Monday, September 11, 2017

In which I regret a thing or two

Hold my beer...
Hello once again, and welcome to another installment of 'why I should never answer a knock at my front door.'

Ever, really.

Years from now folks probably won't recall that the past few days have seen a gigantic hurricane, Irma, rip through the Caribbean and into Florida, and is now eating up portions of South Carolina.  Damage is horrific, loss of life is significant, whole islands have been rendered uninhabitable.

Stick with me.

Folks started leaving the Southern-most states a few days ago, and if they were lucky had enough gas to make it through to a mid-Atlantic state (or further).  The pictures of the traffic snarls on the northbound highways were mind-boggling, I'm sure being IN the snarls were enough to MAKE you snarl.  Folks were running out of gas, food, and water, things had been pretty desperate.

This is not why I should not answer a knock at my door, though.  Not yet.

One of the families that evacuated north are folks who used to go to our church.  Nice younger couple, he's a musician/worship lead, she's a teacher who now homeschools their young son and will do so for their baby daughter someday if I'm any good as forecasting the future.  They made what I think is the absolute right decision to get out, and their target destination was right be here in the 27587.  They still have friends here, it seems.

Saw them at church yesterday and had a nice chat; they were disappointed that Biff wasn't there (he had a gig).   Very sweet.

Almost there, hold on a minute longer.

So, I work at home.  This involves a commute of about 3 steps from my bed to my desk, and also very often involves me not getting out of my pajamas until late in the afternoon.  Also likely involved is a distinct lack of hairbrushing or other niceties that one would be expected to engage in if one was planning on being seen by anyone other than the dog.  It's a pretty darned impressive low-impact system, and one that I'm reasonably comfortable performing.  Sometimes I throw a bathrobe on if I'm feeling classy.

So  I should have known better than to go see who was at the door this afternoon.  I really should have.  I was in full-on PJ and bathrobe regalia, my slept-in hair blossoming almost OUT of the topknot I'd wrestled it into the day before, face unwashed, you get the idea.

You also probably know who was at the door.

It was not the mailman.  It was the nice young couple from church.

I'm reasonably certain that having me show up at the door, shambling around in a too-big bathrobe with a fully-risen hair muffin on my head, changed their perceptions of me a touch.  Maybe more than.  That's on them.

That's not the worst of it though.

That came a few minutes later, when their young son allowed as to how he might need to make a potty stop, which of course I agreed to after I put the dog out back.  The youngster and his Daddy made use of the facilities and were soon on their merry way, after which I needed to make a pit stop of my own, at which time  noticed what was The Worst Thing.

See, I live in a home with three very accommodating men.  They put the seat down after they're done peeing, so I don't normally see the underside of the seat.  Today was a day I also wish I hadn't seen the underside of the seat.  Really really wish that had been the case, but no.

The toilet I allowed that little boy and his nice Daddy to use today was...sullied.  Besmirched.  Bedecked.  Soiled, splattered, you get the idea.  This lovely little boy and his lovely Dad flipped up that seat and were met with the unfortunate aftermath of one of my family members' potty visits.

There's no way they could have missed it.


And THAT is why I shouldn't ever answer the door.  Because I might just unknowingly completely gross out people with the slovenly nature of my toilet seat.

Now where's the Clorox?

Tiff out.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Hanging out, listening in

For the record, alchemists
usually work alone
In the nonstop glamour that is my professional life, there is ample opportunity to become involved in meetings of all manners.  Planning meetings, update meetings, strategy meetings, advice meetings, etc and so forth and on and on.

Yesterday there was a 7-HOUR meeting to talk through a 180-page document.

Seven hours was not enough.  The team reconvened at 5 p.m. last night and appeared to have remained online for at least 3 hours.

Even that was not enough, for today the team are meeting for at least 3 MORE hours to talk through the last 20 or so pages of the document.  Which means, of course, that the computer systems are super-slow and seem to be teetering on the brink of collapse in the meeting sharing window.

The best part of this is that I'm really only just listening in to folks talking through the issues, picking apart what's been written, re-dictating crafted language, and scrambling to get this done.  I feel really bad for them, as this is a project that was super-sped up by the big bosses in the face of what was already a challenging timeline.  They're doing their absolute BEST, but jeez, how much can be asked of a group of individuals?  They're practicing virtual alchemy to create a golden ticket from a pile of confusion and conflicting opinions, at incredible speed.

It's astounding.  And for once I'm glad I'm not the one driving the content.  I just have to own the process, which is enough.

It's going to be enough to QC that 11-page reference list against the text...and get the data-driven sections QC'ed...and ensure it's the next 10 days.

Goodbye, weekend.


So, big eclipse plans?

Me neither.

The kiddoes are going with their Dad down to SC to see it happen, which is a nice thing to do with their Dad I suppose.  He's pretty big on Life Event things, so they have those moments built into their collective life experiences.  Me?  I'm not a planner and don't really like to go to place where I know a crowd will also be, so tend to just stay home and live vicariously through the participants on the street.

After seeing what happened in Charlottesville and Barcelona this week, maybe staying off the streets isn't a bad idea.

But, eclipse.  Let's talk about that.

Way back when (1991? 1992?  Can't recall), there was an eclipse, which happened during work hours.  I know this because all us science nerds were hanging out in the windowed stairwell of the beautiful new research building, peering up at the sun through a tiny window of a 'floppy' disc.


Yup.  Apparently one can view an eclipse directly by pulling back the 'locking' tabs on the floppy disc and using the disc itself to screen out harmful rays of sunshine.  Like this:
Ta daaaaah!
We probably looked really cool doing this in our white lab coats, a mass of nerdiness peering like Devo at the fireball in the sky.

Heck, 'probably' nothing.  We rocked the look and the eclipse, then got right back to work saving the world.

Good times.


And that's twice this month I've posted.  You are welcome.

Tiff out.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Good DAY, Sunshine!

These didn't survive the Michigan-like winter, let
alone the brutal summer.  Goodbye, penstemon.
Summer 2017 has one giant bowl of hot n' muggy.  My flower garden can attest to that, as it's simply been too awful outside to go pull weeds or, you know, care much.  I bought some petunias before we went on vacation, then didn't PLANT the darned things, so now have $32 of wasted petunia to throw in the trash.

So of course I bought more flowers on  Sunday.  They remain unplanted, but now that the weather's turned a little nicer (high temps of only 90!) tomorrow morning I'mma be out in the garden finishing the weeding and planting my purdy new flowers.  I won't let that $27 go in the bin, as God is my witness!!


Oh, vacation was nice too.  As we do every year, we headed up to Smith Mountain Lake for a week of boatin' and floatin' and bloatin'.  We had a nicely zippy tritoon (150 horsepower is great!), a waverunner that had enough power to cause blisters on the (admittedly fairly soft) hands of one of its riders, and a speedboat that mostly ran pretty well.

The goal of any good lake week is to not put shoes on the whole week and not travel anywhere by car.  I can never achieve those goals, because someone needs to do the trash runs, and it's a nice drive with good views, so I slap on the sneakers and go.  Also, this introvert needs some time alone on a regular basis, which doesn't really get to experience when living for a week in a house with 6 other people and other family dropping on by for funtimez on the water.

I love my family, know.

On a related note, one of the long trips of lake week is to traverse the South-to-North path of the Roanoke River up to Hardy VA to eat hot dog bites and see what kind of crosses and hot sauce they have at Bay Roc Marina.  This year I elected to not go.  This is a trip that in years past has, for whatever reason, stressed me to the point of nausea (usually thunderstorm related), and I just wanted to avoid that this time around.

And you know what?  I might have missed out on some fun, but I had a WONDERFUL time by myself.  I relaxed like crazy, did some word searches, worked a puzzle, watched the water, and grabbed a tiny hunk of inner peace.

Fabulous, and very very tasty.


Anyhow, the laundry is washing, the dishes need doing, dinner needs fixing, and excuses for tomorrow's potential failures need to be created and catalogued.

Busy busy!

Tiff out.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Weight, lifted

Yesterday I lost 400 pounds.  Click here to see the amazing secret how!

Yep.  About 400 hundred pounds.  Or a million it you're really into heavyweight hyperbole.

Either way, I was freed for a moment from the weight of responsibility and accountability, and it was awesome.

Today I threw the yoke over my shoulders yet again, with a different load to haul, BUT, with familiar yoke-mates to haul with.

This make all the difference.

One heavy load dumped, 5 lighter but no less heavy loads taken on.

September can't come fast enough.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Breathe deep, then sneeze

That's about a day's worth.
It's the most wonderful (not) time of the year, which is nearly (I hope) almost over.  That's right, once again it's pollen season in the Old North State, during which time we  long to fling open windows and gulp in great lungfuls of fresh Springtime air, but are often thwarted in such attempts by the sheer load of plant sex in the air that devolves inhalation into powerful coughing fits.

We really didn't have a winter this year, it almost never got cold enough to put on a jacket.  The trees don't know when to attempt procreation, so have been flinging out their romance for what seems like an extended period this year.  Then we'll have a freeze, REALLY putting a chill on matters, and a day later it will be 80F and it's knees-out season again.

I keep the windows open when it gets above 65F or so, and a glass of water is at the ready to combat the throat tickle that comes from breathing unfiltered air.  No complaints here - I heard it SNOWED in Maine the other day, and that's just too cruel.


So, there was this little basketball game last night.  NCAA finals or something (*wink*).  UNC won - it was a pretty big deal.  Both the kids were at the Dean Dome watching on the jumbotron, along with 10,000 other folks, and I've heard it was quite the event.  Franklin Street, which is on the north edge of campus, was totally swamped right after the game; which is fine because the cops blocked it off in case of a good outcome for our guys.

I did not watch the game.  My heart isn't strong enough for all that stress!

So, yes.  It's been a good year in sportsing my 'my' teams.  UNC men's bball champs, WFHS state football champs, and JMU's team did pretty well on the gridiron in 2016 as well.

No, I didn't watch the football games either.  I'm the kind of person who reads the end of a book before I ought to, too, so there's another thing you can call me 'freak' about.  Surprises and me just don't get along all that well.


Well, it appears as though the work truck has leaked out all its electricity, so I'm off to pick up Biff, who just got the thing inspected (!).

Fingers crossed this isn't a $500 repair...we just spent twice that to get it up to code!

Tiff out.