Just a quickie

Yeah, I know I haven’t been writing lately, but I’ve been either working a lot or sick. Last week I was in bed with that “super virus” everyone else has had. What a nasty bug, and it still hasn’t totally left me. I seem well enough to fly, though, which is good ’cause we’re headed for Cumberland Island tomorrow AM.

We’re catching an early flight to Jacksonville, FL and from there will be transported first by car and then by private ferry boat to the island. Once there, I plan to simply rest. I’m looking forward to leisurely hikes, bicycle rides, and shell hunting on the beach, followed by some canoodling with my husband. I’ll likely wedge a bit of knitting and reading in there, too.

All is packed and ready to go: minimal outfits and toiletries, binoculars (for watching the wildlife), digital camera, and a couple books and knitting projects (socks and an easy shawl: the perfect travel knitting).

I hope to have many photos, a healthy glow, and a mellowed attitude when I return. Have a great week, all!

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Ides of March

Not to sound overly dramatic, but today was quite a mess. What’s up: Is the moon full? Are we in retrograde? I wish I knew why it was such a clusterf*ck of a day.

It started off with me getting a call from one of my clients about 10 minutes before my train arrived in the station. She was reporting a big problem with one of our absolutely critical intranet sites. There were broken links all over it, oh, and by the way, the site was being reviewed by some Very Important People in about 2 hours.

Now, this isn’t a new intranet site in beta. Nor have we recently switched to a new platform that has gone flaky. No, this site was very carefully built by me about 6 months ago in a short timeframe (one month) to meet an urgent business issue. Then, it was turned over to one of my direct reports to maintain. And, all seemed to have gone well with the maintenance over the past months.

All this person — let’s call her M — had to do to maintain the site was update links. She didn’t even have to monitor for links that broke, she had to receive an email from someone else who would tell her “we updated these pages today on our site, so you’ll have to update your links.” M was fully trained in the CMS [that’s content management system for those of you not in the biz], then took over maintenance of the intranet within a few weeks of completing her training.

M arrived at the office within minutes of me. I told her about the call and that there were problems with broken links. “Oh, yes I know.”

My internal reaction: WHAT????!!!!  You knew and didn’t address this right away?????!!!!! Are you out of your ever-loving mind?????!!!!!

But, when in the midst of a crisis and an impossible deadline, you knuckle down and get to work. So, I firmly indicated that was not good, but we would talk about it after we addressed the problem: we had to fix these links right away and I would help.

By noon, it appeared we would be OK so I stepped out and grabbed lunch. I was famished since I never had the opportunity eat the breakfast I had packed. After a few bites, we sat down to talk so I could piece the situation together and here’s how it came out. 

She knew there was a problem last Friday; she didn’t escalate it to me, but instead chose to wait until the platform team was in on Monday and escalated to them. They pinpointed the problem: she was not using the CMS correctly when she added links.  They told her the correct procedure, and she “planned to get the links updated this week.”

There were so many things wrong here that I was dumb-founded. I calmly ran down them with her and explained where she had not followed SOP, concluding with the fact that the entire situation was inexcusable and a very serious infraction. I escalated it to my boss, who will work with the client to smooth things over. And, we will have to consult with HR about how they want me to document this.

This intranet site is critical to a certain aspect of our business and it simply must be functional at all times. At a minimum, M displayed extremely poor judgement, and I barely hesitate to call it downright incompetence.

So, 90% of my day was spent on this mess. I left the office with my laptop, glad to be heading home where I could do a few small outdoor chores (e.g. clean up the yard after the dogs…you know what I mean!), finish up the most critical things I wasn’t able to get to today, then carve out an hour of relaxation time before getting to bed at reasonable hour.

Instead, I get a harried call from my husband. He rode to work today on this bike (yes, it finally got above freezing today) and as he was returning home he got a flat; his spare innertube was the wrong size, so he couldn’t ride. “Are you asking me to come pick you up, or are you telling me you’re taking the bus home?” I say. He wants me to drive cross-town to pick him up.

I thought for a moment about how he would take it if I said no. Not good. Do I want to deal with a sullen husband for the next day or two? If I don’t do this, would I really get that relax time with him being sulky? No. I have to once again knuckle down and pick him up. Forty minutes and about 4 miles later (yep, traffic really sucked) I locate him and help him load his bike in the car.

After he got in the car, I sat there with him for a few minutes and explained to him that the timing of his request was really poor. He knew about my crisis today, but apparently didn’t realize that it meant I still had a few hours of work to finish today; that the hour I had to take out of the evening driving cross town to pick him up and bring him home was quite a burden for me; that I really wish he would have taken the bus home this one time, since the bus stop was right across the street and the bus would drop him and his bike [all the buses in Chicago now have bike racks on the front] one block from our house and taken him no additional commute time; and that the only reason I had done this for him was because I thought he would be angry and upset if I didn’t.

He processed that. Then, he apologized. He hadn’t thought about my horrible day and how it would have impacted my other work projects; he had thought only of himself. Yes, he would have been upset if I declined to pick him up, but now he understood why I wanted to do so.

In the famous words of Farmer Hogget (James Cromwell) from the move Babe: That’ll do.

And to paraphrase the immortal Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind: I sure hope tomorrow _is_ a better day.

Springing ahead

Whew! The past couple weeks have been TOUGH. Mark and I have both been sick, work has been a real drag, and the weather is still bumming me out. It’s MARCH! Let’s have some reliable temps above freezing already!

Luckily, it looks like tomorrow and the rest of this week will be warmish. I’m excited about not having to wear wool tights under my suit pants. Yay!

I have been such a cranky-pants lately that I just couldn’t stand to blog. I work all day on my laptop, writing emails, writing instructions, etc., etc. The last thing I wanted to do when I was “off” was spend more time writing online!

After a couple solid weeks of being so easily irritated by just about any little thing, I decided I really need a vacation. So, I talked over some ideas with my therapist. The location had to meet certain criteria: warmer but not tropical, green, and restful. I spent about an hour online, and came up with this: Greyfield Inn on Cumberland Island.

Doesn’t this look like it feeds the soul?

Greyfield Inn

And how about this scene from this remote, National Sea Shore?

Horses on beach

Wild horses! Cool! Other wildlife we may see are turkeys, armadillos, and bobcats, as well as bunch of waterfowl and migratory birds. There are lots of great photos of this beautiful island here. I can’t wait to take some photos of my own! This is all the spring tonic I will need. Now I just have to wait until the end of the month…