Monthly Archives: March 2005

Proud as Punch!

Saturday was a pretty scary day. It was the first time we’d taken Sarah and Lucy to a mall. To say they were absolute angels would be a major understatement. We’d get stopped by people who wanted to ask questions and the girls would just look around and smile. Sometimes Sarah would look at me, with an unsure look on her face, but when I’d smile back at her, she’d be fine and beam her wonderful smile.

We actually bumped into a couple in Toys ‘R’ Us, who were in our multiple birthing classes, it was funny seeing another couple with twins, it must have seemed funny to people milling around us as well. Anyway we finally managed to get a weather cover for our pram. It’s an unusal pram, or so it would seems as we had lots of people asking us where we got it. Anyway it’s a tandem pram, where Sarah and Lucy can sit in the pram, facing each other. It also coverts into a pram were they can sit one behind the other. Most of the other twin strollers you see are side by side.

Yesterday was a beautiful day to take the babies for a walk. In fact it was so warm, I had to take off my fleece. Summer is definitely coming, nearly all the snow is melted and I can now see nearly all of my lawn.

So Easter Monday and here I sit at work, trying to get some stuff finished. So I’m off to drain my Timmy’s cup and get coding.

Estrogen 1 – Testosterone 0

Just another Saturday morning. That is apart from the fact that his house is even more filled with women than usual, poor Kosmo and I. Anyway Alanna had asleep over last night as a sort of prequel to her birthday on Monday, so just Kosmo and I to redress the testosterone balance (hey do dogs have testoterone?)

Work yesterday was very productive, which is always nice. I think it helped that I had my music on all day, that always puts me in a good frame of mind. Whilst working yesterday I dipped my toes into the Podcasting pool. Not as a publisher, but as a listener. If you didn;t already know, Podcasting is similar to blogger, but the spoken word instead of the written one. As it’s audio, there’s even the chance to hear music too, as long as the people creating their Podcasts are RIAA friendly. I’ve only downloaded a few Podcasts so far, but so far I’ve really enjoyed the Podcasts, that Adam Curry has been producing called The Source Code. You can find out more about this at Adam’s site.

Podcasting would’t have created the buzz it has, if it wasn’t for the software that facilitates the easy downloading and managment of all these Podcasts. I’ve beed using iPodder and so far it’s been really good. I shall report more on my findings over the next week or so. I’d really like to get to work in the morning and listen to the latests Podcasts, sort of like reading the newspaper in the morning.

Anyway I’m in need of a nice cuppa tea and then I think I’ll go for another snooze. Mmmm nice and comfy and away from all these women arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh :-)

Happy Easter!

So Easter is upon us and spring in well and truly underway. Everyday reveals more and more of my lawn, which only goes to remind me that soon, I’ll be complaining about mowing the lawn, but not before I de Kosmolise it, if you know what I mean. It’s just like an easter egg hunt, brown little objects, but without the sweet flavour….. YUCK!

So with Good Friday here, why am I writing this on my computer at work, I hear you ask. In a word “Government”. As a side track, that was one of the words I learnt to spell phonetically and still do to this day. It’s funny the things you learn at school that stick with you and that you use everyday in BUSINESS and also in PARLIAMENT if you were a politician, not to mention if you live in GROSVENOR Square or just off LEICESTER Square :-) Anyway I digress. We do a lot of work for clients in the Government and many times we are contractually bound to deliver stuff by Government year end which is 31st March. With Easter coming so early this year, it would mean we lose 2 days, which can be a pain, so I’m burning through Easter and having a late Easter after 31st March.

Lucy and Sarah are doing great, as is the new website, so there will be lots of new pictures soon and the guestbook will once again be functioning.

Anyway time is a passing and I have a ton of stuff to do. Have a good Easter. Catch you soon.

When I was a kid… (Part 9)

The later half of 2001, saw the majority of people still in shell shock from the unbelievable events of 9/11. I can remember the day it happened like it was yesterday. I was in the basement on the computer talking to Sherri’s uncle Aus in the morning. He asked me if I’d hear the news that a plane had crashed into the side of the World Trade Center. We both talked about it for a bit, both thinking that it was an awful accident and some kind of small air craft had made impact. It quickly transpired that this was an event like no other. Once we found out it was a commercial airliner, I came off the computer and was transfixed by what I was witnessing on the TV. Sherri was at work and we talked often throughout the day. As Sherri worked for the government, everyone there was a bit jumpy as no one knew how things would transpire through the rest of the day. When Sherri came home, she walked and I met her half way. It was good to see her, but we both felt like something had changed that day.

Through all the bad things that were happening in the world, I finally managed to secure myself a job. Admittedly it wasn’t in the computer field, but seeing as the tech job market imploded on itself in the later half of 2000, I was thankful for anything. Finding a job in Canada was a lot tougher than I thought it was going to be. My main problem was that with no experience in Canada, the majority of jobs didn’t even want to consider me. It’s the typical catch 22 situation. I couldn’t get a job without Canadian experience and I couldn’t get Canadian experience because I couldn’t get a job. It was all very frustrating. I must have filled out hundreds of resumes, but only managed to get 2 job interviews, the second of the 2 was the job I managed to get.

In the later half of September 2001, we had no choice but to buy a new (nearly new) car, as our old Dodge Spirit was about to give up the ghost. The poor old car would overheat, driving Sherri the short distance to work. I could recount an even hairier experience of the car nearly catching fire whilst downtown, but I think I’ll save that for another day. Anyway even though money was really tight, we managed to get a 1998 Chevorlet Cavalier. This is very similar to the British equivalant, Vauxhall Cavalier, but maybe slightly smaller. Anway with the added burden of a car loan, I briefly breathed a short sigh of relief when I was asked to come in for an interview for a job at the Home Depot, just around the corner.

Now although this might be slightly unethical, when applying for jobs outside of the computer field, I submitted a fairly heavily vetted resume (CV), that played down my computer skills and emphasised the attributes of the job I was going for. Don;t get me wrong, I didn’t lie at all, just shifted the focus away from the computer side and onto other things. For instance, with Home Depot, the thing that had caught their eye was the working 6 years at Loot, working through the night, as the job they had in mind for me was on the night shift (yet again). I also emphasised that I worked for a bakery and helped with the computers. Anway my first interview at their location was at 8pm at night, which felt very strange, but an interview was an interview and I badly needed the experience.

The interview itself was pretty informal. It was explained that the job involved working in the receiving department, which meant unloading the freight from the trucks and taking out to the sales floor, where the night crew would put it on the shelves. There was also the opportunity to work with computers, as all merchandies had to be correctly logged in the computers, so the company knew what was received and what to pay for. The really interesting thing about this job, is the guy that interview me said that my resume had in fact been passed up, but he dug it and questioned why, as I had all the experience they were looking for.

Although I was confident that I could handle the job, I was not overly optimistic, but became quite excited when I received a phone call asking me to come in for a second interview with the store manager. This interview was pretty run of the mill, and I expected the usual “we’ll be contacting you soon”, but instead was asked to attend the work orientation at the store in Kanata, about 15 miles from where we lived, on the Saturday and Sunday coming. I was given a copy of the job offer and told I would start on the following Monday after orientation and a coupon to get me a discount at the local Marks Work Wearhouse, a place to pick up the required work boot. My hours were going to be 7:00pm until 3:30am with half hour lunch. Although the pay wasn’t much, it was more than I was currently getting and meant that things were heading in the right direction for us. Looking back, the job came at just the right time, but little did I know what hell I was in for the first week.

The orientation on the Saturday and Sunday was pretty run of the mill. We watched the usual prerequisite safety videos and discussed other safety matters and were given a tour of the store, to give us an idea of what we could expect. Before I know it, the Monday evening was looming and my first night was about to begin…

I arrived at work just before 7pm and asked to speak to Bruce in receiving. I was then told that he wasn’t due in till 8pm, but was taken back to receiving and given a brief rundown of what to expect. As I was the new boy, it was down to me and another guy Brian Grass to haul the freight to the sales floor, by hand. Actually we used pallet jacks to jack up the palletised merchandies and then drag it to the sales floor. This was how it would be until 10pm, when the store closed and the big machinery was able to go out on the floor. If you can imagine, I had to haul huge loads around a 100,000 square foot warehouse. It wasn’t unusual for us to drag freight around that was well in excess of 2000 pounds. Once the big machinery came out at 10pm, my job switched to pulling freight and collecting garbage. That first night nearly crippled me. Remember I wasn’t used to manual labour, nor were my feet. Yes the boots might have been comfortable to start, but by the end of the night I could just about walk. When I finally got home around 3am, I managed to get to the sofa and take my boots and socks off and my poor feet were a bloody mess. I have never seen my feet in such a state, and inside I realised I had to do it all over again the following night.

So that’s how it was, night after night. When the weekend came, I could have kissed the ground. But things soon settled down. My feet got stronger over time, although they weren’t the feet they once were. When Fridays came, I usually had a 24 of beers chilling in the fridge. I’d get home around 3am and would then spend the next 3 or 4 hours having a beer and chatting to friends via ICQ or on the phone. When I finally got to bed, I’d sleep like a log.

Although I never really enjoyed the work, the people were nice enough and the job had the added benefit of making me shed around 30 pounds, or 4 trouser sizes. The jeans I had had to be held up with a really tight belt and every so often, I’d have to notch another hold in my belt. That was my way of coping, I treated it like a gym, were I was getting paid.

Life plodded on for about 5 months. Working nights was a real killer, but a job was a job and at least I had time during the day to catch up on my computer stuff. The big secret to being in computers is to stay current, reading all the news you can and investigating as many new products as you can. Before I knew it, March was upon us, and my job was about to take a turn for the better.

As all the receiving was done at night, there was still the requirement to have someone on the day receiving small packages via UPS, Fedex, etc. This was a one person job and was like a one man receiving department. As well as receving and sorting these small packages, the odd truck would come in that would need unloading, this was usualy stuff for the seasonal department, or badly needed product, like shovel in the winter etc. The job ran from 10:00am until 7:00pm with an hours lunch. I was forunate to be offered this position and didn’t need much convincing to take it.

Working is my own virtual boss during the day really suited me well. The only downside to this was I no longer had as much time in the day to develop my computer stuff. However it did give me a lot of time to think and I also had a few hours in the morning, as I took Sherri to work at 8am and then went back home until I had to head to work at 10am. It’s funny I had my regular morning routine. Wake up and read the paper, take Sherri to work, watch Lovejoy and then Only Fools and Horses on the TV while doing my computer stuff and then off to work.

This continued for over a year. In the meantime, I still applied for numerous computer, both online and via the newspaper, but to no avail. I even had a job interview at the Ministry of Finance, where Sherri worked, but the reason I didn’t get the jobs, was because the other applicant spoke better French than me. I found out subsequently that this was not a valid reason for hiring one person over another, but I decided not to persue it. If they wanted to be short sighted, that was their problem, not mind.

A friend of Sherri’s however gave me a few ideas for companies to approach and it was one in particular where my fortune would change. Goodbye Home Depot, hello Sage Data.

Lucy’s Hearing Test

Yesterday was Lucy’s hearing test at CHEO (Childrens Hospital of Eastern Ontario) and by the end of the day both Sherri and myself were frazzled. I fed Lucy and Sarah at around the usual of 6am and put them back to bed. Around 7:30am Lucy started to stir, so after getting her up (Sarah normally gets up around 10am), I had to keep her awake until her appointment at 10am, I can tell you this is no easy feat. Sherri came down at 8am and by 9:15am we were on our way. Poor Lucy, she so wanted to fall asleep, especially in the car, that it broke Sherri’s heart to have to keep her from closing her eyes. Finally we were about 5 minutes from the hospital and I remembered I had “The Streets” album in the CD player, so I pumped up the volume (yes I know, not too loud), and played “Fit and You Know It”, which seemed to do the trick, despite the questionable lyrical content :-)

The reason we had to keep her up, is that the hearing test has to be performed when Lucy was sound asleep, which in her case was for about 10 minutes, once we finally got her settled. Consequently although her appointment was for 10am, we finally got out of there at around 2:30pm. The test itself usually takes around an hour and a half, but for Lucy this wasn;t the case. In the end, the doctor only had time to do one of Lucy’s ears, we have to go back to check the other one on April 13th.

Anyway the good news is, that although Lucy has a very minimal hearing loss in her right ear, it should have no impact on her speech development and could indeed get better if her ear canal opens up, which is a possibility, although the doctor still needs to rule out a problem with her cochlea. So in a worse case scenario, if Lucy’s left ear is not functioning, she should still be able to function fine. We don’t believe this is the case though, but her next appointment will let us know once and for all.

So after leaving the hospial at 2:30pm, I had to come home and get Mandi and bring her to work for her interview. My work is looking to employ Mandi for the summer holidays. She’ll work at least one day a week and also come in to cover people on holiday. It should be a good opportunity for her. I was telling her last night, that the job can be as rewarding as she wants to make it. Although she will be primarily responsible for the front desk, there will be lots of opportunity for her to learn new software and other neat stuff.

Anyway time for me to wrap up. I need to go make a cuppa tea. S’laters.

Spring Break Is Upon Us!

Is it me, or do kids now days seem to have far more holidays. Nevermind, they can have their holidays, you’d never catch me going back to school again. At least next week is a nice long weekend, or rather two short weeks. If I could plan my weekend, it would involve lots of family time and lots of reading, but somehow, I think the babies will try to monopolise me :-) Not that I’m complaining.

I don’t know what is wrong with me lately, but I keep waking up every 2-3 hours during the night. This isn’t a good thing when you have to get up at 5am… I say have to get up, but it’s not that the babies are waking me, they’re pretty good lately and don’t begin the babychoir until around 6am. It’s just my body seems to flick a switch and that’s it for me, time to get up and get ready.

The new family website is coming on nicely. I’ve managed to get the Guestbook complete, so you can at least view guestbook entries and hope to have the rest of it ready by the weekend (yes I know I’ve said that before). Once the website is up and running the way I want, I can then start planning all the neat stuff I want to add, especially and automated photo album, so I can post new albums really easily.

Anyway time for me to get some work done. Hopefully I’ll manage to edit the next version of “When I was a kid” and get that posted some time this week. TTFN!

Dennis 2.0

I can remember when I was a kid, thinking all the things my Dad told me off for were unfair, yet all these years later I find myself saying the exact same things. I often get that strong sense of deja vu followed by a knowing smile inside. Here’s just a list of the things that currently get me riled :

  1. Not turning off lights
  2. Going to the cupboard to get a biscuit or a can of drink to find they’re all gone. Not only that, buying a case of 24 and not having a single one. The golden Dad rule should always apply. “You can have whatever you like, but just make sure there’s one left for me, when I want one”, does that sound familiar Dad?
  3. Turning the heating up so it’s like a sauna in the house
  4. Not breaking boxes down for recycling
  5. And many other things that get this grumpy git going

It’s just funny how when you are a kid, you say to yourself “I’m never going to do that” and before you know it, there you are, passing yourself off like a clone of your Dad. Not that I’m saying thats a bad thing, it’s just funny how life turns out. I’m looking forward to seeing my kids do the same thing with their kids. Arrrrrrrgh, what am I saying, I’m not ready to be a graddad yet LOL

*Ramble Mode On*

Nearly 2:20am and I’ve had enough to drink, to make me want to ramble incessantly via my portal to the world. OK, maybe I’m not that drunk….. yet, but it’s funny how having the odd beer or two makes you want to talk, and seeing as no one on my ICQ/MSN list wants to talk, I’ll subject you to my ramblings.

When I was in England, all I had to worry about was myself. Month to Month, the paychecks would roll in and apart from the regular house bills and groceries, all that was left was spent ont he bottomless pit that was my stomach. Actually even that isn’t quite true, as a more accurate description would be the bottomless pit of my bladder. Anyway that’s neither here, nor there, suffice to say that batchelor life was free and easy…….. and lonely.

I left home when I was 21. The time was right and so was my income. In the beginning life was so vastly different to the life at home, waiting for my Mum or Dad, to raise me from the land of the dead. Mind you, if you thought I was a heavy sleeper, you should see my brother Alan, cos he really was in the land of the dead when he was sleeping. I say was, as this is the way that I remember him, but I’m sure nothing changes that much. I must remember to ask Tara if that is still the case.

Anyway the time comes when you want to walk around stark naked in the morning and not have to worry about who’s awake at that specific time. There’s also nothing nicer that coming home and knowing that everything is just as you left it, and you are not going to get the third degree for coming in, singing “Yellow Submarine” and falling asleep in the passage way. Actually that never happened, but I can remember specific cases, be they me or not when certain individuals would come in and sell fruit to people who weren’t there, or send the vomit comet from top bunk to floor and feel the need to immediately dig, without bucket or spade. Whoaaaaaaaaaaa! Maybe I’ve said too much, but I’m sure you get the drift.

I moved out at 21 after having paid 20 quid a week rent, and balking at having this upped to 25 quid a week. I then moved to a flat where I was paying 100 quid a week and that’s just for rent. Never the less, I had my own space and life was good. Or should I say, life was OK. For what ever reason, I never managed to find the right woman to share things with, although in my flat, the only woman that would fit, would have had to have been about 2 feet 2″.

Not that I was alone. Most of the friends that I hung round with had the same problem. They either couldn’t find the right woman, found the right woman and something went wrong, or found totally the wrong woman and got taken through the ringer.

I found the right woman, but not before 10 years had passed in my own flat and way before I felt the need to redecorate. Ahhhh decorating, don’t get me stated on that bombshell. Fortunately, when Sherri and I got together, this is something I was up front about. I don’t decorate. I don’t paint, wallpaper, or do any of the things that would make Laurence Llwewlyn Bowyn or Carol Smilie proud. In fact during the 10 years I lived in my flat I never cleaned the windows, but hey they always looked clean at night.

So now 15 years after leaving the bosom of my parents, I find myself the father to 2 young woman and 2 gorgeous babies. Who’s can tell what life will throw your way, but be sure to embrace all thats good and enjoy everything that life will allow.

Time for me to slink away into the night and let the pup out for one last time before bed. Good by 36, you were very good to me. Hello 37, I feel like I’ve waited for you all my life.

I’d finally life to say thank you to my parents. 37 years I’ve seen, but none of them would have meant anything without you. I probably don’t tell you enough how much I love you. You’ve been the rock from which I’ve managed to hold onto when the times have been bad and I can’t thank you enough.

Oh What a Beautiful Morning…

…but I wasn’t thinking that at 4:30am this morning when my little baby monsters were wakning me up. It’s funny, Sarah screams her head off to be fed, yet when you feed her, she just about takes half a bottle. Maybe she just needs a top up, to get her through the remainder of the night. Suffice to say, it’s 6am now and I’m knackered.

So today may only be just another common or garden Saturday, but it also happens to be 37 years ago today, that I popped into the world and said “Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh!”. Happy Birthday to me and thanks Mum and Dad for putting up with me, think I have an inkling what you went through when I was a baby :-)

So what is planned for the rest of my Saturday. Well first I’m going to watch a bit of telly, the babies will wake around 8am, so no point going back to bed at this stage of the game. Watch the Eastenders omnibus. It seems funny watching Eastenders now, but it doe bring a glow to the old cockles of my heart, even though we are over a year behind what’s hapening in the UK. Then I’ll feed the babies their breakfast, hopefully by which time Sherri will be up, so I can go back to bed for a few hours. Then it’ just lazing around generally for the rest of the day. Tonight is the first race in the season for Formula One, so I shall be watching that, whilst sinking a few beers (so after 3 beers I’ll be asleep). Then I shall just drink a few more before going to bed and look forward to a nice lie in on Sunday. Woohooo!

So smell ya later!

Woof!

So how is Kosmo. Well he’s back to his former self, loud and into everything, but he seems to have picked up a new habit, I won’t go into details, but I hope it’s something he grows out of real soon.

The weather as always is a big topic, especially when you get home to find 2 feet of snow waiting to be shovelled from the driveway. It’s cold, but you just get the feeling that winter won;t be with us for much longer, but I’m sure it will snap us in the bum a couple of times, before dying.

Yesterday was an interesting morning away from the office. Me, Al and Luis went to a Microsoft event, discussing the merits of the new ASP.NET 2.0. Yes I know there’s some people rolling their eyes, and muttering “nerds”, but I don’t care. Anyway the presentation was on the whole informative, but you can’t help wondering if their preparation is a little on the scant side. The gut doing our presentation was knowledgable enough, but half way through the presentation, he realised he didn;t have the latest version of the slide presentation. In fact comparing it to the version available on the web, he had about 100 slides missing. Add to that the fact theat he didn’t have the correct version of the software that he was showcasing, meaning that he couldn’t show us half of the examples. Technology, you gotta love it :-)

So the weekend is here and I can’t wait. It’s my birthday tomorrow, and I have my family, a crate of beer and the start of the Formula One season, what more can a man want, oh year apart from a nice lie in on Sunday, having consumed too much beer Saturday night :-)

So off I pop. I’m currently working on Part 9 of “When I was a kid…”, which is taking much longer than I thought it would. As a series though, it’s shaping up nicely. I’m looking forward to throwing ann the parts together and editing and expanding them. I also want to add my younger years in as well. Hopefully by the end of it all, I’ll have a nice autobiography. Anyway out there want to buy it? LOL