Nerds can dither too

I flew up to Seattle yesterday to meet my new neice. Fiona is, of course, absolutely adorable and charming and we (my parents and I) sat and watched her scrunch her face into the silliest little expressions for hours on end. Ah, the joy of newborns. I held her, and didn’t feel one teensy bit of maternal urges. If that doesn’t prove to the rest of them that I really and truly don’t want kids, well, I’m not sure what will. Regardless, she is a little doll and I am already trying to figure out just how often I can make it up to Seattle to visit without driving my little sis and her husband crazy. My sister did mention that I have a standing invitation -something along the lines of ‘my futon is your futon’ – which of course is a hard invitation to pass up when there is a teeny little baby up there who’s just as cute as she can be.

I should just note here – I’m gushing over my little neice, and this is certainly not to infer that I don’t ooh over my nephew just as much. It’s just the neice is brand new. I’m entitled to do more gushing right now.

My brother-in-law – the father of the nephew, not the neice – is looking for a new job. And he’s lately been sending my dad and I emails with some of the job offerings he’s found. In Napa. Yes, Napa. There are jobs for computer nerds in Napa. This completely boggles me. Napa inspires images of rolling hills and yuppies sipping wine while they relax in spas. Not pasty-faced, coke-bottle lens-wearing nerds hunched over keyboards muttering incomprehensible blatherings about select statements and grepping, a word which always seems vaguely illicit somehow, but don’t ask me to explain because then I would just end up sounding silly (oh, like I don’t already). But regardless, there they are. Positions paying decent money, up in a gorgeous area of California. Okay, so it would be further away from my friends in both directions, but oh gosh (she says with a dreamy expression on her face) that might be bearable if I could actually be home every night and never have to worry about my billable vs nonbillable hours and whether taking vacation will cut into my quarterly bonus, and be able to actually make long-range plans during the week because I could guarentee not only to be in town, but most likely that I would be home at a decent hour and could do stuff. It’s a tempting thought. And I freely admit that I’m scared. A big squawking chicken, if you must know. I’m scared that if I went to go looking for another job they all would look at my pitiful level of experience and knowledge and they would laugh in my face and in rude and nasal tones, loudly point out that my degree is in Nutrition, not Computer Science, and you know how you always feel like you’re one step behind everyone else in this industry, clinging on by your fingernails trying to figure out all these tiny things that everyone else seems to just *know*, well, it’s because you’re *stupid*, so why don’t you go away now. Sigh. So here I am feeling like this and dithering about what to do when I quit doing consulting because I *am* going to quit consulting because I don’t want to do this traveling anymore, but what am I really qualified to do, and darn it all it would be awfully nice to figure this out pretty soon because I want to buy a house one of these days, and I’m 30 now and it’s time. It’s past time. And I get this email from my brother-in-law. The father of my nephew, not my neice. With a job description that he is looking for. And my first thought reading through this is ‘oh my god, I can actually *do* this!’ So then I go to the job site and what do you know, I find another one that I might actually be qualified to do.

And all I can think now is, well, there goes that excuse. And can it really hurt to toss my resume out there and see if anyone bites? Because I’m on a project now that’s fairly stable and while the commute might be long, at least I am not living in hotels and flying back and forth every week, so it’s not like there’s any sense of urgency. What do I have to lose?

So why am I still so scared?

Talking to myself

Caffeine. I’m running low here. Time to get more coffee. And hurry up about it, will ya?

Sorry. Sleepy.

Hectic seems to be the norm lately for my life. This project I’m currently assigned to keeps hitting snags we never expected. We need a DBA badly, but no sign of one being found or assigned to us. Trying to pin the users down on requirements and getting enough info out of them has been difficult, although it is getting better. However, I’m here for 10-12 hours a day lately, and no end of that in sight at least through this week. I need sleep. This morning more problems, right as I walked in. Nearly two hours on the phone with everyone, trying to track down what happened. No, don’t care what happened. How do we fix it? How do we make sure it doesn’t happen again?

Hook up an IV into my arm and just feed it into the veins directly. Much quicker than drinking it. Really. And then I won’t have to taste it. How can anyone actually drink this stuff *black*?

You’re a wimp you know.

Oh, shut up.

The cats weren’t happy with me last night. I came home to anxious faces. I was a bad cat mom. Very bad. The food bowls were so low you could actually see the bottom! Oh, the horror. The inhumanity. Or something. Anyway, I filled the bowls quickly, all the while apologizing profusely to them, and since I was so tired from work. I didn’t even try to figure out what toy it was they had ripped into nonrecognizable little shreds of green foam all over the living room floor.

Alright, maybe not a caffeine IV. What about a caffeine patch? They have them for nicotine. Why not caffeine?

Yes, but those are for people trying to quit smoking.

So? What’s your point?

Well. You’re not necessarily trying to cut back.

This morning when I was looking for the dish sponge, I figured out what it was. I’m not sure exactly what the sponge did to antagonize them. Or why it is that they decided that, after ignoring this sponge (and all its little scrubby, spongy predecessors) for the 5 years I’ve been in this house, that last night was the night that it had to die. Perhaps it committed suicide. I may never know.

Caffeine. I need more caffeine. Sleep isn’t going to happen. Not for a while. But as long as I have caffeine…..

Ten fingers and ten toes

To my brand new neice,

You’re not old enough to read this. You’re not going to be old enough for several years, and by then you may not even care. But you’re just born and there’s things I am thinking, now that I have a little neice. I’ve got a nephew too, and I love him just as much. But you’re a girl, and I’m a girl, and I look at the world through a girl’s eyes and I see things that worry me.

I want for you to be able to ignore mirrors. To treat them as any other piece of furniture. To not look in one and automaticaly find fault with what you see. I hope that you will never feel you must judge yourself on the basis of what you weigh, or what your cup size is, or how large your tush might be.

I want for you to not have to be afraid when you’re out alone in the dark. To never have to worry that because you are female, you are a target. To be able to wear whatever you want and not have anyone think that this gives them the right to treat you as less than a person.

I wish for you a career that has no glass ceilings. No old boys’ network. No discrimination of any kind.

I wish for you a world where you can love who you want to love, whether that be male or female, and noone will even blink

I wish for you a world where the choice of whether to keep or end a pregnancy is yours and yours alone, and not based on what a bunch of right wing religious fanatics think it should be.

I wish for you to grow up strong and confident. To laugh loud and long, play hard, love what you do, love life, live life. You will make mistakes – everyone does. But you have choices. You can either let those mistakes hold you down, or learn from them and use them as stepping stones to raise you even higher.

Welcome to the world, Fiona. It’s a beautiful place.

all my love

Fiona Elizabeth, born at 10:08pm, 01-29-2000, 8 pounds, 20.5 inches.Perfect

I am woman. Hear me yelp

I replaced my showerhead tonight.

Oh, I know. Big deal. So what.

But you see, it was a *plumbing* thing. I managed to do a *plumbing* thing and nothing broke! This is not always the case. Plumbing and I do not usually get along. There was the time I took apart the pipes under the sink because my friend dropped her ring down the drain and it seemed such a simple task to pull off the pipe…except that some little rubber gasket or something like that was rotten and fell to pieces the minute the pipe came off and we had to call in the maintenance guy to fix it and he was not amused.

Or the time when the water softener hose came undone and I tried several times to fix it because it kept pouring water all over the floor of the garage and leaking into the dining room of the house and if you’ve ever smelled mildewy carpet, you know what fun *that* can be.

So while replacing a showerhead may seem an easy task, I was not exactly filled with confidence. For all I knew, I could take the old head off and the whole darn pipe would crumble to bits at my feet.

However, it was a piece of cake! Of course this is after I stood in front of the vast display of showerheads at the local hardware store, contemplating which one to get. All I wanted was a showerhead. Just a little metal doohicky I could screw on so that I could actually, maybe, if I was really lucky, have a shower in something that had semi-decent water pressure and didn’t spray upwards and sideways, but *down*, onto me.

Finally I picked one, more out of desperation because the store was closing and by golly I was gonna replace that showerhead tonight so I’d better just grab one *now* than because I’d decided on which of the wall of shiny heads to take home.

Armed with the new showerhead, my wrench, and determination, I headed into the bathroom with my entourage of furry assistants and tackled the chore. There was a brief moment of consternation when at first the old showerhead refused to budge and I had visions of the thing being rusted permanently in place, but hooray, it was just being stubborn, and off it came.

I have a new showerhead. It’s amazing.

Maybe next week I’ll tackle the water softener again.

When good computers go bad

ME: Ho hum, today will be nice and slow. I can finally catch up on all this work.

COWORKERS: Gee. We have this little Microsoft Access thing we need to have developed.

ME: Hey. I’ll volunteer to do it. No problem. I just need to download the install from the company installation directory. Piece of cake.

COMPUTER: sits there looking grumpy.

ME: ‘Do you want to install?’ Sure I do! **Click** Hmm. Something seems to be wrong…….

COMPUTER: I’m bored.

ME: What? What’s wrong? See? I’ll uninstall. Will that make you happy? I’ll reinstall and make it all better. Honest.

COMPUTER: I’m still bored.

ME: See? I’ll reboot. You’ll work now. So I can do this teensy little Microsoft Access database….hey! Quit freezing up on me! I’m talking to you!

COMPUTER: Oh yeah?

ME: Yeah!

COMPUTER: I *told* you I was bored.

ME: Fine. You’re being rebooted.

COMPUTER: Oh yeah?

ME: yeah. What are you going to do about it?


<…..Missing operating system…..>

ME: Nonononono!!!!

COMPUTER laughs maniacally. Don’t even think about retrieving your files, either. DOS? I don’t do DOS.


Hit return if you want to reformat your hard drive, and lose any and all files you ever had on this system, and watch the blue screen of death come up sporadically, and reboot another 5 or 6 times and completely hose your system and lose absolutely everything and have to reinstall every single piece of software that you need to do any amount of work at all, and don’t think you can do this quickly either because I’m going to make you fight with me ALL DAY if I want to!


ME: Sob!


Collecting smiles

Random happy things, in no particular order.

My ceiling isn’t leaking anymore, so the patch my landlord put onto the roof is working.

I got a little clip for my badge at work so I now have a new toy to play with (snap, snap, snap!)

This new position I volunteered at for at work is turning out better than I expected and I am realizing that I really can handle administrative stuff even though I wasn’t sure.

I have a solution to a difficult problem and it is such a relief to know what to do about it. (Thank you, M)

I actually filled out the application for personalized license plates that say ‘JENIPRR’. Of course, they have to be reviewed, if the website is to be believed (I have yet to figure out exactly what is so controversial about JENIPRR), but I’m being optimistic here.

I can finally telnet through the firewall from my worksite, and my mush withdrawals can cease. Yes, I’m pitiful.

I have finally let go of my impatience to buy a house and have, instead, worked out a plan for the next few years for what to do with my existing place, as well as how to prepare for when I *do* get my own home.

Raindrops keep falling on my hall

It rained today. All day, actually. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing – it’s been an unseasonably warm and dry winter and there’ve been dour mutterings of drought, and a horrible hot summer, and high air conditioning bills.

However. I was visiting a friend this weekend. So my nice new car was not parked in its warm, snug garage like it normally is (well, that is assuming I’m not off in another state and it’s sitting in the airport parking lot. But I digress). It was parked on the street. Near a storm drain. Which clogged. So when I went to get into my car this morning, I realized that this was going to be a larger challenge than I had thought because it was now sitting in the middle of a small lake.

I ended up standing on one toe of my boot and leaning forward to open the back door and toss in my things, and then I did the same little awkward ballet pose to open the front passenger door and sort of leap into the car. Scootched myself over to the driver’s seat and I was all set.

Not that that was the end of my ‘fun with rain’ for today. It was pouring as I drove home – a situation which always makes driving fun because visibility becomes nil. And when I got home, I was confronted by the lovely sound of dripping from the hall ceiling.

I immediately jumped into action. I grabbed the largest pots and bowls I could lay my hands on and stuffed them under the three leaks. I grabbed all the cats and stuffed them into a bedroom and shut the door. I did a quick scan of the front rooms of the house to make sure that it wasn’t a complete and utter mess. And then I finally ran across the street to get my landlord. He came over and wormed around in the crawlspace while his wife and I peered anxiously up at the ceiling listening to him mutter to himself. Then we both got to peer anxiously up at him while he climbed up on the roof to do some sort of water sealant patch work because some of the shingles had blown off in the last wind storm.

It worked out well – the ceiling has stopped dripping and he didn’t see any of the cats…um….because I was being a considerate person and getting them out of the way so we wouldn’t have to worry about any escapees when he was traipsing thru the house (yeah, right. More that I have more cats than the lease states).

He says he’ll need to come back in a few weeks once it’s dry to do the final patching, and I’m a bit anxious about that because I’ll have to find something to do with a few of the cats on that day. But I can worry about that when the time comes.

Bits and pieces

Walked out of the office last night and stopping to look up at the sky. Caught the sunset at just the tail end, when the sun’s completely gone, but the sky looks like an odd landscape, night-shaded water, and the clouds are shadowed islands, with another coastline off in the distance, and watching it disappear.

Driving to work this morning. Crossing the overpass and catching the sunrise and feeling disappointed that I had to keep driving and I couldn’t stop just to look.

The hawk that came out of nowhere and zoomed across the windshield of my car a bit later. Kamikaze owls I’ve dealt with, late at night, big white shapes that zip across the road right in front of you and you can swear you hear them laughing. But never during the day. The adrenaline rush as I swerved, afraid I would hit it. The relief when I saw it winging away to terrorize someone else.

Watching the line of cars on the two-lane road undulate open and closed as the ambulance and firetruck screamed by and being ridiculously proud of the other drivers that everyone was following the rules and pulling over to the side to let them by.

The car they were headed for, front end completely smashed in. The woman I saw running toward it. The fireman standing beside it. The look on his face.

The little toddler in the donut shop when I stopped to pick up breakfast for the crew. I didn’t catch her face, I think it was a girl. But just the purposeful way she headed into the back, and the way her mother ran after her.

How to make friends with your neighbors

I got up this morning with about 15 minutes to spare before I had to leave for work. My fault for swatting the snooze button so many times, but I ran into a few friends online whom I hadn’t seen in a long time and so I stayed up too late to catch up.

So I was not entirely awake when I headed into the garage and opened the door to the car. I’m not sure what exactly happened. Maybe I hit a button somewhere, I don’t know. All I know is suddenly I’m reeling from the very loud honking that is emitting from my car because the alarm went off!

When I bought this car, it had a basic security system in place. Nothing fancy – just a panic button on the remote, and a dire warning that if I lock it with the remote and anyone should try to open the car from the outside without unlocking it, the horn will blare.

I suppose I should feel relieved to know that it works. But this morning all I could think about was that:

1. I had no idea how to turn the darn thing off!

2. My neighbors were probably going to kill me for blaring a horn at 7am.

In retrospect, it’s amusing. Me frantically pressing random buttons on the car remote, dashing into the house to grab the spare and pressing random buttons on that, trying to start the car to see if that would do the trick (it didn’t), flipping hastily through the manual to see if it mentions anything in there (it doesn’t). Eventually the honking stopped. I’m not sure if it’s because I managed to do something, or if it just ran its course.

And it’s such a lovely testament to the effectiveness of these car alarms that make noise. As I reopened my garage door and pulled out onto the street, no one was there. No one had even bothered to come out to see.

Another thing to add to the list of what I do for fun

Yesterday I got the cleaning bug. Well. I’m not sure it was so much cleaning as it was sorting. But I had a lot of sorting to do. The sad part is that I *still* have a lot of sorting to do. At least some of it is done now. And some of the bills are paid. And I suddenly remembered that now that the Big Fish has swallowed my previous company, we only get paid once a month instead of twice and I had really better remember that sooner next month so I don’t start counting on getting a paycheck on the 15th again, shouldn’t I. Eek.

Which reminds me that I haven’t submitted a timesheet for the past 4 weeks now and I’m actually rather surprised that noone has sent me one of those lovely little reminder emails. Gee. I guess I know what I’ll be doing today when I swing by my office (my real office, that is. The one in which I have a desk, but I’m never there because I’m always at a customer’s site, but that actually has a nameplate. And I mean an office. Not a cubicle. Four walls that go all the way to the ceiling, windows, and two doors – one leading to the outside. Yes, you cube moles, I said *windows* and *doors*. You may be jealous.) But where was I?

Oh yes. Sorting. Or cleaning. Or some hybrid between the two. It’s part of this process I’m going through – this lengthy multiple-step process I’ve set up for myself – I must have these things all done so that when I move from this house I won’t have to scramble madly. Surprising even myself, I’m actually well down that path. I’ve cleared out my garage. No, really. There’s tons of space in there! Not like before, when I had carved out a little chunk of room to park my car, and then promptly went and bought a bigger car, so that either I could open my door or any passenger I had could open his/her door, but not both of us. Hmm. My car, my garage. Guess who always won on *that* decision. Heh.

And I’ve been going through other stuff too. Although I must admit I’ve been good. Haven’t rearranged the living room furniture now in over a year. This may have something to do with the fact that I now have a piece of furniture that is a bit too heavy (and that’s an understatement) to move by myself. 2am or no, there’s no way I can drag the china cabinet around. Everything else – piece of cake. You do know that 2am is the best time for moving furniture, by the way. That’s when inspiration always hits. I remember doing this on a regular basis when I lived in apartments back in my college days – I’m sure the downstairs neighbors always loved it. In hindsight, I wonder just what they thought my roommates and I were doing that early in the morning, with the sounds of heavy things being dragged across the floor?

But I digress. Again. Which may have more to do with the fact that I am at work at 6am and my caffeine has not kicked in yet. So I was cleaning. Lots of cleaning. And it was actually kind of fun, going through everything, sorting out stuff, filling up the paper recycling bin, rearranging the files on my dining room table (What? Use the table to *eat* off of? You must be joking! Where else can I stack things? Besides, my grumpy tortie cat needs somewhere to lounge.)

So I think I have it out of my system now, at least for a little bit longer. The cleaning/sorting thing, I mean. My computer room is the last hold-out. It’s lurking back there, behind a door, taunting me with piles of paperwork, miscellaneous things I need to go through, empty boxes from computer hardware and software (what is this universal need to save these silly boxes? Why is it that people invariably hang onto these?), all sorts of SPCA things from when I was on the board of directors and since I’m no longer on the board, I’d gladly hand them over to someone else but noone wants them and so they are still sitting in my house. In my computer room.

But I’ll get to it one of these days. Really I will.

Still life with cats: the story of me