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How The Web Was Lost

by Mark St Jefferson, Bow, London, UK


"You lucky sod, how did you manage to swing that one?" My wife asked incredulously. I was about to have the last four days before Christmas working on the companies needed web site at home. Which considering I was usually fighting my way through Supermarket sales floors, in an attempt to fix something, seemed like a godsend to me.

Four days at home working on one of my favourite pastimes, web-design. Great, I wasn't contemplating the chance to be lazy. I had worked at home before, and normally get more done than when I am in the office; which was part of my argument for getting the time to do this.

But I failed to remember one thing, well five things actually. The last time I was off we only had three cats and being slightly more mature these days. They pretty much left me alone. Silk would come and sit on the writing draw, that pulled out of my desk, and the occasional visit onto the lap, when I took my breaks. The two girls; Freyja and Shonie, tend to spend most of the time finding the highest spot possible to sleep on.

Since then we had had a pair of new arrivals; Drizzt and Felia two delightful white balls of fluff, that in a moment of insanity I had decided we had the space to bring up. It's amazing how quickly you can forget just how disruptive young cats can be. They are both about 18 weeks now, and doing fine, even though Felia is stone deaf. We are trying to teach her sign language, which she pays attention to about as much as any cat does, when you ask them not to do something.

Rather than a long drawn out story, I will continue this in the form of a Diary:

Day 1
Got up, fed the cats and the fish, (We have two large fish tanks). Sorted out the litter trays, and made the coffee. Good start this I thought, get the chores well out of the way, leaving me free to start working, when my wife leaves for work.

Not going to work, so I don't have to shave. Just a basic scrub down, and back into in a pair of jogging bottoms and my favourite bathrobe. Well I didn't have to dress to impress today; I was here to design, and I argued that I would design better, being as comfortable as possible.

Sit down with mug of coffee, a cigarette and switch on my PC. Downloaded all 150 e-mails since midnight, skimmed them, filed the ones I wanted to read, and trashed the rest. Drizzt jumps up on my lap for his morning cuddle, the others are doing their normal post feeding; wash and laze out routines.

This is good I thought, I am normally struggling to do this, as I normally have to be on the road by about 07:30. I haven't even usually got time to make a fuss of the cats.

My disgruntled wife leaves for work, out into the freezing winter air, whilst I sit in my chair cuddling Drizzt, in our toasty warm flat. She is convinced I am going to have a lazy time of it. Even though I try and tell her that web design isn't that easy, and I will have to work hard if I am going to have something to show my boss in the New Year.

I have finished reading my mail, answered some, and decided to start up the other PC as well to retrieve some of my old graphics files, down the network. I tear through the remaining tutorials in Dream weaver I have been running through, along with the notes we made at the meetings. And am confident that I can get somewhere with the rather ambitious plan I had drawn out for my boss.

This is great, I have finished all the things I was planning to spend the first Morning on, within two hours of getting up. My sketches and plans are laid out on the desk next to me, and I have all the CD-ROMs I think I will need by me too. To celebrate I put on a fresh pot of coffee. Even Drizzt has decided he is cuddled out and has slunk off to find a warm spot to snooze in. (I love him dearly, but he can be rather demanding, in the cuddle department, making typing rather difficult when you have him halfway up your neck or trying to wash the hand I move the mouse with.

Things have been going so well I can't believe it, I am running both PC's and doing Graphics on one whilst writing and trying some new Java-Script on the other. I even nearly have the home page fully working, (In Draft format) and the first three pages. To celebrate this I put on another jug of coffee, and decide to spend 15mins sorting out that filter on the Cat-Fish Tank that has been bugging me for days.

SPLASH!! Felia has jumped onto the fish tank, not realising that the lid is up again. I rescue one very soggy kitten, and spend the next ten minutes drying her off.

SCREAM!!! As I realise, that her attempt too try the new British Kitty-Paddle Record in a Fish tank. Felia accidentally knocked the unattached filter tube out of the Tank, which has decided to siphon itself out onto the Lounge floor.

10 minutes = more water than the local swimming baths, and I rush around with old towels and a mop and bucket trying to soak up the mess. Felia and Drizzt think this is all good fun, and manage to knock over the bucket twice in their efforts to help me.

1 hr and 10 minutes later, I have managed to dry the room out enough to relax again. The Fish Tank is refilled, the filter fixed and Felia has been dried off twice more after falling in the mop bucket. (That Girl seems to have an unnatural affinity with water, and I sometimes wonder if she is not part Turkish Van.) My coffee has gone cold, and I am now no longer in front with the web site. I put on another pot of coffee and decide to take an early lunch. So I change (My Bath Robe and Jogging bottoms are now damp.) Give the cats a snack to keep them quiet, and sit down in front of the PC with a sandwich and coffee to try and remember where I was.

In their attempt to prove that my lunch was far more interesting than theirs. Felia and Drizzt make a teamed two-pronged assault onto my Desk. The Documents and CD's go flying, as does my coffee. This is a clever ploy, as Drizzt has run off with Felia and one of my ham sandwiches; whilst I am crawling around the floor, picking up papers and mopping up coffee. I change again as my clean jogging bottoms are now soaked in coffee, pour another cup and sit down again. I eat my remaining sandwich, less the Ham that Silk stole while I was getting changed. As I found out that was the last of the bread and the Ham. Then once more try and get back into my work.

I am getting back on track, although something is wrong with earlier code I wrote, this confuses me as it was working earlier. So as I can't seem to make out where the error is, I decide to print off the code; in order to read through it manually.

Felia decided that She was cold after all her swimming lessons and jumped onto one of the monitors via the printer. This turned it off, on and off again halfway through a printing cycle jamming the heads. I spend 30 minutes clearing the jam, cleaning the print heads and convincing windows that it all now works and can now print it again. After reading the printout, I find the error was Drizzt's helpful paw typing: 'hflmjklopi' somewhere in the middle of a line of script. I fix the error and save it all. Before putting on another pot of coffee, as the last one got stewed whilst I sorted out the printer.

Felia decided that what I was doing was of high interest. And was determined to sit right in front of the monitor to watch, after politely informing her, that she did not make a very good window and removing her several times. She got more and more determined and in an amazing feat of paw dexterity: Managed to get my PC to blue screen in a non recoverable error, needing a complete reboot.

I found not only did my PC crash, but in that unorthodox system of key presses and re-booting. Some of my files are now corrupt. I spend 20 minutes trying to get Norton to repair them for me, before deciding it will be quicker to re-write them. Luckily I know what I have done so far, and getting them back to where they were does not take too long. The only problem is by now I should have been well ahead of this. As I am now only back where I was 2 hours earlier. I now have to work faster in order to catch up.

I hear a crash in the kitchen, only to find that between them Silk, Drizzt and Felia have opened a cupboard and removed a king size bag of Cat Munchies (Kibble). In approximately 15 minutes all 5 have managed to open the bag and devour half of the contents. I now have 5 Cats with very full bellies, and have to put down extra water to help them digest it. But at least it is peaceful now.

In a supreme act of projectile vomiting. Freyja has managed to cover half of my notes. She had the whole place to choose from, and decided that those pieces of paper were the right place, to do the act. I clean it up grab and try and rescue some of my damaged notes.

I decide to grab a coffee before it stews again, but as I reach the kitchen I hear a crash and see a white blur as Drizzt jumps out of another cupboard and steams off down the hall. I check the contents and it all seems fine, but can't be sure as Drizzt is hiding. So I give up and try to get back to work.

I hear some howls and hisses from down the hall, and get down there to find: Drizzt had stolen a bag of Catnip and somehow it has ripped and is now all over the TV room floor. This obviously happened since I caught him in the kitchen, as I now have 5 very stoned cats, fighting over the spilled contents. I grab the Vacuum cleaner and sweep up as much as I can, but it is obviously too late. I put on a fresh pot of coffee and sit down with a cigarette, as I start to come to the conclusion that I am not going to get as much as I wanted finished today.

The Cats are now so stoned, that they think a game or two of: Lets see how fast we can circumnavigate the place, will be real fun. Just as they start this the phone rings it's my Boss.

"How's it going?"

"Oh you know how it is, these graphic files take an age to create, and the script turned out more complex than I expected."

BANG!!! One of the cats hits the cat flap at warp 6

"What was that?"

"Oh just the cats, they're playing."

BANG!!!! BANG!!! Two more hit it at warp 7.5

"What? Are they armed with shotguns? And shooting clays?"

"No I think one of them just managed to break the land sonic barrier, that was the sonic boom you just heard."

"You sure you are not playing Quake?"

Me to myself:
"If only I had the time."

Then to him:
"No it's the cats honest."

In the background we hear the galloping of 5 cats doing a good impression of a herd of wild mustangs.

"Just how many cats have you got?"

"Oh just the five."

"Sounds like 25 to me, just how big are they?"

"Oh about average, two of them are only kittens."

Boss as we hear them coming back down the hall:
"What do they wear on their feet? Hob-Nail boots?"

"Oh they are just having a nutty five minutes, they are usually well behaved."

"And you say, you can get more work done at home? I'm surprised you can hear yourself think."

As he says that there is another stampede then the sound of shattering crockery as the dishes from my lunch, go flying off the kitchen counter.

"Look I better go, I will e-mail you what I have done so we can discuss the look of it tomorrow."

With that he hangs up, leaving me to lock the cats out of the kitchen, whilst I sweep up the broken crockery. This is hampered by the sound of cat's launching siege weapons at the kitchen door. As they are now positive I am obtaining food without their presence.

As I finally sit back down with a cup of instant coffee. (I have run out of filter) My wife walks in.

"Good day dear?" I ask

"Mumble mumble. It was bloody bedlam. You know how bad that place gets near to Christmas." She goes into the kitchen.

"I see you must have had an easy day. The floors nice and clean and you've drunk all the filter coffee."

I think I will volunteer for active duty on some Pacific War zone. It would probably be more peaceful.


Editor's note:

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