Wednesday, June 17, 2015

My Week, or, The Quest to Get My Car Inspected, or, Killing One Bird with Three Stones

I've written far too many blog posts titled "Catching Up" or "Settling In." I'm struggling to find good names for posts that don't have a specific theme...

I've rather neglected my blog lately! I've been pretty busy here around the baby home and out and about in Pretoria.

Yes, out and about, because....

I have a car!

Meet "Sunshine," the newest member of the MBH fleet...and my new baby. ;) Actually, the first car I've had that I really love! She's a tiny Hyundai Atos who's great on gas ("petrol") and easy to maneuver into little parking spaces and the nonexistent space between bumper-to-bumper traffic during rush hour. She's also my first stick shift car and is a lot harder to drive than my dad's Dodge Neon! We stall a lot. We're working on that.

Don't let her small size fool you! She has plenty of space for transport. I got a call on Sunday - it was Heather letting me know that my roommate Joy's sister had missed the taxi. "Can you give Gertrude a ride?" Well, long story short, instead of just me and Gertrude it ended up being me, Joy, Gertrude, Gertrude's two kids, their other sister, and their cousin. Family is rather an exponential thing here in Africa. No, kids often do not ride in car seats here. No, we did not put anyone in the trunk (unlike a certain other friend who shall remain nameless). No, people probably did not have adequate room to breathe. The ride home also included thirty eggs and various Sunday school crafts. This is fun.

It's been quite the process to try to get this thing insured. Here in South Africa, insurance is not legally required. I'm on my friends' insurance, which is totally the bomb because there are so many cars on the policy we get GREAT rates. I budgeted a lot more for insurance, but am only paying about $31 a month for COMPREHENSIVE. (Which is a good thing to have in a country where people aren't legally required to have car insurance.) So, my process to get the car insured goes like this.

Tuesday: I bring the car home. Heather calls to put me on the insurance, and we tell them I have smash-and-grab window treatment because I'm going to get it done on Thursday (since I work Wednesday). (Smash-and-grab window treatment protects against criminals who, as the name suggest, walk up to your car at an intersection, smash the window, and grab whatever they want. It's some kind of a coating that makes your windows just crack instead of shatter.)

Wednesday: I'm working so I can't do anything.

Thursday: We think that I'm covered by insurance. I decide to take interns shopping over the hill first since I need to go shopping too, and I don't know how long the treatment will take. We get back late. Crystel and I drive around looking for the window place. Our quest is futile and I end up accidentally driving over the big hill again. By the time we get back, it's too late. I have to work at 4. Ok, I'll go first thing Friday.

Friday: Twin #1 is up all.night.long. So much for first thing Friday. I crash all morning and plan on going in the afternoon. But wait! We have to go to the thrift store first. And before that, I have to make something to eat! And so on. And so forth. I do finally manage to find the place and get my windows done, but there's no time left to go to the other part of town to get inspected...barely enough time to make it through evening rush hour and get home in time to make gingerbread for youth group - gingerbread that I decided to try to cook in the gas oven downstairs during youth group - the gas oven that ran out of gas halfway through baking of said gingerbread. Thankfully we have an electric oven upstairs, so we did have warm gingerbread with whipped cream, although it was served rather late.

Saturday: We went to Pilansberg (a game park about an hour away). More on that in a later blog post!

Sunday:  Work. Church. 1Hope meeting (which is like a big family dinner and awesomely fun). It's not as hard to be away from family when you're with family.

Monday: I'm going to run errands today! Oh wait, I have to do one thing first. I have to pick up meds at the hospital - just some heartburn medication for one of the babies. No problem, they open at 7, I know it takes a while, but we'll be out of there by 9 or 10 at the latest...not. We get there a little late (7:30). By 12 or 1, we've finally made it through reception. 

The process goes like this: wait in line at the first reception desk. This isn't long...10 minutes maybe? Get a number. Wait for your number to be called at the second reception desk. We're number R212, but there aren't solely 212, they're also calling a second set of numbers WAY below us, a set of numbers with PR in front of them, and random numbers with other initials. In the meantime, stop at the hospital cafeteria and buy vinegar popcorn that you assume tastes like salt and vinegar but actually tastes more like pickles. Hours later, they've finally called your number! Walk up and hand it in, then ask what to do. Oh, you thought you could go to the pharmacy? Now you have to sit and wait for them to find your file - a manilla folder full of hospital documents. An hour or two later, they have it. Proceed to the pharmacy. 

By 3, we're still waiting in a room full of probably 100 people at the pharmacy. We're number 387 I believe. The numbers (of people who are completing the initial step of turning in their files) are up in the 500's and 600's. Our name is nowhere near being called. Hundreds of people are after us and many of them are getting their prescriptions, but we aren't. Let me remind you, we're waiting for something as simple as HEARTBURN MEDICINE. Our phones are dying. I have a nasty cold and definitely ran out of tissues hours ago and probably look like I'm there to be admitted myself. I have to work at four. Britt, bless her heart, has me come home an hour and a half before my shift and sends Crystel to relieve me. I take a MUCH needed nap for 45 minutes or so. Through another long and complicated turn of events (this is already getting too confusing) I end up having the night off, the girls come home with the medicine around 4:30 or 5 (apparently ours was one of the last prescriptions filled), I got a good night's sleep, and there was a happy end to a rather unpleasant day. I plan to have my car FINALLY inspected for insurance coverage the next day.

Tuesday: I drive to Hatfield. Oops, it's a public holiday. I'm sure these are totally legit holidays, but they are so inconvenient and happen when you least expect them. I'm sure they are nice for some people. Although I've been informed the way people celebrate being off of school is by wearing school uniforms. *scratches head* I also don't get my phone fixed (I can't call anyone or change my sim card) since the Cell C shop is also closed. I did go to Clicks and buy a rainbow whisk. I also figured out how get to Hatfield, so I suppose the trip wasn't a total loss. 

Wednesday: I work until 4. I should be able to get there in time to get it inspected - it's open till 5 or 6. I grossly underestimate Pretoria traffic. In a city where so many people don't drive but take public transportation, how can there be so. many. cars.?? I get a lot of practice with my car's stiff clutch. I pull in the parking lot at about 5:01. The place looks deserted. The sign on the door says they close at 5. A gas station attendant at the adjacent gas station informs me that (despite the sign on the door) they are actually open until 4.


Now I really know my way to Hatfield.

I've also gained a lot of confidence by driving during rush hour...driving this tiny little yellow thing who likes to stick her nose in places and is going to be owning the road before too long. ;) Except Sunshine got cut off by a turquoise Chevy Spark, which is possibly one of the few vehicles smaller than her...

So if anyone wonders why I've possibly been driving without insurance all week long, life has been happening!

Including plenty of time with these cuties...

Snuffy chilling while auntie does laundry

Grumpy twin, happy twin

"I'm holding a girl's hand??!"

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