POSTS FOR 2003

Sickness

Personal668 words4 minutes to read

I hardly slept at all last night.

I’ve had a headache for the last few days, and my throat has been scratchy for 2 or 3 days. I knew it was coming. Last night my nose got all plugged up, which meant two things: I had to breathe through my mouth, which caused my tongue to get all dried out; and I began to snore.

I don’t usually snore. My wife says that she never hears me snore, so either I don’t usually snore, or she’s just a really deep sleeper. On the other hand, no one else has ever complained about me snoring, so I’ll assume I’m in pretty good shape.

Anyways, I’ve got very sensitive hearing. So when I start to snore, I’ll wake myself up. I can usually sleep through anything (I’ve fallen asleep at two — count them, two — concerts), but when I’m awake, I’ll find myself listening to conversations that are across the room (or in other offices), and virtually ignoring conversations that I’m part of.

If you combine all of those things, you’ll get how I felt this morning. Runny nose, exhausted, in need of soup. I called in sick to work around 7:35am — right after I woke up. My wife left for work and took our daughter to the babysitters. I stayed home.

I decided to watch a movie. “Identity” with John Cusack was on the kitchen table, so I loaded it up into my DVD player and sat down with a glass of ice water. About 20 minutes into the movie I’d already figured out who the killer was. So I watched it all the way to the end only to discover that I was wrong… which made it a good movie. I don’t know if I’d ever buy it, but Blockbuster is only three blocks away. No big deal.

Around 11:30am, I got a call from my boss who needed me to work on a customer pricelist. I don’t get it. I’ve spent much time and energy in creating what I call “Pricelist Generators.” We export our pricelists from QuickBooks into Excel, and from there, save them as the XML-based “ExcelML” format. Then you open up the “Pricelists” folder that is located on the network-shared “My Documents” folder. You double-click the little HTA file with the name of the company you want to generate a pricelist for, and choose “Code 1”, “Code 2”, or “Code 3” (three of our four price-levels) to have this HTA file read the QuickBooks XML price information into a ExcelML template document that is customized for that particular customer, and click the print button.

Really it’s much simpler than it sounds. It used to take two of us 2 full work days to hand-enter all of the prices into all of these customized pricelists and fax them and our Morning Sun newsletter to everyone. Now it takes me about 20 minutes on Monday morning. The Pricelist generators do what I created them to do, and all of the faxing is done through the computer.

Unfortunately, my title: “Director of Technology” means that most of my co-workers are technologically inept… nice people, but tech-inept. So, I drove the three blocks to work to finish up this particular customer’s pricelist then drove back home.

Around 5:00pm I drove up to school to talk to Marie in Financial Aid. I just tested out of my “Web Interface” course (thank the Lord!), and they put me in portfolio. However, since my portfolio is done, I’ve got three weeks to kill before I go into the next module. Good news is that I’m double-modding my last two classes (Web Server and English), so I’ll be a college graduate in 9 weeks instead of six months! I’ve never been so excited (well, I have, but not recently).

And that was my sick day. The next time I take a sick day, I need to be well so that I can keep up with all the goings-on that occur.

Ryan Parman

Ryan Parman is an experienced software engineer, open source evangelist, and passionate user advocate currently living in Seattle. He is the creator of and , and worked on DevOps and Security at . He is now bringing learning into the digital age as an Engineering Lead and Site Reliability Engineer at . Ryan's aptly-named blog, , is where he writes about ideas longer than .