A Long December

It’s getting harder to remember when there was such a thing as downtime.  It used to be that December was that glorious month where you could get things accomplished that had been slowly cooling on your back burners for the previous 11 months.  Not so anymore it seems.  Sure, the workload for many other areas of our information technology departments may wither on the vine this time of year, like grapes forgotten in the Michigan snow, but we Database Administrators still need to keep things running.  About the only thing I’ve noticed over the last week or so is the great reduction of walk-up work as it pertains to new projects.  The “hey-we-have-this-new-project-that-needs-a-SQL-database-and-it-is-going-live-the-end-of-this-week” comments are magically gone.  Sure enough though, just like the credit card bills that arrive next month, those sufferable requests will be back once the calendar page flips.

Unfortunately, this drop workload has been replaced by the end-of-year tasks and a few new challenges I’ve undertaken.  I’ve been responsible for four articles per month for MSSQLTips.com, published through Edgewood Solutions.  I did this in part as a challenge to myself to see if I could keep up with that kind of pace as a fledgling writer.  This month, I found out however, is technically only 2 weeks long in the eyes of my editor.  This allows he and his staff to wrap up year end items and have some time with their families.  Understandable.  It’s hard enough to write technical articles, harder still to do so for topics that have not received prior coverage.  Harder even still when your timeline is cut in half.

Additionally, I’ve taken on the new challenge of book author; co-author, really and probably for the best.  An outcome of this year’s Professional Association for SQL Server Summit in Seattle was an agreement to co-author a book with Louis Davidson on Performance Tuning Dynamic Management Views. The wonderful Tony Davis at Red Gate providing his stellar editing duties since Red Gate will be acting as publisher.  Tony laid out a fairly aggressive timeline for this project and the outline had to be finalized by 12/19/2008.  Another December deadline!  Coupled with the fact that I have no idea of what goes into writing a book, this should be quite interesting!

One more offshoot from PASS is a volunteering position for Quest Software’s new SQLServerPedia wiki as Editor of DBA content.  Luckily for me the activity on the site has been primarily focused on other areas of content creation.  Thankfully the content that has been generated by Michelle Ufford has had no need for edits!  My only regret is that I’ve had no time to post any content myself. 

Of course family duties trump those professional responsibilities we all have.  December is the time for all those spousal holiday parties, kids’ school musical presentations, and the like.  I have Den Leader duties for my son Trevor’s Cub Scouts Wolf Den, my oldest son, Austen embraces only one sport: skiing, and I volunteer as a chaperone for his ski nights at the local slopes.  Furthermore, if you live in my area of the country you can add shovelling, constantly, to this list of things that must be done.  Then again, my friend Scott from Seattle notified me today they have over a foot of snow on the ground so that pain is getting spread around a little more this season.  Of course add to all of this the shopping and wrapping that keeps the economy both here and in the North Pole alive and well and the available time drops quickly into the red. 

That leads to the inevitable list of things that reluctantly get dropped. I’ve slacked-off on West Michigan SQL Server User Group meetings now for the past two months.  This blog has gone unattended for weeks, and I still owe my friend Peter Ward an article on xp_logininfo for sql-server-performance that is basically 90% written and has been for months!

So, here I am looking forward to the next week and a half without *official* work, but still inundated.  I have the kids home with me so I am sure my Halo skills will get some sharpening.  Speaking of kids and looking forward to the new year does anyone know where I can outsource production on 3 Pinewood Derby cars by the end of January?  Just one more thing to add to the list!