Thursday, December 13, 2007

Update on an Unusal Week

This is Day Four of my training class.

It's one of the most relaxing weeks I've had in a long time. And no, that's not because of the training. There are a bunch of other factors at work here.

For one thing, we're mostly away from the stresses and tensions of everyday life. While my co-workers are wonderful people, my regular place of employment seems to be infused with a spirit of "we must produce, in order to stave off doom!" Being away from this seems to help. I have a bit more breathing space, so to speak. As we are learning this Web Portal software, I can think about how we are going to use it on our specific project, or I can just marinade myself in the mysteries of the technology; but my "mind-space" feels like it's my own again, to do with as I wish.

For another thing, I'm getting more sleep. The class doesn't begin until 9:00, so there's not much point in getting up until 7:30 or so. I'm feeling much more sharp when I arrive in the mornings.

For a third thing, we have a pair of grandparents to help with the kids and with the household management. Tonya and I don't have to be "on" all the time.

So for all of this, this week is turning out to be an island of tranquility within what is normally a very hectic season. And I know that the moment we drive home tomorrow, the stresses of everything we've been missing will come crashing in upon us again. For one thing, this Sunday is our church's Christmas program, for which I'm the music director; and we have a whole lot of rehearsing to do Saturday. But at least I'll be rested and ready for it.


But I'm remembering all the reasons my wife and I moved away from the Bay Area four years ago, too. I hate traffic. Hate, hate, hate. And red lights. And I really don't like having to spend forty minutes to go ten miles.

Ironically, I'm starting to figure out new routes to get me to my training class every morning that are much faster than the way I've been using up to this point. I've discovered, the fewer left turns you have to make, the faster the commute. I've just about put together a route that uses two--count 'em, two--left turns--and one of those is at a T-intersection where there's no oncoming traffic. (Of course, this means that the commute home at night has all but two left turns, but I consider the route home a completely different problem in optimization.)

The ironic part is that now that I'm figuring out these routes, the class is almost over, and this knowledge will become mostly useless. Ah, well. Maybe the company will send me out for more training at some point in the future. We're using a fair amount of software from this company, not just the Portal stuff; and if I have to learn more of it at some point, it may come in very handy knowing how to get to this lab without having to make more than two left turns.

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