realizing a dream in 365 days

Working towards a dream is not a concept I spend a lot of time contemplating. I am also not someone who will plan things years in advance. .

In a previous post I mused about different kinds of dreams a person can have. The dream I’m writing about today is a little bit different.

If you ask me where this dream began I’m not sure that I will be able to tell you.  Thinking back I can recognize that some experiences in my past most likely helped to shape it.  I might even have thought about it at a much younger age, and then forgot about it because it seemed like an impossible dream.

Let’s face it.  How many ‘ordinary’ people’s dreams ever see the light of day without the pesky necessity of coin?  Lots and lots of coin if you don’t have much of it.

So how did this happen for me?

The short answer – I’m blessed.  The long answer:  I’m… not exactly sure…

You always hear the financial gurus tell you that you must save.  Be smart about the way you spend money, and where you spend it.  Don’t buy something that you don’t really need.  Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish.  All of it is good advice.  Unfortunately some of these lessons a person learns the hard way.

I certainly learned those lessons the hard way.  Hey wait…  let honesty rule! I actually had to re-learn those lessons a few times.

Can you remember what you did with your very first pay check?  I can’t.  I really can’t.  And doesn’t that just say it all?  My first job (after finishing school) paid on a weekly basis.  Wow!  I felt rich.  RICH, I tell you!  At first I went on wild spending sprees every weekend.  And yet, I can’t tell you what I bought.  After a while though I got used to having some money and I managed not to spend it all before the next pay-day.  I even got to a place where I could invest in myself by taking some long distance courses.

When I changed jobs, so did the pay cycle.  Once a week turned into every end of the month.  That first salary had a much bigger WOW-factor than my first pay check.  I felt richer than ever before!  Somehow though I ended up spending more than I earned.  It took me a very long time to learn how to budget a monthly salary.  It took me even longer to learn how to stick to a budget.  To this day, and probably for the rest of my life, it will remain a challenge for me.

Through the years of my working life and many a budget mishap, I actually managed to put away a few rand here and there.  The phrase “all your eggs in one basket” must have sunk into my subconscious.  Or maybe all the dire warnings about the risks of doing it did.  It just so happens that I don’t put all my eggs in one basket.  I tend to put money a lot of different somewheres – for example investing in a policy – then make it part of my fixed budget and forget about it.  Since I learned that I can’t spend what I don’t have – I just love hiding my money from myself :P

So even while I struggle to stay within my budget sometimes, in the end all the little tricks helped me to save just about enough.  Enough to shop for a piece of land, design a house, get a building loan approved and contract a builder.

All going well, my dream will be a livable reality by mid February 2014, the 365 day mark.

the distorted trump invasion

Overhead lighting spot lights the dark hallway.  The atmosphere is a bit oppressive and downright spooky.  Yet somehow it also leaves an impression of money and luxury.

Dressed in a very nice pant suite, toes squashed in high-heeled pointy shoes, I follow three gentleman into, what seems to be, a show room.   The lighting is much better here.  What a relief!

“What do you think?” asks Donald senior.

I jump a little at the sudden question in the otherwise quiet room.

“It looks interesting.”  My answer is a little uncertain.

“Is this what you envisioned?” asks Eric while moving toward one of the mock kitchens on display.

“Well, they seem to have done a good job without the actual plan and specifications.”

“What about this section here?” asks Eric again, this time moving around the island in the middle of the space.

“Oh yes!  I’ll use some other materials of course, like a matt coloured t….”

I jerk awake and struggle to make sense of what just happened.  Why was I showing the Trumps around a displayed kitchen design?

Ah yes, now I remember.  I had to take some meds last night and watched an episode of Celebrity Apprentice 2012 (yes, last year’s season) until I fell asleep.  It was one of those boardroom scenes where the guys and girls fight tooth and nail to stay in the game.

Way to burrow into my subconscious people!

The other day, after watching a different episode of Celebrity Apprentice I wondered: how would Americans (not only the celebrities) fare in a South Africa Apprentice?  Or just to mix things up a little more, why not team South Africans and Americans to compete.  There is such a difference in the way we South Africans approach things it might be fun to watch.

Don’t you think?

beware the thought-cookers

I’m cutting it close, arriving at work almost on the dot of 8am – or just past.  For some reason this happens to me a lot.  I tend to not be early or cutting it really really close.  It is not on purpose.  It just is.

You never know how interesting you are until you pay attention to yourself.   Is it weird to find yourself interesting?  Maybe.  Hey, at least someone does, right?!  And hey!,  at least it is someone who’s opinion you’ll care about, right?  Hmm… yeah sure, this isn’t weird at all.

So, what is my problem with being (not) on time?

What I realised the other morning while getting ready for work is that I get lost in thought.  At the strangest times.  Doing the most mundane type things.  I’ve had myself under surveillance for month now.  It’s bad.  I found several thought-cookers tempting me every single day.  It’s difficult to escape the ones that doesn’t form an integral part of my day and almost impossible to fight the allure of the ones that does.

Thought-cooker  also known as thought-stimulant, usually gets triggered by the act of performing mundane tasks like taking a bath, cooking a meal, doing dishes, driving and so forth.  It can also be a place.  A person experience no passage of time with the result that time seems to fly.

The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris

The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yep!  Oh yeah,  I know that!  What I find most interesting though is that each cooker stimulates different thoughts.  Cookers do not seem to be conducive to continued thought processes.

So now the other question is – does your thought-cooker(s) say something about you?  Oh my, I don’t know.  It will be SO weird if it did.  Right?  Riiigghht?

Well,  I’m now of the opinion that my cookers REALLY don’t like it that I have to go to work :)

Why else will a 10-minute bath turn into a 30-minute time warp?  Or a 5-minutes coffee into a 15-minutes one?  Or the 1 minute it should take to tie my boots become 5 minutes? Or the 10 seconds to lock the front door turn into 2 minutes?

It all adds up!

pain revelations . . . and being blessed


It comes in different forms, as different types.  It can be a little.  It can be a lot.  It can be a result or a symptom – maybe even both.  It can change a person’s priorities.  It almost always catches you by surprise.

I consider myself a person in general good health.  Of course I have some aches and pains from time to time but nothing that sends me running to the doctor.  In fact,  I kinda avoid doctors as much as possible.  I tend to doctor myself.  Usually it works like a charm.

A few months ago it was not the case.

The same day I returned from a week-long visit to family and friends I had lunch with my parents.  Shortly after lunch I felt a bit uncomfortable – much like one does after overindulging at meal times. Nothing comes close to the meals our mothers make, right?! It was not the first time I had this feeling and I didn’t think anything of it.

Over the course of a few hours my body doled out pain that ranged from a bit uncomfortable to extremely uncomfortable.  None of my little self-help medications seemed to do the trick.  When the pain got to the stage where it roused me from sleep I decided that it can’t hurt to run my symptoms by someone else before I taking more medication.

Long story short – after talking to my mom and my sister (who also happens to be a nurse) I ended up going to hospital.  Turned out that my appendix was acting up, although I wasn’t diagnosed with appendicitis until the following afternoon.

I must confess that pain has a really strange effect on me.  Or maybe it’s the medication they gave me at the clinic and hospital?  If you’ve ever been around medical people you’ll know that they have a more clinical way of looking at the human body.  That doesn’t mean that we feel the same way.  At least, I find it difficult to objectify my body.  But at some point during that 48 hours I stopped caring about being self-conscious, about enema and all the rest.  I just really needed the pain to go away.

I suffered a little set back after my initial hospital stay.  I was home only a couple of days.  Again after lunch time (weird coincidence?) I got a really bad pain attack.  It was much much worse than the appendicitis attack.  The surgeon suspected infection and I went back to hospital for a longer stay and a very strong dose of antibiotics.

I’m blessedly good as new after a four-week recovery time and were able to return to work.  Having my appendix removed was the only serious operation I had in my forty years and it took me a while to get back into a normal routine.  One probably doesn’t think about it but things like this does have a psychological impact and it is important to take the time to come to grips with it.