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October's Journal
December's Journal


30/11/2009
[16:35] Everything happened this weekend! Seriously. Friday evening and Saturday morning were spent preparing for the slightly belated Thanksgiving lunch to which we'd invited eight or so people. Although we put in the turkey a smidgen early it all turned out perfectly when every arrived pretty much on time and with massive amounts of side dishes, desert and cheese/crackers. I haven't eaten that much in one sitting since Christmas last year. So I guess Thanksgiving is America's way of pre-stretching your clothing and stomach for the Christmas Day meal to come. Smart.

With everyone leaving towards evening Kris and I had just enough time to tidy and do a little of the washing up before we collapsed for the day. Unfortunately not only did it rain quite heavily that night, the amount of people breathing in the house for the day made the following morning's condensation really quite huge. Couple that with damp walls on both the inside front and back of the house and I was feeling pretty low on Sunday morning. After some thought I decided it wasn't all down to condensation and resolved to call some roofing/guttering people today (which I have done, more on that below). To help counteract the condensation we've instituted a new house heating regime, to wit a turning down of the boiler temperature and a increase in how long the heating is on during the day. With luck this will up the house temperature, warm the walls and windows a bit more and lower the amount of water which is cooling down on the guilty surfaces.

This morning's evidence of very little condensation seems to indicate that I might be on the right track. We'll see how things go. A happy by-product of a more consistently warm house is a more comfortable Kris, which is certainly no bad thing. Speaking of no bad thing Kris continues to be quite certain about some of the decisions she'll need to make in the coming months. I find this extremely exciting, even though (as we chatted this morning before work) it means that a time limit has 'suddenly' appeared on a rather important decision of my own. More on that in a month or so!

Having arrived at work this morning I called my favourite roofing/guttering person (he did the garage roof and rear guttering five years ago) and told him what'd happened over the weekend. To his eternal credit he came out around 14:00 today and went up a rather tall ladder with Kris in attendance to find out what was happening with the gutters at the front and rear of the house. Long story short the rear gutters were overflowing because of a) a buildup of leaves and stuff in the gutters caused by, b) a tennis ball and a bouncy ball which were lodged in the downpipe opening. This was causing the water to overflow the gutter and get into the crack in the brickwork between the two parts which make up my house. A crack due to basically my house having been built by idiots. The water coming in at the front is almost certainly down to a similar issue of water ingress through cracks in the brickwork. Kris was on hand to interpret and coordinate the guy and his assistant and basically call me and let me know what was happening. She's amazing and I'm not entirely sure what I'd do without her now. There's a chance that the guy will be able to send us digital photos of the relevant bits of the roof so we don't have to get a huge long ladder ourselves and risk life and limb.

Of course, if it turns out that we need some work doing to close those gaps front and back properly it's going to cost money as it won't be covered by the guarantee I have on the gutter work from five years ago. Possibly happily, while investigating the new employee self-service HR/payroll service I discovered that my tax code wasn't what every one else said it should be. A quick call to HMRC and it turns out that I've been paying tax on £150 of untaxed income since at least 2003 on account of potentially getting income from my O'Really T-shirts. I picked that value in discussion with the tax people so as not to have to keep doing Self-Assessment Tax Returns every year. Said income dried up like spit on a hotplate in around March of 2006 so with luck there's a chance the money to pay for the guttering work could appear in my December payslip. Which would be nice.

Nothing much has been happening at work today. Which has been nice as I've been able to concentrate on patching an important machine, thinking about important personal things, going for a nice long 8km run in the bracing cold-but-clear weather and making sure I understand what Kris has been telling me about the house. A few things arrived from a few online shops but I'm still waiting to find out if something I returned made it back to the place I ordered it from for an exchange. It's only one thing but it wasn't the cheapest and I could really do with getting some notification that it made it.

This evening I intend to go home and hug Kris for a while, go to the boat house and do some AT erging, shower and then meet Kate for some fine dining before going home to meet Kris as she returns from Yoga and has dinner. At least one of us gets to avoid Thanksgiving leftovers for a night (tasty as they are).

27/11/2009
[16:30] Having just met Kris after work to head to Tesco to collect such things as a large turkey and an imperial buttload of cranberry sauce for Saturday I nearly catapulted myself over my recently-replaced handlebars in my excitement at a possible turn of events which may or may not take place in the next few months. That's about all I can say for now as there's not actually anything more I can say. I guess it comes down to hope, happiness and support. Cryptic enough? Probably not. Oh well.

No-one tirned up for last night's Thursday as most people are hopefully coming to tomorrow's Thanksgiving thingy. Illness and last might decisions notwithstanding we should have about ten people sitting down to eat in total. Kris and I will be sprucing the house up this evening (and probably tomorrow morning in an attempt to make it look vaguely presentable. Given I'm not rowing tomrrow on account of the river being closed we should be able to sleep in slightly (this means Kris will still get up at 05:00 but might come back to bed around about 07:30) before manning the pumps.

Today has been mainly about battling to get hold of someone at APC/MGE/Schneider Electric who can help me with the Network Management Card Transverse and Network Shutdown Module issues I've mentioned a few times before. It turns out the reason my call wasn't returned the same day or the next was that it wasn't actually passed to an engineer. Which is a bit poor if I say so myself. I was promised a call back before 16:30 today (looks pointedly at watch) so I guess this means a Monday call instead.

Something I sent back in the post a few days ago still doesn't seem to have arrived with the people I bought it from. I find this bothersome. Hopefully it will arrive with them over the weekend or next week and they'll be able to send me the right thing instead. Otherwise I think that's it for this week. Have a good weekend and we'll be back on Monday.

26/11/2009
[17:05] Kris and I had a marvellous date last night. A drink (cocktail actually, and cheap too), some dinner in a Keralan restaurant that was deserted for much of the time we were there (so the famously slow service wasn't) and home for a relaxed and happy evening. And it didn't rain at all either! Wonderful.

The wonderfulness extended to this morning where after actually sleeping quite well considering the cold I appear to have developed in the last 24 hours we had a wonderful morning capped off with a breakfast date in town before we went to our respective places of work (Kris' being a coffee shop).

I've spent the day fighting with servers which don't appear to have the same package sets on them (something I'll fix as soon as I have permission to patch the last of a set of three), a web site or two which initially refused to be tamed with AdBlock Plus and various UPS manufacturers/companies who all seem to own bits of each other and deny knowledge of actually being responsible for the bits I need to talk about. Still, it's a laugh, isn't it?

Quiet evening tonight after we get back from Tesco. Which reminds me, time to go and get a turkey!

25/11/2009
[16:50] I love the fraternity (although it does include women too) of systems administrators. There's not a problem they can't solve with access to IRC, Google and mutually-satisfiable needs. No, not like that. You have a filthy mind.

Anyway, with that mostly sorted I've been able to concentrate on the other things today which include realising that last night's gym session at the boat house was far more weights-related exercise than my body's been used to in a while. I think I solved most of the aches and pains by going for a nice 6km run but rather than totally abuse myself I won't be going to erg this evening. No, instead I'm going to take my girl out for a drink and possibly dinner. It might be that she's all dressed up too, which would be wonderful.

Other than that I've been doing more research into UPS/power replacement possibilities and still not finding anything useful. Hopefully Eaton will get back to me with a response to my two queries and we can take it from there with regard to just updating the client software on all the servers. If that doesn't happen soon I'm going to ask the network admin to mirror the port the UPS is on and start logging all the traffic it sends and recieves to see just what the hell it's doing. Maybe that way we'll be able to find out if it is sending out bad signals or the Network Shutdown Module software is getting good signals and interpretting them incorrectly. That won't stop a machine or two shutting down if we have the same problem again in the future before we've solved this thing. Cue more complaints from people who don't know what kind of shonky software and hardware we have to deal with.

Oh, and I'm getting a cold, too.

24/11/2009
[17:00] A frustrating day today. I've been unable to find anything which can do what I want when it comes to UPS and power monitoring. Despite a day of searching (including for an email address for Eaton in the UK) I'm coming up short. Annoying doesn't quite cover it. Surely we can't be the only people with a server room/data centre who have something approaching this problem...

Last night's ergo session was interesting. While I was obviously behind some of the real powerhouses in the men's squad it was nice to see that I was ahead of some of my younger (but similarly skilled contemporaries). I'll admit that these last few weeks I haven't been training quite as much as them (especially when it comes to weights and erg sessions) but the injuries I've had certainly needed some time away from that kind of exercise. Hopefully I'll have a chance between now and 14 December to pick up my game a little as that's when we do our next round of tests. Weights tonight though, then something scrummy to eat courtesy of the lovely (and currently contemplating her future) Kris.

Oh, and the team leader of the web team has just come through and asked for a major architectural change to the Xen setup I created for him and his team about two years ago. I hope I can remember what the hell I need to do to make the changes he wants!

23/11/2009
[17:20] I should have gone home already. I'm supposed to be going to the boat house this evening to do an AT erg session but I don't know if I'll get out of here in time. I think I will. Anyway, the thing that's been keeping me here has been research into replacement power monitoring solutions to bypass the network card in the MGE UPS on account of it being crap. More on that tomorrow though, I guess.

I was racing on Saturday morning. Even with a bad back I was looking forward to it. Long story short we did really well and perhaps would have won our event if we hadn't been placed badly in the lineup and ended up having to a) pass slower crews and, b) make an abortive detour around some novices and crashed into them. Still, no harm done other than the fact that I don't seem to have been selected for the next race on 6 December and someone I've never heard of has what might have been my seat. Oh well, I guess it means I get a lie-in that morning instead. Such is life.

Kris and I did all the cleaning and a Tesco trip (in the other order) on Friday evening so there wasn't anything to do (other than the painting, which we didn't do) house-wise over the weekend, which was awesome. With the weather being poo we didn't go out much except to wander around town a bit and go to Borders and Shaun's birthday drinks on Saturday evening. With the rain seeming to have stopped on Sunday morning I took the opportunity to go for a long run and was punished with some torrential rain and a real need for the loo on the way back. I retaliated by staying indoors for the rest of the day while Kris napped her headache away.

My sleep's still a little interrupted around 03:00 most nights at the moment. Still not entirely sure why but Kris and I have some possibly remedies in the works. I've completely failed to update my Amazon wishlist or email someone about meeting up with them for a drink this week so maybe I'll do that tonight or tomorrow morning. Other than that... Home time I think.

20/11/2009
[16:25] Today, not very much actually happened. I mean, I helped fit some draught-exclusion behind some of the floor-standing, under floor air-conditioning units, went for a 6km run, had a shower and looked at a machine which was causing its service processor to be all slow and problematic and stuff. A reset seems to have sorted it. A RAID card in another server still seems to be having occasional SCSI resets which I don't seem to be able to get to the bottom of yet. I updated the firmware on it a few weeks ago in the hope that that would sort it, but it doesn't seem to have done so.

As I said, I think that's about it. My back's been gently twinging every so often. Enough that I'm mildly pensive about tomorrow morning's race on the river. I'll just have to be very very careful and hope for the best. On the plus side, my race isn't until 11:40 so I don't need to be at the boat house before 10:20 and I do believe i won't be rowing on Sunday morning so... a whole weekend of actual lie-ins! Couple that with going to Tesco this evening and it'll almost be a normal what-everyone-else-does weekend. There's some kind of party thing on Saturday night and Kris and I may go for a nice long cycle ride on Sunday but other than that it's looking like a nice, just-the-two-of-us weekend again. This is going to be more and more essential to us as we work out what happens next in our lives. With Kris not getting the Edinburgh job it's seeming more likely (read: practically certain) that I too will be leaving the country some time in the next 12 months. With, before that, a rather long period of time when Kris will be on the other side of the Atlantic and I'll be making regular trips over there to see her.

Still, so long as we have each other it'll all work out, eventually.

19/11/2009
[16:50] I'm sure I'm not the only person who's extremely surprised by the kind of left hand/right hand disconnect that can go on in large organisations. A recent experience has left me - while not surprised at the outcome - a little frustrated at the experience it has created. Still, one has to deal with everything that gets sent your way and say "what's next?" The alternative just doesn't get a look-in. We Don't Think Like That Hereabouts.

What has been occupying most of my time today has been the discussions over the Fedora 12 PackageKit unprivileged user package installation mechanism. I won't bother linking to the the Bugzilla article because this isn't really that kind of journal (I guess it never was, really). I did manage to go for a short run (fourth time this week, I'm going to aim for every day this week given short they've actually been). My bruises, bones and lower back do seem to be on the mend somewhat so I'm going to continue to be gentle to ensure that I don't let the boat down at this weekend's race. If you hear screams on the wind, it's me, doing myself a mischief on Saturday morning.

For now I'm going home to be with my girl. And maybe some other people, later. It being Thursday and all.

18/11/2009
[16:25] I'm out of here thirty minutes early today on account of getting in before 08:00 this morning to restart a service. This is actually very helpful today as it means I can get a lift to the DIY store to finally return the bits of stuff I need to, and get some heavy tins of paint at the same time.

I forgot to mention that I went to see 2012 on Monday evening. As forgettable as it was overlong it was still moderately enjoyable and worth the cycle in the wind. More enjoyable was the fact that Kris made it home at a reasonable hour of the evening yesterday after some snap decision making with regard to coming home and then some olympic running skills to catch a connection or two. Much better to have her home than to have to talk on the phone about the day.

Today though has been pretty much about checking that all our Sun servers are on the maintenance contract we have and helping web developers publish their applications to the three or four different places they need to be put before they're happy.

Other than that I went for another run today at a fair old speed and worked up some good sweat. This is helpful in making sure I don't let the boat down on Saturday when we race. Of course I'm still not 100% sure my back's going to last the distance, but them's the breaks (not literally though, I hope!).

Tonight will involve sausages. And also sprouts. But mostly sausages.

17/11/2009
[17:00] Last night's meal was a pretty good success. Given the amount of pre-packed stir-fry I had I didn't use a full jar of the other (sauce-y) stuff so that'll need to be eaten somehow in a day or so. Anyway, I had so much that I ended up bringing it to work to have for lunch today, which was rather nice and a pleasant change from sandwiches and stuff. Just before I headed into town with a coworker to derack a server and taxi it back here Kris rang to tell me she was going into her presentation. I wished her luck and let her get on with calming herself for it. We've spoken again a few times since (after the presentation/before the interview and post interview) and chatted about how it went. The conclusion is that she did everything she could and now it's just up to the interviewers to make a decision. Which we expect they'll do in the next 24 hours or so.

Because we just wanted to be in the same place as each other tonight Kris has managed to dash onto a train leaving Edinburgh today. As a result she should be arriving home late this evening. I'm very tempted to head out to the station and meet her to be honest. I think she deserves a hand home with all her stuff. Plus I get to see her that bit sooner.

Off to drop off a cheque for a race on the weekend (hope my back is fine by then), watch my bruises become more noticable (I don't know if the short runs I'm doing at lunchtime are helping or not) and have some dinner while catching up on recorded television before heading out to welcome Kris home.

16/11/2009
[16:30] A packed weekend in retrospect. Let me take you through a quick run down on what went down. Of course, you probably don't care so much and to be honest it's not as exciting as what a lot of other people in the world did, but hey, you play the hand you're dealt.

So, Saturday morning was going to be a really disgusting time to be on the river in terms of weather. In the end it wasn't so bad with only about ten minutes of rain the whole time we were out. Not a brilliant outing but there were flashes of adequacy here and there. We were down to stroke side for much of the time which must have annoyed those guys on that side, but I'm not sure what else I could have done to make things better. What was more annoying was that after we got back we all took a ten minute spin on the ergs to try and improve some technique (for me it's that apparently I'm not rocking over enough at the hips). Somehow, without realising it, I managed to pull something in my lower back such that after showering and going home I was suddenly struck by some rather intense discomfort whenever I used those muscles. Cue me spending about an hour on the phone and email trying to find a substitute person for the Sunday morning. I was pretty close to having to row regardless of injury until someone finally agreed to take my place. Phew!

Kris and I spent some quality time on the sofa after having gone to Tesco for the week's food and then wandered out as the evening closed in to meet a load of people for a birthday curry in town. It was a chance for me to do some "trying something new", which I'm thinking is high time was the case and as a result I ended up with what turned out to be a rather nice Lamb Raga. I'm not entirely sure what it was, but apart from spicy it was very tasty too. Kris and I left as it got a little late and went to bed.

With no rowing on Sunday morning we were able to have a lovely lie in for once (although Kris came back to bed after doing some packing for Monday). After some preparations we headed to London to do some shopping and see a show. A real Date and everything! What followed was a lot of purposeful exploration of a lot of clothing shops around Oxford Street, Carnaby Street and Covent Garden. We managed to find one of the things Kris wanted and a few things for me which she'll have hidden in the house for me to unwrap on Christmas Day. We didn't find the one thing we were most hoping for, which was a new jacket for her to give her presentation in. It wasn't essential, but would have been nice to find. Lunch and dinner were both fabulous, eaten as they were in a Pret and a place called Las Iguanas near the Southbank Centre. Unfortunately, the act we'd got tickets to see (and remember, these were free ones for the disappointment we had with the last act we'd seen at the Southbank Centre) was late coming on stage by about fifty minutes or so, seemed in a terrible mood, didn't do much in the way of singing and then left the stage after about three acts to give the guy on the saxaphone a chance to shine. By the time she decided to do that it'd gone 22:00 and Kris and I needed to get a train home in time to get up to have her out of the door for her train to Edinburgh. We left quietly and dashed for the Underground and then the train, getting it, in the end, in good time.

Kris finished packing this morning, leaving me in bed to try and doze a little more (she's lovely like that). We got her to the bus stop in plenty of time to catch a bus which'd get her to the train station a full 30 minutes before the train was due to depart. What happened was that she waited for 40 minutes for a bus and then ended up ordering a taxi and have it almost speed through town to get her to the station about three minutes before the train left. She's now in Edinburgh and settled and preparing for the "informal drinks reception" tonight when she'll see her competition (how weird is that) and her interview and teaching presentation tomorrow. She'll be back on Wednesday as things will finish too late for her to get a train home in good time on Tuesday evening. More on that - as I said - when I know something.

Over the weekend we had some strange things happen in the server room here at work. An array threw a disk (which isn't so out of the ordinary) and the UPS decided very early on Monday morning that one of its batteries wasn't happy. Add on top of that someone moving a standby database elsewhere without telling a developer who uses it for weekend coding and things were all go as I tried to make sure Kris got her trains/connections. I think everything's as sorted as it can be (UPS has a serious fault that can't be diagnosed right now but it's stable, there's a new disk coming tomorrow and the developer has been molified and the database location related to him), I've been for a run even though my right lower leg ached quite a lot even a week after the bike accident and the bruise is only just starting to show and there's a good chance I'll be going to Homebase this evening to get some money back on the bits that weren't used. At the same time as getting some new paint and even doing some painting!

This entry is far longer than I was expecting it to be. I should get off, do a bit more work and then go home.

13/11/2009
[16:40] End of another week. I've yet to complete painting the bathroom but there's a chance I may be able to do something about that this weekend if Kris and I don't end up going to London tomorrow for someone's birthday. Something I forgot to mention yesterday is that I went for a fast 20 minute run yesterday and nothing fell off me. This is a good thing and makes me much more confident that this weekend's rowing isn't going to lead to me suffering any more harm than usual when it comes to 2 hours of rowing in the cold and wet. So that's good.

I managed to get rid of another two decommissioned servers today. I had been hoping to combine that with a trip to Homebase to return some laminate flooring and such but it doesn't seem to have turned out that way, which is a shame. Perhaps next week.

There was something I was meaning to write about just a few minutes ago but it seems to have completely slipped my mind. While I'm letting it bubble back to the surface I'll tell you that this weekend consists of rowing, a possible trip to London for someone's birthday meal combined with some possible shopping before heading home again for another birthday meal in the evening. The first meal obviously requires me to get out of rowing as quickly as possible and jump on a train with Kris. If we don't do that we might be able to do the weekend Tesco run and/or go to Homebase for some paint for the bathroom. It's all up in the air at the moment. We're also definitely going to London on the Sunday for some early Christmas looking/shopping and to see Melanie Gardot at the Southbank Centre (for free on account of the last thing we saw there having a terrible support 'act' which enough people complained about that we all got the chance for free tickets to the next thing we wanted to see there). That trip will eat up all of Sunday after rowing so there's nothing to do there but lie back, relax and accept that nothing else will be going on.

It turns out one of my exes is contemplating moving back to Cambridge after she left for the bright lights, better job prospects and other attractions of London a few years back. Given the move would almost certainly require a new job (commuting just isn't 100% feasible I don't think) I have to wonder what's sparked the thought process. The social dynamic here would also undergo a change (as it would whenever anyone (re)enters the group). I guess it won't really affect me in person as the chances are I'll be leaving here before she arrives.

Kris sent me the remainder of the things she needs printed out for her Edinburgh job thingy on Monday and Tuesday next week. I've done so and am finding that I'm in a state of distraction/disconnection regarding the whole thing. I think it's a combination of knowing the outcome either way will be huge and yet at the same time completely out of my control which leaves me seemingly unconsiously seeking the refuge of ignoring it except in that I'm giving Kris as much love and support as I can and hoping very very much that the people she'll be seeing realise just how fabulous she is for the role they have available. You'll know more about how it goes when I do.

I think that's it for me today. I don't quite know what's happening this evening. We're either going to Tesco, or we're not. If not then I'm hopeful that the evening will be just as fun as I've been thinking about all day. The rain will, I'm sure, keep coming down and tomorrow's (and Sunday's) rowing will be close to miserable. Still, there's plenty of Kris to warm and keep warm before then.

I don't seem to have recalled what it was I was going to tell you. I remember the 'shape' of it in my mind, but just can't seem to get a proper grasp of the meat of it, as it were. I don't think it matters, to be honest. Have a good weekend. If it comes to me I'll make a note and tell you on Monday.

12/11/2009
[16:55] I was in early this morning to do some patching. Not as early as is usually the case (07:00) but pretty early nevertheless. It was all going pretty swimmingly until I discovered that the DB I needed to shut down on account of there being active processes/connections. I ended up having to wait about half an hour before someone who was authorised to do nasty things to the DB came into work before I could run some other stop scripts and get the beast of a machine patched. The rest of everything went pretty smoothly after that. I've now only got thirteen machines which're unpatched (still on RHEL5.3 rather than 5.4 + whatever's come out since then), which isn't too bad really.

Kris continues to work so very hard it's embarrassing just how much harder working than me she is. Anyone she applies to work for would be lucky to have someone as devoted as she is to being good at what she does. I just hope it all comes together/comes out for her at the beginning of next week. Of course no matter where she ends up I'll be looking for a job close by and eventually joining her once I've done the 1001 things necessary to allow me to rent my home out (to hopefully some good friends who'll treat it as I would). The whole process occasionally fills me with fear, based on the amount of change (for which I'm universally known as averse to) which is coming down the pipe for us both but which sometimes transmutes into excitement about the new possibilities which'll be coming my/our way. I just wish there was a method through which I can lock it into the latter rather than randomly flickering into the former.

Standard Thursday evening gathering at my place tonight. I should probably head off soon and make sure the house is presentable. You never know what'll happen if you leave a Kris at unattended at home for the day.

11/11/2009
[17:15] My legs still hurt a bit and I think the bruises are going to start appearing in the next day or so. They're going to be huge. I won't be doing any exercise this week after all I think. Just to make sure I give my body a chance to heal a bit before the weekend. I've also emailed Scott with some photos of the bike so they know what happened. Hopefully I'll get a response of some kind.

Kris and I made duck last night which turned out pretty well all things considered. We learned some important lessons about glazing and rendering fat from the skin and have resolved to do even better the next time. We had our own takeaway Chinese food by making stir-fry greens and egg-fried rice. I actually think Kris is getting even better at the rice than I am!

I've got some people to take some of the old kit we have here off our hands which is much better than sending it all to the computer dump to be scrapped. I do like getting useful reuse use out of servers. It gives them more meaning and is all about saving the planet, just a little bit. If nothing else newer PSUs are more efficient than older ones.

I think tonight's going to be another quiet night for us both. Kris has been working very hard getting ready for her next job interview (next Monday and Tuesday) and looking after me for the past two nights. Couple that with this morning and perhaps we could do with a nice gentle evening.

Oh, yes, one other embarrassing thing. I almost did some major damage to part of the (new) bathroom last night. Luckily cool heads and the web saved me from my own stupidity, at least I hope so in the long term. We'll see. Either way I still got most of the first coat of matt white (undercoating to stop the plaster absorbing the paint we really want to use) on before the tub ran out. I'll get some more this weekend when I take back the extra packs of floor laminate and some architrave.

10/11/2009
[16:55] On the way to rowing last night I broke my bike and nearly broke myself too. I was coming around a gentle left hand corner into a gyratory about a mile from my house and pulled on the right hand (front) brake. As soon as I did the handlebar sheared completely off just where it emerged from the right hand side of the stem. The wheel turned either to the left or right (I don't remember which) and I came off over the handbar slightly and to the left. Net result was a completely broken handlebar, what's going to be a huge bruise (but is currently only an aching lump) on my left thigh and what was until I got home a lump the size of a goose egg just below and to the left of my right knee. Kris was with me but had to head off to Yoga. I seemed fine (didn't ache much at all) so walked to the rowing club to see if my top was there (it wasn't) and then gingerly cycled home on my abbreviated bike. As the evening wore on the lumps on both legs went down a bit as I applied ice packs. Sleeping was fine with the only discomfort coming when I have had to walk up or down stairs.

Work today has been boring. The highlight has been patching some more machines, redoing some SSL certificates and having a lovely burrito lunch with Kris and Shaun. I'm going home shortly to be superbly looked after by Kris again (who came back from Yoga last night and waited on me hand and foot all evening) while we both make a smashing duck dinner together. It's a slightly expensive and guilty pleasure, but when you cook duck as well as we do, it'd be silly not to do so as often as we do. Especially when it's half price.

No training tonight. I probably won't train (or run) tomorrow either.

09/11/2009
[16:55] Well, I have a bathroom, and it's finished too. Well, other than me needing to paint a few coats of white and them some moisture-resistant stuff in a colour we want. It looks pretty brilliant too. I think we need another cabinet to replace the one we took down and a new shower curtain but otherwise thus far there have been no leaks and nothing's fallen off or broken. The new height of the floor in there is noticably higher than the landing carpet so we're going to have to get into the habit of not stubbing/scuffing toes on the threshold but otherwise it's smashing. Much much nicer than it was before and much lighter too. The radiator/towel rail is huge which is what happens when you get a free upgrade. I was right about not noticing the little dings and things it has, so that's good too.

Kris and I had a mixed but ultimately enjoyable weekend. For my part I rowed both mornings although I was freezing one day and under dressed and perfectly warm and over dressed the next. I also rowed both sides, which enhances my chances of getting into a boat as I'm becoming truly used to both sides. Saturday we went to Tesco, Sunday... we failed to do much of anything outside the house after our respective morning exercise. I think this was a good thing even if it didn't get paint bought.

Whilest watching an episode of House I managed to thoroughly confuse and upset Kris with a chain of 'logic' that not even I can explain in retrospect. Happily she was more sensible than I was and after my repeated failures to explain myself to either of our satisfaction promptly forgave me and we got on with the rest of the evening in a much better mood. I really have to work on clarifying my thoughts before speaking them out loud. As my mother once (paraphrasedly) told me "you can only upset your partner with the things you say, not the things you think". I will try harder to take a rule from the DIY school of thought and think twice and speak once. Maybe that way I'll be less confusing to be around.

There's rowing training tonight at the boat house (as usual). Hopefully I'll get back the rowing top (in club colours) someone accidently picked up on Saturday morning from the changing room. The training is four four minute pieces at a very hard rate. I think it's going to be a rather tiring experience.

This should counterbalance the relaxing and smoothly running day I've had here at work patching six more machines up to RHEL5.4 and the nice 6km run I had at lunch in the bright winter sun.

06/11/2009
[16:15] The fireworks last night were pretty brilliant. Probably the best I've seen in this town for almost ten years (which is how long I've been here now, amazingly). I was very close to wishing Kris and I had bought tickets for food but we managed to last until we got home by eating a Crunchie and nibbling on spare bread. At home I'm pleased to say I found a toilet perfectly equidistant between sink unit and bath and only a small hold in the laminate which I'm told will be filled by the time I get home this evening.

In fact the bathroom is supposed to be completely finished by the time I leave here today. Given I go in 10 minutes I am beginning to think this might not be the case. I really hope the guy isn't rushing things as he gets closer to being late. Kris tells me that he had to go out and get another reducer after the one we got last night on the way to the fireworks split for some reason. I hope he's been able to find something which works both physically and aesthetically.

I'm taking Kris out this evening for a date to a restaurant. It's a celebration a thanks from me to her and a "hey because we can" all in one. I'm even wearing trousers and everything. Speaking of which I should finish up the very few things I've been doing today and get ready to go on the dot of 16:30 so I can be home in time to be the one who actually signs off on the bathroom. Once that's done there's the weekend rowing, paint buying (and applying), Tesco shopping and other things big and small to keep us both busy until Monday rolls around again.

05/11/2009
[16:35] After the bathroom fitters kindly chose to stay late the night before last to make sure we had a working toilet I returned last night to find that after having fitted the sink the toilet was now rather too close to it. So close in fact that it was very easy to bang my right tricep on the edge of the sink as it hung over the vanity unit it perches on. Thinking I could get used to it (and imagining that I wouldn't need to deal with it for any more than a year if Kris and I end up somewhere else) I let them leave for the day. By the time Kris asked me to meet her in town before her running club and my erg session at the boat house I was becoming more and more sure I wanted/needed it moved. Obviously Kris was superb at helping me come to a decision and then making sure I had the stones to go through the phone calls with the lead fitter and then the person who'd sold us the bathroom from the store. After a fairly large amount of ego massage of the fitter and some roundabout comments to the store assistant it was actually the fitter and his sub-contracted plumber who came up with an idea which Kris watched put into action this morning while I was at work.

I had to be up and in town before 07:00 this morning to start the last bit of major work on our HR system DB servers. While I was patching, rebooting, doing RDAC upgrades and fibre plugging my team leader was here at work doing the same thing to another one. Meanwhile, by lunch Kris called to report that the toilet had been moved the significant 3-4cm necessary to centre it a bit more between sink and bath. I trust Kris, she tells me it's much better; I can't wait to see it. Hopefully a lot more of the tiling and other finishing bits and bobs will have been done by the time I make it home this evening. We are still short one 'reducer' (something to deal with the height difference between the bathroom and landing floors. Kris and I should be going to the store this evening to see if they have any in stock before heading down to the boat house to meet what's turned out to be a rather large amount of our friends to watch the fireworks and generally socialise outside of my house for a Thursday evening. I have no idea how crowded or otherwise it's going to be but everything this year is new again for me as I experience it for the first time with Kris. I know she's not terrible enamoured of fireworks and we're going to be very hungry by the time we leave for home but I think it should be a fun evening and certainly drier and less mud-spattered than if we were on the common with the commoners.

For now, I'm going to finish doing what I'm doing and get out of her just a few minutes earlier than I might have otherwise so I can see Kris, maybe catch the fitter and offer thanks again for what is probably an installation-saving solution to the toilet problem (even if he and the plumber caused it in the first place by not thinking about measurements before they put the toilet back exactly where the old one was).

Oh, I didn't mention that Kris rocks. And I love her.

04/11/2009
[14:10] So more minor issues have cropped up with the bathroom. It seems that I need a reducer for the threshold between bathroom and landing. Because I wasn't aware that an extra layer of flooring would be required between floor boards and the new laminate the carpet rod/gripper thing I had previously just won't fit. It turns out that every DIY and flooring place in a reasonable distance from me only has them for order; they just don't have them in stock. If the joiner/fitter guy can't find one near where he works I'm going to have to order one and probably fit it myself (or ask him to come back for an hour or so once it arrives). I also need some pipe-hole-in-the-floor circle things too. I think they're easier to come by. The radiator isn't actually crooked on the wall, the wall's crooked (a building fault and it'll be hidden by the door anyway), the bath could have been a bit longer if someone had realised certain things, the toilet doesn't have a double flush even though there's a split flush button on the top but on the bright side the plumber has been able to do a brilliant job hiding the pipe work for the shower and I'm sure the room is going to look totally awesome once it's all done.

I'm off home shortly to look after everything this afternoon while Kris does some much needed errands and frankly gets a bit of air. This is basically time off pre lieu for the early morning patching I'm doing tomorrow. It's the last of the four servers (with my team leader doing the other one at the same time) and I'll be in town for just before 07:00 again so I can get it patched, rebooted, RDAC drivers built for the kernel and the thing rebooted again before 09:00.

I didn't go to the boat house last night, but I'll be going this evening while Kris is at her running club. I think it's pretty excellent that she's keen on keeping fit and exercised. Just another reason in the possibly infinite list of why she's such a wonderful woman. Looking after my house, cooking, smiling at me and helping me change and improve myself are just some of the others.

03/11/2009
[16:50] So last night I did my AT erg. I'll admit, I didn't quite keep to the 80% power rating I should have, but I still maintain that having had two weeks off I'm still not back to my best. At least I stayed for a bit afterwards and got some good tips from one of the coaches.

The bathroom company have yanked me around a bit more. They didn't have the radiator I'd ordered so they have supplied me with the next size up of the same model that they did have in stock. Only it has a few small marks/dings. I don't think I care at this point. The actual contractors doing the work appear (to Kris) to be doing a good job. It's a shame that a whole chunk of necessary bits wasn't on the original quote and required further payment yesterday. Today more payment has been necessary to pay for the valves which weren't included with the radiator either. Luckily the contractors saved the day again by going to a much cheaper plumbers' supply store to get them.

Work today has consisted of running Nessus scans over all of our Solaris, linux and Windows servers and getting the resulting reports into a more readable format with some Perl parsing of the .nessus files. I fully intend to go home shortly and see how things are going before heading out to the boat house for some weights work.

I guess that's it. More thanks to Kris for her continued wonderful and vital efforts in coordinating the overhaul of the bathroom. She's lovely. And she cooks pretty brilliantly too.

02/11/2009
[16:30] Another month goes by. I repeat my assertion that time moves more quickly the older you get. Some days I feel very old (like when I see younger guys of 19 or so getting excellent erg scores when I can't match them and feel rather tired a lot) and yet some days I feel very young (like when I'm making the same mistakes over and over again and upsetting people and worrying that I'm never going to grow up and be less self-absorbed and unthinking about people around me). Anyway, it's lucky that I get given chances to redeem myself or I'd be a lonely person.

On a brighter note my bathroom is apparently a completely bomb site right now. The rennovations of it have started, although not without 'hiccups'. The fitter arrived a little late citing traffic problems and an inability to find a skip company who knew how to find my house. The place where I bought the bathroom suddenly announced that not only was the radiator I wanted not in stock but another £230.99 was required to pay for bits which apparently hadn't been quoted for initially. I've been offered the next size up of radiator for no extra cost, but paid for the bits I apparently wasn't charged for (thus sort of paying for the new radiator anyway). Kris has been amazing, coordinating and marshalling the stupidity into positive actions. She's a generally amazing woman anyway; she can cook superbly, barely ever points out how thoughtless I can be and only rarely gets angry. I don't care who you are, that's pretty bloody brilliant.

Rowing on Saturday and Sunday mornings was rather unpleasant even as it was interesting. Saturday I was Stroke for a bow-rigged 8+ (which went quite well I have to say) and Sunday I was Bow (in the same bow-rigged boat, so on stroke side). That, too, was interesting even if by the end of it we all wanted to be somewhere warm, dry and not windy. Preferably eating something. Because of the weather and both Kris and I needing a little downtime we spent both days snuggled up at home keeping warm, spending time together and catching up on some television. I attempted to play a computer game on my PC for the first time in about two years and ended up stymied for about four hours over those two days working out that some patch or service pack I've installed since I last played has made the WMI service (wmiprvse.exe) regularly eat up all the CPU thus making something like Far Cry almost impossible to play. By the time I risked stopping the WMI service to see if that helped it was Sunday evening. It worked, of course, but it's a workaround, not a solution. I can't seem to find any reason for its behaviour or any fix at present. I ended up uninstalling a whole pile of stuff including .NET frameworks 2, 3 and 3.5 to see if that helped (it didn't). If you know of how I can get it to behave a little better drop me a line.

Kris felt (and still feels, today) a little under the weather in various ways this weekend and I'm sorry to say that I wasn't the best partner in looking after her. In fact I could have done a lot better in a good few places. As she's a lovely person she's there to point out where we'd both like me to be a better man and to give me hugs where necessary for us both.

I'm off to the boathouse this evening to do some horribly tiring erg training this evening before coming home to try and wrestle the evening's meal preparation away from a post-yoga Kris who I imagine will be just as pooped. Maybe I shouldn't have run at lunchtime today, but the weather was so wonderful and feel I should grab every proper opportunity to fight the Bulge.