Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The world is turning but I'm standing still..

...and what a strange feeling this is! Its the first time since I've been working that I haven't had any money to buy presents (or anything other than food for my animals). Robynne and boyfriend haven't got money other than for necessities and all around us - jingle, sparkle and manic spend, spend, spend!

I went through to Sandton for an interview yesterday and afterwards rather wished I hadn't. Firstly it was at Sandton City itself in a cafe-style restaurant off Nelson Mandela Square. It was a late appointment (3pm). I found my way there okay because I have been to the area for a previous appointment but after I entered the parkade it was round and round, unable to find a parking. Eventually about 15 mins later, I did find one and then after memorising where my car was parked, entered the glittering and expensive world of Sandton City shopping centre, feeling rather like a refugee. I wandered through, not really knowing where I was going. Thank goodness for security guards as they helped to point me in the right direction. The overhead direction boards also helped and eventually I wandered out into Nelson Mandela Square amid the bold, the beautiful and financially well-endowed patrons, eating lunch at one of the multitude of eateries or snapping photos or just mingling and absorbing the atmosphere.

I found the cafe (I'm definitely getting good at finding places) and sat waiting for my turn to be interviewed as the interviewer was still busy with a prior interview. While I was waiting another interviewee arrived and jumped the queue, so I waited again. I think she had booked about 3 people for the same time. After a sketchy interview where I was advised that if I made the shortlist I would have to attend a full day of testing, whereafter if I 'passed' I would be given a one week contract and then whereafter I would be given a one month contract. I mean come on. Anyway, 'interview' over, I zoomed off, keen to leave the hyped-up bedlam of the shopping centre and ... got a bit lost trying to find my way back to the carpark entrance. I texted Robynne that I should have left a trail of breadcrumbs! Thanks to directions from another helpful security guard I eventually wandered out at the parking, paid and found the closest exit outa there! Well, the traffic started at the downramp to the street. I eventually got out and found my way to Sandton Drive and just sat and sat. Sandton traffic! As we crawled along there were police with rifles and dark glasses on the side of the road as well as army guys on the centre island, also with guns, Scary! Further along a BIG roadblock, with a minibus full of commuters being grilled by the police. Even further along on the other side to catch traffic coming up into Sandton, an identical roadblock, pulling off regular cars. At least on my side they were waving all the 'ordinary' cars through. I was so hot as Robynne's boyfriend's car's drivers side window doesn't open and I was overdressed for the heat in my interview clothes.

Mental note: No more 'bulls**t interviews at least until the silly season is over.

So I'm on the plot looking after the animals and cleaning house and not really feeling very Christmassy at all. Bradley has gone down to Natal for Christmas. He went with his father and their family, not telling me at all that they were going. He turns 16 on Christmas Day but I can't get him a present and I will probably not even see him. I don't think he cares...

Dael is very busy at work and only gets off on Christmas Day. I don't think he will even have time to hit the shops. My parents are not too happy that their family is far away but I know Dael will pop in there and they have my brother. Its not really the same, I know.

I will spend Christmas with Robynne and Marco, her boyfriend. We will cook a nice lunch, exchange some small gifts, phone our family, and enjoy the antics of the puppies and kitties.

We do what we have to do, I guess.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Selling myself...

its easier to sell my knitted toys! Seriously, I've been for interviews a few weeks back and never heard anything more. The one job where I've actually been for a second interview went like this: First drive through to Parktown for an interview with the HR consultant. This went very well. Next about a week later, telephonic interview with the employer's HR guy. This also went very well. Thirdly, drive through to Randburg for an interview with the lady director. She was rushed and I wasn't 100% happy with the interview because she seemed to be looking for an accounts orientated person rather than an admin person. Next I would need to go for an interview with the other two directors. I think its easier to get married!

Hello, this isn't rocket science people. I'm an intelligent experienced administrator/secretary - Employ me already!

Apart from my neverending quest to find employment, Robynne and I have been researching craft markets on the internet. I brought a few items up from Durban with me but with space constraints, left most of my toys behind. My mom has sold a few but is redistributing any money to Dael who is housesitting our house and trying to feed himself and a cat and a dog. Lots of responsibility for a young man not used to living on his own.

Last weekend, we took a spot at the Olivedale Library at their craft market. Our table was a bit sparse but we made almost R200 in sales, the weather was excellent, people were friendly, we had our snacks and we sat and had mom and daughter time and knitted away at our projects. Very enjoyable. The next market we are booking for is the Christmas Craft Market out at Value Faire Shopping Centre on Saturday, 10th December and we will be there between 9am and 3pm. I am looking forward to it because its also a way of getting out and about, getting to know different areas and meeting new people.

Back on the subject of Dael, I applied for a position on his behalf since I've been up here in Jhb. The job was entitled Junior Motorbike Technician and he went for an interview and never heard back. He asked me to find out if the people were still considering him for the position and they replied asking him to come in for another interview. And he's been taken on board. Obviously working a probation period while the other guy who hes replacing is working out his notice. But Dael says this guy just sweeps and mops and plays on his phone the whole day. While Dael on the other hand is rewiring bikes and stripping parts and basically slogging his buns off! But its something he enjoys so I've no doubt he will prove his worth.

My Christmas wish is for my future to be secured before the end of the year and hopefully for employment to start but I know it is a difficult time of the year. In the meantime I am staying industrious and building up my stock of toys, looking after kitties and doggies, doing a lot of housework, applying for jobs and going for interviews, basically just taking one day at a time. My future is in God's hands.

More later.

Momcat xx

Friday, November 18, 2011

Two weeks in Jozi under my belt...

So what have I been doing for the past two weeks..Obviously not blogging. But I have been scouring the internet for work and I have been for a couple of interviews. Now bearing in mind that I'm used to driving short distances in a small town. But the first interview I went to with a consultant was in Centurion of all places. I didn't sleep well the night before because the idea was to drive Robynne's little car (which I'm not used to) and use the Garmaps application on her Blackberry (also not used to) to find my way, all on my own. Scary! However, not being one to back down from something scary, I ventured forth and after dropping Robynne at work in Midrand, hit the road. Now the idea with the GPS is not to try and overthink the whole thing. A couple of times I would see a signboard which I was sure was directing me to where I should be but the GPS would be directing me elsewhere. Its not like me to hand over the control to someone/something else so this was a learning curve for me, haha. Anyway I reached my destination after a few redirects and u-turns and actually having to ask someone where I should be after the GPS directed me one block away from my destination. I'm rather proud of my achievement. And then this week I went in the other direction to Parktown. As an old hand at using the Garmin by this stage, I actually relaxed and enjoyed the tour rather than be worried about where I was being sent to. Both interviews with consultants went off really well but I'm still waiting to hear if they will become interviews with potential employers. In the meantime, time marches on, money getting used up and the last time I had absolutely no money was when Bradley was a baby and I was unemployed. So almost 16 years ago. Not a state I want to be in again for very long, I assure you!

On the home front, I am cleaning Robynne's house every day, keeping busy. She lives on a plot which entails a short drive down a stretch of bumpy dirt road to enter or exit the area. Its a security estate so really safe but still with a bit of nature surrounding the house. Almost like an oasis in the middle of the busy outside world. Its ideal for us as Robynne has a lot of dogs and with my cats, two chickens and two bunnies, its like a farmyard here. The neighbours have chickens and ducks, horses and donkeys so a rural feel to the place. The challenge has been getting all kitties settled and relaxed and its as well I wasn't rushing out to work when I first got here as I think some of the cats might have caught the first bus back to Durban!l. As it is everyone seems to be settling and relaxing well. I brought up a sick cat from Durban, Charlie, my big alpha male who developed a strange growth on his neck a few months ago and despite having the whole thing cleaned out, it grew back and showed no signs of healing. Anyway, I was just giving him palliative care and treating symptomatically. On Monday, he went downhill very drastically and I was with him stroking him and talking to him when he passed away. So he is now buried under a tree in Robynne's garden. He was a part of our family for almost 9 years. We also have kittens thanks to my two mommies who never got spayed yet, and the one mommy has been a less than sterling mom. So my time has been cut out.

I'm just taking one day at a time at the moment. Some days are good, some are bad. The weather is always good. I hear its just permanently raining in Durban so I'm not missing that. Trying to stay positive and upbeat. And raring to get moving and get working because I feel like the world is leaving me behind. I am nevertheless extremely grateful to my family for all their help and support and I know the right position is waiting out there for me.

Happy Saturday.

Momcat xx

Monday, November 7, 2011

Wow, Life changes fast!

So the job I started in October didnt work out. The one set of people I was working for turned out to be people with some serious issues and they manipulated and intimidated the other set of people who I was getting along with fine into terminating my contract.

So I decided not to keep flogging the dying employment donkey in the area where I lived. I phoned my daughter in Gauteng and she offered to come and fetch me so that I can look for employment in Gauteng. So I'm now in Gauteng! Northriding to be exact. I dont have my own transport at present as I had to leave my old car in Durban where Dael is currently trying to sort out the brakes. However, Robynne is working in Midrand and her boyfriend works in Randburg so that would be the range of areas in which I could work and just share tranport until I can sort out my own transport again.

If anyone knows of a secretarial/personal assistant/administration position available in those areas, please could you refer me. I have been working in those fields for 20 years plus and am really eager to get stuck into a challenging position again.

I only arrived in Gauteng last night. The kids came down on Saturday afternoon, stayed over and we loaded my cats and clothes and hit the road again. So hold on Jhb, here I come!

Momcat xx

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I did it!

I signed the letter of offer from the new company and handed in my notice yesterday. I will work out my notice in the two weeks until the end of September and start with my new employer on the 3rd of October.

Okay the salary is not a whole lot better than where I'm currently working but it ticks a lot of the boxes I require in a work environment i.e. close to home, challenging work environment, amenable people and basically enough to live on, if not luxuriously, at least I can pay my bills. It is a new position so I will have to grow into it and make myself indispensable.

I don't usually leave a particular job after just six months but I have made myself a promise, after staying in jobs for long periods of time, generally not less than 3 years and after being retrenched from my last position after six years with the company, that I will not stay patiently and unhappily anywhere where the cons start to outweigh the pros. I will empower myself by moving on. The alternative is just to swallow your unhappiness and irritation and develop a stress-related illness. I already have had one of those and I'm not going to allow anyone or anything to aggravate my stress levels anymore any longer than I have to.

So wish me the patience of Job for the next two weeks as I work out my notice and a better environment at my new workplace.

xx Momcat

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Optical Illusions () () ()

Or maybe its just because I have a lot more time to think these days. Living alone with just kitties and dog for company, I do tend to spend a lot more time on internal conversations and maybe I'm thinking myself into craziness!! Just kidding....

Driving along a local road, my eye caught sight of something flying into the air in the direction of the road. It gave me a start and in that split second I thought it was a monkey dashing towards my car and I jerked the steering wheel which caused the car to veer a bit. And then I processed what had ACTUALLY been flying into the air, which ........was a spadeful of sand from the spade of a workman standing in a trench.

I'll have to watch these optical illusions carefully. They could cause me to end up in a ditch myself!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Well here I am again. This has been a year of not being around. The office where I work has a very limited amount of Internet cap and I have to be careful what I do with it.

Just to briefly bring everyone up to date. I am just about to move work again. An interview that I went for last year just after I returned home from taking Bradley to Jhb didn't pan out and they took back the lady that previously worked in that position. Now 10 months later, they are expanding and remembered me and it looks like it might work out this time.

I have been working in this real estate office for 5 months now and I am getting bored. Small companies where I cannot create my own work are not for me. I have to wait for work to come from the agents and now that I know my way around there is  no challenge. I also just finished an afternoon temp job at a vet's office just up the road and learned a few new skills but I don't like to be in an environment where pets are put to sleep. This new position will be a training environment which promises to be very challenging, coming in at the start of a new partnership and I can build up my role in the business which I enjoy doing. And bonus its also close to home. I would be working in two different offices, three days in the office of the new partner and two days in the offices of the original person who interviewed me so no chance of getting bored with my surroundings.

On the home front, Dael is in Jhb now looking for work up there so now I'm all alone with the furry ones. I am focusing on getting up to date with the remaining spays and neuters of the younger animals which I wasn't able to do with the kids at home. Its not always easy and preys on my mind that the kids are not with me any more. Its like one day you are a mom with all the responsibilities that go with that and the next you have nothing to do. Empty nest syndrome sucks! I'm focusing on getting my income and my debts sorted out now though so that when the kids need me again, I will have everything in order and be ready for them again. I am also planning on starting my Saturday afternoon hikes again and am trying to persuade my brother to go with me. He is not keen though and comes up with excuses. It would be good for him though and my vehicle is not going to get me to the hikes based further away. I will start with the local hikes though and get my fitness levels up again. The novelty of sitting at home has long since worn off.

Enough for now before it turns into a book. Will definitely speak again soon!

XX Momcat

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I'm connected again.

Well hello there! I'm still alive and very definitely kicking.

Lots of news. I'm employed again and in a half-day position this time. I will be working from 8am until 1pm and alternate Saturdays from 8am until 12 noon, which is why I'm blogging now.

My new half day employed status will give me time to continue with my knitting and also to build my own business. I have joined a multi-level marketing company, GNLD and am a distributor for them. I am using some of their excellent cleaning range in my own home having swapped their environmentally friendly products for the toxic products which I was previously using. I am also using some of their nutritional supplements and can report that my health is improved. I am now headache resistant where I used to suffer from headaches for weeks at a time and have not picked up any of the change of season bugs that are plaguing many around me at the moment. I have signed up Robynne under me so far (my first downline) and it is becoming a habit to speak to people about this fantastic business opportunity. So all good there.

Unfortunately, I lost one of my beloved kitties again. I think he was startled by an unexpected visitor, a friend of Dael's who turned up early one morning and he disappeared from my garden. A day later I was searching for him and shockingly saw his mangled body just lying in my neighbours front yard. His dogs (4 of them) had killed my kitty. I climbed their fence fully prepared to kill dogs if necessary and retrieved him and Dael buried him in one of his favourite sleeping spots. A huge loss because this kitty was full of character and a gorgeous chap. I still feel his loss. His older sister, Lovey, from Kittykie's first litter unfortunately got in the family way (still need to get her fixed) and gave birth to two ginger kittens, a boy and a girl that I have named Socks (the boy) for his cute white feet and Bunny (the girl) who is a terror with a loud voice.

Dael is not working anymore. The firm he was working for did not come through with all their magnificent promises of more money after the probation period and on achievement of his licence and Dael decided to leave them forthwith. So he is again looking for the elusive 'perfect job'.

Signing off now because I don't want to abuse the internet connection at my new job but glad to be back with you all again.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Grrr - No more internet after today!

And just when I've got into the swing of blogging more frequently!
Yesterday, the manager at my previous employers, who I have been dealing with phoned me to say that he has resigned and would also be leaving the company and since he is under the impression that there is not much more to be done by me with the various leftover work issues which I have still been dealing with, he was going to advise the IT department to collect the computer and internet and phone.
Today, the IT department phones me to arrange to come through and collect said equipment!
So I will be kind of out of contact unless I make an effort to go through to an internet cafe and go online that way. So frustrating!
Also no way of being in contact with prospective employers other than by phone but nothing to be done. I will just have to grin and bear it.
If you don't hear from me too often you will know its not because I'm avoiding you but because I have been cut off from my internet lifeline.
Speak to you all soon.
Momcat xxxx

Monday, January 31, 2011

Sixth Sense fully operational.

This morning, Dael was still tired on waking and dawdled getting ready for work. As he was sitting on his motorbike, he checked his petrol which was very low and said to me that he didn't even feel like going to work. I eventually said "Come On Dael" and he galvanized himself into action. Soon after he left though I started feeling a sense of foreboding, that maybe I should have left him to make his own decision about going or staying. He wasn't on mxit for me to ask if everything was okay and that he had got to work fine. I restrained myself from phoning him during the morning while he was working but I had the feeling that I had to get in touch with him.
So at 1.15pm when I knew he would be at lunch, I phoned. He was walking back from the shop where he had gone to buy lunch but he said it was okay to talk. He was fine but by the way there had been a fire in the workshop that morning.
A vehicle that the team had been working on had caught fire while they were running it to test the engine. Something to do with petrol that had spilled or leaked in the boot and an electrical wire that caused a spark and whoosh a big flame had gone up. Apparently all the other workers had rushed out of the way, not knowing what to do. There are apparently fire extinguishers but they didn't know how to use them. Dael grabbed an extinguisher and began to use it to put out the fire, not missing a beat. Then the spraypainter grabbed another extinguisher and also joined in and they put out the flames, averting a disaster.
Dael says he breathed in some of the white powder from the extinguisher and this was causing a burning sensation in the back of his throat. I just hope there are no side effects from this. I was very proud of him for reacting to decisively and bravely. I said to him that now he knows that he will react well in an emergency. He showed leadership qualities. I hope his employers are grateful that a disaster was averted by Dael. I have watched so many programs on tv recently which show how fast a fire can spread, especially where there are a lot of flammable substances, literally within minutes or seconds.
Never disregard your sixth sense or any feeling that you have to contact someone and speak to them.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

My two cents worth on......

Hoarding.... As in collecting items which other people might view as useless or junk but which you regard as useful and necessary and can't bear to part with.
I have been watching a tv programme on satellite tv which is on every day and find it absolutely amazing and surreal how people get trapped in this cycle of collecting material items and burying themselves in these items. Even the messiest and untidiest of us would feel a lot better about our homes and our lives after watching a few of these episodes.
However, each and every one of us has a couple of boxes of clutter and disorganisation which we don't need and can't get rid of. This is a common human condition which some people have taken to the extreme, almost associating inanimate objects with human status.
I am prepared to admit that I have a little bit of the hoarder which wars with the organiser in me that has no problem throwing things away. I will hold onto items in the hope that they will be used and eventually will get the heck in with keeping that particular item or a lot of items and chuck, chuck, chuck. I usually take advantage of the chucking mood and clean out a few different areas. I am sometimes sorry afterwards but once it is fait accompli there's no bringing an item back.
Okay so here are my collecting areas. I have a LARGE box of baby clothes including receiving blankets (which are like gold to me). These are being kept for my grandchildren. I will not give those away. Then there are Brad's last toys before he stopped playing with them. I cant just give them away because they are still good and there are still children in the family. My linen cupboard. I have a lot of little cloths and items which my mother has thrown out. I have been keeping these for a long time in case they become useful. Ditto my crockery cupboard. Ditto my clothes cupboard. I had quite a bit of paper stationery, book covers and the like, before my cat took the decision out of my hands and pee'd on everything, necessitating the big chuck out of that. Now by no means do I have anything like the problem you would see on the programme Hoarders but We All Do It. I think if we are honest with ourselves, we are afraid that once we thin out everything we don't use we will be afraid at how little of our many items we actually use regularly!
Just remember, material clutter makes our minds cluttered and the new years resolution of many of us is to thin out our collected clutter. And maybe our lives will be able to function in a more organised and calm manner too.
So be honest, what have you been collecting or holding on to for many years that is of no use to you and not used by you at all. You just feel that it is or could be useful in the future.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I seem to have the floor.

I keep checking and a lot of bloggers whose musings I follow seem to be in Winter hibernation at the moment while I have an urge to write. I guess this means I'm not a bear after all!
I have propped the curtain open so that I can glance to my left as I type and see clear across the tops of the trees in the valley below my house to the sea on the horizon. The weather is still overcast but not raining and it has cleared enough for the view to be visible. I very seldom go to the beach and have not swum in the ocean for a long time but I love being able to see it from my house. I live at the coast. Its great.
I had a very positive meeting with a consultant at a recruitment agency in Westville. I drove to Westville VERY slowly as I don't like the rattle coming from my front wheel. (Dael checked it and seems to think it is the cv joint again!). The consultant and I sat in their meeting room and had a very pleasant chat about all my work experience and skills. She seemed impressed with the 'top notch' companies I have worked for. She introduced me to her colleagues so they could fit my face to my name and cv. She is keeping me in mind for temp work and then I did my tests. These don't really phase me any more. I don't take them too seriously. For my Word test I got 88%, my Excel test where I ran out of time as I have to think and fiddle with Excel I got 70% and my typing test I got 99%. I've done typing from my school days and I was in the last grade bar one that was taught touch typing. We used typewriters in those day. Not so long ago so don't start counting my grey hairs.
And then I helped the environment...
Knowing I was coming down to Westville and would be opposite The Pavilion shopping centre in Westville I had loaded my glass bottles and food cans in my boot. I had two heavy black bags of bottles and one black bag filled with cans. The centre has a recycling depot run by a private contractor right in the bottom car park and I was thrilled to make a deposit with them. Fortunately my plastic and paper is picked up by Mondi whose truck comes along behind the Municipal refuse truck every week and picks up the orange bag of recycling which is left on the verge with the refuse. If only they would pick up the glass and metal too but I suppose doing good can't be too easy otherwise there wouldn't be any merit in it.
I was rewarded for my recycling. I went into the centre and Checkers Hyper was having their market day and I managed to pick up a few items on a one day special. I came back to Pinetown and then visited my mom. I didn't want to come home as I had to pick up Dael from work. He went to work today but didn't want to ride the bike with his leg still being very sore. He reckons its getting worse not better. I might need to get him through to a doctor for an xray or something but right now I'm just observing it. If it doesn't come right in a few days I'll make a decision what to do.
Signing off to go and make supper. Its pork sausages tonight since I let them defrost. :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Eyes Wide Shut!

Dael didn't make it to work again today. He was dressed and almost ready to go when he walked into the kitchen. All of a sudden he was doubled over clutching his leg. He felt as if his knee had 'gone backwards'. He limped out of the kitchen, making for the couch. After an examination by Dr Mom and a massage with Deep Heat also by the resident doctor (mom), it was decided that Dael's personal assistant (mom) would phone Dael's work and explain to the first person answering the phone that Dael would not make it in today as he could hardly walk. His line of work requires him to be on his feet and walking up and down the workshop all day so the 'doctor' had decided that this would not be a good idea.
Anyway, a bit later on, in conversation with big sister Robynne on Facebook, she commented that Dael was always breaking this or twisting that and it was because he didn't eat his vegetables. She felt that he should go on a course of vitamins to replace whatever vitamins and minerals and other good stuff he is missing out on by not eating veggies. Well, I feel that this issue is not just as simply solved as that but there is probably some truth to her 'diagnosis'.
My mind then wandered on to how as humans we very seldom make all the right decision with regard to what we are eating or putting into our bodies (or not putting in) by whatever means. Whatever problem or issue is proven to be caused by whatever we are doing or not doing will always happen to someone else, not ourselves.
Robynne eats all her veggies but buys fast food and takeaways probably more than once a week. She also smokes and has since she was a teenager. Okay she wants to stop but the thought of all the poisons which are proven to be in cigarettes has not been sufficient incentive for her to stop smoking yet. Drugs, alcohol, pornography, cigarettes, fast food, whatever it is that we love to partake in, as humans we never consider that it will affect us personally...
Until It Does!
As a mom, I know what I would want for my children but as I am going through the teenage years with my third child, I am realistic about what I can expect to achieve by 'requesting' or demanding my kids eat their veggies or stop smoking. I wait for the right moment and drop a comment. But it is up to each of my children and to myself and to every human being to stop pointing a finger at another person for what they are doing and to be aware of the destructive nature of their own and individual unhealthy indulgences and to be realistic about what that indulgence is doing to harm their life. I doubt that if you look at a dangerous habit eyes wide open and fully aware of its ability to cause your death that you would continue to do it?
Or maybe I'm wrong...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Job hunting sux!

Oh my gosh. What a pile of cr*ppy jobs there are available in KZN. So low paid. Robynne says she doesn't know how anyone survives in this province. Well, I wouldn't be able to and I'm starting to think I won't find something here before my funds run out.

So I have been applying for positions in Gauteng in the Northern Suburbs side where Robynne lives. Her roommate is moving out so that wouldn't be a problem but I would still keep my house here in KZN.

This is rather stressful for me because I'm a big nester by nature and I've been roosting here for 6 years now. I don't like moving and neither will my kitties but its do or die at this stage.

Another thing is I won't have my own vehicle to start with when I go to Gauteng. But I have to do it. I can't afford to go under. I have such a lot of experience and skills to offer that its an insult to have to apply for jobs for about R7-8k (or less!) a month which is what is on offer locally here. And nothing directly on my doorstep. And they expect the earth for the miniscule money they are offering. Senior skills for junior money...

I am so ticked off. No wonder I'm getting a headache every day! I am so tired of sitting at home now. I feel like my brain is turning to mush. HELP!

PS A note to my friends. If you have any connections with personnel agencies, please drop me a line and I will get my CV through to you. I have always been employed via agencies and not through answering ads.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Official Driver on the road!

Yes, Dael passed his driver's test yesterday afternoon. I am so proud - and so relieved!
He went for lessons on Wednesday and Thursday of last week and on Monday. Then yesterday, he was being picked up by Lisa of the driving school at 1pm for a double lesson before his test at 3pm. I thought it would be nice for him to come home and change and relax a bit before the afternoon's activities rather than going straight from work straight to his lesson and test. So he went on his bike and was going to ask to go off at 12pm to come home. He had originally wanted to take the whole day off so he could focus on the test but I persuaded him to go in to work as the test was in the afternoon.
Well, by 12.15pm when he wasn't home yet, I phoned him. After a long while he picked up and rather frustratedly told me that he had a job to finish and would be home as soon as he could. By quarter to one he still wasn't home and I phoned his work to be told that he had just left. I was worried as I knew that he would be rushing home now on his bike. A few minutes later I heard him screaming up the drive on his bike and I unlocked the back door. He stormed in, hot and extremely angry and threw his keys down on the counter, causing the cats to scatter. I immediately went into soothing mommy mode and sent him off to shower, preparing him a cup of coffee in the meantime. I made him some sandwiches but he couldn't eat. One good thing was that the driving school was a bit late so he had time to calm down a bit. He was very disappointed with his work though as his test has been booked since before he started working there. They knew the importance of the day but they still gave him work to do in the hot sun and also a last minute job that HAD to be done before he left. The one boss was even asking him if he was going to come back after he had finished. Fat chance!
He asked me if I was going to come to the testing ground and I was in two minds whether to go or not but I eventually decided to go over as Dael like my support. I was driving into the testing grounds as he was driving out with the examiner. He gave me a sideways glance as he drove out, looking very tense. I missed his parking but apparently that went quite smoothly and he hadn't had to repeat any of the manoeuvres. He returned and both he and the examiner got out the car. He followed the examiner into an office with a very serious expression on his face. He soon returned and a big smile broke across his face because the paper had a small cross in the block that said Passed! So well done my son. That's two out of three children that have passed both their learners and drivers tests first time!

Fish are worse than rabbits..

at least as far as breeding goes and maybe eating! I had 6 small fish left in the baby box and decided to release another two into the main tank this morning. I emptied all of them into another container and washed the box, filled it with new water from the main tank and returned the small fish back to the box with the other two being released into the big tank. The box was still floating around in the big tank when I noticed a very small fish hiding under one of the side pieces that connect to the suckers on the side of the big tank. I managed to catch it with my small cup and then I noticed another very small baby. What the heck! Just then I realised that the mother fish was dropping a tiny fish from her body every minute or so. And the older small fish were eating them! I spent about an hour watching the mother and as she wriggled away from the baby it would rise up to the surface of the water and then I would try to catch it. It was a mission as the light was shining on the water and these babies are really tiny. I think there are some more hiding in the tank but they are not showing themselves at the moment. This is getting a bit chronic now and I'm going to have to make a plan to get another tank or take some fish back to the pet shop if the big fish cant stop procreating. Anyway that was my excitement of the day!

On Sunday afternoon, after visiting my parents, I made a stop at the local shop to buy supplies and draw money at the ATM which is situated just inside the entrance to the shop. I noticed that their was a plastic gadget in front of the slot to insert the bank card and a notice attached said that this had been installed as an anti-skimming device. I drew money but this gadget worried me. On my return home, I went online to my bank's website where there was no mention of any device like this being used. I phoned the bank's fraud hotline and they advised me that they had no knowledge of this device and that I should stop my card. This I did and I had to start my week on Monday morning at the bank to get another bank card (at my cost). The owner of the shop as well as the guy from the bank that had installed the device phoned me to tell me that I had been rather paranoid as this was a legitimate bank device but my point was: Why did the no one at the bank know anything about the installation of these devices. The bank does not communicate with its clients but expects them to blindly trust and then wonders why people are being scammed by being too trusting. I was not and am still not happy about this inconvenience and cost to myself but what does the bank care?

The weather for the past three days has been hot and humid and it is difficult to find the energy to accomplish anything that requires movement.. I have started making small inroads on the jungle that is my garden late in the afternoon. It only gets dark by 7.30pm so there are a few cooler hours that can be used for this activity but I am a little out of condition and I don't chop anything more than I feel that I will have the energy to pick up and cart to the garden heap in one session.
The kitties are all asleep at this hottest time of the day and I think I'll go and see if I can see any more tiny fish bobbing around.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The cats are helping me sort out my cupboards..

and not in a good way.
My fluffy orange cat, Torgen, has always had issues of some sort. Some years ago when I adopted a big dog he was petrified and started hiding in odd and sometimes dangerous places. For instance he spent a whole day in the wood storage hole of a built in braai (barbecue) of a house we were renting. Another time he was found huddling on top of the support pillar of the precast fence in the middle of rolls of security razor wire. He would never come home on his own but would always have to be searched for and extricated. He can go for a while without any odd behaviour but something else eventually surfaces.
His latest thing is to not use the cat litter box for urinating or even go outside. He just holds his pee in until he starts peeing just wherever he is or he sprints to my bedroom and jumps in my cupboard and starts peeing there.
So this is how he is 'helping' me in my cleaning venture. I have had to clean one shelf FULL of items that were stored in there. He had been hiding and sleeping on a pile of stationery and just peeing in there as and when required. I had to eventually clean out and move everything from there and just toss out all the stationery which was obviously ruined by the urine. I have to make an effort to remember to close this cupboard. Dael's clothes are stored on one long shelf of this cupboard and he always leaves the doors open.
This morning, I had barely got up and ventured out my room when Torgen raced past me at high speed and leapt into his new cupboard. This section has been storing all Bradley's old toys, army men, some books, etc. An ideal hideaway spot for a troubled cat. As I peered into the cupboard, Torgen was urinating a steady stream of pee into the box of toys. I saw red and knew that some immediate action was required (at just after 5am).
With the cat still in the cupboard, crouching in the back, I fetched a black garbage bag which I placed on the floor and started pulling out the damaged contents of the cupboard onto the black bag. Eventually the nervous cat got the idea and leapt out of the cupboard and zoomed through the cat hole in the french doors and outside, which is where he should have gone in the first place! Once everything was out I could see that he has been peeing in there for a while and the urine has soaked through to the chipboard on the bottom of the cupboard which fortunately Dael says can be removed without causing the main cupboard to fall down. In the meantime I have just sprayed that area liberally with my Bleach and water mixture to at least sanitize it a bit so my room doesn't continue to stink of pee.
Now the next thing is to go through all the toys that I removed from the cupboard and throw them into a bucket of bleach water to clean them. Then they will have to be dried and stored in a bag probably in one of my top cupboards.
See how my cats help me to get to my tasks that I have been procrastinating about doing. They so helpful to their mom. :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Getting into the New Year

aka known as My State of Mind.
I feel as if I am being torn in several different directions.
My immediate challenges are:
1) Organising my paperwork. This has been getting out of control for over a year now. My home desk is covered in papers and these are covered in paw prints. The cats LOVE walking and lying on these and this doesn't improve the appearance of anything that they have used as a bed.
2) Organising my Parents paperwork!? Several years ago (maybe 10) I bought files and sorted out as much of their paperwork as I could. This was a mission and for months afterwards I was being asked where various bits of paper were so needless to say I am not enthusiastic to do this again. The filing was never continued and papers are in various containers and boxes and heaps! Nonetheless, being the dutiful daughter that I am, I emptied one of my own alphabetical sorters and ventured forth yesterday to my parents home. I have started sorting out my mom's filing and need to get down there again for another session. This is likely to be a slow process as I don't have solid blocks of time to devote to this duty.
3) Looking for a job. My new procrastination. Mainly because all the consultants are situated out of town and my car is not up to scratch anymore so that making any trips at all are a cause of anxiety for me. Also this would entail me primping and getting all dressed up in work clothes which I am kind of getting out of the habit of! Terrible to hear, isn't it.
4) Cleaning up the house and the garden. Not happening. Oh I tidy up but please open the cupboards with care. You have been warned.
The easiest and most unnecessary pastimes for me at the moment are knitting and sewing my gorgeous toys up while I listen to (watch) tv. This is easily classed as being my escapism at the moment and I have to force myself away from it every day in order to achieve all or some of the above items which needs to be done. I wish I could be making a good living out of the knitting but I am not so I need to put it into perspective.
All this is part of the process for me. I will get there eventually but forging ahead with all that needs to be done requires constant mental organising and planning on a daily basis to get accomplished. Fortunately the angel of action on my shoulder is very insistent and NAGS to get me to move away from the couch and the knitting until I almost throw the knitting down in frustration and move off to get down to one of my many tasks to be done.
The best way I have of getting things done at the moment is breaking all the above big tasks down into small chunks and just doing a little bit of everything every day.
Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Continuing the theme of satisfying work environments

I have to mention that Dael has now completed his three month probation period at the panelbeating/mechanic workshop where he started just after I came back to KZN after my Jhb trip. After a few frustrating weeks where he just seemed to be sanding the vehicles and almost put himself to sleep during a bout of monotonous sanding, he has moved on to being a valued member of staff.
He worked until about 2pm on Christmas Eve and only received R50 extra on top of his week's pay as a Christmas bonus. He still raced off and purchased small gifts for everyone with his meagre money, carrying everything back home in his backpack. All I saw when he came up the driveway on his motorbike was the top half of a garden gnome sticking out of his backpack.
He had to return to work on the Tuesday following Christmas and that day was left to work in the factory as well as receive vehicles and talk to clients and also answer the phones as not everyone had returned to work. He proved himself with his reliability and responsibility.
He has become a working dynamo and knows almost everything about bodywork already including operating the hydraulic equipment used to pull out dents. He brings the vehicles he works on to primer stage ready for final spraypainting. He instructs the indigenous workers, some of whom have been there longer than him. They try to get away with shortcuts and he doesn't allow that but rather confronts them as needed to get the job done right. He is not intimidated.
Last week he worked one day less as he was off work the day he had his fall from his bike. The next day he worked overtime to finish a vehicle and in fact only got home at 8pm. He received R100 on the spot from his boss. On payday he received the full five days pay and R50 extra. He was very pleased.
He comes home filthy every day with dirt on his face even having worked on about 4 vehicles in a day, just going from vehicle to vehicle not having to be told what to do or how to do it anymore. As long as my son is learning new things and being treated like an intelligent being he is happy. I am proud of him and I am very glad we held out for the right job for him.
I drove him to work this morning as my old driving school instructor who taught me 27 years ago and also taught Robynne, will be meeting him at work after his day is over and taking him for a driving lesson, just to see how his driving is and to give him some pointers. I am sure he will learn fast. His driving test is next week Wednesday at 3pm and I am counting on him passing first time. Once he has his drivers licence, it will benefit him at his job too.
Things are moving ahead with my son and I am sure this year will be positive for Dael too.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Positive start to the year.

Robynne had registered on the Au Pair website, looking for work and while she was visiting me over Christmas, she received a call from a gentleman who was also registered on the site looking for an au pair for his 14 year old son. They made arrangements for an interview the following week.
Robynne attended the interview and liked the family although she didn't receive a reply immediately as the man was still interviewing another candidate. She sms'd me on New Years Day so say that she had the got the job.
Unfortunately it worked out that she hadn't worked her notice at her current employers and was in fact on leave from them. She decided that she wasn't going to work her whole month's notice as she hadn't been happy with them for a long time and despite meetings with her bosses, conditions were still onerous with nasty emails and comments flying about. She went in to work on the day that the company opened and cleared her computer and packed a box with her personal belongings. She had intended to work at least that week but the only other person at work was a woman who had hounded her for the entire period of her employment and she decided to just leave that same day. She emailed her resignation to all the applicable people, got in her car and left.
She apparently had a phone call from her boss as she was driving away saying that her leaving like that was illegal and she should return to work immediately. She phoned me for moral support and information and I told her that these people were just trying to intimidate her. Obviously, this is not the usual way to handle a change of employment but these people were pushing her into depression. It was only by me counselling her over the phone on various occasions that I think she hadn't walked away from this company before now. I told her that the most they could do was to charge her with absconding, hold a disciplinary enquiry and dismiss her in absentia.
She started work with her new family yesterday. The 14 year old and his younger sister (who will be living with her mom but is there this week) were playing Xbox and then Robynne helped make a meal. She had to take the kids to meet their dad later that afternoon to register at a new school. Today Robynne and the kids were going for brunch and then ice skating this afternoon. What fun. From working in a stuffy office to being able to have fun with kids and earn your living while doing it. Robynne is very responsible and quite strict but she knows how to have fun and enjoys going places and doing things. I'm sure she will do wonderfully in this job and its so different from what she was doing before that I'm sure it will have a positive impact on her health and outlook. Also good as while the boy is at school, she will be able to return home to supervise Brad with his work and spend time with him. Much more flexibility now and she gets a car while she is at work so she doesn't need to use her own car for running about.
I'm so happy my girl has made this a positive start to the new year.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Another year older and more handsome every day.

This pic of Bradley was taken at the Johannesburg Zoo at the end of September 2010 the day before I had to leave him with his sister and return alone to KZN. :(
My baby celebrated his 15th birthday on December 25th, 2010 - my Christmas baby.
This fact went unannounced on Blogger but not unnoticed in our family. Bradley came down from Jhb with Robynne for just six days.
When I saw Brad again after two and a half months, I couldn't believe how much taller he had grown. He is towering over me now. He seems to be maturing so much now at this stage and unfortunately I am not there to spend this time with him.
Happy Birthday, my Brad and may this next year bring you a lot of success as you continue with your homeschooling and also continue to develop your character as a strong, resilient, good-natured and loving young man of principle. I have every faith in you, my son.
I love you and miss you a lot.
Lots of love, Mom. xxx

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Babies in the house

I have a big fish tank which sits on my kitchen counter and I decided towards the end of last year that I needed some more fish as I was down to two neons and one of those big tank cleaning fish whose name I can never remember. So I popped into our local petshop and bought two Platies one orangey one and one yellowy one which turned out to be a pair. I only realised this when, while making coffee one morning I glanced into the tank and noticed some tiny new inhabitants looking out at me. I did a double take in surprise and then sprang into action as I knew that the bigger fish would soon be trying to eat them. I got a small bowl (since I can never find my fishnet when I need it) and after scooping and chasing for a while had caught them all and placed them in a large vase.
After a few days the water in the vase was getting smelly and I decided to visit the petshop again for a better method of separating the tiny fish. I purchased a little plastic box with tiny holes in the bottom of it which is placed in the main tank with the top of the box just above the surface of the water in the main tank. Then I separated out the slightly bigger baby fish from the really tiny ones and the bigger ones went straight into the big tank with the really tiny ones being placed into the box. I think I'm going to have a population explosion soon as I now have about six baby fish of various sizes of growth in the main tank and nine teeny tiny fish in the box. From having an empty tank Ive now got a fair fishy population from one set of parents. I'll have to start selling them back to the pet shop soon.
Anyway I decided to take some of the larger babies out of the box on Thursday but while I was pouring the water in the box into a container I was careless and two tiny babies fell into the main tank. Immediately, one of the neons was chasing after them wanting to eat them. I chased the neon away and luckily managed to catch the babies again as they come right up to the surface of the tank. I got a fright though. I also saw a tiny tiny baby which hasn't been in the box at all but it was too wily for me to catch. I have some floating bushy plants which the little fish love hiding in so I think these have helped the babies to hide away from the bigger fish when necessary.
I have started talking to the fish as well. I call to them: "Fish, fish, fish" They come over to the side of the tank that I'm on. I'm sure they recognise me.
Obviously not being goldfish, they have more than a three second memory. :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Its time to blog - and a Happy 2011 to you all too..

A couple of my friends in the blogging community have come looking for me to see if I'm still alive - and I am! I greatly appreciate your concern as we all like to know that we have left a tiny footprint somewhere in the world.
Christmas has come and gone and I enjoyed a visit from Robynne and Bradley who drove down from Jhb with Marco, Robynne's boyfriend. It was also an introduction for Marco to my parents and our Christmas traditions. He is probably still getting over the shock of it all! Kidding, we're not that bad.
Unfortunately for a lot of Jhb holidaymakers, Durban is not the sunny destination it used to be some years ago at this time of the year and the weather is very unpredictable. I think we had two days of sun out of the six that my kids were here visiting. They brought 3 baby bunnies that couldn't be left at home and two dogs, my granddoggies, Tiny and Mini who are miniature Doberman Pinschers. As they arrived my youngest kittens, Dusty, Toby and Pixie decided to leave. Dusty in particular decided to go live in the garden under the trees for the entire duration of the visitors' stay only sneaking back for meals when the coast was clear.
I am now one dog down. Robynne decided to take Piglet, my cross Dachshund/Maltese who is about eight years old to live with her in Jhb. He is actually her dog from when she was still in school but basically also my dog from living with me all these years. I decided to let him go because he really loves her a lot. Bradley is also up there and he knows him and he will be spoiled up there even being allowed to sleep on the bed and being sent to the doggie parlour. He was really being dominated down here by Pup, his own son who made his father groom him all the time. Sadly, just after getting to Jhb, Piglet killed one of Robynne's guinea pigs in the garden. I think he must have thought it was a mole and my dogs have always been very good at catching moles. She is having to retrain him on how to act around bunnies and guinea pigs and is watching him closely at the moment.
My favourite Christmas gift was from Robynne - a book of patterns of knitted toys and I have been like a machine or a robot since they left knitting almost all the toys in the book and building up my stock for when we next go to the market. Now you know what has been keeping me busy. I have spent some time this first week of the new year looking for work and phoning some agents and am still positive that I will find the right position soon.
Dael only had Christmas weekend off and then had to return to work. He has bought a motorbike courtesy of a loan from me and has been riding to and from work. He is very sensible with his riding and doesn't mess around. Unfortunately though, on Wednesday he had just left home in the rain only to return a few minutes later saying that he had fallen. A medical vehicle had passed him on a blind corner sounding its alarm and he slowed down but suddenly realised that the car in front of him had stopped and was turning off the road. He thinks he pressed his brakes too hard for the wet conditions and his wheel slipped out and down he went. Luckily he was wearing jeans and another pair of waterproof pants. He still suffered roasties on his foot and knee and banged his shoulder and his head. He was a bit shaken and he ended up staying home. Its lucky he was only going about 40kms/hour at the time otherwise it could have been much worse. Bikes are very unforgiving and other drivers can be very thoughtless. His guardian angel was really looking after him.
I'll sign off now but I'm very glad to be back again and to see that my blogging mojo has returned. :)