July 13th, 2007

love, cuddle

Get Lost

The last several days have been too busy for me to get a chance to make the posts I've wanted to write! And now it's not much before midnight, and I'm sleepy, but I want to get this written out before I start forgetting stuff. It's been an eventful week.

Rakeela and I are settled in at our temporary apartment; this weekend is when I'm scheduled to go with a Relocation Specialist to go look for a permanent apartment. Between the two of us, we have all three of the previous-gen console systems. (The joy of plentiful used games!) So beyond work and housework (cleaning, laundry, cooking, the usual), we've been keeping ourselves entertained. Things are going quite well, about as I expected- it seems like this really is going to work out, we're certainly cooperating well enough. We're stil a little shy around each other, getting used to this whole "living together" thing, but still it seems a lot easier to me than it would be to be alone. Of course, the whole "being happily in very geeky love" thing helps a bunch too.

I'm getting the hang of the bus system with little trouble; Rakeela's having a harder time. Fortunately, my recumbent bike is fully adjustable! Unfortunately, it's not here, although I plan to fix that tomorrow. I planned to fix that two days ago, but it didn't go so well.

Remember that my temporary apartment was planned to be in Issaquah, so I sent my bike there, and that made it ten miles away. On Tuesday, my idea was to take a bus to the bike store after prearranging a taxi to take me and my bike back- but it couldn't be a standard taxi; it would have to be a van. So I called around and found a taxi company that said they could get a van there at the right time.

Predictably, they didn't; I called back and they said it would be an hour, then I called again an hour later (waiting outside on a park bench outside Issaquah City Hall) and it would be half an hour, and then half an hour later they had no clue at all. Calls went back and forth, and I was getting more and more stressed and upset about this; I felt stranded and isolated in a city I didn't know at much later in the evening than I wanted to be out. Calling the taxi company again and getting voice mail didn't help; I was in most of a panic, upset enough to be crying uncontrollably by the time I called Rakeela for help. Fortunately, I'd had the presence of mind to write down the apartment's phone number first.

Some cooperation later and we found another taxi company. It was by this time 8:30 PM, and I had stopped caring about the bike- it was by now out of the bike shop (which closed minutes before I got there, but fortunately I'd called first and told them the bus was running late but that I was coming, so the manager there closing up was kind enough to be flexible about his closing hours) and locked up on a rack by City Hall, which was some sort of improvement. So I just wanted to get back.

Issaquah seems not to be a very popular place for taxis. The company on the other end of the number Rakeela gave me wasn't interested in Issaquah, but they gave me the number of someone else who was- who greeted me after I explained myself with "How did you get this number?!", which I explained. (And gave the number of the person who referred me erroneously to this person in the wrong city- Seattle.) He gave me another number, for a different cab company, which redirected me to a cab company that actually specializes in the Eastside, and finally the dispatcher for the specific region. 5 phone calls in all once I decided to abandon the original taxi company, but I finally had my ride home. The taxi driver was an old, dark-skinned man with a thick white beard and a lavender turban, and the only person I could have wanted to see more right then was if Rakeela had gotten a job at a cab company while I wasn't paying attention. The cab was clean- not just for a cab, it was clean by any standard- and it didn't reek of cigarette smoke (no smoking permitted!), making it the best taxi ride I've had so far.

And as I started to calm down (the taxi driver was sympathetic as I babbled on aimlessly and frustratedly for a bit- I suspect he gets that a lot; most people don't really plan to use taxis most of the time, do they?), I chose to enjoy the ride. As I said to the driver- there are worse things I could do than get stranded for hours in an unfamiliar city and have a great deal of trouble getting a taxi; the weather was pleasant enough for sitting on that park bench and birdwatching, and the sunset, displaying silhouettes of the tree-covered mountains flanking the highway as I was driven home, was beautiful. I guess I chose the right day for it.

So with the van-for-hire idea out, we got the idea to try to ride it back- and park it and take a bus the rest of the way home if we got tired. Rakeela volunteered to try on Wednesday while I was at work, and that of course was the hottest day of the week. The bike is now locked near a Starbucks less than three miles away right near a bus route- I plan to get it the rest of the way myself after work tomorrow. The really frustrating part about this is that Rakeela would have gotten the bike all the way if she hadn't gotten lost; she went the wrong way around Lake Sammamish, making the route a good 35% longer than it needed to be. The 11 miles she went would have been more than enough if she went west instead of east. She realized her mistake pretty early on, but she figured that by the time she did backtracking would cost more than the longer path did. And now she's gotten ill- I don't think it's a direct result; there have been warning signs all week that a cold was brewing, probably picked up at the airport. I'm worried that I'm likely to get it too; healing energies would be appreciated for the both of us.

At work, I was put in a very different job position from what I expected. It seemed less interesting, but I quickly determined just how badly understaffed this team is and how badly someone in the position I've just been hired to is needed. Even though I'm now officially an SDET- in short, a software tester- it looks like I'll have more room for creative puzzle-solving than I would as a dev. Besides the whole "my entire work day is an eight-hour TopCoder challenge phase" bit, my supervisor (who was, until last month, the one and only tester on the team) has written some incredibly clever code to simplify testing dramatically, automating tasks that would normally take hours with some surprising pieces of cleverness. He thinks there's room for improvement, but he stopped mostly because he thinks he ran out of "interesting" problems. I think- and I said as much- that he ran out of interesting problems on his approach and there might be some in a new one, and he enthusiastically agreed- beyond that, there's still a lot of manual labor that can and probably shoudl be automated, and I'm invited to fix it.

So now my job position is to find problems, and find ways to improve the process of finding problems and fix them however I see fit. The team is backlogged and I'm now the third test engineer they have on the team- and there's plenty of space left for creative solutions. Even though it's not what I expected and it originally "felt" like a demotion- I think I'll find just as much interest here as I would have in the position I expected, and I can't say I'm not badly needed right from the outset.

Layered on top of that is computer trouble. Not with the computer not working, just with trying to get the right damn computer. Whoever was supposed to order a computer for me ordered only a test box, too weak for development work. (Ever tried to run Visual Studio under Windows Vista with 1GB of RAM and a single-core processor?) After a futile upgrade request, the error was discovered and, as my supervisor put it, the requestor was "sorted out", and this afternoon I got the right computer. Just the computer, and a power cable, so I suppose I'll have to wait for a KVM switch before I can actually fully use both computers at once as I'm expected to need to...

It's time for bed now- actually, I'm half an hour later than I wanted to be- so I think I'll wrap this post up. I hope to post more frequently in the future, but then I always say that; I suppose I have to conclude that I tend to keep myself busy enough that I'll always get backlogged on blogging!
  • Current Mood
    sleepy sleepy