Weeknotes #76 — Unlearned

A really busy week that got more enjoyable and less stressful as it wore on. I seemed to get less tired towards Friday, probably rejuvenated by the falling temperatures from the soaring highs in the middle of the week.

A week in which I…

  • Only remembered that I was due to start the week with an 8:30am meeting when a Teams notification popped up on my phone and I was just out of the shower. I joined the Teams call very carefully, making sure video was turned off. Getting dressed and picking my moment to brush my teeth were a bit of a struggle but my colleagues were sympathetic to me. I felt like I was on the back foot all day after that. I then overslept on Tuesday and could only manage half of my scheduled turbo trainer session, but this bonus period in bed seemed to do me some good.
  • Started to think that the week was against me when we had a couple of micro power blips at home. It turns out that the Pi-hole running as a Docker image on my NAS drive doesn’t auto-restart if the NAS ungracefully shuts down. Whatever cumulative speed-saving the Pi-hole had bought us from sucking away all of the Internet adverts and trackers evaporated in the course of the morning while I diagnosed the problem. I’ve now got the secondary router DNS pointing at something internal, so another power outage won’t take down the whole house.
  • Reviewed and agreed on next steps on some key aspects of our network security architecture.
  • Attended a kick-off of the project to move our New York office over to Teams telephony. We’ve bought the our licences and can’t wait to put them to good use.
  • Was asked to give a brief whole company update on a critical project that I am running. I had a couple of days to prepare. I like to think that one day I will be the ‘slide deck full of nothing but amusing photos or phrases no longer than three words’ guy, but I’m not there yet. I tried my best to make a dry subject a little more engaging, and from the feedback I got I think it went well. (I’m assuming that if it was terrible, nobody would have said anything. At least, not where I could have heard them.)
  • Ran the steering committee meeting for the same project. Things have started to drift a little from our original plan, partially due to our underestimation of the duration of work with a key vendor and partially because we’ve uncovered a lot of complexity that we hadn’t realised was there. We have two months to get the first phase of the work completed which is now looking increasingly difficult.
  • Found that a lot of my 1:1s didn’t focus on the work very much. I think this is ok — I get the feeling that people really do need to heave a big sigh and let off some steam right now.
  • Tweaked my already complex email filters a little bit so I can get to be even more efficient. I’m finally resigned to never ever reaching Inbox Zero again, but I do need to make it easy on myself to not miss anything critical.
  • Attended our first quarterly review with our backup vendor. It was a great start and covered all of the key things as well as giving me some food for thought about the needs of our sites outside of London. We need to re-validate our RPO and RTO against the architecture that we have in place.
  • Took delivery of a new sofa bed for our new family room. We ordered it about six months ago and it got lost/delayed in the pandemic. Finally we can start to make a bit more use of the space.
  • Enjoyed yet another Tuesday evening of F1 2019 with my friends. A decent showing, with a race win and some good placings. I’m also getting much better at calling it quits at a reasonable time so I don’t get to bed too late.
  • Spent an evening online taking part in a quiz which a couple of our team had organised. Even after another long day of video meetings, it was lovely to let our hair down and be a bit silly with everyone. One of my colleagues and I ended up going down to a tie break which I won — I’m not sure what the prize is yet but hopefully it is something we can share.
  • Really enjoyed Album Club #112 even though the host’s choice was an album I already own. It was lovely to have an excuse to sit back, relax, turn the volume up and luxuriate in the beautiful songs.
  • Finished the latest Learned League in the relegation zone. I had the least number of correct answers in the whole league, so I feel lucky that I wasn’t in last place. In the previous league I had spent some time at the top of the table before finishing in the upper half, so I am not sure what went wrong. Maybe this extended period of lockdown is making me less smart.
  • Had a lovely weekend walk with Mat and his dog. We always have so much to talk about, and we rarely take the time out to spend with each other. It’s been over 30 years since we met and given we only live a few doors away we really need to try and see each other more when we can.
  • Saw my parents for the first time in almost half a year, for a barbecue in their back garden. My eldest boy and I rode over there on our bikes, which was his longest ride yet at around 33 miles. He did fantastically well. There were no hugs and kisses at my parents’ house, but it really brought home to me how difficult social distancing is, particularly when sudden downpours forced us indoors on multiple occasions. The boys loved playing with their new table-tennis table and it was fun to do something that felt a little bit normal once more.

Next week: Hoping I can keep my Friday mood all through the coming week. We’re definitely entering an exceptionally busy period at work with three or four major projects all needing to be completed by August/September. I hope we can rise to the challenge.

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