Sort of Back to Normal

It’s amazing how going into the office used to be the norm, and now going in one day just murderlizes my entire routine.

Wednesday night I packed up everything I needed for the day in the office (except my headphones, damn it) and put out my clothes for the next day and all that fun stuff. On Thursday I got up super early and did my 30 minutes of exercise, made my lunch, did the rest of my morning stuff and left (without my headphones).

That doesn’t seem like a lot, but it really is. It’s like throwing a giant monkey wrench into the whole day.

Fortunately I am back in my home office today. I’d like to say I feel like everything is back to normal, for the most part it is, but I slept really late today. Not late enough that I didn’t have time for my morning exercise and all of that, but I did start work before I made breakfast (scrambled eggs, yum). I generally prefer not to do that.

Today is going to be a little weird here at the home* too. I went in to work yesterday, and Jen is going in today. Actually… not to the office? Not sure of the details, but she’s going to see people today. After work we’re planning on doing some grocery shopping. This is going to sound selfish of me, but I really enjoy that Jen and I have been doing that together. It’s silly, but I like it.

Best of all, on the Friday front, Harry will be coming over after work and he’ll be here for the whole next week. Excellent. We are still a few weeks away from Bellana coming home from Europe, but it’s one step closer to having the whole family together.

On unrelated notes, I am listening to the new Porcupine Tree album, which was finally released today, and I’m giving it five stars and two thumbs up and all of the accolades. It’s a great record. CLOSURE/CONTINUATION (yes, the album title is in all caps), check it out. I am planning to visit my mother a couple of times over the weekend. I’m not sure if I will get over to see my father too, but we’ll see. We talked about watching the Obi-Wan Kenobi series in its entirety in one sitting this weekend. I think maybe after Harry comes home from work on Sunday? I came up with a goofy project for the film camera. I’m thinking of trying to take the same picture with Dad’s camera and my camera and comparing the results. I’d like to use exactly the same settings, but my camera can be a little bit of a bitch to setup manually, and Dad’s seems to have a different labeling system for the aperture settings? I’ll have to consult the manual on that.

Okay, ladies and germs. Time to get to work. Those customers aren’t going to support themselves!


*Here at the Home is the title of the first album by one of the great Boston bands from the late 80’s/early 90’s, Tribe. When I went to my parents house the other day it was to pick up all of my old records that I hadn’t brought to the house already. There were a whole bunch of Tribe records in the pile.

Cheap Soda

My company has soda machines all over the place. The cans of soda are nearly free for staff. We have to pay the $0.05 state deposit and that’s it. Picture it; me, a lifelong dedicated fanatical soda drinker working in a building where cans of soda cost a nickel. Basically heaven.

Except that I can’t drink soda anymore. Shit.

I am in a new building now. Did I mention that? Probably. We were in Waltham, which was closer to home for me than any other company building, but they sold the Waltham building during the pandemic. We were moved to Westwood, which is further away than Waltham but was the next closest building to home. When we had our brief return to office experiment over the summer we had to setup our new desks and get used to the new place. Now it’s just where we go. No big whoop, right?

There was a point in time during our Waltham stay where I was trying to eliminate caffeine in the afternoon. I started bringing a water bottle and filling it up from the water cooler in the kitchenette. It tasted really bad. If I added a ton of ice it would get cold enough that the bad taste was sort of masked, but even if I put my go-to grape flavoring stuff in it, the taste was still crappy.

Now I am under doctor’s orders to no longer drink soda (Robert wipes away a single tear) so I’m back to the water bottle. There’s a little cooler in the kitchenette here too. I just filled up… nervous that this water would be bad too…

It isn’t. It sure ain’t the Poland Springs wonder that is our cooler at home, but it’s okay. I can live with it.

That sound you heard all over the surface of the Earth was my emphatic sigh of relief.

Feels Like Friday

It feels like Friday.

It’s not Friday.

It’s Thursday.

But it still feels like Friday.


I spent the time I thought I would be waiting for the furnace installation to start to move my desk back to our bedroom and give Harry his room back. My chair is still there. So is the little clock I bought. I need to find a new home for that puppy.

I didn’t do it because there is a heater in our bedroom. I did it because I had a handful of meetings over the next couple of days that I need to be contributing too. The bedroom happens to be about as far away from the furnace as you can get and still be in the house. I did not do it for the heat. I did it for the quiet. Also, because spending my days in my kids’ room felt wrong. When the Covid scare required me to quarantine myself it was one thing. That was almost two months ago. It was time to go back to my own room.


Who would have thought that I would have so much influence? Last night I logged into facebook for the first time in a month, just long enough to tell people I was taking a break. After about five minutes I was gone again. I will re-evaluate on November 27, 2021 but it’s looking like I might want to make this final.

Then, thanks mostly to my crusade, Zuckerberg changed the name? Jen just told me that Zuckie is changing the name from facebook to Meta. Ugh. You’re so meta, markie. I told her that he should have renamed the company Metal. That would have been so much cooler. So much… cleaner.

I guess Zuck just couldn’t deal with my exit. Sorry, hoodie man. Start treating nazis like bad guys and maybe I’ll come back. Get on that, bro. Cleaning out the nazi filth would be so meta, bro. It would be pretty metal too.

Crazy Town

On a crazy scale from 1-10, today has been a 467037471509436.2.

Holy crap, has it been a crazy day!

You know what though? I tested negative for Covid-19 today. Neh-gah-tiv. Zero Covid. Zip, zilch, nada. Nothing. Covid free since ’93, to paraphrase Mr Ted Mosby.

The love of my life and I are going to have dinner together tonight instead of having dinner at the same time in separate rooms. It’s going to be awesome. On multiple occasions today there were spontaneous hugs and smooches. It was awesome.

Granted, everything else about today was absolute insanity, but the non-quarantine stuff ruled.

Now the question is, what do I do about my work desk. We had talked a little of moving my work day desk out of the bedroom into one of the kids rooms (obviously moving it back to the bedroom when they come home). At first I was not happy working in Harry’s room, but the windows make it a winner. He has two windows that face the back yard. I have had them open for every second that I’ve been quarantinied in here. It’s kinda glorious. The windows in our bedroom face the street, which is nice, but facing the back yard is so much nicer.

Naw, as nice as the air flow in here is, I think I’ll move my work desk back to the bedroom. That’s the spot for me.

Happy No Covid/No More Quarantine Day!

WOOHOO!

Lunch Break

I’m in the office today. I need to come in four times this month and today makes three. I have Thursday penciled in as the fourth visit.

Last time I came in everything on my desk had been moved around. I assume it was the cleaning staff. This time everything was where I left it. That’s nice to see. I told myself that I had to get a mouse pad before I came back and then completely forgot. The desk is arranged in such a way that there is a seam right where my mouse wants to be. It’s annoying. A mouse pad will fix it… if I can just not forget to grab a mouse pad. I ordered one on Amazon today. Read the first paragraph and then try to guess what day it’s scheduled for delivery… go on… guess. (Thursday)

I had no traffic this morning. Well, almost no traffic. There was a slow down at the junction between routes 93 and 128. Other than that, and one lady who was tailgating me at 70 miles per hour (asshole), the commute was easy as can be. Here’s hoping the same thing happens on the way home. Fingers crossed.

I didn’t forget my lunch today! Will wonders never cease? I did buy a bag of Peanut M&M’s from the vending machine though. Not my finest hour.

Last week my sister was unable to cover shifts at my parents house, so my brother and I just alternated days. There was a whole week where I slept at my house one day and at theirs the next. Today is the first day since that started that I won’t appear at the house in Tewksbury at all. I love my parents. I really do. I’m also very happy to have a day where I am not there. It’s such a stress relief. I’ll be there tomorrow night and all day Wednesday though, so let’s not get all kumbaya and shit.

This morning, before work, I looked at posts on this page made on July 26ths in past years. Last year there was a post talking about my progress in the 50/90 challenge. I had six songs finished and 17 songs in the pipeline. I am crushing that pace right now. Today I have 13 songs finished and 23 in the pipeline. Winning. I wonder how far along I was in 2014 (the other year I completed the full 50 songs)? Who cares.

This weekend is a Harry weekend. This is a good thing. That is a happy thing.

Okay, back to work.

Things I Forgot About

It has been 482 days since I last worked in the office. March 13, 2020 to July 8, 2021. Thanks, Covid-19 (you prick).

I just wanted to make a quick note of some of the things I’ve forgotten about over that time, and a couple of things that changed without my consent.

  1. The noise level. We work in an open concept space. There are only 6-8 people within sight right now, but there are probably four times that many desks, at least. We don’t have walls between us. It’s nice when you have a bunch of people on the same team within earshot of each other so if staff member #1 is talking about an issue, staff member #2 sitting 15-20 desks away can hear the issue and chime in to help. It’s nice, right? Today though, there are two of the four members of my group here, and three more off in the distance who work on the same application. The rest of the people are unrelated and some of them have been on conference calls all day. I forgot what that felt like. If Jen’s on a call while we’re both at home we just close the doors. Problem solved. Not so in the open concept workspace. I hear everyone’s everything whether it affects me or not.
  2. This one is simple. Locking your computer. Get up to the to the bathroom while working from home? No problem. Just do it. Get up to go to the bathroom while working in the office? Lock your computer. The first time I had to walk away from my desk I forgot. I surprised myself. I’m usually much more vigilant about such things.
  3. Diet Coke. Oh yeah. My company is awesome about the soda machines. We only pay the deposit, $0.05. It’s wonderful. Unfortunately when it comes to diet soda I am a Diet Pepsi guy and we’re a Coca~Cola shop. For every other soda I prefer the Coke product. Diet soda? The one thing I will let myself drink? Pepsi. Damn it. I forgot about that.

I’m sure there are others, but those are the stand outs. Honorable mention goes to the VPN. It was downright odd to not connect to the VPN today. I’ll probably forget when I’m at home tomorrow.

Now, a couple of things that changed while I was away.

  1. I’ve mentioned this a bunch of times before but it is such a huge thing that I feel the need to mention it again. My building is gone. Sold. History. I worked for this company for a decade before I was able to have a desk in a building that is North of the Mass Pike (pardon the super local nature of that statement, but fellow Merrimack Valley folks will know of what I speak). This morning as I drove to work I could see that building from the highway as I cruised on by. They sold our building a few months ago and I’ve been moved to another building. We have a little two building complex right off of route 128. I used to work in building #2. For a few years at least. Now I’m in building #1. At the very least it’s the next closest building to home now that the closest building has been sold.
  2. Trash cans. A few years ago one of our buildings started a pilot program where all of the little trash barrels at everyone’s desks were removed in favor of a few centrally located barrels. There was a reason for it but it wasn’t my building so I more or less forgot it happened. When I was unpacking my stuff this morning I noticed none of the desks had barrels, and there were a few centrally located barrels around the space. Aw shit. They took our buckets away. Damn it.

Once again, I am sure there are other things but I can’t think of them right now. We don’t have a cafeteria. Well, we do still have the cafeteria room and all, but we don’t have a catering company selling us lunch anymore. We knew that though. That’s a Covid-19 casualty that will probably come back eventually. No big deal, I want to brown bag it anyway.

I’ll probably write follow up posts as I think of more stuff to write. Suffice to say, being back in the office building is weird. Very weird.

Welcome to July

Happy July 1st, everyone. Summer in full swing. The forecast calls for a high of 80 degrees today with rain every day for the foreseeable future. Hooray.

Today is the day that my company’s Covid-19 lock down kind of comes to an end. Prior to Covid I worked in the building four days per week and at home one. Now it’s sort of the opposite. It’s not in the office once per week, it’s more like in the office an average of once per week. Flexibility is our friend. It’s actually in the office 20% of the month… so about once per week.

I was hoping to make my first day back July 13th as my last day before lock down was March 13th and it would be funny for it to be exactly 16 months. Nope. My nana sitting schedule will not allow that. I need to sneak in at least once before the 13th.

Change of subject, I went to sleep around midnight last night and woke up a bit before 5:00. I felt okay, even though I failed to get even five hours of sleep, but my SleepWatch app is telling me my heart rate dip was garbage. It says I was in restful sleep for about three quarters of the night though, so I’ve got that going for me. It’s going to be a long day.

The 50/90 challenge starts in four days. Are you ready to be bombarded with posts regarding awful, pointless, idiotic music, guitar playing, song writing, and recording? I strongly suspect this year’s challenge will end in a crash and burn, and it will likely happen quickly. As of this moment though, I am still thinking I am on board. In fact, I was thinking about swapping out my amplifier. I don’t want to go with a two amp setup like last year. I don’t want to take up that much room in the bedroom anymore. I have been using my Vox AC15 for the last few months. This weekend before things kick off I might swap it for my Fender Bassbreaker 15 again. We’ll see.

Did I mention I have an eye doctor appointment on Saturday? Does it make me sound like an old fart when I say I am seriously looking forward to it? Probably. Okay (son of) boomer.

Right, time for my Nana Sitting duties. I need to bring her the 8:00am meds.

Until next time.

Good day, eh?

I Am the Single Dumbest Person on Earth

I left the house at 7:40 or so. A smidge later than I wanted to (I find that I am using the word “smidge” in posts way too often these days. I’ll work on that) but with plenty of time to get to the office by 9:00. As soon as I was on the road, Waze started freaking out about an accident on route 93. It detoured me through the heart of Andover (the richest town in the area and yes I did drive past a golf course) onto roads I had never seen before in my life. Finally I got back onto 93 and hit another traffic jam at the junction with route 128 which then turned into a traffic jam on 128 just after the junction.

By this point I was on the verge of fury. That’s when I realized I forgot my security badge and I was not going to be able to operate the elevators or get into the stairwells. That’s when I stopped being on the verge of fury and embraced it full, like an old friend I haven’t seen in years. I turned around immediately and went home.

I am so mad at myself.

I am so mad at myself.

I am so mad at myself.

What is Commute?

I just updated the Waze app with my new work address. Do I really have a morning commute today? This is so weird. 15 months ago not having a commute was the weirdest thing ever. Now it’s the opposite.

Wish me luck, everyone. Traffic nightmare ahead.