Plane Building

This week has been a little crazy.

It started when I was put on a quick project late Wednesday night a week ago. I proceeded to work some agressive hours for 6 days, including nearly all weekend, and a 15 hour day Monday on 3 hours of sleep. And I'm not complaining, I actually enjoy fast-paced work and I learned a lot. But it was definitely an interesting, and at times entertaining, experience.

First, I get out to the office (while trying to study ON THE WAY - in traffic, on The Beltway - for a grad school exam that evening) and I have TWO computers with me. I plug one in - it won't connect to the internet. I go to plug the other in - it doesn't have a power cord. So I end up charging it in a coworker's office using his cord. And he aplogizes that his office is so messy and in boxes - he's in the process of moving.

So I leave for an hour and go back to his office -

And it's empty.

Not just that HE is not there - NOTHING is there. Not the stuff on his desk, not the other man who had been there. And not my computer.

Oh good, this day is starting off well!

I finally track them down, get my laptop, and attend the Kick Off meeting for this project. And that begins - The Longest 6 Days Of My Life.

The Leader described our project as "We are building a plane - while flying it". Then he says:

"Hope ya like wind in your face!"


And this project team is comprised of many people, part of whom are calling in from other places, and part of whom are holed up in a windowless room for 12-15 hours at a time to deliver the final product- AKA "the plane", which is actually a giant important document.

And I'm representing a large part of our company - alone. And I'm one of the people holed up in the room. But I'm constantly tasking a group of 4-6 other people, all in different places. So things get crazy real quick.

And I'm in this room, and they are CATERING our MEALS, people! That means - WE NEVER HAVE TO LEAVE. Had we been wearing diapers, we could literally keep working for days without ever standing up. It was like being in a casino where you lose conscienceness of what time it is, what day it is...what your name is...

And that sort of environment makes for varying degrees of delirium. And it was me and all males, including two interns that someone at one point called "Thing One and Thing Two."

And the Leader is calling everyone else "Hoss" and not only referring to the process as cobbling together a plane, but he describes everything using sports analogies. So here's a typical day:

Catered breakfast.
Leader: "Today's gunna get Real Sporty. Buckle up."

Rest of the team: Typing away. (adding a wing to the plane)

Catered Lunch.
Delirium starts to set in and Thing One tells us about his conflict in choosing between the various flavored creamers we have for our coffee. He hates his current Hazelnut choice, but "likes to finish what he started".

(wheel falls off plane)

Leader: INTERNS! You BETTER start competing to finish those bagels and pound cake from catering. To make things fair, it can be a 2 to 1 ratio of bagel to cake....

Rest of the team: typing away. (adding wheel back on plane)

Leader, explaining something about the project, ends with: "That's right in your strike zone, Hoss."

Leader, an hour later: "This is a 2-minute offense folks."

Leaders, two hours later: "Who's next up to bat?"

Leader, three hours later: "You gotta stick the landing, bro"

Rest of the team: typing away. (adding windshield to the plane)

Catered Dinner.
I overhear Thing Two, inexplicably say "I LOVE polyurethane!"

Leader: INTERNS! You better finish all that salad....

Me, crossing my legs in an effort to keep blood flowing. Hit my knee for the 15th time on a poorly placed part of the table. The guy to my right accidentally kicks his foot up against something under the table for the 17th time.

Me: "I'm going to have a bruise from this project..."
Guy to my right: "I'm gunna lose a toenail..."

Rest of the team: typing away (adding tail to the plane)

Thing One, inexplicably: "I used to want to buy Advantix just becuase it had a dog on the box and I thought it came with a dog..."

Leader, explaining our project to someone else: "This thing is shaking like a Mexican space shuttle..."

Rest of the team, typing away. (tail falls off)

Guy across the table starts telling Thing One and Thing Two that Miami is "Target Rich" - meaning: full of hot women.

I go to my Happy Place...

At some point, there's a conference call and people writing other parts of this document now inform us that they are just going to refer back to MY section. Making my section now - THE ENGINE of this entire plane.

Then, I learn that one of the guys I've been tasking - HAS JUST RESIGNED FROM OUR COMPANY.

Me: typing away. (engine falls out)

At some point I go home and sleep and start the whole process over again the next day. And somehow, we actually got the impossible done and submitted the "plane" we had been working on around 4pm this past Wednesday.

Had this been a real plane, however, I'd strongly advise no one take a ride in it...