Day 464 – Nightmare on our street

(with apologies to Freddy Kruger)

The recent stormy weather has raised a number of issues with the (still new) (to us) house to the top of the “Oh Shit” list. Chief amongst these was the few hundred litres of water that poured into our living room the other night. But that’s only brought more problems to light: damaged guttering (when the insurance-provided contractors took down the waterlogged ceiling), which will need to be replaced before they replace the ceiling. Things are still very wet, despite our best efforts to dry them up using a dehumidifier, the fireplace on full blast, and the beagle as a big sponge.

The season being what it is, it looks like we’re in for a long wait before the waterproofing team can come and charge us lots of money to make things better. But we don’t really have any choice on the delay or the cash.

Add to that a bit of a disaster when refitting a light switch after a painting job (we now need an electrician), and a new n thousaand Rand more quote from the flooring guy because the existing floor is such a state and you’ll perhaps understand why I am tolerating this new place at the moment, rather than enjoying it.

We’ll get there, but I do wonder how many more problems we’re likely to encounter before we actually arrive.

Day 455 – Bar

Here’s the latest new addition to the house, bought second hand from beyond the Boerewors Curtain and successfully heaved (almost) into place this evening.

OK, let’s start with the disclaimers. Cellphone shot, lighting needs work, bookshelf needs moving, fridge needs moving (we’ve got an old undercounter one for under the counter), and we need better barstools. At least, more than one.

But it’s a good start, and we can sort all those things out. Because on the plus side, this was a big chunk of our plan for the Games Room/Bar, and I can really see it coming together now.

It’ll be great… if we’re ever allowed to have parties again.

Day 439 – Leak

Another leaking water pipe. Our severalth since we moved not even four months ago. It’s a worrying trend.

This one is behind the wall in the garage. I know that it’s leaking because I can see the water coming through the wall into the garage and I can hear the water leaking and dripping behind the wall. We called the insurance company and they got a plumber round here this morning. I showed him where the leak was behind the wall in the garage, showed him the water coming through the wall, and we both listened and heard the water leaking and dripping behind the wall. He nodded sagely and agreed that there was a leaking pipe behind the wall in the garage.

He had a very fancy setup whereby he pumped a mix of hydrogen and nitrogen into the pipework, and then used a very fancy toy to detect where any of the gas was coming out of the pipework.

Just ten short minutes later, he had deduced that there was a leaking pipe behind the wall in the garage.

Incredible stuff.

It’s still leaking. Mainly behind the wall in the garage.
He’s going to send someone to fix it tomorrow.

Day 400 – Marking milestones

It’s 400 days since SA embarked on its Coronavirus lockdown. Back then, we weren’t even allowed out of our property.
Since that day, we’ve been through two fairly horrendous waves of Covid-19, several alcohol and smoking bans, beach restrictions, economic disaster, and a stuttering, non-starting vaccination programme. Currently, our R number – marking the progress and pace (or not) of viral infections in the country – is sitting at 1.03, meaning that we’re ever so very slightly on the wrong side of where we’d like to be, but equally, that things aren’t nearly as terrible as they have been or could be. And that R number is currently being fuelled by minor outbreaks in the Northern Cape and the Free State. Touch wood, with the major centres doing ok at the moment, we’re still not seeing any sign of the expected Third Wave. Long may it continue.

Which does make one wonder why there’s still a midnight to 4am curfew.
Not that I had any plans for that particular period.
Other than sleeping.
Which is allowed.

Another milestone today: our wedding anniversary. The day each year when I sit back and reflect upon just why Mrs 6000, very much of Champions League standard, is still happily existing in my Sheffield & Hallamshire County Senior League Second Division company. I’ve no idea either, but I’m very happy that she still seems content with my muddy, clod-hopping, somewhat makeshift agricultural style. Not much skill, but a whole lot of effort. As the actress said to the Bishop.
We’re going out to celebrate at a very good restaurant this evening.
But we’ll be back before midnight, Cyril. I promise.

I have spent much of the day painting. Not in any artistic sense, more in the “I’m not old enough for this Antique Cream to seem anywhere near acceptable in my house” sense.
I’m obliterating it all with brilliant white. Or rather, I was, until I ran out of paint. Very frustrating.

Soundtrack to my endeavours was provided by The Streets. I went for their Spotify catalogue, which has loads of live stuff, remixes and collaborations. Really nice trip (no pun intended) down memory lane, and one which culminated in me singing Fit But You Know It to the somewhat bewildered beagle.

A proper highlight of a milestone day for all concerned.

Day 392 – More great customer service /s

Where /s = sarcasm. (For the uninitiated.)

Ah. South African customer service. It’s crap.

Our last major project for the moment is getting a fireplace put into the new house. We had a fireplace at our old house and it was one of the Best Things Ever. The beagle liked lying in front of it. And winter is coming, and I have a sneaky suspicion that the old, rattly windows on this place will stop the cold North Wester with the same efficacy as a colander. It’s a no brainer.

The fireplace is being installed today.

But obviously, it’s not. Did you not read the title and the first line?

I’d set aside time for the fireplace to be installed today and Mrs 6000 was staying home from the office to make sure that everyone was happy with where the fireplace was going to stand, because it weighs 135kg and once you’ve put it down and popped the flue through the roof, it ain’t moving. Ever.

I emailed the sales guy earlier in the week to check what time they were coming today. He didn’t reply. This should have been a bit of a red flag, because look, he always got back to me pretty quickly when he wanted me to buy the fireplace. But now that he has my hefty deposit, it seems that simple manners and common decency have left the building and eloped to the Free State (or somewhere equally distant).

So it’s me doing the chasing but he still won’t take my calls. Eventually, his PA has to do the dirty work, informing me without any hint of an apology that our unit wasn’t in the first container that they unloaded. First off, that really doesn’t make everything alright. But on the plus side, it does suggest the existence of a second container that might have been unloaded.
So, ok: there’s still hope. And… was it in the second container?
They don’t know.
And they don’t know because the second container is still on a boat and won’t even be in Cape Town for another 2½ weeks.

Good job I checked, hey?

Thing is, I could have got this job done by someone else and we could have a fireplace this morning. But we put our faith in this particular company because they’re local, they’re established and well-known and, well, you don’t survive for that long by being rubbish at doing literally the only thing that you do, right?

Right?

So we have to wait another three weeks for our fireplace, which isn’t the end of the world, but there are couple of things that have irked me. The guy not having the decency or the courage to call me is one of them. That’s so weak. Remember the mantra?

Mistakes happen. It’s how you deal with them that makes the difference.

This mistake was not dealt with at all, let alone well.

The other is more practical. I paid the 70% deposit (it’s a serious sum of money) safe in the knowledge that my fire would be installed 9 days later. Hasn’t happened. And so instead of sitting in my account, that deposit gets another 3 weeks earning interest* for his company, even though they’ve done bugger all. And sure, if they’d come and installed the fireplace today, then that 70% – and the other 30% – would be obviously be doing the same thing. I’m not expecting never to pay them any money.

BUT I WOULD HAVE A FIREPLACE!

So now we wait. And wait. And wait. And we sit on our hands and we smile sweetly. Because we’re stuck with them and you don’t crap on your own doorstep.
But there will be another check in a couple of weeks time, just to remind them. And there will be an appropriate review and a terse email once the unit is in. Because no matter how perfectly they do the job when they do the job, no matter how nice the specialist installation guys are and no matter how good it looks, they can’t earn my 5 stars or my respect back.

Don’t buy a fireplace in Cape Town without talking to me first. I can’t tell you where to go, but I can tell you where to avoid.

* Significant sum of money in a savings account with SA interest rates – it makes a difference.