Know your customer

My son turned three this week. Its the first birthday that he’s understand enough to get excited about it. And he sure was excited. He had expectations about what a birthday entailed and one of those things was cake. A cake with Lightning McQueen on it.

In a year where covid has taken away so many little flourishes I figured the least thing I could to was make him a cake. Im also a child of the women’s weekly birthday cake book, with photos from my own birthdays and the cakes that went with them firmly imprinted in my memory.

It was a workday and I didn’t have a whole lot of time on my hands for cake decorating so I went with a can’t go wrong packet mix. Only it did go wrong.

The cake part was fine, but the icing went…weird. It separated but in a really strange way which made it really grainy. By this time it was late in the day. I had no ingredients to remake icing. I could go to the shops but it would be annoying and add stress to the day.

Then I remembered who my customer was. A three year old who had no expectations of what a cake should be other than a candle and Lightning McQueen. That was still achievable.

I slathered the cake with rough as guts icing, complete with bumpy race track. I positioned a few cars and done. Ugly but met the requirements.

And the three year old was thrilled.


Ugly but adequate

Cleaning the Whiteboard

Yesterday I did a total reset the whiteboard I’ve been using to plan out the completion of my thesis. Partly in procrastination, and partly to set my intentions. I wiped it completely clean, including the aspirational completion date of October 2020. Sigh.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s 2020 has not been as productive as they thought it would be. When I set up that whiteboard initially, I was flying high with motivation. Then when the stay at home recommendations started coming in my work shifted from the office to the kitchen table. My whiteboard stayed in the office and gradually things slipped.

I wouldn’t say it was lack of motivation, more a scrambling of my brain. And a rejig of schedule that was just enough to set many things off kilter. You work to get it back, and then there’s another shutdown. Even though it only lasted a couple of days, it was still enough to throw me mentally off balance.

But as I set up my new whiteboard I began to notice that even though I’m not where I had hoped to be, I’ve still made quite a bit of progress. The idea of completing my thesis isn’t a fanciful flight of fantasy, it’s just a long slog. A marathon that is slowly but surely nearing it’s completion. So what if I don’t make record time? I’m not racing against anyone but myself. Just finish, that’s all that matters.