Monthly Archives: April 2010

Hugo Walking Down Stairs

Hugo has been able to walk for about five months and in that time he has progressed from a very wobbly baby walk, to a fast shuffle and is now beginning to think about running when he gets excited.

Over that time, Claire and I have been fairly particular in training Hugo to know that he isn’t allowed to walk down the three steps in our split level house on his own. Of course, that didn’t stop him giving it a valiant attempt when he wasn’t ready and coming to a sudden stop at the bottom. After dusting himself off and recovering from that little incident, which took about two minutes, he then knew that he really did need to wait at the top of the steps.

Since he has been able to crawl confidently, Hugo has been able to crawl up the steps one by one. Once he began walking, crawling up the steps slowly morphed into walking up the steps on hands and feet. After conquering that and being able to pop/spring onto his feet with ease, he began walking up the steps and using the wall for safety.

Even though Hugo could walk up the stairs on his own confidently, he has still been waiting at the top of the steps for someone to help him down. Initially that meant he’d grip our hand for dear life and we’d offer a lot of support until recently he has been walking down the stairs and only gently holds onto a single finger. Hugo has been doing that now for quite a while and Claire and I were wondering when he might have a go on his own and low and behold, on the weekend he attempted it for the first time on his own with spectacular success.

Having trouble viewing the embedded video, watch Hugo Lattimore Walking Down Stairs on YouTube.

Hugo Helping In The Garden

Hugo loves to help, it doesn’t matter how big or small the task might seem – he still loves to help. He enjoys taking my coffee cup from the coffee table and putting it back on the kitchen bench or grabbing the broom from the cupboard to help sweep the floor.

While I was outside pulling  a bunch of tree sized weeds out, Hugo decided that he should lend a hand. He wandered up to where I was and would take each handful of weeds back to the main pile. He has great timing actually because by the time he would walk back to the pile and back to me again, I’d have another handful of weeds for him – which he was more than happy enough to carry back to the pile.

Having trouble viewing the embedded video, watch Hugo Lattimore Gardening on YouTube.

Gremlins

Toward the end of February I mentioned that we replaced our Mazda 323 SP20 with a 2004 Ford Falcon XR6 in preparation for the arrival of our next child in May. When we first took ownership of the vehicle, the car was in immaculate condition inside and out.

Since that time, we’ve managed to find a few little gremlins within the vehicle that needed to be addressed, some more severe than others:

  1. Accelerator Stopped Working
    Claire, Hugo & Lucy were driving along on the M1 motorway when the accelerator stopped working. The majority of people aren’t aware but the Ford Falcon was one of the first cars to offer drive by wire throttle or in plain terms, an electronic accelerator with no direct connection to the throttle body on the car.
  2. Rattle
    When you start the car and it is either idling or at low RPM, there was a periodic rattle that sounded as though it was coming from the engine bay somewhere. You didn’t hear it when you were driving, either because it wasn’t there or was masked by road and wind noise.
  3. Break Shudder
    For the first couple weeks we had the car, the breaks were working as you’d expect. However after taking a trip out to Chinchilla we noticed a severe break shudder on the way home while driving down the Toowoomba Range.
  4. CD Player
    When I took the car for a test drive, I had the radio on for part of the drive just for something to do. I didn’t have a CD with me, who does that really, so I didn’t think to check and assumed that the CD player was working.

I dropped the car into Hinterland Toyota Nerang at 7:30AM on Thursday before the Easter long weekend and Jacob met me there to chauffeur me to work. Only about 10 minutes after we arrived at work, I got a call from Nerang Hinterland Toyota to inform me that while they can service my car, they were unable to do the repairs under a statutory warranty claim as it needs to go back to the place of purchase – which was Hinterland Toyota Burleigh Heads. I told them that was horribly inconvenient and to see if there was anything they could do for me and they arranged to handle the warranty work on behalf of the Burleigh Heads dealershsip which was great.

The afternoon rolled around and I had expected to get a call to pick up my car, however instead the call informed me that they had taken the disc rotors off the car and had them machined to resolve the shudder but it hadn’t fixed it. I needed the car for the long weekend, so picked it up anyway and the shudder was in fact worse than when I took it in which I didn’t understand. On Tuesday after the long weekend I dropped it back in again and they again took the disc rotors off and inspected everything but didn’t find anything wrong, so put the brake discs back on the machine to recheck they were smooth and they were. After putting them back on, still a sever shudder when breaking at any speed and in the end they replaced the disc brake rotors and pads – no more shudder.

When I first arrived home with the XR6, Claire immediately noticed a burble in the exhaust and mentioned that she is now a bogan mother. Well it turns out the rattle at idle was in fact the catalytic converter, which should have been an easy replacement. However when the new catalytic converter arrived, it didn’t fit because the exhaust on the car isn’t standard – so they had to take it to an exhaust specialist to have it refitted – but now no more rattle.

The throttle stopping was weird and I’d never heard of that happening before. A combination of dash lights turned on when it happened, so it was a known fault in that respect – which is good. The strangest thing is though, after pulling over, turning the car off and back on – the start up checks all passed without any warnings and the accelerator was working again and we haven’t had the problem again. Nonetheless, Hinterland Nerang hooked up the equipment to the onboard computer but it wasn’t registering a fault at the time – so there was nothing for them to fix as far as they could tell. If it happens again, I’ll have to take it back down to them as soon as possible so they can investigate again.

The last remaining thing to get fixed was the CD player which appeared to have a CD stuck in it, though the display didn’t indicate that there was a disc in there at all. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get that repaired while it was in with Hinterland Nerang as it isn’t covered as part of the statutory warranty claim apparently but I’ll give the Burleigh Heads dealership a call and see what they can do about it.

While it took three days with Hinterland Nerang to resolve the brake shudder and the rattle, they were really helpful and kept me in the loop which was good. The only thing that was an inconvenience about it was that they weren’t able to supply a courtesy vehicle because they were booked out – so unfortunately Claire and Hugo were home bound for a couple of days.

Hugo Playing With Tea Towels

Hugo loves playing with all sorts of every day objects around the house, from a pair of thongs to an ice cream scoop. He’ll specifically walk from one end of the house to another to go and find the particular item he wants to play with, even if it means rummaging through the utensils draw to find it. Recently Hugo has taken an interest in different pieces of fabric around the house, such as his face washer in the bathroom. On this particular morning, the tea towels that hang in front of the oven door looked interesting and decided that they needed to be laid out neatly on the coffee table.

Having trouble viewing the embedded video, watch Hugo Lattimore Playing With Tea Towels on YouTube.

Primary Hard Drive Failure

After rebuilding my desktop computer in January 2008 to reestablish my geek-fu, I subsequently had a really bad run of luck with my CoolerMaster power supply and my Asus GeForce 8800GT video card. In August 2009, my 500Gb hard drive began to throw errors and I scampered out and bought a replacement just in time to get the data off it and not lose anything.

Over the weekend my super fast Western Digital 74Gb Raptor hard drive that Windows is installed on decided to give up the ghost. It passes the POST on boot up and attempts to load Windows but never succeeds and reboots on its own. I suppose I should be happy that I managed to get over two years out of that Western Digital hard drive, the Raptor series of hard drives spin much faster than a standard hard drive and provide superior performance but do tend to wear out sooner as a by product.

Now if only the cost of a solid state hard drive technology had come down far enough that I could afford it without feeling guilty, I’d never have to wait for something to load again!