Thursday, February 18 2021

work stress, my brilliant hy-vee hack, and shmeeds



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, comrades. Happy Thursday. Just two crummy little work days, then we can tell the man to shove it... until Monday anyway.

It's a beautiful day today. Looking ahead, I have a lot of meetings sprinkled throughout the work day, but at least most of them are 1-on-1's. I'm still enjoying the luxurious lifestyle I'm afforded at the top of a laundry cycle and wearing all of my favorite outfits first. Today is cozy meeting day outfit alternate - a comfy black hoodie and teal athletic shorts.

Sip. The coffee is solid today. The beans are fresh. The water softener in the basement is filled will salt and humming along. I'm back in the groove of taking apart the moccamaster and setting out each of the pieces to dry on a towel. This is my coffee maker, there are many like it but this one is mine. It's funny how quickly that muscle memory comes back to you.

Work was rough yesterday. My managers met with my team to tell us some decisions they were making. I didn't like the news and asked follow up questions, and I didn't like the answer to those follow up questions either. Most of yesterday was getting up to nervously pace around the room and trying to make sense of things. I wish I could go into detail, but discussing work details in a public place is never a good idea, especially when your company is publicly traded. I don't even own any stocks, but from what I remember about those training videos we had to watch, the punishment for insider trading is severe, and that's a line that you better not flirt with.

The applicable part here is that work sucked, and I would turn to my coping mechanisms. My first impulse was to fill the kitchen with a good smell. I grabbed a frozen chicken carcass and my frozen vegetable bag out of the freezer and dumped them into the stock pot. I brought the pot to a rolling boil. The kitchen began to fill with invisible steam that smelled like onions, rosemary, chicken, and thyme. Marissa joined me at the stove and gave me a hug.

"I could stay here all day," I laughed.

"Sure," said Marissa. "Let's just stay here all day."

So we did. I skipped work for the rest of the day. Marissa cancelled her errands. We let Rodney watch TV the rest of the day while Marissa and I just stood there smelling the stock while it boiled, then we went to bed.

Nah - I'm just kidding, but it was a good fantasy to entertain. Something tells me that even if I did just spend the rest of the day standing next to the stove while the stock boiled, I still would have had a wonderful day and had plenty to write about. At some point we had to leave the comfort of the steamy kitchen to get on with our day. More thinking. More pacing. More writing in slack.

Marissa was kind enough to pick up the groceries yesterday. We're still doing online order for everything, but I've switched to smaller, daily-ish Hy-Vee pickups instead. Smaller trips are easier to order and put away. There's less chance that something gets messed up. It's less work for the person finding our items in the store and loading them into our car. The only way I could see this habit screwing somebody else over is if our Hy-Vee's grocery pickup spots filled up quickly - and they don't, our Hy-Vee isn't very popular.

There is a $30 minimum to online grocery pickups, but that rule has been nullified thanks to my brilliant Hy-Vee hack. When I'm done adding my few groceries for the day, I just pad the rest of the amount with imported canned San Marzano tomatoes. If they have them, great! I use them in practically every version of pizza sauce we make, and I'm always running low. But being kind of a fancier, niche item, Hy-Vee is usually out of them. In my order they're simply marked out of stock and deducted from total.

I'm proud of my Hy-Vee hack, but I'm a pretty conscientious person. I wouldn't abuse the online ordering system unless I was convinced it wasn't making anyone's job harder. In fact, I think I'm making the order runner's life a little easier. After all, I'm occupying a whole 30 minute slot in their shift, and all they have to do is grab a bag of potatoes, leeks, and a block of cheese.

We ate soup. We watched the Blackhawks triumph over the Detroit Red Wings. I put Rodney to bed. Our evening questions got derailed by Rodney showing me how to double dab. Rodney is pretty good at the dab. I can tell he's been practicing.

Wednesdays are usually chore heavy evenings. I usually look forward to pumping some music and deep cleaning the kitchen, but yesterday I needed some "me time". I grabbed my laptop and set up in the corner of the couch. I put all 20 seasons of Whose Line Is It Anyway? on shuffle. My TV & coding brand of self-care commenced.

For stressful days, is there a better show to turn to than Whose Line Is It Anyway? It's like soup and bread for the brain. If you get a really good Whose Line? binge, it's like time is standing still. The phrase everything is made up and the points don't matter comforts me on a metaphysical level.

I worked on some fun code yesterday. It might surprise you that to me, the most banal part of writing journal entries every day is not the actual writing, but the 5 minutes and 30 clicks it takes me to post the new entry to slack, twitter, facebook, and instagram. The tool, which I've named, shmeeds, will hopefully automate the whole thing for me. I'd like to be able to write, check for edits and spelling, then type the word shmeeds into my terminal and go on with my day while it takes care of the rest.

That's what I got today. Now I gotta go post this to slack, twitter, facebook, and instagram. Have a wonderful day, everyone.

2021 02 18 ollie