june, 2014

Fri, 13 Jun 2014 15:49:05 +0200

Dispatches from 30,000 feet: I am so done with this trip. Thankfully, I'm on my way home -- well, immediately to Tahoe after landing at SFO, but that's home, too, these days.

What news? Somehow I've fallen off updating. In the fall, there was only so much that could be said about the ever-worsening commute down 101, and then my bus being blockaded, the city suddenly finding a new symbol of systemic inequality and 30 years' worth of piecemeal Californian ballot measures in a bus I already disliked riding. To post my feelings about that would have been to stir the pot; Facebook had already made it quite clear to me how welcome my views were. And then in mid-December, after Mikey had already been out in Washington for several month and after Cody mysteriously missed my Thanksgiving, I too received a call of duty, and went out to live in DoubleTree in Columbia, MD for the next month (much to the forebearance of long-suffering Jack, who flew out to join me for New Year's -- the first of my annual parties in 8 years I had to cancel). Though it's now a matter of public record that several dozen of us dropped everything for periods ranging from 4 weeks to many months in order to save healthcare.gov (and thereby get my sister, among others, reasonably-priced care), it felt somewhat clandestine at the time. What could I post -- "I'm out east, saving America"?

And then things picked up speed enough that it seemed any one post could never catch up: The long-awaited kitchen remodel completed in about 10 weeks (that orange backsplash!!); the SRE team I've been on for the last 6+ years absorbed another, resharded, and I ended up both Tech Lead and manager of the San Francisco-based shard, commuting on MUNI (love it or hate it, I'll take it over 101) and responsible for 8 people's careers; Obama invited us out to the White House for a thank-you party with a Marine band and a private handshake; Katherine moved out, making way for Jack to not only give up his rent-controlled apartment and move in, but also give up his KitchenAid (we each had one), which is how I know he really loves me.

With a new role, responsibilities, kitchen, and live-in boyfriend, it would make all kinds of sense to stay home for a while. But of course I've been off to Austraila (Simon & Lisa's wedding), DC again (Ari & Rebecca), and now London & Zurich for a work trip, which, at 10 days, is about as brief as you can reasonably make something transoceanic. London I love, and spent a glorious weekend kicking around Clerkenwell and Islington in the mild weather with my new gold leather tote (at once ridiculous and practical); Zurich, I haven't truly been back to since 2004, and can most favorably say that it's the place I met Tee mit Rum 10 years ago, that the Google office there is very, very pretty. Switzerland is cute, and the Swiss have their moments -- at twilight yesterday, running along a trail bordering the Zürcher See, I watched two middle-aged women strip down to bathing suits and climb into the lake via an unmarked ladder, breast-stroking out toward the paddleboarders and exclaiming Das ist herrlich!; the hotel left a cough drop instead of a chocolate on the pillows whose down puffiness almost made up for the lack of real air conditioning during the Alpen summer -- but I am so done. We've been in meetings straight for the week, arguing about priorities and team structure and -- nothing, really; just so much negotiation, frustrations coming out over longstanding technical debt and the difficulty of communication across even the leadership of a three-location, 50-person team that now has 5 tech leads and 4 managers. I abruptly left our last meeting yesterday, collected my laundry from the hotel and went for an evening run to replace cortisol with endorphins; and then took an Uber (which apparently exists everywhere!) to a Delfina clone for dinner: Warehouse-chic, thin-crust pizza, glasses of Lagerin (including an extra from the waiter to apologize for having initially blamed me for a miscommunicated order -- my German is rusty, but not that bad), and a novel on my kindle. My only solo dinner of the trip; I probably should have taken more. Extroverts learn these tricks slowly, I guess.

Nine long hours left on this flight, followed by the drive up to Tahoe. And me here in row 39, karmically compensating for my lie-flat business class seat out to London last week. But this is the home stretch: Jack will be waiting for me with kisses and the car, and even if I sleep the whole way up, I'll finally be home, with him.

all this Šnori heikkinen, June 2014

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