Blog Archive

Friday, December 28, 2018

happy holidays


I'm afraid there will not be much of a festive feeling this year since I received a measly R300 ($21/£16) as bonus - the rest of the R11,000+ ($763/£600) I would have got was deducted for so-called "incidents" which comes down to a mistake I made sending customer artwork out for printing.

Anyone in need of 1,000 200p branded notepads, I'm your guy. 

It leaves a sour taste in my mouth when I think about being at work an hour early every single day, never taking lunch and staying late many times. Why am I such a sucker?



Friday 14 December

Yay, the first day of my annual leave.

Slept late and lazed about. Installed StarCraft.

There is a list of chores as long as my arm that I hope I will get to finish in my three weeks off.

Meanwhile, as you can see I'm sharing some of my favourite memes from Pinterest. I guess I'm a bit of a pinaholic.. I have exactly 17,097 pins at this moment. Don't you just love Pinterest? Follow me here.

The One had a sleepover at his brother's, who is a bit unwell. I had crackers and cheese for dinner and spent the night playing StarCraft.


Saturday 15 December

I thoroughly checked out the television that we'd inherited from an elderly family member who hardly used it - a beautiful 32" Telefunken HD LED TV.


Sunday 16 December

I was up early and went to Builder's to spend whatever was left in our account to get what I needed to install our new TV against the wall. The old TV was filthy but it cleaned up nicely and was almost as good as new.

Our sound system had breathed its last the week before and I removed it with the old TV. I unceremoniously tossed it in the trash. I've been shopping around for good finance deals on a new system since but I still have to convince The One that we really need it...


Sadly the signal reception on the new TV is extremely poor. Perhaps it's just the ineffective indoor antenna we're using. We haven't had satellite since we moved here so we rely on the four "free" channels for news and entertainment. On the old TV SABC1, 2 and 3 were quite ok, with eTV at about 70% - still fine to watch. With the new setup you can just about make out what is happening on SABC2. SABC3 is very poor but if you jangle the antenna a bit, it becomes better. SABC1 only has sound with the occasional image; eTV is the only channel that is watchable. How I wish we could afford to get satellite again!

Monday 17 December

I was up at the crack of dawn to take the bin out.


After dallying around a bit I visited Mother to take her our old TV. I checked the bin on the driveway before I left - someone had already grabbed the bust sound system and it was almost empty.

Mother was very thankful for the TV because her set in the living room had broken down a couple of months ago. I helped her set it up but it was hardly any trouble because when I'd plugged it in and switched it on, all four regular channels were perfect - much better than we'd ever had!

When I got home I thought our bin had been stolen at first. I guess I'm a little paranoid about it... thankfully I found it half a block away on the other side of the the street where the garbage guys had left it.

The weather service had forecast 30% rain but sadly not a drop fell and I had to water patches in the garden to keep most plants alive.

Tuesday 18 December

The boss and two or three other people was at work to unpack (did I mention that she moved her shop again?) so I was on tenterhooks all day, expecting a call. Thankfully I was left alone.

Washed dishes and napped, then played StarCraft.

30% chance of rain again and still not a single drop. Can't water the garden two days in a row. Hang in there, guys!

Wednesday 19 December

A client phoned me at 9:00. I didn't answer and switched my phone off. These people have no respect for privacy.

Another unproductive day. StarCraft.

30% chance of rain. Surprise, surprise... not a drop. Revived the plants as much as I could after 18:00 because of the water restrictions.

Thursday 20 December

60% chance of rain!

I was so excited that I mowed the front lawns in anticipation of the promised showers. The back lawns are so parched and sandy from the searing heat that I didn't even have to mow there. I also poisoned the weeds in the driveway and neatened some flowerbed edges before it became too hot to work out in the sun.

All dusty and sweaty I took a nap but when I woke up there were still no clouds and not a drop of rain materialised.

I washed a pile of dishes The One wasn't getting to.

Friday 21 December

I read a little bit of The Brothers Karamazov before I became so sleepy that I just had to take a nap. It has only taken me six months to get halfway through the tedious book. If I keep up the pace, I should be done by June 2019.

The weather service had forecast 60% chance of rain again and once again, nothing came of it. Pretty fed up with the weatherman's empty promises. Watered where I could until it was dark.

Saturday 22 December

Cleaned the toiled. StarCraft all day long. 

Sunday 23 December

I'd promised myself that I would clean the rest of the house but when presented with the mammoth task I bailed out and took a nap before playing StarCraft instead.

Monday 24 December


I finally got around to cleaning the house. There was a bit of an episode with Anna streaking across the damp floor and I had to chase her outside with a broom. She got a scare and had a bladder accident on a section I'd just laboriously scrubbed. I chased out the other two dogs as well in case they had similar inclinations and scrubbed the warm pee from the otherwise spotless tiles. Thankfully The One was visiting his brother at the time; he would have berated me for abusing the pets.

Just so that you have an idea about the state of the floor, the following picture shows a section of clean floor (shiny tiles in the background) next to a section of unwashed floor (in the foreground).


I hope you appreciate the fact that I stopped halfway through the arduous task of cleaning the floor, washed my hands, and then took a picture for you.

The power went off unexpectedly around 17:00. I reported it online but only got the response that it was part of a network outage and was being attended to. I'm pretty sure that Satan is in control of our electricity: as soon as the temperature reaches 35°C (96°F) rising, he cuts the power to see us squirm in the heatwave with no fans.

We were forced to go sit outside to keep from melting. The neighbours were totally soused after having partied all day and tried to sing carols in the dark; they couldn't quite manage and ended up belting out Rihanna's Umbrella-elle-ella eh eh eh a couple of times. Then they went out... drunk drive much? 

A promising storm brewed with high winds, dark clouds and a great deal of thunder. It even started raining but it stopped directly, as if someone had flipped a switch. The little bit of moisture evaporated immediately and the humidity rose sharply, making the heat even more unbearable.

I was feeling grumpy from having scrubbed my fingers to shreds half the day. The satanic heat also chewed on my nerves, but I was most upset because I was missing my favourite reality show (The Amazing Race). I'd watch the episode online, had I any idea which season and which episode to look for.

We fired up up the Bluetooth speaker that I'd got with my phone when I upgraded so we had something to listen to at least. Luckily I always keep emergency music on my phone.

At exactly 22:00 the electricity came back on. I had a cold shower while The One heated a beef lasagna his brother had sent. We ate in silence.

Then I played StarCraft. 

When the One and I were having our last fag before bed outside at 00:50, the neighbours got back from whatever booze-up they'd been to. They parked in the street and blared loud, angry music until the sun came up.

Tuesday 25 December

We had the most wonderfully loud music, from the flats to the east this time. All day long. It was louder than the Bluetooth speaker could block out. Truly wonderful.

I tried playing StarCraft but it crashed badly and I lost all my days of progress. I really didn't feel like starting over. The One visited his brother again and I just lazed about.

I watered the garden from 18:00. I'd skipped three days in a row, expecting rain. The garden was in a sad state.

Around 22:00 the music calmed down a bit, only flaring up at random intervals. By 00:00 most of the drunkards seemed to have stumbled to bed, as did we.

Showering in the middle of a heatwave is really useless; you start sweating the second you turn off the water. Still, I haven't missed one night. I suppose it gives comfort for a little while.

Wednesday 26 December

The One had received his monthly stipend from our benefactor the day before - earlier than usual, and I was up at 8:00 to go to the shops for provisions. 

Strangely, our local OK and Spar were both closed and I had to drive to Kilnerpark Spar. I guess it must have something to do with supply and demand during the festive season but the quality of their meat and fresh vegetables were absolutely shocking.

At 15:00 when the heat of the day reached its searing peak, Satan pressed his button and we had another power failure. I was having a nap but I awoke as soon as the fans stopped.

We sat outside again and I reported the outage online once more. This time there was no response but I checked the municipality's Twitter and FaceBook pages and discovered that most of the surrounding neighbourhoods had been without electricity since 17:00 the previous afternoon due to a cable fault. Their estimated time of completion was 2:00 the following morning - at least 11 hours away! I realised that was why our local shops had both been closed.

We had been spared the night before when all around us it was dark and I guess I should have felt thankful for that. Still, I was very upset at the prospect of another smothering night, bored to tears. As a treat, the One sent me to go buy KFC. I kept the aircon on full blast for the entire trip.

Miraculously the power came back just after we'd eaten the tough, days old chicken around 18:00 - well in time for a cold shower and a movie on the new TV. I chose Isle of Dogs. While the resolution is truly spectacular and gives a real cinematic experience, the TV's sound still leaves a lot to be desired.

Thursday 27 December

Lazy day. So much to do that I took a nap instead. I woke up terribly dehydrated an in a state of utter confusion.


The One was gone for a while, taking his mom shopping. Watched some TV.

20% chance of rain - only got a light shower that lasted all of 5 minutes. Dejectedly watered the droopy plants.

Watched Suicide Squad.

Friday 28 December

One more day before payday! Tomorrow I will take Geoffrey and myself for much needed shaves.

I also need to get provisions for the house and a hoe.

No, not that kind. I need to dig a new flowerbed in the hardened soil in the side garden and a sturdy garden hoe is just what I require to do that. Now we just have to hope that today's 80% chance of rain transpires to soften the soil.

With just more than a week of leave left, my list of chores is growing ever longer and there are precious few entries that have been ticked...


Written by I

Sunday, October 28, 2018

hail


Two weeks ago we had a major hail storm.

That's right, I've been sitting on this post for two weeks because I've been too lazy to actually post it.

*

On Saturday (13 October), I took Geoffrey and myself for our bi-monthly haircuts. If I remember correctly, it had been overcast and uncomfortably hot and humid all morning.


I used the excuse of having had to drive around not to work in the garden and had a snooze when we got back home all shaven and shorn.

By late afternoon it had started raining and it cooled down a little. Around 17:00 hail started falling suddenly and The One and I went outside to observe from the relative, if noisy, safety of the carport.

The hail came down in buckets and the stones grew alarmingly large, making a deafening racket on the steel roof.



As suddenly as it had started, the hail stopped. It had become icy cold and I started shivering so I fetched a coat.


Shortly after, a second even more severe wave hit us.


Some hailstones were so large that they made dents in the carport. Who knows what the cars would have looked like if they'd been out in the open?



When the storm was over, we went into the garden to inspect the damage.


The previous photo shows me taking this one:


The devastation in the garden speaks for itself.




The next morning, the destruction was even more apparent.






Lizz assisted me in assessing the mutilation.


Even now, two weeks later, some plants still look terrible and I'm not sure whether they will ever fully recover.


*

The following day was much cooler and I pushed my laziness to one side. Yes, I actually cleaned the house. 

Scrubbing week old spots of vomit and other dubious secretions from the floor, I could only think of one thing:


Incidentally, I'm pretty sure my guardian angel feels exactly the same way my about me trying to clean up my life.

Written by I

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Saturday, September 15, 2018

preparing for his return


This is day fourteen of fourteen.

In less than 24 hours, The One will be back home!

*

Last night after posting I decided to watch another film and I chose Treurgrond.

It was one of the most unsettling films that I have ever seen in my life. It's excellent, yes, and very well made; directed by Darrell Roodt, known for unforgettable films such as Sarafina!, Cry, the Beloved Country and Little One. It even won Best Foreign Language Film at the Film Fest International in Amsterdam earlier this year.

Nevertheless, highly disturbing and definitely not for sensitive viewers of any kind.

I haven't decided if I'll watch another film tonight. It'll have to be something chirpy and frivolous after the last two sombre ones.

*

I slept until 10:00 this morning and it was glorious. I had a leisurely time until I started realising how many things still had to be done before The One returns tomorrow.

My motto in these matters is the same as Nike's. If you think too long about doing something unpleasant, you'll find a million reasons not to do it.

So I started just doing it by washing clothes.

Well, I tried. The machine kept draining water out as it was taking water in. After a while it flashed an angry amber E1 at me and stopped. I consulted the user's manual and discovered that the code means water intake is too slow (i.e. too little water in the drum, by my reckoning). I tried again, with the same result. It took me a quite while to figure out that the drain hose was below the level of water in the drum and so precious water flowed in and straight out (water flows from higher elevation to a lower elevation) . How the machine had managed to wash two loads last week is beyond me.

Committed to getting the washing done, I raised the drain hose to the recommended height with much effort and then switched on... thankfully it started running like a Swiss watch with no more incontinence.

While it was pounding the first load, I quickly mowed the lawns. Not all of it, fortunately. Just patches here and there that are starting to become bushy. I also watered the plants - again, only patches here and there that seem to be ailing. The rest of the desert will have to wait for the rain.

As I finished watering, the first load of washing was done and I started the second one. I hung out the first to dry and then I washed the dusty car so that it can look spiffy for its important trip tomorrow. The second load was done by the time the car shone (I'd selected a shorter washing programme... still getting to know the new washer) and I added that to the clothes already on the washing line.

I had a quick lunch consisting of leftovers from last night. Then I had forty winks on the couch and then I picked up the parched dog poop off the parched lawns. Not finished by a mile, I sprayed the amaryllis and clivias with pesticide to ward off caterpillar attacks like the devastating ones from previous years. It was so hot outside that the clothes were dry by then and I took them off the line.

My biggest chore by far was the next one. There was a week's worth of dirty dishes again. It took more than an hour to clean, dry and put away everything. I also cleaned out leftovers that I didn't trust anymore from the fridge and washed, dried and packed away those dishes too.

Time for an early dinner. I was sore from all my chores and not in the mood for something complicated so I made two minute noodles with cheese grillers. Delish.


Then I fed the dogs and took them for a constitutional outside, and then I folded and packed away all the clean clothes.

After all of that I trimmed my beard and sorted out my disgusting toenails. Then I had a long, relaxing shower.

Tomorrow I'll clean the bathroom and wash the floors. There is also another half load of soiled clothes to wash. Hopefully I'll have time to add a curtain or two to make it a full load... Mother taught me that nothing spruces up a place like fresh curtains.

I want to start cleaning myself by 14:00 because I must leave at 15:00 to pick up The One from the airport at 16:00.

Dinner tomorrow evening will consist of deep fried fish and chips from the freezer with veg that are still in the shop. I wanted to do something extravagant to welcome The One home properly but unfortunately time (and cash flow) will not allow it.

Every bit of effort will come into perfection when my beautiful husband is back home with me and our pets tomorrow afternoon.

Written by I

Friday, September 14, 2018

land of mine


This is day thirteen of fourteen.

The One returns on the day after tomorrow! Excitement level at about 50%, rising at a rate of knots.

*

Tonight I really didn't know what I was going to post about so I watched a film instead, choosing to post after.

For some bizarre reason I love stories about wars. Perhaps I was a soldier in a previous incarnation? 

My favoured armed conflicts are the Anglo Boer War, now called the Second Boer War or the South African War (I guess I feel personally involved because during its course my very own kin was brutally maimed by the British, only a generation or three ago), and the Second World War. Band of Brothers will always remain a firm favourite.

The last film I watched about the great war was Dunkirk some months ago and I liked it a lot even though it was quite upsetting at times. All those sinking ships touched a cord of some previous life, I guess.

Anyway, stories about the war have been told so many times that I really appreciate it when a fresh perspective is used to make the narrative engaging.

Such was the film I had chosen to watch tonight: Under Sandet, or Land of Mine. Nice word play in the English title.


I don't want to give away too much about the plot so I'll just say that, while the film proved to be somewhat predictable and pretty distressing it is, in the end, very satisfying. Compelling enough to make me forget about my own little wars (see below) for ninety minutes.

Those whose opinions are prized in these matters describe it as "Heartfelt", "Powerful", "Superb", "Striking", "Accomplished" and I find that I agree with all of those.

*

I went to bed at 23:30 last night and I was a different person for having had all that sleep.

More than I was entitled to, actually... This morning when my alarm clock went off I grabbed it off the bedside table. Usually I press the snooze button, put the noisy thing back in its place and let myself drift back to dreamland a couple of times; however, this morning I fell asleep again while I was still holding it. I must have pressed the kill switch at some stage because when I surfaced it was already light outside and I was over an hour late. Traffic was an unbelievable, but not unexpected mess. As was work in general.

My own little wars? These, currently:
  • Terrible stress lasting all day long after arriving at work late;
  • Expecting peace back home eleven stressful hours later, I let the dogs out but some kids were hanging over the wall, spraying the animals with some diabolical concoction;
  • About halfway through my film a fat silverfish jumped at me from under my keyboard (getting pretty high off the fumes from the mothballs I strew around)

Thankfully tonight's film has put everything back into perspective in the great scheme of things.

Written by I

Thursday, September 13, 2018

12/14


This is day twelve of fourteen.

I can feel my excitement level rise slowly but surely. Three more sleeps before my world will become complete again.

*

I'm happy to report that I got a nice chunk of sleep last night.

For one thing it wasn't so cold and the dogs were more relaxed on the bed, not desperate to get under the blankets for a bit of warmth all night long.

For another, I went to bed at a more or less respectable time, well before the witching hour. I never watched my film, instead deciding to do something mindless and satisfying that doesn't take a lot of concentration. 


It was still hard to get up this morning but I didn't feel like a ghost of myself. Good thing too, because it was an enormously stressful day at work and I'm pretty sure I would have cracked had I been as exhausted as yesterday or the day before.

What with the boss yapping at me in one ear about how late her in-house calendar is (I'm currently on the third major redesign), and clients loudly complaining in the other ear about how long their stuff is taking, it's a miracle that I got anything done. If I had a third ear I'm convinced some self-righteous bully would be whining into it about something that I wasn't doing quickly enough.

That being said, I surprised myself by designing a complicated infographic from scratch in just two hours today for a client who thinks I've been working on it for a week. I really didn't know I could work that fast.

Anyway. Time for another spot of Minecraft before I go to bed. It's going to be even earlier than last night, I can tell you that. I know I'll thank myself for my foresight in the morning.

Written by I




Wednesday, September 12, 2018

four sleeps


This is day eleven of fourteen.

I don't think I intended to post every night while The One is away. I suppose I thought that I'd run out of things to say.

I'm very glad that I have been able to write so much, especially after having neglected the blog so much for the last year or more. I must say that I've come to look forward to posting this regularly, gathering and organising thoughts and material that I want to use in my evening post throughout the day.

*

When I was a child, we used to count how many "sleeps" there were left before the arrival of a long awaited event such as a school holiday or going on vacation. Tonight I'm glad to report that there are only four sleeps left until The One returns and everything can go back to normal.

What I'm looking forward to most is being able to get a decent night's sleep again. These circles under the bags under the rings under my eyes have become a permanent fixture on my face and I don't like it at all.

Last night I was diligently getting ready for bed at a respectable hour when the power suddenly went out. Luckily The One has a bit of an obsession with battery powered lights and they are strategically scattered all over the house; one was within my reach and I could easily find my way around.

To my dismay I noticed that my phone was about to die. Not wanting to be without a phone in case of emergency, I had to make a plan. Fortunately my laptop is still set up and I could use it to charge my phone. It was a painfully slow process but I didn't want to go to bed without my phone by my side so I hung around in the darkness. I microslept while staring at the laptop's screen, watching the battery drop two percent every few minutes and turning into one percent charge on my phone.

By the time my phone had charged to 20% I couldn't stand it any longer and I switched the laptop off and went to bed.

That little exercise had cost me dearly and it was after 1:00am when I settled down for the night. Because it was absolutely freezing once again, I'd cunningly added two extra blankets so that the pets could have their own little nests and not hog mine. Even so, I battled to fall asleep; I was still half awake when the power came back on after 3:00am.

It's as tough I'm trapped in a recurring nightmare.

This morning I simply could not get out of bed and I snoozed for forty-five minutes past my usual getting up time. I couldn't be bothered to rush and took my time getting everything done. When I finally left home, traffic was a mess; a grim reminder of why I usually leave home so early.

Tonight I am prepared for all eventualities. I had dinner at 18:00, fed the pets and had a shower. Everything is charged up in case of another late night power failure. I'm going to watch just one film (Isle of Dogs, which I got off someone at work), after which I will switch my computer off, take the dogs out for their last pee and then crawl into bed.

Here's the trailer of the film, in case you'r interested:


Let's see how that works out.

Written by I