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Tuesday, March 8, 2005

Oh, man, I nearly had heart failure today. Thatís a medical term my grandmother used to throw around fairly loosely. Anything from a spider to a clap of thunder could trigger heart failure, back in the day. I hadnít thought much about the dreaded condition until this afternoon, when I suddenly wondered if Iíd cost the company three hundred thousand dollars.

I canít even write out the number. Itís just too scary.

The bid I sent off Monday was opened this morning. Early this afternoon I got an email from the agency that put the project out to bid, letting me know that the company was the apparent low bidder. Then I scrolled down and saw the price, and it was wrong. It was supposed to be $520,000, but theyíd listed our bid at $250,000.

In other words, if the bid was accepted, we would lose more money than we could afford to lose. Thereís no reason to think they wouldnít accept that price, since it was about half a million dollars lower than the only other bid they got. At that moment it seemed almost certain to me that it was my fault. I had to have transposed the 5 and the 2 and sent it off to LA.

Since I had kept a copy of the entire bid package, I searched through it for the bad news. The file is an inch thick, and the bid price page is somewhere in the middle, so by the time Iíd leafed through the pages three times and not found it, I was frantic. As I shuffled those sheets, my heart was pounding faster and faster, and my breathing got more and more shallow.

Itís a good thing I found what I was looking for before I passed out completely. Naturally, I had copied the number exactly as the Boss had given it to me, starting with the 5. The mistake was theirs, not mine. All could be resolved with a phone call.

So I called the Boss, and told him to make the call to LA and straighten them out. That wasnít a call I was prepared to make myself, after what Iíd just been through. I think Iím still a little shaky, all these many hours later. I take things seriously, and I take three hundred thousand dollars extremely seriously.

28 February 2005

Laughing cloud.

And of course the people at the agency freely admitted that they had transposed the numbers when they read the bids. We are still the apparent low bidder, but now, with our real price, weíre well over their engineerís estimate (about double, in fact). So it remains to be seen if weíll be awarded a contract. But at least we wonít be awarded a contract that we canít complete, because of an error I very well might have made.

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Spring training games donít mean anything. Thatís what I say when the Giants get off to a bad start, which is fairly often. This year, so far, theyíre off to a good start, 5-2 after todayís 5-1 win over the Rangers. It still doesnít mean anything, but winning is always more fun than losing, even in spring before the games count.

Recent recommendations can usually be found on the links page.

One year ago: Diverted
"It's not as if they're going to run out of toys."

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