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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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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Friday, 29 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.

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

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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Monday, 25 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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