Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Treat. Definitely Treat.

The absolute very best thing about Halloween is the editorial comment one receives from an uninhibited 7 year old boy upon opening one's door to a pack of candy-grubbing hob-goblins. Without fail, there's one every year.

Tonight I learned my decorating style is probably best classified as "Preschool Modern" or at least that's how I've chosen to interpret the question "Are you a teacher?" This year's recipient of Least Inhibited Reaction to a Stranger's Abode Award goes to the little guy who asked me this as I opened the door and he caught a glimpse of my family room full of toys, an easel, a child-sized art table, a wall full of Jujube's artworks, and a decidedly teacherly looking desk. He then turned to his posse and said, "Look at this place, you guys!" To me, he added, "What is this place?"

It's a close second to the little dude about 10 years ago who burst out with "Pew! Your house stinks!" I'm still wondering exactly what that was about. Either my deoderant had failed, we'd missed a patch of cat pee sprayed by a territorial neighborhood feline, I'd had Italian food for lunch the day before, or it had something to do with the Pork Butt roasting in the oven. None of these options thrills me, exactly, but all these years later I can remember his exact expression, tone of voice, and the utter horror on his father's face. It's hard not to laugh about it, even this many years on.

Every year Englishman hopefully buys two giant bags of chewy candies from our local club warehouse store and every year his dreams are fulfilled: we never get enough kids to justify the 30 or 40 pounds of sugar boiled into fruity-flavored blobs and wrapped in day-glo skins of plasticised paper. He has to eat the leftovers. Poor, deprived Englishman. All he got to beg for when he was a lad was a "Penny for the Guy." For those with a serious sweet tooth, it definitely sucks to have been born a Brit. We have WAY more Candy Holidays on this side of the pond. Plus we use about twice as much sugar in all our food preparations than is absolutely necessary.

Life in the USA is sweet. Literally.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pour Me Wine Festival

After a one hour commute this morning to travel 11 miles (average speed = well, huh!, 11 MPH, ain't math funny?) I arrived at my desk to find this Escalated Incident sitting in my Inbox:

The detail_deleted_so_nobody_sues_Coach update query is taking long time and failing after it eaches UNDO retention. This query needs to optimize in order to complete. Based on execution stats (find the attachment), it requires around 60hrs of undo retention."

Now, you may be thinking "Of course we don't understand that, Coach. We don't work in your field." To which I must reply, I assure you, I have no more inkling of what this means than any of you do. I couldn't spot an undo retention from a water retention, though I rather imagine myself going through some sort of UNDO procedure myself if I can't get out of this hell-hole of a job.

This week I am assigned to cover this Escalated Incidents list which is the list of tasks that are too hard for even the Technical Support people to figure out. On top of being the point person for this joyful activity, I also have a big test I'm supposed to be running on a brand new server which took me an entire day to install which leaves me 6 days to execute more than 200 test cases. Oh, and get a proxy server installed and running somewhere between my test machine and the server. I assure you, friends, I know as much about proxy servers as you do. Probably less. It could take me another day or 2 to figure out how to install one. Meanwhile, I could have all kinds of retentions undoing themselves in my Inbox.

So what's a Coach to do?

Why, procrastinate by writing this blog entry, of course.

One of my favorite astrology sites claimed that today was supposed to be one of my Power Days. The only thing I feel right now is a powerful urge to run away and hide in a big echo-y cave with a lifetime supply of k-rations and a Bunson burner.

You might think I could fix my eyes on the prize of an at-home Pour Me Wine Festival this evening but no such luck. I have 5 dozen bat, cat, witch, and moon shaped sugar cookies to frost and decorate tonight for tomorrow's big Halloween shindig at Jujube's preschool, which reminds me... Lunch Break today (you know, that thing I don't get anymore unless my boss is working from home, sh!) my mission, whether or not I choose to accept it, is to find and purchase orange colored decorating sugar and chocolate jimmies (sprinkles, to those of you who are New Englandly challenged).

And as if all this weren't enough to send Coach running right out the front door of the office building into Interstate 95 traffic, my cubicle neighbor smells like Baby Powder. I utterly
the smell of baby powder.

So, poor, poor me...
a nice 20 oz. Reidel balloon of Quivira Zinfandel. I love a good Whine Festival.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I'm due, people (both of you still reading this blog). Due for a post. Today is a "work" from home day -- I never made any promises about what I'd be working on -- so I have access to cameras, cables, PhotoShop, Network Magic, and no one corporate looking over my shoulder. Furthermore, my company's VPN server is all clapped out. Since I can't log in, I can't really test anything. Darn. I guess I'll have to finally post the project photos that all self-respecting knitting bloggers share with their readers.

Here are two of my projects. One is still in progress but is definitely my favorite so far. The other is the Zoe Mellor fair isle cardigan she's wearing. I finished the cardi back in August, just in time for the cooler weather to arrive. It turns out this cardigan is the perfect topper for a Hanna Anderson playdress and leggings in shades of green bean and peony pink. I love when that happens: when a project you've just completed turns out to be the missing link in an outfit already in your closet. It's as though all the money and hours are completely justified (to your mate). You say, "Look honey, it matches this perfectly," and all of a sudden the scowls and disparaging remarks about yarn budgets and overflowing stash just melt away as though they were never an issue in your relationship.

Speaking of supportive Knitter's Mates, mine took the train into work yesterday so he could get home in time for me to join my weekly 6 - 8 pm knitting group. Most days, Englishman arrives home close to the 7 pm mark. Wednesdays are nail biters for me because if he arrives after 6:45, I just won't make the trip to the neighboring community's Starbucks. I try not to sulk openly but, well, let's just say I was not born to play poker.

It's some sort of small miracle -- call the Vatican, someone -- that these photos are actually appearing here. They were still on the camera's SanDisk this morning. Since our home office now looks like this, it's a wonder I was able to extract the photos. Normally I pop the disk into our printer but it wasn't hooked up. Now, folks, I am not much of a Plan B person. I lack the patience. It's usually Plan A followed by Coach Screaming Obscenities. You'd be proud of me today, though. I actually located the camera's USB cable and uploaded the photos directly.

What you see here is actually Englishman's latest project. He's remaking his office into something more Swedish Discount Furniture Box Store Display and less 1970's New England Butt Ugly. Stripping the panelling off the wall revealed some wallpaper (stuck directly to unplastered drywall and blueboard, razzafrazzin' Rube-bastage Bloody Goldberg previous home-owning bozos!) that might be better suited to the entry foyer of an early-nineteenth century Greek Revival. I appreciate the beauty of the pattern -- just not in a 10 by 12 by 7.5 inside a post-war Cape Cod. Note the former window opening. It's kind of cool what happens in an aging home when you start peeling back the layers. It satisfies that urge you had at the age of 8 to become an archaeologist.

And now for my current project. This is an openwork and cable dragonfly pattern from VK Spring 1997 that was meant to be knit in the round into a ladies' pullover. I thought it would make a darling baby blanket. It's not mindless knitting as every pattern row is different. It's involved lots of counting, unknitting, swearing, recounting, marker moving. If one is supposed to knit love into a baby blanket, then this one should probably be incinerated for its infusion of crafter's toxicity. Then again, once it's done, it may turn out to be my second favorite project of all. That's the eternal hope that keeps us knitting, isn't it?