Yesterday was the most stressed that I’ve felt since the run-up to the launch of the Massive Christmas Tracking Project in my old job. I don’t think I slept properly all week. There were a lot of wobbles through the day, times when I was trying to respond to five IM conversations at once and wanted to tell three people to go away, but thankfully it’s done and 85% of the Zombie Project went into production.

The other 15% is the bit that’s not done yet and we’re still trying to figure out how we can even make it work. None of the other stuff is dependent on it, though, so the deployment was unaffected.

We had a slight issue around security settings on a table that the DBA managed to fix this morning. One overnight processing job blew up this morning because an index had not been setup on a new materialised view, which was easily fixed by smiling nicely at the DBA.

So, the stuff is actually there on our production server. Sadly, most of it has not been tested yet so we don’t know whether it’s going to blow up yet. The business analyst for the project is sick and my boss is working from home so that she doesn’t infect us with her lurgy, so the testing will not happen until Monday at earliest.

I’m already feeling a bit more relaxed, though. After a day from hell I went out last night with my knit group and a night of food, laughter and knitting helped a lot. Hopefully I can catch up with some sleep over the weekend and feel much more able to cope with everything next week. I enjoy my job a lot, but I wish that I wasn’t quite so much of a perfectionist because a lot of my stress was pressure that I had put on myself. It always feels like the success (or not) of a project reflects a lot on my professionalism and I want to be bloody good at my job. Finding the middle ground between caring about how well I do my job and getting crazy obssessed by it is something I fail at totally.

Due to all the extra time that I put in yesterday, I’m leaving an hour early today. I shall probably be hitting the Gap for a new pair of casual trousers and then possibly slumping in Starbucks for a while with hot chocolate. Then I’m conflicted.

On the one hand, I could buy some grociers and then order pizza when I get home so that I don’t need to cook.

Or I could get some takeout from my favourite sushi place, except I really want some tempura based things with it and that doesn’t transport well because my house is so far from everywhere.

Or I could eat my sushi at the restaurant and pick up groceries on the way home, except I’d be eating alone.

Or I could do what I usually do when faced with these options, which is to feel guilty about not wanting to cook and therefore buy my groceries, go home and eat toast because I have no energy to cook. Hey, at least I prepared the toast myself!

Another fiasco in the making

In yet another example of my IT department’s ability to communicate, there is controversy over the department Christmas outing. One of the managers decided that it would be a great idea to hire an entire screen at the local cinema so that we could all bring our families for a private showing of the new Christmas Carol movie. This idea was discussed at the team meeting for my team last week and we all firmly stated that this wasn’t what we wanted to do and that none of us would actually be going.

Co-worker L toddled off to state our position to our manager. He apparently nodded and agreed that it might not be a good plan.

Thus, today, we received an email inviting us to the IT Christmas event…a private showing of A Christmas Carol. Signed by all the managers, including ours.


Just to make it even better, the entire event (and the wording makes this clear) is aimed at families with children. Not exactly inclusive to those of us who have chosen not to spawn or who are not yet parents. Nor is it great for those with older children who have flown the nest.

The final nail in the coffin is that our manager’s budget has been put into this, leaving nothing for an alternative event, and none of my team will be going. We’ll still be doing something – probably going out for a nice lunch – but we’ll be picking up the tab ourselves. Unlike last year, when our manager’s budget was used to buy us a rather nice meal at a very nice restaurant one evening and we all got to be grown-ups and enjoy each other’s company.

I am perfectly fine with my decision not to have children and most of the time it isn’t a problem. Then there are things like this where I am made to feel like an excluded, second-class citizen because I don’t have children and it makes me angry.

I do understand that we’re trying to do more things as a department, rather than splitting into our little teams for everything, but that really only works when joint activities have half a chance of being enjoyable for the majority. Probably less than a quarter of the department have children under 10 and the only adult in my team that wants to see this movie has already seen it with his girlfriend. The only person in my team with kids under 10 has them in activities that are ramping up for Christmas displays so she can’t pull them out for a Saturday morning (yes, Saturday morning!) event like this.

On the one hand, I’m glad that I’ve got a bridal shower to use as an excuse not to go (rather than having to confess my hatred for Jim Carey to my manager). OTOH, I’m pretty peeved that my team’s budget will be going to support an event that none of us will actually be attending and we’ll be having to fork out for our own thing instead.ļ»æ

There are good reasons why I nearly cried at work today

Today has been a Bad Day.

My back has been hurting a fair bit for the last couple of weeks and I’ve been waking up a lot through the night, finding myself lying flat on my back which only makes it worse. I’m suspecting that part of the reason for my back being so sore and stiff when I first get up is the sleep position issue. Last night I tried sleeping with a cushion to prop me a bit and another to cuddle-ish and it seemed to work. Or at least, I slept pretty well and wasn’t lying on my back or front when I woke up! And wasn’t *quite* as stiff as I’d been other mornings.

Unfortunately, shortly after work I started to get really bad stomach cramps and nausea, which didn’t make me feel amazing and my back then kicked in. Yay. Took several hours with herbal tea, heat pads and anti-spasmodics to get it under control and quell the urge to just double over and wish for death.

In the middle of this, we discovered a big issue with the project that I’m working on. That wouldn’t have normally got me massively upset, but the project is suppose to go for release on Thursday and the issue could mean that I miss my release. It’s that size of issue.

Plus, I haven’t got the first clue how to fix it because it was one of the few bits of the software that actually appeared to be working correctly. It’s all about which code gets assigned to data for which dates (yes, it’s a load for some huge, complicated database tables) and it’s wrong for some data. Gah.

We discovered this and my boss announced that it needed fixing just as I was feeling particularly ill. I didn’t take it well.

And that is why I nearly ended up in tears at work today.

Thankfully my stomach is settled and feeling fine now. So fine that I’ve got a huge craving for fish and chips or possibly sushi, but I’m playing it safe and having baked salmon with steamed veg instead. My back is…um…yes. And although I’m home, I’ll be spending the evening working because a whole bunch of data needs to be re-loaded for validation first thing tomorrow morning.

Really, this week can stop sucking. I’m serious. Why is food my first thought when things are going badly?

Good and bad day

The good: the code for the project that I’ve been working on for nearly two months finally worked properly today. The data still needs to be validated, but this is the first time that it’s run through (twice!) without issues and produced data that looks good on a cursory inspection.

The bad: OMG, indigestion. And bloating. And can we say gas? Plus, did I mention the indigestion? There might also have been a touch of acid reflux in with that.

Hello there, IBS. You’re trying to persuade me that I need to carry Tums with me at all times, aren’t you?

I was so glad to get home. And stuff myself with Tums. And at least be able be gassy, crampy and ick in the privacy of my own bathroom.

For extra fun and laughs, I’m going to be stuck in a minivan (people carrier for the UKers) for several hours tomorrow while I go to Moncton and back for a potentially pointless meeting. Yay? If my GI tract does a repeat of this, my co-workers will hate me by the end of the day.

Worst part? We’ve just had to do our ’employee engagement’ survey and one of the questions was about whether we get indigestion/gas/bloating/cramps/constipa

tion etc. In other words, have you got IBS? And, heh, are we to blame? Not said in those exact words, but the implication was clear.

Some days, my body sucks piggy wonks. Now I’m going to watch Holby City and try to forget about this entirely pointless exercise in management BS. Instead I shall focus all my good vibes on getting home in time tomorrow to join my knitters in the bar and eat yummy food.

Day of Caring and sweater thoughts

Oddly, this post may not be about actual knitting even though it has sweater contents.

But to kick off with the United Way Day of Caring. This is a thing that my company supports and thus yesterday I went out in the community with a bunch of my colleagues to clean and paint a shelter for single young mothers. My company paid me my normal salary and I did some much-needed work for an organisation that barely covers its costs for day-to-day running and just doesn’t have the time or resources to give the place a really good scrub-down and re-paint. I’m quite fond of that idea and it was good to be able to put something back into the community, particularly for an organisation (SHYM) that I previously knew nothing about but would like to find ways to help in the future.

The bit that I’m not so fond of is the after effects. Ouch! My back hated me yesterday (all that bending backwards to paint high up stuff) and although that’s a bit better my legs now ache from all the crouching and standing. I actually feel worse than I did after climbing Snowdon and that’s just embarassing, to be honest. This fall/winter I have to get off my butt and actually do something about my fitness levels. Get out walking when the weather is good, make myself do some time on the treadmill every day that I can’t get out. I’d like to be back at my Snowdon levels of fitness, ideally.

Or at least able to keep up on all the walks that I know we’ll be going on when I visit England at Christmas.

The sweater thing is a bit of a whine. Why is it that this season (as with last season) it is impossible to find sweaters that aren’t 100% acrylic and don’t contain either wool or angora? Even 5% or 10% of either makes me itch. Sometimes its not too bad and I can tolerate the sensation for a day, sometimes my skin seems particularly sensitive and I can’t even cope for 30 seconds. My middlish days, I can tolerate the sweater for a few hours but by early afternoon I’m dreaming of taking the sweater off and burning it. I’ve never liked wearing long-sleeved shirts under sweaters (I get that “get this off me!” sensation in a few minutes) and that doesn’t always help because the guard hairs often prickle me through the T-shirt anyway so I’m hating the double layer and itching like crazy. Woo.

This year I managed to find one acrylic sweater that is OK-ish for softness and improved a lot after its first wash. I’m going to have another trawl around the mall to see if I can find another – it was a lone acylic in a jungle of wool. I picked up a sweater in Old Navy that didn’t feel too bad (cotton/acrylic mix with 10% angora) when I tried it on and drove me crazy by late morning when I wore it to work this week. And all their sweaters have angora. Some also contain wool for added itch. Last year it was the same in Gap and, really, in every store that I tried. Which is why I have a sweater with angora and a cardigan with wool, both of which are unwearable a lot of the time. The cardigan is tolerable some days, the sweater is going to charity.

I’m trying to knit up sweaters for myself out of fibre blends that I can tolerate (merino, man-made, cashmere – Rowan Cashsoft is fab, going to try Extra Fine Merino at some stage), but that’s going to take time and I’m short on sweaters now.

Really, is it too much to ask for some soft sweaters that don’t contain wool, alpaca or angora? Seriously?

Links and work insanity

To add to the debate on whether to get flu shots and which ones to get comes this: Does the seasonal flu vaccine increase the risk of catching swine flu?

On the one hand, it’s preliminary data that hasn’t been rigorously tested yet. Even one of the researchers admits this. OTOH, is it worth the risk given that I don’t plan to get the H1N1 vaccine? Of course, it could all be moot if the Canadian government really does cancel the winter vaccination program in favour of an all-H1N1 program.

In more cheerful news comes this: Anglo-Saxon treasure horde bigger than Sutton Hoo found

I really hope that after it is analysed, this find goes into either the British Museum or a big tour. It will be fascinating to find out what they learn from it.

In other news, the event tomorrow that is supposed to improve understanding, cohesion and communication within the company has so far only succeeded in highlighting the uncooperative, competative nature of the IT department. We are supposed to be creating a poster that describes what our department does (which will be judged for prizes) and providing some kind of treasure hunt or quizz. Then the departments will tour the building, visiting other departments to see their posters and take their quizzes with tokens given out for each department you visit. Then there will be a staff BBQ and prize draw.

Sounds like it should be fun and a good way to meet the people we’re working with, right? It’s pirate themed so we should be dressing up and having fun, blowing off work completely.

Instead the three teams within IT had a meeting last week to decide the ‘joint’ poster and so on. By yesterday lunchtime two of the teams had decided to do their own thing because they wanted to win the prizes and be the best. Even within IT. So now my little app dev team is scrambling to do some stuff that’s bigger than we originally thought it would be (because we’re on our own rather than contributing to a big group) and there is masses of resentment, irritation and growling focused at the other teams.

Yes, we know how to foster the team spirit here! Most of my team is off trying to draw a boat on brown paper (don’t ask) and I’m just trying to stay out of it due to all the aggro and stress flying around. At some stage tonight I need to iron a transfer into a T-shirt. In the mean time, I’m trying to get some work done so that when I have my big status meeting on the Zombie Project on Monday we can at least say some things were acheived beyond getting overly stressed about Pirate Day.

To add to the confusion, people are being encouraged to bring their kids (it’s an in-service day for the schools tomorrow) yet we’re supposed to get back to our desks and work after the BBQ tomorrow. Oh, yes, there is no confusion and potential for further melodrama there!

The motives behind this were good and I’m sure some departments are having great fun with it. The move to the new building has provided more space but because we’re no longer living in each other’s pockets we don’t know people outside our little areas. The aim was to reverse that trend. Sadly, my team is swamped with work and the IT department appears to be unable to work out how to work as an actual department. Part of the problem is probably the personality types that are attracted to IT work in the first place, but it appears that a bigger issue is that the team managers are the ones instigating all of this. And my team manager (and team) didn’t know about any of the splits and plans until yesterday afternoon. Gah. This is why I hate work social things.

I am so glad that I have my knitting group tonight. I’d planned to be good and eat at home, but I’ve decided that indulging in lasagna at the pub sounds like much more fun (I need comfort food!). The weekend cannot come soon enough.

Perhaps this is the weekend when I need to experiment with baked shrimp toast. Or just make a batch of cheesy herb bread and eat the lot.


I am working from home today while I wait for Sears to turn up and declare that they don’t have the parts/sufficient people and cannot install the pedestal on my washing machine. It’s not like this is their fourth attempt to do so or anything…

Working from home has so far involved forty-five minutes on the phone to tech support because my VPN program got corrupted. I can sense the theme of today already.

On the up side, apparently this means that I’m not going to get dragged out for donairs at lunch time. Phew! I really don’t like donairs.

Plan for today is work from home, probably shout at Sears, talk to Mum later on Skype to confirm that she’s alive and reached England OK and then go out for groceries. If I’m feeling really cabin fever-ish, I may go up to Chapters and hang out at Starbucks for a bit as well. I’m feeling restless. I have all these books staring at me and just don’t want to read any of them. I don’t know what I want to read.

Then I shall return home and bury myself in Grey’s Anatomy because I recorded last season’s finale. I can feel the shame welling up already.

Dirty Dancing, Grey’s Anatomy and other stuff

Last night Mum and I decided that we needed to watch Dirty Dancing. I still love that movie so much. The dancing is amazing. The story is great and moving, the music is just right, but it’s the dancing that really captures me. Swayze was fantastic šŸ˜¦ The only gripe I have is that the filming of the final big dance number, while beautiful, doesn’t let me see feet as much as I’d like.

Yes, I do hate going to a dance performance if I can’t see the feet.

In dance, it’s the feet that really do the magic work. The bodies tell the story and get you pulled in, that’s where you see the chemistry between characters, but it’s the feet where the real work and technicality are and that’s what I always end up watching.

In other stuff, I read the re-cap of S5 Grey’s Anatomy. I suspect strongly that I’ll be putting S6 on the DVR. Damn. It’s always been my guilty pleasure series, because it’s so silly and frivolous and basically daft and yet…

Also, by big horrible Zombie Project has taken a nasty turn. Last night we thought that we’d finally cracked it and were loading good, correct data. Today we’ve found that there was a serious issue with the data load that nobody had noticed, wasn’t on our list of issues and is going to take a huge amount of work to fix. Urf.

So glad that I’m going out for evil dinner tonight so that I can drown my sorrows in yummy food.

Mum goes home tomorrow, which I am both not enjoying (I’m going to miss her!) and looking forward to (my house will be my own again!). It’s a weird feeling. The visit has been much better than I’d hoped, I’m confident that we won’t kill each other when she’s here next year, but I’m also quite looking forward to being on my own as well. Except that I enjoy doing things with her. Although it will be nice to do things at my own pace again šŸ™‚ So, it’s a conflicted thing but at least I know that I can survive winter and stuff on my own.

Oh, also, I’m coming to England for Christmas. Bought the tickets last night. Yay!

Updatey thing

It seems like lately all I do is apologise for not posting. Must get better.

Mum has been enjoying her visit so far. I think she’s feeling slightly at a loose end because she’s so far re-organised several cupboards and cleaned out my freezer. It’s all little jobs that needed doing, but the kind of thing that I never seem to find time for or that I start to do, look at the stuff and conclude that I have no idea how to better organise it all. She even asked me this morning whether there was anything she could do. Er, no, you did all the housework that I’d planned on doing yesterday!

Thankfully she’s borrowed my sock book and is working out her gauge preparatory to tackling her first pair of socks. That should keep her nice and quiet.

I finally got to see her famously broken wrist and, I must say, she did a number on it. They’ve fixed it as best as they can, but it’s not straight and she’s got a lot of swelling in her fingers still. We’re doing regular applications of a cold pack, which is helping a bit with the pain and swelling. The consultant has basically said that, should she ever break it again, they won’t be able to fix it. So she’s being very careful.

Interestingly, knitting is helping her to get a bit of mobility back in her fingers. She can’t work on anything heavy so she’s doing a lace scarf and we’re hopeful that the sock will also be suitably light. At least she has stuff to craft now!

The Girls are enjoying the company during the day. Annie has even been discovered to have a “Mine! Go away!” noise that she’s never displayed before. She steals Blue Snake apparently. And possibly torments Kate.

Work has been amazingly busy. I don’t talk about it much here anymore because I don’t have quite so much venting to do. I work for a good boss, my colleagues are good people and I don’t have insane directors throwing things at me. Even the corporate culture is much better. And when things break, it’s part of my job to fix them. I’m in the team that monitors, fixes and enhances the data warehouse. Everything I do is based on trouble tickets, whether it’s a new feature, an enhancement, a bug fix or a catastrophic failure of a data load (abend). For the last week, all I’ve done is open abend tickets and fix things. Monday afternoon, one of my colleagues donated chocolate to me because I’d been having a nightmare attempting to get Monday’s four (!!) abend tickets fixed. Not problems working out what to do, problems getting people to co-operate with me on what needed doing to fix them.

Today was a bit calmer, only one abend ticket. Lovely. I’ve been asked to help out with our upgrade from Oracle 10g to 11 so this afternoon my colleague assigned a ticket to me to investigate some C programs and look at whether and how they can be replaced with a more Oracle-ish thing. I’m actually looking forward to doing something other than work on trouble tickets!

Think that’s all the catch-up. I’ve got a new novel idea and quite a bit of background notes already written. It’s quite exciting šŸ™‚

Unix script help needed

I have hit a brick wall and any help that can be offered would be gratefully appreciated. My Google-fu isn’t up to the task, we have no reference books on Unix scripting here (“here’s a card with basic Unix commands – have fun!”), my local library has no books on Unix scripting and I haven’t got five days for Canada Post to lose deliver an Amazon order of books for me.

I’m attempting to loop through some files in a directory, count the number of files that contain a particular word sequence and put that count into a file that I can then email. All the filenames that I am searching begin with ‘O’. So far, if I cd to the directory and put this into the command line it works:

print cat O* | grep -c 'XXXX_PROD' >> test.log

My log file correct shows a count of 2.

When I do the same thing in my script and run it, I get big fat zeros in my report šŸ˜¦

print $PWD >> $REP
print "Count of XXXX_PROD jobs run (test only):" >> $REP
print cat O* | grep -c 'XXXX_PROD' >> $REP

According to my log, I’ve cd’d to the correct directory. I’ve tried using $LOGDIR1/O* with no luck.

Can anyone point me to some resources that might help? If it helps, I would appear to be using the Korn shell in this installation of Unix. The mere fact that I’ve had to write “appear to be using” should tell you how much I actually know about Unix šŸ˜¦

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