January 2011 - alvers.info

Just a place for my old thoughts

Ha ha ha ha!
Monday, 31 January 2011 6:55 am

Oh, it's little things that make me smile. At our work Christmas party they had a horror theme (go figure) and it was the first time we ever actually made an effort (go figure). They had photographers with a green screen setup that we posed in front of then the mapped in a fake background.

I did all the zombie make-up which was a great deal of fun and very rewarding to see everyone having a ball.

Furrg isn't coping well
Sunday, 30 January 2011 10:23 pm

The front deck is progressing at what appears to be a glacial pace. Having said that I understand that they are having to correct and square-up our house at each step of the process which is probably what is making it go so slow. On the upside I am seeing real attention to detail as opposed to the monkeys that did the first pass on our back deck so I feel better about the process.

Unfortunately Furrgus is not coping at all well without his front deck. Although I have opened the front door and let him look out through the fly screen he really can't understand (or cope with) the fact that his beloved front deck is currently not there. We have had to carry him in and out of the back gate for dinner and at night because he thinks the back yard is Raffi's territory. As a result he growls and grumbles as we go through the gate and his complaints continue until we have him upstairs and in the house.

The week was fairly busy at work as we got used to coming in by train and just trying to get the working year restarted after the floods sort of aborted the January kick-off.

Having Wednesday off for Australia Day was actually realy nice. Maybe it was just me or maybe it was the first thing that some QLDers had a celebrate after the floods but the day had a really good vibe. By the time I had made it to the butchers on Tuesday night they had been stripped bare so I had to hit Woolies for BBQ meat. We ended up having Serena, Marjorie and JT & Jason over for lunch. Everyone brought over yummy salads and with a little meat it was a lovely day. I even got to fire up my XBox Kinect and make everyone jump around.

Friday we had a drink after work with Marjorie down at her local pub. Saturday I had a very quite day while Deb took Marjorie to find the local library. We then headed out to see "King's Speech" and then dinner of salmon patties which was quite nice.

Sunday was very domestic. I had promised to mow Marjorie's yard so while she and Deb headed off looking for furniture and curtains I got the yard mowed, the cat proofing improved and put up some hooks. When they returned with curtains we then set about getting them installed. I haven't had to fit wall anchors in a house with a metal frame before so it was a little tricky but I think I have the hang of it now.

By the time we left Marjorie had beautiful curtains up, an idea of the table she wishes to buy and a trapped cat.

Not a bad effort at all.

And, leading on from the Australia Day BBQ, JT liked my pasta salad so much that she made it over the weekend. Check out the result, I am very proud that they liked it so much they make it themselves.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011 11:58 am

It was fabulous! :)

Great, my house isn't level
Monday, 24 January 2011 11:35 pm

Today is the first day that the office has been open but with a public holiday tomorrow and a ton of calls I figured I would work from home today and head in Thursday.

It also allowed me to chat to the builder who explained that my house isn't level across the front and that they are going to have to jack up the house at three points in order to fix the problem. If they didn't then you would notice that the deck was on a different plain to the house floor. Awesome...not.

Getting back to almost normal
Monday, 24 January 2011 1:05 am

I have to admit that the weather has been nice for the last week. Warm, dry and overall pretty sunny. It is almost like the universe turned around and said 'Crap, sorry about that, must have left the sprinkler on too long". So the weather has been pretty good and it has given us a chance to get things back together.

Deb was finally able to get back into work today after effectively going unpaid for a couple of weeks. The ferries won't be operating for months so we have been using Cannon Hill train station which is just down the road from Majorie's place. I have been able to work from home which is good really but has made the last couple of weeks a little surreal. You know, working on national projects etc like nothing is different and then watching images of people with no homes. Rather strange.

The wine is now in climate controlled storage again but Brisbane is completely out of wine cartons so we will have to wait a few weeks before we head over to Albion and attempt to repack all of our wine into some type of useful structure.

Mike and his crew have started work on our front deck and so far everyone seems very switched on and read to make sure they do a very good job. I don't think Mike would be willing to risk anything else.

Friday night we went down to David's for dinner and it again lived up to our expectations. We took our last bottle of '03 Shiraz Viognier and it was every bit as good as the first bottle.

Saturday we went out to find Libbette and Jaron an engagement gift and then went over to Majorie's place for dinner. Sunday was down at the Gold Coast for the engagement party itself. Both Libbette and Jaron had just got back from holidays so Jaron's parents had largely decided to have the engagement as well as set it up. All up a very nice and spent sitting in the dapled shade of a tree on deck chairs.

Dinner last night was whole grilled red emporer with pasta salad. Not too bad at all if I do say so myself. Mr Furrgus certainly liked it. We ended up locking him on the front balcony while we had dinner and then let him in afterwards to have some scraps. Ms Raffi joined in but couldn't really see the point.

Whoa! January basically sucked.
Friday, 21 January 2011 3:43 am

This has to be image that sums up January. After all those weeks of rain we finally had the 'perfect storm' of flash flooding upstream, high tides and water released from the dams. This all culminated in the city effectively being evacuated of all businesses. I had whimped out and worked from home when I found out the ferries weren't running. So it was just up to Deb to find her way home.

I was supposed to travel to Sydney Wednesday to Friday but I managed to wiggle it enough that in the end I just postponed it until this week.

Wednesday we watched the weather reports and flood projections and just tried to get everything from downstairs packed up onto the back balcony. By Wednesday afternoon we were ready for the flooding in the small hours of the morning. Unfortunately they then turned off the power which just made it all the more complex. Luckily we had Majorie's house to head over too so we loaded up the car with everything out of the fridge and freezer and just moved in.

As luck would have it the flooding didn't reach us. A few of the oldies around the area told us that the 1974 floods never reached our house so with the levels a metre lower we were fine.

By late Thursday afternoon we had the power back on at home so were able to get the fridge going again.

Nael and Andrew, two guys from my team at work, unfortunately lost everything in the floods. Saturday morning we headed over to their place to see if we could help at all. It took us way longer than I had hoped to get there as a result of picking up a generator from Dad and having to face the traffic around the area which was bumper to bumper. Took us 30 minutes to go a couple of KMs.

There place was completely trashed, a two story house gone and all their possessions largely lost. They tried to salvage some of it but when the came to sort through it recently it was all beyond recovery.

On the upside my work has let everyone take as much time as they need on special leave which has really reduced the stress of having to try and work remotely. With Deb on contract she's not getting paid for not working so having my income still there makes things easier.

The only real impact to us has been the wine in storage out at Milton. It wasn't until last Friday when Serena asked "What about your wine?" that we realised how stuffed we were. The Milton storage was on the same level as the Suncorp stadium which went under to the their row of seats. Our entire wine collection went under.

Monday I headed into the city to the Novotel which my company had secured two rooms at for remote work. We got everything setup and as people dropped in we got them running and able to work. Tuesday and Wednesday I was in Sydney for my delayed meetings. It was good to get my mind off all the flood images from Brisbane but typically everyone wanted to talk about what had happened.

On Thursday I headed into the city to the Novotel because I had a blood donation appointment that I was determined to keep. When I was finished they said, "Now, no heavy lifting, no strenuous exercise and keep away from any contaminated water or mud".

Then I got a call from Deb that we were able to get into the wine storage to recover our wine.

This involved heavy lifting, strenuous exercise and contaminated mud. Lots and lots of contaminated mud. The boxes had effectively melted in the locker but luckily the wine boxes had slowly collapsed into a pile in the middle. Everything was covered in foul smelling goop but at least none of the bottles had smashed.

The setup for cleaning was pretty impressive although their 'professional cleaners' were more familiar with industrial cleaning a warehouse than gently cleaning wine bottles. We lost a few labels here and there but overall we managed to recover, wash and temporarily repack 38 odd dozen bottles of wine. Luckily we had Serena there to help out which made all the difference having someone else that understood and cared about the wine and how to handle it.

Deb had already arranged storage earlier that week over at Albion so with only 45 minutes to spare we loaded down both my and Serena's cars and made a dash across. The storage is 30% cheaper so I am certainly not complaining at the moment.

I am back to working remotely from home and just trying to catch up from the lack of catch-up we had coming out of Christmas.

Hopefully we should be able to get access to the office building by mid next week and then Deb and I can look at getting new wine boxes and then sorting and repacking all of our wine.

That is going to be a massive undertaking that I can't say I am really looking forward too.

Happy New Year!
Monday, 10 January 2011 11:18 pm

A belated post to start the New Year.

Well, the start of the year has really been focused on getting Marjorie settled into her new house and trying to survive the constant rain and threat of flooding.

For New Years Eve we went over to Majories house for dinner and then then came home and went down to the pub to see in midnight. It was good fun although we realised that it was a 'red' theme after we walked in the front door. We both had red tops/shirts we could have worn but didn't realise. Oh well. They had suspended a net above the dance floor filled with balloons that had various $5, $10, $20 & $50 notes inside some of them. We managed to make $30 which was great fun...which we then spent at the bar.

The next day I had a ripper of a hang-over which wasn't in line with the amount I had drunk. A day or so later and I came down with a head cold so I think they were sort of related. The cold had laid me pretty low for the last week or so.

Deb headed back to work on the 5th and I just either took it easy or spent time over at Marjorie's house helping to get stuff sorted out. So far she has one air-conditioning unit which is stuffed, an oven that blows the safety circuit, a roller door she can't open and a back-yard that floods. Deb has been absolutely fantastic and been able to get literally hundreds of things tied up and completed on the house. She even managed to get Majorie onto a QLD licence against rising odds and the best efforts of QLD transport to make the process as difficult as possible.

But the house is coming together and is starting to feel like a real home. Majorie's cat, Dinah, is settling in and getting used to her new surroundings. She apparently even followed Majorie out into the backyard and then tramped dirtly little paw marks back through the house. Oh the mud.

On the home front Libbette and Jaron got engaged and are looking for an early wedding in the next few months. They are so cute together that it is really great to seem them both happy. We have booked a weekend away for Valentines to Byron Bay and Serena is taking us sailing for Easter which is going to be absolutely awesome.

Other than that it is just a matter of trying to stay dry and hope that it stops raining soon.

All the rain has given me a chance to get some cooking done. I made another paella and think that I have got the recipe pretty close to perfect. I even managed to find real spanish papprika which makes a world of difference.

And I have continued to try and bake bread as well. It is interesting because baking is generally a science but bread is still very much an art. So each loaf, batch of rolls or pull-apart is slightly differnt.

I'm off to Sydney tommorrow for a few days of meetings and workshops so hopefully my cold will diminish enough that my head doesn't explode on take-off.

To the new year!