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Day 316: Work and Russian Parts

Today I started at 7:30ish, which is a bit early for a Saturday. I logged on and checked that the foobar at the shoe company was not worse and then went and took a shower and got ready for a long day of working from home on the weekend.

I connected with my co-workers and started-up the process again. We had to restructure about 50+ remaining software updates, configuration values, and fixes. This is then followed by pushing the changes to the target. We then examine the results and try to fix the failures. We got about 1/2 way by noon. I also have to do status updates. It was a busy online morning all on Zoom.

I had a registered package from Russia that I had to go to the post office to get. Not a place I want to visit in a pandemic! The line was very long and socially distanced, so I did not feel at risk. I chatted with the gal in front of me; she is a nurse and travels to the middle east. The mail folks went through the line and took any pick-up slips, like mine, and brought you the item. I had to sign for mine. I was late for returning to work as I picked up lunch for Susie and me. Chicken McNugget Happy Meal and a two cheeseburger meal. I always think of dad when I order his fav, McDonald’s regular cheeseburger.

Back to work. By 4PM, we had everything done and reported our finish to leadership. There are some follow-up items, but the emergency is over.

I took a nap and read a space opera book: The Consuming Fire. The book is a typical middle book. It is not quite as interesting as the first book; it moves multiple stories to the concluding book. It is still fun.

I finally got started again around 5:30ish and made angel hair pasta with meat sauce and heated up some fresh garlic bread I bought in Safeway yesterday. I got the Paul Newman sauce from a jar hot on the stove while browning the ground beef in a large frypan. I then take the sauce off the heat and the meat off the heat. Once a bit cooler, I pour the sauce into the frypan (low-fat ground beef is used). It should not explode and just lightly boil as it hits the hot pan. I stir it all together and let it settle on low. I heat water and make the pasta. I plate it by putting the pasta in a bowl, cover it with the now chunky sauce and small slices of garlic bread, browned well from being in the 350F oven for a while.

It makes a nice dinner.

Turning back to the package from Russia. It is a gaming board to use with the board game Terraforming Mars. This is the 4th best game according to the BoardGameGeek website. It is also hard to learn without help, and the game components in the base game are a letdown. The cheap paper board makes the game almost unplayable. Most players buy some upgraded third-party components once they decide the like the game. I finally order replacement boards from GameFit. I did not know they, GameFit, were in Russia at first, and I did wait about eight-weeks for the parts, but they are perfect.

GameFit is based in a former Soviet Military city. This is one of the new industries in this Siberian city. I decided to try them out and was unhappy when the package vanished between Russia and the USA. GameFit got a tracking number, and it finally was delivered today, eight-weeks to the day.

I find Terraforming Mars a bit of a time-sink; it should be faster. Many folks love the game. I am still on the fence.

The new board really looks nice. I might color it a bit later.

I played a one-person game today with the new board from Russia. I lost track of time and had a very interesting immersive time terraforming. The board prevented messing-up my board, and the wooden board kept everything organized. I found myself planning my work than pushing cubes around and wondering if I had picked the right one. The board helped and improve the immersion.

I have just the base game. I did enjoy playing. I will reset and play again tonight. I am delighted with my new toys!

11,150 people received vaccinations yesterday in Oregon. The number will likely increase as it takes 72 hours for all the data to be received.

3,427 people in the USA died from Covid-19 today.

I went with a video I loved: We’ll Understand It Better By and By.

Day 315: Chaos (foobar)

This day started at 4AM when I awoke, surprised that I had no phone calls to wake me. At 2AM, I found that I got a list of software, configuration, and other changes to install. I then discovered that there was were issues. I went back to sleep and started again at 7ish.

I had a 7:30 meeting, so I dressed and all of that and was only a few minutes late.

There was no coffee, milk, and the eggs were almost out. I had not ordered anything, which meant I risked grocery shopping with the new super Covid-19 and got a load of stuff. I forgot my wallet the first time, back to my house, and then headed to Safeway. It was early still and I expect to be safe, the nutjobs usually sleep-in. I managed to get what I needed, and only one person had half a mask on and was not socially distancing. It just is not safe in Safeway–pun there, I think. The cashier had passed her Covid-19 test as she has a sticker on for that.

While there, I hear from a co-worker. Basically, I am in deep fertilizer. The software changes have to all be reworked into new fixes–not an easy process. We discussed my suddenly unexpected retirement from Nike and decided it best to try to fix everything than for me to put in a job application to restock shelves at Safeway while I am there. You see, this all must be ready by Monday 8AM. That means working all weekend and having to be lucky too.

Instead of panic or being angry, I am quite relaxed. If you work for Nike in IT, it is just another Just Do It moment. So we work out a plan of attack, and then I call my boss and tell him we have a foobar, and we are now working on the problem.

I then spend hours and hours on a Zoom call with the co-workers working on the plan. Well, learning a plan and then working on it. I have status updates requested every couple of hours. Progress is slow. Every possible blocker, of course, surfaces. I myself approve six security granting tickets so my co-workers can actually install the software. We get the first software change loaded at 5ish. Only 80+ to go.

Crazy moments were when I held my iPhone up for the Zoom meeting to hear our colleagues’ ideas.

Lunch was chicken pot pies that are too salty from Safeway’s deli.

Dinner was Grubhub from Don Carlos Mexican. The first order was lost and canceled after being an hour late–why was I not surprised that even dinner went foobar. The second-order appeared minutes after the first showed-up 90 minutes late.  Even the cancel of the foobar dinner foobar’d. We have lunch for tomorrow.

Our Zoom meeting ended at 9ish. We had worked for hours punching in change process-software tickets. We will run the changes on Saturday morning. A very crazy day.

FUBAR is military. Foobar is the special computer version; it comes with the unique computer nerd joy of solving a never expected issue.

12,341 people were vaccinated today in Oregon. Our home of Washington County is up to about 4.5% vaccinated.

3,886 people today in the USA died from the virus.

Today I picked Travel Oregon’s Slightly Exaggerated Oregon as I think we all need a bit of relaxing.

Day 314: Thursday

I was not as tired this morning, but I did stay in bed until 7ish and then showered and dressed. I made my 7:30 meeting and then started hours and hours of Zoom meetings.

I managed to fit a walk into the morning, I was three minutes late for a meeting, but I got it in. It is cold but not rainy this morning. I was surprised to see that Reedville Presbyterian finally took down the Christmas manager scene. All that was left was some straw on the ground where the baby Jesus rested in his manager. I noticed most houses have left up the Christmas decor. I think we need the bright lights in the middle of the Covid-19 lockdown.

I had four hours of Zoom meetings before I had lunch delivered for Susie and me from Red Robin. Susie got a Banzai Burger with apple slices. I had an Ensalada platter, a chicken breast, and a western salad.

I had to do my regular work while the status meetings run on. I listen for important items and for ways to be supportive.

I have fewer items in the afternoon, and I often take a break then. I finished my current book and ordered the next book in the series: The Consuming Fire. I like space opera, and I am surprised how much I like these books. Even the villains are sympathetic.

Later, I spoke to the director for our master data governance system, and I may be up late tonight if she needs me. I have my phone set to ring and watching my email. I have already loaded one fix into the new test system and updated folks on another incident.

Tonight, I made dinner of pan-fried chicken breasts (Schwann’s) after running water over them to defrost them. Adding only some salt, pepper, and smoked paprika to the chicken. I cooked some pasta and covered the hot pasta with heated alfredo sauce from a jar. I then microwaved some green beans (Schwann’s), stirred them in the butter I cooked the chicken breasts in. I sliced up the chicken and put it over a bowl of pasta with the green beans also in the sauce. I got Susie to eat a veggie–she liked it!

My order for 2lb ankle weighs came in today. I put them on Susie, mostly avoiding the wounds from the skin cancer, and she has worn them most of the day. This is to help her build up strength. Susie is back to riding her exercise bike for 30 minutes a day.

It was a bit crazy, but not a bad day.

8,699 people in Oregon were vaccinated yesterday. The number from the previous day was increased to over 11,000. It takes 72 hours to get the updated numbers.

4,363 people died from Covid-19 in the USA today.

I picked He Leadeth Me.

Day 313: Inauguration Day 2021

Working backward today. I was just reading a new novel on my Kindle. I purchase most non-history books on my Kindle so that I do not add any more books to the house! I have purchased three more books on The Battle of Jutland 1916 this month, now in my three-foot tall now-reading stack next to the bed, and two books by John McKay that contain the plans for two historic ships. As a model builder, they are hard to resist. I had trouble finding a place for those books–they are in the garage’s modeling supplies now.

I needed some lighter after reading hundreds of pages of Battle of Jutland related books and footnotes. I have also read rules for wargames from the same period and their listing for the same ships. Something fun is needed!

The book I am reading is The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi. I have a couple of signed books by him, but I have only read a bit of his SciFi. I got a ding-and-dent cheap copy of a signed copy from Subterranean Press. I decided to read the first novel after enjoying a few chapters of the last book in the series! I love space opera. I got the cheap copy just to see if I would like the story. I am hooked.

In Burton, Michigan, Subterranean Press is a smallish publisher of special versions of fiction and special make-up versions. If you love real books and want numbered signed copy well-made copy of SciFi, horror, or mysteries, try Subterranean Press’ website. They often ship other publishers’ best stuff too.

Before this, I made dinner. Chicken Cordon Blu from Schwann’s again with corn from a can (emergency rations I bought in a panic) and Stove-top corn-bread stuffing. Schwann’s Cordon Blu is just OK. I strongly recommend their chops and pork roasts. Their hams are good too.

While eating, I updated my new project of reworking one of my 2004 Dungeon and Dragons adventure to the new version, 5E, and self-publishing it. I am still formatting more than writing. It will take a while, but the adventure already exists, so it is more about format and editing. Also, the versions of D&D D20 and 5E are easy to align. Most of the changes in 5E are in values and character creation information and not in environmental items like an adventure.

Moving to earlier in the day, I fell asleep at 3:15ish this afternoon and just could not get going. I was then back up late and back to work at 7ish approving items for the shoe company that I planned to read at 4-5ish during a long meeting on data flowing to legacy systems. Instead, I slept. I read on my Kindle, put it down for just a minute, and I awoke, and it was late.

I managed many crises of the moment, and as today was the end of the sprint, I was given minutes to read and approve some important items. Luckily, I have seen most of this stuff before, and this is more of a confirmation than an approval. I ordered lunch from La Provence today on GrubHub while being in Zoom meetings. I had 5 hours of Zoom only broken for a 30-minute walk that is now on my work calendar as out-of-office with a note not to book over it in capital letters.

Lunch was corned beef hash with poached eggs. Susie, who was up late this afternoon, had french toast with banana compote and walnuts–she ate 1/2 of it. I will have the other half for breakfast tomorrow. GrubHub had the wrong house number, and so I got a call from the driver, and I flagged him down on our street. That has happened before. I will check carefully next time I order that everything is in order. I had to quickly eat my wonderful and likely sleep-inducing lunch as I had a lunch meeting.

Lunch was filled with an American SAP User Group influence council meeting, ASUG. This was the Enterprise Architecture council and was a re-launch. I have chaired some of the ASUG meetings over the years, and many of my trips are covered partially by ASUG, so I try to help. It is also a good place to meet other SAP experts, not from Nike. Peter Keller from SAP and Todd from Goodyear ran the meeting. They are old friends.  We have presented together many times online, at meetings, and at conventions. It was good to see everyone and participate a bit. These were online events before Covid-19; the meetings feel a bit less forced than some of my other Zoom meetings.

The rest of the morning and even part of the afternoon was Zoom calls and texting to get alignment and status. It all started at 6ish and run fast and crazy. I drank most of a pot of coffee to get through it. I did manage to get my walk today.

I had more coffee to write this. I did slip a peeks at views Inauguration and updates on Facebook while working. I was drinking new Rain Forest supporting coffee in an Irish-styled mug to celebrate. I drank Mexican fair-trade coffee for the last four years as a protest against the previous administration.

Yesterday 8,570 people were reported so far to have been vaccinated in Oregon. Yesterday’s numbers were increased to more than 8,000 now. It takes 72 hours to get the complete numbers. Our county, Washington, is now reporting more than 4% vaccinated.

4,374 died from Covid-19 today in the USA, the second-worst day in history. The USA has a 9/11 number of deaths every day now from the virus.

I found this wonderful version of Lift Every Voice for today.

Day 312: Tuesday

I started at 6 this morning. Tuesday after a holiday, which means early meetings and trying to fit two-days of status reporting in one day. And for those who understand these scary words, the sprint closes on Wednesday too! Ugh!

To make this day more exciting, the vendor replied to my incident at 5AM to tell me that I should just upgrade my software to get the fix. The incident I wrote says the purpose of the incident is that we CANNOT upgrade yet and need a fix for the older version. After reviewing the reply with the team, I sent the incident back to the vendor with the small hope of getting a fix. I waited more than a week for the reply.

I then wrote up all the custom fixes options and sent out this information as an email to the team. All of this while attending four hours of Zoom meeting in the morning. Followed by three more hours of Zoom meetings in the afternoon. I will likely have more meetings on this tomorrow. I will try to keep my focus and not get frustrated.

I try not to be negative in this blog. Oh my!

I did go for a walk today. I have blocked my calendar at 10AM every working day at Nike (at home) to get that first frustration-working-off walk in before the afternoon meetings start. It helps!

Lunch was Mexican styled food from Don Carlos delivered by GrubHub. I also had a pizza, salad, and 2-liter Pepsi delivered to my mother in Michigan using GrubHub–I just change the address and use her local pizza place. Mom Wild seemed a bit down, so she got lunch-dinner delivered and paid for by me. This brightened-up her day.

I did remember to set GrubHub back to Oregon!

Physical Therapy for Susie was today. I had to work that in a while doing all the Zoom meetings. Susie had quite a workout with Clare wearing a face shield. Clare and Susie are working on strength and balance. Susie does stepping with ankle weights that Clare brings. Susie also walked down the hall and back with the cane. Clare thought today was one of Susie’s best days. I ordered 2lb ankle weights for Susie to help build up her strength. It was a good day, the first in a long time!

I made dinner after the Schwan’s truck updated my freezer with food! Schwan’s truck is here every other Tuesday. I had pan-fried pork chops and green beans, all from Schwan’s. I also made couscous.

For cooking, I ran water over the chop to get them defrosted. I then fried them with pepper and salt. I add butter later and cover to finish them. The beans are microwaved. I also make some almond slivers in butter and salt (I use unsalted butter) and heated that up, dumped the cooked beans into that, and stirred off the heat. In another pan, I cook almonds in olive oil. I heat some stock from a box in the microwave. I add in the couscous and stir it all together. I remove it from the heat–except today, I managed to get some stuck to the pan—more cleaning.

Susie liked dinner.

I am a believer when it comes to Macs and PCs, and back-ups. I discovered today I was missing an old adventure I wrote in 2004. I found the back-up hard drive and recovered it. I keep the physical drive back-up of my old computers. I use a kit to turn them into USB drives when the computer dies. This adventure was written on my old Windows computer. I just plug in the USB, and I copied the old D20 D&D adventure to my newest Mac and will be revising it for the new D&D version 5E.

5,511 people during MLK 2021 received vaccination in Oregon. It is likely the number will be increased as the data takes 72 hours to be collected.

2,768 people in the USA died from Covid-19 today.

I picked the old song There Is a Blam in Gilead for today’s song–Methodist Hymnal #375.