Monday, 30 November 2009

Warning: long boring post ahead*

*but it's more here for my memory's sake than for your reading pleasure. Sorry.

I feel like the weekend skipped me. That tends to happen when you spend the majority of your weekend in a car, I guess.

It all started on Friday afternoon. Remember I said I was going home early, having worked late the day before? Well, our genius *sarcasm* gardener, let's call him Special K, left the pedestrian gate unlocked on his way out. We have a gate kinda like this (except the small gate within the big gate is on the other side, close to the gate motor):

If you leave the pedestrian gate unlocked, it is not only unsafe as anyone can walk into your house, it is also likely that when you press the button on the remote for the gate to open, the small pedestrian gate will swing open, which is exactly what happened when I tried to leave the office. The pedestrian gate swung open and got firmly wedged in the gate motor compartment, meaning that the gate would not open or close and that we couldn't even get the motor open to switch it to manual.

Boss Chick was not at the office, so Roo and I tried to push the gate back. No luck. Being in high heels probably didn't help. I eventually called TSC who had to come and lend a manly hand. He managed to lift the gate off its tracks so we could move it backwards, out of the motor casing (now with a nice big dent in the middle), and close the pedestrain gate, which we then taped shut. Needless to say, I ended up not leaving early.

Then, in a rush to leave home for Pretoria before the Friday afternoon traffic started, with our two cats in tow (we had to take them with to my folks' house so my brother could give Sapphire her antibiotics while we were away), I grabbed the wrong handbag. We discovered this when we'd been on the road for about 25 min. We had to turn back to fetch it, seeing my phone, purse, keys etc were all in the other bag. This wouldn't have been a train smash if one of the cats hadn't decided that now would be the perfect time to have a dump. Thankfully he went in the litter box we'd brought with, but we had to drive home with the stench. Ugh.

We eventually all arrived in Pretoria intact, albeit in a bad mood, to find Gogo's stuff being loaded onto the truck. Sad stuff. I gave her the Christmas and birthday presents I'd brought with for her and realised how much I'll miss watching her open her gifts every year. She always gets so excited.

We had supper at Primi Piatti at Irene Mall and tried to get an early night. Unfortunately the felines would have none of it. They are quite used to being at my folks' place, but in the guest room downstairs. When we stay there, they get access to the veranda, lounge and kitchen, which can we shut off from the rest of the house so that we don't wake up to midnight cat fights between my two kitties and my mom's.

But because Gogo's furniture had been moved out, she was staying in the guest room and TSC and I were sleeping in my old bedroom upstairs. The cats, cooped up in such a small space during their prowling hours, were going beserk - running over the bed, meowing at the mosquitoes and generally not letting us sleep.

Needless to say, when we got up at 6.15am, I was not in a happy place. At 7am, my folks, Gogo and I climbed into my parents' double-cab bakkie (pick-up) and started the trek to Ladysmith. We stopped for breakfast along the way and then met up with the furniture truck at Van Reenen's Pass. We reduced speed so that it could follow us to Gogo's new house.

The house is gorgeous. I am so proud of her and glad that when I'm missing her I'll be able to picture her there. Family members and friends gathered around to help unload the truck, which took all of 20 minutes. I snapped photos and followed Gogo on a tour of the house and garden area (not yet planted because there's currently no fence and the goats will eat anything green within minutes) and listened to her plans.

Her sister's daughter died last year, leaving five children behind. Gogo's lazy sister, Florence, has done nothing to help them, so Gogo has met with social workers to arrange food and clothing, and plans to build a small traditional house for the children on her property so that she can care for them. She's incredible.

Then it was time to say goodbye. 25 years of knowing someone and you have five minutes to say farewell without knowing when you'll next see them. Somehow unfair.

I waited my turn, wanting to be last, because I knew I would need silent time in the car to stop crying afterwards.

How do you tell someone with words about the impact she's made on your life or how knowing her has made you a better person? How do you say 25 years' worth of thank yous, I love yous and goodbye all at once?

I don't think I did a very good job. But we cried together, with her laughing even as she held back tears, and hugged each other tightly. And then I got back in the car and waved out the window as she and her family grew smaller and smaller as the distance grew. As we pulled back onto the highway, I sent her a text message from my phone:

Gogo, I love you and I am so proud of you in your beautiful new house. I hope I see you again soon! I will miss you.

We eventually arrived in Durban at about 2.30 and visited the site where my folks are building their retirement home. It's now half a house and things are moving quickly. The plans have been altered so many times because of city council regulations changing and the house is no longer what they originally wanted, but it's looking good nevertheless.

After that, TSC watched the rugby on TV while I snoozed at the B&B. Then we went out for a meal at Musgrave Centre, which brought back floods of school memories. TSC and I watched Shadowlands, a 1993 movie with Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger, which we both enjoyed.

On Sunday we had breakfast at the B&B and set off on the road again. We stopped in Howick to see my granddad and Lilly for tea. After that it was back in the car again. We continued for what felt like forever, punctuating our journey with a stop to pick up drinks and then, much later, at about 5pm, a stop in some dodgey corner of Benoni for suspect Chinese food. When we eventually arrived in Pretoria, TSC and I packed up the cats and our bags and got into our own car to drive back to Joburg.

This morning I feel like it should be Friday. I always forget how exhausting doing nothing for hours on end while stuck in a car can be.

Have a good week, all.


Ches said...

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz... ;)

I wish it was Friday! Bring on the Holidays!

tattytiara said...

That's a tough weekend. Here's hoping you have a week of peace and happy surprises ahead.

phillygirl said...

Wow that sounds exhausting ... emotionally and physically!

momcat said...

Sometimes we need to take care of family responsibilities on the weekend and you sound like you had a giant dose, what with seeing Gogo off on her new stage in life and accompanying your parents on the long drive to Durban. Hopefully you will get some rest before the Christmas festivities really kick in in ernest.

Tamara said...

Ches: Amen! Preach it brother!

tattytiara: Thank you. I wish your wishes come true *grin*

Phillygirl: Ja. I would so rather have been at Squishy's baby shower! But at the same time, I can't imagine not seeing Gogo off properly.

Tamara said...

momcat: Thanks. I was planning to chill this week, but just got an urgent call from a difficuly freelance client to do another rush job. Was tempted to say no, but the money sure will help this holiday. No rest for the wicked, eh?

Bagman and Butler said...

You "warning" was, like most of the time someone warns me, a challenge. So I read the whole thing, word by word. Glad I did. It will make today seem easy for me.

Helen said...

Oh my gosh! I feel tired just from reading it! I hope you have a nice quiet week to recover!

boldly benny said...

Wow, I just read about your Gogo. Such strange timing because I was thinking about Mimi, my "grandmother" who is now living it up in Transkei. I loved her and since I did not have a grandmother biologically, it was wonderful to have her. I still miss her. Warmed my heart to read your post.
Hope your week is chilled and it zooms to the weekend.

Meriel said...

oh i got a knot in my stomach reading about the gate. i would have just cried.

Kate said...

Wow sounds exhausting. Hope you get some relaxtion before christmas

Kate x

Hayley said...

You are right, hectic weekend...but its sounds like you had fun too..

Slyde said...

wow, i must REALLY love you if you tell me its going to be a long and boring post and i keep reading anyway....

Louisa said...

Sounds like a rough and busy weekend - no wonder it still feels like Friday to you! And what a drive for a weekend on top of that...I am not a fan of the weekend road trip (could be because I don't have aircon?)

po said...

Sheesh, after a weekend so physically and emotionally exhausting, I don't know how you managed to drag yourself to work.

Paula said...

I hate it when a weekend of planned bliss turns out to be a bunch of yuck mixed with moments of yay. It's just not as fun as planned.

Sorry. But at least you said goodbye as well as you could to Gogo.

I'm not so much into sport as I am in to gmaes.

Tamara said...

Bagman & Butler: Aha! A new tactic to get readers - just tell them my content is dull ;-)

Helen: Same to you - I think you're even more busy!

Benny: thanks. My grandparents have always lived a few hours away, so Gogo was a surrogate grandma for me a lot of the time too.

Meriel: Hehe... I tried yelling at it instead. Didn't really work.

Kate: You too, between taking office pics ;-)

Hayley: Does it? Hahaha... it's sometimes difficult to get tone across in a post. I must say, I wouldn't call it fun, but I'm glad I went.

Slyde: Either that or you're hoping it will make me feel obligated to you in some way or another ;-)

Louisa: I have aircon and I loathe driving somewhere more than three hours away for a weekend, nevermind for one day.

Po: Me neither ;-)

Tamara said...

Paula: True that. But I don't think this was ever going to be bliss. Being a grown up sucks.