I've been looking forward to this trip for a while. Not just because it's a nice getaway, which it is, but because it's the last thing in this never-ending crunch time. The last milestone for this search-engine system was two weeks ago. The contractor writing the front end botched it again, but that's not my problem, my customers understand this, and at this point I'm past caring. The submission deadline for IEEE Visualization is tomorrow afternoon: I finished my paper after lunch today. Department review isn't for two or three weeks yet. There are no more scheduled deliverables on the calendar right now and I have made it indisputably clear that I am not going to work 55- and 60- and 70-hour weeks as a matter of routine again.
The meeting that started all of this was July 22, 2004. I've billed somewhere north of 300 hours of flex time since then. That's just what I've billed: the amount I've actually worked is substantially higher. I used some of that back in February when I took three weeks off. I still need to burn quite a few hours to get myself safely down under the cap. I plan to take Fridays off for a while. My normal work schedule gives me every other Friday off to begin with, so it'll probably be, oh, August or so before I'm in the office on Friday for anything other than special circumstances.
It's been so long that I really don't remember what it feels like to unwind. There have been scattered days (or sometimes hours) when I could slow down just to breathe for a little while before I ramped back up again, but no times when I could really, truly relax. Time to change that...
The afternoon session has ended. It's an hour and a half before dinnertime. I'm going to go take a nap.