Moving house

Moving Truck

Just had a frustrating weekend moving house because our landlord wanted to move back in. Huge expense, time and effort was too big a price to pay, it feels like. Now we are trying to get used to a new house that doesn’t necessarily have all the stuff we are used to. More frustrating times ahead as we unpack, I think.

Biggest issues right now are plumbing and doors/locks.

RBR – Simulate to Accumulate

Take a ride with Mark Webber as he prepares for the opening race of the 2010 Formula One season in Bahrain by tackling every corner of the Sakhir circuit in Red Bull Racing’s state-of-the-art simulator.

Vindaloo against Violence

One Melburnian has come up with a novel way to support the Indian community in Australia and speak out against the violence recently committed against Indian students.

Her website, Vindaloo against Violence is encouraging people to visit their local Indian restaurant on February 24, 2010.

Some media reports of the event:

There’s no reason you can’t visit your own local curry house, no matter where you are. The important thing is to celebrate diversity in culture and food and show that Australians value multiculturalism, rather than fear it.

Building, Building, Building…

bob-the-builder

It’s been a bit frustrating around our house recently. The house next door was demolished and 3 houses have been built on the block in it’s place. The house to our front had to demolish his garage and rebuild it as it wasn’t council approved. Our landlord was compelled to dig up our backyard and install a proper water retention pit – which took 8 weeks of after hours intrusion.

The end result is we won’t have fences on two sides anymore – only rendered walls because the houses have been built so close together. Ahh, medium density housing out in the suburbs.

Coopers Lager 2009

Fermenting: 10/10/2009
Bottled: 07/11/2009

Coopers Lager

I needed to make up another brew as the cupboard is getting bare. Made up a basic Coopers Lager with some slightly better ingredients.

1.7 kg can Coopers Lager
1 kg Coopers brew enhancer 2 (500g Dextrose / 250g Maltodextron / 250 g Light Malt)
Lager yeast left over from Blackrock Export Pilsner
24g Nelson Sauvin hops

Was a bit worried about this at the start – I checked the yeast was active before I pitched it, but no bubbling came through the airlock for 7 days. I was starting to think about chucking in the Coopers ale yeast that came with the can when it started fermenting about a week later.

Same job, new employer

After 10 long months of waiting, my area at work finally got purchased by another company. This has meant I’ve had to relocate office and get to know a whole bunch of new people and procedures. Complicating this all was the fact my boss went on long service leave for 14 weeks just after we got purchased, before we moved.

It has been an interesting couple of months, certainly challenging. I am learning a lot since having to help integrate our old network with the purchasers. Splitting off the bits that weren’t bought and adding on some new links to replace them. It has been chaotic, but a good learning experience and a lot of excitement compared to the previous 10 months of not learning much.

daniel_eliza

Have had a few adventures since then as well – went across to Tasmania on the ferry, took Mum out to a winery on the Mornington Peninsula when she came to visit and of course, getting to know Eliza better as she grows.

Still haven’t put on a new brew since Christmas, but the stocks in the cupboard are getting low, so hopefully I will manage to get it done soon. Time is a bit hard to come by with work being a bit more pressing and Eliza and Priscilla deserving of attention at home.

Anyway, will keep soldiering on. Congratulations to Mark Webber for his win in the German Grand Prix and commiserations to the Aussie cricket team for a disappointing result in Ashes.

Parenting (pt 1)

Daniel & Eliza at MHW Heidelberg

Just hang on and do the best you can.

Everyone has advice and their own horror stories, but every child is different and the books can only take a punt at what yours will be like.

Eliza is pretty good as far as new babies go, I think, but she still gets grumpy, sleepy and hungry at her own pace, and there’s very little we can do to influence it.

Say nice things and be supportive to your partner whenever you can. If they flake out and bail on you, it will only get worse — we’re all in this together.

Dinner time can be flexible, and takeaway is only a phone call away.

People talk to you a lot more once you are carrying around a baby — it’s a lot easier to make friends now.

Nappies aren’t as bad as expected, unless the contents escape it’s natural confines. Then a lot of laundry needs to get done.

Babies are good for hugs.

Possums and Parrots

Although our house is not that close to any natural parks or reserves (Yarran Dheran Reserve is about 1km away) we don’t seem to have any problem attracting local wildlife to visit us. All photos are from our front or back door and the trees photographed spread over our fences.

7 months in purgatory

Heaven Guantanamo

Shortly after my move to Melbourne, the company I worked for was denied credit by it’s bankers and forced into administration. It is now being managed on behalf of it’s creditors (essentially those banks) as they attempt to recover what value they can from it. All the shareholders, most suppliers and many employees have basically been ripped off and their lives and finances disrupted by the actions of those banks and the former management who made the horrible decisions that put the company in this position. The formerly ASX listed legal entity has been put into liquidation and is no more.

For those employees still working there, we are in a holding position, waiting to get told we are either now working for another company (which you did not choose to join) or that you have no job at all. We have basically stayed put because if we quit to start another job we lose our entitlements (accrued leave etc.) as we drop from employees (high in the pecking order) to unsecured creditors (next to no chance of financial recompense). Kind of the worst choice, unless you have a better job to go to that will cover the lost money by leaving.

But time has been dragging on, travelling slowly. Business is understandably slow, as other companies fail and the successful ones choose to leave rather than commit to a company that may not exist in 3 months. The sooner a sale is made the more the receivers will get for it, but unfortunately they can’t share much information. It is a frustrating time.

But life goes on. People are buying houses at a great discount to what they might have paid 12 months ago, cars need to be repaired and replaced, we even have a baby on the way, but no one knows where the money to fund these things will come from, so you try to put what you can on hold, and what money you can aside, just in case.

I’m glad my soul is assured of salvation and I won’t feel the time passing until that day – I’m tired of waiting.

Brownouts

Melbourne had some hot weather last week. If I had a dollar for every time a news report used the phrase “hot and bothered” I’d be richer than I am now.

Melbourne’s train system failed pretty severely – over 24% of trains were cancelled for the week – and electricity was disrupted as the state tried to use more electricity than was able to be supplied by the national grid. NEMCO told the electricity suppliers to “load-shed” supply, which basically meant cutting electricity to different areas of the city for 2 hour periods so everyone suffered together.

We tried to escape the heat by going to air-conditioned premises (movies, cafes, etc) that required a bit of a drive to get to and, late on Friday night, went up nearby Mount Dandenong where the elevation allowed a bit of coolness to wash over us.

I took some photos (cool night mode in our new camera) but you can’t see the CBD as there was a massive power outage at the time which blacked out skyscrapers and over 500 sets of traffic lights.

Cooler weather this week has been a nice treat but I don’t think we’ve heard the last of this heat, least of all in Parliament where the current Labour government is under the pump for a lack of infrastructure investment going back 10 years.