Friday, June 5, 2009

Hard Hats and Show and Tell...Friday Summary of random thoughts

Yesterday I got to spend the morning with Sarah, one of our young design engineers, at my University of Washington Medical Center Expansion project. One of our construction revisions goes live on Monday and we were there to walk the site with the construction crew. Field checking sign locations, pavement markings and the like. There’s something invigorating about walking around in a hard hat and a bright orange vest that makes me feel so alive. That, and hanging with buff, young, handsome, and polite construction workers who value our input. Makes me wish there had been a degree in Construction Management when I was in school. I am hoping to get more projects with this aspect involved. Might as well try to do more of what I love doing. Monday morning, early, we head over to do the punchlist for the project as it goes live and we can observe how it’s working and if we need any additional modifications. You can plan and engineer all aspects on paper…except the unpredictable human behavior. We can anticipate it but it’s not until things go live in the field that we see how people really behave. Since this is at a hospital setting and we know visitors are typically pre-occupied with life and death considerations, we try to minimize decisions and make things as fool proof as possible. But there’s almost always something that needs adjustment once we see how the common population (i.e. those that didn’t design the plans) behaves.

Monday will be fun.

This morning was my last morning at Jubilee Reach before school program before it’s out for the summer, since I leave on Thursday for my trip. As a special treat I brought Satchmo with me. He was a real hit. Boys and girls that don’t usually play together were taking turns. Little kids and big kids were mixing like they don’t usually. One kid asked if I could leave him with the Center forever and ever. I told him no. He’s my best buddy and I need him. When I ran Satch home before heading to work he was wiped out. Yoohoo. I promised the kids when the weather is nice next year, and when I don’t have to rush to work after JRC I’ll try to bring him. At circle time, before we walk them to school Satchmo was the Show and Tell item. Reminds me of the time, when I was little, that I brought my grandfather as my show and tell item to school. I think I was the only kid to bring a person as my item. Remember show and tell at school? What did you bring?

I thought Grandpa was a good item because he was “so old.” I remember telling them that he always bought us fresh roasted peanuts from the drugstore so we’d have “peanut power” for our walk up the hill. He traded off popping nitroglycerin tablets for his heart angina and peanuts to get him up the hill. While we were walking, he’d randomly say “there are fools on the road” to which we had to respond “there are stars in the sky.” I had no idea what that meant at the time. Just knew that was the response. And he would have us recite after him “Watta gooze Siam.” One word at a time. And then all together at once in a sentence and then he’d laugh. He looked like Colonel Sanders before KFC was well known. He liked to watercolor and we’d head out to the Palouse hills where we’d play around while dad looked for pheasants and we looked for treasures like Indian Arrow Heads. He and grandmother lived in a little farming town in Illinois that was so small and boring that, for entertainment, we’d try to kill flies in the garage window, for which grandpa paid us a penny for each dead fly. When we had enough pennies we’d walk to the small general store and buy a big dill pickle for the walk home. I’m envious of my friends who still have living grandparents. The last of mine died (my Mom’s mom, Grandma Louise) when I was a Jr. in High School. Her husband died when Julie was just a toddler. Grandma and Grandpa Harwood died when I was in middle school, I think. Mom died when she was 59. Dad is still going strong. I’m turning 50 next week. Enough random thoughts. Back to work…


Anonymous said...

OMG! What a hoot to hear what you remember about our grandpa, the Reverend Harry Joseph Harwood. I don't really remember the killing flies thing, but I do remember giving formaldehyde (or some such thing) shots to seven-year cicadas that Dad wanted to use with his Entomology students. I thought that was so cool! I also remember the 'peanut power' and phrases. Remember the buckwheat pancakes? Ugh! I sure am looking forward to celebrating your fifty-is-fine-fun-and-fucking-fantastic, b-day in Italy!! Love you so, j

Lou Woods said...

Oh dear! I can't figure out how to edit the bad words in the comments. She really isn't offensive at all...just excited. It's Friday and almost the end of the school year so Sis is using sixth grade language but obviously excited about our trip that is sure to be fantastic. Can't wait!!!! Three more work days for me.

And I do remember the buckwheat pancakes. And that grandpa loved to drink buttermilk, that was disgusting but still tasted better than that stinky well water. Buttermilk and pancakes. No wonder his heart gave out!