Sunday, November 29 2020

the bears, my new desk, and ripping out a window

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Dear Journal,

Good evening, bears fans. At the time I'm writing this, our boys are sadly getting blown out by the Packers at Lambeau Field. Just like I like to clarify for Rodney, the Packers are the green and yellow guys, and they're also the bad guys. I had high hopes for this game. With the late deadbeat Nick Foles still out with a hip injury, this was the time for our good friend Mitchell Trubisky to rise to the occasion and forge his own Chicago Disney princess story.

This is a weird kind of blow out. Mitch not only showed up, but I feel like he's the only one actually playing passionate football out there. He's thrown a few interceptions, but compared to what the Bears have been working with throughout their losing streak, he's an energetic breath of fresh air. I'll take an unpredictable Mitch any day because at least he keeps things interesting.

Last note on football - it's not a good feeling losing to my least favorite football team, especially from behind enemy lines. After you turn your TV off, pour the rest of your drink down the sink, and retreat to bed, think of me doing the same thing in Wisconsin, surrounded by yard signs and bumper stickers. Not to mention the people I have to face at work tomorrow.

Sip. How's your evening going? Which drink are you drowning your football disappointments in? At least we had a great Sunday today, and that had to have gotten some good juju going for the Bears. I'm coming to you from our brand new half-finished bedroom desk. I was so excited to set up my stuff again that I jumped the gun, and set out my computer and keyboard while dark wood stain was still sticky. Marissa rightfully chastised me for my impatience.

"Nah, it's not sticky," I said dismissively, trying to hide the fact that my fingers and wrists were adhering to the table like it was duct tape. Meanwhile, my headphones would completely stick to the table like they were glued in place.

Marissa has not yet signed off on posting pictures. She insists on cleaning up some smudged wood stain on the walls before sharing the final result. And perhaps that's for the better, my workstation is looking especially sharp, but we have some more work to do. With the new desk mounted to the wall, we now move on to what to do about the server shelf equipment.

Last time we checked in on my tech corner, I had all my equipment in open casing sitting on floating shelves. The open hardware concept was good in theory, but I think the infatuation has worn off, and I'm once again hot on the idea of setting up a mini server rack. The hardware is more modular and easier to hide things, and the standardization just makes things easier to plan out. We have a very thrifty 4U wallmount coming in the mail, soon to be the home of a switch, a router, my NAS, and my makeshift proxmox build.

Meanwhile, I'm absolutely loving the vertical monitor life. If you have a computer monitor at home, I'd really recommend giving this a try. Reading on a vertical monitor is a delight, and most computers handle rotating displays really well. It looks like I have a giant e-book at my desk, and I can't wait to show it off. I can even almost fit an entire 1000 journal entry on one screen.

Today, Marissa and I were feeling the motivation to get some house work done. We tackled the old boarded up window in the basement. We had done a few other windows in our basement before, so we knew the drill. First, Marissa covered the window in a garbage bag and punched out the glass. Next, I used a crowbar and a hammer to get the window out. The game plan is pretty simple, not taking into account the two hours of on-and-off grunting and sweating, ripping out old rusty window hardware out of a hole in our basement. We took a short break to eat Portillo's, then like a prisoner trying to etch his way out of an Alcatraz jail cell, I returned to my chiseling and prying.

While my body worked on the window, my brain had the chance to wander. Knowing I'd be writing a journal entry later that day, I pondered the window trying to uncover a compelling metaphor. For how much work this was, surely it had to represent something.

Could the window be this long, drawn out quarantine? Could it embody the struggle I feel to find the energy to make this holiday seem special, even though we won't get to be with our loved ones? Could the window be symbolic of how it feels to jump into a small team at work with ambitious goals under difficult circumstances. Or maybe the window symbolizes my struggle to find patience with Rodney while keeping him happy and amused, with nowhere to go all winter but the familiar rooms in our house.

All these comparisons may have had potential, but they all just felt a little too contrived to commit to. I decided that sometimes an old window doesn't represent anything, and you're pulling it out because that's a good thing to do. As my thoughts raced, my body as if moving by autopilot continued heaving, chipping, and prying the metal out of the brittle concrete. The window finally sprang free, clanging against the sidewalk at my feet.

Just like the last time I had to do this, I was struck by how surreal it felt staring at a gaping concrete hole in the side of your house. To the left and right, our painted basement walls, furniture, and art pieces leaning against the stairs. And in the center was a gaping hole, the wind and the sound of traffic ripping through our house. Moments like that make your house seem a lot more like just a cleverly constructed tree house. To think that it only took a few hours with a crowbar to completely tear through it.

And even more surreal, it only took Marissa ten minutes with a single tube of adhesive to install the new window. She used a razor to shave off the excess plastic, fit it snugly into place, and liberally applied that goofy orange foam around the outsides. When she was done, she turned in horror, showing me that a glob had stuck to your hair.

"You know you're probably going to have to just cut that piece off," I teased. "You had better just shave that whole side of your head, you know like Natalie Dormer in Hunger Games."

Thanks for stopping by today. Have a wonderful day everyone.