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spikegifted.net - Archive Q2 2006



June 2006:
Home: After painting the walls and ceilings, there were the stripped floorboards to be varnished. Both the main bedroom and spare room 1 received a couple of coats each. Wow! The floorboards look good!
Home: New house and decoration - these two seemed to be constantly on our lips when we spoke to our friends and colleagues. The first few weeks in the house has been very difficult... It was time to get on with getting the house into shape. Well, at least to start the process anyway. There were two rooms with particular priority: the main bedroom and the office/spare room 1. Over the first weekend of July, the Ruler_of_spike and I managed to complete the painting of the spare room 1. This room was of particular importance for getting it into shape will mean I can setup my computers, setting up the wardrobes and generally putting a lot of my junk away. Additionally, there is a little loft above spare room 1, which means that a lot of my books and odds 'n sorts can be put away - out of sight, out of mind.
Work: With all that was going on in the new house, it was very easy to just imagine that there wasn't much going on at work. That was not the case, though. Remember the list of clients I needed to tackle? Well, despite the new house's best effort to distract my attention, I managed to complete everyone single one of them. Ok, one or two of them were slightly rushed, not in terms of the credit work but the approval process, to squeeze into the review diary or to satisfy the business areas. The important thing was - I got the job done, troubled by the new house notwithstanding. I think I can be happy with that little bit of effort.
Home: After a lot of heavy lifting, I managed to arrange and squeeze most of our boxes of stuff into spare room 2. That doesn't seem like a big deal, but with boxes previously occupying nearly every room, it was impossible to see the space and allow decorating ideas to form. Anyway, now that we had all the mess in one room, the mess seem more manageable. Funny how the human mind works.
Home: However, things have to press on... We hired a 'Mr. Sandman' to come to sand down the floor boards in the house. This meant that there has to be electricity in every room in the house. 'Mr. Sandman' showed up and completed the job in just under two days. All the bedrooms looked amazing with the carpets removed and the floor boards stripped. The previous oppressive feel of the rooms were immediately lifted. Ok, they were no where near complete but we've taken the first step in achieving our vision of how the place should turn out like. The stupid thing was that the floor should be the very last thing to be completed. That, however, wasn't possible owing to our and the various tradesmen's time table. So, 'Mr. Sandman' had to put down plastic dust sheets to temporarily cover up the stripped floor boards.
Home: Living in a house that is not entirely suitable of habitation was a real difficult time. The electrician was still working on the various parts of the house. Basically, the power circuits in the house was substandard and we were now paying for the electrician to remedy the situation. This was taking a lot longer and the scope of the work significantly larger than originally envisaged. Although the electrician was working hard in the house, the amount of work required just seemed to be going up rather than coming down.
Home: On the first day that we moved to the house, we also took delivery of a bunch of stuff we bought - our bed, cooker, fridge/freezer and washing machine. That is one amazing piece of coordination, getting things to show up from several suppliers on the same day was no cakewalk. Unfortunately, the fridge/freezer was slightly damaged and we had to refuse the item. As it turned out we were still waiting for a replacement unit to arrive nearly two weeks later! The weather was hot and we were really struggling with getting food after work to get ourselves fed in the evening. A massive pain in the neck.
Home: Finally, in the second week of June, we moved in our own house... What a set of contradicting feelings I have - I'm very happy that I finally became a house owner and no longer paying rent for someone to repay his/her mortgage, however, the work required in the house is fairly substantial and it will be a while before we can be truly settled in the house. Matter wasn't helped because of all the boxes of stuff sitting around. I've already spend a lot of time moving unused stuff to the loft and to one of the unused rooms, the number of boxes getting in our way were still quite overwhelming.
Work: At the beginning of June, I wrote down a small list of clients I needed to review. One or two of them were relatively easy, but the remainder were either new clients or they were fairly hefty reviews of existing clients. As my house move is coming up fast, I was expecting to take some time off to take care of things at the new house. There was going to be a manic juggling of the pressures at home and at work.
Home: I spent the second May Bank Holiday weekend working in the house. We were a little over one week away from moving in and this was my second weekend in the house removing things - old carpets, old furniture, old fixtures, etc. It seemed like the more work I put into the place, the more I discovered needed doing.
Home: Finally, the electrician has begun working in the house. Base on preliminary investigation, there appeared to be more work than originally anticipated. More work means more money and more time. This was not a good beginning.
Home: Well, the best laid plans are not working... We were having trouble getting the various tradesmen in to start working in the place. It takes a lot of communication to get people on board to do the necessary work. As our time table began to slip, we began to face the reality that not much of the work will be completed by the time we moved in.
Home: This is very sneaky! While I can understand that the vendor really wonít want to inform us of this, but Iím surprised that the surveyor didnít pick it up. Hereís the deal, When we went to visit the house on viewing, we noticed that there was a shelving unit against one of the walls in the living room and didnít think much of it at the time. However, after the sale was completed, and most of the remainder of the contents removed, we got a chance to see the wall behind where the shelving unit was. Well, there was this massive damp patch and it was wet to the touch. Thatís the problem with getting a cheap survey done - the surveyor would not have done a thorough job - so instead of paying more the surveyor, we paid double the amount to have the rising damp fixed. That was not the only damp problem we had. There were also other areas of rising damp in other parts of the exterior walls. So we had to get a damp-proofing people in to get the damp fixed. Very inconvenient!
Home: Back in the second half of March, the Ruler_of_spike and I made an offer to purchase a house in south London and the offer was accepted. In the past few weeks, we have seen a good deal of work being done by our conveyance lawyer. Our mortgage provider has finally processed our application and the mortgage has now been offered. So, in theory, we are just waiting for the legal work to be completed and the house is ours. This is a very exciting time for us!! We are owing a house together for the first time. The house, however, is not one which you can simply pack your suitcases and move in - there is substantial amount of work to be done even before it can be considered livable. What we're hoping to do is to have a small overlap between getting the keys to the new house and end of our tenancy here so that we can get the work completed as much as possible before having to move in. The ability to time this will be absolutely crucial.
Home: Just after I got offline back in April, I took my driving test for the first time. Yes, in this day and age, it is hard to imagine anyone not having a car, never mind a driving license. Well, until late April 2006, I didn't use to have a driving license. I have been living in London for over 15 years - most of my adult life. While the public transport is not great, it is entirely possible to get by. Also, I don't really have much need to get outside London and when I do I typically travel by trains or coaches. Hence I've never had the need for a car. However, given that we were thinking of living in the suburbs, it has become a require for me to learn to drive and buy a car. So after just over 30 hours of driving lessons, I went for my first ever driving test and passed!! Ok, it's not actually a big deal - millions of people have driving license and are on the road driving like jerks, so it is no real big deal to have another one... However, it has been a while since I last took a test or an exam for anything, so it is quite a big deal and quite refreshing to be in an 'examination environment'. I don't think I was nervous, it was more like I really want to pass the test and get it over. I think I drove well and actually had a very pleasant chat with the examiner during the course of the test. Anyway, it was a relieve to have heard him said that I passed the test.
What the heck? You have every right to ask that question... Yep, it has been nearly three months since I last updated spikegifted.net. However, unlike last time, I have actually have a very good excuse for not going missing... In case of any confusion, all the above entries were made sometime after August.
May 2006:
No entry
April 2006:
Home: Back in the second half of March, the Ruler_of_spike and I made an offer to purchase a house in south London and the offer was accepted. In the past few weeks, we have seen a good deal of work being done by our conveyance lawyer. Our mortgage provider has finally processed our application and the mortgage has now been offered. So, in theory, we are just waiting for the legal work to be completed and the house is ours. This is a very exciting time for us!! We are owing a house together for the first time. The house, however, is not one which you can simply pack your suitcases and move in - there is substantial amount of work to be done even before it can be considered livable. What we're hoping to do is to have a small overlap between getting the keys to the new house and end of our tenancy here so that we can get the work completed as much as possible before having to move in. The ability to time this will be absolutely crucial.
Work: Since the beginning of this year, I've been working, on and off, on a loan to a client in the former Soviet Union. This transaction is quite similar to one that I worked on towards the end of last year, where while our bank make the loan we actually hedge out the risk through the sale of a credit-linked note or purchase of credit default swap. So, while the loan documentation will not only reflect the terms and conditions of the loan but I will also make sure that the resultant document is 'deliverable' into a credit derivative. This loan was actually first talked about back in the beginning of the year and while not much has happened for up until the middle of March, the front office is now pressing for things to move along. What's making it worse for me is that our front office is trying to dictate the terms of loan in the sense that both legal and credit (that's me) feel that we are being pushed into a corner. May be I'm not experienced enough in dealing with the really aggressive elements of the front office, but I just don't feel why I should give up my credit principles while allow the front office to book a loan and earn their fees without taking care of the credit issues. While I've been going through the loan document non-stop for the past couple of weeks, it has gotten to a point that I'm sick of the seeing that document. Up until the past couple of days, I've that inkling that there was something that I've missed, but quite figured out what it was. It took a fresh pair of eyes and a fresh mind to be able to get it out of me - the original lawyer (a very good one) went on holiday and another one has to step in, and she figured it out for me... So at last I think we've a loan document that will work. Hopefully, I can wrap this thing up next week and I can move on and take care of my annual reviews.
Having not updated spikegifted.net for much of the first quarter of 2006, I'm now looking at the site with a slightly different perspective. I came to realize that increasingly I have relied on news stories to build up the contents of the site. While I still write about my own thoughts and reaction to these stories, they're less personal to my own life and surroundings, and because of this, it feels less rewarding. Therefore, I'm looking to put a little more effort to share with you some details of my life and cut back on my thoughts on news topics. I'm looking to make this a theme for next quarter or so to see how it plays out. In that time, I hope to find out how this altered approach has on the overall content of the site and whether I feel comfortable with share a little more of my personal life with my audience. As times goes on, please feel free share your opinion with me.