Friday, May 31, 2013


It is downright wrong for a week to feel like it has been “crazy long” when in point of fact, it was technically a “short” week.

I feel as though this has been one of those 9-straight-day marathons, instead of a four-day (mostly) normal work week.

But on the bright side, the kittens probably kept a couple of my coworkers and/or business partners from being on the receiving end of particularly vitriolic emails.

Plus I now have a certain body of evidence indicating that it is completely impossible for me to maintain Pissy Momentum if I have to stop in the middle of it to pluck a kitten off the keyboard.

Or if the kitten sits next to the keyboard peering earnestly into my face and going, “Mew! Mew! Mew! Meow! Mew? Mrrow? Mew! Mew! Mew!”

Or if the kitten shifts on my lap and looks up at me through one half-opened eye like, Dude. You’re harshin’ my mellow right now. Settle down, bro, you make a lousy pillow when you get all TENSE like that!


(We pretty much only have pictures of them sleeping. Because when they’re not sleeping, they’re little blurs.)

In related news, we’re almost positive we finally have their names. The slightly goofy-looking, wide-eyed, curious-but-cautious, EXTREMELY-vocal-when-feeling-left-out-of-the-party gray girl (on the top) is apparently Ms. Samantha Schilling, Private Eye.

And her equally vocal-when-she-wants-something, fluffier, bolder, more-Hallmark-greeting-card sister is Fleur Fatale (whether or not there is a Kitten Mystérieux at the end of this remains to be seen) (OH, AND, you have to say ‘kitten’ like this: kee-tohn)

Anyway – yeah. Long week, for a short one. Today was the final QA sign-off for the June deploy cycle. It was, as always, a day of rushing around frantically with last second Things that we all start testily asking each other, how did you not see THAT while we were still in DEV or SIT?

If there is any point in the whole ‘development life cycle’ at which teams will start hitting each other with heavy objects, it would be this day. The day when the fate of the stuff you’ve been sweating bullets over for the last however-many weeks is in the hands of the QA team. When that guy’s screw up causes your solution to fail. When your assigned QA person is being a knucklehead.

Look, I KNOW the source has 90,000,000 rows in it and our QA table only has 100,000…THIS IS NOT A DEFECT, IT IS A NECESSITY. If we tried to simulate four days of business as usual in a six hour period using a 90,000,000 row load, IT WOULD NOT WORK. The laws of physics are against us.

When you’re being a knucklehead.

Did I stutter?! I know you don’t wanna deal with “the hassle” here, but if you’re not going to get me a representative cross-section of these various use-cases for me to test, I CAN’T PASS THIS ITEM. I’m not SAYING I want ALL 90,000,000 rows, just at least, say, 10 from each of these 40 use-cases. STOP BEING RANDOM WITH THE ROWS YOU PULL IN.

For bonus points, we’re having some pretty ugly issues in production around one of our key nightly export jobs. There’s this one job that keeps failing, this one job that our final answer neeeeeeeeds in order to be correct, and it has to run right before that final extract has to run, and when it fails, it brings us to a hard stop.

And it has been failing night after night after night.

We’re all getting pretty stressed out over it. I’ve been working on it almost exclusively for almost three weeks, and it’s proving to be one of those deals where I fix one thing, only to discover that while that one thing was, you know, a thing and all…it wasn’t the last thing.

Oh no. There’s more.

But, we’re safely past it tonight. And now it is the weekend, when fewer people really care if things fail and take a while to get back on-track again.

We got our QA sign off this afternoon, we got everything fixed that we wanted to get fixed, the code is frozen until our deploy at the end of next week.

{Yawn!} {Stretch!}

Long week. Glad it’s over.

I wonder what next week will be like…

Sunday, May 26, 2013

New arrivals in the Den of Chaos

A couple weeks ago, the husband came home and announced that the kittens our Girl Scout troop leader had been raising were almost ready to leave their mother.

I was more fascinated by his knowing this information than anything else, seeing as how a little over a year ago when the other adult may have been cruising wistfully around the cages at pet adoption events cooing things like, “But look at how sweet he is!” or “C’mon, she’s fully housetrained!” at random intervals, the other adult living in this house made firm statements about the many, many benefits of being pet-free and how awesome it would be, not having the Responsibilities of pet-ownership and possibly words such as “absolutely not, we do not need the complication etc. etc. etc.” were uttered.

Hint: These statements were NOT uttered by ME.

Uh-huh. You see why I was fascinated by this sudden fascination from himself in re: kittens and when they would be leaving their mother?

This swiftly led to pictures of diabetic-shock inducing Kitten Cuteness being emailed to me along with countdowns to when they would be weaned and how desperate the situation was because good homes, finding them is not easy. (You don’t say. Funny, because the pet adoption folks are always complaining about having to beat people away from their doors and such, too. Ahem.)

And then came the declaration that not saying no was the same as saying yes, at which point the only information I offered up was the fact that since we are disciples of the Indoor Only manner of cat ownership, if we were going to jump back into the pet-ownership pond, Kitty would be happier if there were another Kitty around to play with, groom, cuddle up to, torment, steal food from and otherwise hang out with.

Which is why there are now not one but two kittens frolicking around in his office figuring out their path to world domination.

Well. They were frolicking. Now they’re both doing some variation of this.

fihveh moh minnits…zzzzzzz…

They are, of course, ridiculously cute. And they are already the bosses of the household; even Captain Adventure – usually fairly impervious to the wiles of baby animals – had to admit that they are “super epic” cute.

I’m sure these two innocent little purr-balls are going to tearing up everything they can reach – as well as things you’d swear there was no possible way they could reach – in no time.

Welcome to the Den of Chaos, little ones. Your six new servants will take a bit of work to train back to worthwhile form, but I’m sure you will muddle through, somehow

Friday, May 24, 2013

The best of times, the worst of times

The last week has been a real humdinger, work-wise. It was my second turn as primary on-call, and boy, did I ever draw the short straw. Job failures every night. Pages! Problem tickets! Irritated / panicking partners! Working all weekend! Emergency “fixes” that ended up being bigger problems because clearly, you did NOT actually understand what we were TRYING to do, because this is, like, THE OPPOSITE of it…


Been a helluva fiasco. And I was getting mighty tired of it by the time I was logging into the paging system to set the next guy to the primary on-call spot.

There’s still a bunch of small fires burning, but hopefully we’ve gotten the majority of them settled now; with any luck, the next guy’s tour of duty won’t be so ugly.

MEANWHILE…the curtain is starting to produce beans.

They sort of took a pause there, right after I put the netting; as if the plants themselves weren’t too sure of what I was up to exactly. But they’re starting to stretch themselves up and climb now.

I’m still finding this ridiculously amusing; so much so that I find myself pondering what I might be able to do with, say…

…a shower curtain…

…and maybe some felt…

…a little PVC…

…a fish tank…and pump of course…

…and one big, empty wall with good indirect light…

(To answer the question around the Big Orange Structure – the husband hasn’t quite gotten back to it yet. He had a part in a play. And D&D games. And a festival to go to. And several other social things to do. I have no idea when he’s actually going to get back to it, either, because he’s packing up his weekends as fast as he can with anything / everything ELSE – I suspect I will probably have to resort to trying to take that area back to force him to fish or cut bait on that deal. That’s right, I play dirty that way.)  

Friday, May 10, 2013

How To Make Your Spouse Do Stuff, Den of Chaos Edition

We needed some kind of window covering in the master bathroom – the nekkid windows in there are like tiny but powerful heaters, driving up the temperature not only in there, but all the way in the master bedroom as well.

I finally got off my arse and got the ball rolling on that. Yesterday, the raw materials arrived. And I looked at them…and then I looked at my husband…and I thought to myself, OH boy…this is going to end up being like the downstairs bathroom, which has needed new flooring for, like, four YEARS now…

And sure enough, he was settling into a mode that clearly told me I was going to be hard-pressed to get any finger-lifting from him. After all these years together, I can just tell when he’s going to be resistant to the suggestion that now would be a GREAT time to get on that project.

But I am a wily old fox. So when I had wrapped up the bulk of my work for the day, I wandered downstairs, rummaged together all those raw materials, then poked my head into the Man Cave and casually told Himself that I was going to, you know, just go ahead and get the curtain rods hung, you know, now-ish.


(Note how Mr. Tall Guy doesn’t even need a ladder to do this. I would have needed one. How I planned to use a ladder in the bathtub [which, yes, is where he’s actually standing right there], I have no idea. But I’m sure it would have been a) dangerous and b) awkward and c) he would have pitched a major hissy fit about me doing it “like that” if he’d caught me in the act.)

I have found that I have three basics ways I can attempt to coerce Himself into doing these sorts of Domestic Chores on my schedule:

  1. Needle-n-nag
  2. Humor (comedian type, not “awww, you’re RIGHT, this IS soul-suckingly hard to deal with, awwwwww” humoring)
  3. Cheerfully tell him never mind, I’ll do it m’self, ‘kay?

The first method has a really lousy success rate. Frankly, I think men as a general rule have developed a genetic resistance to it that kicks in the instant they are married. Thus pretty much all that ever happens when I try to use the jab-jab-poke-poke-how-about-now-how-about-now-how-about-now method of spousal encouragement is that he will quickly discover he has approximately 32,418 much more important things that absolutely, positively, no matter WHAT, need to be done first.

Like sharpening his screwdrivers. Or organizing his Netflix queue. Oiling the Shopsmith. You know, man-stuff no woman could ever understand. (Pfffffft, yeah-right. Who does he think he’s kidding?! Like the Supreme Goddess of Procrastination can’t recognize her own subtle ways at work…!)

The second one has a much better success rate but sometimes takes a while because it lacks any sense of urgency, since the addition of same tends to cause it to lose the humor part and degenerate into needle-n-nag. Plus he’s so damned funny right back at me that I’ll get distracted by the humor and forget that I’m trying to get him to DO something, crap, what WAS it…?

(Aside: this is a key benefit of marrying someone with a raging case of ADD. I may carry on three different conversations at the same time with you with alarming frequency – which is damned confusing I’ll grant you but at least you’re not actually inside my head, where there’s usually more like eight or ten or twelve simultaneous-but-completely-separate streams going – but I also completely forget what it was I was trying to make you do given any kind of distraction what-so-ever…so simply asking me if I’ve gotten any good blacksmithing recipes in Warcraft lately can buy you, like, three days of not being bugged about whatever-it-was. Score.)

But the third method (which we both know is merely a variant of the second one but with a dash of danger added to it for added spiciness), particularly when it comes to things like hanging curtain rods or pictures or anything ELSE which, done incorrectly, leads to crookedness, has a nearly 100% success rate for me.

It’s like the instant he realizes that I’m no really heading for the power drill (!!) and no really am going to slap those things up all half-arsed (!!!) and with very little regard for math and/or measurements (faints) (which, for the record, I totally will, because I always think that the ‘hold out my fist with my thumb sticking up and squint at it’ method of leveling is going to be close enough for gummint work), this dark vision yawns open before him of having to spend the next gah only knows how many years walking past something that is {shudder} crooked.

He’s the kind of guy who is physically incapable of leaving a crooked picture alone. He will adjust it. Also he will re-file all the cards at the stationary store if he finds them misfiled. I would mock him for this, but that would be like throwing rocks at a neighbor from the yard of my glass house.

Anyway, he had those rods hung in about half of nothing flat. And walked away smiling, because, crooked curtain rods, AVERTED.

And then I took a $3.98 package of plastic garden netting (what, you thought I’d bought actual curtains to hang there? Please, have you MET me?!), cut it to fit, and did you happen to notice the plants on the windowsill there? Or should I say living curtains, because…

Yes. I’m growing the curtains. AAAAAAH!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! I KNOW RIGHT?! I laughed so hard just thinking about doing this last month, and now I keep getting up so I can go look at it, even at this super-early stage, and then I just giggle and snicker like crazy.

These are moccasin rice beans. I bought a bag of them to eat at the Bean Festival last year, and having found that they were becoming really hard to find, decided to see if I could start growing my own. Which I could, and rather easily at that. Woo hoo.

From the test bunch I grew over the winter, I expect the vines to end up anywhere from three to five feet long by the end of their lifespan, with ridiculously large window coverings leaves on relatively thin, wiry vines. Within another week or so, they should start popping out small, pinkish-white blooms – the test batch actually started out rather modestly, then suddenly went nuts right after the first pods were swelling up.

I think that’s the part I’m looking forward to, and hoping works out again on this larger scale. If it works out the way I hope it will, it will be amazing…those lovely, lush leaves with the bright, shy little flowers and their subtle, almost-not-even-there scent…like growing my own little set of promises where I’m sure to see them, every single day.

Monday, May 06, 2013

The camera is a lie

This morning, for absolutely no good reason, I took it into my head to attempt taking my own picture.


It ended about as I expected it to: I laughed so hard it felt as though someone spent the night pummeling me in the gut, and I deleted the distorted, oddly-angled evidence of my stab at vanity almost instantly.

Nothing brings the sexy like a person wearing bifocals attempting to figure out where the shutter-button is on a slick surface facing away from them. If there were a common theme to the four or five shots I actually managed to find the button for, it would would be Squinting Elder Monkey Is Surprised By Flash She Thought Was Off Oh Wait Did I Turn It On Against By Mistake While Fumbling For The Shutter Button, I Totally Did, Didn’t I?

I suppose if I actually gave a damn, I’d figure this out. After all, I am a person who can take two sticks and a bunch of string and make clothing, for Pete’s sake. Furthermore, my daily bread is earned by making computers do stuff. I know how to get a button on a website to do something when you click on it. I even know how to get cursors to do stuff just because you moused-over something. I can make the database find that one row, among MILLIONS OF ROWS, that YOU need right-now, in less than a second.

I’m pretty sure, if I cared enough, I could figure out how to take a picture of myself where I did not look drunk and/or misshapen and/or confused and/or dear Gah, what IS that neck muscle doing?! That…IS just a neck muscle, right…?

Or old. Older. Because OK, fine, I am never going to look 20-something again. Not without major Photoshop intervention.

But I’m only forty-something. Not, you know, sixty or six hundred something. Which is how I look whenever I have one of these little fits where I think, YA KNOW, you really ought to consider updating that profile picture, taken back in 1980-something

And then I take anywhere from two to ten ‘selfies,’ laugh hysterically until I’m gasping and nearly crying because ohmygah, RIIIIIIIIOT!!!

Then I mutter to myself about ya KNOW how cameras are with you, if you wanna look not-undead, you’re gonna need to put on some makeup or something…

And then I shove the camera into a drawer because ugh, makeup? what next, UNSTAINED CLOTHES? This thing is getting WAY out of control here, WAY too much WORK going on with this thing…

And then I get distracted by something shiny.

Like a new BBQ.