Archive for the ‘Photos’ Category

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I promised more upbeat

25 February , 2021

I did a bit of a glance back after my last post, and I realise it seems like I’ve just been reeling from disaster to disaster this last year.

It’s both true, and not true at the same time. Yes, it has certainly been next level challenging, but there have been some pretty awesome things along the way too. I guess I don’t give those things enough airtime…mostly because I tend to write when I need a place to vent.

Also, a touch of survivor’s guilt? We’ve kept to ourselves for the most part during this year looooong lockdown. Er, for the most part. I think the amount of times we didn’t, socially, we could count on the fingers of one hand…and then obviously we’ve been to outdoor markets, because that is how we make a living. I know that we are above average blessed to be Covid free even with just these things, but I haven’t really posted any fun things for the last year, because THE GUILT!

Anyway, it is what it is. We are tired of living in a bubble, so we have had some exposure…but only as much as we are comfortable with, and truthfully it’s not much. I actually feel like I’m being robbed of a great many farewells since it doesn’t look like like this Pantyline (a.k.a Pandemic) is budging before we hopefully get to spread our wings, and there are a lot of really important goodbeys I still need to say.

Okay, without further ado, before ky upbeat turns into violin solo, I’ll let the photos do the talking. These are my favs from about the last time I showed you anything. 😉

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In the strangest year of all (so far), you turned 11

19 December , 2020

Dear Nicola,

What a freakin upside down year this has been?! It has been hard on all of us, but it has been especially hard on you.

And even though other people sometimes refer to you as my mini me, there has never been a time before where it has been more obvious that you are definitely your own little person…well, not that little anymore, but definitely your own.

I really don’t think I was the best mom for you in this bewildering past year, and not for lack of trying. My need for peace and quiet, and your need for connection and chaos were in direct opposition. We both tried our best, and that’s all there us to it now I guess.

As long as you know, no matter what, I love you unconditionally. I am proud to the point of bursting at how you take on life, even if it’s not the way I would do it. Actually, even more so then. Always keep being true to yourself, you’re amazing!

So…to my loud, kind hearted, moody, hilarious, always hungry, fiercely loyal, curious and amazing daughter…Happy Birthday! I hope that the next year will bring you adventure and delight beyond your wildest imaginings, and peace and contentment…and maybe some balance between two.

Lots of love xxx♥️
Mom-ster 😉

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Enormous Catch Up Post

3 March , 2020

It has been some time since I’ve felt like talking, but here we are…and I have loads to catch up on.

So firstly, in case you were wondering, I am still unemployed. I’m quite busy for an unemployed person though. I’m selling Annique, now also Cannabis products, and in between I do the odd set of minutes and the company I worked for previously brings me in for a couple of days each month to help out with project work.

All things considered, I actually can’t complain. Not doing fabulous financially, but we get by and I have learnt some big lessons in letting go and letting God. I am at peace with my chaos.

Two tiny bug bears that I can tell you about on the work front is, number 1: one of the casual staff that I’ve had to work with on these projects recently really grated my goat. He seems to think that just because he admired my measuring tape, I should gift it to him. Dream on buddy, I’m as hard up as you are and I’ve had that tape for roughly 20 years. Also, he was supposed to stay with me, as he was in my audit team. He just wanders off as the spirit moves him, leaving our security escort scratching his head about which part of the team to follow. When I discussed it with him, he seemed to think that I should check in with him first before doing anything, hahahaha, uhm no. So anyway, teeth were shown and so on. We are all on the same page now.

Number 2: Despite being very hesitant to utilise UIF for the first ever time in my entire life, I found the experience not at all as unpleasant as I expected. The second time I rocked up, I didn’t even bawl my eyes out in the queue. However, after paying UIF since 1997, my benefit was depleted in exactly two months. And that’s the end of that I guess. It was good while it lasted. Not enough to survive on, but enough to fill a few holes and take some shallow breaths instead of none.

For those of you who might be staring into the UIF abyss due to impending retrenchments yourselves, let me explain how they calculate what you get. There’s two limits, one is a daily one…I think it’s either R145 or R137 or some such, say somewhere between R100 and R200 but closer to R100, which works out to about R4500-ish for a month. Then they take YOUR actual UIF contributions for the last 4 years and deduct this monthly amount from that until you get to zero. The end. Also, they give you arbitrary dates roughly 2 months apart at which you must present yourself there to prove that you have nothing better to do during the day yet, payment then comes through to your account about a week later.

Anyhoo, I am grateful for the help it did give me, and the experience was humbling and eye opening. And one which I’d very much like to not have again, all the same.

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On the home front: We have been experiencing definite signs of puberty, more especially the MOOD SWINGS. Oh my goodness, there have been loads of that.

Well, Nicola and I entered into (to me) very entertaining post it discussion on her doors. This happened after she presented us with a disciplinary letter from school for not doing her homework five times. First at school, she was checking to see if we’re furious, which is what she was expecting for some reason. We weren’t, just told her anyone can make a mistake but we have to learn from it and do better next time. Signed the letter, and wrote one back explaining that the whole family was going through quite a traumatic time. Not that we consider it an excuse, but perhaps they could just be a little forgiving while we work through it. (If I have to be honest, not having a test signed in which you did well, because you genuinely forgot does not feel as serious to me as not handing in an assignment that was due, but I’ll keep that to myself. Four of the five transgressions were for not having the exact same test signed. The other one I’ll admit I took a bit more seriously).

So anyway, the post it’s. I saw Nicola’s post it on her chore list and thought it was mighty negative:

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So I added some of my own:

She responded with:

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Which had me laughing my ass off in the passage, and left her completely puzzled as to why I wasn’t mad.

Glad to report that peace has been restored in the land, and that homework seems to be getting done at a more steady pace now.

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Our Polka…a.k.a Hobo:

She’s been limping on and off, and we just thought that she maybe needed to get a bit more active as she was always sleeping on the one leg, which then went numb. You can actually see that the muscles in the one back leg are much more under developed than the other one.

A few weeks ago we decided to take her to the vet for a look-see. Well, apparently it’s not her knee that dislocates as we sort of thought, she has a torn cruciate ligament apparently.  Let’s just say we were not blown away by the Vet’s expertise. So she started off by man handling our poor dog to the extent that she had trouble walking at all for three days after the visit, also she new nothing about anything and every question we asked her she had to go ask someone first. Not great. Then her number one option was to operate, which I gave a firm no to. I told her we had done this for a previous dog which made it a million times worse and we eventually had to have her put down. “Oh really,” she said – “where did you have it done?” Me stone cold face…”Here”.Second option was to operate 4-6 times, well not operate but put the pup under to inject irritants into her leg, which would cause inflammation and eventually scar tissue, which would then hopefully act like a brace.

If you know me even a little bit, I am sure you can imagine what my face looked like at this point. We asked if we couldn’t just medicate for pain and use an actual brace. Nope nope nope. Apparently this would just make the leg weaker and what not. We got the distinct impression we were being up-sold on procedures that would generate more income for the Vet. So we left.

We’ve had Polkie on CBD drops now for about two weeks, and in the first few days we also rubbed the cream on and bandaged her. She is doing just great, and walking and jumping like a champ again. She does still favour the leg a little bit, but for the most part we consider her cured now. I’d like to manhandle that Vet’s knee like she did to our poor dog and see how she feels then. Grrrr…

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Family front: Remember life before, when we used to do family nights on Thursdays? Well, we now do family zoom calls, and we’ve moved them to Saturdays because of the time difference between here and NZ.

It’s not the same, but it’s something…and it does us all good to see that they are settling in nicely and are happy and safe.

Market:

We had our first Green Market with our CBD products this past weekend. I would say it went really well! From the other traders there we heard that it was one of the quietest days they’ve had (probably because of the rain), but we made back our costs and then some so we’re quite pleased.

You really do get to chat to so many interesting people at a day like this, and let me tell you…Melville was at it’s very best eccentric self. There were people shopping in pajamas right alongside others dressed to the nines in trench coats and stilettos.  I am not a natural sales person, but I had a lot of fun regardless. We even had one elderly couple who came purely to tsk-tsk at everyone, so a full experience, haha.

The next big one is called the 420 D-day celebration, where the organisers estimate 14 000 people are expected with 4 000 of those people serious stoners (their words, not mine). It’s a looooong day though, we have to set up by 7:00 and be operational till 22:00, so definitely we’ll need to increase stock before we go…and pack more snacks. I bought an un-infused happy pancake in Melville and I strongly suspect it wasn’t as un-infused as it pretended to be, so own snacks is good to have if you intend driving home after the event.

Meanwhile, while we were doing this, Nicola and my mom had a full day of mall trawling planned and they were both very excited about it.

We were a bit surprised when an hour into their adventure my mom let my dad know that she wasn’t feeling well and they went home.She sent a few more messages, but they became increasingly incoherent. When we got home, we found the house locked up and alarm armed, my mom more or less passed out but shivering and crying, and Nicola looking after her.

My mom was so ill, out of nowhere, that she had been in bed all day and all night…and the next day, she was right as rain again. We can’t prove anything of course, but we strongly suspect that she had been drugged where they had breakfast, in what we can only assume was maybe an attempt to snatch Nicola. So if that is in fact what happened, we are grateful that they’re both okay and that it failed.

And you can bet your last money that Nicola will not be going anywhere unless we’re a group with lots of back up eyes until we leave. I am ice cold  and sick to my stomach thinking about what could have happened.

Dentist:

We bought a BIG box of Guavas a few weeks ago at our favourite grocery haunt, EconoFoods, and they were all heading into the over-ripe direction because we just couldn’t keep up with consumption.

So I googled some recipes and found one for a guava and cream cheese pastry that caught my eye, and I made looooooads of these goodies. They turned out delicious, thank goodness. Only thing is, I didn’t scoop out the pips first and I managed to mangle a tooth on one when I ate it.

So, off to the dentist I went yesterday…not pleasant…and he’s sort of fully booked till end of March due to everyone’s medical aid being refreshed in January. He says it wasn’t the pip, my tooth was on borrowed time anyway, and he was very surprised when I said I didn’t actually have any pain from it.

Well, no crowns without medical aid, haha. But I got it patched all the same, lots of drilling and injecting and all that unpleasantness. But I can chew again, so hurray! And next time I make these pastries I’m definitely taking the pips out. That’s my lesson for being lazy and skipping ahead I guess.

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Paperwork:

It only took about 10 000 emails, but Andy finally broke Home Affairs! Whoohoo! As we speak he is in the queue waiting for the very last certificate to be printed. Relentless, that husband of mine. I am so grateful that he picked this up, I don’t think I have it in me.

So in the next week or so he’ll make an appointment with the German Embassy to renew his passport, it should take roughly 4-6 weeks to get it, then we can apply for our EEA family permits, 1-3 weeks currently, and then we’re off to the land of brollies, trousers (Not pants!) and oddly named burrows like Scratchy Bottom! (Oh yes, keep your fingers crossed that we sell enough stuff at 420 to afford our tickets, but other than that it’s all systems go!).

So unreal that it’s all coming together (or splitting apart, depending on your view). This journey has been about a year in the making! It was about 2,5 years for my brother’s peeps. Now we just need to get our parents out as well.

I do appreciate that not everyone wants to go, or has a viable exit plan even if they do. And I don’t think that South Africa is shit all the way through, but I don’t think it’s the best place for us to raise Nicola anymore, and from where I’m sitting I can’t see it recovering in our or her lifetime. Most of the people (except for the thieving bastards and cold hard criminals) are amazing, and there are bits of this country that we are going to miss forever when we go.

But there are more important things than the weather…

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The longest…and hardest goodbye

19 February , 2020

So, I’ve been quiet since my holiday post. I had lots to process, and to be honest I didn’t really feel like talking about it.

It has been fucking hard!

My brother and his peeps had their visas approved, and over the course of two weeks they left for New Zealand. Karen went first, her visa was approved first and she had to more or less get off the plane and hit the ground running. Riaan and Reghardt followed two weeks later, which all things considered was probably the best way to travel for them as Riaan really knows how to keep that little man calm.

Many things happened over the course of the two weeks they stayed here with us (Andy helped them clear out and sell the contents of the house). It was the best of times and the worst of times all rolled into one.

Let me show you in photos, because…you know…that’s my thing.

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Sjoe! This was hard to watch. I take my hat off to Karen. I don’t think I have it in me to walk through those gates without my family and not look back so that they don’t see me cry. We tried to keep dry eyes for Reghardt and focus on the adventure part of this, but we were not very successful.

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This…so heart breaking…my brother gently explained to him that they had to be brave for mommy, because she was all alone and at least they had each other.

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We couldn’t actually see her plane, but we looked at plains for Reghardt anyway.

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Riaan got him a count down calendar for when he’ll see mommy again, and this was the highlight of his day to count down sleeps to go. Not a single tantrum out of him about it in two weeks. He really was so very brave!

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Helping my brother catalogue his container. Haha, the ugly duckling ornament I gave them as a wedding present made the cut! It was a gag gift, and they kept it anyway…aaaawe.

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Second round of friend farewells with my brother. This one you could see really got to him, it because very very real at this point. On the way home he was quietly sobbing in the back of the car. I handed him a roll of TP and let him have his moment.

Some things really get you in the feels.

At the first friend farewell I more or less drowned myself and decided to document my journey one glass at a time.

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D-day, fly day, the long awaited going to mommy day! Started off with smiles from the two cuzzies.

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Some stretching before the loooooong sit.

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We weren’t allowed to nap on the couch. Nuh-uh! Reghardt would be on his way to the airport by 10:00 if he had his way. They actually only left at 20:00-ish. “Jy kan nie nou slaap nie Tessa, ons moet lughawe toe gaan!”

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Excitement in the air. These two were obviously very excited to be reunited with Karen.

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Some of us were not as excited as others. My mom asked me if we should wear shades to the airport to hide our tears. I said no fucking way, I am going to wail as if my life depends on it. I am sad to see them go, and I don’t care who sees it.

There is a time to be sad, and this was definitely it. (I know, I’m very mature some times haha).

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There is also time for a laugh. As I told Riaan, it is going to be awesome, you just need to get through this sucky bit first.

We can still laugh. Even when we’re sad as hell.

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Reghardt walking with Oupa and Ouma.

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Luggage checked in, ready to rumble.

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This must be the longest bloody walk to see from the outside. Excruciating.

We were a bloody hot mess by this time. Everyone sobbing. Reghardt looking a bit confused. This is not what he had been counting down to. He kept asking why we’re all crying so we had to pull ourselves together somewhat for him.

Of course, him being the clown that he is, he managed to lighten the mood his own way. We were pulling faces at each other all the way to the checkpoint, and little social butterfly that he is, by the time he passed through there he was exchanging secret handshakes with the official. This little dude will be just fine…

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Loss has a way of either bringing people together or driving them apart. It remains to be seen how this is going to play out.

This is not a classic loss, I get it, but sjoe! It feels like it at times. We just went from a seeing everyone twice a week family to we’ll maybe see you in 3 to 5 years again family. It’s a bloody massive loss.

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Waiting to board. We didn’t get many messages once they were in the air, but apparently Reghardt tried to chat with a few fellow passengers (in Afrikaans), however everyone around them were French, so no luck.

He then plan B-ed it by watching non stop movies for about 24 of the 28 hours they were travelling, one 2 hour nap. Hardcore little dude!

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Reunited! 🙂

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Major jet lag and catching up on a loooot of sleep, haha!

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First walk in the new great outdoors for Reghardt.

I hope and trust that they will soon settle in and that they will be very happy in their new country.

We miss them like crazy, and we’ll be going through this again from the other perspective again in a few short months.

Rough. Rough. Rough.

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Family vacation

13 January , 2020

We came back from the most amazing family vacation in Ballito yesterday, and I haven’t stopped bawling my eyes out since then.

My baby brother and his family have their medical examinations today. If they pass they’ll be on their way to NZ within a week.

I don’t want them to stay. This is definitely the right move for them. Still…he’s my baby brother and it SUCKS! I’m going to miss them like crazy.

Send lots of tissues…I need them all.