Archive | April, 2011

Back to life, back to realty

19 Apr

What’s news ? My todo list hasn’t received this much attention in a long time – regrettably, as much of that attention is adding tasks as ticking them off. Perhaps if I’m going to spend so much time ticking off tasks, I could find a way to make that process awesome but then I’d have to get an iPad, and that’s only going to distract me more…

What are these Epic Tasks you ask ? First thing was kicking my visa application through – 200 pages of that. Secondly I finished off the “bedroom coding” projects I’ve been doing, the first of which (improvements to an existing bit of software) has been submitted for distribution tomorrow, and the main part (an extension to this software) that’s all, 100% mine from start to finish is just under going documentation tweaks, after which I’ll submit it too. Quite excited about having something I MADE available for others to buy, offer feedback on, and USE. Creativity rocks.

With that out the way, I’ve managed to sign up for a bit of freelance contracting in Ruby on Rails, a language and framework I’ve not done much with. Mind you, same could be said for the bedroom coding too (written in LUA with an XML based GUI framework). All of this should put be in a better place as a software developer, and give me a wider range of work I can take on in the future, which can only be a good thing. Plus I’m really enjoying it, which is a point that I feel is undervalued by many people. Anyhow, this contract should pay real money – not super dollars, but enough to keep the house loan. Speaking of which..

… I’ve applied for my first mortgage ! Scary stuff (how much in interest payments ?!) Actually with Australia’s super-financial boom, timing for buying houses are tough; prices are over-inflated (and bubble-bursting-like, in some people’s opinion) interest rates are up at 7%, and the Aussie dollar is so strong that the value of the UK pound has almost halved from 4-5 years ago compared to it. Seriously, after chasing savings interest rates of 4-6% on cash, and a few share investments paying a little more than that after the FTSE recovering, to have a great big 40% taken off the “value” of your savings is… hard to swallow. But swallow it I must – no point having savings sitting around (now earning bugger all percent) in the UK when I’ve got Australian interest rates to oh shit it’s happened I’m now talking and blogging about my mortgage. Welcome to your mid-thirties…

On a more practical level, my father-in-law and I have been heading into the flat a couple of days a week to let tradespeople in (we had big storms in Jan / Feb and some unresolved insurance claims which I’m picking up) and to do some home DIY (mid-thirties, remember). We had some fun wallpaper scraping the other week, and today I’ve been attacking walls with sugar soap to clean them down. Honest hard days (well, afternoons, to be honest) work.

It’s all going to be worth it in the long run – Camberwell, where our flat is, has great public transport links, nice cafes, and we’ll finally have a home that is ours ! Plenty more work to do first, not just on practical DIY issues, but on kitchen renovations, removing a wall, and changing the flooring. And that’s just to get started – after that, I’ve no doubt we shall be visiting a certain Scandwegian furniture emporium which is the destination for most newly-weds in their first home. Although I might get with beech effect, after selling of my birch effect Skolgriens, Billys, flangenhoplles, and Cdrackens back in London. Plus, we get a really nice view of the city from our living room 🙂

Finally Mimi and I did our run – I ran ahead of Mimi and friend after a few hundred meters, and really enjoyed doing an organised run again. Having done 6km training runs the week leading up, I was fairly confident about the 5.2KM track. But nonetheless I kept a good even pace, stopped once for the loo (the queues were too big before the start of the race…) and managed to get around in 31 mins. which met my 10KPH target pace spot on. Next stop has to be a 10KM run (my third 10KM ever !) I feel. Running 5KM plus seems to be the only thing that’s ever really got my weight heading towards < 17 stone, so hopefully I can dip under that later in the year. Plenty of good successes in recent times – just need to remember them and ignore and negativity with the endless todo list ahead (it’s the journey, not the destination, etc…) !

Looking forward to a month back in the UK late May / June too. Missing too many people to mention – Skype is good, but not great and the time difference sucks – so look forward to seeing many of you sometime real soon.