May 9th, 2011

commanding the minions

Estimates: A Metaphor

So today, my boss asked me to do a thing. Metaphorically, it was sort of like... building a wooden platform, let's say. It needs to be yea wide, and so long, and has to have this kind of stability, blah blah blah.

And I think about it, and I figure, yeah, that'll probably take about an afternoon.

And then I go back to my desk the workshop and start poking around on my computer in the supply area, and I realize that I am correct: it would take about an afternoon.

If I had any two-by-fours.

Instead, what I have is: a tree.

So before I can actually start building my metaphorical wooden platform, I have to chop down the metaphorical tree, remove all the limbs, take off all the bark, saw the trunk into boards, plane the boards smooth, run the leftover bits through the limb shredder and dump them on the mulch pile, and sweep up all the sawdust.

And this is why Everything Always Takes Ten Times Longer Than You Think.

(On the plus side, at least I didn't have to grow the tree from a seed first. Or bioengineer a seed that will grow into a tree with the characteristics I need, which metaphorically happens WAY more often than it should.)