Monday, February 20, 2012

Little offsets

Friday really was not that bad of a day, all in all. I was home with two small, sick children but thanks to the wonder-drug properties of antibiotics the kids were pretty close to their usual pleasant selves. I spent a good bit of the morning responding to e-mails and a good bit of the afternoon doing laundry and other household chores. We all got through it, my wife came home, we put the kids to bed and ordered some pizza (which was extra cheap because of some crazy post-Super Bowl promotion Papa John’s had going online).

And the rest of the weekend went by much the same, with some belated Valentine’s Day celebrating on Saturday (dinner out and exchanging of gifts between my wife and I; she has some new jewelry and I have a working Blu-Ray player again, plus we discovered an excellent sushi place nearby, so that’s a multitude of wins) and some fun socializing on Sunday and a mixture of illness-rooted sleepless nights and blessedly uneventful nights seemingly devoid of rhyme or reason, but so it goes.

We gonna drink Blackstrap like it's ya birthday
Today is a federal holiday, but not a company holiday for my employer, so I had the option of working and chose to take it, mainly to offset last Friday. But of course this proved to be somewhat easier in theory than in practice. Things began auspiciously enough since I was able to get ready fairly quickly (no need to tie a necktie or even button up a dress shirt since it’s dress-down casual on working fed holidays) and leave the house slightly earlier than normal, then make my way out of town without incident and race down 66 thanks to all but unheard of lightness of volume. But about halfway to the Metro station I heard the traffic report on the radio and learned that Metro was doing scheduled track maintenance on the Orange Line and two of the stations between my starting point and destination were closed. This fact only briefly flitted through my consciousness, just long enough for me to be glad neither of those stations were places I needed to get to. (Note the heavy differentiation between “to” and “through”…)

There was plenty of parking at the Metro station, and I made my way down to the platform and only had to wait a minute or so for the next train. I took my seat and was trying to ignore the announcements while reading a book, but slowly it dawned on me that the Orange Line train was only going as far as the last station before the closures; apparently you can’t go to OR through those sites of maintenance work. At which point I belatedly realized that all the HOV restrictions were off for the day and I really should have just driven all the way to my office (I think a day’s parking downtown would even have been cheaper than two Metro rides and Metro parking – but then I wouldn’t have gotten to read!) but once I had my seat on the train it seemed all too onerous to go back up to the parking lot and resume the driving. So I rode it out, getting off the Metro at the end of the foreshortened line and following the crowd to the free shuttle buses that transported we few hardy souls a couple more stops down, back underground to the rail again and out the last few stops to my office’s neck of the woods. Of course all this time I was mentally grumbling imprecations in WMATA’s general direction for disrupting service on a Monday morning when come but not all folks get the day off, but even in the depths of my aggravation I realized that it’s better for Metro to fix things when they can rather than let them go until they break at the most inopportune time, not to mention the fact that I was taking the Metro to work because the VRE simply isn’t running at all today, so really thanks for nothing, VRE.

I ended up getting to work at the same time I always do, and the office was deathly quiet. Fortunately a couple of hours into the workday, my contracting boss (who never takes a day off, it seems) offered to buy everyone on the team lunch, so hey, free pizza, full circle and all that. I managed to put myself in a bit of a post-lunch food coma, which doesn’t do a whole lot for my productivity, but at least I still get credit for showing up and have saved a floating holiday for when I need one later.

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