TITLE: Respite in Hard Work, Done Somewhere Else AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: February 18, 2007 4:25 PM DESC: ----- BODY: As I prepared to leave for ChiliPLoP 2007, I looked to the trip as almost a vacation. While I will be working steadily through the 76 hours or so in Arizona, both on elementary patterns and various and sundry school duties, I will be off the treadmill that have been the last few days. I've hardly had time to breathe since Wednesday morning: Wednesday: Prepare for and sit in on meetings all day, including a faculty meeting. Scramble to make last-minute changes to our fall semester schedule before the secretary goes on vacation. Exercise for an hour with my older daughter in her ballet class. I was in the class, and did all of the "floor barre" work that the rest of the class did. (At least that was fun time with Sarah!) For an old guy, I did all right. Sprint home to pack a quick overnight bag. Drive two hours to Des Moines. Crash in motel bed. Thursday: Attend 7:00 AM breakfast at the State Capitol, sponsored by the Department of Economic Development to encourage state legislators to fully fund the department's budget request for 2007-2008. Mingle with legislators, and visited with IT bigwigs from most of the major players in the state. After two hours, drive two hours back home. Prepare for class. Meet my Programming Languages class. Attend meeting. Give dinner talk to local Kiwanis club on my department's efforts to participate in state economic development through curriculum and research projects that partner with regional companies. Crash in my own bed. Friday: Arrive at office by 6:30 AM to do some leftover work. Coach team of local eighth graders who are preparing for a math competition. After several months, the competition is here -- tomorrow. Spend four hours visiting with prospective students and their parents. Scramble all afternoon to tie up loose ends in the office. Take one daughter to orchestra practice and then to play rehearsal. Pack for ChiliPLoP. Saturday: Take eighth graders to math competition at 8:00 AM. Fill time and watch until 1:30. Take one daughter to play rehearsal. Kiss other daughter, already at rehearsal, good-bye for a few days. Head home, kiss wife good-bye, load bags in car, and hit road for 3+ hour drive to Minneapolis. (Take short nap along the way.) Grab dinner with friend. Crash on friend's couch. Sunday: Rise at 5 AM for ride to airport. Encounter usual delays. Board plan at 6:30 AM for 7:00 AM flight. Then ... sit for two hours before take-off as plane requires computer system maintenance. I don't usually think of a two-hour in-plane delay as a respite, but this one was. I took a nap! We are now in the air, approaching Phoenix. ChiliPLoP, as busy as it always, made more busy by some necessary work from back home, will seem a break. This sort of week may be no big deal to my consultant friends, or maybe even to my academic friends with big outreach portfolios. But it's new to me. While each activity of the week offered value, I found myself looking forward to the TSA and the plane. Extra time of the plane didn't bother me. Landing will be better. Work on computer science with some of my favorite colleagues will be better. A run in the sun will be better. -----