Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Ops Never Stops

Purple Rocks Purple Rocks
I can't believe it's been over a week since I published my last blog post. I didn't start this blog to market myself but I do hear every marketing person I have ever known in my head telling me, "you have to be consistent with your brand" and "you must communicate with your audience regularly" and "be sure to use engaging content." I realize I have probably let my readers down by going longer than normal without publishing. I don't really have a good reason for my lapse but I have been very busy lately with a lot of different things. Things that I will share with you over the next few posts. 

And what is it about marketing people that you can always hear them talking to you in your head? I guess they are good marketers and know how to make their message stick!

This week, I have been extra busy with my Ops work. No, I have not joined an elite special forces team. Ops is how I refer to any project or task associated with the Deep Household Operations, all of which I oversee. If there is a question in our house concerning which one of us needs to handle something the answer is that the Ops Team needs to handle it. Keep in mind that Ops is a very small team consisting of one person.

Ops has many different departments and functions. They include but are not limited to:

  • travel, social functions and entertainment
  • house and garden maintenance including staff management of cleaning lady and gardener
  • licenses and renewals
  • health and medical
  • automotive cleaning and care
  • food and nutrition 
  • other as requested by Mr. Deep
You will notice that anything related to financial matters is excluded from the Ops scope of work. This is due to the team's marked deficiency in mathematics. Mathematics are handled by our CFO, Mr. Deep. Ops sometimes has to approve invoices for Mr. Deep to pay. Invariably Ops forwards these invoices to Mr. Deep without even looking at them which leads to scolding and a discussion about the need to be thorough.

I'd like to share with you about a day in the life of Ops but each day is a little bit different. So I am going to combine the experiences of a few recent days into one example to illustrate the vast array of projects I am currently managing.

1) Wake up at 6:00 a.m. Say hello to Mr. Deep who wakes up at 5:30 a.m. Mr. Deep requests his morning green smoothie. Make his green smoothie (if you want the recipe I can share it.) 
2) Check emails and look at Facebook while waiting for Mr. Deep to go to work
3) Clean up all smoothie making materials and put away dishes from last night's dinner
4) Clean the water feature. We have a water feature in our garden and somehow many of the bricks have turned purple and green. Use gloves to protect manicure. Use a scrub brush and bleach to try to clean bricks. Realize the purple and green is some kind of algae. Hope that I don't get infected with a brain eating amoeba. Realize that I need to remove all water from the fountain. Use a bucket to bail out water. Stand in the fountain and clean out remaining debris. Hope that I don't step on a snake or other kind of creature in the dirty and cloudy water. Hope that I don't contract cholera. Refill the fountain. Realize that there is a serious drought and that I am not supposed to be using the hose during the day. Continue using the hose while feeling guilty about it. Get frustrated that the purple growth remains on the bricks. Pour a whole bottle of bleach directly on the bricks. Let the bleach sit until the purple pales to a light shade of lavender. Decide it is much better and end the project due to running out of bleach.
Ugh I had to stand in this to get the last bit of water and dirt out.
5) Email the South African office of the Mozambican consulate. Tell them the Deep family would like to visit Mozambique and ask them how we can get a tourist visa. Hope that it does not take long to get one since the trip is already booked and fully paid for. Consider it to be an Ops failure that the visa piece was not discovered earlier. Decide that it's dumb that people need visas to go on vacation. Expect not to hear back via email and decide I will call them at noon if I don't hear back.
6) Receive an email from security advising that the pine trees in our back garden need to to be pruned because when it rains the branches are touching the electric fence and causing security havoc. Call a tree feller (that's a guy who chops down trees not fellow spelled wrong) who I saw working at a neighbor's house. Feller says he is in the estate now and can come over. Meet with feller and agree on price. Set tree trimming date for Thursday.
7) Try to renew the Deep family TV license. (FYI as best I can tell a TV license is a money making scheme in South Africa. You have to buy a TV license or give a license number when you buy a TV. You must then renew the license every year for about R250. I am not sure what happens if you don't renew it. Does your TV just stop working one day?) Review email received from Mr. Deep regarding the license renewal. Note that his email says he tried to pay the fee online but was not successful. Review list of retail outlets where the license can be renewed. Go to a TV store listed to try to pay the fee. Wait 15 minutes while the salesman tries to help me. Argue with salesman when he says my passport number is supposed to have a letter in it. Go to a grocery store. Wait in line to renew license. Get frustrated when cashier tells me that I need an EZ pay number (license number on the email does not suffice.) Go to the store where we purchased our TV and our original license. Learn that they are unable to process renewals. Go to another store in the same shopping center. Wait online only to learn that the TV license renewal system is offline. Wonder if it's too early in the day to have a glass of wine. Decide instead to eat lunch. Make a poor eating choice and eat a burger due to being hungry and frustrated. Decide not to get chips because that would be gluttonous. Eat burger in car while driving home. Notice that it is dripping with tomato sauce (ketchup) and that I have gotten tomato sauce all over my clothes. Return home and change clothes. Receive email from Mr. Deep saying I can renew the license online. Remind him that he told me he tried to do so and was unsuccessful. Remind him again when he seems to have no memory of any of this. Imagine a peaceful life without TV. Successfully renew license online.
8) Call Mozambique consulate. Learn that we can get the visas Monday - Friday from 
8:00 -12:00 p.m. Email Mr. Deep to see check on his availability.
9) Review email inbox. Learn that my South African visa situation has officially been "rectified." Feel good that Home Affairs has finally acknowledged that I am here accompanying my husband and not my father. Rejoice that once again I am officially a dependent spouse in the eyes of the South African office of Home Affairs. 


  1. LOVE this! I cannot tell you how much that resembles my life as an expat spouse in SA. Except with 4 kids thrown in and all that comes with that. So imagine that all of this is condensed between the hours of 7:30 am -2:oo pm and then you add a whole other dimension. LOL re TV license. You might be interested to hear that I still get regular emails after almost 4 years telling me our TV license needs to be renewed. There is no way to turn this off. I've tried. So now I just view it as my friendly reminder about life in South Africa.

    I shall now also call myself the Ops team. Sounds so much better than housewife.

    1. Ha! I knew you would be able to relate. I can't imagine how you did it with four kids. My hat is off to you for having the time to write a book and your blog in addition to your mom and ops duties.


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Hello and thank you for taking an interest in my blog. This blog tells the story of some big life changes. First, my husband and I have just moved to Geneva, Switzerland for a few months following a few years of living in Johannesburg, South Africa. The two places could not be more different. I'm excited to share our adventures, challenges and insights with you! My thoughts and opinions are my own.