Thursday, May 22, 2008

Whistle While You Work

It's not exactly Tiny Tim cavorting through a verdant field of lush, vibrant colors and flora, but it's better'n nuffin', as they say in Ye Olde Western films.

First and foremost, of course, there's the piling-on syndrome inherent with work; some offices are quiet with inactivity and a lack of need. This one, however, is not; we've got plenty to do on any given day and the hits just keep on coming. Sure, I could complain that I've got 12 hours of work to address each day and after I've put in six or so hours in the office and another two downtown (if not more than two) and than an additional hour or so at home reviewing my work and subsequently falling asleep at the keyboard, I'm still not quite all caught up. It's a Catch-22. But I'd much prefer having the problem of having too much to do than the problem of having too little. Then again, check back in a few weeks during my next filing deadline and I might espouse a slightly different opinion.

But I digress.

At the heart of the issue is the PC. I've been using the same Dell XPS desktop for a few years now -- October of 2004, actually -- and my machine is almost "fully crapped out." For those of you unfamiliar with PC lingo, that's the technical term for "dying a slow death." Others include DOA, shitting the bed, doing the silicon nap, the semi-conductor cheese-squeeze -- the list goes on and on but the bottom line is I've milked as much out of the work PC as I'm going to. I don't mind the fact my home PC is faster, more efficient or better at doing everything I do during my waking hours; the problem is that the work PC needs a variety of key upgrades that would wind up costing more than the machine is worth, so we're relegating it to "server" duty. What that means is that, for the second time in about three months, I'm going to have to prep from scratch a new machine (we ordered a Lenovo ThinkPad as its replacement) and demote my current desktop to scan/print duty. Like a racehorse past its prime, it's no longer fit for rigorous daily use but still can sire a scan job or print job every now'n then...

What's interesting is that I configured the new machine Monday night with Windows XP Pro and then Tuesday morning, when we went to buy the machine, we were told that Windows XP Pro is no longer for sale. Apparently, Microsoft decided to stop selling Windows XP as of June 1st (which we knew when it was announced a few months ago) but apparently May 20th is synonymous with June 1st. I'm not sure why this problem cropped up or why Microsoft is going with a shitty operating system (Vista) over a solid, mature, reliable one that is compatible with everything I've thrown at it, including third-party and proprietary 'ware, but the short and long is it's going to take a shitload of effort (not to mention the worry factor) to get the situation resolved. It turns out everything will be fine -- there's, much like a strip club, a back-door solution, but it's still a serious pain in the ass. Thanks, Microsoft.

On top of that, we've got a new load of annual data coming in sometime next week. Since Monday is Memorial Day, that means the new machine -- which is being built as we speak -- will be delayed a day. And, thereafter, that means the new machine will probably arrive after the new data load is set and scheduled to be uploaded to our server. Which means -- if you're still following -- our consultant will have visited our office, uploaded the data and left for greener pastures well before Mr. UPS makes me sign for the box from Lenovo.

Yet another pain in the ass.

Now, granted, that's not the end of the world. It's just that since we're a small office, we make every effort to minimize the external distractions and delays inherent in the daily workday. So having our consultant swing by for the data delivery -- which is crucial, of course -- would have been ideally timed to coordinate with the arrival of the new machine. But since Lenovo isn't a quick mover, the new machine -- in theory -- won't ship until June 10th. By my calculations, June 10th is about three weeks away. The new data -- about one week away. You don't need one o' them-thar fancy abacus devices to know that means two visits.

Oh well.

Meanwhile, as the workload flows onto and off of my desk, things are otherwise fairly peachy. I've got a few major happenings this summer and I'm trying to plan around them; for the most part, everything is going according to plan. But the silver lining/dark cloud thing can rear its ugly head at any given moment, so even though we ordered the new PC, it's going to be a few weeks until it arrives; as with any other plans, Murphy's Law definitely applies. So all the busy-ness coming at us like a bullet train in a Tokyo suicide-infested suburb might very well derail some of my plans for the summer. Alas, things out of my control are just that: out of my control.

Of course, Kaia's impending move to NYC is rolling along, and she'll be here in a week or ten days to continue scoping out the rapidly inflated housing market. I'm not sure what she'll end up choosing -- location-wise or configuration-wise -- but I'm guessing it will be something near my place and something akin to a one-bedroom. Questions remain about what we'll do with her car and when the move date will actually be, but for the most part, we're rolling with it in good faith and the excitement builds.

And if nothing else, it's a journey, not a destination; hopefully this rest stop along life's highway is just the first in our new chapter.

And if I can squeeze in a few more overbearing cliches, I'll be sure and let you know.

Meanwhile, hope everyone has a happy Memorial Day without work, aggravation or bullshit. At the very least, one out of three ain't bad.


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