All day yesterday, I was at the North Campus, working on removing an old gadget -- about the size of two or three refrigerators -- which will be replaced by a new gadget of about the same size but a different shape.
Unwired it last week, and removed all the small bits; even got an associated rack about twenty inches wide, a yard deep and over five feet tall unbolted from the floor and carefully moved off the old tile, all by myself.
By myself again yesterday, first rearranging the random scatter of junk filling the forty-foot-square garage* to make room for unloading the new gadget and associated things, and then taking apart the remainder of the gadget that's got to be removed. It breaks down into two big cabinets -- once you've found all the bolts holding them together -- and each one is too heavy for me to move, even with all the easily-removable parts taken out. Finding that out took half a day. We've got a hobbyist who will be happy to take them away (there's a power supply in each one you would not believe, which sharply limited the pool of people who could make safe use of them), if they can be safely moved.
Today, it looks like I'll be trying, yet again, to track down the suppliers and contractors for the new gadget. The people who made the thing would really, really like to ship it to us; the people who will do the associated and largely outdoors portion of the work and supply the parts for it have stopped returning calls. Their facility is half a day's drive away and there's a point in this project where the best use of my time would be camped out in their lobby, seizing project engineers and corporate vice-presidents by the lapels and asking where our stuff and our crew might be. We're not quite there yet. Not quite. And so I'll do much the same thing by telephone, working my way up the food chain and probably ending up with my boss pulling me into his office, asking why I called that company's president; he won't be officially happy when I tell him it was part of carrying out his instructions that I make contact with them and get an update on the project timeline, but it's what he wants nevertheless.
This kind of thing is the real core of what I do, just as I have been working on the "top priority" removal job only one day a week; there are, it seems, other top priorities, which mostly involve responding to urgent pages at the main office having to do with bad batteries, preventable damage and mis-typed passwords. Sarcasm? No; those things really are urgent, if you want to get decent work product from panicked non-geek people. It's got to be done so we can go do the more-interesting things as time permits.
* "What all men own, no one owns," and that garage is a prime example. The space belongs to no single department; it's got our only overhead beam hoist and a higher ceiling than any garage or warehouse type space my local employer owns. It's supposed to be available to whoever in the company needs it. When I spent most of my time at the North Campus, I was able to keep it pretty squared away; between me and Building Maintenance, we even kept the worst of the dust swept. That was years ago. The place turns into a maze, filled with office furniture "too good the throw out," tag-ends of multi-conductor wire on big spools, company-truck parts, maintenance supplies, project leftovers and plain junk. A morning's work (in 85-degree heat) gained me a clear area twenty feet square (well. clear once I remove a golf cart and a snowplow attachment from one side) and one fifteen by twenty and a wide aisle connecting them, which should be sufficient.
4 months ago