Snowballs in Summer

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

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.



Skip to main content