January 4, 2020: Garage & Attic Day


Slept in a little, but at ten the Spectrum sales guys rang the doorbell and no one heard them. Then they knocked. So I jumped from bed, got dressed, and raced to the door to see what was wrong just to find out it was peddlers who had been told not to come here in the past. So not only were they rude, but were in violation of Carrollton’s peddling laws. I was not happy and told them to get lost in no uncertain terms.

I did a little work this morning. Maybe forty five minutes. Then it was time for me to be working in the garage. I did moving of boxes while Dominica took down the Christmas decorations. Once that was done, the real work began.

Before noon Paul and I were out to the garage and starting to bring down boxes and stuff from the attic. So many empty boxes, so much stuff to donate. Before long Dominica came out to go through things, too.

We spent two hours or more bringing down all kinds of stuff from the attic and then moving all kinds of stuff from the garage up to the attic. The CDs, LaserDiscs, old computers are all up there now. So much of what we brought down was Liesl baby and toddler stuff. She was the right age when we first lived here and then moved that loads and loads of her young childhood stuff went up into the attic when we moved back to New York, never to be seen again. Luciana missed out on some of it because it was up there when we weren’t here. Very little of Luciana’s stuff went up there because she was still so little when we moved to New York that she was still using it, or we knew that we would never need it again because she was done with it, or because she had been using stuff that had been Liesl’s.

We took two loads of things to Goodwill! We have a number of things set aside to take down to Houston. And the back driveway is full of boxes and stuff to have hauled away. Plus we took a decent load of stuff over to Rachel’s as we found a bit of her stuff in the attic like her box of china, a Christmas tree, her decorations, etc. Suddenly we have so much free space.

Beat Saber on the Oculus Rift S continued to be super popular all day. Mostly it was Paul and Liesl playing, but Dominica played some as well. I have not even put on the headset in a few days. It is in continuous demand and nothing is really pulling me in too much.

Between all of us working on it, we figured out how to download additional songs into Beat Saber and now suddenly there is so much content for us to play on it. No need to buy add on songs now, the mod community makes hundreds available and they work really well. Paul, Dominica, and Liesl played that a lot this evening.

Paul make pan friend tilapia for dinner tonight, with rice and broccoli. It was quite good. Both girls ate all of their fish. Ciana doesn’t really like fried fish, but she ate it without complaining. Liesl said that it was decent and ate it all. All of the adults really liked it. While we ate dinner we watched a double length Star Trek: Voyager special, the one where Seven of Nine gets retaken by the Borg. We’ve been slowly working our way through this series for well over a year, feels like almost two years. Paul has still not seen the entire series!

After dinner, Luciana played just a little Beat Saber, then she tried playing Along Together which is a cute 3D platformer that we got for the VR. I had tested it a few days ago and thought that it looked like it would be fun, but I am not into platformers and have no time to use the VR so was just making sure that it worked before the girls tried to get into it. It looks like exactly Luciana’s kind of game.

Jeremy and I got on the phone to get to work on Vetastic around nine thirty.

I am taking Rachel to the airport on Monday afternoon. She is flying to Miami where she is catching a cruise. It is one of those band concert cruises like Dominica and Katie did together back around 2014. Wow, can that really have been over half a decade ago? That seems so recent. This one is a heavy metal cruise and Rachel’s favourite band, Haggard, is going to be playing on it. She turns the big Three Oh next month, so this is her last big hurrah to her twenties. She tried to convince both Dominica and I in turn to go on the cruise with her, but these things are not cheap, and we don’t have the time. So she is going alone.

Now that the garage has so much space cleared out, I am able to finally do some cleaning in my office, too. My office has been a huge mess for quite some time now. We really need to do something. In reality what we need to do is to buy a larger house, this one is just not meeting our needs.

Later on Luciana tried playing Rime which is one of our new games that we got in our Christmas shopping bundles.

At one thirty, Rachel stopped by for maybe half an hour to just hang out on her way home from having gone out dancing at S4.

January 3, 2020: Harry Potter Yule Ball 2

Friday, and boy do I need it. I started the day by over sleeping and missing a seven thirty on site meeting in Plano at which I was supposed to be. Not a great way to start the day. I was not even awake until about ten after eight, about an hour and a half later than I should have been.

Once I was up, it was off to my desk and about half an hour to get some things done before our regular nine in the morning Friday team call that goes for about half of an hour. Then a relatively calm day of work. It was a good day with some really good potential sales that I am excited about, but of course we know full well that you can never count any sales deal until it is being billed and the invoice has been paid. “Sure things” are falling through all of the time.

Tonight was the second (for us) City of Carrollton Harry Potter Yule Ball. We had so much fun attending it last year, there was no way that we were going to miss it this year. The girls all had special shirts for it, even!

I was so busy with work that at after five thirty I had to run to take a shower and run straight out of the door. We had wanted to be there at a quarter after six to make sure that we were near the front of the line. We were still on the early side, but not as early as we had attempted to be, but it was not me that we were waiting for.

This year the Yule Ball was not big and crazy like it was last year. Fewer people and they used less of the city’s municipal complex. I have no idea why attendance was down, but it was still well attended. Hundreds of people showed up.

We started out our activities in the “room of requirement” where the girls did crafts. They made howlers, which turned out really cute. And they made one of those weird paper things that you put on your fingers and ask it questions and have it filled with random jokes. I can’t describe it well, but it was a popular folded paper thing that kids my age did in elementary school. I remember them being very popular on the school bus when I was young.

After crafts it was time for ice cream (actually frozen custard) courtesy of Andy’s. And there were cookies. And butter beer from Blooms in old downtown Carrollton. We ate, and then it was time to shift over to the library side of things.

On the way home I swung into Taco Bell for Liesl and grabbed food for myself as well.

After we were home from the Yule Ball, the girls each went to quiet rooms to do their own thing, Paul went to bed, I got on the phone with Jeremy and worked both with him for several hours as well as getting onto a system backup, audit, and update project for a customer. Dominica started watching The Witcher while she had some quiet time to herself.

Tonight is Olivia’s very first night attempting to sleep without a diaper! Hard to believe that she is four now. She is now the age that Luciana was when Olivia was born! That’s crazy.

Luciana didn’t even ask for me to make her dinner (pasta, of course) until a quarter after eleven! Liesl and I recorded today’s SGL video update while the pasta was cooking.

I got my first SAMIT video “Understanding Bespoke Software” posted for 2020. This is going to be the year of SAMIT, I can feel it. So starting the year off right with a post on the very first week. There were twenty views and five upvotes on it by the end of the day, so not a bad start.

Valentina continues to work on getting older MangoCon videos ready for me to post, as well. Those take a really long time, but at least they are progressing.

I worked until after half past midnght with Jeremy. That’s when he called it a night. Dominica was still watching The Witcher. I got yesterday and today’s SGL videos uploaded to YouTube and was pretty much ready to call it a night myself. I am tired. Very tired.

January 2, 2020: The Family Returns with the VR

Thursday. I was really tired this morning and slept in till around ten. That might sound like six hours of sleep, but it really wasn’t. In reality I am lucky if I got three or four hours of sleep.

Dominica got on the road around nine, so the kids were home early in the afternoon and Dominica brought me two Carl’s Jr. Beyond Famous Star with Cheeses. Yum.

The family got home and I got to see them a little. Mia was SO excited that everyone was home. She has been missing having all of her “pack” together at home.

I had to work all afternoon. The girls were ready to have some downtime to themselves. Just quiet time without so many people around. Liesl set up in the living room and Luciana in their bedroom. And that is where they were all evening.

It is Thursday, so billiards league so just me and the girls home tonight. While Paul and Dominica were out I finally got time to hook up the new gaming PC and the Oculus Rift S in the living room and get it all up and running so that we can start using it. That was the first project that everyone had for me.

The girls, of course, got straight into Beat Saber, which they love. They got me to play, too, but only for about two songs. I just don’t have the time for anything more, and someone is always looking to play the system.

The girls played on the Oculus until Paul and Dominica got home. Then Paul and Liesl played the rest of the night. I worked. Dominica hung out with Mia and read on her phone in the living room.

Before going to bed tonight, I played the VR for just a tiny bit. Luciana had been trying out some new games, like The Crow. I tried downloading Rise of the Tomb Raider but that was going to take too long. The girls convinced me to try some zombie rail shooter on a mining cart and that gave me light vertigo and made me feel awful. So none of that for me.

Got to bed before two, I think, tonight. I need it, I am pretty tired from this week. But the family is back home! It has been a long, hard haul of being way too busy and very lonely while they are gone.

Tomorrow is the City of Carrollton’s Harry Potter Yule Ball like we had so much fun attending last year. It is our favourite event put on by our city. We will be attending that along with Juancho and Isabella tomorrow evening after work.

January 1, 2020: Happy New Year!

Wednesday. Today begins the twenties. One hundred years ago today, the Roaring Twenties began, kicking off nearly a century of iconic “decades” like the world had never seen. Before 1920, the decades preceding it had mostly run together. The 1890s, the 1900s, the 1910s had been largest the same, one after another. The 1910s were punctuated by the Great War, but the culture and world in general was little changed until the war was over and the dust had settled. But the 20s, the 30s, the 40s, up through the pop eras ending in the 80s were all so iconic, each decade standing out as completely unique from the decades preceding or following. The 1990s were so bland and ran so completely together with the 2000s that it seems to have ended.

I got up, made coffee, and got straight into working on Windows 7 to Windows 10 migrations. These next two weeks are like the last minutes leading up to midnight for Y2K for those old enough to remember that. Windows 7, the most iconic desktop operating system of the era, goes fully out of support two weeks from today. But much more importantly, the free upgrades that Microsoft has built into the licensing scheme expire for Windows 7 in two weeks. So absolutely everyone who has put off upgrading has to do it very, very quickly.

I was just going to help out doing migrations today, I have loads of other work to do, but our head migration engineer, who is the only person who was scheduled to work today, had his in laws get into a car accident, so I took over the primary migrations from him. So my slow day became quite busy. Good thing that I was around.

I ended up at my desk the entire day. A very, very long day. Again. This is the story of my week. There is just too much to do and literally not enough hours in the day.

So of interest, 2020 means that Sheep Guarding Llama has been being written for twenty years! Now that is something to think about. It’s mind boggling to think that I’ve been writing this for that long. That these past couple of years have been hard to keep up with it is not so surprising when you think about just how long I have been going without major issues!

Paul went out and did some grocery shopping early in the day. And this evening he went out to shoot pool. It is probably pretty lonely around the house with me working this much. It is essentially like I am not even here. This is just a ridiculous amount of work and I am easily on the phone for nearly eight hours a day!

Rachel texted me around half past midnight to see if I wanted to watch a movie or something. She said she’d be right over. I waited a few hours, but she had fallen asleep. Worked out as I had so much work to do anyway.

I ended up working until four o’clock in the morning. But I knocked out some big project items that really needed to be done. So I am happy. And I feel good. It is four and I am not feeling exhausted or anything.

Dominica is all packed up. She and the girls are driving back up to Dallas tomorrow morning after rush hour. So they are hoping to leave around nine in the morning. That would put them back here just before two. I an hopeful that she will run in and pick up some Carl’s Jr on her way back.

The Oculus Rift S down in Houston ended up being in continuous use from when I set it up until it was packed up to go into the van tonight. And the plan is to set it up in the living room once it gets here because everyone wants to use it so much. It is definitely the hit of Christmas. I have a feeling that it will stay in regular use for a long time. We put in a lot of time researching this to make sure that this is something that we felt that the kids (and the rest of us) would really want to use for a long time.

December 31, 2019: End of the Decade

Tuesday. The end of the decade. A big day, you only get a change of decade a few times in any life. I don’t really remember celebrating heralding in the 80s or the 90s or even the 10s. The only big one that I remember at all is the millennium change from 1999 to 2000 and only because of the Y2K thing, and the huge party that we through at the house.

This year (decade), no party for me. I’m sure a lot of people are making a big deal about it, but at 43 it really doesn’t make the slightest difference for me. I have to work today, I have to work tomorrow. That there is a date change tonight is background noise. In fact, no one I know are doing anything. Not even Rachel or Forest who are traditional party animals. Paula just hung out with her cousin. Dominica went to bed hours before the “ball dropped.”

Today was just a normal start of work. I slept in a while, very tired from last night, and then just worked a “normal” long day. Lots and lots of management tasks today.

After a long day of work, no night off for me and no party. It is just Paul & I hanging out at home with Mia tonight. No plans. I did light work after seven once I was done sitting at my desk and we put on some documentaries on television. For dinner I just made myself two veggie chicken patty sandwiches.

We watched a show about Colombia. Then we watched Paul Hollywood driving around Europe. I had a hankering for ice cream a little before ten, so Paul and I ran to Sonic and got ice cream and cheese sticks.

Paul went to bed before eleven. I stayed up till a little after midnight and finished the three part Netflix miniseries on cars of Europe that I was watching.

That was my night. I said Happy New Year over Snapchat and WhatsApp and Telegram and what have you to everyone and it was off to bed for me. About as low key as it could reasonably be.