Sorry I haven’t checked in for a while…. It’s been a busy time at work.
Unlike most of my previous projects, this one is with a quasi-governmental agency that insists on doing everything By The Book™. With the corporate projects I’m used to, some guy usually says “build it”, and that’s what we do. With this governmental stuff, there’s about a million hoops to jump through before we can even talk about building stuff, and loads of paperwork for each hoop.
With my right arm mostly out of commission, AutoCAD work is very slow and cumbersome for me, but I can manage non-mouse-intensive stuff like MS-Word and Excel. As such, I find myself doing a lot of clerical/administrative stuff like meeting minutes, emails, spreadsheets, transmittals, and such. Good news is, I’m directing a couple people doing the CAD stuff, so I’m sort of like a Project Manager Lite, which is good experience and I’m learning a lot. That said, I’d much rather be designing stuff and getting it built, so all this administrative crap has me a little down.
Speaking of my right arm, I officially have one more week in the sling, and then I begin a few months of physical therapy. (I say “officially” because I’ve been going without my sling on weekends… I’m so damn sick of wearing that thing. I do okay as long as I don’t try anything weird with my right arm.) My arm’s range of motion has improved substantially since the surgery, but still has a long ways to go… I saw the doc last week, and he said I’m right about where I should be at this point. It will be a long time before I have all my strength and mobility back, though.
The pain has gone down a lot, but I still get occasional flare-ups. Nights are the worst, as there’s not really any position I can sleep in that doesn’t eventually cause my shoulder to start hurting. I haven’t been sleeping very well at all lately, and I think that’s been impacting my performance at work. Sometimes I wish I still had a steady supply of Vicodin, but the over-the-counter Ibuprofin usually does the trick, and without any weird side effects.
My next big task is to get myself into a better housing situation. I figure it will take me about 7 months to save up enough money to get my own apartment (first month’s rent + security deposit + broker fee), so I’ve opened a savings account and have begun putting away money. In the meantime, I’ve begun keeping an eye out for other roommate/share situations that would get me into a better neighborhood and possibly even save me some money. Although my current housing situation usually isn’t too bad, I’m dealing with a crappy commute from a shitty neighborhood, lots of noise issues, and I feel like I’m paying way too much for what I’m actually getting. Wish me luck.
On a somewhat related note, this is about my 9-month anniversary of moving back to New York last July. Normally a 9-month anniversary doesn’t mean much unless you’re pregnant, but in this case it’s significant because my last tenure in NYC lasted about nine months before I had a nervous breakdown and moved to Oregon. I’m happy to report that, despite my housing woes and occasional complaints about my job, I seem to be in a much better position now than I was nine months into my NYC residency in 2004. Let’s hope it keeps up.
Finally… Maybe because of the admin/clerical stuff I’ve been doing so much of at the office lately, I’ve been thinking more about grad school and how to get there. I don’t have much left to do on my undergrad degree and I have plenty of time to do it, but it still needs to get done. Hopefully I’ll be able to kick that effort into high gear this summer and fall, and not have much left to do by the time I turn in my grad school applications next winter.
This afternoon I took a walk up around City College, which at this point I would probably consider my “safety” choice. It’s local, it’s cheap as hell for in-state residents, it has good faculty and a good reputation in town, and I’m on a first-name basis with the interim director of the M.Arch. program, who was my studio critic at Columbia last summer. As a bonus, CCNY’s architecture program is moving into a brand-new Raphael Vinoly-designed facility next year. Not bad at all.
That said, I’ll probably still apply to a few of the “A-list” schools, especially Yale and Cornell. I’ve come to admire Yale’s eclectic approach to architectural education, and briefly visiting New Haven a few months ago helped me visualize the place a lot better. But Cornell in particular really got under my skin, as the whole vibe at Cornell felt great when I visited last year… I just wish Ithaca was about 3 hours closer to NYC, and that going there wouldn’t put me up to my eyeballs in student loan debt for the rest of my life. Ah well, I still have some time to sort all that shit out….
That’s all for now…