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!
I recently came back from a site observation. Now this was no ordinary observation. My office is in Tucson, AZ and the project is in Gallup, NM. To put it in perspective, it is about a 7 hour drive. One question I always get is, why don’t you fly? The main reason is time, the closest airport is in Albuquerque, which is about 2 hours away. Not too bad, but there are not any direct flights from Tucson to Albuquerque. So, between the flight, and rental car drive, it is close to 8 hours. So it ends up being about the same amount of time, and with the long drive I get to stay caught up on my Podcast. But what I really wanted to talk about is the Site Observation.
How many of us remember our senior year of high school? For most, this is a rite of passage. We leave behind our parents and depending on the life choice even our friends. My parents had moved me from one school district to another. Starting in 9th grade, I had to make new friends. I can only imagine what it must be like for the children of military parents. Moving every couple of years. But I was lucky enough that my Dad was no longer in the Air Force by the time I was born. Moving was rare for me, it was only the third time in my life. But let’s get back to high school.
It was just a little over 40 years ago that I set my sights on being an Architect. Well, at age 13, I’m not sure what the profession was that involved drafting. I just knew that I really wanted to be a drafter. My parents moved during the summer between my 8th and 9th grade. The structure of the new school district had 9th grade in the middle school. So, classes were still selected for the student. Just like my 8th grade experience there was 4 weeks of mechanical drafting in wood shop. Wood shop was only one semester, so there was a lot crammed into that class.
I was thinking about the day I knew I wanted to be an Architect. I really didn’t know what it meant, but there was something stirring inside me that brought me down this path. As a ‘little’ kid, I had the same dreams as anyone else. By little kid, I’m talking 6 or 7 years old. My earliest memory is wanted to be an astronaut or scientist. I loved looking up at the stars and was fascinated with space travel. I was 5 when man landed on the moon and I watch every moon landing with my family.