First, let me acknowledge that I know likely very few care what a day in my life as a web designer and developer looks like. I’m just outta blog ideas right now. It happens to everyone from time to time, right? And I should get two points for honesty according to one of my favorite songs by Guster.

To boot, I spent the better part of yesterday researching and writing about ADA Title III compliance. The twists and turns that took would take the life right out of better’n me I reckon. Unless you’re a lawyer. That’s your depth, not mine.

And I’m not silly enough to think that I’m all that important to anyone but perhaps our four dogs. Being as I work from home, they have to put up with my cussin’ and hollerin’ when the train jumps tracks. But on balance, they’re okay with a little disruption because they can go out and come in whenever they like. Plus, they offer considerable comfort to me when I’m about to torque out. I think it’s their seventh or eighth sense that sends them my way. So we have a great working relationship, the dogs and me. I’d be up the crik without ‘em.

While we’re on the topic of working from home, let me just say I think it’s a great idea. The hours and hours I’ve spent not commuting to an office somewhere have arguably been spent on much greater purposes. Plus, the commute from North Carolina to Michigan would take the better part of a day.

Fishin’ for spam

So what does my day look like? Well, I start in around 6:30 am nearly every day. Unless it’s Friday. That’s bread baking day and I usually sit down at my Mac around 5:30 am after the dough is on its first rise. So I pretty much always get a couple hours of ‘quiet time’ before the stuff hits the fan.

Most mornings, I like to do what I call my ‘spam trawl’ first thing and see what the nets have dredged up from the depths of various contact forms we monitor. And lemme tell you folks, there’s usually some ugly stuff in there. Things that would make a sailor blush. Or just aggravating stuff from idiots trying to build their client list by spamming you. I take great joy in snagging these slimy little tidbits before they hit your inbox because there are few things I dislike more than spammers. Save for maybe raw oysters, sardines and the bottom-feeding, mouth-breathing buckets of slime that prey on the uninitiated.

After that, I jump into our Basecamp thing and check to see what’s on my plate. Such a cute metaphor for stuff that’s not always so cute. I’d like to meet the person who came up with it so I could, well, never mind. I’m trying to keep this pleasant. Which doesn’t always work because I’m really just a grumpy old man. And it’s really a good tool.

So I might undertake a task or two until our morning meeting rolls around and we all see each other on The Google to figure out who’s doing what and when. More tasks are generally assigned during those meetings and sometimes my plate looks like it’s getting a little full. But it is what it is, and everything must get done.

Depending on my frame of mind and the directives of the day, I might start in on the task I find most onerous just so I can get it behind me. You know the one – shouldn’t take but 30 minutes but it ends up taking half the day.

Then, just as I settle in and put my nose to the grindstone, deep in thought and CSS, the bloinks begin. Yup. If you use that Google chat thing, you know that sound.

You can’t ignore the bloink war

If you don’t, let me enlighten you. Whenever someone pings someone in a chat, my Mac bloinks. More often than not, it’s someone bloinking someone other than me, but because I never want to underestimate my importance to this organization, I have to check. Plus it’s part of the OCD add-on that comes with the package I was issued awhile back.

And then there are the bloink wars where two people decide to bloink each other incessantly, two or three words at a time. Bloink. Bloink. Bloink bloink bloink bloink. I know I can filter that stuff and get off the carnival ride from hell, but sometimes it’s just too much fun to follow the frivolity. I’m never one to miss out on a good laugh.

Other days, we go hours without getting bloinked. In those quiet hours, I dare say I’m at my best. I might be playing in one of the three sandboxes they generally let me frolic in here at <engine/>  – web design, development or writing – all of which I enjoy.

Fun in the sandbox(es)

I don’t really have a favorite sandbox anymore. The three just seem to go together naturally. I guess I like the design sandbox some days because I get to fiddle around in Illustrator and/or Photoshop. I go way back with those two programs. They are in my comfort zone to be sure.

And working on both design and development has its advantages. As a developer, I know what’s practical to implement and maintain. So the designer in me usually looks to the developer before making a lot of swooshes and whirls and overlapping things. But some days, usually when I’ve had too much coffee, it’s like being in a cartoon – with the designer on one shoulder wringing his little hands and smirking while the developer sits on the other shoulder shaking his finger and scowling. At that point, I generally look to one of the adults for guidance and let them sort it out.

Then there are the days that I literally wouldn’t wish on anyone. Those are the days when they drag me kicking and screaming into the swamp of spreadsheets. I know. The logical part of me should love them. But it doesn’t. Apparently, I was bitten by one as a child. I have a scar that Mom never talked about. Pretty sure it was from the neighborhood hellhound we knew only as XL.

So that’s kinda what my days generally look like. Save for the days I get to write these {bloink bloink} Dang. Gotta run…

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