Friday, December 19, 2008

It's the end of the year (and not a moment too soon!)

What can I say after a year such as this!
It's my last day at work for the year and most of my colleagues have already gone early. The rest are in the garden enjoying yet another end-of-year braai. I am winding down and getting things sorted out and will also be leaving shortly. But a few thoughts before I go:
Shopping with kids of any age is a total no-no. After work on Wednesday, I picked up the boys and went through to our local mall which has extended shopping hours at the moment. They were keen to go but as soon as Dael had his purchase - a new cellphone charger as the puppy chewed his last one, he was ready to go home. The boys already have their Christmas gift - a new skateboard and a skater t-shirt each which has totally blown their Christmas budget so they are not 'owed' anything else. Bradley ended up having a full-blown argument with me because he wanted to buy a knuckle duster which is a weapon you wear on your fist to knock out your opponent (and probably break their jaw). I refused to buy him that because obviously I'm not going to buy them anything they can injure each other with. It's amazing how they gravitate towards knives, crossbows and other assorted weapons of destruction! He ended up flouncing up to the car where Dael had already retreated to listen to music and sulking all the way home (so much for the shopping trip) and I ended up shouting again and refusing to take them shopping again. So that's that.
Robynne in Cape Town is still working. She is officially on leave but had to come in and try and finish off invoicing and payments. She cannot concentrate. She is exhausted from working her night job to make ends meet. Her boss was in worrying her and asking her to do things for him before he went off to play golf. His wife (her other boss) went home because her daughter is having a crises and my daughter is locked in to carry on working. I commiserated with her and told her not to lose her sense of humour but also that I thought the writing was on the wall for this job because she is not earning enough to make ends meet without working several nights a week as well and she is exhausted. She ended up relating an interesting thought from a fiction book she read lately which obviously struck a chord with her. She said that in life we are juggling several ball: one is work, one is family, one is our health, one is our integrity. However 3 out of 4 balls are made of glass and if we drop them they break, so we have to juggle them very carefully. The 4th ball is rubber and always bounces back up if we drop it - and that one is work! So work will always be there but don't drop the others because you won't be able to mend them. Very thought-provoking.

On a slightly different note, I was driving up to work this morning using the back road instead of the freeway and just relaxing because I was a bit early rather than late as usual. All of a sudden, the guy behind me was flashing his lights at me and gesturing. Then he started veering out behind me to try and pass. Now there were cars in front of me and only space for one more car between me and the other cars. But this guy who was travelling with his wife was so angry. We were travelling uphill and there was a lot oncoming traffic but as soon as he could he screamed past me hooting at me in anger. He veered in again just in front of me cos that's as far as he could go. I really couldn't see the point of all that anger to gain one position on the road. But the point is: I retaliated and started gesturing at him. I gave him the finger (he gave it back), I hooted at him. My New Year's resolution will have to be: Do not react to other people's anger! Stay calm. I actually felt worse because of my reaction than how I was treated because I felt like I put myself onto his low level.
I will be back online on the 12th January, hopefully well rested and definitely penniless by that stage. I am missing you all already but I wish to a restful relaxed and stress free Festive Season and safe travelling wherever you go.
Lots of love.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


What does the word and the concept of "teamwork" mean to you? In the course of my duties I have to collate and receipt the payments relating to my division which then go through to a general accounts department. I had four payments last week and upon enquiring at least two times if everything had been paid received a resounding 'yes'. But one of my creditors emailed me to say he hadn't been paid. So I asked again if all payments had gone through and again the answer was yes. I got the lady to access our bank account and check if the payment had gone through and no - it hadn't. So now despite all my best intentions to stay calm, I start to steam up. Now when I go through to enquire - everyone knows suddenly that the particular payment I was enquiring about didn't go through. It wasn't an original invoice and there was an alteration. So what did they do. They just tossed it spitefully back into the payments pending drawer and didn't say anything. I could have rectified it from Friday last week onwards because our accounts department is now closing for the Festive season but because it was left I probably will now battle to get that payment through. This is not the first time this has happened and although it is a small thing it is part of the bigger company picture of why I am definitely ready for a change of scenery after almost 5 years (I need a medal!) with this company.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Where do you go for the sake of your kids!

I think all parents must have one place (or maybe two) where they would not normally go if they weren't dragged there by their kids. We had a totally sunny weekend which was fantastic! Saturday morning I spent at home spring cleaning and day dreaming. In the afternoon, I was dragged out about lunchtime to our local mall where the kids hang out. I took the opportunity to start my Christmas shopping. From about 1.45 pm until about 8 pm, I got about 5 presents bought. To find the right gift in the right price range is a huge mission and that was just the shopping on behalf of my mom! I did get Bradley's gift bought though. As he is turning 13 this month he wanted his own skateboard which cost almost his whole birthday and Christmas present budget! And that's without the wheels and fittings - just the board! Up to last year he was still on the border of getting toys as gifts but that has all changed now. He is now a teenager! (Lucky me!)

Anyway with Sunday being sunny again my innermost wish to just vegetate at home (pathetic hey but I enjoy it) was not fulfilled. Dael slept late but mid-morning burst out of his room with "Lets go to the beach!" Now when its hot (and Sunday was a scorcher), I like to stay where its cool and shady. I have been badly sunburnt in my time as I am pretty fair skinned. No such luck! After stopping for a few supplies we headed down to the coast (I'm about 20kms inland). It was midday when we were travelling and when we arrived to try and find a parking. I could feel my patience was starting to boil along with my car! The boys jumped out leaving me to park and then to lug our bag of belongings to where they had met up with some friends at the beach skatepark. I didn't join the boys and their friends as I didn't want to cramp their style so in the heat and crowds I started to feel like the proverbial fish out of water! Dael was trying to act like Mr Tough and hadn't brought any shoes with but when his feet started to blister I had to go and hunt down a pair of slops for him still lugging my bag and dodging the crowds. Unbelievably, people actually think this is fun. Our inland visitors flock to the coast like lemmings but for me it is strictly a once a year outing. I did get in a swim in the sea and when it clouded over a bit I was actually starting to relax and enjoy. While the boys watched a bmx trick riding competition I sat on the grass and watched some artists performing mock fighting to music! A bit weird but interesting to watch! And then it was over. After hanging around waiting for the kids all afternoon Dael was ready to leave and that meant now!

I remember when I was a kid and me and my siblings wanted to go to the beach, my dad reluctantly dragging us down with all our related paraphernalia and I think now I know how he felt! So where do you go for the sake of your kids or what outing did you drag your parents on even though you knew they didn't really want to go?

PS I also did the rainbow quiz and mine is pretty accurate!

Your rainbow is shaded white.

What is says about you: You are a contemplative person. You appreciate quiet moments. People depend on you to make them feel secure.
Find the colors of your rainbow at

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Where's the spirit of Christmas?

That's the comment made by my friendly colleague that I always talk to about family and work. I waltzed into his office still mad as heck about something my usually congenial boss confronted me about this morning. The division (in addition to their year end do held last Friday) is hosting a children's Christmas party this Sunday in our office gardens for kids of employees. They are supplying party food for the kids and the swimming pool is looking lovely and blue so if the weather is good the kids should have a good time. Bring and braai for adults with wine, beer and soft drinks provided. I put my name down to attend along with my 2 boys and also added my kids half-sisters and their mom who live with me. They are moving to Gauteng in December but will have missed their school parties due to leaving their schools before these happened. My boys are big and will not have a problem missing a function like this kids party and I certainly don't have a great need to be spending any more time with my work colleagues than I have to. But I thought it would be nice for the two little girls who are 2 and 6 years old to attend a Christmas party.

My boss approached me to say that the other manager (and probably himself) took exception to me bringing in extra people not just my kids. I mean come on really like a 2 yo and a 6 yo are going to eat them out of house and home. You will remember from my previous post that I spent an hour packing up after the year end function. I didn't even get a 'thank you' or 'sorry we didn't stay to make sure you were safe' from anybody. I told my boss 'forget it then - me and the kids aren't coming either'. If the weather is good we'll make a picnic and go down to Mitchell Park in Durban where they have a park and also a section with a lot of animals and birds. The kids will enjoy that just as much and at least I won't have to separate the family. Imagine me saying okay Bradley and Dael lets go to the party - sorry girls you have to stay at home! Bye! Yeah right!

Bah Humbug bunch of Scrooges!
(Photo showing my daughter Robynne with her two half sisters, Kaleigh and Rachael.
This photo was taken before Robynne went to Cape Town in about September 2007)

Monday, December 8, 2008

I can't believe its been a week...

since my last post. Time is going so fast and yet so slow at the same time. We've just had two days of sunshine and its been bliss! Not too humid either. I've been chained to my desk the whole day so I decided to go take a turn around the garden. I filled up a bucket I found in the courtyard with water and walked around to the front garden and cleaned out the bird bath and refilled it. The security guard was looking at me a little strangely when I walked around to the driveway where he sits but I think he's getting used to me and my foibles.

Bradley is on holiday as from Friday, 5th along with the rest of the schoolkids in SA and I've already heard "I'm bored". That usually means he wants to be entertained and that usually costs. Dael and Bradley's girl cousin 'N' has been visiting since Friday and Bradley has his nose out of joint because Dael and N being similar age are spending time together and leaving Bradley out. That age gap of 5 years is really becoming a stumbling block now because Brad being 13 on Christmas Day is wanting to do teenage things and be involved and pretend that he's older than almost 13 but Dael at 18 (and 8 months) puts him firmly in his place. Sometimes I really get tired of being in the middle of all this and having to sort out daily fights.
I keep telling them that every time I wash my hair more grey hairs are showing through. And its all their fault!

We had our end of year function on Friday which consisted of a large tent placed on the tennis court (now parking lot) at the back of our offices. The rain was bucketing down and the water seeping into the tent so that the floor was totally wet and all the white table cloths and chair covers were hanging in the water. They ended up sandbagging the whole tent which seemed to help a little. I arrived back at the festivities at about 6.45pm after sorting out the family. They were completing a fun prize giving with novelty prizes. And then the karaoke singing started. I'm not a big fan of karaoke although I can sing but the song they chose for me and my boss to sing I had never even heard of so that was I bit of a bomb. I did dazzle them with a few dance moves to distract the crowd from the song. Anyhow after the singing and music ended at about 11pm everyone disappeared to the next venue leaving all the hired equipment out in the tent. Of course I took responsibility and together with the security guard and one of our employees we proceeded to stow the crockery, cutlery, glasses, vases and booze into the offices so they wouldn't go missing. That took about an hour. The helpers were given gifts of booze and portions of the food which I discovered just dumped in the kitchen. All the other food and deserts went home with me much to the delight of the kids. I discovered this morning that the secretary who arranged the event had also arranged for the caterer to collect everything on Saturday but didn't tell me so I just did my own thing.
The thing that I found amazing is that not one manager or any other employee stayed behind to make sure that I locked the offices and got home safe. I was on my own at our offices with the male security guards and a male employee that I just met that night and only left the office at just after midnight but not even one of the guys stayed behind. Mindblowing! Anyway told my mom about it and she says that she has the same thing when she organises functions at their church. Their are always only one or two responsible people who will stay behind to make sure everything is packed up and packed away. Even though it is extra work and inconvenience I am glad I am the responsible one!!