Life Is Good Even When It’s A PITA

Everything I’ve read about it, personal accounts and things written by medical practitioners, indicates that about two months after giving up caffeine one is suppose to start feeling fantastic. So far, no such luck.

I suppose it could be that I would feel fantastic if my circadian rhythm were to normalize, but it seems that rocking around the clock is some strange kind of life destroying normal for me. I thought I was getting on track, but the thing about getting on the track is that it’s only a good thing if there are no trains coming.

Yesterday afternoon there was just no avoiding The Nap. I had things well enough in order that it seemed harmless enough. Like that cute little dinosaur that eats the fat fucker in Jurassic Park. He deserved it anyway, giving programmers a bad name as the character did, the bastard.

I awoke around 4PM but couldn’t find the wherewithal to leave the bed until nearly five o’clock. The High Court of Murphy’s Law was displeased with my contempt, and punished me with one client having three emergencies at the same time. The client’s own site, inexplicably on a server I do not administer, was down with the dreaded Server Error 500. For those of you not in the know, the usual human readable string given with a Server Error 500 is “Internal server error”. In layman’s terms, some shit is all fucked up in here. It means that software is failing very badly, or hard disks are crashing, or something along those lines. The High Court of Murphy’s Law being far too self important to tolerate the slightest hint of contempt, it decreed that the Random Third Party whose server it was should be unreachable. I have no clue who that Random Third Party might be but my client knows, and tried repeatedly to contact him to no avail. I’d much rather that it were that guy’s problem, taking the number of emergencies for me to handle down to just two.

Now, when I’m wide awake and feeling fine, I can handle four or more silly little emergencies at a time without any problem. But when I’m loaded up on adenosine (anĀ endogenous purine nucleoside that, among other things, enables or perhaps even forces sleep) I can’t handle even one silly little emergency effectively. I end up like the spontaneously generated whale in Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy: What’s this roaring sound whooshing past what I’m suddenly going to call “my head”? I found myself yesterday afternoon with four silly little emergentlies to handle at once:

  1. Move client’s web site from the down server to one of the client’s servers that I administer.
  2. Make a development version of a customer’s site live because one of the customer’s key employees bolted, taking the secret sauce that makes the company profitable with him.
  3. Create a new domain and configure a (fucking Voidpress!) new site for it.
  4. Create a second version of the new, empty Voidpress site for development work to begin yesterday.

The first one was the most tricky, as the server was down and the DNS setup was scattered hither and yon, authentication credentials for the domain registrar were unknown but the registrar reachable via another site’s interface with a different set of login credentials that I could not initially make work for me, and the thing in general was subject to kinks and warps in the fabric of space/time. The other three were pretty straightforward but complicated by my having to juggle the four things all at once — when I got stalled on this action, I moved on to that one, and when the original stall was resolved back to the original action, then when it stalled again on to yet another. Which left me with the Apache web server configuration file being in four copies, all different. And only three working brain cells, two of which were still stoned on adenosine while the third was preoccupied.

If I were wide awake and all were to go perfectly I could have done those four things in an hour, maybe less. Yeah, and if we’d won the last huge Powerball jackpot we’d be retired and out looking for a large tract of land and none of these problems would be mine to solve. As it went it took just long enough that I caught my second wind, which is a thing that comes all too easily to me perhaps because of all the years I spent as a field engineer followed by the years I spent pulling all-nighters to get my business established. Once I begin to feel it happening it’s too late and I’m sure to be awake for at least another four hours even if I drug myself with OTC sleep aids or the excreta of yeasts.

Today at about lunchtime, as I write this, I find that the new customer of my client who just had to have those two new sites right away last night doesn’t see it as urgent enough to provide me with the login credentials required to set up the name servers for the new domain, so the sites are there but invisible to the world. Joy.

Among the many plausible options available to me I wouldn’t have it any other way. Though odd and sometimes frustrating, my life is pretty darn good. My work week has just officially ended, and though the High Court of Murphy’s Law is sure to decree that I must be punished by receiving those needed authentication credentials as soon as I find something else to do, I still get to claim that I work only three and a half days per week. I still get to awake each morning to find Amethyst there, tangled in the blankets snoring at me. And Miss Autumn walking across my chest because it’s time to feed, pet, or play with her. I’m still here in the part of the world I love most, and still far from those whose greatest joy would be to destroy me. (That’s important when you’ve got that sort somehow involved, or previously involved, in your life.) As the little tile on my desk that might be intended as a coaster says, Success Is The Best Revenge. I could stand a little more of that success stuff, but it’s a win if you can pay the bills for 15 years without answering to a boss who can shut off your income at will and can’t see any reason why another 15 can’t happen. Even if you can’t see it because you don’t want to!

Yep. I dig it.


7 thoughts on “Life Is Good Even When It’s A PITA

    1. happierheathen Post author

      Honestly, I’d rather not have them at all. I devote a lot of energy to building systems that don’t suffer crises, and always counsel my clients to avoid doing the kinds of things that catalyze problems. Besides, when a client is on a prepaid monthly plan, I make more money if I never have to touch their systems at all — there’s no carry-over, so if I do nothing at all I get paid just as though I expended the prepaid hours.

  1. whyzat

    Wow, a post that refers to the fabric of space/time, AND excreta of yeast! Yeah, that’s all I took from it because I don’t understand most of the computer stuff. Wish I did, but when I was in college, a computer was a giant box that blinked and hummed and spit out cards which were riddled with holes.

  2. solberg73

    for me a mid-day nap, esp after a lunch, is the kiss of death for further through-put that day. After an hour of heavy dreaming, I lose any sense of continuity, unto needing to check my passport for a reliable ID to go with a face I don’r recognize in a mirror. Plus the body feels so sluggish. I’ve almost had to ban naps, even when voices are saying: It’s OK, it’ll be better this time.

  3. g.

    “hither and yon”
    I don’t always know what you’re talking about, but I always appreciate the way you describe it. I’m also very into reading about people being happy with their lives. There can never be enough of that.


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