Princess and I broke the law.

We took a week off last month.  It was during the winter break and that meant Wife, Dude and Princess were lounging around the house for three weeks, whilst yours truly were still grinding away (in a non-sexual way), working myself to death in the harshness of an air conditioned office.  Albeit in a very comfortable leather chair, streaming music and a cup of coffee every now and again.  Life is hard.

We love music festivals so we decided to take a week and head up north to attend Innibos.  A wonderful festival of music, food, art and wine.  Or beer.  The festival is even more fun if you are a fan of Afrikaans music.  If you’re not, or you don’t understand the language, then you probably won’t enjoy the festival as much as we did.  Keeping in mind there is still beer.

Whilst we were up there in the Northern corner of our country we also checked out a few of the sites and skipped through the Kruger National Park.  Technically, we drove through the Kruger National Park because skipping through it might imply suicide.  Lions tend to go for easy prey and a family of white South Africans, skipping through the bush, might just be, what they would consider, a take-away delivery.

During our little tour of Mpumalanga, which is the name of the province we were in and not an exotic dancer, Princess and I broke the law.  The place is called Bourkes Luck Potholes and as I’m not a travel agent, you are more than welcome to Google it, or do a quick browse of a few photos of the place by clicking on this word.

It is truly beautiful and there’s a lot of footpaths scattered across the site to take in the scenery from every possible angle.  There is also quite a few signs scattered across the same footpaths, warning pedestrians not to go beyond certain points.  Mainly because falling of a cliff can be detrimental to your health, even if it is a waterfall.

I might seem like your typical handsome, dashing and extremely strong middle aged man but in actual fact, I’m terrified of heights.  I’m not sure how I will die, but I’m 1000% convinced that it won’t be from falling off a cliff or a three story building.  Or the big slide at the park.  I become a paranoid banshee every time one of my family members venture to close to the edge of any higher ground.  That includes arguments.  Based on past experiences, the safe distance is 2.63 meters, which is even further when you measure it in foot.  It is a very specific distance because anything closer than that makes my voice disappear, as my hysteric screams of panic reach supersonic levels.

Back to me breaking the law.

Whilst strolling along the footpath, away from the cliff, I suddenly felt an urge to do something impulsive, to break rules, to feel some adrenalin pumping through my veins, to feel alive!  So I ventured off the footpath we were on and ignored the sign that was trying to save my life.  I went off the beaten track.  And here is the evidence of that wild moment.

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I saw the sign but chose to ignore it

So ladies, if you’re looking for someone who will ignore authority, break the rules of bureaucracy or ignore the rules that keeps society from becoming animals, but in a way that won’t get him arrested or killed, I’m your man.  Even though I’m taken.

A true rebel with a conscience and a sense of responsibility.  And I even convinced my daughter to join me in my life of crime.  What a day…

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Princess shines like a diamond.

It’s my little girl’s 16th birthday today and I’m freaking out. Not only do I have to cope with Dude leaving the house at the end of the year but I’m also faced with Princess who is becoming an amazing young woman, a diamond if you will. Unique, beautiful, rare and priceless. I would understand if other parents also consider their kids to be amazing and what not but here’s the thing, they would be wrong. Here are a few reasons why:

Thanks to Wikipedia I’ve learned that the Ancient Greek word for diamond means unbreakable, which is also a pretty accurate description of my daughter’s spirit. Don’t get me wrong, bad things happen to everyone but she has the amazing ability to work through it and then pick herself up, she learns from the experience. She talks about it, deals with it and then move on with another set of skills in her backpack.

Diamonds are extremely rare, just like Princess, and not like one-in-milion kind of rare but more like the-only-one-ever-created kind of rare. To say she is precious, would be like saying Adam Sandler makes bad movies, which as we all know is the understatement of the century. (And yes I had to reference him.)

Diamonds are one of the hardest materials known to man and has many applications, other than simply looking pretty. Few people would argue about the beauty of my daughter and those who would try might have to sleep with one eye open because I am prepared to stalk you. But she is more than beautiful My gorgeous not-so-little princess is also as tough and intelligent as they come. Not compromising on her beliefs or scared to share her views, even if she’s the only one in the room.

Diamonds have a high dispersion of light and her soul shines like a diamond. An internal goodness, beauty and a rock solid belief system that can launch a thousand ships. It’s a light that shines so bright out of her blue eyes, it evaporate shadows.

The shaping of a rough diamond is an art and the better the artist, the higher the value of thefinal product. We are fortunate to have a daughter who understands that the Lord is her artist, the One who shape and cut and form her to be the best version of herself. And she embraces that process with vigour. She loves the Lord and that is a gift money cannot buy.

The Hindi word for diamond is ‘Agira’ which means fire and that would also be an accurate description of how she approaches everything in life. She doesn’t waste time, she attacks life and burns it with enthusiasm. She lights up our lives with a simple smile and has a boisterous laugh that makes you forget about any problem you might be facing at the time.

I can go on and on and on but then you might think I’m bragging. The point is, she turned 16 and she’s amazing and she’s our Princess who we love more than words can describe.

I pray that she finds someone someday that will treat her like the precious and rare diamond she is. And if he doesn’t, I’m simply going to have to cut of his head with a blunt knife and put it on a stake in front of my house.

He likes big romantic gestures.

They say the best time to write something is when you’re emotional because it allows you to focus all your energy, so you don’t end up sobbing in front of collegues.  I’m not sure who “they” are but it works for me.

Most of you might understand the rollercoaster ride I’ve been on lately, i.e coming to terms with Dude leaving the house at the end of this year.  Fortunately for me, life is making it easy, reminding me of numerous milestones he’s reaching throughout the year.  Little signals that taunt my soul.  Like him turning eighteen or him being accepted by a university, albeit a provisional acceptance, or him asking a girl to be his date at the prom.

Their high school only allows final year students to attend this annual event, so there is a lot of compulsory pairing going on at the moment.  And it’s a big thing. Like a wedding.  But without the cake and the bridesmaids and the white dress and the in-laws and the church and the honeymoon.  Maybe it’s nothing like a wedding…

Dudes have it easy when it comes to putting together an outfit.  They need a suit, a tie, comb their hair, splash on deodorant and Bob’s your uncle.  Unless you’re offended by the name Bob, then Tim could be your uncle.  But if Bob was married to your mother’s sister then he will remain your uncle, irrespective if you like the name or not.  Where was I?

Oh yes.  Dude. And prom.

The only other thing Dudes need to worry about is the transport.  And since my Dude’s father owns an SUV,  the father in question has not been asked to play chauffeur.  I’m slightly offended.  Who wouldn’t want to drive to the ball in a SUV?  I’ll even wash it for them.  Or maybe just get it washed.  He is still looking for an alternative.

What got me writing this post was the photo of the happy couple after she said yes.  Which I never doubted for a second…

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Pretty people.

I got a little teary eye because he made an effort.  He did something original.  They have been friends since the beginning of time and everybody sort of knew they would hook up for prom.  Even so, he wanted it to be special, something she would remember.  Now that might not seem like a big thing but coming from a guy who basically hangs around the house, waiting for his next meal, it is huge.  Ginormous.  Maximum effort (Thanks Deadpool).

He made a poster. He brought flowers and chocolate. He showered.  He got dressed.  He made a poster. I know I’ve said it already but he made a poster!  With a heart.  He asked her dad to drop her off at a designated spot, where he stood all dapper and debonair, ready to get the yes.

Which he did. Obviously.

We call him Mister Dude

There once was a boy who lived in a village that time forgot.  It was a fabulous place to live, a place filled with happiness, laughter and love.  Where the other villagers took care of one another.  They were considerate and kind.  And this boy stole the hearts of all the other villagers.  Some visitors of the land would carry tales of his kindness or his humour or even his handsomeness but they all couldn’t stop telling the story of how he was loved by all the other villagers.  He might have been the most loved person in the village.

The mayor of the village was especially fond of him, and even had a special name for the boy.  He called him Dude.  Because why not?  When a person gets a nickname made of love, then one doesn’t consider the amount of time that was spent scanning through countless books of baby names, just to try and find that perfect balance of manliness, meaning and pronouncability.  Not to mention the ease of spelling the damn thing.

The tragedy of the village was that time moved a lot faster than in the normal world.  What feels like a brief moment turns out to be months or even years in real time.  Moments that fly by at the speed of light, moments that turn into memories faster than life itself.  And then one random day in a year, the villagers wake up and realise that their short stint in time turned out to be a whopping 18 years of real time!!  And that my friends, is fucking ridiculous. (Sorry readers but it is what it is.)

The problem with reaching 18 years of real time is that the boy is no longer a boy.  When a citizen of the village turns 18, it implies that he will be leaving the village shortly.  In a few months from now he will have to say goodbye to the other villagers and then he will only be able to visit them every now and again.  (And let me tell you dear boy, it better be more now than then!)  But there’s nothing anyone can do about it.  The mayor have tried to stop time or even slow it down but there’s no stopping the inevitable.  Time is a heartless bastard.  The man-boy will have to leave the village and face the real world which is a horrible place filled with things like responsibilities.  A place where he will have to stand up and face all the consequences of the many decisions he has yet to make.IMG_2378

The good thing is that Dude is well prepared for life in the real world.  He has grown into the most amazing man in all the land.  He is kind, and generous, and wise, and disciplined, and courteous, and funny, and responsible and dare I say, ladies, dashing as hell.  And even though he might leave our little village, he knows that he’ll always have a place to call home.  A warm place where the other villagers will support him and encourage him and love him until death and beyond.  And they will wish him well on his journey and on this landmark birthday, a soon as they finished sobbing and are able to speak.  Once they have dried their tears of joy and pride.

Because starting tomorrow, we will call him Mister Dude.

And with that, I wish you the greatest, happiest and best 18th birthday.  May your future be as bright as your own being.  May your day be filled with a thousand chuckles and a million laughs.

We love you in a way you may never fully comprehend.

Mom, Princess and I (aka the Mayor.)

 

Get to know me

This was homework given to me courtesy of All in Dad’s work and Crubbs and Critters before time began.  Before dinosaurs ruled the earth and fax machines was considered a luxury.  This post is so long overdue that I would be very surprised if they even remember giving this assignment to me.  If this was a school project I wouldn’t even get detention because the teacher would probably be dead already.

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In the spirit of all my new followers of my blog and the fact that I’ve been absent for more than a year, I thought it a good idea to provide some critical information about yours truly. Better late than never. Here goes:

  1. Who are you named after? My Dad.  It’s a family name which I didn’t pay forward.
  2. Do you like your handwriting?  Yes.  It’s lovely, like a crab crawling through ink.
  3. What is your favorite lunch meat? Anything. And everything. Except Enterprise viennas and poloni.
  4. Longest relationship? The one that I’m in.  Dated for 2, married for 22.
  5. Do you still have your tonsils? I think so but I attended a conference in Bangkok last year and came back with a sore throat and fuzzy memory and I didn’t check what was the black market price for tonsils at the time.
  6. Would you bungee jump? No. Unless someone pays me three-twenty-eight-and-a-half thousand-million-hundred dollars.  I’m easy, but not cheap.  Or good in maths.
  7. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?  Yes, I’m not a barbarian unless they’re slops.  Then I just flick them at the closest kid.
  8. Favorite ice cream? I’m not a massive fan of sweet stuff but if someone wants to buy one for me I’ll struggle through a nice big cup of vanilla and strawberry soft serve.
  9. What is the first thing you notice about people? Whether they’re happy or not.  You can see it on a person’s face. I tend to avoid unhappy people.  Life’s too short.
  10. Football or baseball?  Neither.  I’m not American.  Or European.  Or bored out of my mind.  I watch rugby.
  11. What color pants are you wearing? Dark blue chinos because I’m trendy AF.
  12. Last thing you ate? Two burgers in one sitting.  I’m awesome.
  13. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? This has to be the weirdest question I’ve ever come across.  Oh no wait, it isn’t.  That honour belongs to the time when they asked me whether my third leg was a prosthesis but that is a story for another day.
  14. Favorite smell?  Weed. I’m just kidding.  Jeez, relax why don’t you.  When someone is smoking weed.
  15. Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone? My parole officer.
  16. Hair color?  Mousy brown with a couple of tasteful grey stripes that are strategically placed to make me look more mature and responsible, courtesy of God.
  17. Eye color?  Green/Grey. I know.  I have never been able to pick one.  Let’s just say my eyes are greyeen.  Aaaaand I’ve just invented a new colour.
  18. Favorite foods to eat? Spaghetti Bolognaise, steak and anything with wine. But not brussel sprouts because if you can eat that shit you are also the type of person that place kittens in a tumble dryer for three minutes.
  19. Scary movies or happy endings? I’ve got teenagers so my day basically swings between a horror movie and a happy ending.  I like superhero movies.  And let’s be clear, Catwoman and the rebooted atrocity of the Fantastic Four doesn’t count as superhero movies.  Wait a minute, what kind of happy ending are we talking about here?
  20. Last movie you watched?  Pitch Perfect 3.  Don’t judge.  They make music with their mouths.
  21. Favorite Holiday? Not working.
  22. Beer or Wine? Duh…this is such a stupid question.
  23. Night owl or early bird? If I had a choice, night owl but adulthood and parenting gets in the way of me achieving my ultimate dream of sleeping in every day.  How I do love sleeping…
  24. Favorite day of the week? Wineday because that could be every day.

25. Which three of your favorite bloggers you would like to know more about? And who were the last three people to follow your blog?

They happen to be the same three people.  Coincidence?  No, just me being lazy and I listed six. ‘Cause it’s my blog and I can do what I like.  Besides, she said it was fine.

Life happens

*on my knees

I’m really, really, really sorry for not sticking to some kind of routine when it comes to my posts on this blog but it’s not because I don’t want to, it’s just, well, you know, life.  It happens.  Like shit.

There are so many things that happened in the last few months of my life that it’s becoming rather difficult to keep track.  I opted out of the rat race, sat down and took a breather (and two glasses of wine because some things never change).

So this is me, taking a breath.

I changed jobs. Yes, I did.  It’s my third week in my new office.  I switch from a job where I hopped around the globe to one that has basically no travelling.  And I love it.  I love being home.  I love seeing every game my kids play.  I love not having to plan my life around a business trip and an important event involving my family and friends.  I love not missing anything anymore.  I love the different environment.  I love the challenge.  I love meeting new people.  I love the change. What I don’t love is the fact that I might never see New York again.  But I’ll survive. *cue music

I’ve entered the final year of my MBA.  Yes, I did.  Can you believe it?  A journey that started two years ago has reached the final stretch, albeit the toughest part of the race.  I have to complete a thesis.  And thesis stands for the-headache-ends-shen-Isubmit. (”When” didn’t work in the context of the acronym.)  I’m ready to do this thing, head down, pushing forward but before I continue, let’s me just use this opportunity to clarify an issue:  The reason for my absence from this, or any other blog for that matter, is because of those three damn letters. Even the wife has mentioned how she misses me sometimes…

Dude is a Senior now.  Yes, he is.  “This is mind blowing”, he says, as he slowly shakes his head, taking in the picture in front of him, grey matter splattered across crisp white floor tiles and a fluorescent ceiling.  Yesterday Dude was still running around in nappies and now he is running around in his final year of high school!  And he is turning out to be an amazing and mature young man, despite the example he got from his Dad.  We had to apply for a university and low and behold he got accepted, at least provisionally, depending on his final marks.  He plans to study commerce.  Or accounting.  Or law.  Or not.  What person truly knows what they want to do with the rest of their lives when they’re 17?  I mean I don’t even know what I want for breakfast tomorrow and I’m supposed to be a Dad with all the answers.  (Please don’t let the cat out of the bag, it took me three hours to stuff it back in.)

Princess is stunning.  Yes, she is.  I don’t understand how one person could become prettier by the day but yet, there she is.  Living proof that beauty is in the eyes of the father. And not only is she gorgeous, she’s intelligent, independent, organised, responsible and she doesn’t take any crap from guys.  She calls them out on their shit, without any hesitation. And this is probably her most endearing quality, in my humble opinion.

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Brother and sister forced to pose together by Mom and Dad.

Wife is still amazing, running the household, keeping everything together, taking charge of her two kids and her wonderful man-child.  She does get a little less enthusiastic about the idea of Dude leaving the house at the end of the year, but like any responsible and loving parent, we simply avoid discussing the issue.  Kids don’t like it when both parents are bawling their eyes out in a restaurant or mall or church service or rugby game.  We know this now.

So if you were worried, don’t.  Everything is fine with me and everyone I love.  I promise to try and find the time to write more.

I’m Ah Dad and I have a problem

It seems that I’m losing the urge to (1) Stab a certain coworker in the throat or (2) Wanting to down a bottle of wine at 10 in the morning or (3) Both of the above in quick succession of each other.  But I do have another problem.  Or more accurately, an addiction.

Addiction is a dependence on something in order to sustain normal behavior.  There are many forms of addiction.  Examples include heroine, cocaine, sex, alcohol, Facebook, Jennifer Aniston and/or Britney Spears. And before this post turns into a fifth grade report on substance abuse, let’s just all agree that the first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem. Continue reading