Archive for the ‘Special Projects’ Category


Enormous Catch Up Post

3 March , 2020

It has been some time since I’ve felt like talking, but here we are…and I have loads to catch up on.

So firstly, in case you were wondering, I am still unemployed. I’m quite busy for an unemployed person though. I’m selling Annique, now also Cannabis products, and in between I do the odd set of minutes and the company I worked for previously brings me in for a couple of days each month to help out with project work.

All things considered, I actually can’t complain. Not doing fabulous financially, but we get by and I have learnt some big lessons in letting go and letting God. I am at peace with my chaos.

Two tiny bug bears that I can tell you about on the work front is, number 1: one of the casual staff that I’ve had to work with on these projects recently really grated my goat. He seems to think that just because he admired my measuring tape, I should gift it to him. Dream on buddy, I’m as hard up as you are and I’ve had that tape for roughly 20 years. Also, he was supposed to stay with me, as he was in my audit team. He just wanders off as the spirit moves him, leaving our security escort scratching his head about which part of the team to follow. When I discussed it with him, he seemed to think that I should check in with him first before doing anything, hahahaha, uhm no. So anyway, teeth were shown and so on. We are all on the same page now.

Number 2: Despite being very hesitant to utilise UIF for the first ever time in my entire life, I found the experience not at all as unpleasant as I expected. The second time I rocked up, I didn’t even bawl my eyes out in the queue. However, after paying UIF since 1997, my benefit was depleted in exactly two months. And that’s the end of that I guess. It was good while it lasted. Not enough to survive on, but enough to fill a few holes and take some shallow breaths instead of none.

For those of you who might be staring into the UIF abyss due to impending retrenchments yourselves, let me explain how they calculate what you get. There’s two limits, one is a daily one…I think it’s either R145 or R137 or some such, say somewhere between R100 and R200 but closer to R100, which works out to about R4500-ish for a month. Then they take YOUR actual UIF contributions for the last 4 years and deduct this monthly amount from that until you get to zero. The end. Also, they give you arbitrary dates roughly 2 months apart at which you must present yourself there to prove that you have nothing better to do during the day yet, payment then comes through to your account about a week later.

Anyhoo, I am grateful for the help it did give me, and the experience was humbling and eye opening. And one which I’d very much like to not have again, all the same.


On the home front: We have been experiencing definite signs of puberty, more especially the MOOD SWINGS. Oh my goodness, there have been loads of that.

Well, Nicola and I entered into (to me) very entertaining post it discussion on her doors. This happened after she presented us with a disciplinary letter from school for not doing her homework five times. First at school, she was checking to see if we’re furious, which is what she was expecting for some reason. We weren’t, just told her anyone can make a mistake but we have to learn from it and do better next time. Signed the letter, and wrote one back explaining that the whole family was going through quite a traumatic time. Not that we consider it an excuse, but perhaps they could just be a little forgiving while we work through it. (If I have to be honest, not having a test signed in which you did well, because you genuinely forgot does not feel as serious to me as not handing in an assignment that was due, but I’ll keep that to myself. Four of the five transgressions were for not having the exact same test signed. The other one I’ll admit I took a bit more seriously).

So anyway, the post it’s. I saw Nicola’s post it on her chore list and thought it was mighty negative:


So I added some of my own:

She responded with:


Which had me laughing my ass off in the passage, and left her completely puzzled as to why I wasn’t mad.

Glad to report that peace has been restored in the land, and that homework seems to be getting done at a more steady pace now.


Our Polka…a.k.a Hobo:

She’s been limping on and off, and we just thought that she maybe needed to get a bit more active as she was always sleeping on the one leg, which then went numb. You can actually see that the muscles in the one back leg are much more under developed than the other one.

A few weeks ago we decided to take her to the vet for a look-see. Well, apparently it’s not her knee that dislocates as we sort of thought, she has a torn cruciate ligament apparently.  Let’s just say we were not blown away by the Vet’s expertise. So she started off by man handling our poor dog to the extent that she had trouble walking at all for three days after the visit, also she new nothing about anything and every question we asked her she had to go ask someone first. Not great. Then her number one option was to operate, which I gave a firm no to. I told her we had done this for a previous dog which made it a million times worse and we eventually had to have her put down. “Oh really,” she said – “where did you have it done?” Me stone cold face…”Here”.Second option was to operate 4-6 times, well not operate but put the pup under to inject irritants into her leg, which would cause inflammation and eventually scar tissue, which would then hopefully act like a brace.

If you know me even a little bit, I am sure you can imagine what my face looked like at this point. We asked if we couldn’t just medicate for pain and use an actual brace. Nope nope nope. Apparently this would just make the leg weaker and what not. We got the distinct impression we were being up-sold on procedures that would generate more income for the Vet. So we left.

We’ve had Polkie on CBD drops now for about two weeks, and in the first few days we also rubbed the cream on and bandaged her. She is doing just great, and walking and jumping like a champ again. She does still favour the leg a little bit, but for the most part we consider her cured now. I’d like to manhandle that Vet’s knee like she did to our poor dog and see how she feels then. Grrrr…


Family front: Remember life before, when we used to do family nights on Thursdays? Well, we now do family zoom calls, and we’ve moved them to Saturdays because of the time difference between here and NZ.

It’s not the same, but it’s something…and it does us all good to see that they are settling in nicely and are happy and safe.


We had our first Green Market with our CBD products this past weekend. I would say it went really well! From the other traders there we heard that it was one of the quietest days they’ve had (probably because of the rain), but we made back our costs and then some so we’re quite pleased.

You really do get to chat to so many interesting people at a day like this, and let me tell you…Melville was at it’s very best eccentric self. There were people shopping in pajamas right alongside others dressed to the nines in trench coats and stilettos.  I am not a natural sales person, but I had a lot of fun regardless. We even had one elderly couple who came purely to tsk-tsk at everyone, so a full experience, haha.

The next big one is called the 420 D-day celebration, where the organisers estimate 14 000 people are expected with 4 000 of those people serious stoners (their words, not mine). It’s a looooong day though, we have to set up by 7:00 and be operational till 22:00, so definitely we’ll need to increase stock before we go…and pack more snacks. I bought an un-infused happy pancake in Melville and I strongly suspect it wasn’t as un-infused as it pretended to be, so own snacks is good to have if you intend driving home after the event.

Meanwhile, while we were doing this, Nicola and my mom had a full day of mall trawling planned and they were both very excited about it.

We were a bit surprised when an hour into their adventure my mom let my dad know that she wasn’t feeling well and they went home.She sent a few more messages, but they became increasingly incoherent. When we got home, we found the house locked up and alarm armed, my mom more or less passed out but shivering and crying, and Nicola looking after her.

My mom was so ill, out of nowhere, that she had been in bed all day and all night…and the next day, she was right as rain again. We can’t prove anything of course, but we strongly suspect that she had been drugged where they had breakfast, in what we can only assume was maybe an attempt to snatch Nicola. So if that is in fact what happened, we are grateful that they’re both okay and that it failed.

And you can bet your last money that Nicola will not be going anywhere unless we’re a group with lots of back up eyes until we leave. I am ice cold  and sick to my stomach thinking about what could have happened.


We bought a BIG box of Guavas a few weeks ago at our favourite grocery haunt, EconoFoods, and they were all heading into the over-ripe direction because we just couldn’t keep up with consumption.

So I googled some recipes and found one for a guava and cream cheese pastry that caught my eye, and I made looooooads of these goodies. They turned out delicious, thank goodness. Only thing is, I didn’t scoop out the pips first and I managed to mangle a tooth on one when I ate it.

So, off to the dentist I went yesterday…not pleasant…and he’s sort of fully booked till end of March due to everyone’s medical aid being refreshed in January. He says it wasn’t the pip, my tooth was on borrowed time anyway, and he was very surprised when I said I didn’t actually have any pain from it.

Well, no crowns without medical aid, haha. But I got it patched all the same, lots of drilling and injecting and all that unpleasantness. But I can chew again, so hurray! And next time I make these pastries I’m definitely taking the pips out. That’s my lesson for being lazy and skipping ahead I guess.



It only took about 10 000 emails, but Andy finally broke Home Affairs! Whoohoo! As we speak he is in the queue waiting for the very last certificate to be printed. Relentless, that husband of mine. I am so grateful that he picked this up, I don’t think I have it in me.

So in the next week or so he’ll make an appointment with the German Embassy to renew his passport, it should take roughly 4-6 weeks to get it, then we can apply for our EEA family permits, 1-3 weeks currently, and then we’re off to the land of brollies, trousers (Not pants!) and oddly named burrows like Scratchy Bottom! (Oh yes, keep your fingers crossed that we sell enough stuff at 420 to afford our tickets, but other than that it’s all systems go!).

So unreal that it’s all coming together (or splitting apart, depending on your view). This journey has been about a year in the making! It was about 2,5 years for my brother’s peeps. Now we just need to get our parents out as well.

I do appreciate that not everyone wants to go, or has a viable exit plan even if they do. And I don’t think that South Africa is shit all the way through, but I don’t think it’s the best place for us to raise Nicola anymore, and from where I’m sitting I can’t see it recovering in our or her lifetime. Most of the people (except for the thieving bastards and cold hard criminals) are amazing, and there are bits of this country that we are going to miss forever when we go.

But there are more important things than the weather…


All things Hogwarts and small update

18 November , 2019

Is it my imagination or are all parties themed Harry Potter at the moment, might be my imagination but we had two just this past weekend! I’m not complaining mind you, it turns out I can whip up a fairly decent shoestring budget Harry Potter themed gift if given a bit of notice.

Nicola has mentioned that she also wants a Harry Potter birthday, although we did have to sadly tell her no party this year, but my mom will still bake a cake, and since she has her birthday two days before my brother and four days before Andy, the three of them will do something together…and when I mean something I mean share a cake and a family braai. Nicola has asked if she can invite 4 friends to come swim and eat cake…we can swing that. Riaan said one of them should pick the flavour of the cake, one the shape and one the decoration. Nicola said she wants to pick decor, so Riaan said he’ll do flavour and he wants cheescake…which she’s not a fan of…Andy will have to pick shape. After a bit of negotiation it seems it’s going chocholate, round and Harry Potter. Nicola is a good negotiator, hahaha…

Anyhoo, before I get to the photos and my general rambling, we have had some news with regards to relocating, if not on our own, my SIL has received a job offer (actually two) from NZ and if she accepts, they will be there by end of January next year! We are extremely excited for them, although we will miss them terribly.

Hopefully once they’ve flown the coop and if our plans pan out for September, my folks can also look at going. They have been clear on it that they won’t go anywhere until we’re all gone. They might actually prefer just selling and getting a small lock up and go property instead, and do looooong visits between the two countries once we’ve all settled in and my mom’s retired. We’re going from a weekly family night family to a three continent situation in the next 9 months. Surreal. Some aspects of this makes me very excited, and some makes me cry softly in the shower.

It is what it is, I guess.

Now, onto photos:


Cuzzie wuzzy, clowning around…THIS ONE is quite a character! Riaan had us in stitches with tales of his recent antics. I think he has a really bright future in drama, haha…


Us, at a recent fancy pants luncheon held by clients. You can tell when a lunch becomes a luncheon that it’s going to be like that. We actually had a brilliant time! Especially if you consider this was a week after my operation and I was sore as hell and could hardly eat anything lunchoen-y.

I was fifty shades of green after this, but it was totally worth it and luckily short lived.


I have always sucked at making pom-poms, I think because I rush it. This time round I really took my time with it and went extra fluffy.

Whenever I try my hand at pom-poms I always think of my niece Thea, who used to make the most adorable little pom-pom-chickens when we were kids. She was killed in a car accident, just after her brother was paralysed from the neck down defending her against an armed ex boyfriend. It’s a super tragic story, which is I guess why pom-poms make me a little sad…


Behold my super fluffy owls I made. actually Nicola and Andy helped me so much, we all made it together. These went on the gift bags for the Harry Potter parties.


And I hand-painted this mug (mostly with a toothpick) for my friend Bfly, along with a set of leg warmers because her one foot is always cold after she picked up nerve damage from an accident at work.

Happy to report she LOVED it!

And it has given me a great idea for small family gifts for Christmas, which I’ve already kicked off.


Hydrangeas at Nicola’s school – so pretty!


Also at Nicola’s school. I like to think of this guy as Sheldon, he is almost always sitting in the same spot when we arrive in the mornings.


Nicola trying out some every flavour beans and accidentally encountering a vomit flavoured one, hahaha!


Not often I get snuggles like this anymore, she’s growing up so fast!



Longest day ever!

27 October , 2019

So after the very long run up to the operation, and getting myself properly psyched up, the actual D-day turned into a marathon ordeal on its own too.

I checked in at 11:00 figuring that there would be a hell of a lot of paperwork and the theatre list started at 13:00. There was. It did. At 12:00 they told me I was number 2 on the list so I figured my planning was just about spot on. It wasn’t.

I was probably number 2 from the end. And then many many emergency surgeries skipped the queue altogether, so they only came for me at 22:15. By this time it was about 18 hours since I last ate or drank anything. I was sore, tired, hungry, thirsty and cranky. And I had a head ache from hell that I couldn’t take anything for. Probably from dehydration and stress.

The doctor did come out at about 20:00 to apologise to me and explain the hold up. Emergencies can’t be helped so I was okay with it but I quized him on his long day and asked if he still felt up to it to removing an organ after all that, which he found quite amusing and he assured me he was.

The operation itself was supposed to be about an hour, but they did a gastroscopy at the same time and it turned into a little but more than 2 hours. I got wheeled back into the ward at about 00:30. I heard that the doctor ended up operating until 3:30. What a looooong day!

The anaesthetist was bloody brilliant! This was the first time EVER that I didn’t wake up trying to kill someone after an operation. I’m not sure if it was because of the meds or the very calm way he got me to sleep, maybe a combo. Anyway it was a massive relief since I was so sore I could hardly breathe, and attacking someone in that state would probably not be great to begin with.

Also the first time I woke up with oxygent thingies in my nose, which I hated and wanted off but wasn’t allowed to for a good 4 hours.

Poor Andy, he was really such a massive support through all of this. He never left my side, and after being discharged the heaviest thing he’s let me pick up is a fork. What an amazing experience to go through something like this with him. I am extremely grateful for all the support.

My family has also been a real Godsend. They picked Nicola up from school and she ended up sleeping over. They also brought food for Andy to the hospital, and came for visits. I felt all the love from everyone. Thank you also to every friend who checked in on me while this was going on.

Shame, Nicola was distraught when she came at 19:00. It would have been better if it was over and done with already so that she could see I’m fine, but things don’t always work out the wat you plan them I guess.

I have a lot of images that they took during the 2 procedures, which I won’t put up here for the sake of the squimish, but apparently my liver is in real good nic but my stomach not so much. Looks like my gallbladder thing has been causing lots of little ulcers and inflamation, pain I wasn’t even aware of over the rock pain which was much harder to miss or ignore. I am really looking forward to life after gallbladder which can only be infinitely better, other than having to give up coffee for a month. He took two biopsies of this mess and I’ll get the results when I go for the follow up visit I guess.

I didn’t even get to see my rocks! Between the theatre and the ward the container went missing, never to be seen again. Doc said it was some big ones and lots of gravel. Altogether a very unhappy gallbladder.

My room, which I shared with three other ladies. Right opposite me was ‘n little granny who looked like an elf. She was so darn cute and had such a sunny disposition. She came in for a shoulder replacement at age 80!

Her only frustration was that she only speaks Dutch, and hardly any of the nursing staff even speak Afrikaans. I translated a bit while I was there.

Her other problem was that she was determined to feed herself but she’s right handed and that’s the shoulder they did too. Eventually she relented and let them at least cut her food, but she still fed herself.

I hope she gets better real soon.

The lady to my left got discharged same day as me, but she’d apparently been there much longer. Grumpiest patient I’ve ever seen. She spoke to no one and looked beyond miserable. The only time I heard her say anything was when she phoned her husband to kak him out and make very specific demands about what he should bring her when comes round snack wise.

And the last lady in the far corner looked like she was doing the rounds of all the area hospitals. She started in Poortview but got transferred to Wilgeheuwel, they briefly moved her to Flora to see a specialist there and then back to Wilgeheuwel. She had a string of people coming to try and convince her she needed a major abdominal surgery, she had already had 5 and really wasn’t keen.

Very friendly and offered to take over translating for the Elf once I left. She asked me if I was there to have my second one, hahaha guess I was a bit bloated? I said nope, not pregnant, just fat…and laughed it off.

Still early in the day when I got issued issued with the itchiest gauze undies along with the theatre pajamas.

Andy and myself.

All dressed up and nowhere to go.

My ouchies.

First fooooood! Got this at 8:30 the next day. I was so hungry but I couldn’t get more than halfway. Everything hurts. And since I’m on a pretty restrictive diet for the next month while my liver adjusts to doing the heavy lifting I’m supposed to eat small anyway.

So now I’m back home recovering, which is great. I’m super sore and I hope it settles in the next couple of days. I can’t seem to sleep for more than 2 hours at a time currently, but I’m sure that’ll pass too. Might be cause I have to sleep on my back to avoid the ouchies, and I never sleep on my back.

Onwards and upwards! Now the healing starts…

I am very glad that this is now behind me. Thanks for putting up with my rambles and going through the countdown with me.


10 Days – Day 10

24 October , 2019

Tomorrow is D-day.

We had dinner with my family and everyone wished Andy good luck for when I wake up. My dad will fetch Nicola from school and bring her through later when I’m properly awake and not aggressive anymore.

I’m a bit nervous…but also ready to be not nauseous and sore anymore.

Chatted to quite a few friends today. I must say it’s been great of everyone to check in on me and having catch ups on the phone. And Andy and Nicola have been saints putting up with my long lip and general glums these last 10 days.

Hopefully I will be back on my feet in another day or two. Can’t wait!


10 Days – Day 9

23 October , 2019

Today was my parents’ wedding anniversary. 43 years! My dad posted the sweetest message on fb for my mom. I don’t think she goes on there a lot but it’s sweet nonetheless.

On the rock on till rocks out front, it was a sore and green day. I can’t decide if I’m more nauseous when I eat or when I don’t eat.

And last night I could just not get comfortable, so I took a day off from job hunting and slept.

Chatted to my pal in Modimole. They bought peacocks for the farm this week. Very pretty but bloody noisy birds! When we next go there I look forward to seeing them roam. Not so much the red romans and rinkhals that they didn’t buy, but which are there anyway.