The New Job Begins

I can say whole-heart­ed­ly, I have begun all over again.

My first day at Stroud, Pence, & Asso­ciates was today. I can say whole-heart­ed­ly, I have begun all over again. It’s cer­tain­ly hum­bling, but a good expe­ri­ence. I’m with a much small­er out­fit now, and every­one comes across as being good natured and sup­port­ive (not that they weren’t at URS).

I got an e‑mail from a friend today who, upon read­ing this blog, was wor­ried that things might not be going so well. I had­n’t thought about the tone that pre­vi­ous post might have had until that. So, the sto­ry thus far (skip to next para­graph if you’ve heard this one): after some soul-search­ing, I decid­ed that the time in my life to try the oth­er branch of struc­tur­al engi­neer­ing was now. The oth­er branch being build­ing design, as I was for­mer­ly work­ing in the design of bridges. I took a job offer with a engi­neer­ing firm based out of Vir­ginia Beach, VA (see above) in mid-Decem­ber, and left my job at URS Cor­po­ra­tion on the 7th of this month.

That gets us to my first day. I’m very for­tu­nate to be a com­pa­ny with plen­ty of work. I was added as a struc­tur­al engi­neer to a build­ing design first thing this morn­ing (appar­ent­ly, my boss thought this would be a good learn­ing project). Of course, what most peo­ple would­n’t know that aren’t in the struc­tur­al busi­ness, the pace of build­ing design is a great deal faster than that of bridges (months, as opposed to years). So, I’m feel­ing a lit­tle over­whelmed, but not sur­prised. I’ve a great deal to learn, but that was the very idea behind tak­ing the job. I’ve also had a month to psy­che myself up for the process.

I sup­pose, I should feel pret­ty good about the first day. As it turns out, the hard­est part was fill­ing out all those tax and ben­e­fit forms. The struc­tures part, what lit­tle there was of it today, came easy. I’m sure that will change soon enough, but I’m not going to rush it.

My Last Day

There’s some hand­writ­ing on the wall, but I can’t quite make it out…

There’s some hand­writ­ing on the wall, but I can’t quite make it out…

Many of you know that today was my last day work­ing as a struc­tur­al engi­neer for URS Cor­po­ra­tion here in Rich­mond. My co-work­ers took me out ot a nice lunch at the near­by Mex­i­can restau­rant yes­ter­day and pret­ty much all of my per­son­al belong­ings have been brought home.

It has been good get­ting to work with all of the peo­ple there and I was able to work on some great projects. How­ev­er, I came to real­ize that the kinds of projects I would most like­ly be see­ing there were like the ones I had been doing. That being said, there was­n’t much promise of even more of the same com­ing. I did­n’t expect I would be laid off, but I damn sure was­n’t about see anoth­er employ­ee with kids or some­thing get laid off before me, either.

I will admit that there were some times when I thought that the con­ver­sa­tions on pol­i­tics or reli­gion were going to make my head explode. How­ev­er, when you don’t have much in the way of work­load, peo­ple tend to get into those kind of con­ver­sa­tions. I for one think those are about as appro­pri­ate for a place of busi­ness as cut-off den­im shorts, but that’s just me. All dif­fer­ences aside, I have been for­tu­nate to work with a good group for the last three years.

I hope that all the peo­ple there at my old office will check in here often, as I’m sure I’ll have some­thing to say about my new work­place. Also, that way, they can real­ly get to know my opin­ion on all sorts of things I did­n’t real­ly care to dis­cuss at work… such as cut-off den­im shorts. Man, I hate those things…

Merry Christmas!

I just want­ed to post a short mes­sage here wish­ing all my read­ers (okay, my Mom & Dad!) a Mer­ry Christ­mas. Also, Hap­py Hanukkah, Kwan­zaa, Fes­tivus and all oth­er big­gie-Decem­ber hol­i­days (hence, the non-spe­cif­ic ‘Hap­py Hol­i­days’ that has some folks ban­ning stores). Best wish­es and Hap­py New Year.

I’m cur­rent­ly with my wife vis­it­ing with all of her fam­i­ly. Then, we’re off to land of dial-ups and non-24-hour super­mar­kets to vis­it my fam­i­ly in the moun­tains. At least we have snow (okay, ice & slush), if not broad­band.

And I Thought I Was Having A Bad Day

Harry With Elizabethan Collar and Head Bandage

Here I was feel­ing sor­ry for myself that I was out on site until very ear­ly this morn­ing. Well around 8:00am Angela called me to tell me Har­ry was bleed­ing bad­ly and need­ed to be tak­en to the Vet. Turns out he just had a small tear in his ear, so he’s okay. I don’t think he’s too hap­py, though.

While all the foren­sic evi­dence isn’t back from the lab yet, we’re pret­ty sure it was some dog­gy rough-hous­ing while Angela was busy with break­fast. Some­times our new­er dog, Mag­gie, does­n’t seem to real­ize she’s about 2 1/2 times the size of Har­ry. Har­ry also does­n’t keep this fact in mind some­times while wrestling her. The good news is, Har­ry gets to take the ban­dage off on Mon­day.

This Site’s Not All That’s Under Construction

Well, I’ve just come back in from the cold. Lit­er­al­ly. I’ve been out most all night and into the morn­ing at a con­struc­tion site in the Hamp­ton Roads area of Vir­ginia on a con­struc­tion mon­i­tor­ing job. Yes, I watch peo­ple work on con­struc­tion. It’s not a bad gig, if you’ve got long ther­mal under­wear and a good book to read by dome-light in your car. Oh yeah, you’ll also want a decent pair of work boots because the stuff that this oper­a­tion digs up is like walk­ing through the waste site of a mod­el­ing clay fac­to­ry.

Setting up to take level shots at the construciton site

Essen­tial­ly, a Jack & Bore pipe instal­la­tion is a method of push­ing a pipe through the ground from one open­ing to the next, all the while, using a auger inside the pipe to bore out the soil it is dis­plac­ing. It’s a good way to get a pipe under some­thing you can’t dis­turb, like say a rail­road. Wikipedia does­n’t have any­thing on Jack­ing and Bor­ing pipe, and I did­n’t see any­thing with much googlar­i­ty to even both­er with post­ing on here. Suf­fice it to say, if you real­ly need to know about this sort of pro­ce­dure, then you prob­a­bly already do.

How­ev­er, this does­n’t real­ly explain why I’m post­ing about it at the mid­dle of the morn­ing on the week­end. Back to the whole mon­i­tor­ing thing, I’m out with a co-work­ing tak­ing sur­vey­ing data and writ­ing field reports cov­er­ing the con­struc­tion under­way. It’s bor­ing enough, but on top of that, the cur­rent tem­per­a­ture out­side is around 35° F. I’m not real­ly lov­ing my job right now.

That’s too bad, because my co-work­er just called my room and it’s off to the job site to take anoth­er round of lev­el shots.

What Is Geeky?

So, which makes me a big­ger geek? That I’m sell­ing a bunch of old home net­work equip­ment on ebay, or the very fact that I have all this stuff in the first place? Okay, I’ve had a home net­work for sev­er­al years now, and I’ve been try­ing to upgrade along the way. First wired with Cat5e strung every­where, then Wireless‑B, and now Wireless‑G (well, mixed mode if you con­sid­er my TiVo con­nec­tion). Say that reminds me, does any­body in the world have any idea when TiVo ToGo is going to be avail­able? Seri­ous­ly, if not soon, TiVo real­ly will die.

I’m sort of par­o­dy­ing those Vic­to­ri­a’s Secret com­mer­cials; “Vic­to­ri­a’s Secret Asks: What Is Sexy?” I’m includ­ing the link just so the by-line makes any sense. I’m very con­scious about that sort of thing.