Burglary – it’s not much fun

It’s been nearly two weeks and I’m glad things feel like they are starting to get back to normal. Things have been a little nuts since we were burgled. There is more I’ve written, but don’t want to share yet. There are still many things being finalised with insurance companies and a court case pending and I don’t want to adversely impact them in anyway. But what I can tell you is that the last two weeks have been very unpleasant.

Saturday - 20th July 2013
It was to be a big weekend in a small way. Emma, my wife, was due to leave for Cork on Sunday, and for the first time since the birth of our littlest lad, spend some quality time away from the family. Herself and her sister where heading down for a couple of days of cooking lessons. While Emma was looking forward to it, I knew she was also worried anxious about leaving the two baby boys behind for the first time. So this week we had a family treat planned.

Saturday morning and the plan was simple. Rise early, well - the boys wake super early, so get up with them. Grab breakfast, make a picnic lunch, and then pack us all in the car and hit the zoo before the summer crowds do. Then on the return leg, stop at the airport and collect my mother who was flying in to stay with me and the boys while Emma was away. With the lovely weather we've been having we knew the crowds at the zoo were going to be big, but we thought our plan was fool proof. That was until Emma noticed it.

Emma: "Chris, why is the front door open?"
Me: "I don't know."

Emma walked out of the house; my car was parked outside the front door. Emma walked around the back of the house to check the parking bay, where her car, the car we were taking to the zoo was located.

Emma: "My car's gone!"

It's a single moment of disbelief which hit at first. Followed by millions of synapses firing; the formation of a mini battle plan. We've got to call the Garda (Irish Police), Insurance companies, locksmiths, what was in Emma's car?

Emma’s car contained a lot of stuff at the time; we had child seats for the two boys, their buggy, toys, blankets, and other necessary bits and bobs. Anyone with kids will know how essential each of these items are, and also how expensive some of them can be. Buying a buggy alone can be not far off the price of a second hand car. Also inside the car was the blanket in which our youngest boy was wrapped when we brought him home from hospital. That simply cannot be replaced.

We’ve been busy working with the police, insurance companies, credit card companies, and even some on line stores trying to clear up after this. It’s been very stressful. But I do have to say that our neighbours and friends have been fantastic. We’ve had offers of help from all around - they’ve all made a huge difference and have been really appreciated. We’ve also got to know our neighbours so much better than we had before. I’ve found myself waving at neighbours I didn’t even know we had until after the burglary.

After speaking to our own insurance companies I’d advise anyone reading this to check, and then double check their policy to ensure that they know what is covered and what isn’t. However stressful the unscheduled loss and the resulting spending have been, it’s nothing compared to knowing that someone was in your house. I do feel lucky that we didn’t meet these people mid-burglary, who knows that their intentions would have been. But it’s knowing that some stranger was in our house going through our things, so close to my family and our children which is the most scary, and now that time has passed both frustrating and, it’s hard to explain, but also an anger causing thought. I find myself checking then double checking everything from locks on doors to windows. I’ve even caught myself staying awake listening to the house, jumping at the smallest sounds, and getting up in the middle of the night to check on the remaining car. Then there have been all the nights when I’ve replayed that night in my head and gone through the “what-ifs” - All in all we’ve both been pretty tired and, it’s fair to say a little on edge.

Garda (Irish Police)
The Garda have been great, providing us with insights and talking me through the basics, when I call them with silly questions, or important new information – which is neither important, nor new.

The latest news is that the Garda caught some people driving Emma’s car a couple of days after the burglary. I understand that the arrest was somewhat dramatic. However Emma’s car was not in good shape and is uneconomical to repair. Little to nothing of monetary value was recovered from the car; however we did get back the blanket.

We are not back to normal yet, but we are getting there.

The end of a PC

sudo shutdown now

... and the fan stopped and the blue LEDs faded, little did I know it would be for the last time...

Eight years ago I bought my PC, at the time it was a beast of a machine, for those that are interested it was a whopping 1gig of RAM, an AMD64 CPU, and a GEFORCE graphics card. An awesome PC, it's had three operating systems and multiple uses, from a desktop work station to a gaming rig, and a pretty awesome one at that, until finally running as an Ubuntu desktop and server machine.

I bought it just after leaving my job at EMCC as a development workstation for my new role working at home.

The only real downside, and one of the precipitating factors leading to failure, was the fan. It was loud, when running it sounded like an aircraft taking off and was audible throughout the upstairs in my house.

It was the smell that hit me first, warm silicon doesn't smell great. During our current heat wave one of the PC's fans failed. The upstairs of my house were filled with the smell of hot silicon, the processor alone was reporting 85c!

It was definitely time to turn it off. It is sad to say good bye to the old boy, but it’s definitely time. For a PC it was a grand old age. It’s had an awesome innings. That PC has seen me get married, move jobs more times than I want to recount, move country, and had the arrival of two children. Its most recent job was as a photo repository, mini workstation, and it was converting some children’s DVDs to play on our AppleTV.

The King is dead, long live the King
The time has come to start the construction on a new machine, and for the first time since I was 1996 I've decided to build my own machine. Hopefully a much quieter one. If I'm lucky this one will also last me eight years.

Let's just hope nothing has happened to the memories currently locked away on the old boy’s hard drives.

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