Thursday, 25 August 2011

It's been a week already...

...Since I last blogged. Crazy.

Here's a quick update of what's been potting:

It was my bday on Sat and I got spoilt rotten. TSC surprised me with my gift (for almost the first time ever - usually I know exactly what I'm getting). He gave me this:
He already got us Cold Play tickets awhile back, seeing they are my fave band ever, so I feel very blessed with my "bonus" present Jamie book and can't wait to get cooking. I just have to fugure out what some of his British slang words mean!

We had a lazy morning and then headed to Zebbies so I could pick out my bathroom light fittings (weird way to spend one's bday, I know. But there was no other time to do it). Then I picked Lucky Moo in Atholl Square as a lunch venue. Meh. The service was fabulous, but the food less so. My fault entirely though - I should've stuck with somewhere I know. I felt like a change.

We had an afternoon nap (bliss!) and then made a quick stop at the nursery, where I picked up some pansies and a third variety of primula to add some instant colour to the garden. I got my hands dirty planting them while TSC watche dthe rugby. Then we had a bubble bath and got ready for my birthday supper with my folks and brother at Royal Thai. It was divine! Great food, lovely family time and I got spoiled some more... nursery vouchers, money, beautiful cards that made me teary and my favourite perfume...

All in all, a good birthday. Especially supper, which is a wonder, seeing I usually end up picking a restaurant that leaves at least one family member (if not all of them) unimpressed.

The renovations are at last (and thank goodness) nearing their end. The cupboard guys are busy right now. They've taken longer than they were supposed to, but they seem to be doing a really thorough job. They'll finish on Monday and then we can hopefully move back into our own bedroom! And I can show you pics :-)

Now it's just doing the final bits... skirtings, the shower door, putting up the bathroom towel rails etc. Which is great, seeing TSC and I have been working through weekends and every evening to fix the bad job the tiler and plumber did, as well as touching up on the paint work and doing small niggly things like siliconing around the basins etc.

If journalism doesn't work out, I can always start a handyman (handywoman?) business!

I am slowly transforming back into a nicer version of the winter me as the weather warms up. As the little buds on my plants blossom and the tiny leaves on my frees unfurl, so my temper lengthens. And I will be a decent person for the few short months that it's warm.

Have a good wekeend, everyone.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Bullet point updates

Hello! Been desperate to blog all week and catch up on my reading, but it's been more of the same manic pace, I'm afraid.

So here are some quick bullet points:

  • It's my birthday tomorrow. Renovations were supposed to be complete by then, but alas it was not to be. The cupboard guy's materials were delayed, so he can only come on Thursday. But the new carpets are in and they look amazing! And they feel good too. Who knew carpets could be so exciting? And yes, I realise I sound like a total loon, but I find them so awesome that I want to take a leaf out my cats' book and roll on them.
  • I got rid of my accountants and found a new firm. Yay! The old ones were not very reliable in terms of communication and didn't take me seriously at all, so I'm glad to have found someone who is willing to answer my (probably silly) questions.
  • My garden is coming alive again. I love it - spring is on it's way, at last! I'm enjoying peas, carrots, spinach, rocket, Asian greens, herbs and spring onions from my veggie patch, and the gorgeous primulas (two types) are in full bloom, making for pretty bursts of flowers all over the show.
  • I took my brother out for coffee yesterday (had the most divine chai freezo at House of Coffees in Menlyn). I'm so loving getting along with him for the first time in my life. At long last, we can chat. And not just about jokes and the weather - about real stuff too. Without jumping down each other's throats! It's fantastic. Makes me very happy.
  • TSC and I have settled on a theme for usual joint birthday bash. We're having a bring-and-share gyspy-themed picnic in our garden. So excited! Gypsy decor is such fun and virtually free. All I need to buy is a big bag full of gold coin chocolates ;-) We thought of having a picnic at one of the lovely parks, but I worry that it will rain (usually happens when I have picnics) and I'm not keen to put my friends through the traumas of the public loos (our favourite local park only has a port-a-potty). Also, I worry that if people want to drink wine, they'll get in trouble in the public parks. So our garden it will be.
  • I cannot wait to show you renovation pics. Hoping by next week it will all be done. And then I'll post some before and after shots.
Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Never been happier it's a Friday

What an admin week! Goodness.

Not only have we been running around trying to manage builders, plumbers, tilers and painters while still getting some work done, but I've also been sorting out tax stuff (hate, hate, HATE) and we've switched our insurer. Finally.

In between, the dishwasher has stopped working, the expensive Floor Wizard mop (or whatever other euphemistic name it has been given) fell apart and my remote control for the gate broke. Our phone line has also stopped working. This not only means that people can't get through to me for business calls (it sounds like it's ringing from their end, but doesn't ring on my end), but also that we can't let our visitors (including the myriad renovation subcontractors and repair men) in through the front gate, which operates through our landline. All of this, of course, happened in a week with a public holiday in it. Which means that getting anyone to fix anything has been unlikely since everyone other than us is on holiday. Or that's how it feels, at least.

Just to make life rosier, I've had to go into the bank twice and spend a few hours there on each occasion. Had to pick up two cards (old ones expire end of this month), extend my internet banking transfer limit to be able to pay the deposit for the new cupboards, update my FICA (what a frikking mission. Might have been easier to let them keep thinking I still live in Cape Town) and I wanted to apply for a credit card. Didn't think this would be a problem, seeing they have my personal, business and investment accounts and know exactly how much money I have at any given moment.

Hah! Should've got a credit card before I became self-employed. They don't want to give me one unless I get a letter from an accountant saying how much I earn every month. I don't have an accountant, so I told them I'll apply through Discovery (where all they need is three months' bank statements). The joke is that a telesales person from my bank has called me twice in the days since to offer me a credit card. Grrrr.

I'm seriously over this week. TGIF. For real.

That said, it hasn't all been bad. I really enjoyed Women's Day on Tuesday. TSC and I slept in late, had scones and coffee at The Tea Room at Crabtree & Evelyn, took a long walk through all of Lonehill's little footpaths, shared a vanilla milkshake from Milky Lane (been craving one for weeks) and chilled at home watching episodes of Glee. It was divine.

Glad I had a day off, because tomorrow morning is a big business meeting and the rest of this weekend we'll have people working in the house. I'm really, really hoping that by next Saturday (my birthday!!!) it will all be done.

On that note, any ideas for birthday parties? TSC and I do a combined one every year as our birthdays are three weeks apart. We've decided we can't host one at home this year, but I'd like to something a bit more exciting than hooking up for drinks at our gloomy neighbourhood pub. I'm open to ideas! But seeing all our money is currently being spent on light fixtures etc, it can't be expensive.

Anyway. Have a fabulous weekend, all.

Friday, 5 August 2011

I'm in the wrong generation

Aside from obvious things like the fact that I would rather listen to Simon & Garfunkel, The Beatles or The Platters than Rihanna, The Parlotones or The Black Eyed Peas (or the fact that I can't even think of more current bands to mention here because I refuse to listen to most radio stations because "it all sounds the same to me") there are certain things that make me suspect I was born in the wrong generation.

I'm not talking about the fact that I would rather sleep than go clubbing, my intolerance for bad manners, or how I believe in God, marriage and other concepts that many my age seem to think are passé. Right now I'm talking about attitude.

I'm supposedly part of Generation Y. And I can see some of those Gen Y traits in me... independent, entrepreneurial, lifestyle-centred, fairly media savvy and often anti-establishment. What I don't have is that Gen Y confidence when it comes to career and social media stuff.

There's this guy of my generation (I think he's three years younger than me) who is also a journo. He covers all sorts of stuff, from politics to music, and he has hectic opinions on everything, which he broadcasts to the world at large through his articles and social media.

He gets equally hectic comments in response, but he carries along quite merrily. I admire him for his writing skills and his guts. But sometimes I also read an article he's written and think it's really immature or just overly dramatic for the sake of being dramatic.

I still feel wet behind the ears in the media world. I've only been writing for five years. Some hacks out there have been doing this for five or six decades. They know everything about everything. It's awe-inspiring. And I have deep respect for the experience of age (another factor that makes me think I'm in the wrong generation).

I could never just hold forth on serious matters like news and politics and expect everyone to listen. This guy does. And people do listen. People take him very seriously.

And I feel both jealous of him and extremely relieved that I'm not him. It must be lovely to have such influence, but what a lot of responsibilty! Although, as a Gen Y dude, he seems happy to assume that the effect his work has on other people is their issue to deal with.

Another very non Gen Y trait in me is that I am suspicious of social media. Yes, I use it. I'm on Twitter, Blogger, LinkedIn and even (grudgingly) on Facebook. I enjoy it (except Facebook, which I pretty much ignore). But I don't trust it. I am very cautious about what I say (maybe not so much on this blog, but definitely on Twitter).

I cannot tell you how many times I have started a Tweet and then deleted it halfway through, because in my mind the internet is forever and I'm not sure I want that trivial Tweet to be around forever.

Friends and colleagues my age Tweet about all sorts of things, some of which I would never dream of mentioning IRL, nevermind online (another characteristic of older generations). They blab about their jobs, their bosses, their sex lives, the annoying things their kids and partners do... I won't go there. I won't even go near there. In fact, I suffer from acute post-Tweet stress disorder.

As soon as I've posted a Tweet, I start to wonder what people will think when they read it (I'm sometimes like this with blog posts too and will come back and edit a few times after publishing). Will they think I'm making light of serious issues? Will my clients judge me on my opinions? Will my sense of humour offend someone?

And, much as I wish that I had the confidence to Tweet in peace, I would also rather be OTT about protecting my friends' and family's privacy and my business reputation than become a fun-to-read-because-it's-just-so-inappropriate fount of useless TMI fluff. And that is what convinces me that I should actually be 45 years old.

Well, that and the fact that I choose Women & Home Magazine over the mags targeted at my age group and have recently taken up knitting again.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Renovations & Recommendations

I'm big into social buying and am signed up to Groupon, WiCount and now Daddy's Deals. They're having a competition where you can win a fab adventure for you and three friends along with loads of other cool prizes, so if you want to enter too... click this magic button:

Daddy's Deals — with love from

Ended my work day well today - got a phone call from a potential new client. She was given my number and a recommendation by one of my current favourite clients.

It's awesome to get people phoning wanting to offer me work at any point, but it's especially awesome when it's thanks to a recommendation from a client. And it's even more fabulous when it's my favourite client.

Yes, a good end to the day. Which is lovely, considering all the mess and foolishness in my house at present. At least we have a new plumber!