Friday, January 28, 2005

Today sucks….

And not in the general way that every day as a public servant sucks, this day is different. A summary…

My boss and the Troll (her secretary) call me via speakerphone last evening. BTW – in the history of phone calls, nothing good has ever come out of a speakerphone conversation with your boss. It goes something like this.

“Hi Mike, This is Tanis and Carol. You’re on speakerphone” oh oh….

“Umm...?” My rapier wit already in full effect.

“You have a pager that has been assigned to you for the last 4 years; it costs us $129 a month to support. Do you use it, and if not can you return it asap?”

Couple of things here – the first being, I have a pager? Who uses pagers still?

Second being… $129 dollars a month?!!? Is it gold plated? Can it pick up radio stations? This seems a bit high to me… never-the-less, I counter.

“I think I had a pager once, but during the last budget crisis I believe I turned it in. I’ll double check when I get home though just to be sure.” No sense being confrontational – especially when I’m not sure that I don’t have the pager. I mean honestly, who remembers these things?

At home, I peruse the Graveyard of Obsolete Technologies on the off-hand chance that I still have the pager. No luck. I swear I remember returning it to my old bosses’ secretary. Yeah, that’s what happened.

This morning I proceed directly to the Troll’s Lair, no sense wasting any time.

“Hey Carol, no luck on the pager, I’m pretty sure I turned it in two years ago.”

“You didn’t turn it in.”

It’s early, and I speak quickly. She must not have heard me.

“No, I mean I think I did turn it in, two years ago…I sorta remember giving it back when asked then.”

“You didn’t turn it in.”

Clearly she’s a word economist. I offer to help…

“What you mean to say, I’m sure… is that I didn’t turn it in ‘to you’. You weren’t the secretary back then, right?”

At this point she mumbled something incoherent about grinding my bones for bread and handed me some DIT-006-IOT form for lost toys. Super. It’s clear we’re on the same wavelength today.

Whatever. I take the form. It’s not worth the hassle. Little did I know, the days’ fun had just started.

Part II

I develop applications for a living. I do this for the Department of Education. Web-based, client-server, whatever – it’s what I do. My workstation is feeble, and thus I have a second computer, one that’s used for testing applications, storing documentation and basically serving as a failover. Since I’m sloth-like, I don’t religiously back up the information on this system. Oh I do it occasionally, just not daily (or monthly).

Today, when attempting to access this computer, I note that I’m unable to connect to it. No big, it gets turned off from time-to-time. I store it in my office downstairs and since I have to go that way for a meeting anyways, I’ll stop by and turn it back on.

But wait….

There’s something missing in my downstairs office, care to guess what it may be? Bingo! On to Double Jeopardy with you! My computer is gone… bollocks.

Only one person could be so devious, so cunning in her ability to thwart my efforts to actually be productive.

The Troll…

I approach cautiously – no sense alarming her; it’s around lunch time and it’s possible she’s hungry.

“Hey-a Carol, I was just back in my office and I noticed that my computer was missing, you wouldn’t have any idea as to where it’s gone?”

I’m practically oozing friendliness here, it’s quite an accomplishment. I silently agreed to reward myself for this Oscar-worthy performance at a later date.

“Yes I know, I took it” she replies cheerfully.

“You took it? Can I have it back? I need to get some files off of it before anyone messes it up.”

Oozing friendliness is gone, I’m semi-catatonic now.

“Nope – we formatted the hard drive this morning. Sorry about that, I thought you told me I could have it.”

She’s trying, but she can’t quite contain the hint of glee in her voice. I’m wondering what sound an industrial strength stapler makes on skin.

“For-mmmated the hard drive…. My files, all my files….it’s my fault, thanks Carol, it’s all... my… fault…”

Yep, I’m officially bonkers now… this is all I can repeat as I walk out of the office.

A couple of things here…

  1. It really is my fault for any application code that was lost. It should have been in source control and thus, I can’t really bitch too much about it getting wiped out. Note that this isn’t going to stop me from bitching anyways.

  2. I did tell her she could have the computer. I also told her that she would have to tell me prior to taking it, as there were items that needed to be migrated off the machine prior to her taking it.

Add to this the silly server migration project that is ensuring that the momentum I have gathered over the last few days is lost and today adds up to one big ball of suck.

So…. How was your day?