Saturday, December 31, 2005

It's 3:22 in the morning, and I'm awake- annoyingly awake.
What better time to find silly things to do, such as send an e-mail to my future-40-year-old self?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

I've got your holiday spirit right here

This is a little something for all the poor saps out there (like myself) who don't have enough vacation time to take off the entire week between Christmas and New Year's Day.

It's the crap-crappiest time of the year
With me “what the hell”-ing
When everyone’s telling me
“Be of good cheer”
It's the crap-crappiest time of the year

It's the crap-crappiest season of all
While my project’s a beating
At least there’s no meetings
Or consultants who call
It's the crap-crappiest season of all

Oh, there'll be details for cursing
And headaches for nursing
And waving my fist in the air
I’d rather go for a nap
Than keep drawing this crap
All while trying to make myself care

It's the crap-crappiest time of the year
My whole team’s on vacation
I have no motivation
But I am still heeeeeere
It's the crap-crappiest time of the year

Oh, there'll be details for cursing
And headaches for nursing
And waving my fist in the air
I’d rather go for a nap
Than keep drawing this crap
All while trying to make myself care

It's the crap-crappiest time of the year
I’ve go so much to do, yet
I want to say, “screw it,”
When deadlines are near
It's the crap-crappiest time
It's the crap-CRAPpiest time
It's the crap-CRAPpiest tiiiiiiime...of the yeeeeeeeeear!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Oh, for crap’s sake. I need to stop this whole “dream interpretation” thing- I am falling under the influence of chicanery and silliness. There are no answers to the "meaning of life" in my subconscious.

But it's still entertaining.

Friday night, I had a dream where I actually woke myself up by screaming. That has never happened before. In the dream, I was in our house, cleaning up around the kitchen, when I heard the front door lock rattle. I thought it was ManThing, and went to go open the door for him. Instead, it was a female zombie, who came into the house, and started shambling towards me. That’s when the screaming started, and continued until I found myself awake (and a wee bit embarrassed).

I’m not too sure how these interpretations mesh with the terror factor of the dream, but, again, some of them are quite fitting with what’s going on in my waking life…

Is there some activity, which you used to find interesting and exciting, yet now are finding dull and boring?
Have you become almost overcome with boredom recently?
Do you feel under the weather and tired- walking around like a zombie?

Saturday, December 17, 2005

I have recurring dreams about losing a tooth, or losing several teeth. Wednesday night’s version began with me feeling as though I had a loose tooth. Then, I felt a small, foreign object in my mouth; a shard of a tooth that has a filling in it- in both the dream and reality. This was followed by more of my teeth crumbling, and me spitting the pieces and blood into a sink.

Out of curiosity (and a bit of boredom), I decided to look up what this might mean. I realize that trying to interpret “dream symbols” is hokey, yet it was a little unsettling when I came across the following explanation…
When you have [a tooth loss dream], ask yourself where, in your waking life, you are not expressing yourself, or where you are holding back from speaking out, or where you are not being heard or where someone is belittling you and treating you like a child, not respecting your views. One of these is likely to be the case.

How about “many of those are likely to be the case?” A little creepy, really, how close to home that hits…I have to keep reminding myself that dream interpretation is for entertainment value only.

Yesterday, I “allowed” myself to make some “frivolous” purchases at the art supply store, such as canvases and paint- but I have no idea what to make. It has been so long since I sat down and made art just because I wanted to, that I don’t know where to begin. My cat isn’t the most interesting subject.

I know that I have to just start something, and make myself keep going. Art is like music or sports; you have to practice, or you’ll lose the ability. I’ve been away for a long time.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I wonder if I should get a cape, too?

I had written a post last night, about how there was cake in the office and I didn’t tell any of the designers about it because I figured if they get to have fun at work, they don’t need cake.

Then the stupid power went out because it was sprinkling outside, so I lost my tidbit of literary genius.


So, instead, I present the following.

Beginning this month, TBAE has announced that it will issue every licensed architect a permanent plastic pocket card as proof of registration. I absolutely must find some opportunity to whip out that card while saying, “stand back, ma’am. I’m an ARCHITECT.”

Friday, December 09, 2005

If I had a kid, I’d get 6 weeks off work, no questions asked. What do I get if I have a mental breakdown? Nothing.

I am losing the battle again. Last night I couldn’t bear to look at the latest Architectural Rec0rd. They had a piece on “emerging architects.” These are people my age, who are doing what they love to do. It was too much. In order for me to move out of where I am now, I have to work even harder; I have to do something on the side in order to prove myself where my “real job” will not allow such proof to occur. The problem is I have nothing left when I get home.

A few months ago, I stupidly joined the office’s design forum group. I thought it would be a good way to move me closer towards my goal of becoming a designer, but instead all it has done is turn me into a glorified secretary. It has also driven the wedge further between what I do, and what the actual “designers” do. Everything is focused upon either current in-house designers, or about-to-graduate hot shots from architecture schools. There is nothing for us wannabes.

There needs to be such a thing as an architectural therapist. I need someone to talk to who knows what the industry is like, who isn’t connected to me through my job or by friendship, and who actually has any interest in hearing all of my crap- even if it’s only because I’m paying for them to listen. I’m tired of bringing my friends down, and I’m afraid of who it might get back to in the office if I bitch too often or too vehemently. A regular therapist is ineffective; it’s difficult to just spew forth all the emotions when I have to stop and explain all the terminology, protocol, and hierarchies that are inherent in the job. I just wish I had someone to talk to about it all, when the drugs aren’t working as well as they should. Engaging in self-destructive behaviors such as eating cookie dough with a glass of wine only serves to make me fatter. It doesn’t solve anything.

I’ve been at the same place for a year now, and I still don’t have even a full week’s worth of vacation time built up. It’s my own fault, between trying to find out what was wrong with my stomach, getting my tubes tied, and now trying to get my damn leg fixed. It will require surgery to accomplish the latter, which will have the unfortunate results of using the remainder of my sick and vacation time, and putting us further into debt. ManThing remains optimistic that I can have the surgery, and we will still have the time and money to go to Germany next year. I honestly don’t see how that can be true.

Six months ago, I could walk without hip pain. Four months ago, I would have hip pain after walking more than a mile, but it would go away with some rest. Now, I can’t walk without pain. I can’t lie down, sit on the couch, or swim without hip pain. As of Tuesday, the pain has spread to my knee as well. The pain wakes me up at night if I roll over on my leg the wrong way. It burns while I sit at my desk. The pain has become such a constant part of my days that I’m thinking of naming it, much like Philip has named his stomach ailment.

I just want to be happy, but I’m beginning to think I don’t know how. Nobody can teach that; not even a “Happiness For Dummies” book. I keep anchoring my hopes to certain events that I think will make me happy; but then they pass and I feel the same.
Finishing architecture school was the first: I didn’t realize I would trade creativity and periods of daytime freedom for constant tedium and cubicle imprisonment.
Getting off the Pill was next: Nothing has changed. Still fat. Still moody.
Getting my MINI was the most recent: I absolutely adore my new car; probably much more than I should love an inanimate object, but it has resulted in $110 of additional cash outflow each month.
The current hope I am clinging to is the hip surgery. At this time, I don’t even know if I’m a candidate or not. I never thought I would simply want to walk without pain. Until a few months ago, it never even occurred to me that it would be an issue for me at age 31.

All of these things combined caused me to exhibit the compulsive behaviors of a bulimic or a drug addict today- I meticulously planned my crying fit so that no one would know. I managed to stave off the inevitable until lunch, so I wouldn’t waste company time. After blowing off a lunchtime design forum group meeting, I went into the restroom to gather paper towel to catch the downpour, then stealthily snuck down the back stairs to my car. My car is the only place I can be alone. I didn’t even care that it was cold. Though I really wanted nothing more than to go home and crawl into bed forever, I had my crying spell, then went back to the office to falsify “normal” for a few more hours before escaping into the relative comfort of a weekend. I will spend the weekend forcing myself not to feel guilty for not working, even though we have a deadline next Thursday.

I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The result of chronic creativity stifling

Our office is being reorganized, so that we hamsters will fit more efficiently in our cubicles. HR sent out an e-mail this morning; the gist of which was, “carry your access badge with you at all times.”

This, of course, prompted the following smartass e-mail volley:

CAD Monkey: It’s just another way for The Man to hold us down!

Cube Neighbor: Strawberry fields forever!!!

CAD Monkey: [waves a burning roll of trace paper in the air] We will never surrender!!

Cube Neighbor: [sirens wailing in background. People rushing past through thick, billowy smoke with hands clasping shirts over their mouths. The power is out. You are disoriented. The rhythmic clatter of hard sole shoes becomes more and more pronounced. ~clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap~ the police round the corner near the copier with pink slips drawn.]

Platoon…HALT! Ready! Aim! FIRE!

…and a martyr is born…

CAD Monkey: [grasps chest, sinks to ground] My only regret…cough…is that I have…boneitis.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

CAD Monkey: Someone is totally trying to mess with my reality. The coffee makers have had their pots switched, so that the “decaf” pots are on the “regular” machine, and so on. Does this mean I have to put regular coffee in the “wrong” machine?

Coworker: I think the cleaning crew just does that sometimes.

CAD Monkey: To screw with people like me!

Coworker: Uh huh. Yeah. [looks at me like I’m crazy. which I am.]

On another note, I think that K@shi should change the name of their "instant" cereal from "G0 Lean" to "Volcano in a Cup." I arrived at this conclusion after discovering that, no matter what size cup you put this cereal in, it will go from normal to volcanic in the space of two seconds- making it difficult to microwave.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I'm double-dipping with my other blog. Deal with it.

Monday was horrid.

Yesterday was bad as well, as I went to the new doctor for a second opinion on my hip (or first opinion, as the other doctor told me nothing). I found out that I have congenital hip dysplasia, which, besides sounding something like a dog would suffer from, means that my hip socket and the ball of my femur are both slightly malformed.

Yay, genetics! You score again, bitch!

This causes my femur to hit the edge of the hip socket, instead of resting inside it like it should- in turn, causing an early breakdown of the joint’s cartilage. This equals pain, and an early onset of osteoarthritis. Check, and…check. He told me that I will eventually need a total hip replacement. When I asked why I couldn’t have it now, he said I was too young. Sigh. So, I get to have a super-fun 10-15 years of pain, then a hip replacement. Wheeee!

Oh yeah, and this guy did tell me, "Lose weight." No shit. I'll get right on that, asshole.

Then I cried all the way from the doctor’s office back to work. Yesterday afternoon, my blood work came back as positive for rheumatoid arthritis. So I have that to look forward to as well.

Last night, I told ManThing, “after today and Monday, things have got to get better!”
This morning, my face has broken out in hives, and I found some sort of larval insect thing in my pumpkin bread.

I stand corrected.

Monday, November 14, 2005


I'm at level 3.

I only just managed to escape another Monday Migraine through the quick ingestion of additional caffeine. As it is, my pulse is way up; and my head is pounding with the force of it.

The way the project team management is trying to use me is like using an ice skate as a screwdriver. Sure, you can probably manage; but it’s not the best use of the ice skate.

Example #1 - Secretary and/ or Arbitrator:
Project Manager (PM) tells me to send out a meeting request, because our Client Liason (CL) “wanted to talk about plaster soffit details.” I sent out the meeting request, and electronically reserved time in a conference room. Just to be sure, I physically went and looked at the conference room’s sign-up sheet; and as usual, the whole day has been blocked out by someone who didn’t bother to put it on the electronic calendar. I booked another conference room, and resent the request. Then, CL declined the meeting. I e-mailed him back, asking what time he would prefer to have the meeting, since PM told me CL was the one who wanted the meeting in the first place. CL replies, “What I need to review with PM, Designer and Junior Designer is the entry design. If that is what is being discussed then I will come.” Thanks, PM, for making me look like an ass by not telling me what CL really wanted to meet about! Oh, and also? Send the fucking meeting request out yourself so this doesn’t happen!

Example #2a – Project Manager:
I am not, I repeat, NOT a Project Manager!! However, everybody still seems to think I am. The engineers are asking me for an addendum date on Project A. I don’t know; I’m NOT the PM! When I e-mail the PM for the answer, he’ll either not answer, or reply, “ask the engineers how long they need.” The engineers don’t work that way! They want a deadline! And why do I know this and you do not, when you’re the fucking PM?!?

Example #2b – Project Manager:
Project Architect (PA) wants me to find work for the employees that have been added to the job temporarily to help out. This project is so huge and complicated that I can barely figure out WTF I’m doing, much less bring someone totally unfamiliar with it up to speed. I’m trying to draw. I don’t have time to do markups.

Example #3 - Project Architect:
The CAD Draftsman is constantly bugging me for completed wall section sheets, so that he can work on the larger scale details off those sheets. I have little to give him, because I’m still trying to figure out how the damn building goes together. This is a process of 1) trying it the way I think it will work; 2) consulting the structural engineer; 3) getting PM’s “permission” to proceed; and 4) trying to get Designer to agree with the whole thing. That last step usually causes me to have to do steps 2 through 4 all over again.

This thing is supposed to go out, at 100 percent, in one month from tomorrow. It is not going to happen. PM is delusional about the amount of work left to do, evident by the fact that he keeps saying, “we will be done by the 15th,” yet he continues to add more and more details- when we already have a stack of details not yet drawn.

The poor PA is at home today, after having a hemorrhagic nosebleed yesterday- most likely brought on by stress. Her neighbor, who is also on this God-forsaken project team, took PA to the emergency room, and said that even though PA was faint from lack of blood, she couldn’t stop worrying about this project!

What is wrong with everybody?!?
A week off?
Hell, I'd be happy with being able to take a day off at this point!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

I, Nobot

A few weeks ago, I made mention of the machine. At the time, I said it had been dormant, and was rusty. Now I’d like to clarify- the machine is dead.

I will not make any attempts to revive it.

During school, the projects were everything. I put off sleep, socializing, exercise, nutrition…everything. All so I could finish the damn projects. The longest amount of time I went without sleep was 36 straight hours. My body is no longer capable, nor am I willing, to recreate that feat.

Also, why should I?

As a salaried employee, I won’t get paid any additional money for working above and beyond 40 hours. Nor can I put forth a behemoth effort, then take a week off. There is no longer the threat of “grades,” which used to have a ridiculously important place in my life. Thinking back, trying to maintain the machine is one of the factors that caused me to check myself into the hospital for severe depression in the semester before my thesis. That fact alone makes it unworthy of revival.

But wait…there’s more. In school, the projects required me to think, create, build models, draw hand sketches and create colored renderings. At work, the projects force me to spend hours working on repetitive wall sections, calling out wall types, and drawing miles and miles of 2’x 2’ ceiling grids- all while sitting in the same chair, in front of the same computer, in the same cubicle. My brain can only sustain itself on menial tasks for so long before it starts shutting down.

The studio environment bred camaraderie; all of my friends spent as much time as I did in studio. Now, I need to get away from people in the office- I need a break (Hack n’ Snort, I’m looking at you). Also, I start to miss my husband, my cat, my couch. I have heard too many architects talk about how their wives nearly left them because of the amount of hours they spent at the office. No thanks.

I suppose that one reward of working 60 hours per week would be the acknowledgement of my "go-getter attitude," resulting in my moving quickly up the corporate ladder. Then I could be expected to work even longer hours, with even more pressure and responsibility! Yeah, sign me up for that.

I am so sick of the unspoken pressure to work 50+ hours every week. I hate it that Project Managers make promises to clients that undercut the schedule, in part causing the aforementioned pressure. Most of all, I hate the fact that I work- hard- for 40-45 hours per week, yet I still feel like I’m a slacker.

Monday, November 07, 2005


Over the past seven years, I have accepted the fact that there will always be some coworkers in my office that I simply will not like. Try as I might, I won’t be able to get along with, or even tolerate some people. It’s not my 7th birthday party anymore; I don’t have to get along with everybody. I know that these people will linger, and I will have to deal with them for as long as they or I remain with the company.

But sometimes…sometimes wishes come true!

Being married to an IT guy, I know that when you see the office IT guy hauling off someone’s CPU- while leaving the monitor and keyboard behind- it’s usually not a good sign for that person. I almost didn't believe it when I saw whose machine was getting removed this morning.

Ho-bag is no more. The fact that this makes me so damned happy is just another reason I’m going to hell in a pretty basket.

I feel vindicated that someone in the upper echelons didn’t fall for the Giggle n’ Jiggle routine she was working. Score one for us brainy girls. Every now and then, when I’m sure that the industry is every bit as bad as I think it is, someone will prove me wrong- and I’ve been overdue for some proof lately.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

While I’m sitting at my desk at work, I have so many ideas for posts; bright, and clear, and scathing. Then I come home, and see the couch. I think of how tired I am of sitting in front of a computer, and the only thing that is bright and clear is the pain in my leg. And so I write nothing.

But now, I am writing, for the same reason I do too many things in my life: not because I want to, but because I feel I should.

And I just lost the urge again. Sorry.

Friday, October 28, 2005

I was trying to whine to ManThing this morning that I wanted to "call in dead," but instead I managed to say, "I want to call in stupid."

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

No shirt, no shoes, no architecture.

As I was crawling around the floor on my knees at the flat files today, I once again became frustrated with the fact that I am expected to wear corporate dress despite the fact that I don’t have exposure to clients; and I may, at any time, be expected to cart around huge rolls of drawings- which causes me to become really sweaty, get funky blueline residue all over myself, and possibly smell like stinky old crusty sepia prints for the rest of the day. Additionally, it is uncomfortable to sit at a desk drawing all day when wearing the Uniform of The Man (of course, I should probably contribute that complaint to the ever-increasing size of my fat gut).

Those are also a few of the reasons why I have refused to let pantyhose anywhere near my body since 2001. I’d be much more productive in pajamas, I’m sure of it.

At least I don’t have to wear ties.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Note to Self

Quit scheduling meetings on Mondays, as you know that you lack the mental capacity to be prepared for such meetings.

I don't care how much coffee you promise to drink. It's not a good idea.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

But will it shrink inflamed Project Managers?

Yesterday, I read one of the worst print ads I’ve ever seen. I won’t reproduce it in its entirety, because I’m scared of the lawyers. The surprising thing was that it was in one of my industry magazines. Has spam now spread to magazines as well? If it weren’t for the fact that the company is based out of California, it would almost qualify as Chinglish.

It read thusly (my favorite part in bold):

"The [product manufacturer] offers any U.S. established business or public agency its money back after making an average of 4,200 gallons from its first gallon, if it regretted its purchase. Also $5,000 worldwide to the first product to beat it at activating, reviving, transplanting, growing, and perfecting. Long since, [product name] has helped 5 U.S. departments to win World War II. Over 500 park system chiefs have written that [product name] works best. [Product’s] record includes repeatedly averted bankruptcies, quickly reversing whole great lost plantings to beautiful winners."

Huh. I didn’t know WWII was still on.

The high-production-budget photo accompanying the copy is of a generic black barrel, with a piece of paper taped to the top half that reads:


The bottom half of the barrel sports a very busy sticker, which boasts things such as:

“Greatest Guarantee-Offer PROOF Ever.”

Sounds like I could use a tub of this stuff on Project B.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I need 4cc's of Damnitol, STAT!

While still in school, if someone had asked me if I'd consider doing healthcare architecture, I would have answered, "hell, no." Now, not only am I practicing healthcare architecture, I've become a medical drama junkie to boot. If it weren't for my fear of puke, I'd just become a damn doctor already. I'm even starting to get the impression that I'm doomed to experience, as a patient, every type of medical facility I've ever drawn.

I've drawn a few GI labs; I had an endoscopy.
I've drawn some surgery suites; I had surgery.
I've drawn an MRI facility or two; I'm having an MRI next Wednesday.

At least I know I'm safe from "experiencing" the Labor/ Delivery/ Recovery suite I drew a few years back!

If one of my PM's tells me I'll be working on an oncology department, I may have a nervous breakdown. My luck is likely running out on not visiting an Emergency Department- I did one of those just last year.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

In my own pen.

I thought I'd try a new approach to the usual whining method.
(sorry, Mikey, it's not interpretive dance)

Needing some sort of catharsis from everything that has been weighing on me, I sat down and did a "purge sketch;" something I started doing many many years ago. This is where I just draw whatever is going on in my head.

I hadn't done one of these for several years, because I became intent on only making things that other people might think is art. I have a bad habit of not making art that speaks of myself. I worry too much that what I have inside my head isn't really art, or will make people uncomfortable.

But all I have is what's in my head.

I credit a documentary on Frida Kahlo for allowing me to think that what's in there is worth documenting. Screw "art." My neuroses are what I've got to work with.

In summary:

Hip hurts. Knee burns. Having an MRI.
Project B still sucks, still drags on, and invades my sleep- but I refuse to let it invade my weekends.
Digestive system still bad.
Still fat. Still look pregnant, though I am not.


Thursday, October 13, 2005

In order to have even half a shot in hell of finishing Project B on time, I'd have to pull out the kind of effort I gave during school. I was a machine, going without sleep or decent food for 36 hours at a time.

People, the machine has been dormant and is rusty.

Monday, October 10, 2005

CAD Monkey: Is it wrong that when someone in the office says, "good morning" on Monday, I reply with, "shoot me?"

Cube Neighbor: Only if it’s not Monday, man…only if it’s not Monday.

CAD Monkey: Then I was well within my ethical boundries.

Cube Neighbor: THE NERVE OF SOMEONE; TO BREAK THE UNWRITTEN CARDINAL RULE OF NOT SAYING “GOOD MORNING“ ON A MONDAY...(just another example of THE MAN trying to bring us down!!)

CAD Monkey: I mean, “shoot me” is much better than, say, “piss off,” which in truth, would be the more honest reply…

Cube Neighbor: I always say honesty is the best policy.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

I'm not smiling. My jaw is stuck in clenched position.

Yesterday was spent in a 6-hour meeting, wherein it became apparent that much of the work I’d already finished would have to be redone. It just goes to prove that being “self-motivated” on this project will only get me screwed.

I will be spending most of this morning adding 4” “bumps” to all the edges of the building elevations, to indicate the stupid-looking, poo-colored, bullnose-edge, brick banding the designer wants to put on the building. There are 22 bands running the length of each elevation. There are 12 elevations, with multiple edges in each. I hate the poo-brick.

All the while that I am doing this, I get to listen as Ho-bag is giggling and having a great time, working on a design team, DOING WHAT I SHOULD BE DOING.

I was THIS CLOSE to getting a $2500 referral bonus, for getting a former coworker of mine hired. He had ALREADY SENT IN HIS ACCEPTANCE LETTER, but then withdrew it, after finding out his current company “really wanted him to stay.” They “really wanted me to stay” when I left, also, but I did what was best for me. After talking to the guy who interviewed him here, all of the same problems that caused me to leave are still in effect. Idiot.

And the final kick in the ass…Hack n’ Snort is about to get a $2500 referral bonus. For a guy who has only done churches- no hospitals. Fucker. One more reason to dislike him. Maybe he’ll use the money to get his fucking sinuses Roto-Rootered. I can only hope.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Monday, September 26, 2005

Introducing Ho-bag

There's a fairly new girl in the office, whom I've decided to call Ho-bag. She annoys me to distraction. ManThing doesn’t understand my (infrequent, but sometimes strong) need to be catty.

What is the anonymous blog for, if not that?

Ho-bag is the type who wears the cloud o' perfume that I can literally smell from four feet away.

She is the epitomy of What You Shouldn't Wear To The Office. Her pants are so tight you can see thong-line (which is kind of against the point?!?). She favors the shoes that have straps that wrap up your leg. Today she has on a long skirt- with slits halfway up the thigh on both sides.

She's a touchy-feeler; when she comes over to say hello, she runs her hand down your arm. Guys and girls. Ew. Get off me.

She's not terribly bright, either, and perhaps that is the real reason she annoys me so much. Supposedly, she has seven years experience (the same as me), yet she royally screwed up REFLECTED CEILING PLANS which I then had to do over. 74,000 square feet worth.

She dots the “i’s” in her name with little circles. Gag.

Recently, she got in a car wreck on a Monday, and hurt her leg, yet didn't file a police report or go to the doctor. She asked me about a doc-in-a-box four days later, because her abdomen was hurting, but then wanted to know if they were open on Saturday. Go to the doctor, idiot!

Also, because I'm stuck on my current crappy project until December 15th, I missed out on the chance to be on a design team for the next project. Guess who is on the design team.

The female PA that Ho-bag and I are currently working for doesn’t like her, because she does crappy, half-assed work at a snail’s pace. One of the male PA’s in the office has said he “just loves working with her.”

Gee, I wonder why.

Even though, in architecture school, I once was told I needed to "draw more like a man," I hate to play the "woman card." But, I also hate it when floozies like Ho-bag waltz in and get what they want; while I'm working my ass off instead of shaking it.

Stupid male-dominated industry. Underneath all that fancy edumacation, they're still just a bunch of good ol' boys.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Hack n' Snort has dubbed himself a Hurricane Rita expert after looking at the Weather Channel's website. He keeps pontificating on Rita's path to anyone unfortunate enough to get too close to his desk.

Shut. The fuck. Up.
I’m really fucking tired of living from paycheck to paycheck.
I’m sooooo glad I got my Master’s Degree. (/sarcasm)

To give you an example: I get paid tomorrow. My entire check is going to the house payment, and I won’t get paid again until the 7th. I have negative $48 until then.

Friday, September 16, 2005

I'm getting misty here.

I have been given my first design assignment here at Humongo.

Drum roll, please...

A covered walkway.

This is serious business. I have the office’s copy of Drastic Standards, and everything.

I’ll be sure to make everyone proud.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Project A will never. Leave. The damn. Building.

Today was supposed to be the third attempt at getting Project A out of the building.

It is now 2:40.

Electrical guy's not yet done with his drawings. Once he is, we still have to print 11 sets of his stuff and assemble them into the rest of the 11 sets.

The PM hasn't told me where/ to whom the drawings are to be sent to.

I have to have the drawings ready by 4:00 to get them in the overnight mail.

PM is in a meeting until 3:30.

Do the math.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

I was so wrong.



How could I have even thought of giving you up?
Can you ever forgive me?
Will you please take me back?

You will?

C’mere then, you sexy bitch. Let the make-up sex begin.

Monday, September 12, 2005

One of the major skills in slacking effectively is moving the mouse just often enough so that the screen saver doesn't come on.

Starting over on Project A, again.

Kill me.

Never mind.
My evil plan has been foiled!

I arrived at the office at 7:00 again this morning, only to discover that Hack n' Snort was already there! Damn him! He usually doesn't make it in until 8:00. I wanted my hour of snot-free peace!

To add to the pain of Monday, I'm not having any coffee today. The weekend caffeine withdrawl headaches are getting to be bad.

Think good thoughts for me.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

You will all be happy to know that I have given up on the Hack n' Snort tally. It became too annoying to even be funny anymore.

And on a totally unrelated subject, I may die of a heart attack, but at least I'll get to keep my boobs.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

the ass-crack of dawn

I have a deadline tomorrow, so last night I thought I would take some work home and catch up. Problem was, due to a hard drive crash a few weeks ago, I needed to reload AutoCAD onto my machine. I realized I no longer had the serial number or CD key to my, uh, bootleg copy. Oops. Rather than trek back up to the office, I decided to come in early this morning.

Alarm goes off. Please kill me.

Start drive to work. No school zones active yet. Score.

Please be open. Please be open. Please be open. Yesssss…buy Caramel Macchiatto with much-needed extra shot.

Arrive at office. Take the Good Parking Space, which unofficially "belongs" to a really nice guy in the office, but dammit, I want it today. The next 90 minutes are guaranteed Hack n’ Snort free. Score again. I could almost get used to this.

Still Hack n’ Snort-less! It’s my lucky day…except for the fact that I’ve been drawing stair details for the last two hours, and I’m not done yet.

Damn. He's here. Today’s count begins.

Finally finish stupid stair details.

Starting to wear down a bit. Self-medicate with Twix bar.

Dammit. One of the engineers called some existing pipes to our attention. They are unmoveable. We are not going to issue tomorrow, after all. Dammit dammit dammit!! I want this piece of shit out of here!!

I'm calling the count early. Hack n' Snort a very busy day today; we even have 3 catchphrases!

SS: 1
IBhon: 3

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Today's final count:

SS: 1

And, in the bonus round, 1 disturbingly audible fart. I sit 2 cubicles, or about 12 feet, away.
I took a step toward pulling myself out of spending the next 34 years (I'm already counting down to retirement) in a deep dark hole.

I asked what the necessary step is for me to be a designer in this firm, despite the fact that I haven’t designed one single thing since school. The whole time I was engaged in this conversation, I had to keep chanting inside my head, “keep it together, bitch.”

I hate how I’m wired to cry everytime I get into a stressful conversation with someone. It’s just another stupid thing about being female.

Is this all there is?

Foul mood = whiny post.

Skip it if you’re sick of the whining. It’s likely all things I’ve whined about before.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

What is the point, really?
I find myself, for lack of a better explanation, bored with life.

Each morning I get up, against my will, hating the still-dark sky, to go to a job I hate. I put on clothing that is marginally corporate-acceptable, but I’d rather wear pajamas.
Why not? It’s not like I ever see clients. Why should I wear a suit?

Because I’m poorer than I’d like (and more often than not, running late), I usually forego a trip to St@rbuck’s for good coffee, instead choosing to drink the shitty stuff at the office. Then, I spend the day trying to convince myself to do something useful, even though I couldn’t give a crap.

I realized long ago that I would never be a great designer. I will always be nothing more than a drone. I will continue to come to work every day, sit in my cubicle, and overhear the conversations of designers who sit six feet away from me. They are 3-5 years older than I am. I made a few wrong turns in my career path. Obviously.

I’ve tried to get a former coworker of mine hired on, so I could at least get a referral bonus. He’s a good worker, and has experience similar to mine. The company passed him over, but has since hired several people referred by employees who have been here a few months or less.

Hack n’ Snort, who is an idiot architecturally, has begun playing golf with some of the higher-ups. I feel that this puts him at an advantage with the management. I don’t play golf.

I have no dreams. Try as I might to find something to aspire to, I come up with nothing even remotely attainable.

After work, I go home to a house whose payments have us under an oppressive thumb. I often think of selling it, just to improve the financial situation. We don’t have the money to do anything to fix it up to our liking. We simply continue to pay, and simply exist within it. Also, it smells of dog piss that ManThing can’t smell.

I do laundry.
I watch crappy TV.
I wash dishes.
I sit.

I am 31, and I can barely walk right now. Thirty-fucking-one. I have never had any trauma occur to my hip, yet it has ceased to function properly. I’m in physical therapy. When I first stand up and begin to walk, it feels like I’m 80.

My digestive system is 12 kinds of wrong. I've been to a GI doctor, and had every test you can have, yet he found nothing. It doesn't seem to matter what I do or don't eat, I just have problems. The bathroom and I spend way too much quality time together; or not enough, dependent on what form of torture my stomach plagues me with at the time.

I am a good driver; I’ve never had an accident, or a ticket. My insurance premium still goes up with every renewal.

The new movies all suck.
I’m too fat to wear the clothes that are in style.
I’m too much of a realist to think that an optimistic outlook could possibly work.

I don’t ask, “what is the meaning of life?” I ask, “what’s the fucking point?”

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Raw Fish Sell-out

I felt like a bit of a hypocrite today, when I accompanied the PM and Spec Guy for sushi at lunch. I thought, “it’s wrong of me to let PM pay for lunch (which he often does), after the anger I vented against him in an earlier blog entry.” Never mind the fact that he doesn’t know about said blog entry.

Turns out I had no need to worry. PM, Spec Guy, and I ended up splitting the bill three ways.

I’m cutting today’s count short, because I’m feeling a little nauseated, and I need to tune out his snot-sucking, or I may hurl.

Here’s today’s abbreviated tally (4 hours total):

IBhon: 1
SS: 2

Friday, September 02, 2005

It turned out to only be a Half-Week of Suck. Yesterday (and so far, today) was better.
I’ve printed my drawings, I want to go home.

But, since I can’t go home, I’ve made up a new way to cope with the constant annoyance that is Hack n’ Snort. I’m going to hyperfocus on his verbal tics and utterances, and keep a tally of them. It’s like a game to me now. I have a list of what I’m counting, and I’ve created “stock market” symbols for each. I’m almost reluctant to leave my desk; for fear that I will miss a snort, or an “HnS catchphrase!”

Here is the list of what I’m counting:
“Let me ask you this.” - LMAY
“I’ll be honest with ya.” - IBhon
SNORT (a.k.a. sucking back snot)
Scary Sneezes - SS (People on the other side of the building can hear these things, I’m sure of it.)

Today’s tally, as of 10:45am, is as follows:

IBhon: 1
SNORT: 18 42 (Friday's final count)
SS: 1

I can’t believe I’m excited about this. My life is so very sad.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Week of Suck - Wednesday (continued)

Let me flesh out today's earlier entry...

The morning started off with an innocent enough e-mail from our specifications writer (Spec Guy) to one of the Interior Design team members (I-Lady); and he copied the Project Manager (PM). Spec Guy wanted to know whether I-Lady had edited the Interiors spec sections for Project A yet.

Project A is a nasty, mostly-CMU, industrial-type area, with some temporary offices that will have the same finishes as the much bigger subsequent phase, Project B. I-Lady replied that they haven’t done anything for Project A, because she didn’t think there were any finishes for Project A. No problem. The project is, after all, just building maintenance workshops.

Cue PM’s Snarky E-mail #1: (I will leave his bad grammar in, just to add to the effect)

"Even a shop will have to have a coat of paint. There is an elevator package to select, corner guards to install, ceilings to paint and /or hang, etc. In other words a lot to interior wise.

All due tomorrow!"

There are a few things awry about his statements:
The elevator package isn’t something Interiors cares about; Architectural will select it.

There is only one type of corner guard- stainless steel- which Interiors doesn’t need to select.

There are no hard ceilings to paint. Most of the spaces don’t even have ceilings, period. The one area that has ceiling tiles will get…the same ceiling tiles as Project B.

The two Interiors people working on this job are both out of the office, at the project site, working on Project B- which, again, is the big, honking, moneymaking part of our work for this client. They haven’t spent a lot of time on this P.O.S. part of the overall project, and I don’t blame them. It would have been an unnecessary waste of their time.

There is no reason for Interiors’ specification sections to be “all due tomorrow!” We’re not printing until Friday; that printing is for an in-house quality control review, and nobody’s going to sit down and read the specs for that! The job doesn’t issue until the 9th! “All due tomorrow?!?” What in the hell for?!?

Deep breath.

There is a part of the overall project that needs to happen before anything else can happen- a utility move. PM is under the delusion that the team has been drawing the utility move as a separate drawing package. Wrong. The team has been told, throughout the history of the job, that the utility move would be part of Project B. Project B is due out on November 1st.

Two days ago, PM dropped a bomb that the “utility move drawing set” would go out on the 16th. In order to “give the client the option to do it sooner.” This information came to us, via PM, from the Client Liason.

The Project Architect (PA) is out on a well-deserved vacation this week, but has been following this train wreck via e-mail. I’ll let her words speak for me on this one:

"What is the deal with a separate signed and sealed package for the utility move - for the owner to have the "option"?? Yes, there are items the owner must handle, such as the contract with the utility supplier, but we have Structural, Civil, Architectural, Plumbing and Electrical items to incorporate to complete a separate utility move package - including specs. It cannot be in its own package, and if it does require an entire separate package - the team is NOT going to make the November 1st Project B deadline. We have to pull the drawings out of Project B, change keyplans, demolition, civil, etc., and set up all these things again for the utility move. This has to stop. Whose idea was this???? The team members are being given different directions. We need time to work and coordinate on Package B. This is a big and complicated project and we have had our fair share of client/team screw-ups and inconsistencies. Why can't you guys [meaning PM and Client Liason] help us?"

Valid points, all. I choose to interpret “help us” as, “get your heads out of your asses and quit making promises the team can’t keep!”

PM’s reply is below. Let me break it down for you. Also keep in mind, this is a person who doesn’t use AutoCAD. He has no idea. None. He thinks we CAD Monkeys can just wave a magic wand and the drawings will be miraculously separated, like so many sheets of paper.

"Calm down [PA]." Condescending, much?

"We are putting the utility move in Project B. But the owner in the past has asked for it to be separated (it was originally part of Project A)." [And several parts of Project B were once part of Project A, and that was another two-day nightmare we undertook at the owner’s request.]

"If we can finish that part then it is done, and Client Liason can look the owner in the eyes and say we are ready." [At the risk of screwing up the bigger part of the project.]

It just keeps getting better...

"You are not working on this portion any way right now and if I can figure out a way to get it done and why would it matter." [Possibly because you haven't figured out a way to get it done, fucktard? Just declaring “it will be done,” when the team is otherwise fully committed, doesn’t work!!]

"Why can't the drawings stay in Project B and the contractor use the specifications and drawings as they are." [Because Project B isn’t going out until November, asshat, and you want the utility move on September 16th. Math! Space-time continuum! Common-fucking- sense!!!]

The rest of the team has begun jokingly referring to me as the Project Manager. I’ve definitely been registering the stress levels of a PM. However, since I haven’t got the title, experience, or the paycheck of a Project Manager, I don’t want to act like one.

Not even if the job description reads, “sit at desk all day, compose snarky e-mails to team, write smartass redline comments, take two-hour lunches, and make unrealistic promises to client.”

And because a picture is worth a thousand words:

Week of Suck - Wednesday

Today, I thought again about the list of stress symptoms I posted long, long ago. I said I should keep track of which of them I was feeling on any particular day. It would seem, that when I get freaked out, I get over half of them all at once. Today’s no different. I’m feeling the effects of 1, and 4 through 9.

I self-medicated with queso and guacamole.

Still don’t feel better.

Want to hurt PM. More on that later.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Week of Suck

I opened up my e-mail this morning to find a smartass message from the Project Manager about yesterday’s plan incident:

CAD Monkey,
I am confused. Did we not draw to scale or what?

My oh-so-diplomatic reply:

Yes, we drew to scale.

However, I’ve been working from a combination of the badly scaled original backgrounds we received, partially inaccurate as-built plans, X's field measurements, and photographs.

When I referenced structural’s plan into ours, they didn’t match. I went and talked to [the structural engineer], and after looking over the structural plans, decided the architectural plans needed adjusting. The adjustment was only a matter of inches, but now the two disciplines’ plans line up with each other.

This was something that needed doing several weeks ago, but I’d been too busy with other issues to deal with it before now.

What I wanted to reply: Bite me.

Shortly after this exchange, I discovered that I’ve lost a damn diamond out of my wedding ring. I know where it fell out (I whacked myself on a filing cabinet yesterday), but since the cleaning crew vacuumed last night, it’s gone forever.

Hack n’ Snort, you do NOT have to tell people that you’re calling from the Humongo office in Dallas, Texas. I think they know where the hell Dallas is, moron.

Things are looking up, though. Cube Neighbor gave me a big ol' Caramell0 bar, and this afternoon a carpet vendor is coming in to booze us up and give us free food.

Monday, August 29, 2005

"Uh oh. Looks like someone's having a case of The Mondays!"

Not. Having. A good. Day. At all.

The stupid, messy, why-the-fuck-am-I-stuck-with-this-crap, piece of shit job goes out next Tuesday. Today, I discovered that structural’s plans and our plans don’t line up. We have the finished floor elevation 1 inch higher than what structural is showing.

The worst part is: structural is right, and I look like an idiot. I don’t even know why I didn’t check these things before now. Fucktard. I never should have relied upon the drawings that I first received to be correct.

The Stress-o-Meter is on the way up. I’m going to explode; I can feel it.

Also, somebody has been stealing my goddamn creamer. (I know I stole from somebody else’s creamer once, but I paid for it by catching a nasty little viral infection. I have learned my lesson.) It wouldn’t be so bad, and I probably wouldn’t have noticed, if they didn’t make a mess when pouring it and leave schmootz all over the lid when they do it. I put a helpful little note on the bottle that reads, “If you are using this creamer, be warned! I lick the bottle!!”

That ought to put a stop to it.

Dammit, I want to telecommute.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Cat Yoga

As I finish up my 2-day convalescence after surgery, I am trying to rest and take it easy. Sitting still and relaxing have always been difficult for me, so I have turned to the in-house expert, The Cat. While she had some good advice for me about 22-hour marathon napping, I don't think I'll be up to following the remainder of her routine until my incision has healed.

Loaf Position: Choose comfortable spot, fold all appendages beneath yourself. Remain in this position for 2 hours, or until Dog comes near.

Power Paw: From Loaf Position, stretch leg straight out from body. Stretch both legs to increase difficulty.

Serpent Pose: Curl yourself sideways into a circle, being sure to bury nose in tail. Hold for 3 hours.

Lying Side Stretch: Lie on back, all feet up. Writhe from side to side. Bite anyone who tries to pet your belly.

These next two are high in difficulty, and will require human assistance.

Clothespin Pose: While lying in your human's lap, fold both back legs up over head. Maintain this position until you hear the words, "Quick, get the camera!"

Plank: While leaning against your human, put all weight on front legs. Hold position until human stops petting your belly.

I just stuck this one in to show the inherent peril in trying to photograph a cat.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Of course the hospital has a 2-car garage, silly!

I’m going through another bad spell of insomnia, and I’ve hit the point where I’m so tired I can’t force myself to think, much less care about work. This is causing me to rebel against my conscience (and write crappy blog posts). In order to not pass out at my desk, I’ve taken to sketching a plan of my house; with the intent to work on possible expansion plans.

I’ve thought about just giving up on today, and making the time up (gasp!) on Saturday; because, honestly, I’m worthless right now. However, would I really come in on Saturday? That thought keeps me in my seat, just trying to stick it out for another 3 hours, and hoping I don’t get caught working on something that is quite obviously not a door schedule.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

dropping the F bomb

This is turning into one of those days where I am having trouble suppressing my hair-thin temper. Were it not for my acute sense of social impropriety and a fear of prison, I would completely snap and rip a strip off of both Hack n’ Snort and Project Manager. I’m actually considering staying late tonight, just so I can get some fucking work done without listening to fucking HnS on the fucking phone all day ("Well, I'll be honest with ya," "Alrighty, guy! Take care!"), and having fucking PM call me every five minutes to confirm that I gave drawings to the engineers who are playing some stupid we-don’t-like-the-PM-so-let’s-be-asses game.

Well, let me ask you this. (hack, snort)” Shut the fuck up! Shut the fuck up! Shut the fuck up you stupid whiny snotty simpering little excuse for a man!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

things seen on this morning's commute

1. A man walking back home from dropping his kid off at school, wearing a sunvisor, a wifebeater, and...boxer shorts. Dude. Way to embarrass the hell out of your kid. I'm sure he or she will be scarred for life, as was I.

2. Bumper sticker: "Work sucks. I'm goin' on tour." My faith in humanity is restored. (Apparently this sticker is for a singing duo. Nevah hoid of 'em.)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

do they make an expansion joint cover for a psychotic break?

Hate. Stupid. Project. The stupid client refused to take our advice, and completely tear down the stupid 42-year-old building, so now we’re trying to (stupidly) build onto it, but have no accurate drawings or measurements of what's there. I’m trying to draw the existing exterior elevation, but again- no drawings, no measurements. All I have to go on for vertical dimensions are photographs, but, I don’t even know what size brick they used, so the “counting bricks” method won’t even work. I just discovered that the new plans have a door spanning an expansion joint, and I have to somehow preserve the top half of a louver that’s currently there. Brilliant.

The Project Manager won’t leave me alone; when he isn’t asking me to print something for him, he keeps wanting me to do tasks other than the one I’m working on at the time. It all has to get done before the deadline, so just leave me alone! I’ll do it when I get to it! I’m sorry you don’t know AutoCAD, and therefore can’t just do it yourself, but go away!

The structural engineer is being eerily cooperative, which is a complete difference from his disposition when the project started.. I’m just waiting for the explosion.

At least I’ll be getting one of my wishes. I go in for surgery on Monday. Screw the pain, I’m just glad to have two days off, during which I’ll be mostly unconscious.

This photo, taken on the existing site, just about sums it up.

Monday, August 15, 2005

I've seen the way it will all end...

This was another typical Monday morning. I wrenched myself up into a sitting position in bed, slack-jawed and cranky. I got up, took the shower, went back to snooze with ManThing until his alarm went off for the third or fourth time. Finally, I got up, only to realize that the beginnings of a migraine were gnawing at my left temple. Despite my attempt at ibupr0fen therapy, by the time I got into the car, my left eye was going blurry. Once I got to the office, it felt like the entire left side of my head was in a vise.

And I kept thinking to myself, I’m going to be one of those Monday morning heart attack victims, aren’t I?

Friday, August 12, 2005

One for the little guys

As I flipped inattentively through Architectur@l Rec0rd over cereal this morning, I decided I could become an architecture critic. I'd just lern me up some big wurds, and chastise the hell out of everybody's work- most of which deserves it. Looking at what ends up in the magazine half the time, I just have to shake my head in disbelief.

The ironic thing is, I found a link to the Best Site Evah! in those pages. Somebody finally decided to start taking potshots at the world's snooty designers...

For when you can't choke down anymore of Architectur@l Rec0rd's crap, I give you:
The Gutter

I *heart* you, Gutter!!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

School zones SUCK.

That is all.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

There is now an IKEA store that I don't have to drive 3 hours to reach. I may have to call in to work with a case of Swedish flu.
ManThing and I were feeling particularly lazy Friday night, so when the subject of dinner came up, we opted for the box dinner route. We'd had a box of this stuff in the pantry, and it sounded good enough, but once we started to cook it, something I thought it might improve when the cooking was done, but no. I couldn't get past the smell to even taste it, but ManThing braved it. He said it was pretty bad. We disposed of the ass-rice, and ManThing created a song to commemorate it:

My God, It Smells Like Feet!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Free lunches provided by building product vendors are one of the meager perks of working in architecture. If you are willing to give up the relative freedom of your lunch hour in order to listen to a presentation, you get free food, and sometimes an hour of Continuing Education credit, in return.

I have a flowchart-esque set of standards by which I determine the lunch presentations I will attend.

First, will I receive Continuing Education credit for attending?

If so, then the next consideration is where the food is from. If the food is from J@son’s Deli, none of the other criteria apply- I will not attend. I’ve had my fill of their giant glob of meat on crappy, thin sandwich bread, with a sad looking baggie of iceberg lettuce shreds and greenish tomato slice (which usually has the core in it, because of my curse*).

If the food is decent, subject matter is the next concern. Copper cladding? Okay, but only if the food’s good. Mold prevention in exterior walls? Forget it; I’ve been to no less than four of those already. Wallcovering? Schneh; doesn’t meet my first requirement.

Sometimes, even when I don’t attend, I’ll get lucky and they’ll move the leftovers to the kitchen.
The lunches require some strategy. Timing is everything. My usual tactic is to mill around the conference room, first to get a glimpse of what is being served, then to pounce at precisely the right time so as to be near the front of the line for optimal selection- and a seat at the table.

However, a seat in the rear of the room sometimes comes in handy for a case of the post-lunch sleepies. I still get Continuing Ed credit thanks to the All-Powerful Sign-In Sheet, conscious or not.

*I always get the core of the tomato in anything that is prepared for me in a restaurant. Always. Usually, I get three or four in the same dish. I once even got a core in a can of stewed tomatoes.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

I just got a report back from an engineering company, and it had anunfortunate typo:
"Figure 1: Utility Location Plan- Hospital Loading Cock Area"

It's supposed to say "dock."
Attn: Hack n' Snort

Dear Mr. Hack n' Snort:

Aren't you tired of choking on your own snot? Because I sure am tired of hearing you choke on your own snot. Get some fucking Ben@dryl. And a clue.

The Occupant Two Cubicles Down

Friday, July 29, 2005

The Week in Review

The week began dreadfully, with a 6-hour meeting about exterior wall sections. As we painstakingly reviewed each wall section, Project Manager drew the revisions on a dry-erase board. Every time he drew a line segment longer than an inch, the marker would emit a terrible “SQEEEEEEEEEEEEE.” He drew during the entire meeting.

The server crashed at around 10. I lost some work, but it wasn’t that bad. Later that afternoon, the file I was working on continued to crash, and I had to go back at least two backup versions to get a usable one. I lost a lot of work that time. This incident caused me to unleash a symphony of verbal filth so vivid and foul that coworkers two cubicles over wept for the loss of innocence of their children’s ears.

I began work on someone else’s plans. I noticed that…the walls. Don't. Line up. On either side. Of the doorways. [Slaps forehead] [Eye twitch] GAH!!

I spent the day redoing 74,000 square feet of ceiling plans, because someone else screwed them up the first time. I forgot to take my iPod to the office, and was forced to listen to Hack n’ Snort’s incessant personal phone calls. I resisted vicious urges to begin taking a tally of how many times he said "Well, let me ask you this" and "I'll be honest with you" on the phone. Let's just say it was a lot.

As a reward for making it thus far, I started my day with a caramel macchiato. Upon reaching the office, I thought it would be a nice, easy day of creating print files- except I found that I had messed something up and had to fix it. Shortly after this discovery, I got called back onto an old job, “Project 1.” The PA for my current project “caught” me working on Project 1, and got upset. I had to hurriedly get off the old job, thus pissing off the PA for Project 1. I got back to work on the current job. Then my file started to crash again. As it is a plan file, it affected everyone else who was trying to print.

Needless to say, this day will either end in tears or beers.

Oh, wait. It will end in neither, because I have to fucking go home and fucking clean the fuckity-fuck-fucking house because my parents are coming this weekend and I have to entertain them instead of getting the birthday massage that ManThing said he was going to buy me.


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

I am clearly suffering from Architectural Bipolar Disorder, or ABD. Notice, if you will, that the acronym could also stand for “A Bad Decision”.

(I realize I probably exhausted the comedic potential for this concept the first time I did it, but I couldn’t resist one more. This is the last one, I promise.)

Architectural Bipolar Disorder, also known as Chronic Career Remorse, is a brain disorder that causes unusual, and often quite sudden, shifts in a person's mood, energy, and ability to function. Different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through, the symptoms of ABD are severe.

ABD causes dramatic mood swings—from overly "hyper" and willing to work, to apathetic and hopeless, and then back again. The periods of highs and lows are called episodes. Sufferers can experience several swings in the space of a month, a week, or even a single day.

Signs and symptoms of a “high” episode include:
· Increased energy and willingness to work
· Overly good, euphoric mood
· Lessened need for Coffee Bribery
· Unrealistic beliefs in one's abilities and professional worth
· A lasting period of behavior that is different from usual (i.e., working consistently, and without surfing the Internet in the background)
· Denial that anything is wrong (This job isn’t so bad!)

Signs and symptoms of a “low” episode include:
· Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, helplessness, and/ or pessimism
· Decreased energy, episodes of “I don’t wanna”
· Difficulty concentrating, making decisions (which mindless task should I do next?)
· Restlessness or irritability (Dammit, why isn’t it 5 yet?)
· Increase in coffee trips, and the desire to take up smoking in order to get more breaks

Sometimes, severe episodes include symptoms of psychosis (or psychotic symptoms). Common psychotic symptoms are hallucinations (I swear I saved that file!) and delusions (AutoCAD is out to get me!). Psychotic symptoms in bipolar disorder tend to reflect the extreme mood state at the time. For example, delusions of grandiosity, such as believing one is a designer, or is wealthy, may occur during a “high” episode; delusions of guilt or worthlessness, such as believing that one is destined to be forever penniless or has committed some karmic sin resulting in an architectural career, may appear during a “low” episode.

I'm done now. Really.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Nothing says "Happy Monday" like a 6 1/2 hour meeting on your calendar.
I'd rather do ceiling plans all day.
Or walk barefoot on broken glass.

Friday, July 22, 2005

A grain of salt

[CAD Monkey heaves a great sigh]

[Prairie dogging up over the cube wall] Cube Neighbor: Uh oh, I know that sound. Is AutoCAD not cooperating again?

CAD Monkey: No, that's not it. I keep finding things wrong with the plans, and it's driving me nuts. I have to keep reminding myself it's only DD.*

2 minutes later...

CAD Monkey: Okay, forget what I said a little while ago. Even though it's only DD, that's no excuse for the elevators not to line up.

Cube Neighbor: Well, you just have to take it with a grain of salt.

CAD Monkey: I'll take a grain of salt- on my damn margarita!

*If you want to know what "DD" means, send me an e-mail and I'll explain it. Otherwise, it's just architectural lingo nonsense.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Wildlife Sighting

The Spotted Yellow Mustag

Twice I have seen this silly looking F0rd Mustang rare, elusive specimen on the street in its native habitat. I have been unable to obtain a photograph of it yet, but I remain hopeful. The Spotted Yellow Mustag is easily recognizable by its bright yellow coloring, which is covered with crappy looking stickers and war-support ribbons accented by spots of differing colors and configurations. It also has a cheap plastic lei hanging from the rear-view mirror sports colorful plumage. The dumbass owner wildlife agents have identified the creature by placing stick-on letters on the back window with a tag reading “MUSTAG” in bold white lettering.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Eight hours is a lot of time to kill when you’re not completely swamped with work. When you’ve surfed all the websites you frequent, and checked your bank account, what’s next?

Jeromy once gave me some advice about how to look busy: grab a piece of paper, preferably pink, and stride, purposefully, around the office. I’ve used that technique on more than one occasion. I’ve also used the “cleaning off the desk” technique, and the “hiding out in the restroom” technique. The “appearing to write something work-related in Word when it’s really a blog entry” is a recent favorite of mine. I’ve got a million of ‘em. My dilemma with searching out more work is that as soon as I do, my current project will gear back up, and I’ll become buried. I can’t have that.

I’m beginning to wonder whether my employers expect as much from me as I seem to expect from myself. Even though I suffer from a guilty conscience, I’ve never had anyone complain that I was a slacker, much as I may feel like I’m being one. Exactly how slowly could I work? How many times could get more coffee (which, in turn, leads to “hiding out in the restroom”), or walk around and chat with everyone, while still accomplishing what is expected? It boggles the mind…I wonder if I could bring a sketchbook up here and not get caught with it? Hmm…

If it weren’t for the stupid house payment, I think I’d start working 30 hours a week. I never liked Mondays much, anyway.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

The Bespectacled Fish

This little guy represents my first attempt to create something original in over 6 years. My creative talents are rusty, but I had to start somewhere.
It was nice to not have a rationale behind why I did it, other than that the concept of a fish with a moustache and glasses just seemed like the thing to do.
The great thing is, it helped me to sleep when I'd work on him just before bed. I don't know what to do with him now, though, because he's made of the type of clay that doesn't harden. Any other artists out there who work with plasticine? Any suggestions of what to do with him besides return him to the "fold" of the other clay?

Friday, July 15, 2005

Dream o' the Week

I’ve tried on- and discarded- many half-baked ideas about careers I could change to: caterer, advertising designer, copy editor, writer, chef, graphic artist, landscaper, St@rbuck’s barista, video game designer, starting a home remodeling business- just to name a few.

This is my current Dream o’ the Week: art professor.

I am driving myself insane thinking about the possibilities of it. Freedom from a cube. Semi-flexible schedule. Summers off. Corporate dress not required. If I don’t like someone in the class, I only have to survive him or her for a semester (I’m looking at you, Hack-n-Snort). Most importantly, doing something I want to do- creating art and being involved in others’ doing the same.

I have even considered the negative aspects, something I tended to gloss over in my previous schemes. Having to go get a second Master’s degree. Paying for second Master’s degree. Difficulty finding a job. Having to possibly start out at the high school level before I can get a college or university position. Research requirements. The fact that I have absolutely no body of work to show for myself at the current time. The possibility of complete and utter failure, as far as my art talent is concerned.

My first course of action is to actually talk to someone who is doing this for a living- a major oversight in my current career. If I’d talked to a real-life architect in the first place, I could have saved myself some major suffering. My intent is to find out whether or not I’m deluded in my assumptions of what the job entails.

The second thing is to start pulling some art out of my ass.

I’ll keep you posted.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

You either love what you do or you don't. Period.

The following is a big ol' whine-purge. Brace yourselves.

The other day I G00gled, "what should I do with my life," because everybody knows that G00gle has the answers to the everyday existential crisis. I found an article, from a man who had written a book titled the same as my question. From my understanding, the article's intended audience was the tie-wearing, 60-hour-a-week-working, hardcore corporate business types- not so much someone in my industry. It read mostly as a touchy-feely, buy-my-book piece, but I did come away with a few kernels of thought as a result.

"There are far too many smart, educated, talented people operating at quarter speed, unsure of their place in the world...people who look like they have their act together but have yet to make an impact...It comes down to a simple gut check: You either love what you do or you don't. Period.

Those who are lit by that passion are the object of envy among their peers and the subject of intense curiosity. They are the source of good ideas. They make the extra effort. They demonstrate the commitment...they will be rewarded. With money, sure, and responsibility, undoubtedly. But with something even better too: the kind of satisfaction that comes with knowing [their] place in the world... "

This made me think, once again, of the friend who is in tax consulting- and absolutely devours what she does for a living. She doesn't think twice about how much she works, because she loves what she does- with a passion. I, on the other hand, have this mantra running through my head: "I don't fit here."

"Of course, addressing the question, What should I do with my life? isn't just a productivity issue: It's a moral imperative...That choice isn't about a career search so much as an identity quest. Asking The Question aspires to end the conflict between who you are and what you do... "

I hate the question, "So, what do you do?" I loathe it, I despise it- all for the simple reason that it is usually followed by the statement, "oh, that must be fun!" On the surface, "I'm an architect" sounds pretty cool, right? Underneath, I feel like a hypocrite. I want to reply, "it's a paycheck," because that's all it is to me. One of my professors used to talk constantly of passion for architecture; the truth is, I simply don't have any.

When I started college, I denied myself the route I really wanted to take- being an art major. I was afraid- of what my parents would say, afraid I wouldn't get a job, afraid I wouldn't be "good enough" to work in the artistic world. It is one of my biggest regrets that I didn't at least try.

"What am I good at? is the wrong starting point. People who attempt to deduce an answer usually end up mistaking intensity for passion. To the heart, they are vastly different. Intensity comes across as a pale busyness, while passion is meaningful and fulfilling. A simple test: Is your choice something that will stimulate you for a year or something that you can be passionate about for 10 years?"

When I started architecture school, I was good at it. Really good. The first semester, I made a 4.0 GPA. I thought that architecture passed the 10-year test. I had no idea that the culture of academic architecture and the culture of employment were in stark opposition to each other. I found out the hard truth near the end of my degree program, but I felt I had no choice but to continue on the path- I couldn't start over, so close to the end!! Today, I see that it was indeed intensity, and not passion, that kept me going. I made great grades, but it was painful. Pain, however, was part of the architecture school culture- if you weren't suffering, you weren't trying hard enough.

"Every industry has a culture. And every culture is driven by a value system...once you're rooted in a particular's often agonizingly difficult to unravel yourself from its values, practices, and rewards...If you're successful at the wrong thing, the mix of praise and opportunity can lock you in forever."

I'm good at what I do, but I hate it. Healthcare architecture is stifled by so many regulations, requirements, conservative clients, ad nauseum. Sometimes I think that I'm just in the wrong specialty of architecture; that if I could work on banks, fire stations, or even houses; that I would like it better. The problem is, once you've specialized for a few years, nobody wants to give you the chance to try a different specialty. You're too valuable in the specialty you already know.

"Probably the most debilitating obstacle to [answering "what should I do with my life?"] is the fear that making a choice is a one-way ride, that starting down a path means closing a door forever."

This is especially true. There are remnants of a plan in my head, but with the plan comes the doubt. If I abandon architecture, should I keep my license? Will I want it later? If I don't keep it renewed, I'd have to take the exams over again- and that's not going to happen. If I go back to school, what will happen if it doesn't work out? Will any firm "take me in" with a year (or longer) gap in my architectural employment history?

How will my story end? Will I travel to Rome, to see the Pantheon, and then leap to my death through the oculus, giving the finger to the industry on my way down? That makes a nice, overly dramatic ending to a book, perhaps. Truthfully, I'd much rather become the person that others in my position look at and say, "that CAD Monkey, she's my hero. She figured out her career was killing her soul, and rescued it by (insert: whatever the hell I finally decide to do)."


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

13 reasons I know my project is doomed

After receiving the suggestion to create a "top 10" list, I settled on the number thirteen- the cliched number of bad luck...

  1. The project manager is asking me when the deadline is.

  2. The existing plan files (given to us by the client) are neither dimensionally accurate, nor what is actually existing.

  3. Most of the drawing files associated with the job have “issues,” which cause AutoCAD to crash fairly regularly.

  4. We have been unable to obtain an existing underground utility survey.

  5. Supposedly, there are two underground fuel tanks in the areas we need to dig in order to build column footings.

  6. We finally got a utility survey back (drawn in PowerPoint, no less) with a clouded area showing “possible location of third underground fuel tank.”

  7. The client asks us to take part of one drawing package and “just” add it to a different package.

  8. The Project Manager thinks it will take one day to do this task.

  9. It actually takes five.

  10. The due date is still the same.

  11. Some team members don’t realize that you can’t just change a file name on the server without royally screwing several other files.

  12. I accidentally deleted one of the files from the server (with no hope of retrieval) while trying to fix this error.

  13. The designer is still designing.
When the Project Manager is asking me what the deadline is for the project, I just chalk it up as another sign that the project is doomed.

Friday, July 08, 2005

CAD Monkey: Today sucked at work. I want to be a caterer.
ManThing: You'd have to wear a hairnet. You'd look like a lunch lady.
CAD Monkey: I've already got the bra.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

I keep seeing the term “work-life balance.” My interpretation of that is: less work equals more life. Now, if I could only figure out a way to finance that thought…

My cube neighbor has a habit of offering me tastes of food that he has made. I appreciate the offer, but as a rule, if it’s not a dessert, I’m not really interested. Most of the time, when I decline, he just says, “okay,” and sits back down. Sometimes he persists, and I end up with a plate holding a chunk of overly-charcoaled meat on my desk. The only reason it bothers me is that I feel obligated to wash the plate. For meat I didn’t want. I don't even like doing dishes at home for stuff I did want to eat.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


Suffering from a bad case of post-holiday letdown, I am becoming a slowly bubbling pit of rage. Despite a tall double latte (some of which I spilled on my shirt) and an additional cup of crappy office coffee, I am tired to the point of nearly drooling on the keyboard. I have contemplated going to the restroom and attempting to nap while sitting on the toilet.

Some of the cubicle assignments were rearranged this weekend, and now every time I have to pick something up off the printer I am forced to walk past someone who uses entirely too much perfume. Unfortunately, they didn’t move the guy with the perpetual sinus problem (hack, snort) and whiny voice that I overhear on the phone (for personal calls) all the frelling time. The more I hear his voice, the more I want to strangle him. And force-feed him Ben@dryl.

Somebody has tried, three seven times, to fax something to my phone number. The fax machine has left me a message twice four times. The message was, “beep.” I tried to fax something back to the number to tell them to cease and desist, but that only seemed to make the calls increase in frequency.

My phone started to ring again, and as I was gearing up to be angry again, I noticed it was my cube neighbor calling. When I picked up the phone, he answered, “beep!”


Friday, July 01, 2005

poetry slam

Creativity gone,
I am a dry husk.
Once full of life,
my artist's soul
now blows in the hot dry wind
that stings my face,
inspiring me to write
crap poetry

and wallow

in my pretentiousness.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Last night I had a dream about cakes. There was a table with six of them, really fancy, some over 18" high. I took a slice from two of them.

This morning, there was cake in the office kitchen. I am a pastry psychic!

As I was cutting a slice for myself, I told a coworker about how I'd dreamed of cakes, and lo, here was a cake.

He said he'd dreamed today was Saturday.

I wish his dream had come true instead of mine.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Today, I was complemented on my uncanny ability to not burn my popcorn in the office microwave, thereby not stinking up the joint.

I'm very talented.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Ordered my MINI on Saturday. Have to wait until November. Want it now. Pout.

So very distracted. I don't want to work on recreating a parking garage in CAD from 26-year-old drawings when I could be contemplating the wonders of my future new car.

This will be the first car of mine that I want to have pictures taken of me hugging it. ManThing said he figured I'd also take a picture with me in the trunk, popping out of the sunroof, and- if I could remove the engine-popping out of the hood. Like an Oompa Loompa. Pop! "Hellooo!"

I've been in love with the new MINI for nearly two years, but I've been stuck in a four year lease on the GeneriCar. The GeneriCar has been a perfectly reliable vehicle, but it's time for me to have a car where I don't have to turn off the AC in order to accelerate.

Is it November yet?

How about now?


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Where the hell is that vaccine?!?

Plagued as I am by recurring episodes of discontent with my profession, I came to the conclusion that architecture is the career choice equivalent of suffering from lupus.*

Here's what the Mayo Clinic has to say about architecture:**

Architecture is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect many parts of the body, especially the mind, stomach, and wallet. Flare-ups of architecture tend to come and go throughout one’s career, and they may cause the sufferer to feel burned-out, anxious, and frustrated.

Architecture occurs in several types, including systemic undermining of cumulative knowledge (SUCK), and bullshit level overload (BLO). BLO is the most common type and causes the most difficulties. It can lead to problems such as frustration, ulcers, binge drinking and career failure.

For many people, architecture is only a mild annoyance. For others, it may cause serious mental illness and even quality-of-life-threatening problems. More than 16,000 people in America develop architecture each year. It is estimated that any where from 100,000 to over 200,000 Americans have been diagnosed with architecture.

The diagnosis and treatment of architecture has improved tremendously in the past few decades. If you take care of yourself and get proper medical treatment, you usually can still lead an active, healthy life.

* If you came here actually looking for information on lupus, try here or here.

**Note to Mayo Clinic: Don't sue me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Karma's a bitch...but so am I

It just occurred to me that I very likely got this sinus thing as a result of stealing nips of someone's flavored coffee creamer from the office fridge.
They've probably licked the bottle.
Serves me right.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Why can't I install a cot in my cube?

During architecture school, insomnia was a bearable affliction to have. To a degree, it was even a desirable affliction- sometimes my designs would benefit from the trippy sense of detachment that several days’ worth of sleep deprivation inspired. My school schedule was such that I worked, for however many days necessary, until I finished the project. When the project was finished, I slept. In the interim, I could steal time and energy away from other pursuits to fuel my body’s need for sleep: dressing like a slouch, not fixing meals, not doing laundry. Falling asleep in class would do, in a pinch.

When working an 8-to-5 job, insomnia is not a bearable affliction. My schedule is the same all the time. I need sleep every day. There is no opportunity to catch up in 15-hour spurts like I used to- I’d have to take vacation or sick time for that now. “The project” is never finished once you begin working. I can’t wear pajama pants to work, I’m too old to subsist solely on turkey jerky and orange slurpees, and laundry must be done- for both myself and my husband. Falling asleep in a meeting is a definite way to get myself canned.

Before I became a cubicle drone, not being able to sleep didn’t bother me as much. I saw the insomnia as an opportunity. I could read, watch a movie, do any number of things in place of sleeping. Now, I know that I must sleep- or risk certain death from falling asleep on the Tollway during the morning commute. So I try. And try. I fail. I still try. I still fail. This is an all night endeavor; I usually get two hours of unconsciousness as a reward. Except for the nights that I don’t. Try as I might, my stupid body or brain or whatever is running The Freakshow That Is Me won’t let me sleep. I feel much like I did while in the depths of depression- unfocused, groggy, detached- except that, strangely, my mood is much better.

What I can’t figure out is what the hell triggered this? Was there some shift in the CAD Monkey Continuum? Did someone move my cubicle wall 3 inches? Has The Dog been playing subliminal messages in the middle of the night?

I guess I’m just screwed indefinitely.


Tuesday, May 24, 2005

CAD Monkey: I hate the stupid “youngest one at the table has to write the meeting minutes" rule!

Lori: Do what I do. Write short sweet notes and get the boss to review them and he will end up writing most of them.

For example:
Reviewed previous meeting minutes with client: Approved
Reviewed plans. Minor modifications made: See new plan

End of meeting......hehhehe

CAD Monkey: It's more like, "Attendees watched designer throw huge hissyfit because the project team changed his design, but he hasn't bothered to show up to the last three team meetings."

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The cat is the Good One right now

Parents always seem to have at least one story about something gross involving their offspring and poo. Although it doesn't involve an actual child, I think today's mishap in the CAD Monkey household can safely join, if not surpass, the poo stories I've come across so far.

Background Item #1: A few months ago, after a full week in which ManThing and I came home to various and assorted "presents" The Dog had left on the bathroom floor, we decided to put her in doggie diapers. She no longer has accidents, as long as the diaper is on.

Background Item #2: We have a Roomba. This handy little vacuum roams around in circles, then stops itself when it thinks it has picked up enough dirt. Before I left the house this morning, I set it to clean the bathroom and hallway floor.

When I pulled into the garage this evening, ManThing met me outside the door with a look of severe trepidation upon his face. He said, "I tried to call you, and warn you to stay clear of the house for a little while."

"Why? What broke?"

"Nothing broke, it's just that I forgot to put the diaper on The Dog this morning. She must have gone into the bathroom right after we left."

Roombas, vigilant little creatures that they are, don't stop for puddles- or anything that isn't completely solid, for that matter. I'm sure you can imagine the carnage that ensued from this combination of events. However, if you can't imagine, I'll spell it out in gruesome detail: The Dog had crapped in the bathroom, and the Roomba then proceeded to spread the poo all over the bathroom floor and hallway. Although ManThing had managed to clean up the worst of it before I got there, there was still a nasty haze all over the affected floor.

ManThing was so angry with her that he had put her in the broom closet.

If I weren't on meds right now, The Dog would have become permanently accident-free due to my foot in her ass.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Monkey

When I'm sitting in a conference room with the project team, envisioning myself leaping across the table, anime-style, complete with 8-second hang time, to "tell" the designer what I really think of his latest ideas, does that mean I am imaginative, or is it just The Crazy?

And was it wrong that I thought up that image while I was supposed to be taking meeting notes?

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Put This In Your Blog and Smoke It!

Fellow architect Jeromy sent me a link to an article titled, “Your Creative Career: Design It Here.” The article listed nine different design-oriented jobs, including computer aided design (CAD) and interior design. In his e-mail, Jeromy asked, “Notice something missing from this list? Put this in your blog and smoke it!”

Architecture was conspicuous in its absence from the list.

At first I replied: It’s not missing. I haven’t done a creative thing yet.
After some thought, I added: The thing that irks me most is that they include interior desecrators, but not architects. I guess it takes an entirely different breed of psychopath to qualify for our job.

Jeromy: As if interior designers are any more creative. They are just as dull as we are. Lori and I were watching the Dwell Magazine TV show the other night. It seemed that all of the really cool houses were owned by the architect that designed them. I'm beginning to think that is where architects indulge themselves. Actual Architecting™, for other people, is not fun, except in very rare cases. Architecting™ for yourself, if you have the money, is fun.
BTW, I have trademarked the word “Architecting™.”

CAD Monkey: Architect…it’s a verb, it’s a noun, it’s an adjective! It’s the new “Fuck.”
My question is, how do I get the money to do some “Architecting™” to my house? Certainly not through 8-to-5 Architecting™ alone. ManThing and I were actually talking the other day about just selling the house.

Jeromy: Buying and selling houses is a good way if you do it incrementally, or excrementally.
The truth is that you can build a cool home. You just need to do your research and planning. Talk to a construction lender, they'll give you some options. You need a design, cost estimate, proposed property, contractor, and a bank. Get all of those things together at one time and you’re in business. The biggest problem that I see is paying rent on an apartment and paying a mortgage while you're waiting for the house to be built. I think this may be why many people build garage apartments.

CAD Monkey: Paying rent and a mortgage at the same time is an impossibility for us right now. Stupid wedding. Maybe we could build a carport and live in it. There was a lot for sale that I was eyeballing on Sunday. It was next door to a house that some other guy is Architecting™. It would have been fun to out-design a neighbor.

It’s the Curse of the Architect: to be blessed with great taste, but never have the ability to afford anything befitting that taste.