Friday, 19 February 1999:

The End of an Epic

This morning I took the cats to the vet for their "pre-flight inspection"; I guess they want to make sure they know how to buckle their seat-belts during take-off and landing. (Actually, they need a certificate from a vet saying the cats can fly.) I took out the guys' kennels before I showered, and Jefferson promptly went and hid under the bed, and when he came out he always stayed at least 20 feet from the kennels. Newton, on the other hand, went and sat in one kennel, then came out and sat in the other kennel.

The cats were well-behaved on the drive there, and then reversed their usual behavior in the office; usually Newton is out and being friendly, while Jefferson cowers in a kennel. This time Jeff was out checking stuff out, while Newton was being timid. Wonder why? Anyway, in the 45 minutes we were there, Jefferson got comfortable enough in the exam room that he jumped up on the table and loafed up with his regal "lord of all I survey" look. It was cute - and out-of-character for the cat who hides when I have company.

So the visit went well. I got some mild kitty drugs for them; I've gotten very mixed advice on whether to give them tranquilizers on the trip, from John saying that I should absolutely not give them tranks unless they're likely to completely wig out in the kennel, to a vet friend of mine saying she can't imagine transporting them without giving them drugs. My own vet seemed ambivalent about it; they said they probably don't need drugs, but decided that very mild pills couldn't hurt. So, I'll give it a try. (Unless I have a change of heart.)

So today was my last day of work at Epic. A few facts about my tenure there:

  1. I started work on June 20, 1994, which means at the end of today I'd worked there for four and two-thirds years to the work-day.
  2. When I started there, Epic was 15 years old and had around 65 employees. Now it's 20 years old and has around 325 employees. So it's quintupled in size in five years.
  3. When I started on my product, the team consisted of my, my boss Peter, and my friend and company-mentor Charlie. We gained an installer, Susan, a couple of weeks later, and another programmer, Gene, a couple months after that. We remained stable until the following spring when we gained a QAer and a documentor.
  4. The team now has 24 people: 7 developers (including me), 3 technical services staff, 4 QAers, 2 documentors, 1 trainer, 1 sales person (Charlie, who moved from development a few years ago), and 6 installers.
  5. My product didn't exist when I started.
  6. When I started, Epic was in rented office space which they'd outgrown. Now they're in an owned building which was just completed, and which they've nearly outgrown.
  7. When I started, Epic had its own home-grown e-mail and word processing software. (Epic actually owns the software trademark on 'ASAP', which was the e-mail system.) Now they use MS Outlook and Word.
My last day was pretty mellow. I spent a lot of time saying goodbye to people, some time cleaning out the last few things from my office, a little time checking out with the administrative staff, and some time writing up a status report on my final project, which didn't quite get done.

It was hard to leave, to walk out the door the last time. I got quite a few nice comments and well-wishes from people on my way out. It's nice to be appreciated. I regret that I am not very good at accepting or responding to compliments; I often feel that the best I can do is accept them with good grace, which I guess is something.

I came home with my box of stuff and spent some time unpacking it - which basically meant organizing it in some way for the movers to pack. Where'd I get all this junk? Well, at least 60% of it is books, thank goodness; books are easy to pack. Mostly they're old textbooks from school.

I also went through some of the stuff I have to sign and return to Apple; need to get it in the mail tomorrow so they can set things up for my first day. It would be good to get paid, so returning the W-4 form is probably wise.

Then I went down to the Cafe Assisi and met my friend Gene (the programmer mentioned above) and his new girlfriend (okay, they've been dating 7 months, but I hadn't met her before) to see a concert by Arlo Leach. Arlo is another ex-Epic employee. In fact, his singing partner is yet another ex-Epic person, and there were two more in the audience besides us. It was pretty impressive, I suppose.

I hadn't seen Arlo in concert before. He's quite good; his guitar technique is excellent and very polished. His voice is a little odd, and takes some getting used to. I think their best material was for an album of children's songs they're writing and recording (due out this spring? I forget); Arlo's voice seems particularly well-suited to that material.

It was a good time. I got to chat with everyone, and cracked some really bad puns (woo-hoo!).

And now, it's quite late, and I'm quite tired, and I need to sleep and yet I need to wake up by a decent hour tomorrow. So I will bid you adieu.

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