Thursday, January 29, 2009

Back to normal again...I hope!

Well yesterday afternoon I made the trip down the hill to flick my switches and see if this would magically restore my power. I coincided the trip with collecting Bradley from school and although I didn't find him at the school I found him walking with his little umbrella on the route home. When we got home I braced myself, flicked all the switches down and up one at a time..nothing! Bradley tried it...also nothing! I could feel my hysteria rising again. 'I knew it wouldn't work!' 'Bradley get changed quick, we're going to the electricity dept'. We got there shortly before they closed but there was still a queue sitting waiting for their turn. I noticed a sign on the wall saying 'Tell us if our service puts a smile on your dial'. I told them it didn't and left them muttering.
When I eventually got to a consultant about 20 mins. later all she did was phone faults (which I could have done from any phone anywhere) and log a call for assistance. "Don't tell them you were disconnected or they wont come out". The faults guy asked me if I had pressed the button on the outside meter. "Its like a switch that sticks out below the box". I don't have that. We established that I had a different box and he logged the call. I left and went home determined to wait for the technician even if it meant not going back to work.
I parked at the bottom of my steep driveway where the meter is situated and told Bradley that I was going to try and find this so-called switch. I examined the meter box and the only thing I could find was a cute little snail slowly winding his way up the side of the meter box but I was sure that he wouldn't be happy if I pressed him!! There's a little swinging cover which covers the window through which the meter reading can be taking. I was pushing on this when all of a sudden the whole front panel of the box started sliding upwards. I kept pushing and lo and behold if there isn't a switch visible inside the box along with the wiring and various other indescribable objects of a nature variety. I pushed it up an wallah! I had power. Yay! I gathered Bradley up and went back up to work, phoned to cancel the fault callout and asked the guy who answered the phone if I could have a job at the Council since I had fixed my own fault. He wasn't amused!
So at least I know what to check now. You learn something new every day!

It's been a difficult week...

My electricity account is a month in arrears which basically means that I missed a payment and now pay the arrears amount to keep my service connected until I can bring the account up to date. I realised on the weekend that I had forgotten to phone and ask for an extension to pay but knew that they wouldn't disconnect me on the weekend. On my way through to work on Monday I stopped off and paid the arrears amount. I phoned to tell the relevant authority that I had paid and was asked to fax through proof of payment which I did and which went through at 7.51am on Monday, 26th. On Tuesday, 27th in the afternoon some time we were switched off and only discovered this when we all went home in the evening. Well we are somewhat prepared having been through 'load shedding' last year. Dael had already retrieved the gas braai from the garage which we use without the skottel attachment, just usually putting a pot of water straight onto the gas jets. We survived the night fine although with some irritation. When you have to light a candle to see at 5am and have to go to work without a nice hot bath, it causes some frustration especially since I rushed to pay to avoid just this situation.
When I got to work and phoned again the lady said that the proof of payment had not been received (?) but that the actual payment was now showing on my account and that she would put through a reconnection instruction. Imagine my complete horror when I arrived home last night to find that the electricity was still not on! And being that the authority closes at 4.30pm there was still nothing to be done. I had placed all food in the fridge and freezer in close proximity to the ice so luckily it was still frozen but I knew that it wouldn't be by the next day so everything (luckily only about 4 bags) had to be taken down the road to my mom's fridges (also overflowing) to be stored until the electricity went on. No baths again and Dael is working a dirty job where he needs to shower every day. Got to work and phoned in again. Accounts dept. advise reconnection put through. Reconnections dept. advise that power was reconnected yesterday and that I have to put down all my switches on my DB board and put them up again one at a time. And that I should know this because I have been disconnected before. But previously I didn't have to do this extra technical step because the power just went back on when reconnected. Go figure.
Anyway there's no one at home to do this so I will have to make a special trip down the hill to do this and see if I can restore power to my home at long last. We are also in the middle of a two day (so far) tropical downpour of rain as well which doesn't help. I suppose we should be lucky we haven't got snow! Hope to have good news to tell later - if not and these plebs have broken my electricity - I will just have to pretend that I am camping!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Well how do you like that?

The IT guys have cottoned on to the fact that I am blogging and following blogs during the day at work and they have blocked me from accessing any blog with the .blogspot extension in the address. What a cheek! I can still access the dashboard and therefore post to my blog but I can't read it or any others (apart from 3 that I follow that have different addresses) other than between 12 and 1pm every day. What I can do is open all the blog entries and read them and comment at my leisure during the afternoon. Where there's a will there's a way!
My weekend was of the frustrating variety:
- Had the boys cousin sleeping over. He phoned me and asked to sleep over because his parents were fighting!! He is hyperactive and nags and cajoles Bradley into various activities. He brings his Playstation with which Bradley is more than happy to sit and play with for hours but the cuz wants to skateboard down the road or go somewhere or do something. One visit he didn't even sleep at all the whole night. I told him after that - no sleep no visit. I don't want the kid wandering around the house when everyone else is asleep.
- My dad's sister and her hub were up from Cape Town this weekend and stayed at my parents house for the weekend. They are visiting family in the area and then catching a cruiseliner for a trip back to Cape Town (paid for by their kids for their 50th wedding anniversary). So that entailed a dinner on Saturday night and a braai lunch on Sunday, with reluctant kids in tow. All was peaceful until I was leaving the parents house on Sunday afternoon. Bradley and the cuz were playing a game of netball together. Dael arrived on the scene and wanted to join in. Bradley disagreed because they were already playing. Dael accused him of being selfish, grabbed the ball and threw it at Bradley's legs causing him to drop to the floor screaming and writhing. Enter mom on the scene imagining the worst. Big fight with Dael ensues with him defending himself and calling his brother a baby. I throw everyone in the car, scream off (poor car), fling out the cuz at his house still screaming at Dael and with the cuz's parents looking on in wide-eyed shock, race home and fling out the offender with a last few choice epithets. He is really going through a difficult phase at the moment. I remember going through similar with Robynne although not so physical but also that she had the attitude that I really didn't know what I was doing particularly with parenting the younger ones and that she had to 'assist' me with this. Dael in turn is going through the same stage and there's really only room for one boss in the house and that's definitely ME!

- I also tried to untangle the garden this weekend. I used the weedeater a bit until the line ran out. Couldn't find any more line. Decided to use the panga to at least chop the long grass and weeds a bit shorter. Pulled out head high blackjacks, chopped back 'alien's, hacked and hacked until it started raining again. I work until I feel second hand. I managed to chop my thumb at one stage (bad aim). The hand working the panga developed a blister which then opened. I have bruises on both inner forearms and not to mention sore muscles. But the worst part is what to do with the big pile of weeds and grass I cut - and I've only just started. I'm going to have to do a bit every weekend.
So that was my weekend sort of in a nutshell!

Friday, January 23, 2009

New day new problem!

Although not so much a problem as every mother's worst nightmare!

The background is that Dael has cellphone problems again (speaker and camera don't work and its not charging) although I don't think the cellphone is even a year old yet. So he decides to take his Bradley's phone. Bradley was using my new phone as he can get Mxit on it. I was using an old phone. So with Bradley walking home from school from Wednesday and with his brother using his/my new phone, I lent him my old phone so that I could contact him which left me without a phone.
However I needed my phone yesterday, so I decided to let him walk home from school without a cellphone even though I had some strong misgivings about doing so. Anyway it turned out that I had to run an errand and was in the vicinity of his school about 20 minutes after school had ended and was expecting to find him trudging home on the established route. I didn't find him! I travelled up and down the route, went home, went back to the school, spoke to the guys at the shop he goes past, went looking on alternative routes. Nothing! I was praying, stressing, trying not to cry. Then I phoned my mom. She freaked out, threw down the phone, jumped in her car, phoned my dad who was across town and stuck in traffic. He started worrying. My dad is 74 and my mom 67 and they were also really worried. We met up at my house and then went off in different directions. I was stopped at a stop street near my house just after this and saw my dad sailing past with Bradley in the passenger seat. What a relief!

He decided with all his 13 year old wisdom that since I wouldn't know about it (no cellphone, no brother at home, mom at work) that he would go straight from school with his friend on another route to his friends house and that was where they were. My dad found him walking on his way home to get changed, have something to eat and SKATEBOARD BACK to his friend's house after having left a note for mom at 4pm in the afternoon. All this happened in the space of an hour and a half. I think I have about 50 more grey hairs. And on top of it he blamed me 'because if you didn't come to fetch me no one would have known'. Needless to say we have had ANOTHER little chat about me knowing where he is at all times. And he has to write letters of apology to his gran and grampa for causing them to worry. Ah the joys of parenting!

Doesn't this face just say it all?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Updates and the cause of the pain in my neck!

Dael is holding his own at his new job. Although his main aim is to work the night shift eventually he has been training during the day shift which has been quite tiring for him as it means being on your feet the whole day from 7.30am until 4pm with half an hour for lunch from 12 to 12.30pm and one other small break. He was borrowed by the stock room manager to help clear out the stock room. Now the manager has asked Dael if he wants to work with him and apparently this manager has the say over wage increases. So he seems to be keeping in with the right people. Dael tried to fill in the information on his contract. His handwriting is very bad and the lady in admin wanted to know what was wrong with him and is he dyslexic (?). From his interview the company are aware that he was at The Brown School (a remedial school) for a couple of grades when he was younger as he was diagnosed with ADD and always battled at school. I wrote her a very terse little email about the ADD diagnosis and that he is actually very bright and resourceful and also technically minded. He has already bored Bradley with a long winded explanation of the work he does accompanied by a drawing of the machine that he uses and this after only 4 days on the job. We are going through to the bank on Saturday to open his bank account and he will get paid this weekend - so he is thrilled about that.
In other news, Bradley started Grade 7 this week. And I was fighting with book covers and sticky tape this morning trying to get some of his books covered. I think the teachers expect the children to get all books covered with paper and plastic on the first night but I can tell you this ain't going to happen. Bradley is walking home now instead of going with the transport and he had to carry home his bag full of books plus another bag of books. By the time I got home at about 6pm he was fast asleep on the couch and didn't wake until 11pm not even when I tried to wake him for supper. He was exhausted. On the learning side he wasn't enthusiastic with his teacher or happy that his friends weren't in his class but I think he is resigned to the school year having begun.
Me ex and his g/f in Gauteng haven't budgeted to next payday and are without money for basics and necessary medication. Between the two of them, my ex and the mother of his kids, they are hopeless at budgeting and I unfortunately feel obliged to try and help them out. I forwarded some of my last funds to help out but I cant see my boys short! My daughter in Cape Town is unsympathetic and in fact is better at looking after herself than her own father is! She just tells me to cut the apron strings. This whole situation has caused me some unwanted stress this week.
I don't know if the problem people in Gauteng are responsible for this sharp pain in my neck that has developed today but I am prepared to blame them for it for giving me all this stress. Go away pain in the neck people!!! Grow up and start living within your means! Okay - I feel a bit better now - thanks...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Dael got a job!

My son has joined the adult workforce.
He left school after doing his Grade Ten and after not quite having achieved a pass, at the age of 17. He spent last year working with his father quite unhappily as his father can be very impatient and bad-tempered when working. He had gone up to Gauteng with his dad and they were living with relatives for about eight weeks while his dad was trying to build up his cash resources. Now Dael is a home bird and felt very uncomfortable living in someone else's home, not being able to make something to eat when he wanted or do what he wanted when he wanted to. He started to get desperate and after I appealed to the dad's boss, another worker was found and I bought Dael a bus ticket home.
He sat around the house since early August watching tv, talking on Mxit, smoking and generally chilling which I haven't minded my kids doing for a while after they left school. However, he has recently started costing me more than I wanted to spend on smokes, going out etc, so I had been reminding him that it was time to start looking for a job. A few months ago I actually organised an interview for him with a truck and vehicle mechanic. He went for the interview and got the job but not the job I had originally wanted for him. They reckoned that because he hadn't achieved Grade 12 he could only be a general worker and not an apprentice. Also the guy that interviewed Dael kept on calling him 'Junior' which he felt was insulting. I pleaded with him to just consider working their for a while because its always difficult to get that first job even with the best qualifications. He refused to consider it and said to me 'Mom, you have taught me not to accept people treating me like dirt so don't try and make me take this job'. I had to accept that much as it galled me because he had the job in his hand. Anyway he sat at home. In the meantime, the dad started to nag about him going back up to Gauteng to work with him and he also refused to do that.
Anyway, my sister went back to work on Thursday. She is the frontline receptionist and has been with the company for 10 years, discovered that they were interviewing for factory jobs. I faxed through Dael's cv, zoomed him through for an interview within the hour and he got the job. What a difference. He is ready to work, is happy about the fact that he will be able to work nightshift once he is trained (10pm to 6am!!). He is awake talking on Mxit at that time anyway and the factory is very close to home. He will be learning the printing and shrinkwrapping industry. So it was his first day today and apart from the fact that he was about 2 minutes late (I have 2 clocks reading 2 different times) everything seems to have gone smoothly. My sister phoned me berating me for not having given him lunch and I realised that I had forgotten to give him some spending money in my rush. So I suppose he will have a surrogate mom looking after him in my stead during the day. The dad also respects the fact that he is working for a real company (as I knew he would) apart from a few nauseating lectures about safety but he has always been a bit over-the-top with his lecturing. Definitely can see who the coolest parent is here - even if I say so myself!
So 2 down - 1 to go and Brad still has a few years left at school. In fact if he makes it all the way to Grade 12 smoothly from here on I should be hitting 50! (And probably paying off the school fees until I'm 70 so no retiring for me!) He was telling his cousin who is the same age as him in the car this morning before I dropped them off at the cousin's house that he would like to be a Game Ranger but if his mom can't afford college he would be joining the police force or a security company, so I definitely will have to find college tuition funds for him by hook or crook!
Wishing all a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A clean break to start the New Year!

The same day my daughter came up from Cape Town, my ex-hub came down from Gauteng (Jhb) to fetch his fam. no. 2 who had been staying with me for some time. He arrived at about 11pm after about 7 hours of driving and immediately started complaining about the house, the cats, etc. He really started to put me in a mood as well but luckily went to sleep which is about the best thing a moody person in a bad mood can do for themself and everyone around them. He stayed for about a week and then the whole family including their min. dobi. left for their home in Gauteng along with a binload of their belongings.

Anyway after they all left is when I truly started to relax. And after Robynne returned to Cape Town on the 5th, I still had a week left of my leave and I made a decision that to celebrate the return of my house to myself I was going to springclean and not go anywhere or do anything that I didn't feel like doing (some hope with the boys around!). I started with the room where fam no. 2 had lived. They had left several bags of old clothes and toys which needed sorting and discarding. I continued with my room, the kitchen and the garage, the tv cabinet aka junk collector. I was ruthless. I took full advantage of my chucking out mood and went through linens, ornaments, books, stationery, clothes, crockery. My mother keeps forwarding items to me rather than dealing with it herself and then I have to be ruthless about it like the 1500 piece puzzles for instance. I don't even have space to lay out a puzzle this size. Duh! I am also the lucky recipient of all of the childhood books of myself and my siblings (4 of us). Do I have sucker printed on my forehead? Don't answer!

My mom is a hoarder who has lived in the same house (that my parents built) for more than 40 years. And she often says (with some smugness) that thank goodness she won't have to sort out all her belongings one day when she passes. My dad is a chucker but sometimes chucks out the wrong things (which don't belong to him) because he gets tired of waiting for someone to do it. I alternate between the two stances, keeping things for a long time and then ruthlessly throwing out!

I must admit though that a great weight has lifted off my shoulders at the clearing of all that accumulated junk. I haven't finished yet but plan to continue cleaning out a cupboard or cluttered corner every day until it is all finished. You would be amazed at what a lot of unnecessary items you are keeping when you just look at your house with critical eyes.

Here's to unbroken New Years Resolutions!