Holy Mother Of All Fucks Ya'll.
So I managed to put a bow on that goddamned piece of shit project and get it off my desk (where it is now hovering in mid-air, because we aren't sending them shit until they agree to paying us for the extra work that their incompetence generated).
I knocked out a few small items that had piled up - then dove into another project with GUSTO!!! only to find out that it required me to learn a completely different system than the one we normally install. Fortunately I had another project using that same system to use as a 'go by' but unfortunately they didn't really resemble each other. I managed to squeeze out something passable (I actually caught a few mistakes on the 'go by' so mine is at least an improvement over it).
Next I had to split a five-story apartment building in half because the dipshits who are building it want to build it in 'phases' and rather than just figure it out, they wanted those phases documented (and were willing to pay us to do it - so hey!) At first they wanted to break it into four phases, which would've been... clusterfuck, but now that they just wanted two, I started looking at it closer, and damned if I hadn't already designed it almost perfectly to be broken in half.
The location of the main equipment looked a little stupid - being in a room on the opposite end of a parking garage, but that's where it was originally, and nobody told me to move it, so that's where it stayed. Eventually, once they build Phase 2, it will look a little less silly. After pondering a few different ways to issue it (including just circling one half and saying 'Phase 1' and the other half and saying 'Phase 2' - which I opted not to do because they had actually agreed to a fairly hefty sum of money to do the redesign), I decided to issue two sets of drawings.
The first set required me to delete the sections of the floor plan that wouldn't be built until the second phase, including removing some doors that were just going to open into nothing, and didn't take very long - until I got to the top floor and realized that I had circuits originating in panels located in rooms that weren't going to exist yet. This required me to add one extra panel (they can get over it) and actually ended up being a better overall design anyway (so they can get over it twice).
The second phase drawings I basically just lightly hatched the 'phase 1' portions and marked them as 'existing', and I'm pretty sure they can figure the rest out. I addressed a small handful of other comments that had come back on the original drawings (including removing an entire secondary system), and I sent it out (hopefully to never come back - because it was already on its second go-around thanks to a dumbass engineer who dropped the ball (resulting in a change order for us - and thus more money, but also me having to revisit a job that I was sick and tired of already).
THEN it was on to a complete system upgrade for a massive industrial plant and other associated buildings. I thought I was ahead of the game on it, because I had (out of the goodness of my heart) already helped the salesman do a bid package showing all of the buildings, locations of devices/equipment, etc. (which was one of the factors that resulted in him being awarded the job), but then I remembered getting an e-mail from the guy who does our ordering asking about colors/markings on devices - despite the fact that I hadn't actually designed the project or put together a bill of materials to order from.
It turned out that the salesman had gotten a sales rep for the company whose equipment we spec to give it a look, put together a list of equipment - and then go ahead and fucking order it.
I wasn't too concerned, because the assumption would be that the rep should know their equipment and give a pretty accurate assessment of what would be necessary for the installation - but then I started looking into what had been ordered, and asking the salesman basic questions that he couldn't answer, so I started to be concerned about trying to shoehorn my design into a pile of equipment what was already (theoretically) on its way.
I made contact with the rep to ask him some simple questions, which he (very annoyingly) decided to turn into a 'teaching moment' which I was not in the fucking mood for. Rather than *answer my goddamned questions* he decided to suggest that it would be better for me to learn how to figure it out for myself. In the first e-mail I wrote (and deleted) I basically let him know that I am a motherfucking figuring it out MASTER with decades of experience figuring shit the fuck out - even when I am provided with incomplete/incorrect/misleading information, dealing with incompetents (and incompetence), and even where information is purposefully being withheld from me (or I am 'out of the loop' for one reason or another).
My second e-mail was a bit more on point, and I started off by thanking him for his frank response, telling him that I share his sentiment about figuring things out rather than expecting people to tell me how to do them. I then proceeded to explain to him that the only reason I was asking for clarification was that our standard operating procedure of me going through the design process and ONLY THEN ordering goddamned equipment had been circumvented, so I basically just needed to know what the fuck he was thinking when he put this particular list of equipment together so I could make my design align with it.
I followed that up by gleefully pointing out two major fuckups that I found in the information he provided me - which ended up making his exhortation to me to 'learn to figure it out' goddamned prophetic, because I *figured out* that he had duplicated the name of a panel (answering my first question about why there wasn't enough room for equipment inside of the panels).
The second question I had was about how to derive circuits from the panels, and while he did point me in (sort of) the right direction on what piece of equipment would accomplish this, it required two more e-mails for him to raise a question, answer his own question, only for it to turn out that this piece of equipment was TOTALLY NOT GOING TO FUCKING DO WHAT I NEEDED IT TO DO.
I thought it was strange that I had never heard of that particular piece of equipment, but it's because we don't fucking use them, because they are outdated, would require additional equipment to make them do what we need them to do, and COST MORE TO BEGIN WITH. I'm not saying he was intentionally trying to unload this old shit on us, or bilk us for money - but by removing these pieces of equipment from the job (which the salesman can either cancel the orders for, or simply return them) we will save a couple grand (which can go towards fixing other fuckups in the order - such as the batteries for nearly every building in the project being undersized - and the correct size batteries requiring external cabinets (at a hundred bucks a pop).
Despite all of this dumbfuckery, the project itself is actually quite simple, and despite the fact that it is one of the first ones I'm designing using a new iteration of the systems we specify, I am actually already very close to completing it. I had to rely a little bit on our install manager and some other guys that work here to hash out a few details about the fiber-optic network to connect all of the panels (in this new system) together (because I sure as fuck was done asking that dumbass rep for any more help).
In retrospect, I should've more or less ignored the list of equipment they had ordered, designed the system the way I normally would, and then let them fix the order (in a brief discussion with the owner of my company before lunch, he basically said as much). I'm disinclined to do a complete redesign now though, so I'll keep shoehorning it in (with a few notable improvements).
After this, I've got one more change-order on a building to complete, and I'll actually be completely caught up (there are other projects that I'll be able to work on - but my backlog will officially be cleared). Of course, that doesn't mean that one (or more.... or all) of the projects I've done won't come screaming back needing major fixes (or complete redo's).
All in all it's been a crazy January - we usually start off the year slow, and struggling to find stuff to do while everyone else gets geared up, but this year it's been balls-to-the-wall.
And anyone who gets in my way can get my balls-on-their-chin.
(Next Time: ?!?!?!?!)