back contents next August 22, 1999

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

you do it to yourself,
you do
and that's what really hurts
is you do it to yourself
just you
you and no one else
you do it to yourself...

-- Radiohead "just (you do it to yourself)"

It's been a gruelling four days. Most of this was my fault, so I have no real reason to complain. It all started on Wednesday night. I couldn't put that Harry Potter book down and I finished it in the wee hours of the morning. I probably had about 3 or 4 hours of sleep. I've been paying for it ever since, suffering from terrible insomnia. I guess I'm not as "young" as I used to be and I can't stay up to all hours of the night and adjust my sleep schedule easily. Plus, I'm out of practice: it's been almost three years since I left college behind.

I was really groggy most of Thursday morning, which wasn't too bad since I really didn't have much work. I spent most of the morning soliciting people for work. "Do you have anything I can do?" became my trademark for the day. The typical response was, "Not really. But I'll keep you in mind for the next project or when work comes up." Thursday afternoon, it caught up with me.

I was standing by my new boss, John, about to tell him that I really didn't have any work right now and if he needed anything, I would be available. He was talking to people in the Microsoft team. I have never worked with that team before, having almost no Microsoft development skills to speak of.

He spotted me and said, "Oh, Eileene here can help you with it. She's free." He smiled widely.

I smiled widely back, a bit clueless as to exactly how I could help the Microsoft team.

The head of the Microsoft team looked at me and smiled widely too. We were three people with large grins on our faces. Mine in confusion, their's were sly smiles that say I had something they want. He spoke up, "One of our clients needs some HTML changes and work really quickly. Do you think you can sit with them and help them with those changes?"

Oo. HTML work. Oo. Something for me to do. Oo. It was especially appealling since it was different work. The project that I supervised was finished (over a week early and several thousand dollars under budget!) and my current project had no work until we got more materials from the client. So, this was going to be a nice change of pace and I quickly volunteered, despite my sleepy appearance.

I didn't realize how involved I would have to be with this project. I spent the rest of Thursday afternoon having the client explain what needed to be done for the project. it was invigorating and I quickly shed my sleepy disposition. The changes needed to be done ASAP: they were going to be showing their materials to important people on Monday. So, we talked about what could reasonably be done by Monday in terms of pages and adjustments. Nine pages. I could do that in one day. It was set that Friday, I could do the work.

Friday morning, I realized that the pages that I needed to adjust were ASP pages and I would need to install Visual InterDev in order to edit the materials. So, I spent half the morning installing it and trying to figure out how to work it so that I could adjust the nine documents they wanted me to change. Once I felt I had a hang on things, I started making adjustments. I looked at the notes they faxed me that morning.

I realized they wanted changes that were not just visual but functional. I was completely unprepared for that. But, as I started actually looking at the ASP, I realized that it wouldn't be too hard as long as I was careful. It was like a combination of JavaScript and Lotus Notes. So, I started making adjustments myself. Slowly.

I finished much later in the evening than I expected, but it was finished. I was outrageously happy as I went over to the project leader's office to tell him the good news.

So, he broke the bad one. "Eileene, I was wondering if you can come over on Sunday to help with changes if they ask for any?"

"Oh, um. Sure. No problem. What time?"

"Let's get the other members of the team together and find a suitable time to meet on Sunday."

We got together and planned on meeting Sunday at noon. I didn't know if they had work for me or not, but I decided that I would go anyway because:

  1. I've never worked with the Microsoft team before and I wanted the experience of doing so.
  2. Working with the Microsoft team would let them know what skills I have that they can utilize in future so on other projects, I could be called to help them. This is a Good Thing(tm).
  3. I've never worked on a Sunday so, what the heck, I had no plans anyway!
  4. It would be good for my reputation in the office.

To treat myself, knowing the extra work I would have to put in this weekend, I decided to go out and buy myself a book. I picked up the new Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Since it was a NYT Bestseller, it was 30% off at the local Barnes and Noble. That evening, I couldn't put it down like last time and ended up going to bed at 3 in the morning. I slept all day on Saturday to make up for it. Mike had an emergency at his work so he went in yesterday so I didn't feel too bad about sleeping the entire day. That messed up my sleep cycles even more.

I was amazed that I even got out of bed today in time to catch the bus to NYC. I wanted to leave early since I didn't want to be late and that forced me to wake up exceptionally early for a Sunday. I was groggy all day. I was lucky that when I got to work, they had material for me to work on. I was afraid that I was going to sit around doing much of nothing today. However, I did spend more time waiting for the material than actually changing it. I was going to leave around 4pm when they requested that I hang around for some navigational changes that they wanted. I said that I could stay for a little while longer. The navigational changes never came but I was luckily around to make some HTML adjustments when the programmers accidentally deleted the home page. Oops! The HTML developer to the rescue! There's something twisted in that.

Thankfully, my parents put an end to a hard few days. They offered to pick me up from NYC, saving me a long commute home and was great conversation too. I needed that sort of person-to-person connection that I've missed the past few days from sitting in front of the computer all day. What made it even worse was not being around Mike. I've hardly seen him this weekend. He worked today too, because of that emergency. He's working a twelve day work week. I feel guilty for feeling bad about my work.

I did it to myself, after all.

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© Copyright 1999 Eileene Coscolluela