I got set up at the long-term hotel I've used the last several years and that felt strangely comfortable and home-like. I got to work the next day on the dot and wondering if the boss had actually made clear to anyone that I was going to be spending a week there. It was none too clear when I tried getting in the door since the keycode number didn't work. Neither did the other keycode number they ever use. Neither did knocking on the door, nor ringing the bell. Good start to things. Finally someone took pity on me and let me in and told me the new keycode number; they'd gone to some third number that I've completely forgotten now.
The day started with an hour or more of me saying hello to everyone, at least everyone I knew, and catching up as best I could what was happening. The news most captivating to people was that bunny_hugger and I were slated to attend the state pinball championship. Competitive pinball captures the imagination.
Also on the agenda: finding an office for me. The office I used to have was reassigned to one of the other programmers, an older man picking up a little scratch ahead of retirement and who's frighteningly enthusiastic about database software. My work would benefit greatly if we hooked it up with some of his database stuff, but we keep promising to do that and not actually doing it. Anyway, I lost my office --- for fair reasons, given I've never been in more than four weeks in a year --- when the company closed the Atlantic City office in a move announced nearly a week ahead of it taking effect, the sort of thing that's not at all alarming if you know anything about how companies operate. The staff there moved into the Trenton office and that's sensible, given how much empty space there had been. It just left me with the problem of where to actually be.
The answer: the office for the tech department's vice-president. He normally works out of the tech department desk he's got downstairs, and he was going to be on vacation half my expedition anyway. It took a little time to hook up my computer and all that, but that's fine. I could go around telling everyone that everything was fine and what I had been up to.
And once I had the office I could do stuff like hear what the boss's big exciting new project was. He had described it to me over the phone and I didn't understand it. He explained it some more in person and I still didn't understand it, since it seemed too little a project to even do. But he reiterated that it was what he wanted and I had a prototype for it done by the end of the day. By the afternoon of the next day I had a refined version with some better handling of the freak conditions that keep turning up in our company's projects.
Also by the end of the next day the boss had an idea in his head to upgrade the Geographic Information Services software on one of our systems. I started out confident he was upgrading it on the wrong system, and that confidence only grew as he kept on going, very slowly, with me not really doing much but saying ``I don't think that stuff applies to us'', for hours. In the end, yes, he was upgrading all this on the wrong server. But it did mean that the next week I was able to upgrade the software on the correct server in minutes.
And during this excruciating several-hours-overtime-on-a-Friday bit ... well. The boss has a couple friends whose exact connection to him, or the company, are mysteries. One of them was here. He overheard where I was staying and told me oh, he knows a guy with another long-term stay hotel that he promised was much better. I knew of the place, but it's also a more annoying drive. Plus, you know, I feel awkward enough getting a favor from a friend even though I know that's a great way to make friends like you better. To get a favor from a friend of a guy I only faintly know? Excruciating. And he wouldn't let me turn it down gently; the more I said I didn't want to impose, the more he insisted on imposing. He pointed out that it would be cheaper, too, and since the company was covering the cost --- and the boss was right there, and I couldn't help thinking of the previous year's mysterious closing of an office --- I kept thinking, well, yeah, I shouldn't be spending more company money than I need to.
Finally I got as firm as I can and told him, I don't want the hassle of moving from hotel to hotel. All right, he relented, but he said next time I'm in for a week I should totally hook up with his friend. I'm hoping that whenever the next visit comes the boss will have forgotten entirely this option, if he ever paid attention to it, and that I'll be able to stay where I like just fine instead. There must be a term for the person whose chivalrous but unwanted act just makes things that little bit more complicated for you.
Trivia: The Latin zodiac sign Gemini, the Twins, was in Sanskrit `Mithuna', and in the Babylonian scheme also `The Twins'. Source: Mapping Time: The Calendar and its History, EG Richards.
Currently Reading: Vichy: Two Years Of Deception, Léon Marchal, Translated by Jean Davidson, Don Schwind.
PS: How To Work Out The Length Of Time Between Two Dates (you should not).