Tuesday, September 17, 2013

America, Fuck Yeah!

Righto folks, this is goodbye till I get back in October ... whoop whoop. Bring on the big ol' Yoo Ess of Ay. And the blissful beach-life in Bermuda. I am ready.

I got a little teary in bed last night. Thinking about love and how emotions are all a bit funny. Existential, yo. How this little kitten-cat we hadn't even met 8 months ago has wriggled her way into our hearts. How much I adore her. How much I am going to miss her while we're away. And it's a funny thing, how people work, it must be some kind of reciprocal sliding-scale. Cause I love my bunnies, in the sense that I will protect them and do what is best for them and look after them always. But it's different, because they are not cuddle-bunnies. They are quite happy doing their own thing. I know I'm their favourite human, because they are not nearly as comfortable around other people who feed them and let them run in the garden when I'm away. But that is about the entire purpose I serve to them.

Shew. How on earth is it going to be with a kiddie?! My heart will break. But at least they get older and you can skype and keep in touch and explain things to them if you go away. Animals do NOT understand.

But anyway, our new house-sitter, a guy from work, came around last night to see the place, meet the animals and whatnot. I'm quite sure he'll do a sterling job. And I'm quite sure Gypsy will make fast friends with him while we're away. But damn I am gonna miss that noisy little thing!

So, I'm guessing there are no surprises for our trip, here are the things I'm *super* looking forward to in the next few weeks:

1. New York! Not much more to add to this, really.
2. Blue Man Group. I dunno why, but this has been on my list to see ever since we saw Mummenschantz.
3. Mutter Museum. Yes, I'm apparently morbid like that ;) And I'm sure it'll be fun to ride the Amtrak too (gotta get in all those modes of transport ... this ensures we have rail).
4. Road-tripping in the USA in a convertible Mustang. Gotta be done. (transport type: road *check*)
5. Le Brea Tar Pits. Dinosaurs, hello?
6. Alcatraz (transport type: sea *check*)
7. Well, Bermuda really goes without saying here ... beautiful pink beaches. (The photo below was actually taken by the guy we're going to stay with!)

You can all live vicariously when I get back :) Cheerio.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Night The Ceiling Collapsed

One. More. Sleep. OMG Yes. I think I actually *deserve* this holiday more than any holiday before! Wait till you hear how the rest of my week went.

So, I was having a chaotic week work-wise. And then The Trucker got a call at almost 3am on Friday morning. From his sister. With the shakiest voice I've ever heard. In our half asleep state we couldn't quite muddle thru what she was saying. Was there someone in the house? No, the ceiling had collapsed.

The. Ceiling. Had. Collapsed. Feel free to read that again. I was as shocked as you. So we put on some clothes and drove thru (luckily my old house, which she is renting from me, is a mere 1.5km away from us). Still bleary-eyed, we stared in shock, open-mouthed at the destruction. Never in my life. It looked like what I imagine Pompeii looked like. There was a lot of insulation up there that was now covering everything in her lounge.

We bundled them into the car, barely thinking of how we'd solve this in the light of day. Needless to say, I couldn't sleep much after that, panic and worry and considering the expense of it all o_0. Not pleasant. I dare say his sister & niece couldn't sleep much either. Coughing from the dust they'd inhaled and thinking of everything that was under a pile of dust back home, the open laptop, the clothes waiting to be ironed ... But yes, thank goodness it was the lounge and not either of the bedrooms. I don't even want to think about that.

I worked from home for the morning. Well, at least until the power went out at home, which meant the router died and I was praying my laptop battery would last. So I ended up heading thru to the office before lunch, there wasn't much more I could do to help anyway.

The Trucker was amazing. Superb. A superhero. In the morning while I was making calls, to the Insulation people, to maid-services (turns out I couldn't find one that can help in an emergency because they all need to be booked in advance), to the Managing Agents, I discovered a little paragraph in July's AGM minutes ... Sounds like I was not the first person with a ceiling to collapse in the complex, and it was for the owner's expense.

In retrospect, it seems like shoddy workmanship when the complex was originally built. The Trucker showed me some of the old nails that were used to hold up the ceiling boards. They had very small heads, which means a very small surface area holding things up. We've used much bigger ones (same length tho).

The insulation can be re-applied, as long as we kept it (so we did). By Friday afternoon, The Trucker had 3 guys working there and the roof was already back up and the cornices were being done. Saturday the work continued, the down-lights were put back in, and the primer was painted. On Sunday, the last of the painting was done before lunch time. Amazing, really.

And it didn't cost nearly as much as I was anticipating. Okay, so more than I would've liked to spend mere days before heading off to the USA on holiday, but roughly one month's rental income. It could've been far worse if The Trucker didn't have connections. I am so lucky <3

So, The Trucker's sister & niece were staying with us till Sunday morning. And it wasn't the relaxed pre-trip weekend I was expecting, by a long shot (even tho I barely had to do a thing, amazing).

But I did get to pop out for a 4hr brunch with some of my favourite people on Saturday, @louisabouwer and Nicola, @Arkwife and Sienna, @Rubyletters and @RebeccaHumphry and Jackson. Wow, can't believe how long it's been since I'd seen all the kiddie-winks as well. My, have they grown. *cough* String-bean Jackson *cough*. It was such a lovely brunch, which ended with Sangria ;)

And that was about the extent of our weekend. We had a pretty lazy Sunday, although The Trucker has me building a small website for some extra spending money in the USA for the both of us. He made his next round of beer too, so it'll be ready when we get home :)

And then we watched Where The Wild Things Are. Meh, it's quite well done, but definitely aimed at a younger audience. The Trucker was yawning his head off. Also, while I know I read the book as a kid, I had no recollection of the storyline whatsoever.

And did I mentioned that my gel nails have peeled off 2 nails again? They lasted a week this time. I think I'm giving up on this whole nail-polish saga. Just not meant to be, clearly. And certainly not worth the expense at this rate! Oh well, the polish on my toe nails is still there and unchanged. So I reckon I'll just stick with toes instead, then :)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ranty McRantPants

Also titled: Standard Bank, I hate you.

Urgh. This week should definitely already be over. I think The Trucker and I are both taking strain by trying to fit in everything we can and need to before our departure on Tuesday. I'm tired.

Okay, so that might be because we got our new Viscopedic mattress yesterday. Sleeping on a new mattress is harder than you realise. I dunno, I don't think I'm that fussy about these things, but it was something he really wanted. Let's hope the sleeping experience improves. We were also grumpy with each other by the time we went to sleep last night, so that never helps me sleep well either.

Also yesterday was a very long day. Another lovely morning, since I only came into the office at 10am. But that meant leaving at 6pm. And honestly, while I adored the early morning (although it's a little long for me, I am def not geared to do stuff around the house before work), the traffic was unbearable.

This happened last Wednesday, when I worked a later day as well. It blows my mind, how do other people do this every day. I know, they all ask how do I wake up at 5:20am every day. But to me, spending 25-30 minutes each way in traffic a day is absolutely, without question, all that I can justify. If you wait till "after traffic" (which, let's face it, in Joburg, never ever happens), you are so much more likely to hit insane traffic because someone else on the road has botched it for you with some accident or broken down something or another.

I thought maybe the highway standstill last week was a random, again I left the house at 9am to be at work by 10am. Both times I had to change up my route (ordinarily the highway), because of traffic. I have never understood going the "back-roads" route ... they are just as bad. It honestly makes the distance feel infinitely further to me.

Okay, so I've just checked Google. My usual route is 26.1km. and the back roads are 19km. But honestly, even if I took that route with no traffic it'd take far longer. Madness. Again, simply madness that I live so far from where I work. Which leads off onto some whole existential thing about how did society get here blah blah blah. See, that's what mood my mind is in today. Woe is me.

Then there was the *most* upsetting, makes me want to spit fire I'm so angry thing that happened this week. And Standard Bank is to blame. I am so annoyed with them right now o_0. I reckon I've already blown anything I'm getting back from the Tax Man, thanks to them. So with a rental property you have to show all this stuff for whatever reason (I don't know, my Tax Lady asks for it and I give it to her). But because the dumb banks can only give you 180 days or x number of transaction history on your account, when you leave it till this late date, you simply don't have the information at your finger tips.

And so, I called FNB and Standard Bank. FNB I have no problem with, I have my banking statements from them, via email. Which I can easily open, what a pleasure. The only thing was I couldn't find my bond statement, which comes less frequently for the period I needed. A quick call and literally maybe an hour later it arrived in my inbox, with no fuss and no mention of charge (I have yet to check my statement so for now am assuming there was no fee).

I also get my Standard Bank statements via email (I'm green like that). But they require you to download some dumb reader and you have to enter your card number (NOTE: NOT your account number, because Standard Bank made the stupidest user experience error ever when they designed their entire system) and a password. Usually, I'd say this is probably not a problem. Unless, like me, you no longer have the card from that period because one of their ATMs swallowed it. Nope, apparently their call center also can't tell you what your old card number was either? (To be honest, I didn't try the new card number, but I can't imagine it would work since it didn't exist when they emailed me the statements)

So they tell you it's R20 a page. Well, I think, when I get my 90 day statement printed at the atm (you know, for all those people who need it for something?), it's about 5 pages. And I want one for 7 months, so maybe 10 - 15 pages. It's a lot, but I need it for my tax, so it seems like a worthwhile investment. Sure I say, not a problem.

On Tuesday I received it in my inbox (3-5 working days later). It came in at a whopping 48 pages. How can that be. Well it's because they waste almost the entire page on rubbish. And I don't know what they think I need all the extra info for since it says very clearly "Copy Statement" all over the watermark so you couldn't actually probably use it for anything (? no idea what you'd be using it for anyway). I counted. The most transactions that any single page had was 8. EIGHT. 8? What on earth are they thinking. This is about the worst customer service experience I've ever had. (UPDATE: On the plus side, they do only seem to have charged R400 for the statements ... so perhaps they calculate the pages before they pad it with all the rubbish around the transactions? Or perhaps they have some kind of maximum charge. Either way it has made me feel marginally better).

So, yes, I'm considering going back to getting my Standard Bank statements via post again. But I hated that too because for some unknown reason they can't freaking manage to collate the pages before folding. So you get 3 (or so) individually folded pages. Grr. Besides, I'd probably just throw those in the bin anyway, who has space for all that paper o_0. Why can't the Tax Man just get all this information himself anyway??

So I'm in a swell mood this morning. Yup. Damn, I need this holiday.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Go Go Go

Shew. Now that was a busy weekend. Not especially socially busy, but more like non-stop busy. Not much sitting around on the couch relaxing - haha.

So Friday started with me heading home around lunch. Had to go collect my new Drivers License so I worked from home for the rest of the afternoon. Damn I hate these places, miles away, that are only open while I'm at work. Very inconvenient. But everyone makes a plan o_0

So The Trucker & I headed off to have some sushi for dinner in the evening, it has been ages. We almost tried the new OCD Venue, apparently it was their opening night, but I wasn't sure if it was invite only or open for anyone. So we played it safe and went to our usual, Yamakazi Sushi at Cedar Square. Generally I absolutely love it there, but they really seem to have become too popular for their own good. The service is slow and erratic and your sushi arrives randomly. Which is not great for me because I don't like to eat 4 of the same thing at once, I like to mix it up between the flavours I've ordered. I think the trick is remembering not to go on a Friday evening. Or at very least, not to go at peak times. Still, the sushi is usually delish (our Salmon Hanna was the only really disappointing thing for me this time, was clearly made in a rush / half-heartedly and tasted overwhelmingly of rice).

On Saturday morning we had a bit of a lazy start and then went off to Emmerentia to the Home Brew shop so The Trucker could confirm his beer was ready for bottling. It is! And he bought the new set of ingredients. Apparently next he'll be making us a Bone Crusher and a Porter (?).

And then we had a late breakfast at Doppio before we headed out so he could watch the rugby and I went for a hair appointment at Midori Salon. Okay so it is a bit out of my way, but I was struggling to get any recommendations. I was almost about to give up and just try the nearest one in our closest mall. Until @hasmita came to the rescue. She posted a pic of herself after getting her hair done at Midori and I thought I'd give it a try too. I loved it. I'd definitely go back :) Okay so it's in a bit of a weird center, in the middle of Sandton, but it basically looks like a construction site on 3 sides. But once you walk in, you know you're still in Sandton. The service was great, if not a bit slow ... seems to be the theme of the weekend, honestly. But I didn't mind waiting too much since The Trucker was off watching the rugby.

The head massage is amazing, and often one of my favourite things about getting my hair done. Every time I go, I wonder why I go so seldom. I know, usually with hair my length I expect to pay a fortune for a cut and pampering type things are not what springs to mind as a priority to spend on. I am trying to remind myself that I should pop in on my way home every few months on a Friday just to get it washed and blow-waved. I can't explain how much I adore how it looks when it's straight. It feels like how my hair is supposed to be, why did no one tell Mother Nature ;)

But yeah, again, I just don't have the time or inclination in the mornings to bother too much with straightening it ... do you know how long that takes? At least with the Blow Wave it can last 3 days :) But I'll probably have to wash it again this evening and it'll go back to being it's crazy self.

So that put me in a good mood for the afternoon. I collected The Trucker and we whizzed past Woolies to get dinner ingredients. I invited some friends over for a soup & gluhwein evening. Okay so we tries to plan it at the end of July, back when it was cold, but trying to co-ordinate 8 people's weekends is a tricky thing. And we were laughing how we should've been braai-ing in that gorgeous weather! But the evening was superb. Such a great night with some yummy food.


Sunday was another late-ish morning followed by the usual Sunday morning grocery shop. And then it was back to Lanna Day Spa to get my gel nails re-done. And they threw in a couples massage for The Trucker & I. I really think this is a fabulous way to handle customer service. I'm happy that my nails look great (and they "baked" them for 60 seconds this time instead of the 30 they did last time, and after seeing the effort to scrape off the 8 other nails, I reckon it'll probably last this time - haha). And they threw in a bonus with the massage. Which was lovely, we usually only spoil ourselves with things like that on holiday (we were both thinking of Phu Quoc during our massages!), and it was a great way to get into the holiday spirit! 8 days people :D

And then we headed home for an evening of hard effort. We bottled The Trucker's home brew. He's been scraping off the labels from all the bottles he got after the League of Beers event we went to (hey, it's a kind of recycling since they were just gonna throw them away anyway ... and the bottles cost R5 a bottle from the Home Brew shop). So he had a few of the last labels to scrape. And then he benzine-ed the remaining glue off while I gave them a proper wash. And then they got rinsed. After that we stopped for a quick dinner and a little bit of a relax.

After dinner he sterilised the bottles and I prepped them with sugar. And then he started filling them. Shew it was a messy affair - haha. And then he capped them and wash-rinse-repeat. For 89 bottles. Yes, really. It feels pretty exciting seeing them all ready now tho :) But now they have to sit for 2 weeks before they're ready for drinking, so he'll only be able to taste them when we get home from USA & Bermuda. And here's hoping not too many explode in the next week (!). We went to bed pretty exhausted.


Friday, September 06, 2013

Customer Service Surprise

Morning all. So it's fair to say it's been a bit of a rough week.

Monday night we spent at home. Tuesday evening I went to SCM, worrying about Rex. To be fair I haven't had a good track record with my bunnies coming home after the vets have kept them overnight (except in a spaying, so they weren't there for any sort of illness).

And then Wednesday I got the bad news, went into work late because I had a workshop from 10 - 6pm. So got home after dark. Cuddled a little with Lily and had a quiet somber night at home.

Last night I skipped Boot Camp (I know, I know), because I wanted to let Lil have some run around time in the daylight and keep an eye on her. If I'd gone to boot camp she would probably get about 15mins max, in the almost-dark.

Plus we had dinner plans. We headed to Cafe Mexicho with The Trucker's 2nd family for the Dad's birthday. Was a lovely evening out. And then when we got home we had our first feline intruder experience.

Being more attuned with the animals after this week's loss, I noticed Gypsy hadn't said a word since we got home. The Trucker then discovered another cat hiding under the spare room bed which Gypsy was constantly going back to and staring under.

We got the poor shaken thing out. But it did make me wonder if this happens during the day when we leave a window open for Gyps. It doesn't seem to have got a look into her food as she hadn't even finished herself with the evening's antics. And it did explain the bunched up floor mats in the bathroom. Haha.

Today I'm feeling quite drained by the week. I have a bunch of admin to get done ... almost done with my Tax documents for 2013, I just need some older bank statements. Such a hassle doing Expense Statements for Rental properties o_0.

And then this weekend there is lots to look forward to. As well as another trip to Lanna Day Spa for a re-do of my gel nails. Can you believe an entire one has now peeled off. I complained yesterday morning about it on Twitter. I especially got the gel polish because I'd heard it would last 2-3 weeks. 3-4 days wasn't exactly what I was expecting. But they stepped up to the plate and have offered to re-do them for me on Sunday, for free. So fingers crossed for a better outcome this time :)

And I'm getting my hair did. And we got a message on Wednesday that our San Fransisco AirBnb accommodation had been canceled. That was a shock to my overly organised system. But we've managed to book an alternative and even got a 50USD voucher from AirBnb. So I'm pretty impressed with them at the moment.

And we're waiting for an order from Yuppie Chef, exciting :) We got a lot of the typical boring stuff, but I'm actually most excited about these dinosaur cookie cutters - haha. And this weekend we 're off to purchase our new mattress. Have been selling a ton of our old stuff on Gumtree, laptops, old cameras, tumble-driers, fridges. Next job will be to sell the 3 old couches and buy a new one, but that is a job for after our holiday. Eep, it's Tuesday week. Too. Excited.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Goodbye, my velveteen Rex.

Awe, this is another hard post to write. And I really didn't see it coming. This morning, even, I woke up and instantly wondered why everything was just carrying on as normal. Sometimes it feels like a death should be a little more momentous :(

But here is my Rexy Boy's story. He's was a pretty good age for a bunny, I gather. 4 and a half years. I remember the drive home with him. Shew he was tiny when we got him!

The boytjie has never been alone, he's always had Lily and Coal around to love and cuddle him. And he has been a great source of cuddles for them because he so adored Lily. And Coal so adored him.

And he grew to be such a big boy, with the most gorgeous, soft velveteen fur. Every time we visited the vet, the receptionists loved to stroke his lovely fur.

Unfortunately the boy went to the vet more often than any of my other bunnies. He had issues being neutered, he had issues with his eyes, he had issues with his footsies and in the end, he had issues with his sinus. The curse of coming from a breeder, perhaps.

His snotty nose hasn't cleared up at all since it started. It would come and go and sometimes be more noticable than at other times, but you could hear him sneezing a few times a day in little bursts of about 10. We did everything we could for that.

Unfortunately that probably was the post-nasal drip that turned into the pnemonia, which killed him :(

I don't really spend too much time with the bunnies on week-day mornings because it's cold and dark and I don't let them out for a run around because I do not have enough time to make it worth their while. All I do is pop outside to give them fresh food and water. So I didn't notice anything amis on Tuesday morning.

On Tuesday afternoon I popped home from work to get changed for boot camp and then headed out. I don't even go outside usually because, again, there isn't enough time for them to run around but if they see me they'll think that's what's about to happen.

When I got home from boot camp, just before 6pm (thank goodness there wasn't the traffic from Monday evening because I only got home after 6 then). I usually give Gyps some food and then go immediately to get the key to open up for the bunnies. As soon as I did that, I could see there was something wrong. He was wheezing badly and looked drained and exhausted. Like he wasn't getting enough oxygen and had no energy for anything.

I scooped him up into the box and rushed off to the vet (which closes at 6pm), still in my sweaty boot camp clothes. I was in tears. I knew there was something very very wrong here.

He had a chest xray to rule out tumours. There were none. It was clear he had severe pnemonia. So the vets kept him overnight. To administer antibiotics by injection and nebulise him and give him whatever else they could. They said they were confident in the short term, but more concerned for the long term (the stronger antibiotics, that they didn't even get to give him, have side effects of kidney failure).

The short-term didn't turn out so well for him either tho. The vet phoned at 8am yesterday morning to tell me he'd died overnight. I'm glad I was at home, with The Trucker (I had a late workshop yesterday so only came in at 10am).

My poor boy. He was such a lovable cuddly little guy. He didn't especially like being held ... but he'd tolerate it occasionally. He always came running to me when I was outside, in case I had a treat for him. He loved his treats.

And he adored Lil. Who I'm most sad for. I'm not sure if she knows what is potting yet. I've been giving her a lot of cuddles in the last few days. Which she is less than impressed about ;) But she is now all alone in that big hutch. And while Gyps and Rexy were forming a sort of friendly tolerance and interaction, which I was keen to watch develop, Lily & Gyps do not have the same sort of relationship. So I doubt there is any comfort to be found there for her :( Poor little bunny girl.

We aren't going to make any future pet decisions till we get back from USA & Bermuda in October ... but I also dunno if getting a new bunny at this stage (Lil is almost 5!) is a good idea either.

Sob. Goodbye my Rex. You will be missed.

Monday, September 02, 2013

A Quiet One

Shew. I really should feel better rested after a weekend of doing so little. But I don't. In fact this morning I very almost rolled right over and went back to sleep after switching off my alarm. Almost. No one needs that kind of panic on a Monday morning.

Friday was a dress-up for work day. I was a little disappointed that the entire office didn't spend the whole day dressed-up, but a few of us did. We were having a party after work and it was pretty awesome. I didn't stay too late, got home at about 20h30 (I just found out some people got home at 4am! But they went out after too).

The Trucker got take out pizza and cuddled on the couch with Gypsy till I got home. Then we watched Now You See Me. Well, I missed the last half hour because I fell asleep. But I finished it on Saturday morning. It was okay, I kinda liked it, but the ending did fall a little flat for me. Aside from the fact that I despise magic and magicians. I find it just far too annoying, the tricks. I do enjoy it when they show you how something was done tho.

On Saturday we had a bit of a lazy morning and then headed out to do a bunch of admin. Then when we go home we both settled in with our computers ... he had his new one to finish setting up and I moved my stuff onto his old one (my new one) so we could sell my old one. We have a ton of stuff on Gumtree again. We are hoping to get the new mattress before we go to America. And we want to sell the 3 couches and get a new one too.

I tried to play a little Star Craft ... cause it is his favourite game, but it is not for me. I like the building part of it, but not the attacking part. And you need to know too many keyboard shortcuts ...

We settled in for the evening to watch Star Trek Into Darkness. It wasn't as good as the first.

On Sunday we headed to Peach Cafe for breakfast (I've only ever had lunch there and have been meaning to take The Trucker). It was very yummy and nice to sit in a sunbeam :) I think we'll try their Peach picking in October next.

Then it was grocery shopping. Good to get it out of the way nice and early.

In the afternoon I had booked myself a Mani & Pedi at Lanna Day Spa. @samanthaperry had her nails done there with the gel polish and they looked fab. And I never normally do that sort of thing, I really should tho because I can not look after my own nails very well since I can't go near an emery board. Those things freak me out. Just thinking about it gives me shivers, let alone touching one or scraping it against my nails. Eep. See, shivers just typing it.

But, as usually, real life gets in the way and I struggle to justify spending so much on something so intangible. But I figured I wanted to try it before we went away (although the gel polish will probably need to be soaked off before then anyway :( ) I loved it. I had the mini mani with gel polish (R320) and a full pedi (R250). I am especially loving having painted toe nails, which I don't think I've ever done before ... usually I am not trying to draw attention to my toes as I get very self-conscious about them. But maybe this is the trick. I hope I do this more often. I think it is giving me that warm all-over feeling some people say they get when they know they're wearing sexy lingerie (I don't really get it from that).

Unfortunately it is still going to be an expensive few weeks before we go (Eep, it is September already!) cause I need a hair cut too.

In the evening The Trucker made us some yummy pasta and we watched Revolver. Well, I fell asleep again, this time before 9pm when I woke up and put myself to bed for real ... I actually don't even think he finished watching it either.

Ooh, and other exciting weekend happenings: I managed to get my hands on the new Savanna Dark for us to try (yay for the local Liquor City). We both quite liked it, since we generally drink Savanna Light anyway. I think what we need to do this weekend is buy a single bottle of all 3 (Dry, Light & Dark) and do a tasting at home :)

And I found the limited edition Appletiser Pomegranate. I don't like Appletiser generally (I don't like apple or grape juice ... or pear juice). But I thought this would be worth trying. I dunno, it still tastes like grapetiser to me, but The Trucker said he could taste the difference and it was much sweeter. I am unlikely to be buying more of it.

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