Friday, 16 March 2018

Unpacking Grief - A Lifetime and Beyond


                                      Unpacking Grief                     

Expecting a barrage of sympathy wishes
Unpackaging tears and thoughts
Displaying emotions for Facebook Fanfare
Believing Grief is unpacked on one day of the year

As the sun sets and the lights dim far and near
Bundling up and shutting off
Moving on and forgotten
Until the grief train comes around again

Trumpets come out blazing
Unpacking Grief and Thoughts
An onslaught of emotions
Another day to remember
Thoughts and sorrow
Forgotten tomorrow

As the Sun sets and lights dim far and near
Believing Grief is unpacked on one day of the year
Trundling up and wrapping up
All forgotten
the grief train
Comes around again.

11 Seconds Become 11 Minutes
11 Minutes Become 11 Hours
11 Hours Become 11 Days
11 Days Become 11 Weeks
11 Weeks Become 11 Months
11 Months Become 11 Years

Grief is not unpacked on one day
Bundled up and packed away
When the sun sets on another day

11 Years become one night
Dark and Black
Tears shining so bright
Death doesn’t know
What life knew
And Grief isn’t unpacked on one day

21 September 1989 to 16 March 2007

A Lifetime and Beyond

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All content, words, and images, on this page is, (C) Chad Life Us and may not be copied, shared or reproduced in any form by any person or entity.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Losses and Gains

Chad and I had many a conversation about the state of the nation whilst wallowing in self-pity on a dry barren plot in the deep South of Johannesburg. The fact that it was an Equestrian Estate with Mansions (the one we lived in was not a Mansion by any means) took nothing away from the fact that it was flat bang in the middle of the Midvaal - 10 Km's from Meyerton and 10Km's from Walkerville. Absolutely no beauty in that area except the Sunsets but then again - I just had to find something to make me feel like life mattered and tomorrow would bring something to look forward to.

Mark always spoke about his Cousin's dream house he was building in an Equestrian Estate with a lot of envy - let's just say someone's dream was another person's nightmare in this case and we stayed in this horrible cottage with drywalling between us and his cousin's half of the house. Thankfully, his cousin worked in Angola and it was just his girlfriend and her son living there until the last two months then hell set in when the dreamhouse cousin came back to South Africa.

We lived in the middle of nowhere and to save petrol and money we shopped once a week and left our bubble only when we had important stuff to do. There was plenty of time for conversations as we either sat in our little hovel or walked around the deserted mansions - where owners disappeared at the crack of dawn, fighting 30 to 40 km stretches of traffic until the dark hours of evening, to earn money to pay for their mansions that their staff members toiled in. People who wore black to protest farm murders whilst their unregistered illegal Malawian gardeners were left to toil the land at R80.00 a day, seven days a week, not being able to leave the premises except on a Sunday, after morning chores and be back before evening chores.

The one constant conversation was that the day we leave South Africa, Mr. Rhamaphosa would become President of South Africa and South Africa would become the real land of milk and honey. We knew that was just our luck - so people of South Africa - applaud us as we take a bow for giving you a future of hope. I have wanted Mr. Rhamaposa to become President of South Africa for years and years - even when he left Politics for whatever reason so as the Universe works - we leave South Africa and there is now hope for a country that was losing hope daily.

I hated the fact that I got caught up in the whole negativity of the country "going to the dogs...." I have never gotten that idiom - going to the dogs just PS. I have enough negativity in my own life to be sucked into a vortex that I cannot control but I did. Mark associates with far too many low-class benefits of apartheid and got caught up in this whole crime, civil war. no future crap and on a whim decided to move to New Zealand. I was not keen at all and my dream of working in Botswana came to an end. Chad was in two minds about it, but his whole life he heard that there was no future for white youngsters in South Africa. Uhm has anyone seen the fancy gas guzzlers at the predominantly white schools, especially Afrikaans schools at lunchtime - let alone during morning drop off. Yea, right no future. Clients used to stand in reception filling Mark with all this drivel whilst dropping off their fancy vehicles for repairs - thank you, you gave us a good life in South Africa but you were a bunch of douche bags with your negativity and arrogance. Then it was on to  Facebook for Mark and even more douche bags filling his head with crap (the reason why I don't have Facebook - I can't deal with the whole you may know this low-class douche bag).

Anyway, we are here in New Zealand and to be honest I could have been more vocal and put a stop to giving up our good lives and our beautiful home but the thought of never bumping into Mark's mother or any of her evil spawn again whilst out shopping for bread and milk or just filling up with fuel was the deciding factor for me. The evil spawn did originally fill Mark's head with the whole New Zealand thing and then when they were no longer moving over - it was just a thought in between drinks in a pub - I got caught up in the whole idea but have had cold feet - A LOT!!!

We have lost a lot coming here and I don't mean materialistic or financial - but that too. Today, I decided to purge my head of all these thoughts again here on this old blog of mine. I may start tapping away more regularly - again, but probably with no images or very few as that takes a lot of time - and I do need to get these thoughts out of my head although Chad is still a cushion for honest thoughts. I am uncertain whether I will ever mention my animals again - yes this has cost us a lot, but I do feel the need to purge my mind - with no frills attached.

Moving to New Zealand is not easy - in fact, Immigration is tough - especially coming from a country with the blessings and privilege of cheap labour to a country where there is no cheap labour and where there are more benefits for not working than for earning the minimum wage. I now truly understand what white privilege is and we are all guilty of it in South Africa even though we like to believe we are not.  Although now it is starting to venture into suburban privilege if we really stretch the honesty of our thoughts and actions. You will always hear people saying South Africans work hard - oh no we don't. You will always hear people who have immigrated saying it is the best decision they have made - oh no it isn't. Push a little bit harder and the truth will come out. The tales of milk and honey are only to save face with the I told you so's. Immigration Facebook groups delete any negative comments because either it is ruining their milk and honey lies or they are run by immigration agents or other benefits of immigration.

Mark works damn hard here, harder than he did back in South Africa or any of his staff did. We come from a country where there is always a person to do something for you. We personally, were blessed with a full-time cleaning lady and a twice-weekly gardener. I arrived in the country and unpacked and cleaned and sorted and a month later had to do it again. Cleaned two houses top to bottom - the one we moved out of, which I had just scrubbed and cleaned from top to bottom. In South Africa we had at least 20 people packing up our house - granted they had to pack and box everything but on the last day when all we had was two beds and a couple of odds and ends to go to the container - we had at least 8 staff from the removal company loading  and two people cleaning the house. In New Zealand, the owner of the removal company and two young guys moved our entire household contents and the owner does not sit in his cushy airconditioned office sending quotes - he drives and carries.

Moving to New Zealand has been a very moving experience and our stuff has moved the length and breadth of this country. Mark and his ex-housemates, a man and his girlfriend also moved our whole house contents, which were all still packaged, plus odds and ends he had bought. Basically, just the two of them moved our stuff from Masterton to the garage where he stayed in Taupo. Mark who did barely anything in South Africa, because he always had someone on speed dial did this and cleaned the house he was staying in whilst his housemates watched - he paid them only to help carry heavy stuff.

I have met an elderly lady who is a beef and sheep farmer, plus a nursery school teacher in the mornings who has not a single soul helping her unless it is school holidays and her 9-year-old granddaughter helps her. She uses a quad bike and no fancy equipment. Her daughter and her husband own a 750 head of cattle dairy farm and have two Sri Lankan men working for them and the dairy farm next to where we stayed has 350 dairy cattle and one Indian migrant worker ONLY. They milk twice a day for the biggest dairy - in the world I think. Milk is collected daily. There is no day off.

If you get exasperated with African time - don't even try New Zealand time. If you get to a meeting 5 minutes before your scheduled appointment - the comment is "you are nice an' early". I will be back in the minute or I will see you in a bit is something like our (South Africa's) just now. It could be now or never or maybe next week.

Any council or government department is brilliant and it is something South Africa has never had in my lifetime - Private services and Telecommunications are dismal. The whole concept of the honesty box is just that a concept that probably worked a very long time ago like in the 1800's when most people were honest. There is crime here - not of the everyday violent type. Signs on Medical Practioner doors vary from no money on premises, no money and or drugs kept on premises. There is a liquor ban from a Thursday night to Monday morning in certain high traffic areas and very few adhere to it - and that is people of all ages even people in their 70.s break the rule by drinking in the liquor ban area. Never see a cop insight - don't believe everything you see on TV.

We live in a lovely area. if I had to compare I would say it is like Ballito, same touristy vibe, but without the sea, just beautiful Lake Taupo - with waves at times but no scary sharks or fish. Traffic incidents - there are aplenty - in comparison to the number of people in New Zealand it is very high. Little children do play in the streets but then there is also what is known as boy racers and even girl races - they love drag racing and doing burnouts late at night - usually in the more rural areas. They say there is nothing for kids to do in New Zealand - guess they have never tried finding safe things for kids to do in South Africa. Every town has a free park. a skate park, bicycle park - if you can add park to the end of a word then there is a park. Our Town is bubbling with nightlife even a cinema and lots more to do.

The lake may have no dangerous sharks but has been known to be full of Ecoli due to sewerage covers not being closed properly - here's looking at you, Harties, with different eyes. You may get told by many that there are no dangerous spiders in New Zealand except the whitetail which comes from Australia - well the reason why I believe they are so hellbent on saying that is because New Zealand is covered in spiderwebs - it looks like Christmas snow everywhere, so the emphasis on no dangerous spiders is so that they don't frighten people away.

We had a power outage after a storm for over 30 hours - no throwing your toys out the cot blaming the "useless ANC" like we can do in South Africa. You wait and wait until it is turned on.

However, saying all of the above, I love Lake Taupo, I love our current rental, even though it is hard work. It is a duplex house with a slight view of the lake - 3 bedrooms and two bathrooms upstairs and another two bedrooms downstairs - one is more an office, a bathroom and an open plan lounge and dining area and a laundry, plus a double garage and an itsy bitsy kitchen - weird hey especially seeing that New Zealand people are generally parsimonious and don't believe in spending money buying lunches and take out. The garden is tiny and mostly paved and our front door is basically on the front pavement - that takes some getting used to - but more of that another day....

So as South Africa rode out the Political Storm and waited with baited breath for a leader with integrity - we are waiting out the appearance of Cyclone Gita. The unknown is scary and for the past few days we have had brilliant weather - the calm before the storm. The worst part is Chad flies back to South Africa on Wednesday and I don't know which storm we are more frightened of - Gita or the Criminal Aspect of South Africa. Living there with Chad is one thing but this feels like feeding him to the Lions - he might be 20 but for me he might as well be 5.

So who knows if you never hear from me again if Gita was the cause or apathy or something else, but I, in the event of smooth sailing, would like to purge my mind here again. The last post I did not even finish before disappearing and it was months ago not the 19 February 2018 that I started it - at least this one I did finish.

If you want to read more of my drivel and don't want to do the password thing because yes it is a pain - sign up here and get emails instead - no password required. See you on the flipside of Gita who is playing tricks with our blue then black then blue then thunderous looking sky

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All content, words, and images, on this page is, (C) Chad Life Us and may not be copied, shared or reproduced in any form by any person or entity.

A Life and Medical Update

Last week we had to go to our old stomping ground so decided to go see my doctor a) to say goodbye [do people even do such] and b) to get a six month prescription for my Thyroid medication - Euthyrox. I passed my New Zealand medical with {almost} flying colours. It was an extremely stressful time. All my detoxing; giving up smoking and Kefir consumption has paid off. I am far from my ideal weight and my weight still goes up and down like an out of control yo-yo but my weight is acceptable and my health pretty good. There was a stage that my cholesterol was 8.9 it is now 5.4 and has been 5.4 since 2015.

My Doctor is an Indian lady and I am mentioning this so that it doesn't come across as another whiny whitey post. I am trying my utmost to see our New Zealand adventure as just that.. an adventure and not running away from a broken country but lately I am getting very caught up in the broken rather than the beauty. There are the very optimistic people who won't leave, there are those that can't leave and pretend that they are here for the love of the country and there are those that are leaving and those with an exit plan and an expiry date. I personally believe we won't make a success of our opportunity to start a new life somewhere if we are running away. We can't run away from ourselves and we can't start afresh when we are sapped of our energy from running away or getting away.

Lately, or since we have made this giant step to leave I have found that more and more people are vocal about their fear, sadness and anger at what life is like in South Africa. My doctor is one of those people. We have had these conversations before but not with so much negativity. More in the tone of staff issues or patients pretending they are sick and trying to get a sick note. Chad says that I take the term Doctor's Visit literally because we chat for over an hour sometimes. I was really shocked this time though and she said more than ten doctors in their circle, her husband is a Physician have an exit plan.

I sometimes feel as though I am in a bubble and I have no idea of what is going on out in the big bad world. Since my phone drowned and I have taken up knitting, I hardly go on Social Media. I no longer go on Instagram and Twitter as I wake up in the mornings like I used to........

I never got to finish this post and trailed off in the above paragraph. I lost my train of thought on that day and won't be finishing with whatever it was that I was about to say. I know I planned on posting this photo of the scarf I finished and have knitted quite a few more since then. I am also in a different bubble today but still quite oblivious to my future and where I am headed.

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Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Life On The Other Side

I know I have come across rather negative about our big move to New Zealand especially in this previous post and I won't lie I am seriously stressed about it and unsure. I hate change and in fact, none of us are big on change, we like our routine and creature comforts and New Zealand was never my choice and I didn't ever believe I would leave South Africa. I am almost ready to purge those thoughts but not quite ready so it won't be today that all those thoughts are splattered all over this online diary. What I am here to mull over is the wonders of life on the other side.

The other night [Thursday] I woke up at around 2 am and couldn't get back to sleep so I sent Mark a message on Whatsapp to see if he was on his lunch break and could chat. He was and it was 12.30 - lunch is 12.00 to 1300. He bought two-second hand cars the previous week so that when Chad and I get there we have cars. Most of the cars there are automatic and I don't drive automatic cars - strange but true - I refuse to drive them and can't drive them. That is not the point of this post and I digress as usual.

During his lunch break, he went to buy the Golf's license. This is done at the AA offices one block away from work. You can buy your license for 6 months or a year. Six months was NZ$40.00 and one year is NZ$80.00 so he bought for a year. Converting it to rands is pricey but in dollars not that much. We have to learn not to convert when he is paying for stuff with the dollars he is earning.

After he paid the license, he went to his favourite Turkish Take Away Deli and bought lunch and ate it and I messaged him at 12.30. Where in South Africa can you go register and license a vehicle during your lunch hour never mind have time to still go buy lunch, eat said lunch and then have 30 minutes to idle away. Even going to the post office to renew a license of a vehicle in your name is a good 30-minute queue and don't go into the post office at lunchtime unless you want to camp there for a few hours.

On Monday he arrived home from work and there in the mail box was his Certificate of Registration for his car. The process is totally different to how we do it here and you don't get car papers like we do. We have all this red tape to prevent theft, fraud, and corruption and it doesn't resolve any of those issues. It only irritates and inconveniences law abiding citizens. Did you know that here in South Africa when you do your driver licence test booking, you have to have proof of residence and not because you have to do it in the area that you reside (you know like way back when in those "good old days") you need it for some new legislation.

What is even more of a wow factor is that Mark's bank card was posted to his mailbox and PS - Mark lives on a Honey Farm in a cottage in a rural lifestyle area. His bank card mailed to his mail box!!! They talk about Kiwi Time and apparently, tradies [builders; tilers; painters; electricians etc} [tradesmen] are not very service orientated and you can wait weeks for a quote, but wow their government departments are top notch. Something we have never had in South Africa - remember those days of getting to a counter and you were not greeted and then ignored if you dare to speak English and not helped if you were not white - those good old days when service was great for some.

Apparently, there is a very high suicide death rate among teenagers in New Zealand. I am not dismissing the seriousness of it, but I am sure more children die on our roads over one Easter weekend than the number of teenagers committing suicide there in a year. It does make one wonder why there would be a high suicide rate there but like I told Mark before we decided to move there - no country in this world is free of problems. There is no Utopia and we need to go there with our eyes wide open. He is learning that slowly each day.

There is also a major drug problem and drinking problem there and apparently, it is because there is nothing for teenagers to do. We know there is a major drug problem here in South Africa  and what is there for teenagers to do here anyway. Nothing that doesn't cost an arm and a leg and a parent to drive them from A to B. What I did notice over there is that children have so much freedom that freedom and no adult supervision can be a problem in its self.

We had our stuff delivered to Mark's cottage - storage is ridiculously expensive through the removal agent. Storage in South Africa would have cost R1500.00 a month, which we paid and then shipped off our stuff 2 weeks later [stupid I know] Storage there for 10 days was R6000.00. Three people unloaded our household goods and they were done in less than two hours. They did not unpack but we had no less than 12 people at our house each day packing our stuff in South Africa. We were not allowed to pack our own stuff. Even the last day when there were just odds and ends and two beds, there were 6 people from 8 until 1. It boggles the mind the major differences in small things. However, the wages for those three people in New Zealand were probably more than the 12 people in South Africa.

We still haven't decided when we will leave - it won't be the 15th of August as that is in less than three weeks and I have an obligation to my cat, who is doing well on most days and my little Jingles who is also doing so well with no digestive issues of late. Chad also has a love obligation and confusion and all round challenge, so we procrastinating on a fly out date.

I came across Mindvalley Academy just before we went to New Zealand and it was something that crossed my path for a reason. It was a Google Advert - I think and I don't really know why it would register on my Google Ads but it did. I ignored it and ignored it and one day I just clicked on the link and discovered the Marisa Peer free Master Class. I would not have flown across three time zones with such ease had I not listened and gone through her free Master Class. Since then I have discovered Emily Fletcher and each day I meditate and even had both Chad and Mark agree with me that there is so much truth in How You Do Anything Is How You Do Everything.

Through MindValley Academy and time on my hands, I have come across different life coaches and meditation gurus, for lack of a better word and through my attempt at meditating each day I am trying to become more mindful to manifest a better life and new adventure.

Right now I am still manifesting a life in Hawkes Bay. The You Tube video I chose in my previous post does not do Hawkes Bay justice. It errs on the negative side so here is two more. One very upbeat and the other more Kiwi Style reserved.

Life on the other side where mail is delivered to honey farms and bees are buzzing aplenty. Still not sure if they called Honey Farms or Bee Farms but if the chips, biscuits, yoghurt and ice cream don't drag me there, the thought of honey everywhere will get me there. The copious amounts of honey I consume, plus my new found coffee, honey and cinnamon morning beverage, initially for health benefits and now for taste benefits -  I need my own bee farm 😉

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Friday, 14 July 2017

A 19 Year Honour and Privilege

If it was not for my animal dilemma, and Chad dilemma, I would have been on a plane with Mark [and Chad] and would have started my new life already. Chad's visa entry is more complicated than just a dependant visa and I may or may not have mentioned in previous posts that he can only get in on a holiday Visa for three months and then he has to leave. He can come and go for the next three years as long as he does not stay in New Zealand for more than 3 months at any given time.

Our dogs can only go in November because although there is no quarantine period in South Africa, the process starts 6 months before they can fly. We could have and should have started the process a long time ago but it is not cheap and we were not entirely sure that we would even go to New Zealand or if our work visas would be granted. It is a long process and not as easy as we once imagined. Just getting a holiday visa was a nail biting stressful experience. It must be fantastic to just hop on a plane and fly to another country without baring your soul and financial state to the immigration departments. The joys of living in a country not wanted by other countries. Just PS - until November last year you could go to New Zealand for a holiday without first applying for a visa. You completed forms when you landed and that was it.

So to say this was a stressful procedure or adventure is putting it extremely lightly. For one when we went to our initial interview, there was no mention of Chad having to leave after 3 months. We did have a discussion around JD coming and going every three months [that is another heartbreaking story for another time] but Chad was our dependant and there were no issues. We did know that no airline would fly our cat who was 18 at the time. She was 18 even though I was stuck on 19 for ages.

We even had thoughts of lying about her age because in 19 years she has had max 5 or 6 annual injections. Putting her in a car all but kills her as she stresses so badly. I won't go into detail but she surrenders to her surroundings in the most awful way. Strangely enough moving here, 60km's away from home was the least stressful for her and us. Perhaps because two of the dogs were with us that she felt a sense of calm.

I have had many bouts of anger, guilt, tears, and sadness over her and her future. Since moving here, she has hardly gone outside. If she does it is on the Patio. She either sits on the lounge windowsill or she sleeps on the couch and there is almost always a dog next to her.

Last week on Tuesday at around 4pm she vomited bile [in the lounge]. It is not unusual because for as long as I can remember she has moments of puking. I just cleaned it up and put her on the chair on her packet. She is the strangest cat ever. She needs a packet to sleep on. Not a bed or a pillow but a packet, especially a new packet. Nowadays she has this aura about her like I am a senior citizen, a very old lady and I have the right to do as I please and don't say a word. I am not big on feeding animals off my plate or allowing them near me when I eat but at the moment our living area is pretty open plan and we have our old lounge suite and the animals are in close quarters with us. Well, they always were but I am indulging the senior citizen moment with her and allow her closer to me when I eat then I would normally allow [it is called guilt]. She tried to steal butternut off my plate and she has been eating a lot lately. Like she is permanently hungry and I didn't think it was worms. She was dewormed in October last year and had her vaccinations.

Back to last Tuesday night - I had just finished cooking and she jumped off the chair in the lounge and fell over - she collapsed. Chad saw her jump off and noticed that something was very wrong with her. It first looked like her leg was broken and then her back. She walked weirdly and went almost rushing to get food and water.

If it wasn't so sad and serious it would have been funny. Obviously, we consulted Doc Google and the diagnoses ranged from Kidney Infection to Gun Shot Wound which was highly unlikely for a cat that never leaves her couch.

We live 10 km's from the nearest Spar Supermarket that we use when desperate times call for desperate measures otherwise known as where your standards come to definitely die and we had no idea where we would find a vet in this area at night. Our vet[s] being more than 60 km's away. We just made her comfortable and Mark was sure it was a stroke {we sent him a video or 6}. We made her comfortable on the couch and I stayed up for most of the night to check up on her and the next day we had to make the decision of whether we find a new vet or drive the 60 km's to our normal vet.

Heather, our landlord/neighbour/cousin-in-law told us about a vet by the said Spar and after a long story at that said vet and his promises that he was on his way to his surgery and then an hour and a half later said he had run out of petrol and airtime - a vet yes - whose assistant told us he owns a farm with 18 horses and and and. His assistant was a very helpful friendly man but could not help our cat but did offer to put her in a cage and we could come back. We had seen a vet that looked deserted down the road - the assistant said he was on holiday. Turns out he wasn't on holiday and had hadn't been on holiday in years or planned to go on holiday.

He said straight away she had a stroke and would recover anytime between 3 days and 6 weeks. He gave her a cortisone injection, cortisone pills, and other blood-thinning pills. He was such a sweet old man. He also warned that she could have another stroke and said we mustn't rehome her. The kind thing would be to enjoy her until we leave, make her comfortable love her and then euthanize her.

It is so awful knowing that we are going to end her life. I don't know what the right thing to do is. She, of course, got better and refused to have her tablet. She refused to eat her food for a whole day when I put her tablet in her food. I tried to do it the way vets have shown me in the past. Put it in her mouth and gently blow in her face and then she ripped my hands up and I left her.

The Morning After The Stroke

Yesterday morning, I watched her strutting around the lounge like she is going to outlive us all. No indication of a stroke. Chad and I went for our afternoon walk, she was sleeping on the couch, like she does all day every day. We came home and after about 10 minutes, she jumped off the couch and collapsed. She had, had another stroke in her sleep. Her front paw was turned over just like a human's hand goes after a mild stroke. The night before I was watching Isidingo and she was lying next to me and her head jumped up like she had an electric shock going through it. I managed to give her a pill (her 1/4 dose) and she was so dazed and spaced out that she swallowed it yesterday after she woke up and collapsed and I made her Haddock and hid the evening dose in there. Today she looks and walks with almost no sign of paralysis.

I know the end is near and it is like waiting for an old person to die. It is sad and tragic and it is breaking my heart. It is a privledge and honour to have known her. She is also proof that it is nonsense that cats are nocturnal creatures that have to hunt at night - she neither hunts at night nor during the day and has never gone out at night wanting to hunt.

We were planning on flying to New Zealand on the 15 August 2017 but now I am once more undecided because my cat, The Old Lady, The Senior Citizen may still have so much life left in her and may still outlive all of us. Where will you find a human being of equivellant age walking unaided and jumping up onto chairs and using the toilet [litter box] unaided.

And...The Experts still maintain we are the superior species 🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔

A Few Hours After The First Stroke

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Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Creature Comforts and Sweet Slumbers

Is there anything more comforting than climbing into bed with clean crisp linen enveloped in the subtle but comforting fragrance of fabric softener as you slip between the sheets. Mondays and Fridays are clean sheet days or I should say were clean sheet days and now that we are living a minimalist communal life, I have very reluctantly reduced linen change to once a week. Whatever we have now has to fit into 2 suitcases each weighing 23 Kg's or get thrown away/ given away. We [I] no longer iron linen either so even when my linen is freshly washed and fragrantly pleasant it is no longer crispy ironed. I lie, I never ironed my linen previously, I paid someone to do it for me and when she was on leave for the past I don't know how many years, I took our ironing to the laundry. Now it is washed, sun-dried and packed away. We do have a cleaning lady one day a week, but she can't iron and we saying goodbye to her this week.

I am craving my creature comforts and just want to move on and start our new life. I have been following Marissa Peer on YouTube for the best of this year and it is so true that what you put out in life you get back. I was panicking and bitching about having to be in New Zealand before the 8th of August and now we have another setback. Mark is taking strain on his own in New Zealand. He is very much an absence makes the heart grow fonder type of person and I am more of an out of sight out of mind person. And, they say opposites attract - yea they do but can also cause a lot of drama and stress. Jokes and facetiousness aside, I live every day of my life without Clinty and it does not make me think of him less or stop loving him or not imagine he is right beside me all the time, There is not a moment that I do not think of Clinty or not love him but I have to live [and survive] without him and I can, therefore, I can live without anyone.

We are sacrificing for a new life or a new adventure and that is what we need to do. It does seem like I am being terribly materialistic and superficial missing my creature comforts and not Mark [I do miss him] but creature comforts mean home and right now we don't have a home as such but have to, at the same time, be grateful and appreciate the roof over our heads and what comfort that brings - and we are grateful and appreciative.

We are very grateful and thankful that we can stay here, lease free, with our animals until we make the big final move, but it is not home. The other day Chad was helping me bring in our laundry and he said, "Seriously mom, there is far too much sleepwear on the line, just look, there are hardly any of my clothes... you need to start repeating clothes". I don't repeat clothes and have only started re-wearing jackets and scarves since I gave up smoking. I will get up, shower, get dressed, go about my day. If we go out, throw clothes in the laundry basket, shower. change into clean clothes, come home, bath throw clothes in the laundry basket, put on PJ's and in the morning throw into the basket and shower. That is just how I have lived all these years and each time I bath or shower it is a new towel - so to say we have loads of laundry is an understatement. Now I have to re-wear sleep attire 😭😭😭😭😭.

I also pile on the clothes in Winter so it is more than just a pair of jammies. I am of the opinion that a gift wrapped package is better than an unwrapped one, whereas Mark is just a jocks and T-Shirt sleeper in Winter and sometimes just jocks in Summer, I pile it on. I wear a sleep bra/sports bra - making up for my 50% braless youth... as if that can even happen. I wear panties, socks. a long sleeve vest, pyjamas and a gown. I lie, I do re-wear gowns. It also depends, but I can wear my gown for two or three days if I don't lounge around in it for hours on weekends or off days.

I am not averse to naked sleeping or near naked sleeping and when I was younger and my body was a bit slimmer and less likely to roll and flop around in bed, naked sleeping was an option. However, living a life where home invasions are a reality, covering up at night makes me sleep better even if the sleep gurus advocate naked sleep as the best form of sleep. The other night, Mark was in bed and heard an explosion and felt a massive [his words] earth tremor. There was a 4.4 Earthquake in the area he lives. Apparently, his town is above two fault lines and you know when the Earthquake is coming because you hear the explosion first. 'Help what have we gotten ourselves into...' I will be sticking to my gift wrapped nightly sleep routine thanks, although Chad has bets on that with all the rain in New Zealand and no household help and a full-time job, I will be repeating clothes like they are my only ones and changing linen one day when 😜.

Jokes aside, I am missing my stuff. My head has been firmly planted in the sand and Mark was meant to fill out a form for the removal company in New Zealand and I just forgot about following up with him. He has to get printing/scanning stuff done at work and the boss has turned into an arse without a face [more about that another day]. Well, I decided to get my head out the sand and look for the email and I thought our furniture was only arriving in New Zealand on the 10 July [that would be today, I have just noticed]. I find the email and as our procrastinating life would have it - our furniture landed on the 27th of June. I was looking for the email on the 1 July 2017. So I complete the form on the 2nd, sign on Mark's behalf, stretch the truth a bit and blame the boss and frantically email it off to the moving Company. The lady from the removal company responds with an invoice from Biosecurity. The inspector had completed our check on Friday, I was reading the email early hours of Monday morning. They are 10 hours ahead. Our furniture went through customs and was fine. New Zealand is very strict and we have not heard if we had to pay anything besides the NZD550.00 = R5500.00. It was so stressful and our stuff is now in storage, clocking up the zeros.

We are all very much fear of change people and this year we have been stepping out of our comfort zones at a rate of knots. It sometimes feels like something is carrying me along. Sometimes, our tastes and likes and dislikes change without consciously deciding to. The other day I was chopping fruit and green veggies for my juicing. I am amazed at the juices I drink these days. When I first started juicing, I struggled with Grapefruit and lemon and fennel and apple juice. I would freeze it and take hours to drink it and it was so much better frozen. Now there is nothing better than a freshly made Grapefruit, fennel, apple and lemon juice. I have even stepped it up to celery, lemon, apple and cucumber juices.

I now chop up the fruit and freeze it because we are living this very minimalist lifestyle at the moment. All my creature comforts are out of a ship and into a storage unit so it is easier to make one big mess and bag the pieces and I also have no excuse to not chop and juice. Whilst I was chopping, I had this uncontrollable citrus craving but for the grapefruit, not the oranges we had. I drink grapefruit juices but eating it on its own - ewe. The only time I have eaten grapefruit was once when I was a teenager and decided in a moment of madness to go on a grapefruit diet. I covered the grapefruit in sugar [because, naturally, you can lose weight, eating a bowl full of sugar as long as it is on a grapefruit 🙄] Needless to say, I tasted the grapefruit coated sugar and threw it away. This fine afternoon, I decided to feed my craving and ate a piece of chopped grapefruit, then another piece and another, until I ate the whole grapefruit. Now I eat grapefruit like I eat oranges and eat them for breakfast, lunch and even supper.

We eat a lot of eggs and I always say I don't eat a lot of protein, forgetting that protein is far more than red meat. We eat omelettes and French toast a lot. We can have eggs every second day and we have been getting eggs from the chickens on the plot. At first, it is all like, imagine I crack open the egg and a chick pops out, kind of squeamish thought. The rooster on this plot is a very randy old cock and chases these poor hens around, so humour me on this one. Fowls are not on the top of my list of cute animals. I love ducks, all ducks, big small and wild or tame, whatever I love them, but hens and roosters not so much, except the day old fluffy yellow ones. The eggs we get from these hens are amazing. The yolks are big and bright yellow almost orange. One morning I made Chad French toast with these free range eggs and mine with shop bought free range. The difference was unbelievable. The only problem is that these hens are TOTALLY free range so that means hen crap everywhere, [there are only 5 of them] but they starting to grow on me and I love how they come out their hen run in the mornings and go running off to find food. It reminds me of the story Henny Penny and Chicken Licken - I think that is the name.

We also managed to go out and look at Keringa Pet Wings as we decided that out of all the places we have contacted regarding flying our dogs, out of the few that got back to us, Keringa was the most professional and detailed in the procedure. We went without notice and without even agreeing to accept their quote, which wasn't necessarily the cheapest, but they did discount the extra two months. It really looks well run and clean. All the animals looked happy and our dogs can stay together. The area that each cabin is in, is spacious and secure. One giant tick in that box.

Just more heartache regarding Garfield our cat and Jingles our Jack Russell. More on that another day... Other than that everything is just slotting in like this was meant to happen. I know there is a giant hiccup with Mark's boss and a couple of other hiccups or heartaches, but overall it is like whether we like it or not, this was going to happen.

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All content, words, and images, on this page is, (C) Chad Life Us and may not be copied, shared or reproduced in any form by any person or entity.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Up The Paddle Without A Creek

Um did I get that wrong....... Up The Paddle Without A Creek... Nope, that's it. Sh!t just got real and my life turned upside down so yea, I feel like I am up the paddle without a creek. Or up the creek without a paddle however you feel like phrasing it. I am not sure if I am up the creek paddle'ess or if I am in that place, you know when you are on holiday and it is almost time to go home. A holiday that isn't THAT great but you having fun and you not ready to go home. You missing your animals [I am not because I am surrounded by them as I sit and type this but they are also the reason why I am floundering upstream screaming don't make me do it - I am drowning] you missing your creature comforts [oh boy ... do I miss them] but as much as you want your own bed and bath you know there are aspects of going home that you just don't want to face. Well, I guess that is me right now, but before I get onto that, let's discuss my trusty friend I said goodbye to.

We have been staying at our new [temperory] abode for almost two months now and I still don't have a routine as such. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit - all lies. It takes 2 minutes to form a bad habit and an [almost] lifetime to form a good habit. Chad and I go for a walk around the block every day when I have the energy. It is a 3 km radius from gate to gate. So we usually start off quite briskly and then lag near the end. As you may know, a brisk walk gets all the old joints and organs moving and working - some of which no longer need a jolt to get going. Here is looking at you stretchy bladder.

The other week we went for our walk and the day before I had felt quite weak and dehydrated half way through our walk so the next day I took a bottle of water with. I really struggle with drinking water since I gave up smoking and I have to force myself to drink water.  I sipped and walked and sipped and walked and finished the bottle. Without the water, my bladder gets working and ready to spring a leak long before we get back to the gate and then there is the long walk to the house. So you can imagine the desperation when drinking 500 mls in 30 minutes. I did say we start off briskly - we don't carry on walking briskly.

Well along with the joys of a leaky bladder comes a sneaky short-term memory. Sometimes it is there and sometimes it's not. Usually, when the pressure is on the bladder the memory says ciao for now. So this fine day I go rushing into the bathroom and hear a weird gulping noise when pulling down my jeans (we walk as we come - no fitness gear because that would be really stupid). I think oh my gosh my bladder must have fallen out - always the worst, but would that be so terrible. I looked around and felt a bit bladder filled disorientated and in the toilet is this weird thing - not my bladder - oh dammit that is my phone. (I didn't say dammit obviously - who says dammit in such a situation).

Since we moved here my phone has fallen out my back pocket ALMOST EVERY SINGLE DAY onto the floor. AND EVERY SINGLE DAY I BERATE MYSELF.  Everyone [Chad] is so tired of hearing how I need to get out of the new habit of keeping my phone in my back pocket. Well, I learned my lesson. The toilet was clean fortunately but phones don't care - they don't like water. I pulled it out quickly and it still worked, I grabbed a Dettol antiseptic wipe and an email notification beeped and it died.

I really was not up to spending R5k on a new Samsung A5, I wanted my phone and I wanted it fixed. We tried drying it out and Marked nagged every day for me to buy a new phone so he could chat to me from New Zealand on Whatsapp but I just was not up to getting a new phone. I could not justify the cost and I did not want a downgrade. I chatted to Mark on Hangouts but that meant logging into my laptop and some mornings it was too cold to go log in and sit hunched over a laptop. I then took my drowned phone to a little phone shop near to where we lived [60 km's away]. I paid R250.00 for a week of injecting a special chemical into the phone to see if it would work. A Samsung A5 is a sealed unit - the battery can't even come out and scraping it open with a blade can cause the screen to crap. As luck would not have it the chemicals did not work and I wasn't paying more to try and open it up. We fetched the phone on Monday in case he told a lie and did not try to fix it.

We went to the Samsung Store at the Mall of the South and the young man was super helpful but said we will never fix my phone and by the time we got to him we had been to stores aplenty and Samsung A5's are not R5k they range between R7900.00 and R8900.00 - not a chance will I spend that on a phone, even though we pay double that on a contract phone. The Samsung man said that if I have to downgrade to a Samsung J series I would be very disappointed and I might find an older model A5 at a retail store. I lovingly carried my phone around wishing life into it. We found an A3 at Game for only R2900.00 way better than the 7k plus and the difference in the two phones is not that noticeable, except the price of course. They only had Gold phones and not white and I am rather disappointed about that because you don't even see the gold - it is the back cover only.

The only reason why I gave in and bought the phone was that joy of joys I could not access Internet banking or Mobile banking unless I stood in a queue in Standard Bank for 2 hours to change my OTP to email (and I tried that  for over an hour 3x). One of the many joys I will have is saying goodbye to Standard Bank. We also had a chuckle or more an eye-rolling episode at Game. The cashier insisted that I had to RICA the Vodacom number that came with the phone even though I said I am putting my MTN sim card in. No, we have to RICA. Rica is a copy of my ID and my address written on a scrap of paper, but it is store policy so I complied. It could have been any address for all the proof I had to give and I gave  my old address where a completely new family reside. I don't know my current address. He also insisted that the new sim card has to be put into the phone and activated, because - STORE POLICY. Some eye rolling and smiling and yes dear if that is what must be done. Pick your battles because some just are not worth it. Only we discover the phone takes a nanosim and not a microsim - big difference and then it was ok - sorry take your phone and Sim Card that can't work in your phone that we insisted had to go into your phone and be activated two minutes ago. Another joy of saying bye to rules that are only in place to annoy law-abiding citizens. Try and catch a 419 scammer with his RICA phone and FICA bank account.

Turns out I also lost all my contacts so I am still enjoying a phone free life. I took up knitting so I am bowed down to wool and needles instead of a phone. I came up with this idea to knit a scarf and could only find wool at Checkers.They only had baby 4 ply so I bought blue and thought I would run out of blue then bought pink. Then decided I was not going to make a pink and blue scarf I would make two scarves one blue and one pink. My knitting is a pattern of errors and I got bored with the blue one and all the mistakes and started on the pink one. The pink one would be double the size but yesterday morning I pulled it all out because I made a mistake. I wanted a perfect pattern and then at almost the same spot I messed up again. I was going to pull it out but felt that awful feeling of doom and carried on regardless of the pattern going the same way as the blue one. I felt like I was back at school and the needlework teacher took one look at my handy work that I spent hours on and just ripped it all out because there was one tiny massive mistake. I could not do that to myself so I have another pattern of errors and yes I am showing my age - there was a time when schools taught girls to be good housewives that could cook sew and knit. And They talk about the current education system....

So last week I received an email from our Agent to say YAY my Visa has been granted and I can go and fetch my passport from the Visa Centre. Yay Yay I am so scared happy my work visa was granted. I was in no hurry to go and fetch my passport because I am responsible like that - I mean it is only my Passport and I had to play up in my mind the driving from Meyerton to Pretoria and possibly losing a passport. A real rock and a hard place situation. I figured Friday was a holiday so the roads would be busy on Thursday so we would just go this week. Chad was all like go fetch it mom. Then our washing machine broke. The same pipe that can only be bought in Midrand from Bosch that we just replaced 10 days previously had another hole in it. A three-year-old washing machine that has never had a hole in any pipe least of all that particular pipe. We don't know what the cause is but neither here nor there we decide to go to Midrand on Wednesday then Pretoria and fetch my passport. Just as a sidenote Bosch is in the same street, I think the very next building, to the Taxi Finance Offices. Needless to say we collected the part and went to fetch my passport and woke up on Thursday morning to a message from Mark on Chad's whatsapp about the massive taxi protest on Thursday morning. The march was to those same offices and we heard about it from New Zealand - sometimes we live in a news free bubble especially since I was phone free and Twitter Free but lucky stars the washing machine broke and we went on Wednesday and not Thursday.

Well, who would have known that I have to be in New Zealand before the 8th of August 2017? I still thought I had months to sort out sh!t. Yip I am up the paddle without a creek and swimming backwards upstream. Who would have thought that there is a time limit on a partner's visa? Our very expensive agent did not mention that EVEN ONCE. I told them over and over no rush. Imagine if we hadn't sold our house that incidentally, we had to have proof of owning a house before applying for our holiday visa and Mark's work visa. I know it is a super huge privilege to get a visa to work in another country, especially from South Africa - no one wants us. [Not that we were actively scouting out places to run off to - this just sort of kinda happened]. BUT, seriously, come on, I have so much to do. Chad can only go on a 3 month holiday visa until we get residence and I know he is 20 but I am already a broken hearted mother with one son ripped from by heart soul and mind. Now I have to leave Chad behind, knowing that he has to drive on these treacherous roads and if something happens I am not up the road - I am two time zones away. They say New Zealand is a family orientated country - I am not so sure right now.

I have so much to sort out. I have a 19-year-old cat that NO ONE will fly to another country and I need to rehome and I don't want to. Six months is a VERY long time for a 19-year-old cat - but six weeks is 6 weeks. JD asked me the other week if Garfield should not be 21 now because she has been 19 forever. No,, she is 19 - we got her at 6 weeks old in July 1998 - so she is 19 now. I became fixated on 19 just like Chad was 10 for many years and I was 42 for many years.  My analytical and number brain died when Clinty died and I still struggle with ages, but not that I struggle per say, I just become fixated on a number.

I do not have a right to have Garfield euthanised as she is healthy and all she does is eat and sleep {and crap obviously}. She has lived to 19 for a reason and besides not having the right to decide when her life ends she will probably outlive us all. Jingles, our Jack Russel is 14, she just turned 14, she has had a stroke and she has the beginning stages of stomach cancer or some ailment but she is not in pain {I would know, believe me if she was in pain} she eats well and is her normal shivery self. I have refrained from taking her to the vet because I know whatever ailment she has, the prognosis will not be good and the kind thing would be to euthanize her. She has blood in her stools from time to time, so something bad is lurking in her body. I am just trying to spend some time with her before we say goodbye. Now, as fate may have it or our bad luck or whatever Kharma it may be - New Zealand Immigration decided that I need to be there in a dash of speed. I don't know if our Agent is shocked that I don't want to rush off there or if they shocked that I have to be there so soon but they seemed surprised in any event. I know of other families where the husband goes months before the wife and children {Mark is on a Facebook Group}. The wives stay and tie up loose ends and the husband has to go to start work.

One of the reasons that I am enjoying my newfound {phoneless} freedom is that I really don't have time to have a chitchat with people who will not look after [Clinty's] my cat. I am prepared to pay NZ$200.00 dollars a month for her food and extra for vet bills. She is on borrowed time and her food in a month does not come up to much more than R200.00.  NZ$200.00 is a LOT of money. She nibbles all day and the dogs eat her food - she has never had a big appetite. She needs to go to a pet free home and possibly with Jingles both on borrowed time, who we will also pay for. I am at the stage of my life that chit chat about my future dreams goals and plans or nightmares are none of the said person[s]'s business because sorry to say it is just spiteful not to take my cat. I read this quote the other day - I am not anti-social I just have no tolerance for drama and fake people - that's me.

I know animal lovers will scream and shout how can you just leave your animals. We have judged people in the past for that very reason - until you have walked in someone's shoes.... and all that. She has had a good life and even though she sleeps ALL day, the air pressure and altitude flying across two time zones play havoc with healthy humans in a pressure controlled cabin - so you can imagine an old cat. I just need a few more months to sort out my life and my animals' lives. Even if money was not an issue, it wouldn't be if she was young, but the rough guestimates and they are VERY rough, of R45k an animal are just that rough guestimates. It does not include the permit fee, the vet fee for the blood tests and rabies injections and microchipping. It is a very very expensive exercise in the hope that they won't die on the plane or during the quarantine period. You would not fly your very old parent or grandparent to immigrate with you so that is the way I am looking at it. Would it be fair to put her through that really terrible and very long pain trip. I JUST NEED TIME and I don't have it. We have to kennel the dogs for an extra 60 days now, because I have to leave sooner than I thought and I don't know how they will cope. I haven't even opened the email to see the costs of an extra two months - I have preferred being an ostrich with my head buried in the sand rather than facing really big important decisions.

A tiny spark fanned the embers of an idea that came rushing and roaring into life-changing decisions that I am not ready for and too scared to face. I honestly don't know how we got to the place we at right now, but it is damn stressful.

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