Saturday, June 5 2021

outage brain, union corners brewery, and peeing in the bushes



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Dear Journal,

Happy Saturday, everyone. Whatever you got up to today, I hope it was relaxing. Ours was a full day, filled with sun, neighbors, and pizza. I'm posted up in the living room today. From around the corner in the kitchen, cabinets thump, and a frosty pint glass clinks quietly on the counter - Marissa is fixing herself a drink. I can hear loose ice cubes roll off the counter, the skittering of paws and nails on the wood floor, and Ziggy's teeth greedily chomping on the ice cubes she's claimed. From upstairs, Rodney's ultimate red titan toy wildly beeps and purrs. Miles moans to himself in his crib - the Tylenol is kicking in, and he'll probably fall asleep before he realizes his teeth mysteriously stopped hurting so much.

It's good to be surrounded with sound again. Marissa had an agility trial with all the dogs today. She left in the early morning. The house is way too quiet without them. I felt uncomfortable without the usual baseline of chaos.

Sip. Happy Saturday, everyone. The theme of my weekend so far has been ups and downs. Friday morning was so low-key, it barely felt like a work day. The only commitment on my calendar was a 1-on-1 with my intern Daniel, and we got so into our conversation about In-N-Out burgers that we forgot to talk about the project we are working on. With only five minutes left in our time slot, I rubbed my eyes and sighed - "did... you have any questions about our project? I gave you a generous five minutes."

Just as I was thinking about getting up to make some lunch, an incident channel appeared on my slack. I clicked into the channel without joining it so I could spy on the chatter without being noticed. In the slew of error messages I saw clear evidence that our service was to blame. My phone beeped, and I was invited to the same channel that was on my screen.

Weird things happen to you during incidents. I've heard a few people around work refer to it as outage brain. A forty person zoom window watching you type in a terminal on your screen gives you a strange mixture of stage freight and adrenaline. In the outage, I remember fumbling over my trackpad trying to resize my terminal to fit the screen, and that single terrible flub seemed to stretch out over an eternity.

We stabilized our service. A palpable wave of relief permeated the zoom room. The angry tide of errors subsided. After an hour break, my team met with our boss and our department's director to draft a timeline of the incident. I was genuinely surprised to find that from the time we joined the incident to the time we stabilized things, only about 34 minutes elapsed. It felt like hours.

Marissa came home with Rodney, and even though we had planned on cooking dinner, I was too mentally fried to do anything. We decided to take a family walk to the new brewery that opened up on our block. They call themselves the Union Corners Brewery, or UCB for short. They were the first restaurant to open up in the new development. Through all the construction, you can barely see their front door, but the lone bartender-waiter greeted us warmly and sat us in the empty dining room.

They had revamped their menu since we last visited. Crispy pork bites. A BLT with house smoked pork belly. House-rolled guanciale with beer cheese. "So much pork," I said aloud. "UCB. More like Union Cholesterol Brewery." I was proud of that one.

Rodney, always looking to make a friend, hit it off with our waiter. He showed him dance moves like the floss and the dab. He spun him a few stories about spiders, ghosts, and robots. He named off each of his friends, cousins, and favorite YouTube channels.

Some of yesterdays outage spilled into this morning. Following production incidents, we have to release a summary to the public within twenty-four hours. I hung around on my laptop to field questions and read-over the statement we were putting together.

Meanwhile, Rodney hurriedly shoveled his lunch into his mouth, cramming his peanut butter and jelly on top of his fruit snacks, packing it in with spoonfuls of apple sauce. All throughout, he stared out the window at the newly inflated kiddie pool in our neighbor's backyard. Lucas and his daughter Talia extended Rodney and invitation to swim that morning.

"Can I swim now?" asked Rodney. His cheeks were stuffed with bread and apple sauce. In a flash, he dashed upstairs to throw on a pair of shorts, and I practically didn't see him the rest of the afternoon. I watched Rodney play with Talia and their visiting friends from our dining room window while I fed Miles. I quietly laughed watching Rodney pick up the garden hose and spray everyone at the party.

I stopped over to pick him up after Miles went down for a nap. On our walk back across their backyard, Rodney told me about the games they played, the people he met, and how when he got up to pee in the bushes all the girls screamed EWWWWW. I suppose we'll have to eventually teach Rodney about the social stigma around peeing in the bushes, especially in someone else's bushes. Just a bad habit he picked up during quarantine, I guess.

Marissa got home with the dogs just before dinner. They went right to work cleaning up all the cheerios Miles had spilled on the floor that morning during breakfast. I avoided cleaning up that mess all day - that's not my job. Even if the dogs have an agility weekend, they don't get to shirk out of their chores. I expect them to clean up every cheerio that falls on the floor every day.

That's what I got today. Thanks for stopping by. Hope you have a great Saturday evening. Pour a drink, watch an old movie, and take it easy tonight.