Sunday, March 30, 2008

Guy working weekends, film at 11.

It occurrs to me that I haven't said much about Guy in recent weeks/months. Which I guess is to be expected, since this is my blog, "Why Architects Drink". If it was Guy's blog, it would be, "Why Architects Watch A Lot of ESPN and Kick Ass on Computer Games." Or something. Nevertheless, Guy's happenings are an integral part of my life, and if things get bad for Guy, it could make me drink just as well.

Backstory for the uninitiated: Guy and I met at DA in 2000. The cuteness of the story is here. Architects do end up marrying other architects, or at least interior designers, landscape architects, or contractors, because of the nature of our work. Put simply, it's so fucked up that only someone else in that field understands it. Because Guy and I are both healthcare architects, we speak a language that few others speak, or really want to speak for that matter. One of us can say, "Man, that's like putting VCT in a sterile core!" and the other one laughs their ass off. It makes for some pretty lame pillow talk in our house: *smooch* "Honey, have you ever gotten a 20-minute rating and smoke gasketing on an ICU door?" "Naw, Honeybear, you can't get it; the pivoting action of the far panel will rip the seals off in a month."

So, longtime readers of WAD know that Guy left DA in fall of 2006 and worked at a weird little firm downtown, realized they were more fucked up than Courtney Love doing Jello shots with Andy Dick, and then moved in early 2007 to his present office, Acme Architects. Acme is a national architecture and engineering firm, and their Denver office is only a couple of years old. However, they specialize in healthcare, so they wanted some good healthcare people around for whenever they got their first project. Hence, they hired Guy at a 20% raise from what he was making at DA. In the meantime, he helped out other Acme offices, like their outpost in Arizona and the main office in Kansas. He spent some time doing some onsite CA work in Arizona, in the middle of which I sprained my ankle. But otherwise, he's been really nonbillable for a while. A long while.

It's one thing to doodle around at work during a slow time for a day, maybe two, maybe even a week. For super-busy/motivated people like Guy and me, anything more than one day of doodling feels really uncomfortable. Guy's been alternately surfing and sites on architecture and healthcare as much as he can, but he's gone crazy for months now. I'd pick him up at 5:10 every day, and he'd get in the car and say, "Well, I actually had about three hours of billable work today, that was nice." Being constantly underemployed is taxing on the soul. Guy felt like leaving that the end of 2007--"I haven't done very much, and I don't feel like it's ethical of me to take their money like this"--and they must have smelled it, because they gave him a 10% raise and a small bonus. Guy's big boss even said, "Please don't leave, Guy, I know things are really slow, but we're going to need you."

All of a sudden early last week, Guy gets the chance he's been waiting for: Acme is trying for a medical office building job on a CDC outpost north of Denver. They want to see a schematic exterior rendering and floor plans of some of the labs, treatment areas, and offices. Guy is jonesing. They give him this other guy to work with, some guy who's supposed to be a real design expert, but the punk totally doesn't do a damn thing and Guy does everything--exterior, interior, the works. Guy shows this fellow up (inadvertently) in the end of the week pin-up with their big boss. Sometimes, doing good work while no one else is doing it can be a means in and of itself.

Guy had to attend an interview and tour of the existing facilities with Designer Punk and a couple of contractors last week. They drove up to Longmont in Designer Punk's car to the contractor's office, then carpooled in a Contractormobile (aka large SUV) to the CDC's campus. Now, let's all think for a second: The Center for Disease Control is studying really virulent things on this campus, things that could be used as biological weapons in the wrong hands. What do you want to bet they're gonna want to see your ID before you drive onto their campus?

What do you want to bet Designer Punk left his wallet in his car? In between the front seats? Where someone just walking by could see it?

"What did you do?!" I gasped when Guy told me the story. Guy just chuckled.

"He had to walk half a mile back to a Citgo and wait for two hours. We couldn't take him, cuz we were already late for our meeting," Guy replied.

*sigh* Amateurs.

As I type this, Guy is at work, figuring out a site plan for this building. It's his big chance to prove to Acme that hiring him was the right thing to do. Of course, I could have told them that. No one says "negative pressure immunodeficiency patient room airflow" and makes your toes curl like that man of mine.

Friday, March 28, 2008

...and not a moment too soon.

As I've mentioned, things are kinda slow around Design Associates, in the design and construction economy in general, really. When things get slow, I get nervous. I do my best work when I have a decent amount to do and a never-quite-emptying To Do List. Plus, a few support staff folks were laid off recently, which was really creepy and had an unsettling effect on the whole office's tone. So lately, Shorty's been a little anxious. While MHRC's radiology suite is getting built, there are few questions being asked of me lately, so I need other things to help fill out my time. I was able to help Derek for a couple of days, and then I got assigned to a team designing a commercial building with a parking garage below it. They were a little overwhelmed in trying to get a code study done for a fast-approaching deadline, and codes do seem to be something of a specialty for me.

Sutherland, our main hiring/firing/staffing guy in the office, came up to me yesterday and said, "Pixie, how long does the Rock Creek Plaza team have you for?"

I shrugged. "Beats me. Howie loaned me to Jann, and now Jann has loaned me to your team to do Rock Creek's code study, so I have no idea what y'all want to do with me. If you find out, let me know."

This morning, as I was preparing for my next intern developmetn seminar, I got an email from Sutherland, saying Thought you should know what's going on. I opened the attached email and read from the bottom up.

In the email, Sutherland asked Howie and copied Jann and Alex (my big boss, one of DA's owners) asking how long they had me for. He mentioned that depending on what the building department said, they could keep me busy through CDs on Rock Creek Plaza. Howie replied back that he wasn't sure; there were a couple of projects that might start anywhere between a month from now and four months from now. He then said that, while he was glad that we had the work available to keep me busy, but he didn't want me to get too far from healthcare as "Pixie is one of our very top healthcare architects, and her experience and work benefits our team immensely."

Oh Howie, yu ar teh awesum!!1!

I did my lunch seminar for the interns on the art and science of construction documents, including explaining to the kids how not to piss off Sarge, our CAD manager/software rock star. I think I struck a raw nerve there with a few of the interns who have sent him, intentionally or not, nastygrams about getting help. I've had several interns mention that they'd love to find out about how we get jobs, do marketing, and decide on fees for projects. I approached our new marketing director about some ideas or help.

She was almost beside herself with enthusiasm on the idea. Matter of fact, she envisioned it as three or four different seminars that would be truly interactive and involve some partner participation, which would help her with her job of getting them to make decisions on firm identity, formats for RFPs and RFQs, and other bringing-home-the-bacon-type stuff. She said she'd mention it in her Monday morning meeting with DA's more public-relationsish and design-oriented partner, and I thanked her profusely for her ideas and said I'd come up with a firmer idea of what/how the seminars would work.

So, after a seemingly very long and tiring and thankless week, I'm feeling better about where I stand at DA. It seems I might have more people in my corner than I originally thought.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Look, it's not me, it's you.

Last Thursday, I was in a furious mood. Well, it was more a combination of fury and that some-days-it-just-doesn't-pay-to-gnaw-through-the-leather-restraints feeling. George Carlin once said that depression is just anger without enthusiasm, and I was beginning to feel that way myself. When I get to feeling like that, I call my antique-dealer-turned-psychologist pal Vinnie for emergency cocktails at McCormick's in Lodo. Fortunately, he had an hour to spare--his partner was having a wine-and-cheese reception at his furniture and art gallery, out of which he'd love to sneak for a bit.

Did I mention Vinnie is gay? All 6'-4", 265 lbs of him, from his strangely 1950s-era buzzcut to his leather Cole Haans. Gay. Not so much Liberace Gay or Elton John Gay, more Neil Patrick Harris Gay.

Anyway, where was I? Oh, I was getting ready to participate in Bring Your Baseball Bat To Work Day.

So, I was venting to Vinnie that everytime my phone rang at work and I saw "MHRC" in the caller ID, my energy drained and my stomach clenched. I told him how at a recent meeting, I had to force myself to laugh at Squidwort's jokes and stories. I was unable to be genuine about him because I feel so unsure about who/what I'm going to get from day to day. Will I get accusatory Squiddy? Happy-to-see-me Squiddy? Optimistic Squiddy? Crankybuns Squiddy. All I wanted was stay-at-least-200-feet-from-me-like-the-restraining-order-says Squiddy.

When I finally paused to swig down the last of my amaretto sour, Vinnie quietly rattled the ice in his highball. "Pixie, it sounds like you're in a crappy relationship, where you're both still around each other and you look at one another and say 'God, I am so tired of you,'" he said. "It's not really verbal abuse; it--and he--are just really, really annoying."

I sighed. "Yes. That is an excellent way to put it," I replied. "I'm just really fucking tired of tolerating this kind of bullshit behavior, where he can't speak to me and everyone else like we're adults and without making accuastory statements. I'm so beyond it."

"When will this project be over?" Vinnie asked.

"Second week in May," I replied.

"Then look towards the second week of May," he said. "There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Meantime, you just be a professional and do a professional job. Don't give MHRC your Pixie Best, because even though that's a wonderful level of service that also makes you feel good, their behavior hasn't earned it. Plus, when you give Squidwort your Pixie Best, you keep givin' away your power. Don't do that."

His phone went off, and he glanced at the display. "Shit, I think Taylor discovered I slipped out."

So, Vinnie had a good point. Even my massage therapist, Sara the Massage Valkyrie, noticed my overall anxiety and tension and reminded me of my visual imagery for dealing with MHRC: protected by the white light, only love gets in. "Set your intention before you go into your meetings and dealings with this person," she said.

The thing about architects is that, in my opinion, the best of us give a little of ourselves away to do this job really well. How else can you explain putting up with the schooling and training and testing and bullshit for what we see on our paychecks every two weeks? It's because we really believe that what we do is worthwhile, is meaningful, and we give away a little bit of ourselves on projects. But we, like any good profession, have to learn where to draw that line, that boundary, to protect ourselves from clients that are not listening and aren't getting it, from contractors that constantly push back, from building departments so bound in red tape that they can't see the forest for the trees. We have to be able to protect our minds and hearts from those who aren't thinking through their words and actions towards us. I suppose all that is true for any profession, but I seem to be relearning it right now.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

...and that's the way it was (built).

When a project gets done being built, the general contractor as well as the mechanical subcontractor and electrical subcontractor send as-builts to the architect and her consultants for final documentation. All the major trades working on a job have their own copy of the drawings that pertains to them, and they make notes on their plans as changes happen. These changes might be from the design team, like an RFI or a PR, or something that was discovered in the field and fixed there without being officially mentioned. They then turn their marked-up drawings over to the architect, who passes on appropriate drawings to the other consultants, like structural, mechanical/plumbing, and electrical engineers. We then mark up our own CAD files to reflect these in-field changes, and we do a final check of their drawings versus ours and make the necessary changes. It's also a good chance for us to make a final check to ensure that we got all those RFIs, PRs, CCDs, and so on incorporated into our drawings. When it's all said and done, we print a final set of drawings for our use and for the owner. We also send a copy of the electronic files to the owner, because technically, the drawings of their building belong to them.

I spent a few days this week doing the as-builts for MHRC's scope procedure suite (the project I did with Billy Ray during the last few months of last year). As I wrapped them up, Jann asked me how things were going on them.
"Fine," I responded. "I've got them marked "Record Set" and everything, but I wanted to ask if we wanted them stamped and signed by Alex?"
"No," Jann replied. "We only stamp and sign a record set, which is what you send the building department, if they require it, and it's not required for MHRC. These are 'as-builts'; they go to the owner, contractor, and us."

I scratched my head a bit. Howie always wanted me to write "Record Set" on my end-of-project drawings because, he maintained, we don't really know how 'as-builted' the building is. Someone could always come after us when something shows up int he building that we didn't know was there and be all, "How come this isn't in your as-builts, huh?" and we have to be all, "Look, we did our finals based on what the contractor sent us, yo" and they're all, like, "Whatever, this shoulda been in your drawings" and we're all, like, "We can't watch the contractor 24/7, dawg, we got shit to do all day too." And so on. So, Howie had me write "Record Set" on the Wheatlands drawings at the end.

So now, Shorty is doing that "Baroo?" look your dog does when it's confused. Am I doing as-builts or record drawings? Which of my project managers is doing this wrong? Does it really matter? If it doesn't matter, then why are there different names for these drawings? If it does, why doesn't Design Associates have a standard for this?

Even more pressing, really, is the slowdown in work in our office. We didn't get selected for a couple of big projects, and I'm a little freaked. Things are really quiet, and I might have to work for Guy's old boss in my office if no one has any use for me. Which would suck big time--Guy's old boss is one of the most useless managers I've ever had the unmitigated displeasure of working for. And I know that last sentence ended with a preposition, but I"m sure Kitty will forgive me. It's an uneasy feeling not knowing what you're doing day to day.

It's also hard when you don't like what you're doing day to day. Vinnie and I had an emergency meeting/cocktail hour about that topic; more solipsistic whining to come.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

X-ray visionary

It's been so busy lately with the radiology department of MHRC getting built--they're working double shifts and Saturdays to get it done. Add in that I've been having to do a lot of marketing work with Howie lately, and my brain is so frazzled that I can't even remember which way is up. It's easy to spend so much time with your head buried in a project--indeed, my profession, Da Biz--that one needs serious comic relief to get some perspective.

It reminds me of early 2001, when I had only been at Design Associates for eight months, and my sister Miss Kitty wanted me to help her with some ideas for remodeling her back porch. She came to me during one of my visits home with a couple of sheets of notebook paper with roughly-penned pictures on them.

"Here, Pix," she said. "Maybe this'll help you get an idea of what I want to do. Here's a bird's eye view of the porch, and here's an x-ray vision of the wall against the guest bedroom."

I was momentarily puzzled. In an instant, I knew what she meant. And I knew as a good younger sister, I had to razz her.

"Um, Kitty, a, um, 'bird's eye view' is what we call a floor plan. And uh, your 'x-ray vision' is an elevation. An interior elevation."

The look on Kitty's face seemed to say that she needed a Ctrl+Alt+Delete reboot. "Wha...?"

"Lulu," I said in the tone of voice you use to explain to the cat why the vacuum cleaner isn't trying to eat her, "the floor plan is what you see if you're laying on the ceiling, as it were. And the interior elevation is what you see when you're standing in the room looking at a wall, but you can get far enough back from it to see the whole wall."

"Right," she said. "But to see that, you'd have to stand waaaaay back, like in the next room. So to see that through the wall, you need x-ray vision."


Monday, March 17, 2008

Liquidated damages

I've been feeling a bit guilty about my lack of posts recently. It started with my early February flu, then my trip to Vegas, then my sister Kitty's visit to Denver, and then a busy week last week taking Revit classes. Many architecture firms are going to Revit instead of CAD, or more specifically, AutoCAD. AutoCAD is the Coca-Cola of CADD (computer-aided drafting and design), but it's always been a bit imperfect and hard to manage, always meant more for use by engineers than architects. Revit, which was acquired ten years ago by the same company that makes AutoCAD, does a better job of drawing buildings in 3D...once you get used to how different it is from AutoCAD and how it works. Anyway, I spent most of last week in a Revit class taught by Sarge, our CAD manager/drill sergeant/enforcer and erstwhile WAD fan and commentator. While I enjoyed the hell out of the class (and embarassing Sarge with my continual non sequiturs), all that time in front of a computer left me uninterested in sitting in front of another one, writing posts.

After last week's class, I should have been more interested in posting, yet there was one more thing draining my energy: Operation Clean This Place Up. A month ago, Guy and I set today as the end date for our cleaning, clutter-clearing, and renovation/improvement efforts. We've been working in fits and starts, depending on our health, energy levels, visitors, and vacations. In the past week, Guy managed to put the finishing touches on the painting job in the living room, and in the last few weeks he completed the casework in the hall. Since the start of 2008, we've also been able to clear a great deal of clutter out of the house: two bookshelves, a set of canvas drawers, clothing, old books and tchotchkes, and even a queen-sized mattress, box spring, and bed frame. God bless eBay and Craigslist.

But Sunday, yesterday, rolled around, and while things were looking good, we weren't quite done. The painting was done, very little cleanup on that left to do, but still...the closets were a little cluttered, I had several large unused canvases in the hall, leaned against a wall with my old drawings from undergraduate studio classes. Dressers had small piles of paperwork and mismatched socks stacked on them; copier paper boxes of need-to-shred old financial records stood silent-but-guilt-inducing guard beside the shredder. We just weren't...done.

I looked around as I finished my breakfast, peering over the Sunday funnies at a stack of odds and ends on the coffee table beyond Guy, who lounged on the chaise while perusing the business section and pondering aloud the fate of Bear Stearns. "Guess I need to get my ass moving," I said. "Tomorrow is substantial completion."

If Guy had been a cat, he would have barely twitched a triangle-shaped ear. "You know, let's just give ourselves an extra week," he said. "We got all the big stuff done, and we can use the extra month to haul stuff off or sell it on eBay. It's no big deal."

I sighed outwardly and rejoiced inwardly. "But if we're overdue on our deadline, who do we pay liquidated damages to?" I inquired of him.

Guy barely twitched again. "Dunno. Guess no one."

In Da Biz, a contractor and an owner agree on a date upon which the project will be completed. Sometimes, the contract will stipulate liquidated damages, which is a dollar amount that the contractor owes the owner each day that the project is overdue. Usually, the owner calculates this as a function of the money that they would be making if they had use of the facility. Sometimes, hospitals will stipulate and enforce liquidated damages, but you usually see it in buildings types that make higher revenue or high, fast revenue, like resorts, hotels, casinos, or even multifamily housing. This explains why there was still construction going on in the Palazzo tower at the Venetian when we were there a month ago--the contractor wanted the owner to be able to use th building and make money with it on a tight schedule, so they focused their efforts on the hotel rooms, the casino addition, and some of the retail and restaurants. This allows them to keep working without having to pay (or having to pay as much in) liquidated damages.

So, Guy and I are going to move the substantial completion date for the Happy Kitten Highrise out a week, which we can do according to our own fictional, totally-made-up-in-our-heads contract, which allows for us to move the deadline due to acts of God. An act of God might be a huge weather or geological event, or in our case, Guy's flu and Miss Kitty visiting for a week.

At least she cleaned the kitchen while she was here. Cleanest it's been in over a month.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Those who can, teach. Those who can't, volunteer like they know what they're doing.

The interns get to the Design Associates office before I do. (I generally roll in around 8:15 to 8:20am and just work through part of lunch so I can leave at 5pm.) As I walk in, they follow me from the lobby to my desk and then get their marching orders for the day. Now, bear in mind that I really didn't want to do as much as I've done so far. I had to get them started with computers and some other tasks last week, but thankfully someone in the office had a great little job for them that involved using some simple tasks in a few software applications that they just learned.

This week, one colleague of mine named Art volunteered to give the interns some experience and guidance in freehand drawing and rendering. I brought the interns upstairs yesterday to met with Art, but he wasn't in yet. I called the front desk, and they heard he wouldn't be in until Tuesday. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?! I saw two small sketchbooks on his desk, which I handed to the girls along with a couple of pens from his desk. I sat them down at a table with a few things to draw as a still life, gave them a few ideas on what to draw, then turned them loose. A little over two hours later, they came to my desk.

"Pixie," one of them said, "Art still isn't here, and we've sketched the stuff you left twice."

My ire grew. Whiskey?! Tango?! Foxtrot?!!

I grabbed my wallet and keys and took the girls on a little trip to a nearby art supply store in a strip mall and got them some pencils and erasers. (Note to self: file that expense report.) I gave them something new to draw, then gave them more suggestions on drawing with softer pencils. I walked over to longtime coworker/pal Sarge's desk and began to quietly hiss the words "I am so pissed at Art..."

Suddenly, I saw him. Finally. At 11-fucking-am. I acted super-glad to see him, worried he might have seen or heard my ire--though why should I care?--and then asked what he had planned for the interns. Turns out he's only working part time in the office at DA right now, just Mondays and Thursdays. To add to this, I have software training with Sarge Tuesday through Thursday this week, so it's not like I can help him take care of them while he's out. If I were able to help, should I be? I need volunteers with this so that no one person has too much to do, including me, and so far, I've put a lot more effort into this than I wanted to or expected to. Why did he volunteer to help with this if he's gone more than half the fucking week?

So, he figured out some stuff to give them to do that didn't need guidance, per se. He left his email and phone number in case they had questions. Still, this is bullshit. He's got them doing some stuff that doesn't exactly feel like he's teaching them anything, but at least I don't have to be there.

The Buddhist/Yoga way of looking at this might be that I have a different view of what teaching and mentoring high school students require, especially students who are thinking about entering the design field but aren't fully sure. I feel like you need to work with them on a daily basis, spend a certain amount of time with them explaining things, reviewing their work, answering questions, and so on. Asking them to trace other people's renderings doesn't sound very edufuckingcational to a Shorty. It may be my approach is over-involved and unnecessary, which is why it wears me out so much.

Well, regardless, I'm in software training. Sarge, if you're reading this, I know I look bored, but it beats doing my actual job right now. (And you're getting me out of the OAC at MHRC, which means Jann has to go in my place. I can't thank you enough.)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Back to my pedestrian life

I dropped Miss Kitty off at the airport this afternoon, thus bringing to an all-too-soon end to a wonderful week. To say Kitty and I had a good time is like saying Hurricane Katrina brought a bit of rain to New Orleans--we had an unmitigated blast. Kitty cooked us some black bean chili one night for dinner, which served as marvelous leftovers again the next night, and we cooked carmelized rotisserie pork chops for her a few nights later. I took Friday off from work, and Kitty and I went to the Sephora in Boulder (droooooool) as well as the outlet mall on the outskirts of Denver. While we did do some damage fo' sho' in our shopping trips, we got some great deals and shared some good laughs.

Dialogue highlights of the past week:
  • "Do you actually need a reason to buy shoes?"
  • *sigh* "Why must Coach put their logo on every damn purse they make?!"
  • "Maddy only bites you when you're typing; if you just pet her, she's fine."
  • "Should we tell Guy this isn't actually meat?"
  • "The only reason they never show Jim Cantore below the waist when he's on TV is because he's got a stiffy watching horrible weather form."
  • "Dammit, you called me over here to hug me just so I'd walk into your fart."
Guy, bless his heart, pretty much stays out of our way when Kitty is here. While he gets long fine with his siblings as an adult, he doesn't have near the close relationship that Kitty and I do. Come to think of it, few people have the close, unique relationship that Kitty and I do. After Kitty and I cried a little last night about neither of us wanting her to go home just yet, Guy saw me going to bed and asked why my eyes were so red. For a split second I was offended that he even had to ask.

Thing is, the normal, banal stuff we did (going to Sam's Club, cooking dinner, reading magazines and drinking Aveda Tea) was just as fun if not more fun that the unusual, fun, girly stuff we did (shopping, going to the spa). It was a delight just to sit around and attempt to pet Hazel as she finally got used to Kitty's presence and would occasionally stroll by. I know I'll get to go see her in about two months, when I come to her college to guest lecture for her colleague's class, but still I wept bitter tears as I dropped her off at the top ramp of DIA and yet more tears came as I drove the long highway back to Denver, my passenger seat empty for the first time in seven days.

May cannot come soon enough. I love you Kitty.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I feel like chili tonight

My sister, Miss Kitty, made black bean chili tonight for dinner. This was beyond delightful; Guy and I arrived home at 5:20 to spicy, yummy smells and frantic kitties--"Something smells good and Aunt Kitteh won't let us have any!" sort of meows were coming from Maddy and Hazel. (Hazel is even warming up to her Aunt Kitty--we don't get a lot of visitors, so it's good to see Hazel getting used to someone and even getting within 18 inches of a stranger.) Kitty served the chili with shredded Mexican-blend cheese, light sour cream...and Fritos. Oh, Fritos. I suddenly felt about seven years old again, and Kitty was making sure I got enough Fritos because I was too short to reach the bag on the table. Ahh, pure comfort.

Last night we went to Whole Foods and walked around. No, seriously, we walked up and down every aisle of Whole Foods, just to see what all they have. Kitty's hometown is a bit on the provincial side, and they're lucky if they even have one of the big three (Kroger, Publix, or Albertson's). We drooled over the bulk foods, were dazzled by the bakery and deli section, and even got Mom a few surprises from the store.

Tonight is just sitting around, reading and watching Weather Channel. Guy is off at his pool league, kitties are milling about, tummies are full, two sisters are happy.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Sister Act

If you spend any time over at my sister's blog, you know she's here right now. Which is one reason why I haven't posted jack squat in a while. That and when I got back from Vegas, the defecation was hitting the oscillation both with MHRC and with two new high-school interns in the office. While trying to fix a variety of minor shitstorms, one of the senior associates in the office called me Wednesday afternoon from a meeting--the new high-school interns he agreed to sponsor at our office were coming to the office any minute now and he was stuck in a meeting and could I handle them and give them some introduction and something to do? I scrambled and was minorly annoyed/angry--I had my own shit to do and wasn't even remotely prepared to handle this. Fortunately, I had a folder with some old activities in it from when I managed high school interns six years ago. I met them and kept them occupied for two hours, and again all day Thursday.

I find myself becoming the mother hen for these interns, both shy girls, and the associate/sponsor guy in our office has admitted to everyone involved that he begged me to take on that role. While MHRC is quieting down a bit because of construction progress, when questions come up they must be dealt with RIGHT NOW and no waiting. Hence, mentoring children is harder to do than it looks. It doubly bothers me that I've tried over and over to keep from volunteering/getting sucked into mentoring again, and here I find myself sucked in. Dammit.

Well, at least I'll have my best friend to keep me company and lean on for a week. And I'm taking Friday off to hang out with her before she leaves on Saturday afternoon. Word.