This is not the blog I was hoping to write ….

Parker, my French Bulldog managed to get out of our front gates Thursday before last.

I blame myself of course, but it was an accident.

I replay that if I had not chosen to wash them, and blow dry them, and then put them on the drive way to have a wee and a what ever else, so that they would stay clean and I could bring them back in to the house to sleep, then this would never have happened.

I kick myself I did not just take them to the groomers.

The gate had been acting a bit “broken” and had been repaired.  But repair guy needed to come back and to the final “gate is not broken.”  He didn’t.

My friend had offered to fix the gate – and I had said “no” because I did not want to be the person who is always having favours done for.  I knew “gate guy” had to just pop along and sort it out.  Would take him 15 minutes maximum,.

We were using a short chain to secure the gate, and you needed to hook the lock on the closest link of the chain to keep the gate firmly closed.

Any way due to a series of happenings, the gate was left wide enough for Parker to get through.

Dexter – my Boston Terrier – is such a skinny arse he can fit through all the security gates.  After dog washing I took a quick shower and I was trying to put warm things on to go and let them in.  I noticed Dexter hanging outside my sliding door gate, and he just had this “funny” look about him.

I was no worried, I just thought he was acting “odd” because he had just had a bath and been subjected to a hair dryer.  And now was being made to stand outside.  I could see the contempt written all over his face.

But there was something else.  Something about his look that made me wonder if Timmy might be down the well.

At that moment, I just got a funny vibe – how many times must Timmy fall down the fucking well?  I shot out the room and called for Parker.  He did not come when I called and I realised the front gate was ajar.

My friend Judith dropped everything and took off at a speed down the road calling for him.  Running in her jammies.  And screaming.

I went to check kids were being watched, got in my car and off I went to search for him.  Our suburb is not very big – we drove around.  The thing that stood out for me was that the neighbourhood dogs were not barking.

It was silence.

If I walk my dogs, each home’s dogs run out to swear and basically make obscene gestures to my dogs.  This is normal.

If my dog was walking around the ‘hood, the dogs would be barking.  They weren’t.

I consoled myself that he had probably walked into someone’s home, parked his bum securely on their couch and was getting the spot behind his right ear tickled in just the way he liked it, and he was snorting in appreciation.

I was concerned.  I was not beside myself with worry.

I firmly believed he was warm and comfortable and that the person who had him would take him to Panorama Veterinary Clinic in the morning, to be scanned.

I reasoned that they did not realise that the Vet was open 24/7 and would do it in the morning.

I managed to cancel my meetings and my interviews for the next day – there was only one I could not cancel.

I was sitting in the meeting and I saw the phone ring and it was Alana (Aidan and Alana had the sire and the dam of Parker’s) – there was a very fuddled few minutes of conversation where I believed that Parker was injured and he was at a vet.  And as I ran with this premise I realised the tone of Alana’s voice did not match the “happiness” of your dog being slight injured and just at the vet.

In my madness I could not hear what she was trying to tell me.  I kept thinking I needed to just pop along to Tygerberg Animal Hospital and fetch him – he was injured.  Not ideal.  But not that bad.  Right?

I just could not hear what she was trying to tell me.

Then the penny dropped.

It was a slow penny, but the drop was earth shattering for me.

I could not continue talking to her.

I had a candidate infront of me, that I needed to finish an interview for.  I tried my best to appear professional, and get it done, say thank you, and then burst into tears as I sat with my head on the table.  I might not be permitted to McDonalds again.

Lori,the breeder called, and I sobbed.  I felt like my little heart had been ripped out of my chest via my cornea.  Lori – remained sane – she said she would meet me at the vet.

I wanted to see Parker one last time.  I wanted to push my face against his fur and breath him in.  For the last time.

I wanted to call him my chunky little monkey and tell him how much I loved him.

I couldn’t.  He was in too bad a condition for me to see him.  Lori suggested I remember him for the way he was and not go through the trauma of seeing him now.

I understand he is “just” a dog.  I get it.  I get that he is not one of my children.  I understand all of that.  But for me he was one of my children.  In his snorty, affectionate manner and his big brown eyes that seemed to just understand me.

Parker was there when Kennith told me we were getting a divorce.  Parker was there when Kennith told me he was moving out.  Parker was there when I realised that Kennith had moved on and was dating.  Like not casual dating but boyfriend and girlfriend dating.

Parker was there to cuddle against me, listen to me sob and rest his big head against my chest.  He didn’t ask me to explain, he was happy to lie against me and when I looked like I was sobbing a bit harder, then he just moved in closer – usually until he was lying on my head or my chest.

In his eyes he knew my pain, and he knew that all I needed was a cuddle, a love and a little bit of snot from his big nose to drip on my hand.  He just knew.

I am bereft and I am still inconsolable.  I try to talk about Parker and then I burst into tears.

I know he is a dog, but he is not “just” a dog – he was Parker, my guy, my chubby chubbs, my guy.

 

{I do want to say thank you to all the people who shared the post about Parker being missing.  People I did not know or have never met made the effort to send me information about where to search and what to look for.

People I have never met phoned vets on my behalf, reposted my “lost dog” onto various pages on Facebook.  I received so many emails of support and encouragement from people, again, who I did not know.  People who understood and understand what it feels like to lose a dog.

I can’t thank everyone —- but if you are reading this, and you are one of those people who just see the distress in others and get involved to try to help, thank you.  No, not just thank you.  But thank YOU!}

 

Parker is gone.  He will not be coming home again.

 

Dexter stealing my heart on day 1

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Parker and his dad Yoda — Parker has his tongue sticking out.  Yoda is wondering who needs to pay to get out of this situation.

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Parker licking Isabelle to death ….. such a dangerous dog

 

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Parker doing what he does best ….. sleeping and snoring …..

 

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Dexter and Parker … who said that French Bulldogs and Boston Terriers could not live together ?  Them’s wrong.

 

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#bringmydoghome

Interrupting the regular broadcast programme on this blog……… with this important announcement

I realise this has nothing directly to do with my blog – bu, but dog rhymes with blog, so really it is not that far a stretch.

Me = sitting and crying snot and tears.

I am sharing this – in the hope that by the end of the day I am no longer making snot bubbles and my dog is back home.

Parker, my French Bulldog got out of my front gate last night (18 June 2015) around 19h00.

We are situated in the Plattekloof/Parow/Northern Suburbs area of Cape Town.

Spent several hours looking for him.  I am under the impression he has just walked into someone’s home.  He is hang friendly and will make himself comfortable anywhere with anyone.

There were no dogs barking in our neighbourhood, and they always bark if someone is walking around and especially if a dog walks past their respective gate.  So based on this Magnum PI approach, I figure he is sitting in someone’s home sharing their couch and snoring.

I am beside myself with worry.  The word anguish does not even hint at it.

Parker, is a French Bulldog, he is micro chipped, a fully intact male, mainly white, with red/fawn markings on his face and a bit on his side.

Last seen in Plattekloof 2 {Parow,Northern Suburbs, Cape Town} area around 19h00 on the 18 June 2015.

If you know anyone who has picked him up, or someone in the area who could have seen him, or someone who just happens to have a new dog ……… please share this post — I can be reached on celeste@happyhelpers.co.za

Please help me #bringmydoghome

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What did you get for Xmas? I got a divorce. You?

{I have changed the settings, so you will need to click through to the site to read the full post …… }

Kennith asked/made it clear that he wanted a divorce.

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On 20 December 2013.

I thought we were talking about the fact that I had got a dog (Parker, the French Bulldog}, and not really taken his thoughts regarding a new dog into consideration – and had gone ahead and got a dog.  That is actually what I thought the issue was about.

It appears I was mistaken.

This is Parker, this is not what the disagreement was about.  This is not what we are getting divorced over.

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It was an evening that proved I was far off the gist of the conversation.

It also proved I had absolutely zero SPIDEY senses.  None it seems.

I did not see it coming.  At all.  No idea.  I still had not grasped we were talking about divorce until about 30% into the conversation – I kept thinking well this is about Parker.

Talk about a slow learner.

You know when you brain is going “kehhhhhh ……” {said in the accent of the waiter from Fawlty Towers} and not quite getting what it is that you are actually talking about?

Just like that.

I really would like to say that I took it like a real trooper, but I would be lying.

I felt like a truck had side-swiped me.  I still do.  I have given up looking for the truck registration.  I have chosen to just lie on the road and go “aaaahhhhh fuck!” in the hope another truck will come along and just finish it off.

I walk into rooms and wonder what the hell I am doing there, because I had forgotten.  Brain = blank.

I cried the ugly cry.  When your mouth does that shape that it is not meant to, and you cry so hard that the tears actually can no longer get out because your eyes are scrunched so hard.

Just like that.

I went on to convince myself that I had somehow heard wrong and Kennith did not actually mean he wanted a divorce after 20 years of being together.

We had not had an argument.  There was no screaming “fuck you” down the passage.  As far as I knew no one had “stepped” outside the relationship.

Well I am convinced that is actually how it is.  I was being broken the news whilst I was thinking we were maybe arguing about something totally different.

Xmas day came and went.  We had a lovely day with his cousin, and I was exhausted by 14h00.  I felt there was this elephant in the room that I could not mention, and was screaming inside – every minute made me die a bit more.

I took the kids and headed out to my mom in Hermanus on the 26 December.  I tried to take the time to digest what was happening – and just to have some quiet time in my head.

My mom let me sleep late.  I could spend time just staring into the distance.  She just let me be.  Bless her cotton socks.

My brain still told the rest of me that I was sure that Kennith did not mean it. He was just having a moment.

I would get back and things would be okay.  Strained but okay.  I had convinced myself.

My mom kept asking “but why?………..” and I did not seem clear on why, so she kept looking at me like I had confused the shopping list, and just needed to really get a grip on things.  I just sat on the couch and sipped wine, and stared into the distance.

She let me.  And for that I will be forever grateful.

I realised that Kennith had not suggested divorce as a conversation starter.  He had told me we were getting a divorce.

He explained his reasons, and though I did not agree.  They were his reasons, and I need to respect them.  I guess that is why it is called a divorce, and not a pleasant picnic discussion at Kirstenbosch.

I returned from Hermanus and was sure that if I walked in with a certain swagger and confidence, then this entire “divorce” thing would disappear.

It seemed no amount of swagger would do the trick.

He moved to the spare room.  He took the large screen TV.  I was left wondering what the hang was happening.  Having to tell myself in no uncertain terms that THIS WAS ACTUALLY HAPPENING – then have a bit more of an ugly cry into my pillow.

Divorce I was told was still the plan.

Then we started talking about child custody, and where we would live and all sorts of things that are without a doubt, what I would call a “fucking nightmare!”

My head is screaming.  I tried to look like it was all well within my grasp of things to absorb.

It wasn’t.  It isn’t.

This entire thing is an absolute nightmare.  NIGHT freaking MARE.

It seems however it plays out when I am awake, which is less than ideal.  When I sleep I dream of other things, so it is a nice getaway.

I am beyond the point where one goes “so how are you otherwise?” – I am a wreck.  There are no buts, there is no silver lining – I am fairly sure the time for unicorns and them farting rainbows is just about over.  This people is the time of hard decision, pain and anguish.

2014 is going to be a very challenging year. Winding a 20 year relationship down, has got to be challenging.

I don’t know, I have never done it before.  I am thinking that it must be “less than ideal” – my guess is it will be less then ideal. no matter how we much we set out not to “be ugly” to each other.

Translate hard as “what the fuck” – I just do not know how I will find the strength, the resources, and the mental and emotional power to make it through.

But one must.  Mustn’t one?  What are the choices?

Lots of difficult decisions to be made. Lots of anguish.  Lots of screaming. Lots of crying.  And lots of things that make me want to have a saline drip on wheelies with wine pumping in my veins 24/7.

But that might not present well to the lawyer when chatting about child custody.  So I may need to go and delete and few posts off this blog.

I will be the villain one day. Kennith can be the villain on other days.  And so it will go.

If we are lucky we can get to the other side without totally destroying our children, and maybe having a smidgen of respect for each other.

And a thin layer of sanity.  Granted zero bank balance, and my guess is a fairly low sense of self esteem.

I cannot do cliches.

I cannot do silver lining.

I cannot do “things will work out” … I just cannot.  If you tell me things aren’t over until …. oh, you know the rest, please please please try not to.

I know you think they will make me feel better, but the only thing that may make me feel better is if I was not having to go through a divorce in 2014.

Be there for my rants.  Be there for my silences.  Be there for my epic breakdowns and when I question sanity, and my place in the universe.  Just be there for me when I need bolstering and when I need a “quiet in my storm.”

It is all a bit of a cluster mind fuck right now.

Now you know.

Excuse me. whilst I have a long lie down.

Tune in again a bit later, normal broadcast will resume.

I wish that this was my sentiment – I really wish it was …… but maybe later …. or maybe never.

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How was your Xmas?  Did you get anything that surprised you as much?

{rules of engagement – it needs to be respected that both Kennith and I are going through this – I would really appreciate if there were no slandering comments, and just being a bit of a dick comments.  I am sure that both of us are to blame, in different ways, but at the end of the day we have three children, and though there might have been a decision on to be with one another, we need to respect that we are trying to do the best that we can.  And survive the day.  So, no shit talk!  ‘kay?}

Hey Santa, check out my list …. assuming you read blogs ….

Charlotte over at  The Stiletto Mum Blog has outdone herself this year.

Charlotte has been working like a Trojan organising Secret Santa, primarily aimed at Bloggers, but a few Tweeters/Twits (is that the correct term?) have climbed aboard.

She has more than 100 Secret Santa participants.  Listen if I had to organise 100 people’s details, you would find me drunk and asleep at the end of the garden, just after I threw a shit fit asking why people were not responding to me in time!!!

I am thrilled Charlotte has taken this EPIC TASK ON, and she has done a fantastic job getting everyone on board.

I can’t imagine that there is much difference between this and herding cats.

If you do not know what Secret Santa is, and really there is no shame in asking, the basic idea is an Organiser = Charlotte, gets a group of names together = 100 blogs, and then she assigns each name with a name.

I receive a name (via Charlotte) and that is who I buy a gift for.

The person I am buying a gift for is not necessarily buying a gift for me, but I have no idea who is.

So 100 people receive gifts in the mail (or via DHL or however you want to get it there) and you in turn send something on.

There is no point in it, other than the whoop-whoop sound you make when you receive your gift, and then wonder if you spent too much and overshot the mark when you sent your ‘secret’ present or are mortified because you realise you have shopped at the Crazy Store, and clearly everyone has bought really expensive gifts!

Big HIGH FIVE to Charlotte for pulling off this epic Secret Santa, dude, no one else would have gone this far, so this is totally a shout out to your inability to say no and restrain yourself, but that is why we love you long time!

My ‘secret santa’ is going to need some assistance with what to purchase for me – and actually this works as a really good list for ‘stuff I want’ in general.

I need to draw up a list of “Hey Santa, check out my list’ as no one enjoys walking around PEP stores for an hour wondering whether to get you the white or beige coloured granny panties ….. so here is my list – in no particular order:

1.  I do love Typography – stamps, lovely paper, anything typography in nature.  There is a store called TYPO – everything in there is lovely.

I find this typography pun … really funny.

2.  I love pens — fountain pens or ink pens are my favourite.

3.  I love note books, pretty thick paper that has a texture …. mmmmmmmmmmmmmm – who am I kidding, you can pop in to PnA and buy me a school notebook and 5 black Pilot Hi-tecpoint pens and I will get wildly excited – like really excited.

4.  I love all things Boston Terrier and French Bulldog.  There are some products out there with images of either breeds.   Love them. Want them.  Check out this Boston Terrier Salt and Pepper shaker.

 

Love these Boston Terrier tote bags.

5.  I love all things pantone.  I love pantone swatches and I adore the whole move of products that have pantone swatches on them.

6.  I drink copious amounts of tea. My favourite tea is Twinings Earl Grey, which I consume all day.

7.  I love the smell of lavender and jasmine – it is stuck all over my garden and all over my house.

8.  I adore wine and chocolate, in an indecent way.  But I have started Atkins eating plan, and it is going to be several months before I see either of them, so please do not tempt me.  Each day is a challenge right now so please please do not send me anything I can stick in my mouth!!!

9.  I love african animal wire art with or without beading – I especially love the wire ones like the rhinoceros pictured below.

10.  Big Blue is probably one of my favourite stores, I love nearly everything in that store!

11. I love thing that are connected to Sherlock Holmes/Star Wars/Star Trek – a Darth Vader memory stick for instance would totally rock my world, as would plasters like this:

12.  If you pick up an item and it makes you laugh and you say anything like: “Hey I remember this from 198___ then odds are I will like it too.  Darth Vader sweat shirt for instance is so awful, that it is divine!

13.  I love books – I ADORE BOOKS, but I think I have enough books until 2015.  So please do not send me any books.  Book marks, and book accessories are always good to have, and will always come in useful.

13.  I adore photography and my big ticket item for Santa would be a CANON lens : Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM Lens, maybe with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III.

Be still my beating heart.

14.  I have a million picture frames, but a few more will be wonderful.

15.  Stationery tins – something funky and vintage to keep my pens and pencils in would be great.  I use an old pink water jug at the moment, but need something else.

16.  I have a desk at home which I work from – anything that would fit that would be great – stationery stuff, cute desk stuff.

17.  I really love Miglio jewellery, and there are several yummy things in their catalogue which I would be more than happy to take off your hands.

18. Of course I love perfume – which girl doesn’t?  Just avoid anything that has any hint of liquorice in it …. liquorice makes me projectile vomit, which seldom works well on a night out with friends.  Adore Black Xs Perfume by Paco Rabanne

19.  Lulu Belle stock Lou Harvey purses and other bags ….. they are too gorgeous.

Hopefully that gives you some ideas if you are thinking about buying/making/crafting/knitting me a little something-something.

The dog that got away ….

Dogs, kids, paintings, lavender – all falls into a similiar category for me “Project!”

Once I decide on a course of action, I make a list, tick off what needs to be done, and it is on like Donkey Kong!

I started the year not wanting a dog.  I sort of warmed to it in the middle of the year.  We dog-sat Satan’s dog mid-year.

I decided I was happy never having a dog in my home. I rethought the thought.  I researched.  I mused.  I sat and day-dreamed.  I obsessed.  I decided I was very keen on a French Bulldog or a Boston Terrier.  Or one of each. Or two of each  <<ssshhh don’t tell Kennith>>

I saw some lovely French Bulldogs. I gasped and sighed.  I will have to wait for the next litter to be considered.

I started chatting to breeders about Boston Terriers.  There was nothing available until next year.  I met a breeder who had a litter.  We spoke.  We emailed.  I named him Dexter.

I was very excited.  Money changed hands. Promises were made. I bought a puppy bed and some puppy food.

The “relationship” went sour.  My money was returned.  I mourn the “loss” of Dexter.

I am back on a waiting lists.

This year will not be “The Year of the Dog” in our house. Kennith suggests we pop down to the local rescue society and pick a dog up.  I have said no, I feel strongly that I want a specific breed from a specific breeder.

Kennith shrugs. I appear resolute.  We do not talk about “getting a dog” to the kids, we talk in code “when will the package arrive?”

So, no dog this year.  I am very disappointed about the nearly-our-dog-Dexter, but I will just need to wait it out like a patient potential dog owner.

French Bulldogs …. I want I want I want … please may I have?

We went to view this litter of 9 French Bulldog puppies on Sunday morning.

We took Connor with us, and left the two girls at home.

It would have been totally chaotic with all three kids and nine puppies we were not allowed to touch.

I would have been so busy slapping little hands that I would not have had a chance just to sit in the drool and grunts that are French Bulldogs.

Oh my giddy aunt, my heart skipped a beat.  I gasped what I saw this lot.  I do think puppies are cuter than children … they just are ….

I like puppies as much as the next person, but freak, there were nine little monkeys here and I could so easily have snatched one and put him in my camera bag.

The mother was Hannah, but what was even more divine is that there was a puppy from her first litter, and she was a brindle bitch and just under 18 months – she was absolutely divine.

The litter is 4 weeks old.  The viewing is so that we could be introduced to the breeder and they could make a decision we were special enough to take home one of these special puppies in about 6 weeks.

It was a bit like going to a popularity contest with a few dozen people and not sure exactly what the criteria was for the selection.  But still hoping that what ever it was you got chose.

You want to be polite to the other people there viewing, but you realise they are direct competition.

Just like that.

I have to go so I can stare at my cell phone and wait for it to ring!!  Breeder please call me and tell me I can choose a puppy …. please call ….. please call

More photos can be viewed through this link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/celestebarlow/