Sunday, March 20, 2016

reintroductions

thursday 10th:

the cost of uber would have been totally worth the hour and a half i ended up waiting for my mother to pick me up, then drop herself off and send me over kloofnek into the setting sun for my first drive in a year

walking in on mr smear putting on a show for my niece (the first cousin he's met), feeling down but a drink and a visit from shadowslight doing me good, finally getting gd's phone backed up (hating android like crazy)

friday 11th:

two night wakings that took forever to recover from, a rushed morning, nothing vegan at gardens centre, getting my neck sunburned on the short walk to pick up the car

you know you're in cape town when you're going over de waal drive in a rattling four speed citi golf that's older than the idea of power steering

grabbing great coffee instead of walking in halfway through the first talk, an excellent second talk but somewhat distracted by trouble at home; just getting interested in the third before having to rush out for an urgent phone call

"vegan no cheese" means they still don't understand what the word means; at least i didn't have to scrape anything off, and i did get the last XL conference shirt

properly passing out to the low drowsy monotone and waking with a start and the hope that i hadn't been snoring

a great last talk, the end of the complementary coffee from vida, a pleasant drive home, big shopping at checkers and major dischem disappointment: they had good hair products, but a terrible supplement selection and buying b12 and vegan d3 online turned out to be a nightmare

farm visit surprise generating discomfort

saturday 12th:

an inexplicably unhappy night

banking: why did gd sign papers for a joint account if they don't do joint accounts?

train station cellphone hacking part i: "no, it's fine" is not the response i expected when asking for a receipt

introducing gd to truth coffee

train station cellphone hacking part ii: no, the usb port does not need to be repaired, you just wasted an hour trying to swindle me

a sore and angry little boy sitting in his poop and screaming while we were stuck in traffic

train station cellphone hacking part iii: of course it was going to take another twenty to thirty minutes. and of course they were at a point where disconnecting the phone would brick it

new york bagels: the queer guy overusing my name after he overheard it was beginning to get irritating, but the beetroot, ginger and carrot juice was as amazing as the humus and grilled vegetables bagel (montreal bagels can't touch these)

train station cellphone hacking part iv: rescued by my very angry mother, these slimy fuckers had gd's phone hostage and when we eventually got her phone back i found out that they were planning to continue to dick us around for at least another hour.
new policy: never dealing with indians or pakistanis again if i can help it. it's a culture of liars, which i learned before when i was travelling india*, and i don't know how to deal with that level of shameless dishonesty

* they're the only people in the world who have managed to make me racist; partly because of the dishonesty but primarily because they are themselves the most overtly racist people on the planet (in my experience, at least) and are only too happy to take advantage of cultural differences

our first time alone since we arrived followed by an evening of call-a-pizza with friends that stretched into the morning

sunday 13th:

slow day, apparently getting over the jet lag, learning just how badly nedbank stuffed us around (we'll be moving our custom elsewhere as soon as possible), learning about MVNOs, an appreciated call from my cousin about his wedding, introducing mr smear to another cousin, a 7-11 experience and discovering that there's a decadently delicious dark chocolate tv bar, dirty hands and ginger beer and jelly tots and yet another waterfront mission

from pleasant to unpleasant in one easy step, then unpleasant to confusing to revelatory

monday 14th:

sleepless night followed by an 8.30am bank mission that left me feeling somewhat satisfied but still deeply distrustful

surprise stop streets on ocean view drive

a pretty good day in the office, effectively working on my own stuff, walking out into a beautiful late afternoon then getting stuck behind traffic that took me ten minutes of going nowhere to understand that i didn't need to be behind

parking behind a smartcar at all the wrong angles, a walk along the promenade, big shopping, mr smear meeting his great great aunt, two of us too tired to eat dinner

tuesday 15th:

a better night, a rough start but a pretty decent day (confusing the office manager's stand-in)

the big chunk at the bottom of the notably small "large" rice milk smoothie that i suspect wasn't rice milk (it felt like yoghurt)

heavy winds on the way home through town, meeting my brother-in-law's (daughter?), the rush to the waterfront to find that all the major stores are competing to sell the ugliest shoes and they're all losing (another guy with the same problem), actually buying crocs for the wedding (did *you* know they make pretty decent formal-wear?), R1000 to R500 to R400 and sold! one plain white button shirt

the babies-don't-go-to-weddings stress explosion

playing with me&you mobile and being rather impressed overall, spending an inordinate amount of time discovering just how messed up samsung and android are - i backed everything up before unlocking gd's phone but now the backups are incompatible. also, two of our gmail accounts are locked because we didn't update our phone numbers in time

wednesday 16th:

not a bad night, a fairly smooth morning managing bank accounts

the shame of having caused a company-wide network outage due to incorrect dropbox settings

the long, unproductive morning followed by an obz meal mission; jerry's chickpea burger is a serious, serious burger and watching cricket or staring out the door at the lack of wifi was quite a nice experience

aircon fixit, end of the day scope reevaluation

gorgeous promenade stroll, observing aged drama at the checkout

our own drama, mr smear's phenomenal development, his refusal to go to bed

thursday 17th:

a long and difficult night, failing to sleep late, gearing up for the department of home affairs, truth coffee not allowed in, the greeter sending us to wait in the wrong queue, another wait only to have the validity of my citizenship called into question

stress turning into despair

awkward pre-wedding drinks

chasing a badly driven porsche through unknown streets in the CBD

a beautiful wedding, a very chilled mr smear and a lot of love from all around

parenting 101: always keep ear protection in the ready bag, you never know when "cocktails" will turn into club volume disco

locked out of the parking, an angry mr smear

friday 18th:

a chilly, foggy morning
a quick and pleasant chat with a recruiter
a fun shared ride with the physics student
family values, company values and presenting scaleconf
a big, suspiciously eggy lunch with the B.I. guy

a beer just as i pushed a decent version of the code i've been working on, some team fluxx, and hitting heavy traffic in a shitty car for the second day in a row

skipping the post-wedding dinner to take care of gd and mr smear, correctly handling an anti-vegan troll, dropping $40 on regaining access to our google accounts, successfully introducing gd to adventure time

saturday 19th:

very little sleep due to an unhappy mr smear, but some interesting dreams nonetheless

the 7am car move: waiting a minute to warm up the engine just to drive for half that time

the joint couch nap in the middle of the cleaning operation, my sister's visit and filling out forms at the discovery store

some time with a cousin, comparing nutrition notes and ordering a nutribullet

a long evening trying to relax and failing, mr smear being wholly uninterested in going to bed

sunday 20th:

a nightmare night with mr smear in pain and throwing up at every attempt to give him something for it; guilt + stress = blame

a relatively easy sunday morning, inspiration to address my brother and my mom's cough taking a nasty turn

Friday, March 18, 2016

don't be evil

Dear Google Account Recovery Team

There is no way that the information that I gave you for both my wife's account and our shared account was insufficient. You've just forced me to pay $40 to reactivate my phone number in a different country because you can't be bothered to deal with people like human beings.

Thanks *so much* for not being evil.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

just a moment

one thing i've learned over the years is that this mentality of "don't judge" is a sickness - if you accept everyone with all their darkness and don't filter out those whose behaviours and attitudes are poisonous to yours, your self will be degraded until there's nothing worthwhile left. our principles, our ideals and our hopes are all we have if we're to become better, and to make the world better. otherwise we're all just wallowing in other people's shit until we die.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

back in the mother city

here i am, sitting at kirstenbosch gardens (mostly) enjoying scaleconf. i'm falling over exhausted, this past week and a half has really taken it out of me but it's brought such blessings that i can only wonder at just how fortunate i am. there's still a ton of stuff to do, though... important, urgent stuff...

monday 29th:

a stressed day after everyone finally got a great night's sleep, document filtering, double haircut mission and finding amazing luggage and great news from my mom and freezing smoothies and a woman with a contrabass on her back almost smashing mr smear with it and dressing mr smear in a freezing metro platform and a girl forcing gd to step aside with mr smear in her carrier followed by smokers in the metro

a busy afternoon with an unhappy teething mr smear turning into a long evening; a visit from friends being a lot of fun but us men missing the obvious cues from the women to call it a night

a stressed vibe and

tuesday 1st:

a terrible midnight waking, small repairs and a relatively peaceful night following

the internet is down! tortured animals on facebook and other unpleasant things (like mr smear sticking his hand in my hot porridge, fortunately he's okay but i really need to work on my reflexes)

documents, documents and more documents, continued net outage even after officially reconnecting, cold water heating tempers, sale progress

hospital bureaucracy: there's nothing quite like that feeling when public servants deliberately waste your time to demonstrate their authority after they've already wasted your time by giving you bad instructions. and just as i suspected. i had to wait for twenty minutes in order to be told that i needed to go somewhere else.

asking out loud for something to make a six month old drowsy can't be done in a comfortable way.
starbucks 2016 plant products fail

the nap, godmother's god-awful timing, hurrying to my last laser treatment, hurrying back to sell more stuff, taking apart the changing table and giving new parents much-appreciated clothing, meeting gd's really nice cousin for the first time, gd's friends and horseman and a busy night with a happy mr smear and this is really what the last six months *should* have been and it's sad that it was only our last nights here that we got to enjoy that

our last night in montréal - so surreal!

wednesday 2nd:

"mister - mister sme-ar, see him travel like a big boy" (the song format for the next five days, and it's still popping up every now and again)

a good night's rest before the storm: no time to do anything, last minute moving and packing and everyone having extremely bad timing and amazing help from friends and high stress insanity and gd's last minute pre-flight back sprain and finally leaving an apartment that looked like a disaster zone and praying that we hadn't left behind anything important and having had two taxis wait for us for an hour and arriving at the airport to learn that our flight had been delayed and struggling to find a safe space to breastfeed and go through our papers which weighed a lot and most of which could have been scanned and dumped had we had the time and not being early enough to checkin to sort out the seating issues and having to pay for an extra bag but having the counter girls help us avoid paying overweight as well and saying goodbye to horseman who'd been with us the whole time and really gone above and beyond anything we could have reasonably expected from anyone

my little bagel with cream cheese... and a mango smoothie (things we dumped on our boy before the flight)

breezing through security (not exactly, but relative to the usual irritation going through with a ton of heavy gear and a back sprain and a baby wasn't actually so bad, a waiting area fill with coughing people and boarding pleasantly and switching seats twice with two people who didn't hesitate in order to be with gd and mr smear who scratched himself so badly during takeoff that gd's shirt collar was red but otherwise was pretty relaxed until the cabin temperature dropped but a steward actually put it back up which i'd never realized was a thing; the best airplane food in recent memory and the most comfortable arrangement

thursday 3rd:

getting some sleep on a plane for the first time in ages...

... waking changing trauma in an airplane toilet... (non-stop screaming and struggling to put on the clean diaper interrupted by him peeing all over himself)

a smooth landing, straightforward hurry to the aspire lounge

a) at first, the trainee attempted to charge for all three of us
b) with no place to put down bags or sit with child, after we realized that she was wrong we had to wait in the queue again
c) they have six rest pods for a hundred (probably) people, and there's no booking them.
d) we had to pay, go around ourselves to check if there was a pod available, then return and enter the queue again in order to get a refund
e) their machine broke and the woman sorting out the refund simply disappeared without a word
f) eventually we got the refund, but not after having wasted an hour in total and witnessing a bunch of other people being treated like crap for various reasons

"the only thing the aspire lounge aspires to is being a real lounge"

british airways being delightfully politely unhelpful and callous, being lied to about the immigration lines by an official, hurrying through to the sofitel to incur more debt at a remarkable pace

the "cot" again, coupled with a bad mattress and expensive food

that moment when you realize that your kid soiled himself just before taxiing

friday 4th:

a much rougher flight, finally getting mr smear to sleep and then being woken by a bunch of asshole attendants playing silly buggers as they went on break, banging loudly next to the cot and flashing lights in all our faces. who seats a baby right next to the crew rest area?!?!

passport control stress, waiting a long time for luggage that had already arrived but that some idiot had taken off the conveyor for us (on the opposite side where we couldn't see), rushing to checkin using an incredibly useful elevator, wonderfully helpful checkin staff and rearranging bags and breezing through security and all that while having needed to pee desperately

the short flight feeling the longest, being so tired that i almost passed out a few times while holding mr smear in my arms, possibly offending our kind but odd neighbor over hand sanitation (we're learning to relax about hygiene) and making new friends, slowly disembarking into a warm summer's day, a smooth baggage claim and being met by my mom and a friend and getting through tough traffic and being in an absolute daze

a beautiful moment with my family on the balcony looking over the ocean

taking a long time to recover from a short nap; candle lighting followed by a visit to the waterfront, our first stroller outing, running into an old neighbour with a funny story about my childhood, coming home to a proper friday night dinner and suddenly it was 11.30 and mr smear wasn't in bed yet...

saturday 5th:

an amazing night's sleep with the sounds of the ocean wafting through the window, broken only by a terrifying moment when i checked on mr smear and found him very cold and breathing too shallow to detect, followed by a short burst of crying after which we put him in the bed with us - poor kid woke up sweating on a warm morning

i can't recall where we went in the morning

looking at an apartment and being satisfied enough

an afternoon calling canada, horseman's videotron fail (who would steal and modem, a router and the owner's documents and then try to return them?!)

an hour and a half for call-a-pizza delivery but well worth it
protoplasm visit

sunday 6th:

getting to bed late after possibly upsetting the neighbours and definitely upsetting my mom

a great night's sleep, an amazing shower, opening a bank account and introducing mr smear to krybabie's mother

nü with an israeli cousin and decidedly not-delicious kale smoothies, then off to my aunt's to celebrate my cousin's 40th (his kids are 14 already!)

a waterfront mission, a painfully lengthy money exchange procedure, finally introducing my boy to his aunt (!!!), another urgent shopping expedition, a big dinner after feeding a very hungry child, preparing for work

monday 7th:

we need to talk about kevin: what do you do when you see the signs, but the kid hasn't done anything yet? i was unable to sleep for a while thinking about this.

tired waking up after four nighttime cries (before we realized it was a teething thing), making my mother late for her first day

my first day: overdressed in cargo jeans and a t-shirt, lots of great people and too many names, a team of seniors with a generally good attitude, a lunchtime discovery of veggie burgers and smoothies, a shiny new macbook pro and an afternoon setting it up, home early and a shopping expedition and a great night with my uncle and a chat with my toronto cousin

clearing up issues of babysitting and keeping an eye out for the creepy twins

tuesday 8th:

everyone oversleeping, rushing out, explaining privilege to my ride, a day of minimal work and lots of watching (or dozing off while watching) and very interesting conversations, lunch with protoplasm at ganesha with no idea what's in the smoothie - i asked twice and the guy made it awkward so i just won't be going back, leaving very late, an exciting development with mr smear (he's *really* crawling now), a good dinner followed by a long series of chores

wednesday 9th:

a better night's sleep, but severe eye strain during a meeting

an entirely african-run chinese restaurant experience: the worst miso soup ever, lunch taking forever and then getting back to the office to discover that the fried rice was actually noodles

a stretched out afternoon, coming home exhausted and really screwing up while trying to undo a bad series of wedding miscommunications

finding the guy to call who then suffered a breakdown on the way, gd's pizza versus my peanut buttered toast and leftovers

thursday 10th:

waking up early to leave late (investigating medical coverage), my first uber experience (being rear-ended just before the onramp), ignoring google maps' attempt to misdirect us and making it to the conference just in time

an interesting instagram talk, a less interesting etsy talk and a downright boring mesos talk

"i don't remember if i ordered a special meal" does not mean that i didn't order it, i'm glad i managed to convince the woman to read the name tags... but moyo's vegan offering had me scraping cheese off a bland sandwich and throwing away a tex bar that nobody else wanted either.

at least eating lunch out in kirstenbosch gardens is pleasant in and of itself.

i'm glad to have taken the opportunity to post - a talk i didn't need to hear had provided a nice little break. now... back to the real world.

Monday, March 07, 2016

the present

i can't even... but i'm going to try anyway.

the last few months have been really tough, and the last couple of weeks in montreal were simply crazy and i'm not entirely sure that i know what was happening. travelling 30+ hours with a small child and as much of our lives as we could carry on our backs was almost as hard emotionally as it was gruelling physically

but no matter how exhausted we are, how jetlagged we are or how much we have yet to get done, this past couple of days have been such an incredible relief i can't even describe it. being here with so much family and friends close by, watching my mom playing on the floor with my son, sleeping to the sound of the ocean and being able to take our boy out in his stroller for the very first time, knowing that we're home and that we don't have to go anywhere anytime soon is absolutely magical.

sixteen years and one month ago i finished college in the exact offices (seriously!) that i just started my first day of work in today.

mind blown. heart full. i think i'm starting to realize where i am.