Surprising My Mom

Yesterday Robert and I set off before sunrise from our little flat. The trip almost started with a mishap when the taxi I ordered sat for ten minutes in front of the wrong address a block away. The problem is that they do not call the customer and their head office is off duty at the ungodly hour of 04:30.In the end it all turned out alright and we found each other and arrived at the airport in good time.

Getting on the flight was no problem as I expected. I had already listed myself on standby for the day and SAA staff gave me a bulkhead seat which is right behind business class, and so Robert and I had three seats between us, and I was close to the toilet for the inevitable nappy changes.  Being a nervous flier at the best of times I was a little bit concerned over the long trip and how Robert will take it, but the time somehow passed, and people took interest in the little baby, talked and played with him and generally took his inquisitiveness with humor.

Getting on the flight from Frankfurt to Berlin gave me a few white hairs. It was the last scheduled flight for the night, and was obviously overbooked. The airline staff did not seem concerned though and I thought they would not leave me behind, baby and all. I was right and I got on the flight sandwiched between two passengers and with Robert on my lap.  My next passenger was a very interesting gentleman from Vancouver BC of all places and he was flying to join his German girlfriend in Berlin. We chatted up a storm and my little boy, probably lulled by the familiar Canadian accent went to sleep for the duration of the short flight.

My aunt was waiting for us at the airport. It was a good thing that I called her on the weekend to tell her we are coming because she thought we would be only showing up on Friday for my mom’s birthday.  That would have been quite funny to arrive disoriented and tired an hour before midnight and try to figure out how to get to my parent’s place using after midnight transport..

We decided that it was best to crash at my aunt’s place and only call my mom in the morning. It was late by the time we finally put our heads down, and my little one was so disoriented, tired and unhappy, he cried for almost half an hour before finally dozing off on my breast.

Today my aunt did not go to work and called my parents with the flimsy excuse that they should pay her a sick visit… My parents live only a few minutes away on foot and my aunt and them visit each other all the time, so they do not need much convincing to come over.

The look on my mom’s face as she saw us sitting there in my aunt’s living room was worth traveling 10,000 Km. I was so happy I made the effort.

I am now home with my family and can enjoy to be a child again.

On The Run

Oh I have done so many things in the last few days I do not know where to start.

On Wednesday I had Robert’s father looking after him again while I went to apply for the visa for a second time. I remember we went briefly before that to the police station where they certified his letter giving his “permission” for me to travel with his son.  I also managed to buy tickets, go to the lawyer and sign transfer documents for the Gonubie house, and order a bed and a washing machine. Needless to say that this took more than half the day and my ex was angry because he missed his opportunity to go to the gym, and “wasted his day”.  My day was far from wasted, and even with all the work and running I had the chance to visit with my neighbor/landlady, since her husband owns the block where we are staying.  We got to know each other over some coffee while Robert and Kiara got to socialize.

The past days were not all bright though, I  had a problem with the lawyer earlier this week because the transfer proceedings have been already initiated by conveyance lawyers in East London, and my lawyer was upset because he would not get his share of the deal this way, especially since it is stated in the divorce order that they will take charge of all the property transfers (obviously I missed on this one in all the excitement that the house sold). I pleaded ignorance with my lawyer and thought I let myself off the hook with them, how little did I know about the nature of these lawyers.

I also had a minor problem while applying for the visa. My photograph was out of date and I was so scared that they would send me back for a second time, but they told me to come back on Friday with the new photograph which just means that I have to stand in the queue again and not collect immediately.

On Thursday I had a few more loose ends to tie. I started early with Robert and we traveled into town where I got a new passport photo, then back to apply for a phone line at Telkom and a private mailbox at the post office. I could not resist stopping at the book shop and buying some second hand books I fancied – it is an addiction with me.  I still had to work in the afternoon while Lucy looked after Robert.

This morning Robert and I took the trip into town again, this time to pick up the visa, and we stopped for a little bit to say hello at my office. I am still haunted by the reaction Robert had to my workplace last Christmas, when he went into an uncontrollable fit of crying. This time he just looked inquisitively around, but I could not register any negative or positive feelings on his face – he is obviously indifferent to the ninth floor.  We had to make our way back home quickly because I received a call from the furniture shop notifying me of the delivery of my new bed and the washing machine.

The people arrived an hour or so before I was due to work, and as usual in these cases, the workers start out slowly and carefully then start bashing their way around when their delivery schedule starts to pressure them. Unfortunately for me the slow part of their work involved putting the bed together while bashing around was the fate of the washing machine. It was moved between two different spots and then it became obvious that they will not get it right in their rush. The task was also complicated further by a loose toddler, and I simply could not supervise safe installing  while also keeping an eye on my son. I finally said that they can perhaps leave and hoped that I could figure it out with the on-site landlord agent who is generally helpful to my ignorance in home maintenance. I usually exaggerate my “incapable female” attributes to best effect.

Mercifully Lucy arrived in the middle of this upheaval and took  care of Robert, and then I had to run to work, late as usual. Lucy assured me she would sort everything out and I had no idea how she could, because I had the old bed, the futon mattress and the washing machine all in strange positions and a small space has very low tolerance to disorder.

I was so worried that I called later from work and Lucy assured me that everything is fine. The washing machine was put in place by the landlord’s agent and the flat was in order. I came home to a different place, and my son received me with a beaming smile, nice and clean from his bath. It is such a joy and relief to be home.

After all this frantic running, I have my visa, my ticket and I accomplished everything that needed to be done before my trip. I only have two more working days then it is off to a well-deserved holiday.

Aborted Attempt at Crunch Time

I arranged today for Robert’s father to look after him while I attempted to get my visa to Germany, and as usual I was ill prepared for the requirements.

I had thought that I would get the invitation letter to them at a later stage and the medical insurance as well, but they needed upfront  (obviously duh). The main problem, however, was that I needed a letter from Robert’s father approving his departure on holiday with me. I never thought that I would need such a thing, as I had sole custody of my son… ah well

Unfortunately, this means that I have to ask Robert’s father to look after him again this week, maybe  next Wednesday when I have time off, but that is precisely at the last second, because the visa takes 48 hours (until Friday) and I am planning to leave early on Monday, so hopefully there are no more snags on Wednesday.

So Much Happening

It seems so much is happening I can hardly keep up. I got my computer yesterday. The good computer guru delivered it to my work, and one of my colleagues offered to give me a lift home, which saved me from calling a cab.  So I got my computer home in the rain (again) and had to wait until today to fire it up for fear of shorting one of its sensitive circuits. Today it started and looks that I haven’t lost anything, thank god.  I still need many hours to put back all my applications and little programs back.

In the meantime things are slowly getting organized at home, a few days ago I came home to find a lighting fixture has been hung up in the inside sleeping area, and the landlord sent a carpenter to measure for a sliding door. It would be great if this door is done before I go on holiday because in this rain the French doors have swollen and cracked and I cannot close them anymore. Lucy usually jams it closed with a piece of newspaper, and I have taken to doing the same thing.

I have almost lost track of Robert’s development in all this rushing. A few days ago he cut another upper tooth, and started serious communication. He now points at the things he wants and says about half a dozen words (one of them is cat of course). Sometimes he starts babbling long sentences that are only understandable to him. He is also showing some emotions finally, and blowing kisses to Lucy when she says goodbye.

In the next few days I will be even busier if I want to make my surprise visit to my parents overseas. This plan started long ago, and it is taking very long to take shape.  I still haven’t made any serious steps to obtain a visa, but I am used to getting everything done at the last minute.

With a Little Help from Friends

Jenny was supposed to come join us for breakfast so I baked scones for the occasion, but she never showed up and when I called her at around nine she was still sleeping. Of course she still needed to wake up and have a shower and we ended up arriving a little late for the appointment.

Robert got his hepatitis vaccine and measurements. He still hasn’t cracked the 10kg yet, weighing at 9.94 kg and measuring 77 cm in length.  During the first nine months he was almost on the average 50 percentile graph, now he is starting to go a little lower than the average, of course this makes me wonder -as any other parent- what I am doing wrong.

After the immunization I deliverd my ill PC to my friendly computer guru, and Jen had to drop us off at home, we did not have much time to visit because she had to go to work afterwards and I was to follow later.  For her effort I got her a scone and some of the stew I cooked yesterday. I would be in a terrible state if it was not for helpful friends.

Somehow I still got to go to the shops before I got to work and I had  a feeling that I should go past Jackie’s place to check if there was post for me, and sure enough I collected the police clearance certificates I applied for many weeks ago, it was stuck to the gate and not dropped in the mailbox.

Slowly Getting… furnished?

Today is my first day off since moving to the new place. Apart from my still very dead computer things are starting to get somewhere.

Yesterday Robert and I did not venture anywhere before my time at work, so today was another busy day between the shops and organizing. I cooked my first meal and bought my first bottle of wine.

Robert and the cat are getting used to the place. Robert now runs around in the apartment and even starting to expand his interest to outside, under my careful supervision of course, because I still cannot trust him with the steps and there is the awful sumpy swimming pool with its frayed cover, not the ideal setting for curious toddlers.

I made an impulse buy today, my first expensive piece of furniture for the new place. another round table, from the same second hand furniture place where I bought my previous one two years ago.  I guess I am still sore at losing it to Ron so I bought another similar one, and spent double the price of the old one. But it feels great to start furnishing and to return the landlord’s old cane table, which looked as if it was about to collapse.

I did not mention this before  but a few days before I moved I talked to a colleague, and discovered that he stayed in the very same block where I am now living and he warned me that the landlords are terrible and told me not to trust them on anything, so it gave me a little bit of a start to be moving from under one set of greedy landlords into another nest of vultures, but it was too late to back down after I committed and paid a deposit.  So since I was warned I decided to return every piece of furniture and equipment they gave me,  because I was afraid they would make me pay for it in the end. It wouldn’t do for me to have half-broken stuff, because Robbie would certainly break it completely,  and the new table is sturdy enough for him, and that is great.

Next on the list of problems is sorting out the PC and I have made arrangement with Jenny to give me a lift to take the computer to its father (the very friendly man who built it for me and who still maintains it after almost three years). To make Jen’s time worthwhile I made an appointment at the clinic for Robert’s immunization before taking the computer to maintenance.

So there is some progress, and I was hoping to have dinner on my new table and crack open some wine in celebration, but I was finished as usual by the time Robert settled to sleep and I fell asleep too before opening the wine.

The Saga Continues.. Repeat EVERYTHING

I bought bags and bags of things for the flat yesterday, but I am still missing everything…

Where do you start ? I need a curtain, every possible kitchen utensil and crockery, in addition to cleaning supplies and tool, and I haven’t even started yet on furniture and storage units. My ex gave me back my pots and pans and a few other things that were good enough for him to take into our new home when we got back together in 2006, but there are no cutlery, baking stuff or non-stick frying pan among those. My one dinner set is conspicuously missing its dinner plates, and I must have got rid of them to please him when we moved from my former flat, because he thought they were too heavy and ugly.. Many things I bought for that flat I gave away or recycled for what is now his rental apartment, and I try not to think how much they would have come in handy today where I have absolutely nothing. My ex, perhaps feeling some guilt at this, contributed some cutlery.. two of each (why be too generous and break the bank).

I cannot complain about his generosity too much, though, not where Robert is concerned, because he finally bought him a car seat, appropriate for his age. It was one useful birthday present.

My ex made himself useful today by picking up Robert and looking after him while I took more trips to the shops. I bought curtains and more kitchen utensils. I do not know why I bought baking trays, muffin tins and cake molds. These felt suddenly very vital to my home-making process. I carried tons of stuff over to his place where he was kind enough to give me and Robert a lift back. Britt, who lives around the corner from the place saw me and I think I was a very sorry sight.

Later in the afternoon I left Robert in Lucy’s care and went to work. Late in the evening I returned to my happy little child, already at home in the new environment. I felt I was coming home, especially that Lucy did her magic and put things in order – as much as possible under the circumstances of clutter and boxes.

I thought that my life had started its steady progress towards normal. Last night I set up my computer and used the internet over my cell phone. My connectivity was vital during the next few days because I was going to work on a new translation assignment with an agency in Pretoria. I tried to start up my computer for my nightly dose of work, but it was as dead as a brick. This crash was so ill timed I could have cried. The agency was using me for the very first time, and I already haggled with them about deadlines due to moving and then my planned leave at the end of the month. More excuses will sound unprofessional and untruthful, and so my worries and problems are bound to continue, and repeat themselves.