A couple of weeks ago I talked about the personal time spent over the year. I also noted last week that I was going to write about Elves vs Snowmen. It has been over 5 years since I left MPI Architects in Dallas. While I was there the office had a tradition of sending out a New Year’s card in lieu of a Christmas card. There was some sound logic for this, but out of respect to my former employer, I will keep it to myself. Now let’s jump into some fun.
Since we have wrapped up the holiday season and are full swing into the New Year. I started to write a little light-hearted article about Elves vs Snowman. But then I came across an article about the use of color documents. Being an artist at heart, I love the use of color. For my hand drawn images, I use black and white, but on the computer, I love the color pallet. Which a is great Segway back to the color article.
I’ve come to the conclusion that this may not be a new year but a used one. I poke fun at it, because I know without a doubt that this is a new year and there is a lot of exciting things on the horizon. I will have so much to share as time marches on, but first I want to take a quick peak at the last year. If you have been following my blog, you know I get caught in some pretty rough travel cycles. December was no different, I finally made it home on the 21st.
When is part 2 of the bench DIY coming? It’s in the back of my mind and just around the corner. However, with most of us taking advantage of the four-day weekend, I wanted to give thanks. Before I jump into what I have to be thankful for. I wanted to share a little Thanksgiving history. If you know anything about me, I really enjoy history. There is so much we can learn from the past and look to the future.
I know, I owe everyone part 2 of the DIY bench. With the holidays around the corner, I got trapped in doing other stuff. I’m still playing catch up from my 5,000+ journey for work. My dad recently bought himself a small trailer and I’ve been helping him with home repairs. Plus I started my own remodel project in creating a studio on the second floor of the home.
Last August I started another Do It Yourself (DIY) project. But I need to rewind just a little. The current placed we live has a great view in Tucson. My wife and I live in a 2-story home with a balcony and we back up a flood-controlled area. What does that mean? Simply put it is an area that can’t be developed. So, we will always have desert behind our home.
I originally wrote a 2 part blog on a wood patio bench project. For now, I’m going to set the DIY blog aside and post it next week, instead I’m writing my own “Op Ed”. While I was driving from Tucson to Winslow for work, I was listening to the news. The same thing came up over and over. It is about the shooting in Pittsburgh at the synagogue. If you know anything about me, I’m about building bridges and creating collaboration. I really wanted to take a moment and remember the victims. I don’t personally know any of them, but this story of hate goes against my very nature.
Most of my architectural career has been doing Project Management work and Construction Administration. It’s nice to get back to where it all begins. The irony is I wrapped up my marathon road trip where it begins. Not so much about a destination, but where Architecture begins. I’m talking about Space Planning.
Two weeks ago, we were at CONSTRUCT. Once a year, CSINext gets together under the CSI badge and celebrates everything we have in common. The common goal is to strive to make the construction industry a better place. This is obvious if you look at the CSI tag line “Building Knowledge Improving Project Delivery”. What is the best way to improve the project delivery, that’s right open up the lines of communication and build the professional network.
I received a call during late August. The owner was having issues with a fast-paced small project. The project is about 350 miles from my home. There aren’t any flights to the location with it being located in a remote rural area of New Mexico. This was going to be a one week trip, but as the week progressed it was evident that I needed to stay a second week. The travel back and forth is by rental car, I would head home each Saturday. While nothing exciting happened on these road trips or turn into the adventures of the classic movie ‘Vacation’. It was a lot of miles.
Not to worry, I’m not closing the blog. But this does remind of a song from 1998 by Semisonic - Closing Time. It is hard to believe this song is 20 years old and who would think that the late 90’s would now be nostalgic. To steal a quote “Nostalgia: its delicate, but potent. In Greek, ‘nostalgia’ literally means ‘the pain from an old wound.’ It's a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone; a feeling of a place where we ache to go again.” -Don Draper, Mad Men. However, this is about the handover of the project to the client. Depending if you have a really good contractor or someone who has made the construction challenge to the very end, it is always a satisfying experience to close out a project.
“The eagle has landed.” Everyone knows those famous word as the world held its breath watching the moon landing of July 20, 1969. This Friday will the 49th anniversary of Apollo 11 with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the Eagle lander. I was five at the time, but I do remember all us gathered around the TV watching the landing. TV was exciting to me, bringing a world of science, imagination and blending the two in science fiction. Science Fiction on TV was lean (it still is today) but every chance I could get, I would watch Star Trek, Twilight Zone Lost in Space, and the Outer Limits. This is going to be a weird segue, but I remember the big push for “Keep America Beautiful” campaign of 1971. These commercials were everywhere and of course the infamous commercial of Iron Eyes Cody, better known as the Crying Indian when trash is thrown at his feet by a passing car.
For those of you who have been following my weekly blog that I was doing twice a week, and wondering what happened. I can only say WAY too much travel. WAY to many deadlines with all of them converging on the same day. But these are excuses, the last blog I wrote that I was working weekends. I have moved beyond the weekend into the 5th dimension to try and meet all of my work-related demands. But it doesn’t end there, I still need to stay social with my family. Fortunately, I have spent every Sunday with my Dad.
One thing I rarely do is work weekends any more. I prefer to spend the time with my family. I really enjoy the way my office has the work week setup. We are one of those offices that only works half days on Fridays. That means Monday through Thursday we work 9-hour days. I personally work the early shift, 7:00am to 5:00pm with and hour for lunch. Friday, I still get in at 7:00 but I leave at 11:00am. The other shift is 8:00 to 6:00. Monday through Thursday we have our clients covered 7:00 to 6:00. But in reality, with email and cell phones we work almost 24/7.
In the business of Architecture, communication is key. In my youth one of the gifts I received from my Mom was the obversion of the Telephone. In my 20’s and 30’s, I would do anything to avoid the phone. I’m not always sure why I hesitated to use the phone. Could be something to do with having to express myself in real time without reading the body language of the other person.
I recently came back from the CSI Southwest Region Conference. I had the honor of serving the region as President for this fiscal year. The region has taken a different approach, starting last year. We fund, coordinate and manage the entire conference. The only assistance from the local chapter is helping with the local venue location. This started last year in Tucson and it proved to be successful and profitable. That’s why we used the same model for Las Vegas.
I really enjoy history. Little did I know I would be reflecting on my own to talk about the Request For Information (RFI) process. Today, we have so much access to information at our finger tips, anywhere and anytime. Yes, I’m talking about the Smartphone. However, if you rewind just 15 years, or even better 20 years ago. You dialed 411 to get information. The extent of the feedback was a phone number and sometimes an address.
Trying to get back into the swing of things. I finished phase 1 of my home projects. And I also completed the work deadline. Today I have successfully made it around our Sun for another trip. I straddle the line depending on what article you read if I’m a Baby Boomer or Gen-X. But it is really just a label, and anyone who knows me I’m not much with labels. Before I jump back into architecture, I wanted to pay a small tribute today. My birth and upbringing are due to 2 amazing people, yet they lived very simple lives.
Just a quick note. As you noticed, only one Blog last week. I pulled two 60 hour work weeks in row and I still have one more to go to get to project finished. With that and some personal stuff going on, I will be taking a couple of weeks off from the Blog. But don't worry, I will be back when I return from the the Southwest Region Conference. Cheers!