Category: Fun Stuff Page 1 of 2

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Decorex

It’s official. I’m a pathetic lifestyle blogger. I mean…I went to all the trouble of going to Decorex which is a lifestyle blogger’s utopia, and I took like four photos. That’s it! To be fair, I wanted to take more but…either my phone was in my bag and I was holding a coffee, or I disn’t want to bother the stall owner to ask if I could photograph their stand etc etc. Pathetic. I almost feel like going back and doing it all again.

As for the show…I really enjoyed it. My family warned me against going because it IS very tiring and my energy levels and general stamina are rather blah at present, but I was determined to do it. I hadn’t been in a long time, and I might not be able to go next year (who knows what chemo will do?) so I resolved to leave all little people behind (no moaning and whining) and went off by myself. I made sure to get there as they opened so I got good parking and no lines, and also no crowds. I was out by noon, at which point the lines (both to enter and to park) were insane and the halls were getting very busy. So my timing was perfect.

The show’s goods are very accessible, which cannot be said of all past Decorex events. I found that although there were very high end pieces, for the most part it was definitely catering to the consumer who wanted something good looking and reasonably priced. Having said that, it is not a “let’s wait for Decorex and then buy a couch on special there” kind of show, because the selection is not vast, and the specials not particularly that great. There is also a “Verimark-like” section, which is filled with booths that demonstrate products and try to sell them, and stall owners who accost you as you are walking past, which I hate.

I loved the hall with the 100% designed-in-SA goods, because we have such great talent in this country. Definitely worth two looks.

Decorex, on until Sunday 12 August. R120 per person. Gallaghar Estate.

A ridiculous online purchase

Last week, after the lab came and drew some more blood from me at 3am from my hospital bed, I found it difficult to fall back asleep (duh!), and turned to my phone for distraction. And, while browsing Facebook I came across a Sissyboy ad for a dress that I thought was just stunning.

Now, a bit of context here. At this stage, I am on a max dosage of highly potent cortisone, and my body has exploded in bloat. In fact, this specific cortisone is the cortisone responsible for the #moonface terminology, from which I was (am) definitely suffering (To quote: “One of the more visible effects of long term use of high dosages of prednisone is swelling in the cheeks and in the neck. This might also be called prednisone “moon face” by some. Prednisone often causes weight gain and redistribution of fat deposits in some people.”)

I am either square or round. Take your pick. My beloved calls me “Chipmunk”. I had to buy new pants urgently because I just did not fit into any of the ones I owned. You get the picture. I am a balloon.

But here is this dress. And I love it. And it’s 3 f’ing o’clock in the morning and I have just had another lab test and I am feeling sorry for myself, and am clearly not rational. And I want to wear that dress. At some stage. So I buy it.

A couple of days later I get an email that it is not returnable! First of all…sorry Sissyboy, but it IS. You don’t get to re-write the whole CPA for your convenience. But, although when I woke up post purchase I had every intention of shipping the dress back, I decided that..f’ck it. I’m keeping it. And wearing it. Some day.

This is my “Let’s do this, dress” dress.

A crazy purchase

We put diesel into a petrol car…yes, really

Since Craig’s kids would be joining us for the December holidays, and we would be driving a lot, I hired a spacious 7-seater to make the trip as comfortable for everyone as possible. We ended up going through five different replacement cars on the trip.

Car One

I picked the car up in Pretoria day before the holiday, and I was in a rush to say the least. There was a ton of things still needed to be done before we disappeared for 30 days, and spending hours in a car rental office was on the plan. So I quickly signed all the docs, including one that said “THIS IS A DIESEL CAR, and if you put petrol in it you are paying all the costs to fix, blah blah blah“. Luckily, just before I left the lot, I made sure the car was in perfect working condition, only to find out that in fact it was not…the boot did not want to open. Without being too dramatic, let’s just say the car rental company (Thrifty) is really lucky I discovered this then, and not at 3am the next morning as I tried to pack the car for our early start. So the rental company quickly swapped this car out for Car Two, which they said “was identical”. Cool.

Car Two and Car Three

We did fine with this car for a week or so, until we were on the N2 going from Ballito to Addo Elephant Park, and we realised the brakes were nearly shot. Which was also when we realised the car was past its service date. We were hours from the nearest Thrifty, so we decide to drive to carry on and drive through to East London, and quickly swop out cars, again. The East London office promised to have a car waiting for us in the parking lot when we arrived, as we were already running late and had a lot of driving to do ahead of us. True to their word, the car was ready and I simply signed a document saying this was a “clean swop out”, and I was getting “an identical car” but “in much better condition”. Cool.

We did great with this car for about a day. We took it into the Addo Elephant Park (Big 5 territory) and filled it up with diesel at the main camp. Diesel, right? Because of that document that I signed in Pretoria, remember? And because I had been putting diesel into the cars for 8 days, and this was “an identical car”.

About 1km out of camp, right by the lion tracks, our car died a slow death. It was, of course a petrol car. There was no actual indication that that was the case. No document, label, or even an owner’s manual (which, as a policy, Thrifty does not give to the drivers of its cars!!!! ). My understanding had always been that the petrol pump nozzle would not fit into the “wrong” type of tank, but guess what? It does!!

No indication of what fuel this car takes….

So there we were. Stuck with four kids, in Big Five land, in a game park that was going to close its gates in 5 hours, with no car. Oh, it was also a public holiday. So..we call Thrifty. Again. And they bring us (hours and hours and hours later) Car Four. We had gotten rid of the kids by that time (no, we didn’t feed them to the lions. We gave them to a game ranger in a safari vehicle who took kids to the main camp where they wined and dined in the restaurant while Craig and I sat in the car). Actually, an hour or so before the replacement car arrived and about a minute before I peed my pants because I needed a bathroom and was NOT going to “do it in the bush” per Craig’s kind suggestion), other rangers towed us back to camp. Getting towed in a game park where there is no place to turn around is not as fun as it sounds.

Not as much fun as you’d think

Car Four

This replacement car, which was driven up from Port Elizabeth, was above the class we had rented (it was the only seven seater available at the time), so Thrifty took it back after a couple of days and replaced with…

Car Five

… which got us safely home.

So…who paid for this?

My excess was R15,000, which Thrifty did not charge. They did charge me R1,650 for the repair and I have no idea of how they arrived at that number. It does include a R500 admin fee. I refuse to pay a cent, as you can well imagine, as this was hardly my fault. In addition, Thrifty also charged me to re-fuel the car I had just filled with a full tank (of diesel) so I am looking for a refund there. Also, they charged me for the petrol to deliver Car 4 from PE to Addo Park, and to collect from Knysna to PE, which I also refuse to pay for.

On the other hand, I think I have a pretty strong claim against Thrifty, who placed me in danger more than once, no small part due to their weak communication and poor car service control. Also, the fact that they do not include manuals with car rentals is just plain weird…the manuals are there for a reason, and driver safety is one of those reasons. I planned an (expensive) day at Addo Park which included accommodation with the intent to view the damn park. Which we were not able to do because of Thrifty’s bad processes.

Anyway, the matter has been escalated and I will keep you updated. (Update: It ending up costing me R0, as I got a full refund)

Final thoughts

We obviously had car fiascos during this holiday. And although most of it could easily have been avoided had Thrifty had better processes in place, I must say that the Thrifty people were great and very helpful at each crisis. As I tell this story to friends, they all comment that we will obviously never rent from them again, but I think the opposite is true. I like working with a company that responds well to customer’s needs in time of need, and Thrifty played its part. If we ignore the fact that they caused the need in the first place, they are a great company to deal with!

And as a final lesson…always keep all your documents, put things in writing, take photos and keep people in the loop. It is amazing how all of that becomes a God-send once you have to defend your case.

But we still had a great holiday!

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