Jun. 3rd, 2017

kiltboy: (Default)
It’s been a big past couple of months, and I haven’t posted almost anything of note about it. In fact, I wrote this post about a month ago, and haven't gotten around to posting it yet.

So, here goes:

After I called out last November for poor performance at work, I began to pick things up a bit. I was given a Performance Improvement Plan in a nice meeting with the HR lady and my bosses. Not a word mentioned about my poor performance beforehand. Nary a word of warning, just dragged in to a meeting one afternoon and told to shape up or get out. Nice.

I quickly found my pace, and set to getting shit done. No more coming back from lunch a bit late (after coming in early to make up for it. That part was missed, apparently.), in on time every day. And as to my “lack of communication? I e-mail everyone about everything. I’m over-sharing these days, and that seems to be what they wanted. Go figure. Got more work out in the next two months than anyone else in my division. Got off my PIP, and back into the regular swing of things.

Two years ago I got started thinking about sitting for my CPD (Certified in Pluming Design) exam. Kind of a big deal in the industry. It allows me to put letters after my name on stuff, and being able to put letters after your name carries some weight. So I started reading the books, studying here and there, but nothing serious. It was just something to do while work was light.

Last year passed and I didn’t take the exam. Too much other stuff going on.

This year, in light of my November shenanigans, I got on the ball with my CPD. Joined ASPE (ASPE.org), which got me a discounted price on the CPD exam. Got reimbursed for the membership through work, because it’s a professional membership thing. Got my Study Guide, and sat through the free (8 hour) Saturday class on what to study (given by a plumbing vendor we all know). Signed up for the exam (discounted to $375 with my ASPE membership, down from $625). Hardest test I’ve ever taken. 3.5 hours, a calculator (non-programmable), three sheets of scratch paper and two pencils. And one set of ear plugs (which really did make all the difference).

Example Question:

You have a water heater tank that is 46.5” high and 32” in diameter. Incoming water temp is 40 degrees F. The water heater is served by a gas pipe that has is 200 feet from the gas meter, with a developed length of 325 feet. If the water heater storage temperature is 140 degrees, what size gas pipe do you need at 2 psig gas pressure?

Start by figuring out the volume of the tank in cubic feet (37378 cubic inches, or 21.63 cubic feet), multiply by 7.48 (gallons of water in a cubic foot, or 161.8 gallons), multiply by 8.34 (pounds per gallon of water, or 1349.4 pounds), multiply by the Delta T (temperature difference {140-40=100}). This gives you your required BTU’s (British Thermal Unit = amount of heat required to raise 1 pound of water 1 degree F, or 134941.8 BTU’s). Divide by 1,000 gives you CFH (Cubic Feet per Hour, gas delivery volume: 1 CFH provides 1,000 BTU of heat, or 135 CFH). Look up on your gas sizing chart (engineers: we love look-up charts) how much gas will flow through a pipe with a developed length of 325 feet at 2 psig. There’s your answer. (Spoiler: It’s a 3/4” pipe.)

Now do 99 more of those, and you get the idea. Left the exam feeling drained, but very positive. The results would be in in 4-6 weeks.

I got the letter last week saying I passed my CPD exam. So, now I can put letters after my name, specifically, “Me, CPD”. Feels good, man. Progress in a new direction. Next up I think will be my LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Adding those letters after your name is almost a requirement in this biz these days.

I’ve got my review this Friday. First year I was here we were very light in work. As such, I really didn’t do that much to warrant a nice raise. So I managed to negotiate another weeks’ vacation instead. That took me up to 4 weeks’ vacation, which is what I’ve had for the past decade and a half at other companies. And since I have the Beach House, I really do need the vacation time. The other place I interviewed at before accepting this job would have given me two weeks’ vacation, after I’d been there for a year.

Fuck that noise.

The second year’s review I got a decent little raise, nice, but again, work was slow and I had really done nothing to prove myself. Well, this past year has been different. While I did get a dressing down and a nice meeting with HR, I have churned out more work in the past 6 months than the previous year. I have passed my CDP, taken the initiative, grabbed the bull by the horns, etc. They best be coming up with some cash this year. Or a combination of cash and vacation time. We shall see.

In other news, the kid got into both of the magnet high schools she tried out for. Towson High School, which is a Law and Public Policy magnet, and George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology. She got in to Carver for Literary Arts, but she’s still on the waiting list for Theater. Today she’s trying out for a part in the school talent show for the end of the year. She’s got a full summer of fun booked already, so that’s nice. And at least one thing we used to have to pay for her to attend, this year she’ll be going for at least free, if not getting a little coin for her troubles. But more on that later.

Out Master Bath needs one more coat of paint, and a little more copper piping run around the room for the plants to grow across (golden pothos, stuff vines out like crazy so we’re providing it somewhere to go). Got the mint going well, the thyme and rosemary also doing well. And the spider plants are going crazy in the humidity of the bathroom. So nice to see so much green in the morning while in the shower. We have reclaimed that room completely.

I’ve got the orange tree doing well, the pineapple oregano, purple basil, and other things going in the long pot on the deck. Up next is get the lettuce crop going so the wife can do fresh salads over the summer. Might even try my hand at spinach.

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