Sunday, 29 September 2013

A weeks rest

Damn, it's Sunday evening and in about 13 hours I'll be back at work.  That sucks :)

What doesn't suck is the rest we have had over the last week.

I managed to do the 4 runs I wanted, totalling 29km - and in a reasonable condition too. Monday I ended up running without my watch - something that I hate doing as I pace myself with the watch.  But the battery was dead and I had no choice.

I did end up running quicker than normal, but boy did I feel back for it at the end! And then I thought about how to pace myself for the remainder of the week.  So I now watch my pace during the first kilometre - something I don't normally do, and so I end up running way too quickly. And then struggle at the end.

So...  I have a new training schedule. Sundays I run at 6:30 per km, Tuesdays 6:15 and on Thursdays go for 6:00. And then every few weeks try to take 10s per KM off the time.  So far, so good. Let's see if I can keep it up :)

The only other thing that we did was go to a little place called Monnickendam in Noord-Holland. Just a couple of hours to get out of the house and to play with my camera again.  Here are some results :)

It's a wonderful small town, with lots of canals (well, it is Holland...) and all old houses.  Some of which may need a little work!

And with some surprises! You walk down some streets and in between the 100+ year old houses you find...

A ship yard with a boat bigger than a row of houses with the bow resting almost against the street doors (which were open!).

I would have taken a shot of it, but I am not sure it would have been appreciated :)

Monday, 23 September 2013

Busy doing nothing

Now I come to think about it, I may have used this title before.

But it's fitting for this post, in fact it's fitting twice!

So... What has been going on in the time from my last post?  Not much.

We have a date for the dormer windows (end of October, keep you fingers crossed for dry weather :S) and after that someone will come in and make a couple of rooms out of the attic, and then I paint all of the walls and put down a nice floor (OK, an Ikea floor- but they look nice ;p).

Then we just have to move everything from the current study / spare room to the two rooms upstairs and start to decorate the nursery.

And we have about a month to do everything. No problem then. :)

Other than that it has been work and sleep. The VDI machines that I was complaining about before are now our everyday machines.  And we have issues everyday. At present I am working at about 50% productivity as the machine just doesn't let me do more than that. After three weeks I had had enough. I was not sleeping well, stressing every hour of the day about the fact that work was piling up and not being done because the machine just didn't let me.  Issues appear, stop, and come back. And no one knows what the causes of the issues are and so they are not getting solved.

At one point I was in the car and just wanted to turn around and go home rather than fight the machine again.  I have the agreement with my boss about being able to take a days vacation when I just can't cope.  The problem is this wasn't a personal problem where I just needed to reset, this was a problem caused by my work machine and so I don't want to use vacation day for it.  After all, the next day the problem is not going to go away...

In the end, and after a talk with my boss, I just tried to stop caring. The machines don't work and if you accept that, and accept that you can do 4 or 5 hours of normal work a day then the stress does go away a little. Click, wait 30 seconds and then try the next click (or type or whatever).

And I am not the only one. Even a colleague who always just said it's fine with a shrug is getting as down as I am. He has the same issue. What should take 15 minutes can take 1/2 hour or more and it is affecting him outside of work as well.

Friday was actually fun though. After 4 hours, 4 reboots (each of which take 15 minutes minimum) and the machine just not working when it was booted I was waiting for the machine to start again reading my ebook (you have to do something rather than watch a screen) and one of the IT Services guys walked in and asked how my machine was.  The response of "I'm reading a book" did make everyone in the room laugh (except the guy who asked the question).  He offered a possible solution to my problem (and was surprised when I said what he was offering had been tried 4 or 5 times previously).

And screwed up my computer even more. I spent the next couple of hours trying to get the settings back to to what they were. The most interesting was that Friday was my handover day for a weeks vacation.  That didn't happen. And I didn't stay late to do it. If I had judged the time poorly then I would have stayed.  However, after spending 4 hours reading because the machine isn't working I am not going to put in overtime to make up for it.

All in all it sucks.  I still love my job, I just don't want to do it on those machines.  We'll see what the status is when I get back in a weeks time.

So yes.  Stress in the office, and an evil 7 weeks of too much work, and no machine to do it on.  I needed a break even if it has only been 7 weeks since my last vacation.

We had a choice of taking last week off, or this week. As the company weekend away was last weekend I thought that this week was better.  Get very tired, and then take the week off to recover, rather than take a week relaxing and then do a tiring weekend and go back to work :)

So doing nothing at work, and this week doing just as much at home.  Maybe a trip to a zoo to make some more photos of the animals, but other than that we have no plans.  And we hope to keep it that way!

Right, time to drink a coffee, watch the British Superbikes who were at Assen this weekend, and then a run I think!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Too damn hot!

It's 5th September, the last days of summer are falling away and autumn is on the horizon. I've even seen some leaves starting to turn!

And yet...  Today I have decided to cancel my run as doing it in mid 30's (centigrade obviously!) just seems like asking for trouble.  Standing in the shade the humidity is killing me.  When you get under the sun (there are no clouds) you just start leaking water immediately.

Seeing as I get hot when I run I'm going to guess that it wouldn't be too healthy to do that for an hour...


Mrs Stace calls me Goldilocks, as I really can't take temperature differences. I like it about 20 to 22 degrees (maybe up to 30 in low humidity).  Much colder and I am, well, cold.  Much warmer and I just stop functioning.  Everything starts to become too much hassle, I get irritated by the slightest thing and generally don't have a good time. It really needs to be just right for me to enjoy it.

Still, at least when it's cold I can wrap up. Or go for a run to warm up. Or climb under a lovely warm blanket with a hot cup of tea / coffee / hot chocolate / mulled wine.

I can't do that when it's this hot!

Sunday, 1 September 2013


As of last month we are in let's learn to budget mode.

When Kleintje arrives in 5.5 months we are going to have more expenses and as we both want to drop to 4 days a week we are going to have less to spend!

So... Over the last month we have started to note down all of the expenses that we make day to day (this doesn't cover the automatic payments though, one step at a time!). And what has amazed me is that just doing that works. We have seen our weekly outgoings drop as we are both more aware of what we spend.

On top of that we have also started to live on the budget of next year, putting the remainder into a savings account - we thought better to learn now, whilst we can get some money back should we make a mistake than next year when it's all for real!

We were even thinking of switching supermarkets, as we know ours sin't cheap and we had seen the price of the weekly shop sky rocket recently. But we broke that trend that last weeks, and whilst it's reasonable we want to stay with the quality that we know!

So... Let's see how this goes over the next 9 months - after that it's all for real!

So what else?

Well, we are busy trying to ensure that everything is ready when we need it. We had the builders here this week for an estimate for the dormer windows, painting the existing windows, replacing the bathroom ceiling (just the plaster on the concrete, nothing major!) and to see what it will cost to turn the attic into 2 rooms.  Phew.

On Monday we find out whether we have been way to optimistic in that budget! I hope not!


Yesterday was spent car shopping for Mrs Stace. She has decided on a 207 SW (small Peugoet estate) and we found three within budget (well two in, and one just over). First test drive went well, for a small car it has a lot of options! The most important being dual zone climate control :) The last two Volvo's have *so* spoilt us there!

So, without boring the non-petrol heads with the stories...  After a day testing the cars, and testing whether or not it will fit the stroller / pram that we have bought we had some options.

One fell away within 30 seconds of starting to drive it - it sounded rough and had no power compared to the other two. When the salesman said that he didn't think it was anything to fix I said we were not interested in it then! I've been around cars long enough to know that if you three identical cars (type and engine wise) and one sounds rougher than the other two, and has less power, then something, somewhere is not right and that we would never had trust in the car!

The other two we are really interested in. I managed to do some decent haggling for a change and got both cars down to a reasonable price (most of the time I am very bad at haggling, this time I just decided to be over the top and asked for a 1/6 discount on the car - and got a good proportion of it!)

So today it's relax day (after I've been running) and think about which dealer we are going to call on Monday to say we want their car. It's a choice out of a bit newer, and a lot more luxurious vs a bit of a saving and no climate control....  Tough choice!

Right, time get ready for that run!