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November 23, 1999
a year ago

The Parents are Here!

The snow made the whole world magical the next morning. All the imperfections were hidden under the white blanket, and covered from prying eyes. Everything sparkled, clean and white and pure. The driveway had several inches of it, and my boots crunched in the powder-dry whiteness as I walked to get to the cars. We both had to drive into work today, because my parents were arriving this afternoon and needed a car if they were to arrive before we could go home for the day. Their flight was to arrive around 3-something p.m., so it was conceivable that they might get here before we could go home.

The first thing we had to do was scrape the ice off the cars. Eventhough there was a whole lot of sunshine, sparkling prettily off the ice, it wasn't even nearly enough to unfreeze the cars. There was also about five inches of dry snow sitting on top of the cars. The ice scraper I had was both scraper and brush, so the loose snow came off easily. Some of the snow had melted and steeped in the around the doors and had frozen overnight. Three of the doors of the Passat could not be opened, and when we try to use the general, electronic method for opening all the doors the mechanism automatically locked everything again. I'm still not sure why. I really think it was just the Passat being stupid and wanting attention or just not wanting to go out in the cold. So, it turned out I could only unlock and open the rear, left door. I then managed to contort myself densely enough to fit between the front seats and the roof, and finally made it into the front seat. It was actually pretty funny at the time, and made a very good story when we got to work.

So, I drove through the White Wonderland, and had no fear. The morning was brilliant, sunny, and relatively warm. The heat from the light helped to keep all of the blacktop dry and clear after the plows had been through. So the drive itself was relatively safe, and we were able to get to work fairly quickly. The parking lot, however, was in the shade. I went to the shady side of the building by habit, and suddenly realized I was on black ice. Luckily, I was going fairly slow as I entered, and had no problems getting over the sheet of ice to the sunny parking spots. I parked the Passat facing the sun, hoping that it would help thaw the stubborn doors and locking system by the time my parents arrived.

The morning was filled with various meetings, yet again, and inbetween meetings I was able to copy the work I had done yesterday to my UNIX system and find all the conflicts. I also had about four days' worth of email to wade through and I methodically worked through it all. I mostly ignored lunch, and got everything coordinated with what already existed in the archives, and finally checked everything in, after double-checking that it all built. Lunch was some of the leftover pizza from yesterday, and it felt very good to eat it around 2 p.m..

I finished another of the features in the afternoon, simply because it would be another thing out of the way for next week. That felt very good, and seeing all the features that were less complicated to implement just fly by really helped my self-esteem as a coder. I really can code.

Around three I checked on the flight status of my parents' flight with United Airlines. It was very useful to have the on-line access to flight status. The flight was actually early, by a few minutes. The flight by three, luggage by 3:30, shuttle by four, so they should be in Boulder by about 5. Around five, I suddenly realized that we didn't have a front receptionist after five, and if my parents arrived they wouldn't be able to get into building. I clattered my way down to the front foyer, and camped at the front desk. There was a computer there, so, figuring that they would stay at least five minutes if they couldn't get in, I ran back to my desk, found a floppy disk, and ran back. I could still work on things, and just save the results to the floppy.

I sat there for the next hour. Several co-workers wandered by, asking if I were looking for a new job, a corner office, or just an office with a view. I could see all of the Front Range, dusted with snow, the traffic as it rushed by and the world still blanketed with snow. It was gorgeous to see, but, as it got dark, I got pretty worried. Even wrote Kathy an email to see if she'd gotten a call or not, and she answered that she hadn't.

The shuttle and my parents showed up a little after six, none the worse for the wear. Mom was pretty cold, and I was glad that I had waited for them when I let them into the building. Dad was pretty intent on the original plan, and wanted to go directly to the car. I managed to convince them both that John and I were about to go home, and we went upstairs to see the offices where we worked. It turned out that the luggage had taken longer than I thought it would, and everything had taken a bit longer even after that, missing the once-an-hour shuttle so that they only caught the 5:10 one, which explained everything just fine.

John and I introduced them around, a little, as only a few people were left at work. One good thing is that Steve, my boss, just got out of a meeting and told me that I had a couple of weeks that had been built into the schedule that I could use to clean the last of my one monster feature up. That was very, very good, indeed.

So we all piled into the cars and made our way home. Dad and John in one car, Mom and I in the other and we fled through the darkness as a world of white sped by like a ghost of the real world. It was nice to just talk with Mom about things, about how we'd found the house and why it was so far out and why we were staying where we were for a bit and how things were going and how our finances were and... it amused me that we made it home before the boys got home. Mom and Dad had brought good veggie bow and we steamed those while I made corn soup and we had a good, hot, simple dinner and just talked and talked and talked until about 10 p.m. and we were all tired so we all went to sleep. We still had work tomorrow, and my boss had hinted that we might have a little extra time and that would include a bit more time for my monster problem. I'll hope. A lot.

Brought to you by Dragon System's Point & Speak.

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