Friday, July 2 2021

a friend who farts, oysters, and a date on the square

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, readers. Congratulations on making it to Friday. I had a nice, quiet morning. We ate out last night, so I didn't have any dishes to finish up. Minnie and I just stared at each other while we waited for the first pot of coffee to finish brewing. I offered to pour her some, but she said would rather wind up for the day by brutalizing a roll of toilet paper or one of Miles' forsaken baby toys in the living room. Everyone has their own routine, and I can respect that.

Are you feeling well-rested today? I woke up once or twice last night, and I also had to endure a goofy nightmare about chasing an escaped tarantula around my high school. It escaped a flimsy box in the old chemistry lab. I chased it down the dark upstairs hallway and down the stairs into the attached pre-school. I cornered it in front of the art room, and just before I approached it with a catch cup, I woke up and both of my arms were asleep.

Sip. So my first day on the networking team is in the books. Day one was everything I hoped it would be. The team was kind enough to send a small feature ticket my way, and this happens to be my favorite way to learn. Not only to I get to break out of passive listening mode, but I also get the little dopamine rush of fixing something. After a an hour or so fiddling with their script, I arrived at something that worked. I felt that twinge of imposter syndrome vanish. I felt like I had accomplished something.

I was also delighted to learn that my new team isn't afraid of a little Bash. For small automations, taste varies by team, and Bash certainly falls on the old school side of the spectrum. I thoroughly enjoy it, but joining a new team you don't want to be the guy that writes the first Bash script.

"Oh I love Bash," said my new teammate Derek. "Bash is like a good friend that farts a lot."

Well put, Derek. Bash is tenured, honest, and dependable, but it has its quirks. It doesn't make me angry, but at least once per coding session I get wrapped up in something small and stupid. Sometimes I even make the somebody farted face.

My new team invited me to an informal zoom call. They gave me a tour of some of their code, peppered with some free form discussion and explanations. Zendesk is a big company - so big that it's almost impossible to see the entire thing in your head at once. Yesterday with the help of Derek, Joe, and Vicente, I began filling in the details in totally new areas. What was once a black box or a blurry arrow in my head is slowly becoming whole other world teeming with exciting new details. It's an invigorating feeling.

Later in the afternoon I attended a happy hour with my old team at the biergarten. They teased me, calling me a traitor, but it was easy enough to make them jealous of my situation. "I actually got to write code today," I reported.

Marissa and I got a baby sitter last night. Finley, her friend from agility, came by the house just before dinner. We ordered them a pizza and gave her a quick rundown of bedtime routines.

Marissa and I were planning on driving downtown and finding a nice place to eat, but secretly I think our ultimate date would be transforming into a pair of houseflies on the wall so we could observe how Rodney acts around a baby sitter. It's not that we don't trust him or we don't want to leave him. It's just a side of his personality that we never get to see. How does he explain things? What parts of his routine are important to him? What things in his bedroom are important enough to highlight for a stranger? Oh God, am I a helicopter parent?

Marissa and I parked downtown. Walking beside each other, we lazily circled the town square, peering into restaurants and watching people shuffle on the sidewalk around us. The square felt so new and different, I barely remembered what it felt like to work there and walk around every day.

"That place looks cool," I said. "We should check it out."

"What are you talking about," laughed Marissa. "That's Coopers. We've eaten there a lot."

Case in point.

We found a seat at the bar at Graze. I talked Marissa into ordering some oysters on the half shell. She warned me that raw oysters are still her personal texture nightmare. "It just feels like I'm swallowing a big booger."

Oyster shells in hand, I gave her my best pep talk. "It's all mental. Just shut your eyes and picture your favorite food."

After dinner, we went for a long walk down State street. We got some ice cream and wandered around for the rest of the night. We forgot about how easy it was to wander the city when you don't have kids tagging along.

That was pretty much yesterday. Between a pizza party, a wedding reception in Grand Rapids, and four different airplanes, I may not get a chance to write again until Monday, but I'm going to bring my laptop along and hope for the best. But if I don't see you, hope you have a great weekend. Thanks for stopping by, friends.