Wednesday, June 16 2021

incident reports, rodney facts, and least favorite-favorite things



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Happy Wednesday. This morning I’m helping myself to a big, fluffy roll of toilet paper. Don’t you just love tearing into a fresh roll of Charmin? I love watching the tatters blow across the floor like confetti. I like how the paper mixes with saliva and turns to warm goo. Some toilet paper rolls even have a secret prize inside - a second toy made entirely out of cardboard. After spending all morning ripping into this toilet paper roll, I think it’s high time I urinate on the dining room floor, then take a long ten minute nap.

Ah dang it. I’m not doing any of those things right now, I was thinking about Minnie. Minnie did all those things today. Speaking of her morning messes, we had a close call yesterday. After finishing her morning toilet paper kill, she wandered into my closet and found an untouched stash of her second favorite thing in the world - cardboard. I had a small cardboard box stacked in the corner of my closet, and on top of that box was a second collapsed box. Inside, five Zophobas moria worms were pupating in individual plastic cups. Minnie helped herself, but luckily she only took the collapsed box on top of the worm box. I was just using it to cover up the hole on top.

“We could have had toilet paper and worms everywhere,” I laughed. Marissa, having just woken up, chose not to process the horror until well after her first cup of coffee.

Sip. Good morning, Dear Journalers. Hello alex-recker-dot-commers. Peace, quiet, and hot coffee to all the folks who donated their bandwidth to download this HTML page. The internet is a big place, and I’m truly touched you picked this exact spot to read today.

It feels good to reach the middle hump of the work week, especially since we’ve got a baby sitter coming tomorrow, and that rolls into our last free weekend in a while. After we turn this corner, we have weddings, receptions, agility trials, and art shows - but this weekend we’re doing absolutely nothing, and it’s going to be fantastic.

How did your Tuesday go? I spent the day chained to a Google doc. I ignored every slack message and email - a drastic measure, but it had to be done. I’m particularly bothered when I have to ignore people’s questions. Nothing makes me feel more like a dick then ignoring a well-worded, thoughtful question about how something I helped make works. A polite ten minutes passes, and then the follow up message comes through. You must be busy. I’ll try asking somewhere else. A little piece of me dies when people give up on asking me for help.

It took all day, but I finished that damn incident report. It hardly reached three pages. An entire day of meticulous research and revisions hidden in hyperlinks and tables. One of the most time consuming parts of writing incident reports is constructing a timeline of events. You have to wrangle slack messages and audit logs into a detailed, continuous story. When was the first page? What was the first metric that went out of bounds? How long did it take to triage? What did you try, and how did you know when it was fixed?

Staring at the dry report all day gave me random bursts of silliness. I channeled the whimsy into making my own alternate timeline for Marissa’s amusement.

13:52 UTC - Alex’s phone rings while he’s stirring potatoes.

13:53 UTC - Alex says “shit. Ah shit. I’m about to get paged aren’t I.”

13:54 UTC - Alex is paged. Potatoes are abandoned.

13:55 UTC - Alex unlocks computer and uses Mac Photo Booth to ensure his hair doesn’t look ridiculous and there is nothing green in his teeth.

13:56 UTC - Alex joins the zoom call. Before his microphone is unmuted, he says “SHIT” under his breath one more time to get it out of his system.

13:58 UTC - Alex temporarily turns off webcam to address the growing shirt sweat problem.

Along with the report, I had some clean-up to do. Later in the day, I had to log into the same servers that blew up the week before and remove some temporary measures. Truthfully, I get a sick thrill from logging into production servers. Of course I’m thorough, measured, and responsible when I have to do it, but secretly I savor the feeling of power and danger you get from running commands on a computer while it’s taking traffic from real customers all over the world. It’s a cool feeling and it keeps my job interesting.

Marissa had puppy class in the evening with Minnie. I let Rodney out of his room, and he wandered around the kitchen while I threw together some pasta. Rodney was chasing after a housefly.

“That’s a baby honey bee,” he explained as it landed on the window. I leaned in for a closer look.

“That’s just a fly dude,” I replied.

“Nope,” said Rodney confidently. “It’s a baby honeybee. It’s looking for it’s momma. Did’you’know the don’t sting you?”

As someone who loves dispelling fun facts about bugs, listening to Rodney invent his own can feel like cruel torture. Rodney loves inventing stories around things, and he just happens re-tell them in the story telling style of this is an objective fact. It’s a Rodney fact.

“Baby honey bee - got it,” I said. “Maybe it will make some honey for you.”

“Nope,” said Rodney. “It’s just a baby.”

Later that night, Marissa and I found ourselves on the couch. I had just cracked open a second beer, and Marissa refreshed her drink. Our bedtime alarm rang. Without hesitating, I reached over to my phone and hit the snooze button.

We had a long talk about time. Marissa and I are both in a place right now where it’s getting harder and harder to fit all the things we want to do - and all the things we have to do - into a single day. We broached the subject of our least-favorite-favorite-things. To define a least favorite-favorite thing: good things that you would never give up, but they make you wish you could freeze time.

“Mine is exercise,” I said. “It takes so long, and it just makes me tired. It seems like so much work just to not get fat.”

“My least favorite right now is kids,” said Marissa. Her eyes widened in horror hearing her own words, so she clarified. “Least favorite-favorite things… right now.” I nodded in approval.

“I envy that you get your, you know, work time. I feel like I have to find time on my own to paint, when the kids are in bed or playing together.”

There was a long pause while we both sipped our drinks. “I can’t believe your write for an hour every morning,” said Marissa. “I think you’re crazy.”

I hear that. Sometimes writing is my least favorite-favorite thing. Thanks for stopping by today. Have a wonderful Wednesday.