I don’t really feel too great about this past weekend and I’m not sure
that I can explain why in a way that most folks will understand. Let me
give it a run and see how we fare.
There are three goals for me on any given weekend. I want to get a
little more rest than I typically get throughout the week. I want to get
the tasks done that I have to get done. I want to get something done
that I want to get done.
The difference between those last two goals is subtle but important.
The former is in respect to chores that you don’t really want to do but
you know need to get done. Cleaning up around the house, doing yard
work, getting the shopping done. (Yeah, some people like yard work.
Let’s not argue semantics - there are things you don’t like doing that
you have to do. That’s what I’m talking about.) The latter is in respect
to the fun things - the things you want to do but never get enough time
for. Reading comic books, playing video games, that sort of thing. Fun
I usually try to break the weekend up so that I work really hard on
Saturday and get everything done that I have to get done and then on
Sunday take it easy and do the things I want to get done. Jenn seems
to like intermingling the two - do a little work, have a little fun, do
a little more work… we end up at the same spot, but I usually don’t
feel like I’m having nearly as much fun if it’s sandwiched in between
work. I want to get the work done and then go have play time where I
don’t have to look forward to any work until Monday.
Now let me throw in there that I’m very much a task-driven individual
and I need closure. I like being able to “check things off my list,” so
to speak. If there are ten things to do, I’ll get all ten done, and when
they’re all done I’ve got closure on the set of tasks and I feel good. I
With that in mind, here’s how the weekend went:
Saturday I got up between 7:00a and 8:00a and went outside to pressure
wash our awning in the back of the house. (It had mildewed over the
winter so there’s a blackish section on it that I was set to scrub off.)
The weather wasn’t great, but at least it wasn’t raining. I got both
Roombas and the Scooba running to clean the floor and headed out. (I
noticed that one of the Roombas had run over something sticky -
presumably cat vomit or something, so I had to clean that out before
setting it loose. Freaking awesome.)
First I grabbed the ladder. The ladder sits in the corner of the garage
by the garage door and every time I pull it out to use it, it gets
snagged on this little wire that connects power to the sensor that stops
the garage door from closing on, say, your pets as they run under the
door. The builder never really secured the wire down, and the
connections were just raw wire twists hanging out there, so I decided it
was time to address that. A little electrical tape and some cable
staples later, I had the ladder pulled out and in the backyard.
Next I grabbed the pressure washer and headed out back. Reeled out the
awning, hooked up the pressure washer, and turned on the hose.
I was sort of curious why the pressure washer would have water running
through it when it wasn’t turned on - just the water was on - but it was
something I borrowed from my parents who got it from my grandfather’s
estate when he passed and Granddad was sort of known for “jimmying”
things that probably should have been thrown out anyway.
Turned on the pressure washer and the gun just started shooting
water. There’s a trigger on the gun for the washer, but it’s apparently
just there for show. That would have been nice to know before the thing
started spraying around like a firehose. (Note: Every time I pressure
wash, I borrow some relative’s pressure washer and it’s always some
dicey deal like this. I’m not borrowing a pressure washer ever again.
I’ll be buying my own so I know it works.)
Of course, before I could get it under control, it shot this awesome
clean spot into my back patio, so now I have this little clean section
that stands out like writing in the dirt on a car that hasn’t been
Climbed up the ladder, took the pressure washer up, and started
Did you know that pressure washing doesn’t remove mildew? I sure
didn’t. Try as I might, the pressure washer had somewhere around no
Since I had the pressure washer out, one of the other jobs I knew
needed to be done was to clean a few of the spots around the house that
got dirty over the course of the winter. It was a pain, and I pressure
washed both shoes and one leg in the process (damn that stupid gun that
won’t stop squirting!) but I got that part of things done.
I decided to try some shower cleaner on the mildew since, you know,
shower cleaner is supposed to get rid of mildew. I sprayed it on, left
it the prescribed amount of time, and used a push broom to scrub around
on the awning. It mostly worked, though it only did about half the job.
Even though it left a minty-fresh smell, I decided to go get some actual
outdoor cleaner at Home Depot.
Picked up some stuff called “30 Seconds” which specifically says it’ll
work on mildew and is safe for vinyl. Exactly what I needed. Picked up
that and a cheap one-gallon sprayer. (I have a five gallon stainless
steel sprayer, but it’s not really something you can haul easily up a
ladder and my parents are using it right now anyway.)
Got it home and read the instructions. In the biggest, reddest letters
on the package, it said, “THE SURFACE MUST BE DRY.” Hmmm. It was crappy
weather outside and had I just hosed the awning down. That wasn’t going
to be drying anytime soon, so I packed everything in.
That was probably two to three hours’ worth of no awning getting
cleaned right there. I’m all set to do it some other day, but I really
didn’t check much (except the cleaning of a couple of dirty spots on the
house) off my list.
I then set about helping Jenn weed a section of flowerbeds along the
side of our house. It was pretty well out of control and since the
flowers have started blooming, the weeds have, too.
Jenn had been working on this the whole time I was busy not
accomplishing anything with the pressure washer so she had it mostly
under control. What she needed was someone to get the weed whacker and
cut down this ridiculous grass area that borders our property and the
people behind us. So I did that - got out the weed whacker and two 40’
extension cords (that section is pretty far away from the closest
outlet) and cut down that grass. Mostly.
I realized that wasn’t going to do much but just make the grass short.
It was damp out, so I couldn’t spray Roundup on it, and even if I could,
after a couple of weeks it comes back. I noticed when I was at Home
Depot they had some extended treatment Roundup, so I made a mental note
to pick that up next time I was there. That said, net zero on the grass
area - the grass was shorter but not gone.
Of course, I had the weed whacker out, and another thing on the list
was that the lawn needed to be edged. I set about doing just that and
got about a third of the way done before I ran out of weed whacker
string. I could have sworn we had a bunch of extra, but we didn’t. Add
that to the list of things to buy at Home Depot and chalk one more item
up that I can’t actually get done.
About that time we had to leave to go pick up some wedding photo
reprints, so we brought everything in, got ourselves cleaned up and
changed, and headed out on the town.
We went everywhere. We picked up our reprints, hit the mall, stopped at
Toys R Us (I got a “Spider-Man Mr. Potato Head,” which is pretty cool),
and finally ended up at Fry’s Electronics because I needed to get a
cheap, low-capacity IDE hard drive for the media center computer I’m
building. That (and the Potato Head) was the only thing I really wanted
to get done in town.
Fry’s doesn’t carry cheap, low-capacity drives. I was looking for the
sub-100GB, sub-$50 sort of thing. (Granted, cost was the primary driver
here - if I had found a large-capacity drive for less than $50, that’d
have been fine.) The cheapest drive they had was closer to $100 and was
around 250GB. I realize that the market for the sort of drive I’m
looking for is reasonably small, but come on. In the end, no hard drive.
Gotta order that online.
The end of our journey on Saturday brought us to the video store to
rent a movie. The only movie I really wanted to see that was out was
Guess what movie they didn’t have in stock.
Got home, ate some dinner, and watched Open
Good, funny, but not really what I was in the mood for. I liked it, but
it left me… unfulfilled.
Bed time. Total tally of things I got done that were on my list of
things to do: zero.
Woke up altogether too early on Sunday and decided to read a little.
I’m reading Broken
right now and loving it. Jenn went downstairs to play some Xbox and I
read for around two hours. That was nice and was definitely on my list
of things I wanted to do.
Now, before I continue on Sunday, remember that I was really hoping to
do things I had to do on Saturday and things I wanted to do on
Sunday. Yeah, plans change, I get it, but I sort of figured I could at
least skew the day towards the “things I wanted to do” side. I wanted
to read my book, read some comics, play some Xbox (specifically
finishing up the side missions on the game I’m playing), and put some
shelves up in the office to arrange the myriad Star Wars stuff on.
Okay, so I read my book for a while and I was feeling pretty good about
things. I took my shower and headed down to quickly pay my bills online
and get on with the day.
Paying bills took far, far longer than it should have. Actually, it
wasn’t the bill paying that took the time - it was more the time spent
gathering up paperwork and things that need to be submitted to the
insurance company to get reimbursement for various expenses. It was
stupid, lame, only-sort-of-accomplishing-something, mindless paper
gathering. I hadn’t realized it needed to be done, but there it was, and
it wasn’t doing itself. It took probably around an hour to get all that
done. But that’s okay - I’ve still got the whole day, right?
I was almost done with that when I ran upstairs to get something and
noticed that where the Roomba had run on Saturday it really wasn’t
clean. A few minutes of inspection showed me that Roomba’s brushes
weren’t spinning. Oh, wait - this is the Roomba that sucked up the cat
vomit. Must have burned out the brush motor with the sticky
I got what I went upstairs to get (I don’t even remember what it was)
then brought it and the Roomba down. I finished up the bills and got
onto the iRobot web site to see if there were any troubleshooting steps
that mentioned what to do if Roomba sucks up cat vomit. Interestingly
enough, there’s nothing about that. I searched out the support line just
to find out they’re not open Sundays, so I cobbled together a support
email and sent that off.
About the time I was finishing that up, Jenn started taking the wedding
photo reprints we picked up Saturday and putting them in the wedding
album. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find the paper that we wrote the order
of the photos down in so we sat down together to figure it out again.
Once that was done, the pictures had to be secured to the pages, then
the pages had to be secured in the album. All of this “securing” got
done by me with archival tape.
Now, I like the idea of scrapbooking and photo albums and such. It’s a
romantic notion where you can pore over the precious memories you made
while immortalizing them in a creative way. In practice, though, not so
much. This was a lot of tedious work and really was somewhere around
zero fun. Oh, and it only took about two hours.
We were well into the afternoon by the time I got to play any Xbox. I
put in Marvel: Ultimate
and started running through the “training simulator missions” (which are
basically these little side missions). I hadn’t really run through any
and was almost done with the storyline for the game so I figured now was
the time to do it - before I finished the plot and wasn’t able to come
back and finish.
Some of the missions are fun, some are a little tedious, but they all
contribute toward your characters’ growth and, frankly, I love the
Marvel universe so even the tedious ones were decent. The thing is, they
all take about 10 - 15 minutes to complete and there are probably 30 of
them. I got about two hours into that and decided to take a break,
switching to some puzzle/arcade games I have.
Around three hours in, Jenn came down from doing whatever she was
doing. (I think she was working on a pillow - a sewing project left over
from Christmas.) I love Jenn dearly but she’ll tell you herself that she
can’t go more than a couple of hours doing solo projects before she gets
bored, so I was totally expecting her to come down, which usually means
it’s time for me to finish what I’m doing. Plus it was nearing dinner
time, so I wrapped up what I was doing and started looking at food
(There are some that might argue I got freaking three hours to play and
that’s plenty for anyone. Sure I did. And, yeah, it’s a lot of time. But
in that time, try as I might, I really didn’t accomplish - in the games
- the goals I was trying to accomplish. Did I try for too much? Maybe.
Did I feel like I “got my gaming in?” Not really, no.)
We ate dinner and watched Miss Congeniality
wasn’t a great movie and I wasn’t terribly into it, but there wasn’t
really anything else on and it was getting too late to really want to
start any new projects.
So, let’s tally Sunday up: I really only count the reading in the
morning toward the “things I want to do” list, though if you want to
argue it, fine, I’ll count my non-goal-attaining gaming session, too. I
generally did more work than having fun, so no goal there.
All in all, I didn’t really finish any of the work I set out to get
done during the weekend and I didn’t get much of the fun in, either. It
was pretty much just a wasted weekend and I’m not feeling very
accomplished at all.
Add to that the fact I’m trying to fight what could become a pretty
major scope-creep issue on the project I’m working on and I’m struggling
with some technical issues due to a couple of defects I’ve uncovered in
tools we’re using (neither of which are doing wonders for my mood and
both of which stuck with me through the whole weekend) and I didn’t
really come out smiling this morning. I’m exhausted and I’m not having a
Jenn, ever sympathetic before we went to sleep last night: “I don’t
know what’s wrong with you - it seemed like every other weekend to me.”
Hmmm. Maybe it was. Maybe I set myself up for disappointment.
Regardless, I’m going to need some serious chemical mood enhancement to
get me through today. Time for the