Saturday, August 11, 2007

This, that, and the other little thing

I was thinking this morning that this past week has really been like the longest blogging hiatus I've taken since starting. Most of the time, I can't wait to get home and write about what's going on just because I'm one of those people that always has something to share no matter how inane it is.

I guess this week I had to take a little step back and focus on being a little neurotic and nutty. This situation with the LEED project at my alma mater is really eating my lunch.

Basically, when you do a LEED building, you have to earn 26 points to get the building officially certified. These points are based on all kinds of things related to the building design and making it as "green" as possible. Well, when the architect submitted this project for review to the USGBC, it came back with possibly one of the worst audits attached I've ever seen. In plain English, we need 26 points. They approve 17, and 10 came back unapproved. We have the chance to provide more information by August 31st, then the USGBC reviews it again, we get a final appeal, and then it's done. Whether we get certification or not.

The thing causing me a lot of angst right now is that there are three of those ten points that are my responsibility. One thing really can't be pinned on us - it's related to how the heating and cooling for the building was designed (which obviously is the engineer's responsibility) and all we do is fill out the paperwork. But the other thing, my friends, is something that I fucked up.

I discovered when the audit came back that there was an error made in calculating some percentages. One of my subcontractors filled out some of the paperwork incorrectly, I didn't check behind them, and now it's come to light that it was wrong and now we are in danger of losing one of the two points associated with that stuff. Almost every day this week has been spent going back through every material purchased for the project, desperately searching for sustainable features and praying that I can find enough to get to the 10% I need.

I'm at 9.86%. And no, they don't allow for rounding.

Thursday was a low, low day. I have been beating myself up for days now. It's hard not to take this all personally. The company has trusted me to be their green building expert, and if I can't at least make our points happen then I will have failed.

Failing isn't something I do well. I'm not one of those people that can just brush it off. Maybe I care just a little too much for my own mental well-being.

Coincidentally, I was told last week that my company wants to do a feature article on me for our quarterly magazine that gets sent to developers, architects, and clients. Oh, goody goody. At least our next audit won't be back before that puppy hits the presses.

Looking back, there are probably a ton of reasons why I shouldn't blame myself. Initially, I was assigned to this project and then was pulled off of it for two months, then put back on it. By that point a lot of this paperwork was already submitted and done and being installed. It's hard to go back and make something right that never had a chance in the first place. Then it was having Dave as the project manager - I've complained about it in the past but Dave and I don't have the best working relationship because he's a total control freak and tries to keep me out of the loop as much as possible. We had weak subcontractors. The specifications weren't great. A lot of the products that were specified weren't "green" enough to get the percentages that we need. The architect should've known better than to go into the audit with only 27 points when they need 26 (knowing the standard that USGBC will kick out a minimum of 5 points on each audit). And on and on and on.

What I keep coming back to is that damn paperwork error. I should've caught it. I fucked up. Big time.

Yesterday, my attitude was a smidge better. As in, I didn't cry once. All I can do, I realize, is to give it my best. I can't make the project into something it's not. You can take a pig, put it in a dress, and it's still a pig. I just can't wrap my brain around the fact that if this project doesn't get certified, that it's not entirely my responsibility.

So on Monday, it will be back to digging through little things like toilet partitions and markerboards, looking for that elusive recycled content and praying I can finally tip the scales over 10%. And then, I'm going to go out and drive my gas-guzzling car and kick a tree or two.


The story on the poop. Yes, my sister has three dogs - two greyhounds and one whippet. Jeffrey, the whippet, has got to be like 12 or 13 and his health has gotten kind of sketchy lately.

Kathie had hired a dogsitter that she's used in the past - this is an older lady, they'd never had any problems, blah blah blah. Well, apparently a few things possibly happened. First, she found the cards for two locksmith services on the kitchen island (never a good sign). Second, Jeffrey had diarrhea which then the dogs tracked all over the house. Third, she never got a call from the dogsitter about the issue, because if she had Kathie would've recommended taking Jeffrey to the vet around the corner for boarding and treatment. He could've dehydrated from the description she gave me about the amount of poop all over the house.

All I can say is...well, I'm just glad it wasn't my house. Seriously.


Poor Monkey Man had to get the last two shots for school yesterday. Obviously, after all the medical crap he went through last year he is less than enthused about getting any kind of shots at all.

I picked him up at school around 1 and he fell asleep on the way up to my brother-in-law's office. When we pulled up in the parking lot, he woke up and as I managed to choke down the last bite of my Single with Cheese from Wendy's, he announced that he was ready to get on inside and get it over with.

Then, when the needles actually materialized, he fell apart. "I'm not so sure I'm excited about this anymore," he sobbed.

Poor kid. But at least we'll hopefully be shot-free for a while, knock on wood.


Off to shower. We have a ton of crap to do today so I better get moving.


Tanaya said...

Oy. Lots 'o stuff on the plate and some stressing, too. I have no advice for you on the work thing. I get myself in the same boat and obsess about any error I make. About the only thing that makes me feel better is something Mister's late brother used to say, "If you don't f*ck up every once in a while, you're not doing working hard enough."

joansy said...

Damn that sucks. I'm so sorry. I hope it works out.

Tree said...

Oh, my, BM. I would be in the serious doldrums, kicking my own tail bit, too. However, I do think you have good reasoning behind why this slipped through the cracks. Given that the certification folks tend to knock off 5 pts or more, the architect left it to close to the edge, imo. Then to go for LEED certification and not have your LEED expert on the job the entire time is a major error.

Focus on the positives - you have learned from this and will take this lesson with you. Learning typically occurs with mistakes.


Here's hoping you find the 0.14%. I bet you can.