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.