Birthdays and Renovations

Norm has never been big on birthdays, but every year I drag him out for a meal and buy him gifts and he is always grateful to receive them. I want to celebrate my birthday for a whole week and that kind of sums up the differences between us in a nutshell.

His birthday was last Saturday and we had coffee in bed and I gave him his gifts. I must have been a bit ditsy when I made the online order as I chose a XXXL size flannel shirt for him which could have served as a duvet cover it was so big. But he liked the polo shirt and the sweater I gave him and I re-ordered the right size in the flannel shirt and it arrived this week so no harm done.

Saturday afternoon we went for burgers at Dario’s which is our fave burger place in Hout Bay. It was late afternoon and there was no one else there except us.

I ordered the jalapeno burger and the birthday boy ordered the bacon and avocado burger.

After lunch we came home to relax and decided to watch a film. We chose ‘The Tomorrow War‘ starring Chris Pratt as James Daniel “Dan” Forester Jr., a biology teacher and former Green Beret First Sergeant who served two tours in Iraq. The basic concept is that thirty years in the future mankind is losing a global war against a deadly alien species. The only hope for survival is for soldiers and civilians from the present to be transported to the future and join the fight. There is a minimal number of them who survive but of course Dan the hero solves the mystery of where the aliens came from and therefore saves the world.

It also stars beautiful Yvonne Strahovski as Colonel Muri Forester, Dan’s adult daughter and a military scientist from the future as well as one of my fave character actors, J. K. Simmons as James Daniel Forester Sr., Dan’s estranged tough guy father, an anti-government survivalist, mechanical engineer and Vietnam veteran. I love the character he plays and the image they gave him.

It was OK for some non-thinking amusement and diversion but there were some bits that were rather ridiculous. If you just want to be distracted for a while it is fine. I give it 3 and a half Kitten Stars ⭐⭐⭐✨.

We also started a new series called ‘Heist‘ which is multiple stories of real life heists by ordinary people. They are narrated by the people who perpetrated those heists. We are enjoying it and I give it 4 Kitten Stars, they do a good job blending the real images with the reenactments. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

We also just started season 3 of The Sinner’. I really enjoyed both of the prior seasons, each one has a different story with the constant being Bill Pullman who plays troubled Detective Harry Ambrose. In this series Harry investigates a grisly car crash that leads to one of the most complicated and dangerous cases of his career. We have just watched 1 episode so cannot really rate it yet but I am enjoying it so far.

Last Sunday we had some errands to run and we also needed to take Caitlin’s car back to her as she and Norm had swapped vehicles as she needed to use his truck for a few days. Caitlin and Wes have just moved into their new house in Westlake and we popped in to see them at the new place then we went to Builder’s Warehouse to look at curtain rods. We forgot our window measurements and Norm had to go back on Monday to collect them. Oops. At least we could choose them together, not that there was much choice mind you, there was silver, black or bronze and each had one option for finials. We chose the silver to match the hardware on the doors and the same finials that we put in our bedroom so they will all match.

After we shopped we were starving so we went for a bite to eat at Quince. We both ordered the Seaside fishcakes (linefish/prawn) with oriental dressing and chips for R98.00. I would have preferred 4 smaller fishcakes as the inside was a bit cold which I suspect was due to the size and the risk of burning the breadcrumbs if they were fried longer. But they were good.

It was yummy and it was a lovely day to be sitting outside in the sun with the nursery and the amazing huge tree behind us.

After we finished eating we headed back to Hout Bay.

On Monday it was a bit like Christmas as we had non-stop deliveries. The new Moroccan style unit I bought for downstairs arrived and is now in place. It sits under a bright Sara-J print and we added a beautiful pottery bowl which has a blue glaze which complements the painting.

My curtains arrived, my towel rails arrived, and the builder took away the bath to be swapped only to find out that they cannot swap it without extra cost so a technician is coming to fix it here.

I finally found a painting that both Norm and I like and I ordered a large 100cm by 100cm canvas. It should look gorgeous over our bed.

On Tuesday the builders finished painting my bathroom vanity mirror frame and it is so lovely, it is just perfection. Apologies for the mess reflected behind it, we are still organising our bits and pieces.

The next day the new towel rails were hung in the en-suite bathroom and the shower base built in the main bathroom. It had to set before the tilers could do their work.

On Wednesday it was pouring down rain when the doorbell rang to deliver our order from Mr Price Home. Norm and the dogs got absolutely drenched collecting it from the gate.

Norm opened the packages to avoid the items getting waterlogged. It was the towels, bathmats and 2 new laundry hampers for the bathrooms that I had ordered last week.

We have been supporting many restaurants during lockdown and this week we tried out the meals from Suikerbossie Restaurant. They have set up a specific service for lockdown. Each night they do a limited number of meals which you can choose for 2 or 4 people for a set price. We ordered the Beef cobbler with savoury scones.

It arrived about 5pm and came with instructions on how to heat it up. In addition to the beef cobbler there was a butternut au gratin, a broccoli and brie soup starter and a duo of mousses (mice?) for dessert.

The portions were very generous, the flavours were delicious and the food was excellent quality. There was so much we kept the soup for lunch the following day. It is such a bargain, I could not cook for that price. This week we have ordered 2 night’s meals, on Wednesday I chose the beef osso bucco described as ‘a rich dish of ‘fall off the bone’ meat and vegetables topped with a zesty mixture of parsley, garlic and lemon juice gremolata accompanied by truffle mashed potatoes’. On Thursday I chose the stuffed roast pork described as ‘pork loin filled with sundried tomatoes, spinach and feta, served with a Provençal sauce, a potato bake, vegetable sides and a French loaf’.

I feel good to be supporting a business and their employees at this difficult time and we get great food at a very reasonable price without me having to go to the effort to cook in a rather chaotic time in our lives. #WinWin

On Thursday the tilers arrived to start work on the main bathroom and made great progress.

Also on Thursday Norm went to get his 2nd vaccine so he is now fully vaccinated. In 2 weeks time he should have as much immunity as he can. Now just a few more weeks until my 2nd shot and after my 2 week wait it is my 60th birthday and I get to see my kids and hug them. I am so excited!! I hope Trevor can get off of work to come with too.

On Friday the tilers came again and carried on in the bathroom.

Today the tilers are here again, hopefully they get the bathroom tiles finished and then the builders can install the bathroom fittings and then we are done! I am expecting we only have another week or so and we can put our house back together and give it a good clean. There is dust everywhere despite Norm’s constant cleaning. I look forward to putting up the curtains and beds and making it look like a home again. It is like having a fresh new house!

Now for my weekly COVID update. The vaccine program has continued to ramp up in SA and there have now been 6,308,201 vaccines administered. In the USA there is still a lot of resistance, I saw an article which said that some people are still denying it is a pandemic as they lay dying from that very virus. Despite this resistance 187,579,557 people in the USA have received their first vaccine and 162,435,276 people are fully vaccinated. In the UK 46,476,845 people have received their first vaccine and 36,762,646 people are fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 is affecting 220 countries and territories. The global ranking is that the US has remained in 1st place with 35,283,075 total cases, SA is still 17th with 2,356,049 cases, but the UK has moved up a place to 6th with 5,637,975 cases. Despite this increase the UK has lifted lockdown restrictions this week. I hope it does not prove to be disastrous but the fluffy hair eejit Johnson has handled this poorly from the start.

For the grim statistics of numbers of deaths, there has been no shift in rankings since last week and SA is still 17th for total deaths on a global scale with 69,075 lives lost. The UK is 7th with 129,044 deaths and the USA is 1st with 626,658 lives lost to COVID and related illnesses.

For the more evenly rated ranking of deaths per 1 million of the population there has been no shift and SA is 47th with 1,149, the UK is 20th with 1,890 and the USA is 21st with 1,882 out of 1 million on average passing from COVID.

I hope that you all stay safe and if you can get vaccinated, please do. Even if you are vaccinated please behave sensibly and continue to be cautious. Remember to check in on your friends and family, especially those who may be isolating alone.

The riots in SA appear to have stopped and the country is rebuilding from the damage and trying to get back to normal. Such a waste of resources at a time when we are all already struggling. Now the Taxi association is on strike and many businesses are struggling to operate without their staff who cannot get to work. There is often something dramatic going on here unfortunately.

It is freezing cold in SA with snow on some of the mountains so I cannot get out and work in the garden or paint. We are staying at home, building fires and staying wrapped up with the animals. I am glad that Norm is my best friend, I hate to imagine what it must be like to be isolating with someone you do not get along with or even worse who is violent. I hope that everyone stays safe.

Until next week, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxoxo

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