I found myself testing an application for the day job over the weekend.  Thanks to the wonders of reasonably modern technology, and a decent broadband connection, I was able to do so from the comfort of home. 

Here I was, Sunday afternoon, sitting at my dining room table connected to the office running tests that I needed to work through.  It was a lovely day.  Cold, but not terribly.  The sun was even trying to peek out from the clouds that had been hiding it for most of the last week.  We had some snow the Wednesday before – not quite two inches or so on the ground.  By Sunday early afternoon, there was none on the pavement or sidewalks, and much that had been in the grass / yard had returned from whence it came. 

So as I was working my way through a log file, I heard an obviously frustrated child outside.  I looked up and saw the wee kids across the street looking quite perplexed.  They wanted to go sledding on the small bank in their yard, leading down to the sidewalk.  Problem: Most of the snow was gone, therefore, the sleds/slider-thingies they had simply were not working well.  Sledding was pretty much out of the question – particularly when you’re between the ages of 6 and 9 years. 

When you’re stuck with a testing project, without any clear way forward.  What do you do?  Send a terse email demanding whatever you need from whomever you believe should get it to you?  I tried that when I was younger and more green in software testing than I am now.  Didn’t work so well. 

How ’bout rail against the unfair universe?  “Why do we do things like this?!?  This is AWFUL!”  Yeah, good luck with that, too.

Or, maybe, you could look around and see what options you have, even if they are so far outside the realm of possibility that all the “experts” would say “Don’t waste your time!”

The kids across the street chose the third option.  They put their two slides/sleds next to each other on the top of the “hill” that is the bank in their yard.  Then, while the youngest held them down so the wind would not blow them away, the older two used a) a garden rake and b) a snow shovel to get enough snow from the REST of the yard tp make a run wide enough for both sleds that ran down the bank, across the sidewalk, and ended with a small berm (of snow) to keep them from going into the street. 

They then proceeded to have a good 90 minutes of fun doing something that the “experts” (grown-ups) would have told them they could not possibly do.

A 9-year-old can think that creatively.  Can we?