Thursday, July 12, 2007

I survived (barely)

I returned from the restaurant about 10:30 last night. I was so tired I couldn't see straight. I wrote my "word of the day essay" to JCL and crashed. Literally. One minute I’m typing, the next minute I cannot focus on the screen in front of me, so I sat aside my laptop – and bam! Out like a light. Until I woke up at 2:30 or 3:00 am this morning with all the undone stuff was tumbling around my head. I decided to jump to it and get the project underway. *sigh* stopped at 7:00 am to take my shower and get ready for the meeting. I'd hoped to get a few more hours of sleep than 4, but nope.

I expected a brutal today – topped off with tired AND anxious. It wasn’t as bad as I feared. Most of the data was in good shape. I had the largest crowd in the first session – about 96 people. Within minutes I had them laughing about their customers – while showing off some new features of the program. There were two little glitches, but they all trust me so much, and I could explain away what was happening, so overall I’d rate that first session a B+.

The second session I led – was a much smaller crowd – maybe 15 people. But they were “hungry” for some meat. They weren’t interested in anything canned and wanted to put me through my paces. I did okay – even managed to write some code on the spot to solve a problem one of them had been told could never be overcome. Which is good, as this company sits on our board of directors. I would give myself an A- in this presentation.

Also in this group was a new client – an English chap – who’s just moved from New York to Houston. He was quite attentive through out the session – and asked some pointed questions. Then we broke for lunch.

It was the session after lunch, with the maiden demonstration of our newest package, that I’d been dreading the most. I was most unpleased with the progress I’d made earlier in the morning between 3 am and 7 am. The good news? It was a very, very small crowd. The bad news? I ran into some bugs I hadn’t encountered when putting together the data.

There is nothing like looking at an exploding screen and trying to bullshit your way through it. Actually, I did what I always do in those cases, I explain what should have happened – then I start troubleshooting out loud. The bug message says, “Wha-hawhw” which is related to X – which is found in segment Y, which should be set to do AB. I fix the problem – or show the group a work-around and go on my merry way.

Here’s the cool thing though. Afterwards, I got complimented on “dealing with the issue” and using it as a “learning lesson” instead of “freaking out and getting rattled” (so said 2 of the clients in the session.)

At the completion of the session – I sat down and talked to the Englishman who had rejoined our session mid-way through. We talked for about 20 minutes. When he finally departed the guys from my office started teasing ME about my “boyfriend”. Of course I was slightly appalled, until I realized they’d never teased me like this before – and I think secretly they were pleased I reflected so well on the company – and impressed this guy who is somewhat important in the whole scheme of our board of directors. (WHICH I DIDN’T KNOW). I’d give myself a solid “C” for this. My data should have been flawless – and I should have been more prepared – but I got through it – and the initial reaction to the program is favorable.

After breaking down the room – we drove over to Hernando for dinner (very nice), then back up to Memphis – in another downpour. We’re all checked into our rooms for the night. Another few minutes and I’m on my way to slumber-land. In the AM, I’ll switch cars (current car company won’t do one-way rentals), arrive at the Memphis office – debrief everyone on the good, bad, and ugly – then head out to do a conversion about 50 miles northeast of Memphis.

I am really looking forward to being a slug tomorrow night while my co-workers are flying home. Saturday will be laundry – and more sleep. Sunday I drive over to the Huntsville, Alabama area. I think when I finally make it back home I’m going to crash big.

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