Sunday, 31 August 2014

Turning Mark Metro-Sexual - Skin Products and Sunblock

I am not sure if Mark is extra tired and stressed and strained these days, but the other day at work I had to do a double take when I noticed how lined and wrinkled his face is, especially around his eyes. He does not have very good genes when it comes to aging. His extended family have that very leathery lined sun damaged kind of skin. Mark does not have leathery skin, in fact he has the opposite - he has skin cancer's favourite skin and he never wears sunblock. He wears caps almost all the time, but not everyday at work and he is out in the sun for at least 50 % of the day. He really wasn't blessed with good aging genes at all, because he is already grey and is younger than me, in fact he went grey long before my dad did. He also shaves his head now, because he is going bald. I am by no means saying that I do not have lines and wrinkles, life's knocks are etched all over my face in the form of lines and wrinkles, but I can cover them up relatively well with beauty balms and makeup. I am SO lucky that I gave not gone grey yet, surprisingly, because of the two major shocks that I have gone through - Clint's death and the shock to my body from suddenly giving up smoking.

I gave up trying to convince Mark that I was not being ugly and nasty about his skin and just very concerned about him not only being tired and his body (face) taking strain, but more importantly worried that he will get skin cancer. Yesterday, I mentioned it again and it turned into an argument and I ignored him for the rest of the day. Trying to explain to him that I am not insulting him or belittling him, but just being concerned was just a waste of my time and energy.



This morning he woke up long after I did, he slept until after 10, I was in the lounge and he came in after his shower all bright and breezy and I was still sulking. Well he kind of stewed over what I said yesterday and something sunk into his head I guess, because he mentioned by the way that he put cream on his face - "what cream?" I asked him - "hand cream" he answered. Well even the hand cream has made him look less strained and worry etched. With this conversation in my head, I saw the 5 or 6 bottles of sunblock in my dressing table cupboard and thought what good are they in my cupboard. No wonder Chad and Mark never use sunblock unless we go away and I nag about it. I have now put a bottle of sunblock in the bathroom cupboard and have told both Chad and Mark to use it everyday. Apparently South African sunscreen products are not that good and a 50+ is not nearly near 50+ - but who knows if that is true or not.


After the huge discovery of "How can they use sunblock if it is hidden away"  I thought if Mark does not have moisturizer then how can he use it - its not like he would go off and buy himself some - so off to clicks I went. I have done the Cliniques; the Environs; The Justines; Avroy Shlains - you name it I have used it or tried it and now I use good old Nivea and have been for many years and it works for me. I bought Mark some Nivea For Men Moisturizer and Face Wash and a Clicks Brand Eye Cream, because it costs more than half the price of my eye cream. I came home and gave him a quick lesson on how to use/apply each one. I started with the face wash and Chad said "Sorry mom that is already too complicated for Dad" Lets hope he uses it and did not waste my money.



What really shocked me is the price of the Essence products. I needed beauty balm and I was shocked that it is almost double the price that it used to be. I only used it because of how inexpensive it was and have even blogged about how reasonably priced their products are over here. Every time I go to Clicks, the Essence products are more expensive than the time before and I go to Clicks often. On Thursday I was shopping there, when a man was wandering around looking for Strepsils and asked an employee if they stocked them. She did not quite hear or understand what he was saying and I told him to go two aisles up and he will find them at the top of the aisle. I think he thought I worked there and he found them straight away. How is that for knowing a store very well?


I thought I would try the Garnier BB Cream, it was only R10.00 cheaper than the Essence one, but Garnier is a better product than Essence - Chad uses Garnier Face Wash and Moisturizer which is very good for teenage spots and I am sure the Garnier BB Cream will be just as good if not better than the Essence BB cream. I am also trying out the Rimmel Foundation. I used Revlon Anti-Ageing for years, until it got very pricey this year and I changed to Essence and only liked Essence Foundation for the affordability of the product. It is now only R30.00 cheaper than Rimmel, so it does not even warrant an affordability tick. Today has been a day of new things and with a new Season tomorrow, namely Spring why not try something new.

Is your man metro-sexual or do you also battle with a stubborn old school man? Let me know in the comments below. Also feel free to let me know your opinion on the products I have mentioned in this post - either in the comments section or send me an email via my Contact Page by clicking on the envelope.


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Saturday, 30 August 2014

VW Track Day Invite

Mark was invited to a VW Track Day at Kyalami Race Track on Wednesday to launch the new VW Economy Parts. VW has brought out economy parts, which are in line with the aftermarket parts' prices, but have been tested and made by VW for VW cars. This means that consumers now have a choice, between what is known as a genuine Agents part, which is usually very expensive or a more economical part that is not a "pirate" part or after market part from Midas or Autozone or any other after market spares shop.




Mark gets these invites often and never goes, but this time he decided to go and had a ball. The only negative to the whole event was the fact that only one person from the company is invited and it is shrouded in secrecy. There is no plus one or bring a guest, but we took a chance and asked if Mark could bring a guest before replying to the invite and they said yes.



Mark took Shaun, a young boy who works for us with and I read his Whatsapp status that night and it read "Wow Best Day Of My Life...."  Chad couldn't go, because he doesn't have a driver's licence. When they got back that evening, I asked Shaun if he enjoyed the day - expecting him to politely say yes. I did not know then what they did at the event, but knew they would be doing some form of driving, because they had to bring their driver's licence with. He just had this huge grin on his face and said yes it was awesome.


Shaun Standing Next To The GTI He Drove

They went around the track in the New GTI 7 - obviously at unmentionable and unprintable speeds. They each drove around the track a few times, but with an Instructor. Mark was also one of three who won a lucky draw to go around the track with the Legend Sarel Van Der Merwe in a Golf GTI R at speeds definitely unmentionable. Sarel Van Der Merwe was also the guest speaker.



They all received a goody bag with among other stuff a coffee mug; two caps; block paper and a Spark Plug that was in fact a 4G USB stick.












I am sure Mark will be going to more of these events, now that he knows it is a fun day and not just networking and talks.


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I Was Not Exaggerating - My Arm Is Bruised

Last night when I went to bath and stripped off all my winter clothes and saw my left arm, I knew I did not overreact when I asked the Blood Monster if he was qualified to draw bloods from patients. This morning my arm is even worse and is covered in bruises. Imagine if I let him stick the needle in my arm again. It is really wrong of a pathology practice to allow someone so inexperienced to take bloods from a patient. I certainly won't be going back there now that Sister C has left. I have been to that lab twice for tests; Mark once and I went there to collect Mark's results and every time this man has been wondering around the shopping centre talking to people who work at the centre and Sister C has to ask someone outside to call him. Pity he was not wondering outside yesterday morning when I went in - probably too cold in the icy weather we had yesterday.



The photo does not do the bruise justice - it is dark blue and purple. This is despite the fact that Sister C pressed down on it with a cotton swab to try and prevent bruising after he butchered my arm.  My right arm has a tiny pin prick mark on it. No bruising and not sore, unlike the left arm that is bruised, sore and very itchy. I have never bruised like this after having bloods drawn. I think they are going to have to re-look at the staff situation at the lab, if they want it to last.

Have you ever had a bad experience when having blood tests?


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Friday, 29 August 2014

Frozen To Bits

I don't believe that there is a place in South Africa that is not experiencing freezing cold weather today. It is freezing cold, the wind blowing gales and just unpleasant. Strangely enough, as cold as what it is and it is cold, I still don't feel the cold like I did before I gave up smoking. Previously, I would be so cold that my bones would literally ache. My hands would be so cold all the time that they would be dry and almost raw. I know we do forget how cold or how hot it was in the past, it is a way, I believe, that enables us to carry on and face the next season of cold/hot weather. I am always saying that last year I felt the cold more than this year, but in this post here in July last year, I said the one good thing about giving up smoking is that I don't feel as cold as before, because my skin does not burn when it is cold like it did when I smoked. So from last year I was already feeling the cold less than before. It is cold though and I am not denying it.

The Weather

I mentioned in this post about my views on sixty seven minutes that we managed a second business that employed minimum wage staff and how we just barely broke even and some months we didn't even break even, because we tried to pay the staff a bit more, but had to keep our prices market related. Well that business is a car wash and from Monday we won't be managing it anymore, because of the renovations happening at the site. It is a huge relief, not only because it does not make money, but, because both Mark and I feel terrible when these poor guys have to wash cars in such freezing cold weather. It is a kind of catch 22 situation, because we have a nice bunch of guys that work there and they are very sad that we won't be their bosses anymore and we are also sad that we won't be their bosses. This morning I asked the supervisor if they wanted soup because it is so cold, he said don't worry. I asked if they don't like the soup I buy and he said they do like it, but I mustn't worry. Ask Chad I can be like a pit bull and don't give in. Shame he said if I have enough money then I must buy some otherwise I mustn't worry. I went and bought soup and bread rolls for them and our workshop staff at both branches, because they also work outside mostly or in the workshop with open doors and it is cold in the workshop. However, they definitely don't have it as tough as the car wash staff and certainly don't earn as little as them.



I went to our local Spar and parked close to the parking lot cat who was inside the kennel and I thought I would buy him/her some food, because it is cold and maybe the cold would make him more hungry than usual. Whilst buying the cat food, I thought it would be unfair to give the cat's food to the car guards when they were standing in the freezing cold, so I bought them soup too. I buy packet soup, nothing fancy, but it does warm the tummy and hands a bit.



I am not posting about this to toot my own horn, but this is one of the reasons why I don't give to beggars. There are people out there who work hard and live below the poverty line and they have smiles on their faces and take pride in the work they do. Today our staff did not work very hard, but at 5 pm two people came to wash their cars. One man in his fancy merc with his warm jacket and scarf did not tip them even R1.00. The other young guy bought them a 2L cold drink, which is far more than a tip and he certainly did not drive a fancy car with a jacket that cost more than their monthly wages. Yes they get paid and it is their job and yes you pay to have your car washed, but really, will a tip to say thank you, bankrupt you. You pay for your meal in a restaurant but still tip the waiter. Whilst I was cashing up at 5.30 in the freezing cold wind, we usually close at 6 pm, but planned on closing at 5, because it was so cold, a man pulled up at 5.36 to wash his car. I just said sorry we are closed. Seriously, who washes their car in freezing cold weather on a Friday night. Have you ever washed your hands in cold water in freezing cold weather - it is cold and actually stings and aches - now imagine your hands in icy water whilst you are shivering and freezing. A small tip to say thank you won't break the bank, but will be most appreciated and will go along way. After all, we are very spoilt in South Africa when it comes to cheap labour. Do you tip staff at the car wash or do you also believe the staff earn a wage and you pay to have your car washed?

Wishing you a very warm weekend


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The Blood Monster

When I went to see my doctor to discuss my blood results in June she told me to go and do my bloods again in two months time. I went today, because the Sister who did my bloods on July 2013 and again in June this year is leaving the laboratory. Tomorrow will be her last day and I did not want to go there and have someone else draw blood from me. Marks's doctor sent him for Cholesterol tests and a few others and he went to the same laboratory and he was also so impressed with the Nursing Sister. She is so bubbly and friendly and DOES NOT HURT - she knows what she is doing.

This morning I woke up freezing cold, no tea or coffee, because it is a fasting test and off I went to do my bloods at around 8 am, after Mark dropped Chad at school. There was someone at the lab before me that Sister C was assisting with the paper work and her assistant assisted me. I thought he was just doing the paper work. Turns out he also draws the blood and took me to the room to draw the bloods. I was very anxious and disappointed that after all Sister C was not doing my bloods. He was very professional and showed me the sealed needle, asked if I was allergic to plasters and latex. There was no need for concern, until he pushed the needle in - it was so sore, hardly any blood came out. He asked if he must take the needle out and do it again. I said no just finish. He attached the next vial and about two drops of blood came out. To be honest I have had paper cuts that have bled more than that. He said please can I take it out and try another vein. I said yes - it was so sore. I will not lie, I do not have very good veins and they do battle to find a vein, but once they do, there is no problem. I am 50 years old, I have had blood taken hundreds of times and I have never experienced anything like that ever before. I just snapped and said "Are you qualified to do this?"  He said yes I am. It might have been a bit harsh of me to snap like that, but I have gone through hell, because of the medical profession and what happens if it was a young child who was having bloods taken. He said do you want the other sister to carry on and I said yes please. I had to wait until Sister C had finished with her patient she was with - the person after me.

Bloods Taken By Assistant (Left Arm)

Looking at the photos, was I being unreasonable or petty? I think not. My arm ached for most of the morning - not the needle mark, but my whole arm. The medical profession is once again losing quality staff, because profit margin is more important than life itself. Sister C is leaving to do marketing for Baby & Company (I think). The Company she will be working for is having an Expo at the Dome in November and one in Durban and Cape Town at sometime, she said I must pop by and say hello to her at the expo. I will even though I would not normally go to a baby show as I don't have a baby. It is not often that you go to a laboratory to have bloods taken and the staff remember not only your face, but you as a person. I wish her everything of the best in her new career and hope she is hugely successful.

Bloods Taken By Sister C (Right Arm)

After that episode, I went straight to Woolworths, which is in the same centre and bought a large Cappuccino. I have not had coffee for 25 days, the cold and stress broke my willpower. I have had no dairy, caffeine or sugar for 3 weeks. Yesterday I had a Crusher from KFC - am guessing that contained dairy, sugar and all sorts of bad, so a cappuccino was the least of my worries on a cold agitated morning.





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Thursday, 28 August 2014

Find The Wonderful ......

I am really struggling with finding the wonderful in anything today, but I won't bore you with my thoughts or bring you down with my negativity, instead I will share some positivity and inspiration with you.






All images courtesy of Fiona Childs
Have a great Thursday - what's left of it. I can't wait for the weekend, so I can get off the hamster wheel for a few moments.

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Tuesday, 26 August 2014

All About Chad

In this post over here I told the story of taking Chad to book his learner's licence. I was even optimistic enough to put the booking form on my Blog, knowing that he will pass, because he really wanted his learners. We booked for his bike learners and his car learners, because he has a bike and the right thing to do is get a licence. I blogged about the whole dilemma of the bike in this post.

I moaned about Chad not studying for his learners in this post  and how angry I would be if he failed as I had to cancel my doctor's appointment to get the results of my blood tests, because it was the same time as his learners. I barely mentioned his learners and I am sure many people were wondering whether he passed his learners or not or why I never said anything other than briefly mentioning it in this post. I congratulated Chad on passing his motorbike learners in this post, but with lots of negativity about the bike and very little pride in my son's "adult" achievement. My mom asked me about two weeks ago if Chad had gone for his learners, because I had not told her that he had passed.

Well the reason for the very blasé attitude was because Chad failed his learners. I was so angry at first, because he did not open a book as mentioned in this post.  I said I would be angry and I was. I certainly was not shocked that he failed. We both woke up grouchy and tired and in a mood. We left early in the morning to avoid any traffic issues as his appointment was for 8 am. We argued and fought in the car and I should know that Chad gets very angry and moody when he is stressed, but he didn't study so I did not think he was stressed. I thought he just had bad attitude. We were going through the questions in the Learner's book before the test and he knew nothing - he was just guessing. Well he failed and instead of consoling him like a good mom should I scolded him. He wanted to leave straight away and not do his bike licence, but I convinced him to just take it in his stride and go do it. He didn't really want his bike licence, but by then the moment of anger was over and my heart was very sad for him, because, moms don't like to see their children fail or sad or anything negative in their lives. We joked and relaxed until it was time to write his bike learners and he passed. The mind boggles, because he failed road markings and it should be the same for a bike learners. When he went in he asked the Officer if he could write his car learners instead of bike and she said no, you have had a chance and you failed. Fair enough.

So the next morning we went to pay and collect his bike learners as the cash office had closed at 10 for year end when he wrote his learners and we booked again for his car learners. He could only get a booking for the 25 August 2014, even asking very nicely if there was an earlier booking. He had 55 days to study and again even after threats of never going to take him to book for a third time and threats of not paying again from Mark, he never studied until Thursday for a bit and then Sunday the day before, he studied for most of the day and in the afternoon I questioned him and he knew a lot. Yesterday he was writing at 1 pm and he stayed at home to study. We left home at 12 to again avoid traffic issues, you never know in Joburg what can happen to cause a back up with the traffic. We sat in the car again and went through the book and he knew all the answers without hesitation. I was so happy and proud and knew he would pass. I told him to relax, because unless he had a total mental block and read the questions wrong there was no way he would fail. He was starting to get nervous, the closer to 1 pm it got, because he really wanted it this time. I just made him relax and there was no attitude or fighting and arguing.



From 1.45 Mark started phoning, long story short (are they ever with me) he came out at 2.40. So many people came out and my heart dropped each time. I was waiting for the smile or sad angry face and was getting more anxious and kept texting Mark and could only imagine how anxious Chad was, when I realised they were marking in batches of 5. It was a big class. Eventually he was one of the 5 last ones to come out. He tried to act like he had failed, but his eyes were too bright and sparkly and the corners of his mouth hinting at the smile he was trying to hide. Apparently people who finished after Chad put their papers on top of his paper, so they were marked first. He was so anxious, his heart was beating and his hands were sweating, but he passed and I am so proud of him. He left the questions he was struggling with until last and went back to them at the end and went over the test again to make sure he read the question properly the first time. The proof was in the studying though. He never spent days studying, but he did study hard in the end. Congrats my boy.

How do you feel when your children fail; more importantly how do you feel when your children have not studied and then fail? Do you feel as sad and upset as what they do? I think mothers will no matter what, still feel the pain and sadness their children feel.

Here are some clips of Chad riding his bike at Daytona. as hard as it is for me to see him riding his bike, I have to do it. Mark recorded him - I was at home.

This one below was on Sunday the 17th, as you can see Spike went with and had a ball, he came home exhausted.

video

This one was taken this past Saturday, the 23rd just a glimpse - Really Mark!!

video

Not the best videos - Mark recorded with his Samsung and I am not sure if he did something wrong or if that is what happens when you record on a Samsung and then save it on a PC. I have just told him to please put more effort into recording Chad :)


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Sunday, 24 August 2014

Eating Out In Durban

I promise this is my last post about our weekend in Durban in July - procrastinating always gets the better of me and this should have been posted a month or more ago. We didn't have much success in eating out whilst we were in Durban. Our breakfasts at the hotel were the best meals we had, although I do have an issue with the whole halaal policy that the Tsogo Sun Hotels have. Don't get me wrong I respect other religions and their belief systems, but what I don't get is how a hotel can have a policy when 98% of their guests are non halaal. The breakfasts are part of the accommodation package and the spread on offer is amazing - Full English; Continental; Fruits; Cereals; Kippers; Haddock you name it they have it. Even potatoes and macaroni and cheese, but lets be honest, who eats macaroni and cheese or potatoes for breakfast. Everything is well laid out and organised, except for the eggs. There are two chefs making eggs and omelettes, but no organisation. One thing South Africans cannot do is queue in an orderly fashion - no matter the colour; creed or culture. We are a nation that cannot wait our turn and queuing for eggs at a hotel is no different. Then when you finally get to the front of the queue and order your omelette, your choice of fillings are cheese; chicken and chili - why - because it is a halaal hotel and you cannot have bacon or ham in your omelette that you queued half an hour for. Look around the dining room and you see very few if any people who could possibly only eat halaal food. If they had a Hostess organising the queue for the eggs and a separate grill for non halaal patrons to have ham or bacon in their omelettes then the breakfasts would be perfect.  





















Our breakfast carried us right through the day and other than ice creams from the little shop tucked away at the back of the hotel, we never had anything else to eat and were not hungry. On the Friday night we walked to Ushaka Village to have early supper and ended up watching a juggling act. The man was really good - I can't remember his name, but anyway his acts were very good and he was so funny - a comedian at his best. After his show, we went to Piatto for supper and all chose the wrong food - Pasta - it was too rich and had too much tomato.






The view from the restaurant deck is just too beautiful.




I even took a sneak photo of a Rickshaw - don't ever let them see you taking a photo because they force you to pay them anything from R10.00 to R20.00 - certainly not worth it.



On Saturday night we were going to go back to Piatto, Mark wanted a steak and when we were there the night before, the steaks looked good. We got side tracked and went up the ramp above the Cargo Hold Restaurant and Ushaka Marine World.  We were looking down on Ushaka Marine World and looking at the sharks - it was stunning and we decided to have dinner at one of the restaurants, which will remain nameless for obvious reasons.





















It was a buffet and before you are seated you are told to go look at the food. This should have rung alarm bells, but I was so busy trying to see what was happening with my camera that I did not pay attention or even look at the food. My camera batteries had gone flat, but I did not realise that, because I had only put the fully charged batteries in my camera just before we went out and I was stressing over my camera and next thing we were collecting our food. I had three mouth fulls of food and just could not eat the food on my plate. I have never eaten such disgusting food in my life. The longer we sat there the more uncomfortable we were feeling and we were not even there for 30 minutes. We just felt out of place and uncomfortable. The waitresses looked like they were ushers at a funeral - quiet subdued almost scared. It was unbelievable - our waitress collected my full plate without even a raised eyebrow that my food was hardly touched. The waitress looked scared and scurried off with my plate. We thought we would try the dessert and get something for our R129.00. Even the ice cream that came out of a softserve machine tasted disgusting and looked nothing like softserve ice cream. We won't even mention what the other desserts looked like. The R129.00 was supposed to include coldrinks, but we were charged an extra R40.00 each as a service fee for the waitress to bring the coldrinks. There was a sign up at the pay point stating that no refunds will be given, please look at the food before being seated. We missed that when we walked in. We just paid and left and were not planning on questioning anyone about the disgusting food. I sent a complaint to the head office, but my complaint was neither acknowledged nor responded to. Eating out that weekend definitely fell under The Bad and The Ugly of Durban. I don't even think the beggars would have eaten that food it was so bad.

Next time we will know to rather eat at the hotel's restaurant.




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