Stuff that made me wonder …

I often look at how people arrive on my blog – I like stats of how the site works … simple stuff, not higher grade maths for me.  I am more in the 2 + 2 equals 4 sort of school of thought.

Check out the last search that someone did to arrive on my blog.

How the hell did that happen – more importantly why would a son be searching for his mommy not wearing knickers?

Shame, he must have been devastated to find my blog … and me with my Mr Price panties on and all … reminds me of when I found a Spiderman double duvet set for sale on gumtree …

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The giving and the receiving …

Talk about a class-A stuff up.

Kennith and I finally sat on Monday night and opened our lovely wedding gifts.  We had snacks and wine and it was all a very genteel affair.  We opened cards, read them, smiled, I cried a little and then we opened the presents and jotted down the person’s name and the gift so I could send a thank you card/note/email/sms.

We gasped and gushed and said things like “Isn’t that lovely” “How thoughtful of so and so” “Wow, what a great gift.”

At the end of it all, there was a lone card lying on the floor which I picked up and read.  It was from my friend Judith and her husband Al.

Okay, here is where my eyebrow raised – if I am reading the card that clearly appears to be connected to a present, but there is no present, then either a present has gone missing or …. shit something has been swapped.  But that is fine, just need to ask Judith.

Note to self, phone Judith and ask in my most polite voice what they gifted us.  Awkward but will need to ask and then the issue will be resolved.

Tuesday night, a thought comes to me – strange I do not recall seeing Dave and Alice’s present.

Alice is a serial gift-giver and a very good giver, so it is odd that she did not gift us.

I was having an Emily Post moment of whether I should leave it or ask Alice, because clearly I am missing her damn gift.

The problem was that when the reception was over, Kennith and I were going to a guest house and with all the stuff already in the car, could not take anything.  We grabbed 4 sets of friends, gave them our presents, which they took home.  They in turn got them all dropped off at our house while we were away on honeymoon.

Wednesday night, I am on my way to bookclub with Alice.  I think, let me just ask her – so I did in the most polite-does-not-really-matter-if-you-did-not-buy-us-a-gift-but-by-the-way-did-you-buy-us-a-gift manner.  Alice is horrified – because she did buy us/me a gift.  And then goes on to explain what it was.

I recall it fondly as it was the first gift we opened, but on it was a card from Bernard and Julie, and I said all sorts of great things about the gift – so then clearly I am thinking well where is Bernard and Julie’s gift – and besides where, what is Bernard and Julie’s gift.

Shit, now we have a problem, because nothing NOTHING that I have listed as being from anyone is probably from them, and I am not sure about anything.

I thought of doing this two ways.  Sending out thank you cards next week saying “Thanks for the stuff/thing you chose for us – we love it – it is just want we wanted – we will treasure it forever!”

Or using my blog as a vehicle (thanks for the idea Joan) to dig myself out of this rather awkward moment.

So here’s the thing, if you were kind/generous/present enough to kindly bring us a wonderful gift on the 17 July 2010, is there anyway you can drop me a note and tell me what it was?

I really am struggling here as this is all beyond awkward.  I really want to avoid the awkwardness of saying “thank you” when I truly have no idea what I am saying thank you for.

Some days I should just keep my mouth shut …

I have mentioned the fact that I have been thinking about surrogacy for some time and some of the background to that.

I discussed it with Kennith.  In reality he would prefer it if I did not pursue it. However he accepts that if the need/want in me is so strong  (I realise I sound like the short balding guy from Star Wars), he will support me.  However he wants to be sure that I proceed with caution and as little risk to me as possible.

Kennith feels I will fail the psychological analysis.  Sadly I agree with him.  That is probably where I will tick all the wrong blocks, and be overwhelmed with all the what if’s and starting blabbing on uncontrollably and crying and they will write “unsatisfactory” on their form.

I contacted some agencies.  I have been turned down due to the fact that I have had three c-sections, which puts me into a high/higher risk according to their “tick a block” list (sorry to sound a bit bitter, I’m also not feeling very well and struggling with insomnia, so I am not such a happy camper today).

Someone I met through a forum contacted me and said that she was dealing with a set of intended parents who were Johannesburg based.  They had a Cape Town based egg donor and would I be interested in speaking to them about the possibility of acting as a surrogate.

I was meant to meet with a couple this Friday, as they were going to be in Cape Town. It was really just a meet and greet, and to see what their expectations were and whether it aligned with what mine were – and maybe whether we potentially could see us working together.

I was really excited that finally there was some “progress” and someone wanted to talk about my uterus.  Go little uterus!!

Unfortunately they have not confirmed the appointment.  So I take it to mean that either they have cooled to me, or cooled to the idea, or there is possibly something else happening which they have not made me aware of.  I am quite disappointed actually.

Yesterday a private social worker contacted me – she was referred to me by a contact through my blog, who had acted as a surrogate before.

I spoke to the social worker and she was really great.  We had a lengthy discussion and I explained that I appear to be an “untouchable” based on my three c-sections – I wanted to blurt that out right at the start, so she knew what she was dealing with before she got too excited.

I also explained that I had gone to my OBGYN on Tuesday and he had confirmed that there was no pre-existing condition to exclude me from embarking on a 4th or even a 5th pregnancy.  He is a very cautious (and very experienced) OBGYN, so counseled me at length on the potential risks that I may face and we discussed the idea of surrogacy at length.

Strangely his comments were “Why do it?  You have nothing to prove.  It is not like you are doing it for a friend/sister/cousin – it would be for a stranger. Why would you want to do it?”

I really can’t argue with him – I do not know what my motivation is, so it is difficult to quantify or qualify it to someone else, let alone myself.  I just want to – and really that is it in a nutshell.

Maybe it is the simple act of charity.  Maybe it is the liberal ingestion of too much wine.

What if I get to do this, and for me it does not seem that huge in comparison to what other people have to endure to have a baby.

I am not naive enough to not comprehend that there are inherent risks.   I think I am fairly well read and well informed even for a novice.  I am not saying any pregnancy is easy.  Any pregnancy or procedure does carry a certain measure of risk – I do get that, I know stuff about this and do comprehend the risks.

Sure I prefer not to think of myself as dead, or with a ruptured uterus, but I understand that this is a possible outcome – which cannot be ascertained at the outset (as with any pregnancy).

I also grasp that there are potentially huge psychological costs and other factors at play here that may affect me, my family and my children in ways I cannot begin to  comprehend – I hear and understand that too.

That being said, if pregnancy is (relatively) easy for me and I am able to make peace with the baby I am carrying not being mine genetically, and I am willing to go through this to give a couple something they cannot have any other way, then why would I not consider it.

Imagine the power of that play it forward?

At least let me go through the process to see if it is something I can do.  I think I am a bit puzzled at people’s reaction.  They almost have a look of revulsion on their faces that I would consider this.  They start edging away from me in a she-has-leprosy sort of manner.

Is this  not what charity is about, the showing generosity of spirit to your fellow man/woman?

If you can do something to assist someone, why should you not?  And what is more generous that giving someone something that they yearn for more than life itself?

Why must we agree to nod and go “ag shame” but then walk away, why can’t we assist if we can and we feel strongly about it?

Last  night the subject came up in book/wine club – obviously I brought it up, it is not something that comes up by accident.

I realise that maybe I skate on the thin ice where angels fear to tread.  But my thinking is that everyone in bookclub is a mom, and  must understand the fierce love they have for their child and thus be able to make the leap of who it must feel to be that someone who is desperate for a child of their own, and who has literally moved heaven and earth to try to get there.

Maybe if they comprehend that, maybe they can empathise with how desperate it must be for someone not to experience that – through no fault of their own.

Being denied that basic human right and need – the right to procreate because of a stupid roll of the stupid dice.  Having the odds stacked against them which really seems so unfair beyond any measure of my comprehension.

At the same time I am not seeking approval from others.  I welcome healthy debate and am open to the idea that someone may have an opinion that makes me go, “shewie, never thought of that.”

I nearly sh*t in my pants when one of the girls made a statement first basically saying that infertiles need to “just relax” things will happen.

Listen, I am not an infertile, but even I took offense to that.

I nearly pooped a bit in my beige knickers right there!!

Of course years of fertility treatment, injection in the arse, the abdomen, being probed and proded, miscarriages, BFN and all the tears, clearly were in vain – they should have just relaxed.  I wish someone had told them before – wow, sometimes the answer is the simple one (insert sarcastic smiley face here!)

Then there was another comment basically saying that well if it is not meant to be, there must be a reason that God does not mean it to be (insert WTF smiley face here!)

If I had not actually had bits of poo escape from my anus before that, I think some did now!

I sat looking across the room at someone who has three healthy children, who knows how that feels to have your own children.

Who for all intense purposes is a lovely, warm, caring, loving person who lives what I would assume to be a good life and cares for others in the world. But here she sits and actually thinks that if you have unfortunate ovaries, or a uterus that just is not playing along, or your partner has unlucky sperm, you should just sit back and go “Oh well, God meant this to be, so there you are!”

Then does that mean God means it to be when a 12 year old girl is gang raped in a township on her way home from school, falls pregnant and decides to go into labour in the toilet and throw the baby in the dustbin, because she is so terrified and does not know what other choices she has?

Because if God meant that to be, then I think we all need to sit down and have a little talk.

People are so quick to use this blanket phrase of “things happen for a reason” and “it is God’s will” – I am not denying that many people love a bit of cliché to get then through troubled times, but seriously!

But I digress as my adrenaline level climbs.

The bottom line is, for now I think surrogacy is huge.  If I can I would like to act as a surrogate.

I spoke to the social worker and she said she would take my case to the Ethics Committee that meet in the first week of August.  They, it appears, have the final say.

If they say no, then well that is that, and I should just happily skip off in to the sunset and say something profound.  Odds are I won’t and I will be upset, but there is not much more I can do than I have done.

If they say yes, then I would have to first go to a nominated doctor who would do an exam and make a decision as to physically whether I would be approved to be considered to be a possible surrogate.  Of course at that point I would still have to go through the interviews and psychological screening and anything could happen there.

On the other hand, the ethics committee (I actually have no idea who they are – I am just saying it like I am familiar with them) really makes the decision as to whether I am a possible/potential/maybe candidate.

So there we are, now you know!

Stuff that made me laugh today …

I work with this wonderful guy who spends much of his free time doing charitable deeds, primarily aimed at homeless people.  Arthur is just one of those good guys who would give you the shirt off their backs, even if you did not ask, and even if salmon was not your colour.

So he is telling me that he is going to be taking half a day’s leave on Friday. (I actually have people that report to me – I know it is hysterical!)

Arthur is explaining that they are going to taking this group of homeless people camping this weekend, and he starts telling me all about it.

I sort of sat there and listened.  I could feel the little mouse on the treadmill in my head starting to pick up speed as my thoughts started to drift a bit.

Then I looked at Arthur and said: “But Arthur, surely homeless people are sort of camping all the time.  Taking them away for a weekend to camp, is probably not a break for them.  Maybe a nice B&B would be more suitable as a get away for them?

He did agree that it was a bit funny.  I of course sniggered about it for the rest of the day.

Clearly I will be punished for laughing at the good deeds of others.

To add to the joy that does not stop giving.

I went and visited my OBGYN today and got the fun end of a pap smear.   It is amazing how they always tell you to relax – of course you can when you are being stainless steel humped by something in the loose shape of a duck’s bill, and no one has even bothered to say you have nice eyes or buy you a glass of wine.

He was also good enough to let me have a breast exam.  That one caught me by surprise.  Thought he was going to listen to my heart beat … again – clearly not.  Coupled with that he had a little feel around my cervix.

He actually asked me to cough ….  I really started to think that all of this was going on while I was prattling on as if we were casually sitting down drinking a cup of tea.

How strange that we lie there in our nothing, and act like this is all quite normal behavior while someone goes over you with a latex glove and a tube of KY.

Can’t say I was laughing so much, but there we go.

Today I marry my best friend …

We had a great marriage officer in Barry Gray, but I felt I wanted to try to write our vows and ceremony.  I have never written anything like this, nor have I been to that many weddings, so it really was a case of being guided by what I felt “we” were about.

Initially I thought I would just do the vows, but then I realised I wanted it to flow from the ceremony so decided that I would write the ceremony as well.

We had a wonderfully understanding marriage officer, who was content enough to just let me do what I wanted, which was great.

We walked in and stood facing the congregation – we really wanted to face our friends and family and not have them staring at our backs.   It was great to be able to watch their faces and see them smile, laugh and cry.

Here is a copy of our ceremony if you are interested in reading it  ….

The Greeting of the Group

Friends and family welcome to this special occasion, the day when Celeste and Kennith take each other’s hand and begin their life together as husband and wife. They have asked me to especially thank you all for coming to share this day with them – the support, friendship and love offered by you all is truly appreciated.

The most wonderful of all things in life is the discovery of another human being with whom one’s relationship has a growing depth, beauty and joy as the years increase.

This inner progressiveness of love between two human beings is a most marvellous thing; it cannot be found by looking for it or by passionately wishing for it. It is a sort of divine accident, and the most wonderful of all things in life.

We have been invited here today to stand witness to the entwined lives of Celeste and Kennith.  Braided together by a growing love, some hardships and enduring friendship that has lasted sixteen years.

They have decided to join together in marriage before their friends and family on this auspicious day – sixteen years to the day that they met in 1994.

They did not only want to get married with you acting as their witnesses, sitting shoulder to shoulder, they wanted to remind you that in addition to being connected to Kennith and Celeste and their children Connor, Georgia and Isabelle, you also exist as a group interconnected to each other in hundreds, perhaps thousands of ways.

This group is bound together by bonds of friendship and family.

Many of you have shared challenges together – leaning on each other for support, screaming with each other in happiness and crying with each other when the rugby score has not gone to plan.

When Celeste and Kennith thought of gathering people together, they wanted to see not only the faces of the individuals that have been so important to them over the course of their relationship but they wanted to put you together, shoulder to shoulder to form a whole – a single solid entity — a group that will witness the declaration of their union.

We have all been called to be witnesses to this wedding because of our friendship and our special relationship to the bride and groom.  If anyone here knows any lawful reason why Celeste and Kennith may not be married you must now say so.

I ask then if you affirm this marriage and give it your blessing,

The friends and family respond with:   We do (in this case they all screamed YES that was loud enough to lift the roof, it was really sweet.)

Kennith and Celeste, if either of you knows any reason why you may not be united in marriage lawfully and in good conscience, you must now declare it.

Reading

Celeste and Kennith have selected readings that they feel echo their thoughts and personalities.

First Reading – Excerpts from the Velveteen Rabbit ~ By Margery Williams ~

(read by Alice D’Aguiar)

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but Really loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.

Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get all loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

(I cry when ever I read the Velveteen Rabbit – it is so beautifully true and genuine.)

Second Reading – Kahlil Gibran “The Prophet”

(read by Steven Brockensha)

You were born together, and together you shall be for evermore.

You shall be together when the white wings of death shall scatter your days.

Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.

But let there be spaces in your togetherness.

And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:

Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

Fill each other’s cup, but drink not from the same cup.

Give one another of your bread, but eat not from the same loaf.

Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,

Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.

For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

And stand together, yet not too near together:

For the pillars of the temple stand apart,

And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

(What I love about this passage is that it is all about love, but about love that allows some space between the lovers.  They are encouraged to be themselves in their space and love each other, but leave a bit to allow them to grow individually.  It is the opposite of the smothering, wet, suffocating love that one hears.)

Barry:  Please can I ask everyone to have their candle with them and available.

Consent

Kennith, will you take Celeste to be your wife?  Will you love her, comfort her, honour and protect her and be faithful to her?

Kennith:  I will

Celeste, will you take Kennith to be your husband?  Will you love him, comfort him, honour and protect him, and be faithful to him?

Celeste:  I will

Ring Ceremony

Barry: Will you now give and receive a ring?

Bride and Groom: We will.

Connor brings rings to Kennith, who offers his in open hand to Celeste.

Barry:  Kennith, as you place the ring on his finger will you repeat after me: I promise to give you the best of myself and to ask of you no more than you can give (I thought that was the key phrase right there).  I promise to love you in good times and in bad, with all I have to give.  Completely and forever.  With this ring, I thee wed.

Barry:  Celeste, as you place the ring on her finger will you repeat after me: I promise to give you the best of myself and to ask of you no more than you can give.  I promise to love you in good times and in bad, with all I have to give.  Completely and forever.  With this ring, I thee wed.

Kennith and Celeste light one single candle from the two they hold.  They blow out the two single candles.

They use this single candle to then light the candle that Connor and Georgia hold.  Connor and Georgia go and light the first guests candle in the front row and each guest then lights the candle of the person next to them until everyone has candles lit.

Barry places the single candle to the side.

Declaration

Now that Kennith and Celeste have given their consent and made their vows in the presence of this group of family and friends, with the joining of hands and the giving and receiving of rings, I declare that they are husband and wife.

Kennith and Celeste kiss each other, and the children – and the marriage blessing is read.

Marriage Blessing

May you need one another, but not out of weakness.

May you want one another, but not out of lack.

May you entice one another, but not compel one another.

May you embrace one another, but not out encircle one another.

May you succeed in all important ways with one another, and not fail in the little graces.

May you look for things to praise, often say, “I love you!” and take no notice of small faults.

If you have quarrels that push you apart, may both of you hope to have good sense enough to take the first step back.

May you enter into the mystery which is the awareness of one another’s presence – no more physical than spiritual, warm and near when you are side by side, and warm and near when you are in separate rooms or even distant cities.

May you have happiness, and may you find it making one another happy.

May you have love, and may you find it loving one another.

The Bride and Groom and the two witnesses sign the marriage certificate.

We then had a Family Blessing Ceremony.

After it all, we bounced outside to where our friends were waiting to throw rose petals at us … a great day.

The ceremony and the vows were about us and what we thought and felt, so it was great to have the opportunity to have Barry say what we were thinking and how we felt … it was such an incredible ceremony and so many truly cry-laugh out loud moments.

Photos by Megan Hughes.

A rose by any other name ….

The issue regarding retaining my surname on the 17 July 2010, or taking Kennith’s surname was a weighty decision for me.

I have been me for about thirty eight years and had grown rather fond of my surname and it was part of who I was – it was an element of my personality.

If I was going to change anything it would be my first name.

I always thought it was terribly cruel to give a little girl with a lisp a name with two “s” sounds in it.  So when ever I say my name, I usually get the response of “what?”  and then have to repeat it two or three times more.  Getting more nervous and thus lisping even more.

I realize it is just a surname, and many women are more than happy to toss it aside on their wedding day and leap into the arms of a “Koekemoer” or “Jansen van Rensburg” or even a “van der Kok.”

But I was not so sure.

Kennith’s surname is great, and rolls of the tongue, so it was not a surname that has spelling or pronunciation problems going forward.  It’s easy and tends to get you in the front of the queue if anything is in alphabetical order, which always has it’s perks, unless it is for an anal exam of sorts.

My surname would usually have a response of “Like the Highlander?” or “There can be only one..” to which we all smile and nod knowingly.

The children have Kennith’s surname and my surname as a third name.  All three kids have rather lengthy monikers, which makes filling in forms lots of fun, but each of their names was well thought through and well selected.

Part of my decision when it came to deciding to take on Kennith’s surname, was that I wanted to be like my children, I wanted my name to be the same as theirs.

<we can discuss naming kids by the father’s name when you are unmarried in a separate blog post, as that has all sorts of issues attached to it.>

The other day Georgia was asking about all our “big” names and I was running through what hers was, and Isabelle’s and Connor’s.  Then the question was posed as to what Kennith’s “big” name was.  And finally what mine was.

On hearing my name, she promptly said “You are not part of the family!”

I am convinced that Georgia has been sent to test my resolve.  Besides the many references to me as her “big fat mommy” and now her telling me I am “not in the family” I do still try to buy her presents at Xmas time, and not send her to school dressed funny.  But I must warn you she is really testing the boundaries with me.

Anyway, back to my surname decision.

I have been me for thirty eight years, I actually quite like me, some days more than others, but as time goes on, I am starting to like me a bit more.

Getting married was not about me becoming another person, it was about me getting married to Kennith, but part of the “getting married” thing for girls is there is an automatic assumption that we will take our groom’s name.

And the fact that is is always this automatic shift that we are happy to abandon our family names and take on theirs also did not sit well with me.

Kennith did keep asking if I was going to take on his surname.  He was also good enough to not make it an issue.  He seemed to respect the fact that my name is also important to me, and there was a good chance that I would hold on to it after the 17th.

I decided I would leave the final decision until the day – and even on the morning while getting ready I took some time to consider what would be best for me, and what I would feel most comfortable with going forward.

I chose to change my name.

I moved my surname to a third name, and took Kennith’s surname as my new surname.

Next time when Georgia asks our “big” name, and we all list our names, I wonder if Georgia will admonish Kennith for “not being in the family” unless he opts for a name change and take my surname as his third name.

Photo by Mandi Earl.

The day … photo version

It was such an incredible day .. I will post more information when my euphoria levels come down and I can string a sentence together that does not use the word “awesome” or “perfect” at least three times, in the same sentence.

It was such a great day.  It went so well.  It had so many laugh out loud and cry because it is so beautiful moments.  I honestly can say, that we could not have wished for a better day. 

We were surrounded by our friends and family who literally stood around as we said “I do..” – so many unbelievable moments, I will share when I get a chance to post properly.

In the interim, here are some quick preview images.

Moments before leaving the guest house … physically unable to smile at this point ….

My boots to wear as alternate when we go skipping through damp grass … how brilliant are these boots?  Thanks Pick ‘n Pay!!

This is us walking out of the chapel … Connor has moved out of frame in this photograph ..

Here is a family photograph of the Barlow family ….

Kennith and I – love this photograph – Megan Hughes has done a fabulous job as per usual. 

Mr and Mrs Barlow …..

Absolutely love this shot … can’t wait to see the rest of the photographs …

And there is the shot you know you are going to put on a canvas, this may be the one.

Random images

The day dawns …

17 July : The morning dawned, I was excited that I got to wake up to peace and quiet … I had booked myself into a guest house for the evening of the 16th. 

If we discount the fact that I had been freezing the night before, and had to contend with a leaking water bottle, it was all quite pleasant to have one night to myself.

I lay there for a few moments toying with whether I should chill and have a long lie in, but then my brain registered the day ahead.  I ran a bath and cautiously headed to open the curtain to check the weather.

July is legendary for very few dry sunny day, and generally weather reports that predict chilly weather with rain, which might explain why it is not widely regarded as a great wedding month.

Of all the things I can control, it would seem the weather was not one of them.  I had made peace with the fact that there was a good chance I was going to be facing torrential downpour and gale-forced winds. 

I flung back the curtain was greeted by shiny-and-oh-so-happy-I -had-a-song-in-my-heart blue skies and not a breath of wind – hells bells, how did we get so lucky!! I might have whooped a bit.  If I was on line I might even have used a smily faced emoticon at this point – I was truly thrilled.

Photographer arrived, flowers arrived, makeup artist arrived, everything was dead on track and going ridiculously well, in spite of my predicting doom and gloom. 

I was getting makeup and hair done.  Sipping a glass of champagne as I dissolved half a dozen Rescue tablets under my tongue.  I sat there slowly gaining confidence that this day might just work.

It was all a carefree morning, buoyed along by alcohol and medication. 

At some point I asked for a time check – 11h30 – I pooped a bit in my new white lace knickers.  We were meant to be at the chapel at 12h15!

Got dressed quickly – as quickly as one can when one is getting corsetted into a rather poofy off-white dress.

Around then I started to panic …. not polite panic, but totally stupid I-am-out-of-my-mind panic. 

Dress was on, shoes were on, makeup was on, hair was done.

I had a bos blomme, everything was perfect, but my mind decided that about now was time to leave the realm of calm and enter total PANIC station.

Shame poor photographer. 

She was trying so very hard to get “peaceful bride before wedding photographs” …. all she got was “totally stressed bride who physically was not able to smile” photographs.

We managed to get ourselves clean, had more Rescue tablets, and got my arse into a car to go to the wedding.

We’re in the car, Joyce up front with Leon driving, me in the back, with Georgia kitted out as flower girl. 

We are drive out of the guest house, and Georgia pipes up: “Let’s go find a wedding!!”

Yes, lets …..

It’s been a week ….

I really felt that it was the stress of whether the cake would be crap or whether the make-up artist would call and say that she had just woken from a drunken orgy and would not make it on Saturday the 17th.

I was also sure that it was all the details that was keeping me awake and making me anxious.

It really wasn’t the stuff on the day that I was worried about.

I had cross-references everything, checked them off my list, checked again, and then outsourced the third check to a second person.

I really was sure that there was nothing within reason that could go wrong – short of me not arriving, Kennith not arriving, or the marriage officer deciding today was a good day to go for a surf.  I had the details sorted (and rechecked).

But worried I was.

I had been struggling with insomnia in various forms for about a month, but two weeks ago, the insomnia got up to a new level.  I was probably sleeping two hours a night if I was lucky, and facing each day totally exhausted.

The week before on my hen night I ended up in the bathroom hugging the toilet bowl after less than 4 glasses of wine.  It was not pretty, it was not pleasant – and I felt like death.  Bear in mind I often have 4 glasses of wine with my muesli in the morning.

This Tuesday I woke up at about 1am, and spent several hours clinging to the toilet bowl.  This time none of the girls from the hen party were there.  It was just me and my rather grubby blue bathrobe, and the not so clean toilet bowl.

I hurled and hurled, and when I could not dry heave any more, headed to bed, and lay there to stare at the ceiling until the sun came up.

Why is it that after a sleepless night, you always fall dead asleep 5 minutes before your alarm clock goes off? 

Wednesday and Thursday night my body decided that it did not need sleep at all.  Excellent plan, which might have explained why Friday dawned with me acting like a cocaine addict without a fix.

Everyone kept stroking my shoulder and patting my head and saying “don’t worry…”

I really was not worried about the stuff.

I was worried that on the seventeenth of July two thousand and ten, I was going to don an off-white dress and trot down an aisle of sorts, and stand in front of all our friends and family and say “I do…”

When you have fought so long and hard against the concept of marriage, as I have, and for so long, it comes as a bit of a suprise that you are willing to throw all your pre-conceived notions of this rather dated institution, giggle like a school girl and skip down an aisle.

I was beyond scared shitless about the notion of getting married.  I stand before you on the eve of my wedding (post a bit late, but work with me here) and I am so scared I am shaking and feeling nauseous.

I know it will be okay, as I am too scared to run …. but here I am any the way … breath in, breath out, breath in, breath out …. find brown bag as I am hyper-ventilating ….

The card you do not want to get on your wedding day …

Womb for hire … squatters welcome …

When I was just had Connor I realized that if something happened to him they would need to take me out to a field and shoot me.  I loved (and still love) that child with such a fierce emotion that it is difficult to quantify.

I did not want kids.

I do not even like kids.

But I realized that when that child was pulled from my uterus, my heart went with him.  I feel him near me, I think about him, even when I don’t.

Having a child really is that cliché of taking your heart and soul out and letting it just walk about outside.

I theorized, that if I could feel that strongly about Connor, how must people feel who had been wanting/begging/pleading for a child for what must seem like forever.

I am no genius, but I can recognize the pain and suffering in others.

I have always wondered, imagine if I could do something small that would change someone else’s life so dramatically, how would that be?

I thought I might offer myself as a surrogate.

I read up a bit, took a few book out of a library (yes, a real library with cards and librarians who go “shooooossshhhhhh” a great deal) and tried to understand the process (surrogacy, not library, I got how that worked.)

I approached a few “fertility nurses” who I was referred to.

I did not get much in the way of response.  I was not sure what I wanted to say, but they were not trying to help me – and I just felt awkward, apologized and put the phone down – I felt embarrassed actually.

I googled (back then when it had just taken over from yahoo – you had like 38 hits – oh the innocence).  I found a UK and US listed site that gave more information, but there was just nothing South Africa related (this was back in 2002).

I was not sure who to speak to.  I felt like I was doing something embarrassing and covert.

I saw an advert in the weekend paper for a couple looking for a surrogate.  I sms’d them on the Saturday, there was no reply.  A few days after that there was another advert run in the same paper, mentioning that it was illegal to advertise for a surrogate.

Interesting times.

Time passed.  I got involved in my stuff, commonly referred to as survival.  I promptly forgot about “surrogacy” and had another two kids (I also had a little breakdown and a few bouts of chronic depression, but let’s leave that for another post shall we.)

Recently I found out  that surrogacy is a much more accepted custom than back in the day, and so is egg donation.  I am too old for egg donation – no one really wants a thirty eight year old’s eggs – no matter how pretty they are.  I tried, but I have an official rejection letter on my eggs.

Shame poor eggs, and they try so hard!!

I contacted an agency that deals with surrocacy, and they said “well, no three c-sections are above what we will accept” and bounced me – in their defense they did do it in a very polite fashion.

Ask me why I feel I need to be a surrogate.

Ask me why I need to donate eggs.

Ask me why I feel a need to adopt.

I really do not know.  I can’t explain it.  I can’t qualify it.  I really do not have a martyr complex, or an undying need to find favour with others, it’s not that either.  Really can’t explain it to anyone in any sense that will make sense.

I should just say “thank you universe for my three healthy kids, see you later!” and skip off happily into the sunset.

But I feel I can’t.

The one thing I know is, imagine if something small I did makes such a monumental difference to another couple.

I get a few injections, I sit in stirrups for a few hours – but a couple have a chance of having a baby.

I go through a few psychiatrist appointments, more time in stirrups and through a pregnancy – a couple gets a chance to hold their baby, can you imagine what a small sacrifice that is for me, if you compare it against what that couple must have been through to be at that point?

I still hope (against the odds) that Kennith will roll over one morning and say to me: “let’s adopt.”

He knows I know, that he knows he wont.  He knows that I know that maybe I hope that maybe he might change his mind.

We all live in a world of fairies and ghosts.

Mine are in the form of little cheruby not-born-yet babies, that aren’t always my babies – but that is the magical place I get to live in.

You like me … you really really like me ….

I was given a “versatile blogger” award from Tammy who blogs on Motherhood and Madness in the Midlands.

Thanks Tammy, it is always nice to be recognized for the work I do to avoid the work I get paid to do.

I like the idea of being “recognized” – I would prefer it if it came with a voucher for a full body massage, a cup of tea, and an afternoon lie down, but I will take what I can get – beggars and choosers and all that.

I do feel though that these “pass it on” blog awards have a slight feeling of a pyramid scheme to them.

The passing on and having to name a certain amount of other blogs, sometimes does not always sit well with me.

But let me not digress and spoil the happiness of the moment for receiving something square and green (which I have pimped up a bit if you are thinking that this looks a little different to others that you might have seen – I only pimped it a tiny bit).

As with all things in life, there are a few easy to follow rules when accepting the award.

Thank the blogger that sent it your way.

Share seven mildly interesting things about yourself.

And plug a few new blogs you have recently discovered – ten actually.

So, I have acknowledged Tammy for finding me.

Now here are seven mildly interesting things about me :-

One | I am a few days away from moving from being single to being married – which scares the living crapoids out of me.  I still have no idea whether I will keep my surname, or take Kennith’s … the suspense is killing me too.

Two | I like peanut butter on white toast – with Oxo/Fray Bentos on top of it.  Looks like 5 day old puke, but tastes pretty good to me.

Three | Kennith bought me a bright pink jar of Erex for Women to try, ideally to get me in some sort of mood for the honeymoon.  The problem is the pills are about the size of suppositories.  To swallow them each day I have to fight my gag reflex for about 10 minutes.  I am not sure exactly what he is preparing me for that will be happening on our honeymoon, but any the way.

Four | While typing this list I just received a reminder SMS from Weight Watchers – clearly that was a bit like a voice from above – encouraging me to come and join them again.  Yes, I do need to get back on that rather pale and skinny pony again.

Five | I have a large dark birthmark on the left hand side of my torso – looks a bit like a squashed Australia.  A small pale one on my back, and a small pale one on my knee.  Connor is my only child who also has a birthmark.  He has a very light birthmark on his shoulder, which I think is a very sweet connection between us.  (it would have also got me burnt at a stake as a witch in the 16th century, so I am pretty thrilled to be born in 1972)

Six | Sometimes my depression gets so bad, I have to play act through the day to appear “normal” – which is really exhausting, but has allowed me the skill of faking interest and normalcy.

Seven | The character in a television show that I most identify with is Dexter – he is a serial murderer with some serious dark issues.  This sort of brings up a whole lot of concerns that in all of tv-land, this is the person I feel the most similar to.

And last, but by no means least, here are some blogs that I’ve recently discovered and found deserving of this award (or just-the-pass-it-forward-and-make-you-aware-of-clever-witty-bloggers-out-in-cyber-space).

I read blogs that interest me and make me sit up and go “okay, that is interesting.” It may not always be about a subject that is relevant to me, but it is always a blogger who touches a chord within me.

I find these blogs and their writers particularly interesting, it is often their candor and their honesty that appeals to me.

In no particular order:-

http://www.999reasonstolaugh.com/

http://fightingthedarkness.blogspot.com/

http://myworldmyramblings.blogspot.com/

http://womb4improvement.blogspot.com/

http://1eggplease.blogspot.com/

http://sixmonthsblog.blogspot.com/

http://talldudeshortchick.blogspot.com/

I also did not want to force a list of ten, when I have only read seven new blogs in the last two months – it just did not feel right to just pad it so I had a list of ten.

Good things do happen to good people ….

The strange things about blogging and belonging to forums, is that it introduces you to a world of people you may not have had the good fortune to meet through any other route.

Through the powers of words, you start to connect with others.  You start to recognise soul-connections in other people – for what ever reason.  They might live down the road or on the other side of the world, it really does not matter.

It is something about them that resonates with you, and you feel a connection to them and their world.

A while ago I  had the good fortunate to befriend Lisa-Marie through blogging and we have remained in touch via a host of routes.

You know when you meet a “nice” person.   Someone who is truly just a good person, but is being faced with all the hurt and the pain that is the “I want a child, but for what ever reason we cannot have one.”

And how your heart just dies a little for them each time they take a knock.

Lisa and her partner Travers are those people.

The great thing about Lisa is that she is not one of those shiny-happy-nice (slightly annoying) people.   She is a nice people who still screams and rants and swears at the thunder, and sometimes just wants to throw it all away to go and travel and discover new countries and say “just fek it all”.

A while ago they made the difficult decision (and it is hard) to look at adoption as another possible route on their journey.   No doubt what ever they had gone through and maybe some of their experiences had led them to this as an option.

It is a difficult decision, no matter who you are or what your background, to decide that maybe the path you have walked for so long, is maybe not the path that is going to get you to your destination.

You scream and cry at the unfairness of it all.  Curse all who can be cursed, that what you have done and sacrificed for so long is just not working.  And you then decide to change course on your ship to motherhood, which must come with it’s own share of pain and heart-ache.

I was thrilled that Lisa had ventured into this as an option.  But I ached for her, and was worried that maybe a new waiting game was going to begin – maybe she will be faced with further hardships on this new path.

But sometimes life … not often … life is not a sack of shite, and sometimes, just sometimes, it allows the good stuff to rain on the good people.

Last week Lisa and Travers got the call and today …. today …. today their beautiful Isabella Helen is being born and they get to meet their daughter for the first time.

You know when you get to cry for happiness for someone else … someone who you have never met … but you feel you are connected in so many ways?

Today is that day  …. yay a thousand times over for Lisa and Travers who get to become parents  T O D A Y !!

http://ttcnot2easy.wordpress.com/

Nine day count down ….

I know sometimes I appear a bit blasé about this entire “getting married” thing, but it is really a bit of a big deal for me.

Kennith and I have been together for so long.  Both of us were very anti-marriage in the beginning.  We tended to stand on our soap-box and preach how unnecessary it was and that we would not succumb to the bourgeois ways of the masses.

If I heard someone was getting married, I would ask them “but how you do you know you have found the right one … how do you really know…”  it would often lead to a rather frightened bride-to-be who just wanted to get as far from me as possible, in as short a time as possible.

As time marched on our relationship evolved.

Our kids joined us, our world shook and cracked a little/a lot.  We realized that sometimes “loving someone” is not the same as “liking someone” – and sometimes it is okay to want to kill them and bury their body in the backyard.

We went through several difficult years, that included screaming, shouting, not talking, couple counseling, more anti-depressants, and fairly destructive behaviour.

I am sure if we had been offered an easy escape clause, we both might have opted out and left –  it really was hard, and there were few good days, and no guarantee that going through all of this was going to make it any better at the end of the day.

I think Kennith and I do tend to move cautiously on certain issues and do not give up easily.   We sort of plod on, and believe that things will get better if we just give it some time (it’s a character thing.)  This might have been what kept us plodding on – though we were really walking two totally separate and lonely paths.

We did however manage to eventually reach the same place at about the same time, and made a decision that we could see ourselves walking the same road.

I do not want to try to paint a romantic picture of long-lost lovers and rekindled flames, and skipping through daisy fields.

There was none of that, there was more listening, being more attentive and maybe trying not to be so angry all the time.

Here is the key – it was not that one of us tried hard and the other went about their normal day. I think we both realized that we both needed to change, and find ways of finding each other again.  We had both made mistakes, were both to blame – in different ways – but we equally shared the carrying of the proverbial bucket.

We both made a conscious effort to give it a go (when I think we both thought this is really the last chance of chances as things did seem almost unfixable.)

It took a lot of work to reach this point.   Kennith and I are not naïve enough to think that now it is all going to be white wine and green olive/biltong days.

We still get annoyed with each other and find it very easy to flick into the “well fek you then” frame of mind.

And here is where I must give Kennith his due – Kennith is able to say sorry, where I struggle.  Kennith is always willing to extend the olive branch, where I hold resentment close to my heart.  Kennith is always willing to forgive and move on, where I struggle to bury the hatchet.  Kennith is definitely the sunny disposition to my rather dark self.

Yesterday I was chatting to someone who really is going through the darkest point of relationship hell.

If you are looking for advise and are hoping for platitudes, I strongly suggest you go somewhere else and not come to me.  I do not set out to say mean things and hurt someone, but I do tend to state things truthfully as I see them.  I will not volunteer my opinion, but if you ask, then I take it that you want the truth and not the sugar-coated version, then I do say what I think.

With relationships, we are led to believe we should hook-up, and stay together come what may – “for the children”.

The reality is that the father or the mother of your children, might not be your partner for life, life is just not that way.  Staying with someone when it is actually driving you inch-by-inch into the mouth of madness “for the sake of the children” is just not a feasible way to live your life.

I appreciate that when you bring children into the picture the stakes do get higher.

Suddenly there is more to lose, the fall out is so much more, and there are going to be casualties – in the form of little people.   At the same time, if you cannot look after yourself because your relationship is killing your soul, you really cannot look out for the good of your child or children, no matter how good your intentions are.

The problem with relationships that are in distress, is that we get so caught up in the craziness of the situation and literally get sucked into it.  It consumes us.  We are unable (or unwilling in some cases) to step back and really take a look at what is going on.  This distress might last a day or two, but in some cases it can stretch to years, and then we totally lose ourselves in “it”.

We cannot rationalize, or take the time to look at it with a clear mind, because we are dealing with the day to day fall-out of what is hell-on-earth.

I think, if you have ever been in a relationship that is sliding into the abyss, you will know what I am talking about.

We are not talking about a mild disagreement here, we are talking about a relationship that is starting to bleed your soul, and all you can think is “I have to get out … I have to get away…”

At some point – some where – somehow – one finds the energy to take a moment, take a breath and step back.

Usually at this moment, we can look at what is going on, and try not be so reactive and emotional.  We can also take the time to think “why should I stay in this relationship?” I think if the only reason you can muster is “because I love him” then maybe it is time to find a bag and start packing.

If you ask me why I stayed with Kennith when times got so dark?  Well, the truth be told, I was on my way out the door.  Things had hit the (very) bottom of where ever they could have gone.

I had taken that moment, that breath to think – and for me the thinking involved facing my biggest fear.

My biggest fear was not losing Kennith, he was all but lost anyway, my biggest fear was that I would have to leave without the kids.  That was what I had to face as my reality and the outcome when all was said and done.

I had spent weeks trying to work out how I could leave, and take the kids with me.  No matter how much I tried to do the math and tried to work out the logistics, it just was not financially or logistically possible,without causing chaos in their lives.

The moment I had that realization – that “what is the worst outcome” and accepted it, suddenly it made me free to make my decision – it was like coming out from under a wet, heavy blanket where I had been suffocating.

I am not trying to say that it was not painful.  I sobbed and cried, but when I worked through all the options, the best solution to be able to leave, was to let the kids remain with Kennith.

Once all the hair pulling and chest beating is done, and you accept that the worst outcome, the one you have been hiding from,  the one you know in your heart of hearts is the right answer, and you accept it with your soul and a brave face – suddenly you do reach a place of calm, and then can decide “well what now…?” in a rational more adult way.

As things went, Kennith and I did not go our separate ways.  Things did change – the changes were gradual and slow, they were hard, but our relationship did manage to survive.

But here we are.  We are 9 days away from making a public commitment to each other – how do I feel now?

I feel proud that Kennith and I have gone through what we have.  We have endured, we have walked through when most people faced with what we were faced with, would have walked away.

Our children are happy, seem to be well-adjusted (waiting for test results) and know they are in a loving family.

We are walking in to this marriage with our eyes wide open.  We are not being swept along by hormonal euphoria of how magical it is all going to be.  We have years of experience under our belt, and gained many battle scars of wisdom.

We know that when it is all done and dusted, and we get in to bed at night, my foot will always find his and we will drift off to sleep, knowing that no matter what happens our feet will always touch when we go to sleep at night.

In nine days time, we are ready to stand in front our of our closest friends and family, and say the words that we have been avoiding for sixteen years … “today I will marry you…”

Pretty girl ….

The kids are away at my mom for a few days.

Us taking advantage of the last week of the school holidays to ship them to the sea-side, and my mom developing a facial tick from stress … don’t we love a five week flipp’n school holiday smack bang in the middle of the school year.

At least the kids get to run around and go beserk and play outside, I get exhausted dirty kids back  – it is a win-win situation all around.

I called my mom to see how they are doing, and after speaking to her got to speak to Georgia as she is sitting nearby.   I asked her what she she did with herself today.

She answered: “Being beautiful…”

Sometimes it is a full time job and can take all day … I think we under-esimate that sometimes.

Sometimes a policy of no photographs is better …

I figured I would post there horrible pictures before my now “so called” friends did.

It all started off so innocently, look how happy I am – attempting to read the menu and order wine …. I am happy and unaware of the horror of what will come … and that is just the Brazillian wax story …

I have my ring that flashes … what more could a girl want ….

I was given a great bride and groom that will now make it to the top of a cake – even if it is a cupcake

And then it goes horribly … horribly wrong … but my friends do not let this deter them from having a good time, and just move the party to the bathroom.

Ragna is doing a display of how her jacket is water resistant and procedures to splash water all over herself …that girl will find any opportunity to punt her brand ….

Then there was the group shots … er this is one of me ….notice how happy everyone is, except me really .. that is me sort of behind the door frame on the floor … next to the toilet … but let me not stand in the way of thier having a good time …

These are more group shots in the toilet – it appears I am not in any of these … for which I am truly thankful …

This is me with Alice finally packed in to the car … same car that had to stop several times on the way back home so I could dump further contents of my stomach in various locations …. a bit like a treasure hunt …

I have no idea what was going on in this picture, so nothing to say in my defense …. can I just plead drunkeness and fall on the mercy of the court?

(I did notice that Alice eventually ended up in the front seat, clearly she was aware of puke splatter and preferred to stay close by, but not that close by ….)

I guess if I do not laugh at myself … what else is there to do …. hope you all enjoyed my pain and misery …. I will return next week to see if I can retrieve my name I threw away ….

Of wine and toilet bowls …

So last night I went out for dinner with my mate Judith and Sue B – we get together about once a month for a chat and a laugh.

It seemed Judith had other plans, and it turned into a surprise almost-bride party with friends and too much alcohol.

I was dressed in the traditional veil and horns, the garter belt, and the customary learner bride sign – it’s what all the nearly-brides are wearing this season.

I also had a wand and a large ring with a flashing light on it – which has definitely become my favourite piece of bling – I think I might have promised to wear it on the 17th!!  I had a large while butterfly (not real) stuck on my head that was reminiscent of a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s birds, but might also be joining my favourite accessory pile soon.

Wine was ordered for me, we had shooters – which Alice struggled to get into her mouth.  Shooters can sometimes be difficult for pretty girls.  Instead she opted to pour it randomly on her face and neck and hope that some was absorbed through osmosis.

I had some wine, followed by some wine, and then some more wine, you know how this all goes, and I was feeling great.

The girls were funny, the conversation took a few twists and turns and it was all quite jolly.

Alice was trying to convince me that a brazillian wax is just the sort of surprise Kennith would enjoy – really!  I thought.  He would enjoy knowing I lay spread eagled on a bed while a woman named Vera poured wax on me and then pulled it off really quickly to take the hair outta my bum crack?

How about he have the brazillian first, and then once he stops crying he can let me know how it goes and whether he would recommend it to for me.

Sue S then explained that she has committed to a brazillian but only got half way, then had to tell the wax lady to stop as it was too sore, so went home and just shaved the other side – I thought that was brilliant.

Alice insists I should have my bush waxed in the shape of a pink heart!

I really do not know why Alice is so fixated on my hairy nether regions.  I wonder if when Kennith is out with his friends they talk about grooming their twig and berries?

It really was a fun evening …. until well, it wasn’t.

I can’t quite recall the chain of events, but it ends with me, in the bathroom, literally hugging the toilet and well camping out there for the rest of the night.  I had friends taking turns rubbing my back and holding my hair – what good mates I have.

But I just could not stop retching – I do not recall drinking that much – bear in mind my body is a fine tuned wine-drinking machine.  I can look at least two bottles of wine in the eye without seeing double, so I have no idea what happened.

So as not to miss out on the action everyone then moved to the bathroom and stood around making conversation while I retched and cried in between – such good times.  What I was crying about I do not recall, it might be because I was on my hands and knees retching in a public place .. that could have been it.   There is little to beat the likes of a stylish soon-to-be-bride!

Someone was taking group photos, which I thought would make great mementos of the evening. Eventually they managed to frog march me to the car and drive me home.

I will confess to having to puke some more on the drive home  – so if you pass something on the N1 that looks vaguely unsanitary and has now splashed up on the side of your car, let me take this as an opportunity to sincerely apologise .

Eventually I got home and Kennith was waiting – bless his cotton socks.  He helped me get my jammies on, poured me a large cold glass of Oros, and made me a hot water bottle.

He is such a good egg, and I have such good mates for taking care of me as they did!

Bits and pieces of the rather insane conversations keep coming back to me, I seem to recall arrangements being made about going to a sokkie-jol after the wedding?   I might even have suggested it, oh heavens!

Connor’s take on wedding days …

I just thought of something today that Connor said years ago.

We were walking through the mall and we were just chatting.  Connor must have been around 4 -5 years old.  I recall Georgia being there, but would have been a tiny little nu-nu at the time.

I think the subject of marriage had recently come up at school.  Connor had assumed Kennith and I were married.  He was at a very strong roman catholic school at the time who believed in family and community values.  Most if not all the parents at the school came from nice mommy-and-daddy-are-married families, so that was what the kids believed to be the “norm” – who was I to shake their little boat?

I was not sure then whether to break it to Connor that actually Kennith and I were not married, but we were living in sin.  So I opted instead to test the waters with him to see what his understanding was of marriage.

This particular day the subject of a wedding or a wedding day came up, and I recall asking Connor why does he think that people have a wedding day.

He said: “So people can dance with each other and kiss each other …”

I thought that would be as good a reason as any to have a wedding.

The Engagement Story …

People have been asking how we got engaged … I really wish it was an interesting story, so I might need to embellish the details a bit just to add intrigue and a bit of sex and scandal.

We go out for dinner about twice a week. Not because we live the high life, just because I am too lazy to cook, and Kennith is sometimes a bit bored with baked beans on toast.

On the night in question, we put kids in bed, arrange for our Pepe to babysit and skipped off to dinner – so this was a night like any other.

Now just to paint the picture of the week before – because this is one of those stories that rises of falls on the background, ambiance is quite important.  I will need to take you through the preceding two weekends.

The weekend before (13 – 14 March) Kennith had pretty much left me to sort myself out the entire weekend.

We had friends staying over for the weekend as the Argus Cycle Race was on and there were meetings and stuff that Kennith had to attend on the Saturday.   On the Saturday night we had friends over at our house for dinner, and it was all a bit chaotic.  Actually I lie, it was wildly chaotic.

Kennith was also out pretty much the entire weekend, so when we did not have friends over, he left me alone with the kids and the mess (ah good times!)

I get very very anxious when I am left with the kids alone on the weekend.   I literally go a little/very/a lot panicky, totally stressed state all day and every minute ticks by like an hour.  I love my kids, but they scare me – they outnumber me and can outflank me …. it is only a matter of time before they realise this and start ganging up on the injured bleeding mother-person.

To add to it, Isabelle who was dreadfully ill. So all in all, the weekend really was one step away from an enema with a bottle-cleaning brush.

My thinking was that if Kennith was going to have friends over and arrange “come all ye faithful, bring a keg, let’s have dinner” then he should arrange either he cleans up or he organizes a maid to clean up.

What he thought was a better idea, was to wake up, shower and then skip off on his day leaving me with the kids and the house that looked like a shit-fest.

I was slightly less than happy!  And who do you think gets the brunt of my rage …. no prizes for guessing ….

I survived, only barely and limped through the week that followed feeling mighty peeved.   But I tried to take deep breaths and thought, well I survived, onwards and upwards – next weekend I can get some time to relax and maybe catch a little nap.

But the next Friday (19th April) Kennith phones and tells me he has been invited to rugby with friends.

I really do not give a crap about rugby, but what this translates to me is that he will leave the house on Saturday at about 14h00 and return around 22h00 that night, which means I will be alone with the kids again!!

I think I might have pooped in my panties a bit – like actually pooped not metaphorically pooped.

I am not going to tell Kennith he can’t go to anything – I am not his jailor or his mother.

However I do expect that he uses his good sense every now and then, when making the choices of what invitations to accept and which not to. This was not one of those cases where maybe reflecting on the weekend before, accepting a rugby invite now, was going to go down, shall we say with less relish than hoped.

Kennith went to rugby.  I went just a little more off the edge of the postcard.

I was so angry I was spitting. Kennith arrives home that evening and brings our friends in for a drink. No problem, love our friends but am hating Kennith right about then.

Sidebar: Kennith buys bottles of wine from a friend of ours at a good price. These bottles of wine are white wine, which are meant for me to drink and for when we entertain. The bottles cost about R29.00 when we buy them, but cost considerably more in store. Kennith is always making “jests” about how I quaff wine, and that I should not drink the “good stuff.”

I have a sense of humour, and can laugh along to most things – sometimes I even laugh at Kennith, but this chirp, was getting old, and it was a bit past it’s sell-by date. I also figure that he is standing between me-and-my-wine and that is not a safe place for anyone to be standing.

Earlier on that Saturday afternoon, in my rage and fury I am standing there and thinking that I really need a few glasses of wine to help temper my mood, and help me get through the last few hours of this day (does this sound a bit like a desperate cry for help for the AA?).

I grab one of these bottles of wine – and while wrenching the cork out I hear Kennith’s little comment in my head – which just makes me even more angry. I start talking to him as if he is there, which he is not as he is at Newlands.  Listen, even in my insanity, I can differentiate between the real voices in my head, and my own voice in my head (thank goodness for small blessings.)

The entire time I am thinking that if Kennith makes one more stupid chirp about this fek’n wine I am going to take his head off with a cork-screw and the inner of a toilet roll.

I have passed the sanity part of my day long long ago at this point, and all I am trying to do is survive until night fall, and kids go to bed, and I can lie on my bed and congratulate myself on not killing anyone.

Fast forward – friends come inside. Kennith either sees my wine glass or the wine bottle and make the chirp!

I go off pop – but like totally.

Leon and Joyce are quietly sitting there attempting to have a civilized conversation and I have just gone totally trailer-park and I am ranting. The kind where spittle forms in the corner of your mouth and you start waving your hands around with fervor.

Leon and Joyce are sitting there in stunned silence and I am freaking out.

Obviously they do not know the weekend that has led up to this, and how angry I am.   I have been sitting there in anticipation, waiting for this chirp from Kennith since 2pm.

They quietly finish their drinks and leave.  Joyce is even trying to tidy up a bit, as she has no idea what the hell I am ranting about, but figgers a little tidying never hurt anyone.

Kennith and I have the almighty fight of all times and there is screaming and effing and blinding. I might have told him to go and fornicate himself – or a goat – I am not sure!  But it is one of those fights that is about a lot of thing, not just a tosser-idea-to-go-to-rugby, you know when it  a l l  c o m e s  o u t, one of those fights.

On the Sunday I decided to leave for the day and hang with my mate Judith. We spent the day drinking red wine while I told her what a total shit Kennith was and that I would not marry him if he threw himself on the floor and promised me the world.

I continue to rant about how angry I was that he had not asked me to marry him and how worthless and rejected that made me feel …. whine whine wine wine wine.

Eventually I went home, and chose not to talk to him for the balance of the day. I decided he was a goat turd and the sooner he ceased to exist the happier I was going to be.

Monday was Monday, Tuesday rolled around and then Wednesday we went out for dinner.

Sitting there, not a especially special restaurant, it had linen rather than plastic table clothes but after that not much – I was eating dry garlic pita bread which was especially crunchy.

Kennith was trying to hold my hands across the table and started telling me how much he loved me and how much I meant to him and and and …. again I thought this was by the way of apology for being a total goat turd the week before.

Me: Chew, chew, crunch, crunch …

Kennith: You are really important to me, and I know getting married is important to you, and I want to make you happy, so let’s get married ……

Me: Chew, chew, crunch, crunch …

Kennith:  So let’s get married ….

Me:  Chew, chew, crunch, crunch … Are you asking me whether you should ask me to marry you, or are you asking me to marry you?

Kennith:  I am asking you to marry me ….

Me:  Crunch … trying to get the parsley out of my teeth … Really? …..

Kennith:  Yes, you know me, I am not going to do the whole thing, will you marry me baby?

Me:  (now I realise I have waited sixteen years for this, so this is no time to act all hard to get and all … however I had just told Judith that I would not marry him for all the sheep in New Zealand … saying yes now would seem a little hypocritical … but there is something to be said for striking while the iron is hot and all) Okay, yes ….

Kennith:  Oh …..

…… kisses me ……..

….. A few moments pass as we are gazing across the table into each other’s eyes …..

Kennith:  I am not going to drop 25K on a ring

… ….. a little awkward silence …..

Me: Are you going to eat this last slice of pita bread or can I?

Barbie has her head ripped off ….

While sitting here minding my own business, Georgia is presenting me with drawings of Barbie the Mermaid with her head pulled/ripped off by an octopus.

I am not sure whether to encourage her to continue with the maiming of Barbie, or explain that she really should draw nicer renderings of Barbie.

She left the room and then returned to tell me that she is going to draw “an octupus smacking Barbie’s head off…”

I know when I have a rough day at work, I come home and drink more wine than I should.

Maybe this is the way Georgia works out her playschool frustrations … I’m okay with it …. I might treat to her to an extra ice-cream when we go to the Spur later.