Tuesday, April 22, 2014

When karma runs over dogma

I had possibly the least-productive day at work in my entire life to date yesterday. We’re not talking about one of those days where you flit ineffectually from one thing to another, dabbling your little pollinators into various stems without picking up a whole lot of useful things to bring back to the hive.

We’re talking about the kind of day where you literally keep catching yourself…basically sleeping at your desk.

With your eyes open.

Or mostly open, anyway.

The kind of day where you just sort of become aware that you have been sitting there, as if in a trance, staring bug-eyed at the same…wait, what IS this even?!…for the last…uh…undetermined amount of time…and you can’t even remember why you had this document open in the first place.

I did a bunch of the things I normally do to perk myself up when Such Times are upon me.

  • standing up and working for a while
  • walking around the room while on meetings
    • Fiddling with things
    • because, have you MET me?
      • which I’m sure is not annoying or distracting for other people on the call
        • …oh hai, yes, that was me NOT being on mute whilst I dusted mine shutters during thy speech, kind sir…
        • …aaaaaaaaand, NOW that was me not coming OFF mute before launching into mine own speech, ha ha ha…ahem…so, to recap the conversation I just had with MYSELF apparently…
  • brisk walk around the garden
    • without a jacket
    • at 6:45 a.m.
    • it was a tad chilly-ish
      • and still I could not call myself ‘awake’
  • drank as much water as I could force down
    • the first thing I always think when I’m tired is, “Am I dehydrated?”
      • correction: the first rational thing I think
      • because there are typically a few irrational things I tend to think first
      • ermahgahd, maybe it’s CANCER! or…that THING, you know, that WEIRD thing? the one that person had in that show that one time?
        • …you mean the swamp-fever thing that you could only catch by being directly bitten by a mosquito who had dined within the last three hours on the ultra-rare, only-five-left-on-the-planet booah-booah bird, which is only found in a 0.25 acre range in deepest, darkest Africa? That thing?
        • …um…yes…?
        • …oooooookay, alternatively, perhaps you are merely dehydrated? shall we try a nice big bottle of water before we order in an EMT with a side helping of insanely rare serum?
        • …yes, please…
  • ate a banana
    • my go-to cure for just about everything, such as:
      • “I think my blood sugar might be a smidge low”
      • “I am hungry but I do not have time/inclination to eat a meal right now”
      • “I am not hungry but believe that I should be”
      • “I so totally want to eat my own body weight in sugar right now, omg, the craving, it is overwhelming, I can’t TAKE it, I MUST EAT ALL THE CANDY, ALL OF IT I SAY, MWAAHAHAHAHA!” 
  • ignored my ‘official’ task list in favor of ‘interesting stuff’
    • sadly, this can work wonders for my energy level
    • “Create a .bat file for an AutoSys job to execute? zzzzzzzzzzz…”
    • Figure out some way to automatically handle archiving and record retention management using just meta-data containers and a batch_id column which may or may not have a direct 1:1 relationship with date-of-load information? …you have my undivided and suddenly wide-awake attention…

None of this worked.

Like, at all.

Even while I was being physically active, I was still just dragging. I’m pretty sure I could have crawled into bed and actually gone back to sleep.

Even with Captain Adventure exploding into the room about every fifteen seconds because did I mention he’s on spring break? and that Grandma brought him an Easter basket? and that he was an ANIMAL during the Easter egg hunt and appears to have cornered the market on candy-bearing plastic eggs?!

Sometimes, I’m sorely tempted to just dump all his candy onto his bed and say, “Go ahead. Eat all of it.” Just to get it over with, you know? Eat it all, get horribly sick, not have the “every few minutes, I suddenly remember that I have chocolate I could be eating MOM! MOM! MOM! MOM!” thing.

But I digress.

It didn’t take long for me to start feeling guiltily aware that I was very much NOT pulling my weight right then. And that this was probably not going to change: It was just one of those days, when some combination of Things was coming together in a perfect storm of I should probably all kidding aside just go back to bed right now.

And I thought to myself, You know…you should totally just send out one of those “I’m not feeling too well, I’m going to call it and take the rest of the day off” emails, and log the rest of the day as PTO.

Because to me, this would be the honorable thing to do: I am providing exactly zero value to my employer, I am apparently completely incapable of shaking this whatever-it-is off right now, and therefore my presence is at best a waste of resources, and at worst could actually set our projects back if I were to do something really stupid while in the throes of this General Malaise™.

And then I thought, …oh…wait…ugh, no, I really CAN’T, it’s the day after a holiday…

This is one of those Policy things: While it is not exactly “forbidden” to call in sick the day before or after a holiday (whether an ‘official’ corporate day off or merely one of those ‘“everybody” is doing something for it’ ones), it is…discouraged.

And if you do it x-many times (I have no idea how many, I’m not really in the category of person who needs to know or keep count of Such Things; thanks to our robust work from home policy and ability, I probably only have 2-3 days a year where I even consider using a sick day – it has to be pretty bad before you can’t prop yourself upright and work from home, you know?), it becomes something you will be scolded about, OFFICIALLY.

So much of my career was spent as an hourly employee – and a fairly pricey one at that – that to me, it doesn’t matter whether it is Tuesday, Christmas Day or Doomsday: If I’m not pulling my weight because I’m sick, extremely ‘off’ or whatever, I need to not be billing the client for that time.

I need to leave, and save whatever budget they have for when I am on my game.

It is a matter of both ethics, and long-term returns. If you’re working on a project and they keep going, “But what are we spending this money on? Because we keep signing checks without seeing a whole lot of finished stuff…”, you get a certain reputation, you know? Whereas being able to finishing things up on time and within budget gets you a different reputation.

As tempting as it may be to ‘front-load’ your hours when you’re working on an hourly basis, I’ve found it paid me better over the long term to make sure my clients were always getting the benefit of my best heavy lifting, you know?

So it felt really, really weird to be saying to myself, “Well, yes, I am completely useless today. Buuuuuuuut, I really shouldn’t call it a sick day and keep my inability to tie my own shoes on my own time, so instead I’ll just sit here faithfully moving my mouse around and failing to actually accomplish anything. Because that’s the right thing to do right now.”

Weird, and unpleasant.

I wonder how much of that is just old habit dying hard for me, and how much would still be true for me even if instead of pretty much going straight into that hourly-based-and-therefore-extremely-focused-on-productivity-per-hour-purchased consulting all those years ago, I had trudged into Corporate America, and been in this same ‘I get paid the same no matter how well or poorly I do my job’ sort of position.

I think it’s just me, because…well…this too is my life. Everything I do. The fun stuff, the work stuff, the stuff I really wish I didn’t have to do, the have-to and want-to, the easy and the hard, the pleasant and the unpleasant.

It’s all…me. Who and what I am. So I don’t want to go about things all half-arsed just because I deem them “not as important” or “boring” or “not what I want to be doing right now.”

So what if it isn’t the part where I get to drink champagne out of a dress shoe? (aside: ew, no, I’ll take a glass thank-you-all-the-same…the desire to slam down a drinky-poo or two now with extra foot-sweat really has not seized me yet.)

It’s still going into my little ‘What I Did With This Life’ book, you know? So I want to do my best, and get to the end of the day looking at my score and at least saying, “Good effort.”

Not all swings are going to knock the ball out of the park; not all pieces are going to be masterpieces; not every day is going to be super-crazy productive. But I don’t like a day that makes me feel ashamed of my lack of effort, or that ends with me not even able to say, “Hey, you did your best, you tried.”

It makes me feel more like a loser than even my worst belly-flops and brilliant-idea-that-wasn’t-so-brilliant-actually.

But, I will have to accept at least a certain number of ‘working through the meh’ when it comes to Mondays, Fridays, and days-before-or-after-holidays.

’Cause HR (bless their hearts) would rather I sit there and be a stump than use up 8 hours of my ‘float’ time to do it on my own time on those days.

Monday, March 24, 2014

If only, if only, if only

After a large number of very rant-worthy things continued going down at work for lo these many months, I finally dusted off my rolodex, sharpened up my internal job board searching skills and got busy.

I was then a bit surprised to find myself on the receiving end of a very nice internal transfer offer, almost immediately. It’s a nice promotion for me, and more importantly puts me back into the development chair – whereas to be honest, lately, it’s felt a lot like I was a line cook at McSpeedyNoms Burgers and SQL Code or something.

Your job is to SHUT UP and CODE FASTER. We have ITEMS to deliver. NO, DON’T STOP, DON’T THINK, DON’T ARGUE! Just DO it, and if it proves to be a crap-decision, well, a) it’s not our problem, it was the requirements and b) we’ll go back and fix that in a future release.

I really can’t be like that. Doing stuff I know is going to hurt the app, stuff that is going to get me paged out of bed to deal with the inevitable failure, stuff that is going to make existing problems worse and render our app that much less usable for folks…it burns me.

But of course, my trying to put on the brakes was immediately met by having the items I’m going, “Waitasecond, guys, this is going to…” about being snatched over to somebody else to “help” me, who would immediately and with a lack of thought and/or understanding that was beautiful to behold would just do it for them.

In some ways, this is the gotcha of having a team largely populated by contractors: Of course they’re willing to do the dumbass thing you just told them to do quickly and with a big smile, even if they do know up front it’s going to lead to having to work all night during their on-call rotations.

They are paid hourly, you idiot.

It does not pay such a one to fight hard and be unpopular because of it in order to have a well-running application; especially when there is no harm to you for doing the wrong thing because you can honestly say you did exactly what you were supposed to do, see? Because, requirements said.

Can’t call somebody incompetent when you’ve removed their ability to even use any competence they have with this kind of crazy-cake development method.

Plus, knowing how to fix what inevitably broke before it even broke the first time? Elevates them to frickin’ HERO status, instantly.

It’s like the wins just keep coming, ain’t it?

And yeah, takes one to know one: I spent a looooooong time as a consultant / contractor. You don’t have to like the game, but it is how it is played…and contractors who do try to “take ownership” and “own” design and tell the people who sign their checks that they are being dumbasses…are not going to collecting those check for long.

No matter how carefully they phrase their objections so as to avoid actually calling anybody a dumbass. 

But I digress. Rantingly.

Anyway, this was about a month ago – which at the time seemed like an impossibly long time, plenty of time to do anything I could possibly want to do in terms of hand-offs and knowledge-transfers and other such things.


I have exactly three more days of work-time left before I am technically no longer working for this group. And I still have a pile of stuff up to here that hasn’t been handed off, talked about, or otherwise settled in any way.

And there are still a few folks who are very much NOT OK with me leaving.

A few of them are downright annoyed about it.

And a few others are slightly panicked about it. Which is why both last week and today so far have been spent stopping a lot and going, “There, there, no, it’ll be OK, c’mon…you guys can totally handle this, I don’t do that much around here…”

I can’t help but wonder what’s going to happen after I leave; while I’m pretty sure the answer is “nothing, everything will just keep on keeping on, just like it does today,” there’s a part of me that worries that it really won’t.

That this is cutting the team just a little too deeply; that we really are losing “the last” developer on the team who has the intensity to really stay on top of everything our beautiful – but rather demanding and occasionally irrational – application gets up to night and day.

I’m sure I’m wrong. It managed before I came along, I’m sure it will manage after I’ve gone too; and while I’m leaving her a little bit light on the seasoned backend developer / DESIGNER side, well, they weren’t going to let me be that for her anyway.

What will be will be, whether I stay or whether I go.

But of course, all I could ever really do was stand on the sidelines pointing out the cracks and saying, “Right there. There. We need to fix that. That’s a load-bearing wall, you can’t ignore cracks in it. Hello? Is this thing on mute? SEE THAT? RIGHT THERE? THAT IS BAD, VERY VERY BAD, WE NEED TO FIX THAT NOW…what are you doing? that’s going to make it worse, not better, what is wrong with you? hello? you’re ignoring me, aren’t you…ooooookay, and now the DBAs are hollering at us because the damned thing just erupted into flames and fell over…can we please fix the…what are you doing? No, you can’t just slap a patch over it, we need to…holy snot rockets, you’re gonna just patch it so it looks OK, aren’t ya…never mind ME, what do I know about anything, I’ve only been doing this shit for a hair over fifteen YEARS now, what could I POSSIBLY have picked up about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to relational databases…sure, why not, just go ahead and add more RBAR, ignore the space issues, who cares about how the tempdb is doing, WHATEVER, IT’S JUST A RENTED CAR, RIGHT?!

{rips up resume and throws confetti out window – MAZEL TOV!}


My team, I will miss. Dreadfully. And the application, too, because there were so many interesting things we could have done together. We shoulda coulda woulda, if only if only if only.

But I won’t miss any of the things that kept us from doing it.

Not even a little tiny bit.


Monday, March 03, 2014

The ‘Only Happens To Me’ Files, #2,721

I swear, sometimes I really do ask myself why I ever leave the house. It sometimes feels as though every time I go forth amongst my fellow man, if there is even one person who wakes up that day thinking, You know what? I’m feeling EXTREMELY random and am in the mood to SHARE this randomness with someone!, they will be brought into my path in order that I will be left staring after them muttering, …what the @^*&@ just happened THERE?! to myself.

Which is itself prone to making people stare at you.

Anyway, today was apparently clearly you are not knowledgeable about that sort of thing day. Which is to say that not once but twice, someone mistook me for a member of the common buying-plastic-wrapped-baked-goods sects.

I am starting to develop a complex about it. I may have to start dusting myself with flour before I leave the house, in order to make it obvious that I do, too, bake.


With ingredients. Such as flour, sugar, water, milk, eggs, yeast…

The first time, it was over muffins.

Yes. Muffins.

When I bake muffins to put in the freezer for breakfasts, I use mini pie pans – like these guys. They’re bigger than a typical made-in-a-muffin-pan muffin, but still smaller than the typical bakery muffin.

This frequently leads to the understandable assumption that I purchased the muffin somewhere “downstairs” – at the Starbucks or one of the neighborhood bakeries or something like that.

Which I would, if I weren’t a) cheap and b) picky.

So this morning I grabbed a muffin out of the freezer and took it with me for breakfast. As I was warming it up at work – at Too Early O’Clock – a lady I’ve never met (possibly because I’m only in the office maybe once a week, and almost never on Mondays but this week is special that way) came into the kitchen, looked at it in the microwave, and remarked that she didn’t know such-and-so place was open that early.

I rejoined that this had come from my freezer, not such-and-so place, ha ha ha.

She looked me in the eye and said, “No it didn’t, they sell those.”

So I looked her in the eye and said, “They may sell muffins, but they don’t sell these, because I made these.

This is where things get slightly surreal.

“No you didn’t. You probably can’t even say what’s in them.”

{reseats bifocals on nose} Challenge. Accepted.

“Flour, sugar, salt, butter, baking powder, plain yogurt, juice and zest of two lemons, half an average nutmeg, ground, and a sprinkling of raw sugar on top for the crunch.”

And she looked me in the eye again and said, “See, that just proves they came from such-n-so. That’s what it says on their label.”

And then she wandered away, while I stood there thinking up all kinds of snappy comebacks that really shouldn’t be said in an office environment.

But then I shrugged and chalked it up to being Before Coffee o’Clock logic at work and went on with my day.

Now, fast forward several hours. I’m waiting at the ladies room after a meeting because why is it that we ladies so frequently seem to be standing around waiting like this, and these two youngish gals are doing the, “I know, you know?” thing about this and that.

And then one of them started going on and on about you know, that thing, you know, somebody was talking about it earlier and it was that THING, you know, the one with the stuff and the other stuff?

And quite a bit of this later, she finally put together enough keywords for me to go, “Oh. She means a cream puff. Mmmm, cream puffs…

Shortly after which, they suddenly (and inexplicably) included me in the conversation by abruptly asking, “You know? Those things with the cream and the soft dough stuff and there’s chocolate on top of it or something? Not the round doughnut things, the other ones.”

I said, “Cream puffs.” Mmm. Cream puffs.

“Yeah! Cream puffs! Those things! They’re, like, in croissants or something…but not like a normal croissants, it’s, you know, different croissant dough or something, maybe they deep fry it…”

And I went like this: (o_O)

For a second, I toyed with the idea that maybe she really was talking about the ‘cronut’ thing. But, no, what she was describing was definitely a good old cream puff, not one of them fancy newfangled cronut doohickeys.

For evidence, I submit the following:


Cream puffs (with omg, recipe!)

(Hmm. Source blog appears to be in a state of hibernation at present. This is sad. People who post things like this which make me sit up and go, Ooo…toasted coconut cream puffs, you say?! This sounds like happiness in puffy toothsome choux crust and I must make it IMMEDIATELY-ish…need to continue posting things. Many, many things. I – nay, the WORLD – needs these things. NEEDS. THEM. I have spoken. Make it so. Hail Pharaoh.)

But, partly by way of making SURE I was right so that I could sleep well tonight, and partly because I can’t seem to resist spouting off valuable bits of worthless information sharing knowledge with people, I then explained the difference between croissant dough and choux pastry.

Also known as, the difference between a cronut and and a cream puff.

They looked at me as if I had just proposed that the space station had been built by the snake people from the planet Thsssslphfffbbt and that human kind were being replaced with doughnut-rejecting androids.

The first one said, “Noooooooo, I’m pretty sure it’s exactly the same dough. You must be thinking of something else, because, they’re like, exactly the same. I think maybe they just deep-fry the croissant dough or something.”

And the other one said, “Yeahhhhhh, plus I don’t think there’s any yeast in croissants and definitely not a lot of butter, because they’re really light and I’m sensitive to gluten so if they had yeast it would really bother me.”

And the first one went, “Ohmygahd, me too! I can only eat really light breads, you know? Like baguettes, they’re fine and stuff, but heavy ones, they kill me, because they have a lot more gluten…”

And I went like this.

Because what I wanted to point out was something along these lines:

  • Yeast != Gluten
  • “Light tasting” bread != “light gluten” bread
  • Shoot, depending on what kind of “heavy” bread we’re talking about, serving for serving the “heavy” bread may actually have less gluten than the “light” one
  • For example, let’s say I’m making one loaf of typical ‘light’ white sandwich bread, and one loaf of pumpernickel
    • French-style white bread will be all plain old bread flour, at about 14% gluten
    • Pumpernickel is a roughly 1:2:4 blend of oatmeal, rye and bread flour
      • Oatmeal typically has no gluten, except what it may have picked up by being shipped on containers that once held wheat, or being processed on machinery that also processes wheat
      • Rye does have some gluten, but it measures in the so little that you literally can’t wash the gluten out
        • Yes. Washing gluten from of flour is a thing
        • See: Seitan
        • Also see: “Proving” the quality / quantity of protein in a flour
      • And bread flour is usually between 12 and 14% protein
    • Soooooooooo, the “heavier” bread is actually lighter on the gluten-per-se
    • Just sayin’

buuuuuuuuuuut, I had a pretty good idea of how that conversation would go.

Since clearly I can’t speak to Such Things don’t know the difference between a cream puff and a croissant, or that I buy my muffins from a local convenience store, sneak them home, repackage them in Ziploc baggies and hide them in my freezer so that I can later claim to have made them myself even though clearly I didn’t because I also know that they contain flour, sugar, butter, salt, baking powder, plain yogurt, juice and zest of two lemons, half an average nutmeg, and a sprinkling of raw sugar on top for the crunch.


I let it go.

And spent the rest of the day craving cream puffs. Mmmm, cream puffs…

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

lol, NO

JUST SO WE’RE CLEAR…there is absolutely no point to any of this.

I’m just rambling.

Because I am tired, and really should be taking a shower and going to bed. But instead, I’m writing rambling posts about absolutely nothing at all. Because this makes perfect sense in some alternate reality, I’m sure.

But I digress.

What I wanted to point out is that one of the definite downsides to This Thing I do where I have my hours shifted sharply back in order to better span the gap between our Charlotte (and other Points East) team coming online and our San Francisco team ambling in is that it is frequently rather hard for members of the San Francisco team to really get their arms around just how much earlier I got started.

Like, on average, most of the SF crew starts arriving at about 9:00 our time. But I’m usually starting around 9:30 Charlotte time – or 6:30 our-time.

And given that most days tend to go by in this very colorful blur of meetings and quick-questions and ermahgahd, it’s ON FIRE! moments (translation: what lunch hour?), I’m really ready to call it a day by 2:30-3:00.

Which coincidentally is when the Denizens are starting to need rides home from school and such. <= you see the beauty of this schedule now?

But, unsurprisingly, it is very hard for someone who started work at 9:00-ish to really comprehend that while they may not have started interacting with me until about then, I had already been working a good three hours before they arrived.

And thus am going to theoretically be leaving a good three hours before they do.

Using a little trick I like to call MATH, allow me to illustrate how this works.

6 a.m. + 8 hours = 14.

14:00 hours = 2:00 p.m.

Add 30 minutes for the lunch I theoretically took but probably didn’t, and by 2:30 my-time I’m done.

Now, you add to that the fact that we are currently up to our eyebrows in the project from hell – the project that has about 75% of the team two seconds from rage quitting pretty much 24/7 right now – and I’m not just ready to be done, I’m so done that I redefine the term done because I’m done to the point of SUPER done-ness I mean, really, like, DONE-done, signing off, say┼Źnara, cya, l8r, XOXOXO, BYE NOW.


If you don’t believe I’m leavin’, just count the days I’m gone, y’all.



No, wait. 

!! Done, exclamation point !!

Sooooooooo, if you’re going to start pinging me with ‘can I call you with a quick question’ at 2:35 – both of us knowing full well that the ‘quick’ question is going to take at least 45 minutes of back-n-forth, I’m going to be like this:


Which is pretty much what I did at 3:00 sharp this afternoon, and why I did not respond to the insistent pinging of instant messages about an hour and a half later, although I did make a mental note that the next time I leave my laptop up and running after being technically done for the day, I need to either sign out of that instant message application, or, turn the sound off on the laptop.

Because, Problem Solving: Yet another of my many skills.

Monday, February 17, 2014

When the chips are up(stairs)

Now, I will grant you that I have a…slightly off-beat sort of existence.

I am a person who tends to view the world in a way which evidence suggests is not the way most people do. I can become extremely worked up over things that nobody else would, and then turn right around and find something amusing that causes everyone else around me to grab the nearest paper sack and start self-medicating on CO2.

Which I recently learned is not recommended anymore, by the way. These are the sorts of things you will learn when you hang out with people like me, because we tend to collect such odd bits of information, find them fascinating, and playfully (and incessantly) trot them out whenever we think it might be useful or interesting to others.

One piece of information we seem to find extremely hard to collect is how to tell when such pieces of information might be useful or interesting, which is why we frequently trot them out randomly or at times that only add to the general stress levels of Everyone instead of the intended purpose of amusing or assisting.

But I digress.

POINT BEING, I’m not particularly surprised to find myself living in a house with green beans for curtains, or soaking my feet in strange concoctions to see if they really do improve circulation, or having to go out to the garage and shift a bunch of extremely heavy food-grade tubs looking for the one that has the wheat gluten in it.

Between being curious about if/how it would work and enjoying the experience of the odd situation, I’d be more surprised not to find myself with something weird going on at any given time.


That said.

This one…rather takes the cake.

Now once you get over the stupid fish leering at you from the top shelf there, you might be asking yourself, “What kind of pathetic addict keeps a MASSIVE thing of Nestle’s chocolate chips in her bedroom closet, for heaven’s sake?!”


That’s not a bag of chocolate chips. That’s three bags. That big container next to the bag? => The contents of two more bags of that same size.

Or, what was left of them. That’s right: The plot thickens.

So I went out to the garage a while ago for something – I forget what, but it was probably important and I will be very sorry that I got distracted by The Great Chocolate Chip Gate Scandal of 2014™ in a little while.

And as I was opening the cupboard to get whatever it was, I glanced down and saw brown things on the shelf below it and at first I thought it was cat food and was all, dammit, Tim, how many times have I told you, you can-NOT leave their food lying around like this, the MICE will come back!

Because of course I immediately not only blame my husband for such things, but lie to myself about having said anything about it to him more than maybe once. Probably while he was partly or mostly asleep, because that’s a thing I do.

But at that moment, in my mind, I have full-on discussed this with him, in some big board-room kind of place with a large oak desk and serious minions nodding and agreeing with everything I said, at least ten thousand times. Possibly THIRTY thousand.

But before I could really work up a good head of steam on being mad about the possibility of spilled cat food attracting mice, my brain registered the color.


But as I was composing the angry text he was going to receive soon, my brain – continuing its slow, grinding way toward full disclosure – pointed out that that would have to be one big mouse.

Mouse poop tends to be rather small. And elongated. And very unlike a Nestle’s chocolate chip, really.


And then I thought to myself, …wait…

…and I opened the cupboard…

…and sure enough, there was a jaggedly torn open bag of chocolate chips, hastily shoved back into the cupboard.

I promptly hit the ceiling. This has been a repeated problem in the Den of late, and it is really starting to piss me off. I’d thought we were finally past the whole issue: For a good long while, I had to keep everything except the unsweetened chocolate disks sealed up in one of those pickle-bucket style food storage bins – and store the bin waaaaaaaaay in the back, under literally two other tubs full of things like fifty pounds of rice and twenty-five pounds of pinto beans.

But it had seemed to slow down. And the last time I’d picked up those wholesale-sized bags of chips, I’d just quietly put them where they had always gone in the cupboard.

And someone had just as quietly torn into the bag and helped themselves to handfuls of them – leaving the bag sitting open and spilling its contents out, in the garage, you know, where the husband does WOODWORKING and such

…siiiiiiiiigh…nothing says “home cooking” like chocolate chip and wood shaving cookies, yum!

Naturally when questioned, all Denizens immediately assumed wide-eyed expressions of shocked innocence.

“Good gracious!” they declared in perfect unison. “Whoever would do such a dastardly thing?!”

(True story: The speech therapist actually cited this sort of phrase as one of Captain Adventure’s “challenges” at school. He can be a little [OK, fine, sometimes a lot] hard to understand due to his lisping/oddly-enunciated speech patterns anyway, and then he actually does use words like ‘dastardly’ or ‘preposterous,’ which are “unexpected” in day to day conversations with nine year olds because our world is a sad, sorry sort of place, and then people sort of glaze over and wander off because they can’t place what he’s trying to say.) (But I digress again.)


And they went, “Uh-huh, oh yes, mother! Of course mother! Anything you say mother! Although we still can’t imagine who would do such a thing! We will of course obey your commands, dearest mother!” {innocent eye-batting}

Uh-huh. They think I was born yesterday or something. That I was never a kid myself. That I never did the same exact thing with The Lady My Mother: “Make appropriate noises until she gets tired of yakking, shuts up, and goes away, and I can get back to whatever I was doing before she went all nuts on me for no reason, geeeeesh…”


So I went to the closet where I keep all my larger plastic containers to find something I could put the now air-exposed chocolate chips into. And as I was digging around looking for a right-sized container…guess what I found?


Another torn-open bag of chocolate chips. Hastily shoved into the back of the closet, precariously balancing on the backs of a bunch of Mason jars.


I poured the two opened bags into a big container more commonly used for cereal. And I got the unopened bag from the highest kitchen shelf where I’d hidden it behind the icky brown rice and boring unsweetened coconut. And I hauled all that chocolate upstairs, and put it into my own closet.

In order to get to it now, they have to enter the veritable lion’s den. During the day, they have to get past me as I sit here working. And any other time, well, this floor is pretty creaky up here, so anybody walking into that closet while I’m, say, in the kitchen? ==> gonna be heard.

Your move, Denizen. Your move.

(Now watch: I moved the nail polish from that shelf to a lower shelf in the bathroom where I also keep the extra soap / toilet paper / etc. for the kids, because it was bugging me to have it in the same cupboard with food. I’ve got five bucks says I’m not going to be able to find a bottle or two of it when I want it next, because one of the girls will have pirated it off. Betcha.)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Yet another day of working and whining

I am so irritable right now that arguably, I should simply continue to refrain from any communication with the Outside World and just…smile politely a lot.

It’s one of those periods when there’s a perfect storm of work and personal crap, you know? I’ve got the flu and there’s all kinds of drama and then work is just…oh fer frick’s sake, people…and I find myself biting back all kinds of remarks that are just best left unsaid.

It’d be different if I had deserving targets. But I really don’t; nobody is stupid and nobody is incompetent and nobody is just being obstinate. Everybody is just trying to do their job as best they can under very trying circumstances.


I have to say, as a general rule, I am almighty tired of a couple things.

I’m a bit tired of being nagged half to death about the status of items that are pointless because no way in HELL this thing is going into production in two weeks.

Also, I rather wish folks would quit trying to “help” me accomplish more than can be done by pulling in other people to take on tasks for me. Half the time they don’t know how to do it, and the other half they’re going to need so much “knowledge transfer” time that I could have done it myself in less time than I spent talking about it, PLUS, they then did it exactly wrong sooooo, I just have to drop everything at the eleventh hour, scurry over there, and do it my damn self anyway.

And a lot tired of explaining the same things over and over again, only to have the same person react as if I just threw a rattlesnake onto his desk three weeks later, when he finally gets around to looking at it for the first time.

Extremely tired of having items failed by the QA team with vague ‘it didn’t work, please do the needful’ comments on them. Five…hours…later…they give me a customer claiming that this is the one they tested with and it didn’t end up right…and I look at it and go, “Dude, there is nothing wrong with this, see? You tried to update the social security number to ‘aardvark.’ That’s not a valid SSN, man.” “Oooooooooh, but, it should update it, because I was logged in as ‘admin.’” “nooooooo, it shouldn’t, because in addition to not being a valid SSN, ‘aardvark’ is also not a number. The field only accepts numbers. Even an admin can’t make aardvark be numeric…” “No, it should be updated. Because I logged in as admin.”

{head-desk} {head-desk} {head-desk} {head-desk} {head-desk}

And don’t get me started on ‘being a senior developer.’ Wait. Let me rephrase that. Being the senior developer.

Sometimes, I honestly wish I could rewind and go back to being less experienced. Or that I had some kind of instant mind-meld like technology by which I could simply infuse what I know into the minds of others. Because I am getting damned tired of my own team staring at me with ‘deer in the headlights’ expression when I’m saying something that to me, is not only really old news, but pretty basic.

Plus, I have nobody I can bounce ideas off of at work anymore. The best guy for that left a couple months ago, and the next best guy for that left last month, and that leaves me just the Internet when I’m wondering if I can solve this or that problem by doing such-and-so esoteric thing that I read about this one time on SqlServerCentral

Of course, I say that, but what I am reading “for fun” right now? Ahem, well, something about SQL Server 2008 internals

There really is no going back, I guess; it’s like the more I know, the more I know I don’t know; and then the fact that I know I don’t know kind of bugs me, and I find myself thinking I’ll bet if I just understood HOW this works a bit better, I’d know what to DO about it…and the next thing you know I’m up to my eyebrows in Little Known Facts™ about how the query optimizer actually works.

AND MOST OF ALL, the thing I am the most sick of and ready to just haul off and clobber the next person who displays it…is this kind of thing. Which seems to be how an awful lot of our management and business types react to any information that isn’t what they wanted to hear…


Monday, January 20, 2014

Curtains, at long last!

I’ve been meaning to share this: I finally have semi-decent curtains in the master bathroom!

These are Kentucky Wonder pole beans, which produce lovely fresh green beans.

IF! You can get past this phase.

My goodness, however did THAT happen (THREE TIMES ALTOGETHER, I MIGHT ADD!), I wonder quietly to myself…

…ah, I see…