August


A month seems to have vanished since the last post so I thought it was about time I checked in. I’ve mostly been being a parent, and it’s pretty likely it will take several days just to jot down a few sentences between trying to entertain, feed, clean, and generally run around after a baby.

(First break due to waking up with an attack of hiccups!)

I actually squeezed in a tiny amount of DIY last weekend. Top of the list have been a few outdoor jobs to make the most of the weather, and minimise any disruption on what counts as a routine. Don’t think the hammer drill was popular there, especially after it turned out one of the holes wasn’t quite where it should have been. In my defense, I did measure everything; I just didn’t take in to account how wonky the house was! Still need to finish off putting the new house number up… in the right place… sometime!

(Burping duty!)

Wifey very kindly got me a new gadget this month too. I hate reading documents on computer monitors, so I’m definitely looking forward to the e ink experience instead. I’m rather mystified by the idea of a screen saver given the screen, but since it has one I now have a personalised baby calendar, which is nice. Much quieter than the real thing! Mind you, getting time to read anything might be tricky- I still haven’t finished Stasiland in traditional book form, which I started before I was a dad! In case of miracles, I already have a couple of free books, some epub Redbooks, and a guide to creating epub books on there.

(Trying to convince sleeping baby to sleep.)

(It’s asleep! Collapsing in a heap!)

I’ll be avoiding DRM content on principle, except maybe books from the library, which could be very handy for children’s stories! So far I’ve found a couple of tools which look promising for grabbing web sites for offline reading later:

I’m also tempted to try and convert my old internal blog to epub since Blog Central got archived, although I seriously doubt I’ll actually get around to that!

(Cleanup to aisle two!)

Well that was a longer gap than expected (a couple of days) partly due to preparing for a customer briefing as well as baby duties. That did give me the chance to do a bit more with calibre: as an experiment I created a simple eBook for presentation notes just by converting a .odt file to epub. The conversion worked really well without any effort, and it was quite useful to highlight things I needed to remember, and make notes before and after the presentation. Could be something I’ll do again in the future.

(It’s asleep again! Food break!)

The other reason for the lack of any posts recently is that they would have mainly been rants! I expect there’ll be plenty more rants in the future though, so don’t panic :)

After and before


Despite the distractions of an impending baby, we’ve also been making a bit of progress on the house lately. Most of the major work is done (I hope!) so it should just be decorating from now on.

The war on leaks is going well and after ripping out the old toilet last year, the new cloakroom is almost done:

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An even bigger milestone was finally finishing the front bedroom. I don’t think we have a before shot for this room because it was just too horrible!

From start to finish it took about 14 months to complete! That was partly due to getting other rooms done at the same time, but there were a few minor complications along the way: the floor needed a bit of work, someone stole part of the wall and, just when all that was fixed, even more holes were required to install a cable for the new boiler! I do hope we don’t need any extra holes now the carpet is down!

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I guess it’s probably time to get cracking on the nursery…

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The old carpet has gone already and, fortunately, it looks like the floor is mostly ok! Which is lucky really: we don’t have 14 months to finish this room! Maybe not even 14 days!

Escape hatch!


This weekend I finally finished filling in the unwanted extra ventilation we had installed earlier in the year:

I think that’s the most woodwork I’ve done since school! I’m sure it’ll look better after a coat of paint.

(Unfortunately there is a very full airing cupboard on the other side so it isn’t actually a very good escape hatch.)

DIY SOS


Last Friday was definitely the best day at work for a while: I wasn’t in the office, or anywhere near a computer!

Last year IBM celebrated it’s 100th anniversary with a celebration of service, and this year they donated 1000 hours to the Jubilee Hour book of service. Twelve of us spent a few of those hours volunteering for the Society of St James on a DIY SOS day:

Fortunately they seemed pleased with our painting skills and we managed to paint the communal corridors in one of their units of self contained flats. It’s amazing how much you can get painted in a day with that many people. Unfortunately, while there was time to start on the fences outside, I wasn’t able to con anyone in to coming home and finishing off my house!!

Thanks to Matthew Comer for organising the day and the photographic evidence.

Floor show


Another quick floor related update- if only doing the work was as quick! Despite the best efforts of the pipes to get completely in the way, there’s a now a new bit of floor in the house…

I even stood on it without ending up downstairs in the kitchen! It took a little longer to fit than expected due to the cunning B&Q cutting service plan not quite working out as well as I hoped. Luckily the new piece of chipboard was too big to start with!!

As if to prove a point, the original leak has got worse, so will definitely need to get that fixed soon. At least there’s a floor to put the drip tray on in the mean time!