In Need of a New Office Chair

Apparently, chairs die. I’m not exactly sure when I got my current office chair, but I think it was at least 7 years ago. Since I work mostly from home these days, I sit on the chair a lot, and the wear and tear takes its toll. The chair squeaks constantly these days. WD-40 works for a day or so before the squeaking starts up again. Then, too, the mesh in the seat of the chair has developed holes. Moreover, it has been stretched to the point where it rests upon the pole supporting the seat, which isn’t particularly comfortable. It reminds me of that Leslie Nielsen line from The Naked Gun: “The truth hurts, doesn’t it? Sure, not as much as jumping on a bicycle without a seat. But it hurt.”

This evening, I finally ordered a new office chair. It is not a particularly fancy chair, like the Aeron chair I had in my office at work. But it is a step up from the chair I have today. And if it manages to last another 7 years it will be well worth the cost.

Not long ago, I ordered a new desk. My old desk was falling apart, like my chair is today. The desk I ordered was a sit-stand desk. It was my idea that it would be good to stand for at least part of the day, and for a while, that is just what I did. Recently, Grace has commented that she never sees me actually standing at the desk. What does she know? She is in school all day. The truth is that I have been sitting more than I have been standing lately.

My intentions were good when I got the desk. After a while, I told myself that I would stand during meetings. I tend to have a lot of meetings and so I figured that would be good. But then, I’d forget to stand during the meeting, and not remember until after. Getting a new chair probably won’t help the situation much, especially if it is a comfortable chair. Besides, I get out for a 2-1/2 mile walk each morning and usually go for another 2 mile walk with Kelly in the evenings, so I am getting plenty of time standing, right?

If I am being perfectly honest, however, I have to admit that I sat at my desk all day today. I woke up this morning with the goal of consolidating 4,000 lines of Groovy Script as much as I possibly could. I wanted to the code to be reusable. The fact that there was 4,000 lines of code in the first place was pure laziness on my part. So I sat in my broken chair at 8 am and begin consolidating code, writing functions that handle repetitive task, generalizing things. With the exception of an hours break for lunch and my afternoon nap, I didn’t stop until just after 6 pm. Days like that typically result in what I call a code-coma. It is hard to come out of the weeds and back into the world after focusing on code for nearly 10 hours. But I succeeded! Sitting there in my broken chair, I consolidated 4,000 lines of code into 650. Not bad, if you ask me.

It is sometimes difficult to get out of these code comas. Kelly suggested dinner at a local beer garden this evening. On the way there, we stopped to get passport photos of the three kids. We are planning a trip to Ireland next summer, and the kids will need passports for that. So we got their photos and then headed to the beer garden. The evening was just about perfect. The beer was good, the burger was okay, and it was just what I needed to lift me out of that code coma.

Back home, I sat in this broken chair, trying to decide what to write about, and finally settled on the chair itself. The new chair is due to arrive on Wednesday. If nothing else, I’ll post a short update when the new chair is installed and ready for use.

It turned out to be a productive day in this broken old chair of mine. I consolidated 4,000 lines of code down to 650. We got the kids passports photos taken care of. (The actual passport appointment is Friday morning.) I managed to get a fair amount of reading done on my walks. I had a nice dinner with the family. And it occurred to me that today was important for one other reason. It is September 27, 2021, which means today, I am 49-1/2 years old. That may not seem particularly significant to you, but to me, it means that I have ten years–3,652 days–until I retire. Then 10-year countdown clock begins today. Assuming things continue more or less as they have been these last 27 years, I will retire just shy of my 37th anniversary with the company. I’m good with that. Zach will be about to graduate from college; Grace will be at the beginning of her junior year in college; and the Littlest Miss will have just started high school I’m okay with that, too.

Maybe, if I stand at my standing desk a little more each week than I have been, I can stretch the life of my new office chair to 10 years. When I retire, as a retirement present, I can buy myself a new office chair.

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