I posted this story in a Facebook Group the other day, so forgive me if you've already heard this one. I will go into more detail here, though, so you might enjoy reading it again. This is the story of one of the fastest/most urgent turnarounds I've ever head, and I've had a few. This happened just the other day.
I had been on a bit of a break, not having any work from any of my regular clients for about a month. I had my own projects to keep me busy, of course, but nothing that was paying any immediate bills (even giving me a reason to get out of bed in the morning).
But this morning was different...I had plans! I had something to do! I woke up that morning morning with a special agenda. My wife was scheduled for periodontal surgery and I had been given the assignment of driving her in (45 minute drive), waiting for 3 hours, then bringing her home since she'd be loaded full of pain killers and anti-hallucinogens and horse tranquilizers (I feel compelled to clarify that in this procedure, she was the patient, not the doctor).
Here's the agenda in schedule form:
7:30 - wake up
8:00 - drive wife to doctor
9:00 - drop off wife at doctor
12:00 - pick her up and bring her home.
It is 7:30 and I look at my phone and see that at 7:15, I had received a text from a client reading "CALL ME ASAP." I began dialing his number, but he beat me to it and my phone rings.
Without giving away any details that might identify him, we'll just say that he is the founder and Artistic Director of a very well-known and respected ensemble...the finest of it's kind in the United States. They also have a youth organization which is very highly regarded. They have a rehearsal today and their conductor was in the air, on a plane headed to the rehearsal. One of the pieces they are rehearsing today was a custom arrangement, not commercially available. My client is up a creek because he has somehow lost the score to the piece. He's called the arranger, but the arranger is off the grid at a camp of some kind. He called someone else, who apparently was the only other person in the world with a copy of the score, but that person was also unavailable. So he calls me...he needs a full score created from the parts. Not a big deal, right? But he needs it by NOON. That adds some pressure from the time squeeze (that's four hours) but still not impossible. Unless....that's right....remember that pesky wife and her surgery? If I drive her in, turn around and come home, that only leaves me about 60 minutes to complete this project before having to drive back in and pick her up at noon. I can't tell her to just wait in the doctor's office until I'm done....she's my wife and I'm very lucky that she married me. She's gorgeous and smart and funny....WAY out of my league and I needed to make sure that I remain married once this thing was over.
I'm not going to tell the client that I can't do it, though...so I tell him "Sure....no worries!" instead, and decided to figure it out as I go.
It's now 8:00 and time to go and I still don't have any idea of how this is going to play out. I'm running through my list of contacts in my head, trying to think of anyone who lives within 15 minutes of the doctors office who also has Finale 2014.5 and is home and would let me commandeer their work station for the next few hours.
As I turn on the ignition, I remember that my wife has Finale on her laptop (lucky coincidence), so I run back inside and grab it. While inside, I go to my work station and email the files I need to myself, so I can access them wherever I end up working. Oh, I forgot to mention...I also have my 11-year old son with me. So now I'm driving into Beaverton (45 minutes) with my drugged up wife bossing me around while high on all kinds of anti-anxiety and pain meds (it was hilarious). Thinking....thinking...I need to find a place with WiFi for me, and something fun for my son to do. I really wanted to take him to Sky High, which is a sweet trampoline place for kids. They have WiFi for me and he could run and jump for hours and hours and then pass out and everyone would be happy, but I found out that they wouldn't be open for several hours...not until it was too late.
I ended up settling on McDonald's. It wasn't my first choice, but it ended up serving our purposes. We bought breakfast and free refill drinks and parked at a booth. I gave my son headphones and my phone and he watched YouTube and Netflix for a few hours while I cranked out some serious work.
To throw another wrench in the process, I was working on my wife's laptop (which I am completely unfamiliar with....I NEVER use a laptop) and Speedy Entry without a MIDI keyboard. Using only keystokes and up/down arrows, I was able to create a full score (15 staves) in 2.5 hours, delivered at 11:45 to my client, who printed it off and handed to the conductor while I picked my wife up from her surgery. We even had time to stop for ice cream on the way :-)
Not a bad way to spend the morning :-)