Don't schedule a vacation to begin right after a release.
I've seen too many people have to reschedule plane tickets, etc... because somebody pushed the release back a week or two. Of course, if you can don't schedule a release around important personal dates; anniversaries, birthdays of SOs, etc...
(Enter NARRATOR) Our CEO was hounding us in the dev team to deploy our code and completely changeover the system to rid ourselves of using our estranged partner company's code and servers, and to keep our clients quiet. And so it is here that we lay our scene.
(in darker voice) But nobody prepared for the worst. (CHORUS sets ominous tone)
(Enter HEROES, facing audience) My coprogrammer and I had made it known that we were to leave early for a festival three hours away in Houston for the weekend. It was a friday. And the senior developer was on a sudden family-emergency flight to California....
(Enter VILLAINS, lurching toward HEROES) The company who was partnered with us allowed us to use their systems until we got ours set up and running. At least that's what the lawsuit settlement dictated. But they did what was completely expectable and not unthinkable: they cut us off a month too soon.
(VILLIANS lunge at HEROES. CHORUS erupts in loud cries of jeering laughter)
(HEROES unsteadily parry attack) After spending all day fielding calls from irate clients, panic-ridden CEO, the question-mongering call center, and with us hounding our Sr. Dev for remote assistance and advice, we got our code deployed as fast as possible and got it barely limping along to survive for the weekend. Criminy!
(VILLAINS fall to stage and exhuent, crawling rear left) My coworker and I left long after sunset, about seven hours late, long after it started raining in biblical proportions. What would've been a happy 2.5 hour drive became 4. (CHORUS expresses deep sorrow)
(HERO sighs and takes forceful stance) So, yeah, you're damn right I kicked back a few bottles of Guinness once we got there. Sheesh!
(Re-enter NARRATOR) So, friends, it is with these events that we affirm the wisdom of the ages, expressed as this:
Shawn's Law of Discriminated Determinancy: The determined effort to enjoy life, leisure, and absolute programming grace will be prejudiciously discriminated against and undermined by external forces beyond all sovereignty and control.
Always backup the production code on the servers before updating it. Even with source control, and strict CM, you can't go home again.
I can't tell you how true that point is. Our release program automatically makes a backup of the old code (places it into an archive dir actually). That way we can easily swap back to the old version if something unexpected happens.
Oh and I know you wrote this 14 months ago but I've only just read it :-) Hey, better late than never right...