Dwelling on A Day in the Life…

The fourth post in the #Architaclks blog post series.
Introducing The Client to the Super at the topping off ceremonies of Fletcher Town Hall

Introducing The Client to the Super at the topping off ceremonies of Fletcher Town Hall

The following is a somewhat accurate recollection of “a day in the life” on nineteenth of November, two thousand fourteen. Information is omitted to protect the guilty, my privacy, your reading pleasure and the innocent from the thoughts I have or things I say when I am waiting a computer, repeating commands on or to a computer, forcing a portable computer to do something I should be doing on the desktop, driving around a bunch of people that do not drive exactly like me and talking with contractors. Pictures have been added from some other days in my life…for effect.  Move along now, nothing to see here.


It begins with what might be a familiar routine to some of you.  The radio comes on and my eyes open and search for something to focus on – a star peering through the part in the curtains.  Morning Edition on NPR is a comfortable volume, thankfully. Although, I do not comprehend much of it as I have been laying for some time, wheels turning, thinking of the day before, the day ahead and visualizing design problems, solutions and grand visions of buildings that are free of budgetary constraints or perhaps free of any constraints from the physics of our Earth.  I try to quiet all that a few minutes before getting up and just listen – radio voices, wife stirring, dog paws on the tile floor outside the bedroom door.


Now up, we head down the stairs, Nadine, Tiger and me.  Nadine is a female basset beagle mix rescue dog that Annmarie and I adopted. Tiger is a male orange tabby that I rescued a few years before Annmarie or Nadine came alone. Heading out the back to find a nice and brisk morning, they roam and do their business and I take this time to get the blood flowing with the same warmup routine we used to execute before baseball games back in high school.  After all that there is a moment I look forward to, walking around the side of the house.  The lower part of our driveway makes a clearing that frames the pre-dawn sky between the woods and our 6 in 12 slope gable end roof.  This moment, so sweet, only to gaze into the sky, scout for constellations and planets, spot satellites and breathe the mountain air before going back in and setting about the day.

A video posted by Jes Stafford (@modarchitect) on

It continues with taking care of the pets’ feeding, a hot shower, shave and outfit selection with special consideration for what percentage of black shall be worn for the day’s agenda.


Dressed and ready, I am boiling water for tea (green), putting up last night’s dishes from the drying rack, and pouring milk (almond) over a bowl of cereal (honey clusters and flakes) just as the pot comes to a boil.  At this point, I have to call attention to the logistics of boiling the tea water while all these other things get done.  I can be obsessive about the order of things like that, always trying to eliminate steps, literally, by pre meditating movements and arranging little actions in what might be an unnatural or non-liner sequence. I strive to compress what time things take by analyzing their concurrent flow, stacking items that have waits or lead times in their most efficient places in a time line and filling in gaps with all that I can manage…including rest. This comes in real handy when working with construction scheduling and is entertaining to me.


If you are still reading this, I want to come through the screen and give you a brotherly hug.  Is seems like real boring subject matter, all the rubrics and brain waves of a day in my life.  But great day alive, if this stuff is actually entertaining you, we must be connected or related by some metric of interests and lifestyles or something.  BIG strong brotherly hug!



OK, so, back to the hot tea and cereal. Out comes the iPad to get radar on the day. I am checking communications, weather and looking at watch logs, position reports and media feeds for the Volvo Ocean Race, a keen interest of mine that feeds a long standing goal of having a marine mobile architecture firm around retirement age.



Back in the saddle again at the home office:

Screens are on, on, on and on.

All devices are charging.

Solar power check, FULL

Account balances check, OK and OK.

Voice message check OK and OK.

Music on and volume set.

Inbox check, OK, OK and OK.

No “fires are burning” or “alarms are going off” so……………

Morning meditation…”What is the most important thing for me to do RIGHT NOW?”

Calendar check and update, DONE.

Mail and file piles, ELIMINATED.

Trash, EMPTY.


Phone calls, OUT to accounts payable.

Phone call, OUT to account receivable.

Phone calls, OUT to team members

Phone call, OUT to an old friend from elementary school for a referral and project advice on working with an architect.

Morning meditation…”Hope for the best on [insert big opportunity project] and hear the phone ring with good news incoming.” Didn’t work this time.

Schedule appointments


Social media check in, OK.

If we’ve been connected online, you might have noticed that I have been on somewhat of a hiatus.  I will share more on that in an upcoming post.


Return a call from Dad. RE: Thanksgiving plans.


“Park” all browser tabs on my personal profiles and to eliminate the tempting distraction of live feeds and notifications overload.  Then, on to scan the links harvested from the morning browse.

10:30 – 12:28

Resume restoration of software licenses from a recent computer mishap.

Transfer old files to new hard drive from back ups.

Look longingly at the marketing computer, that is a MAC, and check finances to plan to make the switch from PC… Can’t happen soon enough!

Clean up around the office.

Take out the Dog.


12:30 – 1:00

Late Lunch – Deli turkey and pepper jack on wheat. Carrots. Chocolate.

Stand on the back deck for a while and just take it all in…


1:03 – 15:40

Much the same as the morning workflow with a bit more production now that the restoration is nearly complete.


Decline a call from a contractor that is putting off a critical quote visit to go on a hunting trip.

I don't ALWAYS use the receiver in lieu of hands-free. But when I do, people sometimes listen.

I don’t ALWAYS use the receiver in lieu of hands-free. But when I do, people sometimes listen.


Call to confirm two appointments with other contractors for a critical quote visit.


Review AIA Asheville budget e-mail for 17:45 Executive Meeting



Take out the cat and dog.

Depart for AIA Asheville Executive Committee Meeting


Meeting called to order – Adjourned 19:13


Like a post on Facebook from Jerimiah Russell.


Comment on post while dinner heats up.


Dinner – Italian Chicken Sausage and Rosemary roasted potatoes.



Into bed for a read or Podcast. It is good not to be working late tonight!


Take a look at these posts from all the architects participating in #Architalks … in no particular order:
Bob Borson – Life of An Architect
A Day in the Life of an Architect 
Matthew Stanfield – FiELD9: architecture
A Day in the Life of FiELD9: architecture 
Marica McKeel – Studio MM
A Day in the Life of a Small Firm Residential Architect
Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet
What To Do When You Lose Your Job In Architecture: A Day In The Life 

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect
a day in the life…part 2


Mark R. LePage – Entrepreneur Architect
EA054: A Day in the Life of Mark R. LePage [Podcast]


Evan Troxel – Archispeak Podcast / TRXL
A Day in My Life


Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC
A Day in the Life of: An Almost Architect


Collier Ward – Thousand Story Studio
A Day in the Life of an Architect


Cormac Phalen – Cormac Phalen
Life in a day of Panic


Nicholas Renard – Cote Renard Architecture
Another Day of Living the Dream


Andrew Hawkins, AIA – Hawkins Architecture, Inc.
Day in the Life of a Small Firm Owner


Jeremiah Russell, AIA – ROGUE Architecture
a day in the life of a rogue architect