Natalie's back from leave

I just came back from a 5 month parental leave two weeks ago. I was terrified of the first week back; everyone told me it will be hard to all-of-the-sudden be away from my baby girl, but that it will get better later. It wasn’t as bad as I had prepared myself to, maybe because my husband took time off to be with her for the next 8 weeks, so I know she’s in good hands. I do miss her, almost physically, but it’s getting better.

Whidbey Beta1 shipped while I was out. I watched it from home (yeah, yeah, I know I shouldn’t have been on e-mail while on leave but I couldn’t help it…) and it was amazing to see how things moved along towards the end. There is a reason why we call it ‘landing the plane’ – there are a lot of adjustments and planning to make sure we hit the runway just in the right place, at the right speed. It was even more interesting to watch from the backseat, sure gives you a different perspective.

Scott was out last week, on family emergency leave (all is well now), and I helped out covering for him. Although I was involved with our build lab and the ‘moving of the bits’ process about a year ago, things have changed and Scott put in a lot of great policies and processes that help this move smoother. Of course, I’m not up to date on all of them so the folks in the lab and the team that tests the daily builds had to put up with me… but they were great – they knew what to do, and they mostly ran it themselves.

It’s also a good brush-up for me, as one of things I’m looking into is places where we can improve our engineering practices so ‘getting my hands dirty’ here was a good thing. Actually, I think every developer should work in the build lab in some capacity or another. It will really help them understand how the whole thing works, vs. just the section of the product they are working on.