Saturday, April 15, 2017

Work, Work, Work

     I started yesterday at about 10:30 a.m.  I ended about 3:30 a.m.

     See, we have this big construction project at work.  An entire department -- a big department -- has been moved out, their old space stripped to the bare walls, floor slab and the bottom of the floor above, and then rebuilt.  Most of the work is being done by a general contractor -- fixed price, firm timeline, penalties for not meeting milestones; it's nothing to do with me or my peers.

     But we have a little techy infrastructure to put back in, and we're adding a bit more and--  "firm timeline, penalties..." means the contractor has only barely left time for our stuff in their schedule, and even at that, we're dodging electricians on ladders and in the halls, trying not to get tromped on by suspended-ceiling guys on drywaller's stilts, having to untangle fat multicables the elevated-floor crew has trapped around supports, and so on. There's an immovable event starting Monday: carpet is being laid over the elevated floor.  Once it is down, we will have only limited access to underneath at preplanned (and possibly awkward) places.  There were a bunch of wires and cables still to run at the end of the day Thursday and so I got my routine stuff out of the way first thing Friday and then started in as the construction crews faded away early, this being a holiday weekend and all.

     It never goes as you planned.  Some time after starting, I looked up and realized it had gotten dark outside and I was hungry.  Went and had a vending machine burger and went back to it, my dark-brown work dungarees* paled to taupe by the dust, and didn't see the end of it until three, when, a bit punchy and clumsy, I cleared away tools and remaining materiel, put them in their storage locations,† and headed for home.

     At one time, I made that trip at about that time in the other direction twice every three weeks; the drunks aren't any less worrisome when you are headed north instead of south.

     But I think -- I hope! -- that I have enough done that we'll be able to work with it and perhaps add a few extras next week right under the feet of the carpet-layers, without their even noticing.

     I have also once again proven that when you have to pre-measure and cut cables before installing, you need to leave plenty extra: pulling 50-foot-plus cables into a dead-straight "as the crow flies" run that measured 41 feet left me two feet to connect to at each end.  Where's the extra thirty inches?  It's a mystery!
* Carhartt Double-Fronts.  I swear by 'em.  They are sturdy, comfortable, and have lots of pockets.  Sizing has become kind of variable after they moved production offshore, or maybe just from one offshore location to an even cheaper one, but so far the material and workmanship are still excellent.

† Sadly, not everyone does this.  You want to leave your own stuff out?  Fine.  But shared resources are another thing -- put that stuff back, so the next poor fool can find it!


stuart said...

Yep, the 100 plus people need to be up and running by 8am monday jobs are real fun aren,t they

Anonymous said...

The USAF has been flying Boeing B-52s for pushing 60 years now. They have had just about *everything* except the base airframe stripped out, gutted, and updated *several* times by now. Engines, mechanicals, avionics, weapons systems. Pretty much all of it. (Probably even the proverbial 900 dollar toilet seat, as well.)

True story, the mechanics and flight crews have standing orders to *never* touch a switch if it has dirt on it.

I imagine there are strong parallels with that philosophy and the installed tech in your buildings...

fillyjonk said...

Your second footnote:

OH GOODNESS YES. I have grumbled more than once about some bit of shared lab equipment that's flown the coop only to find a colleague used it and then put it back in his or her own personal little hidey-hole for it.

On the other hand, I had a lab mate, years and years ago, who would officiously put away my stuff for me, without asking. Even if it was slides that were having to set overnight before I read them. We had words about that after he ruined one of my set-ups, and I took to leaving passive-aggressive notes about why it was not okay for him to be Mr. Tidy in my area of the lab.