Thursday, February 16, 2012

That post. You know the one.

I think that in order for me to get on with normal, everyday blogging, I need to fill in a few blanks from, oh, the last nine months or so. Where I left off telling you normal stuff was around the time I found myself abnormally unhappy and in possession of a six month prescription for anti-depressants. (Also, whingeing about how this diagnosis was interfering with my breeding schedule. Eejit.)

So, the happy pills worked. I let go of the alternating bouts of blind rage and utter apathy, and replaced it with intense focus on anything unrelated to my mental state. I also woke up feeling hungover every morning, lost the ability to belly laugh and packed on a good few kilos despite my doctor's assurances that the opposite would happen. A mixed bag, but the overall outcome was as desired.

Around September, I finished up my drugging and sweet Lady Fate handed me my 30th birthday and the loss of my grandmother just to see how interesting things could get. I survived. We all did. And since my schedule was looking vaguely under control (flowers being farmed, child being raised, communications being studied, dogs and house mostly intact) Shane & I thought we should start a new business. Enter the bedouin-tent-hire era.

For those of you not familiar with my part of the world, have a peek over here. See all that natural beauty? Slow pace of life? Rural charm? City slickers eat that shit up. (Don't get me wrong, it really is beautiful and restful and charming. It's also 25kms in any direction if I need a doctor or a school or a fekkin' loaf of bread. I digress..) As a result, we have loads of local tourism in our area, and a huge amount of that tourism is the weddings & functions market.

Whilst there are many perks to getting married in the Midlands, local service providers are not something you find easily. Need a photographer? Try Durban or Pietermaritzburg. Hairdresser? Durban or Pietermaritzburg. Dancefloor? Durban or Pietermaritzburg. Marquee hire? ... You get my drift. Spotting the gap, we splashed some cash on a couple of bedouin tents and started talking to our neighbour, the wedding planner. Cue revolution in the local wedding industry. We are steaming along, with almost zero marketing efforts. Fantastical, isn't it?

Naturally, as that was gathering momentum, all my flowers began blooming. And let me tell you, a hectare of bearded irises, in full show, is pretty spectacular. With only a short flowering season and no inventory records to speak of, we got down to the business of identifying all of our lovelies. We managed to name around 50 varieties, of which there were in the tens of thousands of individual plants to be labelled. To call it time-consuming is to grossly understate the task. It was the bane of most of our daylight hours for October and November. We would take a day or two off from this task on occasion, only to spend it practising a myriad ways to rig our tents. (Urgh, or in my case, on one particular day, writing a diabolical exam and later feeling grateful that needing to write a supplementary exam in May is not an outright fail...eep.) Our farm staff, a team of four women, are now thoroughly versed in the art of the event tent. As am I. Shane continues with his day job, and will do until we're earning pretty solid regular income from my little projects. 

And that sort of brings us to now. Somewhere in the middle there was December, a dervish of a month, including 20-something people sleeping over for Christmas night, and 30-something visiting for Boxing Day. We had not a single weekend to ourselves from mid-September until the second half of January. Naturally, when we realised we should be seeing our tent manufacturers, we jumped at the chance to get away from home (and all the work it presents us with) and spent a week driving down to Cape Town and back again. It was sublime. Very rushed, every minute filled with tourist activities, but a total mental break. Desperately needed.

This year, I expect, will be much of the same. I predict some fraught moments mid-year, as we try to live through a home renovation, which includes partly re-roofing the house. In the middle of winter. In a climate that regularly experiences snow. Yuck. For fun, we thought we'd give the whole second-child thing a spin too. And tomorrow, my darling little boy graduates officially to the realm of the two-year-old, hopefully not so much of the "terrible" to go along with that. The year ahead has got me seriously excited. Excited indeed.

Cool, ne?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Any love is good love

I'm going out for dinner with my husband tonight. Just the two of us. And while every cynic out there is  bemoaning the obviousness (is that a word?) of this Hallmark holiday, I, personally, am thrilled to have a half decent excuse to spend a bit of time alone with the man I love.

I realised last night that the last time Shane and I went out for dinner, on our own, was last March when we celebrated our second wedding anniversary (and my mom was conveniently visiting for a few nights). Before that was New Years Eve 2010 (Shane's folks whisked Ezra off to a braai with friends and we were left at a loose end). And before that, it was the night I was admitted into hospital to have Ezra's birth induced. Three evenings to ourselves in two years. Pretty dismal, right?

We were in Cape Town a couple of weeks ago and managed to fit in a few hours (between me freaking out on the cable car ride up Table Mountain and me turning green on a boat out to Seal Island - Shane & Ezra loved both completely) of visiting with a school friend of Shane's who has recently fathered twin boys. These little munchkins, all of four months old, spend every Wednesday night in the company of a local midwife whilst their parents go out for drinks, dinner, movies - whatever they want, actually. They kindly offered to include Ezra in the babysitting programme so we could join them for a few hours of adult company. I said no. Not because I didn't want to go, but because our boy would, in all likeliness, simply not cope. Not because he's a ninny, but because I've just never really put him in that sort of situation before.

I've got to admit, I felt like a bit of a fraud having all this angst over my almost-two-year-old's welfare in the face of two cheerful and clearly thriving infants. The reality is, however, that we don't really have a support structure here that includes friendly neighbours or midwives or grandparents that offer to spend a night in our home while we going skipping off on our own. Our parents are all very keen but live far enough away that it would have to be a special occasion to ask them to get involved.

Chorina, our maid / domestic worker / char / nanny / whatever-the-correct-term-is, lives with us from Monday to Friday. It would seem logical to ask her to babysit, since she is a person that Ezra knows well, and who, conveniently, is on the premises when we want to be out. I struggle with the fact that she is not particularly maternal in dealing with him. Not that she is in any way unkind, she just doesn't seem all that interested in him, as a person. I don't know if that's exactly what the issue is, I just don't really have a sense of him being cared for by her, although she does everything she is expected to. This could, of course, simply be paranoia or delusional parenting at work. We're leaving Ezra with her tonight, and we'll see how it goes. I'd love to have a standing arrangement to get out once a month with Shane, particularly if our plans to increase our family this year come to fruition.

If you're wondering where I've been or why I haven't been blogging, I've been here, watching, waiting. I'm getting my daily work / mother / work / cook / work / eat / veg / sleep routine sorted out, I'm making time for myself. I'm making time to be energetic for myself. So, out with the excuses, in with me and my 2012.