Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thanksgiving & Laptop joy

Thanksgiving was great. We had it at our house this year. I made a Turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. I pealed a 10-lb bag of potatoes and mashed them up. There was concern we didn't take the turkey out of the freezer in time, but come Thursday it was indeed thawed out completely and when cooked it was good. Not the best turkey in the world, but definitely nice and juicy.Our guests where Katie, Annmarie, Sue, Jim, Jon, Judith, Stephen, Nannie, Billy, Rachel, Magdeline, Malaki, Steve, Chris, and CK. I think I listed everyone. Each person brought some food and we had plenty for everyone. Good times where had by all. Nannie said grace which I think she really enjoyed.After cooking all day and having our small house stuffed with people, after I finally ate I had to hide away in my bedroom because I was feeling a little overwhelmed. In my room I burned some CDs for Katie which took enough time for me to relax and chill out a little.We used the extended weekend to get some painting done. We have already painted our kitchen (with massive help from Kim's parents.) We colored the wall that leads from the kitchen to the dining room the same color, a pumpkin orange.I had taped everything off in the dining room and Kim painted right passed the tape in some places. After I through a fit about messing it up Kim started being more careful.When we did the girl's bathroom she was much better about being careful and it came out right. She had picked out a bright neon green, that would usually be gross, but goes well with our jungle monkey theme we have in there.The bottom two feet of our wall is a fake wood thing with some trim. She painted the fake wood beige and the trim black.Next we paint the wall that leads from the dining room to the living room. It will be the same color as whatever we decide on for the living room.
Stephen and Judith told me that where going to get me a new laptop for Christmas. I was floored and really didn't know how to respond. This was a big deal and I didn't want to take it for granted. The gave me a price limit. I have always wanted to be able to support Dell's offering of Ubuntu preinstalled PCs so I went to their site and built a laptop within the price range with Ubuntu, not Windows, installed.I think Stephen was as excited to see this thing as I was. While I expected to have to wait for Christmas, Stephen e-mailed me at work the day it came in and had me pick it up that afternoon.While I expected this to be the best working installation of Ubuntu I had ever tried it was actually the worst. I expected that since Dell had the liberty of being able to hand pick well supported hardware and make tweak to the kernel and elsewhere to the specific hardware they were selling that things would work better than ever. Unfortunately I had problems with turning on Compiz and with trying to upgrade from 7.04 to 7.10 both making the computer completely unusable. I am currently running with Compiz on with 7.04 and all the latest updates. The only two outstanding issues is that changing the sensitivity of the mouse tracking doesn't work and trying to access my FTP sites from the bookmarks kills the Gnome menu bar. A restart of X doesn't fix the problem, only a complete reboot. I have run Ubuntu on various other computers and have never experienced anything like this. Looking around the Ubuntu-Dell forums it appears that my experience is an isolated situation.There is rumor that Dell is suppose to have an official version of 7.10 built for their computers in December. I am going to upgrade at that time and if I still have problems I am going to install 7.10 from the Ubuntu website and hope things are better.Overall though this laptop is rockin. It looks and feels smooth. I tried playing some DVDs last night and they looked real nice on the widescreen. Ooh, I like widescreen. The widescreen also gives me plenty of vertical space which is allows more content to be displayed without having to either wrap it to the next line or force me to scroll horizontally. Wireless works well to, except that Network Manager sucks as bad as it does on any other install. The battery life is ~4 hours of regular use. When I can scrounge up the money I would like to purchase a batter that holds a longer charge. Two 9-cell batteries should provide a charge that exceeds 10 hours. That would be really cool, but will have to wait.Stephen had previously provided me with a laptop that was given to him by someone else. It had lived a rough life going on many camping trips and other mayhem. It had some hardware issues and was slow, but it served it's purpose of allowing my to bring a portable computer in to class to take notes and browse the Internet. I will be donating it to Zeke. I am going to completely wipe the drive and put Xubuntu on it. I think I may have fixed the hardware issues as well. Time will tell.
Starting next week Rachel will be our primary daycare provider. We will drop all three kids off at her house in the morning. They will already have been dressed and their teeth brushed but not fed. Rachel will drop Aurora off at school and watch the other two girls all day. After school Aurora will go to the same afterschool at creative child. Judith has offered to pay for this. Aurora really likes her afterschool. When we pick her up she is usually disappointed as she always wants to stay until they close. Afterschool will allow Kim or I to pick up Aurora in stead of Rachel needing to make another trip in to town to pick her up. Rachel watching the girls will allow us to shave off 1/3 of our daycare expenses, and provide her with a nice income. To those not in the know, daycare is very expensive. I explained to my boss, who drives a very nice sports care, that if I didn't have to pay daycare I could afford a car that makes his look like poo.Aurora and Athena are very excited about having Rachel watch them as they really love her and her two babies.
I have started teaching Aurora North, East, South and West and some basic multiplication. She can count by twos and fives so I showed her how to use her fingers to multiply. She has a habit of multiplying anything I ask her by five regardless, and then sometimes increases it to six. So if I ask her for 5 X 4 she'll count 5 X 5 and tell me 25. Same if I ask her 2 X 3 she'll give me 10. We are working on it. She understand the concept but I think she gets confused trying to focus on the counting and not the number of fingers she is holding up.