Dipping into the Cookie Jar

Chocolate chip – I mean, who are we kidding? My Grammie’s homemade.. I don’t care that she followed the same recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag as everyone else does, they were amazing. And no one can make them the same….

But that’s not really why we’re here. It’s T-SQL Tuesday and Shane O’Neill has asked that we talk about what excellent things we’ve done that keep us going. Now, most (most…) of us tend to be humble, but I know there’s those wins that keep us bouncing with happiness and excitement when we’re not cursing the dumb….. (sorry, too much of the dumb last week.)  Positive!  Positive!

It’s funny because Shane (t|b) is actually involved in one of my cookie jar experiences. It was, what, Summit 2017?  I was sick. Like, uber Nerd Flu, couldn’t sit through an entire session without disruptively coughing, miserable, only-one-party-a-night, sick. (I know, right?)  Friday night, Lou Gonzalez and I dragged me to the Tap House, because.. well, the Tap House. And there were a few #SQLfamily hanging out. There was a couple of English guys – one attendee and his dad  – playing pool. They were amazing to watch, so I was huddled in my misery watching them.

A man named Matteo came over and asked me if I wanted to play. I figured I could at least try, and we were joined by Shane and a great guy named Kevin (t|b). And in my miserableness, I proceeded to play the best pool I think I’ve ever played.   How is this memorable? Mostly because I got to meet some really cool new friends.  And, sometimes even in low points, something great comes out of it.

Okay, okay, there’s more to my cookie jar. My brother owns a small tech support company, and I wrote a SQL Server backend/Coldfusion web front end (enough with the laughing, peeps…) application to handle his techs, their customers and the work. He ran his business on it until last year. 16 years, people. With extremely low maintenance and not much need for enhancements. His entire, successful business.

In my last job, there was functionality that needed to run 6 times in about a 15-minute time span. Problem was, each run took about 2 and a half hours. That kinda math just doesn’t add up. I took that crazy thing down to about 30 seconds per run. Now, granted, the code has to be a little messed up for you to make that kind of improvement, and that’s a facepalm of an entirely different sort.  I have had a couple of these also in my current job, and it never gets old.

Also, in my current job, I’m finally becoming included. The DBAs were the rogue people who always said no and almost everyone went out of their way to avoid us. Upon our move to Scaled Agile, I fought to get one of my team on each of the scrum teams, so we could catch issues before they happened, and become partners in coding/education with our developers.

I’m being asked to be involved in higher level planning – architecture decisions, process improvements, and also in some other ways. I’ve also become much better at listening. Because of this, I can help in some less obvious ways, with more personally-related issues. Bringing that kind of value to my company, my boss and my co-workers – many of which have become good friends – has some super-good feelz associated with it.

And, I cannot end this without mentioning my first horse. He had a rough babyhood – someone shot him as a youngster (in their favor, he really did look an awful lot like a deer, but…)  They couldn’t remove the bullet from his neck because it was too close to arteries. He didn’t have much interaction with people – when he did, his would had become infected and maggot-infested (sorry for the gross) and his skin had grown around his halter. So they had to hold him down to cut the halter out of his head and clean the wound.

He had a lot of trust issues, and was a powerful boy. I spent a lot of time learning how to bail off of him (not always by my own choice.)  But, he was incredibly athletic, and needed someone to love and believe in him. He was my boy, and got me through a whole lot of rough patches in my life. I also really believe that I saved him too, though – he would have gone from owner to worse owner to the slaughterhouse eventually because he would have been considered “dangerous.”  It took 12 years of work and love and trust before he really calmed down, but I was absolutely his person as much as he was my horse.   Earning his trust and love was an incredible thing, and I will never forget that, or him.

Thanks for listening! I know all of you folks reading this have done amazing things as well, and I’m looking forward to reading about them!

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