Sunday, April 15, 2007

Anger Management

April, as I am sure I have mentioned previously, is South Africa's public holiday madness month. Pretty cool if you are an employee but not so cool if you are an employer. Being both leaves me undecided as to what to think.

Easter normally also means that there are literally millions of people undertaking long journeys so the death toll is normally horrendous. Combining poor driving, unroadworthy vehicles and long hours and the aggressive temperaments leads inexorably to a very high death toll. About half of which are pedestrians and no, this is not from drivers going out of their way to hit them, the pedestrians conveniently offer themselves as sacrifices to the god of who knows what by walking in the road. Any road will do but highways where nobody is doing less than 120km/hr are particular favourites. A couple of years ago Caron and I decided that going away over the easter weekend was more frustrating and generally not conducive to happiness and wellbeing so we would remain at home which is where we found ourselves this year.

Friday morning we decided that it was time to sort out our flowerbox problem. Just next to our front door is a knee high flowerbox which supports a pillar which supports the roof as can be seen from the picture. Two problems actually, firstly the water collecting in the flowerbox means that we always have a damp problem at this particular spot on the inside of the house. Secondly, water tends to overflow the channeling under this particular valley and then runs down the inside of the ceiling and collects there along with leaves and soil. This over time has led to the ceiling and the wooden beam rotting and I have to replace it before it gets too far so we have decided to do away with the flower box which we don't like in any case and replace the beam as well as the ceilings and, of course, the wooden post. There must be some kind of law that if you start some kind of home repair it inevitably ends up as a substantially larger job (read more expensive) that it started out. No wonder builders don't like quoting on home repairs.

We were just about to start when Laurel, Kim, Samuel and Hannah as well as the ever present Sage arrived for some morning coffee and then left again leaving Hannah behind on condition that she help Caron in the garden. I think that what she actually wants is to be able to have some peace and quiet from Samuel and especially from Sage. While I started making a new frame for Laurel to replace the warped one that she had used, Caron and Hannah started demolishing the flowerbox and distributing the 1.5 to 2.0 cubic metres of soil over the garden. Within a short space of time the rest of the family were back eager to release some anger and frustration at our hapless flowerbox. It didn't stand a chance although it took almost the entire morning to finally empty it. Most of the earth was so hard packed that we had to use a pick on it before trying to shovel it out. There is definitely something therapeutic about swinging a sledge hammer and breaking a wall down. Of course, doing it all day, every day would soon take the novelty out of it but doing it every few years was quite enjoyable. I had to teach everyone how to use a pick properly. One would think that this would be pretty obvious but it clearly wasn't and I was amazed that just about nobody had ever even picked up a pick let alone used it. By lunch time it was pretty much done and we had a cold lunch under the shade of the paper bark thorn tree in the back yard. Food always seems to taste just that much better if you have worked for it. After lunch I quickly finished off the new frame and Kim and Laurel helped me stretch the painting onto the new frame which wasn't as easy as it sounded. It didn't actually turn out too badly and Laurel left with the painting to deliver to the new owners. Hope they are happy and that it sits flat on the wall at least for the first couple of weeks, after that, well ...

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