Family & Kids, Life

Hair Today

At last I get Jessie (kickin n screamin) to the hairdresser.
Her hair looks like she combed it with a firecracker (I should have taken a picture). She’s been washing it daily and tying it up in a bun. She’s not combing it all out daily.

I drop her off with Tom and buzz to work. They’ll walk back home via the shops.
“Just get a trim, don’t have it ‘straightened’ as you’ll be swimming all week – it’s not worth it” are my instructions.

So I get a whatsapp pic:

Jess Hair
And then a hurried phone call:
“Don’t worry Dad, I paid for Jess to have her hair straightened with my own pocket money” says her loving younger brother! Talking fast, pre-empting a bollocksing. “My own pocket money” means “an advance which I have yet to ask you for”.
Knows how to arse-creep, that one.

I had also given them the grocery money (Cecelia is away), which is now diminished thanks to the extra hair spend.

“Dad, I bought you a rump steak and choc mint Ola ice cream”. Both his favourites.
No veggies.

Family & Kids

Hip Hop Life Lessons

Entrepreneurs’ Day at school. Kids are selling samoosas, boerie rolls, sweets, cupcakes, biryani. What are you going to do, Jess?

“Me and Aik are going to give dance lessons, Dad. Hip Hop”.

OK. She made a poster, cut a CD, cleared a classroom.

And nobody showed up. I hung around, thinking Oh well, every outcome is a lesson. We learn something from everything.

Wendon Entrepreneurs (1)

Then her teacher said “Jess, you need loud music!” Jess had been waiting for her first customer before starting the music (she’s so polite, this one!).

“Dad, I need the car keys”, she shouts. Out the gate to the car and back with a CD.

Loud music and the customers rolled in. Well played, Mrs Gooding!

They made R440 profit!

Family & Kids

Face Your Fears

TomTom was after yet another new must-have: A Hero factory something-or-other. The Wizard, or Rocka or something.

No. – “Aw, Pleeez Dad”. – No – too expensive.

Withdrawing for a while, he decides pleading isn’t working, gotta try a new tactic: Strolling up to me, he grabs me around the shoulder and lays his head against mine.

“Let’s just get this thing behind us, Dad” he says, like man-to-man, “Face your fears”.

LEGO ‘hero factory’ (you didn’t know?)

Family & Kids, Life, Travel, Travel Africa

Generous Souls

Off we went to St Lucia estuary for a camping long weekend. Let’s take the minimum guys, we can buy food locally. Just clear out the fridge and bread bin and let’s go. We’ll buy charcoal and meat and etc from the local Spar. I didn’t even take any wine!
Let’s take a tent for the three teenage girls, and the 12yr old fella and I will sleep in the back of the pickup. The simple life.

Except I realised at the first tollgate that I had left my wallet in Westville. Complication. To turn back or not. In my rucksack I found Tom’s saving card, daily withdrawal limit R300. I had just changed his password, as we had not used the account for ages, so we were good to go. We just gotta be frugal, kids.
And that’s where they blew me away. All four of them said “Dad, we’ve got money! You can have our money, Dad”. They each had R200 pocket money for the weekend and offered it freely! What stars.

Thanks guys, I may need that, but I have enough to fill up with diesel and we’ll just go easy and discuss it before we spend anything, OK?

The next morning I managed to activate my eWallet and cellphone banking at an internet cafe so could now draw R1500 a day! Problem solved! I gave them each R100 to thank them for their generous offers. Their eyes looked like chocolates and ice creams!
Off we went to the game reserve (entrance fee R245) and to the water park (R120 for the four of them). We wuz rich! The girls bought swimming shorts with their money.

St Lucia camping 2

The next day that amount had kindly been reduced to R200 (“for my safety” – Thanks FNB!), so I had to make the speech again, and again they rallied around with their offer of chipping in, but with Tom’s R300 and my R200 we were fine. We ate boerie rolls both nights – cheap!

St Lucia camping

Here’s an isimangaliso* pan with buffalo, waterbuck and zebra (click on the pic). The Indian Ocean is just behind that high forested dune:

St Lucia Mar 2014 (5)

Tom got on with fishing . .

. . while the teenage girls did what teenage girls do . .

– Jess too a lovely picture of some grass – with a kudu as a backdrop –

~~~~oo0oo~~~~

*isimangaliso means ‘miracle, wonder, surprise’ in isiZulu

Life

Did You Got a Licence?

It’s time to renew my driver’s licence. This is where my procrastination kicks in. Usually I’m “Never put off till tomorrow what you can put off till the next day”, but eventually I gotta go. I’m LATE!

So I test my own eyes, fill in my own driver’s vision form and get to Rossburgh Vehicle Licence Testing Grounds at 1.30pm, stopping on the way for a newspaper, a packet of crisps, a packet of NikNaks, a coke and a Tex chocolate bar. My health food lunch. Mental health.

Straight away it’s the usual civil service scenario: I enter the room and wonder where to go. No signs to enlighten me. I join a queue and ask: What’s this queue for? Oh. Which one? That one? Thanks. I join another queue. And wait.

When I’m two away from the fingerprint man a big fat pale bloke in blue overalls pushes ahead. He belligerently chunes the darker ou doing fingerprints: “This is the third time I’m coming back. You must do your job properly, man! The machine has rejected my fingerprints AGAIN! The lady at the far counter next door says I must tell you to do your job properly!”

“Which lady?!” says Mr Fingerprints, pushing back his chair and standing up, ready to fight with the lady who has impugned him. Off they storm next door. And no, he didn’t say “Please excuse me ladies and gentlemen, I have a small matter to attend to”.

They roar back ten minutes later, still chirping each other. “You wouldn’t last ten minutes in a private job, my man – you’d be FIRED!” “Don’t you be cheeky to me!” “I’m not cheeky, YOU’RE cheeky!” Etc etc. Neither is fuming fisticuffs mad, but neither is going to back down either.

licence renewal_2

Eventually I get my thumbs blackened and I ask: “Where next?” “Take the forms to that table in the corner”, he points. I go. I stand. I’m ignored. After a while, the Form Man finishes with the person ahead of me. He looks at me with a hint of disdain. “What you doing here?” he asks. I say “The fingerprint gentlemen told me to come here”. “There’s a queue, stand in the queue” says Mr Dale Carnegie. “Oh, OK” – I’m Mr Meek. The queue goes back to right next to Mr Fingerprint’s table. So he could have said “Join this queue” but he didn’t.

This is a long queue, so I get to read my newspaper. We’re on benches and the drill is: You sit. Then you stand up, move on three or four places, then sit again. The silent shuffle. I share the sections of my newspaper around, so some people think I’m a good oke, because there are three types of people in queues: Chatterers, Silents and Boreds. The Boreds want the paper. Three Chatterers grab me and tell me how this is “jis a munnymaking rakkit“. Although you’re always next to the same people, you get to sit just in front or just behind a constantly-changing variety of peeps as you shuffle left to the end of one bench, then right along the next bench, inching towards the holy grail. I find out that a white lady has to fetch her daughter and an elderly injun oke thinks the whole civil service has gone to pot “since the changeover”. “Hey?” he repeats, trying to get me to agree with him. When he doesn’t get any joy, he turns to someone else, undaunted. “Hey? It’s since 1994 it’s like this!” he chunes.

Now you must go next door to pay. Aha, I think, taking our money: That’ll be the fast queue. Forget it! It’s ten times longer, in a huge hall with 14 counters. Four are roped off for PDP licences (professional permits, for heavy duty or carrying passengers).  Of the other ten, five are manned. It’s 2:40pm and the signs says We close at 3pm.  We debate whether they’ll  keep us all there and then gleefully slam the windows shut at 3pm, or if they’ll stay until we’re all done. We risk the latter.

The signs in the pay hall are fascinating: The official ones are all Batho Pele, People First, Our Pledge to the Valued Customer stuff. The handwritten ones are NO CHEQUES! and UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL WE . . . etc. The signs show the difference between a luxury bosberaad indaba where lofty mission statements are made under airconditioning between lengthy buffets, and actually serving the great unwashed ‘on the ground,’ I suppose!

When someone leaves the counter up front there’s often a long (some seconds) break before the next person wakes up and realises it, so the delay is exacerbated. One young sparky fella decides ‘Nooit‘, and stands up from mid-queue and takes on a marshalling role. “NEXT NEXT NEXT” he shouts the second someone leaves a hatch beckoning the next person in line. He gets things moving much faster and gets encouragement, laughter and applause from the assembled masses. When eventually his place in the queue arrives and its his turn to be served he gets a big cheer, and when finished he turns around with a huge grin and wishes us a good night here! He gets a cheerful send-off, and then things lapse back to the pathetic, glum pace before he took charge! It takes a while before someone else steps into his role, but not nearly as effectively.

Finally it’s my turn after nearly four hours, most on a hard wooden bench. It’s after 5pm and bless ’em, they’re still there – down to only two open hatches by now, mind you. The very polite lady takes my money, checks the date and says: “Your licence has already expired, would you like to buy a temporary licence?” Naah, I say, I’ll just wait for my new one. “Fine”, she says, “But I should tell you you might not be covered by your insurance if something should happen”. Um, how much? “R156”. I’ll take it. Thanks for telling me, I appreciate your concern.

End of an interesting day at the licencing office! Don’t forget to take your newspaper and munchies when its your turn!

Postscript:

It’s one month later and I’m driving in Cato Manor when WHUMP! I get hit right up the exhaustpipe by a goofed oke in a home-made sawn-off “convertible”. He stumbles out and grins at me. He has no driver’s licence, the car is not licenced, he has no insurance and no job. He takes full responsibility and chunes me I must let him take my car to his mates who can straighten it out. I think if that was true they’d have straightened you out, china. A nearby carguard sidles over from a used car lot and says he saw it all if I need a witness, asks for my cell number. Later he phones asking for a job.

The repair runs to R27 000 and the very first thing my insurance asked for was my licence!

That beautiful very polite lady at Rossburgh saved me a whole lotta drama and pain with her temporary licence! Thank you again, ma’am! Above and beyond!

~~~oo0oo~~~

chunes – tells; says; informs; from ‘tunes’; also choons;

jis a munnymaking rakkit – just a money-making racket; a whinge;

injun oke – forefathers were from India or Pakistan;

Batho Pele – Wouldn’t dream of chooning you grief; or People First;

bosberaad or indaba – frequent retreats where brainstorming is done at great expense in luxury surroundings; plans are made, lo-ong mission statements are crafted and then ignored; mission statements almost always include the words ‘forward’ and ‘together’; the success of the indabas is rated only on the standard of the catering;

nooit – never; no way; can’t be;