Dammit. I lost the update for this weekend again.
Okay. Let's try this one more time.
Lyssa and I changed our plans last weekend because a) there weren't nearly as many RSVP's for the Starcraft LAN party we were organizing, and b) because there were some things that we had to take care of because we'd been putting them off for too long. That morning we sent out word of the cancellation, had a quick breakfast, and then set out for Maryland to take care of things.
There. Nice and fast, so that nothing else has a chance to crash on me.
Neither Lyssa nor I had gotten a haircut or had our hair styled in some time; in my case, it was nearly two years (since just before I started at Sunrocket, actually), and I'd been having difficulty for months running even a broad-toothed comb through my hair due to all of the split and damaged ends. Also, I might be flown elsewhere in a couple of weeks on assignment for work, so I thought it a good idea to make the effort to look presentable and professional, just in case. As it turned out, I had a wait of about an hour, so I roamed around for a while, got a cup of coffee, and read for a while until it was my turn. The haircut itself took less than twenty minutes, and took about five inches off of my hair. Its' a lot shorter than it had been but it look a lot better, I think, and it certainly feels better. Lyssa had her hair colored again, which took longer, so I ran a few more errands around the mall. After meeting back up, we set course for northern Virginia once more. I'd just gotten my final paycheque for the contracting company that I worked for last year, and part of that was made up of the two weeks of paid vacation that I hadn't touched since January of this year.. rather than sit on the extra money for a while and earn a little interest, we drove to Jared's in NOVA, where I paid off the outstanding balance on Lyssa's engagement ring. In the long run, this will free up an extra few hundred dollars every month and means one less bill to worry about. That's one more thing out of the way.
After that we went to dinner at Over the Border and then hit Petco to get things for Lucy the hamster and our fish. I have to be honest with you, I really don't like Petco - their fish are in sad shape most of the time (one of the ones I saw had lost all of its fins to fin rot and was stuck at the surface of the tank), they keep dead fish in the tanks to feed the rest of the population, and they keep their small rodents in cages that are inadequate to keeping small, very active mammals busy. It's almost enough to make me want to buy a population just to rescue them from Petco's clutches. At any rate, Lucy's cage was overdue for a cleaning but we didn't want to take any unnecessary chances while Jean and Chandler were here, so we let things go a little longer than usual. It also took us a while to work out how, exactly, we were going to get her out of her much larger yet less modular cage. As it turned out, we were able to put her cage into the bathtub and take the wire top off. With the drain plugged and smooth enamel walls we didn't have to worry about the hamster making a break for it. Lucy obediently crawled into the lid of her runny ball, as she is wont to do, and we let her scurry around the apartment for an hour or two while we cleaned and disinfected everything. After that, we took the rest of the night to ourselves and got a decent amount of sleep until the next morning.
A goodly amount of Sunday was taken up grocery shopping to restock our larder and fridge from the week before. We'd gone for lunch at Cenan's (just next door), whereupon I discovered the wonders of panini sandwiches, which I think that I like better than the rest of their sandwiches, to be honest. We found everything we needed, but it took us a couple of hours. After that I dropped Lyssa off at home and then set out for Best Buy to have some work done on my car. Ever since the CD player built into the dashboard had gone out, I'd been using a short-range FM transmitter and my iPod to listen to music while driving. On Friday night the transmitter packed it in, and I've something of a commute in the mornings these days... I found an interface that would allow an iPod to be connected directly into an auxiliary input of a car stereo that was compatible with my car, but a couple of hours of work would be necessary to install it. Moreover, I'm not any good at working on cars, so this left me sitting in the maintenance bay at Best Buy while they removed the dash, ran cables, and tried to figure out where best to put the mounting bracket.
It was around this time that my pager went off - it was work, and all hell broke loose Somewhere Out There. I spent a good two hours on the phone troubleshooting and trying to figure out what was wrong, and raced home the moment the TARDIS was all back together. The next two hours were spent digging around in somebody else's network trying to get things straightened out. During a respite, I drove back to the grocery store to pick up a few last-minute items, and then came back to gulp down dinner and spend the next seven hours cursing Those Who Only Call Themselves Engineers who had pointed fingers at one another with ease, but seemed utterly ignorant of the basics of data networking.
It's enough to make me want to set up my own business hosting machines, and interview everyone personally to make sure that they know what the hell they're talking about. I got to bed around 2330 Sunday night, and slept fitfully because I kept waiting for the other shoe to fall.
The hell of it is, the adhesive they used to attach the mounting bracket didn't hold, so now I have to find some industrial strength velcro to put it back on.