I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Little Rock, AR the last several weeks. I was shipped out there to help a large telecommunications company with some critical LDAP problems they were experiencing in their production environment. Since it is a production environment they have strict change management controls which dictate that we can only make “atomic” changes in their environment between 11pm and 5am. This made things complicated as we had about 10 changes that needed to be made and were told we could only make one of them a night. When I left last week (on the 5th) they still had about 5 changes to get in. The change window was a pain as well. I’d work from around 8:30am until 6:00pm monitoring their systems and determining what other problems existed and how to best fix them. I’d head out to the hotel, then to a restaurant for dinner, and back up to the customer site at 10:45pm to make the changes needed and with luck I was back at the hotel and in bed at 2am. This went on for about a week (Mar 31 to Apr 5). The flip side is that I identified many many areas in their environment that needed to be changed to better stabilize their systems — most of which we were able to accomplish before I left. Based on an email that was sent to the IBM account team, the customer loved me and my work which is always a nice reward.
During that time Benjamin and I had our food tasting for the wedding. Once a season the Barr Mansion has a buffet dinner for several dozen couples to allow them to get an idea of what menu options are available for their upcoming event. Since I simply could not miss this (according to Benjamin) I flew back to Austin from Little Rock on Saturday evening, interpreted at church on Sunday morning, attended the food tasting Sunday night, and was back in Little Rock by 9am on Monday morning. Talk about a whirlwind weekend! The tasting itself was fun. We weren’t the only gay couple there although we were greatly outnumbered by our heterosexual brethren. We by chance picked an excellent table as the two other couples at the table were very cool and gay-friendly.
I finally made it back to Austin from Little Rock on Wednesday the 5th only to turn around on Thursday and drive up to Littlefield. As my role of Computer Guru for my dad, I had several computer-related tasks that I needed to be present for in Littlefield. Over a month ago I had decided to take off work and get it done over a long weekend. The trip didn’t start out well when the Mustang began to overheat when I reached Leander. Thankfully it was Benjamin’s half day so he was at home and was able to meet me in Cedar Park and swap cars. The Fusion is a great car to take on long road trips I’ve decided. Beyond that the trip went well. I accomplished about 95% of what I went up there for, and it was the important 95% at that. As always it was good to see the parents and grandparents.