Friday, 25 December 2015

Thursday, 24 December 2015

An Afternoon Out - The Monkey Sanctuary

On Saturday, we went to The Cattle Barron for a very early lunch and whilst there, after talking about kittens and bunnies and other exotic pets we decided to go to The Bush Babies Monkey Sanctuary. I confused the place with Mystic Monkeys but when we arrived I remembered the place, we went there about 3 or 4 years ago. Most of the monkeys except those born at the sanctuary were once pets and then when they became too much for the owners they were taken to the Sanctuary. The Sanctuary takes in Capuchin; Lemurs and Squirrel Monkeys and they also have a Spider Monkey. These Monkeys do not live in cages, they live in the "Wild".

You go on an hour long tour, walking amongst the animals that roam freely in the sanctuary. The tour is quite expensive at R275.00 a person so for four people it is over R1000.00 for an hour of walking around looking at monkeys. Before going on the tour it seems like such a waste of money, but after going on the tour, you realise that it is really worth it. The monkeys are fed a mixture of fruits and bread and peanut butter three times a day and the sanctuary, although in the wild, is very clean.

Just as our tour started when our tour guide, Wiseman, went through the rules and procedures, we decided to lock our bags and wallets in the lockers provided. Firstly, because it is an hour long walk in temperatures in the 30's and higher and also because the Capuchin monkeys are pickpockets.  When I put my bag in the locker, I looked for my phone and couldn't find it anywhere. We looked in the toilets and at the two places where we sat waiting for the tour to start, Chad went to look in the car, Mark was phoning it and it rang and then stopped ringing and went to voicemail when he phoned again. Chad couldn't find it in the car, JD went to look in the bathrooms. We had the whole place looking for my phone. They have more than 20 staff members that popped up out of nowhere, looking for my phone and we didn't even tell anyone that it had gone missing. We couldn't even blame a Capuchin monkey, because we hadn't even been into the sanctuary. I wanted my phone to take photos. I went and looked in the car and there it was, it had fallen between the door and seat. Chad doesn't ever look properly. It was so embarrassing, I thanked the Sanctuary staff for helping me look for it and said I was just desperate to find it so that I could take photos.

We started the tour with Mr T, a Capuchin monkey who climbed all over us and was so fascinated with our hair and looking in our pockets. He also wanted our water. You are allowed to take water in, nothing else. They were also so fascinated with JD's shoes, maybe because they had no laces. I will post photos of her here in this post but not ones of her face because I don't have her permission to post her photos all over my blog. When the monkeys climb on you, you have to stand calmly and not shriek or panic. It is rather creepy having them lick and dig in your hair and scrummage through your pockets.

Our guide was very knowledgable and friendly and the staff clearly love the monkeys and it is more than just a job to them.

If you are ever in the Haartebeespoort area, then this is definitely the place to visit or if you live in Johannesburg and you are looking for something to do, then it is only an hour away. It may seem expensive at R275.00, but what can you buy for R275.00 anyway. It is less than a carton of cigarettes and a little more than a bottle of wine. OK a good bottle of wine, but still, even good wine is not good for you - not as good as walking in the fresh air learning about monkeys and their habits.

I am not sure how much the entrance fee is for children, but it is a fun and interesting tour for kids and safe. There was a little girl on the tour with us and she was scared of the monkeys and they didn't bother her. They were from Botswana and came through to South Africa for the day. The monkeys didn't go near Mark either - either because he didn't have hair or maybe because he didn't have water. They loved JD; Chad and I.

The moms with babies were not even aggressive towards us and came right up to us with their babies. The one male had three babies with three different females - weeks apart - quite the ladies man.

Go here to find out more about the sanctuary and read this to find out why it is not a good idea to have a monkey as a pet - as cute as what they are. this is not a sponsored post in any way, just a really great place to visit.

It is definitely worth a visit...

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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

She Is A Lifetime, Not A Christmas Present

Whilst everyone else is either on holiday or rushing around shopping or preparing for a Christmas feast, I am blogging. In fact, this time, last year we were on the last leg of a VERY long trip to Paternoster. As fun and relaxing as what that holiday was, I am quite glad we are not going away this year and I don't even feel as if we are missing out. As much as we need holidays to de-stress, they can be very stressful, especially when you have animals and finding trustworthy animal lovers to take care of them. We are also not doing anything exciting for Christmas and we are only buying Chad and his girlfriend Christmas presents. Chad is all sorted and for once he will be getting a Christmas present on Christmas Day, not like in the past when he gets them months/days or weeks before Christmas, birthdays or Graduation.The other day we were talking about his aversion to surprises and getting presents on his birthday/Christmas and his love of opening presents that don't belong to him and his girlfriend said with this shocked/surprised look on her face and said, "I know, Chad said look I bought you a Christmas present (a month ago) let me show you, whilst unwrapping it, they are earrings, let me just see them, I forgot what they look like". A week later he bought her actual Christmas present - a heart pendant - same story - so now he has no idea what to buy her. Chad has always been like that, he can't keep a surprise and doesn't like surprises and she loves surprises.

Well being the odd child that Chad can be, I asked him what the protocol was on parents buying [his] a girlfriend a Christmas present. I have to check with him first although it would seem a bit odd if we didn't buy her a present when she is at our house every day, eats dinner with us every night and I sometimes send food home in a Tupperware if she leaves before we eat. Buying a present would be a normal thing to do, but there is nothing normal about us I guess. The biggest problem is that I have no idea what to buy her. What do you buy a 16-year-old girl, who you don't know that well even though she is at your house every single day! Well, that was until Saturday - she has gone to stay at her bestie for a few days, who lives far from here.

Buying for  a teenage girl should be so easy, except she is not a girly-girl at all. On first impressions, she looks like a real little Madame and very very girly-girl, but she is actually a tomboy, but puts in an effort, because she feels she should try to be girly sometimes. I guess her mom or stepmom or some other girl has told her that. She is a really pretty little thing, but would rather be jumping on the trampoline with our dogs on a Friday night or shooting Chad's pellet gun than being out at a club or painting her nails. She is naturally pretty and doesn't need makeup. I am not posting pictures of her on my blog because I don't think it is right. She knows I blog because Chad told her, but won't give her my blog name and I told her I am not a blogger as such, I just have an online journal and nothing exciting to read. I told Chad, in front of her, he shouldn't have told her about my blog.  I still don't think it is right to post pictures of her unless I have her permission.

I am really struggling to think of what to buy her and went shopping on Sunday with Mark which was a nightmare, so I am attempting to go again tomorrow. She desperately wants a kitten, but her father hates cats and she thought (so did Chad) that she could keep it here as we seem to be the adopter of many animals and we love cats. One problem Garfield hates cats. I asked her the other day if she knew how old Garfield is and she said no, I told her that she is 17, her eyes grew bigger than the day we discussed Chad's present opening habit. Garfield is older than her which is mind boggling. She is a lifetime, not a Christmas present. What happens if they break up ( I am not allowed to say that). What happens if our dogs don't like the kitten and what happens if Garfield in her old age stresses and runs away or dies. I know Garfield won't live forever, but I don't want her to stress in her old age. Garfield also has a litter tray now and it is just one litter tray too many - she has had it for about two years. As much as I would love a little kitten it is just not practical. I told Chad and JD when Chad moves out one day (never) they can get a kitten.

Clinty & Garfield

I am probably the worst boyfriend's mother right now, but I just can't have another animal attaching itself to me. To distract her from wanting a kitten we went to the Bush Babies Monkey Sanctuary on Saturday, now Chad wants a monkey - haha not a chance!!!

Will it be a slap in the face if I bought her a toy kitten?? I have no idea of where to even start looking for teenage girl presents. She may be a girl after my own heart because I am certainly not a girly-girl but I just don't know what to get her.

Thanks for reading...

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Tuesday, 15 December 2015

New In Nails And Some Serious FOMO

It is no secret that I love nail polish and all colours of the rainbow. Sometimes I buy nail polish and never use it. Usually, because I am going through a lazy stage and don't do my nails, but I will be drawn to a nail colour (usually blue) and just buy it. I love nail colours as much as I love coloured pens and stationery - I lie - I love nail colours more!!!

As much as I love nail colours, I am not into having my nails done at a salon and sitting for hours getting them done, but my eye always catches beautiful nail art on someone else's nails - I am like a Crow with a shiny object. For some time now I have seen Jamberry Nails on Instagram and as we do, I Googled the heck out of them, but you don't get them in South Africa. What are Jamberry nails you may be wondering??? Well, to get the lowdown on Jams, you can visit Sammy's blog, The Annoyed Thyroid. Courtesy of The Annoyed Thyroid, here is a snippet of what they are: "Jams are basically heat-activated nail wraps and are not to be confused with the nail polish strips you find in the shops. They can last up to 2 weeks on your fingers and up to 6 weeks on your toes!"

Jamberry Samples - Click On Image For More Info

Sammy, from The Annoyed Thyroid, an Australian Blogger, became a Jamberry Consultant sometime this year and I stalked her Instagram Account like crazy followed her Instagram account more closely and oohed and aahed over her lovely nails, until finally I am sure she had enough of my FOMO and offered to mail me a sample (FOMO - feeling of missing out - for those who may not know the acronym).

I was like YES PLEASE if you don't mind I would love to try them. If you live in South Africa, not to be a negative ninny, but you know our postal system - it is quite a risk going the postal route. However, Sammy did conquer the unreliable SA Postal system once before, when she sent me a Scatter Love card. So we took on the Postal System once again and we conquered it. Well, it took 26 days from Australia to South Africa and into Chad's hands mind you and not in our letter box for me to get my sample. They arrived on a Friday and I could not wait to try them. They are really fantastic although in my rush to try them, I did not do them justice. The sample was just to do an accent nail on each hand and I still have two more to try. Last weekend I was so busy watching mindless television that I did not have the energy or inclination to do my nails. I was actually too stressed, more about that in another post and this past weekend I was busy with another task that was both upsetting and time-consuming so I never did them again, but I will be doing them next week as we quieten down and hopefully close up shop for a break.

Jamberry Accent Nail Ring Finger - Kangol Nail Polish On Others

So although I did not quite "nail" it, Jamberry's are really fantastic and so much better than acrylic and gel nails. I will definitely buy them from Sammy's Online Store now that we know that we conquered the good old SA Postal services. I just have to wait for our good old Rand to climb up a bit after it hit rock bottom after this weekend's fiasco with the Finance Minister Shuffle and Re-Shuffle.

On the subject of Gel nails, on Saturday, I went to our local Clicks store, with NO INTENTION of buying nail products and saw this lovely Essence Grey, that was begging me to take it home. I have wanted a nice Grey for such a long time now, but was not prepared to pay over R250.00 for the Revlon Grey I saw, so when I saw the Essence Grey, I bought it. I stopped buying Essence some time ago because I bought a couple of bad batches - the colour peeled right off in a day, but I took this regardless. When I used it yesterday, I saw that it is a Gel Nail Polish, but you don't need a UV Lamp. It dries quickly, but I still managed to mess up my nails, because I did them so late last night, then had to still bath, but I love the grey. That is why I didn't waste the Jamberry Samples - doing my nails late at night

Essence -The Gel Nail Polish

Disclaimer, although I did not pay for the Jamberry samples, I wasn't given them as a Product Review. This is a completely honest opinion of the Jamberry Wraps (and if I wasn't so tired, I would have done a better post) and it is my honest opinion of them and I will do a follow up post when I have used the rest of the samples.

Essence Colour 53 Rock My World
Thanks for reading...

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Saturday, 5 December 2015

Water... The Elixir Of Life

Our pavement (sidewalk) garden was non-existent for all the years that we have lived in this house and making a garden on the pavement just became part of my procrastinating through life. We live in a cul-de-sac so we don't have much of a sidewalk, just a small area on either side of the driveway. The one side had grass and the other side became a patch of sand with dried cement that a builder who worked at our house at some stage left behind and it was the place that we put rubble or branches until it was taken away. It was also where our water meter and electricity meter is as well as the house next door's meters are. The side with the grass has our gate bell on a pole surrounded by rocks because visitors from the house on the other side, would, 9 out of ten times leave the neighbour's house and hit the pole causing the bell to break. It now remains broken after being fixed numerous times, but now if the neighbour's visitors are too drunk to care about or see the pole for our bell which is not even close to their driveway, they damage their car first.

Taken 29 November 2015

Fast track to 2015 and we have a new Gardener as our Gardener of 9 years went on to greener pastures in November last year. He took over his brother who committed suicide's building business and did us a huge favour. He became so lazy and it was so evident when I could see the new Gardener battling to look busy and find enough work to validate two 7 and half hour days a week working for us. Initially, he and I did not quite click. He also did some planting in Clint's garden and made a mess and I was angry when I first saw the mess. I showed him photos and explained how it should be done. He is not a Gardener, he needed a job as he only has a part-time job as a food controller at a Pizza place three nights a week and our old Gardener brought him as a replacement. He has now worked here for a year and he has definitely proved his worth. We eventually got around to doing the pavement and all we did was take plants from around the garden and plant them on either side of the driveway. It was around April just before we decided to do the bathrooms. I remember that because I was worried about where the Big Waste Bin would go when I the Gardener had just done the garden. We did the side with the doorbell first and took the grass that we removed and planted it on the other side, but he had to first take a pick and dig up the ingrained cement and we had to buy some more grass as there was not enough to cover the area. We also put stepping stones around so the meter readers couldn't say that they couldn't get to the boxes to read the meters.

Taken 23 October 2015

The garden looked so pretty and then I noticed a water leak. Mark checked and saw that it was leaking from the old man next door's water meter. That was around June, but a small barely noticeable leak and the old man said that he had reported it. Each month the water meter readers saw the leak and did nothing about it. Mark showed a supervisor one day and he said he would report it. The leak got worse and I was dreading them digging up my new flourishing garden. The dry conditions in South Africa started getting worse and here we had water running down the road from a water meter and no one cared. I took to Twitter to no avail - praise City Of Johannesburg; Lead SA or Joburg Water on Twitter and you get a response - complain and it is ignored. The water situation really got bad and some areas had no water for 3 days and it was all over the news that children had to write Matric exams and had no water to flush toilets or drink water or wash uniforms and it was in relatively poorer communities where they can't just buy a bottle of Valpre water to drink. I then decided to phone in myself on the Wednesday and stressed the fact that whilst people are without water for days on end we have water running down our street for months on end. On the Sunday morning Joburg Water arrived and I was sad about my garden being destroyed, but the leak HAD to be fixed. It took them 10 minutes to fix the water meter that had been leaking for almost 6 months and my garden was still intact. Our only piece of lush green lawn and flourishing garden. We have even removed some of the plants and planted them at the back of our garden so that the water meter readers can get to our meter.

Planted First - Photo Taken 29 November 2015

Planted about 2 Weeks after other side - photo taken 29 November

You can see how well the plants have grown on the side with the water leak - in a month when the leak became more than a drip and it turned the area into a swamp and the plants just flourished, whilst the rest of our garden is in a very sorry state. We had wonderful rain on the 16 of November for a couple of days then another heat wave and no rain until this week. It hailed and stormed and it was pretty destructive but so worth the drenching that the garden needed.

We may have had floods all over Johannesburg when the Summer rains finally fell for a day or two, but they did not fill the dams and the sight of dying animals and fish, empty river beds and people queuing and fighting over water across parts of the country is very sad indeed. I have become very water conscious because you can live without electricity, but you cannot live without water - well South Africans can live without electricity because we have no option but to be resourceful when it comes to having no electricity - remember johannesburg this time last year. I have cut down on doing laundry, which may not be a big deal for some but I am quite obsessive with doing something as mundane as laundry and I stress if I don't get all the washing done on stipulated days. We do washing every single day and all day long, because I sort the washing very specifically, but since the water restrictions I have changed many of my ridiculously stupid obsessions.

Our garden is really suffering yet our Hydrangeas are doing so well this year. They have shot up after years of battling to take off and they look so beautiful. I fed them Hydrangea food, which is probably also why they are all blue now or bluish purple. Hydrangeas remind me of my maternal grandparents because they had Hydrangeas by their front door - a massive bush of them and they were always so beautiful and my grandmother always had Hydrangeas in a vase in her house. This is the first time I have ever been able to pick flowers from the garden and put them in a vase in the house.

This is also the first time that I have ever had St Joseph Lillies and I love them and I always buy them when I buy flowers when I buy for Clint's room and Memorial garden and on his death day and birthday and get very upset when I can't get them. I never cut the St Josephs to bring inside, I just left them flowering and they flowered for a couple of weeks.

With my heightened conscience of water being wasted, not this past Tuesday, but the Tuesday before I was feeding Garfield and I heard water running and running. I asked Sheila why there was water running/where was the water running, she just said she doesn't know. I checked all over and all the taps were closed so I thought I was imagining it. Mark came home and he could also hear water. When the plumber did our bathrooms, he redid all the pipes in both bathrooms and replaced them with copper pipes, because ours were old and are galvanized (I think). Whatever they are, they are old and not suitable. He also added a connection that we could turn off the bathroom water and still have the kitchen tap working. Mark decided before switching off the main water supply, he would try the water supply switch to the bathrooms and the sound of running water stopped. So it was the new bathroom pipes that had a problem according to Mark and he phoned the plumber who rushed over because the bathrooms were only six months old. What I could not understand was that the cold water worked in the kitchen as did the dishwasher and washing machine (cold water) but not the hot water. Mark said it was because the geyser was empty - huh - how did the geyser empty in 2 seconds!!  Anyway, what do I know! The plumber was all apologetic and knew it was his responsibility and was going to start chopping down walls, but from the outside the next morning. That night the geyser was rumbling and bubbling all night and kept Mark awake and he had to open the switch to fill it up. I don't know why Mark does not know that you cannot turn the geyser on if the water is switched off and the geyser IS empty. Every time we bathed or showered we turned on the water and then turned it off again. The plumber came the next morning and then phoned Mark and said he was going to get a leak detector specialist instead of randomly chopping down walls and tiles. It made sense but it was annoying and the water wastage and the bill we were going to get. The specialist could only come on Thursday. I was mad!!! Thursday comes and goes no word from the plumber and we assume he is fixing his mess. Mark phoned the plumber at 5 and he said Oh sorry the leak specialist could not make it. Mark went ballistic and all the "all trades make mistakes"  was forgotten. He had a cold shower, I didn't, I leave for work much later now so could warm up the geyser.

I kept telling Mark we should phone our Insurance Company in case it is not the plumber's work. I kept telling him it is in the kitchen and not in the bathrooms. I could not hear the water in the bathroom except the normal filling up of the toilet and pipes when the water is turned back on. I was told the plumber is qualified and he also hears it in the bathroom. Well, the leak detector comes on Friday morning and Mark came upstairs to my office and very sheepishly and oh so embarrassed but trying not to show it and said, you better phone the Insurance, because the leak detector said it is ... wait for it.. the hot water line in the kitchen. Mmm wonder why the cold water worked in the kitchen and not the hot water. It also made sense why the new connection would switch off the hot and not the cold - it was in between the tap and the geyser and we were not at home during the day when the bathrooms were disconnected and Sheila just got on with the washing machine and dishwasher.

On Friday, I came home to a half chopped kitchen and STILL no leak found. I could hear the water by our back door and when the plumber came the next morning to carry on digging by the floor by the kitchen sink with a jackhammer, I showed him where the noise was coming from. I was slightly out by about 10 centimeters. It was under the tiles by the back door. A hole spurting out water like a waterfall - who knows how long it was seeping before it just burst.

I wanted a new kitchen for how long, but couldn't bare the mess and inconvenience and now I am forced to get one. The wonderful Insurance that is Standard Bank Insurance will only pay for half the tiles, so we have to have mismatched tiles in the kitchen, because nowhere on earth will you find the same tiles that were in the house since the house was built in the 70's or 80's. Just the week before we were talking about doing the kitchen sometime next year, but after the whole fiasco of it being the bathroom pipes that had burst - according to Mark and his plumber, I said I refuse to do the kitchen - I was enough. Now besides the fact that financially December and January is the worst month for unexpected expenses as we have bonuses and leave pay to pay out and close for what amounts to two weeks in December and two weeks in January with weekends and Public holidays - we can't get anyone to do a kitchen so late in the year - all trades shut down from 10 December until around 10 January. No lie - no one is desperate for work in this really "bad economy" of ours.

The Culprit

It is pointless doing the tiling now and then redoing it when we do the kitchen. We are not redoing half in new tiles and leaving the rest, we are doing it all... at the end of January!!! We are going to have cement on the floor for now and on the walls. We tried to do the repairs as cost effective as possible to salvage the oven and cupboards for now and laid new pipes outside - to save the inconvenience of another pipe bursting because the pipes are old and will burst again. It is also the cost of the water and the wastage of water when a pipe bursts and you can't see it. Standard Bank Insurance does not even take into account that we could have broken down cupboards and the oven to get to the pipes behind it, but instead they have rerouted them.

Now we await the water bill... and take water conservation to another level. Fortunately, we have had lots of rain from Wednesday night and yesterday morning flowers were blooming everywhere. Not only in our garden but everywhere was a haze of purple from these pretty garlic flowers. Not sure what the proper name is but I call them Garlic plants.

So that is our latest drama...

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