So, wow, yesterday was a day of ups and downs!
It started off really well with Cabhán sleeping all the way to after 7am before he woke up for his morning bottle, and he went back to sleep again afterwards while I showered, got dressed and left for work.
Every morning for this week and next, I have a meeting at 10am with some others from our group for a particular analysis that we are working on. There is an ATLAS workshop coming up in two weeks at SLAC which we want to present some results yet, so a bunch of us are working solidly now to get some good results. It’s good to be working under pressure like this, and I’d made nice progress on Minday, and I hit the ground running so I was able to show some nice plots at the meeting. We went through them and I had a list of things to do that I knew I could complete by the end of the day, so I could show the results on Wednesday.
So far so good.
I then got an email from Standard Bank, which really annoyed me, and I replied. (Still no response, by the way).
On top of the Standard Bank email, I had another rather frustrating one about UJ paying invoices from cern, and how we need to split invoices to go to separate funders but this cant be done by UJ (some South African act to reduce corruption that is coded into the UJ accounting system). It’s something we need to figure out, and we are hitting up against brick walls on either side, so we need to figure out how to get around it and which ultimately means more work for us. Well, just one of those things.
I got a third email then, which was good news – the school we went to look at two weeks ago has officially offered Cabhán a place in their nursery!! It is a wonderful school, and he will start in November. (I will write more about the school later).
I made some minor changes to my code that we discussed at the earlier meeting, then went to eat my lunch as my tummy was cramping.
After I’d got some food, around 1pm, I finally got stuck into my “to-do list” for the analysis we’re working on. I added in a bunch of new plots I wanted to make. Compile, run, look at output, and then was like “WTF” because four completely unrelated plots had changed, and I couldn’t figure out why.
I missioned for three hours trying absolutely everything to get them back to what they used to look like – even went back to what the code was doing before, to no avail. I had absolutely no idea why these plots looked different.
Then I got another email.
When we moved in we had to provide a monetary guarantee on the apartment. This is a deposit of 3 months rent – so just less than 6000 CHF (over R 50 000). Instead of paying this directly, if the regie approves you can pay another company a hundred or so CHF per year, and they write the “guarantee” for you. When we signed the lease the regie said we could do this, so we signed up and paid. Today, we heard that the regie has now decided that we’re not viable for this because of the type of residence permits we have. So basically please can we pay the 6000 CHF directly to them now. We’re going to see if we can sort out the problem.
By this time I walked outside because I was just about in tears. I emailed back asking for some clarification, and cc’d Chris, who thankfully wrote back to me all positive and proactive, because if he had got mad and upset as well I really think I would have just crawled into a hole at cern and stayed there.
This calmed me down a bit, so I decided to look at the code again, and I finally felt, well, there must be something completely ridiculous and pathetic that I wasn’t seeing.
I asked David – one of the post docs in our group – if I could run it by him, because I know usually what you need is a fresh brain to be like – oh, here you go. And that’s just what happened. It turned out that I’d forgotten about one of the minor changes I’d made before lunch, and so I was comparing two plots that were actually the same, only I had changed their axes.
I had just wasted 3 hours trying to fix a problem that wasn’t even there. Complete brain fail, right there, and I felt like such a tit.
So at least I got that stupid thing sorted out, only I wasted a couple of hours on it which I am now behind on.
At this point it was almost 5, I was frustrated, a tad upset, and basically just had enough of the day. I decided I would head home and take Cabhán to a park to let him run around and play and explore, and just to let me have a little bit of different perspective on life.
There was a lovely view of Mont Blanc when I walked outside, which made me feel a bit better.
When I got home Cabhán had just woken up and was, well, miserable (he hadn’t slept enough). But I managed to get his bag packed, and took along some spaghetti for him for dinner, and headed off with him to the park.
I took him to Meyrin’s Moon Base, which we hadn’t been to before. It’s in a park on top of a hill, and besides the trees surrounding it, it really looks like a moon base. There are nice climbing frames which Cabhán enjoyed exploring, and the ground is gravel stones which adds to the moon-iness, though there aren’t any benches for parents to sit on. Spot the Cabhán:
Enjoying his view out from the “spaceship”
Since there wasn’t much in the way of seating, I took him across the road to Jardin Alpin to have his dinner. He got so excited at seeing another playground that he refused to eat any food when I tried to feed it to him. Eventually after 20 minutes and a grand total of 3 spoons of food that mostly went on his face I just gave up and left the bowl and spoon on the table. He promptly grabbed the spoon and shoveled 3 or 4 spoonfuls into his mouth as if he hadn’t eaten for days (monster)! Since he was already a mess I just let him feed himself the rest of his meal himself, occasionally helping so that the spaghetti didn’t slide off the spoon. He also tried to eat it out of the bowl but I don’t think the results were as fast as he would have liked.
Eventually I managed to clean him up and get him heading back home. We stopped for a brief look at the ducks, geese and goats that are also there, and then headed back home. Cabhán had his bath and went happily off to bed, and Chris cooked the most wonderful dinner of duck breast medallions in a red wine & foie gras sauce, with rosti, which was wickedly divine and rich.
So the day ended on a high after all.