Friday, 19 December 2014

Taking A Break - Holiday Time

I am taking a break from blogging for the holidays. Even if I don't post on weekends or holidays, I always have stuff on my mind that I need to purge here on my blog. Whether it is good stuff or bad stuff, I always think about how I should blog about it (and then don't). Well that is the break I am taking - not thinking about stuff. Haha - I wonder how well that is going to go :). I think a lot of the reasons for why time really flies is because our minds are always busy with some form of Social Media or Instant Messaging. We fall asleep glaring at a screen and first thing we do is look at that same screen in the mornings, sometimes even before getting out of bed. What did we do before smart phones and other technology, because we will be lost without it. So as from when I hit publish on this post, my blog/brain will be officially on holiday. Other than one Happy New Year post (scheduled), I won't be posting for the rest of December. I may or may not post pictures on Instagram whilst I am on holiday. If I do you will find them over here - I have to finish the FMS Photo A Day Challenge, which I am already lagging behind with.

I am planning on having lots of morning sleep-ins and hopefully when we are on holiday, nothing will wake me up at the crack of dawn. At home - well that is a different story. My animals wake me up and then they go back to sleep and I am wide awake - staring at a screen of sorts. These holidays I am planning on joining my dogs with their morning naps.

I always say that I can't wait to have a break from my animals, but truth be told, I stress about them when we are away. I worry that something will happen to them whilst we are away. I worry that Pluto and Garfield will die quietly in their sleep, because they are so old. Pluto sleeps so soundly these days, I often think he has died in his sleep. Yes, I do worry over nothing. My therapist told me that I worry more than the average person and she was quite shocked.

Thank you for reading my blog, I know I don't have many followers, but I do appreciate each and everyone who reads the mostly drivel I purge here. Wishing you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and awesome festive season whether you celebrate Christmas or not. Whether you are travelling or staying at home - be safe on the roads and in your homes/holiday destinations.

 I hope to carry on with our online friendship in the New Year.

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Thursday, 18 December 2014

The Liebster Award

This morning, still with a heavy heart filled with thoughts about and continuing with last night's post, I turned on my laptop and started reading my emails as I usually do. Nothing out of the ordinary, always checking my personal and blog email accounts first. I have my priorities right, don't I ;). As the emails come in, I read the blogs that I follow first and this morning was no different. I read An Unkept Mind and then read that the lovely Miss C from An Unkept Mind nominated me for The Liebster Award. That put a smile on my face and made my heart feel all warm and fuzzy.

It felt good to be nominated and also by a blogger who I have only very recently started following and who has only recently started following me. The added bonus is being introduced to new blogs recommended by a blogger whose blog I enjoy reading. I know December is a hectic rush for everyone, but if you have some downtime and you are looking for a good blog to read, please visit An Unkept Mind, you will enjoy her blog as much as I do, that I am certain of. One recent post that is very touching is her birthday dedication to her mother, which you can read over here.

Miss C has made it very easy and has only asked one question. There are various different rules for The Liebster Award and I found this post here to explain how it works and I am going to change the rules a bit, because it is December and a mad rush for everyone.

Liebster Award Rules:
1. thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
2. display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)
3. answer 11 5 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
4. provide 11 random facts about yourself.
5. nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)
6. create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.
7. list these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to:
8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!
"Info Courtesy Of  Wording Well, Which Can Be Found By Linking Here"

Here are my nominations:

1. Skimming Stones
2. Life On A Wine Farm
3. Minneola's & Margaritas
4. The Journey
5. Foreign Geek

My Question From Miss C - What was your most difficult post to write or your favourite:
Any post that I have written about Clinton is extremely difficult. Whether it is a happy memory or dealing with his death and grief, it is extremely difficult and it takes a whole lot of deleting and starting over.

My Questions For My Nominees If You Want To Accept The Nomination:

1. When Did You Start Blogging
2. Why Did You Start Blogging
3. What Is Your Favourite Post
4.  E-Reader Or Paper Book
5. Cat or Dog Person; Both; Other or Neither {hopefully not neither :)}

I totally cheated and Googled these questions, I know it is busy busy time for all of you, so if you don't get to do it this year, next year is fine. I did mine, before my final post before we go away.

Thank you so much Miss C for the nomination, it was totally unexpected, but truly appreciated.

Thank you for reading my blog.

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Too Young To Be So Cynical - Dealing With Death Part Three

Yesterday, I was all excited when I posted about the change in our plans from not going away to going away, then last night it hit me like a ton of bricks - Clint won't be with us. This time of the year is extremely difficult for me and for all of us and I am starting to fear that Chad has become far too cynical for his age. Every happy event or fun outing and birthday and special occasion is entrenched in guilt and sadness and tears.

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The first two years we did not celebrate Christmas at all, except to buy Chad presents. The first year we went to the Valley of the Waves for the day and it breaks my heart that not only was Clint not with us, but Chad was a little 10 year old and the fun and excitement of Christmas was no more. The year before he was still halfheartedly believing in Santa - I always used to say if you don't believe you don't get, so he "believed". A few months later all his childlike beliefs and innocence ended - just like that. No warning,  no nothing - life ended for Chad - life as he knew it.

It is extremely difficult to be happy and excited and full of fun and laughter with Clinty no longer with us. It is torture and fills me with guilt and at the same time it fills me with guilt that I cannot be totally happy and excited for Chad. The saddest part is Chad is filled with the same guilt, but rarely voices that guilt and sadness.

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Although he had presents to open those first couple of years, there was no excitement and no fun and laughter, whatever laughter there was, amounted to barely a smile and then into tears and then full blown sobs. It is now our 8th year without Clint and on the average day, we get through OK, the tears are at the surface, but not quite bubbling over. Then comes the holidays and Christmas and the closer those days get, the closer those tears start to bubble to the top and then start dropping over the edge, until there is a flood of tears. That is how I handle it. Chad and Mark don't talk about it and out of respect for the way Chad has learned to deal with his brother's death, I try and not show my emotions and try and not talk about how Clint, not being with us, is just so awful. Chad knows it is terrible I can see it in his eyes or the far away look he gets sometimes.

This year not only do I feel as though I slept through the whole year, I haven't put up our Christmas tree, which is not even a proper artificial tree, but a Fibre Optic Tree. The last couple of Christmases, I have tried and decorated, but this year nothing. Chad doesn't want me to put up the tree and it really worries me that he has become as cynical as I am. He thinks it is totally uncool to put up the tree, because he is 17. When Clint was 17, Chad was 9, so the tree and decorations was there for Chad. When we were teenagers, we had a tree up. How cynical have I made Chad. My 22 year old nephew and his girlfriend are looking after our house and I am not sure what they are going to think of staying in a house with no tree and not a single decoration. Chad seems to believe that his cousin would think it more weird that there is only a 17 year old in a house covered in decorations.

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What is supposed to be a fun relaxed time, is just so marred by guilt and sadness. I end up making myself ill, thinking about all the what if's and if only's and then the day comes, be it Christmas; birthday; holidays and nothing has changed. It is exactly the same as the days leading up to the "big" day. It is the same sadness; the same tears and the same emotions. Day in and day out. This year again Chad has his Christmas present already. His TV that he wanted then this other motorbike to take on holiday. His one bike is getting sold but that is besides the point. It is going to be like our Christmas in Mozambique, when he got all caught up in our not buying presents, because we bought so much stuff to take on holiday.

I think deep down Chad prefers to not open presents on Christmas day, because it hurts too much. The whole idea of opening presents and being happy and the fun times and holiday spirit everyone else has, it just too painful.

A child died - a future - what fun and happiness is there in that. The sting of Merry Christmas; Happy New Year or Happy Birthday is unbearably painful - a pain worse than any physical pain you could experience.

Time does not heal - you just learn to hide your tears and emotions. You learn how to laugh, whilst tears are waiting to spill over behind closed doors and loud sobs are buried in your pillow or muffled into your clenched fist, shoved deep into your mouth. Holidays become days that we don't look forward to, as parents living through the death of their child. The guilt of not being with your child that has died and the guilt of not living for your child that is alive, becomes very hard to cope with.

You can find more posts on dealing with death over here

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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

A Change Of Plans

On Saturday I went shopping, I try not to ever shop on the weekends, especially Saturday and Sunday mornings, so it was very foolish going this past weekend. As I was pushed and shoved walked around, it felt as though I was transported forward in time. I keep saying this year went by so fast and it has, it has gone faster than any other year. I had the weirdest feeling, like I can only imagine someone would feel when they have been lying in a coma for months and then wake up and months have gone by. I am not making light of someone in that kind of Medical situation, I honestly feel like that. It does not feel like it is the end of the year and I don't know how I arrived here. Even the year that Clint died and the first few years afterwards, I was VERY aware of Christmas and the year end and New Year - now it is like weird and the only way I can explain it, is that I fell asleep and slept for 8 or 9 months and woke up at the end of the year.

I hardly see Chad and although he is now a month older than what Clint was when he died, we are in that time of Clint's lasts. Where Clint finished grade 11, our last December; our last holiday and it is terrifying for me, because we are going into new territory. I also feel like I went to sleep and woke up and Chad was 17.  Clint took the "right" time to turn 17, Chad's was in a flash. I feel like Chad also won't get to live older than 17 - it is awful and having him ride motorbikes is like Deja vu.

With all this going on in my head and how fast time is flying, today 3 weeks ago, Chad wrote his last exam and has been on school holidays since. He is now in his fourth week of school holidays and last weekend, I decided that there is no way we can go through another December like last year. Last year we were going to buy a farm/small holding. Mark gets these ideas in his head and rushes headfirst into them. He looked at the farm, put in an offer to purchase, took me to see it and we spent our December working - me getting our financials up to date and him working, because he needed money. It was awful - not the first December that we worked, but two in a row was not going to cut it. The farm fell through, so what a waste. In hindsight it was a good thing, because we have too much on our plates and although the idea of having horses and sheep and ducks and chickens running around is really awesome, the reality not so. For the first 2 or 3 years it would have been a weekend and holiday place only and we would never have managed going there every weekend and honestly a farming community just outside Thabazimbi, although beautiful, is not on my list of places to stay.

Chad with his "new" bike

Well I decided that it would be a good idea to go away and before I suggested it to Mark, I spent the whole of the Saturday and Sunday looking for holiday accommodation. EVERYWHERE was full. Last week Monday I received a confirmation from one place on the West Coast. I then suggested it to Mark, telling him that it would probably be the last holiday that we have with Chad as a kid and then I told Chad. Shame he was so sweet he said to me " Don't worry mom, it won't be the last holiday you have with me, there will be plenty more, I am not moving away when I finish school". Anyway, we decided that we are now going on holiday, but Mark said we must try and find a place closer and Chad said we must see if we can't find a place on the Wild Coast near Transkei so that him and Mark can ride down there - also much closer to home, but everywhere was full. I received another confirmation from another place on the West Coast, but we decided although a lot cheaper and far more to do there, it was too commercialised. So we are now going away, but only for 6 days, because the place we are going to could only accommodate for those days. The second place had place for the 10 days, but rather quality than quantity as they say.  They are still going to take their bikes with to ride off road down there. Chad had to get another bike so that he has an on/off road bike - hence the pictures of him and bikes. We had to then find a house/pet sitter and that is all in place, now we just have to get through this week and off we go.

I have been feeling so awful over the past few weeks. My legs have been swelling up and my whole body, even my face has been swollen and bloated. I was not looking forward to a 16 hour car drive with legs and feet already swollen, so I have been juicing since Friday morning to detox and have only been having spinach and cucumber smoothies with apple, peach, mango, watermelon or papaya with ice and water since Friday morning and an avocado for lunch and stirfry vegetables every second night for supper. I feel so much better and was probably so overloaded on sugar and gluten. I was waking up everyday, bloated and swollen feeling like I had one major hangover and I have not touched alcohol in months and have not had a hangover in many years. My legs have not been swollen at all since Sunday, not even in the late afternoons when it has been very hot. I changed the smoothie from this one and added ice and swapped carrots for cucumber and left out ginger. I have to make a concerted effort to stop eating so much sugar and gluten as it really does not agree with me. When you are young you can eat anything and everything and as you get older, you start developing food intolerance's that you have never had before.  I need to do the Virgin Diet properly and will when we get back, but I am going to try and cut out sugar and gluten whilst we are away as well.

Are you going on holiday or are you one of the lucky ones that migrated to the coast weeks ago. No matter what you are doing or where you are going, travel safely and arrive alive at your holiday destination.

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Tuesday, 16 December 2014

November Rubybox

Today I received my December Rubybox and I have still not posted about the November Rubybox, that is just how crazy the last month has been. Admittedly my November box did arrive late. I placed an order to be delivered with my Rubybox and I only received the order and not my subscription box. I was really impressed with the way they handled the error. I called the call centre, spoke to a very friendly and professional young man, explained what happened and he arranged for my subscription box to be sent and followed up with an email to confirm that my subscription box would be sent. No quibbling or long stories. I was very impressed.

This month, I received a really amazing concealer brush, it is soft and almost rubbery, but is feather light on my skin, which is very important around the eye area. The Touch Up Time Concealer Brush is R119.95 in the Rubybox online shop. I highly recommend this brush.

The next product was the Fresh In A Flash Brush Cleaner. After using the brush, spray cleaner onto brush(s) and wipe with a tissue and allow to air dry. Works really well, however, brushes must still be washed weekly with shampoo, but you are using a clean fresh brush each day when applying makeup. The Fresh In A Flash Brush Cleaner is R69.95 in the Rubybox online shop. I will buy this again.

Next is a luxury soap - Patchouli Mint And Sage. I am very particular about bath soap and only use Dettol Sensitive and before that Sunlight Baby Soap and sometimes Breeze, because Mark likes Breeze and it is in the shower so I use it. I have not used this soap and have had it in my Makeup drawer and it smells amazing. I love anything with the word Aromatherapy in it, so I might still use it. It comes in a lovely box and could be added to a gift. The AAA Patchouli Mint And Sage Soap is R54.95 for a 200g bar of soap. At that price, it is a real luxury soap and it is not something I would buy or pay for a soap.

The fourth item was some hair bands, they were kind of a gimmick, lets throw this in the box kind of item. I can't find them in the online shop. They look like bits of material, but they are not bad as hair bands, they are stretchy elasticated. I am always looking for hair bands when I tie up my hair to bath, so they serve their purpose, but I wouldn't buy them again. The box was worth the subscription fee just with the concealer brush and cleaner.

Rubybox is also now offering a Beautique Box - if you have a penchant for finer things in life, the Beautique Box is for you.

Thank you for reading, to read more Makeup Monday posts click here, to read more Rubybox posts click here.

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This is not a sponsored post. All products were purchased and all opinions are my own and are my honest opinion of the products. However, if you click on any of the links in this post or the banners on my website and make a purchase, I will receive commission from the sale. Thank You for reading Chad Life Us.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

The Tale Of The Tall Tree

Chad loves giving me a hard time about my blog and when he saw me taking photos of random trees the other day, he teased me forever saying that blogs are not meant to be about trees. Well Chad if you reading this, skip to the next boring post :).

The Trees In 2011

So I keep saying that trees can't be planted just anywhere as they grow big and become more of a hazard than anything else and here we are just as guilty, planting a Thorn Tree in a random place. Well that was Mark not me. He was given a whole lot of baby Thorn Trees and planted them randomly around the garden. They all died except this one in the picture above. I think he still believes I killed them off as we had many a fight about the trees. I didn't kill them, they just did not take. One day someone is going to be cursing us for planting a huge tree next to the driveway, like I curse whoever planted all these trees up against walls and the house. Last month we had the tree by the driveway cut down and I wrote about how what we may want may not be a good thing. I complained over here and over here about how these trees were making a mess and then someone came and hacked down the one tree and the Mulberry Tree and I wasn't sure that we had done the right thing.

The tree was an easy food source for all the birds we have and I love birds and I love having them in our garden, even the multitude of Pigeons and Doves, but they make a mess and the tree was lifting the paving and blocking the drains, the roots not the tree and so it was chopped down. It looked a mess, because there was this random tree left behind, which I expected to stay there forever as we procrastinate through life. That wasn't to be, because two weekends ago, the neighbour in the first house in our cul-de-sac, our road is more of a loop off another road, but with a different name, than an actual cul-de-sac, had tree fellers at his house and they chopped down trees all weekend and they seemed very professional. Mark asked them to ask their boss to come and see him to get a quote to chop down our other trees. He never came over the weekend and we did not expect to him again. Well turns out after house number 6 was robbed, house number 5 decided to chop down the trees around their house and their driveway, which runs between our boundary wall and house number six. It is a panhandle with the gate at the bottom end and not by the street like number two's gate. They used the same tree feller as number one, who then came to see us and on Tuesday the 2nd of December the rest of the trees were cut down. He was far more professional and cheaper. They did it quickly, neatly and efficiently.

The other guys did such a bad job that the other plants, including the beautiful Hibiscus was destroyed, so our gardener had to dig them all out and as soon we have cleared the stumps we need to plant other plants there. We have to be very careful in clearing the stumps, because our water pipes and main water switch is right there. We can't even pave the whole area, because of the tap and main water switch. These photos were taken before the gardener dug up the other plants.

Our house seems so bare now with all these trees gone, even the courtyard seems more open. You know how when you move house and have the curtains down and a half empty house, that is the kind of feeling I get when I drive up the road and see this bare house. The trees were the curtains and now they are down. It is also the first time that I have been aware of the street light outside our house. The old man next door had the municipality cut down the Oak Tree, because it was very messy and blocked the street light from lighting his entrance. It made no difference, but now it is so brightly lit up. We don't even have to put our outside lights on - our driveway and entrance is brightly lit and no one can hide in the shadows, so that is one of the good things of cutting down the trees.

That photo of Garfield on the wall with the tree behind her, taken from the back door made me realise why it is now so sunny in the courtyard. Next year we have to really start fixing up our house, that wall looks even worse further down. I just hate having people invading my space and all the noise and irritation of renovations.

On the other end of the garden we have this massive tree with branches growing into full trees themselves. I always thought we had lots of trees (I am the least observant person you will ever find) but it is only one tree growing all over the place. The main tree is right up against the wall and branches are starting to grow into the wall, which we will have to watch before they push the wall down. That part of the garden reminds me of a magical garden, nothing grows there, besides the giant tree and no one goes there, but when I wander around the garden like I did the other day, it always feels peaceful and magical - like entering another world. I will never cut that tree down.

The good thing is that the birds have not left. There are far too many trees around for them to leave for good. Their loud chirping and singing giving them away as they hide in the shadows of all the trees. I love it when I am on my own at home and there is no radio or TV blaring and all I can hear are the birds singing away to their hearts content.

And that was the tale of my tall tree that is no more......

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Friday, 12 December 2014

Get Out Of My Head - Nineteen Months

At 5pm today, it will be 19 months and one week that I had my last cigarette. I know I say this every time I do a no smoking anniversary post, BUT seriously - THE CRAVINGS ARE SO BAD THESE DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I try to put smoking out of my head and the other day Chad said something to the effect of ..... "and you smoked then". To be honest some days and most days I even forget that I was a smoker. That I was that person who hardly ever went through a waking moment without a cigarette in my hand; in my mouth; in an ashtray. Thirty five to forty a day was a good day. A bad day could easily double that amount - not often but often enough.

Often I would "cut" down and try and stretch lighting up between cigarettes to an hour - not very possible at all it - was tough. Yes, when I went to a movie or a no smoking zone, I could manage two hours, because I could not smoke. Not hanging around at home; or working or watching TV. I honestly and truly DO NOT know how I have managed to not touch a cigarette in 19 months and 1 week, but all I do wish is that these dam things would get OUT of my head once and for all. I keep subconsciously and also very consciously go off to get "something" reach out to get "something" walk off to get "something". Those "somethings" are cigarettes, but instead I am getting food/snacks/sweets. I always need something and my brain does not have a switch off button. I comfort eat as it is, now I am also always reaching out, wanting something more and my brain is not intelligent enough or disciplined enough to say enough now - you don't want that other sweet; you don't really want more food; enough biscuits now. Ask me if I feel healthier now than I did this time two years ago - NOT AT ALL. Am I glad I gave up smoking - I ACTUALLY AM. Will I start smoking again - I HONESTLY CANNOT ANSWER THAT. I berate myself for giving up and then I berate myself for ever starting, then berate myself for wanting to start again.

I am not an expert on giving up smoking, I am not an expert on handling addictions, I am not an expert on self discipline, however if I have to give you one tip on quitting smoking; it would be to not give in to even one cigarette - whether it is five minutes after you "gave up"; five hours; five days; five weeks; five months or five years. DO NOT GIVE IN TO THAT URGE!!!!

Other tips and fallacies would be:

1. Don't think you will wake up and feel energised after giving up smoking - it is a physical addiction, you will feel far worse and drained before you feel full of energy. Don't have that one cigarette for a pick me up.

2. Experts will tell you to avoid being in the company of smokers until the cravings have stopped. OK - the cravings don't go away over night or after a week or two, so that is fallacy number one. If you are not disciplined enough to say no in the first couple of weeks when you smell that freshly lit cigarette, come two weeks later or a month and you find yourself in a group of smokers, you are going to give in to that temptation of "just one" - then start all over again.

3. Drink water every time you want a cigarette. I was a two to three litre a day water drinker. If I have two full glasses of water in a week now, it is a lot. I force myself to drink water. I now know why Chad and so many other people say water is disgusting. I think smoking makes you very thirsty and your mouth dry so you drink more. I can't say if that is true, all I can say is that the drink water tip did not work for me. In this post here about my Easy Night Routine, I said that I weaned myself off of lipice after years and years of using it. I think the "addiction" to lipice had to do with smoking drying out my lips.

4. Don't give up for someone else - do it for yourself. The reason to not start again, must be far bigger than the reason to start. Yes I did it for Chad in away, because he nagged me, but it was time for me to give up. Chad and Clint nagged me for years and my greatest achievement then was having hourly intervals between lighting up. Breaking smoking laws and rules at work became far more of an issue for me than my 35 year 40 a day habit.

5. Yes, sometimes it is just from pure habit that I reach out to get something and turn that to food - but 75% of it is genuine cravings - almost two years later. Giving in to that craving and having just one cigarette, just for that "one: craving, will lead you down the path of no return, because there will always be that one craving.

6. If I can do it anyone can - everyone says that including me, but honestly that is a load of rubbish, because everyone has their own issues and characters and ways to deal with life. Yes maybe you were a very heavy smoker and gave up, but that does not mean the next person who hardly smokes can give up. They don't have the same determination or reason to give up. Everyone is unique and different.

7. You haven't given up smoking if you rush off to buy a loose cigarette every couple of hours (if they still sell loose cigarettes, I know it is illegal to sell them. You haven't given up if you sneak off and have a cigarette where no one can see or bum one off someone else. That is given up buying cigarettes. I know a few people who have given up smoking, but strangely often stink like smoke or have a cigarette in their hands/mouth. Just one!!!

8. Although I did not fully agree with everything in the Kickbutt program, it is really worth signing up for. You can sign up for it over here. This is the South African one, there are others and I also don't think it matters where you live as it is On Line. I found the first half fantastic and really helped me to carry on quitting.

9. Giving up smoking after a lifetime of smoking is really tough. It is not the same as if you give up after five or even ten years of smoking, but it can be done, so many people have. The reason just has to be stronger than the reason for smoking - namely addiction and habit.

10. Try and not turn to unhealthy snacks/sweets to keep your hands and mouth busy. My biggest mistake. After all these months I am really glad I gave up smoking, not for health reasons or financial reasons, my health has worsened and my money wasted on other unhealthy habits. The two main reasons are the stink of stale cigarettes and the stress of not being able to smoke when I go out or having to creep downstairs in a hotel with severe bed hair and unwashed face and unbrushed teeth to have a cigarette, because I just could not last another second without a smoke.

And number eleven for good luck - don't drink alcohol when you first give up smoking - those two go hand in hand. Besides why keep one unhealthy habit - yes drinking is unhealthy even wine.

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Have an awesome Thursday and if you are planning on giving up smoking, rather wait until after the Festive Season. You need all your wits about you to embark on this stressful smoke free journey. You can read just how I fought my way through the nineteen months of hell in these posts.

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Monday, 8 December 2014

Climbing On The Fed Up Bus With All The Other Whino's

Every single person is complaining about load shedding and I just have to climb on that bus too. It does irritate me when people go on about how good it was pre-1994, because it really was not. People have selective memory if they believe it was so great back then. The movie, Long Walk To Freedom was a reminder that pre-1994 was only great for a VERY select few. However, 20 years later and we are not progressing. The water crises in some areas and the electricity crises across the country has just gone beyond a joke. Having no power and power cuts is not new, I have lived in this area since 1984, left for a couple of years and moved back, and even then in the '80's we would have plenty of power cuts - not load shedding, just no power. Call it what you like - no electricity is no electricity.

On Friday someone tweeted "rather a couple of hours of no electricity than full black out for weeks on end" and that is when it really hit me as to how we have just settled for far less than we deserve. The economy is in a bad state as it is, people are struggling to make ends meet, the cost of electricity is ridiculously high and then small to medium businesses who rely on electricity to make a living have to just shut their doors for four hours every single day. Well from Friday, but who knows when it will stop. Then four hours was not enough so they added another thirty minutes on Sunday. Our load shedding times are 14h00 to 18h00, Sunday it was until 18h30. The weekends are a Restaurants busiest times.  It is fun at work when you have no electricity and just hang around doing nothing, until you are the stressed out business owner who loses not only his income for the four hours, but all of his stock. How many businesses are going to end up closing down, because from Friday afternoon they could not trade. Restaurants on the KZN coast rely on the thousands of tourists who descend on them in December to make a year-long living, now they have no electricity for four hours everyday and some towns have no water added to the disaster.

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We owned a mini supermarket come garage shop a few years ago - not the petrol, just the shop and let me tell you it is not as easy as it seems from the other side of the cash register. It was not during load shedding, but there were so many power cuts and believe you me even if the power was off for 15 minutes, your whole freezer of ice creams can be thrown away. We lost two freezes with brand new stock three times. Even if your ice cream fridge is slightly open ALL your ice creams can and will melt and you cannot resell them. Once an ice cream has melted it has to be discarded. Same as the ice fridge, leave it open and all your ice can and will melt. To this day if I am at a shop and see an ice cream fridge even slightly open, I can feel my blood pressure rise and I have to tell myself to calm down it is not my stress and close it. People will slide open the ice cream fridge, take an ice cream out and walk off and leave it open. Why do that, why have such little respect for someone else's hard earned income. Even if it is a huge supermarket chain, someone has to pay for the ruined stock or you and I buy the ice cream only to find that it has melted and refrozen into a yucky mess. Now add load shedding or power cuts for whatever reason into the mix and good bye stock. After four hours say good bye to most of your perishables. Yes you have insurance, but you don't claim for every loss (we didn't claim) and your insurance is only going to pay so many times and then stop. The minute the power went off we would drop everything and get the generator up and running - oh and we won't even go down the road of the theft that happens when the shop is suddenly in complete darkness.

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We have solar power in our house, which Mark had installed just at the end of load shedding in 2008/9. It cost about R35K to install about 3 (sorry typo) 6 years ago, far more than he thought it would cost. When there is no power we have lights and can watch TV and charge phones so we are not totally "powerless". We only have one (car) battery and one small solar panel as it was done as a "trial" and then load shedding stopped and it was sufficient for the power cuts we have had since then. On Friday our power went off at 2 and came back on at 6pm. On Saturday the same, but two hours in and the alarm on the solar panel started going off, because the battery was flat. We thought we had forgotten to turn off the solar power on Friday. On Sunday again the power went off at 2pm as Chad got home from riding, not even half an hour later, solar power alarm started screeching. No solar power. All of our phones were flat and our data modems, so we felt load shedding in all its glory until 18h30 on Sunday night. Chad said we would never have survived in the 1800"s. We have become so used to technology and electricity powered goods. In the '80's and 90's and even the early 2000's General Knowledge was our thing to play when there was no power and there were always loud Ahs when the power came on and we stopped playing. Now we are so head bent attached to our electronic devices that we can't function without them. It was good though, because Chad and I chatted and joked around for about three hours, whilst Mark slept in the lounge. It was really good to chat uninterrupted for so long - no beeping distractions. We all have good intentions when we have children that we are not going to stop communicating with them when they are teenagers, but it is what it is. Teenagers, especially boys are just wired to not have long conversations with their parents (unless they want to). Chad is not the chatty little boy that he used to, when we could not shut him up for two seconds. Chad said that Frankie from The Middle, one of our favourite shows, told Axel, the son that teenage boys are like that so that when they leave home it will be easier to let go.

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By around 5.30 pm, Chad was ready to start trying out some pedal power, that much mom time was a bit too much to handle, but it was fun to reconnect and have some good old, old fashioned conversations. Be that as it may, this energy crises is becoming far more stressful and worrying and yes without jokes and comedy it is all doom and gloom, but why must we all settle for less than we deserve. No electricity adds to the carnage on the road, that is another reason why my child is dead, no power meant no traffic lights, which meant someone thought he was more important than everyone else.

How are you coping with the power cuts or is it affecting your business and income.

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