Friday, May 31, 2013

More Visas

Whoop Friday! I feel like I really need this one :) It came as a very pleasant surprise that it was in fact Friday as well, I dunno why but it seemed to feel like I was still a whole day away.

On Wednesday evening I went to Col'Cacchio for a catch-up dinner with @bronwyngale. So lovely to see her again and what a great evening we had. We stuck to our winning formula of sharing half-and-half pizzas (love being able to try so many flavours!). This time we tried the new Norm's Pralina (loved it), the Green Genie (aside from the mushrooms, for me, it was good), the Smoky Babe (loved it) and Millamoo's Meatball Pizza (wouldn't have it again). And I love that I could order warm wintery gluhwein with it. Fantastic. We ended off with a dessert cuppacake from McD's. And I took one home for The Trucker too. Awe. Although I lost whatever girlfriend points I gained from that because I didn't bring home any of the left over pizza (haha!).

On Thursday we had booked our UK Visa appointment. It's kinda similar to the USA one, where you have to go and pay vast amounts for Sandton parking on top of the huge visa fee you've just handed over because inevitably, you're there for at least an hour, probably closer to two. The UK application seems to just be made at a company facilitating visas on behalf of the UK Embassy, not the embassy itself (like the USA one is), so the most disappointing thing was that you leave still unsure of if your visa will be approved or denied. Loved that after the time and money I'd spent on the US one, I knew when I left, that I'd been approved. Worry over.

Now, I've never been denied a visa, but somehow I still worry till I have my stamped and approved passport back in my clutches. You never know what will happen or why and your travel plans quite literally hang in the hands of some complete stranger. #sigh. I hate it. Every. Time. You'd think it'd get easier, but it doesn't. The stress remains the same. Regardless, another part of me is quite sure we'll get it too, I mean, why wouldn't we. But it's all that vague supporting documentation that niggles at me. I took a ton of paperwork along to the US embassy, they didn't look at any of it. The UK one we have to send all the paper work we've brought off ... and I just worry we didn't hand in enough. How do you know what is enough? I prefer dealing with a person who can ask questions I can answer or something.

Anyway, to make matters worse, after sitting waiting for our number to be called, when we got to the counter, we found out we'd filled in the wrong application. Remember all that worry about why there was no bit that asked if we were actually going to the UK or going elsewhere. Apparently you are supposed to select a Visa Type of "Other" (who knew? There wasn't even any help text, and really, when faced with Visa Type options, my gut goes straight for the "General / Tourism" type option every time). Obviously. Well, you'd think.

So she sent us away, luckily they had an internet station right there so we made a second application (and spent another R1700 - have now had to apply for a refund for the first application) and managed to jump back into the queue without any hassle. Their biometrics weren't out of the ordinary (unless they secretly did a retinal scan from the roof-top cameras) because they were exactly what I'd already done before at the US embassy. They make the biometric stuff sound kinda extreme (like you think you might have to give blood or dna or something, but you don't).

Anyway, so in 15 days, we should know. We paid an extra R20 to sign up for the SMS update service (otherwise you just have to keep phoning and asking if your visa is ready for collection). Oh, and can you believe they offer a first-come-first-serve priority visa service (it'll take 5 days instead of 15) at an extra R1000 !! And there are only 50 of those a day. We saw people leaving to come back the following day because they'd missed out on those. Jees, expensive hobby this. I guess I can sort of understand that if a) it's a business trip (those are often last minute) or b) a funeral ... ? As The Trucker said, visa's are pretty much a license to print money!

And that was that. The Trucker moved the last of his stuff into our new home last night. He is handing over the keys to the new tenants today (yay, he found someone!). I made us some yummy pasta last night and my Gypsy cat was so adorable too. She is allowed out (via open window) during the day now that she is chipped and spayed. But not at night. She is coming and going quite nicely now, never for too long. So I am much calmer :) And we've put a collar on her. A) so people know she has an owner and b) so hopefully the bell will give the birds some fair warning, not that she's managed to catch anything yet - haha. Funny how you can see instincts at work in animals as they grow up.

She snuggled with me while I was on the phone with Daddio last night. She's started crawling under our duvet occasionally and last night obviously I was on the phone too long and she fell asleep. Adorable <3

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Even Keel

Yup, things on the home front are definitely back to blissful awesomeness <3 Could not be happier about that. So adore my sweet lovely boyf.

This week has been hard work tho. On Sunday my car key stopped working. It unlocked the car (the immobiliser, which apparently just needs a battery to work), but the transponder (or whatever) that tells the car that this is a legit key that can start it seems to have gone. Luckily tho, I have a spare key. Although it's battery seems to have gone since it's immobiliser didn't work.

#sigh try carrying around 2 car keys just to get around. So on Monday, after a very sudden start (somehow managed to switch my alarm off and only woke up when I usually arrive at work!), The Trucker told me in no uncertain terms to go to Citroen and get it fixed asap. Because, honestly, if anything else went on either of the keys, I was pretty screwed.

So after working from home in the morning, I headed off to Citroen en route to the office. Little did I know it would be an hour & half experience. Seriously?! And why oh why do places like this not offer free wifi to their patrons who are usually stuck there waiting (especially during a service because you have to wait till 8am for the driver to get going, and I usually arrive around 6:30am). I guess I was a little lucky that they had my key type in stock at all that day. So I bought a new one (R1300) and a new battery for the spare (R40) ... and then sat and waited for them to re-code it to my car (R350 for labour). Urgh. I was livid by the time I left. And I had to wait for their card machine to "update" as I was their first payment of the day. Wasting time, wasting time.

Also, I remembered Sunday was my 5 year anniversary since starting to work here ... Sheesh. I've been here as long as I was in high school (longer technically since the hours are significantly higher :P). But I did get an awesome bunch of flowers from them to celebrate it :)

On Monday evening, we had a nice dinner at home and did some more unpacking. The spare room is looking like we could even host a guest (once the linen has been washed and put onto the bed and the curtains hung) and the study no longer looks like a store room :) There are still a few things left to do, but I am definitely feeling more settled there. And I can't wait to have my mom up to visit in July :)

Last night I took a brief trip to the vet with Rex and went to SCM. Rex has been sneezing since the weekend so he got a quick shot. Not on antibiotics yet, but we're keeping an eye on him. Typically after a giant sneezing spell on Monday evening with loads of mucus, he didn't sneeze even once from when I collected him all thru our visit at the vet till we got home again. Urgh. Maybe he has an allergy to something in the new house ... or the cat - haha.

Oh, and we've now got all our documents in place for our visa application for Bermuda. Eep.

And work has been a little stressful. I guess cause I haven't been in the best of moods for the last 2 weeks hasn't helped at all. But I woke up at 4am this morning and couldn't get back to sleep (bet that'll be fun later) :( My brain was just tossing and turning over things ... but The Trucker was such a sweetie, he woke up and cuddled up with me (usually we sleep untangled) to make me feel better and try help me sleep. Awe.

Oh, I forgot to mention, we tried another frozen yoghurt on the weekend, Yogoorus at Cedar Square. When did frozen yoghurt become a thing again? I remember the million Marcels when I was in high school, but I couldn't tell you where a single one was today? (Do you even have them in Joburg?) And suddenly, with the start of Wakaberry (which I have yet to try) and the like in Cape Town, I'm noticing people talking about frozen yoghurt again and these speciality stores popping up. We've had Filo again since my birthday. I adored the Peanut Butter and the chocolate the first time, and have added their caramel to the list as well. So at Yogoorus I tried the salted caramel (win) and The Trucker had their cheesecake (not so much win).

Monday, May 27, 2013

Finally, Improvement

Ah Monday morning. How can you tell? Well I overslept till the time I am usually arrive in the office. #sigh. So now I am working from home till the traffic dies down. Thank Goodness The Trucker is here (still in bed snoozing) because my MTN 3G has become and expensive paperweight (albeit not that heavy) in our new home ... I get nothing but Edge, which means I can't even load Facebook or my Gmail. But he has a Vodacom 3G in his tablet, so luckily we can use that :) The plan is to get a WiFi router for the house and leave his Vodacom 3G here for us. Then he'll take my MTN 3G to use around-about, where hopefully it'll work :)

Sitting at the coffee table is making my back hurt :p

So, this weekend. Yes, things seem pretty much back to okay here. We didn't exactly fight for the rest of last week, but there were some emotional conversations ... and plenty of tears (mine). This whole thing ended up making me feel quite insecure about him & I. But I'm okay again now.

I think it has also been a huge help a) buying some stuff specifically for the new house (okay so it was only a bird feeder, that they have yet to use, and some solar-powered butterfly lights, but both make me happy ... or they will once the birds find the food, dammit!) and b) seeing my old place filled with all his sister's stuff. Wow, she has a lot of crap and clutter. It is wall-to-wall boxes there at the moment. Apparently she's taken off today to "settle in" although she seems to be making it her own quite successfully already. And walking in there, there is no part of me left behind there. If I saw the place in the state it is in now, I probably would never have bought it. Funny how things like that affect your view. Nope, that place is no longer mine.

@samanthaperry also brought round some incense so I could "smudge" the new house on Sunday. So I did that too. I think we're finally settling in here. Although there is still plenty to be done. We've made a list tho. And last night I sorted thru a lot of my own hoarded documents to burn/shred. All is feeling better in the world.

So what did I do aside from that this weekend? On Friday afternoon I stayed at work for a Wine Tasting by The Wine School. I wasn't blown away by any of the wine we tasted, although the last one, a Diemersfontein, was my favourite. And some of the whites weren't too bad (high praise coming from me because I *never* drink white wine).

While I was there, The Trucker was getting my ceiling painted again (apparently the primer needs 24hrs to dry). And it seems to have worked because it's staying put this time :) I picked us up some pizza for dinner and we settled in in front of the TV.

On Saturday he was up early to collect the Mahindra to get his stuff from the storage container and then he dropped the bakkie off with his sister so she could get moving into my old place. I got to have a nice long snooze, it is very rare, the days I wake up or get out of bed after him :) Then we headed off to Salvation Cafe for breakfast. After that we ran around doing admin stuff and then had a few hours to relax at home before we headed down to Cedar Square to watch Iron Man 3.

I definitely enjoyed it more than the 2nd one. But still not nearly as much as the first. I still think they made a huge casting error with Gwyneth Paltrow. But Robert Downey, boy, I could watch him all day! Haha.

After that it was off for some yummy sushi. Although the sushi was good, the service on Saturday night was terrible :(

On Sunday morning we had breakfast at home and that was when I think things finally fell back into place for us. We moved a few more things, The Trucker still has to get the last of his stuff from his old house now that his sister no longer needs to use it (microwave, crockery, cutlery etc.) ... he'll do that sometime this week. Unfortunately he still hasn't found someone to take over his lease from 01 June :(

Anyway, he had cricket on Sunday afternoon and I got the grocery shopping done. I am still surprised at how early some shops close on a Sunday ... and pottered around the house. I tried to make some Brinjal chips, but they were not a roaring success :( The stuck to the baking tray even tho I'd spray-and-cook-ed it and the bits I could scrape off were far too salty for me ... to be fair, I didn't have the recipe in front of me due to sheer lack of internet here so did not turn them half-way, but I will try them again this week.

After The Trucker got home, we made an amazing bolognaise for dinner (left over ostrich mince I'd cooked for mexican wraps on Thursday) and I heated up some gluhwein to have with it. It was a superb winter dinner <3 Yep, things are definitely swinging back to sunshine and roses here.

Oh, and the other exciting news ... we finally did our application for our UK Visa (for Bermuda) and made an appointment for later this week. It is very confusing tho, because I kinda expected at some point in the process they'd actually ask if you're even going to the UK or actually going to one of the territories. So every time they asked "What is the purpose of your visit to the UK?" we were "visiting Bermuda" #sigh we're not even flying via the UK. So I'm kinda nervous about this one ... I so prefer dealing with an actual person!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Windows Safe Mode

Right, so I was wrong. This week hasn't been the spectacular return to normal that I had hoped for :(

It's an improvement on last week only in that we've only fought once. But it feels like we're running in Windows Safe Mode. We fought again, over something ridiculous (I was trying to help, he was dismissive) on Monday evening, which spiraled into more not speaking to each other. Well no more than cursory. I don't think it was at all related to the immediate incident and more just the crushing weight of exhaustion at fighting with each other in general over the last week. We seem fine when not in the house tho ...

On Monday, beforehand, we'd spent about an hour back at my old place peeling and scraping the paint off the ceiling together and polyfilla-ing where the old light fittings had been in preparation to get it re-painted this week before his sister moves in this weekend. We managed to do that just fine together.

So Tuesday he went to cricket and I stayed home. Honestly I think I needed a night in at this new house on my own. I actually haven't really spent any alone time there yet really. I had a lot of alone time in my old house, time to settle myself in.

I moved things around, probably a few things that I shouldn't have since they were too heavy. But I was working thru my annoyance & frustration and I wasn't about to wait around for him to get home to do what needed doing. There are some things he's fantastic at getting done (take my ceiling for example, or in fact, the whole move in general) but, the little things, the random things I want done, seem to sit around waiting forever.

He hasn't commented on any of the changes I made ... Mostly they were in our new outside area. Which is usually my happy place and not really somewhere he spends too much time. He probably got this out of his system by setting up the TV and sound system in the lounge :) Anyway, I felt better for it.

Things were better yesterday, but we're still not talking to each other "properly". We're being polite and we are talking. But as I said, it feels like we're running in Safe Mode. A lot of that is me, I know. I need to re-connect with him, but I can't find a way to do it yet. He's occasionally hugging me, or holding my hand on the couch while we quietly watch TV together. But we're not talking about any of the little things, the things that happened in our day or anything like that. I hate it. I know it won't last much longer ... I will cave. It won't be resolved, it'll just disappear because who has the energy to maintain being annoyed or angry for so long? And life will somehow swing back to normal. For now tho, I still feel heavy and like I'm seeing the world thru blue-tinted glasses :(

Yesterday Gypsy got spayed. I went home early from work with a headache, took some meds, got some sleep and then collected her. She was a bit funny last night (to be expected), unusually quiet and slow. But she did eat, which made me happy :) She seems closer to normal this morning. Sweet thing. (The Trucker just Whatsapp-ed me a recording of her purring <3 ) She reminds me of a Silverback Gorilla in this photo - haha. Must've been the light thru the trees because she definitely doesn't have any sliver-grey fur.

Yesterday I also had someone come in and prime the ceiling and paint. Unfortunately we didn't buy enough paint so The Trucker went to buy more after work and then went and painted on the second coat (see, he is pretty amazing, and I know I'm actually really lucky) and I went thru about an hour later with the vacuum and what not to clean up.

Aargh. By the time I got there the paint was already peeling and falling off the ceiling again ?!? I don't know what we'll do about it. (The photo is of the new paint peeling already!)

And the new tenant's at his old place canceled yesterday (they never actually signed the lease and found somewhere else). Which also means if he can't find someone else, he will be paying another month's rent there :(

Life is not awesome right now. Where is that light at the end of this tunnel?

Oh, there were one or two highlights this week actually: First, I finally received my birthday gift from The Peeb. She knitted me some fingerless gloves :) They are pretty cool. The only downside is they are completely different sizes. And only one fits snugly enough to be wearable. :( Hopefully she'll re-knit me the other one because actually just last week I was thinking it may finally be time to replace my current, rather old ones, which I wear pretty much every day in winter ... fingers get cold typing on computers and moving the mouse around.

And @Arkwife introduced me to Chilli Popper Toasties. OMG. I am in love. Cream cheese, sliced Jalepenos and grated cheddar cheese ... it's a winner, folks. I made it for myself for dinner on Tuesday evening. I even made one to share as a starter last night for The Trucker to try. This weekend we're adding bacon :)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart

In the near future, America is crushed by a financial crisis, and Chinese creditors may just be ready to foreclose on the whole mess. Then Lenny Abramov, son of an Russian immigrant janitor an ardent fan of "printed, bound media artifacts" (books), meets Eunice Park, an impossibly cute Korean-American woman with a major in Images and a minor in Assertiveness. Could falling in love redeem a planet falling apart?

Mkay, I didn't really know what to expect from this. I can't even remember why it piqued my interest, honestly. And I enjoyed how it was written and the "in the future" factor ... but the actual story .... hmmm. I was interested in bits of it. But now that I've finished, I'm not really sure I "got" it.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Second Anniversary

Mkay, I think things are on the up ... I know I left you hanging last week with a rather down in the dumps post :(

On Thursday evening we headed to one of The Trucker's oldest friend's houses ... he was out for a week from Bermuda for his brother's wedding. Yes, I finally got to meet the guy we're off to visit in Bermuda for a week in September :) We had quite a cool evening. @Toxic_Mouse and his girlf were there too. And we ate some delish home-made prawn & chicken curry.

On Friday it was my 2 year anniversary with The Trucker. Now there was definitely a time when I didn't think we'd get here, and yes, despite the exactly 2 months apart, I still consider this our anniversary. But we did get here and it was worth celebrating. Not quite in the style of last year - haha, that was amazing. This year because we had such a busy week planned, we just went for dinner at Licorish. We have booked a weekend away in June tho ... am so looking forward to it :)

Dinner was superb, as always. Although, on arrival I was unimpressed with the menu's. I don't remember if they were like that last time, but the newspapery-feel doesn't suit the restaurant, I don't think. The restaurant is far more impressive and classy and the newspapery menu's just don't tie in with that at all. But anyway, that aside, I started with a Chocolate Chilli Martini. It was nice, but not very strong ... chilli or chocolate wise.

Then we shared a starter of Goats cheese samoosa with balsamic onion jam, yellow pepper essence and pumpkin seed cinnamon dukkah. This was superb (and there were 2 on the plate which suited us perfectly). For mains, The Trucker had the fillet taster plate and I had the game taster plate. Mine consisted of an Ostrich puff-pastry tart, which had far too many mushrooms for my liking, a Springbok Spring Roll, which I rather liked, and a piece of Kudu fillet served of sweet potato mash. I couldn't finish it all but it was all very nice. And with that we had the wine tasters. My favourite (wish I knew what it was) was the one served with the kudu.

We finished with Chocolate spring rolls with cape velvet custard to share. So full!

Shame, The Trucker has been sicker than I remember him ever being. Off work for 2 days (this boy never takes a day off! Even when he should) and just plain exhausted, sore and drained the whole weekend. So we didn't get anything done house-wise this weekend. We need to get the ceiling sorted before his sister moves in ... it's gotta be this weekend. Eep.

We had the maid over on Saturday morning to get the old house cleaned up and ready for it's new tenant. And The Trucker slept most of the morning. Poor guy. And then it was time to get ready for the wedding. It was at Avianto, which I've never been to. Quite a nice venue. We had a lovely time but left early because The Trucker was still feeling awful.

We slept late on Sunday and had a lazy morning and breakfast at home before heading out to do the grocery shopping. And then spent a nice lazy afternoon at home. I think this is what we needed ... although The Trucker has spent quite a lot of time already there ... maybe it's what I needed. He thinks the woman who owned it died there. Her son, who we are renting from, said she got alzheimers so couldn't stay there anymore. I think, for me, it's just that I haven't really figured out my place there yet. I know that sounds crazy. Our roles haven't really changed in the house. We do a lot together. But I guess, it's exacerbated by him having spent so much time there. I feel out of place. At my house, it was mine, I was sorta more in control of the place, I knew where things were ... I'd put them there. I know, it sounds crazy, but I hadn't cooked a single thing in this house after a whole week there ... well, not really. I'd only done my first load of washing there on Saturday. It is silly, but I think I'm getting over it :)

Anyway, so on Sunday I finally got to use my SCM Gift. Although The Trucker had unpacked it and been using it all week, which cause another upset ... it was my gift and still in it's box, I kinda wanted to use it first. Not that I would ever stop him using it after that whenever he wanted ... but I dunno, him using it first rubbed me up all the wrong way and I had to seriously force myself to actually use it at all after that because I was so annoyed. Maybe it's just me that feels like that about things?

So for lunch on Sunday I made us Roasted Strawberry, Brie and Chocolate Grilled Cheese. I won't lie, it wasn't as epic as I was hoping for. I used that thin rye bread from Woolies, I wouldn't do that again. I also wouldn't use brie again. It was too strong (perhaps I used too much). I would go with something more neutral, like Goat's Cheese next time. The melty Lindt 70% and the strawberries were pretty good tho :)

We made ostrich burgers for dinner and made a serious dent in Game of Thrones S3. I am bored. Again, too many characters I couldn't care about, you don't even see every character in each episode. It is far too much to remember who every one is and who is a good guy or a bad guy. We finished The Following this weekend too (The Trucker is not a fan of Serial-Killer Sundays). This started out great, but I am not convinced. It's all just a bit too fantastical for me because while I enjoy Kevin Bacon's character and his storyline, I just can't get behind the whole Joe Carroll thing.

And that was our weekend. We're having a quiet week this week. Neither of us has made plans for the week or the weekend ... we need some time at home, together.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

It's Not as Easy as it Looks

Urgh. Another meltdown for no reason yesterday evening. I don't know what is going on. But my world has been shaken and I can't figure out how to get it back to sunshine and roses. And really, technically, nothing is wrong.

The poor boy is ill, he went to the doc yesterday and had chest xrays and is on more meds than I was a few weeks back. And I am angry and frustrated and irritated for no reason. This move has thrown me and I can't pin point why. And he's trying to give me solutions, which I don't want or need. I just want to punch something or break it.

Okay, I managed to get past that little outburst last night. But it's a frustrating place to be. When you can't figure out what is upsetting your apple cart.

We took and easy evening at home (last night's plans were postponed to tonight) and we both needed it. We got take-out. I know we shouldn't have, we aren't having a dinner cooked at home from Monday to Saturday. It's not the ideal scenario of a week, but it happens to be this week.

We talked about how we both don't feel the "click" with this new house and neither of us can pin-point why or what it is exactly (I was relieved to hear he felt the same!). We're just not settling in here. Yes, most of our stuff is slowly getting unpacked or hidden in a spare room for another time ... but even that distracts from the immediate chaos, at least. And we're talking about maybe moving back to my little house. Where we were both happy. I don't think we'll do that. Not yet at least. I want to give us some time to try and settle here. The space, which should be making us happy, is making the house feel distant.

The Trucker said it also took a while for him to adjust to the space of his previous place after the place before. Maybe that's all we need, some time. Time for it to feel like home? Will that feeling come over time? And really, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this house, it's a very nice house ... so what is wrong with us?

Last time, when I moved into my home, it was instantaneous. I was immediately home, even before my furniture arrived. I felt settled and at peace in the space. I dunno, this space is rubbing me all the wrong ways. And it's an exhausting problem to fix. It's not one I'm familiar with or know how to handle. Everything feels wrong and out of place when I look around. I feel like I'm staying in a hotel, somewhere transitory. It has everything I need, but it doesn't comfort my soul. True, we haven't had a restful night in (till last night) ... we have just been sleeping there and storing all our worldly possessions there.

I hope it changes. I need it to change. But it makes sense for us to stay there for now, while we're waiting to see where the rest of this year goes ...

Am not currently a happy camper :( (ah, as I read that simple comment,  the literalness of it is frightening)

And the animals are weird and not helping. Gypsy is hunting Lily every moment that they're in the garden together (you can even see it so clearly in this photo!). We've booked Gyps in for her spaying next week. The girls are both impossible to round up when it's time to go back in the house / back in the hutch. Rex is such a go-with-the-flow even tempered guy <3

Hugs, lots of hugs. At least, on the plus side, Mom's flights to Jozi for a week in July are booked :)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Amazing Eating

Mkay so it's been an exhausting few days. We have only spent a single evening at our new home together (Sunday, and we will be out again tonight! At least tonight we'll be out together, the last 2 nights we've had our own plans).

Things have been weird and niggly and annoying between The Trucker & I for the last 2 days. I think we managed to clear it up yesterday. The emotional onslaught of the move has hit me, but in a completely different way than I expected. I haven't missed my old home yet ... I guess cause that chapter has yet to close, there is still stuff to be moved from there and no one has moved in and made it their own yet. It is more the new house and living together that is rubbing me up the wrong way. It's not too serious, I think it's just one of those wobbles that happen when you create this sort of upheaval in your life. But I got into a bit of a state last night because I didn't know where anything was or where my stuff was supposed to go or how to use his dishwasher (So generally feeling completely useless here). Combining 2 people's things is emotional. For the big stuff, honestly it's been easy. My bed, his couch, you know, that sort of thing. Generally you pick the better of the two. But then figuring out where all your personal rubbish and knick-knacks go becomes more complicated.

We'll get there. I didn't do any "house stuff" last night, I took the evening off, I couldn't face the chaos that still needs unpacking. Instead I watched some series and went to SCM. When I got home, I took my first bath in our en suite and it was perfect. You know how sometimes the baths are just a weird shape and don't exactly fit. This one is perfect. I found my happy place and even managed to tackle the last of the bathroom stuff that needed unpacking. So I am feeling more on top of this whole moving thing again.

On Monday after work I'd got home and immediately headed to my old place to pack up a bunch of what was still left there - we needed the glasses rather urgently. It was exhausting. While I may be able to pack things, hefting giant containers filled to the brim into the boot of my car, not my strong suit.

After that I headed out to dinner with an old friend, Kersh. We worked together back in the day, before he moved to London. And the last time I saw him was when I was over there visiting for work. It's been ages. But hey, isn't that what Facebook is for these days :) So yeah, we still keep in touch and when he said he was coming back to SA for 2 weeks, we planned a dinner. Now let me tell you, I had to pick somewhere decent, the boy has become a bit of a foodie and has been to places like Noma (apparently very exclusive, impossible to get a reservation for restaurant in Demark where a meal is 20 servings!). So naturally I wanted to show off a little of what Joburg has to offer :) And, of course, it was a great opportunity for me to try one of the restaurants on my Surprise Date Night List. Although I am ending up with a list of places I'm dying to take The Trucker back to (Peach Cafe, Coobs & now Eatery JHB) ... haha.

So yes, I gave him a couple of ideas and he picked Eatery JHB. Oh. My. Word. I was spectacularly blown away by this little place ... although I do wish I'd seen the upstairs! Next time.

They have a great selection of craft beers, so I had a Bone Crusher ... which they served in a wine glass :) I rather liked that. I started with their Beetroot and goats cheese ravioli with balsamic reduction and chives. Not at all what I expected. I thought because it said ravioli there would be actual pasta involved, but there isn't. The beetroot sort of replaces the pasta and surrounds the goats cheese. I really enjoyed it and the presentation was great :)

For mains, I had the Spinach pappardelle with broccoli & cauliflower florets and mustard butter, which was sooo good. Didn't feel like I was eating pasta at all. The flavour was superb.

And now, well I had to have dessert because everything else had been so good. So I chose the Scorched pineapple carpaccio with hazelnut praline, macerated strawberries & lime sorbet. OMG. I totally won at Dessert. Although I think I won with all my courses, honestly. Haha. But Kersh had serious order envy. Would have this again in a heartbeat (although perhaps not as fast as I'd have The Foundry's Pumpkin Fritters - haha). The flavours together worked so brilliantly and, once again, I loved the presentation (it came on a slate plate)! I think this was my favourite dish of the evening, but it would be such a close call.

So, I will definitely be going back here with The Trucker, at the earliest next month tho, because they change their menu every 3 months :) Can't wait to try it again.

Anyway, it was awesome to see Kersh, have a good meal out and a great catch-up :) It is so nice when you can just spend an evening chatting to someone like it hasn't been 5 years since you last saw them!

Monday, May 13, 2013

And We've Moved

Shewee. What a weekend. I think we had 2 brief moments of rest ..

So the moving commenced in ernest the minute I arrived home from work on Friday evening. The Trucker brought the Mahindra from work (our standard moving vehicle) and we started moving the non-essentials (and stuff we could carry). I reckon we did 2 or 3 loads. And another load from his house.

On Saturday morning we were up early. He headed off to get one of the guys from work who'd be helping us with the heavy lifting and I started dismantling the bunny hutch. Kitty and Bunnies were not very impressed with the upheaval. While the boys did the heavy lifting (couches, fridges, washing machines and beds), I headed off to get more hay for the bunnies and new tarps for the hutch. And some toasted sarmies for breakfast.

It was a long and exhausting morning. And then at around 2:30pm we headed off to The Foundry for @Toxic_Mouse's birthday shenanigans. Sheesh. We didn't think we'd be there too late. We planned to move the animals and our bedding and make the bed when we got home ... but things got a little out of hand ;)

We eventually got kicked out of The Foundry, I think because of noise? @Toxic_Mouse had asked if he could book the bar area but they wouldn't let him. There was much mirth when eventually they asked our table to please move to the bar area. But regardless I rather like the place. I will be going back for at least 3 more bowls of their Pumpkin Fritters. OMG they are about the most amazing thing I may ever have eaten. We also shared one of their pizzas for the table (the chorizo one) ... very tasty. I think I'd try the butter chicken one next time. And I shared their Beetroot Carpaccio with someone as well ... not as good as Cafe del Sol's. And then for actual lunch, much later in the afternoon, I had their pulled pork sandwich. Pretty good.

After there we moved onto the Jolly Roger. But one drink later everyone wandered to Jolly Cool to play pool instead. We didn't leave late, around 21h30, but we were exhausted.

We managed to bundle up all the animals and our bedding into the car en route to our new house. But we certainly lacked the energy to build my 4-poster bed ... so we spent our first night sleeping on the mattress on the floor.

Sunday was jam-packed, again. We were up earlyish and built the bed. The The Trucker headed off to his LMS cricket game while I re-assembled the Bunny Hutch. I did the grocery shopping and then we did a few more loads from my house ... almost everything has now been moved.

And then we collapsed for a bit ... watched the bunnies & Gypsy explore their new garden. The bunnies seem especially thrilled with more space :) They are harder to herd when it's bed time for them tho :P Oh well. I packed most of our clothes into our cupboards - yay there is enough space for us both :) And The Trucker set up the TV and entertainment system and shuffled the lounge around sufficiently that we could collapse on the couch for a few hours on Sunday evening. We unpacked most of the kitchen (we still have some stuff to move ... like we have no glasses! Haha, that was an oversight).

Sheesh, exhausted. At least last night really felt like our first night there together <3

I thought it would be a harder weekend emotionally. You know, moving out of my very first home. A place I am very emotionally attached to ... I think it is specific things about the place tho, things that made it mine. My photo wall, and my outside table with all my lights hanging above it. Things that I guess were my vision. Even The Trucker said last night that he missed my house. And it's because the new house still doesn't feel put-together yet ... there is still a lot of chaos to work thru. And when you're just renting it is a little more difficult to make the place your own. But I think we'll get there. We certainly have more space now and it really is nice having all of our stuff together :) I dunno, I think I'll still miss my little home that I built ... but it was far from finished, so I guess that is a good thing too - haha.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Same old

Shew. What an up & down week. Monday was pretty average. Tuesday was pretty amazing :) I went to SCM Dinner and we celebrated my belated birthday (since it's my first SCM since my birthday). Shew and I got very spoilt. Delish dinner, amazing cupcakes and presents!

I got the snackwich machine I've been asking for for ages ... which means I can finally make this :D And all sorts of other good things I've seen on Pinterest. And grilled cheese toast again ... my oven's grill doesn't work and I never got it fixed because I was gonna re-do the kitchen ... and well, that never happened. And now we're moving. Which probably means the new place's oven grill probably does work. But anyway.

And I got these amazing prints (if they didn't roll up automatically, I would've taken a picture!) for Joburg and Cape Town. I adore them :D (Makes note to self to try and get a decent photo once we've moved).

So I was in an awesome mood. But then things deteriorated and The Trucker and I had a massive fight which left me feeling miserable till we fixed everything on Wednesday. So don't worry, all just a misunderstanding and everything is fixed now and there was dinner while I bathed and chocolate milks and bubbly to make things better :)

There was more exciting news tho, I finally bought my Kindle cover as a birthday present from Mom. And it arrived on Wednesday and I LOVE it!

Yesterday I headed off for a doctors visit. Off to see a specialist about getting these fibroadenoma removed. They've gotten too big. So yes, I will be scheduling surgery. Eep. Which will include a general anesthetic. I've never had that before. And I haven't been in hospital in about 25yrs. Anyway, I'm not too worried about it. Will be more pleased to have these lumps gone!

Oh, and the move is in full swing. We're hoping to officially be moved into the new house by the end of this weekend - eep :) So exciting!

Monday, May 06, 2013

Whispering Weekend

Well. I'm back at work this morning. Unfortunately I still do not have a fully functional voice. #sigh . Last day of anti-biotics and meds today tho. Fingers crossed this gets itself sorted out asap.

So the weekend was pretty quiet, really. I mean aside from the few things I had already planned and arranged I didn't do anything but hang out quietly at home, resting my voice and watching a ton of series. Yes, there can be too much of that!

On Friday evening, en route to my birthday party, The Trucker and I collected the keys to our new home :) YAY. Yes, things are actually happening this time. We popped past to have a look at our new place on Saturday morning before breakfast and I'm getting really excited. While I know I will miss my very own home, and I will. It still has a piece of my heart. I am excited to move on to this new adventure, together, with him <3 Somewhere that is ours, equally. Whoop whoop.

I suspect tho that May will turn out to be quite the exhausting month tho. We've already missed 1 of the 4 moving weekends available to us. And we have almost full-day Saturday plans for the next 2 already! And we have so much shuffling around to do. We're going to be starting with the weekday evenings, moving a little bit at a time ... or probably a Mahindra-load at a time, depending on when The Trucker can borrow the work bakkie. We will start moving all of his stuff from the place he was renting (where his sister and niece are still living), least impact. Along with that will probably be all the non-essentials from my house as well. Book shelves and whatnot from the spare room. Then Hopefully one Sunday we'll manage to move our essentials and officially move into the new house ourselves. And then we need to get the ceiling fixed at my house (needs to be scraped and re-painted after the whole new-light installation) and then we can move his sister out of storage and into my place where she'll be renting. Sheesh. And all that before the 01 June when there'll be new tenants taking over The Trucker's current lease. Yep. It is going to be an exhausting month!

But so exciting :)

So yes, Friday evening was my birthday party. I booked out the Smoking Bar at Cafe Mexicho because it meant of the 50 or so people I invited, people could come and go, order drinks and food and I could see everyone ... without trying to book a massive table where everyone is stuck in a seat. It was a quiet affair, what with me only being able to manage a whisper. But on the plus side, the anti-biotics didn't get me instantly drunk :) It wasn't as well attended as I'd hoped. Well I did only throw it together with a week's notice, so quite a few people had other plans. And in typical style, there were people who didn't bother to rsvp and others who didn't show up on the day. And this is why I prefer the more fluid kind of event than a fixed booking for a specific number of people. People are flakey.

Yeah, I could've canceled due to illness, if it hadn't been my party, I definitely would've stayed home. But I figured cancelling affected more than just my plans. I had a good time regardless. The food and drinks were good and I appreciated the company of everyone who did come thru :) I had a lovely evening.

On Saturday, after visiting our new home, we had breakfast at Vovo Telo, where we bumped into and joined a friend of The Trucker's for breakfast ... who happened to be there for breakfast with a guy I was in matric with who was up from Cape Town visiting her (what are the chances?!). Then it was off to the Jozi Craft Beer Fest.

It was a lovely day, bumped into a bunch of people I haven't seen in ages ... but again, whispering. Haha. I prefered the way they did the glasses at the last Beer Fest, but there were still 2 size-options to choose from this time. I tried a variety of things, but the ones that I really enjoyed were the Cherry Cider from Clarens Brewery and the Chilli Vodka from Jorgensen's Distillery (such pretty packaging). And, we ended the afternoon off with some absolutely delish ribs from What Up Ribs. We also got some sample rubs from Nomu, which I am super keen to try out (especially the Coffee Rub). Dunno if I mentioned their Recipe Box before, but it was on my birthday wishlist ... and I think I might just buy it for myself soon :)

And that was pretty much my weekend. We left the Beer Fest early because The Trucker had a bachelor party to go to. And later in the evening I won the Girlfriend of the Year award. He'd asked me to collect him and the Father of the Groom (the Groom is one of his best friend's, the one we're off to visit in Bermuda later this year, little brother) because they weren't interested in staying with the Party Bus all night.

So I duly headed off to collect them from Teasers at around 22h30 when he'd asked. But they all had their rubber arms twisted and decided to stay after I arrived. So I left them there and headed off home, to sleep. Sweet thing showed up at about 2:30am knocking on the door. Haha. He was a little exhausted so Sunday was a slow day with some breakfast at home. The ant-biotics had knocked me so I retired to the couch for the rest of the day while he did our grocery shopping and went off to cricket (no idea how he managed that! Haha).

And in the evening he came home and we made a truly yummy Mac n Cheese for dinner :)

Speaking of Bermuda and our trip in September/October, plans are in full swing. We are waiting to finalise exact dates with The Trucker's friend because he is off to South America around the same time ... and obviously we need him there when we arrive :) But we are making plans for the USA leg of the journey and what we want to do ... which is mostly up to me since The Trucker has been like 3 times already. So some of it is ticking things off my list (go to the Le Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, visit the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia) and some of it is him showing off some of his favourite places. There'll be a few nights in New York, where top of my list is High Line Park (not sure why, I know it isn't the obvious choice - haha). The Amtrak trip to Philadelphia and then on to Washington so we can go and check out some of the Smithsonian (Hoping to fit in Natural History and Air & Space and maybe even a visit to the National Zoo). We'll probably fly to Vegas ... mebbe get married by Elvis - har har. Actually, I'm only half kidding, for some reason, I think because I like the idea of unique experiences and this is a pretty damn famous one, I've always wanted to do a 5 or 10 year renewal of vows by getting married in Vegas by Elvis. Even tho I detest Elvis. It just seems like the thing you should do in Vegas. Then do a mini road trip via Los Angeles to San Fransisco. And visit Alcatraz :) And then, of course, finish with nearly a week in Bermuda :) But, first we have to get those pesky UK Visa's sorted :P Still, super exciting. Having never been to the States, I am really looking forward to this.

Anybody got some other "Do Not Miss" sort of things you think I should do in these cities? I adore Museums, but The Trucker doesn't ... so I may not be able to wangle any more into our itinerary ... but still let me know, perhaps another trip ;) Oh, but not the Art museums. Those are not my thing. I'm more Natural History and whatnot. I know everyone says go to the Empire State Building, but that doesn't especially appeal to me either. So yeah, anything else? I am looking forward to a San Fransisco downhill tram trip too :) And top of The Trucker's list? An In-n-Out Burger ... Hahahaha.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Kruger Long Weekend

Well the rest of my day at work was great fun :) I was made to wear the bunny ears & tail and then a man-sized bunny showed up with my gift (a twitter mug) and sang The Bunny Song to me. It was hysterical! And there was delish chocolate cake too :)

I didn't know what to expect, and these things always make me sort of nervous, but this year was definitely a million times better than last year and although it was momentarily embarrassing (while I stood next to the bunny who's song never seemed to end with at least 2/3 of the office standing watching, laughing and taking photos), it was a great day and I felt very loved. More and more I am happy with my decision to stay here (And even more news came on Monday, that one of my least favourite colleagues had resigned. I was doing cartwheels! Haha).

Anyway, I left an hour early and headed home to meet The Trucker who had bought our weekend supplies and packed up almost everything we needed already. This boy is amazing. He even did the dishes before we left. So we got on the road at about 15h30 and headed out of Joburg.

I was in a bit of a panic because the Agent had phoned me during the day about the Rental Lease and wanted it signed and faxed back asap. I tried to explain I was on my way out of the office and would have no way of faxing it back to him after The Trucker and I had both signed it as we were going away and I'd only be back in the office on the 2nd May. He wasn't very helpful and declared how jacked up Kruger was and we would find a way to fax it to him from there this weekend. This left me in a mad fluster ... I didn't not have a very good hour between 2 & 3pm.

But once we were on our way, things got much better. I read the lease to The Trucker as we drove. And then I got to open my pressie :) Wow. I was blown away. I was completely spoilt.

He bought me the upgrade on his camera, which I absolutely loved using in Vietnam! I love it :) This boy is amazing <3

The drive was okay, we got slowed by a road block (which was there on our way home too, so maybe it's permanent?) but we made pretty good time to Kaapsche Hoop by19h30 ish. In time to meet my Mom's Cousin who we'd be staying overnight with.

We had dinner at this weird little Sports Club in the little boomed "town" called Ngodwana. We stayed in a little flat above the garage which suited us perfectly. And we rose early with the sun streaming into our room. Kaapsche Hoop really is such a cute little picturesque town. But we were on our way quite early. We ate breakfast at the Wimpy in Nelspruit and then headed to the Malelane Gate. But first I was in for another birthday surprise! Just before we got to the gate, The Trucker turned off and we stopped at Thulani Spa for a massage. Awe.

Unfortunately while his gesture was amazing, the massage and experience at the spa was terribly mediocre and especially at the price he paid. I wouldn't go back again if I was in the area and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone else either. He'd tried to book something at one of the Spa's inside the Kruger, but apparently you can only go if you're a guest at the Lodge it's in. Ridonkulous.

And then it really was into the Kruger with us! We just drover straight up to Skukuza to check in initially. We spent 2 nights at Skukuza and I won't bore you with all the driving we did. But we did a lot. We went for a later afternoon drive on the day we arrived (all the gates close at 6pm). After that we enjoyed a braai at our little chalet. The next morning we headed out as the gates opened (at 6am) and did quite a long drive, getting back in time for lunch. We booked a Sunset Game Drive for Sunday evening. You get back at about 8pm from that. And then we headed to their Jackalberry restaurant. It is quite a shoddy experience, honestly. The menu is very limited and they didn't have The Trucker's original order. I had a spinach & feta quiche which was quite nice, so the food wasn't terrible. Just the decor feels very old and the service leaves a little to be desired.

On Monday morning we headed out for a day-long drive up to Satara, where we were booked in for another 2 nights. It wasn't a very restful holiday, we were up at 05:30 every day to head out in the hopes of catching the animals in the early morning. We were out till the gates closed every night too. Dawn and dusk apparently being the best times for animal spotting. Satara was very disappointing. I booked the same price accommodation but at Satara, although it says "self-catering" it was a "no utensil" unit. Urgh. At least we'd brought some stuff with us (in anticipation of making lunch on the road). What was most frustrating was not having a kettle. It was this weird combination of accommodation. Skukuza warns you the monkeys can get into your fridge but they don't provide locks for them ... and the monkey's did get into our fridge. Luckily we arrived shortly after and all they managed to get were 2 yogurts and a banana or two. But it had everything else we needed. Satara had locks on everything (fridge & an outdoor pantry cupboard) but nothing else ... not even a sink for you to wash your own utensil :P Yeah, for the price we paid, I hope it is going mostly to the park and animal upkeep, cause it's sure as hell not going to the accommodation or the restaurants ...

We did an afternoon drive after arriving at Satara. And the next morning we did a Sunrise Game Drive with them. We did our own drive again that afternoon.

And then, on Wednesday, it was time to head home. We headed out early again, in the hopes of any last special sightings.

We were luckier than we realised this trip, I think. Generally we think we have pretty bad luck at animal spotting together. I had my heart set on finally seeing a leopard in the wild, but that didn't happen :( The Trucker was keen for lion ... which we managed to see twice. The first sighting was en route to Satara and not that great. The second sighting was an amazing one of a male lion lying right on the side of the road on our last afternoon drive. Made it very worthwhile. We didn't see anything amazing by doing the Game Drives with the camps. I do think they should offer South African drives and Tourist drives. Because I really don't need to stop and listen to him talk about impala or zebra or giraffe, I've heard it all before. And boy did we laugh as people drove past us while our driver had turned off the engine so we could look at a male ostrich. Then you know you've had a less-than-fruitful game drive :P

Anyway, we managed 4 of the Big Five. But what was more special for me were some of our more unusual sightings. We were spoilt by seeing a Hyena mom with her newborn pup on our first afternoon drive from Skukuza (the road to Transport dam). She must've given birth that day as she still wasn't even moving, exhausted (first pic). We managed to see her again the following day when we went past again, this time tho her pup was hidden in the den (I managed to see him poke his head out briefly, but didn't get a photo) while she watched both him and the cars crowding around them (second pic). I was amazed at how black they are at birth.

I think Hyena was our most unusually prolific sighting was the Hyena (that's not to say we saw more of them than anything else ... I reckon this should probably be renamed to the Impala National Park :p). After seeing the mommy twice, we also encountered three of them walking down the road towards us on a separate occasion and we saw a male guarding a den on our morning Game Drive from Satara.

Then on our drive to Satara, we were lucky enough to spend time watching a male cheetah pacing up and down the road side (not too close, but good enough to see him clearly). Shew and he was a big guy.

Here's the full list of what we saw: Elephants, Rhino, Buffalo, Lion, Cheetah, Giraffe, Hippo (in & out the water), Hyena with newborn, more Hyena, Wildebeest, Zebra, Waterbuck Kudu, Impala, Klipspringer, Nyala, Steenbok, Warthog, Monitor Lizard, Honey Badger, Genet Cat, Owl

The Trucker was quite thrilled with his Monitor Lizard sighting ... unfortunately although he got some great shots of it, by the time it had wandered off and we took a look at them, we realised the camera had shifted to the wrong setting and the photos were almost completely white. I was kinda amazed we managed to spot Klipspringer on three separate occasions.

Oh, the other thing I wanted to say was, I was surprised at how little we used @LatestKruger while we were there. I've been following it for a while, in anticipation, and I expected to use it more. But we didn't have much signal up around Satara. And I found when we were viewing animals the last thing I was thinking of was trying to figure out where we were and tweeting about it. Also, the park is so big, it was never really likely that if we saw someone mention a sighting, we could get there from where we were ... I found the same thing with the sighting boards at the reception. There's no times, so who knows how long ago that sighting was, there is no guarantee if you head out in search of it you'll find it ... we saw our amazing Lion sighting, purely by chance. We'd driven down the road and seen nothing. But we had to stop when a Bull Elephant in musth wouldn't let us pass. We were the first car to arrive upon him, but soon there were 2 more coming in the other direction and then another behind us. While waiting we chatted to that car and heard about the Lion 15km behind us. We decided to turn back rather than just sit and wait out the ellie. We made the right choice! The lion really wasn't going anywhere and those other people were stuck waiting for the elephant for about half an hour. Chance and timing, as frustrating as that is, is everything.

The drive home was uneventful and we got home around 14h30. Did some much-needed grocery shopping and came home to unpack and put washing on. But most importantly to cuddle the Gypsy cat. Sheesh. I can't believe how much I missed this (not so) little thing! I thought she'd be all weird with us for leaving her (The Trucker's sister & neice came thru every day to feed and play with her). But she wasn't she was thrilled to have us home :) She hadn't forgotten us at all. She really is our cat :)

The last 2 days haven't been very exciting. I'm stuck home with Laryngitis. I started feeling my glands were sensitive last week and took a few MedLemon (the cure for *everything*). And seemed fine. The Trucker took some Sinuclear and MedLemons too ... he was feeling worse than me. But it kicked in while we were in Kruger and we had nothing more than MedLemons and Sinuclear there ... By the drive home on Wednesday I was losing my voice. I went to the Doc yesterday. Apparently the infection isn't too bad, but I guess because of the Allegy-induced asthma meds I'm on, it masks the symptoms till I'm worse ... So the post-nasal drip has inflamed my larynx and I can't talk above a whisper. I'm on anti-biotics (which I never usually take!!) to get it sorted asap. Fun fun. It is actually really boring being home alone and actually sick :(

Oh, and in case you were wondering, we got Mom's Cousin to fax off our lease document and I paid the first month's rental and deposit last night! We should be getting the keys this weekend. Eep, we are officially moving into our very own place together. One that is both of ours, equally. May looks to be a long month with already very busy weekends, which will now include moving little by little :D

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