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As I was leaving work yesterday my boss and I were griping about the seeming incompetency of a project we pay a lot of money to each year. They can't seem to build anything in any reasonable amount of time, what does get built is full of errors they can't explain, data "disappears", and then, yesterday, the whole project was down. Just down.

We pay the equivalent of a yearly salary each year to this project. My boss says, "It's probably time we build our own." That was music to my ears. On the drive home yesterday I was trying to figure out how I could build the project, and then license it back to the district and other districts. It would almost have to be them paying me out of a contract to build the system as a freelancer and then giving them a reduced licensing rate there after.

What this does though, is make me wonder why I didn't get my butt in gear six years ago. If I had put together the system I dreamed of then, I would be that much further ahead.

I used organizational time to clean out the book shelf in the living room. This particular book shelf is mostly cookbooks. So I spent a little time deciding which could stay and which could go. In the I removed 2/4 cocktail books, 1/2 sushi books, 2/3 crockpot books, and so on.... There are still a lot of vegetarian cookbooks, I didn't even touch those. Next is to go through the two huge drawers full of books in my closet. I have a feeling that many of those are going to stay, but we'll see.
Exhausted this morning. I think we stayed up too late for a work night. Last week we were up to 11 or later almost every day, but weren't rolling out of bed until 7am. This week I'm back to rising at 5:30 and so 11 makes me feel pretty tired in the morning.

I've already fallen off the wagon with organizational time. Instead of getting any real chores done last night I played video games during that time. I did consider going to the store to get some bins or boxes for storing things in, but Kirby persuaded me to let her go with the kids instead. It seems they're bored all day and a trip to the store is exactly what they need to break up the monotony, So they're doing that today, and then I suppose we should be back on the bandwagon tonight.

Not a lot to report this morning. I'm just going to get off here, and hopefully make it to work early.
It's probably a bad sign when everyone is disappointed in your vacation. Originally, we had intended to use my mother's timeshare, but first I waited too long to decide on dates, then my mother waited too long to actually book it. In the end we kind of half-assed a vacation. We went to Seaside for a day. Walked on the beach, played in the sand, rode the carousel and bumper cars. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't really much of a beach vacation either.

Shortly afte rthat, the kids started getting sick. First Nolan ran a fever, then a couple days later Aurora. There was messy poo involved, lethargy, hacking coughs which still persist.

We did manage to see Cars 2 during the week and tackled some chores. The hall closets are cleaned organized, as are the kids' toys. I managed to do an put away almost all the laundry early in the week, but of course that's managed to pile up again already. Bills are paid. Work in the basement progressed.

Somehow it never seems like enough. By this weekend it was becoming clear that this wasn't a very relaxing vacation, and it wasn't a very productive one either. Tensions were high. Finally, with two sick kids, and a couple of stressed out parents we decided to take the 4th of July and have a very laid back day. We hung out in the backyard, wiped a lot of noses, ate a simple meal of burgers and potato chips and waited for the sun to go down.

Just us, enjoying each other, together.
Last week I had a meeting in Salem. On my way into Salem, I read a billboard that kind of struck a chord with me:

Live like there's no YESTERDAY.

I think it was actually promoting senior health and activity, but I took it to mean something more along the lines of living without regret. Let go of everything that's happened in the past and do what you can to move forward in a positive way. I used to say, at the ripe old age of 20 or so, that life is too short to live have regrets. At that time it was true for me. I was great at seeing my flaws for what they were, accepting them or fixing them and moving forward. These days I'm more likely to attempt to suppress my flaws and then kick myself when they surface. I almost act like they're out of my control.

Live like there's no yesterday.

It also stirs up a feeling of exploration and tenacity. What you usually do, and what you've tried and failed at don't matter. It doesn't matter if you spent the last decade watching TV every evening. Today is a whole new day and you can do anything you want today. Maybe you'll be successful, maybe you won't, but you can try again tomorrow and today won't matter.

I think this has something to do with teaching an old dog new tricks. I'm not certain why, but at some point in the past I had great optimism, I could do anything. If I couldn't do it now, I could study it for a week or two and be able to do it later. The possibilities were endless. This was probably around the same time that I was immortal. Somewhere along the line, I learned that I can't do everything, and maybe I'm not interested in learning how. It's a terrible change and one I need to actively push against.

Live like there's no yesterday.
I took last week off work because I get something like 5 weeks of vacation a year and hadn't used any of it. Our original hope had been to go somewhere, but we didn't start planning into way too late to actually get my parents' timeshare. Instead we just stayed around the house.

We went to Kids Club one day, the zoo another. We also ran a couple of big errands that took a couple hours. But at the end of the week I was feeling extremely frustrated. Here I had been home all week and hadn't made any visible progress on the basement. This is primarily because I needed my dad's helping hands to hang drywall on the ceiling. Of course, he was working all week.

Then, on Saturday morning, my mother came down with the flu that's been going around their house for weeks. We decided it wasn't a good idea for my dad, who's been in the flu germs for at least a week, to come over to our house. So still no progress on the basement.

I did, however, start putting the upstairs bathroom back together. I spent all day Saturday cutting and re-cutting dry wall to fit around the plumbing pipes, heating vents, and electrical socket. All of which are in the same board. I taped and mudded, but there's a bit bubble in my tape right about eye height, so I'm going to have to rip out about a foot of it and try again.

In all, extremely frustrating, but it looks better than the gaping hole that's been there for months.
Kirby says she likes convenience stores better than strip clubs. I tell her strip clubs ARE convenience stores.
I received a call from someone doing a review of my prior employer. He said that 34 of the 35 people he interviewed there referred to me by name. That I left a large whole in their organization and that they wished they could have me back. I told him it wasn't an impossibility.

Things like that are good to hear. It's all too easy to feel like I don't know what I don't know and that I'm really not as well tuned in to what's going on because I don't have the same professional training as everyone else in the office. But I do know a lot about my area of expertise, and quite a bit about what everyone else is trying to do. It's that balance which really makes me valuable in this industry and it's easy to forget that.

The second time this week I really felt valued was during a meeting of some of our more data-heavy employees. They were reviewing a lot of the data that I pulled together and someone shouted "How do you even begin to crunch this?" The response was simply that they had me to do the heavy lifting for them. Later that same meeting I showed of version 2 of the software they're using which I helped to design and oversaw production on. There was cheers, applause and offers of starbucks and chocolate. The biggest applause was for the streamlining of repetitive tasks, something I immediately identified as a problem when I was hired and fought to get into this version.

That's where I fit in. I can't do their jobs, I don't know how. But I do know how to support them in what they do and how to make their data lives easier.
The body shop called yesterday to say that they had completed the repairs on my car and painted it, but that they were waiting on a wheel from Illinois, so the car wouldn't be ready until Friday. The wheel is like the most stock, common part on the car! It's just the ugly generic rim that came straight from the manufacturer. I was tempted to tell them to throw on the spare because the single car thing is driving everyone crazy.

Every morning this week, I've had to remove car seats from the car, making me later than I already am. Additionally, Kirby's been pretty well trapped in the house with the kids. She tried to go for a walk yesterday to the grocery store to do some grocery shopping as well as get out, but I guess Nolan wasn't pleased about getting rained on.

Last night tensions were high, and we still needed groceries to make dinner, so we attempted to all pile into the car. Everyone was out front and I couldn't get the old lock on our front door to turn. This happens ocassionally, usually a couple good jiggles of the key will fix it, but I was having no luck. So I locked it from the inside and went out the back door. By the time I got to the front, Kirby was trying to take Nolan in the front door to wash his hands because he had been crawling in the dirt.

Back around the house, in the back, wash the kid, and back out front. Then we realize that we've got no car seats in the car. At this point we gave up and I declared that it was frozen pizza for dinner. Back around the house to let everyone in. To his credit, Nolan realized that everyone was upset and spent the entire pizza cooking time playing about as quietly as I've ever seen him play.

So, we need the car back, we need to de-stress, and I need to install the new lock that's just been sitting in the closet for like the last two years.
On my way home from work yesterday I had a strange "am I living?" type of feeling. I was thinking about what our evening was to entail: hanging around the house with the kids, eating dinner, and maybe a movie on netflix. The same as any other night. Then I thought back to all the things I've done in the past and how they seemed inconsequential at the time, but so much more entertaining now. Trips at the drop of a hat, hiking up mountains just because they're there, spending weeks on end at friends' houses, all night programming benders between work and school. Hell, even just building an arcade machine.

Right now, my life is that I go to work, I go to sleep, and I try to work on the basement in the interim or at least do a little hanging out with Kirby while the kids sleep.

I'm sure it'll get interesting again soon, with summer coming, and the kids getting bigger. But life seemed so much more interesting when responsibilities were fewer.
I'm taking a week of vacation next week. I won't actually be vacating our house, but at least I'll vacate the office. Such a thing seemed so much more pressing before everyone else went on spring break. Spring break was terrifically relaxing even though I was in the office.

But it's decided, I'm taking next week off. Now we just need to decide what to do during that time.

Alright, I'm not up to an LJ post this morning.