Big catch up post…BIG!

13 February , 2012

These photos do not relate to the post at all. They’re off the new camera/phone though. 😉 They were taken on a recent play-date-half-birthday we celebrated with Marcia and her family, and the last one of Nicola playing with the tap at my folks’ place later that day. I like the one of Connor and Kendra especially, can’t you just see them growing up the best of friends…and one day sitting just like that still pals on an old age home stoep? thanks for having us over, we really had a great time. 😀

20120107_102947 20120107_103628

20120107_10363620120107_165034 Right…on to the monster big post:

Last you heard from me I said it was a hectic week, and I wasn’t lying. It takes a whopper to get me to the point of actually not having time to slap together a blog post, even though I have lots to say. (I do sometimes go a bit quiet when I don’t want to talk about anything but this was not the case for last week I promise).

So since I made a few notes on what I still wanted to talk about I will try and whack them all out at once before I forget. I used little headings so you know what the hell I’m on about because the sequence of events are becoming blurry to me already.

Grab coffee – it’s a whopper.

Diversity training:

I found this very enjoyable actually. You know these days it’s become almost politically incorrect to notice other people are different from you and we spent an entire day exploring those differences in a non confrontational manner.

Probably one of the more memorable things of the day for me was when one woman burst out in tears during the introductions, but barrelled on anyway. It turns out that this lady is terrified of speaking to other people. It takes real balls to get up in front of a room of people when that’s your big fear and I found it really inspirational to watch.

Part of the festivities included a video taken in the 1990’s where they interviewed about 20 seven year olds about their views on politics and specifically what they thought of the schools becoming mixed. Wow…what a flashback. I was older than that when it all started happening but I remember very well how things used to be and to what extent it changed after apartheid was abolished. To give you an example, the first non white kids I saw in school was when i was in standard 9, and it was one single coloured girl. The next year there were considerably more, but it was my last year.

The same kids were interviewed again when they were 14, but there were only 6 that they could find. At the same time they gave us an update on what they were doing at 21 years old too. So sad that I think about 5 of the original kids didn’t even make it to 21 due to aids related deaths. Just think about that and exactly how sad it really is. It’s amazing to see how their views changed or did not change in the 7 years between the two interviews. One was so embarrassed about what he said at 7 that he refused to talk to the cameras again at 14. Of course you can “hear” the parents talking in the first video – you’d be surprised what your kids pick up from dinner table conversation. You’d probably be horrified actually. 😆

The group itself was very lively and everyone shared openly. I heard some things that were really funny, and which made a big impression on me. And I met some really cool people who work in other secret departments in this secret company, doing secret things, which I probably would not have met if I hadn’t attended the training. We used a company called The Diversity Institute, and if you’re looking for someone to do this kind of thing where you work I would highly recommend them.

Ps! On this topic: one of the ladies in the course was complaining that people always start talking Zulu to her when they meet her and she’s actually a coloured. I had a laugh and told her that I understand since people occasionally start talking Portuguese to me when they meet me. She looked me up and down and said, “I’m glad you brought that up, I was about to ask you what you are.” Mwahaha! I get that a lot. 😉

My very special secret database duties

A very big part of what I do around here centres round a specific database and the updating thereof monthly. The secret agents from the secret country which is not SA, and who more or less rule our worlds have just deployed a new version of this database with no proper training, as you do.

Actually there was one training call scheduled for some ungodly hour that I couldn’t attend so I took the trainer’s comments of “it’s just look and feel changes…everything stayed more or less the same…they’re just drop down menus now instead of click through” at face value and figured I’d just work it out as when I got round to it. Ha! If liar liar’s pants is on fire he better hope they don’t share the same fate cause he would be very uncomfortable sitting down! If he could hear some of the choice phrases I was mumbling about him when I did my update his ears would be on fire too.

Anyway…without going into too much detail: it took me 3 hours to figure out the first very-important-cannot-be-skipped- step in my process for updating, and after that I was more or less invincible. The training material they have on the international portal is somewhat helpful if you can find the right manual on the right version and ignore everything that is wrong or has nothing to do with you or what you’re trying to do.

The new secret database is my bitch once more. 😉 I did a small victory lap round the office when I matered it before deadline and without throwing a laptop off the balcony.

Dentists and medical aid people

So you may remember a while back I went for a check up/clean up at my very cool dentist and that all was not in fact well? I got a quote for either a root canal or some sort of porcelain inlay on ONE tooth. That’s right…ONE tooth. And not even one of the prominent smile ones either. The root canal’s quote is about R6500…yes ONE tooth. And the porcelain inlay option is about R4500…also ONE tooth. Mwahahahaha!

I could probably get it cheaper elsewhere but I want this dentist because I know that it will be done right the first time and not just well enough. 100% right with no come backs or further problems.

My dear medical aid, of which I have been a member for numerous years now, and of which I have never made any sort of dental claim (which is probably how I got into this ONE tooth situation to begin with) are full of beans (and when I say beans I mean shit). They do not cover the cheaper of the two options to begin with and even on the expensive on they only cover certain bits at certain rates. That really “helps” a lot. Thanks assholes.

So as you can imagine if I am determined to remain eating by chewing my own food I will have to pay for it myself. And I do not have the odd R6500 lying around so I am borrowing the money from my dad. (That putting a dent in debt things is not really shaping up so far on my 34-list).

I am having my root canal on Wednesday.

And I’m flossing about four times a day now too.

Nicola – clothes and other drama

I am not exactly sure how this happened, but we are having a clothes issue, and I sincerely hope it’s a phase and a short lived one at that.

Let me elaborate by telling you that I myself was not the easiest kid to get into some clothes when I was that age, but my preference was towards anything not pink and covered in frills. My mother will gladly tell you that if she tried to doll me up in an outfit that would do a doll proud I would refuse to wear it and scream to the heavens until someone took me out of it, even from as young as 6 months old.

Nicola does not want to wear any clothes at all. This is a problem.

I don’t mind if she likes one shirt/blouse/dress/pants/whatever more than the rest or if I put 5 options in front of her and she gets to pick the one she finds least offensive (and my kid has a lot of clothes, there is no lack of options), but she REFUSES to let me dress her in anything.

I cannot send her to school naked (and winter is also not far off right?) so my exercise regime now includes wrestling my two year old into clothes every morning. I’m quite good at it and I can turn a pretty blind eye to the tears and the rage she feel about the matter…every day for at least half an hour when she resents me bitterly afterwards, but I am going to have a real situation on my hands here if she figures out how to take the clothes off herself soon!

Has anyone else gone through a stage like this? How long did it last? Any tips of how to do this with the least amount of drama?

The other drama we’ve been having is on the matter of general discipline. I know I’m not always mother of the year but I do try my level best to teach my daughter manners. I am not raising a brat. So when she openly defies me, looks me straight in the eye and REFUSES to listen I get a bit mad.

Repeat after me, “This too shall pass” good, now breathe in…breathe out…

It’s gotten to a stage now where I’ve had to take some semi-drastic steps. I find that she gets especially stroppy when we’re visiting my parents because she knows that if I give her a stern talking to or say no, more than likely she will find at least one grandparent who will let her get away with murder anyway or put up with it.

The new rule therefore is: If you do not listen to me, we go home.

I am not very popular for this new rule as you can imagine, from either of my parents or Nicola, but I took her home early on Saturday because she was acting up terribly and by the time we pulled into our own driveway there wasn’t any sign of stroppy to be seen.

Until that stops working it will be my new thing.

Picnic at the botanical gardens

We had a lovely picnic at the botanical gardens yesterday with a good friend. It was just perfect really. The weather was great and the gardens always look their best at this time of year after all the rains.

Nicola also had a blast! Usually she sticks quite close to me when we go somewhere that she’s not used to or there are people around that she doesn’t know all that well. Not yesterday, she was really very comfortable with the whole deal. In fact I had to call her closer a couple of times to make sure I could keep an eye on her at all times.

We went to go see the waterfall last of all (pictures as soon as I download them), cause I knew she’d want to get into the water and at least when we leave I don’t have to worry about that the whole time too. Quick as a flash she had climbed on top of the rail surrounding it! Wow…when did she get so good with that? (side note: she tells me that she’s climbing trees at school…I thought she might be making it up, but from the amount of bruises and scrapes she always has on her legs she might actually be telling the truth!).

Anyway, we had great food, great company, great garden and great fun. Must do that more often! Plus all the running around and climbing on top of things had Nicola nice and tired…which would have been great if she didn’t just have an hour nap instead of two. She woke up really cranky after that and DEMANDED to have her clothes removed of course.  😉

Objective setting

As part of our secret lives at the secret place we go through a period of objective setting once or twice a year, this then later gets used to do performance appraisals (which is really the be all and end all when it comes to increases and bonuses too). I imagine many companies do something similar, although this is the first one that I’ve worked at where it’s done with so much passion and discipline.

My objectives were very similar to the ones from last year, I just had to group them together differently to show how they fit into the country wide ones…supporting the pillars or something along those lines.

What was different this time around was the talk around IDP (Individual Development Plan). I’m usually a bit at a loss as to what to put on these things, and this year was no different. Steamcleaner made quite an insightful observation about where she thinks I should aim myself at. I’m quite impressed with her really. She definitely is not just a pretty face.

Kind of reminds me of that quote (I forget who said it now but anyway) about when you stare into the abyss the abyss stares into you. Not that I’m calling her an abyss mind you, just good to remember that when you’re studying and observing the people around you they’re doing the same to you even when you don’t always notice how much you give away.

She reckons that I’m wasting myself where I’m at and that I should consider getting into operational management of some sorts. I’ve done that before and I loved it. I actually miss it and I didn’t even realise it. The only potential downside I see to that kind of development is that I’m not sure it will give me enough flexibility, which I need with Nicola.

What to do…what to do…?

Overall it was a really pleasant session, even though it got me thinking in ways that I haven’t had to think in for ages. 😉

Black dog (biatch really)

I am feeling a bit blue. And when I say a bit, I mean a lot.

I think tomorrow might have quite a bit to do with it. Caroline Hurry said something along the lines of falling in love is like being hit by a bus. Either you go straight to heaven or you spend six months in traction. Clever girl that.

I don’t enjoy all the unexpected expenses I’ve had this month either – somehow I need to get on top of it again and to build a better rainy day reserve.

Anyway…onwards and upwards. I’ll get through it and feel better soon I imagine. Hopefully our week long upcoming holiday will bring some bliss and peace. I cannot wait to stick my feet in the water and feel the waves crashing against me. It is going to be awesome! I need it to be awesome…or at least just very relaxed. 😉

There’s my rant, all wrapped up. Hope you’re week is off to a good start?



  1. Love the pics! My two are getting more and more like an old granny/ grandpa when they sit and chat throughout the day. It is so darn cute!

    I love that you had a good time on diversity training – i just so enjoy that type of thing. I had a session last week on “the (my secret company) way” and it was fabulous – I was so impassioned I want to go work in that dept and implement throughout the organisation 🙂 Ex-boss is in that area…. 🙂

    Ouch on that dental issue – I HATE unexpected costs like that. Makes me twitch at “wasting” money on holes in teeth. Will it not be cheaper if medical aid pays for some of the R6500?

    As for the clothes, we have had that… in spades. They’re in a good place at the moment (except C wants to wear brown every day) but back then, I’d give a choice, and if they fussed, I do what you do – grab the child and force them into the clothes. I also add a dose of “we can do this the nice way or the horrible way, but either way you will end up with clothes on”

    BTW, Natalie said she saw you at the Bot Gardens yesterday 🙂

  2. oops, sorry about the long comment!

  3. That workshop sounds like so much fun. I would LOVE to attend stuff like that.
    We also have a nudity issue with Child2. And lately he just wants to wear my t-shirts. Especially when he needs to go to bed! No idea what that’s about but I indulge him. Am sure it will pass soon for both of us.

  4. Kids and nudity 😉

    My sister in law complains about the same thing every day, so please once you find a solution you must blog about it so I can share with her. They had a near incident in church on Sunday when her 2 yr old daughter wanted to strip naked during a church service (not funny at all). I wonder do they make them strip in school? At least she knows she picked up the not wanting to wear shoes from school.

    On the bright side, it shows they are so innocent and dont have any body image issues like a particular gender we both know too well 🙂

  5. Marcia, I love long comments so please don’t apologise! I think I will probably be going with the root canal option, I just don’t understand their thinking. Surely if they are going to be tightfisted on the issue a R2000 saving is not to be sniffed at. The reason why I will probably end up going with the root canal is because they dragged their feet on the approval process and for me to have the cheaper option it was kind of important that it happens quickly so that the cavity doesn’t reach the nerve yet…which is no longer an option. I didn’t see her at the gardens, but I was so focused on Nicola’s scamperings that it’s really no surprise. 😉

    Julia, I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one having this problem. If you find a solution clue me in please!

    adesolaf, I don’t mind if she wants to go naked at home. After all it’s just the two of us there and it’s easy enough to throw something on if someone decides to visit unexpectedly, but to school it’s not really optional! If I manage to get it resolved somehow I’ll definitely tell you how.

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