Friday, 23 June 2017

Up The Paddle Without A Creek


Um did I get that wrong....... Up The Paddle Without A Creek... Nope, that's it. Sh!t just got real and my life turned upside down so yea, I feel like I am up the paddle without a creek. Or up the creek without a paddle however you feel like phrasing it. I am not sure if I am up the creek paddle'ess or if I am in that place, you know when you are on holiday and it is almost time to go home. A holiday that isn't THAT great but you having fun and you not ready to go home. You missing your animals [I am not because I am surrounded by them as I sit and type this but they are also the reason why I am floundering upstream screaming don't make me do it - I am drowning] you missing your creature comforts [oh boy ... do I miss them] but as much as you want your own bed and bath you know there are aspects of going home that you just don't want to face. Well, I guess that is me right now, but before I get onto that, let's discuss my trusty friend I said goodbye to.


We have been staying at our new [temperory] abode for almost two months now and I still don't have a routine as such. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit - all lies. It takes 2 minutes to form a bad habit and an [almost] lifetime to form a good habit. Chad and I go for a walk around the block every day when I have the energy. It is a 3 km radius from gate to gate. So we usually start off quite briskly and then lag near the end. As you may know, a brisk walk gets all the old joints and organs moving and working - some of which no longer need a jolt to get going. Here is looking at you stretchy bladder.

The other week we went for our walk and the day before I had felt quite weak and dehydrated half way through our walk so the next day I took a bottle of water with. I really struggle with drinking water since I gave up smoking and I have to force myself to drink water.  I sipped and walked and sipped and walked and finished the bottle. Without the water, my bladder gets working and ready to spring a leak long before we get back to the gate and then there is the long walk to the house. So you can imagine the desperation when drinking 500 mls in 30 minutes. I did say we start off briskly - we don't carry on walking briskly.

Well along with the joys of a leaky bladder comes a sneaky short-term memory. Sometimes it is there and sometimes it's not. Usually, when the pressure is on the bladder the memory says ciao for now. So this fine day I go rushing into the bathroom and hear a weird gulping noise when pulling down my jeans (we walk as we come - no fitness gear because that would be really stupid). I think oh my gosh my bladder must have fallen out - always the worst, but would that be so terrible. I looked around and felt a bit bladder filled disorientated and in the toilet is this weird thing - not my bladder - oh dammit that is my phone. (I didn't say dammit obviously - who says dammit in such a situation).

Since we moved here my phone has fallen out my back pocket ALMOST EVERY SINGLE DAY onto the floor. AND EVERY SINGLE DAY I BERATE MYSELF.  Everyone [Chad] is so tired of hearing how I need to get out of the new habit of keeping my phone in my back pocket. Well, I learned my lesson. The toilet was clean fortunately but phones don't care - they don't like water. I pulled it out quickly and it still worked, I grabbed a Dettol antiseptic wipe and an email notification beeped and it died.

I really was not up to spending R5k on a new Samsung A5, I wanted my phone and I wanted it fixed. We tried drying it out and Marked nagged every day for me to buy a new phone so he could chat to me from New Zealand on Whatsapp but I just was not up to getting a new phone. I could not justify the cost and I did not want a downgrade. I chatted to Mark on Hangouts but that meant logging into my laptop and some mornings it was too cold to go log in and sit hunched over a laptop. I then took my drowned phone to a little phone shop near to where we lived [60 km's away]. I paid R250.00 for a week of injecting a special chemical into the phone to see if it would work. A Samsung A5 is a sealed unit - the battery can't even come out and scraping it open with a blade can cause the screen to crap. As luck would not have it the chemicals did not work and I wasn't paying more to try and open it up. We fetched the phone on Monday in case he told a lie and did not try to fix it.

We went to the Samsung Store at the Mall of the South and the young man was super helpful but said we will never fix my phone and by the time we got to him we had been to stores aplenty and Samsung A5's are not R5k they range between R7900.00 and R8900.00 - not a chance will I spend that on a phone, even though we pay double that on a contract phone. The Samsung man said that if I have to downgrade to a Samsung J series I would be very disappointed and I might find an older model A5 at a retail store. I lovingly carried my phone around wishing life into it. We found an A3 at Game for only R2900.00 way better than the 7k plus and the difference in the two phones is not that noticeable, except the price of course. They only had Gold phones and not white and I am rather disappointed about that because you don't even see the gold - it is the back cover only.

The only reason why I gave in and bought the phone was that joy of joys I could not access Internet banking or Mobile banking unless I stood in a queue in Standard Bank for 2 hours to change my OTP to email (and I tried that  for over an hour 3x). One of the many joys I will have is saying goodbye to Standard Bank. We also had a chuckle or more an eye-rolling episode at Game. The cashier insisted that I had to RICA the Vodacom number that came with the phone even though I said I am putting my MTN sim card in. No, we have to RICA. Rica is a copy of my ID and my address written on a scrap of paper, but it is store policy so I complied. It could have been any address for all the proof I had to give and I gave  my old address where a completely new family reside. I don't know my current address. He also insisted that the new sim card has to be put into the phone and activated, because - STORE POLICY. Some eye rolling and smiling and yes dear if that is what must be done. Pick your battles because some just are not worth it. Only we discover the phone takes a nanosim and not a microsim - big difference and then it was ok - sorry take your phone and Sim Card that can't work in your phone that we insisted had to go into your phone and be activated two minutes ago. Another joy of saying bye to rules that are only in place to annoy law-abiding citizens. Try and catch a 419 scammer with his RICA phone and FICA bank account.

Turns out I also lost all my contacts so I am still enjoying a phone free life. I took up knitting so I am bowed down to wool and needles instead of a phone. I came up with this idea to knit a scarf and could only find wool at Checkers.They only had baby 4 ply so I bought blue and thought I would run out of blue then bought pink. Then decided I was not going to make a pink and blue scarf I would make two scarves one blue and one pink. My knitting is a pattern of errors and I got bored with the blue one and all the mistakes and started on the pink one. The pink one would be double the size but yesterday morning I pulled it all out because I made a mistake. I wanted a perfect pattern and then at almost the same spot I messed up again. I was going to pull it out but felt that awful feeling of doom and carried on regardless of the pattern going the same way as the blue one. I felt like I was back at school and the needlework teacher took one look at my handy work that I spent hours on and just ripped it all out because there was one tiny massive mistake. I could not do that to myself so I have another pattern of errors and yes I am showing my age - there was a time when schools taught girls to be good housewives that could cook sew and knit. And They talk about the current education system....



So last week I received an email from our Agent to say YAY my Visa has been granted and I can go and fetch my passport from the Visa Centre. Yay Yay I am so scared happy my work visa was granted. I was in no hurry to go and fetch my passport because I am responsible like that - I mean it is only my Passport and I had to play up in my mind the driving from Meyerton to Pretoria and possibly losing a passport. A real rock and a hard place situation. I figured Friday was a holiday so the roads would be busy on Thursday so we would just go this week. Chad was all like go fetch it mom. Then our washing machine broke. The same pipe that can only be bought in Midrand from Bosch that we just replaced 10 days previously had another hole in it. A three-year-old washing machine that has never had a hole in any pipe least of all that particular pipe. We don't know what the cause is but neither here nor there we decide to go to Midrand on Wednesday then Pretoria and fetch my passport. Just as a sidenote Bosch is in the same street, I think the very next building, to the Taxi Finance Offices. Needless to say we collected the part and went to fetch my passport and woke up on Thursday morning to a message from Mark on Chad's whatsapp about the massive taxi protest on Thursday morning. The march was to those same offices and we heard about it from New Zealand - sometimes we live in a news free bubble especially since I was phone free and Twitter Free but lucky stars the washing machine broke and we went on Wednesday and not Thursday.

Well, who would have known that I have to be in New Zealand before the 8th of August 2017? I still thought I had months to sort out sh!t. Yip I am up the paddle without a creek and swimming backwards upstream. Who would have thought that there is a time limit on a partner's visa? Our very expensive agent did not mention that EVEN ONCE. I told them over and over no rush. Imagine if we hadn't sold our house that incidentally, we had to have proof of owning a house before applying for our holiday visa and Mark's work visa. I know it is a super huge privilege to get a visa to work in another country, especially from South Africa - no one wants us. [Not that we were actively scouting out places to run off to - this just sort of kinda happened]. BUT, seriously, come on, I have so much to do. Chad can only go on a 3 month holiday visa until we get residence and I know he is 20 but I am already a broken hearted mother with one son ripped from by heart soul and mind. Now I have to leave Chad behind, knowing that he has to drive on these treacherous roads and if something happens I am not up the road - I am two time zones away. They say New Zealand is a family orientated country - I am not so sure right now.

I have so much to sort out. I have a 19-year-old cat that NO ONE will fly to another country and I need to rehome and I don't want to. Six months is a VERY long time for a 19-year-old cat - but six weeks is 6 weeks. JD asked me the other week if Garfield should not be 21 now because she has been 19 forever. No,, she is 19 - we got her at 6 weeks old in July 1998 - so she is 19 now. I became fixated on 19 just like Chad was 10 for many years and I was 42 for many years.  My analytical and number brain died when Clinty died and I still struggle with ages, but not that I struggle per say, I just become fixated on a number.

I do not have a right to have Garfield euthanised as she is healthy and all she does is eat and sleep {and crap obviously}. She has lived to 19 for a reason and besides not having the right to decide when her life ends she will probably outlive us all. Jingles, our Jack Russel is 14, she just turned 14, she has had a stroke and she has the beginning stages of stomach cancer or some ailment but she is not in pain {I would know, believe me if she was in pain} she eats well and is her normal shivery self. I have refrained from taking her to the vet because I know whatever ailment she has, the prognosis will not be good and the kind thing would be to euthanize her. She has blood in her stools from time to time, so something bad is lurking in her body. I am just trying to spend some time with her before we say goodbye. Now, as fate may have it or our bad luck or whatever Kharma it may be - New Zealand Immigration decided that I need to be there in a dash of speed. I don't know if our Agent is shocked that I don't want to rush off there or if they shocked that I have to be there so soon but they seemed surprised in any event. I know of other families where the husband goes months before the wife and children {Mark is on a Facebook Group}. The wives stay and tie up loose ends and the husband has to go to start work.

One of the reasons that I am enjoying my newfound {phoneless} freedom is that I really don't have time to have a chitchat with people who will not look after [Clinty's] my cat. I am prepared to pay NZ$200.00 dollars a month for her food and extra for vet bills. She is on borrowed time and her food in a month does not come up to much more than R200.00.  NZ$200.00 is a LOT of money. She nibbles all day and the dogs eat her food - she has never had a big appetite. She needs to go to a pet free home and possibly with Jingles both on borrowed time, who we will also pay for. I am at the stage of my life that chit chat about my future dreams goals and plans or nightmares are none of the said person[s]'s business because sorry to say it is just spiteful not to take my cat. I read this quote the other day - I am not anti-social I just have no tolerance for drama and fake people - that's me.

I know animal lovers will scream and shout how can you just leave your animals. We have judged people in the past for that very reason - until you have walked in someone's shoes.... and all that. She has had a good life and even though she sleeps ALL day, the air pressure and altitude flying across two time zones play havoc with healthy humans in a pressure controlled cabin - so you can imagine an old cat. I just need a few more months to sort out my life and my animals' lives. Even if money was not an issue, it wouldn't be if she was young, but the rough guestimates and they are VERY rough, of R45k an animal are just that rough guestimates. It does not include the permit fee, the vet fee for the blood tests and rabies injections and microchipping. It is a very very expensive exercise in the hope that they won't die on the plane or during the quarantine period. You would not fly your very old parent or grandparent to immigrate with you so that is the way I am looking at it. Would it be fair to put her through that really terrible and very long pain trip. I JUST NEED TIME and I don't have it. We have to kennel the dogs for an extra 60 days now, because I have to leave sooner than I thought and I don't know how they will cope. I haven't even opened the email to see the costs of an extra two months - I have preferred being an ostrich with my head buried in the sand rather than facing really big important decisions.




A tiny spark fanned the embers of an idea that came rushing and roaring into life-changing decisions that I am not ready for and too scared to face. I honestly don't know how we got to the place we at right now, but it is damn stressful.





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Tuesday, 6 June 2017

The How... The Why... The Where...

Do you ever sit back and wonder how you got to where you are? Do you ever sit back and wonder if way back when, you ever thought you would be where you are today? Do you perhaps sit and think of being somewhere one day that you would or could just not imagine being? That is where I am right now and this is the how the why and the where that even boggles my own brain.



A new day always rises after the sun sets and no matter how the sun sets a new day will rise. Not my quote and far too many versions of that quote for me to credit the author, but it is a quote that gets me up and going each day. My last [published] blog post was my 101 Things in 1001 days post. I have many unpublished posts and they are unpublished for many reasons. I have also done this post 100 times in my head as well as 100 other posts but I just can't sit down. open my laptop and start typing my thoughts away.

I have lost almost all interest in blogging and Social Media as a whole. I keep thinking who really cares if I Tweet something, Blog about my life or post some random picture on Instagram. Seriously who cares. Anyway someone cares enough to get onto my Facebook account. My Facebook account that could be deactivated for all intents and purposes. The only reason why it hasn't been deactivated is that I have photos there that I don't want to delete. I received an email on Saturday night to my Gmail account that is no longer used for Facebook with the usual security message "We see you are battling to access your account... if it is not you blah blah blah. It wasn't me because I changed my email address 3 years plus ago. I did discover that my Gmail email address is still on my Facebook profile as a second email address, now removed but it does make me wonder who was trying to log in with that address.


Three months ago we went on our first ever overseas trip and I can't believe (well I can actually) that I only downloaded my photos of the trip today yesterday and have not blogged about our trip. I did lose my USB cable for my camera and a standard mini cable did not work. Our ADSL line was also down for 3 weeks after we came back from New Zealand and then canceled a week after it came back up. I borrowed Mark's cousin's card reader to download my photos onto my laptop but have no idea where I downloaded them - I only have some photos of our big move. Maybe they on his card reader πŸ˜•πŸ˜•πŸ˜•πŸ˜•

Yes, we moved house so I can tick some things off my 101 in 1001 days list, but things, like booking a plane ticket, selling the house, going overseas, was all happening when I did the list. Plane tickets were booked already so that did not count, but the trip did make ideas to come up with easier. I am going to do a post of each item I have ticked off soon.



We sold our business, it all just happened. It was all planned but the one sale fell through and then one day we had a business and the next day we didn't. Someone asked me what it feels like to be unemployed. The new owner's wife. It feels exactly the same, was I ever really employed {sorry Mark}. I still do the same each day, except I don't go into an office block, plus I worked from home for so many years on and off, it is like same old same old. I also have lots of loose ends to tie up. Now for Mark, it might have been weird because he worked every day for years and years and did not even have more than 10 days leave in the past ten years. We had so much to do that the month went by so quickly, so he was too busy to realize that he was unemployed. We packed up an almost 20 year old business and a 13-year-old home in two weeks. It was a crazy hectic hoarders nightmare time. We had invoices and documents and supplier invoices and bank statements and and and that were 20 years old.



It was heartbreaking packing up our house and we are now living in a cottage in an Equestrian Estate in Meyerton on a plot owned by Mark's cousin. We have Donkeys on the plot who come running to us for fruit every time we walk past and the resident dog who is always outside our door with his ball in his mouth waiting to play or get a treat. My new favourite shopping centre is the Mall of the South. Who would have thunk'd it - that I would be shopping in the South and loving it. We have to drive 10 km's to buy a loaf of bread, so we kind of make a whole trip of going into town. I am not a shopper and don't enjoy wandering around shopping centres but I needed to get the feel of the mall and ended up finding a Cinnabon Store and had a Chocobon Cinnabon for the first time. I also have to confess that I had a Krispy Kreme Donut or two for the first time the other week and I NOW understand the allure of donutsπŸ©πŸ’žπŸ’ž. The soft melt in your mouth awesomeness compared to the dense yucky ones I have tasted and eaten in the past - just so yummy and COULD NOT STOP. The type that is a reminder of school tuckshops in the 70's when your only choice was a ring donut, a sausage roll, guava juice or salt and vinegar chips, never made me a fan of donuts. Krispy Kreme donuts converted me. Alas since our trip to New Zealand, packing up our house and moving to a plot I am lugging around an unhealthy ton of weight and I need to back away from  Krispy Kreme and Cinnabons and get into my clothes.



The big reveal is that Mark is now living and working {and posiibly hating it} in New Zealand. The contents of our home is on a ship making its way to an unknown location in New Zealand. The one and only thing we did not procrastinate about was getting our stuff out of storage where it was for a week until Mark got his visa and get it off to New Zealand. Chad and I are going in a few months, Mark, however, wants us there sooner, now that he is there and missing us. I was unsure of posting this on my blog as it may never happen and he may get on a plane and come home any day, but so many people know our plans and my blog is password protected and anyone reading it probably knows our plans anyway. Mark has gone from being a boss for 20 years to now being a blue collar Foreman worker in a foreign country. We knew it would be tough, he thought it woulld be a breeze because he always said having your own business was like having a noose around your neck and every month it gets tighter and tighter. Working for a foreign boss in a foreign country is a bigger noose I think.

Living in a foreign country is like being a house guest in someone's home and you never insult your host's hospitality, but sometimes as humans we go behind closed doors and bitch about things that our host does that annoys us. So there will be some behind closed doors bitching on this blog. I have a blog post in the making about Communal Living - the pitfalls and annoyances.

So yes, the last time I had a major shake up in my life was in 2007 when Clinty died. It was tragic and heartbreaking and I will never get over it. I don't know how I got here 10 years later. I also, 10 years prior to that, did not even imagine that Clint would be taken away from me. In 1997, I had two boys, I did not think I would have only one again 10 years later. Now we have a different change, that cannot compare, but during the ever changing constants of our lives, I never once thought I would go on an overseas trip and I never ever wanted to leave my home or my home country and look where I am now.

Chad and I are enjoying our solitude from Mark {sorry Mark} but we have so much else to deal with that it has not hit us really. Having Mark living in another country and having scaled down our home to a permanent camping trip means easy meals like microwave Haddock and Salad for me (Mark hates fish} and Two Minute Noodles for Chad every other day - loving that.



Another yes in our lives is that the Checkers Little Shop Mini Groceries are back so Chad and I are feeding our obsession by finding things to buy from Checkers. We don't do big shopping trips because we have downscaled to T-Minus Zero and we are also trying to finish whatever we have, but we really have to get all the Minis this time. Last time we missed out on a few and those are all in a box on the way to New Zealand. A really awesome reminder of the stuff we used to buy 😜. Don't knock South Africa - our malls and shopping centres and products are light years ahead of New Zealand - as are our houses. We are a third world country with first world services, standards, and expectations. I will write more about that when I finally document our trip.



I now have time to blog and I signed up to do some Udemy and Shaw Academy Courses but I am so lazy, it has been over a month since we moved here and I have done nothing. OK, I lie going to the shops takes a whole day, but I actually don't know what I do on the other days, because I haven't tied up all the business loose ends as yet. So let me take a crack at work again.

So that is my big reveal...


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