Reluctant Mom delayed in transit …..

I congratulated myself on being super organised today.

I booked my seats this morning (I am flying Glasgow > Heathrow > Cape Town) and booked seats on both flights.

I checked in on-line.  I was pretty sorted.

The only time I got nervous was when my brother opted for activities that had me away from the house and it was an under an hour until my taxi arrived.  We got to his home, and there was about 40 minutes for the taxi to get there.

40 minutes to me is cutting it fine.  40 minutes to my brother was “all the time in the world/loads of time.”

I ran around like a headless chicken and threw my bags down the stairs … literally I threw them down the stairs.  It was faster than dragging them down.

My brother has always been the <time relaxed> one, me, not so much.

I got to Glasgow airport with time to spare.  I found the terminal.

No problems.

I checked my rather large bag in and did not get charged for excess, though granted I was only a little over.  But I felt relieved that I was not paying a small fortune in excess charges.

All going pretty well.  Job well done I thought.

Just got to get my oversized Hamley’s bag onto the plane and then I am sorted.

The flight from Glasgow to Heathrow was delayed.  Then it was delayed a bit more.

Now it is late by more than two hours.  I have no SIM card and no way to let Kennith know.

I am presently at a computer terminal and dropping £1.00 coins into a slot <no really I am> for internet time.

In short I will miss my Heathrow connecting flight.  I have no idea what is going to happen when I arrive at Heathrow.

On the upside, I am flying with BA on both flights, so really it is their problem to sort out — thank goodness. If I was on EasyJet or something now, I would be well and truly stuffed.

So I do think there is a life lesson to learn about connecting flights — make sure they are the same airline!!

I am still sitting at Glasgow airport.  I have no idea when I will get home.

I am trying not to panic as this is totally against my <tick all the blocks> anal personality.

Right now I am waiting for a late flight for me to get on.

I will then get to Heathrow and have to <see> if I can get on a later flight from Heathrow to Cape Town.

I am not 100% sure where my baggage is – it was booked to go the whole way through.

So while you read this sipping on your tea or your coffee, I will be somewhere in transit hell.  No doubt sweaty, smelly, crabby and just slightly travel soiled.

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Reluctant Mom Lost in London …. one of many times it would seem …..

Let’s bear in mind I get lost at Century City.  Regularly.

I also lose my car in mall parking lots.  Most times I park.

I often walk around and just push my “beep-beep” thingy on my car keys so I hear my car going “I-am-here-I-am-here” and then I walk towards it.  Not unlike a chick to it’s mommy chicken.

So I am pretty sucky at sense of direction.  I do not even attempt to show strength in this area.  I have a GPS in my car and a map book.  I use both. Often.

I am travelling to London by myself.  Alone.  No map book.  No GPS.

Fortunately I did not have to fly the plane or have any influence of the direction of the flight.  Which was really useful to everyone on board.

I slept – granted it was with three Russians behind me who smelt like they had eaten garlic and onions for about 5 months prior to the flight, and had it oozing out of every pore.

The problem with “economy” is that you are practically in the lap of the person behind you.

You recline your seat, and if the person behind you is still upright, they get their meal in their lap, and you staring up at their nostrils.  It is all a bit awkward and invades every rule of “people’s space.”

If you recline your seat, the person behind you has to as well.  And the person behind them.  And so on.  Not unlike the domino effect.

I got to Heathrow.  Followed the signs.  Found myself deposited at Paddington Station with a really heavy bag, a daypack on my back, and a really heavy handbag and a jacket.

I was sweaty, and somewhat tired.

From there I stumbled into the subway system.  Fortunately it is really a case of following a colour to where every you want to go.

Seemed easy enough.  Problem was there was construction on two of the lines, which made it next to impossible to get to my destination.

I also managed to get lost at one of the subway stations and for love or money could not find platform 2.  It was elusive, and I kept ending up at platform 3 and 4, no matter how much I tried to find fkn platform 2.

Interesting fact – some subway stations do not have escalators, and you are dragging your gear up and down stairs, while other sweaty and very impatient people are rushing past you.

No one appears to give a sh*t, and everyone walks really fast, and looks down.  No eye contact.  No smiling. No nodding.  No acknowledging anything.

I eventually got to my hotel, which included an express train, underground tube, bus and lots of walking.

I did not arrive at my hotel, as much as I fell through the automatic door.

I was too early to check in to my room.  Fk I was exhausted.

I fell into a heap in the bar area as the restaurant area required me to go either down a flight of stairs or an elevator, and seriously I was not moving.

I ordered a bottle of wine (it was a small one) and a chocolate muffin.  Probably not ideal fare for 09h30.

I told the waitron that I was from another time zone so that it made it easier on her to serve me wine while others were having tea and coffee  C

Cape Town is actually an hour ahead, so that made it almost lunchtime.  But it felt like about 4pm with the morning I had experienced.

I finished my wine and my muffin – both very good.

I decided I would do a quick wash and clean in the bathroom.  I am so glad I packed a packet of Cherub wetwipes. I took the equivalent of a bath and got a clean shirt on and brushed my teeth, and attempted to give some semblance of order to my hair.

Left my heavy bags in the “baggage room” and went to explore London.

Weather was lovely.  I had a skip in my step, and it was one of the first days I have had in what felt like a long time, where I could just wander around and it did not matter where I was or when I was.

Of course I got horribly lost. But I saw some lovely bits and pieces.  I eventually stumbled back to my hotel around 18h00 and my feet felt like I had run the Comrades.

I have seldom been so happy to see a shower as I was then …… or my bed ……..

I’m off to London Baby! No really I am.

Odds are when you read this I will be doing one of the following, or several, or none:

  1. Dead in an airplane disaster.
  2. Lying at the bottom of the Thames, a victim of random violence and thuggery.
  3. Wandering around the London subway system and minding the gap.
  4. In a high state of anxiety as I meet “new” people from my company and my client portfolio.
  5. Exhausting my credit card at a Hatchards in London.
  6. Sitting in my hotel room Tower Hill, congratulating myself on having control of the remote and doing star angel shapes on the hotel bed.
  7. Crying on the phone to Kennith, because I miss my bed/Isabelle/lavendar/bottle of Chenin Blanc and I am unable to find a substitute in London for any of them.
  8. Trying to mentally work out the exchange rate between rands and pounds and whether I could buy that piece of “totally awesome” at suckuk.
  9. Wandering around Walmart for several hours and wondering how I could possibly need so much crap, but convince myself it is a necessity.
  10. It’s a work trip, so I will attempt to be professional, and smile, wave and nod at all the right intervals.
  11. All else fails I will be dropping my daily allowance at a neighbourhood wine bar.

Work trip was sprung on to me with very short notice.

Then I had to get a visa.

Do you know a UK Visa (for 2 years, multi-entry) cost just short on R4 000.00 – yikes.  They must really not want us in their country.

I am travelling sans kids, sans Kennith and am totally reliant on my wits and common sense.

Hhhhmmmmmmm …..I get lost at Century City, so this might not bode well.

Toilet time … not always alone time ….

I am trying to go to the toilet to evacuate my bowels, to put it as politely as I can.

I have all the kids in my bathroom – I am trying to herd them out, give up, run them a bath.

I explain that though this might mean they will need therapy later, I am going to need to go to the toilet INFRONT of them.

Connor of course then proceeds to tell me how I smell, and how the tiles are falling off the walls and all that feel good stuff.

<on the upside he is not fighting with this sister as I paid him another R5.00 today>

Connor is getting out the bath and I start telling him about the fact that I have a dream.

I dream about going to the toilet, alone, uninterrupted.

Connor tells me I went to the toilet yesterday by myself.

I said no, Georgia came to tell me something.

<The minute I aim my butt towards porcelain something goes off in Georgia’s head and she has to come and speak to me immediately.>

I must say the moment of me explaining to Connor (with my other two children) in the room and my need to be able to maybe one day take a crap by myself, was only made sweeter by Fortunate (our maid) arriving at the toilet door to tell me that Kennith was trying to get hold of me on the phone.

Well, of course he was …… I am trying to take a crap, of course this is just the right time for everyone to come and talk to me.

Car accidents and anxiety attacks ….

Monday was a bit of a right off, for all the reasons that would be good reasons when you start the day with a schedule 5 sleeping tablet.

Can’t really comment more on that one.

I slept until about 1pm and then had an appointment to get to, and the rest of the day was the usual blur of fetching and carrying kids and eating toast.

I met my (not so new) new psychiatrist and he gave me a new brown pharmacy bag of medication.  I was
not overly emotionally committed to the first bag, so I am okay with change.

I am still getting used to new side effects, so a few more is not really going to change my world right now.  But let’s see how that fares.

I decided that I needed a Mental Health Day on Tuesday – and asked Kennith if he could please stop and get bread on the way home and also take the kids to school on Tuesday morning as I could then hide under my duvet for a bit longer.

He said yes he would get bread, yes he would take the kids to school.

I thought, great.

Made some tea, stared at my reflection in the kitchen window.

Phone rang again – Kennith.

My first thought was “Seriously can you not go to the shop and make a decision without having to ask me three questions.  You have an MBA, work the bread aisle out!”

I answer the phone: ‘Yesssssss” I drawl, slightly irritated.

Kennith – with the background sound of traffic…”I have been in a car accident…”

Me – I felt my adrenal glands compress and push adrenaline through my blood.

I felt my hippocampus start screaming.  I felt my heart start to beat a bit faster to allow my lungs more oxygen to allow for the anxiety attack that was coming….. I thought about my kids and which one was dead.  Which one was injured, and if one of them was dead, who I would “be able to deal” with better.

I thought of my tea and that I might not be able to drink it.   I thought that I probably will not be able to function moving forward.  I might need to go and live with my mom.  I probably will never recover.  Teh entire universe suddenly became me-my cup of tea-my reflection in the kitchen window-and Kennith’s voice on the phone.

I started to realise that Kennith’s voice was still talking ….as he had not paused for breath from his first statement to his second…”I am fine, the car is damaged, I am fine!”

I knew I had just put the kids in bed.  I know logically they could not be in the car with Kennith.  I had just put them into bed – myself!

However that did not stop my brain from telling my brain  that my kids were possibly dead on the N1.

I had already worked out a loose funeral plan and what I might wear.

Kennith repeated: “I am fine, I can’t drive me car.  I need you to come and fetch me, I am at ……
and can you arrange a tow truck …. call DAL’S …….they are really good ….I am fine!”

I got my bag, asked Pepe to watch the kids.

I stopped and looked in each of their rooms  to make sure they were there and unharmed and had were really not in the car with Kennith.

I went to fetch Kennith next to the N1.

Kennith was/is fine.

Kennith’s car is not.

DAL’s tow service sent over a truck to pick the car up.  I had to phone my friend David to help me make the call, as I could not even remember Kennith’s cell phone number at that  point, let alone arrange a tow truck.

Kennith filled in the forms on the side of the N1.

I stared blankly at the road.

DAL’s took the car, in a very efficient and friendly manner.

Kennith got into my car and I drove us home.  I stared rather blankly out the window as I drove us home.  We had to stop for milk (and chocolate spread).

I am traumatised.

It is Kennith’s accident and I am traumatised.

Kennith’s neck is a bit sore and he really should go to a  chiropractor.  I think he might need a trauma counsellor – I am not being flippant.  I think he is very shaken —  I really think he needs to speak to someone.

That someone cannot be me.

I took a sleeping pill on Monday night – I woke up at 4am on Tuesday morning and stared at the ceiling worrying about every possible permutation of what “could have been..”

Tuesday I did not go to work.. I took a mental health day …I need a mental health week.

I can’t actually sit with Kennith and talk to him about the trauma and the effect of the “car accident” on him and how he saw his life flash before his eyes because I am ….

I am angry.

I am scared.

I am disappointed.

I am afraid.

I am petrified.

I am terrified.

I am panicked.

I am anxious.

I can’t help him with the oxygen bag in the plane, as for fk  sake I can’t get mine on, and the plane is nose diving at a bit of a rate.

I woke up this morning just before 5am and stared at the ceiling and worried some more (that is with a schedule 5 sleeping tablet).

Kennith needs support, and I can barely stand …….  I can’t help him because I can’t help myself right now.

The bitch is back ….granted she never actually left …

On Tuesday morning I made a full confession to My Good Egg that I was struggling with what can only be politely described as a “bout of depression” of the EPIC PROPORTION.

I feel a lot like one of those fine bone china tea cups that are being rocked on the saucer, with all the hot tea spilling out.  At any moment the tea-cup is going to fall over, spill out over of the edge of the saucer and break into a million little pieces.

<side bar: I am the tea-cup in this analogy.>

I was very anxious and stressed around the girl’s birthday party.  I totally lost my mind about picking out paper plates and serviettes. EVEN at the time, I knew this was not important in the bigger picture.

Well my rational mind knew that, but where the rest of my mind lives, rational is too scared to go.

I was freaking out – and when Kennith bought the “fairy” ones and I wanted the “princess” ones I still ran around to two more stores (after the easy 6 I had been to) seeing if I could still find princess ones.

When I start making these kind of heavy decisions about throw-away tableware, then you know it is time for Valium and a padded room.

I have been aware of it for some time, and then I thought, okay, well maybe you are just in a bad mood.  This, if I must be truthful, is a bit more than just a bad mood.

I am in the downward slide down the rabbit hole of a depressiive episode.  I am desperately grabbing at dirt as I slide down in my little blue dress with the big white bow on the back.

I spoke to My Good Egg this morning as I was sure that the only option was to get a script of Zoloft or something similar.  I seldom discuss “my ebbs’ with Kennith as he knows when they are occurring and gives me the necessary space to move through them, and I usualy move through them.

But I am not moving through this one.  And I feel like I am being swallowed alive.  I am not coping.  I cannot cope.

I had a good cry – actually it was not a good cry,it was a snot sob which I dripped on to Kennith’s work shirt.

I have a cache of (totally misguided and inappropriate) anger, rage and spite bubbling under the surface  – no idea where it comes from.  It is not directed at anyone or anything, and spares no one.  I mean really, what the hell have I got to be angry about??

I feel persecuted – “they” are watching me and “they” are out to get me. I have absolutely no idea who “they” are.  But I feel aggressive if someone starts asking me for something. (My job requires people to ask me for things all day, you can imagine how that is going.)

I have learnt to manage my depressive episodes better as the years have gone by (this however is not a good example of that statement).

The (not so) funny thing about depression ebbs is when I am in them, I believe in my heart of hearts that they will never end.

I am frazzled, I am further down than I have been in what seems like an age, and I am not coping.

I am actually spinning out of control.

We are going away for the long (it’s only a long weekend if you take Friday off work) weekend to the most divine place – I call it my “waiting to exhale” place.

When we get there, I sit and look out over the hills and hear the cows going “mooooo” and the wine in my glass catches the light over the valley.  I let out a breath that I feel I have been holding for what feels like forever.

The part that stresses me, is in my present “state,” I am bound to do or say something to alienate someone if not everyone this weekend.

It is not “if” it will occur, it is merely a case of “when” it occurs.

With that in mind I decided that the best course of action, was to just tell our friends so that they could prepare (and allow them the opportunity to arm) themselves for the weekend:

Morning Folks!!

I am in the throes of a full scale  depressive episode – of what  can only be described of EPIC PROPORTIONS.

This particular bout is characterized by my inability to follow a conversation, my overriding urge to start talking about the most awkward things possible, my inability to take social cues, an urge to alienate people by offending them, and the fact that my brain is not able to process what you say versus what I hear, and a few other
delicious issues ……ah the fun I am having.

No, this is not an opening line to a joke, this is unfortunately where I am right now.

It has been going on for several weeks, but this week is total “wheels fkn falling off stuff” so this email is a warning/word of caution that odds are I will try to find something to say or do this weekend that is bound to piss you off/alienate you/wonder if you can find a spade to kill me with/look at me and wonder how long you will need to count before you just slap me ….. you know that sort of stuff.

There is a good chance I might incite all these feelings in you simultaneously, and odds are I might have already.

I am seriously freaking out, and Kennith and I have discussed possible ‘action strategies’ to get me through my present ‘spell’ – I suggested Zoloft, lots of wine and a cliff, he suggested a few other options.

We are trying his options in the short-term, however I reserve the right to use mine.

So, please try not to be (permanently) offended by my actions/what falls out of my mouth this weekend/Tourette’s Syndrome – I am trying my best to keep it under control, but it is rather epic and a bit out of hand right now, so just warning you that
what I say or do right now (no matter how bizarre it might seem, and I can
always promise you bizarre) is not a personal attack on you in any way, and I
am a total twat, and and and …….

I am also not suggesting that this is a “free get out of jail card” for me, as I also need to take responsibility for my actions/what I say, but if you can please just keep this in mind while you watch me having a total senseless rant, usually in the kitchen, in my blue grubby bathrobe, with a wine glass in my right hand and a child on my left hip
……..

Okay, so when you pack your groceries, please pack some Valium (for you) and maybe some forgiveness fairy dust for me.

Xxx

PS: I am drafting letters of apology now that I will just send off on Monday morning, so I will leave them in my draft tray now.

Dirty little secrets mothers keep …

Dirty little secrets mothers keep …

I had someone comment on my blog recently which took me to her blog, and it in turn led me to a section of her blog which was cleverly referred to as “Dirty Little Secrets” where moms/parents had posted stuff …

You know the stuff you think, but do not say in public for fear of being beaten up, or child services arrive at your door step, or for what ever else it is that you fear happening.

There are some corkers on this site.

I thought I would grab a few that stood out for me – then I realized that there were more than just a few that resonated with me …..I am starting to think my multiple personality disorder went along and posted some of these comments.

  • I resent my kids. I feel like I could have done so much better for myself.
  • No one told me how lonely motherhood is….
  • Occasionally I wonder what sort of injury it would take for me to have a stay in hospital as a kind of guilt free holiday.
  • On the outside I am a happily married wife and mother. On the inside I am lesbian plotting to leave my husband when the time is right after get his help paying for my school.
  • I used to love life and feel proud about myself…now I’m sad every day and feel like a failure…I look at my marriage and I think “Do I have to be in this relationship for my children’s sake?”. I love my sons but being a Mom is very tiring and I never feel that I did a good job, unlike when I used to work and felt accomplished and successful. Back in those days when I was single, all I wanted was a husband and a family to make me whole. If this is what I wanted how come I’m not happy…
  • I think I want another baby, only to distract me from the two kids I already have! Probably not the best reason to have a third child.
  • I tell my kids to go away more often than I tell them I love them.
  • I cry in the shower so no one else can hear or see me
  • I look forward to when my husband goes on deployments and work ups because I have one less person to take care of. It’s like he is my 3rd child and I am starting to resent him for it.
  • Sometimes I hide in my walk in closet just for a few minutes of quiet and no one can find me.
  • I feel guilty all the time.
  • I want to leave and take a break from my husband, but I have nowhere else to go. How pathetic is that?
  • I used to be nice too. I used to like sex.
  • If I had known what kind of father my husband would be, we would not have a child. We will not be having a second. Between doing 95% of the parenting by myself, and getting almost no sleep or time to myself, I physically and mentally cannot endure this again.
  • That I want to just sleep. Sleep for an entire day. To just do nothing. I feel like I haven’t slept in 20 months.
  • I keep a container full of M&Ms hidden for just me…that’s right-ALL FOR MYSELF! (It seems like that is the only thing I get to myself). 
  • I love my 2 children but, very often, when they wake up in the morning I’m thinking “When will bedtime come?”
  • I really hate that my husband has he own life and just go’s and can do what he wants and I have to always stay home with the kids or take them with me.
  • I fill up every wipe box in the house to the top and tell my husband we are out of wipes and I need to go buy another package just so I can take “quick” trip to the store by myself.

I think the reality is that there are a lot of sad moms out there who do a fabulous job of putting up a happy face.

I really feel it might be easier if we were all a bit more honest with each other, then maybe newer moms or soon to be moms, would not feel this overriding pressure to “live up to the expectation of motherhood” that we create. 

There is this perception that motherhood is easy, natural, instinctive and well just lovely, and for some, well, it isn’t.

Women really make it hard for women. <sigh>

Deeply embarrassed and shamed …

So bookclub has had a few issues for me for a bit.  Small stuff really, but it has been niggling at me.  I felt I would feel better addressing the issues and resolving them, because they were niggling me.

Good plan.

Not a good plan when you feel a bit emotional, and have had about 3 glasses too many, and then decide to address something that really should be a one-on-one problem solving exercise, and decide instead to do it in front of the entire group.

I am mortified that I am such a total douche-bag!

There I sat and I vented and emotionally vomited in front of 7 rather startled looking people.

I really would love to say that I carried it off with aplomb and made my point succinctly – but unfortunately the opposite is true.

I totally offended anyone who breathed.

I went off like a deranged lunatic, and I managed to alienate everyone in the room – and at the time I had no idea what the hell I was doing, but felt, at the time, that I knew exactly what I was doing – and quite vindicated in my stand point (at the time).

However retrospect is a wonder in itself – and when I had time to calm “the f&ck down” – as I like to say – I was able to look back and realize the absolute devastation I had caused and more importantly  “what the hell was I thinking”.

What a total f*ck up – total.

So Thursday morning had me feeling so embarrassed and shamed – not ashamed, but SHAMED.   I was mortified that I had sat and felt that what I was saying was correct and appropriate, and justified. 

My brain, and my mouth, and my logic had disengaged totally, and I am so embarrassed.

Fabulous.

Not.

So there we are – I have managed in one foul swoop to become a total tosser (listen I always was, but I managed to sort of keep it mildly under wraps until now). 

Yesterday I felt more terrible that I have in a very long time.

I know the thing we would tell our kids is “go and apologise, and say you are sorry, and there is nothing more you can do …”

Hmm, good advise.

I have apologized for my outburst, but it is a bit like it has been said and it can’t be unsaid, so I sort of slink away very embarrassed.

Today I feel a little bit better – not absolutely better  – but at least I do not feel so ill as I did yesterday.  

Do you realize that you can actually feel violently physical ill from embarrassment and shame? I managed to feel that way the whole of yesterday – I was shaking and had a few crying jags just for fun!

Then I went to lie on my bed, not to sleep, but to close my eyes in the hope I might be swallowed up by the earth …. unfortunately it did not happen, no matter how hard you wish it – and I opened my eyes and it was still me staring back at me.

I still feel crap, and horrible, and embarrassed and shamed.

I f&cked up on a monumental scale, and that it can’t be undone –but there it is.

On the other side of rather unfortunate week I have also managed to:

  1. Lose my wedding ring – and I cannot locate it, and I am actually very upset and worried and upset.
  2. I mentioned before that I am attending a 7 week intensive work shop/group work – and for 2 hours a week I get to cry and unpack some stuff that I have been resisting for a long time with a group of similar minded girls.
  3. Watching the “La Viva V.ulv.a” DVD had a profound effect on me.  It has made me question how I view myself, why I view myself as I do – and as importantly what messages I am passing on to my daughters.  I feel that there has been this mental shift ….and it has left me feeling very uncomfortable and at the same time forcing me to relook at myself….which is not keeping me in my happy (and ignorant) space.
  4. I have realized – rather uncomfortably – that I have got exceedingly judgmental person and am really hating that quality about myself.  At the same time am a bit stuck as to how to make me “less judgmental.”
  5. I was wondering if I could find a support group for Alcoholics Anonymous (who still drink) who specialize in Verbal Diarrhea with a minor in Shame and Embarrassment.  I am looking for that sort of support group, so if you can recommend anything, please let me know.
  6. I feel emotionally exhausted and just drained at the moment – and I do not know what I need to remedy me.
  7. And I am still a total douche bag!

Catch you on the flip side ….

We are off to Drakensberg to celebrate the wedding of John and Natalie.    We are so thrilled for them, and dead excited to be part of their wedding.

We fly to Durban in the morning.  Then we drive up to the Drakensberg (I have never been to the Drakensberg and my geography is pretty sketchy, so I am even sure I am 100% sure exactly where it is.  But Kennith seems to know and we have a GPS, so no doubt I can read my Kindle and not worry my pretty head about details like directions.)

The idea is to stay there and do what ever it is that people do in the Drakensberg, attend the fabulous wedding, and hang out with a group of friends who will be joining us there.

Next Friday we drive up to Johannesburg, and stay there a few days.  Seeing more friends and just hanging around sort of stuff.

On Sunday we get to squeeze into a stadium with a few thousand people screaming for Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen.  Of course I am sure that Bono will stare into the crowd, and see me back in row 175 and seat 54. and pluck me from the crowd so he can sing me a personalized version of “With or Without You!”

Nothing like a bit of delusional ism to keep you going.

The thing about this trip is we are doing it sans kids.

Usually there would be a split about now in terms of reaction.

Some moms are going to go: “Fabulous, lucky you, wish I could get a break from my set!”

Then there is the second set who are dialing ChildLine as they read this and thinking: ”Who does this woman think she is abandoning her children to go gallivanting all over the country side.  The scandal.   The indignation!”

Then there is a third set which would usually gasp a bit and go: “I could never leave my junior, I couldn’t be away from them for that long.”

I usually am okay with some adult time away from our kids, but I am actually not okay with it right now.  It is also a long time.  We leave Friday and we are back Monday after next.

It is too long, and I have been stressed and anxious this entire week, and right now I actually do not want to go.  I miss Isabelle too much already and I have not even left the house, so this week is going to be torture.  I appear to have moved from the first set of moms to the third set.

I felt out of sorts yesterday, and last night and this morning I have been totally out of sorts.

I woke up around 2am this morning and just could not sleep.  I just felt anxious and stress, and wanted to wake Kennith up and tell him that I was fine to fly to the Drakensberg to attend the wedding, but then wanted to fly home, and then I would fly back to attend the concert, but I did not want to stay away that long.

But I didn’t as I knew he would probably freak his bean, and then we would have a huge fight.

It wasn’t like I had not known about this trip 4 months ago.  I had.  I just had not paid much attention to it.  But it is here now.

My bags are packed, but I am loathe to leave tomorrow morning, but there we go, I am leaving, and it is meant to be this great week, but I am dreading it.    Listen it is a great week that has been planned, and actually I have had to do nothing.  Kennith has organized everything, all I am doing is arriving, but the problem is that because I know how much I am going to miss the kids – and how bad I feel being away from them – I think will take a bit of the smile off this week.

So there we go, I am out of here for a week.  I am going to miss my kids crazy, and especially  Isabelle.  Just tying this is making me feel even sadder.

As my penance I am going for a full body wax at 7am.  I thought I would do it without taking a Syndol just as punishment for abandoning my kids.

<just as extra penance, I was so out of it this morning, I put this stuff called AO Sept – which is like acid for your contact lenses – directly into my right eye ball this morning.

It burnt like a m*therf*cker.  I can’t actually tell you how much it burnt without the aid of profanity.

I thought my cornea was being dislodged from my eyeball.  We are not talking mild discomfort, we are talking silent-scream-while-you-bang-your-feet-on-the-floor-and-claw-at-your-eyeball pain!   I actually called my optom friend because I thought clearly it would require an eyeball transplant or something.

I spent the day walking around with an eye that is so blood shot it looks like I am bleeding to death – I have just started a new job, so that looked totally fantastic.  It was agony and I was in mild to severe discomfort for the entire day.

It is still pretty red and feels pretty grim – oh joy, possibly it will hide my crying tomorrow morning…>

What the hell is it about Mondays?

So we went cabining, which I believe is not camping.

To be honest cabining is about as close to camping as I plan to get.  The cabin’s inner walls did not go to the ceiling, so if you were frying an egg in the kitchen, you could and did have a full going conversation with the person who was using the toilet.

Georgia was also really excited that her bedroom was in the kitchen, which it was.  So really it sounds like camping to me.

But I am taking away from how incredibly good these cabins in Swellendam were.  They were placed at the foot of the Langeberg and to say it was totally exquisite, would be to do it a disservice.  You literally stood on the stoep and went “wow!”

We had a lovely little dam right in front of our cabins.  The cabins were very well organized and super clean.  The views were breath-taking and it was really divine – within 10 minutes you felt like all your worries had floated away.

Sure you then started to worry how you were going to get your wine cold while you waited for the gas fridges to cool down – but then I have a Kennith, who had stopped at the local Swellendam Drankwinkel and bought me ice, so really I had nothing to worry about.

Farmer guy gave us permission to go into the berry fields and pick berries until we puked – he did not actually say that, but I took it that it was implied.

We did – and I just want to use this opportunity to comment that child-labour is alive and flourishing in Swellendam.  Kennith paid Connor R50.00 to go and fill up a tupperware container, which by Woolworth’s prices would cost about 3 million rand to purchase in store, full of berries.

We were not given the same freedom with the pigs.  But we did eat bacon for breakfast – which was supplied by a distant cousin of the pigs we saw.  We did feel a little guilty as the pigs we saw were quite sweet.

It really was a lovely weekend and I cannot recommend  Fazenda Log Cabins more.  If you are sitting there thinking, hmm, that sounds good, then contact Ina Ross on 0724997879 or drop her an email on iross1@telkomsa.net

No, she is not paying me to punt the cabins, but they were really good, and we are definitely going to head out there again.  It is a total get away from it all.

We went along with two other bloggers and their significant others and off-spring.

It is amazing what a few bottles of wine/beer and a large fire will do to suddenly make everyone all chummy.

I think for the girls it was easier, as though we did not know each other in the biblical sense, we did feel we knew each other, so spending time together felt quite easy.  I like the part where we could just sit on the porch in silence and look out at the scenery!

The boys however did have to stand around the braai and bond over boerewors and beer, but they were fine and seemed to enjoy it as well.

Overall a really good weekend – we felt well rested and all in-tune with nature and stuff.  Kids were dirty and exhausted, which is always a sign they had a good time.

Karma has a funny way of reminding me that she is alive and rules the world – so Sunday night and Monday morning went for a bit of a crock of crap, just to show me the balance in the universe.

Georgia was on high energy the entire weekend – so she was a bit trying – which is not like her, but anyway.

She insisted on singing her school concert song pretty much the entire way on the drive back, until she fell asleep from exhaustion.  Now I am all for encouraging kids to sing and be expressive, but right now I am all concert-songed out!

When we got home to home-sweet-home, we realized how stressful it is to do house renovations, so as soon as we arrived home and started stepping over the dust and plaster, we started to feel a bit stressed.

Added to it that our DSTV was not getting a signal, and we no longer had the luxury of warm water.

Our geezer has been very temperamental of late, and right now it has decided to err on the side of no hot water.

We decided to take the kids and head out for dinner at the Spur.  Add Georgia singing the concert song again and bouncing off Spur furniture, and it was slightly less than a pleasant evening out.

We got home, threw kids into a bath – Kennith boiled pots and kettles and then kids got into bed – see we even took the camping theme home with us.

Once kids were in bed, Kennith and I sort of fell down in an exhausted heap ourselves.

Unfortunately I had a little fall on Saturday night – which I would love to blame on the copious intake of alcohol – but instead I need to blame the gravel and the combination of slip-slops and my stupidity.

I pretty much went head-over-tit with Isabelle in my arms.  My focus was on falling backwards and not forwards – so as not to damage her further.  Which I believe I did judging by my elegant landing.

My left leg however did one of those bend-out-backwards-in-a-direction-only-barbie-dolls-made-by-matel-should-be-able-to-do.  My back did appear to take the full brunt of the fall – as well as my pride.

The reason for this little sidebar story is that on Sunday I was feeling quite sore, and by  the time I crawled into bed on Sunday night I was whimpering.

I fell asleep only to be awakened by Connor screaming and apologizing simultaneously.  Like screaming like a mad man screaming!

I dashed/limped down the passage – switched on his light to find him puking giant great-dane-sized throw-up heaps of vomit (listen, there is just no polite way of putting this).  But while he is puking he is apologizing to me for puking …

I must confess had I had more time I would have found this endearing.

But he was sleeping at the top of his double bunk and thus puking off the bunk.  The chunks were splattering against the wall, as it made it’s way down to settle into his toy box!

Fantastic.

Kennith does not do puke – at all – so I knew that it would be safer to send him out of the room, else odds are I would be dealing with his puking as well.  I was sure my sense of humour was not equipped to deal with ore puke at 2am.

Connor clearly felt grim.  I can’t say at that point that I was feeling much better.

He did have a roaring temperature, so I cleaned him up, the bed up, the wall up, the toy box up, the floor up, then the side of the bucket up – I retch-retched a bit in sympathy – and then gave him some Panado, and sat with him for a bit.

Once I got the odour of I-ate-Spur-for-dinner-and-now-have-hurled-it-up-in-chunks smell off my hands, I fell into bed at about 3am, and whimpered before I fell asleep.

Isabelle woke up at 5am, and normally she goes back to sleep.  But she could clearly sense the fact that I was not having a good morning and decided to scream in that I-want-someone-to-come-get-me-out-of-my-cot-right-this-damn-minute tone. I wish I could say I ran there immediately – but I did sort of lie there for a few moments the hope that she was playing a joke and would go back to sleep.

It appears the joke was on me.  So I dragged myself through to collect her and that is pretty much when the morning got going.

Of course there was no hot water for a shower.  Every muscle in my body ached.  I was so sleep deprived that I could not actually sit up vertically.

I decided to go in to work late as my back was really killing me and I figured a two hour sleep would be just what the doctor ordered, along with two syndols and a cup of tea.

The arrival of the plumbers with the jack hammers had other ideas, and had scant regard for my need to sleep.

The thing I learnt was that sometimes you are exhausted enough to sleep through the noise of a jack hammer, but not for very long.  45 minutes seemed the maximum before I had to sort of roll myself out of bed and down the passage and attempt to colour co-ordinate my wardrobe for work.

So all in all, not a great start to the week, and easily – added to a few other issues on my Monday – I can say that this day sucked with a large fat zerbit kinda suck!

Camping with kids + wine bar fridge ….

There really is something bleak about coming home after a holiday.

I also got the irony that I managed to win a Best Parenting Blog at about the same time that I was drinking a Mojito in Zanzibar, whilst I had shipped the kids off to their grandparents, with the nanny in tow – I get the humour in it!

Running away from home is quite surreal and especially if you have opted to do it without kids.

One quickly reverts to your former single/time-before-your-uterus-squeezed-something-out self, where you just lie around reading, eating junk food and yours is the only bum you have to wipe – ah the joy of the small things in life!

I will confess that from about Wednesday last week, I was starting to pine, especially for the warm, squishy feel of Isabelle.

Kennith and I are really fortunate that we are able to go on holidays without the kids.

My mom has retired and lives about an hour up the coast from us.  She has a large house and an inability to think quickly on her feet.  This inability assists us, as she cannot say no when I ask her if she can look after the kids.  So every now and then we get to abandon them and head off to places undiscovered, and though I am wracked with guilt (strangely I am, even for all my bravado) it is still a delicious treat!

The kids enjoy being with their granny and oupa, and Kennith and I get the benefit of sleeping until we wake up – which in itself is such a rare treat.  I also get to see what it is like to go to the toilet without company!

This was the longest time that  have left Isabelle and that was a bit hard for me – there were several moments where I just wanted to call it a day and head back home, and pick up my mucus and drool soaked 16 month old for a cuddle, and to sniff in the warmth of her urine soaked nappy.

I did return from holiday and have been thinking that Kennith and I should start to holiday with the kids.  My concern is how much of a holiday will it be for us?

Kids are hard work.  Ask any mom (and dad) and they will admit that kids out of your house are much harder than kids in your own home.

I do not think I am quite ready to pack luggage and take kids on the plane, but I am definitely going to start hunting for some kid friendly holiday places nearby – partly to sooth my guilt for leaving them behind on this holiday and partly because I think it will be cool.

Whatever direction we head with the kids needs to include a small bar fridge for wine, and babysitting facilities for when Kennith and I look at each other and realise that taking kids on holiday is actually not a holiday.

I know several moms who would rather not holiday than holiday without their kids.   I respect that there is a parenting continuum, and they may be in a different place on the continuum than where I choose to be.  I am on the end sitting with the chilled glass of wine, and wondering what all the fuss is about!

I know when I tell people I am going away without my brood, they hit the speed dial number for child services and start removing me from any “mommy and toddler” playgroups.

I have always said I really love my kids, and I am willing to admit that I really like them as well – which is a subtle difference.  My kids are funny and clever, and sometimes when they manage to go an entire hour without someone spilling juice or complaining because “he/she is looking at me” I start thinking that maybe I should stop fantasizing about running away from home so often, as before I know it these warm summery days of their childhood will be over, and all I will have is too many bottles of Chenin Blanc to show for it.

Last week Kennith and I got to just sit like two amoebas with the highest functioning decision whether we were going to drink a beer or a cocktail.  I could lie and read my book – undisturbed – until the drool ran out of my mouth, and formed a sticky congealed pool outside my mouth on the beach chair as I drifted off to sleep.

While acting like I did not have a care in the world, I knew my kids were safe, well cared for and getting a dose of sunburn on a beach along the East Coast.

Holidaying without kids is like having your cake and eating it as well. You get all the blissful stuff of a break from reality, and a chance to remember why you enjoy parenting, and then you get to come home to sun burnt faces and warm hugs.

But now I am googling “camping with kids + wine bar fridge” and seeing what I can locate.

Jumbo, jumbo

Running away to Zanzibar was definitely a wonderful idea that maybe was lacking a bit in the application.

Unfortunately it did require two aeroplane flights, and then a drive from the airport at Zanzibar to our lodge.

Sounds quite idyllic …. lest one is mortally afraid of large metal man-made structures in the sky that can plummet to the ground at any time, and it would seem sometimes without warning.

Landing had us experiencing serious cross winds, it was bumpy and shaky.  (Have I mentioned how terrified I am of flying?)

I had begun to harbour serious doubts that the pilot may have obtained his licence via correspondence. I know I cannot fly a plane, but something about landing when your nose is facing directly into the tarmac, surely spells a problem.

Once we finally rammed our large plane into the tarmac with so much force that it loosened your fillings – and in my case made me bury my nails into Kennith’s leg. 

The brakes were then applied which sent us screeching forward on what can only be described as a very SHORT runway. We finally stopped.  I know I said something quite eloquent like “Thank FEK!” and I meant every word of it.

You know it has been a bit touch and go, when the passengers applaud after the plane comes to a standstill!

I can’t say we embarked as much as we fell out of the aeroplane – and then threw ourselves to the ground to give thanks for the safe ejection from the plane of death.

Unfortunately at this point I realised a few things (1) Zanzibar International Airport was a bit of an over-exaggeration for both the International and the Airport part (2) Luggage off the plane and to you, was really an optional and not guaranteed (3) The terminal is more of a fancied up shed than a terminal.

It was all a bit haphazard and chaotic and you sort of just fell into a line, and watched them pull a cart from the plane with what appeared to be your baggage. There was baggage, whether yours was on the cart was sort of where you started to rethink your wardrobe and how long you could actually wear the same pair of underwear for.

Once I absorbed the status quo, we found ourselves a queue – always the slowest moving one, and managed to spend the next 30 – 45 minutes standing up close and personal with a few dozen other sweaty people.

We finally got to the front, paid our $50.00 per person, which was slid into the custom official’s pocket. We sort of looked quizzically at each other and thought, well we are hardly going to stand there and argue with him, so we smiled and thanked him profusely for letting us into his country.

My bag arrived – hallelujah – trust me, this is not the norm for when I travel, so I am in my full rights to celebrate a little.

We made it out of the airport through the throngs of guides/pick up people who were waving boards.

Found a friendly gentleman waving a board with our name on it – I have not done anything for this trip, so the fact that Kennith had organised that we were collected from the airport made me really sigh with relief (the other option is to arrive and just sort out your own transport.)

Then a very helpful dame came along and handed us a facecloth – clean, wet and soaked in jasmine. Heaven!

I may have stepped over the (imagined) boundary of proprietary when I finished wiping my face and hands, and thought, what the hey, I will just freshen up my armpits a bit! I noticed a little frown cross her polite face, but I was on holiday, it was a facecloth and I was really sweaty!!

We found our taxi driver – I liked the look of him, the taxi was clean … but my joy was short lived.

We then proceeded to take the drive-from-hell from the airport to our resort which was about an hour or so.

He had no qualms about overtaking and driving directly into on-coming traffic – it was not like this was something he did now and then, it was more where his vehicle appeared to stay for the bulk of the journey.

It was a very narrow two way road, without any emergency lanes to move into if there was a problem.

The only option, should something go very wrong, was to just veer directly into the population which appeared to like nothing more than to stand on the shoulder of the road and watch the traffic go by.

Clearly the custom is that if you hit your hooter in rapid succession – and do it with a cheery smile on your mug – this clearly absolved you from responsibility and from impending death. It was totally chaotic and your brain kept telling your body to prepare for a rather gruesome death in East Africa.

Long road with bicycles, vespa scooters (always with more than one person on it), trucks packed, like totally packed with people, and people hanging out the side, goats on the side of the road, large cow type things that seemed to wander about without any limitations or restraint.

And there we are hurtling down the road.

While we are overtaking a large truck, another car will be trying to overtake us – all this into on-coming traffic.

Kennith kept suggesting I not look, and read instead. I can say without a doubt, that during the flight I had already started to prepare my goodbyes and hope that my children knew I loved them and how sad it would be for them to get a call from OneTime Airlines to say that they were very sorry, but pa and ma will not be home.

But the problem with this taxi was that when they scraped me off this dirt road, would anyone actually know where or who I was or be able to do some sort of a CSI analysis on me as they scraped my lady bits off a donkey?

As things do happen, one does not always die in the head on taxi car collision as one imagined and we made it to the resort.

We then proceeded to head with shaky legs to the nearest bar, order a pizza, a large bottle of beer and congratulate ourselves on surviving to see another day.

So here we are in Zanzibar ….

I don’t really want to die in an airplane crash ….

Very exciting time.

I am very excited about Saturday night.  The SA Blog Awards is being held at the One and Only in Cape Town and I wish I could be there – it is a cash bar, but I still would have liked to be there.

Seriously, how many opportunities like this are going to present themselves to me?  Clearly very few in my life time, but that being said we will need to miss it as we are going to be in ZANZIBAR!

I really do not get tired of saying that!

Can you come over for a lunch on Saturday?  Er, no sorry, we will be in Zanzibar.

Would you like to join us for dinner on Monday night? Sorry, would love to, but we will be in Zanzibar.

This is Dr E, your yearly enema is scheduled for Tuesday, can you make the appointment? As lovely as that sounds, I will need to miss it this year, I will be in Zanzibar!

Yes, one does not tire of saying it.  But I can well imagine one tires of hearing about it rather rapidly, so I won’t say it again.

My friends Alice and David will be going to the evening and taking photos and hopefully drinking too much.  I will be waiting in excitement to hear the outcome.

The reality is Tertia is an established blogger, book writer, and all around incredible woman.  She has not only been around the block, but she knows everyone on the block and well might have created the block as well.

I also acknowledge that I am officially the “great white hope” or the “total outsider” in this categroy, and losing out to her will not be a disgrace.

I will be very sad, desperately sad actually, and probably need an extra few Mojito to get me over the disappointing.  But I think drinks and a two hour back massage on the beach, should assist me in soldiering through this one.

The downside of Zanzibar is that I really do not like airplanes.  It is not the metal structure of the plane that is the problems, as much as the thought of me in them and them not quite making it to the other side.

Me – claustrophobic – in cramped economy seats.  Me with 2000 litres of highly-explosive jet fuel under my lady-bits.  Me with only a badly designed life jacket standing between me and shards of my body being strewn over the landscape.

I not only think the plane is going to crash, I am convinced of it, and then start to panic because I am the only person in the know.

When the drinks trolley shudders down the aisle I think it is going to knock a hole into the base of the plane and we are all going to die.  As happy as I am to see the drinks trolley, it does unfortunately cause me further stress.

If this trip is anything like the jaunt we did to Mozambique, the plane will be small, there will be some questionable repairs on it and the runway will be about the length of my driveway.  The plane will come in at an almighty speed, the pilot (licence gained via correspondence) will pull up the brake so hard that the entire plane will shudder.  We will slam into the runway, and know we have about 12 meters to stop before we run into the herd of cows peacefully grazing at the end of the stretch of tar.

I do drink Rescue, and then attempt to drink copious amounts of alcohol on board – even if it is the breakfast flight.  I live by the idea that in accidents, it is always the drunk person who walks away unharmed.

This morning in the shower I started thinking about what dying would do to the kids.  Not their dying, my dying.

When Kennith and I got married we drafted a new will and sorted out guardianship of the kids, so that did make me feel a bit better.  I must confess it did not make me feel any better about any of the flights, and I think I might have peed a bit at the thought, but I was in the shower, so who will know?

I am decidedly anxious today – I need to pack, and I need to hug and kiss the kids and leave them with a good impression of me in case I do not see them again.  Tricky to work out what you would say if it was the last time …. you can see why I am not the life of the party can’t you?

But if all goes well, I will have a great time, survive the trip, my luggage will arrive this time – however I did learn from my last experience and will pack my swimming costume, a sarong, change of underwear, toothbrush and hair conditioner in my carry on luggage.   Last holiday I ended up having to wear Kennith’s spare underwear!

I plan to buy a book in Johannesburg as I always do – a big fat period (as it Tudor, not menstruation) piece, so that will be my little present to myself – actually it will need to be Kennith’s present to me, as I am too broke to afford a book right now.

No blog updates this coming week I am afraid.

I will ask my mate Alice to post a comment update on this post with the results of Saturday -the Blog Awards, not my death – so if anyone is interested they can go along and take a look see.

Enjoy the long weekend, and travel safely if you are going away.

Good luck to moms and dads, I hope you survive the school holidays in tact!  Take comfort that it is much shorter than the June/July massacre we had to contend with.

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…”

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?

The sands of time …..

Last night I went to book club, and the girls were very congratulatory about the “engagement” and they wanted to know who it came about. Did something occur that created this moment, had we been planning it and so on.

I was trying to explain the situation in the context of the week, as it was quite important and had really been a hectic emotional week.

On Friday I had gone to Child Welfare and gone through the Orientation Meeting to look at adopting. All the while being suspicious (certain) that though Kennith was sort of-a-little-bit-keen on the idea, I knew he was not quite ready for it. I was just storming ahead, and really hoped he would just hitch his cart to this horse, as so to speak!

On Saturday night Kennith and I had that giant fall out.

On Sunday I abandoned ship and met my friend for a lie-around and talk until I started to feel better. I was so frustrated and angry, and just did not want to speak to Kennith as I was feeling very raw and very wounded.

On Monday we spent the day with the kids and were out at the beach and for lunch, and then as peace descended on the house we spoke in a reasonably calm manner about what we were arguing about on Saturday. I was still angry and upset, and we managed to sort of get through the discussion with us both understanding the other’s point of view a bit better.

Unfortunately Kennith also dropped the bomb that he was not willing to progress through the adoption process until he was sure that he wanted to do this and that we were ready to look at this.

Though I wanted to go through the process and then have a “cooling off” period before we went on to the list, Kennith said – rightfully so – that he knows if I go through the process, there is going to be nothing stopping me from just going straight on to that waiting list.

He is right. Once I move through this process, I will move from mildly obsessed, to full-blown obsessed. There would be no stopping me, or trying to apply the brakes at that point.

Though I was very disappointed when he has applied the brakes, actually crushed/wounded/felt like I had died a little. I do understand his point of view and have to respect that I am thinking emotionally, and he is trying to ensure that we do not end up in “ye old poor house” or “ye old divorce house” because we are taking on more than we can handle.

I am trying not to harass Kennith and not go “are we ready?” all the time – when I really do want to. It’s a case of waiting and waiting for the time to be right for him, and taking it from there.

I am vaguely aware that a possible outcome is that Kennith may decide that this is not the route for us. The time may never be right. I am not sure I am ready to hear that right now, or consider it in my rather befuddled brain.

So for now, it is a case of taking a deep breath, and just letting time pass.

On Tuesday we did speak further about it, and some of the issues that had come through in our argument.

On Wednesday night Kennith proposed, so it really was quite a week for me – very emotional, lots of things going on. I think I just wanted to sum up the thoughts on the adoption issue here so that it did not appear that it was some fleeting project that I had abandoned.

The want, the need, the desire is still there ….

<this post was written last Thursday afternoon, but I did not get a chance to post it until now, so the timing might seem a bit odd…>

Afternoon delight, cocktails and moonlit nights …

I don’t know what is going on either, but Kennith just sent me an email about a bungalow in Zanzibar and that he is trying to book.

I don’t know when, I don’t know how.  I don’t know if he is trying to tell me he is running away to Zanzibar (he has pulled this move before … ) and leaving me with the kids, or we are both running away without the kids.

He had me at “…..do not forget the full body massages for $5 (R40) while you are lying on the beach…” Can I get a holler-holler!!?

Now I can’t stop singing this stupid song out of my head …

“Aruba, Jamaica ooo I wanna take you
Bermuda, Bahama come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego baby why don’t we go
Jamaica

Off the Florida Keys
There’s a place called Kokomo
That’s where you wanna go to get away from it all

Bodies in the sand
Tropical drink melting in your hand
We’ll be falling in love
To the rhythm of a steel drum band
Down in Kokomo

Aruba, Jamaica ooo I wanna take you
To Bermuda, Bahama come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego baby why don’t we go

Ooo I wanna take you down to Kokomo
We’ll get there fast
And then we’ll take it slow
That’s where we wanna go
Way down to Kokomo

To Martinique, that Monserrat mystique

We’ll put out to sea
And we’ll perfect our chemistry
By and by we’ll defy a little bit of gravity

Afternoon delight
Cocktails and moonlit nights
That dreamy look in your eye
Give me a tropical contact high
Way down in Kokomo

Aruba, Jamaica ooo I wanna take you
To Bermuda, Bahama come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego baby why don’t we go

Ooo I wanna take you down to Kokomo
We’ll get there fast
And then we’ll take it slow
That’s where we wanna go
Way down to Kokomo

Port Au Prince I wanna catch a glimpse (er maybe not so much ….)

Everybody knows
A little place like Kokomo
Now if you wanna go
And get away from it all
Go down to Kokomo

Aruba, Jamaica ooo I wanna take you
To Bermuda, Bahama come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego baby why don’t we go

Ooo I wanna take you down to Kokomo
We’ll get there fast
And then we’ll take it slow
That’s where we wanna go
Way down to Kokomo

Aruba, Jamaica ooo I wanna take you
To Bermuda, Bahama come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego baby why don’t we go

Ooo I wanna take you down to Kokomo”

I know it is not the same place, but they never made cool songs about Zanzibar in the late 80’s, so you work with what you can get.

Drinking and Decision Making ……

We have friends who like to hike and attempt to be/get fit.

Usually these plans are concocted at about 11pm after copious amounts of wine. Suddenly everyone has a plan of how we are going to get fit and what adventure we are going to attempt next, and starts brain storming wild ideas that involve lycra and sweat.

Good sense (and experience in these matters) tell me that when I wake up the next morning, we really did not mean what we said the night before. We are quite happy to spend our days lying around and mimicing a sloth.

Recently while tucking into a particular delicious bottle of Haute Cabriére Chardonnay Pinot Noir, Joyce says: “We really need to get fit this year….”

To the chorus of “Yes, yes, yes, we must…” slurp of wine, spill a little on the table, throw some Caribbean Onion & Balsamic Vinegar Lay chips into your mouth.

“Yes, yes, we must, we must.” Lots of head nodding – even some wild gesturing was added.

Joyce says: “I have an idea – let’s do a hike.”

“Yes, yes, we must, it will be so cool..” more wine slurping, a little less spillage, a few Chuckles in mouth – some get in the mouth, some miss and roll across the table.

“Yes, we must do something about this getting fit thing.” Cheering all around.

Joyce says: “I think we should do the Whale Trail!”

“The Whale Trail – what a fabulous idea – I hear it is really pretty.” A little more wine, chips are finished, trying to dig the last Chuckles out of the red bag.

Joyce says: “We can even slack pack!”

“Slack pack!! That is my way of hiking, excellent I will have someone to carry my wine, that sounds fabulous.” Chuckles are finished.  Trying to suss out how much wine I can get out of the bottle before I need to impose on my host to offer me another bottle of this nectar of the gods.

Joyce says – a little too enthusiastically:  “ I am going to find out – who is in if we can go – come on who is in?”

Everyone is excited, and saying yes – people are putting their hands up and congratulating each other for being so keen.  There is more pouring of wine, another bottle is brought and it is all happy fellows.

Next morning we receive an email from Joyce. She has actually found out about the Whale Trail and now appears to be on a first name basis with Luleka from the Cape Nature Office.

Joyce then proceeds to book, and heckles us – mercilessly – to pay and then it just starts to get all surreal.

I put it out of my mind – a bit like the Soccer World Cup, you know it is happening, but really it is so far away that you don’t really take stock of it.

Last time (circumstances were similar) they organized the-hike-of-death affectionately called the Otter Trail. I managed to fall pregnant on the eve of departure.  I am sure it was my body’s natural defense mechanism to get out of poo’ing in a long drop. So I managed to get out of that one, and pleaded pregnancy. Listen there are few times one can play that card, and I felt that this was the time.

Unfortunately this time, I am all out of ideas – I even took a pregnancy test last Sunday, just in case – hike starts Saturday!!

No kids and the big green flying machine ….

This past weekend Kennith and I escaped from our lives for a few days.  It was not impromptu. I am not going to try to appear like we live these carefree lives, where we run off into the sunset like teenagers and drink gin and tonics in the afternoon.  Nope, this was a weekend away sans kids that was planned down to the last detail.

It was the first time I was going to leave my 7 month old baby, so that was quite traumatic for me.  I was convinced I was going to pull out at the last minute, and end up giving Kennith an ultimatum about not going without her.  I managed to wave goodbye – albeit with much difficulty and a large lump in my throat – on Friday morning as we headed to Cape Town International and risked life and limb flying with our airline of choice (financial not personal).

By the time I got to the check in queue I was a little tearful – both because I was about to fly and because I had left Isabelle behind.  Almost on cue a woman appeared behind us with a  tiny baby in a pram.  This little thing was bleating at the top of his lungs.  As the baby cried, the more I started to cry with him.  I also started to release milk, which is not the ideal look one is trying to pull off in the airport.

I managed to compose myself sufficiently to eat an extremely yellow lemon-and-poppyseed muffin and drink some bad tea, before we found our rather narrow and cramped seats on the large green carrier. 

There were three kids on the plane – none mine – and I really felt sad when I heard them cry …. in the beginning.   

I realized that I might have 30cm width to sit in and the guy in front of me practically in my lap, but the little space I had was all mine.  I managed to bend my body like a contortionist to get my book from my bag, and then sat with my book reading.  Now if I had a child anywhere near me, this would have been a totally different picture.  I would be imagining reading,  and would have been sorely disappointed when reality played out – with kids going wild within the confines of the metal box I was flying in.

I would be stressed from the three hour preparation to get to the plane.  I would be sweaty and exhausted.  Further agitated that the kids would have played with all the entertainment I had brought with to keep them occupied for the duration of the flight – the plane had not even taxied off yet.  Things would be looking terribly bleak for the next two hours or so. 

I would be wondering how I was going to get the air hostess person to serve me a bottle of wine before 9am! 

I would further be stressed by the looks I would be getting from my fellow passengers – who would be travelling without kids – because like captive buck, they would be looking at me nervously wondering when my predators were going to strike.

Instead, I looked down and continue to read my book.   A certain bliss and peace came over me.  It was shattered as soon as our pilot, who no doubt got his license from a correspondence college and had not completed the practical leg of his course successfully as yet.

We spent the weekend acting like we had no children and drank way too much – all because we knew that there was not going to be a snuggly bug coming for a cuddle at 6am, or my daughter announcing to me at about 5:30am that she was going to the bathroom.  I browsed book stores, we hung out with friends, and we even managed to sit and stare at the television uninterrupted on Sunday morning watching Fawlty Towers – it was all quite idyllic.

It was great to act like we were childless and care-free!  Of course we missed our sprockets, and when we finally got home around 10:30pm it was lovely to find them all knotted up in their duvets oblivious to us giving them good night kisses.

Maybe being a mommy is not so bad, if I can run away from home every now and then.