Starting to Crack

Wednesday was a hopeful day, and I thought I found our new flat and started planning my life -sort of- around it.

Today was a terrible day in contrast. I am stuck with a proofreading job, part of a translation that I already did last month and got paid for. It should only take one or two passes with an experienced layout artist but I am dealing with a rookie, and she is driving me around the bend. I have been trying to work with her for about two weeks now and there is very little progress, so I finally decided that perhaps it is good to try and do the job myself and embarked on a downloading half a dozen of trial software, using up my internet bandwidth and purchasing extra. I feel sick just thinking about the bill that I will get next month for my usage. This in addition to the upcoming bills of moving and admin related to rent.

Lastly when I called the property management company to enquire about the lease for the apartment I viewed, one of the workers there gave me lip and retorted that I was “not a good tennant” because I argued that they should please give me feedback soonest, I do not even know whether I will be getting the flat or not. Life is not easy when you are me.

My place looks like somebody just dumped a truckload of broken toys, dirty dishes and laundry haphazardly everywhere, I am demotivated to no end, and blogging about it to the whole world is not making me feel much better about myself.  Hopefully today is going to be a better day.

Poor Robert has to put up with a grumpy mother today. I feel sorry for the little boy, it is not his fault what is happening right now.

My Home My Castle.. where are you now?

Another erratic week has passed, with rain and floods in the Cape. My life is no less flooded with news, worries and small irritations.

It started last week Monday when Robert had a fever again while at school. He was sleepy and lethargic, and appeared to have problems swallowing. The fever did not break on the next day and I was forced to phone work and simply tell the truth : My child is sick and I cannot take him to day care and therefore cannot come to work.  Before resorting to this I tried Robert’s father but obviously his work is much more important and critical than mine,  so I just have to take whatever management deals me for this since I have no sick days or family days left – or so I believed at the time.

Robert improved ever so slightly on the next day, mercifully an off day from work for me,  and I decided that we tough it out this time and do not run to the doctor, which proved to be the correct decision in this case since he was well enough for school on Thursday, although I took precaution and gave him a dose of fever medicine before school on the day.

My troubles for the week though were not over because last week I also received notice to vacate my flat, by latest August 31st. This came as unwelcome shock for me, even though I hate many things about my current place, mainly its dilapidated general state, filthy carpet, pealing paint and leaking plumbing, but I am the kind of person who puts up with a lot of inconvenience and I do not particularly care for major changes and upheavals in my life. No, I am not a mover and a shaker and I HATE moving with a passion. This will be the fifth time I move since I came to Cape Town in 2005, and that is too much for anyone.  It is even too much for me because I only moved a dozen times in my adult life.

Small consolation for me is that the whole block has been served notice, on the pretext of major renovation to the building. The place does look shabby even on the outside and there is no denying the need for a major facelift, and some serious maintenance, but the timing is very unfortunate, for me that is. For the landlord it is probably just right to get the whole place done up and ready to be rented out during the World Cup.

I am starting to think that this whole World Cup thing is a curse for us bottom feeders, and regular citizens.  Everyone with a little stake in this city thinks that the World Cup will be their chance to make a fortune.  Not only landlords are licking their lips, taxi drivers are also starting to flex their muscles, unhappy about the public transport system which will start running in 2010, since they expect that it will take a chunk out of their profits. Workers Unions are exploiting the opportunity as well, and pressurizing construction workers into a strike that has hampered the construction work at the Green Point Stadium. Of course the workers are normally unwilling participants in such actions, but do not dare to go against the unions and the threats from more belligerent members.

I was euphoric many years ago when South Africa won the bid for hosting this World Cup, but now I am beginning to think that the best thing that can happen to me personally is for this spectacle to move elsewhere.  The properties will be selling like crazy, rents will be cheap, transport will not increase in price and my city will be my own again. Now I feel like I am being squeezed out for some wealthy foreigner who will take my apartment, and maybe even sleep in my bed when I am on the streets. Yes, this is over-dramatizing the situation, but I am a wee bit paranoid about being homeless.

Ah well, tomorrow I am going on my first -probably of many- flat-viewing errands, I hope that this time Robert and I will get to stay in the same place for two years at least. I want to move as soon as possible and will not wait until the end of next month if I can help it, because I do not want Robert to spend another birthday in the chaos of moving.

On a happier note, today is Bastille Day, my father’s birthday : Happy Birthday Dad, and thank you for being a great father and role model. I am trying to emulate you as best as I can.

Counting the Pennies

I think I am paying too much rent, among my other many problems. When I mentioned an ad hock amount to my friend, I was still in a generous mood, and calculated on the base of an all inclusive rate. Now it comes out that I have to subsidize half of the water and electricity as well. I am already paying for my son’s babysitting and contributing my half share towards the cleaning. My generosity and tolerance are slowly reaching their limits as my limited resources dry up.
I collected my payslip from work today, and I was dismayed again at how little I get paid working part time. My deduction have skyrocketed since my company is trying to recover the salary they paid me by mistake when I was supposed to be on unpaid leave.

Now I am calculating and recalculating again my budget and wondering how the heck my son and I are supposed to manage on around R 900.00 a month for our groceries and supplies. I already suspect that we would pay much less if we were living on our own. I am not a cheapskate but I am very frugal and careful in my use of resources. I do not waste toilet paper, toothpaste, electricity or water. My house mistress on the other hand has grown up in a wealthy household and does not bother watching things like that. Now it is up to me to shoulder part of her extravagance.  Buying groceries is yet another matter. I am always intensely aware of what I buy and consume and never touch what is not mine. My house mistress in contrast is forgetful and digs in into my groceries, assuming they are hers, and forgetting that she used up whatever she bought last week. I try to avoid confusion by buying different brands than hers, but it is difficult when both of us regularly hunt for store specials. My focus at the moment is my son’s health and wellbeing. I do not skimp on his formula and cereal. As for me, I now look for the cheapest brands in the shop, I hardly ever buy meat and when I do I cook it into huge bowls of soup to make it go farther.

I am sure Mr. Negativity doesn’t have such concerns. He always was a carnivore of note, cooking a portion of meat every single day to support his monster metabolism. I am resorting to the humble potatoes, beans, and lentils. Luckily during winter time such foods are acceptable. By summertime I hope we will be in our own place.

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