Bad Luck and Poor Planning

My previous post seems to have been somewhat prophetic.

I have not been able to find much time to write for this blog recently, and since the last entry, my life has taken a few sharp turns. December is usually a busy month anyway, and looking back to last year, I see that the month was entirely silent. This year, we had one project that was slipping and, thus, impacting another project. With two family birthdays early in the month, the holiday season, and an upcoming vacation, it was fairly difficult to maintain focus. It was stressful.

Then, in the midst of this, an event occurred and put everything into perspective rather quickly. My wife’s father died suddenly, albeit not unexpectedly, and really put a damper on both productivity and our ability to enjoy the holiday season. This bit of bad luck is not something that one can control, and when it happens in this manner, one is almost instantly thrust into what seems to be an alternate world.

During the ensuing confusion, I was able to observe the results of poor planning on the part of my father-in-law. Although he had been fairly clear about his wishes, and had put many of his important papers in a single place where we knew to look, he never actually wrote any of this down or made it official. Instead, those who are most affected by and emotional about the death, and least likely to be fully rational, are forced to be making important decisions based on “what he would have wanted”. Suffice it to say that despite his best intentions and a reasonably simple estate, the aftermath is somewhat messy.

The practical lesson to be taken from this is that one should always have a proper will prepared and filed, if only to relieve grieving relatives from the burden of making decisions. We are going to take care of this ourselves, just as soon as I can get my wife back here, physically and otherwise.

Normally, our office closes for the two weeks around the end of the year. Due to the placement of the holidays this year, the scheduled closing does not correspond with school vacation times, so we have split between having a vacation this week and next and (me) having next week and the following week off. The last day before the break is traditionally a half day of work (if even that), with the afternoon devoted to a party and games. Today, though, my development ran into the afternoon, and when I had completed that, I was forced to recognize that I am the only one left here. (Even the cats are away visiting, though I do have the bird.)


Anyway, before I exit stage left (at least for today), there is a seasonal quote to share:

Games, Spirit! Games!! — Patrick Stewart, as Ebenezer Scrooge
[from A Christmas Carol (1999)]

Alas, Charles Dickens omitted these precise words from the original book, though the games themselves were certainly included.

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