Vacations for residents at my stage of training are scheduled almost a year in advance. Among all the different rotations are nestled two consolidated bits of time off to enjoy and do with it as one pleases. I have tried to use it for travel if I can, as any trip longer than a few days is nearly impossible otherwise.
That was the plan this time, too, until COVID-19 came along and ruined everything in the world. Even a “staycation,” normally a fantastic idea in a city as vibrant as San Diego, is out of the question, reduced to a stay-at-home-cation by droplet transmission. New infections haven’t yet peaked in California, so I am expecting work to be even more COVID-19-ified when I return. Everybody also knows that we’re stuck here, so
Benefiting from time off in these circumstances requires an intentionality that isn’t necessary when I am in a tropical paradise like Hawai’i. In anticipation, I planned out a geeky project to build a home theater PC (HTPC) using a mini-computer called a Raspberry Pi. Between finding the hardware and setting everything up, this is easily the kind of undertaking that could take over a month for me to complete as individual tasks. As a bonus project, I figured I could try use an older model Raspberry Pi as a way to block ads on my home network.
I finished the HTPC the weekend before my vacation officially started and the ad-blocker on the first day, a feat so foreign it left me staring forlornly into an empty bucket as the movie’s opening credits play, having eaten all my popcorn during the trailers.