Today started early, as it often does. At about 4:30 in the morning, the cat jumped up on me and stuck her cold nose on my face. This was her subtle way of telling me she wants me to walk out to the kitchen. This started as me walking her there to watch her eat but has changed over time. Now she wants me to walk out to the kitchen, where she can jump on the high back chair and show her belly so that I can rub it. This was not a favor I was willing to grant at four-thirty in the morning, so I just rolled over, but as often happens, I was now aware that I needed to go to the bathroom. Even after I went, I still refused to go out to the kitchen, so I returned to bed, and she meowed from the hallway. My wife, who is the supposed owner of the cat, slept through all of this.
It was then I figured out what the cat really wanted. I heard that kids talking in their bedroom. The cat was letting me know something was afoot. When I checked on them, I found that the boy had migrated to the girl’s bed and they were chatting. I told them to stop talking, then I tried to get back to sleep, with mixed results. By 5:30 I was getting ready for work with the standard shower, shave, and consumption of a protein drink.
I usually get in to work at 7:00, but I had an early dental appointment (new crown), so I didn’t get in until 9:00. At that point it was time to deal with the tasks that India had managed to assign me over night.
My first task was to change a slide in our new LaunchPad guide. Corporate wanted to de-emphasize a feature, so they wanted me to remove it from the first slide and put in some different content. This wasn’t hard but was a bit tedious because I was replacing text that had been part of the image with standard text in the slide. I had to pull the image into Snagit Editor, remove the offending portions, replace a small part of the graphic that would not make sense anymore, and then return the graphic to the slide. From there I figured out a different feature to emphasize, then recompiled the Storyline slideshow and uploaded it. I then went through the process of updating the files in GitHub, then running a Jenkins job to make the change live on our server so that they could then update it in the product. I then commented on the Jira ticket to let them know what I had done.
After that, I had a special task. Today was customer empathy day, which meant I had to go take a customer service call. This was my first time doing this at the company, although I have done technical support before. The customer care manager was kind to me, and after getting me set up in all the proper applications, had me take a sales call. I helped out a customer who had bought our product at retail but was unsure of how to upgrade. Overall the call went well. The customer was in good spirits, he was just a little confused because he couldn’t automatically upgrade the old version. He had to deinstall and reinstall. Once we got past that it was smooth sailing. Later we had a meeting where the non-customer service people at the site discussed their experiences with their individual calls. We managed to point out a couple of areas where we thought the process could be improved and then went back to our regular jobs.
Once the meeting ended it was time for lunch. Tuesdays and Thursdays are catered at my work. Today the food came from Famous Dave’s: ribs, chicken, sausage, brisket, and assorted sides. The highlight is their banana pudding, which was quite tasty. I ate while reading some personal email that had stacked up during the day, including Dave Pell’s Next Draft, which summarizes the news of the day. I also did a quick check of MarketWatch to see how much the Dow Jones lost today. The drop was around 1100. My holdings are minimal, and my company isn’t listed, so I shrugged and went moved on. I then decided to stretch my legs, so I walked to Barnes & Noble next door, where I looked at sets of dice for a few minutes.
My next task was to write release notes for the latest hotfix. While release notes for a full release can be quite sizable, a hotfix usually addresses one or more bugs in the software. There were eight Jira tickets related to the release, which I condensed down into six single sentence release notes. We then had the usual back and forth discussion about which items were truly customer facing and which were internal issues the customers didn’t need to know about (such as a fix to our internal tracking of errors). As of the end of work, I still wasn’t sure what was going in and what was not.
I then had a discussion on Slack with my boss about the big project. A week ago, I presented a proposal to the Chief Technical Officer that we migrate our help from its current desktop help delivery to a Confluence-based web site. The proposal was well received and now we were working on some follow-up information they wanted. My boss had taken the first stab at the document they asked for, and then I went over the document and made some changes. After a short discussion, we agreed it was ready, and decided to schedule a follow-up meeting with the CTO and another key VP.
While we were talking, my boss asked me to look over a survey she was sending out. I went ahead and reviewed the survey a few minutes later and left my comments. It was getting late in the day, but I still had a few things I wanted to wrap up. I’d been notified about a minor issue in an FAQ I had sent out the week before, so I jumped in and made the correction. I also added a couple lines to another already released document, clarifying some information about deposits. By then it was time to wrap things up and head out.
Once work was done, I drove home, then walked over to my kid’s school to pick them up. I had a talk with the teachers because they needed my daughter’s science experiment back. This was science fair week, and they had mistakenly given me back my daughter’s experiment, because they want us to make a couple changes and then then send it to the city-wide science fair. They had forgotten that we still needed it for the school science fair. Note that if you want to do well at a science fair, come up with an experiment they haven’t seen. It doesn’t have to be brilliant so much as new to them. My daughter’s experiment was about what sticks to ice.
Once we got home, we had a quick popcorn snack, then it was time for chores. My son had to do the dishes while my daughter got the garbage out and cleaned their room. Once they had that in order, I started making dinner. Thursday is more or less leftovers night, but I decided to turn that into breakfast for dinner by making eggs and toast to go along with last night’s ham and the last of our bananas.
Once their chores were done, my kids settled in to watch Alphablocks. This is a show that teaches kids to read and spell. My kids are gangbusters at math, but a little behind on their reading, so I now make them watch shows about reading and spelling. After going through a few weaker shows, Alphablocks has turned out to be the most entertaining without sacrificing learning.
My wife got home, just as I was serving the kids dinner. She usually doesn’t eat what we eat because she has a lot of food allergies. My kids have a wheat allergy too (Thus gluten-free bread) but the number of things my wife can’t have is much larger.
We hung out as a family after dinner, but it wasn’t long before the kids had to get ready for the next day. Mornings are always a rush, so we have several things we try to get out of the way the night before, such as lunches and clothes. Once they were ready for Friday, I read them a few pages from the Pokémon manga my son had picked out, then sent them to bed.
After the kids went to bed, I headed out to run a couple errands, picking up some cash from the bank and some dinner for my wife. When I got back, we sat and watched The Goldbergs, Single Parents, and Black-ish. After that, my wife continued to watch a couple shows in the living room while I headed to the bedroom. I watched a couple episodes of Letterkenny, played Book of Heroes on my phone, and was asleep by 10:30.