Saturday, March 31, 2012

Earth Hour Musings

Is it only those who aren't doing anything interesting this Saturday night that will be commemorating earth hour from 8.30 to 9.30 pm local time wherever you are. In the opinion of Bradley, we've already stuffed this world up so much that putting off the lights for an hour is not going to make much difference or mean very much at all in the great scheme of things.

I don't think Ive ever commemorated earth hour before, purely because I missed the timing. I probably wasn't doing anything very important at all. This year, I happened to look at the clock and realised that I could probably do it this year (if I get a move on and feed the cats...)

We might make a dent in the electricity consumption of wherever we are but mainly its a symbolic contribution, just as not throwing down a piece of rubbish even though everybody else is throwing things down doesn't seem like an action destined to make much difference but if an attitude or an action of just one person at a time can be changed the difference will begin to be felt slowly and surely. My kids might litter but they will definitely remember that I told them every time not to. They might not turn off the lights this year but they will remember that I did and maybe they will decide to help the environment in some way as they go along.

At the very least, its going to help you to appreciate the easy access to power that we enjoy every day if you have to put off the power in the middle of your Saturday night movie!

Do something for the earth tonight - switch off!

Momcat xx

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dental Hygiene for Dogs!

The dogs stole the old toothbrush out the shower that Robynne keeps there to scrub the concrete sections between the mosaics.

First of all Spider had the toothbrush and Big Bebe was trying to take it away from him. I alerted Bradley to the commotion and he retrieved the toothbrush and gave it to Bebe so he could take a cute photo. He then ended up play brushing everyone's teeth which was quite funny if not at all hygienic! Not that the dogs are overly concerned with any kind of hygiene...

As an aside, I have thoroughly enjoyed these last two weeks before starting work with no more pressure to look at work ads or apply for jobs, just surf the net, blog, knit and just hang out doing nothing much at all.

Momcat xx

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ive unleashed a monster...and other happenings in my world!

The monster being the newest blogger in the family...Bradley!

He always asks me why I'm typing an essay on the computer and Ive explained that I'm either typing a blog post or commenting on another blog. So on Monday, he asked me to help him set up his own blog page. I set up the basic page for him but since he has gained an understanding of what is required, he is going like wildfire and developing his blog. The problem is that now I have to fight him for computer time!

I am trying to attend a craft market every month to sell at least some of the constant stream of knitted toys I am producing. In preparation for yesterday's market, I was trying to complete a Rupert Bear and I finished a bag of toy filling. I left the empty bag on a corner of the bed next to the full bag. Fell asleep late as I was still working on the toys. When I woke, I was moving some toys around to start working again and put the big half-finished monkey down on the empty plastic bag on the bed, together with the pattern for the Rupert Bear...only to discover a few minutes later that I had put them down in a pool of cat pee! One of the cats had peed on the empty bag during the night! Much soft cursing ensued (as it was still early morning!) and I rushed to the bathroom to wash the monkey.

Anyway, yesterday's market was held in an area that I hadn't yet been to (Ruimsig). As I was travelling along on the Main Road, I started to see a lot of informal traders, taxis and shacks along the right hand side of the road. I was a little apprehensive and watchful as being in a new area, I don't always know the ins and outs of the areas and Google Maps just shows the most efficient way of getting to an area, not always the area you feel comfortable travelling through. Anyway, just after that I turned down the road where the venue was situated and found myself in a semi rural area where a lot of conference and wedding venues are situated. The venue itself, Riverdeck, is fronted by a circular driveway and a fountain water feature which are very pretty. As the name suggests, it is situated along a gushing river and they have sloping lawn, shade trees and various animals wandering around, like peacock, guinea fowls, chickens and a pig! Didn't do too much business and the first spot I chose turned out to be very hot as the morning progressed. Ill go again because its held on the last Sunday of every month, the spot is free for stallholders and next time Ill pick a shady spot...

The latest on the evergrowing Doberman is that she has now learnt to get out the enclosed garden. When Robynne and Marco moved to this house, which is one of a few houses on a big plot, they discovered that their little doggies could get out of the big garden so they enclosed a section for them which leads out from the french doors. This is made of mesh wire and tree logs and was quite sufficient for the size of the dogs they have. However since the arrival of Bebe the Doberman and now that she is getting bigger and stronger, she has discovered that she can push the wire and pull it away from the log at the bottom. In some cases I have seen her actually lifting the logs up. She gets out and the small dogs follow! She was being allowed to run around in the bigger garden on her own but now has learnt to get out of the bottom section which leads onto the long grass and off the property altogether. This section is only strands of electric fence and the fence is not switched on so altogether useless. As a result, she is having to be kept inside and to be allowed the run of the house which means that she is creating havoc with the couches etc. She is very playful but clumsy and heavy, all three a recipe for havoc! The little kittens have learnt to run for their lives when she approaches as she tries to pick them up in her mouth and also some of the bigger cats that run when she approaches...then get chased as far as she can before they jump up on something. Bradley and I prefer the discipline approach but Robynne prefers the food tempting and reward approach which does cause a bit of conflict sometimes...

One of the few times of the day that she is good is bedtime and once she decided to sleep, she sleeps through the other dogs playing, Bradley playing playstation or people walking through the house in the middle of the night. I went to the loo in the middle of the night the other night and she didn't even change position or blink. Hope her guard dog abilities improve...!

Momcat xx

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I am employed!

But getting to that point as everyone knows has been a frustrating exercise and the last leg of the process was no different.

I went straight from dropping Marco at work so was really early for my appointment at ten am. I saw the elderly lady whom I have seen on the previous two occasions as well as her son and daughter, both of whom also work at the company. I sat and chatted with them for about an hour and a half, the older lady going through various tasks I would be expected to handle, most of which she has told me before but basically it was to meet the children, all of whom are in positions of authority in the company. As the meeting ended, I mentioned that if they were seriously considering hiring me, I would need to receive an Offer of Employment within the next couple of hours as I had to let the other company that had already offered me employment know that I wouldn't be starting with them the next day.

I left and went back home but couldn't really get stuck into anything because I was sitting in front of the computer, checking for email updates every few minutes and stressing about the lack of resolution of my future. Bradley and I made a trip through to the shopping centre about mid afternoon but before we left I phoned the HR Consultant whom I had met at the very first meeting and she phoned me back to confirm that her client were preparing a letter and confirming the salary.

On my return from town, it was already after four pm and when I checked my email, still nothing received! Well by then, as you can imagine, I was freaking out. I emailed the Consultant again and she emailed back for me to relax as the employer was trying to email the letter through to me. And then the employer phoned me and apologised but said that for some reason she was battling to get emails out. Some technology issue. Murphy's law again!

Immediately, I said I would fetch the letter as I was around the corner and I battled through home time traffic and fetched my letter directly from her hand. I start work there on Monday, 2nd April. The salary is much better than was offered by the other company.

I had to phone the other Consultant and break the news to her that I wouldn't be starting with the other company, a task I hated doing because they are very nice people. I just believe the Consultant misrepresented my salary requirements to them. She actually said to me, if she could get her client to match the other salary offer, would I still consider working for them. And when I was hesitant in my reply, obviously realised what she was saying, retracted her statement and wished me luck where I would be working.

That onerous task dealt with, I could finally relax and enjoy the reality of being a part of the working world once again....

Friday, March 16, 2012

Advice please!

It doesn't just rain - it pours! Literally and figuratively. I have been for two interviews to a very local business (5 minutes away), the last interview being on Wednesday. I didn't hear anything yesterday from them and an HR Consultant who I have been dealing with phoned me yesterday to go to a new interview today with a different firm in Strijdom Park, which is also fairly close for me.

Well I thought the rain of yesterday would be over by today (it wasn't) and the power failure from last night was still a fail by this morning, necessitating some intricate fiddling with hair and clothes which couldn't be ironed but I bit the bullet and went off with Marco this morning. We had to stop at the garage to wipe a water resistant chemical on his windscreen because his wipers are busy giving up and only seem to work when the windscreen is dry not wet! I'm not joking...

Anyway through all these difficulties, I got to the interview venue safe and sound and on time if a little damp. And there was a fat kitty in reception to greet me. They have 3 office cats and these cats seem quite important to them i.e. signs up requesting visitors to be careful when moving their cars, etc.

During the course of my one and a half hour long interview, I saw five people, two of whom I would be working closely with, the general manager and the founding member of the company (general managers mom) and lastly the HR Consultant, the prognosis from all these people being very positive.

When I got home to find the power still off, I received a phone call from the lady at the other local firm where I have been for two interviews to go into their offices and see the other director whom I haven't seen yet on Monday morning at 10am. I confirmed the interview and five minutes later the HR consultant for the firm where I saw the five people today phoned and said the people liked me and wanted to offer me the start on Monday!

So now what to do? Today's job interview is offering less money but on the other hand, they are nice people, its a local firm and its a definite job. The other closer firm is probably more money, also nice people but they haven't offered me the position yet. However it seems positive with me being asked to go in for a third interview. The work here seems to be more senior while at the firm where I went today, the work is secretary to a Manager plus assisting two other ladies.

Advice welcome please...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Shock! Horror!..I nearly missed March...

How fast is this year going?

I had a comment on my last post that I'm definitely not posting enough even though I log in most days. Unfortunately, when I am stressed I not only stop eating a lot but my inspiration dries up too.

My bond over my house in Durban was on a three month suspension over the Christmas period but this came to an end at the end of February and I started getting phone calls from the bank for payment. It was decided to sell my old car which I left in Durban and I put an advert on Gumtree. The response was tremendous and it was sold within the week. We managed to pay two months of the bond with the proceeds, which gave me a little breathing room.

There is light at the end of the job hunting tunnel however but nothing finalised yet. Since last week, I have been for two more interviews, both businesses being situated close to home and either one of which could come back with a positive answer.

We went to fetch Brad's ID book yesterday from Home Affairs in Randburg and he is thrilled with it and carries it around with him. I was rather impressed with the speed with which we got the book, only having applied about mid-February. So about a month. Still while we waited for about five minutes yesterday for the person in front of us to finish, one lady was complaining rudely in a loud voice for having had to wait for 20 mins. They should try Home Affairs in Pinetown (KZN) where the average wait is an hour and a half to two hours!

I have been spending some good quality time with Bradley every day while I am waiting for work. We have caught up quite a lot with his homeschooling and are getting into a good daily work routine although Brad gets very distracted by the computer and his phone and anything else he can think of. This method is the only way I can think of to get him through his schooling, where he can work at his own pace and in manageable chunks of work. It may take a while longer than regular school but if he gets there eventually it will all have been worth it. The only sticking point in this is his father who would prefer him to go to regular school and doesn't believe in homeschooling but fortunately for Brad, I'm the one to calls the tune!

The only thing worrying me now is to find a social group for Brad. He would like to play soccer and this would probably help him to meet a few new local friends but to find a local team for him to join is proving a bit difficult. There is soccer coaching but this is a bit expensive and is not really what I want for him. I want a community soccer team in his age group for him to join.

On the 25th March, I will have a table of my knitted toys at a place called The River Deck in Ruimsig. It is a restaurant venue and the craft market is a new venture for them. Brad and I borrowed Robynne's car last Sunday to drive around and hand out some leaflets to advertise this market. We drove along a few suburban streets, basically me driving along slowly with my emergency lights flashing while Brad trotted along zigzagging across the street, in search of postboxes in which to place the leaflets. In Pinetown, everyone has a postbox which makes the job of the postman a little easier I'm sure because he then knows where to place the post! This phenomenon doesn't seem to have caught on in Jhb because only 1 house in 10 seems to have thought to put a postbox at their gate. Maybe they just don't want to receive any bills or maybe they just have all their post emailed to them. Anyway we persevered, only stopping briefly for an icecream and to walk around a pet shop and then gave up for good when the rain came down.

While I write this, rain is pouring down outside, an unknown happening for Johannesburg, or at least since Ive been up here. In KZN we are used to two weeks of rain at a stretch but here, there is a thunderstorm most day, a brief heavy rainfall and then continuing sunny days. Its unusual but also pleasant to have a rainy day today.

Signing off,

Momcat xx