Monday, July 22 2019

bugs, phones, and weather

Dear Journal,

Good morning, and happy Monday! I just stepped outside to let the dogs out and was struck by how wonderful the weather is. It appears we're finally getting a break from the bleak, muggy, locker room weather we've been having. I just glanced at the forecast and it's not even supposed to get into the 80s today. So there you go, even Madison gets a little slice of Southern California once in a while.

You would think that living on the lake would kind of mellow out the weather, but I don't think it's a large enough body of water to make an impact. Sometimes when we go to the biergarten and sit right next to the shore, we can feel the wind cooled by the water, but for the most part you wouldn't even know it's there. Except for the bugs. Hoards of mosquitos. Big juicy dragon flies. Strange looking beetles. And plenty of other evil-looking, stinging, bitey, camouflaged bugs that thrive in the lakeside ecosystem.

Every summer here, a different kind of bug seems to make a comeback. My first year in Madison was the year of the tick. Before moving to Wisconsin, I had seen two ticks in my life. But we'd regularly have to shake them off of ourselves after going for walks on the nature path behind Healthgrades. I found one crawling around on my desk once.

This year is probably the year of the ant. And ants aren't so bad, are they? Our house isn't infested or anything. I just a few hear and there scouting out our counters for crumbs. And you can squash them and scoop them up in one swift motion of our index finger, like picking up a loose poppy seed. That must be a terrible way to die, but hey - you shouldn't have been poking around my kitchen.

The other night, Marissa and I were sitting in the backyard and we saw this bright orange beetle dive bombing into our porch light. It was even bigger than a junebug - at first glance I honestly thought it was a bird.

Enough talk of bugs - we have a Monday to get psyched for. As of 8AM today, my on-call shift is over. Usually I like celebrate by going for a long walk around the square with my phone silenced, just to relish in the delight of not needing to be available for a page. Pages are rare, but there's still a fair bit of anxiety associated with staying within cell signal and always having your phone and laptop at the ready. And even though I'm a techie, I'm not one of these people that always have their phone on them. Did you know I like to leave it behind sometimes? On Saturdays I like to just leave it in my closet while I go about the day. It's easier to get work done without the interruptions, and makes for better napping too. Plus, I've noticed that half the time my phone wants something, it's not a person. It's usually my bank emailing me something I already know, or an app whining about how I don't use it enough. Or a damn dirty telemarketer. How bizarre that we get so much communication from sources that aren't even real people!

Today is sprint planning for the interns. We're beginning week #2, and it's going to be a doozy. So all hands on deck for this one. But we got this - it's a beautiful day outside, and when I get home, I can shut my stupid phone off, crack open a cold beer, and sit outside to enjoy a few special hours of summer air that doesn't feel like a gym locker room.

Have a happy Monday everyone. Today, leave your phone somewhere and go for a walk without it.