This could have been the best decision of my life

Lately my writing time has been soaked up by a lot of other shi stuff in my life.  It’s not the best excuse but it’s the one I’m using.  I really wish I had more time to write because it’s the one thing that prevents me from kicking random strangers and/or colleagues. The other thing is coffee.  Lots and lots of coffee.  I’ve had more than one anxiety attack lately because my life has been hectic.  Just last week I was googling my symptoms on WebMD and I was either having a mini-stroke or just very hungry.

I have two kids.  *The crowd goes silence in suspense*  These kids are getting older by the minute.  *The audience gasps at another shocking revelation*.   They will be leaving the house soon. *Audience members are leaving as the suspense is becoming too much to bear*

This reality scares me shitless.  (And for clarification, it’s not the audience leaving part, it’s the kids leaving part.) I cannot fathom living in my house without both of them complaining about the speed of the Wi-Fi.  The reality is getting way too close for comfort, as Dude is now in his final year of high school.

A few weeks ago I was handed a crumpled form, dug out from the trenches of Dude’s bag, moments before we had to leave for school.  (Certain things never change.)  It was the registration form for his senior certificate exam i.e. high school diploma for those of my friends who speak American.  He casually informed me that this specific  form had to be submitted on that specific day, otherwise he won’t be able to write his matric. (Writing matric is the South African way of saying someone graduates from high school.) Pay attention.

Standing with the form in my hands, I asked him what would happen if he didn’t submit this specific form on that day, to which he replied, “I probably would have to stay here for another year.”

And that woke the devil on my shoulder.

I have been dealt a trump card.  Back in the day that used to mean something.  A trump card used to be considered a valuable resource that may be used, especially as a surprise, in order to gain an advantage, as per English dictionary.  Now any reference to trump-anything brings forth images and words that you probably won’t find in any decent DIC-tionary.  See what I did there?  I’m that good.

Back to the issue at hand.

Not signing the form provides me with an opportunity to make Dude stay for another year under the roof of yours truly.  And I know it would be easy because I posses the two things that would sustain the life force of a teenage boy and that is food and Wi-fi.

My devil woke with so much noise, he shattered the silence and pieces flew across my head, falling on the head of my angel, who was napping on my other shoulder.  He woke up with a yawn.

I’m offering a brief narration of the discussion that occurred between the two.

Angel: WTF? Do you mind dickhead?  I was sleeping here.

Devil: I don’t care!  This is worth a party.  Where’s the damn wine?  Ah man, no we have to go to work.  Maybe if we took some shooters.

Angel: Are you crazy?   We can’t do that. Remember the last time we did something so irresponsible?  Besides what can be so exciting?  It’s a Monday.

Devil: Did you not hear!  You’ll end up sleeping through your own death.  We have an opportunity to keep Dude in the house for one more year.

Angel: Oh no, did he fail his Science paper again?

Devil: No man.  And more importantly what do you mean again?

Angel: Never mind.

Devil: If we don’t sign this form then Dude can’t write his final exam and then he won’t get his diploma and then he won’t be able go to university.  He’ll have to stay here.  For one whole year!

Angel: That would be really unfair.  The poor boy has been working very hard over the last couple of months and I think he deserves an opportunity to spread his wings.

Devil: I don’t agree.  The kid is extremely spoiled and he is totally dependent on us.  He can’t even prepare a proper meal for himself and would you really want a starving kid on your conscious? And have you seen his room?  It’s a safety bio-hazard.  I seriously think we should consider an additional year of parenting.

Angel: That is bull shit and you know it.  It’s selfish because you’re not taking his feelings into consideration, so just sign the damn form.  I don’t remember us being very independent when we went off to college.

Devil: It was a different time and we were…

Angel: Just. Sign. The. Damn. Form. Or I’m calling Wife.

Devil: *sulking

Angel: I’m not kidding.

Devil: *still sulking

Angel: *crossing arms

Wife: Are you going to sign that form or are just going to stand there for the rest of the day?

I signed the form.  Besides it was three against two. An unfair fight.

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I got older without noticing it

Age is a number, they say.  Age is a mental concept, they say.  You’re only as old as you feel, they say.  Well “they” can go and f…ondle themselves on a highway.  “They” are walking around with their head up their ass because growing old is inevitable but ridiculously hard to get used to.  I’ve gained a newfound understanding for how age can creep up on you and then jump and throttle you like a facehugger.

We spend our annual holiday camping at a family resort, which is basically paying a lot of money to live like a homeless person.  I used to be very anxious and actively involved in setting up our camp site making sure everything is done in a proper way because camping becomes a lot less fun when the wind blows your tent to the next country.  The resort we stay at has people who are more than happy to set up the site for you, at a fee of course.  Being who I am, I didn’t oblige because I have slaves working for free, my two teenage kids.  But this process of getting them to do what I want them to do, implies an increased high blood pressure for yours truly, due to my  method of giving them instructions.   Wife says it’s just me barking random comments but I disagree.  They don’t listen.  (Maybe they don’t speak canine.) And contrary to what some of you might think, a raised blood pressure and two annoyed teenagers, does not a happy holiday make.   This year I paid the fee, not because my kids didn’t want to help, but because I didn’t want too.  It’s less effort.

In my younger days I would have blasted Britney without any consideration for retaining my own ability to hear, never mind the objections or feelings of those people around me.  Music sounded better when it was loud, until it doesn’t anymore.  The entertainment crew of the resort were playing music at the pool, blasting some atrocious shit at the volume of a missile launch through the speakers.   Wife and I unconsciously migrated to the furthest point in the pool.  We just drifted away from the source of the noise, to find a quieter place where we could have a normal conversation without having to spit in each other’s face from pure exertion to make our voices heard.

And don’t get me started on the utter bull shit they were playing.  I mean who in their right mind listens to this shit?  No wonder millennials are all set up for failure, just look at what the poor sods have on their playlists?  I still believe that every time you hear an eighties song, it makes you a better person.

I normally could make quite a splash when I entered a pool, whether it be diving, bombing, falling in drunk… This time I refrained from any physical activity whatsoever because I had a very tough year.  I resorted to hang around the pool like a hippo on a hot day.  I turned out to be an annoyed hippo because this one little brat kept jumping in the pool, then he got out, then he jumped in, then he got out, then he jumped in, then…well you get the picture.  All happening within two feet of my face.  So instead of running the risk of me screaming at the toddler “For $#@!* sake dickhead, do you mind?” my Wife simply guided me to calmer waters.

I know if given the opportunity, I could be an Olympic athlete, if they make sleeping an Olympic sport.  I do pride myself on being an excellent sleeper, especially lately.  I never used to be very good at it, wasting my effort and time on things like partying until the sun comes up, hanging out with mates, watching movies and/or studying. As I grew older I developed an appreciation for the gift of sleep and even though it’s not official, I’ve started my training just in case they do elect sleeping as an Olympic sport.  I now take naps as often as I can.  Anywhere, anytime.  I’m so focused that I would wake up in the morning and mentally schedule my next nap, before I even get out of bed.

Henry Ford invented a car (or stole the idea) because he got tired of walking from his house to McDonalds.  Hence, we don’t have to do it anymore.  Walking in the South African summer makes me sweat (which is not a good look for me) and besides, it takes much longer than a quick drive.  Every time I walked from our camp site to the pool, I felt my fat cells withering away, crying sweaty tears in agony, as I was killing them slowly.  I’m not a sadist and believe that every living thing has the right to live, their own little place in the sun.  What kind of person would I be if I continue with the genocide of my own fat cells, even if there is an overpopulation of them around my midsection, a direct result of an unexpected escalation of their birth rate, over the festive season?  So I used my car a little more than I normally did. To protect the innocent.

Getting out of bed or a chair or any position for that matter used to be easy.  And without noise.  During this holiday I realised my body is making more noises than it used to. Even if I had to move for a very good reason like getting a beer.  Surprisingly these “noises” were not only created by the joints in my body, or the occasional fart, they also escaped from my mouth.  Grunts and moans and other extra-terrestrial sounds that I’ve never been able to produce before.  It’s like I learned a new language overnight.

Getting older is less fun than most other things in life, even though it’s bound to happen to everyone, irrespective of how many creams you slap on your face everyday.

The best thing would be to embrace the reality and make fun of yourself whilst you still have the mental ability to do so.  And that’s also the reason why I’m back in the gym again because who are you calling old?

I’m only half way there.

One of these days we may have birdpie for dinner.

The third website I found, after googling “most dangerous countries in the world” as part of my research for this post, listed South Africa as number 17 on their list of 20.  It has to be said that the list was compiled by someone in the UK and we all know they’re just a bunch of scaredy cats.  The first two sites were a little more kind and listed as somewhere in the forties.  Based on this reality of living dangerously, I also own a semi-sophisticated security system that allow us to sleep at night.

Or more importantly, a system that allows us to wake up in the event of an intruder on our property.

In order to make this happen, I’ve installed a house alarm as well as four beams on the garden perimeter, that not only sets of an alarm (turning your heart into a glazier) but also automatically notifies an armed response company when it is breached.  If the company is any good, they will phone home just like ET and check if everything is in order, before they arrive with sirens and bullet proof vests and guns blazing.  An alarm is a fickle thing, anything can set it off.  Like a bat, a bird, an elephant, a lion chasing a gazelle, a drunk husband or a sleeping child wanting to go for an innocent piss.

So they call, to check, before they crash.

Fortunately, we have not had the face-to-face confrontation with a burglar, as my waking-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night look will likely scare the poor burglar to death or scar him for the rest of his life, at the very least.  We have a different problem…

We like gardening.  Or more accurately we like paying someone else to do our gardening. We’re more the landscaping type, telling other people where to plant what.  We like sitting outside, sipping wine and watching other people work the work of others. We have birdfeeders and fountains and green grass and luscious trees.  It’s truly magical. And the birds agree.

1200px-Hadeda_Ibis_Portrait

Stay off our lawn.  Or suffer the consequences. And that goes for your whole damn extended family.

I understand that my friends up North, near the Wall, are currently freezing their asses off but down here in the #17 most dangerous country of the world, it’s spring.  The sun is shining, pools are sparkling, flowers are blooming, people are braaiing…  It’s also the time of year when birds do what birds do best, they sing.  And mate.  Like bees.  Early in the morning.   Let’s define “morning” shall we.  Morning is when the sun peeks over the horizon and the first lights cracks the night sky.  Or if I want to be frank, five’o clock.  So it might be lovely if you hear the birds talking for the first time but it becomes extremely annoying when you hear it everyday at five.  But this is still not the problem…

We have a wide variety of beautiful, fantastic birds frolicking in our little garden of Eden.  And there we have a flock of hadedas.    These birds hate us.  They arrive every morning and scream like tweens at a Justin Bieber concert.  They certainly don’t make, what some would call, a pleasant sound.  It’s just a loud cry for help from a drunk woman in Wallmart, who can’t find adult nappies.  But this is still not our problem…

Being the size that they are, the flock of spiteful creatures breach the outdoor beams of our alarm system EVERY time they arrive or depart from the grass.  And this sets off the alarm.  At the crack of dawn.  And this wakes up Wife.  With heart palpitations.  She checks the time and realises it’s not a burglar because criminals do what most people do at that hour.  They sleep.  Wife then waits for the call from the security company to tell them that there’s nothing to worry about as it was just the f……….. birds.  Again.

She never actually swears, even though I know she’s dropping f-bombs like it’s the second world war, if only in her mind.  Because, and herein lies the problem, wife can’t fall asleep again.  This happens every morning.  You may wonder what happens to yours truly during this time and the answer is very simple.  I take my sleep very seriously.  I don’t fuck around. When I sleep, nothing on earth can wake me up, not even this…

Wife is not that lucky.  For those single people out there, I have one life changing piece of advise, one must never wake a sleeping woman unless it is snowing.  For if you do, as per wisdom of Yoda, “Sleeping woman you wakes, not a pretty picture it makes.”

It’s not my fault I don’t hear a thing.  It’s not my fault that the hadedas prefer our grass to any other house in the neighborhood.  It’s not my fault she is the first contact on the security company’s list of numbers to call.  It’s not my fault we had to install beams…. But apparently it is.  My fault.

I’m just here warning every bird out there, if I’m getting it, so will you.  If you continue to wake my lovely Wife at an ungodly hour and I get the rap for it, I will kill you.  And then make pie.

BUT

Before you call animal welfare, instead of me turning into a violent madman who spends mornings chasing innocent creatures in my pj’s, we decided that we won’t activate the beams anymore.  Even though I paid a small fortune for the installation.  We’ll rather take our chances with an intruder, whom I will probably put in a mental institution once he sees my half-naked body and bedhair, than risk being woken up by the gang of spiteful, neo-nazis, flying around outside.

And it worked.  This morning she woke up at a decent time, all bright eyed and bushy tailed.

Until she remembered it wasn’t a Saturday.

Love ya’ll.

 

Date night is not what it used to be.

date_night_opener

This image was borrowed from yellowscene.com because I googled “date night” and then searched for images and found this really cool pic because I love superheroes and shit and now I have to give credit to the site because I don’t want to get arrested for copyright infringement.

Princess was on a boat cruise over the weekend as part of a school tour for the top academic achievers of each grade.  She obviously takes after me… Seeing that it was our twenty-first wedding anniversary last Thursday, I knew this weekend had serious potential for a date night.  I just needed to get rid of Dude.  Which is extremely easy to do.  One only needs to move the PlayStation console and plug it into a different monitor at the venue you want him to move to.  Like a friend’s house.

And yes I brought flowers because after twenty-one years chivalry and romance is not dead, it only needs a kick in the butt every now and then.

Friday night arrived and we were home alone…

I had a dream.  A dream of a wonderful night. Just like when we were young.  We’ll drink.  (Technically I’l drink because I married my designated driver.) We’ll laugh. We’ll go to a restaurant that requires a booking and high heels.  A place where the price of a glass of wine equals three bottles in the store.  We’ll celebrate our love.  We’ll hold hands and get lost in the nostalgia of our lives.  We’ll celebrate not having kids around.  We’ll go to a movie and maybe find a place to dance until the sun comes up. We’ll go out and paint the town in every shade of red we can lay our hands on. We’ll remember this night for the rest of our lives.

But like most dreams, reality is kind of exactly the opposite of the dream.

Wife and I discussed the possibility of going to some fancy restaurant where the food is stacked 3 meters high on a square plate, decorated with beetroot and kale garnish. OR going to our favourite family steakhouse because we know the food is excellent.  And the wine is cheap.  Besides we were still lounging around after our afternoon nap because we’ve reached the age where you wake up and immediately calculate the amount of hours you need to spend awake before you can sleep again.  We opted for the steak.

At the restaurant we got a table for two which seemed kind of small but we simply nodded at the waitress as we ordered what we always order from the menu and held hands.  We clinked glasses and celebrated our love and reminisced about the first time we met and our wonderful life together.  About seven minutes later the conversation turned to Princess on her cruise and Dude at the friend’s house.  We were speculating what they were doing and got slightly depressed as this was a reminder of what life was waiting for us once the kids learn to fly and leave the nest for good. We finished our meals and skipped desert because we had steak.

We know the owner, so I dropped a not-so-subtle hint about our anniversary and were awarded for my effort with a bottle of champagne that we didn’t want to drink because I already had two glasses of wine.  And our steak was done.

We agreed that the weather was kind of iffy and it would be much better to change into our pj’s and snuggle under a blanket with a movie on demand.  We were excited about the prospect of getting home and being able to pick a movie without the grunts and complaints from the kids.

I poured  some more wine, rented the movie and settled down under a blanket.  The house was blissfully quiet and we were left with our own thoughts.  There was no sudden requests for food or us having to drive one of them somewhere.  There were no loud music or any arguments about the speed of the WiFi because Princess is streaming again.  There was just silence… Peace and quiet…

And needless to say we both fell asleep and never saw the end of the movie.

We had fun on date night even if it wasn’t anything like the dream we had.  It was still a celebration.  Albeit an imperfect one because for it to be perfect, we required two additional things…those damn kids.

Love ya’ll.

 

To my soulmate, on her birthday

The lucky ones among us get to meet people on this journey through life that leaves a lasting impression.  Like a great tattoo.  They inspire and change you.  People who walk in and accepts you for who you are, with all your flaws, warts, shenanigans, bad habits and everything else that makes you human.  The kind of person who makes you want to be better at being you.

And if you’re really, really, really fortunate, you get to marry that person.

My love, it’s been 23 years since we’ve met and look how far we’ve come on this journey of forever together.  Your birthday is just another simple reminder of how blessed we are for having you in our lives.

You guide us with your iron fist and gentle touch.  You comfort us with your sincerity and hilarious puns.  You give us confidence with consideration and drive.  You make us choose the high road, every frigging time.  You inspire.  You love.  You create a safe haven.  You keep us all together.  For you are the greatest soulmate, friend, mother, partner, Wife, guidance counselor, taxi driver, secretary, judge, chef, organizer and home maker on this planet.

And we’re very privileged and happy to be able to call you ours.  Here’s wishing you a wonderful birthday and the most blessed year ahead.

We love you.  Like no other human has ever been loved in the history of mankind.

P1050794

I’m the love child of Groot and the Cookie Monster

I’m not kidding.  This is serious stuff.  I’m busy checking my family tree that seemed to be uprooted by the latest splurge of hurricanes ruining countries globally…

I’ve just arrived back from Argentina with a sinus infection so severe, I had to consider my last will and testament based on the lack of sympathy I received from my kids.  Based on their sensitive reaction to my condition they wouldn’t get anything from the minimal stuff I have to give them.  Wife was a bit more concerned, and only because I kept her up at night due to my consistent coughing from my annoying nazal drip. (Form a line ladies…)

It’s obvious that love means different things to different people.

Then it got worse.

My nazal drip, resulting from my sinus infection, resulted in a secondary infection of my throat.  This secondary infection caused my throat to feel like I came second in a hot pepper eating competition and more seriously, it affected my vocal cords.  I ended up with laryngitis, as per diagnosis of Dr Ah Dad.  And we all know how much he knows about medical conditions…

cookie groot

It all happened very suddenly.  The one moment I sounded all handsome and shit and then I went for a nap because that is the only thing middle-aged people can look forward to in life.  When I woke up, there was a slight croak in my voice, like it needed some oil.  Like most of my joints.  It did sound kind of sexy, even if only to me.

By the next day, the slight croak disappeared and I was able to produce sounds I never could before.  I was basically my own ventriloquist dummy because no-one I know would sit me on their lap and shove their arm up my ass.  It was so bad, I even took a sick-day.  What?  I almost died.  My condition was severe enough for me not to have one guilty feeling about spending most of the morning watching movies and scratching my ba…  Anyhow, by this time my voice was basically non-existent and I sounded like someone who has been smoking non-stop for three hundred years.

My ability to communicate was seriously jeopardized and that was torture enough as I rely on my voice to get people to like me.  And without my voice, I was just a piece of meat.  Albeit a grey-haired, kind-of-handsome, middle-aged, semi-dad-bodish piece of meat…

My voice deteriorated to the point where my lovely, sweet, supporting children were laughing every time I opened my mouth and released a grunt of some kind.  (Another reason why I completely understand why lions sometimes eat their young.)

Eventually Dude couldn’t keep it up anymore and proclaimed that I sounded like something that was a cross between The cookie monster and Groot.  And now two days later, I still sound like the lovechild of those two…hence me writing again…

I did get my revenge for being the laughing stock of my teenagers for the last couple of days by spending most of it replying to them with three small words:

“I am Groot.”

Especially when they asked me for money.

The humidity would’ve killed a lesser man

I was in Dubai two weeks ago, attending a conference.  For those of you who are geographically challenged, Dubai is a bright lights, big city in the desert. For those of you who are climatically challenged, September is the start of autumn for the residents of this massive outdoor sauna and the change of season means they change their description of the heat from “hof AF” to “hot as hell”.  The problem is that Dubai is on the coast, so for non-residents the heat remains best described as “hot AF.”  The humidity is a killer.

I almost died, every time I had to walk from the hotel lobby to the conference facility.  One would think that a conference facility would be inside the hotel but no. One had to go outside and walk like 50 meters or so.  And I’m not exaggerating about evading the sickle of the Grim Reaper because attending a conference in Dubai implies having to wear a suit.  It seems that businessmen over there like to dress up for death. Continue reading