Day 354 – Still locked

I’ve been doing some rudimentary calculations and I reckon that we’re just 9 days away from what many people would call “1 year of lockdown”. Sure, when we first started there was a lot more locking down than there is now. We weren’t allowed to go out at all. Now, we’re not allowed to go out between midnight and 4am. But the State of Disaster in this often Disastrous State is still in force and will continue to be for at least another month (and obviously waaaay beyond that, too). Everyone is fully expecting a third wave of infections here, probably around May or June. And despite the government’s best promises, I’m not confident of getting a vaccination much before the end of the year. And that’s hugely optimistic, according to this useful tool.

It’s a gloomy picture, exacerbated by the miserable weather today, the horrendous traffic (ironically brought about by the easing of lockdown) and by the return of loadshedding which popped in last week to say hi and has decided to stay until at least Wednesday. So, amidst the rain, the jams, the infections and the lack of electricity, it is – once again – amazing to me that this country continues to… well… to continue continuing.

Well. Mostly, anyway. I’ve just taken a call from the place that is servicing my car today to tell me that they can’t do any wheel alignments (I wanted four done) (or one big one) until they get their wheel alignment machine mended because loadshedding has broken it.
Frustrating.

But my major issue is still the amount that we are contributing to the economy via this new house. A blocked drain and a leaking pipe are today’s exciting events. The plumbers are digging through bathroom walls and trying to break as few tiles as possible, but due to the terrible way that the original pipework was installed, that’s no easy task.

Right. Let me go and see how they are getting on with their work.
After all, it’s not like there’s any rush to go and fetch the car or get a vaccination, is it?

Day 349 – Rain and a new editor

I’m trying to be positive about this house we’ve bought in this strange but beautiful little enclave of the Southern Suburbs (which really isn’t like Royston Vasey) (or at least that’s what I keep trying to convince myself).

One day, it will be a great home – and I know that it’s really early days – but the constant setbacks and extra invoices that they seem to unerringly generate, well, they’re getting me down a little.

Today was the first day of rain since we’ve moved here; the first day of real rain this year, I think (the first 69 days of this year seem to have whistled past without generating any significant meteorological memories). Its imminent arrival meant that the pool guys had to abandon their work early yesterday, and thus we’re left with a partially completed, partially filled pool at the moment. Hopefully things improve enough for them to be back tomorrow to finish the job.
That’s going to look really good.

I spent a lot of the morning finding leaking roofs and windows. Seven in total, and only two really bad ones, but that’s seven (and two) too many. Let’s be nice and not talk about the legalities of disclosure. On the positive side, I guess that this early, single cold front does give us the chance to try to attend to the issues before the proper onset of proper winter. I have a feeling that I’m going be up ladders for much of the remainder of the week. But things need to dry out before I can start chucking waterproofing chemicals around.

Lastly, away from all this house stuff, I’m finally giving WordPress’ Block Editor a go, dragging myself kicking and screaming into the 21st century. If you’re reading this and words in all order are, then it would seem that I have mastered it already. Intuitive UI FTW!

Day 348 – Pool

We’re having some work done on the pool today. Actually quite a lot of work. The whole thing is being resurfaced. Just another expense that we weren’t anticipating when we moved here.

It might not seem like an important thing, but the old pool surface was wearing thin and was cracked and damaged. Not only did this mean that it was very likely to start leaking at some point in the very near future, it also made it wholly unusable because there were microscopic fragments of fibreglass floating about in the water and that can (quite literally) be quite irritating.

Itchy. Very itchy.

The work on the pool today started early: just after 7am. We’ve had to apologise to our new neighbours for the rather noisy, early start. The problem is that working outdoors in Cape Town in early March wouldn’t usually be a problem weather-wise, but there is an unseasonal cold front on the way in later today. Ideally, you’d want completely dry and windless conditions to resurface a pool, and so they’re rushing to finish a bit ahead of the forecast rain this evening. It is already blowing a gale though, but I guess we’re just choosing to overlook that inconvenience.

Hmm.

Between gusts, there’s a heady mix of volatile solvents drifting around the property. I can literally float to the kitchen to grab a coffee, but I daren’t light the gas while I’m there, such is the likely flammability of the air here right now. And I wouldn’t want to upset all the little pixies riding their unicorns around in the living room.

Jeez, that stuff is strong.

I’ll give you a before and after at some stage soon. Of the pool, not the pixies.

Day 344 – Wise move

The new house continues to be made better (IMHO, at least) bit by bit.
Fridge plumbed in yesterday. Electrics and plumbing being sorted on Monday. Pool on Tuesday.

But better costs money and so whenever you can save a bit, you do your best to save a bit.
Sometimes you have to spend a bit to save a bit (more) and that’s exactly what I did today, by getting a Geyserwise installed.

Here’s their website.

We had one of these at our last place and it paid for itself inside 6 weeks.

A quick explanation. Your geyser is your water heater and generally in South African houses, it’s in your loft and it’s on 24/7. This is great for when you want a quick shower at unusual o’clock, but it does cost an awful lot to repeatedly heat a couple of hundred litres of water that you’re probably never going to use.

Sure, you have a thermostat on the geyser, but that’s often very awkward to get to if you want to change it, and sure you can put a timer on your electrical distribution board, but that’s often very awkward to get to if you want to change it.

Geyserwise is simply both those things on a handy digital panel tucked in a cupboard on the landing. So our water is now heated for 2 hours each day instead of 24, and to 55ºC instead of 75. And if we ever need to change those times, that temperature, or simply override it because the beagle has rolled in some more mud and we need a quick blast of hot water for an unplanned bath, it’s a simple press of a button.

Absolute no-brainer.

Our Geyserwise was installed by Kozanai from Mudi Plumbing Services: 078 999 1893. He was quick, friendly and efficient. Thoroughly recommended.

R1550 all done. We’ll have recouped that and be saving money before the end of April.

Day 329 – Decisions; consequences

I’m at a well-known trampoline park in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town. I come here each week to have a coffee while I watch the boy at training. I’d usually be here on a Tuesday, but this trampoline park is no longer open on a Tuesday, because no-one comes here much anymore, because of Covid.

That they have cut three days from their opening times demonstrates just how bad things are and how much the pandemic has affected everything around us.

Of course, this also has huge implications for the staff here. They’ve likely lost 42.9% of their income. And that’s crap.

But…

We’d be out of this pandemic more quickly if people wore masks and washed hands and kept their distance from one another. No-one – including most of the staff – is doing those things here. And I’m not saying that this is the only place that is ignoring the sensible advice, but it’s certainly one of them.

You’d think that they would want to try anything to make things better: to demonstrate best practice and encourage the bouncers back in safety, and to do their little bit to end this global shitshow just a little bit sooner.

They’ve made the decision not to bother, though. And I have to wonder just how long this place will survive…