Saturday, February 15, 2014

My First Week as a Project Director

   So, this was my first week as a Project Director (PD) for an OBO construction project. Normally, I fill the role of Construction Executive (CE) back in D.C., but the project was short staffed and I knew the intricacies better than anyone else. As an added bonus, I'm also the project's Contracting Officer's Representative (COR), so I get a little more responsibility than your regular CE. So now, in addition to having a whole bunch of titles, I also get to walk the earth and basically be in charge of what is turning out to be a very tricky project. Hopefully, a public release will come out about the project some time after it's completed so I can talk about it a little more.

   That said, the Regional Security Officer (RSO) would probably blow a gasket (and I might lose my job) if I posted any pictures of the actual project, generally it's poor practice to talk about project status publicly until after it's competed. But, considering that all the local taxi drivers know where the American Consulate is and that someone sitting outside the gate can see lots of concrete trucks going into the compound, I don't think I'm letting the cat out of the bag to tell you that we were pouring concrete.

   Speaking of cats, there were several on the project site, and for that matter, lots of cats everywhere. I counted four beside the road as I rode in the cab from the airport and the hotel. From what I hear, almost every post has some sort of resident animal. From a public health point of view, cats might have fleas but they keep away rats, so you really have to pick your vector.
The project site cat
  As you might have been able to tell from my shoes in the pictures, the soil at the project site is largely clay. So when it rained, things got nasty. I think I ended up growing about 3 inches as I walked across the site because each step added a small layer of clay to the soles of my shoes. Even more inconvenient, the computer I needed to type my reports on was inside the consulate and pretty much the longest path possible from the front door. So, even with scraping and washing and brushing the clay off the bottom of my shoes every time I needed to log in, I couldn't get it all off every time. I'm sure the cleaning ladies are going to love coming in and seeing little flecks of clay everywhere. In addition to getting caked in clay, my shoes were also wearing out from old age. So, after my last day on the site, I went over to the mall and bought a new pair to replace the barely serviceable ones. I ditched the muddy old pair I had been wearing in a trash bin on the way back to the hotel.

Getting rid of shoes always seems weird to me, because the good ones stay around a long time. I can usually remember when I got rid of a particular pair, because it was like saying goodbye to a good friend and travel companion for the last time. Like when I climbed Mt. Fuji and the soles of my hiking boots were worn clean off.

  Anyways, the week is over and I'm exhausted. Have I mentioned yet that after working a full 60-hour week (through Valentine's Day, I might add), I'm now headed up to Brussels for a different project? With luck I'll get some sleep on the flight, but I probably won't.
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