Friday, 23 June 2017

Up The Paddle Without A Creek

Um did I get that wrong....... Up The Paddle Without A Creek... Nope, that's it. Sh!t just got real and my life turned upside down so yea, I feel like I am up the paddle without a creek. Or up the creek without a paddle however you feel like phrasing it. I am not sure if I am up the creek paddle'ess or if I am in that place, you know when you are on holiday and it is almost time to go home. A holiday that isn't THAT great but you having fun and you not ready to go home. You missing your animals [I am not because I am surrounded by them as I sit and type this but they are also the reason why I am floundering upstream screaming don't make me do it - I am drowning] you missing your creature comforts [oh boy ... do I miss them] but as much as you want your own bed and bath you know there are aspects of going home that you just don't want to face. Well, I guess that is me right now, but before I get onto that, let's discuss my trusty friend I said goodbye to.

We have been staying at our new [temperory] abode for almost two months now and I still don't have a routine as such. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit - all lies. It takes 2 minutes to form a bad habit and an [almost] lifetime to form a good habit. Chad and I go for a walk around the block every day when I have the energy. It is a 3 km radius from gate to gate. So we usually start off quite briskly and then lag near the end. As you may know, a brisk walk gets all the old joints and organs moving and working - some of which no longer need a jolt to get going. Here is looking at you stretchy bladder.

The other week we went for our walk and the day before I had felt quite weak and dehydrated half way through our walk so the next day I took a bottle of water with. I really struggle with drinking water since I gave up smoking and I have to force myself to drink water.  I sipped and walked and sipped and walked and finished the bottle. Without the water, my bladder gets working and ready to spring a leak long before we get back to the gate and then there is the long walk to the house. So you can imagine the desperation when drinking 500 mls in 30 minutes. I did say we start off briskly - we don't carry on walking briskly.

Well along with the joys of a leaky bladder comes a sneaky short-term memory. Sometimes it is there and sometimes it's not. Usually, when the pressure is on the bladder the memory says ciao for now. So this fine day I go rushing into the bathroom and hear a weird gulping noise when pulling down my jeans (we walk as we come - no fitness gear because that would be really stupid). I think oh my gosh my bladder must have fallen out - always the worst, but would that be so terrible. I looked around and felt a bit bladder filled disorientated and in the toilet is this weird thing - not my bladder - oh dammit that is my phone. (I didn't say dammit obviously - who says dammit in such a situation).

Since we moved here my phone has fallen out my back pocket ALMOST EVERY SINGLE DAY onto the floor. AND EVERY SINGLE DAY I BERATE MYSELF.  Everyone [Chad] is so tired of hearing how I need to get out of the new habit of keeping my phone in my back pocket. Well, I learned my lesson. The toilet was clean fortunately but phones don't care - they don't like water. I pulled it out quickly and it still worked, I grabbed a Dettol antiseptic wipe and an email notification beeped and it died.

I really was not up to spending R5k on a new Samsung A5, I wanted my phone and I wanted it fixed. We tried drying it out and Marked nagged every day for me to buy a new phone so he could chat to me from New Zealand on Whatsapp but I just was not up to getting a new phone. I could not justify the cost and I did not want a downgrade. I chatted to Mark on Hangouts but that meant logging into my laptop and some mornings it was too cold to go log in and sit hunched over a laptop. I then took my drowned phone to a little phone shop near to where we lived [60 km's away]. I paid R250.00 for a week of injecting a special chemical into the phone to see if it would work. A Samsung A5 is a sealed unit - the battery can't even come out and scraping it open with a blade can cause the screen to crap. As luck would not have it the chemicals did not work and I wasn't paying more to try and open it up. We fetched the phone on Monday in case he told a lie and did not try to fix it.

We went to the Samsung Store at the Mall of the South and the young man was super helpful but said we will never fix my phone and by the time we got to him we had been to stores aplenty and Samsung A5's are not R5k they range between R7900.00 and R8900.00 - not a chance will I spend that on a phone, even though we pay double that on a contract phone. The Samsung man said that if I have to downgrade to a Samsung J series I would be very disappointed and I might find an older model A5 at a retail store. I lovingly carried my phone around wishing life into it. We found an A3 at Game for only R2900.00 way better than the 7k plus and the difference in the two phones is not that noticeable, except the price of course. They only had Gold phones and not white and I am rather disappointed about that because you don't even see the gold - it is the back cover only.

The only reason why I gave in and bought the phone was that joy of joys I could not access Internet banking or Mobile banking unless I stood in a queue in Standard Bank for 2 hours to change my OTP to email (and I tried that  for over an hour 3x). One of the many joys I will have is saying goodbye to Standard Bank. We also had a chuckle or more an eye-rolling episode at Game. The cashier insisted that I had to RICA the Vodacom number that came with the phone even though I said I am putting my MTN sim card in. No, we have to RICA. Rica is a copy of my ID and my address written on a scrap of paper, but it is store policy so I complied. It could have been any address for all the proof I had to give and I gave  my old address where a completely new family reside. I don't know my current address. He also insisted that the new sim card has to be put into the phone and activated, because - STORE POLICY. Some eye rolling and smiling and yes dear if that is what must be done. Pick your battles because some just are not worth it. Only we discover the phone takes a nanosim and not a microsim - big difference and then it was ok - sorry take your phone and Sim Card that can't work in your phone that we insisted had to go into your phone and be activated two minutes ago. Another joy of saying bye to rules that are only in place to annoy law-abiding citizens. Try and catch a 419 scammer with his RICA phone and FICA bank account.

Turns out I also lost all my contacts so I am still enjoying a phone free life. I took up knitting so I am bowed down to wool and needles instead of a phone. I came up with this idea to knit a scarf and could only find wool at Checkers.They only had baby 4 ply so I bought blue and thought I would run out of blue then bought pink. Then decided I was not going to make a pink and blue scarf I would make two scarves one blue and one pink. My knitting is a pattern of errors and I got bored with the blue one and all the mistakes and started on the pink one. The pink one would be double the size but yesterday morning I pulled it all out because I made a mistake. I wanted a perfect pattern and then at almost the same spot I messed up again. I was going to pull it out but felt that awful feeling of doom and carried on regardless of the pattern going the same way as the blue one. I felt like I was back at school and the needlework teacher took one look at my handy work that I spent hours on and just ripped it all out because there was one tiny massive mistake. I could not do that to myself so I have another pattern of errors and yes I am showing my age - there was a time when schools taught girls to be good housewives that could cook sew and knit. And They talk about the current education system....

So last week I received an email from our Agent to say YAY my Visa has been granted and I can go and fetch my passport from the Visa Centre. Yay Yay I am so scared happy my work visa was granted. I was in no hurry to go and fetch my passport because I am responsible like that - I mean it is only my Passport and I had to play up in my mind the driving from Meyerton to Pretoria and possibly losing a passport. A real rock and a hard place situation. I figured Friday was a holiday so the roads would be busy on Thursday so we would just go this week. Chad was all like go fetch it mom. Then our washing machine broke. The same pipe that can only be bought in Midrand from Bosch that we just replaced 10 days previously had another hole in it. A three-year-old washing machine that has never had a hole in any pipe least of all that particular pipe. We don't know what the cause is but neither here nor there we decide to go to Midrand on Wednesday then Pretoria and fetch my passport. Just as a sidenote Bosch is in the same street, I think the very next building, to the Taxi Finance Offices. Needless to say we collected the part and went to fetch my passport and woke up on Thursday morning to a message from Mark on Chad's whatsapp about the massive taxi protest on Thursday morning. The march was to those same offices and we heard about it from New Zealand - sometimes we live in a news free bubble especially since I was phone free and Twitter Free but lucky stars the washing machine broke and we went on Wednesday and not Thursday.

Well, who would have known that I have to be in New Zealand before the 8th of August 2017? I still thought I had months to sort out sh!t. Yip I am up the paddle without a creek and swimming backwards upstream. Who would have thought that there is a time limit on a partner's visa? Our very expensive agent did not mention that EVEN ONCE. I told them over and over no rush. Imagine if we hadn't sold our house that incidentally, we had to have proof of owning a house before applying for our holiday visa and Mark's work visa. I know it is a super huge privilege to get a visa to work in another country, especially from South Africa - no one wants us. [Not that we were actively scouting out places to run off to - this just sort of kinda happened]. BUT, seriously, come on, I have so much to do. Chad can only go on a 3 month holiday visa until we get residence and I know he is 20 but I am already a broken hearted mother with one son ripped from by heart soul and mind. Now I have to leave Chad behind, knowing that he has to drive on these treacherous roads and if something happens I am not up the road - I am two time zones away. They say New Zealand is a family orientated country - I am not so sure right now.

I have so much to sort out. I have a 19-year-old cat that NO ONE will fly to another country and I need to rehome and I don't want to. Six months is a VERY long time for a 19-year-old cat - but six weeks is 6 weeks. JD asked me the other week if Garfield should not be 21 now because she has been 19 forever. No,, she is 19 - we got her at 6 weeks old in July 1998 - so she is 19 now. I became fixated on 19 just like Chad was 10 for many years and I was 42 for many years.  My analytical and number brain died when Clinty died and I still struggle with ages, but not that I struggle per say, I just become fixated on a number.

I do not have a right to have Garfield euthanised as she is healthy and all she does is eat and sleep {and crap obviously}. She has lived to 19 for a reason and besides not having the right to decide when her life ends she will probably outlive us all. Jingles, our Jack Russel is 14, she just turned 14, she has had a stroke and she has the beginning stages of stomach cancer or some ailment but she is not in pain {I would know, believe me if she was in pain} she eats well and is her normal shivery self. I have refrained from taking her to the vet because I know whatever ailment she has, the prognosis will not be good and the kind thing would be to euthanize her. She has blood in her stools from time to time, so something bad is lurking in her body. I am just trying to spend some time with her before we say goodbye. Now, as fate may have it or our bad luck or whatever Kharma it may be - New Zealand Immigration decided that I need to be there in a dash of speed. I don't know if our Agent is shocked that I don't want to rush off there or if they shocked that I have to be there so soon but they seemed surprised in any event. I know of other families where the husband goes months before the wife and children {Mark is on a Facebook Group}. The wives stay and tie up loose ends and the husband has to go to start work.

One of the reasons that I am enjoying my newfound {phoneless} freedom is that I really don't have time to have a chitchat with people who will not look after [Clinty's] my cat. I am prepared to pay NZ$200.00 dollars a month for her food and extra for vet bills. She is on borrowed time and her food in a month does not come up to much more than R200.00.  NZ$200.00 is a LOT of money. She nibbles all day and the dogs eat her food - she has never had a big appetite. She needs to go to a pet free home and possibly with Jingles both on borrowed time, who we will also pay for. I am at the stage of my life that chit chat about my future dreams goals and plans or nightmares are none of the said person[s]'s business because sorry to say it is just spiteful not to take my cat. I read this quote the other day - I am not anti-social I just have no tolerance for drama and fake people - that's me.

I know animal lovers will scream and shout how can you just leave your animals. We have judged people in the past for that very reason - until you have walked in someone's shoes.... and all that. She has had a good life and even though she sleeps ALL day, the air pressure and altitude flying across two time zones play havoc with healthy humans in a pressure controlled cabin - so you can imagine an old cat. I just need a few more months to sort out my life and my animals' lives. Even if money was not an issue, it wouldn't be if she was young, but the rough guestimates and they are VERY rough, of R45k an animal are just that rough guestimates. It does not include the permit fee, the vet fee for the blood tests and rabies injections and microchipping. It is a very very expensive exercise in the hope that they won't die on the plane or during the quarantine period. You would not fly your very old parent or grandparent to immigrate with you so that is the way I am looking at it. Would it be fair to put her through that really terrible and very long pain trip. I JUST NEED TIME and I don't have it. We have to kennel the dogs for an extra 60 days now, because I have to leave sooner than I thought and I don't know how they will cope. I haven't even opened the email to see the costs of an extra two months - I have preferred being an ostrich with my head buried in the sand rather than facing really big important decisions.

A tiny spark fanned the embers of an idea that came rushing and roaring into life-changing decisions that I am not ready for and too scared to face. I honestly don't know how we got to the place we at right now, but it is damn stressful.

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All content, words, and images, on this page is, (C) Chad Life Us and may not be copied, shared or reproduced in any form by any person or entity.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

The How... The Why... The Where...

Do you ever sit back and wonder how you got to where you are? Do you ever sit back and wonder if way back when, you ever thought you would be where you are today? Do you perhaps sit and think of being somewhere one day that you would or could just not imagine being? That is where I am right now and this is the how the why and the where that even boggles my own brain.

A new day always rises after the sun sets and no matter how the sun sets a new day will rise. Not my quote and far too many versions of that quote for me to credit the author, but it is a quote that gets me up and going each day. My last [published] blog post was my 101 Things in 1001 days post. I have many unpublished posts and they are unpublished for many reasons. I have also done this post 100 times in my head as well as 100 other posts but I just can't sit down. open my laptop and start typing my thoughts away.

I have lost almost all interest in blogging and Social Media as a whole. I keep thinking who really cares if I Tweet something, Blog about my life or post some random picture on Instagram. Seriously who cares. Anyway someone cares enough to get onto my Facebook account. My Facebook account that could be deactivated for all intents and purposes. The only reason why it hasn't been deactivated is that I have photos there that I don't want to delete. I received an email on Saturday night to my Gmail account that is no longer used for Facebook with the usual security message "We see you are battling to access your account... if it is not you blah blah blah. It wasn't me because I changed my email address 3 years plus ago. I did discover that my Gmail email address is still on my Facebook profile as a second email address, now removed but it does make me wonder who was trying to log in with that address.

Three months ago we went on our first ever overseas trip and I can't believe (well I can actually) that I only downloaded my photos of the trip today yesterday and have not blogged about our trip. I did lose my USB cable for my camera and a standard mini cable did not work. Our ADSL line was also down for 3 weeks after we came back from New Zealand and then canceled a week after it came back up. I borrowed Mark's cousin's card reader to download my photos onto my laptop but have no idea where I downloaded them - I only have some photos of our big move. Maybe they on his card reader πŸ˜•πŸ˜•πŸ˜•πŸ˜•

Yes, we moved house so I can tick some things off my 101 in 1001 days list, but things, like booking a plane ticket, selling the house, going overseas, was all happening when I did the list. Plane tickets were booked already so that did not count, but the trip did make ideas to come up with easier. I am going to do a post of each item I have ticked off soon.

We sold our business, it all just happened. It was all planned but the one sale fell through and then one day we had a business and the next day we didn't. Someone asked me what it feels like to be unemployed. The new owner's wife. It feels exactly the same, was I ever really employed {sorry Mark}. I still do the same each day, except I don't go into an office block, plus I worked from home for so many years on and off, it is like same old same old. I also have lots of loose ends to tie up. Now for Mark, it might have been weird because he worked every day for years and years and did not even have more than 10 days leave in the past ten years. We had so much to do that the month went by so quickly, so he was too busy to realize that he was unemployed. We packed up an almost 20 year old business and a 13-year-old home in two weeks. It was a crazy hectic hoarders nightmare time. We had invoices and documents and supplier invoices and bank statements and and and that were 20 years old.

It was heartbreaking packing up our house and we are now living in a cottage in an Equestrian Estate in Meyerton on a plot owned by Mark's cousin. We have Donkeys on the plot who come running to us for fruit every time we walk past and the resident dog who is always outside our door with his ball in his mouth waiting to play or get a treat. My new favourite shopping centre is the Mall of the South. Who would have thunk'd it - that I would be shopping in the South and loving it. We have to drive 10 km's to buy a loaf of bread, so we kind of make a whole trip of going into town. I am not a shopper and don't enjoy wandering around shopping centres but I needed to get the feel of the mall and ended up finding a Cinnabon Store and had a Chocobon Cinnabon for the first time. I also have to confess that I had a Krispy Kreme Donut or two for the first time the other week and I NOW understand the allure of donutsπŸ©πŸ’žπŸ’ž. The soft melt in your mouth awesomeness compared to the dense yucky ones I have tasted and eaten in the past - just so yummy and COULD NOT STOP. The type that is a reminder of school tuckshops in the 70's when your only choice was a ring donut, a sausage roll, guava juice or salt and vinegar chips, never made me a fan of donuts. Krispy Kreme donuts converted me. Alas since our trip to New Zealand, packing up our house and moving to a plot I am lugging around an unhealthy ton of weight and I need to back away from  Krispy Kreme and Cinnabons and get into my clothes.

The big reveal is that Mark is now living and working {and posiibly hating it} in New Zealand. The contents of our home is on a ship making its way to an unknown location in New Zealand. The one and only thing we did not procrastinate about was getting our stuff out of storage where it was for a week until Mark got his visa and get it off to New Zealand. Chad and I are going in a few months, Mark, however, wants us there sooner, now that he is there and missing us. I was unsure of posting this on my blog as it may never happen and he may get on a plane and come home any day, but so many people know our plans and my blog is password protected and anyone reading it probably knows our plans anyway. Mark has gone from being a boss for 20 years to now being a blue collar Foreman worker in a foreign country. We knew it would be tough, he thought it woulld be a breeze because he always said having your own business was like having a noose around your neck and every month it gets tighter and tighter. Working for a foreign boss in a foreign country is a bigger noose I think.

Living in a foreign country is like being a house guest in someone's home and you never insult your host's hospitality, but sometimes as humans we go behind closed doors and bitch about things that our host does that annoys us. So there will be some behind closed doors bitching on this blog. I have a blog post in the making about Communal Living - the pitfalls and annoyances.

So yes, the last time I had a major shake up in my life was in 2007 when Clinty died. It was tragic and heartbreaking and I will never get over it. I don't know how I got here 10 years later. I also, 10 years prior to that, did not even imagine that Clint would be taken away from me. In 1997, I had two boys, I did not think I would have only one again 10 years later. Now we have a different change, that cannot compare, but during the ever changing constants of our lives, I never once thought I would go on an overseas trip and I never ever wanted to leave my home or my home country and look where I am now.

Chad and I are enjoying our solitude from Mark {sorry Mark} but we have so much else to deal with that it has not hit us really. Having Mark living in another country and having scaled down our home to a permanent camping trip means easy meals like microwave Haddock and Salad for me (Mark hates fish} and Two Minute Noodles for Chad every other day - loving that.

Another yes in our lives is that the Checkers Little Shop Mini Groceries are back so Chad and I are feeding our obsession by finding things to buy from Checkers. We don't do big shopping trips because we have downscaled to T-Minus Zero and we are also trying to finish whatever we have, but we really have to get all the Minis this time. Last time we missed out on a few and those are all in a box on the way to New Zealand. A really awesome reminder of the stuff we used to buy 😜. Don't knock South Africa - our malls and shopping centres and products are light years ahead of New Zealand - as are our houses. We are a third world country with first world services, standards, and expectations. I will write more about that when I finally document our trip.

I now have time to blog and I signed up to do some Udemy and Shaw Academy Courses but I am so lazy, it has been over a month since we moved here and I have done nothing. OK, I lie going to the shops takes a whole day, but I actually don't know what I do on the other days, because I haven't tied up all the business loose ends as yet. So let me take a crack at work again.

So that is my big reveal...

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All content, words, and images, on this page is, (C) Chad Life Us and may not be copied, shared or reproduced in any form by any person or entity.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

101 Things in 1001 Days

 The decision to do 101 things in 1001 days was not taken lightly. I had been thinking about it day and night from when Sammy put the challenge out there when she posted her 101 Things in 1001 days list. Chad is so sick of hearing it because I said he must join me so we can put something positive out into the Universe so we can get something positive back. Mark is a lost cause so I didn't even suggest it to him. Chad said I will never come up with 101 things but I proved him wrong. I should annoy him some more and get JD to do it with me.

Some of the things are silly, some are already in progress (Universe PLEASE be kind) and some are almost impossible to achieve but I am putting them out there to make them become achievable. I am going out on a limb and following the belief that what you put out into the universe you get back. It did take me forever to come up with the list and I spent forever on Pinterest finding links to ideas and then narrowed it down to what was appropriate to me and my life. The first 60 (not in order of first 60) ideas were easy and I thought this was a piece of cake, then I stumbled for ideas.

Here is my list and in no proper order - wish me luck as I brave the fear of putting stuff out there - I guess I can already tick number 2 off (perhaps) [nope still holding back with some details].

101 Things To Do In 1001 Days

1.                 Update LinkedIn Profile
2.                 Get over fear of Universe giving the opposite if I plan or put my goals out there
3.                 Find 5 positive affirmations to live by and say them every day
4.                 Un-clutter House
5.                 Plan A Holiday
6.                 Walk on the Treadmill for 30 minutes every day for 30 days
7.                 Become more active
8.                 Send at least one letter/card by snail mail
9.                 Capture our memories by blogging 3 times a week
10.              Publish unfinished blog posts
11.              Finish my photography course
12.              Do another writing course
13.              Juice/Blend for 30 days
14.              Give up sugar for a month
15.              Give Up Gluten for a month
16.              Buy a bicycle
17.              Cycle for fun
18.              Lose 10 kilos and keep them off
19.              Volunteer at a charity
20.              Read at least one book a month
21.              Book Airplane Tickets
22.              Go overseas
23.              Learn about a new culture
24.              Enter a walkathon
25.              Try 10 new recipes

26.              Do a 30 Day Gratitude Photography Challenge
27.              Do a 52-week Gratitude Journal
28.              Make Homemade Ciabatta
29.              Learn to make pies from scratch
30.              Try 5 new or different things
31.              Eat 5 different/new dishes
32.              Visit 10 new places
33.              See a live show
34.              Get filing up to date and keep it up to date
35.              Learn how to decorate cakes and cupcakes
36.              Make mini donuts
37.              Make a gingerbread house
38.              Buy a new laptop
39.              Do my recipe file
40.              Start a gratitude journal
41.              Give up coffee for a month
42.              Try a minimum of 5 new Tea flavours
43.              Wake up and watch the sunrise
44.              Take a sunrise photo
45.              Do a full 365 Photo a day challenge
46.              Do photo a day every day for a month without posting late
47.              Rent a campervan and travel to new places
48.              Sort out my Birth Certificate and Other Documents
49.              Go for an early morning walk on the beach
50.              Try five new restaurants

51.              Go to a comedy show again
52.              Start a holiday savings fund
53.              Go on a cruise
54.              Go tech free for a weekend
55.              Use my sewing machine
56.              Go on a train trip
57.              Sell our house
58.              Find a house to buy/rent
59.              Move house
60.              Move towns
61.              Find a new job/business
62.              Swim at least once a week in Summer weather permitting
63.              Spend more time outdoors and less time indoors
64.              Go to bed before 9pm for 2 weeks
65.              Wake up at 5 am for 2 weeks
66.              Eat Take Out twice a month only
67.              Eat 5 Fruit & Veg For 5 Days Every Week
68.              Spend time taking photos to learn more about photography
69.              Start a new Thanksgiving Tradition
70.              Make a Thanksgiving Dinner
71.              Start gardening and not just supervising
72.              Do a house cleaning planner – and stick to it
73.              Do a baking course
74.              Update my CV
75.              Sort out and shred old documents older than 10 years – yes I am a hoarder

76.              Don’t sweat the small stuff, relax
77.              Get in front of the camera more often – don’t fear being in photos
78.              Sort out all my old photos
79.              Sort out my photos on my laptop
80.              Sort out all my folders and documents on my laptop
81.              Pay off debt
82.              Save Money
83.              Do an accounting course
84.              Go to the Theatre
85.              Re-watch Season One Of Shades of Blue – to watch missed episodes
86.              Watch Season two of Shades of Blue – Don’t miss any episodes
87.              Travel more
88.              Become more organized
89.              Procrastinate less
90.              Work on my spirituality
91.              Improve Photoshop knowledge
92.              Buy a new camera
93.              Switch off electronic devices at 6pm one night every week for 6 weeks
94.              Do something out of my comfort zone
95.              Become more health conscious
96.              Bake/Cook for a charity or underprivileged person/child
97.              Go on a hike
98.              Go on a Camping  trip (glamping not roughing it up)
99.              Go to a farmers market 
100.          Every night mentally list 3 things from my day to be grateful for
101.          Pay R10.00 to a Charity for every Item not ticked off the list

Wish me luck and or join in if you up to the challenge...

P.S. I forgot to add in this post, my 1001 days start on my birthday, 27 January 2017 and end 25 October 2019, because I had added it to my previous post

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All content, words, and images, on this page is, (C) Chad Life Us and may not be copied, shared or reproduced in any form by any person or entity.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Another Year Older But Still Not Any Wiser

And I am another year older... On Friday I celebrated another birthday and I have been reflecting on the past year. Thinking about what I learned and discovered and what stayed the same.

As life tick-tocks along, we get older and some get wiser and some don't - like me. Instead of getting wiser we just get to the stage where we no longer give a schnitzel about most stuff. However, I wish I could say that I no longer sweat the small stuff, but I do. I sweat the small stuff big time.

This past year has been tough and so far 2017 has not been kind to me. You know when life gives you lemons you make lemonade and if you can't make lemonade you learn how to make lemonade. Well, what happens if you are given a basket of rotten lemons - no amount of squeezing, boiling and bottling will turn those rotten lemons into lemonade. You throw them out and hope the next bunch won't be as rotten and that is what I am hoping for.

I have decided to hell with it, I am starting the year over with the Chinese Calendar and my year starts now. It makes sense because Chinese New Year was on the 28 January and my birthday was on the 27th January. I am kicking the rest of January to the kerb, in fact, I am kicking it way past the kerb and I am taking what the year of the Rooster has to offer with open arms.  Gong Xi Fa Cai 2017.

Last night, as the sun was setting, the sky was a beautiful red. It was glowing and the photo above without any filters cannot do it justice. It was beyond beautiful and I have to believe that it was a sign of good things to come. I do know that theoretically, it was a sign of rain to come and rain it did, but I am taking my moment of good fortune in the glowing sunset. All the rain we are having has to wash away the rotten lemons anyway.

I have decided to take an inspirational leaf from Sammy's book or I should say blog and do a list of 101 things I would like to do in 1001 days. If the universe plays along I will post my list tomorrow. I have written out my list and my 1001 days started on the 27 January 2017 (my birthday and a New Year) until the 25 October 2019. If my calculations are correct.

Wow, that seems like a long way to go but look how fast the past two years went. I told Chad to join me so that we can put something positive out into the universe and he said I will never come up with 101 things, but I did. I did borrow some of Sammy's Ideas and I know she won't mind because she is one of the most inspiring people I know and genuinely thrives on sharing ideas, recipes, and inspiration. Thank you, Sammy,  for motivating me once again.

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All content, words, and images, on this page is, (C) Chad Life Us and may not be copied, shared or reproduced in any form by any person or entity.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

My Picnic Basket Is Empty and My Tongue Is Bitten Right Through

I am running on empty and passing begin never refueled me. My picnic basket is completely empty and my tongue wouldn't even work as a sieve. I have bitten so hard on it that the holes have become one big gaping wound. A wound festering with obscenities and anger and negativity and so much more.

Maybe I am impatient, maybe I have high expectations or maybe I am just totally whacked to believe that I should have my Unabridged Birth Certificate within 2 months. Whatever it is that I may be, I certainly am not realistic. I went off to Home Affairs with high hopes on the 22 November 2016 and it took walking into the door to deflate my high hopes right down to size and start facing reality. The process had begun and I was told it would take three months.

On the 5 December at around 3 pm, I received a text to say my birth certificate was ready for collection. Wow, that is amazing - don't believe the negativity dripping off everyone around you, I chastised myself. We left home bright and early the next morning and we left our proverbial picnic basket at home because this was going to be a breeze. We knew the drill - it was only a collection.

Despite leaving bright and early we were shocked at the long queues but we settled in and joined the queue like good sheep citizens should do. After some time, there was a rumble in the distance coming from the main gate, I looked at the time on my phone and it was 8 am. The security guard had sent his clipboard around but the friendly helpful man from the time before was nowhere to be seen. The rumbling became louder and louder and the clock ticked past 8 am. I told Chad that I was going to the front of the queue to find out what was going on. I heard stories of people queuing from 5 am, the system was down the day before and at 3 pm the staff picked up their bags and went home, helping no one and not saying a word. Toilets were blocked and overflowing, people were angry and bitter but came back fighting the following day to join the queues and the system was down again.

Eventually, they let the first three people come in as guinea pigs, then they said collections can go in and it was a mad stampede and that early morning polite queue disappeared as soon as they gave the command to move forward. If it was a race to win millions you would not have seen a bigger stampede. Black Friday sales had nothing on this stampede. The rush and stampede came to an abrupt stop as the uninterested staff looked blankly at everyone and then said the systems were down and could only do Identity book collections. I forgot to bite my tongue and had an altercation with the queries man. A very bitter frustrated man in a wheelchair who is part of the furniture and then he referred me to another man who thought he was important and had also been employed there since way back when. Two of the dead wood they couldn't get rid of back in the day. He told me the systems were down blah blah bah. Then I thought to hell with your attitude and asked if they would tell us when the systems came up or would we just wander around like confused sheep. So he explained the rules and regulations to me that if the systems are down no one is allowed inside the building. So I politely told him that we were told to come in and he said the security made a mistake and I told him I won't be leaving. I spoke sarcasm, a language he wasn't bright enough to understand. He had also denied that the systems were down the day before when I asked why send an sms out to people to collect when they knew their systems were down. I could write a book about our conversation but it would be very boring, unbelievable, but boring. The system was up in minutes, No official announcement just the rumbling of the public.

We joined a queue and eventually received my certificate. You play musical chairs get to the front, tell them what you are collecting, they look at their computers, tell you to take a seat and eventually AFTER the certificate is printed you then get called to another queue sign and leave. Only to discover everything is wrong on said official document. Same old same old nothing changes,

We get to the car and I get told by the unofficial car guard that he washed my car. At first, I didn't understand what he was saying and thought he was asking if all was OK with the car, but no he washed it and wanted money. I told him he had no right to wash my car as I don't have money and laid it on thick that it is not my car, I don't have a job and I did not ask for a carwash. I gave him R10.00 for watching my car and off I went. No way was I paying someone R50.00 or more to wash the outside of my car when the inside looked like a hoe's handbag. We went to Durban that weekend and it was really a mess and if I wanted it clean I would have taken it to the carwash we use at work and had a good clean for R50.00. To just assume that I wanted my car washed by him or worse during water restrictions!!! Nevermind where he gets the water from. Presumptions are the arse of all assumptions.

We then discovered that the birth certificate was wrong and had to go back early the next morning. Well, I knew it was wrong and thought, we pay first world taxes so perhaps we have a first world system and I can phone and sort it out. Sorry, that doesn't work.

Off we went the next morning, no shirking the system and as we pulled up to park, a different car guard comes waving and running up to the car. We get out the car and he goes on and on about how he and his brother washed my car and I must pay him. It was the most frightening experience standing in an early morning queue with some lunatic shouting threats across the informal parking area. After me telling him (and lying for our safety) that we were not there the previous day. I had to tell Chad to just shut up and ignore him and everyone around us started to look around to see who these threats were meant for. We eventually went in, joined the queue, whilst worrying that something would happen to us and or the car. Finally, our turn to be helped, met with a blank stare and I don't give a shit about you or my job, I was rudely asked if I had proof that they made a mistake, which I didn't have. I wasn't up to staying there a minute longer or arguing and left. Fortunately, the aggressor was not around when we left and we jumped in the car and left as quickly as we could. I won't ever go back to Roodepoort Home Affairs. I don't care who is in power in local Government, it makes NO DIFFERENCE to my life or the average persons. I have just joined the negativity and despondency that this country is shrouded in. I don't have any fight left I don't have any argument left about seeing the bigger picture, blah blah crap.

I was going to just be done with it, but Chad kept on at me encouraging me to get up and start over and try and sort it out. My parents then faxed me all their Id's, Birth Certificates and Marriage Certificate and off we went to Randburg Home Affairs - again early in the morning. What is so wonderful at these departments is the camaraderie among the public. We all help each other to the correct queues and get directed if you in the wrong queue because no one who works there bothers. No matter who you are, everyone just chats to each other offering help, advice or just general chit chat.

The gate eventually opened, we followed to where Joe Soap and his folk told us to go and joined a queue. There was an official there helping people in the queue, directing everyone to the right place. Chad and I both commented on how much pride he took in his job. He asked us to stand aside (outside) eventually took us in, made a photocopy of my birth certificate and explained that they can't change the Id number and date of birth that says 21 Years because back then there were no 13 digit Id numbers. Funny thing is that I did not need proof that my mother's maiden name was wrong like I was told at Roodepoort!!!

The helpful official then took the copy of my Unabridged Birth Certificate and called to another lady and said it was a correction and put it on her desk. A month has gone by but with all the holidays we thought we would just go follow up on Tuesday because it is probably still on said desk.

We went there after nine on Tuesday morning because you queue anyway and JD was there last week at around lunch time and the place was empty - as in deserted. We were not so lucky and instead we were met with confusion and muddled queues. As always Joe Soap and public assist us and we join the queue hanging out the door of the tiny room. The queue doesn't move and after about an hour the rumbling starts and everyone came to the conclusion that NO ONE was helping our queue. There is only one person working and a young guy decides to question the only person working who then takes offense that he is asked why the person at our counter disappeared an hour ago. He does, however, message his colleague and his colleague comes out. There is a war of words and five people are assisted within 10 minutes.

My UBC remains unaltered on the system and the official asks if I mind if he does it again. I said in my sweetest friendliest voice, the same voice I greeted him with and explained my situation to him, although I did sprinkle it with a good dash of honey and syrup and said please if you don't mind, can you do it again. We filled in the corrections on a copy I had made and brought with and wished him a lovely day and off we went and my copy went into a box on a desk. As I was leaving he wrote down a Pretoria telephone number for me to call weekly to follow up but did say it will take 3 to 4 weeks and I should come back in a month to check it has been corrected. I didn't have to bite down on my tongue at all or speak sarcasm because he was friendly, helpful, pleasant and polite even though the system is flawed.

You would think in a country with such a shortage of staff in places like Home Affairs and in a country with such a high unemployment rate more people could be employed to lighten the burden of the staff currently employed and no doubt abused by the public because of a flawed system. I also cannot understand why there is not a separate room or building for all the mothers with newborn babies who bring their babies with for whatever reason. No place to change a baby, feed a baby and let's not go down the germ road whilst they sit there for hours on end.

Despite the fact that my child's death was a direct result of the system and attitude of this country, I still argued the merits of this country and the system. Yes, it was after a few years of complete numbness and being dead inside, but as the numbness lifted a bit, I still gave the benefit of the doubt.

Now my basket is depleted...

This memory is planted firmly here, in case I ever need a reminder of my journey through life and what a battle it was to get a simple document...

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All content, words, and images, on this page is, (C) Chad Life Us and may not be copied, shared or reproduced in any form by any person or entity.

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