This was a busy week.
This was a busy week.
We spent most of Easter in Granada with my parents. It was sunny and warm, at times even hot, both in Granada and back in Madrid during the weekend. We also met my uncle & aunt twice (and even my cousin B. for a few minutes).
This week we learnt early that our new car wouldn't be ready during the week.
In fact, on Friday they told us the car had arrived, and so the day after we went to the dealer to see it in the
chassis — but it would have to sit idle there for a week or two while we do the payment and get it insured,
and they complete all the paperwork.
On Wednesday, during our lunch breaks, my wife & I rode the motorbike and went to an optician's shop in a big shopping centre nearby. We got our eyesight tested, and ordered new glasses (×2). They'll give us a few pairs of test contact lenses (×2) for free, too.
[28 Mar – 3 Apr]
On Wednesday I took Breaker of Horses to the paediatrician for a check-up. He has gained weight, and is closer to the 50th percentile now.
I spent Thursday at the office, as usual — and enjoyed it as usual.
We paid a deposit for the new car, and my wife got a surprisingly good quote for the old one (with semiconductors being in short supply, and now the war in Ukraine, the market for second-hand vehicles is very hot).
I spent Thursday at the office and, once again, the change in setting felt quite pleasant and productive.
The day was rainy, and with all the extra traffic the bus took a bit longer to show up at my stop, and then a bit longer to get to my destination. But with an e-book reader, a phone, and earbuds… WHO CARES. I've always enjoyed short and occasional commutes so much that very often I'm kind of hoping there'll be a traffic jam, that the train will be delayed because of heavy snow, or something like that. If I have something to read, something to study or write, or something to listen to, I'm content. Over the years, on trains and buses I've listened to podcasts, studied languages or university courses, read technical books or manuals, and so on. Actually looking forward to 30′ or 45′ in public transit because I'll have the opportunity to make some progress with volume III of “In Search of Lost time”, to refresh my kanji, or to finish listening to a podcast about some episode in the life of Leonard Cohen is quite irrational: in theory I could simply carve out that same time for those same activities before the beginning and after the end of my work schedule when I'm working from home! I haven't resolved that absurdity yet.
I enjoyed meeting colleagues, the social aspect of being in the office, the pauses and the little pleasures of casual conversations around the coffee machines, sharing lunch in the kitchen, etc. I think I'm more productive, too — or at least I make up for the time lost in commuting and in the aforementioned social disctractions: the time I'm sitting at my desk I can focus better. This week I also learnt that I got a raise, effective retroactively last January, supposedly to adjust for inflation. I like it where I work.
First week of work after my (second) (delayed) parental leave! I had been off for more or less three months, and although I planned to be in touch with colleagues etc, the truth is that I managed to do very little of that during my absence. I kept an eye on important communications and so on, but did not do any actual work. And thus on Monday I had a little mountain of mail and notifications from Slack, GitLab and Atlassian applications waiting for me.
In the days before resuming work, I had decided that I would wake up “early” (~7:00am) from Monday to Friday, and start work straight away (after some fruit and water). That hour is still quiet at home, and I can catch up with things without distractions before the morning rush with the kids. Also, my wife and I agreed that the best way for us to be productive at work without the kids staying at daycare for a zillion hours a day was to shift our respective working days by an hour or two: she would wake the kids up, go with them to the nursery school and start working “late” in the morning — and I would finish work “soon” to go pick them up and take care of them until the evening. And that's what we have been doing. Except for the days when one of the little ones has a bad night and we sleep poorly (and I don't feel like working at 7:20am), this arrangement works well.
Last week I took for test drives three of the EV's I've recently mentioned here: the Volkswagen ID.4 on Monday, the Kia EV6 on Wednesday, and the Škoda Enyaq iV on Friday. I'm probably the worst car tester in the world, and I insisted to my wife that it should be she going to those appointments at the dealerships. But me being still on paternity leave (last week of that!) and she at work in the mornings, I ended up being the tester.
I am bad at this because in general I don't like cars, and I care mostly (and almost exclusively) about the figures
and the easily quantifiable stuff: price, power, range, storage, warranty, etc — and I am sceptical of looks and impressions.
(Come to think of it, that last sentence defines me well in lots of other areas of life…)
So I sat behind the sleek wheel of those three beauties, and my most sophisticated reflection was something along the lines of:
“Wow, isn't this cool. Look at that huge screen over there! And the upholstery feels so soft…”
Then there's the “inconvenience” that all decent EV's today have a comparatively impressive response when one really steps on the
and so it's difficult to tell awesome acceleration from great acceleration from amazing acceleration (not that it matters much to me).
In summary, I liked the three of them (but perhaps the Škoda more than the others).
[28 Feb – 6 Mar]
Two weeks ago was my last of paternity leave as such. Since last week I'm on a different type of absence: a shorter one that is given to parents of lactating babies to make it easier for them to feed the child while at work. In principle it's one hour less of work per day for a certain period of time, but I chose to concentrate it all in whole days, and that gave me an extra couple of weeks completely off work. (That's what most other parents choose to do too, for what I hear.)
Some days we had a few fights with Miss Entropy.
Tantrums, noes, whims…
Some days she's lovely, but others she links one annoying behaviour with the next, and it exhausts diplomacy and persuasion
On Wednesday, for instance, I had plans to go out in the evening to meet two different groups of people, each for a short while;
but I was so tired from dealing with the kids that I ducked out in the last minute and didn't even go out.
I was in a bit of a bad mood.
Fortunately an hour or two of isolation late at night, when everybody else was in bed, made me some good.
$DEITY for the night!
If only one didn't need to sleep…
As I hinted the week before, Breaker of Horses continued with his spell of bad nights for another four or five days straight. No fever, luckily — but waking up often in the middle of the night, doubling up and crying. One day for instance I had to wake up around 7:00am (yes, that's waking up “early” for us now), take him with me to the living room, and soothe and rock him to sleep. We don't know what it was all those nights (gas? teeth? digestion? nightmares?), as is often the case with little babies. We simply saw he had no fever or other visible symptoms, that whatever was wrong subsided on its own after ten minutes or a few hours at most, and that it happened only at night (and only for a few nights), so our heuristic was that it couldn't be too important, and we didn't even contemplate going to the emergency room or calling our GP in the morning. I guess not being rookies at the child-rearing game any more gives us some advantage. Some nights were tough and my wife and I were tired; others not so much and we functioned well during the day anyway.
We don't believe in Valentine's Day here. But just in case, on the 14th I bought a Häagen-Dazs, “Belgian chocolate” flavour. Think Pascal's wager! It lasted a few days (we love chocolate, but we never eat a lot of anything like that).
On Tuesday evening I rode my motorbike to Avenida de la Ilustración to meet someone who stumbled upon my post about “Mein Kampf” and had the kindness to write me an e-mail. He's D., a fellow admirer of many of my own intellectual heroes (Sam Harris, Steven Pinker, Richard Dawkins, Jonathan Haidt, Christopher Hitchens, etc). We had a coffee/tea, got to know each other a little bit, and found a lot of common interests. I think we were both excited to discover another human being who had listened to the same podcast interviews, watched the same debates on YouTube, read the same blog posts, and fallen in love with the same ideas, in Spain. Later I introduced him (virtually) to my rationalist and EA circles in Madrid. So, a new friend. In that way, this new old blog has served some purpose already!