Friday, 18th February, 2005

Ah, another holiday day. I’m dedicated to my work, of course, but I find it very easy to keep that work-life balance thingy at every opportunity and not be there. Not that I’m afraid of hard graft, mind; today, for example, I took the kids into town, enabling Jack to buy an arguably essential pair of jeans and enabling Sarah to buy an arguably somewhat less essential pair of hair straighteners.

Then we needed to complete Jack’s GCSE options form. Oddly, and much to Jack’s disappointment, the form didn’t feature key subjects such as Playing Computer Games or Television Studies (1990 to the present day). Detecting that I was about to launch into a speech featuring the phrase, “back in my day”, Jack quickly knuckled down and got it filled in.

Topping off an excellent day, and topping up my Real Man Street Cred Index, I washed the car in near-zero temperatures, which took longer than normal due to (a) losing all the feeling in my fingers (b) the suds constantly freezing, requiring 13 bucket top-ups from the hot tap.

Saturday, 19th February, 2005

Very impressed with my boy. He’s taken last week’s sermon on Life in the Fast Lane to heart and embarked on 24 hours without food. I told him he’d get his reward in heaven. He asked whether I might be able to arrange a down-payment in cash, but quickly assured me he was joking. Thinking about it, though, his half-term grades were very good so I guess we might go crazy and throw an extra 25p in with his pocket money.

We finally got new curtains for the dining room. The window’s been unadorned since the extension was done last summer, so this is a much-needed finishing touch. As the old saying goes, a window without curtains looks a bit bare and is quite likely to be draughty.

Tuesday, 22nd February, 2005

Changed the bulb in the front porch light. For the record, the replacement was a standard Wilko pearl 60W tungsten incandescent with screw fitting. The big question is: Why do I feel the need to note such details in my diary? Who cares about that bulb? Does it indicate a deep-seated need for significance in my life, a yearning to prove that I matter, that I make a difference? Am I showing signs of OCD? What’s next? Details of the swing bin liners we use in the kitchen? Stats about washing up liquid consumption rates? A detailed log of the dates on which the batteries were changed in the alarm sensors? Not that I keep that sort of information, obviously.

Sunday, 27th February, 2005

20W halogen bulb (see left for vital details)

I’m determined to write less mundane domestic trivia in my diary. However, I feel it important to note today’s realisation that we’ve been under-loading the transformer for the twin halogen downlighters in the bathroom by using 10W bulbs. The transformer needs a minimum of 35W to ensure the right voltage so our 10W bulbs are likely to be short-lived due to being stressed. (Not unlike some people, one supposes.) Anyhoo, the big news is that having made this discovery I’ve swapped both bulbs for 20W, so all should be well bathroom illumination-wise in future.

Tried to explain this discovery to Jack and Sarah, and (this being a Sunday) suggested it was something to thank God for. They gave me a look of what I took to be awestruck appreciation but in retrospect was probably just gobsmacked disbelief. Sarah said she had a bad back and needed to sit down, while Jack enthusiastically related how he was “amazing” at Need for Speed Underground, whatever that is.

Tuesday 1st March, 2005

Sarah really does have a bad back; I had to drive her to and from school. When I noticed how fast she ran upstairs to fetch her mobile phone after getting home, we agreed those healing prayers last Sunday must have been answered.

Jack told me he’s feeling “content with life in general”. “That, son, is a great blessing,” I told him sagely. He nodded, told me he was thanking God for it then casually asked if there was any chance of more pocket money.

One of the 10W halogen bulbs in the kitchen downlighters has failed. We already had a spare following the bathroom bulb swap operation; see earlier for details.


The Dad Diaries are fictional. Probably.