January 15, 2011: Meeting at Our Place

We slept in until around nine this morning.  That was some good sleep.  We often don’t get very much so getting a bit more than eight hours was awesome.  I feel great today.  And we have water and the weather is nice too.

We set to work cleaning the house first thing.  That and I had some work that needed to be done for the office.  So I spent about an hour or so working for the office and all morning cleaning whenever possible.  We put tons of stuff away, got the kitchen all spiffied up, vacuumed and more.  We needed some snacks for the crew later on today so Dominica ran to Walmart and did some shopping with Liesl allowing me to keep cleaning at the house which worked out pretty well.

The house is really looking great.  This is the best that it has looked since we first moved in.  We still have boxes piled up in the living room but there is nothing that we can do about that, I don’t think, until we get the garage conversion completed.  Which demonstrates why that needs to be a priority for sure.

Brian Souder arrived a few minutes after one and the rest of the crew started trickling in at around one thirty.  We had Brian S., Brian W., Jen, Maggie, Dominica and I as well as Maggie’s daughter and her friend who were hanging out too.  We hooked the girls up with Liesl and the PS3 with over five hundred movies available on the house server so they were pretty well entertained with that.  Liesl thought that having the two older girls at her disposal all day was awesome.  She had a great time and it worked out really well that we basically had babysitters all afternoon.  Liesl was thrilled and didn’t complain at all – unless one of the girls wanted to abandon her and go use the bathroom or something crazy like that.

One of the cutest things ever was walking in to check on the girls and finding Liesl lying on the bed with her head on her hands over the side of the bed watching the television.  She looked just like a little version of a bored tween.  It was hilarious.  She is so growing up.

The meeting went well today and seemed to be really productive.  I think that everyone is enjoying being able to get together like this.  It is a good use of time.  Having the soda, chips, veggie tray and Walmart fresh made pizzas to pop into the oven worked really well.  It was cheap and very tasty and easy to do.  No big issues attempting to coordinate food for everyone partway through the afternoon.

We went until around seven then everyone headed for home.  Dominica made sausage and peppers again for dinner.  We have finally found potato rolls here in Texas which makes all of the difference between bland, tasteless sausage and peppers that I could take or leave and the meal that I love.

Now that the water is back on and we are into a house of our own, we are making a real effort to eat healthily at home drastically more.  It really does not save very much money.  It does save the tip and tax and most of the cost of driving someplace but the actual cost of food is pretty much a break even, I think.  So it might be a twenty five percent cost savings, in my quick estimation, but it does save a lot of time in the evenings as going out just takes forever.  The downside is that it means that Dominica has to do all of that work to make the meals and then there are all of those dishes to clean up.  It is amazing how much work is actually generated by the creation of one meal.  Oreo very much appreciated us eating at home more.  Otherwise he is left home alone while we go out.

After we ate I spent a while showing Brian, via join.me – LogMeIn’s screen sharing service, how to do a complete install of WordPress on Rackspace CloudSites.  That took at least an hour, maybe as much as two.  While I was doing that both Liesl and Dominica went to bed and were asleep by the time that I was off of the phone.  So at around eleven I went to bed and listened to some more of my book New Europe by Michael Palin which I have nearly completed.  It is a travelogue of his time touring the nations of eastern and central Europe that, until somewhat recently, fell behind the Iron Curtain.  Today the Iron Curtain era seems long ago and far away and Liesl will see it much like I see the Korean War to my parents (they were alive but it seems so long ago and so irrelevant) but the countries that fell behind it are still early in their phases of reconstruction.  The book is far from my favourite travelogue and it fails to tell stories in the way that I often prefer them but it is informative and interesting and nearly everyplace in it is one where I would like to visit.

So it was just after midnight when I fell asleep.  Brian is planning on coming over in the morning to look at doing some additional network cabling in the house.  The next room up on the list is the master bedroom where the PS3, XBOX 360 and AppleTV all need to be plugged in to the network.  We had tried using the PS3’s wireless capability for a few weeks but it was horrible.  Even with the Apple AirPort Extreme right across the hall the speeds that it was getting weren’t enough to play Netflix reliably and not enough to even begin to watch something streamed at higher rates inside of the house.  So we resorted to stringing a cable across the hall from my office / the nursery into our bedroom which is somewhat dangerous and definitely an eye soar.  Plus it uses up the only available network port left on my AirPort.

The plan is to have all of the house connect back to a central cabling plant in the garage.  There my twenty four port Netgear GigE “Smart” switch (managed but not managed via SNMP) will do the trick of consolidating all of the traffic rather than having it split out to a couple of low end, very small home switches like it is at the moment.

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