Friday night’s around our house is date night. It makes for a convenient time for my wife and I to get away from everything and spend some time together. We try to go to dinner and do some shopping, even if it is just window shopping. Sometimes we’ll do a movie or something else. Lots of times we end up doing some errands to keep our weekend emptier.
Date night is interrupted on a few rare occasions by some other activity, but most rudely is interrupted by my on-call week. Once every ten weeks or so, I am primary on-call for my work. I carry a blackberry and I need to be able to address any issues that come up with the automated computer jobs, or with the distribution centers. Generally when I’m on-call, I get a call once every day or two. Our systems are very large, so this is a pretty small number of calls.
A few months ago, after several times being on call without an interruption on Friday night, we decided to be bold. We went to a restaurant about thirty minutes from home. We entered the door and as I gave our name to be put on the waiting list, the blackberry went off with a call. Of course, I had left my laptop at the house. We had to remove our name from the list and hurry home.
Fortunately, the issue wasn’t one that prevented the Distribution Center from working, just something they needed cleaned up before the end of the shift. I was able to resolve the issue once we got home while my wife ran out to get some food for us to eat at home. We had our date night there in our bedroom while we watched television. It was a poor substitute for our normal night, and an especially poor substitute for the restaurant we were hoping to eat at that night.
After that occasion, I try to keep us much more strict about staying close to the house on Friday nights. My laptop has lately been having problems with the backlight on the screen, so I don’t even trust bringing that to someplace with wi-fi available. We do have quite a few decent restaurants close enough to the house that we are able to eat a nice and relatively quiet dinner. Until the pager goes off.