Thursday, February 28, 2013

Long overdue update

The last post was nearly a year ago and much has happened since then. 

  • We finally finished the kitchen revamp.
  • Two weeks after it was completed, Himself was told we were being transferred back to Cape Town.
  • We had the house repainted inside (HOLY HELL what a mess!)
  • We did some much needed maintenance to the house.
  • Put it up for sale at the end of September, got our first and only offer on the 5th of October and the sale finally went through on the 16th of November.
  • We moved back down to Cape Town on the 29th of November (Yay for  Stuttafords whose staff were brilliant).
  • We bought a new house in Somerset West which finally registered in December.  We were homeless for about two weeks then which was fun.  Not.
And now we are Capetonians again, finally!  After spending 8 years well and truly entrenched behind the Boerewors Gordyn (Farmers Sausage Curtain for my Afrikaans challenged friends), I learned the following :

  • I completely and utterly understand why there is so much hatred between blacks and whites, especially Afrikaner whites.  Growing up in Cape Town, my exposure to black issues of the day was fairly minimal.  While my grandmother and parents were of the opinion that blacks should be kept as second class as possible, I grew up in a more liberal and free thinking way.  According to family members, I'd regularly embarrass them by making friends with black people (oh the shock and horror of the older generations!).  Living in the middle of Pretoria where white people think they are by far superior certainly opened my mind to what it means to be a second class citizen but I will never truly know the fear that black people lived in (watch Miracle Rising for some idea although what people like Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah know of the situation in this country still eludes me.  Desmond Tutu's well documented reaction at the TRC hearings is a better indicator).
  • Racism is an ongoing issue, not easily eradicated, if ever.  Too many of us are still entrenched in the biased and very dangerous opinion that we are right at all costs, and that goes for both black and white groups.
  • Raising my kids to be free thinkers in an environment where religion, the abuse of that religion in terms of human relations, wasn't easy but certainly doable.
  • Making friends was hard, especially a white chick who likes to listen to Techno and other weird English music.  There is no way, ever, in any way, that I will ever think Steve Hofmeyer is the God of Music, TV and Movies.  Ever.  No.
  • Keeping those friends even though our beliefs and likes meant we had nothing in common, was fairly easy.
  • Saying goodbye was hard.
  • Going through being hijacked at gunpoint doesn't mean I hate black people, I just hate the fact that I am still so scared of walking past or driving past groups of black men.
  • Celebrating one's Afrikanerness in the face of blatant hatred isn't as bad as it could have been.  Being white in a mostly black world, in the minority, isn't nearly as bad as it could have been.
  • Teaching my kids that black people are human beings too in the face of consistent denial of that fact by the members of the community we lived and socialised in was a learning curve that makes me proud of them.  Proud that they don't automatically follow the herd.
  • Not having a readymade babysitting service in the guise of family was hard.  Finding and keeping a reliable babysitter near impossible.
So, that's what happened to me last year.  Nothing spectacular in the grand scheme of things but pretty damn awesome because we are finally back where we belong.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Kitchen Reno update

The cupboards are mostly here and Easylife have started installing. So far so good.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Kitchen Reno Rant

After much excitement and spending most of last week packing out the kitchen in preperation for the study being done first, we were let done very badly by Easylife Kitchens. Three or so weeks ago when we started the process and accepted the quote, we were assured that the order would be placed and that they would begin in about three weeks time. Himself wanted the entire process over and done with before Ouma and Oupa come back from their long trip from Australia. Instead, the 2 man crew that arrived to start installation of the study cupboards had been given the incorrect colour carcasses. We were quoted on a cherrywood colour to go with the flooring. They brought with a dark mahogany brown colour. Not something that Himself and I had ever even looked at, not our style. Not even close to what we wanted.

After spending most of the morning trying not to shout obscenities and vent our frustrations at the Easylife people, we were told that the sales consultant who spent sooooo much fucking time on our quote and design, had completely and utterly fucked up the order. She put through the order on the incorrect colour 3 weeks ago. Yesterday, the 2 man crew came back to partially install the two bottom cupboards, the countertop and the two hanging cupboards in the study so that I could pack out the grocery cupboards into the new ones, my new temporary kitchen. The franchise manager (could be owner) came out to see us and apologise but saying you are sorry and then telling me that your factory will be working overtime to recut the boards for your kitchen cupboards in two days when your sales people tell you it takes three weeks doesn't inspire my confidence. We paid a 50% deposit when we signed the quotation and a further 40% on Thursday after the sales consultant assured us that the colour was correct and everything was on track for this coming Monday for the kitchen to be removed and the new one to be installed.

All the way through the process I had a feeling that something was going to go wrong. First, the sales consultant told us she'd only been working for Easylife for 7 months. She came across as competent enough when using the software (but let's face it, any twat with half a brain can learn how to use a software package) but little things niggled. Little things like having the incorrect names of the people you are doing a quote for (and this after you fill in a form that would make any government department proud, the only thing we didn't have to fill in was our underwear sizes!), then making a mistake with the colour of the cupboards (one that we had also never ever considered), forgetting to tell us up front that their consultation costs R250 which you get back if you decide to use their company. Little things that piss people the hell off! I mean, how hard is it for any sales person to take an order, get the names correct and then pass on the necessary paperwork to the factory to make up an order that in the end is costing us almost R80 000?

I worked in sales for many years. I made mistakes, as we all do. The one thing that was drilled into me in my very first sales position was to check, check, CHECK the orders from the time you sent through the paperwork to the manufacturing plant to when it left the company warehouse. It is patently obvious to me that this sales consultant fucked up right from when we signed on the dotted line and paid our 50% deposit right the way through to last Thursday, when she told Himself that the parts were correct and ready. She never once noticed that what it said on our quote as far as the colour is concerned is what she sent through to the factory to be made. INCOMPETENT DOESN'T EVEN BEGIN TO DESCRIBE WHAT I THINK OF HER SERVICE! How the fuck is it even possible to make such a mistake to begin with unless you just don't give a continental flying fairy's fanny about the process?

So, here's hoping that
1 - the factory hasn't rushed the job and fucked the boards up
2 - they arrive here on Monday
3 - the colour is correct.

Watch this blog for an update.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Kitchen Reno Part 1

Tomorrow the kitchen company will be installing the shelves and cupboards in the study.

Before :

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

After : Watch this space!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

John Carter - A review

Keep watching this space. I am off to see this movie today.

Ok, so here's what I thought of John Carter, the movie.

When I originally saw the trailer during Star Wars Phantom Menace, I thought to myself Oh cool, another CGI flop fest where the book (which I have yet to read funnily enough) will be tossed in the garbage in favour of updating it for more modern times. Of course I also thought that having some eye candy to watch in the form of Taylor Kitsch (OMG THAT BODY! THOSE MUSCLES!) wouldn't be bad either. So off we went, my friend T and I, on Saturday afternoon to spend a few hours in Fantasy Land drooling over some hot bod.

The storyline was great, John Carter, a man from the US Civil War era, finds himself magically transported to Mars where a princess of Helium needs his help in evading marriage to the enemy of her people. Along the way John Carter realises he has superhuman agility (he jumps really high and far due to the difference in gravity between Jarsoom (Earth) and Barsoom (Mars) and has brilliant fighting skills),meets the Tharks, helps the princess and falls in love. While the CGI was brilliant, it didn't detract from the storyline at all and while the movie plot does deviate from the book (according to Wikipedia), it doesn't deviate too much. The acting was good, not great enough to be nominated for an Oscar mind you but still good enough to spend 2 hours sitting in a cinema not wishing you were somewhere else.

The one thing that I found most pleasant was that I didn't have to suffer through long periods of trying to figure out any slang, work my way through any swearing and use of bad English. It was just sublime to sit there and let the English language flow out from the screen, adding to the overall enjoyment of the movie. If old fashioned sci-fi with no swearing and bad language is your thing, go see the movie. Or else you could just drool at the screen. Taylor Kitsch isn't bad looking, at all.

(Not to be confused with the 2009 movie Princess of Mars starring Antonio Sabato Jnr (shudders in horror).)

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

When is a hymen a hymen?

Why is it that men are considered more equal in the sexual stakes than women? That it is perfectly alright if men have hundreds of lovers while women are considered out and out whores if they are not virgins the day they get married? What does an intact hymen actually mean?

All of those thoughts flashing through my head and then some. I have a daughter. She's 9. Right now I don't want to think of my baby having sex with another man or woman. As far as I am concerned she's going to stay my baby forever (wishful thinking I know but I just cannot face up to J or C ever having sex, the ick factor is just far too much!).

On a message board I frequent there is a discussion right now about an incident that all started with Rush Limbaugh's statement in which he basically said that a woman who uses birth control is a slut who wants to be paid to have sex. This incident was used as proof to call a 16 year old girl a whore after some of her classmates discovered she uses a low dose birth control pill to control excessive bleeding and PMS (whether the blog entry by the girl's mother is true or not is irrelevant as I have heard people say that any young girl who uses birth control is a slut).

As the mother of a young girl I am appalled that there are people out there who think it is ok to call a young woman a slut or a whore because she uses a birth control pill. Regardless of whether she is using it to prevent an unwanted pregnancy or on the advice of a doctor, it is just not something you call a young woman on the cusp of adulthood.

What message does that send out? To me it says that the world out there still thinks of women as possessions, property, chattel. Basically a slave to a man's whims. Really? Forget the burn the bra brigade and feminists. This is an insult to all women. We are not possessions or property. We do not owe our names, our reputations to a man. We are more than capable of standing up for ourselves, making decisions that affect our bodies without having the approval of some man out there. Men do not have vaginas, breasts or wombs. They do not understand the concept of menstruation, monthly cramps from hell. They do not understand what it means to have some little parasite living inside of you for 9 months kicking the shit out of all your major organs. They do not understand that when said parasite is finally out of your body that your breasts then become nothing more than a food supply mechanism, let alone the pain that is mastitis. They have no clue. Therefore they should STFU about our bodies, our choices, our reputations. Instead they should focus on being productive parts of society, using their little heads for good instead of bad.

For now, I will raise my daughter to respect herself enough so that when peer pressure starts, when boys decide she is ready to have sex, that she will be informed enough to make her own decisions. Decisions like using protection in the form of birth control pills and condoms, not relying on a boy to supply the protection (as we all know that a boy's brain sits in the little head and not the big head), and ultimately if she is ready or not. I don't expect my daughter to be a virgin when she marries (if she marries), in fact I won't insist on it. It is her body after all. I will however completely flatten the idiot who decides she's a slut just because she uses protection for whatever reason.

Monday, March 05, 2012

The rhino are dead.

Long live the rhino.

Since the beginning of the year, 80 rhino have been slaughtered for their horns. 80. That is more than 1 a day so far for the year.

Already the Javan rhino is extinct, declared so in October 2011.

As is the Western Black rhino, also declared so in October last year.

This morning's Beeld headlines screams out MASTERMIND ARRESTED! And what good would that do? In all likelihood the man will be out on bail and back to masterminding the destruction of our wildlife for a big payout. Sure he might end up with a slap on the hand prison sentence as it appears he has been involved in crime for quite some time but it doesn't do any good to the rhinos still out there.

It also doesn't help the rhinos when the very people put in charge by our very ineffectual government in order to protect and preserve the nation's wildlife is part of the problem.

And to add insult to injury, when a syndicate was arrested in 2010 (which included vets, professional game hunters and farmers) they were released on a rather large bail but have yet to be sentenced.

Not only are our park rangers part of the problem, it would seem that the police are too as is the magisterial system. There is legislation in place to protect our wildlife but until those regulations are either tightened up significantly and our justice system actually does their jobs, it would appear that our wildlife will still be raped and plundered by cartels in Asia.

Rhino horn has absolutely no medicinal purpose yet is a huge part of Chinese traditional medicine. Our biggest pride is being stripped bare so that a snakeoil salesman can peddle his wares for profit.

My solution - shoot to kill. Turn our military force onto poaching and shoot to kill. Let it be known that if you fuck with our wildlife, we'll fuck with your life. Permanently.