Wednesday 11 October 2023

The Intricacies of being an Heir

 There are things they don't tell you when your parents die. 

There are things you are not prepared for when one parent dies and the other one is still alive.

There are things you are bombarded with when both your parents die in quick succession. 

This blog is not a who should have known what and by whom should it all be known, piece.  This is a "hello everyone know what is coming your way and ensure you have your ducks in a row for your beneficiaries and heirs one day".  Obviously tiny estate, tiny problems.  Big estate, big problems.  However the paperwork stays the same. When I say heirs, I mean the main ones responsible for supplying info and packing up.  In the natural flow of things this would be the children of the deceased. If there are no children, make sure you have tasked someone with this. Obviously this often does not apply to all heirs. 

My dad handled all the affairs, both financial and other, in their marriage. He paid the accounts, he managed what money was invested where, he made the financial decisions, he filed every document from the dog wash slip to the statement of his investments and he was the carrier of all information. This was both a blessing and a curse. You don't have to tell the heirs the value of every investment and policy, but the info they will have to be handing over, cannot be a secret. 

As mom passed first this year, we would naturally have looked to dad to lead us in the monumental amount of documentation and information needed by the Attorney handling the Estate. He would have been there to help us pack up and share / distribute / take mom's beautiful things. Furniture, belongings and 80% of the house, would go on as normal and stay. However as dad was very ill when mom passed, we didn't have this guidance.  When he was home for 2 months from hospital, before he returned there, dad was not always able to have discussions about serious matters with us, or he neglected to have them with both of us, which led to an unnecessary confusion now, of things that could have been prepared before. Dad then passed two months later and my sister and I were dumped head first into what we will call (cue Jaws music), The Estate. There should be no surprises for your children / heirs.

Now dad had / has a very savvy Financial Advisor that had kept dad, and my sister, per dad's instructions, up to date on all vital things. Unfortunately dad and mom's will was not drawn up with an Attorney (I have subsequently learnt why this is unusual), which would have meant that all documents viz Antenuptial Contracts, Title Deeds etc, would have been lodged with the will at the Attorney in a Fire Proof safe (also learnt this from an Attorney). Be warned about this. Their wills are completely legal etc etc but the paperwork is annoying for those left behind, when not at an Attorney. 

A fantastic law firm was appointed then to deal with the Estate. This has created 293472039 emails between us as we bat our way through the paperwork. 

  1. You have to supply to the Attorney, the name of every single bank account held at which bank. The name of every account held anywhere, including municipal accounts, levies, garden services and all other.  You must be able to supply the account numbers.  Very often you have to supply a copy of the last statement. They too will check for those you may have missed. 
  2. The above means that either you must put the last statement in a file each month, or your children must have access to your email account to get to this information. A suggestion is that you place a list of all these institutions and your account numbers, in what I will refer to as The File. 
  3. Attorneys will then get the amounts due on these accounts and once the Letter of Executorship is received, close them all.  Be prepared for the closing of all accounts, especially bank accounts. 
  4. It is advisable that you have your bank login details somewhere secure for heirs to access one day so that they can at least see what is what when you have passed. 
  5. You have to supply the ORIGINAL marriage certificate and the ORIGINAL Antenuptial Contract. Don't try and buck the system with a photocopy.
  6. You also have to supply the ORIGINAL Title Deeds of paid up properties. If you cannot supply the original (dad didn't tell us where it is), you will pay R6 500 for each one you have to get from the Deeds office. Remember that this money is coming out of the Estate. It would have been helpful for these to have been in the Attorney's safe. 
  7. Ensure that your originals of 5 and 6 are also in The File. If you lost them, get them before you pass away.  Like get them now. 
  8. If your family owned Timeshare, this is a whole song and dance. Let the Executor deal with it. 
  9. Your families' cars - these can be sold via the Attorney (We Buy Cars seems to be the option of choice) and the money paid into the Estate.  However if an arrangement was made between the deceased and an heir, prior to the death, it must be honoured.  Such an amount as agreed will be deducted from the heir's inheritance. Should they not inherit enough cash to cover the car, that will be interesting. I am told that in a will, a beneficiary cannot be punished for inheriting. 
  10. If you have expensive jewellery (or important such as wedding rings etc) and valuables - please decide before the time who will get what. Very often this can be decided in a nice way amongst you and your heirs upfront. This way it can be distributed to them at the time (or earlier) without fighting and everyone has something that was meaningful to them. However if you cannot play nicely and this has not been done, either beat each other, play ching chong chi or put the names in a hat.  Tongue in cheek. 
  11. If you own property, or more than one property, have a plan in place. Don't just let them roll into the Estate and leave the heirs to make decisions. One property inherited amongst several can be a shambles as the likelihood that you will have to sell it and split the money, is huge. Difficult if not all heirs want to sell. If you have properties equaling your amount of children, sort out who will get each one. Much easier. And more civil. Thus happiness. If you have a bond on it / them, take this into account when you get your affairs into order. Tell them. Don't surprise heirs. Don't forget things like for example DSTV decoders. If you inherit a house and want to continue with the service, you have to arrange for the decoder to be moved to your name and billed to you. These little things - WIFI, decoders, mobile accounts etc, can be overlooked. 
  12. A have a friend whose divorced mom owned two weapons. She didn't licence them on expiry each time. Now she has passed away and this has become her daughter's problem. Licensed weapons can be sold and the money put into the Estate. Unlicensed weapons have to be handed in to the SAP to be destroyed. This fell to her to do with the paperwork supplied by the Attorney. 
  13. Nothing is fast. Policies pay out quite quickly depending on who they are with. Property is a long process. Wrapping up of an Estate is a long process. In the interim, the heir apparent becomes liable for expenses on that property, so keep them to municipal accounts, levies, garden etc so that his can be submitted to The Estate. Should there be urgent maintenance e.g. a major electrical fault or leak or such, ditto.  However if you decide to paint a wall or fix a broken thing like a cupboard, that is already for your own account. Ensure your heirs understand this concept. It is quite a surprise when the first month's bills roll in.  Should you rent out the property, you need to notify the Executor. Such an income is then included in the Income and Expense account submitted to them. 
  14. Importantly you need to remember that if you have a bond on your house, owe on your cars etc, the amounts after these being sold may be less than what you owe.  This could deplete any other money in your Estate. Make provision for this. 
  15. Have. A. Will.
So this is roughly what you are facing. Along with the initial arrangements of undertakers, a funeral and all that goes with it, packing up, mourning, comforting others. It is all encompassing. Save your kids / heirs from the shock. 

Start The File. 

till soon
c'est la vie xxx

Monday 29 May 2023

Number 3


She carried the swimming costumes towards the changing rooms with a determination she did not feel.  Clasping them against her body in case anyone saw her and assumed she was going to go out in public with one of those on.  “Three items” she muttered to the change room assistant, and clasping her large plastic “3” she scuttled into the last cubicle, before she changed her mind.

It was the taking off of all your clothes that was the most irritating to her.  The three costumes were now lined up on hangers against the wall, in order of preference.  Not necessarily sorted by colour, but rather by “first impressions”.  Number three had beautiful bright pink daisies on it – a one piece costume, like the others (she was not trying to scare the children on the beach), it screamed summer, sunshine and seaside.  None of the attention she wanted, but she had been unable to resist bringing it in. She slid into contestant number 1. Perhaps slid is a bit of an exaggeration, it was more of a “trying to put on a wet suit” kind of scenario, but with a bit of tugging and tucking in, she was in it. It was a sedate navy number, low cut around the hips, high cut around the bosom, with thick straps over the shoulders, assisting in lifting the girls.

Swiveling slowly, she observed a dark shadow slowly creeping up the mirror.  She swung around to the curtain, expecting someone to be standing there, only to discover, to her horror, that the dark shadow was her.  Her rather protruding above the rear thigh area, slowly darkening the mirror.  She pulled down the bathing suit in one painful move of shrieking elastic and slapped it back onto the hanger.  Unfortunately, the sight of her now, in merely her panties, was in no way comforting.  Perhaps it was the beige, or the cut, but it was not inspiring. Well she had come this far, she thought, so might as well get completely depressed.  Number 2 stepped up for her turn. A more mottled green colour, this one had crossover straps at the back, reminiscent of a school Speedo, but still high up and low down in the necessary places.  Putting on number 2 had brought number 3, with its pink daisies, up to the front.  If only, she thought.

Getting into number 2 was challenging. The crisscross ended up being more criss than cross, and she found every bit of herself oozing out between the bits of strap. Turning to the mirror she saw what can only be described as a round seashell covered in mottled green seaweed and algae.  She looked like an ocean blob. Imagine that alighting from the sea on a hot summer’s day. It left her body as fast as number 1, which had in the meantime slipped off its hanger and was lying on the change room floor in an unwanted heap.

Well, that is that she thought. No need to go any further. Out of the side of her eye she saw the pink daisies, almost daring her to try them on.  What the hell, she thought, I’ll show you. In her heart she wished that one day she would be brave enough to wear such bold colours again, as she had as a young lady in her 20’s, when her love for the beach and sea first started.

She prepared herself for the struggle. It did not arrive. The costume seemed to be of a more stretchy fabric and it slid over her body easily.  She was now severely suspicious. Obviously, there was going to be some other flaw.  Looking up into the mirror, she gasped. Unbelievable. She stared. “Number 3”, she whispered to herself.

Looking back at her from the mirror was a beautiful sight. A young lady, resplendent in a floral costume with the most beautiful daisies. Moderately cut over the hips, not too low and not too high, with a crossover front, which flattered her bosom and went upwards into two acceptably medium width shoulder straps. She smiled and the young lady in the mirror smiled back. The young lady who had from the age of 20, loved the beach and the sea.

She slipped out of the bathing suit and into her age appropriate clothes. After ensuring she had all the costumes, she opened up the curtain and stepping out, glanced back at her reflection. Her bright 85 year old eyes twinkled back at her.

Handing 2 costumes and the number back to the changeroom attendant, she smiled and gaily said “number 3 is coming home with me”. 

The pink daisies smiled. They always chose well.

till soon 

c'est la vie


The Man in the Arena

 So when is being enough, actually being enough. 

Times are tough out there.  Not every company that got hammered in Covid, survived.  Many companies did and it is business as usual. Many companies are dragging themselves along, half winged, in a desperate attempt to survive. 

If you are in the latter, it is like the Man in the Arena.  If you have not read that little piece, I will add it at the bottom of the post. You see, when you are outside someone's situation, it is very easy to tell them what they should have, must have, could have done.  It is very easy to say they brought it upon themselves, got what was coming, never budgeted. 

My dear people, every one of us cuts our cloth according to our income.  And if I ask you, yes you reading this, if tomorrow your income stops, through no fault of your own, or is quartered, would you be able to cover your expenses month in and month out.  If you say yes, then you are either a) with a massive nest egg rainy day savings or b) lying. If you can easily afford a car costing X, then why should you have to explain why you bought it.  If a pandemic worldwide destroys your income, and causes you unable to pay, how is that your fault?  If you buy a house of value Y, because you can comfortably afford the payments, and Covid/Corporate greed/Economy/or other reasons, causes a company to close, pay late or other, and affect you, how does that make you inept? 

If you find yourself unable to suddenly cut your cloth to the income, but you make every attempt to scale your life down, that is responsible. When your outings and happenings on social media are mostly free, loyalty paid, cheap or otherwise, that is OK then.  Don't look at social media and assume otherwise. If your posts are sponsored, but also include a wide range of lavish things that you clearly state that you pay for, and you are financially in trouble, that my friends opens you to other questions. 

Why is it then that people must question. Investigate. Have opinions on your life?  However when those very same people become cash strapped, then everyone must feel sorry for them. 

In a weird way I always will. 

No-one asks to be kicked in the teeth, not everyone got where they are because they deserve it, no person wants to be doing sums 24 hours a day. Not everyone is fortunate enough to be in a relationship with someone who fights 24/7/365 to fix what life handed them. 

So for the busy bodies, opinion giving, judgmental and such folk. 

Focus on your own lives.  Just that. 

till soon 

c'est la vie xxx

Thursday 23 March 2023

62 days

 62 days. 

Just 62 days ago a life of 83 years long, gently slipped away.  Not with clanging cymbals, not with fanfare, not needing us to make the difficult and final decisions pending, just a gentle slipping away, connected to many machines, doing many different things. 

Dear Mom,

When the hospital called and asked me to come as quickly as possible, I knew.  When the nurse said they couldn't discuss it over the phone and that I should drive carefully, I knew.  Loadshedding robbed us of getting there a few hours earlier, since in loadshedding your house becomes that bastion of zero signal. They couldn't reach me. But they assured me that it would have still been the same news. There would not have been time to speak to you. 

Goodbye. I said it. The evening before. You know that I had arrived 8 days earlier, just 8 days, knowing in my heart and mind that this would be the last visit that you would be part of. I had asked the hospital if I could visit after 8pm on that first night, straight from the airport.  And something incredible happened.  After not communicating except in mumbles for several days, you opened your eyes, said "oh my goodness, oh my goodness, look how beautiful you look.  Stand at the door so I can see. I love your dress and now I have this stupid outfit on.  Look at your nails so pretty, and mine look terrible".  I know those words by heart.  You were there mom, as always wanting us to be like you always were, well groomed.  You closed your eyes and I sat with you for long.  I didn't know then that those would be the last lucid words you spoke to me, in fact literally the last words you actually spoke. I came armed with my Rosary and a small bottle of Anointing oil that I had bought on my trip to the Holy Land. I prayed and you rested.  

I had that ritual with you for the next 7 days as well.  I prayed the Rosary and you listened.  I know you heard me.  When the doctor finally made the decision to connect you to the feeding bag, I knew that time was ticking faster.  I asked Fr Daniel to come and perform the Last Rites, it was an overwhelming moment.  

The day before you slipped away, my beautiful friends from the Women's Association back home in Gordons Bay, prayed the Divine Mercy for you at 3pm.  Although I missed the 3pm, I decided that day to skip the traditional Rosary and do the Divine Mercy.  When I finished, you reached out both your arms to me. I knew. As dramatic and theatrical as that sounds, I knew. 

Do you remember me whispering that we would look after dad (traumatically in another ward in the hospital), that we knew how long you had suffered and it's okay to let go. We love you and we will be okay. When I kissed you I hoped that I was right. Yes, you read correctly, I hoped that I was right.  I hoped that you would be released from the pain, your body which had said "no more" and was failing you, the quality of life you no longer had.  I didn't want that to continue.  

Mom do you know how peaceful I felt when I left the hospital? And even though when I arrived after their call (knowing full well what was waiting), even though I fell into a black hole of sobbing for a long time both in the sister's office and at your bedside, I knew that letting you go the night before was the best thing I could have done for myself. Even though I was waiting for Bee and Jess to get there in land speed record time, even though I had asked the nurses to call me when they walked into the ward as I did not want Jess and Bee to race into the room unprepared for what they would see, even when they called me to say they were there and I had to come into the passage and tell them, even when we went downstairs and I had to explain to a not completely lucid dad, what had happened, even then - my heartache was governed by being the eldest, being the strongest, being the one whose other half was 1600km away. 

Arranging the undertakers over the phone felt surreal, but the peace still enveloped me.  Years of working at the church had geared me towards knowing what, where and how. 

When the very respectful men fetched you, my little sister had already fallen to pieces. I sent her to sit downstairs with her hubby and waited to walk a little of the way with you in the passage. Your Jessie was there, holding my hand, 3 generations of strong women, down the passage we went. 

The worst calls in my life were to Eugene and Nic.  Eugene felt a million miles away and desperately worried about me. Your grandson adored you more than can be comprehended.  And Jess thought her granny was greater than the sun. Calling your brothers and sisters felt like a mountain and one call to my dear niece, set the ball rolling as she took over the task for me, along with an aunt. 

And then? Then it was just a blur of calls, messages, arrangements, Jess' birthday 6 days after you left us and mine then 7 days after that sad day, which also became your funeral day. Before our birthdays was too quick to arrange and after our birthdays felt like too far away, so I decided on my birthday was perfect.  You brought me into the world on that day 57 years before, and I said goodbye to you on that day 57 years later. On Jess' birthday we went to her and Dyll's home and had a little braai and birthday celebration.  On my birthday the next day, the eve of the funeral, the kids made me pizza and as a family us 7 celebrated.  You would have insisted that we celebrate our birthdays. Everyone had someone, and my heart ached that Eugene could only fly in at 7am and out again at 7pm on the funeral day.  No-one comprehends how it was to be the only one in the family without my "other" around in the house. But such is the life of a home full of pets. 

Did it run smoothly those days between you leaving us, the funeral and the after? No. Bee and I were dealing with an abnormal situation, feeling like 2 orphans.  You were gone and dad was seriously ill in hospital.  He was mostly unable to help us with the arrangements, the vast amount of decisions, the choosing of so many funeral things, the writing, the sourcing of dozens of photos. Who will do what. When will it be done.  Should this pic be large or small, do we use this one or that one? The interactions with family, the having to handle it all. And in-between we had to go up and down to the hospital to deal with our other trauma there. We eventually discovered that not speaking to each other unless necessary and about the funeral, just simply became the best space in which we each could navigate the storm around us.  We are not unusual.  Two friends who recently lost their moms told me the exact same story about their siblings, or some of them. Even in the aftermath of the funeral, they are still often at loggerheads.  Grief does that. It creeps in at different speeds.  But we will survive mom, we always do. We go through waves of very close and somewhat strained. This is not a normal situation that we find ourselves in. Dad is very ill.  It's a lot of heartache all at once. 

Mom remember in the movies we used to chuckle about fridges full of food when someone passes away? We were kindly supplied with lasagna's, pies, quiches, pizzas, pastas, salads - we could have fed an army in the time that we never felt like eating. Bee and I each have a beautiful gifted orchard that we took to our homes. I know how you loved an orchard. Imagine me mom, boarding a plane with a handbag, carry on luggage and a big white flowering orchard plant in a pot.  The air steward fetched it from me during takeoff and landing and it was stationed in the coffee trolley for those 2 times. When I had to go to the loo, the guy in the seat next to me held it.  I can feel you rolling your eyes. He also handed over several serviettes to a weepy me. When the plane took off it felt like I was leaving you behind. 

So this year has had 83 days so far.  I have spent 51 of them in two trips to Pretoria.  It seems like a lifetime away from Eugene, our home and the pets. I came home less than 2 days ago.  I need a week to decompress.  Dad came home to your home last week, he is confined to bed. It's a sad story. 

But this post is about you. 

Happy 62 pain free days mom. 

I miss you 


Friday 1 July 2022

Spar ..... there you are

So I am a bit of a junkie for a new store.  I want to see and know.  Not every brand that opens, but as you know me by now - if it were a coffee beans or capsule store or a coffee shop, I am camping over. 

So a brand new shiny Spar came to our hood.  We are excited around here. We were desperate for one. The closest shiny one is the Superspar in Grabouw and that is a road trip, not a pop to the shops. There is another one, but it is in need of a revamp, redo, liven up job. Coming from Pretoria 2 years ago, where massive and impressive Superspars are everywhere, the lack of one here did irk.  

So with online fanfare, and a long construction period, the aforementioned shiny and new Gordons Bay store opened yesterday at the Mountainview Mall, complete with ribbon cutting, parking bursting at the seams (that will still be addressed and finalised) and happy owner pics.

Since the parking situation was being kept up to date on social media, we elected to go at 630pm.  Parking was adequate and although busy, the store was not maniacal. It is impressive upon entry.  Bright, different, modern and the first thing that my eyes hit was Sip. A coffee, pancake, donut, cake, all things lekker to eat section.  Front and centre. Having just had a snack, we did not sample, but it seemed popular. 

What did draw my adult son's eye was the Grill Bar.  It is a Spar Hot Foods to take home counter (like stores normally have) that got married to a very lekker new concept section. The Fire&Grill menu offers a big choice of Prego rolls, Flame grilled chicken, Seafood and much else and the Chikka Chicken section has burgers galore from Cheeky Chikka, Double Stack all the way to Hot Chikka wings. Chips optional. My son chose a rib burger and chips. It was R35 which is a very substantial price challenge to other places. It was a great meal. R35 to R45 is the average cost here. Definitely worth a test drive peeps. Lekker crispy chips. Also well packed and sealed for transporting. 

Now let me tell you now ..... best face forward is something I learnt in fuel station retail, and I have a big desire to see store management teach their packers this concept. On all products - grocery items, fresh produce and through to cooldrink fridges. They had it spot on .I will watch with interest if this is kept so. It adds hugely to the aesthetic of a store. Woolies Foods Waterstone Village obviously is the platinum standard of this. it would be great for Spar to join them. I was in wonder of an entire fridge door of 6 big shelves, just dedicated to a lot of different types of crushed garlic. Immaculately packed.

The refrigerated shelves offer a mouthwatering array of ready to freeze or heat up meals. Not just the standard fare. Brands like their own Freshline, lie side to side with the Pasta Factory, The Family Kitchen, and others. A great rack of Asian and Mexican items to rustle up interesting meals and many other brands fight for shelf space. Neatly. You are really spoilt for choice. Definitely look into the El Burro Chipotle Chili and Lime Tortilla chips. Yummy. Healthy is your thing? Step two steps to the left of the Chili guys above and drown in great sugar free and healthy eating options. Spar also has an impressive array of their own brand vegetarian meals, giving the well known brand a run for their money. 

Many retailers are defined by two very specific things - the meat section and the fresh produce section. These are both Spar-worthy. The glass door covered selections are really good. The doors are clean. Both sections are well presented and will for sure, especially the meat section, pull from other retailers with great cuts placed neatly below their neighbour's prices. Meat and chicken must look fresh ... and this certainly did. 

The shop fitting is unique. They have modern and chic lighting and they manage to make the greenery and wood fittings look very smart and not like cheesy plastic décor.  They must surely be receiving lots of comments about their granite walling by the tills. It is truly a work of art. 

I didn't see, except for the medicine and toiletry aisle, boards marking what is where in the aisles, but I may have missed it. 

Pricing is a tricky thing in life. However just like very price conscious people (and with fuel prices, most are), if you know your prices you will find that most stuff is the regular price. Spar has their own specials on fast moving lines or those items that are vital e.g. loo paper and cheese. These pamphlets will surely find their way into our 2 local knock and drop newspapers each time. You have to look at your basket total as a whole.  But that is normal.  

And then the make or break of many stores - the staff. Everyone is really on point on day one, but it is day 2 to forever that matter. Given that, the staff went beyond good levels. Friendly, smiling, no cashier muttering or anyone making you feel like you are an intrusion, instead of the customer. The supervisor apologized that we had to wait to have a double scan of an item corrected. It was literally five seconds. High 5 to the management. I was also impressed with their till system where the drawer does not ever open. Advanced and safe. I assume this means that no supermarket cash withdrawals can be done. 

So. No blog is worth its salt if it only gives golden accolades and no less positive observations. To be clear - these are personal observations. 

It is weird for me and a bit off putting to have the crisps / chips / popcorn shelves directly opposite the laundry powder, softeners and bleaches etc. Those, plus hardware and pet stuff t are a logical group in the aisle, and then spot the odd one out .... the chips. I wish they were with their friends, the groceries. Also, the store has the sweets along the till queue line, not on shelves. All supermarkets used to do this, but you can no longer dawdle and make your selection without disturbing the queue. Probably better for my self control. Chocolate is my weakness. 

And then, probably my biggest disappointment. I am a coffee addict. We are power coffee buyers, especially capsules and then filter coffee. We have a variety of machines at home on a counter (even a "coffee bar" sign - that is serious) . And there .... like a beacon of light ...... Nespresso capsules. The real deal. In a very impressive assortment of blends. Both the normal size ones and the fancy new Vertuo ones. And then I saw the pricing. The normal retail price for the "old" type is between R92 - R98 for both the "plainer" and the limited edition ones. From Nespresso stores and well as retailers in Stellies and CT that sell them. The Vertuo ones are in the R125 to R135 vicinity at those stores. Spar does not seem to clearly discern between the usual size and the new big ones, despite the big price point difference, and the shelf packer was unable to locate any at the usual R92 to R98 price range. He did point out one normal sleeve for well over R100. A store with the Spar buying power and a company like Nespresso would have found a way, just like Starbucks and Vida do with Checkers / PnP, or Vida with Woolworths, to keep the instore price exactly the same as the retailer price. So that was a pity, especially when the two people next to me also changed their minds when they saw the mark up. I would have been a great supporter. The only other option is the different strengths Spar brand. No Terbodore, L'Or or others. So it will be Somerset Mall Nespresso who will earn my purchases, or a competitor, which is a great pity. 

Martin, Christi, management and staff ..... wishing you huge success and a lot of joy with your new venture. May the doorstep see many footprints.

Go support them people - they are worth it. 

Tuesday 21 June 2022

The nitty gritty fun of moving aka you thought you knew it all

Let me tell you, just in case you ever plan to move, have an unplanned move, are forced to move, decide to do something spontaneous or such. 

You. Are. Never. Prepared. For. What. Lies. Ahead. 

Unless you are a serial mover.  Or have a minimalistic home décor lifestyle.

We were neither of the above.  We had last moved in 1996. That's a long time till 2019. 

We didn't have the minimalistic thing.  We had the maxi-malistic thing going. 

So, in the interest of the common good, let me give you these snippets of wisdom:

  • Buy double walled boxes. You'll thank me later. There is nothing worse then packing a box, picking it up and having the entire content spill all over the floor.  
  • When you think about packaging tape, think large, think "out of the box" (get it?) - don't get those shrink-wrapped packs of 10 or 20 rolls.  Don't buy a box full.  Rather book one of those shipping containers and buy that amount of rolls. Buy one of those little gadgets that you can roll the tape from one side of the box to the other, because by box 50 you are sick of the manual method.  And NEVER lose the open piece of the roll - never, because it will take you longer to find that place to pull the tape, than the move itself. 
  • When booking your box estimate with the movers, calculate an estimate based on what you have already packed. Then multiply that by 632. 
  • Buy bubble wrap. A lot. See packaging tape rule. Remember you are going to need a lot extra for all the times you walk on it or pinch it between your fingers to hear it pop, just for fun. 
  • Mark boxes. I found the Pinterest method of writing on each box e.g. Kitchen or Dining Room or whatever.  I said I found the Pinterest method.  I never said I used it.  I tried. I really did. But then I got the "mixed" items boxes, a bit like making a mixed tape (in the 1950's) so what did I mark it then? Kitchen/Garage and a bit of Bedroom? 
  • Number boxes. Make a list of 1 to 100 and each time you mark a box, cross off that number.  Focus. Else as in my case when the mover arrived, my son asked why we had 3 x number 16.  2 x number 44.  No numbers 7, 23 or 70.  OK, I got a bit distracted.  
  • When the boxes are delivered to your new address, cross off the numbers as the boxes are carried in. Due to the issues around the numbering above, and despite the movers having numbered as well, we seem to have lost 2 boxes. Part of the problem was that I was still hyperventilating whenever I thought of the packing up of the garage and "that" room at previous address (to be enlightened about "that room", read my previous blog post). In addition, the movers arrived at our new address whilst I was fetching my daughter's boyfriend at the airport, to surprise her.  Naturally we arrived home to 4 rather sulky adults who had found it stressful to handle this event without me. Imagine. They couldn't manage the movers arrival without the person who couldn't number the boxes correctly in the first place. 
I do have dozens of more moments of wisdom, but let me leave you with a final snippet.  We have 2 large dogs and 2 small dogs. A husky sheds tons of fur. If you open the window for her head to be a out a smidge, the car interior looks like New York in December. Snow baby. Our Alsatian was 10. She just wanted to get the 1600km move done. With whimpering for the first 362kms. Our Jack Russell found it necessary to swop sitting in the front and then in the back, 493 times over the 1600km. That was after double the dose of Calm Eeze for dogs. Our Piebald Daschund only wanted to sleep under the seats. They were not seasoned car travellers. In fact they were not car travellers. Full stop. Little ones in one car and big ones in the other car, we did this. We will not do it again. Trying to get them to pee at the allocated stops, was difficult.  As was getting them to stand together, or stop growling at each other, or drink their water. It caused squabbling and irritation amongst the 4 of us. On three separate stops on the journey my husband considered divorce :) we ended up yelling at each other at more than one fuel station. You are warned. 

Moving is not for sissies. Thousands do it. The next place I go will hopefully be heaven. You don't need luggage. But not now. 

Till soon 

K xox

Wednesday 22 May 2019

Okay so lets move to another province

“The company feels that there are great growth opportunities for it in the Cape” says hubby whilst we are sitting on the stoep of our chalet in Sondela Lodge about 9 months ago.  “They want me to go and start up the business from scratch and then be the boss of it”.

I look at him.  “Permanently?”, I ask.  Because surely that is not what he means.  Already all the implications of that have run through my mind at the speed of light.

“That is the idea - it is a fantastic opportunity and you know how I love the Cape”, says aforementioned husband.

Yes, I think.  I also love the Cape and every time I used to visit Jess here before she came back to Pretoria, I would, I admit, think how lovely it would be to live here.  But that does not mean that I thought about it so seriously that I was going to up and move my 53 year life from Pretoria to the Cape.

I burst into tears.  “That is exactly the reaction I told my boss I was going to get”, says he.

I immediately say the obvious things - what about our home / the kids / my parents / my job / our church / the dogs / my hairdresser - nail salon - dentist - doctor - vet / all the places I know / a city I grew up in / my friends / my best friend .... the list was endless.  A whole shopping basket.

He tried to set it out in a positive manner.  The office would be at the Waterfront in a beautiful vdevelopment under construction.  I could look for a place in the Southern Suburbs.  The dogs would obviously come with.  Think how often my parents could come and visit.  And my friends.  And my best friend.  New hairdressers etc can be found.  There is so much for you to do in Cape Town .... he really tried.  In hindsight it must have been awful for him.  He was so excited and here I am just collapsing in a heap at the prospect.  He must have felt there was a huge struggle lying ahead.  As the months ticked by, it became more and more of a reality, but my joy was very very slow in appearing.

He had to go back to work in Jhb the next day and I stayed at Sondela with Nic and a friend for the next 4 days.  I was miserable.  All I could think of was moving to a place where I knew no-one except my best friends’s best friend (yes that was weird I know) . Hubby would go to work every day with colleagues and I would just be alone.

I came home and we never spoke of it again.  Perhaps if I ignored it, it would go away.   As the development got closer and closer to completion, hubby was travelling  up and down to CT all the time, pursuing business and looking at the progress with his boss.  The date kept moving .... first Jan, then March and then July and boom ..... suddenly a fantastic offer came up for furnished offices in Stellenbosch, the lease was signed and 1 April became the day.  He told me that he was not going to drive and sit in the traffic forever from the Southern Suburbs as he had already spent a lifetime sitting in the traffic to Jhb for 2 hours morning and night.  He loved Gordons Bay.

In the middle of March hubby and I flew down to Gordons Bay to look at houses.  We spent 2 days in Cape Town while he worked and I meandered everywhere.  We got to Gordons Bay.  All I could think of was seaside village.  Somewhat like Umdloti.   But this sea, this sea is unlike anything I have seen except in Mauritius.  Still, flat and on sunny days, as turquoise and navy swirled as you can imagine.  But it was a seaside village.  The main street along the beach had a book shop, coffee shop, all sorts of everything shop, an icecream shop, a vintage shop, an incredible fish take out shop, a hairdresser,  a few little eateries and a shop of gemstones, reiki and other stuff.  Oh and a vape shop.  That is all the walking distance stuff.  By car you will find a short distance away 3 brands of supermarkets, a Woolies Foodmarket, Clicks, Pep, SpecSavers, the usual takeaways and one or two more.  No big retailers, no movies, no other shops, no branded shops, no big clothes shops, no Mr Price - for that you have to drive to Somerset West ..... about 20ish minutes away where there is a big mall with every shop you could want in it and surrounded by the other upmarket stores and shopping centres .  My great love however was that I had googled GB and found that they had a 2nd hand book store.  This book store is more like a book hypermarket in an old house by the beach ..... it is mind blowing the amount of stock.

I clearly remember sitting at the little coffee place on the beach, tears running down my face and telling hubby “I will never fit in here” ... I am not used to living where there actually is nothing and maybe I am too loud for Gordons Bay.

How God must have laughed as he looked down at me, thinking my child if only you knew.  Do not worry about tomorrow - I am already there and I know the plans I have for you.

In between hearing that we need to move, and March, two major things happened.  I finished off at my job at the end of December, so that meant I did not have the trauma of having to leave my job to move.

Later on, a lot of stuff happened and my best friend and I parted ways.  It did not matter whether I was moving or not.  I was shattered.  And I miss that friendship all the time.  I like to think that person misses the friendship as well.

So the end of March rolled around.  Him, Nic and I packed up everything he needed to take and set off on a road trip to GB.  We slept over at Colesberg and Nic got to see an entire side of our beautiful country that he had never seen before.  Eug had by a stroke of luck found out that the owner of the guesthouse we stayed in in March, was not only an estate agent, but also had a beautiful place 100m from the beach, which she agreed to rent to Eug for 5 months.  Jess flew down when we got here and we spent the 4 days getting groceries and unpacking and sorting Eug.  We walked on the beach morning and night,  I made my mandatory visit to the book shop and us 3 returned home with a serious collection of books.  Suddenly it seemed a bit more homely.  I was at the coffee shop everyday.  We bought incense and gem necklaces at the beach shop ... we explored the neighbour hood.  Suddenly I found my heart turning.  It was everything that my childhood city was not.  Quiet.  Absolutely beautiful sunrises and sunsets on the water.  This little area on the beach road is where everyone hangs out and it was creeping into my heart. The thought of walking our dogs on the beach. The sense of community.  The cleanest place I have seen.  The lack of insane taxis.

We went home.  For Easter hubby came home for 2 days.  Then at the end of April Nic went to him for 10 days.  I have been here for the past week.  And just like this, I now call 2 places home.  Here and Pretoria.  I have explored and know everything around here.  The coffee shop people all know me by name.  When I come here they remember me.  The bookstore staff recognise me.  I also always come home with piles of books and when I go to GB I take piles of books for them.

I have already located a new nail and massage and everything else place - Gordons Bay Wellness - I went there today and was astounded to find that her life was so much like mine ... her husband came to work in the Cape.  He relocated from Gauteng alone and they followed afterwards, just like us.  Even more bizarre was that she not only grew up in the suburb we stay in in Pretoria but in the same street, just a block away.  Sometimes you just click with someone.  They laugh like you, they chat like you.  Somewhere in my heart I think that this is going to grow into a lovely friendship.  She has also told me where I should cut my hair.  Good sign. From her I also learnt where hubby can go and renew his licence disk and get a CEY number plate.

So now?  Now I am sad to leave tonight .... to leave my hubby and to leave GB.  I have a renewed sense of urgency to pack up 23 years of stuff in our house and get the damn painting finished.  It has to be put on the market because I cannot move until it is sold.

“The company feels that there are great growth opportunities for it in the Cape” says hubby whilst we are sitting on the stoep of our chalet in Sondela Lodge about 9 months ago.  “They want me to go and start up the business from scratch and then be the boss of it”.

“Oh what an exciting and wonderful new adventure for us”.  That is what I should have said.

Be good to yourselves.

c’est  la vie xxxxx

The Intricacies of being an Heir

  There are things they don't tell you when your parents die.  There are things you are not prepared for when one parent dies and the ot...