You know how yesterday I was saying my back was getting a lot better, except when I had to stand for long periods of time? Well, apparently the Long Island Railroad reads my blog and decided today would be good day to put that to the test.

Yes, I went in to the office today, rather than work from home. This wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do, but that ship kind of sailed last Friday when I didn’t take my work laptop home with me. Instead, I decided to attend a sales presentation this morning and not carry a heavy bag back and forth while my spine was still adjusting. It worked out pretty well, and wasn’t too bad for a Monday, except of course that the Long Island Railroad is perfectly horrible and awful.

My morning train into Queens was first in that window of not-being-on-time the LIRR likes to pretend isn’t “late” — I think it’s six minutes beyond the scheduled arrival — and then properly late by everyone’s reckoning. I had a seat, but on what became a progressively less comfortable and more crowded car, as we stopped at several more stations than usual. I made the mistake of getting up at Jamaica, because I’d made the earlier mistake of believing the conductor when he said my connecting train was waiting on the opposite platform. It wasn’t, of course, and no other train was headed in the right direction for another twenty to thirty minutes. (And that’s assuming that train wouldn’t be delayed or cancelled.) I wasn’t able to squeeze back on the train I’d just disembarked — I’d lost not just my seat but any room at all — so I had to wait around for another five minutes or so for another train headed to Penn Station. I was lucky there was at least someplace to stand on that one.

The problem with the Long Island Railroad isn’t that equipment breaks down — although it does seem to do so with a disturbing regularity — but that they’re horrible about communicating this, explaining the delays, giving you correct information when your train has already left, or is delayed, or isn’t coming. The schedules they’ve set up rely on clockwork precision, but they’re a little like my iPad’s clock, which weirdly seems to lose or gain minutes depending on how long it’s been on, or off, or just on some weird whim.

The New York City subway isn’t a whole lot better — just as crowded, just as prone to delays — but at least it’s a little easier to switch to a different line if you need to, and at least you can usually assume even if you miss your train, you probably won’t have to wait twenty or thirty, or sixty, minutes for another.

Still, though, my back didn’t rebel too much at having to stand. This is the first day in a while that I haven’t taken anything for the pain, and while that isn’t because the pain’s gone away altogether, I do seem to be on the mend.

Hopefully tomorrow the LIRR will be able to say the same.

Wall-et tu?

It’s funny how accidentally leaving your wallet at home can turn what promises to be a boring, ordinary Monday into a boring adventure of a Monday.

I forgot my wallet at home, which I realized only as I was catching my connecting train at Jamaica into Manhattan. I had my monthly train ticket with me — I use it as a bookmark — and my Metrocard, but I had no idea how much money was left on that card. (I think the MTA designs them that way to encourage lots of panicked new card purchases and balances left unspent.) There was almost no money left on my card, as it turns out, although thankfully I did have enough to get me into the subway at Hunterspoint Avenue, the final third of my morning commute. If I hadn’t…well, I can walk to the office from Penn Station, which I can get to by the Long Island Railroad. But you can’t, as they say, get to there from here. I would have needed to turn back in order to catch another Manhattan-bound train at Jamaica…which, judging by the MTA’s online schedule, would have left me stranded in Queens until at least 3:40 PM. (I realize it’s a commuter connection, going one way in the morning and the other in the evening, but I’m surprised to discover there aren’t any trains going back to Jamaica earlier in the day. So I’m also doubly glad that I had that one fare left on my card.)

Luckily, I had some cereal and a bowl in my desk — the former in a box, not just lying around in a drawer, in case you worried — so I was able to have breakfast. And some spare change I found at the bottom of my bag meant that I got to have a small bag of pretzels for lunch. So, really, I’m not complaining. I didn’t love that the heat seemed to be on the office when I got there — I joked on Twitter that it was about 46ºF outside, and about 46ºC in the office, because there’s nothing like a little Fahrenheit-to-Celsius conversion humor to lighten the mood. Or that I did have to walk from the office to Penn Station this evening, this time with my laptop weighing down the bottom of my bag. Or that my headphones mysteriously stopped working — well, the left one anyway — which, before Jamaica, I thought was going to be my day’s biggest problem. No, I’m really not complaining. Because it was a surprisingly okay day. And although I had to walk half an hour with a heavy bag slung over my shoulder, I somehow managed to make my regular train home.

Somewhere along the way, I managed to do some work. And tomorrow, I get to work from home, so I don’t have to worry about forgetting my wallet behind.


Except for the trains, which were (not unpredictably) awful this morning, and the massive thunderstorm I didn’t quite avoid getting caught in this evening, today was a pretty average, surprisingly not at all terrible day.

High praise, I know. But hey, the week’s already more than half over.

Work out

It snowed last night, and well into this afternoon, but any hopes that it might lead to a snow day, a day off from work, were dashed pretty quick upon waking up. But it’s okay. The trains were running relatively on time — I think the LIRR officially considers six minutes late or under “on time” — and it wasn’t too difficult getting to work. It wasn’t exactly go-back-to-sleep easy, but at least it was Friday.

I had a training session planned for the second half of the day, one on workload management, but it was canceled. The irony that I was able to use that as an opportunity to actually get some work done is not at all lost on me. The session’s been rescheduled for later this month, and I wonder if that means we’ll get another free lunch out of it. (I’m guessing they’d already paid for the food when they canceled.)

Anyway, that and a lot of work was my Friday.

Nemo in snowy slumberland

It has definitely been a weird week.

That picture up above is before the worst of last night’s snow, in the early evening when, out with the dog, I was led to think, you know, maybe this historic world-crushing snowstorm isn’t going to be so bad after all.

Well, we didn’t lose power or heat, but between that photo and the time that I woke up — around 6, and let me just say, on a Saturday? — we gained maybe another foot and a half of snow. It was now fun shoveling and snow-blowing off the driveway this morning. I spent an hour and a half at it this morning, and I still only made a dent. A large-ish dent, granted, but both cars are still covered in snow. I’ll take a look at them again shortly, but I’m really hoping the afternoon sun will do some damage.

I did get to stay home from the office yesterday. We were open, and I spent the day working, but doing so from home. My boss had given us permission yesterday to leave early if we thought the weather and commute were going to be really bad. The Long Island Railroad was already talking about shutting itself down before the early evening. I took my laptop home with me just in case. And then when I woke up on Friday, it was already snowing and I made a judgment call. It was a call to my boss to see if my judgment was something I could follow up on. But I was genuinely worried about getting stuck in Manhattan, especially with a hungry dog at home waiting all by himself.

So I worked from home, and for most of the day actually felt a little silly about it. The snow turned to rain for most of the afternoon, and while nasty and wet, it wasn’t exactly snowmaggedon. Even by around 9 o’clock that evening, I was thinking, is that it? I made myself some scrambled eggs for dinner and settled into the mistake that was watching the 2012 version of Total Recall. You can read all my tweets about the movie here, which is probably more informative than trying to go through it all again, and certainly more entertaining than the movie itself. (Even if you don’t find my tweets entertaining at all, trust me, the movie is lousy.)

Today I’m really just hanging out, since I’m still kind of snow-bound. (Also tired. Did I mention I’ve been up since 6 am?) No idea what I’ll do today, though I promised myself I’d write for at least half an hour. Aside from morning pages, I’ve fallen out of the habit this week. It’s been a weird one, have I mentioned?

Maybe next week I’ll actually go into the office more than one day. That’d be weird.