When you need a break....

Anyone who is looking for contract work without being known in the industry will realise that very few orgainsations are any good at the process of recruitment. So you can have an excellent CV, show outstanding work, and have an outstanding bedside manner, but unless you make the right connection with the right people at the right time, you are unlikely to be successful. Well I had been looking for a while, and landed a contract with NSW Education, that is after they had already interviewed me a month prior, but considered me unworthy. Then they changed their minds, gave me another interview, and I got the gig. One of the conditions for the job wase a police check. There is no feedback for this check, and though they suggest the process should only take a week, in my case it was 20 days before they got their shit together. We had allowed 2 weeks, so by the day before I was due to start, my nerves were frayed.
So I agonized to the recruitment agent about what I could do. Of course there was nothing I could do, so the recruitment guy said that, in view of the stressful couple of months I was likely to have in this contract, it would be a good idea to take the day off. This was a relatively new concept for me, and rather than rant, rave and give my new employer the impression that I could not deal with pressure, I took the advice, and decided to drive up past the blue mountains to the high plains beyond as I had heard it had been snowing.....
Route to Janolan Caves
Not the highest point in the region, Janolan caves are 793 metres above sea level, but Novem had said that some friends posted some photos of this area, and there was snow. It was a week day, so I figured the traffic would be fairly easy, and as Sydney traffic gives me the heebeegeebees, this was an important consideration. When the traffic is light, and you are not in a rush, the drive through the blue mountains can be quite relaxing. The commodore is also a very comfortable car to drive, particularly on long journeys, so we made our way west.
How about this dad?
The first smatterings of snow started to appear after we had passed through the blue mountains and reached the plains. Not knowing if the snow would get any deeper, and being fearful that it would all melt in the afternoon sun, it was tempting to stop and start playing in the first snow that we saw, but I held my nerve and kept driving past the pretty white fields and meadows until we saw snow deep enough to cover snow boots.
Leaving Footprints
So how about this dad? Well, before this photo was taken, I saw a section of snow where the hand of man had not set foot, and of course, there was no way we could leave that sea of pristine white perfection without making our mark. The mission was to make as many footprints as possible.

Get ready for snowball hell

In actual fact the three against one contest meant I got a fair whack of snow too. Ah, but who would have thought throwing snow could be so much fun. Looking at the photo though, I see that I still had my pandemic hair. Not having ventured out for over three months, I had the first growth in quite a while. I don't bother with hairdressers anyway, preferring to use the clippers myself when my hair gets long, and it had just been too cold. Made me feel like an Adelaidean again having a Mullet.
Get ready for snowball hell
The other team needed more focus. Look at this interesting thing on the floor made for a serious snow ball handicap. Gareth was straightening his cuffs ready for royalty.....
Family in the snow
Make a face in the snow
When I said make a face on the snowman, I think all Sophia heard was "Make A Face". Of the three photos I had of her and the snowman, she was making this sour face.... But we did it. Another snow day milestone is to make a snowman, right folks?
This day in the snow was such a great idea. By the time we started home, I felt the stresses of the last 6 months had been washed away, and this is no small task. My job can be very stressful at times, with sites needing to be up 24X7, and tests never covering all possibilities, it is frequent that I have difficult problems to solve with very little time.
So the contract was a little less than three months, and when I started I was rather horrified at the state of the code. It was an absolute mess, and I said to myself, I can either bandaid their shitty code together and run at the end of the contract, or I can rewrite the whole thing properly. The day out in the snow had really relaxed me and I was ready for a marathon. The money was outstanding, so I made a fresh project and spent the following week and weekend reverse engineering the models and code. Luckily there was only 8620 lines of python code in a Django framework with no live data yet, as the product had not been deployed. I just did a quick check, and for the month of September, I pulled 523 hours.
So I got a fair bit of Kudos. The application is working and deployed, automated tests are running on the backend, and the project has made me realise that I am very experienced in my field. I have had side contracts with my full time employment before, and each time I have valued the extra experience it has gained me. Well now at long last (taking into consideration I finished my undergraduate applied mathematics and computer science degree in 1991) I am finally earning a good wage. NSW Education got me to sign another 6 month contract, and it looks like they want me to stay, but even if the contract runs out in the middle of the year, I have some good references which will hold me in good stead for the next adventure.....
Pristene snow