Microsoft: Open 24 Hours

I've always joked to my wife that if I wasn't married, I'd probably get a cot and sleep at Microsoft on the nights when I really got into my work.  Well, thanks to the latest Seattle weather debacle, I ended up doing an all-nighter at Microsoft.  Herein lies 16-hours in the life of a Microsoftie that should have been home with his wife and kid...

4:00pm - While chatting with my administrative assistant Paige about hardware budgets, I notice an e-mail from my wife with a mention of snow & traffic. Look out the window in time to see a massive downpour of snow/hail. Paige thinks she might want to head home early. I agreed and suggested she get home as fast as possible. No worries about me getting home. I'd be fine since I was taking the bus.

5:00pm - Chatting with Dave Morehouse. Spend an hour getting knee-deep in discussions around software development, the advantages and disadvantages of agile development as well as the challenges of ramping up, and our future calendar for our team. No worries about me getting home. I'd be fine since I was taking the bus.

6:00pm - Time to go catch the bus. Traffic might be ugly, but I've got my laptop and Zune. No worries about me getting home. I'd be fine since I was taking the bus.

6:25pm - Hmm. Still no bus.

6:45pm - Hmm. Still no bus. And it's cold. Real cold. And someone just said they've been waiting for an hour? OK, time to move to a better location--even at the risk of missing this bus. After all, there's supposed to be another coming soon.

7:00pm - Grab some powdered Apple Cider and watch for the bus from a stairwell in Building 35. The previous bys never showed. But the next bus should be here ANY time now...

7:30pm - Still no bus. That last one should've been here by now. Starting to lose a little faith in public transportation.  

7:45pm - Woohoo! There's a bus! Oh, it's not mine. My daughter's bedtime and I'm not there. Starting to curse public transportation.

8:15pm - Forget it. Learned that the previous four busses did not show. I guess I should be happy I didn't wait three hours. Head back to office and figure out a strategy (and get some work done). Made a mental note: write angry letter to Al Gore for guilting me into taking the bus more often with that Inconvenient Truth stuff. Also, buy a Hummer to spite Mr. Gore.  

8:30pm - Get to my office and call my wife. My daughter is asleep and I missed a night with her thanks to the wonderful bus people. Still combing the internet looking for any mention of the bus cancellation and can't find it. Wonder if they've heard of the internet. Wonder if they even care what happened to those of us who rely on that bus and that they took away a night with my family that I'll never get back.

9:15pm - Monty Python plays in my head: "Always look on the bright side..." Start catching up on e-mail while hatching a plan to take a bus to downtown Seattle and then another from there to my place. Chat with Huong and Jason, a couple of our testers, and get into a random discussion about macroecomonic theory and the minimum wage. What--you don't have conversations like that with your testers?

9:45pm - I realize that with my downtown bus strategy, I'd get home around midnight, if I'm lucky, and subject myself to more freezing weather. How did I ever survive the east coast winters? Need a new strategy. Meanwhile, I find time for an IM chat with an old friend that I hadn't spoken to in a while. Also, time to author 2007 kickoff mail for the team. Starting to think an allnighter might be productive. Or at least an interesting story to tell (hey, if you're still reading, it must be mildly compelling).

11:15pm - Call my wife and tell her I ain't coming home. My last ditch effort was to take a cab, but I did try to call the cab company, but the line was busy. Aparrently, they weren't interested in my business. Nice comfy couch to sleep on and plenty of work to keep me busy. Good progress on work so far. Inbox down to 21 items (from 200+ last Wednesday and 90 this morning) and the kickoff mail has been completed and sent out for review. I love crossing things off a checklist.

12:15am - Find a kindred spirit in Don, a PM from the Global Marketing Platform team down the hall. He's stuck too, so at least I'm not the only one here. Time to start working on a cool dev side project that I put on the backburner for weekends. Writing an app to do some cool things with the Zune. I started it just before the holidays and mothballed it since. Haven't coded after midnight in years (used to be when I was most productive). Of course, it always helps to have a TV with Conan O'Brien. Still need to figure out the firewall here to access my Slingbox. Hmm, may just have time for that tonight. But first, another cup of Apple Cider to keep me warm.

1:00 am - Hey, here's advantage of beind stranded: now on Paris time. IM conversation with Kevin Connolly, former Group Product Manager and now our liason to the EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa) subsidiaries. Discuss organizational stuff as well as some plans for the next few months (and his impending bundle of joy). Kevin comments that he sees visions of me as Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone. Inspired enough to go make myself a cup of tea.

2:00am - I had been working in silence, but I needed some music. Wake up the Zune--it's time for Moby's Hotel. Meanwhile, the app looks about complete and the Readme docs are almost done. I reward myself with some hot chocolate and Mango Pineapple Trail Mix, which has the healthy tag on it, but ends up have 18g of fat. How is that healthy?

3:00am - My application looks done. It installs and runs properly on Windows Vista and Windows Server 2003. I'll try it on Windows XP when I get home (whenever that is). Need some water to counter the hot chocolate. Also, need a little U2 Joshua Tree to provide some nostalgia. It's at this point that I realize this experience needs to be blogged for posterity's sake.

4:00am - I spent last 30 mins typing this and now I'm caught up. It's 4am as I type this and I don't feel tired. I play some Stone Temple Pilots No. 4 and grab another cup of tea. I might actually make it till the morning. Of course, it is freezing in here. I am constantly sitting on my hands to keep them warm. I look outside at the peaceful serene snow-covered landscape. It's actually kind of calming. Or maybe I'm calm because it's 4 in the morning. Just remembered I need to run a tool on our blog data the determine the global reach of our corporate bloggers. It's an app I wrote a year or so ago to be a nice guy and now I am stuck running it every month and I didn't build it for the long haul--I've learned my lesson.

5:00am - Still not tired--looks like I am going to make it and without any coffee (though I've drank so much tea, cider, and cocoa that I am getting plenty of exercise with my trips to the bathroom). I've got the Foo Fighters debut album going and I've opened my door to try to warm things up (not gonna bother too many people this time of day). The last time I qualified for an allnighter was when I started my own business several years ago and a dose of developer inspiration carried me into morning. I remember rewarding myself with a trip to Denny's. That'd be fun as I could go for a Slim Slam. Of course, with no car, I'd have to take the bus. On second thought, I'll just get a Snickers from the vending machine.

6:00am - Working on a patent document for an idea I had two years ago. It's amazing what one night of free time will do. Darkness is still upon us, but it shouldn't be long before the dawn. In true fashion of the old days, the light in my office was never on. All that was there was the warm glow of a couple of LCD monitors. The Zune's battery finally gaveout (should have charged it before I left home), so no more tunes.

7:00am - Still, this is about the time I'd be getting on the bus on a typical day, so it should feel just like I came into work early. We'll see if/when the lack of sleep hits. An e-mail just came around saying they'll be serving a "contintental breakfast" this morning, which destroys my vision of some nice scrambled eggs. I've got three meetings scheduled today, including a finance review for last quarter (good thing we nailed our budget), but we'll see how many people show up. Wimps...

8:00am - It's a brand new day. I've got my coffee and my reward scone. I hopped over to Building 2 for a quick shower to refresh me. I'm raring to go, though things seem quiet around here. I just had one of my three meetings cancelled, so we'll have to see if my solitude continues. Still need to work on my patent doc, though it probably won't get done and I'll have to save it for a rainy, er, snowy day.

There it is.  My first allnighter at Microsoft. Other than not seeing my family, it wasn't so bad.  King County public transportation definitely gets a thumbs down, not so much for letting me down yesterday as much as (a) not doing anything to notify riders and (b) the consistent poor service they've had in the last two months in general.  Well, time to finish off the double-shift and then go home, catch a nap, and play with my kid.