Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Tuesday, 2 March 2004

Jane Digest

I have been tasked with managing a +-R5.5M project. We are right in the middle of Proof of Concept Testing now, so that is keeping me really busy and is quite draining at the moment. We are uncovering all sorts of issues and are still grappling with getting the team dynamics right. I also have a savage and demanding Management Board. I am hoping it will all settle down soon, and become a bit more manageable, as I have been in crisis management mode for quite a few weeks now...

Then, to make things interesting I decided to buy a second house as an investment. Exciting, but quite scary. I have to pay all the transfer and bond fees at the end of this week - and I actually don't have enough money - fun, but I'm hoping I'll make a plan (I have already issued the instruction to cash in my piddley Unit Trust investment), so I am not (visibly) stressing about this yet. We'll see if that changes on Friday morning.

We also had another nasty burglary in January, where we lost Richard's laptop with the debit order application he had written, which was 90% complete, and off course not backed-up, the watch I gave him for Christmas and some other bits and pieces. That got sorted out and claimed for when not 2 weeks later Tiny caught 2 'skollies' trying to grab the door keys through our security gate, which was luckily locked at the time. Thanks to the efficiency of our local police one of the 2 were caught on the scene.

However this prompted me to formally close the Weideman bazaar, and I am no longer prepared to be the local Smash & Carry store. We have had about 6 house thefts now and several other attempts. So I got an alarm installed on Friday, costing another few grand!

My little house will be transferred on 31 March, so I am now in the middle of looking for a suitable tenant. I have had a few enquiries, but nothing concrete yet. Again I am hoping something will fall in place in the next few weeks. I have been intending to handle the lease myself (I have access to the PGP lease agreement *nudge nudge wink wink*) and have already customised my lease agreement but with all the clauses, stamp duty, and generally having to be quite hard with the prospective tenants is a lot to deal with. I think I am too nice and will likely get into a sticky situation. I may just get my rental agent friend to do it as a private deal for me if it gets too much, as we need to get a tenant quickly to help cover my bond repayments. Again, I am trying not to stress about this too much.

Then there's the issue of Richard and I officially being a whole decade older this year with Richard making the step into the big 40 and the big 30 for me. Since we are born 10 years apart - on the same day, and this is our first round number birthday together we would not get away with not having a celebration of some sort. So (horse flu permitting) we are celebrating in style and having our birthday party at the J&B Met this year - or J&R Met as I prefer to call it.
Join us there if you can make it. Although our birthday is actually on April 30, we are having the party on April 3rd because....

My dream is finally coming true, and although all the logistics have not yet been finalised; we are going to Thailand! I have wanted to go there for YEARS now, and have said for years that we
must go away alone as soon as we a) can afford it and b) the kids are old enough. I don't think we'll ever feel convinced that point a) or b) are really met, so we are just going to do it anyway!

Thinking that we could never afford it I started investigating what I thought would be a less ambitious and cheaper option of Mozambique for a holiday, only to find it would cost the same or more! The flights are the biggest expense to Thailand but in Mozambique it seems everything costs US$ which add up quickly. I have managed to find a great package deal to Thailand (Phuket) with flights and 10 nights accommodation, for cheaper than I could find a flight alone on a super-duper discount flight web site. After some investigation I have found that getting by in Thailand is really affordable, especially if you are prepared to rough it a bit - which we are.

So we are going for it, and it will be our birthday present to ourselves and our very belated honeymoon, as we never did have much of a honeymoon, and we really need a chance to reconnect after the hectic years we have had since we got married - 6 years ago.

So the plan is to go for the last 2 weeks of April, travelling via Kuala Lumpur and spending 1 night there before heading to Phuket for the 10-night stay. Because Phuket is pretty commercialised and not the essence of Thailand we would like to forfeit 3 or so of our package nights to venture into Bangkok, and Ayathhaya (old ex capital city with most of the ruins and
temples etc). We can get budget accommodation for 2, at R100 per night WITH breakfast included. It may cost R120 if we want our own en-suite bathroom! Yes, I have seen the website and while it is simple it is clean and safe and that's all we are looking for. We just spent more than that to camp in our own tent!

I have found a fantastic internet discussion group where you can get any advice you need, what to do, where to go, how much to pay, how to avoid being ripped off, where to shop, where to stay etc, I am even getting phonetic phrases so we can attempt some simple communication when we need

We are going at the end of peak season, when it's hot hot hot, and the monsoon season will be just starting, but I reckon people LIVE there so how bad can it be? We'll report back on that one....

We have decided to go alone, as the kids are too young for this kind of trip. I haven't fully worked out what we'll do with them, but for now the best option seems to be them staying home with their nanny Tiny, with friends helping out with transport and visiting on alternate days, and in emergency contact.

They have stayed like that before for week-ends etc, and all went well. I think it will be more disruptive if grandparents attempt to come and look after them, or we skip them up country etc - but we haven't ruled that out yet. We need to watch the finances too though. It will be hard to leave them for that long, but I think it will do us all good to have a break and recharge, and I do think we deserve it :)