Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Safety in the suburbs

As I was driving back from dropping Dael this morning thoughts of safety crossed my mind.
Dael reminded me to keep myself locked in securely now that I am alone at home during the day. This has been drummed into me since childhood by my mom and I am always conscious of locking myself in. But Dael has been unnerved by the recent death by shooting of a local Matric schoolboy who was killed by robbers who were bent on stealing a vehicle from in front of his family home. He died protecting his father from a bullet. This happened across town from where we live but we live close to the township where most of these vehicles used by the robbers end up abandoned. Beneath the veneer of ordinary life, horrible happenings are carrying on and the perpetrators are people with no respect for human life. The vehicle that was hijacked after this young man was shot was sold on for R3000. That was the value of a young man's life.
Also recently reported is something just as frightening. Parents at local daycare centres are being hijacked as they drop off their little ones at school. These unscrupulous thieves know that the parents are distracted with unloading their precious children and their guard is down. They know the parents will also not do anything to get their children hurt. So they are using this situation to steal cars. In one situation, a teacher snatched the children from the parent's car while the parent was being robbed and hustled them into the school. What a brave woman!
My neighbour's children are collected from their gate and dropped off again at the same time every day in the daycare minibus. The family are never waiting outside for their children and the driver is forced to hoot and wait for someone to come down and collect the children. In those few seconds, that driver could be hijacked and all the children abducted. People are so unaware of the dangers around them. We owe it to ourselves and our children to be more aware and more alert.
My older children are 23 and 20 years old respectively but years ago when both were at preschool, thieves entered the school and were holding up the staff at gunpoint in the presence of the children. This was before all the schools started using security gates and panic buttons to secure their premises. As parents we found out at the end of the school day that the owner of the school had shot dead one intruder in the school in front of the kids. What a shock this was to us but we were grateful that our kids were in the hands of the pistol packing principal. It could have ended so much worse.
Years later the situation has not improved. It has deteriorated. The schools and the scholar transporters are soft targets. Investigate the security of your school and the transporters of your children. Dont be embarrassed or shy to ask about their emergency procedures. You owe it to your loved ones.
And above all be alert!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Lazy Sunday Random Thoughts....

From the Ellen tv show which I had on while housecleaning and I had to stop and giggle:
Dogs on meeting you for the first time will sniff your crotch to get to know you....Cats will Google you! Too true...
Dael has a set of 6 pairs of grey and black sock, each pair with a different colour band around the ankle. Do you think he will wear the pair with the same colours at the same time. No! That reasoning is meaningless to him. He will just grab any two. I would match the colour band.
Last night,Dael and his friends were trying to coach a slightly underage friend on how to act casually when standing in the queue at the nightclub to avoid the bouncers asking for his ID. The thought crossed my mind that if it were me, I would actually be highly complimented if I was asked for my ID because I looked too young. Ja right, never going to happen! :)
Finally, just a gripe recently while shopping and I have a feeling I'm going to have to take this one further. Does anyone else have an issue with the dirty and unhygienic and also quite often broken shopping hand baskets and trolleys that are our option to use when shopping at any of the big supermarket chains. Yuck! It means a lot in terms of marketing and customer service to me to use a shop that has made an effort to clean their trolleys and baskets. To do a bit of namedropping, I find that Pick n Pay often have the worst trolleys and baskets although they do always provide the hygienic wipes for the handles. Checkers is next and do not supply wipes. Spar do not supply wipes but generally their baskets are clean and maintained. I am generalising now as individual stores might have a better track record with this but mostly shops fail to provide this small but important service which might be the one thing that keeps their customers coming back..

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ever get the feeling someone's talking about you?

I may be unemployed but its not because I'm stupid and I got a very strong feeling this morning that someone who's blog I follow had done a password protected post on my last post about battling using words from my title. How coincidental!
Now, while I have no doubt that there are plenty of people who consider that I am leading my life in a totally wrong and possibly stupid way, there is no reason to use my situation or comments as blog fodder. I have been in bad situations before and have come through them a stronger person. If someone doesn't like or agree with who I am or what I do, they should feel free to unfollow from my posts or not comment. There is something called good manners and I feel that this person has shown a bad side to their character to do something of this nature.
I was actually considering not blogging anymore. In fact I was considering not even reading any blogs anymore. Its funny how something like this can cause doubt to creep in and destroy faith in humankind. But I cannot allow small mindedness on one person's part to chase me away from something that I enjoy.
It just goes to show that you can't please all of the people all of the time. And you can't please some people at all...and basically who cares!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Battling along...

Every day I have good intentions to get organised and get things done..and then the day gets away from me. I knew this would happen and I'm just trying to get through it and out on the other side in one piece.
Its not like I have the luxury of being able to sit at home on a permanent basis. I don't have a significant other bringing home the bacon and I have the knowledge at the back of my mind always that my funds are going to run out and I've got to get employed. Easier said than done. I am looking on the internet, going for a few interviews and trying to keep as connected to the outside world as I can.
I thought it was harder when Dael was at home playing the tv loud and boiling the kettle neverendingly but now that he is working and away from home all day, it has become worse.
Every morning, I drop him at work by 7.30am, come home and watch tv for a bit while knitting. Then I get up, download emails and handle any queries, I clean up the house and feed the animals. Sometimes I do a bit of office work, then a bit of housework, then a bit of tv. My normal routine as it has been for many years is shot to hell. I don't have to organise Bradley's life anymore and that is something strange. I just feel like I'm freefalling at the moment. And to add to my confusion and misery, I've had one of my headaches that wont go away since about Saturday. I thought it was gone yesterday but its back again today.
Its a very strange feeling, not having anywhere to go to during a normal working week. Its like the world is just carrying on without me, like I got off the bus at the wrong stop and now I'm wondering around lost, like I'm on the outside looking in.
I know This Too Shall Pass and I will get employed again. Its just a matter of time but in the meantime I need to get my head around my future plans so that I can get some form of routine in place and stop feeling like a lost soul.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Happy Birthday, My First Born!

Robynne turns 23 today!
Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday my daughter, Happy Birthday to you.
Wish I was there in Johannesburg to celebrate with you but I am sure you will have a happy day and be very spoiled.
I heard that you didn't think 23 was an auspicious birthday but every birthday and every day that I have you in my life is a great day for me.
Thanks for being a fantastic young lady and a daughter to be proud of.
Lots of love, Your Mom. xxxxx

Getting back to normal (kind of)

My kitties are not too emotionally scarred. While I was gone for eight days, Dael got tired of cleaning up after the kitties. Some of them are not always too fastidious about their toilet habits and while I just clean up after them without even thinking about it, someone who is not used to this task would probably find it a bit too much to handle. Maybe they were trying to make a point about me being away from home but eventually Dael had enough and decided to lock most of the kitties in the garage for most of the week. They just had to stay in their permanently. When I got home on the Saturday night, I found the house completely turned upside down and grimy with just a few kitties on the kitchen counter. I dropped my bags inside and went to unlock the garage. As I opened the door all I could see was a crowd of upturned kitty faces and I'm sure they looked relieved to see me. They rushed out gratefully. I prepared them a meal to celebrate my return and rolled up my sleeves to tackle the horribly dirty kitchen. This was about 9pm and I didn't stop until I fell asleep exhausted on the couch at about 11pm. I still had to get up at about 2.15am on Sunday morning to fetch Dael from his evening out at the local club. It was the day that wouldn't end!
Anyway, later on in the day, on downloading my emails for the week, I discovered that I had received an email from the panelbeating and mechanics firm that I had sent Dael's cv through to in mid August, requesting applicants to come through for an interview The Previous Thursday! What the heck. The very week I was away, they called for interviews. Anyway not to give up, I emailed them back explaining that I had been away and asking if Dael could still come through to see them. On Monday I received a positive response and I took Dael through to be interviewed later on that day. And he has been given the opportunity to try out and see if he has the right attitude and ability to learn that they are looking for. Yay! He started yesterday. I got him there early by 7am and when I went through to fetch him at 4.45pm, he was still busy helping to move cars and lock up. He wasn't tired because he had a brain stimulating day, using new equipment and learning new things but his feet were in agony and his body was tired. I am sure this is going to be the start of a motivating career for Dael and he will soon build up his stamina. He is already planning his future moves, wanting to learn everything there is to know about panelbeating before moving on to engines and mechanics. I am so pleased this opportunity has come about and filled with optimism for my son's future. Thank you God.
Bradley in Johannesburg went through for his Home School assessment with his sister. She spent the better part of the day sitting in her car waiting for Bradley to complete his tests. They haven't got the results yet and by the time I phoned, Bradley was fast asleep, exhausted from his day. It was an extremely hot day yesterday as well and Bradley is not too well at the moment as well, suffering from bouts of nausea. Dael reminded me that when he stayed in Johannesburg he had weeks of illhealth until he acclimatised to the climate and atmosphere. I think it is hitting Bradley hard at the moment but hopefully he should acclimatise before too long and settle down to his studying.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I'm back from my Gauteng adventure..

but not without shedding a few tears as I waved my two children goodbye to leave and catch the bus home.
Dael and friend S came with in the car on Thursday, 27th September to drop me at the bus. Dael had to drive my car home with only a learners licence and with a passenger on board. We had parked at the McDonalds takeaway and a police van parked a few parkings down from us. Dael muttered that he was not moving until the cops had gone. The bus was late but Brad and I were soon safely tucked into the comfortable seats and swaying onto the freeway at the beginning of our long trip. The trip was uneventfulful but long. I was relieved when Dael came on mxit to say he was safely home. Bradley was bored and tried to sleep. By 8pm we had arrived at Jhb station unaware that we would now have to change buses for a shuttle to Midrand. Luckily sharp-eared Bradley was listening to the announcements and bustled me off the bus with out belongings. The shuttle was a double decker and Bradley and I went upstairs. What a bouncy ride like sitting on the front of a seagoing yacht. I think we eventually arrived at Midrand at about 8.30pm totally wiped out. We were met by Bradley's dad who had been waiting for us for some time and he took us through to see my daughter and her boyfriend whom I hadn't met. She had supper ready for us and we were hungry.
The next day we had a braai at my daughter's house in honour of Heritage Day and that weekend saw my ex and his family taking me on a tour of all the local shopping centres including a few nursery cum pet shops. It was enjoyable but tiring and by the following Wednesday, I was glad to stay at my daughter's house to wait for Telkom who were coming to install her landline. Of course, I had to keep busy so I spent about 2 days raking and sweeping her yard which hadn't had attention since she moved in a few months ago. Her neighbours were objecting to the existing telephone poles which was outside their yards and this was delaying her installation so eventually it was agreed to remove the two poles outside and install one pole in her yard. Just as well I was there as the designated spot was right where the sprinkler system and outside tap were set up so I suggested a spot between three trees which is very hidden and the telephone pole can hardly be seen.
I also kept busy doing the laundry and washing dishes. Luckily Bradley was kept busy playing games on his father's laptop which he was allowed to borrow for a few day. The one afternoon we went for a walk with the dogs. We watched a dvd on another afternoon and just generally spent time together. On Friday though Bradley and I decided to do at least one touristy thing and decided to go to the Jhb zoo. We were dropped there at about 10am and walked the whole day until we were picked up at 4pm by Robynne. My legs were finished and I was hot and tired but it was well worth it. We saw such a huge variety of animals from lions and the tiger which Brad particularly liked to the elephants and rhinos and down to monkeys and meerkats. We didn't see everything but that would make a small list. Bradley is firmly intending to go there again. Its an economical day out at R50 for adults and R30 for children and even better if you take a packed lunch and spend time sitting under the trees in the heat of the day. I was glad I made the effort to spend this bonding time with my youngest son.
And the next day, Saturday, 2nd October was time for me to leave my son and return home. The shuttle bus was late and we eventually reached Jhb station at about 10.40am. We were told we had to wait until 11am for the bus and we dutifully and patiently waited, staring at the entrance expectantly as all around us other passengers boarded other buses and left. The terminus became eerily silent and the bus wasn't there yet. Then a Greyhound bus came in and stopped outside the building. We were further down where the passengers normally alight. Eventually I couldn't take it and approached the cabin crew to ask if that was our bus. I was told to just wait because our bus was coming. Eventually we were told that that was our bus but there was a problem with the brakes, the air was leaking! Now that is not something you want to hear when you know that there is a mountain pass between you and your destination. We all loudly objected to travelling on that bus and demanded another bus. We were told there was no other bus but when they eventually found out that the first bus couldn't be fixed by the roadside assistance mechanic as he needed a part, they soon found another bus at the depot. In the meantime I had changed my ticket to a later bus but was frustrated when I found out that the destination was Durban instead of Pinetown which would have been impossible for my family to fetch me late at night. I was almost in tears but luckily they changed my ticket back to the replacement bus and we eventually boarded and set off at about 1.30 in the afternoon. We arrived in Pinetown at about 8.10pm and I was collected by my mom, brother and Dael who was catching a lift to town to get money from me and go out to his evening entertainment at 54.
I was home and not a moment too soon for my poor little kitty waifs at home but that's for the next post...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Its not easy for me to leave my house...

for any extended period of time. I have animals. The humans are fine. They can look after themselves but my kitties have to be fed. I have been cooking since last night. Okay I did have a break to sleep but I was at it again from 4am this morning.
A pot of rice and veg split into 2 halves. Each half gets a pot of meat porridge made from tinned food, pets mince and mealie meal and this mixed with the rice gets split into 2 halves again and placed into individual packets. Before this, the mixture must cool down to lukewarm. The packet gets tied up and placed in the freezer. I have created 18 separate packets of food. Each day Dael must take out two packets of food and after defrosting a bit in the microwave and removing from the bag, he must add bread and warm up to a good temperature for the animals to eat. I will be gone from midday tomorrow until the evening of Saturday, 2nd October. I hope I come home and find my animals still here!
In addition, there is also fresh drinking water for the animals to see to, feeding the fish, making sure everyone gets love and doesn't get insecure, making sure the house is secure especially when no one is here. And last, my personal favourite - Cleaning The Litterbox! My youngest kitties are very attached to me. I've got Toby sleeping on my lap at the moment and he is my shadow following me everywhere. When mom is not around for a few days they might decide to do something stupid like going through the fence to where the big dogs next door can eat them. If I am here they dont really stray.
Tonight I have to make sure everything I will need is packed, check on Bradley's packing and just generally be prepared because tomorrow I still have to go up to the school to fetch the transfer form and Bradley's report which I have to take up with me. I could have done without this trip but the forms weren't ready today.
Its going to be a long trip tomorrow on the bus. The bus only arrives at Midrand at ten to eight at night.
So if you dont see me for few days, I'll be in the big bad metropolis of Gauteng settling my youngest chick into his new routine.
See you on the other side!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

My 14 year old is leaving home!

Bradley is off to Johannesburg to live with his sister. I have seen my son grow increasingly unhappy and frustrated and become a different person this year since starting High School and I have come to realise that he is not ready for this experience.
I know that part of his anger and frustration and also the personality changes has got a lot to do with teenage hormones but I am not prepared to let everything slide and just hope for the best like I did with Dael. The best does not usually happen. Robynne and I have researched home schooling for Bradley as an option and we feel it has a good chance of working out for him. If it doesn't there are schools in Johannesburg in which we can place him, which KwaZulu Natal does not have. There is an extreme lack of remedial schools in this region to handle learning problems and disabilities.
So probably at the end of next week, Bradley and I will be travelling up to Johannesburg by bus to settle him in at his sister's house and while I am up there, to arrange for an assessment to be done and final applications to be submitted. Bradley is very excited at the prospect of his changed surroundings and is eager to go. I have alerted his current school to the fact that he will be leaving at the end of this term and not returning. The original plan was to keep him on at the school until the end of the year but his extreme negativity every day at the prospect of going to school has persuaded me that to keep him there will just be a waste of time. He has failed 3 out of 4 terms and would probably not have passed the year. Rather than wasting the remainder of the year, we can get him assessed to establish his level of knowledge and get him started on the homeschool curriculum.
On many levels, I am rebelling at my youngest, my baby leaving home at such a young age but on another level I can see that it is necessary. Familiarity has bred contempt. I see flashes of the closeness and affection from before but these are quickly stifled and shoved down under an attitude of toughness and masculinity. I feel the loss of my last fledgling and this loss is shoved in my face daily by this young stranger who has invaded my son's body. He needs to be away from me to appreciate what he has here and to experience the discipline that his sister and his father will dish out to him. He needs to experience new things and be away from the stifling mother influence. He needs to grow up.
I also need peace. It is a tenuous peace between Dael and Bradley. One a frustrated 20 year old, the other a frustrated 14 year old. They are the best of friends and the worst of enemies. One demands respect, the other determined not to give it. They have reached a stalemate with each other. They need distance from each other to each find his own way. It means I must see my family separated and be separated from my children. But I have to be the grownup and facilitate these changes. I have roots where I am now. It is not an option to move to Johannesburg myself. My dad has had a fall recently and although given a clean bill of health, still constantly suffers from dizzy spells when standing up or straightening up after leaning down. I have my house, my cats that are settled here, Dael who likes to live in this area. This may not always be the case but at the moment this is how it is.
So my 14 year old leaves home and starts a new life and routine in Johannesburg. Not quite empty nest yet but getting close...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I am definitely not on holiday.

Whew! I had more rest when I was working.
Seriously, being retrenched is no holiday. Last Monday, I had a run-in again with the nasty vet who treated my old boy Joe very roughly and seems to think every issue my cats have stems from some deep seated disease. His bedside manner sucks and I ended up walking out of there without paying. He told me I should avoid the practice on Monday as he is only there then. I told him that because of him, I would avoid the practice altogether from now on.
I have been trying to claim from my credit card insurances but the one bank after a long wait has simply given me another form to fill in and the other bank has never contacted me again or returned my call.
Then on Friday, I decided to brave the unemployment queue and after dropping Bradley at school, made my way along to the centre of town and joined the queue. Two hours later of standing on the pavement and the batch of applicants that I was in entered the building. Then it was shuffling our bums along chair to chair for another two hours until I got to the information counter and was handed another sheaf of forms. I had taken a form in that I had taken off the Labour Department website. It was outdated and had to be redone! And there I thought I was being proactive in getting the form completed beforehand... So tomorrow I will be joining the queue again with my bundle of forms.
I thought I had the cellphones and sim cards sorted out. The final item to sort out was a phone for Bradley. We had a phone that needed a new ribbon which is a part that breaks often in a slide phone. Dael went off to the cheaper side of town and purchased the ribbon for R120. He then spent time and fixed the phone for Bradley so he could listen to music and go on mxit and also be in contact with us. That lasted a week. On the weekend he visited cousin R and one of the little hooligans that live at the flat knocked the phone out of Brad's pocket and stood on it. Now the screen is broken. Apparently he thinks that the parents of this child will pay for the repairs. I don't have so much faith in humanity I'm afraid.
On Monday morning this week, Dael and I stood in another long queue at the Licensing Department to book for his drivers test. After about two hours it was Dael's turn to go in and complete his form. I was just congratulating myself for getting that far when he came out and asked for his photos. Now I had consulted the Licensing Department website as well before going there and it clearly said that the photos would only be required on the day of the test. My heart sank as we were going to lose our place in the queue. So off to the photographer at the entrance to the Licensing Department. Four photos for R50 later and we were back at the door to the booking office, luckily not having to wait in the queue again. He is now booked to do his drivers test on January 18, 2011.
Tuesday I mainly stayed home and kept busy in the office. The day was horrifically hot so we all kept a low profile.
Today was off to the dentist with Dael. His front four teeth are badly damaged and he will have to have them removed. He was apprehensive about this and had probably psyched himself up for the onslaught only to find out that he had to go and be fitted for a plate which will have to be made first before any teeth are removed. So we went straight off and had that done and then went shopping. You think its cheaper with boys. Think again. Five minutes into our shopping, Dael had chosen two pairs of shoes, both of which he wanted. The one pair was R139 and the other pair on special for R99. I was eventually persuaded and we went to pay. The shoes on special rang up to R29 instead of R99 so we got both pairs for R170. After stopping for a few groceries, it was Home James!
I cant relax and enjoy time off because at the back of my mind is the necessity for me to secure my future income. Which will happen, of that I am sure. I think that once I get all the details sorted out and all the queueing over and done with I'll be able to clear my head a bit and relax.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Invasion of the Kitties!

Joe is lying on a pillow on my desk and I have Torgen and Toby on my lap. I sit down for 2 minutes and cats arrive. I'm having to type with my arms outstretched as I cant pull my chair too close to the desk with the kitties on my lap. This is definitely an occupational hazard of working at home. Luckily they don't take offence if I have to remove them when I want to get up but Toby is now trying to distract me by staring at me while I type so that I will stroke him.

I'm going to have to give the kids and the kitties some boundaries. Any bets on all that working for too long.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Did you miss me?

As I write this at my desk, I look over the houses and gardens below my house. I am typing this from my home office.
I packed up and moved out of my last work office last Tuesday and apart from one last trip to my old office to supervise the move of the boxes of files which were going on to head office, I have been home based.
What a pleasure except I have no phone as the phone system I was using before has gone missing and my internet was only operational from last Saturday with my emails only being available today. Teething problems! Otherwise everything is looking rosy. I am just spending time sorting out my own personal paperwork and organising my office.
Its nice to be in communication with the world again. Its quite different to be able to just go from kitchen to office without even changing out of my pyjamas! I think having my desk and stationery from my previous office helps to put me into that work mindset but it is a constant battle for my chair and computer with the boys vying to have a turn at playing the computer game on my machine. Luckily my workday is really flexible so I just go watch tv for a while or do some other household chores until they get tired of playing.
Maybe I could get used to this.....

Monday, August 23, 2010

Change of life happening

No, I'm not going through menopause however my life as I have been living it for the past six years is definitely changing.

During this month, I have still been coming in to work and winding down outstanding work-related issues. There has been some talk of me carrying on in a support role on a contract basis after the end of the month, possibly working from home. I have mixed feelings on this as while the idea of working from home is a good one, I enjoy the quiet atmosphere of the office and will probably not get that at home. It will be a plus to continue earning some income and still have access to internet and phone while looking for a new job.

I have applied for several positions but have had no call backs. My parents are of the opinion that I need a makeover and have offered to pay for that but I wasn't keen to do that as I am very settled in my skin and besides I haven't been sending a photo with my applications. I might just settle for a trip to the hairdresser! I could probably get a position easily if I am prepared to accept a salary of a few thousand Rand less a month than what I am currently getting! Not! So I continue to hang on.

Also this month has seen me getting my personal paperwork in place to kick into gear several retrenchment insurances I have in place and to prepare what I need to go and stand in the unemployment queue at the Labout dept. at the end of the month to apply for unemployment benefits... I was disappointed to learn that I hadnt covered my home loan for retrenchment benefits as that would have seen my home loan being paid for 12 months. Oh well, one lives and learns.

To add to my misery, my car continues to be sick and has been at the mechanic and also been worked on by Dael who is still really a beginner at mechanics. However, he is learning fast and has fixed a few things on my car already. I have been getting lifts to work for the last two weeks and I think I'm wearing everyone's patience a bit thin. The idea now is to try and get another vehicle and do a major engine clean on my car as the engine is pretty sludged up. Now where can I get another vehicle from in a hurry?!
Dael will be going for an interview at a firm who has just moved their entire operation under one roof after operating from two different places. This business is vehicle customising with mechanics and panelbeating in the same shop. Everyone please pray for Dael as he would love to get in at this business and I believe he would do very well. They will be calling for interviews from the 25th.
Bradley continues to battle at mainstream schooling and I believe that this year is now wasted. He is just falling so far behind and not coping with the workload. There are discussions to move Bradley up to Jhb next year to either do homeschooling or to attend a school which is geared to children with learning challenges. Unfortunately, the consensus seems to be that KZN has very little to offer in the form of schooling for a young man who cannot concentrate very well in a classroom setting and cannot focus on or even complete the amount of work required with this curriculum.
Obviously I dont want to be separated from my son but I believe that a bit of separation from mom and older brother might be just the thing that Bradley needs right now.
So lots of changes and happenings, quite a bit of stress and some feelings of being a bit helpless at the moment. I am positive however that I will get through and over all these hurdles if I just keep positive and look out for opportunities.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Getting my head around....

my future prospects - now that I have been retrenched! There I said it. Last Thursday I signed my letter. The company is restructuring and my division is being discontinued. I'm not heartsore as I have been looking for another position but it was a bit sudden. And I'm still working in my little office! I actually still have work to do not that head office seems to realise it and I cant just walk away and leave unfinished business. I am trying to tie things up and am using the opportunity to also use the phone and internet to jobhunt while I still can.

Its necessary for me to stay in routine and get up and dressed every day and get to the office. I'm sure that I will find the right position soon.

I will get around to an update on the last few weeks on Tuesday. Have a great long weekend!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

And they tell me to stay calm....

In the mornings, I carry a small school juice bottle of milk in my carryall bag to work since we don't have a fridge and the bottle is enough for my daily coffee. As I twisted the lid shut this morning, I noticed the lid was cracked but as I was running out the door, I didn't have time to decant the milk into another bottle. All I did was put the bottle into a plastic bread bag to prevent spillage onto the other items in the bag.
In the car I placed the bag onto the back seat as Bradley occupies the front seat. The bag never falls over so I reckoned the bottle of milk would be fine as it was in an upright position. Whats the chances that just because the bottle was broken and a potential leaking hazard that the bag would fall over FOUR times - literally... It was like it had a mind of its own!
I even had to stop my car in a taxi stop zone with my hazards on to stand the bag upright again.
Then, sitting in a traffic queue of slow moving traffic, my car wouldn't idle properly. It had a miss which was threatening to stall the engine. My car is automatic so I put it in neutral and revved the engine a bit and then decided to engage pulling gear which basically keeps the car in first gear without changing to second gear. This was fine while moving slowly forward in the traffic queue but as I started moving faster I suddenly realised that I hadn't changed back into Drive gear and my engine was screaming. Well, there went my hazard lights on again as I had to come to a complete stop to change gears and I had to do this with the car behind me bearing down on me as I had to stop in a totally inappropriate place, just basically the middle of the road that I was travelling on.
To say I was relieved to finally get to work is an understatement and the amount of moaning and muttering to myself in the car this morning would probably be enough to get me a label of Crazy Lady.

Is it just me....

whose life seems to be so boring at the moment with the days just melting into each other. I just seem to be leaving work to go home or leaving home to come to work.
I had just got interested in reading again and re-joined our local library but now I'm battling to read. I have a problem with the inactivity of sitting and reading and can only read for short periods at a time. I have been reading the same book for more than a month, my library fines are mounting because I forget to renew and my other three books are sitting in the bag waiting to be read. I actually think that being active can be an addictive habit just as inactivity can. However, I would rather be accused of being busy than lazy! :)
Bradley managed to get through his first four days of school last week in one piece. He had soccer tryouts for two afternoons last week and was placed in the C team. His first match was last Saturday and I had to get him to the school before 7am to catch the bus down to Crawford College in La Lucia who his school were playing against. In preparation, Bradley had asked the Coach what time I had to collect him from the school. Brad's school is closer to my work than my house and I couldn't make too many trips up and down. I was told that I had to fetch him at 11am and I was rushing to get there at 11.30am, thinking I was late. But when I got to the school, no one was there. I drove round to speak to the security guard and he seemed sure that they would only be back at about 2.30pm! I ended up sitting at the school for 3 and a half hours without any liquid refreshment. Other parents eventually started arriving at 2pm and the bus arrived at 2.30pm. So disappointing because when Bradley eventually ran to the car, instead of congratulations on winning his first game, all he got was a screaming mother and he ended up in a huff too. That ogre inside me is escaping more and more often these days.
In aggravation of my demon, friend 'S's father has not paid in his financial contribution for his son's keep due to the fact that the whole family is on their way to South Africa this week. Unfortunately, I didn't realise that no funds would be forthcoming and did not budget accordingly and now my car and our house is running on the smell of an oil rag! I had strong words last night with other friends 'S' who keeps on coming and going like I'm running a charity organisation or the local flophouse and told him that he must leave in the morning and not return until he could contribute financially to the house. Friend 'S' who normally would pay board will have to leave at the end of this week since his family will now be here to take care of him. This has been an exceptionally expensive month for me with all the boys at home and eating like its going out of fashion. This whole scene is taking its toll on me because I have to keep on addressing the same problem and being the bad guy. It really is a problem when people come to stay, contribute very little and don't know when to leave and its crazy that their parents and extended family don't seem to think this is wrong! Seriously!
So now instead of hanging on by my fingernails, I'm trying to keep my head above water!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Holding on by my fingernails...

Sounds dramatic doesn't it! No, no extreme life changing things going on except that its that time of winter that I start longing for longer daylight hours and warmer weather....and hanging on by my fingernails. At work, I feel somewhat human but by the time I get home in the dark I feel like I'm running on my hamster wheel again, using a lot of energy but never getting anywhere, just repeating the same tasks over and over again.
Shopping in the icy evening air after leaving the warm cocoon of my office, nursing my geriatric and possibly terminally ill car homeward, arriving home to a messy house (which I had left tidy a mere 8 hours previously), cooking supper and tidying up the kitchen, feeding the animals. I sit down to watch a bit of tv or to indulge in my new favourite hobby of knitting, and half an hour later I start to feel sleepy. In the morning, I get up early, watch a bit of tv and then I'm late because I've got behind in the cleaning up of the living room area which I need to get done before work.
Sometimes I'm tempted to just stay at the office... This space is just mine alone (except when my boss pops in).
I'm sure it'll be better when spring arrives. Just another 7ish weeks to go!
Dael attended the fanpark at the beach for the soccer final. The weather was icy. He caught the shuttle bus down from the Pavilion shopping centre. He went with friend 'S'. Bradley didn't go. My car was newly fixed and I hadn't even wanted to make that trip down to Westville but because Dael had diligently worked on fixing the oil problem for most of Saturday, I humoured him and sponsored him the money for transport down to Durban. I left him to catch the bus at about 2.30pm. At about 9.15pm and about halfway through the game, I was already tucked up in bed, not expecting to have to go and fetch Dael because the plan was for him to stay all night with the fans and have fun. Because of the icy weather I was kind of expecting plans to change though and they did. He phoned from Durban to say that he would leave just as the game ended and catch the bus back up to the shopping centre and could I fetch him. I complained, my car complained and started to play up on the way back home again. I wasn't happy but Dael learned a valuable lesson. He is a creature of habit and after an evening of fun, he likes to come home. No such thing as staying out all night for him. He had a bad backache from all the walking to get where they had to be and from the cold. After a cup or two of hot coffee and some painkillers, he was out like a light! He said afterwards that he should have given the fanpark a miss and just used the money to go to his usual club on the Saturday night. Oh well, life is made up of these experiences.
I have completed 5 toys so far, an aeroplane, kitten, monkey, duck and mommy and baby kangaroo. I almost sold the monkey! I'm enjoying the hobby a lot.
Bradley is back to school, albeit with a very sad face every day. Today is first soccer practice and he has gone prepared. I am hoping that the second half of this year will see improved maturity and motivation towards school however onerous he considers it to be. Even if seen as a necessary evil, as long as it achieves the desired result, it will be worth it.
Dael has proven himself to be a totally committed and motivated person when faced with an engine to fix. He tackled the oil problem (which is basically cleaning out a sieve into the oil sump). This should have been sorted out previously by the garage to which I was taking my car for this very same problem last year. Thousands of rands spent and I still had sludge in my sump. That alone is enough reason for my son to learn mechanics. However, his extreme concentration and focus and commitment in terms of time when fixing an engine is a big incentive for me to continue to try and get him into this field of work. On the job training would be the ideal situation for him.
Everything around me seems to be freezing up in this cold snap. Even our work sliding complex gate is acting up. Yesterday, it wouldn't close once it was open. Today, the phone rings to indicate someone at the gate (intercom works through the phone) but no voice can be heard and no signal sent to the gate to open. Murphy's law dictates that this must be the very day that I get a lot of visitors. I think I have had to get up about 5 times with my remote and walk halfway up the parking area to get close enough to the gate for the remote signal to open the gate. Extra exercise for me today! The last time I let in a visitor, two monkeys were balancing across the top of the gate but as they felt the gate move, they catapulted into the bush in fright. It must be warming up a bit if the monkeys are coming out of hiding. The weatherman says another cold front is on its way from the Cape and that Jhb area will be freezing again from Thursday with it being only 11 deg. C during the day and Zero at night. This will affect us in KZN too but not nearly as badly as in other parts of the country.
My poor cats are battling hugely in this weather and I actually left the heater on for them to snuggle up to this morning. When I sit down to knit in the evening, the cats pile on. The small ones are okay but when the big chaps come and squash on top of everyone else, I get aggravated. I try to knit, lifting my arms higher and higher so that my knitting needles are almost poking me in the face and then I throw everyone off! Mean mommy but I also need my relaxing space. I'm not just a glorified cat pillow! By next winter I have got to get hold of some cat igloos for my cats to snuggle inside. Its getting a bit much now.
Oh and my ADSL connection was giving me a message from this Monday that I had reached my internet cap and I couldn't get onto any international websites but could only access South African websites. All of a sudden this morning late, I could get on again. Maybe someone at Head Office paid the account or maybe its a glitch. I'm not arguing and I thought I would quickly type a post before I get switched off again!

Friday, July 2, 2010

One of those moments...

I'm having one of those moments again. Where nothing that happens in my life or around me seems worth blogging about. I do feel the need to blog though so here goes.
Backtrack to last weekend... Friday was a bit of a bomb. On Saturday I was woken early to go the morning market. My mom has decided that she will only go every two weeks while the weather is so cold. This suits me fine as I now get every second week to just chill at home and do what I want to do. Mom had prepared a special display box for 'all' the knitted toys I had made but eventually we decided not to use it as I only had one toy finished, a knitted aeroplane in tones of blue.
The story behind the knitting is that I took up knitted toymaking about 24 years ago, before my daughter was born and while I was dating their father. In 1987, life got hectic and with a new marriage and a new daughter, the knitting was shelved. With all the creativity around me at the morning market and with my parents encouraging me to make something to sell, I decided to resurrect my knitting abilities.
I have several items in various stages to completion but should have several more items ready by the time next Saturday rolls around. Practice makes perfect and I am already improving in speed and quality of work. When I first started again, I couldn't even remember how to cast off! It is a bit like riding a bicycle though and I soon got into it again. Bradley is not impressed with my knitting skills and keeps telling me "Put that granny knitting down!" Obviously not cool enough for his liking.
I'm finding that the actual knitting of the work is really relaxing, especially while watching tv, even to the extent that I don't want to get up to make supper or feed the cats. I do obviously but am totally addicted at the moment to my new hobby. Sewing the item up is another story but I'm getting there.
Sunday was cold and we all hibernated. In the afternoon, I had bathed and had sat down on the couch with Bradley. He was teasing me and as I replied, I spilt coffee all over the clean outfit I had just put on. That was enough for me. I just blew up. After a few minutes of my ranting, Dael decided to blow up too. He has a quick temper and he ended up smashing a plate and throwing a stool, which also broke. I ended up calming down to calm him down. This is exactly how his father was and unfortunate to see coming out in Dael. A quick temper can be a dangerous thing. Anyway, I mentioned to my mom that we were now down to one dinner plate, which I was hiding away so that the boys wouldn't use it. They use plates all day long and everything has to be rewashed before dinner. I don't want to use a plastic plate so I hide mine. Anyway, mom cleaned out her cupboard and donated me all her old plates and mugs which she never uses so we're in the pound seat again, with a stock of useable plates and mugs for the boys to break again! With cats and kids, nothing breakable stays unbroken for long.
Last night, with the soccer games being more spaced apart, I actually got to operate the Dstv remote last night. We watched two cop dramas and a scary movie. It was bliss! After which, Dael wanted to play Playstation and the boys sent me to bed! I was starting to nod off anyway though.
Robynne is all moved into her new place and just all the unpacking remains to be done. This was a mission because it took place midweek and after work. Robynne took the afternoon off work to complete packing and cleaning but her dad could only come and help after work and they only finished moving by about 2am the next morning and then still had to get up and go to work. Not a pleasant situation but the big move is now achieved and maybe now Robynne can put down some roots and be settled. Since she arrived in Jhb last October, she has moved 4 times. On another note, it appears that she has developed the family trait of collecting belongings. She couldn't believe how much more 'stuff' she has accumulated since she has been in Jhb, especially for her furbabies.
Bradley has been away from home since Wednesday. He has been visiting his cousin R. They hadn't seen each other since the shoplifting incident. He took matters into his own hands by simply just going around to his cousin's house on Wednesday and phoning me from there and asking if he could stay over. I relented only because R mom is also at home. She works for a school and is on holiday with the kids. It worked out quite well because at my place, S is full of flu again and I don't want Bradley coming down with that again, not just he is due to go back to school again. So I will probably have cousin R at my house this weekend... Fun and games!
So long as they don't get between me and my knitting!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Winter blues!

Its at the stage of Winter when I start to feel like I really need a holiday. I feel like all I do when I'm at home is clean up and make food. I like to bustle about at home when I get home from work but with it being dark by the time I get home, there's no chance of that. I get to watch maybe one programme on tv while I eat supper and then its back to soccer. And at work, my office is freezing. I have to be warmly dressed every day. The boys get to hang out at home under duvets all day watching tv and drinking coffee. No fair! Anyway, my mom told me that mid Winter day passed on the 21st June (shortest day, longest night) so it should start turning around from now. I think I'll take a day off tomorrow and make it a long weekend.


Well, I wrote the above on Thursday without posting it and I did in fact end up taking the day off on Friday. The day went well until lunchtime. I relaxed, watched tv, just pottered around and then we loaded up into the car and went down to Durban. From the time we entered Durban at about 2.15pm, my irritation levels started to rise. I went in one direction - the roads were blocked off. So I had to join all the traffic going in the other direction. My car's cooling fan was going on and off but I wasn't happy about making 'her' sit in the traffic. I started to rant to the boys about them 'making' me come to Durban on a match day. I was doing the mommy thing. The request to do it had come from Bradley but I find if its something I really don't want to be doing, if one thing goes wrong, they are going to hear about it. Then two big busses from Gauteng, travelling in convoy, jampacked with jolly soccer fans, squashed into the queue. They were sticking close and this made the traffic even worse. Eventually after some creative manoeuvring, I managed to extricate myself and headed off in another direction to the city centre, which was relatively clear. As I entered the city on the 'new' bridge which I hadn't used since it was build, there were traffic police blocking a centre lane and tragically, as we passed this blockade, we saw what they were protecting - a body! A young Indian lady with tear stained face crouched next to the prostrate form which although covered, I could see was lying face down. She was a victim of the craziness of the big city, on a work day which was also a Friday and a soccer match day, probably an older lady obviously not crossing the street fast enough for the speedsters and that was the end of her life. That made my mood even blacker. There was only one entrance road to the beach area. We were making for the fan park on the beach. Eventually, the boys decided to jump out and walk as we were close enough to the beach but I was still crawling along in traffic. I entered the beach road and travelled along but discovered that I could only go so far and no further so I went back to the only parking area available, parked behind some cars to let my car cool off and just waited for someone to come off the beach. Not more than 10 minutes later, my wish was granted.

With my car safely parked, I shouldered my bag containing juice and popcorn for the boys and set out to walk to where the fanpark was situated. I strolled along the beachwalk towards the big screen in the distance. 20 minutes later and I was there!

I couldn't get in as food and drink of any variety was not allowed in. The boys came out, looking for me and we decided to walk back to the car to leave the food and so the boys could see where the car was parked. Dael was also looking for a vendor to buy a cigarette. With all this accomplished, we walked back to the fanpark. You can imagine our surprise when we arrived back after the long walk to find that they were not letting any more people in. Honestly, the whole of Durban is sewn up like Fort Knox at the moment. Parking areas are only available to those with permits. Roads are closed. Its really a big money making racket at the moment. We were all feeling somewhat weary after all the walking. Dael couldn't see his friends. It was getting dark and we weren't able to see the match. We decided to cut out losses and make for home.

As we neared Pinetown, my car decided that it was just too hot and the oil buzzer started to come on.

Not the best leave day in history. Bradley was disappointed. Dael and I were irritated and that was just the beginning of the weekend!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

To do or not to do..

Always a dilemma on a day off. I wake early as is my habit now. My body clock doesn't know its a holiday. :) So I hit the lounge with a cup of coffee and a blankie for a good dose of girly tv programmes. I can only watch these in peace when the boys are asleep. I had my knitting and my library book to hand. Get comfy, too early to feed the cats. And then it starts - the invasion of the cats. All the orange kittens - Toby, Pixie and Dusty and their older siblings, Lovey and Boy (Ninja), then the whites - Sabrina and Bitsy. Sometimes my big orange tomcat Charlie comes and zones in and sits on everyone amid meows of protest, forcing himself into prime position. They lie on me up to just under my chin. I try to knit around the furries, often having to pull my wool out from under the bodies. One or the other of the kitties will get interested in the knitting and pull on the wool or bite the needles. I sit until I go numb from not being allowed to move and then I throw everyone off.
I knitted and watched tv for a long time yesterday. Boring for some but for me a day with nowhere to go is a day of bliss.
Dael and 'S' were sitting outside midmorning warming up in the sun. 'Mom, come quick', he called me. There's no such thing as quick with the slumbering cats on my lap. As I try to dislodge them, they are startled coming out of sleep and cling on like multiple brooches. Dael wanted to show me a flock of redwing Starlings chasing a Hawk away from their tree. I missed it...
I only got up from the couch to clean the house at about midday, so I had a good dose of vegetating yesterday.
Last night, watching the soccer and counting stitches, I came to a wet length of wool, which I was just about to knit into my work. What the heck! No, Joe! I realised that old man Joe had been licking the kittens and had licked my piece of wool too. So: dislodge the cats, take my knitting to the bathroom to wash the wool and dry it, getting cold in the bargain, the cats taking my place on the couch - Really! No one wants a woollen item with catlick on it! Joe is now my oldest cat at 9 years (10 in October) but he can be irritating. He must lick himself and everyone else in the vicinity until they are damp before he settles.. Usually I encourage him to find a place in one of the cardboard boxes I have on the counter for the Winter. These are warm nests for the kitties with the weather being unusually cold at the moment.
This morning, back to work. My car wouldn't start from last night already due to its 'problem' and I couldn't go to the shop. This morning, there was still a problem and Dael used the scooter to go to the shop for bread and then to pick up the spare car battery which was being charged at my parents place. I eventually got to work at about 9.15am and then our IT guy arrived with my ADSL router which operates my phone and internet and he also brought the photocopier allocated to me which scans and photocopies, so I'm connected and online and all is good..
And tomorrow is Friday! (Every week should have a midweek break. :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Icing up in Isolation...

Sitting in my cold office on a cold day with my boss on leave down the coast with his family. Do you think anyone would notice if I wasn't even here. Nice try - I would notice! I'm my own policeman. I have a welldeveloped sense of duty and at least one of my children has also developed this 'ability'.
Robynne is having to move at the end of June and so far the perfect home eludes her. This fact is causing her some stress at the moment and it seems the stress is falling squarely on her shoulders. She, her boyfriend and her female friend who is sharing their current accommodation, along with all the furries are looking for alternate accommodation and their needs are not so simple. If it were just her and the boyfriend, a granny flat with its own small fenced off garden would suffice and it seems that there are several of those available. However, with her friend in tow, they must find a 2 bedroom, preferably 2 bathroom townhouse/duplex/simplex with its own garden, pet friendly and safe parking for 3 cars! This must also be situated fairly close to or in the vicinity of Sandton and must be affordable. (It might be easier to find a house on the moon!). It might be easier if her friend decides to find her own alternate accommodation but Robynne is a very loyal friend and they help each other out and she will never push her friend out just to make her own life easier.
It would be easier to have less of a sense of duty or loyalty but I don't think Robynne and certainly not I would want to be that kind of a person. It just wouldn't sit right on us. I also think its part of having leadership qualities for people to lean on you and expect you to sort things out but being in that situation can take its toll and those who are doers must learn not to overtax themselves and to learn to say no and delegate or relegate duties and tasks to others. With my mom, its her church's care team and all the work they do. With Robynne, its her friends and increasingly, her pets. With me, my work, children and home and of course, my horde of kitties. We absorb so much that we eventually reach our limit. I wouldn't want to change as a caring and responsible person but a slight adjustment of duties and responsibilities can only improve our stress levels, patience and just the time to relax.
I was invited to my mom's for supper last night. The boys didn't want to come. Before going round to mom's, I went home and as I drove up the driveway, I could see everyone jumping around cleaning up. I hadn't washed the night before's dishes, not even that morning before work and they had been added to that day so there was a huge amount. Dael was tackling those. 'S' and Bradley were running around cleaning up the lounge. It only took a couple of weeks of ranting and raving (the boys call it 'rapping') to get them to this stage. I changed to some warmer clothes and left them to it. I got home again after a delicious chicken supper with the boys' share in a container. The kitchen was by no means perfect and some of the dishes weren't even that clean but the fact remains that the boys are doing chores, even if its at the last minute as I appear! I fed the cats and finished off the kitchen a little more and then settled down for the evening's soccer game - Italy vs Paraguy. I had heard that the Italian players were very goodlooking and as the defending champions, I was expecting an exciting game. I was disappointed on both counts and ended up falling asleep. I heard later that the game drew 1 all but even the boys found it boring. Maybe the freezing rainy weather in Cape Town affected the players.
I'm looking forward to the public holiday tomorrow so that I can snuggle in and do some knitting or reading or watch tv. And no sense of guilt that I should be doing something else if the weather is rainy and freezing too. What else can be done on a cold day other than vegetate!

Monday, June 14, 2010

I need to borrow a referee!

My two boys just cannot agree to disagree. Dael being 20 is constantly opinionated about everything. This wasn't a problem until fairly recently as I'm a non-argumentative person but now Bradley at 14 has started becoming opinionated too! And I'm caught in the middle.
The topic of soccer has become a big arguing point. Bradley waxes lyrical about various players and Dael has a rude response to this. Dael debates a point of play and Bradley has a difference of opinion about this. They had an increasingly heated debated about the ball being called 'offside' during play between the West Germany and Australian teams last night until I called halt. I think Bradley just disagrees with Dael to rile him up deliberately.
Yesterday afternoon's game between Algeria and Slovenia was trundling along uneventfully and Bradley was playing around with his soccer ball in the lounge area, not particularly concentrating on the somewhat boring game but when Dael changed the channel at half time and refused to put the game back on afterwards, Bradley was mortally wounded and all hell broke loose. He ended up in the bedroom, packing his clothes in a bag to go stay at granny's house because she has a few tv sets and he would be able to watch the games uninterrupted. He slammed around drawing attention to his irritation with his brother threatening him from time to time with physical violence. Eventually I was threatening them both with violence!
I was settled in as it was a bit chilly but I hauled myself up and got changed and took Bradley down to my parents. I visited with my parents and Brad went into the guestroom to watch the Ghana vs Slovenia game in splendid isolation. He soon lost interest in this also somewhat humdrum game and after donning his new soccer boots and grabbing his soccer ball, went off to kick the ball around in gran's neighbours big yard. I went to peep at him a few minutes later to check if he was okay and he spotted me spotting him and gave a casual wave while he kicked his ball up and down the yard, showing everyone how proper soccer players do it!
When it was time to go, gran said 'Yes, Brad could stay over" and then proceeded to list the various rules and regulations surrounding Staying At Gran's House. He thought about it and then decided that no, he would go home with me. Haha, there's nowhere like home where you are used to the way things are done.
So last night I stayed awake to watch the big game between Germany and Australia but after the 4th goal scored by Germany against Australia, I decided that sleep was the better option. One thing I'll say about Germany apart from the fact that they are like a well-oiled machine, at least they know where the net is. A lot of the other teams kick way over the net. A pair of rugby posts would probably be more appropriate!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Memorable Friday....

What a memorable day it is today and not just because I actually managed to blog again. I seem to have developed a little bit of Winter brainfreeze.
By the time I left the house this morning, the boys were up and snuggling under duvets in the lounge in front of a hot tv, waiting to inhale all things soccer. I had heard a vuvuzela player warming up since before light this morning and even now as I write, this sound can be heard in the distance. It is the anthem of day and everyones connection to the game.
I have been slowly settling into my new office this week and its starting to feel like home. It has been a bit hard to actually work what with the schools closing for the end of second term and the soccer around the corner. Our offices close at 2pm this afternoon in honour of the opening game and so that everyone can get to wherever they will be watching the game in good time. I'm stopping at the library on my way home to stock up on new books but I will definitely be watching at least some of the main games. Bradley waxes lyrical about the abilities of various international players. He seems so knowledgeable about their abilities. He has developed a great interest in the game and he cant wait for the actual play to begin.
I woke from my slumbers last night in the lounge in time to catch some of the World Cup concert and although I enjoyed a lot of it I felt the continuity was sadly lacking. In between acts and as the next act was setting up, out would stumble a few soccer players, seeming unrehearsed and looking around for the teleprompter. They would mumble a few lines and stumble off the stage again before the next act was ready, leaving the audience hanging. Where was the MC. Isn't this country full of excellent comedians who would have been able to 'interview' the soccer players for a minute or so and provide smooth running entertainment. Would this kind of thing be seen at the Oscars? It just felt amateurish to me. The boys enjoyed Shakira and I felt the drummers were good but the audience didn't even clap... Very weird considering the amount of money which must have been spent to set up this event, just on the fireworks at the end of the show alone. These were very good and well choreographed. I wish I didn't have to be critical but we have had a few years to plan this.
Roll on, the soccer and good luck to all the players.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Bradley finished exams yesterday and I decided, for his sanity and mine to let him stay at home today. I have had one of my headaches (caused by neck tension) since Wednesday and painkillers don't help.
Tomorrow, Brad has to be at school by 7.45am in full school uniform for the very popular Derby Day. It is a day of matches between Brad's school and the other local high school, Hillcrest High, where the two schools compete against each other in rugby, netball, cricket and chess, of all things. So Brad, being in grade eight will probably be roped in as a helper. I will hang around and take it easy. The older boys will also come up at their leisure because the day is also a very popular social event for ex pupils. Dael used to go to Hillcrest High and also knows a lot of kids that currently go to Kloof High. It looks like being a perfect fun day. The weather is great at the moment too for something like this, with sunny days not too hot and no rain predicted.
Brad is counting down to the soccer world cup kick off games and now that the exams are over and breakup is next week, he is in Utopia. I can probably kiss tv viewing goodbye for the duration as I anticipate nonstop soccer watching. I'll just have to go and get a new set of library books to keep myself occupied.
Oh and Brad persuaded his dad to let him have some money for a pair of soccer boots as he is planning on playing soccer at school next term so we'll probably be soccer boot shopping on Sunday. I keep teasing Brad that I had to use the money for groceries. He is not impressed when I say that. "You're joking!" "Are you joking?" I think he'll be relieved when he's holding them in his hand.
In between, I plan on getting lots of fresh air and sunshine and on getting rid of this blight of a headache that's been hanging around for a few days.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I'm still alive...

What a couple of weeks these have been. Last week was spent packing up the building we were occupying in preparation for the move. My office was packed up by the previous Friday and I had packed the walk-in stationery cupboard but come Monday the whole 'coffee shop' had not been packed yet. I spent the better part of the afternoon wrapping and packing crockery into boxes. There was so much to pack and several of our former staff members had left the company already, also leaving all their paperwork and files to be packed with out tealady/cleaner choosing this very busy time to develop a medical problem which entailed her leaving the company without packing anything. By Wednesday, I felt totally deflated and it was a major triumph just to be able to process my weekly payments through to the accounts department. By Thursday afternoon, I had moved to my new offices and was trying to unpack and find everything I needed.
I'm now on a 3G card for internet and emails and I have a temporary phone set up called a Telular phone from Telkom which is basically a cellphone contact which works through a plugin deskphone. I have moved this phone as close to the window as I can because I have discovered that the concrete over my head is playing havoc with the signal and I keep getting cut off from my callers. Oh well, it will only be temporary as we have an ADSL line on order with Telkom.
In between all this chaos, Bradley has been writing exams from last week Monday and finishes at odd times. Last week he was finishing at 2pm as he was writing two exams a day and this week he finishes by 10am as he only writes one a day. So I virtually just get to work and then have to leave again to fetch him. The longer the exams drag on as well, the worse he gets at studying. He is losing momentum. Fortunately only two more exams and then break up again next week.
Just to add to the excitement, my car joins in with more hassles. It has been battling to start in the mornings. Not enough petrol getting through to start the car. Could be carburettor problems. Yesterday, I cranked the car enough to flatten the battery and had to phone my father to get Brad to school for his exam. Then dad had to come back with jumper cables and help me to jumpstart my car. Nothing like a bit of stress like that to start the week off, I say!
The one good thing is that I am on my own in this office now. The rest of the staff have moved to the Riverhorse Valley office from Monday of this week and are all crammed in there like sardines (if some of the comments are to be believed). I will go down with my boss today to process my payments and see what the place looks like. My little office is like a peaceful haven though and I'm glad I had the opportunity to move here.
I'm settling down and sorting out and should be able to keep in contact a bit more now that the Big Move is done and dusted.

Friday, May 21, 2010

And then the second half of the week..

Well just when the kittens were starting to look a lot better, more drama struck. Wednesday was a particularly busy day and my mind was very preoccupied with all that's going on. We are packing up our offices for a big move to new offices, I had a half hour conversation with Robynne who is building up a resistance to her job due to the nasty bitchy people who work there. She had driven to work, driven past and gone home because she has been suffering from flu and just couldn't face her work environment that day. After that I was handling work issues when my computer started playing up and I had to call our technicians to come in and fix it. As they were busy with that, I picked up my phone and went to the ladies room. I placed my cellphone on the windowsill while I was busy and after washing my hands, discovered there was no paper handtowel and went to the other loo to use the towel dispenser there. Then I popped into the kitchen to make some tea and went back to my office. The IT guys left and after some time, when I looked for my phone, wondering why it was so quiet, I discovered I didn't have it. I realised that I hadn't really seen it since I picked it up to go to the ladies but when I searched for it, it was nowhere to be found. I tried ringing it and although it rang normally before going through to voicemail, it could not be heard ringing in our office. I was totally freaked out. Often when I have a lot on my mind, I become forgetful and don't focus on what I'm doing. When I have a lot on my mind, I have learnt not to use the ATM either because that's when I end up doing something stupid.
So after an afternoon of ranting and raving to no avail, I had to accept my phone was gone. I have a loan phone from my boss now which is quite basic but will have to do for now until I can sort out a new phone for myself.
On Wednesday afternoon, I started packing the contents of the stationery cupboard into what eventually became seven boxes. On Thursday, I packed up a lot of files from the cupboards of two PA's who have been retrenched. In the afternoon, as I walked back to my office across the carpark, I heard a distinctive chirp from the tree, like "Chee-cheep". It didn't sound like a wild bird and it drew my glance up. High in a tree above the rooftops sat a large white bird with a plume on its head. I squinted in the afternoon sun to try and identify what I was looking like. It looked like a parrot. I went inside to dump my paperwork and called one of my colleagues who came out with me and agreed that it definitely looked like a parrot. It was cleaning its legs like a parrot does and rubbing its head against the branch while pacing up and down. I raced upstairs again to find the SPCA's phone number, got through to them and asked them if there had been any reports of lost cockatoo's. She looked on her system and found a name and number. A lady called Nicky had reported her bird missing. I phoned her and she was so excited. She had lost her bird from one road up from our park but four days ago. She was amazed that he was still alive and hadn't been caught by a bird of prey. I told her where to come and went out to call to the bird. She had said he was very tame and that if I called "Diego Scratch Scratch" he might come to me. Sadly I didn't have the opportunity to embarrass myself by calling this out as...the bird had flown! He's in the area but there are a lot of trees. I really wanted to reunite him with his owner but it was not to be. I have her number though in case he returns.
On Monday, we will move. Fortunately my boss has decided that I will be based at a satellite office still in this area as he and I both live locally and I have to liaise and meet with agents and clients relating to our properties also up in this area. He is advised by management that this must be a temporary setup but it will give me a bit of extra time to find another position more local than where our new head office is - about 25kms from where I work now and about 20kms from where I live. I visited the new office this week amid all the workmen busy putting in drywalling, cabling, blinds and reinstalling cupboards and shelves that have been taken out of our existing offices. From a garden setting where we are now, the office is moving to an office in factory wasteland. One side has a view of the freeway, another side a view of the river and the huge courier firm beyond. The inner courtyard has a garden setting with a modern pool and waterfalls. This kind of setup may suit some but I just didn't feel comfortable there. I feel a lot better knowing I will be staying close to home and to Brad's school. I will still be able to fetch him and he can spend the afternoon with me.
And now back to the rest of my packing. I'm surrounded by cardboard boxes and there's still a lot to do. I fully intend to do a lot of relaxing this weekend after such an intense and tiring week. Hope you all can do the same.

The first half of this week.

After a low week last week what with losing Mischief, life hasn't really improved in respect of running smoothly. All three of my kittens who have intermittent sneezing and oozing eyes which I treat as it occurs started to get much worse with the onset of the colder weather. The two boys wouldn't eat and although I managed to feed the smaller boy, Toby, with a teaspoon or a syringe, he wasn't really getting a lot of fluid or nutrition in. The little girl although skinny was still eating well. The bigger boy wasn't eating either but I couldn't handfeed him as he is quite strong and wriggles. Anyway, I had a look at my battered credit card and discovered that I had some credit on my budget facility. I decided to take all three to the vet. Rushed home with Bradley on Monday afternoon, piled the kittens into a basket and made my way to the vet. Once there, a male vet whom I had never seen before came out to greet me. I had an impression that he seemed impatient and fussy. One look at my kittens had him exclaiming "These kittens have got something seriously wrong with them like leukemia or FIV and they need to have blood tests. In the conversation that followed he intimated that I was causing them unnecessary suffering and the kindest thing would be to have them put down. That's when I got stubborn. I told him I wasn't going to put my kittens down and asked him if he wanted me to take them away. "No, I'll treat them but if they don't improve in a week you'll have to bring them back for further treatment". I asked him if he would give them an injection or do anything to rehydrate them. No he would have to admit them to put them on a drip but I could inject them at home to rehydrate them. I have never done this before but his whole demeanour said that he didn't think it was worth treating the kittens. He slammed in and out of the consulting room several times. Two of the kittens, as listless as they were, put their little legs up on me wanting me to pick them up off the table. They could sense this guy's hostility. His eventual treatment: Synulox tablets which I used to be able to buy over the counter. I cannot get these tablets over the counter now and have to pay for a consultation to get them. The tablets were about R75 and the consultation R160. He didn't examine them at all or take their temperatures just weighed them. Now I know that chronic snuffles can also cause weight loss. Mothers know a lot of things and experience counts for a lot. I left there quite insulted and rather upset. I said a few rude things about him to the receptionist as I was paying and behind her hand she agreed with me. However I was absolutely livid that I had paid that money and he did nothing to stabilise my babies.
Anyway, I decided not to let it go. I phoned next day and spoke to the other receptionist who passed my message and opinion of this vet onto the owner who is one of the vet's that I usually see and who phoned me that same afternoon from her other practice. She was very apologetic and thanked me for letting her know what had happened. This guy is a locum and was chosen for his experience but not for his manners, obviously!
Anyway, they gave me a free do-over consultation where the kittens were seen by the other lady vet, a younger girl. She was also concerned about the kittens but gave them an injection and checked their temperatures. They also gave me two cans of nutritious vet. food which they use to encourage cats to eat. The two gingers with the benefit of a couple of doses of tablets ate ravenously but the beige boy only ate a little. I paid extra for the injections and also for a bag of kitten crumbles to help them pick up weight.
By the next afternoon, all three were eating the crumbles enthusiastically and are totally perked up, meowing for attention, with little Toby again climbing my leg at every opportunity to get onto the counter.
I know with kittens, they can come up as quick as they go down. Even if they have a virus, they will always have a home with me, as long as I judge they are not suffering. I am not one to put down a furry family member at a moment's notice. If a cat's spirit is strong, they can regain their health and I always give them that fighting chance.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I got such a fright....

This is a Vervet monkey. Our office park is in a green area and there is a troop of these monkeys which pass through from time to time. Generally they stay their distance at the unoccupied property next door but today was different.

I had just finished a walkaround of all the office blocks in our park, dropping off post which is addressed to the street address and is dumped by the security guards in our building reception.

As I climbed the stairs and crossed the verandah to return to my office, suddenly there was a loud sound like a screaming grunting noise and as I swung my head to the right, all I could see was two large male monkeys dashing towards me on four legs. At that split second, I couldn't figure out if they were trying to attack me and I made a leap for our office door, screaming in fright and grazing my elbow as I fell into the office. The door is quite heavy and I was holding a box of paperwork but I made it into the office just as these two scary creatures bounded past.

They were obviously fighting with each other over territory and females but all I could see were open mouths and fangs and even if they weren't aiming for me, I wouldn't want to get in the way of one of their fights.

Wow, my heart has only just stopped pounding. Some of my colleagues were also standing in reception quietly discussing some financial issue and as I burst through with a scream, they all nearly had heart attacks too.

Talk about working among nature.

Monday, May 10, 2010

It was a sad mothers' day

because I lost one of my furkids and in a very traumatic manner too.
Early morning on Sunday, I was having a bit of lie in because I had been woken early by the boys that are staying with us. As I woke up I heard whining from the dogs next door and my dogs were running in and out growling so I assumed that one or more of them had succeeded in pushing through the dividing fence between the properties again. It didn't worry me too much as they are harmless. I eventually got up at about 6.30am and was just busy putting on the kettle and relining the cat box when all hell broke loose outside.

I heard a cat screaming and screaming. I knew it was one of my cats in trouble and I frantically searched for the keys to get out. I couldn't find the right key for the padlock. Bradley woke up and ran up and down hysterically, eventually going to the window of my room and shouting out at the dog which was attacking one of my cats. Eventually I got out and Brad and I ran around the house to the passage between my house and my garage. Mischief was lying on a pile of clothes next to an upturned garden chair and as I reached him he was dead.

The harmless dogs which had come through the fence had preceded the dangerous Boerbul which these people have. My cat had spent the night on the pile of washing on the garden chair between my house and my garage and this intruding dog came round the corner and caught my cat sleeping in his own yard. I assume he tried to jump higher and this big dog just caught his body between his jaws and killed him. It took less than a minute. Bradley when he shouted out the window while I was searching for keys actually saw this dog with my cat in its mouth when he shouted and he said as he reached Mischief he was still moving. How very traumatic for my son.

Mischief is the grey tabby with the white nose and chest.
This pic was taken a few years ago.
The thing is he was a member of my family for eight years. He was a tall, healthy robust cat who loved to wander but when he was home he was as affectionate as can be. He wasn't a sickly old cat and it wasn't his time to go.
He came to me as a rescue in 2002 with his foster mom kitty and her two kittens. He wasn't her baby and he was much bigger than her two kittens but he was taking full advantage of that free mother's milk. He got his name from being Mr Hyperactive, climbing curtains and knocking items off the counters. The momcat and her two kittens were adopted by one family but grey tabbies that aren't tiny babies are not as popular and he stayed with us. As he grew older he became a wanderer and would protect the borders of our kitty domain. He was often to be seen on the road verge or in my catless neighbour's yard. He would hang about in the mornings after breakfast, lying on the bonnet of my car until I started my engine to leave for work and then would run down the driveway on route to his day's capers. In the evening when I arrived at my driveway he would materialise and run up the driveway in front of my car, so happy to see his people. For some time he hadn't been allowed in the house by my alpha females who are newbies in age but still very bossy females and this is probably because he wasn't around much and maybe smelt of his wandering lifestyle. He was persisting though and starting to get closer and closer to the family.
For a couple of days last week, maybe Thursday and Friday, I noticed that he didnt come for meals. I used to call him and he would normally run home for at least one meal a day. Then on Saturday morning he arrived home. I fed the cats in the dark as mom was picking me up for morning market. When I arrived home at about 11am, he was still there but while I was petting him, I noticed that he had a scab or scratch across his head that he didn't want me to touch and a large patch of fur scraped off his leg that he was licking. He hung around under my car for the whole day and obviously had decided to spend the night at home as he was under the weather with his injuries, lying on the washing on the chair at his house where he felt safe and where it turned out he was not, thanks to my neighbours dangerous killer dog.
I lost one of my kittens last year after it got a fright and ran out the house. The boys had heard a cat screaming in the night and we assume this nasty dog got hold of my little one too. This dog has bitten Piglet in my yard and caused me a vet bill to stitch Piglet's mouth. I bought my house for the safety and comfort of my children and my animals and now my privacy and comfort and safety have been violated and my beloved Mischief has paid the ultimate price.
I carried him in my arms and showed him to my neighbours who just said sorry but they were trying to keep the dog in. They have piled what looks like a whole tree cut into logs against where the dogs dig but I already saw one of the dogs in my other neighbours yard again this morning. They must have made a hole somewhere else. Some of my cats are smaller and even more defenceless than Mischief was and my dogs are even petrified of this dog as they run in the house and stand growling from safety.
This is definitely a case for the SPCA. If I leave it up to Dael, it will not be stones he is throwing at this dog but something more lethal.
Rest in peace my beautiful boy. I miss you, Mischief.