Monday, August 28 2023


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Hey Reader!

It's a pleasure to ride into another work week together. But before we submit to powerful, churning tide of emails, slack messages, and to-do lists, I think we should take a minute to drink coffee and reflect.

I'm on-call right now. Most weeks, being an on-call software engineer at my job is a pretty sweet gig - it's essentially like getting paid for doing nothing besides keeping your phone on (something I do anyway) and staying within a 20 minute drive of my laptop. This weekend was an exception. By the time I sat down at my computer on Friday morning, just before I was about to open up the old journal, I got paged into an incident. The next eight hours of the day vanished in a blaze of stress like wood shavings in a fire. We didn't even stabilize things before the work week ended, which left me in a delicate state of anxiety where every small notification chirp from my phone sent a bolt of panic through my body. My pager went off twice last night - one page at 2 in the morning, and a second thirty minutes later. Thankfully, the first page was low priority - just an automatic monitor in a non production environment, and the second went off because I forgot to click "resolve" and fell back asleep.

Today, things are quiet, and I'm going to spring on the opportunity to properly warm up for work.

Sometime last week, I was putting Rodney and Miles to bed. They pleaded to do their nightly "questions" time together in the same bed, and I reluctantly agreed. Miles grabbed Rodney's headlamp off the shelf, then Rodney starting making shadow puppets on the wall. He sprang out of bed to turn off the lights.

I got annoyed. It had been a long day, and I fully intended on just coasting through some half-assed questions, reciting our bedtime prayer, then heading straight to the couch to zone out in front of the TV. Then Rodney started doing this silly, wide-stance squat-walk with the headlamp on the floor. It cast a ridiculous shadow on the ceiling that made Rodney's butt look monstrous. Miles broke out in uncontrollable laughter. My grumpy mood didn't stand a chance.

I was still tired, but I knew I wouldn't forgive myself if I didn't let this spontaneous shadow puppet session play out a little longer.


We paid our first visit to the Dupage Children's museum over the weekend. Our friend Eli threw an excellent birthday party. Speaking of shadows, we spent most of our free time in the dark room. On the opposite wall, a big red button triggered a bright flash of light that would freeze your shadows in place. We took turns jumping, standing on each other, and staging freeze framed karate kicks. While the room was filled with other kids, Miles stood timidly next to the button, smashing it with his tiny hand each time the timer reached zero. But once all the other kids moved on, he finally gave it a try.


That's what I got today. Let's have a Monday.