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May 5, 2000
a year ago
two years ago

Hard Week

This week actually hurt.

It's been a while since I've really pushed myself hard with respect to coding and the attendent stuff. Part of it it was that I didn't have deadlines that so many people were depending on me to hit. Only Bob and I, officially, have much, if any, coding left to do on the project, and when the really, really hard problems hit it's usually him or I that really get the reins loosened on the whole machinery to actually get things done. The entire week was dealing with the fallout of the new features and the fact that the marketing folks were going off to an FAE training session set at the end of the week and had to have something that was going to really work.

There were a number of days when I was just pounding my head against a bug and none of the problems, so far, have survived the encounter. Still doesn't make my head hurt any less, and there have been nights when all I could dream of was code or the problem I was trying to solve. It is useful to be able to hold a problem in my head and come up with a useful solution in the morning; however, it is also somewhat detremental to have a problem burrowing through my brain when I'm trying to sleep so I'll actually have the energy to fix things.

Thursday I was in, at work at 7 a.m. and we didn't get home until 10:30, though John was thoughtful and came to my cubicle at 7 p.m. and bodily hauled me off to get dinner so we could actually think during the evening extra hours we put in and I got some thing specific fixed good that night. It was so hot we went to Wahoo taco's and only had cold rolls and things that were good for the hot weather. It hit 90 in the middle of the week and it felt like summer, not spring. Cary keeps muttering dire warnings about just how hot this summer is going to be with such a scorcher of a spring. I wouldn't be surprised.

Most of the days I was frantically working in air conditioned comfort, CeLena isn't going to like me next Monday, as my lower back and butt and the muscles that get fatigued while sitting are just all yelling at me already. I didn't get good walks in for very many days, though one day everyone dragged me out to the deli that was in walking distance so we could all sit and eat in the sunshine and just talk about anything other than work. Bob was in town this week, too, so that helped as well to just get out and talk about something, nearly anything else.

Though having Bob around also helped with the bugs, as I would get frustrated or just have a solution I wasn't that happy with, so I'd go and bounce it off Bob or Cary or Rosty and Ryan and, pretty much every time, I'd get a solution that was better. In one case, I was working on the 98 machine in Ryan's cubicle, muttered about the mysteries of why a certain set of read-only files on 98 weren't being copied when Ryan muttered back that copyFiles in the SDK didn't copy read-only files for only-Bill-knows what reasons. Testing that hypothesis found that it was so. Eek.

Weird shit happenings.

Geoff got used to me being very quiet for long stretches of time and he got into the swing of actually working while I was working and nominally on-line. It's actually working without any of the angst or uncertainty that I used to have with Mark, for a good number of reasons. First being that Geoff is very, very good about reassuring me, and was so good about it for so very, very long that I actually have far fewer fears with him. He understands that, eventhough so few people think that I have any fear at all, that I really do. And it's just an emotion, and that it's really me and not any call on him. That helped a lot. It also helps, a whole lot, knowing that differences of opinion aren't any basis for like or dislike and that we do think very much differently in many instances. That's a useful differentiation, along with the whole knowledge, at a faith basis, that we can mess up, fuck up and get angry for no reason at all because, well, we're human. And that those mistakes can be forgiven, but only if we ask for the forgiveness by acknowledging that we fucked up. Both ways. A real two-way street.

That was useful. Especially now that I'm so distracted. We have managed to squirt high-intensity communications in now and again, and it's so very good to have something keen and interesting to talk with each other about. He's interested in how my coding stuff is going and I'm very interested in his new job.

It's cool.

At night I was trying just about anything and everything I could to forget about work when I had the time. Monday night I experimented with chicken marsala, very lightly breading chunks of chicken, sauteing 'em with mushrooms and onions and then laying on a lot of sweet marsala wine and reducing it to a near syrup. A half a handful of chopped fresh parsley, a bunch of pasta, and a chunk of bread from the weekend and it was a really good meal.

Wednesday John and I went home early to work from home for a bit in order to have a little extra time with Fezzik, and it was hot by then, so I didn't feel like anything heavy. After I was done with what I wanted to do, I cooked pasta and while the water was getting to a boil I smashed garlic, chopped sundried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, sliced stacks of baby spinach, cut fresh basil and parsley from my plants, and cut piece of parmesian and mizithra cheese. When the pasta was done I dumped it in a big bowl with the garlic and a tablespoon of olive oil, tossed it well and then added the spinach and sundried tomatoes and all the herbs. Toss toss. Make sure all the spinach wilted correctly, then nuked it for 15 seconds to take care of the last of it. Turned it onto plates, and topped it with the fresh tomatoes and grated hard cheeses.

It was nearly a pasta salad the way it turned out. I should probably have added a little basalmic, but it turned out nicely.

Didn't help to have Mom trying to apply pressure to 'go and try harder to get pregnant' when work was so stressful. Hard enough knowing that I can't without help when so many people in this world are having kids they don't even necessarily want or even really thought about having. Lots of ambiguous moral weirdness, social weirdness, and emotional pressures in that whole question, so that I know that whenever Mom mentions it I blow up. Badly. This time I managed to just tell her, straightly, without yelling at her, that I was going to be mad if she pursued the line of 'advice'. John was very proud of me, as was Geoff.

All I wanted to do was burrow into a pit, pull it in behind me and never deal with another human being, problem, or day again.

Luckily, that feeling only lasted half a day. Fezzik licked me and all was well again with the world because it was pretty good for him, too. He's doing really well, and Friday evening was his evening with us, going out to Lafayette to get his chemo done and then we went to Dairy Queen where we all got cones, only his wasn't dipped in chocolate. He snarfed his as quickly and voraciously as ever, suffered no headache and then watched John and I impatiently as we danced through our ice cream headaches in that heat, and got the last bit of my cone as well. I think he actually likes going to the vet, now, simply because he always gets an ice cream. I remember getting allergy shots as a kid and not caring about the shot at all, I was there for the lollypop at the end.

Sometimes I probably project too much.

The weirdest thing is that the rest of the company is done with their part of the release, since we're the new tool, we'll be delayed a bit, without a problem, but everyone else is pretty much done with what they can get done. So on Friday we had a big BBQ lunch where everyone got to have good food, eat, and socialize a lot. I had stuff to do and a meeting to wrap up one other utility for our stuff nearly immediately after the lunch. The previous week there actually was a day with six hours of meetings about the vision for the next year! It's distracting having people assume that I'm already done, and ask me to do things when I haven't any extra cycles for even talking with them, really.

I am beyond burnt out.

I'm nearly at a point where I'll break down and cry pretty soon, for no reason at all. I can't think of anything else, I can't write worth a shit, and thinking about fiction is just crying material as well. I can't imagine things other than code at the moment.

But the bugs are slowing down, significantly, and there was a point on Thursday when I thought I might be done. There are still two weeks grace period, and it's good to know that there really is time to deal with what I know are going to be the second and third wave of discoveries. A little time. Enough. Just.

So there is an end in sight and there is a fairly good feeling that it is a real stopping point that I might even be proud of getting through and to. The good things are that folks that I actually respect have been saying that the new things are really nice and are working really well when we're not running into significant problems. That performance is sweet, that stability looks pretty good, and that a good, solid section of our regression suites are breezing by automated testing. That's nice. I want to do nothing more than fall into a bed and sleep for a week; but I don't think I'm going to get to do that for a bit, still. These last two weeks are going to be interesting.

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