Grim reading

"One of things that has happened in America is that because the white American majority is so racist, they didn't understand that the consequences of their racism was going to be their own impoverishment a few decades later." 

The Reaganite "counter-revolution" of the 1980s was underpinned by racism, he says. "It said we don't have to build any public goods - healthcare, retirement education - all of these things. "And a lot of that was driven by white people thinking I won't invest in them, I'm not going to pay for those kids' schools, those peoples' retirement. "Those 'people' of course being black, brown, Asian, Mexican whatever - other people. 

"As a result of that kind of thinking, a few decades from then, they themselves wouldn't have things like public healthcare, education, retirement, public transport because those things, either all the society has them, or nobody does." This has left Americans paying "insane, extortionate rates for basic things."

My dog can spell!?

Apparently, our dog has learned to spell W-A-L-K.

For a long time we've been using it as a codeword, discussing whether to take her for a walk with us or not - spelling it out, W-A-L-K, so she doesn't hear the word "walk" which she recognises and gets ridiculously excited about.

And, apparently, we've now used it long enough that she's... learned the meaning. My husband spelled it out this morning and dog went, boom!, jumping around the hallway, looking like she knew full well what the discussion was about.

Labradors' brain.

Enjoying a tripod

Heading out in the morning, a certain 5-year-old in tow, setting up a tripod next to the watertower and... photographing.

But not before tightening the crews the wrong way around, having the camera smash onto concrete and thinking, "Sh*t, sh*t, sh*t!"

But no, it survived. A couple of bits fell off, but I got them re-attached, so the camera is working still.



Having a friend loan me a tripod has been SO GREAT. And what's more, her tripod is SO GREAT I think I know what kind of a tripod I want in the future! This thing is bloody amazing. (The question is, can I find an equivalent second-hand because, apparently, this thing is, in addition to being bloody amazing, also bloody expensive.)

Anyone got suggestions as to what tripod to buy?

Boom and bust

Professionally, the last 6 months have been some of the hardest I have ever experienced. Some very sh*tty situations have come my way. Incidentally, those sh*tty situations have also lead to amazing opportunities. At the moment, I am riding a wave, but only time will tell for how long it'll last. I've been here before - it never lasts.

I am still so traumatised from this boom-and-bust-and-boom-and-bust cycle I don't even know whether to be happy about it, or not. Yes, over the months it has all "evened out" somewhat - great experiences have shadowed out the bad ones, and bad ones have taken the shine off great ones, so it has all come out to some average "yeah okay" result in the end.

But was it really all worth it?

Would I do it again?

I mean... jesus. I am six months out of school and I have just priced up a million-dollar refurbishment of a series of old buildings, with all the technical difficulties that come with only partial demolition and a complicated programme across several sites and trades, to the point where I still dream at night about Excel sheets and estimation.

Oh the hours I have spent on Google, and quizzing my husband. "Hey, how long do you reckon it'll take you to chem-set a steel dowel into an existing foundation 800mm deep inside a hole only 500mm across?" My husband would be, like, "What do you mean, steel dowel?" And I would show him the structural plans and he'd be, like, "Oh, it actually says steel dowel, doesn't it."

Or 76 pairs of bolts through joinery - NOT the way the architect has specified, because apparently, if it gets done the way architect designed it, it wouldn't work.

Every day I pour through documents which, the first time I see some of them, I think, Maria, what are you doing here. You know sod all about how to build this.

But I work and work and work until, detail by detail, it gets figured out and my brain feels like it's been both exercised AND fried up in the process.

Last week, as we uploaded some tender documents to the client's server, I said to my boss, either way it goes, I am going to wonder if I have screwed up somehow. If we win the job, I am going to think, sh*t, I must have missed something out and priced too low. If we lose the job, I am going to think, sh*t, I must have been too conservative, priced it too high.

My boss was, like, welcome to the construction industry!

Working for a building company is both a wonderful, but also hair-rising experience of finding ways to make things work. Over and over and over again. With difficult designs, with difficult materials, with difficult software, with difficult people. Just showing up in the morning and trying again. No matter how sh*tty the day before has been, showing up in the morning and doing it again, so that something good can happen - eventually - and then going through the cycle all over again.