Captain’s Log: January 2023

December was pretty much a mess due to us getting sick. It took a while to recover and so that had an impact in January. I was struggling to stay awake all day which was fine when off for the festive period. I resolved to resume exercise to improve my energy levels and I think that plan worked mostly. So going into January I was doing more of the same.

It was a month where work was busy, kids were the regular mix of fun and challenging, but also one where I got outside for more socialising than typically occurs. It rounds out as an excellent month looking back at it from the end.

First Weekend

Happy new years! I did see the bells in with my partner on the TV and we had a little dance to auld lang syne.

I played XCOM2 over the festive period and got a chunk of hours in this weekend. I love the game and I am quite clearly addicted to it if I ever open it I have to play about 30 hours in the next week until it is completed. But there are still things I really hate. To me it isn’t truly turn based strategy because on your move if you identify an enemy they get a free move to run to cover and make it harder for you to attack them (the same is not true if they find you). That aside I love the story, researching alien tech, but they have made an artform out of keeping you awake playing it. You just want to complete the research but it spawns a mission that takes you 40 minutes and that’s it suddenly its 2am.

On new years eve I found the battery warning light on my car. The manual indicated that one was the battery was empty. So we couldn’t go anywhere. I resolved to fix it next week.

Second Weekend

On the Friday a new car battery (installed outside my house by Halfords). The guy chucked in a new battery. The car came on. We declared it a great success immediately and off they went. They did no further diagnostics. I booked them to replace a battery. They replaced a battery. Job done to the letter.

On Saturday morning I wanted to drive the car a little as it hadn’t moved in about 3 weeks. So we were heading off to the Library. About 30 seconds after the engine was on the battery light comes back on. This time the manual says this presentation means the alternator is busted. So you can drive your car but it is only going to work until the battery was empty. The new year is off to a great start!

I have not really had anything ever go wrong with this car (and it is still my first one) so it is a pain in the butt. I just don’t want the hassle. Also a bit shit to see things going south less than a month after it passed its MOT with flying colours.

On the Sunday I let my partner do their open uni study and I mucked around with the kids. That looked like going out for a walk to the shop in the morning. Them having access to “infinite” sweets that they bought for £1 each. Them having screen time (while I played Xcom2 as well). Then me playing with them and finally a film. It was actually a nice textbook day.

Third Weekend

I went out to celebrate being alive and met up with a tonne of friends. Some I haven’t seen in real life before. Some I have known since childhood, university, or my various jobs over the years. I suggest everyone holds a mini festival to celebrate themselves once in a while. It was ace.

Most notable was how the kids got out and came to an event and were generally well behaved. To be fair I don’t blame them for wanting to run away from the reserved area a bit as it did honestly get pretty hard to find room to stand when everyone got in there, and pretty hot.

Fourth Weekend

A return to normality. We built a new wardrobe for the kid’s bedroom on Saturday. Given the small working area this went as well as could be expected. The eldest didn’t care and didn’t help.

While the youngest tried their best to help but eventually got bored and went off. Now they have a damn fine looking wardrobe and it’ll let them hang their school uniform for ease and solves a tonne of other storage needs for them. So positive victory.

We watched Blues brothers together despite the rather high age rating. There is no sex and the violence is comedic. I think the entire age rating is based off of one scene where they say “Jesus Christ” or riffs on that a lot to a nun. Other than that it is a glorious celebration of music with a GTA 5 star police chase ending (but bloodless).

On Sunday we went swimming for the first time in a very long time. Eldest was a challenge as they cannot swim but are now tall enough to just bound about the place splashing younglings. It was more fun than challenge for me so more of this. The rest of the day included homework, solving puzzles together, screen time, a bit of exercise, and I cooked a sort of beef teriyaki thing.

Fifth Weekend

How a month like January gets 5 weekends is beyond me. On the Saturday I took the kids to the library so my partner could study again. We got a new run of books and stopped to play battleships too. Who knew libraries had board games?

After I sank the kids fleets (they straight up said “most of the ships are in row ‘E'” so I mercilessly destroyed 2/3rds without trying) we came back and had lunch. Then it was screen time and the day fizzled out after that.

A pretty standard weekend.

Other bits

  • XCOM: chimera squad – After completing XCOM 2 I moved straight on to Chimera Squad for a second playthrough. This is a different game dynamic and is more achievable in a few days. A good story. Different missions but not quite up there with the turn based strategy of the main series.
  • XCOM 2: war of the chosen – and then back to XCOM 2 but this time an expansion. WOTC is actually an entire game in its own right. It is so much bigger than DLC implies. Offering such a different experience that having played XCOM 2 already in January this was not dull at all.
  • Mini-golf – In an effort to do more socialising I met up with 3 friends to do mini-golf over at Golf Fang Glasgow. It was a good night out. Only slightly marred by Uber not wanting to take me there. I watched as all drivers rejected the request twice. So I hopped in the car and drove over. This kind of last minute deviation from a plan often fills me with anxiety but here I was 90% calm and went with it. A pretty decent sober night out was then had. I found I have putting skills I didn’t know about. So I must never play again or risk losing it haha.
  • No Guitar Maintenance Class – I did not schedule myself onto the guitar maintenance course this time. I have not successfully gotten what I wanted out of the previous two iterations. Don’t get me wrong. I loved it. I went somewhere alone as an adult. I mixed with strangers and learned some skills. But I had hoped to finish setting up a guitar during an 8 week course. Having done it twice (admittedly missing a few weeks each time) I have essentially got two 90% setup guitars and really only need about a week back in the class to finish those. I will go back but don’t want to end up with THREE 90% setup guitars so will need to force the issue in getting the first two finalised in week one. I have acquired lots of the tools for fret levelling but will benefit from the final stage work and it gives me something to do of an evening.
  • DIY Guitar Kit – In lieu of the maintenance class I ordered a kit guitar. This is super easy to build and required only a screw driver and a hammer. The electronics are solderless so just clip together. It was really an evening project to build something that worked. Then we are back to the setup problem. It actually sounds ok even without me setting it up and it is fun to play! However, it is the ideal candidate for a 3rd iteration of the maintenance class. The guitar comes unfinished and doesn’t actually explain you probably want to finish it before building it. I could go to the class and do all the sanding and finishing in a place with good ventilation while again doing something of an evening. So that seems about right to me.

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