The mosquito

I didn’t sleep well this week. Partly it was due to stress but mainly it was because it’s all of a sudden gotten to be summer. That’s how it is in Cape Town, the weather changes on a dime and with the coming festive season it’s now decided to be beach weather.
I don’t much care for summer, to be honest. There are some nice parts of it, but all in all it’s just far too hot. The days are long which is nice in the evenings but not so nice at 5am when the sun wakes you up before it’s time. It does remind me that I’m in Africa, and I tell you what, the light in Cape Town is amazingly vivid. The white buildings are almost hard to look at. This summer brought with it a problem not experienced last summer: mosquitos to go along with the sticky heat.
On Wednesday night I was awoken by mozzies buzzing around my ear, and it wasn’t just one, and any and all attempts to bundle things around my head to keep them away failed as I could still hear them. I was almost despairing because I was already sleep-deprived, and I could feel the fatigue in my training, and it was frustrating. So I was at my wit’s end until I got the genius idea to go put in earplugs.
Worked like a charm. The bother was still there but it didn’t annoy me. That’s a good life lesson, hey? Although my body is now covered in welts (I have since bought a fan).
The work week was absolutely manic, trying to get proposals out and get meetings scheduled for the new year before everyone goes on holiday leave. The country literally shuts down for 3-4 weeks, it’s more extreme than the American holiday shutdown.
It was also a particularly hectic week between a cranky supplier, a cranky customer, a BIG proposal that had to go out, our company office warming, and our company year-end function.
I tested the water on a few items and got the responses I expected. It’s very very interesting how you can toss a few lines in the water to see what bites you get back. It’s certainly looking like 2013 is going to be a most interesting year.
Sheraan, CEO of a twice sister company (we have not one but TWO investors in common) was I think the first person I’d heard use the term “throwing toys” to describe business people losing their cool and screaming at you, jumping up and down, etc., in an attempt to get their way. I must say I find the whole scene very obnoxious. There is a difference between being demanding but fair, and demeaning, rude, and unreasonable.
I think about my customers, and the ones who I like are the ones where I will go to the ends of the earth if they are having issues. I actually like demanding customers because they make you up your game. What I don’t like are unjustified criticisms, rudeness, and expectations that don’t make sense. There is no better way to turn your vendors into an “us vs them” type mode. Much nicer when we can all just act like grownups.
At the end of the day though it all boils down to money, because that’s why we’re in business, so you remove the emotion and figure out what to do. But it got me thinking …. Which of our vendors do we maybe treat this way? 
Serious sense of humour failure the last two weeks that I have mostly, but not entirely, contained. Thank heavens there’s enough good going on to mask my crankiness (and I’m not just cranky about work). But actually, I shouldn’t let myself off that easy. There is a lot of pressure, but I do know how to be calm under pressure and keep my big mouth shut. I just need to be better about that. I have been much better about my diet the last week or so, and as a result I have kicked my sugar craving to the curb and lost a few kgs. Sure it’s easy. What’s not to easy is combatting the decision-making trends that caused me to put on weight to begin with.
In non-work news …. Hmm, what news? Had a disastrous Fran encounter on Monday (ok it was sort of expected because there is something quite wrong with my pullups at the moment), then Tuesday we did the first hero workout ever at CCF (we think): McGhee, 30 minute AMRAP of 5 80kg deadlifts, 13 pushups, 9 60cm box jumps. Nearly 13 rounds later I was done. Not my best performance. Box jumps were ok but those many pushups slow me down and I still struggle with deadlift form so I took those slowly so as to be safe.
Thursday was snatch day and I was just NOT feeling it. Not even almost. Not comfortable in an overhead squat, movement just felt off. I really wish I could practice more. Seriously I could snatch every day and would enjoy doing so. But I can’t. We did split snatches, which I’d never done before, and toes to bar in the WOD, which was fun. I hadn’t done toes to bar for a little while and these were much improved over my last attempts. Core strength may be coming back as well.
Saturday was actually mostly a day off. I trained in the morning with Liezl out in Somerset West at the powerlifting gym. We learned a ton, which is always great. Then lunch with Michelle. I could get used to this routine. Some quick shopping, coffee & catch up with Sheraan, more shopping at the fifth circle of hell that is Canal Walk. It might have even reached the sixth circle what with the holiday shoppers. Then to the gym for some sorely-needed technique work. I have some major gymnastic weaknesses and I never like to work on them. So I worked on kipping handstand pushups and walking on my hands.
The good news is I finally got the knack of the latter! I remembered how easily I had learned when Carl Paoli was in Cape Town last year so I practiced what he taught me and 15 minutes later I was going pretty consistently. Now I can just get better.
I was similarly feeling amazing earlier in the week when on snatch day I did like a 98% front squat with ease. I’m feeling the positive impacts now of something; whether it’s that rest or just consistent training or what, but I’m improving both strength & technique-wise almost on a step-function manner.
Now time to do the same with my company. It takes a little bit of time to figure out where you’re going then get people to buy in and follow you. But we’re on our way, and I think the troops are excited. I sure am. But then again … I’m drinking my own Kool-Aid, more or less.
  • “Leave your Kleenex at home. No one cares.” – Allister
  • “Between the two of us we make a New York minute seem like a Tokyo second, not sure of that makes sense!” – Francois
  • “Do you know [venture capitalist]?” “Yes.” “I know you know [venture capitalist].” – Anton & Ellie (silly boy asking me a question to which he already knew the answer!)
  • “I think you figured that out.” – Rudolph
  • “It’s hard to read the label from inside the bottle.” – Rich Mulholland
  • “Cisco can’t think of Meraki as their nemesis.” – Adel
  • “Nothing is perfect at [company name omitted]. Especially the orders.” – name withheld (funny because it’s true!)
  • “They can’t do very much worse at this point.” – Ross
  • “I am looking forward to what conspiracy you all will use to lure me back. :)” – Kelly
  • “Meet at 9-10 in the morning? Dressed like pirates?” – Rudolph
  • “I don’t want an apology. I want it sorted!” – Tim
  • “A heavy weight is not going to come off the floor if you ask it nicely.” – Steven
  • “Next you’re going to tell me your gym has a GHR machine!” – Steven
  • “Just as long as there’s no milk, and no sugar.” – Sheraan (yeah!!)
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