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I fucked this up

tcr! · 5 days ago

Yellow lily hiding in the leaves

I set up an auto-renew feature on a client’s website not long ago so members could check a box and have their member account renewed each year. It’s a win-win for the client and the member since neither would need to do anything. The client would collect their membership dues and the member would have uninterrupted access to the site. Hurray!

However. When the first member selected the option their credit card was charged twice. And then of course it happened to the second member.

After each duplicate charge I thoroughly reviewed my code to see what was going wrong and for the life of me I couldn’t figure it out. I was even tempted to just disable the feature and not tell anybody. But that wouldn’t be the right thing to do even if it did solve the problem from my end. I ended up telling the website to send me emails anytime anything happened with the auto-renewals.

This morning I got up after only sleeping six or hours and I saw a handful of emails from the site. Of course the latest member had two charges on their credit card. Again. It’s one thing to screw something up and look like an idiot. It’s something else to look like an idiot and bill a client’s member an extra $125.

When I’m tired I don’t have much patience. I’m easily frustrated and it doesn’t take long for me to give up on life. And maybe yell at the cat because she wants her breakfast.

But often times giving up is exactly what we’re supposed to do. When we can’t see the flowers for the leaves.

Let go and stop trying to fix and manage and control things that we’re not suppose to. Let go of the mess we’ve made of things. Being full of imperfection, it’s a given that we’ll screw things up. And it’s totally cool to say “I made a huge mess and I need help cleaning it up.”

So then after I was at my wit’s end and I remembered I need to give up in life, I prayed. I asked the cosmos for help and guidance in fixing a huge problem I created.

After we let go we’re set free. Free to see things how they really are. Clarity won’t come when I’m frustrated and unhinged. It comes when I have a clear mind and a positive outlook. When I’m anchored to a spiritual rock. I need to find harmony inside and out if I want to move forward when I’m stuck.

Society won’t often reward us for admitting defeat or being vulnerable or saying I fucked this up. Especially in the corporate/business world.

But when I am those things regardless of my circumstances or environment, I’m rewarded with tranquility and contentment on the cosmic scale. Sometimes I even get a steel blue striped donut.

Anyways, here’s the email conversation I had with the client after I went to work and spent less than half an hour on finding and fixing the auto renewals bug.


Hi CLIENT,

I deeply regret to say that these duplicate charges have been my fault.

After reviewing all the code again this morning I see that PayPal lets you set the recurring charge amount and then also an initial charge amount for auto renewals. I had set an initial charge because I misunderstood PayPal’s documentation to mean that would be the first charge.

In any account I’ve removed the initial charge amount and I’m really hoping, crossing my fingers it puts this issue to bed once and for all.

Again, my most humble apologies for the headaches.

-Travis


Well I am glad to hear you found the solution to the issue. No worries, at least it is taken care of.

Thanks,

CLIENT


PS- Most people won’t argue with you when you admit you’re wrong or made a mistake. They just want to get on with their life, too.

PS2- After I wrote this I was looking around work for a photo to go with it. And then I went outside for a few minutes because it’s sunny and I like sunny. The cosmos gifted me with the perfect image. Serendipity, peeps.

#photos #flowers #advancedsoul

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Jun 4th, 2018 at 7:50:22 pm

tcr! · Jun 4, 2018 at 7:50 pm

Me: Well, she’s been known to take things a little too personal.

Maggie: Yeah.

Me: Don’t tell her I said that though.

Maggie: Because she’d take it personal?

#maggie #advancedsoul

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blooming in the shade

tcr! · May 27, 2018 at 7:35 am

blooming in the shade

Happy Sunday, peeps. Try not to overbook. Keep the calendar light. Less things are better. Schedule downtime with your favorite people. Enjoy their company.

We’ll never find a better reason to live than enjoying people’s company. Make them feel extraordinary. Not the whole world, just the ones that count.

💜 #photos #flowers #advancedsoul

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Route around the struggles

tcr! · May 17, 2018 at 9:30 am

Aquarius Professional Water Flosser

I talk about my dentist now and then because he and his staff are part of my life. And I talk about what’s going on that’s had some kind of impact on me. Granted, sometimes I talk about shit that doesn’t have an impact but whatever.

So anyways awhile back my dentist said he wanted me to use a water flosser to get below the gum line. I brush my teeth and use floss picks because that’s what I do but obviously if he said I should use the Waterpik® then what I do is not enough.

Mostly I’m open to other people’s ideas. I’ve learned that I don’t have all the answers so I picked one up on Amazon and then after I got it, I tried it a few times but always ended up making a huge mess. The pick would be spraying all over the mirror, all over the walls. Water would be in my eyes and ears. The cats would be floating by on their inner tubes. I’m not even kidding.

It was like I had a firehose in my mouth and all that turned into too much chaos for me to deal with. Right before bed is when I’ve always brushed my teeth and having a waterpark in my bathroom when I’m winding down the day is not something I have the patience for.

And then of course every time I go to see my dentist he’d ask me if I’d been using the Waterpik and I’d be like, “well kinda sorta, not really.” A couple of times he’d be kind stern and on my case[1] and that never sits well with me. I seem to have an aversion to people bossing me around. If someone tells me to do something then my standard response is “no, I don’t think so.”

And then of course we got cheated in the teeth department. I mean really, sharks get new teeth all the time and here I am stuck with the same teeth I’ve had since I was 10. That’s bullshit. But sharks are beside the point.

The last time I went to see my dentist we had our typical conversation about the Waterpik and I was fully expecting the hand of judgement to come crashing down. But this time was different. He said that he’d personally just made it part of his routine. He wasn’t telling me something that I needed to do but was instead telling me something he had done for himself.

And I do better when I hear things phrased like that. I admire and respect my dentist so if that’s what he had done, make it part of his routine, then that’s what I wanted to do, too.

I just needed to figure out how. How without my next Amazon purchase being a scuba suit.

Here’s the real story: when I became open to the idea of change it quietly occurred to me that I could brush my teeth and use the Waterpik firehose earlier in the day. Instead of right before bed when I’m tired and just want to go to sleep.

So now I brush my teeth, use my Waterpik, gargle with peroxide mix, and all that razzle-dazzle right when I get home from work. Instead of fighting against something that wasn’t working I found a different way that would work. If I’m frustrated then that’s a sign that I need to “pause, pray, and proceed.” Take a step back and solve whatever problem by another means. Even with something as simple as all of this.[2]

And then this whole affair became all too easy. It’s part of my daily routine now. Using the Waterpik after work I wasn’t tired and had the patience to figure out how to actually use it without turning my bathroom into a carwash. I still brush my teeth right before bed, too, so now I’m up to brushing 2-3 times a day. I’m practically a dentist myself.

I’m pretty grateful that I can be flexible today. That I can let go of the rigidity of this is how I do things because this is how I’ve always done them. Dogma is bullshit. Even more so when I enforce or inflict it upon myself.

If I want what I’ve always had then all I need to do is what I’ve always done. But if I want something more maybe I should try something new.

Also, if you need a dentist mine is great. His whole staff is awesome. Well, one of the younger techs is kinda bossy so I don’t pay much mind to her.

#photos #advancedsoul #dental


  1. As he should be because it’s his job to take care of me when I’m not taking care of myself.

  2. It’s funny that I struggle with the trivial things probably way more than the complex guys. I think that’s because I go into “I don’t wanna deal with this insignificant bullshit. I got other shit to do” mode.

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You can’t dump that there

tcr! · May 5, 2018 at 10:20 am

For whatever reason the Chicago Tribune left newspapers on my sidewalk for three days in a row. I like that because reading the paper from start to finish broadens my horizons. I come across articles and the like that I wouldn’t have sought out on my own.

Like this particular Dear Abby-ish piece about a couple that was having a fundraiser with the funds coming from a cash bar. Another couple had shown up with their own wine and proceeded to drink out in the yard or something.

So then the columnist’s advice was to just bluntly ask them about it.

Whats up with that

“Daisy and Tom, we found a pile of wine bottles on the lawn near your car, and I think they came from you and your guests. What’s up with that?”

The thing I like most about this was the such few words the columnist offered to the person who wrote in. It wasn’t War and Peace, it was two sentences.

“Here’s what you did that upset me. Why did you do that?”

When I have something to say to someone about something they’ve done I can get nervous. And when I get nervous I can talk too much. And talking too much dilutes and pollutes what I’m trying to say. Those extra words make the conversation harder than it needs to be.

Emotionally tip-toeing around the subject can put me on the defensive with an aggressive person. It can give them the upper hand since the spotlight is on me and my nervousness instead of on them for what they did in the first place.

Confrontation isn’t easy for passive people like me. I regularly deal with a guy who’s consistently combative, who’s in it to win. Well, he’s in it to be right. At all costs. Whenever he gets a chance to be “right” he stomps the gas, squeals and smokes his tires, and barrels ahead full throttle. He swerves all over the road with pure emotional adrenaline fueling his words and actions.

I’m not a fan of funny cars so I do my best to diffuse those situations with objective facts. Because I don’t care about being right anymore. I care about having great relationships with people. If I’m wrong, so be it. Me saying that I’m wrong let’s me have those phenomenal relationships. Me saying that I’m right when I’m obviously not only makes us both lose.

But back to my point. Me calling people out has never been my strong suit. I don’t like it. It makes me uncomfortable. I want other people to feel safe and I want to feel safe as well.

And then cosmos goes and puts me in situations that make me uncomfortable, to teach me things I need to learn. And often it seems as if those same lessons come up again and again until I do get comfortable with them.

The good news is that when I need to confront someone, I don’t need to minimize or maximize what they’ve actually done. I just need to be clear, concise, and direct. Just like the columnist suggested. It made me feel good reading her article, too, to be reminded again that this struggle is real for a lot of people and not just me.

In related news: when I’m done writing what I try to do is go back and take out all the bullshit, all the fluff[1] that gets in the way of what I’m trying to say. Because I over complicate. I want to talk about this and then I want to talk about that and then there’s this other thing that I want to say. Really though, it’s about condensing what I’m trying to say so people understand.

Confrontation is in the same realm. What is it that I need to say? Once I figure that out then all that’s left for me to do is say it.

I tell this Microsoft story now and then because it gave me a little spiritual insight. It changed everything.

One afternoon I overheard a conversation between a sales guy and his boss. The salesman had had a hard conversation with a customer and it frazzled him. He was still upset when replaying the conversation to his boss. The boss said to him plain and simple, “you need to take the emotion out of it.”

Now that’s in the true spirit of detachment. I don’t have to get all emotional about things. I make situations worse when I do. I only need to take a minute to regain my composure. Then simply state the obvious. It doesn’t hurt for me to first say a little prayer either. Tapping into the universe will give me all the strength and courage I need in hard situations.

Moving from someone who’s anxious to someone who’s confident has a lot to do with me just getting fundamentally okay. My past can hold me back in the present so letting go of my garbage from yesterday frees me up to be fully present and able today. It frees me up to confront roaring lions and noisy drag racers.

But still… I’m only human.

So yesterday I got a little cranky with one of my neighbors. There’s a retention pond behind our houses and she’s gotten in the habit of dumping her lawn refuse under one of the retention pond’s trees. And then when I look out my back window or am in my backyard, I see a big pile of her yard garbage.

I don’t get how people can be so selfish and it pisses me off to no end when that spills over onto me. What is it with these people? It’s always me, me, me. It’s like the other neighbor and her little barking dog. Why does she let him be outside barking all the time?

Anyway, yesterday the first neighbor and her wheelbarrow of yard bullshit were headed over to the retention pond. It was the first time I’d literally caught her in the act. When she saw me, she and her wheelbarrow did a 180 back toward her yard. I pointed to the spot she’s been dumping and said borderline belligerently, “you can’t dump that there.”

Oops. I came across more aggressive than I would’ve liked. Definitely had some punch in my words. Too many times seeing her trash pile, though, and then I was blurting belligerence before I knew it.

And that’s where I went wrong in yesterday’s confrontation. I shouldn’t let emotion build up until it comes spewing out. Most importantly, I should never be an asshole when confronting someone. I need to “take the emotion out of it” first.

It’s true that sometimes people need to get a little feeling in their scolding. Seems like it motivates them a smidge more when they know what they’ve done has really gotten on someone’s nerves or hurt their feelings. But still, everybody is human and even though some are selfish, most people are walking around as clueless as me.

What I should’ve done (long ago) is simply knocked on her door and said, “Your yard debris belongs in refuse bags and not under that tree. Please don’t dump it there anymore.”

Yeah, that looks good on paper but I don’t know if I’m that spiritually advanced.

Going to someone’s house is a nice idea and all but most likely something I’ll never do.[2] I’m not that guy. I’ll never be able to bench press 200 pounds either because that’s not the kind of personality that I have.

But even if I never get to be the guy who walks up and confronts a neighbor assertively after the fact, just knowing that’s the loving and true way to handle those situations, makes me a bigger person. Just “knowing” even if we’re not capable of always “doing” puts us on the right spiritual path.

And I’ve had above average success confronting people when I just make my point in a loving manner. I’m grateful that the people in my life aren’t jerks, don’t mean to be an asshole anymore than I do.

Believe it or not the majority of people are receptive to hearing that they’ve made a mistake. And then they feel bad just as I do, just as we’re all supposed to when we screw up. Dropping the ball is all part of being human. It’s how we learn and grow and become better people, become more than who we’ve always been.

#relationships #advancedsoul #protip


  1. Originally there were two more paragraphs in this about the funny car guy. It was a tangent that I didn’t need to be off on though so they got the axe.

  2. I put a sign by her refuse pile instead so everybody knows that it’s not a dump.

    No dumping sign

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Karma doesn’t torture us

tcr! · May 3, 2018 at 9:46 am

first daffodils for 2018

While I was sitting with my nicotine withdrawal earlier, I was saying my morning prayers, asking god to take my nicotine addiction away, take all the pain and discomfort. And then I started to get crabby because these withdrawals have been going on for well over a month. Fucking Greg.

And then I kind of scolded myself, “God’s got nothing to do with this.”

My nicotine withdrawal is the consequence of decades of smoking. My smoking. No amount of praying is going to take that physical pain away. Sure, the cosmos can give us everything we need to make it through our struggles but we still have to deal with any bullshit that we’ve created.

And then I think, “haven’t I suffered with this enough?”

And then I think again, “no, karma is fair and balanced.”

Karma doesn’t torture us. We do.

Sometimes I think that I struggle more than I should, though. I can and do make life harder than it needs to be. I’m just not good at it. I know how to make crazy. Because it’s my go to.

And then I was thinking of what Scott Peck wrote in the late 70s:

Life is difficult.

Nothing else stood out in The Road Less Traveled more to me than that. Not that I’m on the same cosmic level as him but I think it would’ve been more appropriate to say that “life is balanced.” He may have wrote that, too, but I don’t remember.

Sure, life is hard and full of struggles but it’s absolutely magnificent, too.

Just living can be frustrating, disappointing, aggravating but it’s also fulfilling, magical, and surreally spectacular.

So what to do when I’m annoyed with myself and the mess I’ve made? When there’s nothing left for me to do on my end? I stop thinking about me and my horrors and look around to see what else is going on. What’s good happening in the cosmos?

Because even when the sky is gray and the air rainy, the world is beautifully overflowing with sweet Jesus goodness. It’s got flowers and everything.

#photos #flowers #advancedsoul

tcr! tcr! · May 4, 2018 at 6:50 am

Who is Greg you might ask. That is a very good question.

Greg is Norwegian. A simple man with locks of gold and a mustache to match. Muscles toned and tanned to a reddish brown. The women adore him and his fanny pack of Caesar spiced croutons. His wit is quick and his axe is sharp yet his heart is as pure as the Newfoundland snow.

He often can be seen wearing only but knee-high leather boots, the best Corinthian leather generally saved for the gods. His ranch dressing is spicy but palatable, chivey yet smooth.

If you listen closely you might just hear him sing a little ditty about Jack and Diane on a warm summer night. There’ll be a twinkle in his eye and a dab of parmesan on his lip.

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honk honk, fist bump

tcr! · May 2, 2018 at 8:30 am

Not long ago I was having lunch with some friends at The Evergreen Pub & Grill in St. Charles. We were sitting in the patio area, more or less enjoying the Spring weather.

Out on the street two beer trucks passed each other, headed in opposite directions. They both honked their horn in what sounded like a friendly wave or fist bump.

That’s sharing a common goal. Not selling more beer, but making the world a better place.

I can always be friendly. We’re all playing on the same team.

#goteam #advancedsoul

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Miracles are seen in light

tcr! · Apr 27, 2018 at 9:32 am

Miracles are seen in light

I fall short in life.

That’s not a judgment call or me being hard on myself. It just is. I’m just another guy wandering around aimlessly doing my best…and sometimes doing my least.

Struggling to maintain that non-mistake-making state only makes my life harder. Letting that struggle go gave me so much more free time to enjoy life and the company of my fellow humans.

Well, I guess I never really expected myself to be perfect but I was pretty good at torturing myself when I did screw up. I wouldn’t let that shit go for whatever reason. Constantly feeling bad about myself is all bullshit, though. I make mistakes and then I feel bad about them for the appropriate amount of time and then I move on.

Letting ourselves be human brings our stress levels down. Our bodies will thank us. Our souls will thank us, too, and so will our peeps. People will love being with us when we’re not ruminating over something dumb that happened a week ago.

Okay, so that’s all fine and good. I’ve made peace with all that. Made peace with making mistakes.

But the thing is, if I’m intolerant of another person when they come up short, either every day or once in a blue moon, then I’m just an asshole.

😊 #advancedsoul #forgiveness

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We, as parents, make mistakes

tcr! · Apr 25, 2018 at 9:30 am

Maggie and the hurry home message

Maggie had a little scare yesterday. She had gotten off the school bus and was walking the minute walk back to our house down the alley. Some dude was also walking down the alley behind her and that didn’t sit well with Maggie.

I generally get home 15 to 20 minutes after she does and it’s not that big of a deal for her to walk home and spend that time by herself.

After I got back to the house we talk about what happened for a little bit and reviewed all the things you can do in a situation when strangers are following you. Be loud, be visible, make noise, make sure the whole world knows what’s up. It’s the same thing that animals do when they’re nervous and it works pretty well for them.

It also sounded like the guy may have just been walking 30 feet or so behind her. I’m not trying to minimize the situation but I know for myself when I panic, things aren’t truly what they seem. I got freaked out and freaked myself out several times as a kid when I was in situations very similar to hers. I can still freak myself out being a grownup.

So anyways, here’s the real story.

Last night when I was saying good night to her I thought of something else to say around the whole stranger-danger topic. I started talking about it and then immediately thought that it probably wasn’t a good idea at bedtime.

I quickly changed the subject and we talked about something else for a few minutes. I was kind of hoping she’d forget about it. But people who’re more on the nervous side, they don’t forget.

This morning before school I said to her, “Last night I brought it up again and then realized that I shouldn’t have considering what time it was. I hope that it wasn’t on your mind as you were going to sleep. What is it?”

She said that it was for a little bit. I then told her I was sorry and that was the wrong thing for me to do, wrong thing for me to say. She nodded a little bit, absorbing what I’d just said. And then we got on with our day.

It’s important for me to be humble, for me to be human, failings and all, as a parent in front of Maggie. It’s okay for our kids to know that we as parents make mistakes. And more importantly, it’s good for them to hear us own it, too. Our kids will model their behavior after ours. Who they become as adults is directly influenced by who we are to them as parents.

And lastly, it’s crucial for me to ask direct questions if I’m worried that I’ve made a mistake. I could’ve just said that I hoped our bedtime talk wasn’t on her mind too much while she was going to sleep and left it at that. But that’s not good enough. I needed to ask her point blank if it was.

If I wouldn’t have asked her it would’ve left her alone with her feelings. That those uncomfortable feelings were hers to deal with. I wouldn’t have taken full responsibility for my part in causing them. And feelings like those need to be talked about, they need to be acknowledged by the person who was indeed at fault.

If I’m not 100% sure if I’ve done something wrong, I need to find out. Because that’s part of owning what I’ve done. I need to take the initiative and shouldn’t wait for somebody to tell me that I’ve hurt their feelings. Most of the time I’m pretty sure they won’t.

#maggie #amendments #advancedsoul

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Apr 20th, 2018 at 12:03:17 pm

tcr! · Apr 20, 2018 at 12:03 pm

I was listening to Fresh Air on WBEZ a few minutes ago and they replayed Terry Gross’ interview with Harry Anderson. It was from 1998 I think. I looked for the audio but didn’t have any luck.

Anyways, I lost my interest in magic, cards, and picking locks right around puberty but I’ve always admired Harry Anderson. He was humble, confident, and funny. Most of all I think he was sincere. All the things I hope I am today.

I also like that he was a con man who got a part on Cheers by being who he was and not by being an actor, or somebody who he wasn’t.


Update: here’s the audio and transcript:
Before He Became The ‘Night Court’ Judge, Harry Anderson Was A Con-Man Magician

#advancedsoul #harryanderson

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