We met with Luke, the landscaper today. The plan's changed a little based on our conversations with him. In the front, we'll expand the main planting area only a little, grading it and putting a small rock wall in front of it, maintaining a curved border; in front of the border, we'll put a walkway of some kind from the driveway (where it will widen out to give space for someone stepping out of either car door if the car is positioned properly) to the front walk. We will probably actually have the front planting area extend for a narrow bit toward the sidewalk along the front walk, sort of hopping over the walk from the driveway. That will let us camouflage/de-emphasize the side of the front walkway. Other than that, we'll leave the rest of the lawn in place for Rachel & her friends to play on. On the other side of the walkway, we'll remove the lawn completely, put in some sort of step stones from the bottom of the porch steps to the gas meter, and create a planting area that otherwise runs all the way from our walk to Michelle & Xin's retaining wall.
We really didn't talk about the side much, except in generalities; we'd like to do something about all the weeds and we'd like to add some more things that will do well in that space and give us (and Michelle & Xin) some privacy without risk of damage to either house.
In the back, we're going to replace the lawn completely, along with removing a LOT of the old, bad dirt; mainly we'll do the lawn, including it's shape toward the back to leave planting areas and do some basic planting. We'll probably tackle the area under the tree in the back West corner later. It's pretty exciting that he's actually going to be starting on this in about a week! We talked about putting something in the space between the driveway and the fence to the west of it, just in front of the garage. There used to be a tree there, but it was right up against the garage and was pushing the garage out of square, which makes it hard to close. I'll have to work on that later, but as part of this project we're actually going to run a small drip pipe around the garage to provide a drip to whatever we decide to put in that space.
I meant to ask him about running small drip tubes up the sides of the front porch so that we can use the irrigation system to water whatever little pots we decide to put up there. Dawn always likes to have flowers and things on the porch or the walls around it, and as long as we have irrigation, we might as well let it take care of that too. I'm pretty sure it'll be no problem; I'll just mount the tube carefully and then paint it.
Today was a so-so day at work. I rode in and back. Turns out that's almost exactly the same distance as my ride up to Spruce and Grizzly on Sunday. Not as hard on the uphill, nor as easy on the down. Got some really good work done on M, for whom I supposedly have work planned at least through the end of the calendar year. Of course, I'm also trying to get into position to get J to upgrade to 6.5, which just came out and will be a revelation for them - it's much better than 5.6 was, in a lot of ways, and in particular will solve all of their deployment problems, though it does occur to me that they may have a relatively high portion of Netscape users. That could be a problem. I'll have to check on it.
Meanwhile, O is having a cow because there are things that aren't working and support isn't responding fast enough. She's also blaming it on Laszlo, which is not necessarily reasonable in all cases. Seems that one of the big things is actually a defect (something about timesheets exporting twice) and another is a design change (she told me to do it one way, so I did, and now it turns out it's meant to be another). Got that calmed down a little bit, but also got support to take a closer look. And Rich sent me an email with limited detail about Mz wanting to do single-sign-on for email approval all of 15 minutes before going on vacation. I think I got the email more than an hour after he left.
Oh, and I realized that with J integrating their new acquisition, they almost certainly won't have enough licenses to cover all the document owners, which is bad enough, but since the license requires that they pay for all active users regardless of their roles, they're really going to be under! This may result in some good revenue for us, but I hope it doesn't wind up driving them away. Our new Eastern region sales guy, Dick, is making me nervous. I'm afraid he's going to be too ham-handed. I mean, he thought they were impatient with us and that we were having "relationship problems" with regard to the contract for this last work, but that's only with an hopelessly narrow view. We had committed to a date, but the contract negotiations and signing took so long that they were, quite reasonably, worried that we were going to wind up missing that date. I think everything's fine. I'm going to broach the license subject with them myself by email tomorrow to make sure that they don't get offended that I didn't talk to them about it at least at some level myself.
Through all that, had a nice lunch with Duane and Sue and ripped 18 more CDs. I might swap those 18 out of the case I took to work, but it'll have to be in the morning, because I'm too tired to bother right now. Besides, I've still got 30 more in there that I haven't ripped, so it's not exactly a problem to carry the 18 back and forth another time or two.
Rachel is feeling a lot better; she was almost ready to go to school today, but Dawn decided to let her stay home. I think it was good for both of them. Dawn's been pretty stressed at work. I hope she can start making some real headway soon; I know how hard it is to keep working when nothing's going well, etc. And, of course, all the crap going on with her brother isn't helping. We had a long talk with Dick on Monday afternoon (I only joined in after recovering from my migraine, so I wasn't even in on it most of the time). It's really important that he stop enabling Darryl & Molly's problems and focus on protecting his own future because we're not going to be in a position to give any of them any significant help when he runs out of money. Dawn wrote them all a tough letter tonight that she's going to mail soon.
Anyway, she and Rachel stayed home and had a pretty good, mellow day. Rachel's back to being dry over night after that one accident while she's been sick. I've told her each of the last couple of nights that she should come get me if she needs to use the toilet in the middle of the night and doesn't want to go by herself. I'm faintly worried that'll lead to her coming for me every night and taking a long time to start being able to go by herself at night, but I think it's more important that she not have accidents in her bed than that she never need help going at night. I think she'll probably do OK, though; we have a night-light in her room, another in the hall right outside her door, and another in the bathroom. Of course, other than the occasional bad dream or wetting herself the other night, she rarely wakes up in the middle of the night, so maybe it'll never be a problem anyway.