Tuesday, 30 April 2013
When that popped into my head as a title for this post, for some reason I was convinced it was a Beatles' song. I googled to make sure: well, what do you know - it was Carly Simon. What would we do without the Internet? Anyway, this is about me trying to thread the four needles on my ancient Toyota Overlocker machine. It is about 15 years since I have used it as it was a rather basic model and I always struggled to get the tension right every time I changed the cotton. I've just been using the zig-zag on my Husquvarna sewing machine instead. Now with the big 'clear-out' I have determined to get this machine working again or to sell it. They came to put the new carpet in my study yesterday, so while I kept a beady eye on them, I spent a happy hour threading up three of the needles of this machine according to the instruction book and an unhappy hour trying every which way to get the last (and simplest) one done. Not a chance. Not to be defeated I tried a torch, a magnifying glass, licking and squeezing the cotton, repeatedly cutting the thread with a sharp scissors, squinting at the miniscule hole with alternate eyes shut, varying my focal length and finally cursing the inescapable fact that my eyes are not what they were. I waited for big son to emerge from his office on a tea-break and asked him to have a go. No problem. One attempt: job done. I have decided to sell the otherwise perfectly working machine on the grounds that I have heard that these days you can get a miracle machine with a self-threader. The optician did warn me that multi-focal contact lenses would never be as good as glasses. What can I say? I'm too vain.
Friday, 26 April 2013
|Study minus wet carpet|
|Cupboard awaiting censure|
|My lounge with matresses & bedding|
|TV room - kitchen cupboard stuff|
|Outside room - temporary kitchen|
There is nothing like having your back to the wall for making procrastinators like myself get down to having a clear-out. As the pics illustrate - I've just had to empty my cupboards and throw stuff out, with a view to retiring next year, August, galvanized into action because the insurance people wanted to replace almost all my cupboards because of our flood. (Watch this space.). It's odd that you can only throw certain things away when you are ready to do so. I have hung onto my university notes circa 1971-73 for all these years, thinking that one of my children might need them. Not one of them has. I have finally ditched 7 years of Medical Aid receipts, hoarded since 2007, I've only kept the last 12 months in case the taxman asks for them. I've carted away 3 loads of recycling and been 5 times to hospice with 'stuff' that they assure me they can sell. I feel so good! I feel as if I have embarked on a new stage of my life. One other thing has resulted from this cleansing: I have gathered all the photographs of my mother, my father, my childhood, the pics of my great-aunts, the notes I made when I quizzed my dad about his life after my mom died - and I am busy making several scrap books. The first one I am tackling is about my own life (I dont' feel emotional about that), then I'll do one each for my mom and my dad. I still chastise myself that I didn't get more details from them both. I console myself with the thought that one day, at least one of my children will be interested in family history after we are gone. Have any of you thought about this? It's fine when we are all alive and healthy. Who thinks ahead? It has hit me like a ton of bricks how much I don't know about my parents' histories now that they are gone. I hope to leave my own children with a different legacy - the story of my life. No holds barred. Hopefully, it will have meaning, for at least one of them.
Thursday, 25 April 2013
|The epitome of Neatness - sadly, not my shelves|
We hit a wobbly with our new kitchen cupboards yesterday. With only the doors to put on (promised for this morning), our guys arrived very shamefaced to inform me of a 'slight problem' - the factory has let them down on the cupboard doors - they now discover they don't have enough orders for this finish and so are not prepared to cut the small amount needed for us (35 doors in all). Ours, it seems, is not a popular choice. (So why offer it?) Dilemma. The afternoon was full of angst, irritation and indecision and phoning up to my husband, who had flown up to Pretoria for two days on business. Eventually, I agreed to phone them back first thing in the morning with our decision on the options available, once he had returned. Meanwhile, two of the team quietly carried on putting up shelves on the other side of the kitchen. I only noticed when my husband pointed it out that night that they had made a mirror image of the ones I had requested on the other side, so that although I now had beautifully matching sets, I had no shelf high enough to place a box of Cornflakes, or my bottles of cooking oils etc. Vaguely, I had only a passing thought that as I would be getting a lot more cupboards than before - everything would somehow fit in. Chiding myself that I had not worked out all the measurements on paper with appropriate diagrams, I told them the guys these shelves must come down and be altered. As they build them daily in situ, I had not given much precise attention to detail as we made changes as we went along. This whole project has actually caught me on the back foot, because it has only happened because of our flood. To his credit, hubby has not rubbed in the fact that I had not thought about the heights of the cornflakes or the cooking oil.
Tuesday, 23 April 2013
It has been a bit of a disastrous month for our family in general. Last Saturday, big son & family were going to join us at our holiday house: their car's engine burst into flames as they were leaving town to the extent that even the fire engine arrived. Our neighbor popped over to see how our kitchen cupboards were getting on and let slip that small son and friends had been observed, one Saturday night while we were on holiday, trying to straighten up the driver's door on his (well, still mine until he pays for it) car. B had been alerted to this activity by a loud "tat...tat...tat..tat...tat" noise, which on looking out of his window, he deduced must have been one of small son's attempts to demolish our electric gate, this time by presumably reversing out too close to it with his door open (having to push start the car yet again, thus rattling the door down the row of uprights along the fence. When confronted with this information, small son claimed no damage to his car (we noticed a few slightly bent poles on the fence/gate); in fact, said he, he could now again close his window, which had been impossible for the last two years. Sometimes there is an upside. Meanwhile, big son has had to borrow transport from me, as he is working daily at my house until he gets a telephone line at his new residence. He wanted my scooter and at first, I said an emphatic no, pointing out that if he were to be in an accident in the rush hour traffic, there might be extreme damage to my scooter. (Giggle).
Back from the library this morning after my two-hour physical fitness stint of shelving books. The Lazy One was again absent this week - on sick leave. This time her foot is sore. I ventured a guess that by the end of the financial year, she would have used up every one of her sick days. The upside is that the staff hardly ever notice her absence, as she does so little when she is there. They have got used to gradually taking over most of her tasks. There is no hope of even getting her a disciplinary hearing because she is a "BEE" appointment, (Black Economic Advancement). A real source of irritation is that she is paid on the same grade as the Deputy Librarian. The ironies of life. Amazing - when I tried to find a Google pic to illustrate this story - they were 98% men! But I liked the words of this one.
Monday, 22 April 2013
|Pics of men stuck in doorways were not very flattering|
We worked on my side of the built-in cupboards in the 'dressing-room' this week-end. Things went swimmingly according to hubby's measurements - as far as the units were concerned. When we carried in the last section, however, we found that hubby could no longer get through the doorway, short of turning sideways and shuffling crab-like through the abbreviated aperture. He had not thought to measure himself. So back to the cutting room floor, where my side had to be shortened by about 20 cms. As I was a bit put out at my loss of hanging space, hubby generously offered to give me occupation of some of his drawers. I bargained for the lower ones, so that I wouldn't have to fetch a ladder so often and all was amicably resolved. I thought it was all hilarious but hubby didn't see the funny side, especially as he had earlier boasted of his accurate measuring and ordering of materials - even to the point that he had exactly the right number of screws and brackets. Pride goes before a fall.
Wednesday, 17 April 2013
|Hubby's side - drawers below not in yet|
|The wood for two cupboards|
Monday, 15 April 2013
It seems that the debate rages on re the benefits of a hard or soft mattress. For years when we were younger, my husband and I conformed and slept on a 'firm' posturepeadic, even inserting a hard board beneath it at one stage, congratulating ourselves that we were doing the best thing for our backs. In latter years however, we both started to get awful backache, which sometimes woke us up at night when we turned over, (I felt as if the mattress was rubbing a hole in my hip), and when we got up in the morning, both of us had stiff and sore backs. We changed to the softest mattress we could find (not easy to find) and haven't looked back. Mention this to others however and there is heated debate, even people older than us asserting that they can only sleep on a firm mattress and the medical profession, according to them, still agrees. Logically as I see it, if you look at the curvature of the human spine, especially in the lumbar region, the softer the mattress, the better it will fit to your natural shape: I remember having blissful sleeps on a mattress made exclusively of feathers when I was young. You just sank into it, it took on your shape and you didn't stir for the rest of the night: mind you, I suppose the point is that I was young. Or is it that everyone's spine is different? Different strokes for different folks. I thought all spines were similar until one day I had an X-ray for a hip problem. Looking at it, my GP exclaimed, "Well, there's nothing wrong with your hip but look at your back! Your lumbar vertebrae are deformed (the transverse processes) - but don't worry, looks like you were born this way".
Friday, 12 April 2013
A while ago I inherited a little jewellery which included two fine gold chains and two rings. I got the rings re-sized and decided to have one of them re-set. To this end I took the ring to a nearby manufacturing jeweller and showed him what I wanted done. I then put the two gold chains on the counter and asked if they could be used in the re-setting, if needed. The young apprentice was about to weigh the two chains but his boss intervened and said it was not necessary, thanked me, took the chains and told me the work would take about a week. I duly fetched the ring and was charged R1200 (about $155) as per the quote. Nothing was mentioned about the chains and I thought nothing of it at the time. A while later I happened to need a gold chain for another purpose and was amazed at how expensive they are. I began to wonder. I wondered even more when the tiny ring which connects to the clasp on my pearl necklace broke and I went back to the same place to have it fixed. This took about 5 minutes and I half expected the same man to say, "No charge, madam". To my surprise he said the new tiny ring was 9 ct gold and I owed him R60 (about $8). Without a word, I paid up and left the shop. This tiny piece of gold is a circle about 1.5 mm. in diameter. It seemed a huge price to me. I was sorry I hadn't asked him for a quote in the first place and further suggested that a piece of stainless steel wire would have served the purpose. He must have seen me coming. Of course I won't ever go back there and in future: I shall do my homework or go for two quotes. We live and learn: no use crying over spilt milk.
Wednesday, 10 April 2013
Before going on holiday, we had to organise continued Internet access in remote areas as my husband had suddenly to do the end-of-month work figures himself as his 2-i-C was rushed to hospital for a triple bi-pass just before we left and would be booked off for some weeks. The figures would involve several Excel spread-sheets and lots of e-mail correspondence. With some trepidation we dusted off our trusty Toshiba laptop, which although bulky and with an almost useless battery, (big son said we should use it as a doorstop) was fully equipped with Microsoft Office and was known to be reliable if plugged into a power source. In addition and with the partial assistance of some useful e-bucks, we purchased the latest, 4th generation i-pad, at our children's insistence - and then couldn't get the Internet to work, having loaded 'data' and purchased and registered the necessary SIM card. Frustration levels climbing, we called in at every mobile phone shop in all the picturesque little villages we passed through, to be met with polite but incomprehending smiles, "we only sell them, sir, we don't know how they work". Eventually, we did establish that nothing was wrong with the SIM card and therefore surmised that we were missing something regarding the i-pad. Eventually, big son did some research and messaged us that we should go to the 'Cellular Data' menu, 'General' and see if there were User Name and Password fields. If they were blank (they were), we should insert MTN in both spaces. Hey presto! How come no-one told us that in the first place? The next problem was finding sufficient signal 'in the bush' to get all the e-mails sent. Drama, drama, patience, driving around and finally - success. Then, we could relax and enjoy our holiday. I came home to find my best friend, distractedly poking at the buttons on her new phone. "It's so painful, getting a new phone", she sighed. Amen to that. I am not yet a great fan of our i-pad - the keyboard is too small for touch-typing. So glad to get home and back to blogging on my big PC.