On the Yellow Brick Road

Week 23 Back in Minnesota

Amazing how much better the week goes when I do what I need to do to take care of myself.  This week I made sure to go to the gym every day instead of letting 'work' get in the way of gym time.  That relieved a great deal of my stress during the week.  I also picked up my guitar a few times this week to play and to practice (and there is a difference between the two ).  And I have two great events to look forward to this weekend.

I have been learning a Jimmie Reed guitar rhythm for the past two months.  I now have it stuck in my head and muscle memory that I can play it pretty well whenever I want to.  It is the same guitar rhythm you hear in the song Big Boss Man.  I feel pretty good about this since it is one of my goals this year to learn some basic blues rhythms and songs.  So now I need to learn how to sing Big Boss Man and I will have worked on one of my goals.

Another one of my goals is to start playing my guitar in public again and with other musicians.  On Sat. I will be playing at the Sat. Jam I have been hanging out at.  The jam takes place at Corner Coffee (Your Coffeehouse) in downtown Minneapolis.  I know about 1/2 the people there from when I use to go to my friend's house jams +5 years ago.

I will also be going out to see Smokin' Joe Kubek and B'Nois King at Wilebski's Blues Saloon on Sat.  Check out those details on my Events/Music Calendar.

On the downside the couple that expressed an interest in our house realized that since they were retiring our home would be too big for them.  We are also having some issues with our real estate agent.  I think we are going to need to find a new agent soon.  If is not one thing it's another...

Week 22 Back in Minnesota

My weekend back home with Trudy, Benjamin and Catalina was cut short by a massive snowstorm in Minnesota.  I had to catch a very early flight out of Kansas City on Sunday to beat the storm.  We were one of the last planes to land on Sunday.

This was another sprint planning week which means a lot of hours for me.  I ended up working more than 50 hours this week and I don't get comp time or overtime for working extra hours.  I also had to tell my bosses that with the data I now have we won't be finishing in time for the expected April 'code freeze' date.  Other Scrum Masters are probably in the same situation but no one else wants to admit it.  Read all about where we are at in the article "90% of the functionality is ready to test...".  The bosses then tried to do exactly what I thought would try to do - break the sprints by changing what the teams were already working on.

I only went to the gym one time this last week because things were so crazy at work.  I really do wonder if this is all worth it some days.  I don't get very much feedback that I am doing the right thing.  I don't know if the teams' appreciate what I have to do to protect them from the wild changes proposed by our management.  I know our management does not appreciate the fact that my protecting the teams from their constant changing priorities has kept us from losing some people.

We had an open house on Sunday and I think Trudy said 7 people came to see the house.  One couple was very interested and apparently the husband and I use to work together at the Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka.  We have not heard anything else since Sunday about that so who knows how interested they really were.

After this crazy week I should have done something for myself this Sat. like go to the Sat. morning jam but I didn't.  That was a mistake.  Now I am feeling pretty down about my situation. 

In the end I miss Trudy, Benjamin, and Catalina.  I could use a hug at night.  I crave the familiar rhythms of my family.  I miss them terribly and without them the stress of work is very difficult.  Hopefully the house sells soon and our living situation will change soon.

Reminds me of the "How Long Blues"...

Week 21 Back in Minnesota

Well this past week was very long one.  Every day was difficult because we spent a lot of time arguing about how to proceed with the daily work.  It was also backlog grooming week which means taking time to see what work we might be doing next and making sure any upcoming work has been detailed out so the team can do the work.

I was able to come home this weekend and that has been a blessing.  Benjamin and Catalina had Friday off from school so we went to the Truman Library & Museum.  We had a great time.  We definitely learned that President Truman had a very difficult presidency.

Trudy and I will be going out to see a blues band at Uncle Bo's which is our favorite blues club.

I will be heading back to Minneapolis on Sunday.  And there is suppose to be a big winter snow storm in Minneapolis when I arrive.  Lovely. 

Week 20 Back in Minnesota (Just feeling trapped)

Twenty weeks... Five months... And honestly I don't see an end in sight for when things will change.  With the housing market being in a historic slump there is nothing to indicate that our home will sell in the next five, seven or even twelve months.  Every month this goes on is just another reminder about how much I regret moving to Topeka Kansas.  I feel stuck.  I can't move forward and I can't move backward.  I feel trapped.

It doesn't help that work has turned into a battle royal.  Every day the rules and priorities change.  Yesterday the expectation was getting X done and today it is getting Y done; but later I am held accountable for why X didn't get done.  I have team members who are ready to quit and have told me so.  I have a boss who has the emotional intelligence of a stone.  I don't claim to have a lot of EI but my boss has flat out admitted that he doesn't get into the 'touchy feely' stuff.  How he became a director (2nd level of management) without some EI training is beyond me.  On top of that members of the team are feed up with the whole situation and I can't do anything to make it better because everytime I try to make it better my boss just dumps another mess on us.  Just another place I feel trapped in my life.

Home life isn't any better as far as I am concerned.  I had an appointment this week with my 'shrink' which was scheduled for Wed. evening but somehow was mischeduled by the office for Tue. morning.  I got a call about the appt. Monday afternoon late and by the time I found out I felt my only choice was to cancel the appt.  That disappointed Trudy.  Just another place I am trapped. 

I would like to say there is some good news in this blog but there isn't.  This was just a bad week.  And I am whining and feeling pretty poorly about my situation.  I am sure there are others in worse situations and I shouldn't complain.  But there are times when even I need to complain.

Groundhog Day Party

Every year my friends Scott and Linda have a Groundhog Day Party (GHD) on the Sat. closest to the actual groundhog day that they can manage.  This years was on Feb. 5, 2011.  We don't sit around and watch the movie Groundhog Day.  Instead there is plenty of food, drink, a bunch of Scott & Linda friends, and usually three to seven bands.

Check out the photographs.