Twenty to Midnight

As the title suggests, the clock is whirling inexorably toward midnight once again. I’m sitting in the dark of the junk room, watching a pretend aeroplane whistle across a pretend sky – headed for Halifax, Nova Scotia. It’s relaxing, in a strange sort of way.

Work is going well at the moment – although all-consuming in a very non-relaxing way. While software development is fulfilling, it is also draining. The amount of concentration, effort, and mental gymnastics needed to bring projects to fruition is often enormous. It takes it out of you.

Life at home continues as it always has – putting one foot in front of the other. Just as I thought I might be getting ahead of the bank a little, the washing machine started to fail. That will wipe out the meagre savings we had made in recent months. We never seem to get far away from zero.

I woke up this morning having pulled a muscle in my back. I did it yesterday – although I’m not entirely sure how. I’ve been taking ibuprofen throughout the day, which has helped. I swear… my body is starting to fall to pieces. I put it down to working from home. I went from cycling miles every day to not cycling anywhere at all – and it’s having an effect. I really DO need to start doing something regularly. I’ve begun running from time to time, but never seem to stick at it any more. I am succeeding in losing weight though. A kilogram or so per week. Slow and steady.

Anyway – my pretend aeroplane is about to land. I need to go “do my job” in the flight deck.

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Too Tired to Think

I’m not entirely sure where the last few days have gone. In-between chores, work, running, writing, more chores, more running, more work, more writing, and endlessly putting things away, two entire days have vanished.

I suppose the biggest news this week is that my other half is changing job. After something like 12 years working as “the lady in the office” at an infant school, she handed her notice in this morning. She starts her new job in about five weeks – working for a movie production company a few miles away. It’s all very exciting.

I’m still doing the same job I’ve been doing forever – magicking bits and pieces of website and intranet out of nowhere for corporate behemoths. It’s funny – when the writing comes easily I think “I could do this for a living”, but I only really play at writing. Nobody would want to pay me to empty my head each day – or at least, I don’t think they would. That said, I joined Medium a year or so ago, and tried out their partner programme – and made bank pretty quickly.

Anyway.

It’s getting late.

I thought I should at least write a few words before collapsing onto the sofa in front of some ridiculous movie or TV show. Whenever I miss a day on the blog it starts to eat away at me like a fungus. Actually – that’s not a very good analogy, is it – fungus grows on things – it doesn’t eat them.

I’m too tired to think any more.

Oh – I went for another run this morning. I’m glad I did it, but still shocked how unfit I have become. I used to be able to run 5 kilometres a couple of times a week. It’s going to take a while to get back to that.

In the Dark

Did you know that if you install the “Dark Reader” extension into your web browser, you can write in “Dark Mode” in the WordPress editor? Well you do now.

Technically it’s already Sunday morning, but I’m still up – bathed in the light of an old angle-poise lamp in the junk room. There is no music playing. There is no sound of teenagers crashing around the house somewhere else. There is just the sound of my fingers on the keyboard.

I cut the grass today. While it might sound like a remarkably mundane thing to announce – hardly noteworthy in the grand scheme of things – it was at least something. I achieved something.

Tomorrow will be spent on the touchline of rugby pitches for the last time this season – or at least until the summer touch-rugby tournament starts.

On Monday I will find myself back in this seat, sitting in front of this same computer, pretending to know what I’m doing once more, and talking a good game in conference calls.

It’s easy to sound like you know what you’re doing. I meet people that talk a good game all the time. It’s more difficult to pull those same people’s projects out of the fire and drag them over the finish line. I know – I’ve done it.

Anyway.

Time to sleep.

Tiredness Abounds

We went to watch our middle daughter play rugby, and to help out with some of the jobs involved in making a rugby match happen. For me, this comprised standing at the entrance of an overflow car park in a reflective orange tabard for an hour – in bitter cold and driving rain. My youngest daughter came with me and entertained in ways only she knows.

Oh, the fun we had counting cars into and out of the car park while trying to keep track of how full it had become. Who needs expensive video game machines to while away an hour?

After refuelling in the clubhouse, courtesy of a cup of tea in a paper cup and a sausage sandwich, we headed back out into the rain and watched the game – keeping the official match score sheet along the way.

Once the match finished – after having spent the better part of three hours in the rain, which had now seeped through coats, hats, gloves, scarves, sweaters, trousers and underwear – we helped with the clear-up too.

Something struck me while wandering back to our car. There were 18 kids in the team today. Potentially 36 parents. Less than a quarter of that number turned up, and of those only myself, my other half, and another mum helped with anything. Between us we set the pitch up, staffed the car parks, kept score, helped cook food for the players, and took the pitch back down. It didn’t occur to anybody else to help.

I thought many hands were supposed to make light work.

After getting home we stripped off the wet clothes and dug out fresh, warm, dry clothes before collapsing on the sofa with hot drinks. The washing machine has been running ever since.

We finally ate this evening at 8pm. Washing up was done by 9pm. Sunday has gone, and we’re all tired.

Somebody asked me earlier if I might be watching the “Superbowl”. I’ll be amazed if I’m still awake in half an hour, let alone the early hours of tomorrow morning.

Monday Monday (na naaa, na na na na)

It’s Monday, and that’s all I have to say about that. The morning has been filled with meetings and administration work ahead of the start of a new project. It’s exciting in a way, but also draining.

I’ve drunk two coffees, sat through two meetings, and have a third coming down the track at me in half an hour. The washing machine has fallen silent, so after writing this I’ll go empty it and hang it’s contents out to dry.

This morning I blocked out an hour on my calendar for Friday morning. I have to visit the infant school, pull on a huge red suit padded with various cushions, attach a rather dubious curly white wig and beard, and become a certain visitor from the North Pole. Little did I realise last year that doing it once meant I would then be called upon every year, for the rest of my life.

Let’s hope I’m well enough to do it. I’m getting a COVID booster shot the afternoon before my appointment with the red robes – reactions to the shots seem to be a lottery. Fingers crossed.

(three hours pass while more meetings happen)

I almost fainted a few moments ago. I went to the kitchen and made some bread with jam on, purely to give myself some energy. While there I got shouted at for “getting in the way”. Welcome to my world. I’m now waiting for the water filter to re-fill so I can fill the kettle and make myself a cup of tea with sugar in it.

Maybe it’s time for an early night.

Late Night Radio

I’ve been learning something new over the last week. A technology, platform, and language that has been around for a few years, but that I’ve never crossed paths with before. It’s been a near vertical learning curve. All consuming. For the last several evenings I’ve carried on late into the night because I was starting to make progress.

I’m not going to lie – there were times earlier in the week when I began to wonder what I was doing – digging an enormous hole for myself with no sign of a way out. A combination of tenacity, curiosity, and doggedness has seen the beginning of an understanding form. What began as a mountain of seemingly unsurmountable problems slowly gave way to small insights, flickers of understanding, and hour upon hour of research and experimentation.

I can see light at the end of the tunnel at last. A new skill.

I’m hoping this weekend will remain quiet. I’m pretty drained. I could do with some time to recharge – a walk to the park perhaps. A coffee alongside the river. Some down-time.

It just occurred to me that I’ve been sitting in silence for the last couple of hours – tinkering with this and that, and now writing these words.

(a minute passes while I dick around with my phone, and the enormous bluetooth speaker in the corner of the room)

Carli Simon is now singing “Nobody Does it Better”, on some late night radio station. Perfect. Did you know she was married to James Taylor? Both ridiculously talented. I’m always surprised that so few people know who he is – until they hear one of his songs. I suppose he’s a bit like Burt Bacharach, and Hal David – lots of people know their names from somewhere, but have no real clue just how many famous songs they were responsible for.

Anyway.

Time to go grab a drink.

Lionel Richie is singing “Stuck on You”. I think I like this late night radio station.

Neverending

As the clock ticks past 11pm I’ve cracked open the programming text editor I’ve been using for the last several months to write blog posts. I guess when it comes to emptying my head, my brain works best when distractions are removed. If all I can do is type, I don’t get distracted by typefaces, line spacing, or anything else. It’s just me and the words.

Some time ago I experimented with turning my laptop into a computer from the 1980s running Wordstar. It’s amazing how much more you can concentrate without a multi-tasking operating system offering the possibility of listening to music, browsing the web, reading emails, and countless other very important distractions.

Anyway.

Today was something of a slog.

From the moment Alexa began filling the bedroom with radio early this morning it felt like I was walking out to bat over, and over again. Here’s hoping the rest of the week gets a little easier.

Time to go brush my teeth and fall into bed. Perhaps a few pages of a book first.

After the Storm

The greater part of this week has been spent submerged in an alien computer system – trying to make head or tail of how it works, how it hangs together, and how I might use it going forwards. There have been times when I wondered how far down the rabbit hole went – if I might see the surface again. This afternoon lightbulb after lightbulb switched on in the depths of my fragmented brain, and launched me back towards the surface. I suddenly have stories to tell co-workers, insights to share, and a brave new world to describe.

It’s a relief.

It’s amazing how much energy you expend when you don’t know where you’re going, or what you’re really doing. Hitting google, textbooks, and discussion forums works to an extent, but the only real escape is via knowledge and experience – and they both have to be earned.

I’m shattered.

I’m finding it difficult to concentrate this afternoon. Having climbed to the top of the first mental hill of many I might face over the coming months, I’m wondering about downing tools for a while. It’s difficult – I become my worst enemy at times like this. Now that I have reached the top of the first hill, I can see the next one. The temptation to set out towards it is enormous.

Perhaps I’ll go and make a coffee.

I’m Coming Too

I meant to write something late last night. I got as far as writing “it’s half past midnight”, but somehow didn’t get any further.

My mental batteries are drained. I’ve been working on software development projects for the last week. It’s not easy to switch off – you turn over problems in the back of your mind late at night – or at least I do.

I need to get out of the house tomorrow – perhaps an early morning run. Anything really.

The world around us is slowly locking down again – caused by the legions of idiots that surround us. My other half forgot to take her lunch to work this morning, so I wandered up to the school via a service station that has a bakery on-site. While standing in the socially distanced queue with my mask on, I noticed the elderly man in front of me was not wearing a mask. There were signs everywhere instructing everybody to wear masks. He took no notice.

The internet connection is still dropping out all the time at home – we have had little or no internet for a week now. I’m relying on my work phone acting as a hot-spot to check email. There is a call open with our internet service provider, but no news so far. The kids are going out of their mind – deprived of YouTube and Tiktok.

Tomorrow may be all about books, cups of tea, and board games. If the weather is nice, perhaps a long walk away from everybody and everything – well, apart from the kids. I’m pretty sure if I announced “I’m going for a walk – I need some space for a bit”, at least two of them would shout “I’m coming too”…