It’s 11:30p. I’ve had a few drinks.
I last wrote, for reals, on Tuesday night. It’s now Friday night. As I mentioned in the last post, Wednesday turned into Thursday pretty easily, so thats just a blur. Thursday wasn’t a walk in the park – I “started” at 1p and ended at 11p. Friday, however, was a bit smoother.
So Tuesday was a day of exploration. Wednesday was work, end to end. Why? Well I had a previously scheduled 7a JST call that I needed to do. I expected it to be 30 minutes but it became 1.5 hours… which was fine – it was a great conversation that will help tremendously in the long run. However, it set me back on my morning routine. Once I got to the office, I don’t quite remember if I ever left again. Lunch was already prepared to be catered that day because we were operating in a ‘war room’ to do project work. Dinner was… hmmm… at the restaurant in the ground floor of the building, I suppose.
At 1a my last coworker in the office left so he could get some rest in order to take over the morning shift. That left me with folks from the US on the conference bridge, one guy in the Japanese datacenter and one guy in India. We thought, at one point, we had everything fixed, but then it turned out not to work. By 430a it was clear that I and the other guy in Japan weren’t thinking straight anymore so I called it quits. We left what we thought to be the appropriate workaround in place and called it a night.
A few rather amusing things happened at this point – I had to get out of the building via the basement which was locked up pretty tight. I knew there was an exit from there, but I couldn’t quite find it. Eventually I noticed a sign with a big red arrow… and Japanese instructions. I called a couple of people and got the guy that I’d just wrapped up with. He explained that it was two-hand deal – one to turn the lock and one to pull the handle – then I stepped out… and realized the sun was up!!! It was around 4:45 and it was full daylight. I was shocked.
As I walked home I made a few phone calls. I also almost stepped in front of a speeding car, but that’s no surprise – there wasn’t that much traffic at the time. I got into my apartment around 5a and hit the bed hard. I woke again around 9 or so and made my regular phone calls, then back to sleep. I slept blissfully unaware until 1230p at which point I got cleaned up and headed to the office.
In the office things weren’t progressing too well. By 7 or 8, though, we had a clear plan and headed down that path without hesitation. I actually got out for dinner – Belarusian – and then did a bit more work before heading home. When I left there was one co-worker in the office that expected to leave around 2a because of the work ahead of him… he never left. Amusingly, when he finally did go home on Friday, he fell asleep on his train and ended up at one of the airports by accident! The good part was this wasn’t on the last train of the day and he was stuck far from home…
Anyway, Friday morning started with phone calls to home, but quickly changed into panicked phone calls around the world associated with work. We had a server in crisis and it was the only one of its type. Everyone sprung into action and began diagnosing the problem. Finally, around 10 or so, I felt comfortable disconnecting and making the walk to the office.
An emergency with work didn’t prevent me from breaking out my brand new flipcam, though. I took something like six different videos on the way there! First, I recording the view from my balcony during the daylight hours. Next, I took “you” on a trip from my apartment to just outside the building – including the very energetic doorman! From there it was a walk up the hill, stopping to get a good look at the construction site… I paused for a good while for all the kiddos that love construction equipment whose parents may be reading! Then another sequence of walking up the hill to the crosswalk. Then a longer one crossing the street and down the ‘back alley’ to the office. Finally you get a look at my breakfast from the French bakery that will ultimately make me very, very fat.
The videos, in HD-glory, are here with pretty reasonable descriptions.
Once in the office it was a bit subdued and intense… today was a make or break day because we knew the leadership would be meeting with the client later in the afternoon to decide if we’d be committing to the date we had planned on. (By the way, they moved the date… ) Finally, with help from a guy in the US at 2a his time, we got it all working. Before long we were in a stable state and could relax. It was clear that everyone in the room allowed their adrenaline to stop pushing them forward and we all slowed down tremendously.
Several of us made it out of the office for happy hour in the ground floor bar, but it wasn’t for a big, boisterous celebration… instead it was a quiet couple of drinks, a bit of food and camaraderie. We carefully patted one another on the back and changed the conversation to life in Tokyo.
I learned that I really need a CostCo card – and Susan is in the midst of securing one right now. I learned that the Don Quixote is a necessary evil, no matter how much I hate it. I learned that cleaning chemicals from Japan just aren’t what we expect. I learned that tortillas chips basically only come from CostCo, even if you buy them someplace else.
We all broke up around 7:15 so I headed home – with a new path from my coworkers that doesn’t involve a massive hill – and arrived about 15 minutes later. As I came in the ‘driveway’ I noticed the same doorman from the morning shift, so we actually spoke briefly. I want to dislike him, as his job is completely ridiculous, but he seems nice. (He’s a doorman… for an automatic door) I’m actually kind of excited about Susan and, especially Olivia, seeing / meeting this guy. I expect that he’ll be a blast for Olive.
I fixed spaghetti for dinner, had a glass of wine and watched a bit of American TV shows. I got time on Skype with Susan and Olivia. Olive was really into the conversation tonight which was a welcome change. She expressed clearly that she missed me, loved me, and wanted to be with me. She gave hugs, kisses, etc. I swear that she has increased her maturity and vocabulary a great deal since I left… but I’ve felt that every time I’ve been away from her, so I’m not sure if it’s just sensitivity of being apart or if she’s really growing that darn fast.
I spoke with a project manager friend from work – that was fun. I spoke with Christine – also good, as she can get the wackiness of the technological challenges we’ve faced… and boy did we face some challenges!
So… I don’t know what else I intended to write. I got distracted, starting listening to music and chatting with US folks… so I guess I’ll post for now. More tomorrow – I expect to be quiet and restful tomorrow.