Thursday, October 14 2021

colorado, work focus, and decorating for a gecko

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, my friends. Happy Thursday.

It probably won't shock you to learn that I'm feeling tired this morning. I usually feel a little groggy at this time in the morning. But this morning, we've reached new depths of tired. Super-tired. Mega-tired. If my brain had a check engine light, it would be flashing obnoxiously alerting the driver to pull over and turn the car off.

But we're millenials. When we see the check engine light go on, we don't pull over and address the problem. We just drive right through it and hope it goes away on its own - and that's the best way to describe I'm tackling the problem of tiredness. At the moment, I'm writing on the fumes of a caffeine nap I squeezed into the twenty five minute space between Rodney walking out the door and the latest possible time I can climb into the shower and still be ready in time to write.

I can feel my eyelids becoming a little less heavy as the blood returns to my brain. I think we're going to be fine. We've got the weekend coming up, a beautiful Fall day in Wisconsin, and we have all the hot coffee wee need. Let's do this.

Sip. It's good to be here today. There's a simple reason Marissa and I are especially tired today. Yesterday was the Blackhawks season opener. They played the Avalanche in Colorado, and being a whole hour ahead of them Marissa and I had to stay up past our bedtime to watch the whole game. We really had no other choice. What are we supposed to do, not watch the game?

On any other day, I'm a fair weather fan of the state of Colorado. I like the Colorado natives in my social circle. I like how easy it is to navigate their giant, boxy, tabernacle-shaped airport. I have a fond memory of eating a delicious denver omelette their with my old boss on a layover while flying to a conference. I'm amused by the concept of Casa Bonita, and I hope to one day visit this place one day and compare it to Woodfield Mall's Rainforest Cafe.

But this morning we've got no love for Colorado. This year, Colorado is favored to win the Stanley Cup, and the stuffy panel of Canadian blowhards providing commentary over the game made no attempt to veil their biased love for the darling Colorado Avalanche. This game was supposed to be the grand reveal of the perfect team, and our beloved Blackhawks were chum for the waters.

The talking heads ensured the puck was dropped fifteen minutes late. The avalanche scored three goals within five minutes of the first period. I would have been in a cross mood if Marissa hadn't made me laugh by blurting out the word ANNIHILATION from her seat on the couch.

But I got to hand it to the Hawks. They fought back and kept the game close, despite the commentators dressing their two well-earned goals up like some negligible accidents. For facing the predicted winners of the Stanley Cup, losing 2-4 is not all that bad.

Still... screw you, Colorado. On to the next game.

In other news, the work week is going well. I'm looking forward to pouring another huge cup of coffee and finishing the week out strong. I'm on the cusp of a laundry cycle, so today's work outfit is an old Zendesk conference t-shirt and my Bears pajama pants. But that doesn't matter that much - my only meeting today is a team stand-up and a catch-up chat with a friend.

Lately at work, I've been really loving how much control I have over what I focus on. It's hard to get bored or burnt out when you can focus on whatever you want to, but I've definitely had to work for that trust. When you first start out as an engineer, you're expected to do everything in tickets, and when somebody hits you up for a favor or shoots you a personal request in a slack DM, a good junior engineer should redirect the extra work into an IT ticket.

But something kind of beautiful has happened as I've grown up in this industry. I no longer live and die by what's in an IT ticket. I've found that sometimes helping people on the spot can be rewarding. I have the big picture team focused things I work on, and then when I need a mental break or I just feel the need to shake myself out of tunnel vision, I adopt a new side quest.

In other news, Marissa is slowly assembling the new Gecko enclosure. We have cute little Gecko fixtures and trinkets converging in the mail from Chewy and Etsy. Here's a shot of the work in progress.


I think the "Home Sweet Home" sign is a nice touch. Marissa wants to exchange it for a smaller one to ensure the joke really lands. There's something so funny about human decorations for a lizard enclosure.

"I stood in Hobby Lobby for fifteen minutes just laughing at all the other signs," said Marissa. "Imagine if he had a sign that said 'Be strong in the Lord' or 'Be anxious for nothing.'" Something about decorating our lizard's house as if he were a sheltered Midwestern Christian woman tickled us both, and we might lean into that theme.

Marissa will probably be annoyed that I shared a picture of the enclosure before it was finished. She's been anguishing over the smallest of details. I've learned that having a lizard is a childhood dream of hers. "I didn't play with dolls - I played with little toy lizards," she said. "I want him to be the happiest lizard ever."

This will be a lucky Gecko. That's what I got today. Thanks for stopping by - have a great Thursday.