Friday, 19 December 2014

Renovations – how hard can it be?

So this past week, I wondered if it might be possible to divorce myself.

I have this symptom which is likely a by-product of being diagnosed with a change addiction that regularly rears its head and it’s called the ‘how hard can it be’ syndrome. 
Perhaps some of you also suffer from this and usually you find out in the middle of a ‘little’ experiment that it appears to be a ‘little harder than anticipated’ when you are in way to deep to undo what has already been done and rethink the process. 

A conclusion that was drawn when my kitchen was so dirty it looked like the sand dunes of Namibia due to the high levels of saw dust that had seeped into every nook and cranny and was now definitely not fit for food preparation of any sorts and the kettle needed to be unearthed by qualified archaeologists and sterilised before every usage.  And the ankle deep sawdust in the upstairs bathroom, which was before all my bright ideas once cream in colour, now needed industrial equipment for a full on evacuation and removal operation, not to mention the state of the rooms actually undergoing renovations. 
And I wondered to myself if this might be a good time to move. 

Because if it were anyone besides myself turning my house into that sort of state, it would be definitely grounds for divorce or at minimum a prolonged stay at a nearby hotel, alone. 
Except I was the problem in this case and one can hardly run away from oneself albeit, I am sure many have tried. 

My daughter must have been in the process of Googling ‘how to replace your mom’ or ‘ways to put your mother on Ritalin without her knowing’.  I cannot help but wonder if the rights of children are regularly violated due to the genetic lotto that all children are subjected to because they are simply not in a position to trade in their parents; poor things.            
See the story is simple, it happened when I found out that the company would not be paying my agreed salary (that is another blog, once I have found the amusement in that), and I concluded that the carpet in some of the rooms might be contributing toward some of the ill health we have been experiencing the past few months and so decided to pull it out and put in a hardwood floor.

I mean, how hard can it be? 

Well for starters it was the carpet’s intention to be a permanent fixture in the house, installed back in the days when things were done properly to industrial proportions.  Aside from the glue that securely ensured that a portion of the screed underneath came with it, the underlay, due to simple touch, released a cloud of something that resembled pictures of biological warfare they show to primary school children.  So armed with a dust mask and gloves, I went to battle.  A few hours in, I took to calling in reinforcements all of whom were currently and conveniently unavailable.  Which is what tends to happen when you do not have a spouse of your own that you can persuasively convince to do your dirty work and have to rely on a borrowed muscle power every now and then.          

A few hours later, nearly suffering from excess exhaustion, the carpet was on its way out the door.  But the door in my house is of course, as anticipated, not conveniently located.  It is through the hallway, down the stairs into the dining room, through the entrance hall and out the front door.  A process which in an open plan house, has just spread a cloud of hazardess dust through every single room in the house; an airborne haze which took a good couple of hours to settle.   

And underneath the carpet, was a bright pink chemical stain.  More than ten years old, it still had the ability to colour plaster that was smeared over top of it and come to the surface.  It is scary what you can find in the process of undergoing renovations; a stain which in the state of my exhaustion brought on a highly destabilised emotional state; a stain which has been subsequently chipped out of the screed and removed.        
I then proceeded to bleach floors, swear at the smell and the glue scraping process, purchase bamboo flooring, swear at the price, put underlay, swear at the inability of it to lay flat, trim door frames, swear at broken blades in power tools, cut floor boards,  swear at the lack of tools in my house that are needed for this job, purchase tools, swear at the project creep as a result, use my kitchen counter as a work bench and cut it too, swear, nail in base boards and hit my fingers a few times, swear, varnish base boards, spill varnish, swear...  

I am sure you get the picture.  
I am still not finished with the work... but am now at least hoping that the room is dust and toxin free and our health can improve.

And so now while I am tackling the mountains of sawdust still in the upstairs bathroom to see if the cream colour of the bathroom is still intact after hours of the much needed excavation operation, I promise to convince myself that next time I ask the question of how hard can it be, I will explore the possibility that the answer to the question just might be; ‘damn difficult’, and not allow the gleaming new bamboo floor lure me into any future illusions about the process and potential of renovations. 
But once the dirt is gone... there are just no guarantees... that the change addict will remember any lessons learned. 

And who will wait just long enough to forget the process a little before she begins again ‘cause that bamboo floor looks sooo shiny... 
And like a crow that is attracted to shiny things, the shine with eventually win out.

 ‘Shiny.’ ‘Damn difficult.’ ‘Shiny.’ ‘Damn difficult.’ ‘Shiny.’ ‘Damn difficult.’ ‘Shiny’. ‘Difficult’. ‘Damn shiny.’  ‘Difficult.’  ‘Damn shiny.’  ‘Damn Shiny.’  ‘Damn Shiny.’   
That is what it means to be a true change addict.      


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

On Food Trucks and Frucks

These days, between work, study and parenting, I am generally doing very well if I know what day of the week it is and arrive home before 9:30pm.
And while writing crosses my mind once in a while, I have been extremely busy, studying change... I know, fancy that, the change addict, studying change. 

It has been so hectic; my daughter even informed me this week, that she would appreciate at least “one day of parenting” a week. 
If your children are requesting parenting, you know things are bad and your schedule is managing you, not the other way around and so I am counting down the days until my last exam in about two weeks time.  

That and I have also started a new project in the food truck industry which is adding to my schedule.
And while the industry is relatively large overseas, here locally, it has barely begun.  And I cannot help but wonder exactly how it will adjust to the South African market, or rather just how the South African market will adjust to it. 

In one of my previous positions much of my marketing work was to reposition an American social development concept for a South African market. 
You see, South Africans culturally are quite big on slang.

So you see, How are you in South African is ‘how’z it?’  In other country’s ‘how are you’ is ‘how are you’?
And hey my brother is “hey bru.” 

A washroom / restroom is referred to as a ‘loo’. 
That’s fine / cool is ‘sharp’.  It took me a long time to figure out what that was because the pronunciation was ‘shap’. 

Slang here tends to be highly economical in its usage of phonetics and generally efficient. 
Similarly there are eleven official languages and so if there are concepts that don’t quite translate, they simply become adopted, words like tsotsi (street savvy thug), lekker (tasty / great) to mention but a few. 

That said; it brings me a question.  What will be the street lingo be for food trucks?  I know; food trucks are food trucks.  But in what markets are they food trucks?  Not the SA market. 
I have my concerns about the language of food truck or mobile kitchen.  The streets will never adapt to lingo like that.  Mobile kitchen is simply too long, food truck conjures up images of a delivery truck with food and so generally the market will pick up on that and build an association.
So we explored a few ideas with my daughter (on my one day of parenting this week) and made a few suggestions.  One that we liked and thought had some potential was mobicat which was short for mobile catering unit, not bad - but already a brand, or koscaddy (kos is food in Afrikaans), not bad but maybe a little long.  Has a nice ring to it though.  And while we explored a few more options, have actually not come to a conclusion on the matter.

That said we do have some concerns. Knowing that ‘how are you’ is ‘how’z it’ and ‘hey my brother’ is ‘hey bru’, we are concerned that the shortened version of food truck...          
I am not so sure I would like to tell people I work in the frucking industry.  Aside from the standard reply to that statement which would be; ‘Sweetheart, we all work in frucking industries’, I myself might have the urge to ask someone working in the frucking industry whether an average day at work is spent vertically or horizontally? 

It has the sort of sound to it that might suggest most working time is spent on the back which would be a gross violation of reality. 
I mean, can’t you hear it.  ‘Where did you get that?’ ‘I got the burger from the fruck on the corner’.  

‘Well which fruck did you get it from, the one with wheels or the one wearing jeans with the chef’s hat? 
Not good people.  Not good at all. 

I cannot help but wonder why food trucks have less of a presence in Canada when in the US it is an enormous industry.  And the answer is simple.  They would be ‘FRUCKS’ there too.         
Because driving that thing through winter would be a mission and when it gets stuck on snow filled roads believe me, it would most definitely be a ‘Fruck’ and I am quite sure that the ‘food’ in ‘food truck’ has been adequately replaced with another adjective.  

That said, ‘fruck’ is a word that would be easy to place into the market... no effort at all, and the entertainment value is somewhat high level... 
But as a parent, I must conclude that it’s just not a good idea.  Because we will have created the excuse for children, who when accessing alternative adjectives for expression and emphasis, will tell us implicitly that:

‘I did not say what you think I said Mom,’ I said ‘Fruck’. 
‘You know, Fruck, short for F-O-O-O-O-D truck.  Hellooo... where you been, Ma?’  ‘Where you been?’