Captain’s Log: September 2022

Overall September was another great month. I managed higher quality time with the kids. I managed a good amount of time on hobbies, and work has been progressing nicely.

There was one negative highlight in that I had my first panic attack in ages. It was a minor one and the cause appears to have been doing too many fun things and a run of bad nights sleep. Because I now know what to do it was short lived and had little or no impact the next day. This is what having is mostly under control looks like.

Some progress was made in the house in the first days of September. External work was done to re-render the chimney, and a new TV aerial was fitted.

Thoughts turned to Internal work to the chimney to make it suitable for an electric fire. Sure the price of electricity is sky high now. But really this is for aesthetics rather than heating. Long term I think we need to be on electricity instead of coal or wood. It will be nice to have that focal point but I doubt we will turn the fire on very often.

We need to replace the entire floor in the living room to level it too (as it really was a state when we moved in). I am trying to get that done at the same time to minimise the disruption and we might have that done before Christmas which is huge. Just the thought of having a room in the house I can decorate and enjoy would be massive.

first weekend

We went to B & Q to look at all the electric fires and found a nice one. We had a look at all the bathrooms for ideas as we might replace ours in 2023 before the kids patience ran out. At which point it was KFC and then back home.

We watched Pacific Rim and $eldest was glued to that. What a fantastic movie that is. As a parent I will watch pretty much any live action PG rated movie I can. Why streaming services do not simply let you search by classification is beyond me. Yes they have “kids” modes most of them. But they are pushing mostly animated or genuinely made for kids content. When there is far too much of that and I just actually want to see some human faces sometimes. For this purpose Pacific Rim was pretty much perfect. Great music, fantastic costumes and it was not a story made specifically for kids. More PG films that don’t suck please.

second weekend

This was a really decent weekend. Got the kids to the park on Saturday morning. Then an evening out with my partner at Chaakoo (west end). The food was brilliant and the service was great. Then a nice long walk home chatting in a dregs of summer evening.

On Sunday I went to my grans, and went out for lunch with my sister. A nice place that had enough playground that the kids were essentially not there save a few minutes to cram food in. Result.

third weekend

I really tidied the house. When the place has so many structural problems it is hard to stay motivated to clean. In the flat we had things just about right so you could tidy and clean it in around 2 hours. In the house we are limping by with all the wrong storage solutions. Until we get the basics right such as the flooring it seems nuts to splurge on furniture that’ll just have to be moved around when we do. The cleaning spree was entirely because the proposed joinery works in the house soon massively motivated me to do so.

I remembered to ask THE most important question of my family members; “what do you want to do with me today?”. This is vital when you are busy in the week days and aren’t seeing so much of them. The answers are usually brilliantly simple and are mostly adorable. They want TIME with me. How nice is that?

  1. I want to go out on my scooter while you run. So we did, and it was fun and helped me get a little exercise.
  2. I want to play board games and do puzzles with you! So we did. The challenge is finding games that both kids can play at the same time. Not always possible and really they seem to want 1-2-1 time with me so I have to divide and conquer.

Super Busy Week

I have been going to my guitar maintenance course on Tuesday evenings for a few weeks now. The guitar I am working on is much better now with the frets levelled, then rounded. Next up I’ll be polishing those frets before finally putting strings back on it to setup properly!

I went to see Scotland vs Ukraine at Hampden with my longest serving friend. It was nice to catch up. Men are shit at meeting up and I know I have been extra shitty for the past few years on account of my bullshit panic attacks, and the associated trigger avoidance.

I won’t say my problems are gone (I still find myself needlessly worrying about stuff). But by going places and doing things this year I have massively reduced the anxiety. As well it should because I always knew this stuff was irrational.

This was my second Scotland match at Hampden in a few months. It is starting to feel normal to go to a place, have a pint, and then go to a football match. Because that IS normal. I had gotten so screwed up that the thought of it was a source of dread. Now I am actively thinking about taking at least one of the kids to get them into it.

fourth Weekend

I had taken Friday and Monday off to match with the local Glasgow holidays to make this a 4 day weekend. My partner got a chance to go meet their sister in Portugal which I encouraged them to take up. This meant, the dread of it, me being in sole charge of two kids for about 3 days.

Now… One of the other irrational thoughts I have had is what if I have a panic attack when I am in sole charge? There have been times I was spiralling over nothing like 30 minutes into my partner going out for an evening. Then I basically had to deal with that rollercoaster until they returned. But this was 3 full days pretty much.

I planned to get through it by being busy. By setting a routine where we went out in the morning to do something. Returned to play games together with me having a bit of a lie down in the afternoon when they finally got screen time (so they would zone out for a solid hour – the secret is to starve them of it by going out first).

The best laid plans and all that… Kid A was sick after bedtime for the first two nights. It meant I didn’t sleep as I was tending to them. Our sleep patterns were wrecked and it also meant we now could not go anywhere outside. This stretched the days on forever and made the job I had more challenging. I managed to keep my head despite the nights of awful sleep.

On the positive side in the middle of this the kids sat and watched Scotland vs Ireland on the TV. That is the first time they have watched an entire game without going away. I think the sickness made them just the right level of docile. Had a lovely chat with the $youngest about football and they asked to go to a game and get a t-shirt like mine. A result! As $eldest has never ever cared but $youngest looks like he is into it. Pity that the next Scotland game at Hampden is probably ages away.

short bits

The Boys – I watched season 1 back in the day and this month I decided to pickup season 2. It is really well made isn’t it? Lots of tension and twists. Season 3 has been… Hilarious. Is all I can say. Such a brilliant made show.

Mass Effect Andromeda – I have decided to replay this on the PS5 this time. The load times are much better as a result! It is a pretty good title. Though I find the combat more clunky than peak ME: 2/ME: 3. Sometimes video games are great for teaching $eldest things. This is because the rules are well defined. Here they are learning that you should help if you can, and that if you want to have strong relationships with friends you should regularly speak to them. He hates that I talk to every crew member at every opportunity as obviously it is not shooting aliens! But… They keep giving out side missions and more lore about their lives which can be entertaining (and even more missions where you get to shoot aliens). I am sure there will be studies on this somewhere using games to teach socialisation, and Mass Effect is actually great for it.

Guitar – I made good use of my Spark amp this month using it to do something I have never really done; play over backing tracks. Weird to think I have mucked around on guitar so long but never done this. But hear me out. Even though I read Total Guitar magazine back in the day and they came with CDs full of backing tracks. I didn’t have an amp! It was also fiddly af to co-ordinate playing a CD for me. Now? There is a wealth of youtube videos out there with a backing track and the relevant chord progression/recommended scale on screen. As I am sat at my PC desk I can use a mouse easily to drag back to a section if I want to go again.

Audio Books 1Red Teaming by Bryce G. Hoffman was completed. This was about using contrarian thinking to consider business planning. Not about the technical red teaming that pentesters are familiar with. It had some nice ideas in there.

Audio Books 2Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari was started. As with his previous title Sapiens this is a very well put together book and the ideas it fires off are interesting.

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