So, I just returned from a 5-day ski vacation in Vail, Colorado. Ann and I had a wonderful time visiting our son Jonathan and frolicking on slopes that were literally being blanketed with a fresh foot of powder as we traversed the trails and braved the bowls. Jonathan is an excellent skier who has a propensity to push his parents beyond their comfort zone and ability. He also has a knack for taking us down runs that would be best avoided.
“Come on, you can do it!” he coaxes. He doesn’t fully appreciate our sensibilities about the difference between can do, should do, and want to do. Fortunately, the freshly fallen snow provided a soft cushiony “resting place” for my off-balanced body when it zigged instead of zagged. (Note: falling is not so much the problem as is trying to get up in calf-deep snow). And that was just our first day on the slopes together!
After threatening to cut him out of our will, Jonathan took it down a notch or two and became a consummate tour guide. A gleeful time was had by all.
What distinguishes this vacation from others in the past is that while we certainly planned it (actually, Ann did all the planning), this was a kind of “forced” vacation. That’s because my office renovation had begun and I had to close the office for nearly two weeks. The necessary demolition, in addition to the requisite framing, plumbing, and electrical work had rendered my home away from home uninhabitable.
The original plan was while construction was carried out in the back, my office manager Sandra would man the front desk and with my dental assistant Carmen’s help, they would be able to get a jump on administrative tasks. Ha! The areas not being worked on were hermetically sealed in plastic wrap, as the plaster dust was pervasive. A small army of contractors bustled about nearly every square foot of available space.
And while I have renovated my office in the past (18 years ago), the nature and scope of this project required me to completely shut down for the first time ever. Initially, it was a very unsettling proposition. It almost felt like abandonment. (At least in my mind: no one to answer the phone, no ability to see an emergency patient, let alone schedule appointments and just plain be available to a patient in need). Of course, that is old school thinking because technology allowed us to be just a phone call away and remote access to our computers allowed for some continuity in managing the flow of information and communication. And as always when I’m away, I have a network of highly capable colleagues who are able, willing and ready to see my patients in the cases of immediate need.
So, with the peace of mind that all bases were covered, I was able to steal away to the Rocky Mountains for some R & R as my office faced partial deconstruction.
And speaking of peace of mind, my office designer Mary Evans was on the job watching out for my interests. Mary directed the remodeling of my office the first time around and despite the nearly two decades that have passed, we immediately rekindled our mutual admiration, professional respect, and all the warm and fuzzy things that a friendship makes. And so with a trusted friend like Mary, I did get away – in both mind and spirit.
There isn’t anything quite like a Rocky Mountain High. I’m not talking about the legal availability of marijuana in Colorado. I’m speaking more in the spirit of the John Denver-like transcendental, awe-inspiring experience of being atop of one of thousands of snow-capped mountains and beholding the majesty of all that surrounds you and the endless view of snow covered mountains, ranges, and valleys canopied by azure blue skies.
With skis a foot, Ann and Jonathan by my side (our daughter Ashley had to work), breath-taking vistas and FRESH POWDER, I was having a “it just doesn’t get any better than this,” moment. And then in that very instant, the moment got suddenly better.
I was a million miles away slip-sliding away on the slopes. Riding the lift back up with my family, I turned to Ann and remarked, “I just thought – here we are frolicking in Shangri-La while 3,000 miles away my office is undergoing a major transformation (a Rocky Mt High way of saying “remodeled”).”
“I mean how cool is that? It doesn’t get better than this.”
She looked at me through her goggles and said with a smile, “No, it doesn’t.”
A pretty euphoric moment.
I want to mention that while much of the foundational work has been accomplished and the office is up and running, the office renovation will not be completed until late spring. I am very excited to see it all unfold and am especially looking forward to welcoming you all to your new and improved “dental home” which will combine some of the newest dental technology with the comforts of gracious design and as always, the warmth and compassion that helps distinguish the care we provide.
I’ll keep you posted!