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January's Journal
March's Journal

[16:50] Last night was very pleasant. Just me, Cat and Cat's friend Ian over at Cat's to watch a film (once we'd figured out how Julian had wired everything together). Pizza, a cup of tea and a chance to dry out from the rain which'd soaked me on the way home. All very lovely.

Happily today has been much quieter than yesterday on all fronts. I've been able to tidy up some red lights on the Big Brother monitoring system, clean up some configurations and get a few steps closer to decomissioning two more old machines. I mean, they're Dell 2950s but they're still pretty old and slow compared to what we've replaced them with. Not to mention orders of magnitude smaller in terms of storage capacity (which is why they're being replaced). Now that I think about it I'm pretty sure one of them's only been rebooted twice since it was installed in February 2007. Actually, looking at the asset register they were purchased exactly three years ago today.

I went for a 10K run at lunch time. It was a good seven minutes slower than my best time on account of doing pace work for the person training for the London Marathon. As a result I didn't feel absolutely done in, which was nice given the second day repercussions from the 5K erg on Wednesday night. In fact it really just felt like a bit of a jog and has left me feeling moderately invigorated. All I can hope for now is that it isn't raining tomorrow (and Sunday) morning and it's not too cold. If it's dry and not freezing I think we could have some excellent rowing in prospect. That and a trip to Tesco, a Skype chat with my girl and some relaxing and recouperating.

Time to go home now I think. In fact I could have left twenty minutes ago.

[17:05] I learned something quite disturbing today. Almost by accident. It's something that's going to take an indeterminate amount of time to put right and is going to make me feel moderately rotten in the meantime. It's not an absolutely terrible thing (so don't worry) but it is extremely annoying that I didn't spot it sooner and do something about myself. Still, I guess them's the breaks sometimes. In other news Kris still loves me, so that's OK.

I've been spending more time in the server room today - in between writing lots of emails - helping a Sun engineer completely disassemble a v490 and try to see what might have been causing it to just stop fairly often since Friday last week. Very interesting inside, those things. Neither of us has any idea what the problem is, but reseating every part which can be removed and updating the OBP might at least give us some more confidence that it's not a loose thingy or wossname (like it was in the other chassis) and get us a bit more diagnostic information when/if it happens again.

Cat has kindly offered to host Thursday this evening, which is nice. It does mean that for once I'm one of the people who has to go out in the wind, rain and possibly even snow once the evening is over rather than just tidying the lounge and crawling upstairs to bed. I think it'll be fun though.

It sounds like Kris is very very close to finishing her Ph.D and getting it handed in. Or at least sent to someone who can take it to a Staples and have it printed out and handed in in Boston while she remains in North Carolina. That's going to be supremely excellent and wonderful and I'm so very proud of her. In fact even as I read the things she left me to remind me of this fact I'm amazed every day by the fact that she loves me given just how awesome she is.

It makes me want to try very much harder to be worthy of her.

[17:15] Busy day here at BOFH Towers. From the off I've been in and out of the office working with a Sun engineer to diagnose and fix the server which has been out of action for the last 24 hours or so. To cut a long story short even after we replaced the backplane and a hard drive things didn't seem to start working again properly until the engineer removed and reseated the power distribution board and its associated riser card. Since then the RAID 5 array seems to have rebuilt cleanly, the OS and filesystem seem to be completely happy and other than the APC software not starting (a quick reinstall fixed that) all seems well.

The above did mean that I didn't get to run today but I think that's OK considering I'm going to be out on the water this evening. Also it was raining at lunch time and after Monday's run through the slush and snow I felt I was owed one run off. I'll do 10K on Friday to make up for it.

Hopefully when I get back from rowing this evening Kris'll be online to chat to about this and that. We've had some very useful discussions over email today but nothing beats the practically instantaneous nature of Skype other than being in the same place and holding hands.

[17:10] It appears to be snowing again. That annoying snow which just melts when it hits the floor. Still, I guess it does mean there's less chance of the bike slipping out from under me on the way home in a few minutes. I didn't go erging last night but I did make a brilliant dinner of left over sausages, pepper, onion some spices, some natural yoghurt and some wraps. Oh yes, very tasty.

Today started off slowly and then accelerated downhill quickly. The server with the duff disk in a RAID5 set started going gently bonkers and then fell over in a heap. It then refused to boot and appears to need a backplanectomy (a part for which we should get tomorrow). Of course, this may not actually fix anything and I'll still have to blow the thing away and reinstall it.

The fun really started when I came back upstairs and found that something had tripped out a power phase for the UPS down in the centre of town. As a result it'd issues its standard bleating about being overloaded and begun sending shutdown commands before it settled down. As luck would have it two of the Windows server team were in the server room at the time and were able to power up those servers of ours which we somehow weren't able to get to. Everything seemed to be back within about 20 minutes and the error messages from Oracle, etc. should have vanished from Big Brother by tomorrow morning. Whatever's left by then we should be able to deal with if the DBAs haven't.

It's Kris' mother's birthday today so our evening chat has been postponed until tomorrow. This is OK though as we still have SMSes and emails to keep us going. Now, what shall I do this evening?

[17:20] A variety of things happened over the weekend just gone. Firstly there was the rowing on both mornings. Saturday was actually very pleasant, even if the water was very high on the river and everyone ended up with moderately wet feet before we'd even sat down in the boat. I opted to do an erg session with others from the 8+ rather than run afterwards. The Sunday morning was a horribly early start followed by some of the coldest rowing I've ever done. A minor blizzard, amazingly cold fingers and toes and an extremely long outing where I got thoroughly soaked led to me going home and just collapsing on the sofa for the afternoon. Saturday afternoon I went to Tesco as per and found myself stopping at the end of an aisle and just standing still until I could find the energy to carry on and get things done. I cycled home OK and put everything away, put the washing on and tidied the house without any difficulties but I think I might have used a lot more energy than I realised.

Kris and I chatted for a good two hours on the Sunday and discussed some rather important issues and numbers which required clarification. The upshot of the conversation was that should things turn out one way (the ways we both seem to be tending more and more towards) we'd be OK all in all. A little bit of belt-tightening for a while, but nothing we couldn't handle. It still remains to be seen how things will turn out, but I'm hopeful.

It was snowing when I got up this morning but once it'd started to settle it began melting from the ground up. This was extremely annoying when I went to do my 10K at lunch time. What looked like lovely soft snow was in fact snow on top of extremely splashy slush. Luckily I was wearing my proper AR shoes so my feet stayed dry, if not completely warm.

Having been showering at the boat house and at work mostly for the last two weeks showering at home was something of a novelty this morning. When I came out of the bathroom and did my customary check of the top of the rear wall of the house to reassure myself that the repairs to the gutter and brickwork were still good I was surprised and distressed to note that the wall was actually damp. Taking the time to have breakfast and make lunch I went back to check again and found that it was dry. Finally putting two and two together I realised that the cold weather plus my leaving the bathroom door open while I had a hot shower had caused condensation rather than it being damp from outside. At least I hope so. I'll check when I get home this evening. I should also take a look at the chain on my other bike too (which I used today as it has better tyres for snow) as I was very remiss in not keeping it clean, dry and oiled the last time I used it. Hopefully I can nurse it back to health with some scrubbing, cleaning and oiling.

I should go to the boat house this evening and erg but frankly with the running and the weekend's rowing I really don't want to. Instead I'm going to go home and perhaps investigate how easy it is (and in fact if it's necessary) to clean the extractor fan in the bathroom to perhaps get a little bit more air-flow from it.

I think that's it from the world of me other than to mention that I installed some new software today for someone after failing to find a way other than to install a new version of Python specifically for it. At least the IUS Community made it possible in such a way that the Python on RHEL5 doesn't get stepped on. Yeah, I think that's everything.

[16:55] I have a date tonight. With my girl. It's on Skype but nevertheless we'll be doing something fun together, then chatting some more, then making food together. Admittedly for one of us it'll be lunch and the other dinner but I really think it's the thoughts and actions that count. Of course it's totally soppy and blargh-inducing for the rest of you but I'd much rather that than another quiet Friday night in on my own and not having contact with my girl.

Not much else going on today I have to say. I went for lunch with everyone rather than a run. I'm not sure which was a better idea in retrospect given I just felt slightly over-full and unexercised afterwards. Couple that with the large pizza I appeared to inhale last night while friends were over (we watched Twister, which was totally poke-funnable-at) and perhaps I need to do a good bit of exercise this weekened to work off some of what I may have put on. Rowing both mornings and perhaps a run or two in the afternoons (or straight after the outings if I remember to take my stuff with me). There's also the obligatory Tesco trip and almost certainly a bit of fillering and painting here and there before I do some collapsing on the sofa'ing too.

Next week should be moderately interesting as I have our quarterly Nessus scans to do. Other than that, probably a lot more reading of technical stuff!

[16:55] I won't say "phew" because there is no "phew" for quite some time yet. However it turns out that the sky hasn't fallen on my head quite as much as I thought it would have this morning. In fact owing to Kris' natural state of being simply lovely there was no sky-lowering at all. Not even an inch. I really do love that girl an awful lot. So, yeah, there was that.

Last night's rowing went pretty well all things considered. Sitting in a 4+ with someone far more experienced behind you has a way of concentrating the mind quite well but it does mean that even in the pitch dark you're mentally as well as physically tired by the time you get back to the boat house. Dinner went well. Defrosted chicken (plate on radiator, thank heavens for the new rectangular plates) and stirfry with a generous amount of soy sauce. All things considered it was rather tasty and extremely low in fat and all those other things I'm not supposed to eat a lot of regularly. It's a shame I then 'spoilt' it by having a rather huge amount of the brownie Kris made before she left. I've one bit remaining which I'll have tomorrow evening after another worthy meal, probably of noodles or something.

So yes, Kris and I had a good Skype typing chat with video link this morning where we talked about all kinds of things, I made her giggle and laugh and she made me smile widely and stuff. Everything, for a little while, was right as it should be. She's now working through her day doing Ph.D completion stuff and I am about to go home to host the regular Thursday thingy.

[17:00] Despite being on my own and really beginning to feel the absence of Kris biting quite deeply now I still sucked it up and participated in a limited amount of Shrove/Pancake Tuesday activities. 5oz of flour, 7floz of milk, 3floz of water and two eggs and I had enough batter (mixed by hand and still no lumps) to make myself five pancakes. Two were eaten savoury and three sweet. I even cooked up some butternut squash to eat with the savoury ones to satisfy those people in my life who insist I have fruit and vegetables every day. It was a little odd standing in the kitchen doing something that would usually be quite a lot of fun in an almost utilitarian state of mind and action. Cook, eat, cook, eat, etc. I didn't even really sit down as it wasn't worth the effort. Still, they were excellent pancakes, there was no mess (although I wish Kris had been there so there had been some mess for me to have to chase around after her cleaning up) and I had the satisfaction of a quick and simple dinner which was home made and wasn't particularly bad for me.

Kris had her interview and gave her talk towards the end of my day in the UK yesterday. When I got up this morning I found some emails from her about it. As far as I can tell the talk she gave was - as I expected - totally awesome and she even had a student come up to her afterwards and say so. Gave her 10/10 too. Her interactions with the academics and other staff were more complicated and not something I'm sure I can detail without more information. She loved the students and just how much she felt she could teach them but I think I'm right in saying that the experience strengthened in her mind that she didn't necessarily feel that staying in academia would be necessary to be able to express herself as she'd like in giving something back to and/or helping people move forward with their lives. Especially other girls/women. I'm just so very proud of her and how much effort she put into yesterday (and the rest of her life in general). Given how well it seems to have gone I have the impression that they're going to offer her a post there. That's when we're really going to have to look at the package they're offering, the (currently vague) possibility that they'd help us with all the paperwork required to get me over there and allowed to be employed and actually helping me get a job somewhere nearby and the remuneration which would allow us to, you know, actually live. The place doesn't sound totally wonderful, but then not many places are actually perfect. I should probably update my CV just in case we decide that it's a viable option.

As part of that CV buffing I've decided that as very little is going on here at the moment I'm going to start working down the moderately long list of Things I Wish I Knew More About (Because They'd Be Useful To Know When Applying For Or Doing A Job). Today has been mainly DNS and BIND, and I imagine tomorrow will be to.

Other than that I've had a text from Kris to say she's flying back to her parents' house in Wilmington, NC and I'm about about to head off so I can go down to the boat house and see if there's actually an outing this evening on the water. If it turns out there's no organisation and there's going to be erging I think I'll just go home as I ran a rather fast 6km today (in preparation for a much slower 10km tomorrow as a pacer, I hope) and I'm not sure I can be bothered to do that much more exercises without actually going somewhere. Even if it will be cold and possibly wet outside.

[17:10] We had Chinese new year celebrationy meal-type stuff at our local tame Chinese restaurant. Delicious food, good company and a chance to relax rather than going erging. The only thing that could have made it better is a little lower volume from a few people and Kris being there to sit next to. I left with the first tranche of people so I could be home and in bed by 23:00. I have no idea how long other people stayed. There was a lot of sake (yes, I know that's Japanese) drunk.

I was supposed to be going climbing this evening. Unfortunately my ride forgot and so I'm going to go home and have a rare week day evening in. I might even watch some television. Not to mention the fact that it's Shrove Tuesday this evening. I think I will make some pancakes (or crepes for those of you reading this overseas, like in the USA) and enjoy them in the hopeful knowledge that next year I won't be on my own.

Kris has her job interview today (although she's also just been offered another one in the first week of March). I hope she does as well as she wants and the interview, talk and other aspects of it leave her (and us) with a clear idea of what might happen next. That would be nice. I think we're both quite fed up of having to hang fire on where our lives go from here.

[16:15] I ran my first planned 10km today. I've run more and less that that repeatedly over the last couple of months but today was the first time I sat down with, drew a route of 10(.27)km and then went and did it. And noted the time. I glanced at my watch at 270m before I stopped and noted a time of exactly 43 minutes which isn't half bad considering how unfit I feel at the moment and the 21:49 time I got for my last parkrun 5km. I'll run 6km on Wednesday so I'm feeling spritely to go out again on Thursday with the person I'm pacing for. I don't know if we'll do 8 or 10km but it'll still be nice to stretch my legs and get some decent running in two days in a row.

The weekend had a little bit of exercise in. Saturday morning I was up before dawn to get down to the boat house in time to take a 4+ the 18km or so down river and back again in time to mix in with the novice short course races we'd left early to avoid getting snarled up in the preparation for. This meant that in the confusion around the finish line/marshalling area we almost got rammed by a novice 8+ whose green cox didn't notice us until I waved my arm around like a loon. Having gone home, had some lunch and been about to crash out I instead forced myself to go to Tesco by choice rather than knowing that I'd have to go out of necessity on the Sunday. After coming back from a utilitarian visit which helped keep my missing of Kris to a minimum I was able to sit back and relax for the rest of the day, rousing only to lightly burn and blacken a pizza in the oven (making that both evening meals in a row I'd fluffed since Kris left). Sunday was a little more civilised in that I wasn't required at the boat house before 07:50. We were again out in a 4+ and still very much leaning to stroke side. This time though we had a different coach on the bank (someone down from the first boat who'd taken my seat for the last race) who normally I've never heard more than ten words from and definitely never seen smile. He had some excellent suggestions and on the final run back from the lock I reckon I rowed my best ever strokes. Once home I found that Kris was online and we had a wonderful hour or so of catching up on her nightmare journey back to North Carolina through Atlanta. We also talked about stuff, and things and other stuff and worked out when we'd next be able to get back on Skype at the same time. At the moment it's not going to be until Thursday which'll be after her interview tomorrow so we'll rely on SMSes and emails until then.

She's going to do brilliantly, I know. We'll just have to see what they offer us in terms of compensation for moving the two of us there and making sure we're able to survive. If they don't then the budding writer who is Kris (she had an email today that a paper she presented in St Andrews is going to be published in an upcoming book) and I will forge something stupendous together here. We'll know how well Kris thought it went in less than 48 hours and how well the people who interviewed her thought in a few weeks.

Yesterday was the Chinese new year so a whole bunch of us are going out this evening to our favourite Chinese restaurant and have an awful lot of wonderful food and (oddly) sake. I expect to get home at a reasonable time tonight as I need to put a second layer of paint on the hole which was filled at the top of the stairs. After chatting to Kris yesterday I promised her I'd do something DIY-related and putting the first coat on was it. It's apparently one-coat but I'm damned sure it needs another go, probably because of the white plaster underneath. It doesn't need much, just a little bit. I just hope it fades in to match the rest of the wall.

Speaking of things I promised Kris I'd do yesterday, the other thing was that I cook myself a home made Chinese takeaway meal last night rather than order and pay for something. I duly made some excellent egg-fried rice, battered calamari with garlic, chilli and spring onions and nommed down on it in front of the television for a bit of a treat. Definitely not as good as having Kris there to sit next to, but tasty nonetheless.

I should finish up what I'm doing right now and get ready to head off and have my hair cut. It's already past the point at which a) things start to get curly and, b) my grey hairs start to show.

[16:40] Kris left for the States this morning. We had a wonderful evening yesterday with a very British meal, some happy television, some of our favourite wine before what turned out to not be a particularly early bed time. Packing, organising, booking my flight to see her for our birthday week and various logistics things meant we didn't get to be much before 22:30. Still, there was time to relax, snuggle and happily fall asleep. This morning we were up and about at 05:30, fooded, packed and had our goodbyes said by the time the taxi driver arrived at 06:10. From the texts and phone calls I've had over the course of the day she made the coach on time, had it delayed in traffic, made the plane in time, sat on the runway for over an hour and although she's in the air it seems likely that her flight from Atlanta is probably going to be monsterously delayed if not cancelled entirely due to bad weather on the east coast. This could mean she doesn't get to North Carolina until some time on Sunday, which is pretty poor and is going to leave her in a rotten state... Especially as she needs to get on a plane again on Monday to get up to Massachusetts for three days (flying back down to NC on the Wednesday). She's going to be pretty wiped out by the time she gets back from the job interview she has up there.

For my own part I stayed home, pulled myself together and began to deal with the fact that I won't be seeing Kris in person for almost two months. The first job was to still be home at 08:00 to let the builder in for one last job of sanding down the plaster he'd put over the expanding foam used to fill the hole left when the tubing was removed which had been fitted to provide a vent in the rear wall of the house. Try saying that twice without taking a breath. He didn't need more than about ten minutes and in fact left before he'd even touched the coffee I'd made him. So I drank it. My first coffee in about three years. It wasn't too bad.

While I remember I should say congratulations to Elaine who got engaged today, on her birthday. It's wonderful that she's found that kind of permanent happiness and I wish her and Daniel all the very best. I just wonder who's going to get their asses in gear first when it comes to picking a date, place, etc.

At work today I decomissioned a server (which I'll need to go and derack, bring back and cannibalise for parts some time soon), ran my lunchtime 8km at a steady slower-than-my-regular pace for the person who I appear to be helping train for the London Marathon and did an analysis of how many disks and which ones have failed in a server.

It's going to be too dark and quiet at home this evening and over the weekend and basically all the time until Kris is around again. As sung in My Fair Lady (and by Stewie Griffin) I've grown accustomed to her face and I miss it, and her. A lot.

I've resolved to deal with some of the missingness by making a big long list of things I can and that need doing to the house and then actually doing them. Along with that will be lots of exercise (especially as the amount of daylight per day increases), reading more again and generally keeping myself as occupied as I can. I absolutely don't want to just sit in front of the television every evening until it's time to go to bed.

Speaking of which I need to get an early night tonight as I'm in a 4+ tomorrow morning while is apparently going to be on the water for 07:30 (necessitating that I be at the boathouse in many many layers for 07:00ish). We'll be rowing something like 18-20km, which could really tire me out. If it doesn't I have in mind a nice, gentle but very long run in the afternoon. We'll have to see how that goes. If I don't do it tomorrow I might do it Sunday instead. Either way I should definitely do some painting on the weekend. Whether it's on the landing or in the bathroom (gloss on the woodwork) I've yet to decide. Maybe it'll be both!

I hope Kris makes it back to her parents safely and in good time.

[17:00] Frustrating day (and the last one). For most of the day I've been trying to book a flight to the States and coming up against stupid web sites and weird pricing. I blame pagan festivals and our parents for why the dates I'm trying to book are so hard to get sorted.

I did some work too (including discovering the two Oracle patches which fix two very very long term bugs/errors/warnings we've been experiencing under x86-64 linux for I don't know how long) but not all that much. I'd much rather be at home with Kris.

Oh, and last night's rowing was... interesting being as it was below freezing and pitch black. I caught a crab which was annoying bit otherwise it was an OK session. I definitely could do with more time in the boat though. I hope that I'm not considered a substitute rather than a viable regular boat member or I may have to consider whether I concentrate more on my running for this season.

Anyway, time for me to go home, spend as much time as I can with Kris, do some exercises, watch some TV curled up together and have a smashing dinner before the day comes to an end. Kris was at home today doing work, packing and doing one last piece of house-sitting while our new favourite plumber came and did some awesome things to the sink to stop it from leaking. I really do hope that's the end of issues with that room. The last bit of major house work should also hopefully be completed tomorrow morning at around 08:00 when one of the builders comes over to sand flat some wall filler. Kris'll have gone by then so it'll by my job to make sure it all goes according to plan.

[16:50] Another day nearly gone. One full day left. I spent today helping the person I appear to be pacing for run her first sub-40 minute 8km, finding myself with very little work to do and having my free book "Clusters for Dummies" arrive. I haven't open the book (although at 42 pages it's more like a fat pamphlet) but I'm sure I'll have time to do so before the end of the week.

Kris and I went on our last date for some time yesterday evening. Starting off at a local bar we had lovely cocktails (cheap evening) and then wandered over by bike to a Keralan restaurant near by to have a truly wonderful meal in a completely empty place and got 20% off the bill too. Seriously, there's few things in life better than going out for an early Valentines Day date with a girl knowing that not only are you definitely going home with her at the end of the evening but that it was certain to be brilliant and that it didn't cost all that much either. Money is definitely something we both need to keep an eye on for the next year (if not probably the next couple of years if things go according to either of the two plans we tentatively have imagined).

Tonight I'm going to be back in a boat for the first time in a few weeks. I think it's going to be very, very cold. I'm seriously entertaining multiple layers, gloves, a hat and two pairs of socks. I just hope I'm not sitting close to anyone who's splashing more than usual. Cold I can handle. Cold and wet requires serious fortitude when you're just sitting still and not able to get up and run around to keep warm.

[16:55] Counting down another day. I went to see the Tax Man yesterday afternoon. After about an hour of him looking through all of my available documentation his opinion was that the money I apparently still owed was not what the paperwork said and was in fact not enough to worth bothering with and should be removed from the system. Unfortunately because of a combination of them having moved to a new system a few years ago, a screen problably not having been filled in correctly at that time and the guy who knows how to fiddle the system there's nothing he can do about it this week. Hopefully it will be sorted for good next Monday and from now on my tax code will be the same as everyone elses. That would be nice.

I went home to find that Kris had done the lion's share of the washing up, which was pretty awesome. She got some good huggage for that. Even though apparently I was looking pretty shattered I went down to the boathouse and tried to do the AT erg session. I didn't do too well but I think that's OK for having been out of rowing-specific training for the last few weeks. I'll pick up quickly and get back to where I was before, if not better. It'll help that there's a good chance I'll be back in the boat again come tomorrow and next weekend. Especially (although it shouldn't only be the case) as there are a few injuries in the M2 squad at the moment.

Today I've been increasing my knowledge on a few things I should know properly anyway as well as starting to learn some new stuff about XML, LDAP and general Perl for Systems Administrators. Definitely all good things I should know if I should happen to need to apply for another job (or do better work in this one). There's also some SQL and SNMP I should brush up too.

Right now though I'm off for a cocktails and dinner date with my best girl before we head home for a nice night in. Whee!

[14:25] An early entry today. This is because I'm off shortly to see the Tax Man (or as it may be, Woman) in a few minutes to work out just what the hell is going on with my tax code for next years (April 2010-April 2011). I've got all the documentation I can find as well as two proofs of identity and my actual National Insurance Card (something I've never ever needed before in the 'flesh' as it were). More on that tomorrow when it's all hopefully sorted.

The bathroom work done last week has been 50% successful. The toilet cistern no longer leaks but the drain trap in the sink still does so we're having our new best plumber friend back on Thursday to completely replace the plugging mechanism with something which doesn't suffer the same issue.

This weekend gone Kris and I blitzed the house in preparation for friends visiting and staying the night after a big meal out with lots of people, only for them not to be able to make it due to illness. It did mean that we had an awesomely clean house though so having run another 5K race beforehand we felt perfectly justified in not doing much else for the rest of the day. The meal in the evening was great (having already paid for it out of money left over from the Salcombe holiday we'd all been on in 2009) even if the kareoke after we'd finished was almost enough to bring on indigestion.

Sunday, being our last full day together before probably some time in mid-June (me visiting Kris in the States notwithstanding) we spent relaxing, catching up with some rather good television we'd been saving up to see together and cooking an amazing leg of lamb. Basically, close to the perfect day (although there are many variations on that both more and less energetic).

I think that's everything to report at the moment. I'm back erging this evening, Kris continues to work on her dissertation and write packing lists and we have climbing, a date out and lots of quiet time together still to go before she leaves very early on Friday morning. As soon as she's gone I intend to start counting down to when I go over to visit (although I may go more than once depending on how long she's over there for, and then there's what happens if she gets the job) and blocking out segments of time to do small but important bits of DIY to the house which will be perfect for filling up the quiet evenings and weekends that I'll have for the next little while. I will keep busy, productive and useful, especially as whatever happens the house needs to be in excellent shape for the autumn.

[16:50] Tentative yay! Kris rang at around 11:00 this morning to tell me that the wonderful new plumber (here's hoping he stays wonderful) has fixed and/or dealt with all the issues we'd written down on the bit of paper we'd both be noting issues down on. Hurrah! This could be the last you have to hear about it all. Double hurrah!

Lunchtime was another 8km run with the person I'm helping train for the London Marathon trailing behind me slightly the whole way around. Somehow, despite it feeling slower we seemed to have clocked her in at the same speed per mile as Wednesday. We'll have to see what Monday brings, especially as it reckons she ran further today over exactly the same course. Well, 50m further, which I really can't believe.

I've been struggling to get my Firefox 3.6 working with all the plugins I have at the same time as helping a web developer find out why every time his script runs the development Xen box he's working on has a sudden onset of OOM (out of memory). Both seem to have been solved through dilligent work and brute force on my part which means there's no real reason for me to still be here. Have a good weekend! I intend to spend it running (tomorrow morning) with Kris, enjoying a mostly free meal with friends, brunch with Kris and some good friends on Sunday and then a little more time with Kris. Monday is work and Tax Man day. I really don't care how the tax thing works out (unless I'm lumbered with more tax to pay than right now), I just want it sorted. Oh, and the hole in the back of the house is now full of expanding foam. I imagine someone'll come along on Monday to slice it smooth and plaster over it.

[16:55] It looks like the work done to the house yesterday was pretty neatly done. Concrete cut back, edging put in, gravel laid down and soil dug away from the house, big crak repointed and cracked bricks replaced. The guys even filled in my apparently useless vent in the rear of the house. Of course this meant that they shoved the pipe inside the vent back into the house in a small explosion of plaster but one of them's come over for the first of two trips to fill the hole with expanding foam in preparation for coming back early next week to slice off the overflow and then skim some plaster over the top. This is good as I needed to break out the paint for that wall again anyway to go over the water staining from when the gutters overflowed a few months ago. I was waiting for the wall to dry fully, that's why I didn't do it sooner. Honest.

We've got the new plumber coming tomorrow morning. I've 'authorised' Kris to be as nice as she wants to him (within reason, even if he may be making everything better again and saving the house from slowly flooding and helping make sure the money I spent on the bathroom wasn't a total waste). I imagine there will be offers of tea/coffee and her chocolate and carrot torte (which is truly fabulous).

Work today has been fairly OK. I didn't have to make lunch as one of our longest-serving staff members had his retirement party today. I've done some patching written some documentation and caught up on some newsgroups and tech blogs and things. I think I should go home and see some more of Kris. There's a Thursday tonight. It's the day after Groundhog Day, but I still think we should watch the Bill Murray classic.

[15:45] We had the builders arrive this morning at about 08:00 to do the work to the back of the house which should help lower the damp problems affecting the house a little more. I think I mentioned that the concrete 'patio' which had been laid for the house behind mine when mine was being extended actually came up above the damp proof course in some places thus leading to cold and slightly damp brickwork when the weather was bad. Well, they were here to deal with that as well as hopefully slap some waterproofing on some other bits, scrape out and repoint the major crack in the rear wall and replace some bricks which the crack had gone through rather than round. I'm going to head home in about 30 minutes to catch them before they go and make sure everything looks OK. They're going to have to come back to deal with some minor damage they did to the inside of the house as they filled in an unncessary vent but I don't think that's going to be an issue (at least I hope it isn't).

Kris, as per, has done a sterling job of dealing with the builders but I need to be there to, you know, deal with my own house now and again as it's really not her job (no matter how brilliant she as at it).

I've been trying to log and have dealt with a failed hard disc with the company who supplied the kit. Unfortunately despite them doing a complete audit (with their personnel) last week all of our details seem to have vanished from their system. Every single serial number, all our addresses and our representative persons (like me and my team) have vanished. Unhelpful. I just hope we get a replacement disk out before another one fails.

Damn, now I'm on hold when I need to start preparing to leave.

[17:25] Toilet's leaking again. We've resorted to turning off the water to it and emptying (flushing) the cistern at night to make sure it doesn't soak the floor while we sleep. Hopefully Kris had a call from the replacement fitter and plumber this afternoon when she got back from working in town and then having lunchtime burrito with me. If not, well, he's still apparently due out to see things on Friday. Here's hoping anyway.

In other news the other work to the house is apparently going to take place tomorrow. This is good.

Kris dosed me up with decongesting thingies and dripped other things on my pillow last night and I honestly think I had the best night's sleep I've had in about a month. And today I think I've only sneezed three times and blown my nose twice. This may be the shortest-lived cold in recorded history. It's a shame we're not going climbing this evening on account of our driver being ill and Kris' wrist being a bit painful from the bike fall she had on Saturday morning.

We've opted to have our date tomorrow evening rather than tonight given the weather. I hope this turns out to be a good idea. I'm sure we'll have a wonderful time at home tonight anyway.

I've managed to solve my weird warning error deprecation warning thingy on the RHEL5 servers which were exhibiting it. It turns out it was all do to with shared libraries and Oracle and LD_LIBRARY_PATH. It took me a while and it required the use of strace (which I guess was cool to do) but hopefully it's all sorted now. No, I have no idea why it happened.

Anyway, home time I think.

[17:00] The year is no longer new. We're into the second month where everything starts to settle down and get serious. Serious things which have happened since last I spoke is that Kris and I discovered another issue with leaking things in the bathroom (leaking pipe in the sink), the loo cistern which we thought we'd fixed and therefore told the fitter we didn't like not to come today is still leaking (luckily only very very slightly) and the Tax Man has really confused me with regard to how much tax I may or may not owe for the tax year 2010-2011. I have arranged for an appointment next Monday afternoon to Talk Over all the documentation I have in an effort to try and get my PAYE reset to the normal, standard and completely unspecial tax code that most people have.

This weekend was pretty good actually. Saturday I did lots of little tiny house DIY things including finally putting the first coat of the actual colour we want in the bathroom and doing some filling (sanding to come). It feels like every single floorboard creaks in the house at the moment, every crack is huge and every problem is massive and insurmountable. I'm probably not helped by the lack of sleep I'm getting at the moment and the variety of other things on my mind right now.

Saturday morning Kris and I cycled out to take part in a regular-from-now-on 5km run at a local park. I managed to get a little lost owing to finding myself in a hole between packs of runners and ended up doing about 860m less than the full distance. I wasn't the only one though so there're plans to make the signage better next week. We'll go and run it again before I head back to rowing again and Kris heads back across the Atlantic. It'll be there whenever we have a free Saturday morning, which is cool.

Sunday was much more relaxed. We'd have cycled somewhere but the snow from the previous day and the thick frost was going to make the roads just a little too 'exciting' for us so we opted to stay in, do housework, bake cakes and generally be moderately achieveful.

I have to say Kris is just the most awesome person ever. There's too many things I could tell you with regard to what she does for me and my life. I'm not going to go into them because of that and because some of them are wonderful and personal. Actually, I will tell you one thing; she handled dealing with the whole bathroom issue(s) stuff today after I had a bit of a minor meltdown with regard to all the things I feel are on my plate at the moment. But there's so much more to it and her than that. And that's why she's Just That Wonderful.

Anyway, I should go home now as I seem to have developed a torrential cold (yes, that means exactly what you think it does) after returning from my 6km lunchtime run. Maybe it was getting up early this morning after a poor night's sleep so I could come to work, get my payslips and then cycle over to the Tax Office to spend a fruitless hour finding out that I needed another hour's worth of appointment to... never mind. I'll just tell you when it's all over. Like Kris did when she emailed me just past 09:00 this morning to say she'd Handled Things with the bathroom people.

Totally awesome, that girl.