I am going to try not to make this blog be about work too often. But, work is what is going on with me this week. I have a project shipping next week. This has caused me to be reminded of how I both love and hate shipping projects out at work.
For those of you who don’t know, I work as a Project Engineer. My company makes packaged compressor systems that are installed into power plants and oil refineries. My job includes customer communication, documentation creation and editing, and making sure that our final product meets the customer’s specifications. I generally work on two or three projects at a time. Each project lasts on average between a year and a year and a half. The end result of that is I ship a project a couple of times a year.
I love shipping projects. Shipping a project is the culmination of everything from the year or more since the customer issued a purchase order. All of the work, all of the frustration, all of the long hours, come together in a rush of emotion. Shipping the project means that you are done, at least for now. There will be other work. Documentation will need to be closed up, and starting the system will bring its own set of problems. Yet, there is something about seeing the system on the back of a truck, on its way to customer. It is a major milestone. The excitement is difficult to put into words. I love it.
At the same time, I hate shipping projects. It is frustrating. Somehow things just seem to go wrong at the last minute. Sometimes it is my fault. If my project needs 32 of a particular type of valve, and for some reason I miscount and only purchase 31, it will get caught when the shop reaches for the 32nd valve and find that it isn’t there. Sometimes it is the shop’s fault. One one of my previous projects, someone on the shop floor accidentally dropped one of the pressure gauges. Either way, it is still my issue to fix – to order the necessary part at the last minute. Sometimes the issue is easy to fix – the pressure gauge that they think they are missing was ordered on a separate purchase order and is sitting in Shipping and Receiving. Sometimes the issue is harder to fix – the lead time on the part is longer than the time left until shipping. Sometimes it requires bringing in a vendor to fix something that isn’t working right. Whatever the issue, there is always an urgency, often bordering on “we need this fixed yesterday.” Any delay in fixing an issue could result in a delivery delay. It is stressful.
So there you have it. I simultaneously love and hate shipping projects out. Once I get past shipment next week, the “love” feeling will probably win out. Unfortunately I have to get there first. For now, I have issues to solve.
When I started this blog, I said I was going to use it to remind myself of all the things that I am thankful for. In the two weeks since my latest post, there have been a few things for which I am thankful. None of them would really make a blog post by themselves, but together it should work. So, I bring you the first of a periodic series titled “Things I am Thankful For” – a collection of things I am thankful for at the time of writing.
I started ringing handbells when I was in elementary school. Since then, I have rung with choirs off and on. It is something that I really enjoy. I have been “off” of having a bell choir to ring with on a regular basis for several months. The choir I rang with most recently, the ARISE Joy Ringers, practices just a little bit too far away for me to be able to participate since I got married and moved. However, I have gotten to start ringing again. The choir I rang with before is doing a big concert called SpringSation in May. The concert features the Joy Ringers, plus a vocal choir, orchestra, drama, dance and two additional choirs joining on selected songs. I have been offered (and taken) the opportunity to ring in one of the additional choirs. We had our first rehearsal a little under two weeks ago, and it is a lot of fun to get to ring again. If you are interested in coming to the concert, more information and a ticket order form are available at http://martene.org/springsation.html.
Fiddler on the Roof
The first weekend in April, Chris and I got to go see a production of Fiddler on the Roof out at The Masters College. The production was incredibly well done. Personally, I thought the guy who played Tevya was as good or better as the guy who played Tevya in the movie.
The show also offered another opportunity to spend time with family. We carpooled with my sister’s in-laws who are good friends and live near us, then met my sister and her husband at the school. Then, after the show, my brother who attends school there and lives on campus joined us for dinner
This past weekend, Chris and I went to Atascadero and spent time with his family who there. Atascadero is about a four hour drive from our home, which works out well. It is a far enough drive that nobody has (or probably will) tried to say that we should split a holiday and spend half a day with one side of the family and half a day with the other side of the family. But, at the same time, they are within fairly easy reach. We can fairly easily say “Mom has a birthday in April – let’s make a trip to visit for a weekend sometime in April.” I don’t even have to take time off – I come home from work Friday night, we eat dinner, and then we get on the road sometime about 7:30 or 8:00 pm. That gets us to his mom’s house usually a little bit before midnight.