It’s been a long day. Before I went to sleep last night, I set my alarm for 4:54AM.  To understand why, we have to go back in time to early afternoon yesterday.

Around 3pm, I got a call from my boss.  A project in Melbourne needed someone with scripting skills, and they needed that person urgently.  Fair enough I thought.  I happily agreed to help them out, without quite realising what I’d gotten myself into.  After speaking with some of the guys involved in the project, I found that my expertise wasn’t quite aligned with their requirements.  We spoke about having a teleconference early Thursday morning, and the possibility was raised that I would have to fly to Melbourne to do the work.

Fast forward another 30 minutes, and the teleconference was happening.  They needed me on a plane first thing Thursday morning, to spend a couple of days in Melbourne.  No, it couldn’t be done remotely, and no, what the client was proposing wasn’t in line with Microsoft’s guidelines for the product, but they wanted it anyway.  And they wanted it right now.

So the next few hours were spent frantically trying to work out how to use the travel approval and booking systems. Oh, and they only accepted Amex to pay for the booking.

Finally, around 6:45, the booking was completed.  I had the email confirmations of my flight and hotel accommodation, and it was time to hurridly pack.  I was on a 7:15 flight, and the checkin had to be done at the airport.

This morning I got my ever-helpful Mother to drive me to the airport, and after endless taxiing, a 20 minute wait for our turn to take off, some slight turbulence, I arrived in Melbourne.  I wasn’t too certain about catching the taxi, but there were plenty of people in the line ahead of me to observe, so I think I managed a convincing performance of someone used to catching taxis.

Finally, I arrived at the hotel shortly before 10am.  One of my co-workers met me, and I left my clothes bag in his hotel room, before heading into the bright and shiny Melbourne office.  I met some more of the team, very friendly guys, and got stuck into it.  Had a quick lunch around 12:30, and then headed off to the client site.

It was located in a historical building, and our destination was in the basement, a room full of computers, presumably waiting to be sent to other locations.  Not exactly the most friendly of environments – definitely a step down from the office I’d just been in.  Still, I hacked away at code all afternoon, and managed to make some reasonable progress, before hitting a snag.

The script I’d been brought in to write was to automate a task.  All well and good, when that task works.  But when it fails to run correctly even in the GUI, and vbscript throws an error message which literally states “Generic Error”, you know you have some problems.  Solving them is tomorrow’s exercise.

Since getting back to the hotel, I’ve wandered around Melbourne CBD, eaten Lamb Souvleki for dinner, follwed with some gelati.  All in all, it’s been an interesting experience, and certainly a welcome difference from my usual daily grind.