Category Archives: My Life

Fizzers are now banned!

So Fizzers are now banned from my house.

Hold up, you mean those deliciously pink, chewy bars of candy that seem to always be on hand at kids parties and can almost always without fail be found at the bottom of any pantry cupboard of a house with kids?

Yes.

Chantelle, the kids, and I were out and about one particularly warm day (it was a Saturday I think), zipping about in the Hyundai Accent. My knee was still giving me a lot of hassles, so I was of course in less than a stellar mood. Anyway, after one of our stops had come to an end, I eased myself down into the passenger seat (the nice thing about being immobile is that Chantelle does all the driving!), and plonked my phone into the holding compartment on top of the armrest.

At the next stop (Mambo’s Plastic Warehouse if I remember correctly), I readied myself to exit the vehicle, and as such picked up my phone – which wouldn’t come out. So more force was applied, and with a squelch, my phone came free, trailing pink goop, which dishearteningly also covered the one entire side of my phone. And not just any side mind you, the side with the volume rocker, power button, SD card bay, and SIM card bay!

My beautiful Huawei Ascend P6, covered in sticky, pink, Fizzer goop.

It turns out that Jessica had previously deposited her Fizzer in the armrest compartment coming home from one or another birthday party (there are so, so many kids’ birthday parties in December!), which had then subsequently melted and settled, lying in wait for its first victim – which just happened to be my nice and expensive phone.

Sigh.

Armed with a toothpick and some baby bum wet wipes, I got the pink goop off of my phone, while Chantelle managed to get about 95% of the Fizzer out of her door.

Translation, no more Fizzers allowed in the Lötter household ever again! Probably.

box of pink fizzers

Photo Gallery: Emily brings the Festive Cheer! (2014-11-20)

Every year photographer Wendy Swart pops in at Baby Steps in order to take photos of all the little ones which the parents can then later choose to purchase. Wendy seems to like props. A lot.

So if you are struggling to get into the festive mood, perhaps my cute as a button Emily can be of assistance:

Baby Steps 2014 @ Wendy Swart Photography

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Finally, the Getz is Bought!

Way back in 2010 I bought my very first brand new car, the fantastically well priced, comfortable and surprisingly reliable Hyundai Getz.

Of course, buying a car with zero kilometers off of the showroom floor is far more expensive than buying it out of the classifieds, which means that needless to say, I had the thing financed through MFC, Nedbank’s car financing vehicle.

It was a six year bond and up until late this year a tidy little sum of just over R2,000 was neatly lifted out of my account each and every month. However with the arrival of Emily into our family this year, it quickly became apparent that the sooner the car got paid off the better, because that R2,000 a month is of far more use to me being accessible for all those unforeseen monthly expenses!

So I started accelerating my repayments, and all the extra little bits of money I could find lying around was plowed into extra MFC payments, resulting in a nice letter arriving at the end of September announcing that the car was now paid off and properly mine – at long last! (More or less. There was a bit of a mix up on where to courier the documents to – guys, Somerset Mall and Somerset West branches are completely different places!)

In the end I’ve learned some valuable lessons though. First, don’t buy a new car off the showroom floor unless you really can’t find a good second hand deal elsewhere – it’s really, really expensive. Two, try and avoid long term bond deals like the plague. Compound interest (as I already knew – hey, I do have a Bachelors of Business Science degree you know) really is a horrible bastard (and don’t think I’m not looking at you my massive home loan!). Three, if you do have a loan, try and pay it off as quickly as possible – saves you a hell of a lot of money in the long run!

So now my Getz is paid for and mine, four years down the line. That said, in exactly 2,000 kilometers, my service plan runs out.

Sigh.

2010 hyundai getz

Battling the Lawn Invaders

I’m not much of a gardener. Not because it is difficult mind you, but more because it seems so time consuming and in the end I just really don’t care enough to actually be bothered with it. That said though, I am a particular lover of walking around barefoot, and now that the luxury of doing that on my own lawn around my house is rapidly diminishing, I find myself, daisy picker in hand, in the garden just about every evening nowadays!

Why?

Weeds. Lots and lots of nasty weeds which I neglected for far too long, and which are now in the process of drying out and leaving behind sharp, pointy debris everywhere! Luckily we don’t have to deal with really insidious thorns, that wouldn’t have been horrible, but as it is, the burr hispida genus (that seems to have taken over most of my lawn) is causing enough damage to little feet to warrant its removal!

All of which translates to me going down on my hands and knees, ignoring all the burrs puncturing my girly soft flesh (not really, but it sounds more dramatic if I put it like this), identifying the tendrils, following them back to the central root system, and then yanking as much of it out as what I can.

I have to say, removing a clump of weeds, tendrils and all, from your lawn turns out to be a rather relaxing and rewarding activity, serence and tranquil for a lack of better words.

Of course, I could have saved myself a hole heap of trouble today had I simply listened to Mom and Dad about a year ago when they first noticed an increase in weed activity on my front lawn and warned me about it!

Sigh.

I really should listen to good advice more often.

south african lawn weed burr hispida

Why the funny shoulders on a Baby Vest?

Okay, so I just learned something new to me – which would have been handy to know four years ago! If you’ve had a baby in your life before, then undoubtedly you’ll be familiar with the plain old baby vest. Pretty much all babies wear these under their clothes, and goodness knows, I’ve been through more than just a few with both Jessica and Emily.

And then yesterday Chantelle went and dropped a bombshell on me. You know those intricate, funny shoulder designs that all baby vests feature? Do you know what that’s for? (Apart from the obvious of allowing it to easily slip over a baby’s massive head…)

Well neither Chantelle nor I did until now. It turns out that the design is such to allow for folding everything downwards, meaning that you can simply roll the sleeves down over the shoulders and tummy, allowing you to pull the vest off as if it was a pair of pants. In other words, extremely useful in those instances when you want to avoid lifting the vest up over your baby’s head!

Oh My God.

The number of yellow poo stained vests that I unnecessarily pulled over my squirming soiled child’s head now truly frightens me.

keep calm and change my nappy baby vest

Sorry Jessica and Emily. I would seem that I did you both a disservice as a baby.

So my knee gave out again…

So my knee gave out again… in the most public manner possible of course. I can’t really blame my bum left knee (which I heavily damaged via a karate tournament way back in July 2007) though, seeing as I’ve never even once taken it to be reviewed by medical experts in the 7 or so years that I’ve lived with the damage – never mind the fact that I’m anyway carrying far too much weight to ever allow it to heal properly!

It all went down this past Sunday, when we successfully hosted Jessica’s fourth birthday party at the always delightful Mondeor Restaurant in Somerset West. All the friends and family were present and accounted for, and given the surprisingly good weather we experienced, the kids were certainly making the most out of the kiddies splash pool.

Now the circular splash pool is ringed with an elevated wooden boardwalk, and therein lies the problem. The edge of the walking planks go well past the vertical boards holding them up, meaning that should too much weight be applied to the edge of the boardwalk you’ll probably find yourself in a spot of bother.

Which is exactly what happened to me.

jessica lotter at the pool - birthday party at mondeor restaurant

I was carrying Emily in my arms (for pretty much the whole day) and had strolled over to the pool to ask Jessica something or other (I can’t quite remember what). She wanted out, and she needed a towel, so taking her hand with my free hand, I strode off the boardwalk whilst deep in conversation with her – in other words, not paying attention to what I was doing.

There was an extremely loud snap as the board on which I had just stepped snapped in two, sending me and the two kids tumbling down to the ground. Of course, as my foot hit the ground, my knee gave in completely, shooting pain up through my leg and forcing me to neatly deposit both Emily (which from all eyewitness accounts was a pretty impressive feat) and Jessica before continuing with my tumble that had me ended up face first in the dirt.

The kids were crying, fine though, but obviously shaken up, whilst I on the other hand not so much. I could immediately feel that my knee had conked in and that I had possible twisted my ankle, which made pulling myself back to my feet a much more painful mission that what I care to remember.

(Chantelle says that my face was completely drained of colour for the next while following the tumble, but nevertheless, I limped to a convenient chair and plonked myself down for the rest of the party – which was still thoroughly enjoyable anyway)

Obviously it could have been much worse in that Emily or Jessica could have gotten hurt, but thank the stars that wasn’t the case.

Party done and back at home at last (thanks to Ryan for driving my car and myself home!), it quickly became apparent that I must have put some serious hurt on, because I couldn’t bend my knee at all – meaning an early Sunday evening trip to the pharmacy for Chantelle to pick up some anti-inflammatory tablets and painkillers, whilst Evan, Natasha stayed on to look after Evalynne, Jessica, Emily (and me).

Needless to say, I didn’t drive into work on Monday.

Today we are three days down the line, and I’m happy to report that with each passing day my knee and ankle are doing better and better, and I foresee being back to full mobility just in time for this coming weekend.

Not that I’ll be climbing up any stairs, hills or mountains mind you.

Jessica, Chantelle and Baby Emily have a Chat

Shame, Emily really does get the short end of the stick in terms of photos and videos posted here on this blog. Second child syndrome I guess you could call it.

20141022 Emily lotter my wise old man little girl

Anyway, seeing as I literally just posted a video of a really big milestone for my wise old baby girl, I thought it only fair to prop up her video numbers by releasing this quick video I took of Emily back in April – when she was just a teensy weensy four month old baby.

And as you can see, Chantelle and Jessica seem to have enjoyed the chat! :)

There, I feel better as a father now.

Emily Leopard Crawls for the First Time

Wow, ten months down the line already and Emily continues to grow cuter by the day. Ticklish, talkative, inquisitive… and now we can add mobile to the list.

20140927 Emily and her bubble bath beard

Well almost anyway. She was already capable of moving her body around in a circle, but this evening she surprised Chantelle and myself by breaking out her first every leopard crawl.

I watched her first attempt, and then quickly ordered Chantelle to reset her for a second so that I could record it. Needless to say, Emily was less than impressed at having to start back at the beginning, but nevertheless, my little girl soldiered on and made her daddy proud!

See, see! :)

Emirates Boeing 777-300ER vs Airbus A340-300

To be fair, the ‘vs’ in this post title is completely misleading – but it just so happens that I’ll be experiencing both the Emirates Boeing 777-300ER and the Emirates Airbus A340-300 on my trip from Cape Town to Japan and back again (with stop-over in Dubai) – which kicks off this morning I might add!

Both planes came out in the early 1990s and both carry more or less the same amount of people, so it will be interesting to compare the flights across the two. Three out of the four legs of the journey will take place on the slightly more modern Boeing 777-300ER, though when I remember that each leg is roughly 10 hours in length, my excitement for these flights diminishes ever so slightly. (That’s a lot of flying to NOT particularly be looking forward to.)

Still, the Emirates in-flight entertainment system looks promising, so hopefully the time goes by faster than what I’m dreading…

Boeing 777-300ER

The Boeing 777 is a family of long-range wide-body twin-engine jet airliners developed and manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It is the world’s largest twinjet and has a typical seating capacity for 314 to 451 passengers, with a range of 5,235 to 9,380 nautical miles (9,695 to 17,372 km). Commonly referred to as the “Triple Seven”, its distinguishing features include the largest-diameter turbofan engines of any aircraft, six wheels on each main landing gear, a circular fuselage cross-section, and a blade-shaped tail cone. Developed in consultation with eight major airlines, the 777 was designed to replace older wide-body airliners and bridge the capacity difference between Boeing’s 767 and 747. As Boeing’s first fly-by-wire airliner, it has computer-mediated controls; it is also the first entirely computer-aided designed commercial aircraft.

The 777-300ER (“ER” for Extended Range) is the C-market version of the -300. It features raked and extended wingtips, a wing aspect ratio of 9.0, a new main landing gear, reinforced nose gear, and extra fuel tanks. It also has a strengthened fuselage, wings, empennage, and engine attachments. The -300ER is powered by the GE90-115B turbofan, which is the world’s most powerful jet engine in service, with a maximum thrust of 115,300 lbf (513 kN). Its maximum range is 7,825 nautical miles (14,492 km), made possible by higher MTOW and increased fuel capacity. The -300ER can fly approximately 34 percent farther than the -300 with a full load of passengers and cargo. Following flight testing, aerodynamics refinements have reduced fuel burn by an additional 1.4 percent.

Produced: 1993–present
Number built: 1,212 through June 2014
Unit cost: 777-300ER: US$320.2 million

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_777#777-300ER

Emirates Boeing 777-300ER

Airbus A340-300

The Airbus A340 is a long-range four-engine wide-body commercial passenger jet airliner. It was developed and produced by Airbus, a consortium of European aerospace companies, which is a subsidiary of Airbus Group (which was previously known as EADS). The A340 was assembled at Toulouse, France. It seats up to 375 passengers in the standard variants and 440 in the stretched -600 series. Depending on the model, it has a range of between 6,700 to 9,000 nautical miles (12,400 to 16,700 km). It is similar in design to the twin-engined A330 with which it was concurrently designed. Its distinguishing features are four high-bypass turbofan engines and three-bogie main landing gear.

The A340-300 flies 295 passengers in a typical three-class cabin layout over 6,700 nautical miles (12,400 km). This is the initial version, having flown on 25 October 1991, and entered service with Lufthansa and Air France in March 1993. It is powered by four CFMI CFM56-5C engines and uses the Honeywell 331–350[A] APU, similar to the -200. Its closest competitor is the Boeing 777-200ER.

The A340-300E, often mislabelled as A340-300X, has an increased MTOW of up to 275 tonnes (606,000 lb) and is powered by the more powerful 34,000 lbf (150 kN) thrust CFMI CFM56-5C4 engines. Typical range with 295 passengers is between 7,200 to 7,400 nautical miles (13,300 to 13,700 km).

Produced: 1991–2011
Number built: 377
Unit cost: A340-300: US$238.0 million

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus_A340#A340-300

Emirates Airbus A340-300

(In case you are wondering just why I am so excited by this flight prospect, please take into account my love for planes and the fact that I have never ever flown overseas in my life before. That’s 34 years of looking up at the sky and marveling at these metal beasts of burden!)

I Lost Jessica.

I’m not making a very big deal out of this, or at least wasn’t at the time, but in truth it really is a big deal. You see, today I lost Jess. I did not know where my daughter was and it was scary as heck. At the time I was calm and collected, but looking back at it now, it was scary as hell.

And it could have ended much worse.

The stupid part is that all of it was down to a very basic parenting mistake quite frankly – I should, and do, know better. Parenting 101. But mistakes do happen and today a very big one was made.

With Chantelle working, I was left on kid duty for the day, and still needing things for my upcoming trip to Japan, I bundled Emily and Jessica into the car and headed off to Somerset Mall. With Emily in her pram, and Jessica holding my hand, we entered Pick ‘n Pay and made our way through a very busy store (payday weekend) down to the furthest corner which houses the clothing section.

Together Jessica and I browsed through the t-shirts and loaded up the pram with a few new ones which she helped me pull out. Then I stopped to have a quick look at the shorts because the only pair of shorts that I currently possess has a great big hole in the crotch area and I’m having huge difficulties in sourcing shorts big enough to fit my large posterior and tree trunk legs. One pair in particular looked quite promising.

Meanwhile, bored, Jessica had taken to climbing up and down the staff ladder and was happily busy entertaining herself in the clothing area.

I asked for access to the fitting cubicle and pulled Emily, pram and all inside. I looked to my side and saw Jessica still happily playing on the ladder. I told her that Emily and I were going inside, and when she is finished she must come here to me. I closed the door and started changing pants.

All of a sudden I hear Jess’ voice crying “Daddy, daddy, where are you?!?”, and recognizing that the voice was travelling away from the area at a very fast pace, I basically flung open the door, pulled up my pants, grabbed Emily’s pram and started searching. Soon I had a number of ladies that were in the area helping me with my search (it is a very large store), and whilst they combed down the aisles, I headed straight down the line of tills, loudly bellowing “Jessica!” down each and every aisle that I passed.

As I reached the entrance of the store, one of the ladies who was helping me look down the aisles, caught my eye gestured that she had spotted Jess, and I won’t lie, my heart skipped a beat when I turned at the entrance to spot a quivering, sobbing Jessica sitting at the manager’s desk in the front of the store.

I swooped in and picked up my frantic little girl, giving her the biggest bear hug that you can imagine.

Twenty seconds later, with a packet of Nik Naks now in her possession, and no more tears in sight, we were walking back towards the clothing section, hand firmly in hand.

(For the record, this time Emily, Emily’s pram, Jessica, and I all squeezed into the cubicle together. The shorts didn’t fit.)

jessica lotter eating mcdonalds chocolate sundae ice cream

A lesson learned indeed.