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