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Plotting the best course to Home Affairs

I seriously need to get to Home Affairs. I’ve been putting it off since March, but I’m tired of hanging around in between names. On Monday I got really fed up so I went to have photos taken.

The old me would have made sure my hair was styled, the makeup was on etc…so naturally I went there with my hair in a bun on top with the obstinate small hairs quickly flattened with my fingers, along with a slick of lip gloss. Yay for being super chilled and not stressing anymore!

Now that I’ve got those, the only thing left is to go to Home Affairs. Problem is, only select ones are open on a Saturday (and not every Saturday, mind you) and the information on the internet is often outdated, so you have to phone them to make sure of their opening times for that week. Yet they very rarely answer the phones…

I thought about taking leave to go sort it out, but then HR went ahead and deducted the shutdown period leave (3 weeks!) so now I’m technically in minus days until Dec, which means I can’t take more leave 😥

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I won something for the first time ever!

This popped up in my twitter feed on Wednesday

So I did this

Then this happened

That’s how I ended up on the Nasdak last night with my go-to friend for nonsense and relaxation.

A lame panoramic photo taking with the weakass camera on my stupid phone. Does not do the view justice at all.

A lame panoramic photo taking with the weakass camera on my stupid phone. Does not do the view justice at all.

The Nasdak is a very chilled place to hang out, although the bar requires some restocking (seriously, how can you not have crushed ice when you know you are having an event). That aside, Chad and team gave an excellent performance – I really loved the stripped down versions of his songs. It was very interesting to people-watch as well.

Thanks to Spree for the tickets!

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The following distance: A revisit

I wrote this post over three years ago. The tone is ranty – no doubt I wrote it after some incident on the roads – but sadly the topic is still on point. Arrive Alive recommends a 2 – 3 second following distance as the bare minimum, increasing to at least 5 – 6 seconds during adverse road conditions when it rains.

I don’t think they realise that I would never make it home on time if I allowed that following distance. Certainly not in traffic – if you are not literally on the bumper of the car in front of you at all times, someone is going to turn their car into the 1/2 car gap you’ve left and force themselves in.

Even under “normal” road traffic conditions, it is unsafe to allow this following distance, particularly at off-ramps. As you are indicating and turning onto the off-ramp, someone is going to come from the fast lane, cross the solid barrier line and chip in next to you on the off-ramp. He (because without a shadow of a doubt, it will be a he) will probably have his indicator on though, because that seems to be the only time people use their indicators anymore.

We’re supposed to report bad driving because traffic officers can’t be everywhere. The other day, I watched a traffic cop sitting in his car, waiting two cars behind a taxi that had stopped in the left lane to pick up passengers. Why didn’t the traffic cop get out of his car and reprimand the driver for obstructing traffic?

Was he:

  • Afraid the taxi driver would shoot him?
  • Scared the passengers would shout out the windows at him for making them late?
  • Terrified that other drivers would get irritated that he was adding to the road obstruction?
  • Filled with apathy and laziness?

Who knows?

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Daily routines

I’m having a hard time adjusting to our new daily routine. When I worked in Century City, I lived 18kms away. Leaving the house at 05:55, it took me roughly 20 minutes to get to work (and to one of the limited free parking spots on the premises). Leaving at 15:40 in the afternoon ensured that I would get home within 30 minutes max.

Now, we live 36km from my workplace. We leave home at 05:35 so that my husband can get off in Goodwood at 06:05, and that I can reach work at 06:40. We try to minimise my driving as much as possible because of my knee, but this is as good as it gets. We used to leave at 05:40 but one day I sat for 15 minutes on a bridge on-ramp that is literally 500m (I measured) and I just, refused.

I leave my desk at 15:42 so that I can pull out of the parking garage at 15:49. This is because in the afternoon I have to take the lift down 5 floors, walk up the ramp 1 floor and across the garage since of course my spot is on the opposite side. I then circle down 7 floors to get out of the garage and join the CBD traffic. After nipping around the N1, I reach my husband at about 16:21.

I then wait until he comes out at 16:34, and he drives us to gym. We arrive at 16:48, and leave gym at 18:15. After going through traffic on Voortrekker Road, we arrive home at 18:45. I prepare the food (warmed up from the weekend/freezer or dished from the slow cooker) so we can finish eating by 19:15. My husband then washes the dishes while I do my hair/prep the food for the lunch the next day.

By 8pm I sit down to study while he cleans/reads/researches, and by 21:30 we are sleeping. We actually only spend about 3 hours in the evening “living” in the house. I lose 2 hours to traffic every day. I have no desire at all to study when we get home. I just feel like there must be a better way to do things.

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It’s my 27th birthday

After I went through my QLC two years ago, I have been treated like my age. People always call me ma’am now, and I’m now referred to as “mama” by the petrol guys instead of “sisi”.

In my head though, I’m still 21. I don’t know why, but that’s the last age that got fixed in my brain. When people have asked me my age since then, I automatically think 21, before counting forward to my actual age.

It’s not that I think I look 21 or anything – I definitely do not, although most people guess that I am about 3 years younger than I really am. I guess I looked forward to 21 so much that any birthday that has come afterwards has been “meh”.

Again, it’s not like I had a blowout party for my 21st (I actively campaigned to not have a party), so that number is just sitting there in my mind, causing me to seem a bit slow when I can’t give my age immediately.

I’m celebrating today by going to work (bleurgh), getting my hair done afterwards (argh) and meeting the SO for supper (😍).

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Traffic is the pits

I left work today 7 minutes later, and was rewarded with an extra 21 minutes in traffic, taking my trip home from 32 minutes to 53 minutes (without traffic the trip is 16 minutes). No wonder people are maniacs on the road – this kind of lifestyle is not worth living.

It’s why I do everything in my power to avoid traffic. When I came home, I had to lie down, which I have not done in over a year. I cannot waste time recovering from traffic in the evenings when I have exercise and my studies to see to (and a house soon enough).

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Thinking about porting to FNB Connect mobile

FNB launched their own MVNO on the Cell C network 3 months ago. I’ve been watching the developments out of the corner of my eye, mainly because my contract with Vodacom is up in 2 months, and also because there haven’t been many developments, really.

People complain a lot about Cell C’s service, but for the 6 months I was with them in 2013 (after finally porting away from Vodacom after 10 years), and before I ported back to Vodacom to get my phone, I had no problems with signal. The prepaid prices were excellent.

FNB Connect Mobile is enticing me because as I’ve mentioned before, I am so over phones. I want to get out of this trap. I have wifi at home and at work, so I only need data for the rare occasions that I am out and about in the City. Even then, I’m most likely with the SO, so I’m not busy on my phone, except to check Whatsapp messages from the family.

Since I’m now at eBucks Level 5 (the view from the top is sweeeeeeeeet), I’ve been enjoying the 15% back in eBucks on prepaid airtime that I buy for the SO. Since his philosophy about phones is identical to mine, I’ve calculated the optimum amount of airtime he needs is R50 per month. Currently on Vodacom, R29 is used for a 30 day 100MB bundle, with the rest of the airtime kept for calls if needed. Most months there is a carry-over of the airtime anyway.

Each prepaid transaction carries a fee of R2.20 if purchased with the credit card. Since all of my monthly spend has to be on the credit card if I want to keep those 4000 reward points, buying the R50 in one transaction at the start of the month makes sense because I get back R7.50 in eBucks on that. If I subtract the R2.20 fee, I’m still ahead R5.30 in eBucks.

Once Vodacom has received my last ransom payment of R438.50, I’m converting to prepaid and porting to FNB Connect, along with the SO. I’ll still be buying R50 a month in airtime, except now I will be getting 40% of my airtime spend back in eBucks.

It’s just a pity that when I popped into a dotFNB the other day, the consultant warned me of issues multiple clients had with porting to the network (one woman’s number apparently took a week to port). I thought that these types of issues would have been sorted out, now that the system has been in operation for 3 months.

He also asked me if I was aware that they use the Cell C network. I had to reassure him that I was indeed aware of that, and I did not have a problem with that fact. I’ll be monitoring the situation for the next 2 months, but I’m pretty sure that I won’t change my mind.