Friday, November 30, 2007

The McDonalds Game

Play the McDonald's Game and see if you can keep the company in business and even make a profit. Let me tell you, this is harder than you think!


Crash Boom Bang

Blegh. I am not happy at the moment. And that's not to say I'm sad. I've just lost interest. I can't manage to muster a single positive thought. I'm holding out hopes that it's just that usual end-of-year overwhelming feeling of having had enough of everyone and everything around you (Varen, you're excluded).

I wake up in a perfectly acceptable mood, I mean I'm not bouncing of the walls or anything, but I'm not blue either. That is until I contemplate the day ahead and dealing with these frustrating people at work. I can't seem to get excited about anything. Although I know I am looking forward to my Cape Town 2 week break in December. I just want to be away from everything here and spend some time with no pressure to do anything.

I hope I feel better soon. Oh, and I forgot to mention that on top of all this I hate myself lately. It's not an ideal state of mind to be in. I hate the way I look (and not just because I'm currently glowing pink with sunburn from our Vaal River Cruise). I hate that I feel like nothing is right with my life and that I can't fix it either.

Not exactly the Christmas spirit, huh?

Oh, I had an idea about that too. I was thinking that going forward (really really far forward) when I have my own family, that I shouldn't celebrate Christmas on Christmas day. It seems a little hypocritical. And I should rename it too ... into something with a more family-centric theme. I mean, that's what Christmas is for me. I know there are plenty of people out there who go to Church all year and for them Christmas (as the day that they believe Christ died, although even if not the actual day, the placeholder for the day) is a huge deal, as it should be. What bugs me is those half hearted religious folk who show up to their chosen Church bi-annually, on Christmas and Easter, the big ones. I think that's just ridiculous. Either you believe or you don't. I'm not a huge fan of the believing in what suits you. Although don't get me wrong, I think there's loads of religious tradition that should be updated (but I guess that comes back to my personal beliefs or lack thereof so no more on that).

But as such, I was thinking that I shouldn't be celebrating Christmas (on the 25th December or even calling it Christmas). I guess we'll see how it goes ... it's kinda hard to explain to kids why they don't celebrate Christmas - but I guess the Jews & Muslims manage it so why can't I?

nough about religious views, it's not really something I want to get into in a public space - although if asked I will discuss at length. I'm just afraid of starting another email-conversion campaign. Just teasing, AG.

Had a lovely dinner out with Koet & Nambi last night. Finally decided to try Wombles so that the meat eaters among us could gorge their cravings ;) It's a nice restaurant although definitely geared more for the carnivores that the white-meat-etarians like myself. They had a selection of pasta's I suppose I could've tried. And I could've attempted the Sole as well. I think we'll be back to try it again.

Also bumped into a girl I was in matric with ... another one married with a recent baby. Sheesh. Although, I'm consoling myself with the fact that she's taking orders at restaurant at 27, even if it is a fancy one.

And here's the kicker. In the process of writing this post about how depressed I'm feeling of late, I have just received the house-related news I alluded to earlier in the week. The developers have decided not to sell the remaining unit with my name on it because they think they can get more cash for it if they wait to sell after it's built. Since technically it's no longer "off-plan" as the building has started ... not that you can really get any sense of what it'll end up like anyway.

So there you have it. Things just get better and better. And why do we stick around alive?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

We Didn't Sink

So yesterday, after a wonderful Tuesday evening at the last Book Club for 2007, I was off enjoying our Year-End Team Build.

We headed down to the Vaal River and after doing the usual sort inane "Team Building" type things they make you do, we all boarded the Aquadiziac boat and went Booze Cruising down the river.

It was a good fun day with a fair amount of sun ( it eventually arrived after those nasty looking rain clouds in the morning) and alcohol and good non-work chatter.

Regarding the title of this post, at the same time that we were booze-cruising down the Vaal river yesterday afternoon, another booze cruise boat was sinking on a dam in Pretoria.

Yesterday evening was not as spectacular as Varen had had a different sort of day altogether. Needless to say he wasn't in the best of moods and I just went home to recover and laze in a vat of after-sun cream.

Oh, and I wanted to tell you that I have just found the most brilliant site for South African's wanting to fly. Mom's 50th is coming up early next year and she's changed her mind and decided to celebrate it, which means I'll be needing a weekend flight to Cape Town. So I was browsing around the usual flight sites and found Travel Start. Now usually I find these "scour all the websites and find you the lowest prices" websites a crock of shite, but this one seems to work. I was particularly impressed because they included flight prices from all but our newest carrier and the prices were spot on for what I'd already selected on the individual websites myself. I will definitely be using this as the fastest way to find the cheapest flight in future :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Aaargh. I'm in at work at my usual early time and actually working ... usually I require an hour or so to "settle in" which includes blogging and catching up on the latest goings on around the web. But this morning I'm working. Why? Because I have something that requires testing and for some reason it insists on either not working or taking about 10 minutes longer than usual to execute.

Anyway, last night was the customary quiet Monday. Went to Gym with Varen ... even did the dreaded lat pull-down again, but on my acceptable weight :) No back pain as yet.

Did I mention that everything I attempt work-wise is suddenly seeming to take about 1000 times as long as usual. This is highly frustrating for an efficient person like me. I know what needs to be done but the system is confounding every attempt I make! Aargh.

And then we had a quick dinner at Varen's new place - no, the novelty has not yet worn off ;) And then I went home and had a nice bath with my book (I hardly seem to have any time to read lately) and an early night. Varen went off to visit his folks and get the last few things he'd left at his old place.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Moving Weekend

It's Monday morning and there's loads to report back on. We had a busy weekend filled with moving and buying for Varen's brand spanking new house :)

Friday evening we had sushi for dinner followed by a very relaxed last night at his old house ... and very quiet too since neither of his brother's were home.

Saturday we were up early to begin the move. It wasn't really a massive move, since all he had was his bed, clothes and general stuff. His dad had kindly organised a bakkie with 2 guys to help with the heavy lifting. The guys arrived about an hour & half late which meant that Varen & I had already packed his Polo to the brim and the grey day had started to drizzle - not ideal for moving beds in!

So we decided to head to the new place's nearest shopping centre (closer than you can imagine!) and start buying all the other heavy-lifting items. Boy were we lucky things worked out in that order because we managed to get his fridge, washing machine & microwave all before Game's storage warehouse closed (1pm on a Saturday) - if we hadn't it would have to be delivered today and the move would not have been terribly successful.

So we got all the new appliances unpacked and in place and unloaded his car full of stuff and hoped the rain would pass. It thankfully did (although we wrapped the bed up in black bags just in case anyway) and we hauled the last of his stuff and the bed thru to the new place.

Then, Varen & I unpacked all the kitchen-stuff he'd bought a few weeks back and made lists of what he still needed and then we headed off to do a big grocery basics shop.

After that we were exhausted and spent the rest of the evening relaxing (and taping up his bedroom window's with black bags since there are no curtains yet).

On Sunday we attempted the Fragrance Sale (Lady had called to tell me it was on and just how fab it was) but we just couldn't justify the lengthy queues and an additional waiting area when we still had so much house-stuff left to get done. After queuing about 15 minutes, we cut our loses and left.

Then we got caught in a road block. This wasn't a bad one at all, in fact I was quite impressed. It was purely a "traffic fines" block and it looked like they had camera number plate recognition that beeped everytime a car with outstanding fines went passed. They also had a handy computer set-up to print your outstanding fines while you stopped and a credit card facility to pay them. And the cops were very friendly :)

I think it was a good idea, it's just a pity it has the effect on traffic you'd expect. I think a far better idea would be to set up these sort of road-side kiosks where you could voluntarily pay your fines. As I've said before, I think lack of ease is a huge deterrent of fine-paying up here in Jhb. Anyway, Varen got all his fines paid up and felt better for it (aside from the cash outlay he hadn't anticipated on a weekend when he was already spending like a demon).

And then it was off to Makro for Tupperware (not the actual brand, but it's sort of like when Aussies call all cooler bag's Esky's) and Builder's Warehouse to look for hand towel holders and the Design Quarter to look for kitchen and bathroom bins. It was very disappointing to find that if you don't want an Addis kitchen bin, you aren't paying less than a grand!

We had a lovely pasta lunch at My Cafe in the Design Quarter. I really like this restaurant, it's just a pity you have to schlep to the Design Quarter for it. We'll have to make the effort and head back again sometime - although eating out is not going to be as regular an event these days.

Then it was home to rest our weary feet and relax again for the rest of the afternoon (oh yes, and home made food for dinner even!). Although we're only using the Main Bedroom and it's en-suite bathroom and the Kitchen, it's still lovely to have him all moved into the new house. Makes me have pangs of want for my own place too. But that is another story ... even tho I got the offer to purchase, it still may all fall thru. But I'll wait for more concrete news later this week before I divulge that story.

Note to Varen: Must buy Oven Gloves. Hope your hand is feeling better, baby.

Friday, November 23, 2007

I'm Back with a More Relaxed Back

Well, it turned into quite a story. So I went home on Wednesday afternoon with a massage scheduled for Thursday morning in the hopes that it would sort out my back pain. But by about 8pm that evening I was lying in the Emergency Room at Sandton Clinic with a drip in my arm receiving some very strong muscle relaxants and pain medication.

I had spent the afternoon relaxing and watching series (finished Weeds) when I sneezed at about 7:30 and my back muscle seized completely. I was in agony. Tears agony. Varen decided that enough was enough and in order to get any relief and sleep that night, I was going to have to be a little more proactive about sorting this out. So off we rushed.

Turns out it was a muscle spasm. Caused by the lat pull-down at gym that I increased the weight on a little too much. Won't be making that mistake again!

So I spent yesterday mostly recovered but still a little stiff at home. I went for my much needed massage and had a lovely celebratory lunch with Varen at Fego's. A lovely little restaurant nestled in the FNB/RMB Offices in Sandton. We had the most divine Chicken Haloumi salad :)

We were celebrating Varen's new house registering, finally. Hopefully he'll manage to get all moved in this weekend, I can't wait :)

We also went for dinner with his folks last night. Took them out to Soulsa, a great place for celebrating :) Their menu has been changed, but it was still a great meal all round.

> Oh, and in other good news, the November Rent has *finally* been paid!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

FYI. I'll be Off Sick Tomorrow

My back is not improved after a day in front of my computer and wandering the halls between meetings. So I will be off tomorrow trying to get the problem resolved. Let's hope things improve :)

Let me explain a little of how I am feeling ... It started yesterday afternoon and hasn't changed much. I get a sharp shooting pain in my back when I make certain movements. It's worse now as I type since I think the rest of my back & neck muscles have been over compensating to ensure I feel the shooting pain as little as possible. The dull pain of tension in my back, however, is constant. It is particularly tricky to check my blind spot when I drive and sudden braking or sharp turns causes serious wincing. Coughing and yawning are to be avoided as much as possible. It is not pleasant and I am not a happy bunny ...

Oh, and the Rent has still not been paid!

Finally, the Rant

Yes, I know I didn't get around to my rant post yesterday, but things are busy here. There are the Newbs and they're in early which antagonises my quiet time. Anyway, that wasn't the rant.

The Rant is about the Tennants in the place Bean & I own. Their rent is late ... today it is 21 days late. This situation is so frustrating to me because you try to be the nice person and give people a break, but eventually it is just too much and you have to get firm and fall-back on the lease we thankfully have with them.

So here's the story. We have had these great Tennants in since we bought the place, technically they came with it. They have paid their rent & electricity amounts like clock-work. I guess this was all down to the daughter living there who worked at Discovery. She's now apparently over in the USA with her older sister. So the job of paying the rent falls to her mother (there is also another younger sister living with her). The October rent was paid as usual. The November rent is still outstanding and the situation is getting complicated.

So I phoned the mother on the 1st of November to remind her. Don't worry I'll pay it tomorrow she says - no Internet Banking for her, she's gotta head down to the bank to make a deposit. So fair enough, that's not the easiest thing in the world so I'm fine with it - even tho it'll technically be late according to the Lease (payment is supposed to be on or before the 1st of each month).

I phone her again on the 5th November because it still hasn't arrived in my account. So sorry, she says, she'll definitely pay it tomorrow.

On the 7th, I figure this is enough now, I need a bit of a scare tactic. So I try phoning her, but there is no answer, so I sms her and tell her that I will now be forced to charge her interest on the outstanding amount (The Lease has interest pegged at 2% over prime). Shortly after that I get a call from some guy, from here he shall be ManWithNoEars (because he just doesn't seem to listen to anything I have to say ... he spends lengthy phone calls talking over me and spouting the same story over and over again!). ManWithNoEars is somehow related to these "girls", he sounds too young to be the dad, perhaps he's an older brother or something, I'm not sure. But he is phoning to assure me that he will pay the rent. He goes on about how he was trying to teach "his girls" the lesson of money. Okay, so when is he going to pay, I ask. He needs a week. Don't worry, trust me, I am an insurance broker for Old Mutual, I have to be honest, it is my job. Blah blah blah ... that conversation is now so long ago I barely remember all the nonsense he spluttered on about. But in fairness, I give him the week to pay me. I email him my banking details and everything.

On the 15th I phone him again. After this phone call, I am so frustrated that I'm in tears. He still hasn't paid. Yes, he needs another week he says. I must trust him. But why, I ask. What is different when you say you'll pay me in a week this time? Because it sure wasn't true the last time you said it. The conversation goes round in circles, I'm trying to make him understand (again, like in the first phone call) that this is directly affecting my personal cash flow. Yes, he's sorry, he knows he's guilty but I must trust him because he is a business man. Then I get blamed for making him angry. Hello, how does he think I feel. Not getting my money week after week makes me get angry. I have people I owe money to too (okay, I don't but he doesn't know that and it's a likely situation). Then he tells me he doesn't like being shouted at by a girl. I don't think I've raised my voice to him yet, except in frustration that everytime I try to speak to him he repeats the same story over and over again. He earns R40 000 a month, the youngest daughter is in private school (i didn't even have that!), they need our place to live in, I must trust him, it's just that he now has to pay the rent and the car payment for the daughter overseas. He can't seem to understand how that is not my problem. I tell him that the rent will be 3 weeks late (if he pays on his new promised date). Well he has only been involved in this situation for 2 weeks, it's not his fault. Well, it is not my fault he got involved so late, the rent will still be 3 weeks late. What more do I want, he asks, he's assured me he'll pay the interest. Do I want him to come to my office to sign something ... like that'll help, I have a Lease saying the rent will be paid on the 1st of the month signed already. What difference does he think that's going to make to me?

So yesterday, I made the decision that I wasn't going to be speaking to this completely frustrating man again on Thursday (the promised date of payment). Instead I emailed him and copied the daughter (along with her electronic transfers each month, we used to communicate via email regarding the electricity etc.) and Bean (he's been merely a background player in all this reading the play-by-plays I email him - he doesn't really seem to be too bothered about the situation either and its starting to annoy me). I emailed him and quoted sections out of the Lease telling him that if he didn't pay the November rent by Thursday, I will be forced to find our Tennants in breach of contract and start eviction proceedings. Here's where I start feeling bad. There seems to be no other way that I can deal with this situation. I think I've been understanding enough, where does one draw the line?

Anyway, fingers are crossed it doesn't come to that, but I'm expecting the worst ... anyone know a good lawyer?

In other news, I have hurt my back. I'm not sure exactly how, I think it must've been Monday using the rowing machine and then moving on to our Arms sets. Either way, it kicked in when I left work yesterday and I've been struggling ever since. I did manage to gym with Varen yesterday afternoon, but kept it easy. I struggled to sleep because I can't move to find a comfortable position easily. I'm still sore as I sit here at work. If it doesn't improve I think I'll be staying home tomorrow. Must get hold of Jeanius and see if she has time for a massage!

Otherwise, we headed over to Luca's for their divine salad for dinner last night - see, we are trying :) And then we settled down for a relaxed few episodes of Series.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Being More World-Conscious

Okay, I have a lot to say today ... But let me get the mundane stuff out of the way first:

Last night Varen & I hit the gym like good little gym-bunnies :) And then we had a very cheap & light dinner
(the way of future house-owner dinners) of soup and started watching a new series called Criminal Minds - I am loving it :)

And I realised I hadn't posted any interesting things I've found on the web in ages ... until I found two things that I thought were worthy.

Firstly, there's the Miss Landmine pageant. Apparently they're preparing to crown the Angolan Miss Landmine 2008 on 4th April next year. For some reason this touched me. I think it's a marvelous idea and will hopefully help these women who have suffered to feel beautiful as well as gaining some international exposure for the difficulties still being experienced daily after their devastating civil war. I wonder if they're doing somehting similar in Mozambique which is the country I've visited and seen the most damage from land mines.

Anyway, I think it's a far better idea than the victims who are standing around on our South African street corners, this is something that will hopefully not only generate personal pride, but national pride for them too.

Then I saw something that also made me think of home. In a country where there are so many people living without proper sanitation (or those porta-potty type things that look like they're about to blow over and are miles away from their actual houses / shacks), a mention must go to yesterday having been World Toilet Day. I think that even more interesting than that was an article I saw coupled with that on How Stuff Works about what would happen if everyone in the United States flushed their toilets at exactly the same time - they have a neat little flash animation too :) It's a little scary.

Now, before I get into my brewing rant, let me go and get some work done :) I'll definitely try and get it posted a little later today.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Another Weekend Away

So it's been busy - I think Varen & i have driven over 3000kms in the last week & a half!

Friday night was Varen's little sister's 14th birthday (yes, there is a giant age gap!). We went out with his whole family to celebrate to Moyo in Melrose Arch (by far the worst of all Moyo's in my opinion ... and I don't like Moyo to start with really). Generally I find the Moyo service is dreadful and the food well overpriced - I mean really, a hundred bucks for a salad?!? I guess they could get away with being overpriced if their food was anything special (like forum homini) or in substantial portions, but it is neither.

We all shared a starter platter of samoosas and then Varen & I each had a soup for mains - he wasn't feeling well and I don't find that there's much of interest to me on their menu. To be fair, the food was fine, neither here nor there tho.

Then on Saturday morning we were up early (6:30am) to start the drive down to Greytown, Natal to visit some of my family. Daddio was up visiting his dad so it seemed the perfect opportunity for me to plan a visit too. The drive was a mere 4 hours (nothing on last week!). After we arrived and dumped our stuff, we headed over to my uncle's place where we spent the rest of the day, having lunch, dozing, catching up with the family and then having dinner before heading home to my grandfather's place.

Sunday was slightly more restful, although we were woken by classical music at 6:30am. We spent the morning just hanging out with the family and my cousin made a special day-trip up from Durbs to say Hi as well :) After another good family lunch, Varen & I packed our stuff and headed home.

We've started on our latest pipe-dream (which we sincerely hope will become a reality eventually) ... but that's a story for another time :) Let's just say that day-dreaming about the future makes the drive go much easier!

Oh, and before bed we finished Californication - what a brilliant series :)

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Office Year-End Bash

So last night was the big office year-end bash. Now let me fill you in, usually (in my 2 years experience) these are held at the massive Sandton Convention Centre and decked out to extremes in whatever theme they happen to have choosen ... sadly apparently it also has quite a history of at least one person dying after the evening's event (although I'm not aware of it happening for the last 2 years, it's certainly a rumour that circulated before I attended my first one).

So, I was expecting big things ... the venue was Gold Reef City this year, I have never been to Gold Reef City in my entire 3 & half years in Joburg. It turned out quite nicely, open-air this time (as opposed to the roofed convention centre) which turned out especially nicely, even during the few bouts of rain (purely to cool us all down!). It was as spectacular as I remember the previous years being and it was the first year I left before midnight (as early as 9pm even!). The vibe just wasn't right for me ... but it may be because I'm currently pretty fed up with most of the people here and don't especially have all that much to say to them after hours (or even during office hours!).

But I learnt a fabulous lesson thru it all: I have the best boyfriend ever :) Varen drove me to Gold Reef City and proceeded to spend the evening hanging around there (at the casino so he wasn't exactly without entertainment) waiting for me to be finished and go home. Now that might not sound that fabulous to you, but he is by far the first boyfriend I've had who would even consider doing this for me. Firstly in a driving me home so I could feel free to drink as much as I wanted way and secondly in a not organising a boys night out or working late simply because I wasn't available way (which would've been Bean's natural route). So thanks sweetie :)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Finally Another Quiet Night

Well, it was another quiet evening ... went to the gym with Varen, which mostly just leads me to depression and encourages my belief that it'll never have any effect or that the exercise I do will ever "kick in". Which is fairly ironic since gym is the thing that should essentially be making me feel more positive and as if I am making a difference in the body-image area.

Went for sushi afterwards which was divine, as usual and then hung-out at home watching Weeds ... I'm so close to the end, it's like a book I can't put down :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Back to the Grind

So yes, you would think that I would've posted an excited, refreshed holiday post nice and ealry and been easing my way back into the chaos of work ... I thought so too. You'd be wrong, so was I.

So, at the time I write, my delightfully relaxing long weekend getaway with the folks, Peeb, Button & Varen is a long lost memory. But for your benefit, I will cast my mind back to the tranquility of 48 hours ago :)

> If you can't yet tell, work has been more chaotic than usual this morning ... in fact it's been this way since Monday, but I have been blissfully unaware till now :) Oh, and I had like 304 unread emails to go thru ... let's not even start on all the unread blog posts in my rss reader that I have barely glanced at. Fingers crossed that things calm down in the afternoon :)

So Varen & I woke up on Friday at 1am, a time that can't yet really be considered "morning". And we drove. We drove and drove and drove. And eventually we reached Cinsta at around midday. The folks, with Peeb & Button, arrived later at around 5pm.

I'd booked a nice long weekend away for all of us (the fam plus significant others) at Glen Eden Estate, half way between Cape Town & Jhb. It was a brilliant idea and I think we may have to make it a more regular tradition :) It was so nice for us all to be on holiday together for a change.

The place we stayed was ideal and although not top of the range by any standards, it suited us perfectly :) The house is huge with 4 bedrooms (the one had bunk-beds so we didn't bother with that), 2 bathrooms, a vast lounge/dining area and all the necessary amenities (dishwasher etc.). We had a lovely view of the very windy beach and lagoon (although I can't tell you which cause I gather there are quite a few!)

We all relaxed and didn't do very much all weekend :) I read my book, watched a little more series (much to Mom's disgust!), played Fluxx (I love that game!) with whoever was willing and wandered to the beach & lagoon occasionally. We ate (a lot!) and slept (afternoon naps are winners!). It was a prefect break for everyone :)

The other highlight of our trip was discovering that the local Spar had hi-jacked an American Foods tanker ;) Kidding, they have some kind of consortium bringing in all sorts of American foods we'd never heard of (well, Button had, naturally), so we went a little wild ;) I can categorically say that Varen is now addicted to IBC Root Beer and Reese's Puffs cereal!

It was a marvelous weekend and my car drives like a dream ... but, it almost ended badly when Varen got stopped for speeding on our way into Joburg. Thankfully the officer let us off with a warning and he took Varen's fizzed up Litchi water. Shoo!

And now it is Back to the Grind :( But yay, it is a short week for me :)

Oh, and I forgot to mention that it was The Peeb's birthday on Monday ... it was a good day and she got spoilt, naturally ;)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Out of Office: Gone to Cinsta

Btw. I'm off till Wednesday ... going to Cinsta with the whole fam (and significant others) for a long weekend and to celebrate the Peeb's birthday :) See ya on my return!

Do Not Fume & Drive

So I'm about a week late with my last book review, but I finally got around to it. I read Spud - The Madness Continues ... by John van de Ruit.

But Spud is returning to a boarding school where he is no longer the youngest or the smallest. His dormitory mates, known as the Crazy Eight, have an unusual new member and his house has a new clutch of first years (the Normal Seven). If Spud thinks his second year will be a breeze, however, he is seriously mistaken. He is soon beset with women trouble, coerced into misguided late night adventures, and finds his dreams of a famous career on the stage in tatters after landing the part of the Dove of Peace in a disastrous house play production of Noah’s Ark. Hilarious, bitter-sweet, tragic and real, join Spud as he takes another tentative step forward while all around him the madness continues...
So, as I said, I am about a week late in getting this review up. Guess that's a fairly good reflection of the impact this book had on my life.

This was a decidedly average read in my opinion, but as I said before when I read the first one it's probably better if you're a boy and went to boarding school. But I do enjoy knowing it's a South African book and it does reference a few things I remember from my youth.

It's an easy read and if you enjoyed the first then this is probably right up your alley :)

Right, so yesterday was by all accounts a shocker. Work did *not* end well. Out customers are basically dictating to us something that should be entirely our call ... and it wasn't a case of "oh, how about we do this". No, no, no, it was one of those "By the way, we've already decided you're going to be doing this" things that leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy and "wishing for an atomic bomb to show up gift wrapped at their house" inside. Nice, hey? I mean, forget the fact that you've hired experts (compared to them) in the field, forget that they think what you're proposing is monumentally stupid, forget that they have now lost all respect for you and go ahead and do it anyway. Because that's right, you're the customer and that makes you God.

So, I walked out of here fuming, as one would expect. And proceeded to bump my car into the first available person. It's okay, their car is fine. My car is pretty much fine too, the bumper has just move about 10mm. It was annoying and although technically my fault, I blame the traffic cops / police (they were going so fast I couldn't tell which, plus I was more focussed on my recent accident) who raced thru their red robot (it was green for us so excuse me for thinking that meant I could drive!) with their sirens blaring causing "Car B" (as per the accident report) to stop suddenly. From my vantage point ,I heard the sirens, but could not see yet where they were coming from ... so was certainly not prepared for the sudden stop. Anyway, so that just improved my moods ten-fold. It's always a bad idea to drive when fuming.

And then I popped off to Cresta for a little more Peeb's birthday shopping (got it all done now, my dear) and then off to the friendly local police station to log my accident report ... just in case I want to claim from insurance (I doubt it would be worth it, but who knows?). At least there was a very friendly officer on duty :)

And all this while Varen was drinking away the night at Whiskey live. To be fair he did offer to give up his evening and rush to my aid, but it just didn't seem necessary. Have yet to find out how the rest of his evening was ;)

I spent the rest of it recovering with a bubble bath and a few more episodes of Weeds. Sheesh.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Nothing Much Happening

So, a fairly late post on my part ... got sucked into the world of work on arrival :( Not how I prefer to start my day but hey, it's what they pay me for (or so they think).

Last night was nice and quiet, as expected. Went to gym with Varen and then we got some Pizza take-out from Lapa Fo and headed home to watch series :)

Oh, I completely forgot to mention (about two weeks ago) that i am now in the downward age spiral (pah!) ... the countdown to my 30th birthday. By sheer luck, Varen & I realised about 3 days beforehand that I was about to be exactly 30 months from my thirtieth birthday. Quite the milestone - sheesh, I'm getting old!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Back To The Quiet

So, after all the excitement of yesterday's impending house-ownership (fingers crossed), I had a decidedly quiet night at home.

Varen & I went to gym and then had an early bite at Chuckleberries, hey I figure it can't be *that* bad if I don't eat the chips, right?

Then it was home to relax the evening away watching Weeds Season 1. Oh, and I called my Crazy Aunt for a good catch-up :)

Quiet warning: I'm not expecting this week to get much more exciting than that ... I'm hoping it'll be fairly quiet after last week and cause we're off on holiday with the Folks, Peeb & Button on Friday for a long weekend (cause it's Peeby's birthday on Monday!). If you buy a gift for someone, is it wrong to buy yourself the exact same item ... even if you live in a different province? If it is, it's too late ;) Peeby, I hope you like it as much as I do!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Things Are Looking Up

So, I've decided. I am buying a house :) That'll be me in the red square below ...

Yes, I'm going with Unit Three (Windsor). In the end it just had too many pluses and the only negative is the area, which it's really not that bad (compared to most of Windsor) ... I like to think of it as being in "Old Windsor". And besides, hopefully the very central location will make it a breeze to rent out when (if?) the time comes.

So here are the pluses ... in a nutshell:
1) It is a Garden Unit
2) It has a separate Lounge & Bedroom
3) The Bathroom is not en-suite
4) It has a separate Bath & Shower (yes, it has both!)
5) Hugest Plus of all: It's a new development ... currently just bricks, so I get to fiddle as I see fit.

I'm meeting the guy on Thursday afternoon to discuss changes to the kitchen and the additional cost of putting wooden flooring in the lounge. I get to make it my own. This to me is far more important than loads of other things! Besides, after my changes to the kitchen, I just might be able to get that 4-seater dining room table I wanted ;) Because I plan to finally be able to throw dinner parties ... okay, maybe not parties exactly, but at least to invite friends over for a well heated up Woolies meal :)

And before you ask, I have chatted to Varen's Bond Lady ... she says the Bond I'm going to need is completely do-able. I'm floating on Cloud 9!

And now it's off to gym ....

Spectacular and Despondent

It's been an emotional weekend. Up and down. Friday, luckily was an up :) We went to Madame Zingara's Theatre of Dreams with Lady & Bug and it was honestly one of the best things ever!

So, a little background for those not in the know: Madame Zingara used to be a Cape Town restaurant, that I unfortunately never had the pleasure of visiting. Earlier this year (January I think), the restaurant burned down and they decided to pursue a new dream ... which I gather was something they'd always wanted to do, but with the restaurant, they'd never gotten round to. So they found themselves an authentic burlesque tent from 1920s France and decided to start "touring" South Africa. They still offer a fabulous meal (more on that later) but now you get a Cirque du Soleil type show with it. I highly recommend booking yourself a spot, I'll be going back when they are up in Jhb again. Unfortunately the remainder of their time here is already sold out, but they'll be in Cape Town from the 7th December!

So, it was a completely unique experience and I thoroughly loved it :) The food was amazing and the show was mesmerizing, I sat with my jaw on the floor in disbelief at what these performers could do for most of it!

Saturday we were up fairly early and headed out on the bike with Koet & Nambi ... we took them out to Varen's aunt's cheese shop where they bought half the shop ;) Damn, that is some good cheese! Then we had lunch at a little spot called the Farmhouse nearby (I'm pretty sure they have no website so I'm not even going to bother looking, but if you head along William Nichol towards Pretoria, you can't miss it on your right ... if you get to the Cheese Shop, you've gone too far). It looked a little suspect, since we were the only table and had to go searching for some service, but once we settled under the trees, watching the goats & emu's, it was nice and relaxing. The food took a while and I think we were all pleasantly surprised to taste just how good it was (we all had pork schnitzel with Emmentaler). Was so good, we all just might go back another time on the bikes (unless Varen has sold his by then?) :) Its always nice to find some where that surprises you!

After that, Varen & I raced off to visit an apartment. Nice, but tiny, tiny, tiny. I don't quite understand, because it has this great mezzanine type area ... but you can't even stand in it (it certainly looked more useful in the picture!), so what exactly could one use this space for? Lovely place, tho, but not for me.

We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and cutting very few places out of the Property Paper :(

Sunday we headed to breakfast at Doppio Zero with Varen's brother (not an impressive experience, the service was shocking!) and then out to visit more show-houses. It was not a very successful day at all and I ended up quite despondent ... as I still am when I think about all this. I have no idea what to do. So far Unit Three (Windsor) looks ideal, the price is perfect, it's close to Varen's new place, it has a separate bedroom, a separate bath & shower and a little bit of communal garden. But the area is not great, although it's not in a bad part of the suburb, it's still in Windsor ... or should I sell the place with Bean and give up the search until I know how much profit we'd make and how much of a single bond I could get on my own? The only thing is ... property prices are rising and I still don't think I'd end up with more than a single bedroom for R650 000 and I just don't know that I can justify spending that much on one bedroom?!? Dilema, dilema. I'm calling the Agent for Unit Three (Windsor) later today to chat about what I could possibly change ... I saw a great thing done in a unit yesterday, and since this place isn't yet developed, maybe, just maybe, they'll do it upfront? And I'd consider putting in wooden flooring in the lounge & bedroom too. Finger's crossed.

But, I don't really want to get my hopes up ... I'm still quite depressed about it all. After that we headed to Lemon's birthday sundowners in Lone Hill. Was lovely to see everyone :) And that was that.

Current House Hunting Tally:
17 Property Blurbs cut out of the 28/10 Paper
5 Property Blurbs cut out of the 04/11 Paper
11 Houses visited

1 Private Property Unit of Interest

28 Off the list

Friday, November 02, 2007

Feeling Remotely Upbeat Again

Righto, I've just had a quick chat with Varen's friendly Bond lady. In the hopes that she will be able to provide me with the news that I want to hear and secure me enough cash to buy a house.

She didn't have bad news, but it wasn't all good. The pre-approved Bond idea is out the window for now, but she recommends I keep looking and when I find a place that I am keen on I get in touch with her then. She says based purely on my gross income and the Bond I currently share with Bean, the most I can spend on a property (including my giant deposit) is between 420 & 450 thousand. That's lower than I'd set my sights, but not completely out of the realm of possibility. I may just have to give up on that little bit of extra space for the funky 4-seater dining room table I wanted to buy :(

So the hunt is back on and thank goodness tomorrow is Saturday when the Property Paper comes out!! I'll not get my hopes up completely just yet ... but I'm certainly not giving up and rolling over on this. I've even set myself a schedule, I want to celebrate my 28th birthday in my very own house (that's till April 2008).

So, onward and upward :)

Oh, and btw Unit One (Melville) and Unit Two (Rivonia) have been scratched off the list. Unit One (Melville) for the security factor. And Unit Two (Rivonia) for it's traffic-likelihood based on location.

Still Crazy Busy

Righto, just a quick one because it's been a busy morning already and I'm about to go into a meeting ... Last night we skipped gym (naughty, I know). Varen had to work later cause he has to go to his grandfather's memorial service today and after my bond realisation, I was in no mood to fight for gym anyway.

We ended up popping into his folks place for a quick visit and then getting a bite at Nandos. I am loving their new Mediterranean flavour.

And that was about all we had time for ... oh, and one episode of How I Met Your Mother. I'd especially skipped Action Cricket so I could have one relaxing lazy night at home watching series but apparently it was not to be. Oh well, maybe this weekend since I won't be house-hunting. I have put this on hold completely until I have word on another bond option and it has actually been approved ... why get my hopes up any higher than they were, right?

Today I got stuck in annoying traffic, had to madly dash into the office to meet the 2 guys from the Vendor (out from UK) to go thru some issues we've been having. Which is why my blog post is late.

I'm so looking forward to the weekend, especially tonight when we're off to Madame Zingara's with Lady & Bug.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Well, That Sucks

Off the high of walking Jeanius to the room we've booked for the Ladies Corporate Massage, and knowing my turn is up next, I went to fetch my Bond Application Letter.

It's been declined due to Non-Affordability. I can't believe that. If I stop paying rent, I'll have literally around R6500 left over after all my expenses - this is including things like Credit Card etc. (ie. the things I can cut down on if necessary). How could I not afford a bond repayment of up to R4000 a month (or less, based on my huge deposit)?

I'm disappointed, I'm shocked. I don't think I ever really thought I'd be declined altogether ... I figured I just might get less than I wanted. Now what? How does being declined a bond affect my chances if I decide to apply again thru a different company?

I guess the house-hunt is on hold for now ... how very sad for me. At least I have a massage in 15 minutes.


Another Late Night

Last night was good fun, but it was another late night ... hence the later than usual post, I couldn't quite get out of bed this morning and am still yawning my head off here.

Went home and read my book till Varen arrived ... we decided to skip gym and go this evening instead (since I'd opted out of our cricket final due to an overly enthusiastic week socially). But I ended up falling asleep and only woke an hour later just before he arrived. See how exhausted I've been this week ... yes, yes, it is mostly my own fault.

Anyway, after a very speedy wake-up, Varen & I headed off for some sushi and then to The Amazing Music Group. It was the best evening of Amazing Music Group I've attended :) Aside from the "who can be more stubborn" competition Varen & I were having. Blegh. Anyway, I won't bore you with the minor-ness of what we were annoyed about but suffice to say it's resolved now ... till next time.

Looking forward to today ... Jeanius is coming in to do a corporate massage morning for 7 of the girls on our floor, organised by me. Should be brilliant :)

Oh, and I'll be collecting that bond form later ... will keep you posted on the good or bad news.

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