Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Sisyphus gets up the hill at last

And I am back.  More or less.  The last three weeks have been a nightmare.  Like an idiot, I'd figured I'd have no problem working through Christmas.  It seemed so simple; just a matter of time management.  Never mind that I've always been rubbish at time management.  This Christmas it would work.  Okay, I'd miss out on getting anything done Christmas Day and I'd probably sleep most of Boxing Day, but I was sure I'd be able to disappear for a few hours in the afternoon to write articles and do some contract work.

Nope.  Didn't happen.  Instead, I ended up with an endless procession of errands, family visits, visiting family and errands involving visiting visiting family.  That's something that I could have handled, except I woke up a week ago last Thursday and discovered that the satellite modem was out.  I don't mean "out" as in it was a bit wonky, I mean "out" as in it was completely US; a dead box that wasn't shifting a single electron through its circuits.  Two calls to technical support, the first ending in a shouting match, only to have the serviceman call and say that he can't get out to Chez Szondy in less than a week.

So, it was a week without the Internet except for the short periods I could drive into town, which is no way to run a freelance writing business.  This threw all my deadlines into the bin and I was frantically rescheduling everything and hoping that none of my clients were getting too cheesed off at me.  A week later, the serviceman showed up at the crack of dawn–which around here in January is eight o'clock.  Within five minutes, he'd found the problem in the voltage converter in the power cable, replaced the unit and everything was up and running.  Then he called the tech support people for a sign off and learned that one diagnostic wasn't returning a number, so he went outside and replaced the satellite dish transceiver.  By this time another serviceman turned up.  Even with the extra help, the tech desk still wouldn't sign off, so they replaced the modem, so the only thing left of the original system was the dish itself and the cables.  During this, they called the tech desk six times, were hung up on twice, and the five minute fix had stretched to four and a half hours.

What finally resolved it was when they discovered that the tech desk had shut off the relevant software at their end, which is why that one little number wasn't showing up.

I had the satisfaction later of telling my wife that I'm not the only one who tears a strip off of tech support.

That was last Thursday.  Since then, I've been doing a massive job of catch up on high-priority jobs and wading through a small sea of emails.  It was only a few hours ago that got even enough of a breather to make this entry.

I'm not out of the woods yet.  There's still a lot to do.  There are contracts to complete and articles to submit, but at least my workload is overwhelming instead of impossible.

We call that progress.

Anyway, long story short:  I'm back and as the workload eases, I'll be getting some posts up.  With any luck, I'll be back up to speed within a week.

If Phobos Grunt doesn't land on my office, which I'm not ruling out.

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