Back to normal 
Cleared the spare room, bagged up loads of old clothes, put quite a bit in the loft. Now we can look at decorating, but it's nice to have one room in the house that looks tidy. Meanwhile Rachael's friend Lissa stayed overnight on Friday. They decided to set up camp in the old water tank. When I was young, I would have cut up some plastic sacks to stop the leaks, and camouflaged it with branches. Rachael? No. She cleaned and dried it out with numerous towels, and then used a nice duvet as bedding and an umbrella for the hole in the roof. So we had quite a lot of washing to do on Saturday.

We're hoping to get away for a few days in the school holidays. Might get as far as the ski fields, although none of us can ski. It was raining last time. I'd forgotten what rain is like when it's a fraction of a degree above zero!

It's been very windy and wet. I attempted to mow the lawn, but ended up ploughing it instead. There were several roofs collapsed with the snow in the far south. Here, we just get cold and wet. But today is sunny at last. Rachael wants me to try the mower again, but I think I'll give it another day...

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Peace at last 
It went from panic mode to bleary eyed insanity last week. But the conference was a success. Our stuff worked almost perfectly. But the wireless network was overloaded with nearly two hundred teachers on laptops, plus quite a few students who spotted the free internet access around the school. They had to set up a second wireless range to give access to everyone. I suspect you could have microwaved your dinner in the server room if you left it next to the wireless access point.

Hopefully this marks the end of our own wireless saga. I bought a wireless ADSL router off an auction site, and got it all set up and working. But it peacefully passed away in the night, and not even the LEDs on the front work now. So I bought another. It arrived, brand new, and entirely in Chinese. After asking around, and making use of Google's translator, I've got it set up. If you're reading this, it's still working...

It was International Sunday at church, and loads of people had things to share about their country, plus plenty of food afterwards. I was running the computer. Fortunately the youth pastor helped me out as we swapped countless USB drives and got everybody's presentations and music ready. Plus quite a few flags.

I've got a couple of days off to recover. It's going to be great, providing the weather holds out. It's been pretty windy, and a number of places have lost power or phone. But it's getting warm again, and Rachael wants to go bike riding. Hope neither of us fall off in the wind!

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Det er kaos som vanlig 
Rachael tidied her room yesterday. I ought to take a picture to record the historic event. All I did was ask her to put her clothes back in the drawer. Now, if only we can get Sarah to put things away...

Both girls had the flu last week. Sarah missed her special performance at school, but Rachael made it for hers on Wednesday. She came back even more bouncing than usual, and didn't get to sleep until really late. Paid for it the next morning!

We've had some of the AFS (American Field Service) coordinators to visit us yesterday, and sort out the paperwork. We've picked a Norwegian student who lives about 50km north east of Trondheim. There's nothing else there. Just Trondheim. She wanted a place that wasn't "too rural". I think we qualify on that. I can see the Auckland Sky Tower from the top of the hill.

We're in the final preparations for the conference at work. It'll be in a local grammar school again, with over 250 teachers from all over the country. We've been struggling to get the final bugs sorted so we can have something to show off. However, I think we probably need to hold off on that next week, because there's always that temptation to slip in another bit and create another bug...

The new band room is due to be moved in October. I've always marvelled about the way Kiwis move house... literally. It's finally going to be installed on the existing foundations, and the old building moved round the corner for the Pony Club to use. We've also got two fireworks concerts, at least 4 Santa parades, and two Bavarian nights. Plus carolling and the rest. So it'll be busy. Apparently our conductor threw a wobbly this week, when people wouldn't stop talking and weren't listening. Pity I missed it. I arrived late after completely forgetting it was Friday, when Bronwyn said the immortal words "Aren't you going to band?"

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Quite a week 
Before you ask, our house is still standing. Christchurch is near the other end of the country. We spent a night there when we were travelling, so I've seen some of the places that got damaged in the earthquake. I've felt a few earthquakes since we moved here, but all of them were in the central north island where the main fault runs through.

At the brass band contest today, we had a different judge because the original one was down in Christchurch clearing the rubble off the pile of music we'd given him. Fortunately the motorway opened at noon, so we had no trouble driving down. We came fourth, but we were up against some very good bands so we were just there to have fun!

Both girls haven't been well, and Rachael's chipped a tooth, so she'll be visiting the dental nurse at some point to have it smoothed over. It seems that even when she's ill, she can still bounce around so much that she does herself an injury!

We're thinking of hosting an overseas student next year, so we've been given a few profiles to look over. Bronwyn came home today with some tester pots of paint, so I feel some redecorating is on the cards, as well as a lot of work to clear the spare room!

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Are we nearly there yet? 
Rachael's not well. She's got a sore throat and is feeling generally dreadful. She's also a lot quieter than normal, which is highly unusual. Sounds like she's got the flu. Possibly the same one as last year because Bronwyn and me are fine. Sarah wasn't too well a week ago, but she's better now.

Next week, I'll be going to south Auckland for the brass band contest. Unfortunately, it's also the weekend that they're closing the southern motorway, so virtually all traffic from north to south is going down a different road instead. Hopefully we'll all get there eventually. At least the road north will be fine - they're only closing the southbound side, in order to dismantle a large gantry over a new section of flyover.

At work, we keep moving the goalposts. About 7 schools have been given test versions of the new software. The bug list is up to 65, but we're only planning to fix the worst of them for next week. I'll be glad when it's all over...

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