It's been an odd year. Considering the last four years or so have also been odd I probably shouldn't be too surprised or maybe I'm just wary of it all now ... or possibly weary. My job has settled down to much the same as the pre-sold version although the idea of Design as a business concept is more marginalised now and I, and my ideas about Design are definitely in the minority. Still being asked to build silly little web sites and call it software design, still surrounded by conversations about computers but very little about people, and still trying to find some creative energy in it all. It is odd and I find myself wondering if this is another fit in or fuck off situation. Luckily for the I.T. industry it pays well or I doubt anyone sane would work in it.
I have the 3D printer at home consistently operating again. After a few months of warped models and failed prints I rotated the thing 90 degrees, effectively reducing the draught from the door hitting it square and have it all back to normal. Whipping through filament again like there is no tomorrow. Built a bookshelf out of the rimu we pulled out of the old kitchen, created some new raised beds for the garden and have generally been fixing things and makeing myself useful in a physical sense.
Out toddler is now toddling and burbling out words and things that sound like words. In true fashion this long weekend has seen everyone get sick and missing out on various planned social events. Such is life I guess. I am eyeing up a bottle of whisky.
The house renovations are finished with new carpet and the last bits of skirting attached. With Spring on the way focus is shifting outside to the jungle-like garden and to tidying up all the scrappy looking things around the property.
The baby keeps on growing and is now a fully-fledged member of the toddler group. In the space of two weeks she has gone from crawling at high speed to walking unsteadily at high speed. It is terrifying to watch the progression over such a short period of time. Apart from a few attempts to head butt the table and the ground simultaneously things have been pretty smooth.
The new job is a bit weird still. Starting to ramp up a bit but I still have the odd feeling of having been sold. The majority of other employees have resigned and moved on. It occurred to me I don't really care that much any more and am happy to stick around keeping the income stable for a while. Looking back that is actually quite a move for me. I did buy a 3D printer kit that I am putting together with some students (and the odd teacher) and have been given leeway and time to do that during work hours.
Ignoring the various crazy politics of the country, bought a second car to get myself to work in and generally hunkering down for a few months. Still 3D printing, still dreaming of making clothing and still getting out into the garden. Need to make some more beer and life will be pretty solid.
We are currently staying in a town house while some Earthquake repairs are being done on our place. Fair to say we are looking forward to being back home and not having to deal with EQC, trades people or do any more major renovations.
Work is slow. The new job is much like the old one but with a bit more big company bureacracy. Still keen to see where it goes over the next few months but also thinking it might be time to start scanning for new opportunities.
Starting to plan my mid-life crisis. The timing seems right.
Life keeps on giving. The baby has managed a few firsts lately with teeth rocking through, a dose of the chicken pox, her first birthday, and going to other babies' first birthdays. Our social life has, if anything, improved through our connection with other people with babies. I feel decidedly middle-aged.
EQC (although they now seem to be calling themselves EQR) is on our door step again, threatening to do something to our house but being suitably vague about what that something will be. I fully expect to come home one day and find the house demolished, the property sold and a small lemonade stand where my garage used to be. We do, however have alternative accommodation and what is looking like a holiday just before it all happens. My breath is 'bated.
The 3D printer is proving to be great fun. The Makerbot Replicator 2, in all its glory often cranks out odd looking plastic that sometimes resembles some sort of thing. My computer desk is covered in strands of filament, completed and half completed prints, parts for gluing together and a number of failed experiments in an assortment of colours. It is fair to say my 3D modelling skills and my understanding of the physical world have improved considerably. One of the better purchases I have made in my life.
Yet again the I.T. company I work for has been sold to a larger company. At least cashflow has ceased to be a major issue ... or at least I no longer have to care about it which equates to the same thing in my world. That is the third time I have been sold. Let's see how this one works out.
Week two of a holiday. Spent last week hanging out with my daughter and giving C some time out (and shopping time). Been great getting the time with baby and not having to go anywhere or do anything. The garden has had a bit of a tidy up and a few small jobs have been done. Some thinking has taken place and some decisions that were moved to one side by the last few years are finally being made. The weather is pretty decent, the house is comfortable and doesn't need much work, the freakin' solar panels are working properly this year and the power bill is reflecting that. All good.
Changes at work in progress, hopefully for the better. I've ordered myself a 3D printer for a bit of fun and getting my head around producing physical objects. Looking forward to that one. Need to build a second wood shed at some stage this week. Our heating requirements have increased a bit with people at home full time. EQC have been postponed until next year. Just couldn't face the work at this end of the year.
With luck the madness of the last few years has toned down and we see a bit of peace.
Our daughter is now so 7 months and aging quickly ... which can only mean I am aging equally quickly. So be it. She is quite the fun little critter at the moment. A bit screamy at times but generally a great little girl. Eats like a trooper and appears to have her Mother's keen taste for sweet foods. I will likely never get a chance with cakes and biscuits again I guess.
Work has faded off a bit but we do have some Raspberry PIs to play with and a 3D printer on its way. I am dying for the 3D printer and have filled my days creating models and getting used to modelling solids. Need to test a few things but it should be great fun to research something physical for a change. My Raspberry PI has two OS options now: Raspbian for ... well, not really sure yet; and Raspbmc for all my media needs. Actually it was just an exercise of interest to see if I could get the thing running at all. Now I am starting to bend my mind to other projects that are limited only by my complete inability to do anything electronic without 'sploding the circuits. It could be a great learning opportunity or an expensive way to burn out electronic devices.
With C's father in hospital after a nasty motorbike accident we have had family staying. Makes for a full house but rather pleasant. Amelia is loving all the extra attention. Waiting game now to see how thing span out.
The garden is in limbo. I jinxed the fruit trees by walking out there and wondering if we were due for a nice spring and a good year of fruit. Two hours later and we have a massive thunderstorm and hail the size of golf balls ... well, smallish golf balls.
The house has been signed off by the council. We have had EQC people through with an eye to getting repairs done. All minor stuff so we're in pretty good shape all things considered.
It occurs to me it has been almost 3 months since our daughter was born. Time appears to be passing quickly in some directions and slowly in others which is always a slightly weird feeling. I'm not sure when we stopped freaking out and settled down to being parents. I'm not even sure when I decided evenings are best spent playing with a baby and listening to music. It has all just happened. I looked down at my camo shorts this evening, looked at all the "internet-enabled" devices kicking around, listened to the punk music I had on one of those devices, looked at my daughter and saw her smile ... from happiness or wind I do not know or particularly care. She smiled ... at my camo shorts? the music? the wind? the funny cube thing hanging above her head? the silly look on my face? I'm not sure when I decided it doesn't matter what causes a smile.
The extension is complete, the house is pretty much done to a point we can live without too much effort and after some strategic plant rearrangement and removal of building material the back area looks almost friendly. We have sat out there and admired the sky on at least one evening. I will be very happy when my weekends are no longer taken up by renovations. It does, however, mean I will need to (re)find a hobby.
Must be time to brew another beer soon.
So ... we're parents. Actually that happened back in January but it's taken some time to stop freaking out. That night, 26 January 2012 can only be described as full on. Woken at 4am to the comment "Something isn't right", by 4:30 we were at the hospital and at 7:29 our daughter came 6 weeks premature by emergency cesarean, pale, breech, not breathing and generally doing it all wrong. From there it gets real hazy. I remember ICU, nurses, doctors, a weird conversation with a doctor about motion cameras and smart phones, and generally feeling messed up ... and really hungry. 4 weeks later and we had her home. Now all is going well and we are not freaking out too often. I have started to listen to punk music again ... albeit at a lower volume.
The house is finished, pending a final inspection ... or another one at least. The last one was a bit picky. The garden has been left to its own devices, the garage is still standing (damn it) and the cat has been relegated to the lowest rung ... lower than the chooks it would seem.
Punk Rock Dad indeed.
Big pause there as life got very real and took over for a while. It's been a big year.
We have finally settled with insurance following the burglary. A combination of our motion cam photos and probably pretty good detective work the guy was caught and has subsequently pled guilty with sentencing next February. It has been another case of getting to know how disappointing insurance actually is and how even good cover is not what it seems. I have gone off insurance people. On a related crime front our letterbox was kicked to pieces by a nutter one night. The police took a while to come over and he managed to do a fair bit of damage and scare the snot out of the neighbourhood over the course of an hour. The police officer who did arrive didn't quite laugh as he talked about reparation but he didn't look far from it. I understood completely but am now experienced enough with front line police to not suggest "he hold him while I kick him and we'll call it quits".
Our new extension is almost complete giving us two new bedrooms bringing us officially to a three bedroom house. With a baby due in March it has been stunning to have the extension come together so quickly. Gib started going up today, gib stopping soon, some paint, some form of baby gear installed and we are good to go. The builders have been excellent and the final result looks like it has been there forever. Our new bedroom is larger, has a great wardrobe, good lights and is insulated to the nines. Warm, cozy and overlooks the back yard. Really looking forward to moving into it.
The backyard now sports two chooks, courtesy of C's parents. I extended the small coop to give them a good run and we are now getting two eggs a day. They are great fun to watch and the cat has taken to keeping an eye on them and even protecting them from a dog that got to close. The garden is looking excellent this year with lots of veges and fruit growing well. We are looking forward to a good harvest and starting to get more plants in now we have the house finished and know where things can go. Only a deck to go and eventually we will move the garage but for now we are going to tidy up and focus on family for a bit.
We had a great holiday in Australia starting in Sydney, heading to Coolangatta on the Gold Coast and finally to Brisbane before heading home. Sydney was fantastic, lots of walking around, shopping, eating and generally having fun. The gold coast was great, 25 - 30 degrees most days and the apartment was brilliant. The relaxation began here. Excellent shop there called "That Shop" which saw a load of t-shirts and a great shirt coming home with me. Brisbane was confusing with a rental car and all those off-ramps. A great few days of heat, wandering around the CBD and a light show one evening. All-in-all exactly what we had planned and what we needed.
Back home for a few days and we headed down south to see parents, pick up the cat and finish up our holiday time ... and that's where things all went a bit bizarre. Had a night with my parents and then headed up to see C's parents. About 15 minutes down the road the car started firing steam in all directions and overheated. No biggie, Dad was called for some water on the assumption we could keep going. While waiting I checked email, noticed alerts from the motion camera in our lounge and saw a burglar wandering around our house.
I freaked out a bit.
Called the police who were unable to send a car around as it was Friday and they were too busy dealing with, what we have subsequently learned they call "shit vs shit" events. Called a friend to check on the place and see if it could be secured before we got home. He closed a window, gave us some bad news about a bit of mess, talked to the neighbours and headed off. We had filled the car with water, travelled 2 minutes down the road before the car had given up. Called for a tow back to my parents place, borrowed their little car and headed on a very long drive back home. Got home about 9:30pm to find the burglar had been back four times that day - we had great photos of him from all angles - and pretty much cleaned out all the bits that make life fun.
Called the police to say we had photo evidence they might want to look at and proceeded to not sleep. Sent the photos and stolen items list to pawn shops and generally kept busy until the birds began to chirp and the sun came up again. A nice constable came over, looked at the photos and was generally confident about an arrest.
... and then the pawn shop called. The guy had been in to try and sell some of our stuff.
... and then the police called. The pawn shop had tipped the guy off before they got his details and he had done a runner. They even showed him the photos so he would know how he had been busted. I'm sure none of it was malicious and merely incompetent.
We are getting very good at insurance claims this year. It is amazing how 3 weeks of holiday can be wiped out in a single weekend. I am sure we will look back on this one day and have a bit of a laugh. At the moment it ain't very funny.
So, when things get a bit rough and there's snow, rain, hail and a bike ride through it all a bit of a stock take is in order. This one I call: You know you are a success when
- you have your own business
- you have a teaching diploma and have actually taught in a classroom
- you listen to punk music and still think it's awesome
- you own your own home
- you have actively and consciously destroyed and rebuilt parts of that home
- people talk to you when they need something AND just because
- you cross between different industries and the idea of specialisation makes you feel funny and a bit bored
- hair is on your head and stomach muscles are still visible on your stomach
- you bike everywhere because you freakin' can and because, while you sort of care about the planet, biking keeps those stomach muscles on your stomach
- you can identify a dickhead before they talk to you, saving everyone the embarrassment of having to point it out loudly
This has been a completely crap day on top of a pretty naff year. Roll on insanity.
I've been away from teaching and in web design for two years now. Time has flown. This year has been about earthquakes, learning about earthquake insurance, wanting to run away, learning about solar hot water systems and plumbers, getting building consent during earthquakes, booking a holiday, cancelling a holiday, booking a different holiday, learning HTML5, learning jQuery, removing FriendsTM from my Facebook account, unfollowing knobs on Twitter, snow, taping up quake induced cracks in the ceiling in the bedroom, learning about VoIP at home, endlessly configuring a network printer and generally gettting tired of endless teenage vampire and cooking shows.
We have a holiday to Australia coming up. It's been ages since we had a proper holiday. Looking forward to it.
It's been a big year so far. More to come I'm sure.
Of late I am more jumpy than usual. Little quakes now cause major heart palpitations and I'm certainly feeling more anxious in general. It's noteworthy because in general I don't feel very anxious and small quakes don't consciously scare me much. Two quite distinct and opposing personalities in one body cannot be a good thing. Damn earthquakes. Just mess with people.
On a positive note, my bike was recovered by USAR and Police folks who I now deem to be super-human. It is a small thing but an overwhelming joy to be able to ride my own bike around town again.
We have decided to move the final stage of renovations on the house forward and get the bloody thing complete. With one small tweak we have simplified the extension and gained a third bedroom. No major walls have to come down and I am hoping we can get it done before things go mad with the city rebuild work. We have also finally acquired some decent chairs to go with our nice dining table and now feel remarkably grown up eating at a table. Lots of small things coming together.
Sunday, daylight savings and some sun. Not a bad way to roll into Winter. I'm not going to hope for a good year now but a stable one would be nice.
Thursday evening but with a regional 'quake remembrance' holiday tomorrow my brain has slipped into Friday mode. Still deciding how I feel about the idea of 'remembering' something that is still happening. Seems a bit odd but a holiday is much appreciated - assuming already struggling businesses can handle it.
We're pretty lucky really with power and water back on despite being in Avonside surrounded by pretty hard hit areas. A block either way and things start to look really rough and people are having a tough time. I find that quite hard to deal with. On the bright side, Christchurch is no longer to host any of the rugby world cup games. That seemed a bit of a "Well, duh!' decision and quite frankly I don't want a bunch of rugby knobs pounding away in my city ... unless they are trades-people willing to help clean up in between games.
Work has been weird. In our second temporary office in six months and slowly discovering all the things that have been lost in the quakes. It's the small things that get me. The personal items that were at work to keep me sane. I think of them as being trapped rather than lost. We have no idea if we'll be able to get them back and as always, NZ bureacracy is reigning supreme. Knobs in suits running around pretending to care and all singing from different hymn sheets. Can't believe them, can't kill them. I've learned two things from the recent disaster: 1) If nature wants me, it'll have me. I feel happy that this time I was kept in play despite being up six stories with flying filing cabinets, and 2) complex bureacracy has no place in my country. If you can't explain a situation or solution in 30 seconds it's probably unnecessarily complicated and I don't buy into that crap. Keep it simple or sod off.
Now, I'm off to feel a bit sorry for my city, feel a bit lucky and generally carry on enjoying my life. Have fun.
Earthquake. I was on the 6th floor when things went silly. Having just looked at my sandwich with a certain level of disdain the shaking began and then got crazy. I don't remember much - I was under the desk holding on as large pieces of computer equipment flew around. I watched a filing cabinet flying around as well, something I hope never to see again. I also remember my sandwich hitting me in the face in a final insult.
Lots of alarms and sirens, lots of dust and what felt like a long wait for aftershocks to settle down long enough for us to get down the stairs. Quite a long walk down Hereford Street. A long walk home followed that. My bike is still trapped in the basement of the building.
We left the city for a bit to stay with our parents but are back now, tidying up. The power is back on but no water so far. Will never take water and electricity for granted again ... and I was already pretty appreciative of the benefits of both. Hot showers are quite frankly a luxury that keep us going.
Working from home for now and taking the opportunity to clean up around the house. The few decent aftershocks have had us scampering for the table with slightly fuzzy nerves but all good so far. We're alive, safe, and not too smelly. Can't ask for much more than that at the moment.