Decisions: Swallowing the spider to catch the fly

I don’t know why she swallowed that fly.

My job feels sometimes like I’m chasing down the logic behind decisions.

We switched our software at work from a 2-dimensional computer-aided drafting (CAD) software program to a more robust and intelligent building information modeling (BIM) program.

It’s an interesting change, making you think about the building as a three-dimensional object rather than as a series of two-dimensional representations of a building.

I don’t know why she swallowed that spider that wiggled and jiggled and tickled inside her.

In our office I have been creating many of our standard objects, encoding them so that they schedule properly with the correct quantities and tags. I have even nested some of these smart objects together so they I insert them as one but schedule as separate pieces (think of a chair that belongs to a particular desk).

The trouble is, if I get too complicated with nesting these objects inside each other it gets tricky if to change one of them.

Example: a monitor arm is nested within office furniture, and several millwork pieces. (Millwork = casework for  Amercians) Those items are nested into larger smart objects so I can interchange them.

One day the client wants to use a new monitor arm because they save money that way. Now I have to remember all the objects the monitor arm is in, and replace it in all of them.

Even worse, sometimes I didn’t make the objects so I have to figure out just how someone else did it so I can fix it.

We’ve been updating a lot of these objects and every time I spend time re-nesting them the song starts playing in my head.

Imagine that, she swallowed a cat.

It happens on the construction site all the time. We design a room and everything makes sense until the contractor finds a pipe in the wrong place, or worse, someone cut a large hole into an existing beam. Then I start trying to figure out how to fix it.

We could do this.
No, it affects the electrical.
We could move that.
No, there’s a large duct in the way.
How about this? *sketches furiously*
Nope that affects our minimum code clearances.

And so we swallow idea after idea, more ridiculous than the last until we’re ready to explode.

Thankfully though, there’s usually a solution before we eat that horse.

I don’t know how she swallowed a cow.

I see it when I write. I flip a coin and my character lives. Suddenly that character becomes central to my story in a way I never imagined. Another character dies and I have to write about her sister’s grief and how it affects her choices.

I probably don’t need to say that a song about hierarchy and steps has become a real metaphor for life.

Who we date becomes who we marry becomes who we have children with and who we live until we die with. Granted it’s a large over simplification, but at some point we all end up there.

In stories, usually the more drama the better, and we need to push our characters until they’re ready to explode. It’s what drives our readers. In life, most of us prefer not to be pushed to that extreme, but sometimes, we don’t know it when we are. Sometimes construction feels that way. A decision to change the stage design three years before construction starts changes the acoustics in the building forever, and you can’t go back. A person who tries marijuana for fun, can end up as an addict on the streets. Helping out that one person in need, leads to a life-long friendship.

Life is never cut and dry. It, and architecture taught me no matter how hard I think it through, I always question why I swallowed that darn fly!

How about you?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Have you found yourself in a situation where you questioned an original decision? Do you feel like you are just trying to figure out how you got into a situation?

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