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[posted on Xanga]No More Contacts!!!

A couple of years ago I started my own web design business. I figured it was a low-investment way to earn a little extra cashola to fund my singing habit. My business' philosophy, if you will, is, "Quality web design at affordable prices."

Most people can't afford the ludicrous prices some designers charge for their services. Their only option, if they desire a website, often is to design it themselves. This can lead to unpredictable results.

I meet with my clients on a case-by-case basis to assess what they want from a website, what they are able and/or willing to pay, and whether I can realistically deliver what they want at a suitable cost. It ends up being a win-win situation for both me and my clients, who are individuals and small businesses; I always earn something, and, even if I don't earn much from a particular client, I gain experience and exposure, and my clients always get a quality product.

I encourage you to check out my business' website, http://www.sp-webdesign.com.

Ever since I first heard about laser eye surgery eons ago, I have wanted it. The price, however, has always been prohibitive. Glasses are a nuisance, though, that limit how active I can be, and contact lenses are an irritant. I swore several years ago that when I could afford it, I would get laser surgery on my eyes.

During weekdays, I work at a school of medicine with a bunch of doctors. The wife of one of the doctors happens to be the director of New England Eye Center (NEEC) and one of the leading refractive eye surgeons in the world. One day last year, I made an offhand remark to him about convincing his wife to give me a significant discount on the surgery or exchange web services for the surgery.

I never really thought it would lead anywhere. At first I heard from the doctor that his wife said she was interested, but things dragged for weeks and months without meeting her or anyone else at NEEC.

I finally did meet with Dr. Wu and some of the office staff last fall to discuss some ideas. Nothing further happened until two months ago, when I spoke with someone over the phone and signed a faxed contract.

But the idea of trading my web design services for eye surgery still seemed far fetched to me, even after signing that contract. My administrative contact at NEEC left for a job closer to her home, and I was wondering if the initiative would fizzle out.

Au contraire. Things have really picked up now. This morning I met with the "web team," the three people on NEEC's end coordinating this website project, for the second time in three weeks. All the time that things were crawling along, they were hard at work planning a comprehensive campaign that would combine television, radio, and print ads and the announcement of their new website. As a result, they've formulated a clear and cohesive vision of what they want from their website and what they need from me and from themselves.

I spent the past weekend putting together the basic look and structure of their website. At today's meeting we reviewed my work and discussed how to proceed. I was nervous that they would hate my work, but they loved my design! I need to make a few minor modifications and start plugging in text, and we should be ready to fly by the end of the month.

Suddenly, getting eye surgery doesn't just look like it's becoming a reality; it is imminent. I have a consult appointment scheduled for tomorrow morning. And I heard the magic phrase just before I left...

"Don't wear your contacts again."

Contact lenses affect the cornea's shape and oxygen supply. One is required to stop wearing contact lenses a minimum of two weeks before the LASIK procedure. Which means I'm getting new eyes soon!

No more contacts!!!

(If you are interested in following the evolution of the NEEC's new website, you can do so at http://www.sp-webdesign.com/myLasikDoc/. It is still very much a work in progress, but it does give you a sense for what the final product will look like.)

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