Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Good Bye 2013

This is my last post for 2013 and I can't wait to be shot of this year. 2007 was the worst year ever, the grief and sorrow of that year will always be with us. Every year we go into the year with the devastation of not having Clint with us and it is sad and traumatic and dreadful, and then we have the added stress of what the new year brings. 2013 was just an awful awful year and I can only hope that, barring the sadness and grief of Clint's death, 2014 will be a better year. A year that brings positive energy and happiness to our sad lives.

Mark says I need to live more and sleep less, lets see how that pans out. Although this is my last post for 2013, I will catch up on missed 2013 posts during 2014 (due to sleeping my days away)


To your family from our family - 

We wish you a very Happy; Healthy & Prosperous 2014.............

See you in the New Year

Best Wishes

Seven Months & 27 Days Smoke Free

I missed my seven month anniversary post and I know that in four days it will be time to post my eighth month non - smoking anniversary post, but today is a milestone to be marked. Who would have thought a year ago today that I would have given up smoking almost 8 months ago. That was a mouthful that I am not sure made grammatical sense, but you get what I am trying to say - I hope. I honestly had no intention of giving up smoking. I know I toyed with the idea over here and over here and probably in 20 other posts, but I had no intention of actually giving up and I have - WOW is all I can say. I miss it like crazy, almost 8 months later and still go to get a smoke from time to time then remember that I don't smoke and get kinda disappointed. My new "calm me down" is Freshpak Rooibos and Chamomile Tea. It is amazing stuff and really calms me down - not all in the mind or imagination and I am not being paid to say this either

Freshpak Rooibos & Chamomile Herbal Tea
I woke up on the 12 December, a Thursday, 7 months; 1 week and 1 day after giving up smoking. A normal day of still being angry with Mark for a whole lot of reasons. I had a fitful night of dreaming of smoking and joke of jokes giving lessons to people on how to give up smoking. We have the strangest of dreams don't we. Chad was on school holidays, so I was getting to work just after 8 and what transpired that day, I never envisaged in my wildest dreams, not when I woke up or at any other time. Someone very dear to me was arrested by the local police. It involved false charges of grievous bodily harm, by a vindictive and vicious staff member whom I hate, I always have and the amount of hatred I have for him now is on a level that is almost as close to the hatred I have for those responsible for Clint's death.

It involved a fight in the workshop, stopping the fight; charges laid both false and genuine; a disciplinary, putting it in the past and dropping the charges, but the charges were not dropped. That was the day that the silver lining that I always try and see in our country was snatched away for good and I saw the corruption of our local police force first hand. Yes, Mark was the person who was arrested for stopping a fight between Sipho the most vicious person we have to work with every day and Gift who works for Gavin. The fight happened on the Monday, the disciplinary on Tuesday. All Mark did was try and stop Sipho from hitting Gift with a hammer, this after Gift's head had already been split open from being thrown onto the concrete floor. I was not there and the reason why I know Mark was innocent, was because James the upholsterer who also sublets from us, told me what happened and he had no reason to take Mark's side. They are always arguing about rent, that James never pays, so they are not the best of friends, but James restrained Gift and Mark Sipho. Sipho took this as an opportunity to get at Mark - for what I don't know. Phineas even said to me "You know Dianne, Mark does so much for Sipho how can he do this" We all know why he does it, he wants some sort of payout so he does not have to work. Well all three were arrested. Gift laid a charge against Sipho and Sipho laid a charge against Mark and Gift and they both lied about dropping the charges. The only genuine charge was Sipho assaulting Gift. That was not the first fight he has instigated at work and has hit Brilliant a few times, but because of African Tradition and Culture of respecting your elders, nothing was said, because Brilliant is a kid. There were other fights that Phineas broke up before we saw.

I was so close to a) smoking and b) having a stroke or heart attack when they took Mark away with the other two. I was in a state, not because Mark was guilty, but because of what happens in holding cells in South Africa. Whilst trying to get my wits about me, cancelling a meeting with our Accountant, dealing with customers phoning, all whilst getting into more of a state, eventually I could not talk, I screamed at someone on the phone and before going to get a smoke, I made myself some Rooibos and Chamomile Tea. I phoned Phineas who had gone out to get spares, told him what happened and asked him to come back and drive me to the police station. I could not drive, I was too upset.Slowly the tea started to take affect and I started to calm down when we arrived at the Police Station.

Temporary Holding Cells

Well as you can see from the photo above, they all had their phones with them, after the farce of "taking them away" they gave them back. Mark took the photo. I was openly offered a deal from the investigating officer to make the charges go away, by paying a "lawyer".  That is why Mark was given his phone, so we could make the deal. Gift told Mark that the only reason they were still there is because Mark was there, otherwise him and Sipho would have been released. Gift understood what they were saying. They were not interested in witness statements, witness names. James came to the police station - he could not understand why Mark was being arrested, just for stopping a fight. Later on I fetched Chad and I had more tea at home, there was nothing more to do at the Police Station. Mark then phoned to say he was on his way to the holding cells at the courts. We raced there - totally against all my beliefs of road safety, we had to get Mark's phone, meet our lawyer and wait. We sat there forever and I kept saying to Chad, maybe I should have just one smoke and he said no no no. If I had one, it would have been one packet; one carton and I would have been smoking again.

If I could get through that day, then I should be able to get through any day. We did get through that day, although the charges had been dropped, it still had to go through the Prosecutor and right through to the very end, even in front of our lawyer the arresting officer was still trying to get money out of me to make it go away. He even told Mark he made it go away. He never made anything go away. It would have been over by 10 in the morning and cheaper than paying our lawyer for the whole day, but I was not going to cross that line. I even told the arresting officer, that I just cannot do it. It is disgusting that from the highest to the lowest rank, they are open about it.

I still miss smoking like crazy, but probably won't start smoking because then I am going to look like a weak spineless failure. I am still a non-smoker and very disillusioned about our Country and during the same week that our Iconic Leader died

Not A Merry Christmas

It hasn't been a Merry Christmas for a very long time, but we have in the past tried for Chad's sake - not very well I might add. Some years better than others. Chad went from being a little boy in the phase of "If I don't believe I won't get" Christmas, (not sure whether to believe that there is no Father Christmas and risk not getting lots presents from him or what the heck let me believe and I will get lots of presents) to a little boy whose brother died 3 months later. How real does that make life? So Chad has also become very cynical when it comes to fun; merriment and traditional beliefs. It breaks my heart, as does everything about Clint's death. He hides his anger by being cynical and angry. The anger issues have improved tremendously as he gets older, but I think now it is a kind of guilt, more than cynical and he battles with traditional celebrations, like Christmas and Birthdays and comes across as cynical. We all miss Clinty terribly and that feeling of sadness and loss is always on the surface of any happiness.

Click Here For More Images From The Creator Of This Image
We had no plans for Christmas this year and everyone seemed to have very little holiday and Christmas spirit, customers we spoke to; suppliers and people in general. Chad was saying that even the shops did not seem to be pushing the whole "Commercial Christmas" this year; or perhaps, because they put out all the Christmas stuff in September, by December it has become part and parcel of the decor and no one notices. The TV Channels also had very little Christmas and holiday cheer going on this year. It has just been the strangest December in a long time. In past years, whether we liked it or not, Christmas Spirit and Cheer affected us, not in a good way, because we were grieving, but we felt it - this year there was nothing.

Mystic Monkeys And Feathers
So Mark saw this advert on Facebook to spend the day at Mystic Monkeys and Feathers Wildlife Park. There would be live music, picnic baskets or food at the restaurant - Enjoy a day of fun in the sun whilst helping the animals. As far as I know it is privately owned and the animals are not rescues like the Monkey Sanctuary in Hartebeespoort, so the charity aspect of helping the animals was a bit lost on me, but it was something to do. I phoned to enquire about the picnic baskets, the contact person could not tell me what was in the picnic baskets and I think they were R180.00 a person. I had to send an email, which I did and then we were not sure if we were going to go or not. On the 24th (Christmas Eve) I went to buy Chad a Christmas present. Bad mother that I am and not having the Christmas Spirit, seems even worse seeing that I had not even bought Chad a present, but there is a story behind the Christmas present story. Last year when we went shopping for our Mozambique Holiday and bought loads of camping type stuff and new chairs and a portable fridge and and and...... I told Mark that all the stuff can be our Christmas presents. Some years we bought each other stuff and other years we didn't. The previous Christmas we bought each other gifts - it was no big deal if we bought or didn't. Some how Chad included himself in the not buying Christmas presents decision and did not want anything - his words he had enough. Famous last words. He has not let me forget that he received nothing for Christmas last year. Never mind that we bought him loads of new clothes for our holiday (sorry girls love clothes not boys), we bought him flippers and snorkels and goggles to use in Mozambique - not cheap ones and other odds and ends, but I did not wrap them up and give them to him on Christmas day - so he got "nothing" for Christmas. He keeps reminding me about that and I keep reminding him that 6 or 7 months before Christmas him and Mark wanted motorbikes - yes the dreaded word - Motorbikes and Chad's famous last words were "The bike will be my Christmas Present & Birthday Present" "It will be my Christmas Present & Birthday Present for the next 10 years." Ha Ha how long did that last - He got a brand new Honda 125 and Mark got a Honda 650, but he did not get it on Christmas Day.

So this year the nag was for a Rifle for Christmas. I hate guns and I am not sure what kind of Rifle it is. Either Mark or Chad or both "inherited" my dad's shotgun, which belonged to my grandfather. I say Mark or Chad, because ultimately it will become Chad's, but Mark needs to get a gun license for it and it is at a gun shop until he gets his license. Chad has Clint's pellet gun, which we bought him for his 14th birthday and Chad got a handgun pellet gun for his 14th birthday. Not a tradition or a family thing it just happened like that or maybe Chad used the ages as persuasion to get one. Chad got his pellet gun for his 15th birthday, he chose a small one that looks like a handgun. I had the age wrong the other day, I just remember the nagging for a gun and the discussion about when Clint got his. So now he has a Rifle - Chad has an obsession with guns and knives - I hope it is a collectors obsession and not a hunting obsession. The Rifle has to stay at the gun shop until Mark gets a license and Chad can't have the gun until he is old enough to get a gun license. So another present he can't open on Christmas Day. Where will they use the gun mmmm Mark and Chad are manipulators of note and have an answer for everything - they need it for the next chapter of our lives (to be posted about in the next chapter of our lives).

So that is the story behind the late Christmas Present Saga. Oh and the Mini was also his Christmas Present, but it was not wrapped :D. All of this was the reason for my dash to the shops to do last minute shopping. I thought the shops would be packed, they were not at all. I bought him some more T Shirts (but not for Christmas - just cause I am a nice mom) for Christmas, I bought him 2 DVD's - Nic Rabinowitz and Jeff Dunham, because he loves Comedy so much. I bought him 2 pairs of gym shorts; a water bottle for gym; a fitness book and training gloves. Nothing exciting, just stocking fillers, but something to open on Christmas Day.

Christmas morning dawned - raining and miserable, we woke up late, Chad opened his presents, Mark and I had already decided that we were not buying gifts for each other. We still had no plans for the day and ended up going to Mystic Monkeys in the rain. I received a reply to my email on the 24th, but by then we had decided if we do go we won't buy a picnic basket. Mark and Chad had the bright idea of going in the Mini, because it would be fun. So off we zooted in the little Mini. It kept up with the best of them on the highway as Mark whizzed along. Mystic Monkeys is about 2 hours drive and going in the Mini in the rain was not a good idea. It started over heating about 20 minutes away from the place. Fortunately where we could stop and get water.

Finally we arrived, the rain had slowed down to a slight mist and we were starving so went to eat first. The restaurant is more of a fast food outlet - I had a very dry Chicken Schnitzel - they are generally dry were ever they serve them, so why I ordered it, I really don't know. Chad and Mark had burgers. Christmas Lunch with a difference. The live music was not live music but a DJ playing music from an era no one has heard of. I don't even think they even play that music at a "sakkie sakkie" dance. We ate and then walked around and looked at the animals. We were not expecting the best of best bands to be playing, but don't advertise a live band when it is just someone playing unknown sings off a media stick. A tour guide takes you around and explains the different animals, but we declined the guided tour. We have been there before and done the guided tour. We preferred walking around on our own. For R 100.00 a person it really is worth going out there for the day.

Chimp Enclosure

Baby Tigers

Tigers Playing

Waiting For Lunch

Serval {I Think}



Tortoise Mating Season  

      Monkeys of various sizes 
                and breeds

Egyptian Geese

More Monkeys  

Cheetahs and Chimps


Blue Duiker

And below is exactly what I want in the next chapter of our lives - to be blogged about in the future, but it will involve a farm. If not in the very near future, then in years to come, but an island for ducks and bunnies and chickens, I do want.

Only mine hopefully won't be green & dirty

It will have a bridge

And that was our tour around Mystic Monkeys

And we left, it was a real Christmas with a difference. And Chad and Mark are both over their souped up little Mini, because it overheated all the way home and we had to continually stop and pour water over the radiator to cool it down, then fill it with water. Lesson to the guys, little Minis can't be driven at highway speeds to another Province.

On Our Way Out

Monday, 30 December 2013

My Boss Is A Slave Driver

Yep, Mark went to work today, jumped out of bed bright and early and rushed off to work before 7 am. No more late mornings. Chad went and helped him and I was supposed to start the schedules for our Accountant which is due on the 6th, but I spent the whole morning cleaning and the whole day doing laundry. Last night Mark went to bed early, Chad and I stayed up watching TV. When I went to bath he was still awake and showed me Garfield's new bed.

Kitty Sleeping
This morning when I was cleaning up and stripping the bed to wash the linen, Garfield stepped over the linen piled on the bed and crept into the basket and spent the morning in the basket again. The basket is officially hers.

Kitty In A Basket

You Can't See Me
She is such an adorable cat. Here are some photos of the rest of our adorable animals.

So Adorable

Bull Dog Love

My Love

Mark & His Dogs

Waiting For Mark & Chad To Come Home
My Kitty Cat
Mark and I always have a disagreement/argument/fight, depending on our moods about where Piggy and Pluto should go when we go out. He says outside, I say the bathroom. How content are these two in the bathroom, just waiting for the door to close as we leave. They know that as soon as their beds are put in the bathroom and I pick up my bag, that we are going out and they rush to the bathroom and jump in their beds. Neither Piggy or Pluto enjoy staying outside, Mark thinks it is cruel to keep them in the bathroom, they don't think so. All they do is sleep, so does it matter where they are. It is cool in the bathroom, they have their food and water and beds and if they were unhappy, they would not happily rush in there,

In Their Beds In The Bathroom

That is one scary face
And that is a snippet of our cute adorable animals. It was such a lovely day today - no rain, just a hot sunny day and another lovely African Skyline.

Joburg December Sunset

Another late night. I have just watched Spanglish for the 50th time. I love that movie, definitely one of Adam Sandler's better movies.
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