as of about 1900 yesterday when I finally left the office…


I was talking to the cleaning lady when she came by our office yesterday, and I realized, I’ve never taken two full weeks off work before. which is pretty fucking stupid of me, actually, especially considering I used to get 3 weeks at the university.

It does take a lot of effort to break the “but I’m not done with project X” / “but if system S blows up, nobody else can fix it!” / generalized angsting over what might happen and omigod they cannot survive without me! This was especially a problem at the U of C, and, e.g., the PureMessage junkmail systems that I could never talk anyone into freaking helping me out with. I had heard Tom Limoncelli opine on this at LISA one time, and he made a remark that was just something I’d never even considered before — he said something like “the company doesn’t give you vacation days because they’re nice. The company gives you vacation days because taking time off makes you a better employee, because you are less stressed out. So taking vacation isn’t imposing something inconvenient on the company, it’s something you do to get better.” And I’ve sort of parroted that to others since then, but I never quite bought into it myself — I couldn’t make myself take more than a few days off unless I was doing something critical, like moving into a new apartment (and even then I’d only take one week).

Anyways, this time, I was actually a little bit disappointed that I had to leave on vacation because I had just gotten really rolling on a particular project I’m super excited about doing — automated configuration and package management; I set up a new yum repository for all of our locally-compiled packages, which can be added to our YaST sources at install time, so Support can manage the packages that we build, and also we can deploy a bootstrap config management, um, config at install time, that can go out and fetch the instructions for completing the post-install customizations. It’s gonna be sweet. Oddly, as soon as I dumped bcfg2 for cfengine (my original choice, but I talked myself out of it because Narayan’s so good at writing marketing copy), I was up and running in two days. :P But I digress. I had just started to really make serious progress there and so it was sort of a bummer to have to disengage (two whole weeks!) but at least this way I have something cool to come back to, rather than something sucky (another fine reason I never took a vacation at the University — fear of what would be horribly, horribly broken when I got back).

I think it helps that I’m not in a completely dysfunctional environment anymore; I think things will be pretty stable even if I am not there to put the fear of god into the systems. And if not, I trust someone will either take care of it, or call me. But I am not going to worry about it. And I’m not going to read my work email, either! Because that way madness lies. I cleaned out my inbox and my sent-mail before leaving the office yesterday, and I’m calling that good enough until I get back.

People keep asking me what my plans are. Initially I’d planned to take a long weekend next weekend, and drive out east. But then Tiger got sick, so now I am not going to do that. (Can I get a giant WOOHOO for Tiger getting sick now, and not a week and a half later when I was out of town? thank god!) So my plans are pretty pedestrian, actually. I’m planning to clean out my closet, pull out a bunch of clothes I never wear, and take them all to the Brown Elephant, along with some books, a bunch of CDs and DVDs I never listen to/watch, and my old G4 and inkjet printer. (This will be a nice tax writeoff!) Actually, I plan to donate basically an entire carload of shit. It’s going to be an enormous pain in the ass hauling it all downstairs to the car, but, y’know, whatever. There will be less junk in my house thereafter! I’m going to take a bunch of old dead batteries to the battery recycling place. I’m going to then rearrange my yarn stash, since there will be room for it in the bedroom closet (instead of out on the back porch, where I worry about moths getting into the wool). I’m going to clean my office some more (since the yarn will be off the desk). I’m going to clean the kitchen a little (once the G4, display, and inkjet printer boxes are out of there, since they take up a HUGE amount of space), and paint some more trim in there. I’m mybe going to touch up the paint in my bathroom, kitchen, and office where it’s gotten dinged up a little bit. I’m going to get a bunch of knitting in — hopefully, I’ll make some progress on MS3, with the lovely KnitPicks yarn that fibre enabler Kim sent (in response to my woeful “I want to do MS3, but I cut my yarn budget for the month! Curse my stupid stupidity!”). i want to knit some more on my clapotis, and maybe I’ll even get my Baudelaire socks done. I might make some progress on my crocheted afghan. I’m going to catch up on personal email (I know, I know!). I might go to the Museum of the Art Institute on free day. I’m totally going to hit this one local thrift store on Half-Price Monday and see if I can find something I can’t live without, for cheeeeeeeeeeeeeap (and that includes sweaters for disassembly/yarn recycling, since that totally doesn’t count in the budget. ;) I might drive out to Ohio for a couple of days, if I can kennel Tiger. I might do a lot of things! I don’t really know! All I really know is I’m going to sleep in, and I’ll probably watch Ellen at least once or twice.

But now? I am off like an Invisibility Cloak — to go see the new Harry Potter with A. and L.! (Queue standing == excellent sock knitting time. You know it!)