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.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A new discovery

I am not Scottish, I do not have a drop of the Scot in me (well not that I know of anyway) so I find it rather amusing that my new music love happens to be tribal Scottish music.

That's Clanadonia, I bought their first cd recently from Freak Music. When their next album or cd comes out, I will be buying that one too.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The obsession with 3D movies

I took J and 2 of his friends to go watch the re-relese of The Phantom Menace 3D today. I love the Star Wars films, they are absolute classics as far as I am concerned even though they are so cheesy and the characters have the most awful dialogue. I was really looking forward to seeing it in 3D. There was so many scenes that would have been very effective as 3D scenes - the pod race, the explosions, the final battle, where QuiGon Jinn dies... yet I never felt as if I was watchign a 3D movie. Nothing jumped out like it normally does, nothing flew across the screen at me. I was sorely disappointed.

Before the movie started, there was a trailer for Titanic. In 3D. The one released in 1997.

I don't understand the obsession with re-releasing movies now in 3D. It's all about making more money off of a succesful movie I am sure but still, what a ripoff it can be if the movie doesn't have much 3D in it.

The boys enjoyed it, I got to renew my acquaintance with old favourites.

Friday, February 10, 2012

the price of a kitchen

R100 000, or $12 500. Coulda knocked me over with a feather when I got the email. Been a few days and I am still shocked at the price.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

A recipe for divorce

When I was pregnant with C, we renovated our kitchen. That was 9 years and 4 months ago. I was 7 months pregnant, it was the middle of November, which is in the middle of our African summer (Cape Town's version, not Gauteng's!). I was huge (she weighed 4kg at birth) and it was hot. Hotter than the middle of the Sahara desert. Berg wind conditions.

You'd think that we would have learned our lesson, that renovating a kitchen can be a legitimate reason to divorce the love of your life.....not so much it would seem.

We're starting the process. Again. The last time it was a teeny tiny little kitchen where Himself and I couldn't get into it at the same time, let alone while I was pregnant.

So far, we've seen one company. They've been diligently working on our quote. We agreed to a final layout this morning. Let's see how much the damage is when we actually received the quote on Monday. I'm expecting to have to sell either J or C to pay for it.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What defines a family?

I've been pondering this question for a while now. It's no secret that anyone's sexual preferences isn't an issue for me. I don't really care either way if you are gay, bi or straight. It's what and who you are as a person that matters most to me. Sexual orientation has no bearing on what you are as a person either so to me it's a moot point.

Which brings me to this - What defines a family? Religion? Government? Humanity?

A definition at the online dictionary site Free Dictionary :

fam·i·ly (fm-l, fml)
n. pl. fam·i·lies
a. A fundamental social group in society typically consisting of one or two parents and their children.
b. Two or more people who share goals and values, have long-term commitments to one another, and reside usually in the same dwelling place.
2. All the members of a household under one roof.
3. A group of persons sharing common ancestry. See Usage Note at collective noun.
4. Lineage, especially distinguished lineage.
5. A locally independent organized crime unit, as of the Cosa Nostra.
a. A group of like things; a class.
b. A group of individuals derived from a common stock: the family of human beings.
7. Biology A taxonomic category of related organisms ranking below an order and above a genus. A family usually consists of several genera. See Table at taxonomy.
8. Linguistics A group of languages descended from the same parent language, such as the Indo-European language family.
9. Mathematics A set of functions or surfaces that can be generated by varying the parameters of a general equation.
10. Chemistry A group of elements with similar chemical properties.
11. Chemistry A vertical column in the periodic table of elements.
1. Of or having to do with a family: family problems.
2. Being suitable for a family: family movies.

The one that concerns this blog post is :

a. A fundamental social group in society typically consisting of one or two parents and their children.
b. Two or more people who share goals and values, have long-term commitments to one another, and reside usually in the same dwelling place.

Nowhere in the text above does it say what gender the parents are.

Does it truly matter what gender parents are when it comes to raising a child? Does my defined female body parts matter more or less than my partner's male parts when it comes to instructing our children and teaching them how to live their lives? Does my gender come into play when I teach my children right from wrong, ethics, morals? A sound basic start to life? Does my partner's?

If two parents have breasts and a vagina each, are they less equipped to teach those same things to their children? Does it matter that a child's two parents have penises and no vaginas or breasts in sight?

Does it matter in the greater scheme of things that some families are different? That their dynamics are not conventional? Is being gay or bisexual a moral sin that we should be outraged to find in our normal suburban lives? Or is it just another facet of the human race?

For me, personally, no. None of it matters. Rather, I'd look to the children in such families and ask are the children happy? Is their home filled with love? Is their home filled with peace and happiness? Are they being nurtured? Raised with a decent set of values that sees the best in human beings? If the answer to any of these questions is no then I'd have a serious problem with you raising children whether you are straight, gay or bi.

Being different (whether it is your sexual orientation, your skin colour, your nationality) isn't a disease. It isn't something that a gay or bi parent passes on to their children any more than being straight is. For all of us it's just a way of life. Why then must outsiders feel the necessity to interfere, to want to deny them the right to parent simply because they fear Teh Gay?

We (mostly) teach our children that skin colour doesn't matter. Why then do we insist on teaching them that being gay and loving someone who is the same sex is abhorrent, one of the greatest sins anyone could commit? We insist that teaching tolerance and acceptance of anyone that is different is how we should be raising our children yet at the same time many of us teach those same children it is ok to discriminate against those whose sexual preferences are outside the norm. How confusing for the child. Accept people for being different except if they are gay or bi. That teaches them nothing. It resolves nothing. Except sows confusion.

I saw this article in Rolling Stone yesterday after it was posted on Facebook. Read it. Then dare tell me that we are doing the right thing by stigmatising anyone who is different.

ONE TOWN'S WAR ON GAY TEENS A school district rocked by suicides of young teens, where teachers have no idea how to enforce blatantly anti-gay policies, where children are denied the right to just be, to explore themselves, figure out who and what they are, where other children are taught that it is ok to physically, mentally and verbally abuse those who are seen as different, where the adults in the situation stand back and ignore the shamefully hurtful things normal teenagers do to those who do not fit into the nice neat square box.

I dare you to read it without feeling anything. I dare you.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

A roundup of the holiday

We left Joburg on the 20th, managed to do all our Christmas shopping on the 18th (bought everyone books). Hermanus was awesome, the weather just perfect.

We got back home on the 6th. C was not too impressed because that was her 9th birthday. We celebrated it on the 5th. J&C go back to school on the 18th.

1 - Christmas lunch was spectacular.
2 - Presents were opened and promptly played with, read or built by the 26th.
3 - New Year's....now that was an interesting one. The house across the road from The Inlaws was rented out to a bunch of young student types. They partied, not too loudly. At around 10 minutes before midnight, one of the bright souls got out a box of fireworks, those mostly noiseless but colourful sparkly things that go up about 3 stories before bursting in a shower of colours.

One of the other neighbours from down the road came lurching out of her house, glass of booze with ice clinking in hand. She planted herself at the front gate and proceeded to shout and swear in English (half incoherently) at the students (fair enough, she had a point to make about fireworks and animals). Which in turn set the students off swearing back at her. She threatened to call the police. Then proceeded to call someone all shouting out abuse at the students implying that it was them who'd started the noisy verbal abuse (as if! We were all standing on the balcony and would have set them straight anyway). She left and came lurching back with a man. Then left again. In the meantime the students had moved their fireworks to the back of the property, where she couldn't get at them. At midnight, one of the students came back out onto the upstairs balcony and shouted out HAPPY NEW YEAR YOU OLD BAG! (The dogs on the property only started barking when the woman started shouting and swearing. The fireworks had no effect on them.)

The house across the road but a few houses away....people spent the 31st coming and going, then more and more people arrived. They camped out. After the midnight wishes floated to us on the wind, we all trooped inside to go sleep. Himself couldn't and spent an hour watching 2012 while I went to bed and read. Just before 1am, I heard one woman shout to another YOU'RE PREGNANT??? YOU THINK YOU MIGHT BE PREGNANT! and a whole babble of voices chimed in.
4 - New Year's lunch was also spectacular.
5 - We had trifle both days. AWESOME!
6 - Don't eat anything at Sandpiper in Kleinmond. Not unless you want really shit service and an attitude to boot. We took C there for her birthday. Their fish and calamari is usually beyond belief good. New owners recently took over the place and it shows. A party with 6 adults and 4 kids. We ordered food, waited an hour for the first plates to come out. As the others slowly trickled out of the kitchen, they were either cold or looked terrible. Their chips sucked donkey balls. Seriously. Oil drenched, cold and looking like someone had made them last week. The fish inside the batter tasted good but the batter itself was awful. Nothing like the beer batter of previous years. Oh and the waiter argued with MIL about what she'd ordered. Seriously dude? You'd argue with a customer? Eventually Himself went off to find the manager to complain about the ice cold food, the crap chips, the shitty attitude from the waiter. He did take off the cost of the cold plates of food. But still, probably never ever going there ever again.
7 - When will the CEM driver ever learn that they cannot just pull out into traffic without actually looking to see if there are cars coming towards them?
8 - We had a lice scare. Big C's kids had been spending time with their other cousins and one of them was infected with the nasty little fuckers.
9 - J broke out in a rash, he started with 2 on Sunday but was mostly covered by yesterday. The doc confirmed chickenpox.

All in all a great holiday. We're hoping to do the same this coming December. Well, until the world ends on the 21st, or is it the 23rd? Wonder if the Mayan calendar is going to prove to be right?