Saturday, 24 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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