Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Duct Tape, a Rubberband, and a Screwdriver, or How to be Resourceful

The other day my hair cutter and I were joking about some guy she was seeing who fixed his broken stick shift with a screwdriver--meaning he stuck a screw driver in the hole and used it to shift gears.

It reminded me of my Grandad and how he could fix just about anything with some duct tape and a rubber band. We would come home and find all sorts of home repairs in all sorts of "creative" ways, even if the kitchen sink faucet had to turn the wrong way or the cupboard door was accidentally hung upside down. I used to wonder what it would be like to be able to afford a "real" repair or a new item.

I guess I've come to appreciate the ability to be resourceful. We've had a problem at work with cold temperatures. In the past I've had a space heater at my feet, blowing warm bliss on me all day long. Well apparently Mason has decided to go "green" (will someone please explain to me what that really means?!?), meaning no space heaters.

That's where our handy HR guy Andy has stepped up to the plate. He has all the resourcefulness of my Grandad in office bureaucracy, and I love it. He found a stipulation somewhere that says that all GMU buildings must be kept at 70 degrees. So he decided to prove our case merited the use of space heaters because we are well below the requirement. He had the admin buy a bunch of digital thermometers and spread throughout the center in various offices and labs. He included a spreadsheet and asked us all to jot down the time and the temperature. All proof that the system has failed us, freezing digital historians that we are (we joke that with the budget cuts we'll have to start building fires in the garbage cans again).

The thermometer in my wing has pretty consistently said 67 or 68 degrees. I am here with long johns, a turtleneck, a blanket, and my pashmina, my hands are freezing, and it's supposedly a balmy high 60s? Weird.

Well Monday we had enough "proof" for the facilities guy to come check out the problem. He plugged his laptop into the thermostat in the wall, which recorded a perfect 70 degrees. Then Andy figured it out. The thermostat is right next to the door, which has a swipe card entry. The door knobs are always a little warm from the mechanized security thing in the wall right there (not hot, because we all learned in elementary school to feel the door knob and if it's hot, to stop, drop, and roll, right?). This does not take into account the cold air blowing elsewhere. There was no way to explain this to the facilities guy, who simply goes by what his computer tells him. Grrrrrrr...

So Andy figured it out. He strapped those little lunch box ice packs onto each thermostat, and soon the temperature went up. We're finally feeling like we can pull our hands out of our armpits to type. Genius.

So today's message: be a thinker. Figure out how to work through the problem and find a creative solution. I love using my brain for out-of-the box answers. Now if I can just do that with my minor field statement...


M said...

I love this! What a clever guy! Very cool that he not only discovered the 70 degree regulation but also stuck with it until maintenance came and then figured out a way to solve the problem. Very cool

JJ said...

Hilarious! But do you have to replace the ice packs throughout the day?