Thursday, February 16, 2012

Seedlings, SQL and Strange Dreams

Man. I feel as though time is just – telescoping. The days are passing in such a blur, it’s hard for me to fix the passage of them.

Did that happen last weekend? Or the one before? Surely I still have enough time to get this or that done, wait! What day is it again? How can it be February already?!?!

And then somebody sends me an email saying, “Dude, are you sick or something? Where are you?” and I go…huh?

I don’t know that I have ever had quite this…frenetic…a pace, at the end of a contract. Usually when a longer-term contract is coming to a known end, there’s a long, slow ramping down…more and more tasks get finished, or handed off to other people…and I have less and less to do, or be responsible for…until by the time I get to the end, well, I’m usually working rather short weeks and most of my daily grind consists of sitting around knowing stuff. Others do the work, I’m just there to advise when they get stuck.

But this time…whoa nelly, it ain’t like that. Nossir. Instead of ramping down, as Dawg is my witness, things are heating up. I’m not doing less and less, I’m doing more and more.

And then I look at everything that I absolutely, positively, no matter WHAT must get done before that fast-approaching date of March 30, and I find myself torn between being grumpy as hell about having to go, and halfway to desperate to not have to go.

Can’t I just get, say, another 90 days? I think I could get ALL of this finished, if I had 90 more days… (<= this would be a lie…because in 90 days, I would probably find / be gifted with another 900 days worth of work…this is how these things always go…)

Probably in large part because I’m working myself into a tizzy about how All This is going to a) get done by me before I have to go and b) continue being done by somebody else – somebody new, GAH HELP US, I’m having a lot of trouble in my “free” time with disengaging.

And also sleeping.

A lot of trouble with that, lately. Too many thinks, not enough off button.

And then, of course, because I’m working up a fine case of sleep deprivation, I’m starting to become various combinations of grouchy, incoherent, irrational, and other fancy terms that boil down to a real pain in the arse.


Well…anyway…I have beets starting to come up!

Sprouts a beet

And one (1) pea plant!

First pea, please

Plus, when I was moving the blueberry bushes to a sunnier spot, there were some surprise Blue Nile potatoes to be had. I’d thought I’d seen a potato plant in that bed a while ago, but then I’d thought I must have been wrong because it had “vanished.” Well, it didn’t “vanish,” it died off – and the potatoes kept just fine in the ground.

Blue Nile

Last weekend I planted ten sweet potato slips (not sure how well they’re going to do, but, we’ll see). I moved the blueberries, pulled up a million more pounds of weeds, watched my husband drop five tons of tree branches right onto my onions (!!), pruned the fruit trees, and walked around my little empire just touching, touching, touching.

Feeling the dirt between my fingers, cold in some places, warm in others. Clay here, sand there. This bed, perfect. This bed, hmm.

And then it was getting dark and cold, and it was time to come in, wash up, and get ready for the week to start again.

Sometimes, my life feels like a very strange dream; like I’m moving between two different worlds that know nothing of each other.

One moving at a crazy and artificial pace, where my mind is constantly revving and racing, where I’m expected to just know, well, everything. It’s exhilarating and exhausting and wonderful and awful.

And the other, well. It moves at a languid, unhurried and unrushable pace. It will be what it will be, and it will be that when it will. Even if I apply my human cunning to the problem and make all conditions ideal…a seed will become a carrot at its own pace. It will not germinate even one day sooner no matter how much I want it to…it will not reach its full size an hour before its time. It’s awe-inspiring and humbling and frustrating and satisfying.

I dreamed today that, having gotten a really weird result from a coalesce statement and wanting to know, uh, why it had done that…I learned about data type precedence, coalesce and isnull statements, and how those three things actually function, in the dark and secret underpinnings of SQL Server. I dreamed then that I shared this with the tiny, tiny fraction of the developer team that shares my curiosity about Such Things. And that we spent about half an hour animatedly talking about it, and that it led to wondering how similar things played out in Oracle, and then there was Googling. It was awesome, and it felt incredibly good to have that interaction, to use my mind in that way, to learn something cool and useful and kinda secret, too…the dream chooses to ignore that it’s only ‘secret’ in that most people really could not care less, and therefore they don’t know and don’t wanna know.

I dreamed today that I dug my hands into soft earth, my skin analyzing how moist it was, how it held together, how it crumbled – I need to adjust the drip system here, and here and here, probably need a higher-flow bubbler at this end, too. I dreamed that I noticed my nails were, once again, ruined, and that I had a hopeless amount of dirt under them, and also that I had thoughtlessly rubbed mud on my favorite vest. And that I didn’t really care. That I stood and looked around this whispering, hope-filled place and breathed in the smells – of dirt, finished compost, the neighbor’s horses. It was cold, there in the dusk, and my nose was running…but the dirt sang promises of spring and I felt slow and timeless, like an oak tree that stands and watches for countless unmoving years.

Such strange and disparate dreams…but I suppose, they balance each other. Either one on its own could be in danger of plunging into a world that was sharply skewed, and completely unreal.

Perhaps that’s where my balance actually is – in the center-point between the two dreams, each pulling the other back from its height or depth. Without either one, I could be left too high or too low, lost and unable to find my way back down to where real, or reasonable, is.

Or perhaps…I think too darned much, about very random and esoteric things. And should really just go to bed and try to sleep all this philosophy-stuff off.



PipneyJane said...

Sounds like you really need to talk to you boss about your drop-dead date. I know the bank doesn't usually extend these things but they don't appear to be willing to let you go.

- Pam (hope you get some sleep soon)

Katherine Rollins said...

This company is not fair to you with this level of work. You need to be looking for another job now (if you want one.)

You are a contractor! Make them a list of what you will accomplish in a month and stick to it! Make it known and make it plain as day. You need to start the separation process even if it's only in your mind.

I understand what you are going through. How to keep a toe in both worlds has been my question as well. I was compelled (and fortunate) to stay home but I keep looking and looking for what I can do in the computer industry.

Thanks for sharing your story.

Jacinthe said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Regina Hilary said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.