Friday, November 8 2019

serverless, home goods, and relaxing

1181 words

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! I have good news for you. Today is Friday. We made it through each of these cold early November weekdays, and eight measly hours from now, we’ll all be done for the weekend. And I’d just like to take a moment in this journal entry to congratulate you. Hey - look at us.

Yesterday was a pretty busy day. All morning I worked on some code. I was playing around in AWS Step Functions. For anyone curious about what the whole serverless development cycle is like, I think I can give you a good primer. It’s a lot harder. Of course writing a few scripts and sticking them on some server in the corner, stringing them together with cron jobs and system packages would be harder to maintain, but the trade-off is that things are a lot less magical. When writing things in Lambda, the long term maintenance cost of running code virtually disappears, but there’s definitely a hefty immediate investment in development time. Lambdas are kind of hard to test. After the lambda runs, you have to go clean-up everything it changed so you can fire it again - because it probably didn’t work the first 500 times. And you could try to automate the clean-up - maybe even with other lambdas, but then you have to test those. And sure, it’s all still just regular code and you could totally run it locally, but you also spend a lot of time crafting your state machine config, which you can only test by firing the state machine on amazon, which also fires your lambdas, and don’t forget you have to go clean those up every time they run.

But sometime around lunch time, I fired the Step function for the 501th time, and it worked, so in celebration, I retreated to the kitchen to heat up some hutspot. I also heated up some an extra bowl of hutspot for my team to try, which may have been a questionable decision. Biting into mine, the kale was a little gritty, and while it didn’t really affect the taste, having a few grains of sand bouncing between your tongue and your teeth while you chew is unsettling. Here’s a free tip, always try food before you offer it to other people.

After lunch, we rolled out another change to production, which went smoothly. This is the sixth region we’ve migrated, and by now they’re getting very routine - so much so that we spend the hour chit chatting about places to eat, weekend plans, and funny stories from previous jobs. Of course, there’s still the possibility things could go wrong, so all the while we’re all scrutinizing dashboards and metrics that pour in from all over our infrastructure. Sheer boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror.

At about 4:15, I joined some people for the downstairs happy hour, but seeing I only had about ten minutes before I had to catch my bus, I wisely just sipped on a La Croix as I chatted with my teammates. At 4:25, I stepped outside and onto the bus. There’s few things in my week that feel as good as slumping into a bus seat, knowing I don’t have to move nor talk to anyone for twenty minutes. Sometimes I even mutter to myself “no more jobs…”, which is something Marissa and I say to each other before going to bed. It’s a joke from a comedy special we watched a long time ago. “No more jobs” is something you proudly announce to yourself after you’ve crawled into bed and you are sure that there is no reason to get up until the morning.

After I got home, my entire family was wadded up on the couch in a single blanket. I couldn’t even see Marissa underneath all the dogs, pillows, and toddler until she sheepishly craned her neck from behind Rodney’s head. I joined them at the end of the couch, and we finished an episode of Blippi.

We left to go eat at Portillo’s. Thursday has become our day to run errands and indulge in fast food. Thursdays have also become my lazy day, since I don’t do any chores on Thursday and I don’t have to cook either. We ate dinner at Portillo’s, then parked the car at Home Goods.

We walked into Home Goods looking for an office chair, a new garbage can, and I also needed some things for the kitchen, like a new non stick pan and one of those fancy little wooden containers to keep kosher salt on the table. This was also the first time I remember going to Home Goods, and the experience was overwhelming, and a little repulsive. As I wandered through the crowded, ill-conceived aisles of homemaking miscellany, I didn’t feel like was in a store. I felt like I was wandering around in somebody’s garage, or maybe even a warehouse for evidence that the police no longer need. A wall of knives. Christmas lights. Wicker baskets. Rugs. A decorative santa doll even lept off the shelf and attacked my son. At least the office chairs were easy to find. They were practically spilling into the aisle.

I found my little salt container. It wasn’t on a shelf with other salt containers; it was just sitting at the corner of a crowded shelf. Putting it in our cart, I felt like I was stealing a knick-knack off of somebody’s desk.

We hit Target before we went home. I was relieved to be back on earth. Home Goods was an interesting experience, but I don’t think I’ll ever seek it out. “You’re more of a Bed Bath and Beyond kind of person,” Marissa laughed. “But some people really get into Home Goods, you can find good deals.” I added, “it’s great if you enjoy rifling through garbage.”

After we got home, I crashed on the couch. Ziggy joined me in my lap. Needless to say, nesting power hour did not happen last night. After nodding off in the car on the way home from Target, I decided to truncate my Nesting Power Hour cleaning ambitions and limit it to just three days a week. For the rest of the night, I watched youtube videos with Ziggy curled in my lap. But each time she would drift off to sleep, her eyes would widen, remembering that I had a glass of eggnog on the table.

Happy Friday, everyone. To any Home Goods loyalists out there, I hope I didn’t offend you. You have a valuable skill. When our civilization collapses, we’ll need people like you to rifle through all the abandoned, derelict buildings and find supplies.

Have a great day, a great weekend, and thanks for reading. No more jobs!