I just did something evil. Well, maybe not wholly evil but possibly immoral and against the laws of tea brewing.
I confess – I couldn’t wait for the tea kettle to come to a boil and then wait five minutes for the tea to brew. Yes, dear friends, I did – I put a tea bag in a mug of water and put the whole thing in the microwave and zapped it on high for two minutes. After fishing out the tea bag I poured in some milk and am actually drinking it now.
Well, not right at this very minute, but in between paragraphs, I take a sip or two. I completely understand if you’re so disgusted with the thought of consuming improperly brewed tea that you stop reading this post.
In my defense, I plead stress, and promise you I am not fully enjoying this cup tea.
My current stress is work – as in “too much and too difficult.” I don’t really want to talk about it, but it is really beating me up at the moment. You know that I don’t discuss work in the blog very much for a number of reasons. The short version of what I do is that I maintain computers – the big complex back-end servers that would take me a month to explain to you. The darn things keep breaking and I was the nut case that took the job to keep them running.
That’s where the stress comes in. Imagine sitting around on a quiet Friday afternoon while looking forward to spending a nice pleasant weekend playing with power tools. Then just as the pleasing thoughts start to relax your brain and that silly smile starts to grow on your face, your boss flies into your cube followed by half the senior executive staff, all crying, “The server is down. You have to fix it NOW.”
Stress defined: The mind overcoming the body’s desire to throttle someone who richly deserves it.
So to prevent these little bits of Friday afternoon fun, I lead my team on a little project to upgrade all our servers and move them to a data center that could better handle the demands of my customers. It sounded like such a good idea – more servers, better servers, built-in redundancy, automatic monitoring, warm standbys, hot standbys, active fail over – a veritable nirvana of data processing.
Stress in action: “What do you mean we ran out of power cords?”
It is times like this I am reminded of John Steinbeck’s story, “Of mice and Men” and the line, “The best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray.”
That’s where I’ve been this weekend – astray.
For the last month, me and my team have been in deep planning and testing the changes. We’ve made charts, written documents, had them reviewed by experts and constantly asked, “What have we forgotten?”
Then when we were convinced that we had it all together and everyone agreed, we scheduled the final dramatic cut-over to the new data center. That was yesterday. Planned to start at 9:00 am and end no later than 2:00 pm.
Stress starts with the statement: “Flip the switch.”
We finally finished the last test at 1:00 pm today and collapsed into victory. Now I did get to come home and sleep in my own bed but it turns out there were about four things that we’d forgotten and that all the plan reviewers missed. I am just gratefully I don’t work on nuclear power or launch rockets for a living – everyone down wind would still be in their shelters if I did.
So when it came to tea time this afternoon, I had very little emotional energy and just wanted a cup of tea NOW. Hence my plunge into the abyss of microwave tea.
This is the kind of evil that working in high-tech can lead you into.
When the tea police finally show up, I’ll plea microwave tea by reason of stress and throw myself on the mercy of the court.
Maybe I’ll be sentenced to Starbuck’s.
Till next week,