Another Week

Nothing much has changed at the House of Paulk. The Husband’s job appears to be having him work alternate weeks, mine has me remote until mid May at the earliest, the cats are rambunctious and I’ve decided that the next time I get a new work laptop, it must have a side-mounted on switch to protect it from feline shutdowns.

Oh, and I should probably order a new network cable from Amazon, because the little plastic doovy that keeps it sitting in the port until you press down on it has broken off which means every time the cats get excessively frisky my work machine gets disconnected. So, yeah, several times a day.

Such is the new normal around here.

I actually kind-of-sort-of enjoy it. It’s nice not to have a commute that consists of walking to my chair and turning the work machine on – although if I were doing this on a permanent-permanent basis, I’d have the work machine at its own desk instead of beside my personal machine.

At its own desk and with multiple monitors. It’s actually kind of awkward to do some of the things I usually do because I’m used to them being on separate monitors.

Still, it’s nice to actually be home and not having to deal with peak traffic or the other indignities of commuting. It’s also nice not to be in that damned building. I’ve not had a really bad headache the entire time I’ve been working from home, and I’ve had more energy after work most of the time – after work in this case being defined as “shutting the work machine down”.

It makes a nice delineation: when I’m done for the day, I shut the work system down, close the lid, then start on whatever I’m doing afterwards. Lesson noted for the next time I find myself in a position to write full time.

One interesting thing I’ve noticed is that there’s a definite tendency for more general chit-chat over Slack, especially in (surprise!) the general chit-chat channel. Obviously we’re all wanting the social interaction we’d normally have in the building, and that’s where it’s happening. That and pet photos, jokes and so forth mixed in with commentary about what’s going on for each of us. It helps.

As Pratchett put it, if you don’t get enough time with other people, you come under your own influence, and that isn’t a good thing because you don’t get your odder angles rubbed off, as it were. Isolation drives people insane, even uber-introverts like me (I might not interact all that much, but I do tend to be less insane if I can spend part of each day with other people in the vicinity. If not, when I have conversations with the cats their answers start getting a bit… um…).

Now all I need to do is keep on keeping on and hoping I don’t drive myself around the twist. I’ve managed so far – although there is definitely going to be a joke about me never going near a hospital again since the last time I did the whole damn state went into lockdown (yeah, not quite, but… the work from home order came the day after I had a colonoscopy done, so close enough for joke purposes).


  1. Once you get used to multiple monitors, only one monitor feels like trying to work while peering through a knothole.

    1. Yes, exactly. It’s so much easier to do a lot of things when you can have the reference on one monitor and what you’re doing on another one.

      1. I remember 12″ mono CRTs. They sucked.

        I have two monitors, big ones. Work on one side, research on the other. When I was writing the action scenes in Amsterdam I’d keep a Google Earth going on one side, and then I could name off the streets that people were shooting down.

        1. Terry Pratchett had six monitors, with an al-u-minium framework holding them in two rows of three. He liked room to spread out all his notes, newsreader, and writing tools.

          “Space, the final frontier…”

  2. Cats are natural hackers. My brothers cat can walk across a key board and open windows, close windows, turn on macros and turn of macros. It is quite amusing when it happens to someone else.

    1. Oh, I have no doubt. There is a reason my personal machine stays locked if I’m not actually using it. I’ve had to start putting the mouse in a drawer, too, lest the kitties play with it and kill it.

      Undoing what the cats have done can be…. interesting.

    2. My sister once got home to a computer displaying a pop-up prompt: “Delete windows.exe? Yes or No?”

  3. Isolation drives people insane, even uber-introverts like me

    A number of people over the years have wondered what my problem is. Well, maybe a fifth of it is almost enough isolation to take me completely around the bend.

    For a number of years I was a little bit too isolated. These past few years have been a little better for that where RL is concerned.

    Right now I’m getting too much and not enough isolation.

    1. Oh, I get it. The wrong kind of human interaction can be as bad as not enough human interaction for the uber-introverts among us.

      1. I’m good with a few trips to the store every week. That’s my usual stranger-interaction quota.

        Now that I’m down to once every two weeks, it does bother a trifle. Mostly because I feel restricted, not because I want to talk to strangers so badly.

        On the bright side, I’m saving a bunch of money not shopping. Yay. If I need a change of pace, I go make sawdust in the barn.

  4. its funny how many businesses underestimate how much productivity people would get out of a $150 second monitor.

    1. I’ve paid almost that much for a good keyboard…

      Of course, I’ve worked at places where executives got the latest high-end gear every six months, while the developers made do with hand-me-downs. The execs never touched their machines; they were status symbols, not tools. (this was the 1990s, though)

      So we’d start ‘make’ and zone out; by then machines were in the speed zone where you couldn’t get much done waiting for a compile, but there wasn’t time to wander off and BS by the coffee machine.

      Every day, all day, the old hardware cost them money, but no amount of memoranda were able to do anything about it. We had the machines appropriate for our (low) status, and we weren’t going to get anything faster, no matter how much it was costing the company.

      What we got: consultants who gave talks about morale and team-building. Who probably cost *way* more than some decent hardware…

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