On the road

My brother is in the hospital recovering from bowel surgery so Dena and I packed up the dogs this morning and drove up to Wausau, WI to pay him a visit.  He’s got a long history of medical problems, including a build up of scar tissue in his intestine which has been a source of many problems over the years.  This was the seventh or eighth time there was a blockage bad enough to land him in the hospital.  The doctor finally decided it was time to open him up to find out what was really going on and they ended up finding a kink – sort of like the kink in the garden hose that kills the flow of water.

He’s got a bit of recovery ahead of him.  They opened up an eight inch incision down his belly and he’s on a 10-minute morphine pump while that heals, but I’m hopeful that this surgery will help him live a little bit more of a normal life.  He looks downright anorexic right now.  I don’t think I’ve seen him eat more than a few bites of food over the last few years before he started to have discomfort.

This was also the first long ride in the car for Perl.  She had a small bout of carsickness but otherwise did well.  She even discovered the joy of sticking her head out the window (but only when the jeep was stopped).  This also marks the first time she’s slept out of her room and with us.  She’s passed out on the bed right now, using Dena’s leg as a pillow.  Gotta love puppies.

The only hotel we’ve found so far that allows pets is Super 8.  For an extra $10, they stick you in a smoking room and let you keep two dogs with you.  That alone makes Super 8 my new favorite cheap hotel.  With the holiday weekend, I couldn’t get ahold of anyone at our vet aka kennel until this morning, and all their space was filled from the holiday.  We weren’t about to leave the dogs alone in the room all day and night so we did the natural thing and brought them along.  No other hotel we called would even talk to us when we mentioned pets.  Plus free high-speed Internet and a Buffalo Wild Wings across the street.  This I can handle.

A mostly relaxing day on the road, a full belly and wifi and I start tearing through code to find a bug that was killing Apache.  Turns out I made a few serious snafu’s working with LWP::Parallel::UserAgent.  First, I was require’ing it every time the code was hit instead of when the module was loaded.  My earlier testing never took that into account, so I thought its timeout handling was broken.  Turns out my ugly SIGALARM hack was causing mod_perl to dump randomly.  Then, in perhaps the biggest mistake of all, I forgot to convert my database-stored timeouts from milliseconds to seconds, so instead of a timeout of three seconds, it was waiting for three thousand seconds.  Whoops.  That might explain my performance problems over the past few days when one of my upstream sources of data was having hardware issues.  Sometimes, taking a step back and getting a fresh perspective on things really does wonders.  It would also help to work less than 18-hour days.  Sometimes the code just blurs and I the next day I sit and wonder why the hell I wrote what I did.

One more day on the road and then we’ll be home.  Nothing beats the homestead.

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