Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Time to write again

Just please don't expect any pearls of wisdom from me. It is too close to the end of the year after a long hard year filled with changes and challenges.
From the time my mom got sick last year in August, through her passing from this world in February and onward has been like treading water. Trying not to think too much about her not being around and trying not to forget anything.
Add to that the ongoing challenges of daily life and having to sort out my house in New Germany and all my belongings just left there when I moved to Johannesburg.
I had the opportunity to go to KZN at the end of September but it wasn't a holiday. I spent the week slogging and cleaning up the little house on the hill, sorting and packing what I want to keep and disposing of the rest. I managed to bring some items up, including the 2 kitties living with my son at the house. This brings my head count to 11. A lot of items were left behind in the back room at the house due to lack of space in the vehicle.
There was another break in at the house, the second in four weeks and this prompted Dael to hand in his notice at work and catch a bus to Jhb in the space of two days. So my little house is standing empty but I have started contractors working at the house (with the help of my dad and brother) and once the house is freshened up, it will be sold.
Little cat Chase, now named Monkey, due to her playful nature and desire to climb to the top of things had a health scare which caused her to stop eating and drinking. After a few days of force feeding her, we took her to the vet. She had a temperature but after an antibiotic and painkilling injection, she was showing improvement in a couple of hours and is almost back to her old self now.
Monkey in Jhb with me
At the moment, the days at work are dragging, I feel permanently drained and the weekends are never long enough to recuperate and get my energy back. I'm not sure if it is just the time of the year or an accumulation of all the emotions I have been dealing with this year that is the cause of this feeling but I hope that I will also return to 'normal' some time soon.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Putting Down Roots

Halfway through the fourth month of sharing a living space with my love and we are enjoying each other's company. We move around each other as dancers...I cook and clean the kitchen, my man makes our packed lunches for work...as well as the bed. We are in a routine.
Not that it is always smooth running. I was a little put out when my man decided to get up early to wash the dishes. He wanted to help but the morning is my time to potter around and chat to the kitties. As soon as the kitties see this big man approaching, they scatter. They are slowly getting used to him. I prefer (and he prefers) him to lie in a bit later in the mornings until I go through with coffee. By that time my chores are done and the kitchen is his to make sandwiches while I use the bathroom and get dressed. Its comfortable and it feels right.
The kitties are also very comfortable and feeling more relaxed in their own space. Even though they have dogs living in the hut below them (3 Italian Greyhounds and a Whippet), they are getting the measure of the dogs and realise that they are safer around these doggies. Jerome sectioned off a larger piece of the garden for the kitties to use but at the moment with the cold weather, they move between our house and their kitty lodge with brief sojourns outside to use the litter trays or to perch on the outside windowsill surveying the world...and the dogs.
So as far as putting down roots, I never feel truly rooted in an area until I have joined the local library and this Saturday past, we popped in at the library and filled in the forms. I have taken out a book...I belong.
The second part of putting down roots that I have planned is planting up our flower pots which are weed filled and desolate at the moment. The garden is huge and all the trees are losing leaves so raking is not even an option. I just want something manageable and colourful. I don't want to wait for spring so I am going to find some colourful plants to brighten up the entrance to our home. Nesting...
Bradley is writing exams and I had my work cut out to arrange exam transport for him on the day that the exams started. Normally he would wait after school and go home with his younger sisters but while exams are on he writes only one exam per day and then would have to wait the whole day to go home. I found a local lady who comes out when he lets her know he is finished and she pops him home. So that is sorted. Now to worry about a trip to the dentist and buying winter school clothes before winter is over...!
Robynne was ill over the weekend and after taking note of some of her symptoms, I was searching the internet for a possible illness and giving her advice.
Dael needed me to make a dentists appointment for him in Pinetown. He had an emergency and who could he turn to but mom.
The kids are all big but still mom's job is never done....and we wouldn't want it any other way! If your kids don't turn to you for help, they don't trust you or you have alienated them.
Staying with Dael, he had posted as his BBM status a week ago about finding a little kitten a home. As can be expected, my ears pricked up and I asked him where he had found a cat. Apparently at his work, which is a workshop which shares the property with a service station, this little kitten had been extricated from under a tanker truck where it had run after jumping from under a delivery van. It had travelled from Durban North to Pinetown under this van ending up at Dael's work. Dael ended up taking the little chap home and has named him Chase. The kitten has been very terrified as can be expected and also ravenously hungry. Slowly, with attention and playfulness, the little guy has come out of his shell and was jumping all over Dael the other evening as he lay on the carpet of the bedroom.
Chase at Dael's work just after capture before Dael took him home.
Chase playing with Dael after a few days of safety and attention.
My kids love animals and I'm proud of them.
Momcat xx

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The next step...

On the Saturday, 27th April 2013 my daughter and her boyfriend of 3 years, Marco, became engaged.
Yes, I'm a mother-in-law to be.
I didn't know a thing about it at the time. I hadn't been having a very good weekend because my boyfriend was away on a trip to the Cape for a week and I was feeling very sorry for myself.
I had arranged to attend a talk hosted by Robynne's church on the Sunday and was walking along on the Sunday morning in the direction of the venue, totally engrossed in my own thoughts when I heard "Come over here". I looked up, startled and there was Robynne standing along the route to the venue with her friend, Taryn. They were on duty as helpers and I hadn't even noticed my own daughter, being so engrossed in my own thoughts - a fact that she duly pointed out to me.
She mysteriously said to me that she had some news to tell me and then being unable to contain herself any longer, whipped up her left hand to reveal her sparkling new engagement ring. I was astonished and then very happy for my daughter.
She recounted the happy details of the situation leading up to the happy event. It seems that Marco had been trying for the greater part of the Saturday to get Robynne to go with him to her favourite dog-walking park and for once, she just wasn't in the mood. He eventually dragged her out into the garden of their own house and there, in front of their doggies, he went down on one knee and proposed to her. He had been storing the ring away for a whole month, planning when and where to pop the question and eventually all fell into place.
Robynne is now fully into the swing of wedding preparations, with a date for next year at around this time being identified. I went with the young couple this past Sunday to see a lovely wedding venue which will handle all the arrangements of decor, food, music, etc and has a chapel as well as a Bridal Suite and family rooms for out of town guests. A million details to be planned but every minute to be enjoyed.
So...the next step for my daughter and for her mom..
Congratulations Robynne and Marco and may God richly bless your life together.
Momcat xxx

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy 23rd Birthday, Dael!

My eldest son, Dael turned 23 years old today! I can't believe it has been 23 years already and early this morning, the thought crossed my mind that at that moment 23 years ago, I was awoken from a sound sleep with labour pains.

Dael was born at about 7.20am on a momentous day in April.
It hasn't always been easy but I have enjoyed and still enjoy and appreciate having my son in my life.
Dael has been living in Pinetown in my house since I moved to Johannesburg and works as a motorbike technician. He is doing so well and learning so much. He works hard, long hours and a lot of overtime and he is very reliable, even having been known to go to work when he was sick.
He loves motorbikes and I think to him it is fun as well as work.

He is also a good friend and I can rely on him to do the family thing, visiting my dad on special occasions and whenever he can. He stood next to me at mom's memorial service, greeting the mourners even though he didn't really know anyone there. He did his duty and he did it out of love and family feeling.
Happy Birthday, my son....a man now not just my baby anymore!

I love you and I am very proud of you...through thick and thin, I will always be there for you.

Your mom xx

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Rainy Saturday.....Peace!

To me that means the freedom to sit at the computer with Kittykie on my lap.

Its cold this weekend. The unusually (for Jhb) heavy rains have ushered in the Winter cold. I've plugged in my oil heater for the first time this season.

My kitties have been in isolation, separated from me because of human and dog issues...

Today, although I had the choice to accompany my man and his son to the movies, I chose to spend the afternoon alone...with the computer, the tv, my music, my kitties or whatever I chose to do. 

My youngest son, Bradley spent the night here and I enjoyed him being close at hand, even though he spends most of the time with (my) earphones in his ears listening to music or chatting to friends. Nothing like having your offspring close at hand, for a mom.....

Today he was dropped at the local shopping centre to spend time with his friends and I went off to Robynne's house. She needed to buy cat food (for the cats at work) and dog food and that's all we did.

I helped her move some furniture and swept her floors and then came home again. HOME...what a wonderful word..the place where you can be yourself and do whatever you want to do. Never take that for granted!

I have the freedom and peace to decide to do just that...just take some me time. Wow!

I appreciate this blessing on me. My kitties and me have been blessed with a wonderful home...

In great appreciation,
Momcat xxx

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Out in the wilds...

With the Big Move accomplished on the long Easter weekend, I was pottering around on the Easter Monday, slowly unpacking boxes and relaxing.
I was down the garden at the washing line, hanging up a load of washing, when I heard the dogs barking at something out of sight along the pathway to the back of the cottage. Now that is where the dog and cat house is situated and having been just introduced to each other at this stage, I thought that a kitty had got out into the garden and the dogs were barking at it.
I ventured toward where the dogs were but as I wandered down the path in the direction in which they were looking, they didn't follow me...
As I walked silently along, I heard a sound...a combination of a puff and a hiss.. I swung my head to the left and there I saw....a snake!
Immediately adrenalin rushed through my veins and my heart started pounding. I managed to continue walking normally away from the snake which was sliding along the outside wall of the cottage in the garden. It was going in the direction of the dog and cat house and I was petrified for the safety of the dogs and cats as well as myself.
Before I walked away I noticed that the beige coloured snake seemed huge and it had bright eyes. I hadn't seen a snake like this before but to me it seemed dangerous. It was very alert. This was about midday in the heat of the day.
I tried to call the dogs to me on the other side of the house but they wouldn't listen. Just then my man, who had been out at the shops, arrived home. I rushed to the gate hysterically to explain what I had just seen.
After he had put his parcels down and found a suitable stick to handle the snake, we couldn't find the snake. Luckily though it hadn't moved too far from its original position. The snake was pinned down by the stick and by its next action, it proved that it was a Rinkhals snake which feigns death when threatened. The snake pretended to be dead but when the stick was shifted to pin it by its head, it swung its head and tried to bite the stick. It is a poisonous snake and if threatened a Rinkhals will rear up and spit venom into the eyes of its potential enemy. It was decided that we would not be able to catch the snake and relocate it as we didn't have the correct equipment and we couldn't risk either one of us or the animals getting bitten or the snake getting under the animals hut.
I rushed to the neighbours to borrow a spade and cried heartbrokenly as the snake was dispatched. This snake had been going about its business and because it crossed the paths of humans and their pets, it met its end.
Hopefully our future wildlife stories will all have happier endings...
Momcat xx
As a P.S., the remains of the snake were thrown over the fence at the bottom of our fenced in section of the garden where it was consumed within two days by another predator. The food chain in action...!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Challenges of Moving House

Moving house was accomplished in a few different stages, which served to make the whole process a little challenging. The one benefit is that all the houses are in fairly close proximity to each other.
Firstly, since Robynne and Marco's new house had been transferred into their name virtually by the beginning of March, they were keen to move in there as soon as possible. However, the lease on the rental house where we had stayed since the beginning of December would be cut short and we would have to keep the house and garden as clean and as presentable as possible for viewing by new potential tenants.
As a first step to achieving this, Robynne and I moved the kitties on Thursday evening of March 14th to the garage of their new house just down the street. I managed to catch 8 out of 9 kitties but Bunny eluded me and I had to leave her until the next day. I made the kitties as comfortable as possible as they would have to stay in the garage without going outside for the next two weeks. Jerome and I had planned to move to our new cottage on the 29th March.
Robynne and Marco moved their possessions on the 21st March, a week after I had moved the kitties and I just stored my possessions in the spare room of the new house, instead living for a few days at Jerome's old cottage with him. I spent only one night in Robynne and Marco's new house, the Thursday night before Jerome and I moved to our new cottage.
That night was busy for Jerome as he left work early to fetch the furniture trailer, then had to fetch his son Matthew from Benoni. Matthew spent the night at his dad's old cottage, helping him pack boxes and load the trailer in the morning with the first load for the new cottage.
Once I knew they had left with the load, I went through to the contractor who had built us a converted 'wendy house' for Jerome's dogs and my cats. The contractor followed me to our new cottage where Jerome had just arrived with his son and some helpers to offload the heavy furniture.
Wow, the co-ordination involved in all of this. But we accomplished it. The contractors started building the wendy house on site at the back of the cottage, Jerome left to take his son to Easter Church camp and I spent the morning cleaning the new cottage before the boxes started arriving. I finished cleaning the new house and drove back to Jerome's old cottage to help him pack some more belongings. We spent the rest of the afternoon packing and moving belongings.
That evening, the only areas I was concerned about setting up at the new house were the bathroom and the bed because we were so exhausted that a hot bath and bed were the only important items on the agenda after a long hard day of moving. On Saturday, we returned to spit and polish Jerome's old cottage so that we could hand the unit back to the landlord,  and even up to yesterday, a week later, I fetched another box and a few containers of belongings of mine from Robynne's house.
Our curtains and pictures are up, our place is looking and feeling cosy. We still have boxes to unpack and places to find for various items belonging to Jerome and myself which we have had to combine. This in itself has been an interesting process, as we both have our own ideas about where various items should be kept and this process has seen the start of a few interesting discussions. Basically, though we are similarly minded about the important things and are feeling comfortable and 'at home' in our new cottage, after all the stress of the Big Move.
And that is what is the most important. Things don't matter. People matter. And spending your time with the right people.
Momcat xx

Friday, April 5, 2013

A lot has happened...

since my last post of last year on 30th October.

We decided to move to a new rental (out of the floodzone) because of all the problems with the old house. Robynne and Marco had in the meantime decided to try and buy their own house and were working towards putting finances and paperwork in place and finding a suitable house for themselves and their dogs.

Jerome and I had also been continuing to spend time with each other and enjoy outings and alone time together. He was starting to become discontented with his rented cottage which was becoming cramped with me being around as well as his teenage son from time to time.

I moved with the kids at the beginning of December to a large rental just down the road from our previous house and we settled in, sectioning off a portion of the garden for my cats so they could have their own space away from the dogs.

At Christmas, I arranged to spend a full two weeks with my parents and travelled down by bus. Robynne and Marco kindly looked after the kitties for two weeks. I spent time shopping, sitting and chatting with mom, tidying up dad's office and mom's sewing room. I got Dael to bring down my small Christmas tree on his motorbike and mom enjoyed seeing the Christmas lights every evening. She was tired and weak when I first got there. My sister, Sharon, had spent the week before I got there with our parents and arranged for all their carpets to be cleaned as well as a lightweight and easy to manage wheelchair to be purchased for mom to use when she was out and about. I arrived virtually a day before Christmas and when we went last minute shopping, Mom became tearful when we battled to find a parking. During the time I was there, I saw her become stronger, enjoying our quirky family jokes, snacking on Christmas fare and pottering around in the garden. I encouraged her to renew her interests such as painting and she was strengthened by the time I was to leave.
Mom and me - Our last hug on this earth
I returned to Jhb with Jerome, who had been in Durban as part of his annual holiday with his son.
Soon after starting the year, tragedy struck at our new rental as some of my young cats left the safety of their enclosure and the dogs suddenly started to act as a deadly pack. I lost 3 of my kittens who unfortunately wandered to the dogs side. Animals that had grown up together suddenly were prey and predator. Robynne also lost one of her rabbits in the same manner. Another of my adult males succumbed to illness and one of my mom cats disappeared after some deadly screams one night, I think killed by the dogs of one of the neighbours. Five cats gone in four months.
All this on top of mom's illness caused me some stress related illness of my own, sore throat, anxiety and elevated blood pressure and as I grieved for my cats and worried about my mom, wheels turned to guide me to where I find myself now. My kids signed papers on a compact house with a large garden just down the road from our new rental. Jerome was offered a lovely thatched cottage to rent on a friend's plot and we decided to share this cottage. Everything fell into place at the same time for the kids and the dogs to move to their own new house and for Jerome and myself and his dogs and my cats to move to our own rustic cosy cottage with lots of space. We have been there for one week and I am looking forward to spending time with my man and our furkids in our own space.
So, as can be seen, a lot has happened in a short space time and those who know me will know that I find it difficult to write when I have a lot of stress going on. The fact that I have started writing again now is proof that I am feeling more relaxed.
It is my birthday today and I am looking forward to my next year with anticipation and eagerness.
Hold your loved ones tight,
Momcat xx

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Living without Mom

My mom, Merlien Ann McNab, passed away on Friday, 22nd February 2013 at the age of 70.
Death caught her by surprise, as she had her weekend planned out. I had a fairly longish chat with her the previous Tuesday. She sounded normal although she was starting to battle a bit with the effects of her 4th dose of chemo therapy.
On Friday morning, my daughter Robynne had phoned my mom and she was too ill to talk to Robynne. I phoned to speak to my dad and he ended up breaking down and handing the phone to mom. Mom was breathing hard as if it was an effort. She confirmed that dad was crying. They had both been up the whole night with mom being physically sick, sheets having to be changed and many trips to the bathroom. I kept the call short, just ending up telling my mom that I loved her very much and to hold on.
The decision was made that Robynne and I would leave work immediately, fetch Bradley early from school and head down to Durban. We figured that if my dad was so upset then we needed to go down to morally support both of them. By the time we had made arrangements and packed for the weekend, it was already 2pm. We got as far as Harrismith, which is almost like the midway mark between Johannesburg and Durban, several hours drive from Johannesburg and several hours drive to Durban, when my sister in Cape Town phoned me on my cellphone.
We had stopped to use the restroom and buy colddrink and I will never forget what she said.."Lynda, I'm sorry but mom passed away about 15 minutes ago". I was shocked and grief and disbelief set in immediately. I blurted out the news to Robynne and Bradley who also started crying. We couldn't believe that this had happened. We clung to each other weeping in agony, oblivious to the rest of the travellers around us.
We were going to see my mom. Bradley hadn't seen his granny in more than a year while Robynne had a brief visit to her gran last year. We were too late.
Death caught us all by surprise.
Rest in peace, my mommy! You deserve your peace. I love you so much and always will.
Crying as I write this,