I met up with Admir before going to Vegas last week, gave him some money to get started on the lighting, and went along my merry way. Knowing that I returned last night, he conscientiously called this morning to let me know the status. The status is bad.
No one wants to sell him the fiber optic lights to make the galaxy on my ceiling, reason being the vendors can’t give me a warranty on them if I’m not putting them in a stable structure like a home theater. Much like the LEDs, they could go out if I hit a bump in the road or thump my bass too much. Plus, Admir measured the cargo space in my car to be about 4.5 by 9 feet. These guys usually sell this stuff in bundles of strands that cover 20 square feet, since it’s meant to go in rooms, not cars.
Another issue is the heat. There was talk of getting an inverter and a separate cooling fan just for this unit. Admir doesn’t think we’re going to need as much power as these guys do, who again are using to working with larger quantities of this stuff. I said I wasn’t against adding stuff if that’s what we need to do, but he thinks it’s going to make the startup procedure long and annoying, and it will be an even bigger bitch to fix if something breaks.
However, Admir may have a potential seller in Simi Valley, about an hour northwest of here. We’re going to do a conference call tomorrow, but I’d like to meet with him face-to-face. Scratch that. It is imperative that I meet with him face-to-face. Art didn’t want to deal with me at all until he saw me and the hearse in the flesh and metal. This is an even bigger challenge. I need people to talk candidly with me about this stuff and being on the phone adds a layer of uncertainty. Even as Admir talked to me this morning, he seemed a little unsure of why I was asking for so much clarification. I had to explain that I wasn’t doubting his expertise, but that I was writing everything down so I understand exactly what we are doing and why.
Barbie was a doctor, a nurse, a pilot, a flight attendant, a model, a photographer, a Nascar driver, and a backseat whore. And now in addition to being some kind of scientist (what, are you saying computer programming isn’t fun and sexy?), she’s also a hardcore CYA tech writer.
This afternoon I went to see how Francisco and his people are doing. When I arrived, one of his guys was ripping out the rug up front. The back is nearly bare, but they still need to cut out the frame that the casket deck was resting on. This was my first real sight of the giant metal hump in the middle of the back that encases the rear axle. I was forewarned it would be huge and no one was lying. It’s fine. I’ll put a table with some cupholders in the middle or something.
My one-track (yet somehow aimless) thoughts of the hearse coupled with my talking to Admir this morning had me thinking about some other big issues: rear A/C, rear doors that open, and rear windows that roll down. In all the excitement of buying and taking apart the car, I neglected to consider that I now have more than one rear to think about.
The A/C issue is manageable, Admir assured me. Francisco later confirmed that we could reroute the ventilation by putting a fork in the air duct so one tube goes to the front and the other to the back. This method would save me from having to get a separate compressor for the back, but I would have to control everything from the front. I was a little worried about passengers not having air controls, but I figure anyone I’d be driving around should be comfortable enough to talk to me, so asking me to turn on the A/C shouldn’t be a big deal.
What worries me a little more are the lack of handles on the rear doors. That seems like a safety issue that could make someone mad enough to sue me if they wanted to be a dick. Same with the windows. It’s not even a lawsuit issue, but I’m not sure I’d be comfortable riding in a car where I didn’t at least believe I had the ability to escape. Having ridden with enough drivers who don’t know how to disable backdoor child locks, I am familiar with the annoyance of not being able to simply exit a car myself once it stops. Even though I want my passengers to ride like they’re in a limo, meaning I open the door for them, I still don’t want people feeling claustrophobic.
One thing that is clearer than it was before I left is where to put the subwoofers. Having torn out all of the back panels, it’s apparent that we have enough room to put two 8-by-10-inch subwoofers directly inside the body of the car, right next to the two rear doors. I won’t need to get special boxes for them; we’ll just insulate them with sound-deadening material. At some point, someone had mentioned the idea of putting them in little caskets. That would be cute, but a spacial nightmare, so I’m cool with this idea.
Another thing I had to discuss with Francisco is the plastic wood-paneling (yeah, I know) in the dash. Appearing alongside black and pink, that’s gonna look like shit. He said he’d have to special order some custom stickers to put over it, but I said go for it. Dashboards aren’t made of wood. Save the wood-looking stuff my dream hearse’s bastard cousin, the station wagon.
So now it’s on Francisco to get estimates for the new additions to the dash and front armrest controls, adding new armrests to the rear and wiring them, and rerouting the A/C ducts to the rear. Sheesh. Glad I gave myself some wiggle-room on finances. I’m just hoping these are the last of the big surprises.
I was probably counting on them more than I should have when discussing what I wanted done. Of course, very few people have done this, so it’s hard to think of everything. But since it’s my car, they’re working for me, and I need to communicate what I want, I’m literally and figuratively in the driver’s seat (har).
All this questioning, prioritizing, and pushing-back makes me feel like I’m becoming like some of the managers I’ve encountered in the corporate world. You know, those managers: the ones that come out of nowhere, having no idea what you do or how things work, and still take it upon themselves to control every single aspect of every task. They don’t give anyone else any credit or leeway to accomplish things on their own. So then everyone feels crusty and undervalued, but instead of resolving things or leaving, they usually slack because they know someone will be riding their ass at every opportunity anyway.
I DON’T want to be that guy!
It’s a different situation, I know. I’m a customer who’s paying them. Word on the street (or at least in this apartment) is that I’m being a little hard on myself. That may be, but I also need to take some responsibility here; I don’t want to be the reason something isn’t done correctly. I’m sure I’ll strike a balance by the time the project ends. Sooner would be nice.