It's been so long since I've been on a jobsite without a mobile phone, it's hard to remember how we operated without them. Despite their many upsides I think they've contributed to one particular downside for me personally: an increase in first order seeing.

First order seeing is like first order thinking, when you try to solve an immediate problem without considering long-term consequences and knock-on effects.

I was prepping the upstairs shower pan, so I opened up the joist bay to access the drain the plumbers had left there at rough-in. Only when I cut the hole, the drain wasn't there.

It was possible the drain was just one bay over. Though that would mean cutting a bigger hole in the subfloor and cutting through the beam to move the drain over. My phone was nearby and without much thought I called H—, we discussed it and agreed I'd probably have to cut a bigger hole. H— casually said he was almost sure the plumbers had put the drain in the correct place. While we talked I was staring at the wet wall and the vent pipe in it, and somewhat without thinking reached my hand into the joist bay, under the wall, and found the pipe — just about a foot over from where I thought it would be, but still in the right bay. I just couldn't see it at first.

When I tiled the downstairs shower last week, there were two valves. One was a typical valve with a mud ring. The other one didn't have a mud ring, and looked smaller than the other. I thought it was a different kind of valve, maybe the size of a shower wand elbow, so I only cut a hole in the backer board and tile just big enough to fit around it.

After it was all done H— looked at the valve and said it was the same as the first one. It just never had a mud ring put on it, probably because the plumber had forgotten to do it. I cut out the tile and backer board in place with a hole saw and a multitool. When it was cut out I saw we put a nail plate over one half of the valve's mounting screw holes as well.