Monday, February 25, 2013

Happy Anniversary and general awesomeness, yo.

Guy and I are in Vegas having a great time, hiking and walking and relaxing and goofing off.  It's good to take a break from the intensity of our work schedules, which tend to leave us bereft of energy for anything much at all these days. Today is 8 years since we got married at an Elvis chapel here in Sin City, and while it's been work and not always a picnic, it's also been wonderful and rewarding to spend my days and nights with someone who is just like me in all the right ways and completely different from me in all the right ways.  Cheers.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Really? Again?! Are you kidding me?!?!

Both Hazel and Gracie went to the vet last week for a routine checkup and teeth cleaning. Everyone's blood work and urine came out fine, though the vet found a little lump/mass of tissue on Gracie's lower gums. She removed it easily during the dental cleaning and sent it off for a histology report.

It came back as low-grade fibrosarcoma.

Great. Now I have another cat with cancer.

So this week, we'll go visit the veterinary oral surgeon and talk about how much of Gracie's gum and lower jaw may need to be removed to make sure we get all the cancer cells. Supposedly, this surgeon is really good, and she won't look terrible or really really different after the surgery, but I'd like to see some before and after pictures. After surgery, we'll probably have to do some kind of follow-up treatment. I gave Maddy chemo pills for almost 18 months when she had small-cell lymphosarcoma during 2008-2010. Funny now that I think about it, Maddy finally crossed the Rainbow Bridge last week in 2010.

Thanks, Universe. Appreciate the hell out of this.

Wat? Ai no haz cansurr, just a hungree.  Ware iz tuna, mama?

Guy and I leave for Vegas later this week for our 8th anniversary weekend with Scarlett and Baxter and all the bad kittehs at their house.  Gracie will be fine for the duration, I'm sure.  I'm sure Hazel, the angry 15-year-old ball of chorb, will have the worst time of it at home with the Psycho Floof while Mama and Papa are off cavorting.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Monday Visual Inspiration: A new way to work

I recently stopped by The Desk in Capitol Hill in Denver for a pot of French press coffee, a croissant, and a bit of writing time.  It's an interesting concept in remote worindependent contractor or entrepreneurial office locations.  The Desk has a coffee shop that also sells sandwiches and snacks (and wine and beer in the evenings!) where you can sit and work for free (other than the cost of comestibles, that is). More ingeniously, it has a bunch of spaces in the back that are quieter and range from smallish open offices to boardrooms to acoustically-isolated booths perfect for recording or conducting a webinar or Skype session with a client.

More companies are going to open cubicles instead of private offices.  This is a trend overall in business, and I've definitely seen it in hospitals and healthcare settings.  The plus side of the open office is that it's easier to jump up and find someone if you have a question, and it saves space.  (Walls and ADA clearances at doors and halls take up a lot of real estate.) However, some studies are showing these days that people are slightly more anxious in open office plans because there's such a lack of privacy--one is always on display, so if a worker comes back from a stressful meeting with a client or boss or just needs a moment to breathe (or frequently in my case, if said worker needs to fart), they cannot do that at their desk.  It's necessary to go to the bathroom or in a conference room or even completely outside.

The Desk takes the open office concept even further as a workspace. Instead of having to rent an office somewhere, an independent contractor or entrepreneur can rent space in The Desk's facilities for in-person or virtual/web meetings or even as workspace for themselves and their collaborators. Space rental includes access to internet and printing/scanning/faxing services, plus drip coffee by Colorado's own ink! Coffee. I certainly found the open cafe area to be comfortable and amenable to concentrating, despite the activity around me (some friends catching up, a few people working, and a gaggle of yoginis looking for a post-asana chai for the road). 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Yes, I'll wait while you balance your checkbook.

St. Ermahgerd went on hold for a couple of weeks so the health system to which St. E belongs (and which is funding their project) can find a way to reduce the budget a little bit. This sort of thing is a fact of architecture life, but that doesn't make it any less irritating. First off, we were just a couple of weeks away from finishing DDs. DDs (design development) are great for the contractor to price, and if we gave the architect two weeks to finish the DDs and then gave the contractor a month to price the DDs, we could have a realistic number to work with when adjusting the budget. Instead, we're looking at the project budget like an abstract set of digits at which to hack randomly, like clearing undergrowth in a jungle.

Second, St. Ermahgerd has one of the biggest project teams in the office due to its sheer size and the added pressure of its fast schedule. So when someone says, "hey, you 14 people need to stop everything for two weeks that you've been doing for eight months," it's like the taking of Pelham 123--good luck bringing that shit to a screeching halt. In the ensuing slowdown, we lost two people, quite possibly for good, which will hurt when the DDs start up again in the next week or two. Some folks we lost partially--we're loaning them out, and they'll come back full time once we're given the go ahead.  But in truth, we couldn't fully stop.  Even without the slowdown, there was a lot to do on the DDs that wouldn't be affected by cutting budgets, and there is in fact some work being done already on the construction site.  We have foundations going in for some outpatient treatment spaces, and there's grading and utility and sitework going on, so it's not like we can just stop working altogether.  We got shit to do.

So yet again, the architect straddles the line of not being crazy-busy while still staying occupied and not letting the project get more behind than necessary.  Once we start up again, the schedule will slide to accommodate any changes we need to make (or so the client has assured us).  In the meantime, we're answering questions from the field and figuring out casework elevations and equipment coordination while the health system runs the numbers.  Or goes to Vegas and puts it all on black.