Saturday, 27 October 2012

From Snow To Sunshine And Sea In One Day - August 2012



Every year everyone including myself says "This is the coldest Winter we have ever had" Well this past Winter was definitely the coldest I have ever experienced. It snowed in Joburg, but more importantly it snowed where we live and work. We have never had snow at our house and I have never seen snow until this year. Did I miss out? Was I deprived? No to both answers!!! Snow is over rated. It is wet, cold and miserable. Give me sunshine and heat any day.

It snowed during the week of 6 August to 9 August 2012. My blog posts are so delayed, I cannot even remember the exact day it snowed, but I think it was on the Tuesday (7 August 2012). We did not have much, but it was real snow. Flurries of white icy cold stuff came out of the sky to the excitement of everyone. Mark loved it, he was like a kid in a candy store. Shame poor Chad was at home alone - not entirely alone, Rabie and Sheila were at home as well, but it couldn't have been much fun on his own without anyone to share the excitement of seeing snow for the first time. It was also one of those hectic, busy, everything goes wrong, days at work. Bad weather does that. Mark had fetched Chad from school, because I was busy and also did not want to drive in the bad weather. If I had known it was going to snow properly at our house, I would have stayed at home just to share the excitement with him.

We had planned to go down to Ballito that weekend, more of a working weekend than for fun and relaxation. The roads were closed, people were stuck in their cars and we were not sure if we would be going or not. We heard that the roads would be open on the Thursday morning, but travelling over night was not advisable - in fact the authorities warned not to travel over night. We left at 5 am on Thursday morning. I bought the dogs extra blankets, because although Sheila would be looking after them and they would still be sleeping in the house, they would not have us to cuddle up with for extra body heat - except Jingles who slept with Sheila in her bed - Sheila's dog.
Snug As A Bug In A Rug At 5AM Thursday  9 August 2012
It was freezing cold when we left, but the roads were clear - of snow; rain and even cars. It just got colder and colder and very misty in parts. As we neared Warden, we could see snow on the Horizon  there were reports of black ice on the road to Durban, but we thought it was "old news". There was no sign of ice or snow. Until we hit Harrismith. There was just so much snow, but the roads were clear. We stopped on the side of the road, so Mark, yes Mark could play in the snow. Chad's friend John went with us and him and Mark enjoyed the snow. Chad was tired; cold and miserable and was not interested in the snow. Staying up until after 12 and then waking up at 4.30, does not bode well with him, but he knows better than his nagging mom.

Mark & John Playing In The Snow - First Stop
John Sinking In Snow In Harrismith


Chad & John Outside Harrismith

Chad Being Silly
Chad Being Silly





















As we got closer to Harrismith, it became a Winter Wonderland.  I have to admit it was very pretty and the town below the road looked like a story book picture, but still snow is over rated and once in a life time is enough for me. The cars were driving at a snail's pace and everyone was taking pictures as we drove down to the hill.







There was just so much snow and wet sludge at the Fuel Station were we stopped and it was freezing cold. As we drove along there were reports that the roads were closed further down at Mooi river, because of black ice on the roads. We went on the back roads and although the traffic was hectic, like peak hour Joburg traffic, there were police showing people which way to go. It was actually so much better than driving on the freeway. Although there were idiots overtaking and speeding on a narrow road, with lots of cows; goats; chickens and people walking along the road. We even had the pleasure of seeing a herd of Zebra crossing at one stage. It took us 10 hours to get down to Ballito. It took some people 22 hours - those that stayed on the freeway. There were people complaining that they were stuck in their cars with babies and dogs, blaming the authorities. Come on you were warned that is all I can say. How come some of us knew and heard that the road was full of black ice and that we had to detour - don't make it the authorities fault, because you knew better.

We arrived in Ballito at around 3pm or just before, looking like idiotic snowmen in Winter clothes. We went to the shops first to buy some groceries then went to the apartment we were renting. It was right on the beach and so beautiful.
View From Balcony Thursday Evening
View From Balcony



The Sea




Stairs To The Parking Area


To The Beach

Stairs To The Beach
From The Beach 
View Of Mark Sitting On The Balcony





















On Friday morning it was a bit nippy, we went to work and then shopping. Friday night we had a braai at the apartment with friends. On Saturday Mark went to work, the boys messed around on the beach. We went to buy more stuff that they needed at work and then we just relaxed. The boys were so bored on Saturday night and there was no TV in the apartment. I think it was good that they had a break from PlayStation and TV. Then they went down to the beach and watched people lighting Chinese lanterns over the sea. Very pretty, but extremely dangerous for the environment and sea creatures. What goes up must come down and where does it land when it comes down - into the already polluted sea.




We left for home on Sunday at around 10, went the back roads again and when we joined up with the freeway, the traffic and rest stops were jam packed with people. At one stage we just sat for over an hour with the cars barely moving. Apparently it was a massive road block causing a traffic jam for hours. Yes I am all for visible policing, but not a road block that causes tired frustrated and impatient motorists. We saw about 100 cops when they were finished with the road block. Now if all those police had been driving around instead of all in one place, there would have been far less accidents and idiots on the road. Going away over a long weekend is really not worth it. You are more stressed and tired than before you leave.
Going Home

Traffic






















And that was another update - 3 months later



Sunday, 14 October 2012

Bullying Budgies

Wow 3 posts in one night, after not posting for ages - not one post in August now 3 in one night. I guess I am trying to get into the whole blogging mindset again - also not much to watch on TV tonight or today, other than Chad and Mark's normal junk they watch, so blogging it is.

For a long time my little white budgie was looking unwell. She can't fly and her feathers were falling out. It seemed strange that she was ill when the other two were healthy and happy, because they all share a cage. She first started hiding in the nesting boxes I had in the cage and I thought she was about to lay eggs. I turned the nesting boxes over, because I was scared that she could not get out of the box, because she is tiny and she has never been able to fly. At least with the box turned over and the door open she could get in and out.

Then one day when I was cleaning the cage she fell out of the cage and it is quite a drop and she fell on her back and could not turn over. I picked her up put her in the cage and a few times after that I would see her on her back with the other two "trying" to help her up. Then I noticed that she was bald on her chest, so I told Mark I am going to ask our vet if he could put her down, because I didn't know where I would find a bird vet. She really looked ill and I did not want her to suffer. I hadn't taken her to the vet and on the Sunday, I had put their cage outside and Mark walked out and saw the other two attacking her. He shouted to me that they were killing her. They stopped when he was shouting.

I fetched their old cage from the shed washed it and put her in it. I honestly did not believe Mark when he said the other two were killing her and really just humoured him by moving her. I thought they were helping her up. Well he was right, they were bullying killing her. She is so happy in her own cage, her feathers have grown back and she looks so healthy again. I feel terrible and so guilty for leaving her to suffer with two horrible bullies. I hope no animal rights activist reads this and reports me for animal cruelty. If I had known they were hurting her I would not have left her with them. They have all been in the big cage for a very long time, so why the bullying all of a sudden I don't know. She has been on her own for about 6 weeks and eats like crazy, loves her fruit I give her and climbs up and down the ladders and up and down her cage, tweeting like crazy. I don't think she will ever fly, because she has never been able to, even before the bullies terrorized her. Now they are stressing, because they still sty and get to her. They cling to the side of their cage and screech at her all the time and she just tweets and hops around without a care in the world or perhaps calls out to them telling them that they can't hurt her anymore.

So she has gone from this big, but unpleasant place



To this small, but pleasant place

Who would have thought that budgies could be so horrible and cruel. They plucked her like a chicken at the slaughter house.

The Bullies


The Victim




Happy Birthday Mark

I haven't blogged for ages. Besides not having the time to blog, I just haven't had the mindset either. Today, I planned on posting photos and updating my blog, but I ended up playing Song Pop on Facebook. How addictive is that game. I am not even into games or Facebook for that matter, but Chad was playing it, so I joined in and he stopped long before I did. I played for hours - how ridiculous is that? It also meant that all my plans to post photos etc over here, flew out the window.

It was Mark's birthday on Monday. We did not do anything special, being a Monday, but on Sunday we had a braai and then I baked for his birthday. I baked until late on Sunday night and my baking came out really well, considering I was tired and exhausted. No photos though. I baked a chocolate cake, banana bread and chocolate lindt cup cakes for work. No one believed that I made them all myself, which was proof that they were really good and everything was gone in seconds. I was going to make a special dinner, but Mark said I mustn't worry, because I get home late and must then still cook. I made roast chicken, roast potatoes and veggies, because they go to gym every night, so whilst they were at gym I cooked. We ate late and it was just like a normal day. No celebration and no alcohol, not even on Sunday, which is a good thing.

On Wednesday it was Brilliant's birthday. Our little staff member, who can barely speak English, but he was so proud to have a birthday just after Mark's birthday. I asked him if he was bringing us cake and his reply was "I need cake" So I baked him cupcakes on Tuesday night. They were not as good as the one's I made for Mark, because I did not have Lindt Chocolate and I had to make dinner after getting home at 6 pm and then only bake later. For both Mark and Brilliant's birthdays we had to wait until Chad had finished school so he could join in with the cake eating. Again the cup cakes were finished in seconds. I made about 30 and Chad and Mark had already started eating them on Tuesday night. They said they were good and there was nothing wrong with them, not having Lindt chocolate in them. I packed 6 separately so that Brilliant could take them home with him and he thought the 6 were for work and handed them out as soon as Chad gave them to him. We had to try and explain that was for him to take home and the rest were for everyone at work. He was so pleased with his little cakes and he told me the next day he had a party with the cakes with his brother and his cousin (our gardener). It is bitter sweet though. He turned 21 and his family is miles away and he celebrated his 21st with 6 little cup cakes and Mark gave him R100.00. He looks Chad's age though and not even 21.

That was our week of birthdays and now we are birthday free and hopefully cake free for awhile. I have stopped baking, because I have put on so much weight that I don't need to put on anymore.





If Hindsight Was Foresight

Chad's grade had a school outing on Thursday, which I have been stressing about for some time now - in fact from when I heard about it. They had to spend the day at correctional services - Prison!! to see what life in the day of a hardened criminal was like. It is part of the GDE syllabus. Like that is going to stop anyone that is criminally inclined to think differently. If it did make a difference there wouldn't be any repeat offenders - our prisons are full of repeat offenders. Drug addicts get arrested for possession and the next day they are back on drugs. People drink and drive get arrested, spend the weekend in jail and then if not the next day, then the next month or year, they drink and drive again. Hardened criminals come out of prison and carry on committing crimes, raping and murdering. So whoever came up with this idea of sending high school children to see what it is like in prison is fooling no one. Yes it might scare some, but those that it does scare are the ones that are not criminally minded. If you are criminally inclined then nothing is going to stop you. It is that whole mentality of it won't happen to me.

Besides the whole thing of finding a visit to prison ridiculous, the outing was during the middle of the massive violent truck driver's strike happening around the country. They were stoning and burning trucks and anyone who got caught in the crossfire. The authorities warned the public not to drive under bridges or anywhere in the vicinity of the marching strikers. We had no idea which prison they were going to or which route they were taking and the bus was leaving at 7 am in peak hour traffic. I woke up as stressed as hell and then Mark and I made a decision that Chad was NOT going. Yes we signed the school rules and code of conduct that outings were compulsory, but we also have to sign and indemnity form, indemnifying the school of all responsibility and liability, but reasonable care to protect your child will be taken. Well I am sorry to say, sending a bus load of school children on an outing during a violent strike IS NOT reasonable care, never mind to a prison with hardened criminals. One of the rules was that the girls were not allowed to wear tight tops because the prisoners had not seen women for a long time. Excuse me!!! and it is safe to go on the tour - I think not. If I fight broke out in the block they were in, they would b moved to another block???? And this is a safe outing??? To travel in a bus during a violent strike when the authorities have warned you against unnecessary travel in areas where the strikers are - is that reasonable care and safety  - no it is not!!! Never mind the fact that every other week there is a tragedy involving school children and school buses.  Neither the school or the bus company can guarantee, that there would not be an accident. Again the mentality that it only happens to other people!!!!

The only reason why I sent Chad to that school is because they never used to go on camps and trips or hardly ever. Clint went 3 times - on day outings - not camps and definitely not to prison and in those days there were hardly any bus accidents especially involving children. We were also part of the "It only happens to other people" mentality. Now we know it happens to us too. I can not live through the death of my other child or live with myself if Chad is maimed. It is easy to say the day Chad dies I die, but is it as easy done as said. No I don't think so. This year alone there have been 3 or 4 and it is so stressful.

Chad was not pleased with our decision and there was a war of words in our house at 6 am. How unfair life is; how life sucks; how unfair I am; how I suck; how he is missing out???? Missing out on a visit to prison - yeah right. We won - he lost and sulked for a few hours. I left him went to work and phoned him at about 11 am, by then he had calmed down and agreed staying at home and relaxing and watching TV was far better than going off to see a bunch of robbers; rapists and murderers.

He does constantly remind me that nothing happened on the bus or at the prison and I constantly remind him that if hindsight was foresight, our lives would be very different today. I did not want Clint to go to extra maths that day. It had been raining hard, which meant he could not go on his bike and I took him to a friend to do Science homework. I told him to give extra maths a miss that day, but he wanted to go and then because it had stopped raining long before I fetched him from his friend, he said he was going on his bike. He wanted to go to extra maths and he wanted to go on his bike. If I had put my foot down and it turned into a fight, like Thursday morning with Chad, I wouldn't be typing this and our lives would not have been shattered and destroyed. Yes if only hindsight was foresight!!!!



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