Work and ride

Yesterday was an office day. Big things happening and I had a meeting to attend and present at.

I had planned to be out of the house by 7am, as I like to be early. Unfortunately, the medication I am taking has other ideas as one side effect is making me fall asleep, the alarm must have been snoozed many times before I dragged myself, bleary eyed, out of bed.

Several cups of tea later, I considered using the car, but that seemed a backward step, so I uncovered the bike, removed the chains and cranked her up, letting her warm for a little while as I sorted my boots, bike trousers, jacket and helmet out. One disadvantage of using the bike is the amount of prep time it involves. Unlike the car where you can just jump in and be off, there are a few tasks I perform before setting off on the bike. It has become like a ritual to me. Even to the point of stopping outside the front, adjusting the mirrors, then finally popping the lights on and slipping first my right glove, then my left, before setting off. Clearly the order is of crucial importance.

We are approaching winter, so disadvantage number two, the cold. I don’t mind it so much, at least, I dont mind it while we still have temperatures above freezing. The ride out cleared some cobwebs, my journey is mostly urban dual carriageway with 50 mph limits, though I generally ride a little faster, and lots of roundabouts and traffic lights.

Two thirds of the way, I took a slip road and started using the gears more, through various twisties, roundabouts, and much more fun overtaking. Car drivers are generally curteous and ease over slightly to let you pass. And no articulated lorries with open back doors to contend with. Bonus!

The day was a busy one, we had greeters at every building, goodie bags and various events. It was great catching up with a number of colleagues too. All these things are absent from your day when you work from home. The presentation went well and late afternoon as I was finishing stuff off in preparation for going home, a colleague asked if I could help out and explain a few techie things with some of what seems to be my trademark….diagrams! We found a room, and a few additional colleagues who wanted the same info, and I went through my spiel, coloured pens in hand, with my scribbles on a flipchart.

All sorted, sunset was drawing close, it was later than expected. I packed up and headed out. The return trip was back through the twisties as darkness descended. That had my juices flowing, as I rejoined the dual carriageway the volume of traffic had picked up and I was already in the swift mindset. Each junction and roundabout became a series of rapid downshifts, filtering through the traffic towards the front of the queue, slip into neutral, bike grumbling as I sat at the front slightly forward of where traffic stops and racing starts as lights changed to clear out of the way of the car drivers.

A satisfying way to finish to the working day. It was only as I stripped of my bike gear that I realised how damned cold it was.

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A good week

Earlier this morning I read a post where someone’s daughter asked them “What was your favourite thing about today?” It was an insightful post about how, as adults, we get so wrapped up in all the stuff we need to do, that we don’t often look back and think about the good stuff.

Last week was pretty good. Before I start a new one, I am going to spend a few moments looking back….

  • My youngest lad got his bike fixed, two exhaust studs retapped and all sorted for a reasonable price after we trailed all over trying to find someone to do it.  Excellent. And he is doing really well in his new job. Superb.
  • My wife and I signed up for a trial NetFlix account and whiled away the late evening hours watching “Weeds”, a bit odd but very funny.
  • I didn’t smoke any cigarettes – not one – and am almost at the four week mark.
  • I didn’t have to be readmitted to hospital, despite my doc initially saying that’s what we needed to do, I was so pleased when he changed his mind.
  • I took my motorbike out for the first proper ride since the burst blood vessel thing. Awesome. Riding gets into your blood.
  • My wife and went out for a nice meal
  • I spent an afternoon watching the classic hill climb and admiring the machinery. It made me think of the song – Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines – with several Biggles type characters
  • A colleague and I put together a great presentation for a meeting this week. It needs updating following input and ideas from manager, but overall, it was a positive experience.
  • I have a clear set of bugs to fix with my app and am feeling reasonably confident about it.

Here’s looking forward to another good week.

Happy Friday

Thank crunchie it’s Friday.

What does Friday mean to you?

The weekend approaches. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, mostly, when I am not having to work so hard to convince people that certain things are good things – people really do get precious about what “belongs” to them. Yesterday was a good day catching up with a number of people who I enjoy spending time with at the office. It was great seeing them. I had a couple of very productive meetings and although there are some challenges ahead, I have some clear definition of how we plan to overcome them.

My two week stint of staying off my motorbike for medical reasons are almost over. I admit, I took it for a quick spin last week, but it was just that, a quick spin and for the majority of it, on a private road.

And I’m almost through my fourth box of Nicorette patches – the cravings come and go, but still smoke free. Mental note to self – need to go to the cessation clinic in the morning and get a repeat prescription.

These things make me happy. Though I keep it well hidden.

Not smoking in the office

It’s odd how those little habitual things dig at you. A day back working in the office today. Lots of my colleagues smoke and normally I would be joining them outside, regardless of the weather. Today, I’m not.

Most of the time this is no big hardship. I even joined them a couple of times just for the chat and standing there, not smoking, as they puffed away, seemed easy, almost natural. I half expected me to be watching them take a drag with “envious eyes”, it really wasnt like that.

The post lunch smoke was a different matter altogether. Damn. Blast. Bugger.

Three minute cravings? B****cks. More like fifteen.

Yet it passed, I’m fine and feel better for resisting.

Today is…

…a big day. For many reasons, personal and professional.

From a personal perspective, I’ve passed the three week watershed of giving up smoking. Sometimes it is a total piece of cake, other times, well, let’s skim over those, they don’t last very long anyway.

It’s also just under two weeks since being admitted to hospital with a burst blood vessel in my neck – did I mention that giving up smoking must be bad for your health. As it stands, I have one eye which is normal, the other one opens about 75% as much as the normal one and the pupil is about half the size. There has frequently been exchanges at home where my wife and family have said “What’s wrong? What was that look for?”. Then I remind them, this is just how I look now!

I checked it out in the mirror and tried to convince myself it was improving, even to the point where I said to my wife “Hmmm, I think it’s getting better”. She disagreed. Always the realist she is. Thanks darling, a little encouragement goes a long way. I am working on the premise that the power of positive thinking can help my eye repair itself. Okay, I know, I’m f*ked, but I am not ready to admit that just yet. Apparently the headaches will ease over time and the doc says it might repair itself. So there.

Workwise I’ve got alot on. I’m working on two projects, one software related, the other, more structural. The next two weeks are going to be really pivotal and there has been a fair amount of stress around them. The doc did say to take it easy. So I am. Kind of. I am working sensible, normal hours and not burning the midnight oil.

And I am exercising. Nothing earth shattering, but it can be a good way of maintaining a calmer outlook and approach.

That’s my rambling for the day. Now to go do some actual work.

Work, stress and the smoking colleague

Today I was in the office. The day was going ok and then, a conference call with the most difficult person I’ve had to work with in a while. They managed to completely derail the call and accused us, or to be more accurate, me, of a number of things that were their cock up that I am trying to fix without getting into the whole blame game. Wow! Shocked and pissed, too stunned to reply, which is probably just as well.

After the call, I grabbed a cuppa and bumped into a colleague who I haven’t seen in a while. She suggested a smoke and a quick catch up. I declined the smoke but joined her in the smoking area for a chat. Ohhhh….inhale those fumes…and passive smoking is free!

I’m quite pleased I wasn’t tempted to have one.