My husband bought a house at an auction in December 2011. Coming from a townhouse everything scaled up. More packing space, more yard/garden, more entertainment areas and obviously more problems.
Here is a small collection of new house problems we encountered:
Problem #1 Security (electronic)
If there is anything you need to know about a Paradox alarm system, my husband will reluctantly assist. Alarm system knowledge can not be read in a manual or online, it is an elite skill passed on from one alarm expert to another. A few false alarms at 3 o’clock in the morning will also teach you a thing or two.
Problem #2 Security (biological)
We had to erect several new fences, not to keep the bad-guys out, but to keep our dogs in. It seems our dogs thought more yard/garden meant no fences.
Problem #3 Old Faithful
Our 200L 19-something geyser decided to burst, leaving our bathroom ceiling looking like we were meth-cooks hiding bodies. Old faithful also flooded my bedroom and ate up my OUTbonus (Receive 10% of your insurance premiums back after three claim-free years). I had two weeks left before that puppy paid out.
Problem #4 Traffic
My new house is 35km from where I work. I total 70km of Joburg traffic every day.
Problem #5 No more holidays
Obviously when you invest in a house, all your pennies go towards your new home. No more scuba diving in Sodwana, No more visits to the Kruger. The new house clipped my wings.
I have never been a runner. I did not do track in school and I did not run for fun. I felt running was for stupid people. Those people who ran in the rain, or on the coldest of winter mornings were just plain dumb. Even though I bashed it, I knew it was the fastest way to get fit.
I was convinced that I couldn’t run. Every time I had tried to run, I would end up looking like a red, huffing fool after a few hundred meters. I believed you had to be born to run… until I read a book by Christopher McDougall – Born to Run. (Thanks Stephen)
It was mid March, and I decided that I wanted to get fit (Nothing serious, just less wobbly) and out of the house.
I put on an old pair of trainers that I had bought in 2003, a t-shirt and some grey melange track pants. I was NOT looking the part, I was not feeling the part, and after completing 1,2km I felt like dying. I coughed for two hours afterwards and I was in a tremendous amount of pain for two days. I attempted that same route twice a week until I got flu in May. Something very weird happened – I was afraid that I would lose my fitness level. I wasn’t loving running yet, but that 1,2km wasn’t killing me anymore.
June came, and a friend of mine entered a group of us into the 5km Rhino Relay. I was by no means ready for this, but went anyway. I sucked… A LOT! But I finished and got a medal. (Thanks Candice & Mari)
The medal made me happy, and I told the runner folks at work about it. One of them suggested I do a trail run at Palindaba. They sold it as a 5km run, that was less commercial than the road runs. It would be fun they said… (Thanks Stephen)
Again, I NEARLY DIED. 6,78km of steep rocky hell.
But oh, the beauty! Spectacular seamless views of pure South African nature. I felt free. This is where my love of running started. I bought a pair of New Balance 310 trail shoes, a pair of serious tights and started training for more trails.
I finished 9 trail runs after that. After every trail I felt even more motivated to ‘up’ the kilometers. The warm hills made me want to sing like Julie Andrews. The refreshing cold streams, the wild flowers and the wild animals made me feel like I had my wings back.
November came, and the inevitable big question popped up. The one beginner-runner question to rule them all, and in the darkness bind them: “When may I call myself a runner, because I don’t feel like I deserve to do that yet.” Someone convinced me I had to run a half marathon, and a few days later I was entered into the Dis-Chem Half Marathon. (Thanks Stephen & Richie)
I totaled 110km in December. I’m training for something that is 20 times as far as I thought I would ever run or need to run. I am now one of those ‘stupid’ people that run in the rain. I hate saying that I do not have time for things, but being a mom and wife, working 35km away from home, I seriously do not have time to join a running club. I’ve been very fortunate to be able to do my short runs at one of the companies I work for. (Thanks World of Golf)
This is 2013. I’m scared. I don’t know if I’m ready for a 21,7km road race. It sure is a heck of a far distance to run away from new house problems. ;P
As a South African, I was close to tears with utter excitement when Chad le Clos, stunned Michael Phelps in the 200-metre butterfly to win Olympic gold by 0.05 seconds. It was a moment that South Africans could watch over and over again. I wanted to share this moment with my dad. He had predicted the South African swimmers would fair well in the Olympics, and I thought he might appreciate Chad’s victory even more than I did.
Sharing information in today’s age is usually a click away. But I, and most probably a heap of other people in the world accessing the BBC, NBC or any Olympic streaming website, was fairly annoyed by the following message: “Cannot play media. Sorry, this media is not available in your territory.”
The BBC is not allowed, The Guardian reports, to broadcast “anything online outside the UK from the Olympic Park or other Olympic venues.” That includes radio shows broadcast from these venues. I thought the BBC was global news brand? Well clearly not: “As the official Olympic Broadcaster in the UK, the BBC geo-blocks its online content, so that video and audio streams are not available to audiences outside the UK.”
TechCrunch had an interesting post on how the sales of UK VPN’s spiked just before the Olympics kicked off. For all the normal, less technically inclined people out there, a VPN would give you a UK IP address and with that, users can visit the BBC’s site, as if they were in the UK. All the online Olympic goodness would be just a click away.
My initial shock and horror, when I got denied access to a video of our medal winner, most probably occurred because I am a bit of an information brat. South Africa has fairly loose media morals, we don’t restrict internet activity like China, Iran, North Korea and the Emirates. The online-world and its wealth of information, is available to all with internet access. I started investigating other media locations. YouTube was filled with Olympic videos that had been removed because they violated copyright.
The more time I spent on finding a videoclip of our brand new Olympic rock star Chad le Clos, the more apparent it became that the IOC had paid a lot of people, to make sure the 2012 Olympics the most antiviral thing on the internet.
I find this so unusual, and completely counter productive. I don’t think the IOC will lose a tremendous amount of money by streaming a time delayed channel or two somewhere. One up! They can make even more money by selling ad-space on their delayed streaming channels. Something like this YouTube channel would be great, if it wasn’t geo-blocked.
Am I the only one totally confused by the logic in geo-blocking an event as big as the Olympics?
Someone asked me the other day what my favourite Beatles song was. Picking a favourite Beatles song to me, is like picking a favourite colour, near impossible. I find too many variables in both situations, like application and emotion. I told this someone I would give them a list of my top 20, and wow, this still proved tricky. I have 5+ songs on reserves that didn’t make the cut, that’s haunting me… Anyhoo here goes:
For No One (Revolver)
Fool on the hill (Magical Mystery Tour)
Let it Be (Let it be)
Drive my car (Rubber Soul)
Here There and Everywhere (Revolver)
I want you (Abbey Road)
Michelle (Rubber Soul)
Hey Jude (Hey Jude)
I’m only sleeping (Revolver)
Come together (Abbey Road)
Across the universe (Let it Be)
Something (Abbey Road)
Norwegian wood (Rubber Soul)
Blackbird (The White Album)
Girl (Rubber Soul)
Tomorrow Never Knows (Revolver)
Eleanor Rigby (Revolver)
Because (Abbey Road)
While My Guitar Gently Weeps (The White Album)
Any guesses on my 5 reserve songs?
So, I’ve heard a few motivational speakers in my life, or read the odd motivational blog on “how to be a great manager.” And I have found that they have a few theories that I don’t quite agree with. One of them really irks me…
They have this thing that they preach, which goes something like this: “We are all born equal.” Genetics or talent does not exist and has no effect on success. Everyone can be a professional athlete if they choose to do so.”
I don’t know if they’re inspired by the Declaration of Independence – “All men are created equal” (Which I think is fair when you’re talking about basic “human rights” or the law), or if they’re preaching a false sense of equality as a security blanket for stupid people, because a positive outlook improves productivity and stimulates the part of you that wants to succeed?
Surely all this ego-stroking would make people inflate their self value. And if everyone is special and equal… surely no-one is really special then?
Are we born with talent or do we eschew the averaging effects of socialisation and hang onto that which we all are given? If Inborn talent is a real thing, and the effects of education is real too, surely the key, then, is to know your own talent and then milk it for all that it’s worth. Right?
Are we afraid of excelling, or are we afraid of insulting people by having a genetic advantage in/on certain things? I do not mean this in a generalising/racist, dodgy kind of way. I believe some people are born with business skills, some people are born athletes, some people are born artists. I believe your life is made up of choices. You can do anything you put your mind to, but if it is not one of your talents, you will not necessarily be the best at it.
Do you believe in talent?
I am someone who gets lost in a fantasy book. I’m the type of girl that absolutely loves any space opera. I love games, scuba and almost anything that helps me break away from the real world. I love getting lost in worlds that do not exist, or worlds that are not accessible to everyone.
The red planet, filled with winged-rangers armed to the teeth with heart shaped arrows, petrifies me however. It’s scarier than Morgoth or any Romulan. I think it’s a day filled with expectations, and expectation breeds disappointment. Being an antivalentine is just one of my many idiosyncrasies.
I’m not alone in my antivalentinism. There are so many dark and twisties out there, hatin’ today in unison, all having their own special reasons:
1.) It’s a money making racket. It’s a commercialized cabal between greeting card companies, florists, jewelers and chocolatiers.
2.) It’s a day that our screwed up fairytale upbringing forces us to find a mate, to appear normal.
3.) Everyday should be a day to spoil your spouse. Rather go to an empty restaurant on the 15th?
4.) It’s a day of expectations, and not love.
5.) It makes me feel even lonelier than I actually am. Happy being single awareness day. Down with Couple-talism!
6.) I’m always the only one trying to make the day special.
7.) It puts too much pressure on men. It’s the middle of the damn month, how do you impress someone with this bank balance?
8.) It makes women seem cheap. You buy their affection with endless gifts.
9.) Only the pretty girls/ jocks had secret admirers/stalkers in school.
10.) I hate roses.
Whatever your reasons, this day of hurling chocolate hearts only lasts one day. It makes some people break away from the real world, and for the rest of us, it makes the real world even more real…
Valentines day freaks – Do Less.
How it always starts: “I need more space [Living, Storing, Packing, Gardening, etc.]“
Initially you just browse around… Later, it becomes a small obsession. You scour every single corner of the internet for a new home. Property listings becomes you.
Finding “the one” completes you. You don’t see the truckloads of money, broken security gates, paint chipping off the walls or wasp infestations. You see your unborn children and puppies frolicking in the halls and garden. Every problem you encounter, makes you feel alive. You take each project on with a sparkle in your eye, and a jump in your step.
My new house encounter was a tad different:
My husband goes to property auctions weekly. His main focus: Townhouses. He buys and sells them to make a little profit on the side. Last year November, he mentioned that if he saw a house for a good price, he would bid on it. Not to resell, but for us to live in. I was interested, but skeptical, because I know a lot of things can happen at these auctions. Banks pull properties out of auctions, because families come up with the money, or because they miraculously sell them before the auction. Sometimes they even bid on their own properties.
Every Sunday afternoon, we would drive around and look at properties that were on the Sheriff’s list. I saw one or two houses that I fancied, but nothing ever came of it…
We were planning a scuba holiday for December, so we didn’t go on our usual drive that Sunday. The Next Friday, while I was sitting at my desk at work, I received the following sms:
“Hey, we have just bought a house. I’ll phone you later.”
I didn’t have the address, area, anything to spy on my own house. I had a tiny little meltdown. Emotionally I was hopping between black widow to extreme excitement.
My husband phoned me an hour after that. All I wanted was the address. Knowing my Googling intentions, my husband gave it to me and warned me that the Google pics were taken in the good old days. The house needed some TLC.
That afternoon, I saw our house for the first time. It was a 5 bedroom house with a granny flat.
It needed some TLC.
We have apocalyptic threats more often than not. 2012.12.21 marks the end of the Mayan long count calendar. So before the Vogons get here, and everyone gets their new age panties in a knot, lets all take a deep breath…
It’s a new year, a fresh start. Do your best. Live life. Change the world rather than worry about how it’s going to end. Build a legacy.
Andy Dufresne said it best: “Get busy living, or get busy dying.“
Own 2012! *evil grin* While you still can…