Monday, January 18, 2010

An Interesting Time

It's an interesting time... much is up in the air. And that's very disconcerting for the future to be so uncertain. But all will be well if we remember the fundamentals:

* People and relationships are the most important thing!
* Stay true to your principles and values.
* Be financially responsible... don't spend more than you are bringing in. In fact, save some and spend less than you are bringing in.
* Remember to see the positive in everything! Laugh and smile!
* Take care of yourself... take the time to exercise, de-stress ("go fishin"), eat right, and sleep.
* Be sure you can maintain and take care of what you have before you try to get "more".
* Enough is "enough"!
* If you don't like something, change it.

If you keep the above in mind, the uncertainty of the future and inability to solidly plan won't be so painful.

Take care all!


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Murphy’s Law and Its Variations

Today I had quite a chuckle…

In the early afternoon, I received a call from one of my clients about a project… he wanted to know if we had received the drawings and specs yet. I told him “no,” and that I didn’t expect them to arrive today. I assured him that I would let him know when they did.

And… what do you know… 20 minutes later, UPS delivered the drawings and specs. So, far, no big deal. It’s like UPS waited for me to call him before delivering! Sometimes it just happens that way.

Keeping my promise, I promptly emailed my client that the packages have arrived… and I mentioned something about this being a funny sample of Murphy’s Law, that the declaration that we haven’t gotten the drawings caused them to appear.

Shortly thereafter, I received a response

“I typically operate under O'Toole's Law, which is, Murphy was an optimist. I received this email seconds after I emailed the architect to assure me that we were on track. Timing is everything.”

Well, this was hilarious. LOL (laugh out loud). Ok, I couldn’t let this go. I wasn’t familiar with O’Toole’s Law, so off to Google, and subsequently to Wikipedia I went! I became enlightened with the many variations and adaptations to Murphy’s Law:

Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

Murphy’s Paradox: The more you plan, the more will go wrong. The less you plan, the more likely that you will fail.

Murphy’s Extended Law: If a series of events can go wrong, they will do so in the worst possible sequence.

O’Toole’s Commentary on Murphy’s Law: Murphy was an optimist.

Silverman’s Paradox: If Murphy’s Law can go wrong, it will.

Finagle’s Law of Dynamic Negatives (Corollary to Murphy’s Law): Anything that can go wrong, will – at the worst possible moment.

I also found other laws, with a similar view as Murphy:

The Unspeakable Law: As soon as you mention something, if it’s good, it goes away; if it’s bad, it happens.

Non-reciprocal Laws of Expectations: Negative expectations yield negative results. Positive expectations yield negative results.

Howe’s Law: Every man has a scheme which will not work.

Zymurgy’s First Law of Evolving System Dynamics: Once you open a can of worms, the only way to re-can them is to use a larger can.

Skinner’s Constant: The quantity which must be multiplied by, divided by, added to or subtracted from the answer you get to give the answer you should have got.

Law of Selective Gravity: An object will fall so as to do the most damage.

Barth’s Distinction: There are two types of people: those who divide people into two types and those who do not.

Ninety-Ninety Rules of Project Schedules: The first 90% of the job takes 90% of the time, the last 10% takes the other 90%.

I was amazed at how many of these laws directly apply to the construction industry!

~Natalie Nigro
President of Nigro Firm, Inc.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cartoonist: Working with Chaise Payan

We have been working with cartoonist Chaise Payan for a while now, he has created many colorful, creative and fun cartoons for us, many of which are featured on Blueprint Bluepers. Working with a cartoonist is interesting, especially considering he has to take our ideas and real construction document errors and turn them into art. This is one of the first so-called "professional" contracts this young artist has had, it has been a unique experience for him to migrate from creating art that he wants to do, to creating art that a client wants. But he has met the challenge and is doing a great job, we really like working with him.

Here are some thoughts from the President, Natalie Nigro, about working with Chaise.

1 – His attention to detail is amazing. Not only that, there is almost always fun stuff hiding in his cartoons, for example look more closely at “I Heart F...” in the cartoon "Dead End Exit," the text wraps around the mug out of view, we keep wondering what word the F starts?

2 – He always comes up with stuff that we would never expect or be able to think up ourselves… but his cartoon ideas are always fabulous! All we have to do is give him the gist of an idea, brainstorm with it a bit, and he runs with it. He knows us and what we like and then comes up with highly creative, wonderful pieces.

To turn the tables, when we asked Chaise what it was like to work with the Nigro Firm he said, "
One thing I find interesting in creating images is how people react to them, so it's nice to work directly with a team of people that are responsive to what I'm making."

We have four new cartoons coming up, here is a sneak preview of one that we are getting ready to publish.

We haven't come up with the text yet, but we can't help but compare this cartoon beagle to real canine behavior.

Someone even created a porcelain replica of a beagle enjoying a doggie "water fountain."

Well, come back soon and visit Blueprint Bluepers to see our great cartoons created by Chaise.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

About the Nigro Firm: Working with Natalie Nigro

It may sound cliche, but we all know that a company is only as good as its' people.

So in order for you to get to know us a little better, from the inside out, I am going to tell you about the inner core of the Nigro Firm. I am going to tell you a little about Natalie Nigro our President. And not the kind of stuff you typically see in a resume or a company portfolio, I am going to tell you a little about her, what she likes and dislikes and what it is like to meet her.

First Meeting
When I first met Natalie Nigro, I was coming in to talk to her because I heard from a friend that they were looking for someone to help out in the office. I think I actually met Natalie and Shirley, her mother and partner, on a Saturday afternoon, to accommodate my work schedule at the time. My first impression was that she was cheery, personable and curious about me, how I worked and how I thought. It turned out that I did not fit the position she was looking for, but she thought she could fit me into the company in a different capacity. She asked me when I could start and I said, "Right now." And she took me up on it. Our first project, believe it or not, was to install an office corner desk. A few seconds into the project I already figured out how Natalie and Shirley work together, how their different talents and strengths could be focused into a single project. Shirley was working the tools and lying under the desk taking care of the "infrastructure" so to speak and Natalie had the level out ensuring "quality control." As soon as I saw Natalie pull the level out and REALLY use it, I knew what kind of lady I was going to be working with.

Personality Traits
Natalie is a dynamic and intelligent woman, but here are a few of the highlights:
  • She is a list maker and actually completes her tasks.

  • She is a researcher... she never starts a new endeavor without knowing what she is getting into.

  • She has a big brain... she can understand complex topics, mathematics, physics and tedious procedures.

  • She rarely gets angry, but if she does, she has a really good reason.

  • She is a good communicator and knows how to handle delicate or stressful topics without stressing out who she is talking to.

  • She is extremely flexible, except when it comes to deadlines.

  • She is always willing to lend a helping hand, which is why she has to get out of the office from time to time, otherwise she would never stop helping reviewers.
Things she likes (not work related):
  • World of Warcraft (WOW)... she would play all night if she could.
  • Beagles and cute kitties or any stray that needs a home.

  • Raw, vegan, vegetarian and organic food, though if she has to cook, pizza delivered is good enough.

  • Collectible swords, shields and medieval weapons... she even has a spear in her office.

  • American Idol and Dancing with the Stars.

  • Dog training and organic pet diets... she makes the beagles' dog food every day, no store bought bags of dog food for them.
Things she does not like (not work related):
  • Yard work, mowing lawns or snow removal... if on her own she would have a condo.

  • Heavy metal or hard rock and roll... Barbra Streisand and Abba suit her fine.

  • Spicy food... mild is her version of "hot and spicy."

  • Uncomfortable clothes... no high heels or business dress for her, unless she absolutely must.

  • Mornings... though she does often work in the early hours of the morning, she would rather work at the crack of noon.
Well, now you know a little about Natalie Nigro. So next time you call her up to plan a coordination review you can ask her how the beagles are and how late she stayed up the night before playing WOW.

And if you want to read a little about her in a professional sense see, The Nigro Firm's President Natalie Nigro.

Or check out, Who answers the phones at the Nigro Firm.

You are also always welcome to just give her a call, she will tell you all about construction document coordination reviews.

Authored by:
Pamela S. Stevens, Content Development and Writer

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Top 10 Ways to Save Money in Construction Costs in 2009 (Not Really)

We like to have fun every now and then and inject humor into our sites, as the new year approaches we have created our top ten ways to save money in your constructions costs and the cost of running your company in 2009...not really, meaning really DON'T follow these tips, they are just for fun.

Top Ten Ways to Save Money for Construction Companies in 2009...Not Really

10. Require all offices to run the coffee maker TWICE per each load of coffee grounds and reuse the filter.

9. Replace all toilet rolls with single ply paper and only allow each employee to use one square per visit.

8. Save costs on gas by only working on projects downhill from the construction supply center.

7. Reduce the number of porta-potties on site and supply a bucket for overflow.

6. Instead of providing a weekly box of donuts just buy a single bag of M&Ms and give out one to each person.

5. Cover worn tread on work truck tires with duct tape, duct tape fixes everything right?

4. Use error ridden construction drawings to line the inside of worn out work boots to keep your crews feet warm and dry.

3. Replace all company cell phones with two cans and a string or pagers recovered from 1989.

2. Go back to dial-up, it will slow down your Internet service to the point that your employees will get frustrated with trying to shop on Amazon or check their MySpace and will actually get bored enough to

1. Call us...seriously, no kidding, joking aside we can save you tons of money. Give us a call.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

New Construction Cartoon: Seasons Greetings from the Nigro Firm

We here at the Nigro Firm wish you a
happy holiday and a PROSPEROUS and busy New Year!

The above holiday cartoon is the newest cartoon on our construction humor site, Blueprint Bluepers. It was not inspired from an actual construction drawing error, though we have seen toilets placed in showers and in the middle of a waiting we didn't think this was pushing it.

Coming up with the "one-liners" used in our cartoon is always fun, here are the runner ups:
  • Santa may be in a hurry… but this is pushing multi-tasking a little too far.
  • A simple porta-potty on the roof would have sufficed.
  • Just because the economy seems to be tanking, no reason to flush Santa down with it.
  • Unfortunately, Santa’s amazing fireplace skills cannot compete with the Tidy Bowl man.
  • Whoever left the lid up is getting coal in their stocking.
  • Santa suddenly realizes why the chimney stack looked surprisingly similar to a roof vent.
If you would like to avoid these kind of silly construction errors, please give us a call, we would love to review your drawings so you don't run into any of these "humorous" and expensive errors onsite.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Construction Cartoons: Blueprint Bluepers Newest Cartoon

This year we had our artist, Chaise Payan create a Thanksgiving construction cartoon just for us. You can see this cartoon and others on our construction humor site, Blueprint Bluepers.

A thanksgiving note from our president, Natalie Nigro:
It's Thanksgiving time and we are thankful to have had the opportunity to help cities, universities, hospitals, developers, etc. to save time and money on their construction projects! We are looking forward to continuing our rewarding service into the future. We thoroughly enjoy performing construction document coordination reviews for commercial and governmental projects. Best wishes to all.

New Construction Humor
We also posted some new construction humor on Blueprint Bluepers, including some interesting definitions for a few architectural terms, including sexfoil, ever wondered exactly what that is?