Diary of a geek

January 2015
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Andrew Pollock


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Saturday, 31 January 2015

Zoe's first week of school

By all accounts, I think Zoe had a great first week at school.

On Tuesday morning, I met Zoe and Sarah at school for her drop off. Zoe didn't seem anxious, in fact I thought all the kids seemed pretty calm. I'd say that Kindergarten and day care has meant that school isn't the first time kids go through one of these transitions any more.

We weren't the last parents out of the classroom, so I'm not sure how things went after we left, but Zoe was only a little clingy as we walked out, and sat down on the floor with the other kids in front of the teacher without any problems. I wasn't aware of anyone crying.

The P&C were running a "parents' cafe" afterwards, so we used this an opportunity to meet some other parents, and chat with the principal. I'm still really loving the community feel of this school.

After that, I walked back home, and checked my PO box. I received my certificates for completing my real estate licensing course, which was a great addition to the day. The first Thermomix I've sold arrived too, so now I have to deliver it to my customer.

After school, I met Zoe and Sarah at the Hawthorne Garage for a muffin, with Megan and Laura. Tanya came with Eva and Layla as well. All the girls had had a good day, and it was nice to be able to talk about their day.

Wednesday's drop off apparently went well. I walked to school to pick her up in the afternoon. She didn't see me waiting for her, so I got to watch her pack her bag up, and bring it into the classroom. She looks so big in her uniform and doing school kid stuff. We had a nice walk home together, talking about her day.

On Thursday, I thought I'd let her try out the after school care program that she's enrolled in for 30 minutes before I had to take her to her swim class, so she could get used to it before I start back at work.

I got there just as they were handing out fruit and crackers to everyone, so I let her have her fruit while I had a chat with the outside school hours care program coordinator, and then we went to swim class.

Friday was a big day. Zoe had a class in the library, a music class, and then a PE class in the pool. I'd always wondered how they'd wrangle 27 Prep-aged kids for a swim class, and I got to find out. They needed about 6 parent helpers. Four in the pool, and two on the pool deck. We also had to help get all the kids changed. I volunteered to get in the pool, since I was available. There was also the PE teacher and three teaching assistants in the pool. It was quite a production line getting the kids there and into the pool. They had defined "shoe areas" for the class currently in the pool and the class arriving, and everyone had to de-shoe and get appropriately attired for swimming while the previous class got out and dried off. We'd been told to send our kids to school in their swimsuits under their uniforms, so that made things a bit easier.

The first class was just to assess everyone's abilities so they can then group them in smaller groups accordingly.

After the class, Zoe apparently caused a minor scare by locking herself into a cubicle to get changed (they were apparently supposed to get changed in the open area). She emerged, changed, all by herself, but they had been concerned they she might have locked herself in there. I thought that was pretty funny, given she's been using toilet cubicles for at least a year.

I walked back home after that, and then walked back in the afternoon to pick her up. It's really nice that we're a walkable distance from the school. To cap the week off, Zoe got the "Star of the Week" award for her number recognition.

Overall, aside from Zoe being a bit grumpy and ratty at the end of the day, Zoe's been going really well. I think next week, with a full 5 days, will be interesting, as will the following few weeks once she realises that this is the new routine.

[14:17] [life] [permalink]

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Day 359: I guess I'm not a stay at home Dad any more

It's just occurred to me that this will be my last "stay at home Dad" post, because this morning was the last time I'll have Zoe until after she's started at school.

I woke to quite heavy rainfall. Zoe slept late, in think due to a combination of the cooler temperature, lack of direct sunlight, the rain, and the busy previous day and slightly later bedtime. I used the extra time to get ready for the day.

After a quick breakfast, we got straight in the car to get to Sarah's place, because I had to be back home again by 9:15am for a video interview with Google. It was tight, with the wet road conditions, but fortunately my interviewer was a few minutes later than me, so everything worked out okay.

Since then, I've been wandering around in a bit of a daze. I collected the last unit of my real estate licence course from my PO box. All I need now is the actual bit of paper saying I've achieved all of the requisite units of study, and I can go and apply for my licence. Oh, a business name will help too. Coming up with a name/domain name combination is proving phenomenally difficult.

I guess this lull in proceedings before a whole bunch of new stuff starts is a good time to stop and reflect.

I've had a fantastic year. This would have to be the sustained best year of my adult life. On a personal front, I've got to take a break from work, and go off and explore a bunch of other things. I did a barista course. I did a top rope climbing and abseiling course. I've finished my real estate licence course. I've had the opportunity to explore a few different startup ideas, and meet a bunch of different people.

My running has fallen off a bit, but I'm trying to fix that up again now. Maybe this year will be the year I do the Gold Coast Half Marathon. In fact I think I will actively work to that goal this year, since I shouldn't have any date conflicts like I ended up having last year.

On the fathering front, I had an irreplaceably wonderful year with Zoe. I have cemented my relationship with her, and I'm very confident in my capabilities as a single parent. I'm grateful that Zoe got to have the benefits of a proper Kindergarten program. It will give her a strong foundation entering Prep this year.

I'm also glad I managed to keep up the blogging for the whole year. It'll be nice to have this record to look back on.

As for 2015 for me, it's still a bit of a blank slate. I'm open to returning to Google, if that works out best for everyone. There's also a local job that I've found that I believe I'll be a good fit for, which I'm interviewing for next week. I could, if I was feeling really game, just freelance, and do a whole bunch of different things, but I think after a year of living off my savings, I'd prefer the security of a stable income for a while.

Right now, I think I'll try and clean up my desk, so I can start whatever comes next with a tidy desk.

[20:12] [life] [permalink]

Day 358: Doctor, class lists, shopping, swimming, haircuts, dinner

Yesterday was a rather jam packed day. I'm not surprised Zoe's sleeping in, although the rain is probably helping.

We got going in the morning, and first off was the weekly wart freezing at the doctor. We're going to have to take a different approach once school starts next week.

After that, I checked my PO box, and got back one more unit of my real estate licence course (marked competent). So I'm just waiting for one I had to resubmit then I've officially completed everything. Hopefully that will come through early next week.

After that, we popped over to Chloe's place so we could all walk around to the school together to check the class lists, which were published.

Zoe did really well. She got the teacher that I'd wanted her to get, and Chloe is in her class, along with a boy, Flynn, she got to know through the Poppet program they ran last year. I met the mother of another little girl, Milla, who will be in Zoe's class too, and introduced the girls to each other. I'm very excited to see how Zoe's going to go at school next week. I think she's going to do really well.

After that, we went out to Carindale to do some birthday present related shopping for Eva and Layla's upcoming birthday, and some other general shopping. We also bumped into Mackensie's dad.

We ended up at Carindale for quite a while, so by the time we were done, we had enough time to race home, make a batch of hummus for dinner, and race out again to swim class.

Straight after swim class, we had haircuts, so we had to hurry over to the hairdresser, and then head back to Chloe's place for dinner.

Zoe had a great time playing with Chloe and her older sister, and I got to put my feet up for a bit and hang out with Kelley and Mark. It was a nice evening.

We got home to a welcome letter in the mail from Zoe's new teacher, which was nice. We made that the bedtime reading, as it was getting late.

[13:06] [life] [permalink]

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Day 352: Camping again, beach time and visitors

We were camping underneath a wattle tree, and this wattle tree seemed very popular with the rainbow lorikeets, so we were up at 5:30am, literally with the birds. Zoe was still very excited about camping.

We had a shower first, and then I cooked some bacon and eggs for breakfast before heading down to the beach. Eva and Layla were coming to visit us for the day, so I thought we could just meet them on the beach before coming back to the camp site for lunch.

Zoe had a great time playing around in the waves, and then we did some sand play, making sand castles. I showed her how she could dig down to the sea water in the sand above the wave, and we found heaps of small bivalves. Zoe thought they were pretty cool.

Eva and Layla were running a bit late, so we finished up at the beach and met them at the caravan park, where we cooked some hotdogs for lunch, before having a swim in the pool and then heading back to the beach. It was a really nice afternoon.

After they left, we took it easy for a while before going out for fish and chips for dinner and then calling it a night. Zoe was fast asleep by 7pm, despite the light outside the tent.

[14:47] [life] [permalink]

Day 351: Camping set up

Today was the big day. Pack up and drive to Bribie Island for two nights camping. This was the first time I've attempted camping since moving back to Australia (and being on my own). I like camping, and Zoe absolutely loves it, but I've found the idea of trying to do it all on my own a bit daunting, and it's taken me this long to get around to tackling it.

We managed to get the car packed up and be on the road by about 9:30am. Zoe was really helpful, and was able to help carry some of the lighter, less bulky stuff down to the car for me, that that was an unexpected bonus. Everything fit reasonably well with half of the back seats folded down.

We made good time getting there, and arrived at the caravan park by about 10:45am, but check in wasn't until 1:30pm, so we pottered around, and ended up back on the calm side of the island and had some lunch in the park there. After lunch, we caught up with Zoe's Great Aunty Pam for an ice cream before returning to the caravan park to check in.

We'd just started pegging down the tent when it became apparent that the very large caravan that was trying to maneuver into the site next to ours wasn't going to fit, so I offered to do a swap with them before I got any further invested in our site, so we had to pull up the tent and start over on the site next door.

This was the first time I'd put up this tent, so there was all the attendant trial and error of putting it up. I've learned all the lessons now, so I'll be better next time. Zoe was again super helpful, and we were able to put the tent up together successfully. It was ridiculously hot, and very sweaty work.

After we got the tent up, we went for a swim in the pool to cool off, before I started on dinner. The first night's dinner was just some spaghetti bolognaise. I'd pre-made the bolognaise at home and frozen it, so I just had to reheat it on the stove. The caravan park had a pretty decent camp kitchen, but I was trying to see how much I could be self-sufficient, so I did all the cooking on the gas stove I'd brought with me.

I got Zoe to bed a little bit later than normal, but she slept pretty well, despite the heat. It took me hours to get to sleep, despite being exhausted, because I found the tent uncomfortably hot. I was really happy with how the set up day had gone though, and Zoe had an absolute ball. It was totally worth all the effort.

[03:19] [life] [permalink]

Day 350: Doctor, laying low, camping preparation

We didn't have a lot planned for the day, and given that we were embarking on a camping trip the following day, I decided to keep it that way. As it was, we still managed to have a pretty busy day.

I started the day off with a run, and managed to do 10 kilometres for the first time in ages. It was a dreadful time, but I was going for progress over perfection.

I didn't realise I had a chiropractic adjustment, so I had to go straight to the chiropractor after my run and sweat all over everything. I felt so bad, but I haven't had an adjustment since before Christmas, so it was great.

Then Sarah dropped Zoe off, and I finally got to have a shower and some breakfast. After that, we headed over to the doctor for the obligatory weekly wart freezing appointment. I think it's been the production it has been because the doctor hasn't been able to give it a really decent hit with the liquid nitrogen, but it's definitely shrinking. She was super brave and even let the doctor give it a bit of a scrape with a scalpel to take off some of the top layers of dead skin. I'm grateful that we have the relationship that we do, because she was a bit scared, but she trusted me anyway, and it all worked out fine.

On the way home, we picked up some mail from the post office. I have to resubmit one unit of my real estate licence course, because I made a mistake, but I passed the other one. I think I'm waiting for one more unit to come back.

After that, we just hung out at home until after lunch, and then went to Woolworths to do some grocery shopping. We ran into Lachlan there, and Zoe and Lachlan had a great time hanging out while we did the grocery shopping.

Instead of getting ready for camping, I decided to have a crack at baking one of the things I want to put in Zoe's school lunchbox, some Hidden Veggie Lunchbox Scrolls. They turned out pretty good, like something you'd get from Baker's Delight. The challenge now is to make space for them in the freezer.

[02:59] [life] [permalink]

Thursday, 08 January 2015

Day 344: Lego Discovery Centre, shopping in the city

We had a really nice, busy today, much more so than I'd envisaged when we set off in the morning.

Zoe woke up at 2am and ended up in bed with me. I forgot to open her bedroom door when I went to bed, so I have no idea if that was a contributing factor or not. Her room was 26°C, so she may have been too hot. She then proceeded to have a pretty decent sleep in in my bed and not wake up until around 7am.

The plan today had been to check out the Lego Discovery Centre. It's been something I've wanted to take Zoe to for some time now, and I finally got around to booking in for a 45 minute session at 10am.

We made a pretty quick departure after breakfast, and caught the bus in, and arrived with plenty of time up our sleeves. Zoe didn't have a particularly good breakfast, and was hungry, so we hunted around for a croissant nearby.

Zoe was initially apprehensive about me leaving her there (it was a parent-less activity), but once we browsed the store before it started, she quickly became excited.

I went for a bit of a wander through Southbank and ended up in a deck chair by the river watching the world go by for half an hour. It was nice.

I went back to collect Zoe, and found her playing with a little Duplo-style remote controlled car that she'd built, and having a ball. It turned out that there were three different 45 minute sessions, all back to back. They had capacity in the next two sessions, and Zoe was keen, so I figured she could do all three. I just wish I'd remembered to bring a book. I ended up wandering over to the art gallery to amuse myself.

I came back a bit before 12:45pm to pick her up. I managed to stay out of sight for a while and observe her without her seeing me. All the kids were playing happily with a massive amount of Lego. She definitely looked like she had a good time. For a total of $36, it definitely seemed worth it. Apparently they run the sessions every school holidays, and change the theme every time. The >10 year olds were doing full on robotics with Mindstorms, which seemed very cool. I'm really excited that Zoe seems into Lego. I'm looking forward to doing lots of it with her as she gets older.

We grabbed some lunch from a convenience store next door, and then walked over to Southbank. I wanted to do a spot of shopping in the city, and for something different, I thought we could take one of the bicycle taxis over to the city. Zoe thought that was pretty cool, and it was nice to not be the one pedalling her around for a change.

We did a spot of shopping in the Myer Centre, before heading back to the bus and going home.

By the time we got home, it was time for me start dinner. Zoe watched a bit of TV, and then it was bed time. And I'd been thinking we'd be scrounging for something to do by 11:45am.

[02:32] [life] [permalink]

Wednesday, 07 January 2015

Day 343: Yet another doctor visit and The Workshops Rail Museum

I started the day with a 7.5 km run, the longest distance I've managed to run lately. I'm slowly clawing my way back to 10 km.

After Sarah dropped Zoe off, I prepared a take away lunch, and we headed over to the doctor for another round of freezing the wart on her hand. She's getting really good about it now. This is one persistent wart though.

I'd made plans with Mel to go to The Workshops Rail Museum with Matthew and his brother and sister. Matthew had wanted to ride in our car, so after the doctor, I swung by Mel's place to pick him up.

We had an uneventful drive out there, and it was lunchtime by the time we arrived, so we had lunch first.

Matthew's older brother brought a friend with him, so we had five kids in total, in three different age brackets, so it was somewhat challenging keeping them all together and interested. Zoe was used to getting to go where she wanted, when she wanted, so had to learn to compromise a bit.

She was dying to get to the Nipper's Railway section and also the dining car play area and do a heap of role playing, so once we finally made it over there, she was in her element. Matthew played well with her as well.

It turned out to be a great day for going, because it was grey and drizzly outside all day.

Matthew wanted to come back to our place for a bit of a play afterwards, so we drove directly home. Both kids fell asleep on the way home, so to stretch their naps out a bit, I swung by the Valley to clear my PO box.

By the time we got home, there was less than an hour before Mel was going to pick up Matthew, and they mostly just watched a bit of TV. I used the down time to prep dinner.

After Matthew left and we had dinner, we went for a walk around the block to pick up some fruit from the Hawthorne Garage and kill some time before bedtime.

It was a nice, if somewhat tiring, day.

[03:41] [life] [permalink]

Sunday, 04 January 2015

Day 338: A funeral and a shave

Zoe slept well. Opening up her bedroom door when I go to bed seems to be helping prevent the heat build up enough for her not to wake up as often.

It was Bryce's funeral today, and Anshu kindly agreed to look after Zoe for me so I could go on my own.

It was a nice service, and the photo slide show that they played at the end was really lovely. They even included the photo of the three of us that we got when we went to Underwater World, which I thought was a nice inclusion.

I briefly dropped into the wake at the pub nearby before heading home.

Zoe had had a nice morning with Anshu, doing some painting and going to the park.

In the afternoon, we all headed over to Bou's for Men at Portside to officially remove my Decembeard. I didn't get around to blogging about it, but I grew a beard for Decembeard to raise money and awareness for bowel cancer, since my cousin is currently battling it. It was a spur of the moment decision on the first of December. I managed to raise almost $500, which I was very happy with.

I had a lovely cutthroat shave, and I'm still trying to get used to my reflection.

[13:45] [life] [permalink]

Friday, 02 January 2015

Day 337: New Years Day, another movie outing

The long awaiting Penguins of Madagascar had come out, and I'd made plans with Kim for us to see it with her family.

After breakfast, we biked down to Bulimba and watched the movie together. It was really well done. I'd go so far as to say it was a great adult comedy that also happened to appeal to kids, but that could just be me. I've always enjoyed the penguin characters in the other Madagascar movies.

After the movie, we biked back home and had some lunch.

After lunch, we went out and did the grocery shopping. Woolworths was a ghost town, which made the shopping nice and easy.

After that, Zoe watched a bit of TV while we started on dinner.

[01:47] [life] [permalink]

Thursday, 01 January 2015

Day 336: New Years Eve

It was a hot day, so I figured getting out of the heat and seeing a movie would be a good idea, so after Sarah dropped Zoe off, we didn't spend too much time at home before walking down the road to the cinema to watch Big Hero 6.

Zoe had already seen it with Sarah, but I was pretty keen to see it anyway, and Zoe didn't seem to mind seeing it a second time. She gave me a bit of a running commentary throughout.

After the movie, we dropped into Ooniverse for lunch. I learned that Nicky Noo is pulling up stumps next week, and moving to Western Australia to manage a bar in the mines. She said it's time for Nicky Noo to take a bit of a break. Ooniverse was nothing fancy, but it was a nice thing to have within easy walking distance of home, and Nicky always remembered us whenever we dropped in. I'm glad we got the opportunity to say goodbye.

After lunch, we went home, and Anshu came over. We went and picked up her new bike from the bike shop, and went for a little test ride at home. Zoe's been asking for her training wheels back on her bike for a while, so I finally caved in and put them back on, and she did a lot of pedaling.

After that, we got some pizza for dinner, and settled back to wait for the 8:30pm fireworks. Zoe and I watched them from the balcony, but Zoe didn't seem that into them, and went to bed after they finished.

I was nodding off on the couch watching a movie, so we went to bed before midnight ourselves, so much for seeing in the New Year.

[23:14] [life] [permalink]