The squeaky wheel got some grease

Over the past week or so, both of my blogs have been running really slowly.  And it’s been frustrating the piss out of me, to use the vernacular.  I’ve been holding off on contacting my web domain provider, since they’ve been pretty open on the hosting website that they’re ‘working to fix the problems’ and have had their collective hands full with misbehaving storage servers, as well as attempting to convert their clientele to a whole new storage facility and hosting platform.  Sometimes one doesn’t necessarily want to add fuel to a fire.  Add in the fact that this is part of a larger problem that has been going on for the better part of the past month.

But this past Friday evening, at least to me, enough was enough.  I’ve already paid my monies to them many moons ago, and I’ve not been getting the results that I’ve come to expect for what I pay this company for.  Even though it was the beginning of the weekend, they tout that their assistance/support is manned ‘24/7, 365 days a year‘ so (in theory anyway) someone is always going to be around to look into a matter from their customers.  Which is supposed to be comforting, if indeed true.  Most companies don’t have customer support heavily manned over the weekend, since weekends tend to be down times and people get paid more for working on Sundays.  Consequently, if you’re going to have a catastrophic disaster, try to have it happen during the week.  If you can.

I accessed the support portion, figured out what I was going to say as succinctly as I could and posted my problem.  Then tried to access one of my blogs and was rewarded with a server error, telling me that the website in question was completely unavailable.  Awesome.  I took a screenshot of the error, cleaned it up in Corel Paint Shop Pro (we all can’t afford Adobe Photoshop) and added that to another post so whoever was going to answer the call had something to look at, in order to help.

As I expected, it took longer than a day for someone to assist.  I worked yesterday, so every now and again (too often I’m sure) I would check to see if someone had answered my call for help.  Nada.  The web provider is located in Germany, so they’re 6 hours ahead of me at any given time.  When I checked in last night around dinner time, though there wasn’t an update at the web server support page, I did get an email from them saying that they were ‘looking into the problem’, but as yet didn’t have a solution, so to be patient.  So, I did my best to comply.  I didn’t go to bed at a decent hour last night, matter of fact I stayed up until about 4:30am messing around with a HTML editor I used to use, that I was delighted to discover still works quite well in spite of being outdated and no longer supported by its creator (Hint: Scroll down to the program that’s called HTML-Kit 292, it’s free!).   It connects to the web via its own internal FTP program, you can edit in code, look at your results in real-time and even do things like CSS for your own websites if you’re so inclined.  It’s not a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor, but it can help you learn HTML so you’re not having to pay someone else to create a website.  Pretty nifty program, and the price can’t be beat if you ask me.

Right around 4 am, I checked my email and there was a message from support.  They were aware of the problem and asked me to check both blogs to see if they were loading faster.  They were!  Hooray!  But being the skeptical sort, I thought it better to fire off a reply while I had someone’s attention and ask what the problem turned out to be, just in case it returned.  In my initial message, I worded it in such a way as to ask in an aside whether or not the slowness was possibly due to something on my end, not theirs.  The reason for this is, I have other websites that don’t utilize databases, like the blogs do.  The blogs are the only sites that are loading slowly.  The others pop right up when you type in their addresses in the browser.  The blogs weren’t.  So it was entirely possible that it was something on my end that was causing the problem, perhaps the databases weren’t set up correctly and needed to be edited in some fashion.

James from Support replied within a couple of minutes and stated that it wasn’t my end, it was most definitely theirs.  In the process of upgrading and moving customers to a new dataserver (I’d gone through that migration headache about 2 months ago) they encountered a major problem (that I referenced at the beginning of this post) and have been working diligently to fix it, while still attempting to run said server as well as the old one as ‘flawlessly’ (his word) as possible.  Suffice it to say, over the last couple of months, it hasn’t been flawless.  Watching my bandwidth traffic fall like a lead balloon from 8 GB/month to less than 1 hasn’t been either pretty or satisfying.  Couple that with email outages that last several days at a time, and you can imagine it gets one to thinking perhaps it’s time to pack up and move.  Which I did, as a test balloon with one of my domains.  Not certain if I’m going to leave it there, since the service is more expensive than this one, but if they can’t consistently get their sh*t together, I might end up going where it’s more stable.  I’ve been a customer of theirs since 2006, and it’s been pretty steady for all of that time.  A few outages every now and again, but nothing even closely resembling what’s going on now.  The cachet at the time when I first started with them was that they were outside of the US, so if I wanted to post a little ‘questionable’ content, they were ok with it, to a certain extent.  Nothing illegal mind you, but one has to be mindful of the keyholders at times, and that’s pretty much all I’m going to say about that.

I’ve never been a huge fan of making waves, but sometimes, the squeaky wheel can get a bit of grease.  And that’s not a bad thing.

Gearing up for vacation

Officially this will be my first vacation of 2019.  I’ve had 2 weeks of vacation earlier this year, but those were leftovers from my previous ‘calendar year’ from work, so at the present time I’m using the alloted 160 hours (4 weeks) of vacation that I earned from working last year (2018).  I wasn’t intending to take time off so early, but my wife informed me that we have friends visiting from North Carolina this coming Tuesday, they’re going to be staying until Saturday so consequently I needed to be here and not working for the ensuing 5 days.  Which meant that I’d need to take a week off from work. Hence, taking vacation.

My previous 2 weeks of vacation were pretty sedentary.  I was actually allowed to be pretty lazy for them, almost to the point of taking advantage of the time off.  We really didn’t do all that much outside of the house, I spent the majority of my time either in bed or on the couch.  I’m going to try to make more of an effort this time, since there are a multitude of things that need to be accomplished, as well as getting ready for company.

Bottom line, the house is in a bit of a wreck.  My nature, learned behavior if you will, is to be rather sloppy.  What on more than one occasion I’ve described as my ‘portable debris field’.  And it needs to be gathered up a bit and transported either to my storage bin, to the basement, or elsewhere entirely.  Things that have been delivered to the house clutter a lot of the open spaces, and really there are a lot of items that I haven’t used in weeks, and years in some cases, and really shouldn’t even be here anymore.  But being the lazy loaf I can be, I haven’t done anything about them.  So there’s that.

I can’t expect the wife to do the lion’s share of cleaning.  She does a good amount of things when I’m at work, I haven’t touched the laundry in years.  I make the bed maybe a couple of times a year, and haven’t honestly given the upstairs bathroom a good scrubbing in too long a time.  Sometime in the next couple of years, we need to think seriously about redoing that bathroom, we’re still using the fixtures that were in there when we moved into the house in 2000.  Granted, the bathroom was cobbled together from a portion of the master bedroom sometime in the past, so it’s a bit cramped, with a dated shower stall, small vanity and a toilet, with some cabinets that were built into one wall and a small cabinet over the toilet.  It could definitely use a tune-up.

All in all, whenever I have vacation, I have grandiose plans of what I’m going to accomplish.  We’ll see how I do this time.  At the very least I have a mental list to go by.  I’ll be checking in next Sunday to give myself a review and grade about how good I did.

Can’t quite let go of home

I grew up in the Hudson Valley of New York State.  As of this August however, I will have lived here almost the same amount of time that I spent where I grew up.  One would think that could equate in one’s mind where home is.  But it doesn’t.  The old adage goes ‘home is where you hang your hat’ and to a certain extent that’s true.

If one were to walk through my house here, there’s more things that scream ‘Hudson Valley’ than say ‘Finger Lakes’.  Above the couch in the den there’s a map of the town I grew up, circa 1781.  In the addition here, there’s a clock that says “(Town Name) Beer and Ale‘ that I got from eBay.  And so on.  Items all over my current life that harken back to where I came from, not where I currently live.  As infrequently as I go to Facebook, one of the groups that I check in with more often than not is the one where people who I went to school with, played golf with, and did a myriad of other things people do in their hometown congregate.  Marvel at the newest iteration in the town, or mourn with others when the obituary references are posted of people that either I knew, or my parents did (lately some of my mother’s ‘cronies’ have appeared, like Mrs. Kane who died earlier this year).

When I visited my birth mother two years ago, we spent more time in my comfort zone than in hers.  Considering that we’d been separated by 50 years (I was adopted 3 days after being born), she wanted to see where I grew up, where I went to school and so on.  I showed her the house where I lived for 27 years, now owned by someone else.  We weren’t permitted to go into the house as the owner was elderly and didn’t feel comfortable opening the house to someone he didn’t know.  Which I understand, it was a longshot at best but I would have liked to show my mother all the little quirks of the house as I remembered them.  It’s the historian in me that laments the loss of what could have been, but I’m grateful at least they allowed us to walk the grounds of the house, so I could soak it all in again.  Over the years when in the area I’ve driven past the property, but this was the first time since 1992 that I was able to actually walk the property.

As I get older, I think of what I’m going to be eventually leaving behind.  If someone were to write a history of my life, what would they dig up and post for someone (anyone) to read or care about?  Would they say that I’m a child of the Hudson Valley, or a resident of the Finger Lakes?  On occasion, when vacationing elsewhere, I’ve thought about moving to that area, but never pulled the trigger to do so.  The last time this happened was when I was visiting someone in Colorado Springs in 1990.  I spent a week in Colorado, had a wonderful time and while sitting in a cafe downtown, I seriously thought about moving there.  What stopped me was the consideration that, after six months there (or less) I would imagine the ‘newness’ of being there would wear off.   I’d be going to my job every day, and living my life, and it would become ‘normal’.  It would no longer be new or exciting.  So I might have been better off staying where I was.  As it turned out, that was probably the best choice, as the person I was visiting and I failed to keep that connection and we went out separate ways six months down the road.  But again, it was a ‘what might have been’ moment.

I’m a child of the Hudson Valley, yes.  But a resident of the Finger Lakes.  Just have to marry the two somehow, I suppose.  At least until I move somewhere else.  Then the process will begin again.