This weekend was quite busy with us, so we stayed home from Mum and Dad's and only went out for "Christmas dinner" (ie, a big-ass lunch) on Christmas Day. We decided to open the bulk of our presents on Christmas Eve, partly because Sabriena has fond memories of doing that growing up, but also because dragging them all out to Mum and Dad's to open them just seemed like a logistical nightmare and an exercise in childhood cruelty, and opening them all Christmas morning and then immediately leaving didn't seem like fun either.
Then, on the morning of Christmas Eve, I came up with the genius idea of doing it just after lunch instead of just after dinner, so that Duncan would have time to play with his loot prior to having to head to bed so we could be up on time to get away early. That worked out pretty well, as her sister wanted to observe the festivities via webcam also. Despite being warned it'd be a lean Christmas because of everyone getting PC parts, Duncan still did rather well - he got an absolute pile of craft stuff and books, and then Santa brought him some toys including the "Nerf" gun he'd asked for.
Out to Mum and Dad's around 8am, and managed to forget the Peanut Butter bar that Sabriena made, which sucks because now it'll be sitting in the fridge for two weeks taunting us. Duncan got a few more presents and we all had a good time. We headed home at about 3, arriving at about 5:30, with Sabriena driving because I'd had a bit to drink... but I noted the complete absence of RBT checkpoints the entire journey.
This morning while I went into my office to work, Sabriena was cracking the whip over Duncan: despite that it was the start of his vacation, they had shit to do, and she wanted to get out to the shops before everyone else did. Unfortunately, that was not to be - the key in the Commodore has been getting ornery over the last couple of months and this morning it simply wouldn't turn no matter what. I went out to try it, and couldn't get it to go either.
Inside to call the locksmith... super common problem, they keep the barrels in stock, can do it in an hour. The cost was pretty reasonable - around $200AUD - but it'd be another $99 if they had to come out to do it. That's a fair bit of money, so I decided to give it one more shot and managed to get the key to turn, so Sabriena took it in while I went to work.
While it was there I had them do both the keyfobs as well - Sabriena's was dead shortly after we got the car, so I bought a solder-in battery and a replacement shell (because with the stock Holden keyfob shell, you're guaranteed to destroy it getting it apart) and it worked okay, but broke eventually due to the aforementioned problem (and the fact that it was a cheap chinese unit). My key was still stock, but the battery was getting very tired and most days I had to be standing virtually right next to the car for it to unlock or lock. I decided to have them replace both of them, which they did with "sedan" keyfobs (so they have a boot-popper button on them which does nothing).
So now there should hopefully be no issues for a good many years, at least with that part of the car.
It's been over four months now since I started working remotely from home, and slowly the office is taking shape. I found a desk large enough to do what I want at a local Opp shop, and last month Sabriena talked me into replacing the horrific 1080p TV I was using for a monitor (I'm still using it, but not as my primary monitor so I don't have to stare at it all day).
I wanted to wall mount the second monitor (the TV), but our lease prevents us from doing so. A desk-mounted swingarm for a monitor this size would be prohibitively expensive, but then I remembered that there are slats on three walls for a shelf above my desk. With a bit of home fabrication, I built a shelf with a metal bracket hanging down and the wall mount attached. Some rubber hose on the rear side of the bracket so the metal isn't forced against the wall, and I have one "wall mounted" LCD that does not violate the lease (and a nifty shelf to put some crap on).
In the mornings in summer, the sun is still low enough in the sky when I start work to flood the room with light (and heat, to a lesser extent), so I wanted to replace the "not entirely adequate" curtains with something heavier, but "blackout curtain" material is rather steep. I lucked out this weekend and at a yard sale found 1.5m worth (at about 1.8m tall) for five bucks, which leaves just enough light through at ground level to light up the room (and let the cat stare out).
Duncan and I went out to Mum and Dad's after doing our weekly grocery shopping yesterday, stayed the night, and came home today. Duncan had been on me about building a table, wanting to use the scrap MDF I had in the shed, and some sticks for legs... even going so far as to draw some adorable blueprints for it. I'd told him a couple weeks ago that that's not really the right way to make a table, and that we'd take him out there and Dad could show him how to make a table properly. We were supposed to go last weekend, but the threat of floods made us chicken out.
So we went this weekend instead, with Duncan staying up until 11pm because I wasn't watching the time, so naturally he was rather wrecked on Sunday morning. He got his table built though, which he's pretty proud of and is now adorning his room, I will have to post pictures of it.
"Best friend Jason" was there, and he has a small chinese ATV that he'd bought for the kids, and it wasn't working correctly so Duncan didn't get to have a ride of it. I wasn't too terribly fussed over that, as I'm not particularly fond of the idea of kids on ATVs - it's counterintuitve to many people (including Sabriena for the longest time) but two wheel bikes are infinitely safer than four when children are involved.
It did get me thinking though that perhaps we might look around for a cheap 50cc or so dirtbike for Duncan, so I can live vicariously through his childhood. I found a very nice CRF-50F on Facebook for about half it's retail value, with the plastics looking like the thing has spent about two hours total in the sun, but when I started doing the numbers for the costs of a trailer, safety gear, and either travel to Mum and Dad's or the dues to the local motorcross club it would likely not be a cheap hobby.
Maybe next year.