Thursday, November 13, 2008

Things I am learning from construction

1. Be a bitch
When I started working, my immediate reaction was to be nice and helpful. Contrary to what my instincts say, being helpful does two things. It gets you more work and it earns you a reputation for being a pushover. In the worst cases, being helpful makes you spend money that you were not obligated to spend and will not be repaid for. Learn to say no and do nothing without paper. There are exceptions to this rule--be helpful to people within your company (namely, your boss) and your foreman (because they will make your life hell if you don't).

2. Ask all questions
Problems come up. That's the nature of the beast. Before you run to buy a new fixture or send a panicked email, stop and ask questions. What happened? Did you see it? Is this on the drawings? Whose mistake is it? Did we take pictures? All of these questions drive to one singular point: You must understand the situation completely before you can propose the best solution. The first solution you think of may be quickest, but in general, it is always the most expensive. Slow down, because the person you go to with the problem is going to ask the same questions that you should. Take time to find the answers first.

3. Hedge your bets
If it's not on paper it doesn't exist. We have to commit to two things: schedules and prices. It is very tempting to be helpful (see point one) and give a lower price or an earlier date based on one week of hunky-dory work. Optimistic predictions become lies when the crap hits the fan. When giving things in writing, you need a disclaimer. "This is based on a three day turnaround on submitted documents." "This is assuming no delays in shipping." "This date is riding the concrete being poured." "This price doesn't include overtime." Things will go wrong. It is your responsibility to foresee them and cover your butt ahead of time.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Invoices are the devil

I've been fighting with an invoice all day. As invoices go, this is one of the smaller ones - for a five to six million dollar project. Getting the numbers to equalize is giving me fits. I am down to just two columns in the new and improved format (requested by the Invoice Guru a billing away from completion) not equaling the old, somewhat fubar-ed old format.

Now it is time to steal a salad out of the work fridge (leftover from Monday night), and go home to a hot bowl of soup.

Maybe I'll email the invoices to myself and work on them later...

Friday, November 7, 2008

I am an attention whore

Go here and look at my freaking awesome engagement pictures.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Seriously people

I voted.

No, I won't tell you who for.

It's none of your business.

No, I don't want to know who you're voting for.

You're probably making a dumb decision anyway.

No, I won't be celebrating tonight.

Whoever wins will still ruin the country eventually.

Now shut up.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Good Day

This weekend was excellent. B.J. and I had been looking forward to our engagement photos since we first met our photographer this spring. We'd gone back and forth on location and settled on Main Street Books in Old Town St. Charles. Beej and I had gone there during one of our first marathon dates in May and loved the brick building with its cozy atmosphere.

The first photos were taken outside under the sign, then we moved inside to play with puppets, read Walter the Farting Dog, kiss dramatically on the staircase, and pose with a copy of How to Enchant a Man.  Photos outside included a stroll down the brick streets and twirling around a lampost.  

All in all, there's not much like a new haircut, a professional makeup job and a hot date to start weekend off correctly.  The rest of the time was spent watching the Muppet Show and eating pizza rolls.