Snowballs in Summer

They always start with something small. You take a three-day weekend to spend some time with your family in Victoria. You stay a couple nights at the Empress. Spend a couple mornings enjoying the waterfront. Spend an evening visiting friends who live further north on Vancouver Island (where you see, of all things, a Chinese restaurant advertising a smorgasbord).

You wake up Sunday morning in Victoria. Your day’s itinerary includes a ferry ride from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen and a double-hop flight from Seattle to San Francisco via Portland. You don’t know it yet, but you’ll have barely enough time at home to get a quick shower and repack for the upcoming week. And the flight crew for your connecting flight in Portland will have to knock off because they’ve hit their time limit. You won’t check into the hotel in San Francisco until the wee hours of Monday morning.

You spend a busy week attending a variety of sessions at Apple’s World-Wide Developers’ Conference. The shwag is nice, but the backpack isn’t quite cool enough to get you to dump your present, Swiss Army backpack. During the keynote, you think about Arlo Rose, the fact that nobody booed when your business unit was mentioned, and whether or not there’s a reasonable way to support spotlight’s file-based design within a single large database. And what about large Word documents? Do they leverage Word’s summary info abilities? Probably not.

All week long, the only time you have to actually write anything is spent writing trip reports for people who aren’t able to attend. I’d share some of them with you, but the reports discuss technology that’s covered by NDA. Sorry, you’ll have to wait.

By the time you get back home, it’s the 4th of July weekend, and cousins are visiting from Germany. You spend the next ten days sailing, camping, visiting the Experience Music Project and watching flying fish down at the Pike Place Market. It’s a good thing that their English is better than your German—particularly given that most of the German you know is profane.

The Monday after the cousins leave is nearly three weeks since your family trip to Victoria, and it’s been precisely that long since you’ve done any real work. In the mean time, testers have been finding a number of AppleScript issues you’ll want to fix before the next project goes on the clock. Catch-up time. As you work on the AppleScript issues, you discover even more issues. You’ll need to refactor sizable chunks of code if you’re ever going to get a handle on all the problems that need attention.

By now, the work snowball has become huge. The other snowballs—the sprinkler system that needs repair, refinishing the deck (because it’s due), scheduling the repair work on the crumbling concrete of the steps from the driveway to the front court-yard, and the camping gear that still needs to be re-stowed (so you can, once again, park your car in your garage)—loom as large as ever. You wonder if you’ll ever write another blog post again, and people are beginning to wonder if you’ve abandoned it.

In the mean time, the Mariners have gone south, and Theo Epstein has traded Nomar Garciaparra to the White Sox. Something’s wrong in the Universe, because there really isn’t anywhere in the Majors where a person with a name like Nomar Garciaparra should be playing other than Boston.

Nothing to do but have faith. It’s summer. The snowballs will melt. Eventually.