Monday, 31 October 2011

Reception Chairs

Mark bought these really cute chairs for his reception. They are so authentic for a mechanical workshop. They are made from car tyres and are remarkably comfortable. Apparently, blind people make them, which make them even more remarkable.

I have been going into work everyday for the past week. I work from home and only go in to get my filing or for a particular reason. I am trying to put systems in place, so that the admin and reception side can run more smoothly and also he might employ a full time receptionist and if he does it will be easier to train the person. Right now, he does everything and has his own system, which works for him, but won't work for someone working in the office full time.

The Stray Cat

"Stray Cat"
On Monday, 10 October 2011, I was at work and saw a cat in the workshop, it was climbing all over a car. I went to go and investigate and it ran into the parking yard. It looked frightened, but at the same time, it was meowing in a friendly way, not hissing or anything like that.  I called it and she/he came to me and started smelling my fingers, as if I had food in my hands.  Chad was with me at the workshop, but had gone to the shop. When he came down, he asked what I was doing in the yard and then saw the cat.  He ran off and bought it a sachet of Friskies Cat food and the poor little cat wolfed it down. Chad went to tell Mark about the cat we found and he said it was always there, but it was scared of people. It ran away every time it saw anyone. I told him it certainly was not scared of us. I was rubbing it and it was purring and very friendly. I even picked it up. We went into the office to find a bowl for water and the little cat came looking for us. Chad went to go buy it more food, so sweet he used his own money, he said he wanted to spend his money on the poor stray cat.

Then I saw one of our workers, Phineas, chasing it and I shouted at him and said he must not chase the poor cat. He said it is always there and slept inside the cars. I told him not to frighten it. He doesn't like cats and is scared of them. I told him they are not rats or mice, they are pets. I dropped Chad off at Northgate, to go see a movie and bought a bag of food for it, went home and after the movie finished fetched Chad and we went back to work to take the food there and take bowls for water and food. We did not know if it was a female or male and called it Mercedes (pronounced the American way, as in Mersaydeez), we also decided she was a little girl and she was going to be the workshop cat. She looked like a stray cat, was very hungry, having wolfed down 3 sachets of Friskies and she was always at the workshop, they would find her sleeping in an old car in the mornings when they arrived in the mornings. When we got there, she had disappeared.

 Phineas said she had jumped over the wall. She has never been back there since. Except last week on Monday, I saw her on the pavement next door.  I think she belongs to the people in the house next door and they don't look after her.  I am sure they heard me telling the staff that it is my cat and they must not chase her away. I also said that she is either lost or her owners don't care about her, so she can be the workshop cat, because I can't take her home. Garfield will not allow another cat here and Spike will also chase it, he hates the cats from next door, who are also feral cats. always in the street or in the other houses in our road, they try and come into our garden, but our dogs chase them away. They have about four cats, who wander the streets day and night.  I cannot understand how people can have cats and then let them wander around the streets. Garfield never leaves our property. In fact she does not even go to the end of our garden, which is not even big. she stays as close to the house as possible. She lies outside a lot, but close to the house and the only part of the garden she does go to is Clint's memorial garden. I liked the idea of having a cat at the workshop and she was really a sweet little cat.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

And The Geyser Saga Continues............

So the plumbers arrive at around 9 am and the first thing they say is sorry we can't install the geyser, because Kwikot has left a horizontal geyser and it can't be installed vertically like the other one. so it is back to fighting with Standard Bank Insurance and eventually it is decided that they fit the geyser horizontally and Standard Bank Insurance has to fix the wall where the previous geyser was installed. This is how Insurance companies save money by only using contractors on their panel. There is no saving whatsoever. Had they allowed us to use our own plumbers back in 2009, plumbers that relied on quality workmanship and not shoddy workmanship, because they were on a panel that guaranteed them work, then they would have paid once for the repair and if they did not have a policy that geysers must now be fitted outside and not in the roof. These plumbers are still here trying to fit this geyser 5 hours later. Right now it sounds like they are going to fall through the roof any minute now. What they are doing on the roof, only they will know, because the geyser is being fitted to the wall not the roof.

Thanks to them, I have had an unplanned pajama day, the water is still switched off and I have spent the day in my pj's getting my blog updated. Here comes frustration no 2 of the day, I was updating my page on our animals and checked it now and half of what I had typed has disappeared AGAIN. It seems when I move pictures it erases the wording so no doubt all over this blog there is posts that make no sense at all, which I have to now go redo and wonder what I had initially intended to type Aargh!! Frustration 3, Mark's friend has arrived home from his weekend away, I am still in my nightie and have now come to my room to do my blog and for some reason cannot pick up my wireless connection in the bedroom. It goes from no signal to poor all the time. He is in his room, but I really don't want to take the chance that he comes in the house and I am sitting in the dining room in my nightie. I am not getting dressed until I have a shower, even if that is at 10 tonight. For the same reason, I can't go into my office to see whats up with my router and Internet connection.

Frustrations frustrations frustrations!!!!! The story of my life, nothing goes smoothly. We never went out last night, it was raining and we were all lazy. We had a lot of rain last night and this morning it was all sunny and fresh, but now looks overcast. Now watching old episodes of Family Matters on BBC Entertainment. I don't usually enjoy British comedies and movies, I think, because I don't get their sense of humour, but Family Matters is just great. It is so funny, hilarious actually. I just love "The Harper Way" You just cannot stay in a bad mood when watching it. Very good for the endorphins and stress.

Till later ..............................

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Spike Conquers His Fears

Finally!!! Spike has conquered his fear of the pool. He is petrified of the pool as well as the hosepipe. The reason why he is scared of the hosepipe is because when they broke into our house, they threw rocks at the dogs and sprayed them with water with our hosepipe and he is now petrified of the hosepipe. I don't know why he is scared of the pool.

Chad was swimming with Piggy and Mark decided to put Spike in the pool as well. Since Chad has been swimming with Piggy everyday, Spike has been coming closer and closer to the edge of the pool, something he would never do before. Mark put him in the pool and when he jumped out he did not run away. I then convinced Mark to get into the pool, because Spike will go anywhere Mark is, although before this week even if Mark did go in the pool, he would not even go outside. Mark jumped into the pool and then put Spike in and I threw his toy into the pool and he swam to the deep end almost drowning, but got his toy. Then him and Piggy were playing tug of war with Mark & Chad, his favourite game.


Pluto and Jingles also had a swim and whilst Piggy, Spike and Jingles ran around the pool playing, Pluto, the old man that he is jumped on the patio chair and lay there, thinking they were so silly and immature.

Crazy Garfield spent the day lying in the dog's bath and at one stage was lying inside a packet that was in the bath for no apparent reason


Well it finally rained last night. Hard drenching rain and this morning everything looked clean and fresh. As for our geyser being fixed, this did not happen. Kwikot technicians came out this morning, took one look at the geyser and said a 200L geyser is not meant to be installed on the wall the way it has been. The installation is totally illegal and they would not be installing the new one.  Standard Bank Insurance have to send their plumbers out to redo the installation. The installation was signed off in 2009, by their assessor, says a lot about Standard Bank and Standard Bank Insurers. The plumbers now can't get the special brackets to install the geyser, so now they are coming tomorrow.  I am so mad. On Friday when I spoke to one of the consultants, he asked if we would rather have a solar geyser fitted. I asked Mark and he said yes. Now today, they say if we have a solar geyser fitted it is at our cost. Why the hell say we should rather have a solar geyser to replace this one, if we have to pay the cost of it. Just so they don't have to pay out another claim, caused by their incompetent plumbers on their panel of plumbers. Another day of showering in the shower in the flatlet and no bathing :(.

Calamari Starter
We were going to go out for supper last night, Mark felt like having a steak and not a home cooked one. Especially not one cooked by me.  I hate cooking fried foods. When he was on his way home the storm had already started and it was quite a hectic storm so we decided to rather stay home and have pizza for supper.  We might go out tonight to the Cattle Baron for supper. I wouldn't mind going to Mo-Zam-Bik. We went there for Mark's birthday on the 8 October 2011. It was the first time that I had been there, Chad and Mark went to the one in Ballito, when they were down there a few weeks ago. I really enjoyed my meal. The starter was not that good, grilled calamari, but my main meal, cob with a green mango and banana sauce was absolutely Divine. Mark had a strange Portuguese sausage for a starter, which he did not enjoy. For his main meal he had a mixed grill. BORING!!! Why go somewhere different and have something common and boring like a mixed grill.


Portuguese Sausage In Flames
Cob With Banana & Mango
Mixed Grill

Portuguese Sausage

Friday, 28 October 2011

Can You Believe It............

Yep that is right, less than a month and school is over. It seems like just yesterday that Chad started high school. The year has just flown by. I have not done a quarter of the things that I planned on doing. For one I have still not reached my goal weight. In June or May last year, I started a blog about my fat fight and also joined Fatsecret. A free "diet" site. I basically used it to record calories, but it has forums, weight tracker and journals. When I joined and recorded my starting weight; goal weight and calorie intake, it stated it would take over a year to get to my goal weight and that seems such a long time, BUT it has been 18 months and I still have not reached my goal weight. The only time that I took dieting seriously was when they doctor told me my cholesterol was dangerously high. I cut out all foods that caused high cholesterol, it lasted 2 months and now I am back to eating badly and not exercising. Always starting my diet on "Monday" walking on the dread mill on "Monday" - yes dread mill - not a typo :). Still waiting for that Monday to arrive.

There are so many things that I have said I was going to do and have not. I still have not put my thoughts and feelings about Clint's birthday down on paper.  I started and got up to the morning before taking Chad to school and have not gone any further. I have not posted here about a lot of things we have done, nor have I completed Clint's page or any other page.

Chad starts exams on the 7 November and he needs to start studying. He is just like me and always says tomorrow or I just want to, but never does.  The other morning he gave me a letter from the school which was to inform me he needed to put in extra effort for NS (Natural Sciences) and EMS (Economical Management Sciences). I was really angry because I had to sign it and we were late and he never bothered to give it to me the day before. I shouted at him and told him that he is to start studying as soon as he gets home from school. His reply was "I have a shitload of homework today and I am not studying". What the schnitzel Kiddo!! This is your mother you talking to!! Never mind how do you know you have lots of homework before school starts when this is all you did yesterday afternoon, besides buggering around in the pool???

And after telling him to get off the couch and go do something the cheeky little brat says OK I will do push ups.

And the week is over and no studying done - MONDAY!!! and this time Monday has to be a reality and not just a day one day in the future.

Yesterday, when I got home from work, I noticed that our geyser was leaking. Our geyser is outside the house. It was replaced by Standard Bank Insurance in January 2009 and their policy is to install geysers outside, because of the damage to the rest of the house if it breaks. So I phone Mark and tell him and he says it can't be broken it has just been replaced. And, I forgot about it. Then at 19h30, I remembered and told him to go look at it, because there is a lot of water dripping out of it. I had put a bucket there which caught some of the drips and when he went outside, the bucket was full. The geyser was so hot it was about to explode. He switched it off, then I had to quickly run my bath water, he had a shower and fortunately Chad had showered earlier after swimming, so that he could turn the water off. Luckily, he could turn the tap off on the geyser, so we did not have to switch the water off at the mains. This morning I had to shower in ice cold water, it literally took my breath away, it was so cold, but in this heat there was no way I could start the day without a shower and washing my hair. The plumbers from Standard Bank Insurance came out at about 11am , knowing the urgency of not having a geyser, but it has to be repaired by the manufacturer - Kwikot and they said they would try and come out today, but alas they have not, so no hot water. Fortunately, Mark's friend who is staying in our flatlet has gone away for the weekend, so we will all be showering in his bathroom and if they don't come and fix it tomorrow, I am going to blow a fuse and really throw my toys out.
The rain is definately on its way.    AND IT IS HERE!!!! In all its wet cool glory
Till Later..................

Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Night Before.................

And it did not rain. It almost always rains on Guy Fawkes and Diwali and I was so sure it was going to rain last night.  The clouds were dark and heavy, but nothing.  This morning we had not even 5 minutes of drizzle, I am sure it dried up before it even hit the ground.  What we did have though, was lots and lots of noise and not from thunder, but from fire crackers.  It is so annoying, in fact more than annoying. I do not know what the significance to any religion or culture loud bombs have and strangely enough, I have never seen Indian people in the houses around us and I have often walked around our roads. BUT... the fireworks went on and on and loud. I know quite a few Hindu people who also don't believe that crackers and fireworks have any significance in their religion and who are totally against it, because it is a man made celebration and children and animals get hurt. In fact I read on IOL today of a Staffie who had his jaw blown off from a cracker. Someone threw the cracker over the wall and into their garden, the poor dog ran up to it, put it in his mouth and it exploded and blew off most of his jaw. The poor dog had to be put down. Where is the fun and prosperity and good health in that. In someone else's sadness and an innocent dog's tragic and painful death. Sorry but I hate those things and will never find them pretty, beautiful, fascinating to watch or fun.

On the subject of Diwali, one of Mark's customers brought him a little Diwali box of eats. It had little chocolate balls in it, Indian treats, biscuits and this really lovely, chocolate shortbread kind of cake. Mm mm, it was so deli sh - and I am back on my low cholesterol diet, but could not resist the tempting treats. I have no will power whatsoever.

The weather has cooled down a bit, but the dogs are still so hot and again, I was kept up for half the night lifting on and half the bed, letting them outside at 2am and I am so exhausted. They are so cute though, that I can't stay angry with them for long. The picture below is of Spike, sitting patiently waiting for someone to give him his toy.  That dog and toys!!! He is worse than a baby attached to a dummy (pacifier) or security blanket.  Mark bought them new toys on Saturday and of course Spike has already chewed bits off his.  He does that until he gets the squeaky bit out. It probably hurts his ears as soft as what they are, or we think they are, because they can get irritating and he just rips into whatever toy squeaks and then he is happy. I don't know why they actually put squeaky things in them.  Anyway Chad has taped up his toy three times, I don't know why, but he does and Spike rips the tape off and knows exactly which is tape and which is toy. So last night Chad taped it up again and put it in the vase on the lounge table. Spike sat by the table for about 20 minutes doing nothing but staring at the toy, before I actually noticed. Not once did he jump up and try and get it, he just sat waiting for someone to give it to him, when Chad did give it to him he was so excited. Mark and Chad often put his toy in the vase and one night he sat by Mark, which he always does, if Mark is not here he is my dog and my shadow, as soon as Mark gets home he does not come near me. This one night after sitting and barking at Mark, he came to me, sat down and looked at me, I rubbed him and made a fuss of him, saying how strange it is that he is sitting by me, when I suddenly remembered that his toy was in the vase. Mark had put it there the day before, because he had chewed it up and was eating bits of it. It was not a very strong toy, just a little squeaky shoe, more for a poodle than a bull terrier. It was so cute the way he came and asked me to give him his toy, because Mark was not giving it to him. Animals are so clever and just so cute.

Quote For The Day:
   The difference between friends and pets is that friends we allow into our company, pets we allow into our solitude. ~Robert Brault

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Another Hot Sleep Deprived Night

I am so exhausted and I wish my animals would give me just one night of uninterrupted sleep. I am still battling to get to sleep before 11pm. I now make a point of getting to bed earlier, but seems 10.30 is the earliest no matter how hard I try, but lat night I managed to be in bed by 9.30pm. I was exhausted and could hardly keep my eyes open, but still I just lay there trying to sleep.

Eventually, I must have just fallen asleep when I heard these three loud cracker like noises, more like mini-bombs going off in quick succession. I don't know if it was fireworks or something more sinister. It is Diwali today, the Hindu celebration of lights or festival of lights, so I don't know if it was someone eager to celebrate Diwali earlier. I still don't get where the festival of lights needs to be celebrated with loud bombs, but never the less it happens and I hate it. There was not a single sound before that and nothing after that, which was weird. Of course the dogs were not happy about the noise.  Jingles hopped into our bed and cowered under the blankets, Miss Piggy left Chad's bed and came to our bed as well and tried to climb up. I was reluctant to lift her up, because her and Jungles hate each other and Jingles is forever growling at her and I was not keen on having a huge dog fight in our bed during the night, but in the end I had to lift her up.

It was not 10 minutes later and Jingles was overheating under the blankets, she was panting so hard she sounded like a steam train gone wrong, fighting to find her way out the blankets, then she was off to the bathroom to drink water and back on the bed, then it was Pluto's turn to cry to get on the bed. we ended up with 3 of them in our bed all lying on top of me and of course I don't sleep soundly, because I am always aware of them lying near the edge and I am scared I kick them off during the night. Piggy lying at the end of my bed by my feet and Pluto lying on the edge on the side of the bed. Jingles is fine, because she lies somewhere in the middle. All we needed was Spike and Garfield to join us. Other than Pluto, who did not seem to feel the heat, the other three were up and down drinking water, panting, flopping on the floor and then getting back onto the bed. The whole night long.

The heat is really getting to them, so it must be really hot, because other than Miss P, they don't normally get so hot. Garfield is even taking strain. Whilst I was locking up the house last night, she wanted to go out, but then just sat on the patio and the more I called her the more she just sat there staring at me and meowing softly, eventually I had to go outside and bring her in, because I really needed to get into bed and fall asleep.  Well that was the plan. Earlier when I was running my bath water she came into the bathroom, which she often does. She usually only drinks water out the basin. I gave her water and next thing she was on the edge of the bath and almost climbing into the water. It looked like she was going to dive in head first but she just wanted to drink water - out the bath of all places, when there are bowls of fresh water everywhere. She is such a crazy cat.

In other crazy news, before I went to bath, I went to let the dogs out and when I got to the front door, it was wide open. When I left the lounge to go and run my bath water, Chad and Mark were in the lounge watching TV, very involved in the junk they were watching. I wondered why they were outside all of a sudden and as I got to the door, I heard this banging sound, and saw these sparks flying at the end of the garden. It was pretty scary. Well it turns out this humongous spider got caught on the electric fence. Its body on the one set of strands and its legs on the other and it was getting electrocuted. The fence was just shooting off sparks and volts and whatever else they do. Mark wanted to save the spider with a piece of wood and logical me told him to just switch off the fence, which I did and then he knocked it off the fence, but it was dead already. Shame poor spider, but I cannot say i am sorry that it died. I have been bitten by a spider and I am sorry to say, but I do not want them in my house or anywhere near me and definitely not one that size.  I don't like electric fences at all, but I guess that is one of the negatives of living in South Africa, safety first and all that. Not that they keep criminal out anyway, if they want to get in they will no matter what security measures you have.

It looks like it might rain today and if it does it is going to be one heck of an electric storm, I think. The garden is really parched so I don't mind if it rains as long as it is more water than lightning and thunder. The gardener had to water the garden yesterday and my save water costs went down the drain. All the plants were wilted, especially the hydrangeas, in fact they looked dead, but are now looking healthy again. Another day of heat and they will be wilting again.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Heat Wave and a Bull Dog

Well to say it is hot in Johannesburg would be an understatement.  It is really very hot for October, apparently according to the weather stations, yesterday"s temperature was the highest recorded in October ever. If I can remember they said that the highest was 33.4 and yesterday ranged from 33 to 35. Today is 30. I guess people who live in areas where the temperatures are much higher must wonder why all the fuss over temperatures of 35c. I guess we are not used to such temperatures and if you live in a very hot area you become acclimatised to the heat. The worst is that there was not even a breeze, just hot air. At least today there is a slight breeze.

Last night I was so worried about Miss Piggy. She slept on Chad's bed as usual and at 23h00 came through to our room panting like crazy. I went to go get her water, but she did not want to drink and did not want to go out either. I tried to get to sleep and she lay down on the fall by my bed and had stopped panting, then 10 minutes later she started panting again and tried to get onto our bed, I put her up and the panting got worse and she sounded as if she was gulping if that makes sense, so I brought the water to our bathroom, put her face almost right into it and she drank and drank and drank.

She was still panting for awhile after that and again tried to get on our bed. I put her up, but did not want her on the bed in case she over heated, but she stopped panting and settled down to sleep. I also fell into a deep sleep and did not even hear Mark let them out at 04h30. I was going to put the air con on for her, but I can't sleep with it on and Mark would have bitched about the electricity, but if she had not cooled down with just water and the windows wide open I would have put it on regardless of the cost of electricity. The problem with the electricity costs is that we have different price brackets, so your consumption is broken down into low cost up to higher costs depending on the levels you use, if that makes sense. Every level you go up is charged at a different rate per unit used and the more you use the higher the unit price and ours is always at about the 5th level. Water charges are the same and that is how you are penalised for using excess water and electricity.

Bull Dogs certainly don't enjoy hot weather and Piggy is no exception. She loves the rain and loves water and she has more energy early in the morning and early evenings and on colder days. Chad has been swimming her when he gets home from school and she loves it. So much for Bull Dogs not being able to swim, but I still won't take a chance by letting her near the pool on her own.

Here are some pictures of her with Chad this past December.

That is her just relaxing in the boat, but she does go in the water all the time and swims.

Till next time, from a very hot & tired.................

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