalia, buildings with multiple floors are also quite the novelty!). We have one big glass entry door on the ground floor that has a fancy time lock on it — it opens at 6 a.m. and locks at 7 p.m. Outside those hours, you need a key or a code to get in. Those of us in the building who see clients really would prefer a call-up buzzer system, but it's an old building and apparently that's a really expensive upgrade that requires a ton of special wiring.
The heat and AC system is pretty straight forward: The entire building either has heat, or it has air conditioning. The system gets switched over for the entire building as the seasons change. The building is set at 74 degrees and each suite has 5 degrees plus or minus control.
So as of this morning I had no heat in my suite, despite the neighbors reporting they were feeling quite cozy themselves. One of the elevators — the newer one — was parked on the third floor and not responding. That left only the "haunted" elevator available. I don't know that it's actually haunted, but it's the building's original elevator shaft — the car has long since been updated — and it is quite reminiscent of the Tower of Terror at Disney's California Adventure. First of all, I'm convinced it's haunted. It's a rough, no-nonsense ride, and regardless of which button you press, it often dumps you off on the top floor. The downstairs entry door's latch is sticking so that people attempting to open it from the outside are convinced that it's locked. Even the tenants, who know you have to turn the handle and yank, are pulling out their keys thinking the lock may be malfunctioning.
Great. I have to get used to allowing an additional few minutes for appointments so I can ride the haunted elevator down and let my clients in the building!
Oh! And I have spent the last few weeks lovingly constructing custom polish racks, which are finally finished, painted, and ready to be hung on the walls. Guess what? My walls are made of plaster. We will need a special drill bit to drill holes and insert anchors before I can hang the racks — or anything else — up. And the BF insists on "taking our time" and "doing things right" blah blah blah ... so I have to find out how thick the walls are before the BF will borrow the right type of drill and install my racks.
I WANT IT NOW!
Oh yeah, and since the heat hasn't been working (for me), I brought in a space heater. Guess what? I'm afraid to run it. Since I have a water heater that draws 14 amps and it appears all the outlets in the building are on 20 amp breakers, the BF cautions me that I should find out if all my outlets are on the same breaker before I blow one out running the 1500-watt heater at the same time the 1600-watt water heater clicks on.
I have been in quite the funk today what with all the things that are going "wrong." And I want to whine about it all, but then it dawns on me how many of you are on the East Coast — or even in Europe — where you are accustomed to buildings that are much older and probably deal with many quirkier quirks on a daily basis.
At least I have a killer view!