Signs! Signs! We Finally Got Our Signs!

Who would ever think it would be so much trouble to get signs? I started working on getting signs for the office after we got everyone moved in at the beginning of June. We had three different sign makers come out and give us estimates, and after a few backs and forth about letting, cost, etc. they all disappeared. They wouldn’t answer emails or their phones. Nothing. I asked the locksmith I had working on the locks if he knew any reliable sign makers. He suggested the Sign and Image Factory. I called them, sent them mock-ups, and they worked with us to finally get the vinyl letting on the glass and the letters on the curved wall in the foyer shown in the photo above. They did a great job and were reasonably priced.

We also needed a monument sign, but the Sign and Image Factory doesn’t make monument signs. Two of the three sign makers that disappeared were going to do the monument sign, also, but they fell off the face of the earth. We contacted three metal crafters. They were either 1) backed up, 2) would not give me an estimate because they couldn’t get firm prices on the cost of materials, or 3) they were very expensive when and if they could make the sign. The monument sign is large at 44 inches wide by 38 inches high.

We really needed the monument sign. For some reason our building in the center of the plaza is invisible. Contractors, UPS, FedEx, and Amazon drivers, clients, and visitors were all having trouble finding the building for the first time. As far as UPS, FedEx, and Amazon drivers are concerned, every new driver has trouble finding the building. Since we were getting nowhere with the monument sign, I started thinking that maybe I could get a temporary sign made until we could find someone to make a permanent sign.

I started looking online and after checking a few online sign makers, I found I got on a chat session with one of their agents, and she suggested I order an aluminum sign for the size I wanted, and she directed me to the page on their site where I could custom order an aluminum sign. I put in the dimensions, uploaded the artwork, entered the color codes, selected paint type and UV protection, and gave them instructions for the space at the bottom of the sign for the mounting bracket. The total price came out to $150 with shipping. Wow! That was a far cry from the $1800 to $4000 we got from the locals. I added the sign to the shopping cart, and when I went to check out I got a 20% discount for being a first-time customer. So the sign ended up costing $120, with free shipping.

As it turned out the sign was made in India. They shipped the sign a week after we finalized the proofs. It took four days to reach the FedEx hub in Memphis, TN, and then it sat for almost three weeks in Memphis before customs released it to be delivered to the office. The sign is perfect as you can see from the photos. Since the aluminum is only 1/16 inch thick. I mounted the sign on all-weather plywood that I painted the primer color of the mounting bracket. The sign maker who installed the letters went out and looked closely at the sign. He said he could see it had quality paint and a good UV coating on it. It should last a while in under out intense sunshine.

Goods and services have become very difficult to get in Albuquerque. I am still waiting for a gate I order for the patio in August. I have the hinges and the sprung latch I had to order from an artisan in Canada because I could not find the type of latch I wanted anywhere in the USA. I asked the alarm company that provides security for the office for an estimate on access control. They wouldn’t give me an estimate because they can’t find enough skilled labor. They said possibly in six months. We were locked out of the current access control system, and I had been trying to get Isonas (the system we had on the office downtown) installed since before we moved in. The Isonus people have become unresponsive. I finally found a tech that got into the access control system. I can now program the system, and I got new proximity cards and finally gave all of our staff card access. That only took nine months. Getting things done has become a slow, cumbersome and frustrating process.

The monument sing at night.

Colors at dawn this morning.

93 thoughts on “Signs! Signs! We Finally Got Our Signs!

  1. First off, that signage both inside and outside look fantastic! The people you did get to come out and the outsourced option worked out well. Unfortunately, I can absolutely relate to the difficulties trying to get anybody even to come out and attempt to bid on projects we need around the homestead. Three concrete companies flat out refused to even respond to our calls and one that did basically told us he might be able to get to it sometime next year. Even on the things I will end up having to do myself, getting materials has become a quest. I have little optimism this issue is going to clear up anytime soon.

  2. Quite an ordeal you went through! Many things are taking longer or are unavailable these days. Challenging. The sign looks great and the sun gave you a brilliant display. Also a great sign!

  3. Same here in South Africa. Everybody is out of money but nobody sees the need to earn some and stay in business.

      • Thanks, Cheyenne. The blue is our logo. It stands out against the rust and earth tone colors of the buildings. I’m having another sign made that is the letters “arc” in rusted iron. I’ll replace the blue sign with it when I get the letters and we’ll decide if we like the blue sign or the letters that will be subtle and a closer match with the architectural style.

  4. Wonderful signage, Tim. The after dark effect on the outdoor sign is awesome. And of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that the post title at first brought the Five Man Electric Band’s classic to mind. There we go, dating ourselves again…

  5. Great sign, Tim. It illuminates well at night, and visible in daylight. What an ordeal though dealing with companies. Seems to be the norm in ordering goods these days. Love the sunrise along with the cloud pattern. 📚🎶

  6. Your signs look great Timothy. In my carreer I also had to contact several sign maker for the outlets of the company I worked for. I had much less trouble finding reliable ones here in Belgium even for monument signs (we call them “totem signs).

  7. Congratulations, the signs are outstanding. Beautifully professional and sharp. It is hard to get anything done since the pandemic set in. I’m happy for you , This turned out wonderfully!

  8. What a story… It’s sometimes so hard and difficult to get something basic arranged. The signs look very beautiful; a timeless modern touch.

  9. It looks fabulous Timothy. Truly. Very eye catching. I share your pain. Seriously. On a personal level it is proving impossible to get any tradesfolk here. They either say they will come and don’t, or come, have alook, get an estimate and don’t. All unless you sort of either know them or used them before. On a bigger level, I had sheer torture getting the Mr’s CD manufactured. The’ top’ company int eh Uk were a total waste of space, ignoring emails etc. excuse excuse excuse, after saying they’d do it and here was the invoice. BUT hats off to the biggest one in Europe for doing it in ‘record’ time. It truly is a night mare right now.

    • Thanks, Shey. The pandemic has turned in to a pandemic of no work. So many no shows and people simply disappearing. What a bunch of pendejos we have to deal with these days. I’m happy you finally got the CD manufactured.

    • Hearts sink when you see something wrong with your house for example. We had roof leaks ..two.. and truly heaved sighs of relief when ‘our’ reliable roofer was back out there having had a fall and broken his arm, cos it was nightmare. Also here there’s huge shortages of materials cos of brexit. The Cd? BTO was a nightmare in terms of production. Let’s just say that the glory days as a session musician for the likes of Elvis Costello and teaching guitar to the members of Gary Wilson, was not yesterday re the guy guy who wrote most of the music and hauled in musicians right left and centre. He didn’t seem to know that a master copy was not a mastered copy. In terms of dealing with a replicating co and getting ready for production, I only ever said I’d design the booklet. But I got left with the damn lot and quite honestly most folks would have just let it all go at that stage. Especially right now. Anyway, there now.

      • You got saddled with getting the master mastered? That’s a real undertaking. Enough to take you under, actually. I’m impressed with both of you. Have you released the CD?

      • Well, we have got it in local outlets that sell cds but the bulk is to be done by the Archie Foundation cos the money is for them …the ones we are selling is to get back what we had to chuck at it… but they take forever to get a link up in their shop. Doing our nutz in quite frankly. Anyway yep that cd final stage was a nightmare. Paul seemed to know nothing about music licenses and Isrcs and metadata. I didn’t either but I then I didn’t see why I should ! None of it was my idea. (which is why when he started making noises re a second run, I thought, on yirsel as we say here. I am handing over nothing,

      • Music licensing is totally whacked out. I applied for license from Sony music to use the music they hold copyrights on for parodies. I can’t get money for the parodies, but it helps to keep them from being blocked when I put them up on YouTube. What a process that was. If I were doing covers, I would need to get permission from the all different copyright holders for the lyrics. The music for Lucky Man by ELP was under another label and it got blocked on YouTube when I put up Frumpy Man.

      • Well, these are our songs. John wrote the words for all of them, paul did the music for 10, I did the other two for John’s play. The musicians and singers gave their time for nothing. The whole thing is for a children’s charity. BUT even then here you cannot get the cds handed over unless you produce the license to manufacture cds. It is right enough in that I could bung put anything otherwise. But like that I had to be inventive re the kind of band it was or, for the amount we went for and the length, we’d have paid thousands.

      • It’s a little easier to produce music over here. Back in the early 2000s I produced CDs for a local musician. I had a whole production going for mass producing his CDs. I had a burner/printer that burner the CDs from the master files, and the printed the labels directly on the CDs. I did the artwork for him and printed and assembled the covers and put the CDs in the covers. It was quite a deal. he got in contact with me last year after not seeing each other for years. He had lost his master files for the two CDs I produced for him. Fortunately, I never delete anything and I carry everything forward with all the updates and was able to give him the masters I still had.

      • You are always welcome to comment, Charlotte. CD Baby is good. I’ve used DiskMakers in the past.

  10. Signs everywhere look great after your heroic quests! I think this is how things are in many places. Here too and everyone seems to put the blame on cov! Most people work from home and when you try reaching a company / insursnce or whatever, you get directed (if you do) to someone who is speaking to you and probably cooking or shaving or whatever… Economies down the drain. But then, you go out and see that dawn and get your hopes up for another day! 😉

  11. I am glad to hear you finally got your signs. Many things are out of whack, unavailable or just not working right these days. That is a really nice building ARC is in now.

    The dawn photo is very lovely.

  12. First off, the signs, both of them look smart and well done. What a beautiful building to work in, too.
    Secondly. WTF? You hear about how hard it is to get anything done. This shortage of labour is ridiculous. I know that here, I lament the fact that they got the government help coming in. Why go out and work when I can get $2K per month? Easy enough to live off of and I don’t have to get up in the morning. Makes me so angry.

    • Thanks, Dale. Exactly. However, all those benefits have been cut off out here from what I understand, so I would assume people would want to get back to work. One of the problems for architecture firms is when it was really slow in 2017/18 and a lot of architects left the state, so we have a very small pool of qualified professionals.

      • Exactly. And those who continue benefitting from them don’t seem to see there will be an end date!
        There are years that are slow for all sorts of businesses. I work in furniture and can I tell you that our company did ridiculously well for the past two years?

      • We had one of our best years. Universities are taking the opportunity to catch up on over do ADA and facility evaluations for one thing.

  13. Hi Tim!
    I’m in the reader. I had to find your most recent post, this one, because I couldn’t comment on your blog.
    There was a weird skinny comments box, and when I typed, it only showed 1/2 letters. I’ve never seen that before. I decided to type my comment in halves and post to see if it came out, but there was no post box… so moot.
    I checked, and it’s happening on all blogs.


    Anyway, your sign looks fabulous, and I’m thrilled things are coming together.
    Seems we are both (all) victims of the supply chain issues. I don’t know when I can get a washer and dryer. I’ll be doing laundry in the sink all winter at this rate.

    TULIP was very neat and fascinating! I do remember the 5 movements! If I understand correctly, you just put in the music and the program makes it all up? Do you select anything…colours, style?
    Anyway, I’m going to shut my laptop off for awhile, and see if that helps correct this weird issue.
    Thank you for the Bamboo pics! Amazing!
    There’s 1 that looks like the bamboo has dried for the winter, Marina’s Incognito Pear is on the right, and my tree yellowed on the left, Sandias in the BG!
    I think I have that right?
    When I post this, I’ll go to your blog and see what it looks like!

    • Hi Resa. WP is so weird. There are blogs that I can only comment on through the reader. The music visualizer has 3 types of visualizers, options for changing lighting and camera angles. I was changing all of these as while the songs were playing. There was a lot of manual input. Sad state of affairs on getting stuff.

  14. Wow, that is quite an ordeal for such a simple thing, which finally turned out great, both of the signs! With all of the shipping and labor delays these days, we are going to have to be creative and think outside the box!

  15. What an awesome design that sign is, Tim!! Snazzy!! I LOVE it! But what????? why all the holdups and why so many are not willing to go through with something they began? I’m just shaking my head and again am SO relieved I am not out in the workplace. My goodness, the madness is quite NUTS!! But what I am learning, that what once was that no longer is, I’m learning new how to address something from a different angle. Makes for the creative and intelligent juices to run. Good luck with that gate!

    • You have to wonder. The fact the people just quit communication is weird. At least the alarm company said they couldn’t do what I wanted and a couple of contractors said they couldn’t give me a price until they go firm prices. But the ones that just disappear is too weird. Thanks, Amy Rose.

  16. Wow, what a nightmare Tim. You have been through it but you are cleaver and look at the money you saved and still got the job done. The place looks amazing. You sure did a great job. I too, thank the signs look amazing and it does light up very well. Beautiful and large work building. Sounds like now all you have to do is draw some people to work there out of your other hat!!

  17. I like the sign in the top photo. The lettering is clean and precise. At least you were able to find someone, anyone to make your monument sign. I know around here, you would be hard pressed to find someone to make a monument sign. Instead, they would want to sell you a marquee-type sign. Price-wise, I’m not surprised by the high estimates.

    Regarding in finding new employees, I find it to be a mixed bag. A few weeks ago, a person had decided he’ll find out how easy it is to find a job among employers who are having difficulty in filling positions. This individual applied for 65 different positions across the spectrum, from fast food to Walmart to office staff to highly technical. Of his 65 applications, he had only one call back for an interview, the highly technical slot. He found that surprising since he didn’t have any skills that was required for the position. He didn’t get the job though he was the only applicant.

    Closer to home, a job fair in Denver in early October, co-sponsored by the state. They expected to draw 800 to 1,000 people for 1,500 openings. Less than 100 showed up. Of those 100 that did show, only three received a single offer. The story left out whether any of three accepted their offers. The other part, you could only register for the job fair using a mobile device. If you were registering from a computer, you were locked out.

    Personally, I applied for four, part-time remote scientific (chemistry) editing in early 2020. The position was to edit papers submitted by scientists in which English is not their first language. Their writing leans more to UK English than to US English. The test was to edit a passage of text. I essentially rewrote the passage. In a separate box which would be comments to author, I wrote that I’m sending the paper back for a complete rewrite. “You’ll need to find someone who has experience with scientific writing in English (US or UK). Needless to say, I didn’t get any of those editing jobs but was an honest assessment. An editor’s job is to clean up a sentence here and there, not to rewrite the piece.

    • Thanks, David. Job opportunities is as strange as all the other epidemic issues. The alarm company I use said he needed people. I sent him qualified candidates, but he wanted people who were experienced with specific alarm systems. Any smart tech can figure out those systems, but he’s not willing to train. Good luck then.

      On the flip side, we hired a young woman who was recovering from traumatic brain injury. Her boyfriend had ran over her with his car a couple of years ago. We were hesitant, but she felt she was back to where she could function well enough to do the job. We hired her and nursed her along, she got better at doing her work. Six months later, she decided she had recovered sufficiently to go back to regular architecture, quit and moved back to Texas. It’s nice we gave her the change no one else would, but then we didn’t have anyone to finish the work she started. Another staff member left for what she thought was a better job. We hired a young woman to replace her. The young woman gave us one hour notice six weeks later, because she got an offer for her dream job in California. The staff member she replaced discovered that grass was not so green on the other side, and she’s back. One of the big issues for her with the other company was no IT support.

      While people complain about labor shortages, I think your friend’s experience is probably really typical. Companies want very specific experience, and they are not willing to train. Anther issue for many young people is passing background checks. We’ve had to reject applicants because of really stupid felony charges or domestic abuse charges on the records. The social justice warriors who think it’s hip to demonstrate and get arrested, don’t think much about the consequences. And the kids who act on the TicTok challenges are oblivious to what will happen if they get caught.

      The locksmith who changed the locks on out building said his problem was that the job was just too hard for most people. He said he trained, and paid top dollar, but he couldn’t keep staff. The whole time he was working on our locks he was on his cell phone, sending staff here and there to deal with issues. We all told him he had to be one of the busiest and best multi-taskers we had ever seen. He said he got from 60 to 100 calls on Sundays alone that he had to take care of personally because he had to let most of his staff off on Sundays.

      You would think a balance would to found at some point.

      • Tim, I’m glad you gave the young woman with the traumatic brain injury a chance. You’d be surprised how many would have passed, or did pass, on her. That’s one of the issues vets from Iraq and Afghanistan who suffered from TBI. When they feel they’re back and can work, they’re not given a chance. It occurs within the military too, not given a chance. One of the young guys on my last team was wounded when a heavy caliber round struck his Kevlar helmet. The round didn’t penetrate the helmet but left him with a very bad concussion. It took him the better part of a year to recover. He did his fitness test, passed that. But, someone higher up decided he was too much of a risk to be assigned to an active team. Excuses were being made not to have him back anywhere in special warfare. I said, let me have him. I was able to pull in some favors. (This is where having a friend like Teresa is good to have.) Anyway, my team was about to start a training cycle for a deployment to parts unknown. I would find out soon enough if he couldn’t pull his weight. A couple of my team members thought Todd would be a liability. I told them, “who gave you a chance when no one else wanted you?” You don’t have to, but give someone a chance every once in awhile. Todd worked out fine. Todd is a small unit team leader these days.

        I hope we can find a balance when the COVID days are over. But, when it was said 40-45% who lost their jobs in the 2020 lockdowns won’t have a job to come back to, well, we better find a way. It seems “they” want this 40-45% to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  18. The signs look great, I’m glad your searching found a good value option that looks great. Whilst I was on tour George cracked a bathroom door mirror hinge, luckily on the inside, trying to get someone to fix it has taken 2 months and even know we don’t know if the glazer will turn up. My Mum said four of her drivers retired during covid, I think people are addressing if they want to cut down or continue work at all. As a wedding gift we were given money to buy a little balcony set from Ikea it wasn’t in stock until this week and now its getting cold here lol, we still got it in case it wasn’t in store next Spring.

    • Seems to be the same issue all over the world. A shortage of truck drivers and stupid laws in California have container ships sitting off the coast waiting to doc and be unloaded. I’m sure my gate is sitting on a container ship somewhere. You could order a tower space heater for your patio. But by the time you would get it summer will have arrived. Thanks, Charlotte.

  19. Whoooo hooo and look at you! amazing signs. My tile went up so much and is on the ship waiting so I’m just going with what I can get… It’s not hear yet so we shall see.
    All is well that ends well with your determination. Here’s to mine!💖💖

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.