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Tag Archives: Work

I Won an Award O.o

Out of the blue I received a call from a colleague in another department. She wanted to know if I had agreed to attend the event in Johannesburg.  I had absolutely no clue what she was talking about. She was a bit surprised that I was completely unaware that I was invited to go. Flights were to depart 2 days later and she was actually calling to confirm my ID number so that she could book my ticket. I made a few calls to see if I could arrange for someone to look after my children and called her back to confirm my attendance. I asked if anyone else in my department would be there and one other person was attending as well as another from a different portfolio. She briefly explained that we had been chosen as part of a group of the top 25 agents in customer care and would be attending an award ceremony and a workshop the next day. The other agents were all from our outsourced business partners.

I wasn’t exactly sure how this had happened, so I went to my manager to ask her. She apparently had not realized she was supposed to tell me about it and had only been asked a few days prior to nominate the people she felt deserved to go. She explained that she looked at our departmental stats and had considered our work ethic and attitude before putting forward the two names she had chosen. She told me one of the things that stood out to her was when I left a meeting exclaiming that I had work to do. I had to laugh. I was just being honest! At the time I felt that my time was being wasted and could be better utilised, so I left. Ultimately it was a bit self serving as our remuneration is based on the time we take to get to our assigned work and I felt that I could do better if I put a bit more pressure on myself.

Hurriedly arrangements were made for us to depart to Johannesburg. Everything was arranged on very short notice and we were only informed after 17:00 what time our flights the next day were scheduled for. Luckily with the shift Rudi was working it was possible for him to take me to the airport on the Thursday, as well as to collect me on the Friday. We had breakfast together before I boarded and off to Johannesburg I went. We arrived at our hotel too early to check in, so we had lunch while we waited for them to get our rooms ready. Having had a long and busy day already and not having any commitments prior to the evening event my colleagues and I desperately wanted to take a nap. Finally when our rooms were cleaned we went our separate ways to relax before getting dressed for the black tie do later. I was really looking forward to a nap, but only managed about 40 minutes before waking up for no reason. Ugh. I watched a bit of TV, had a shower and got dressed as the shuttle was going to collect us for the event.

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We arrived at our head office to a man armed with a camera and were lead into our building to the conference center where a red carpet was laid out. We were served cocktails and canapés while waiting for everyone to arrive. We entered a beautifully decorated room. The table settings were all white and gold. There were floating candles in long vases, flower arrangements,  huge feathers and gold chairs at the tables. Everything was stunning.

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Our resident in house MC who is really amazing and hilarious welcomed us and kicked off the speeches where the top brass from our quality division who initiated this recognition programme spent some time explaining to us what an achievement it was to be there. Being as self deprecating as I am I still have trouble believing that I have won this award. They really did make a huge deal out of it and showered us with praise, motivation to continue what we were doing and a request to spread our passion for what we do among our colleagues that we work with every day. We were all called up onto the stage one by one to take pictures with the executives and handed a certificate for “Excellence in Customer Service” as well as a gift.

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The food was really amazing and I regretted having a big lunch. There was also an open bar which is something that I haven’t seen at a company event in years. Once all the formalities were out of the way the DJ played while we danced until it was almost midnight before being collected by the shuttle to return to the hotel. I honestly cannot remember the last time I danced so much. I had such a good time. Before the event I wasn’t happy about the late hour that we would be getting back the hotel. It is WAY past my bedtime and I am a woman who often chooses sleep above staying awake to watch a movie or read, but I found myself feeling disappointed when the evening was drawing to a close.

picsart_04-11-01.55.36.jpgPerhaps it was for the best as Friday morning was an early start to catch breakfast at the hotel and head off to our head office for a workshop. I have been working for my company for 16 years and had never been to our head office. I was excited by the prospect of finally getting to see it. I wasn’t disappointed. The campus is huge and consists of many buildings. I managed to pinch off a little time to meet some of the people I work with daily which was really awesome and at the same time I got to see a little more than just the building we visited. I also received some baked goods from said people to butter me up for future business 😉

Before we knew it the day was gone and we had to rush back to the airport. We could have taken our time though since our flight was delayed twice and we ended up leaving more than 2 hours later than scheduled. That aside I had such an amazing time. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience from start to finish.

The delayed flight was frustrating, but arriving at the airport to two little voices screaming “Mommeeeeeeeeeeeeeee” excitedly was the best feeling! It was so awesome that they were so excited to see me. Although the hotel had amazing pillows, no bed sleeps like your own bed 🙂

It was really nice to be recognized at work. Sometimes you don’t realize that what you do daily is appreciated.

 

I’ve Come Undone

I’ve been off from writing personal posts for a long time. There has been so much going on with me. There is so much I’m trying to work through. I feel like all the broken bits inside of me that I have been patching up from time to time have ripped loose. I’ve come undone. It’s such a mess and clearly the glue I’ve been using is of an inferior quality. Now I’m sitting surrounded by these shards of glass. I’m too afraid to touch them, if I do I’ll cut myself and bleed again, but I need to pick them up. I can’t just leave the mess. I have no idea how to piece things back together. I’ve made a start, but the pieces of glass are scary. I don’t know how to pick them up. I know which ones should be thrown away, but I don’t know where to put them. I know that I’m strong enough to do it, I must be. After all the demons I’ve faced in my life, I know I’m strong. I see the demons reflected in the pieces of glass and they also still scare me, these memories. Piecing these things back together isn’t a job that can be done wearing kid gloves. You need to  get right in there and handle those things with your bare hands.

So in the middle of October as they do every year, my feelings started rising to the surface. I started suffering from anxiety and slipped into depression. There were days that I struggled to lift my head off my pillow and drag myself in to work. I would cry while applying my make up in the mornings and would continue on the way to work. By the time I arrived I would wonder why I even bothered putting on make up at all. This is the second year around Jamie’s birthday that I’ve started feeling this way, except this year it was a lot worse and it carried on way past her birthday. As I’m typing this I am still struggling with the anxiety and the tears that just come. It is better now than it was a month ago, the depression did not hang around long. I had a few really tough days, but that eased off once Jamie’s birthday was behind me. A friend recognized my struggle and urged me to get help. I did, but it was a temporary arrangement that I cannot afford to maintain. Honestly, I did find it very helpful and I wish I could continue, but it just isn’t financially viable even though it is invaluable. Right now I’m left trying to figure it all out on my own. I’ve been avoiding the pieces of glass for so long. I thought I had it all together and handled, but it has become clear to me that I do not and now I have to do the work. There is no going back. There is no more faking it till you make it. I need to deal. I just haven’t figured out yet exactly how.

I went through almost a month where I didn’t even open my blog to write anything down. In my 10 years of blogging, this is unheard of. I stopped doing nail art for a few weeks. A first since my nail obsession started. I couldn’t even find the motivation to do a nail post, which is usually fairly easy for me. Luckily I had a few drafted posts that I could push out in the interim so my blog only went silent for about a week when they had finally run out. Writing on my blog has always been cathartic for me. I blogged though some of the most difficult times of my life with much success (or so I thought, that inferior glue). The deterioration of my relationship with my mother, the loss of Jamie, my grandfather’s illness and subsequent death. I just couldn’t sit down and pour out what is inside this time.

I am struggling at home. It is peak season for Rudi at work and this sees him away from home even more frequently than he was before. While I have adjusted somewhat, day in and day out it starts becoming too much. I’ve realized things about myself and identified why I react a specific way in certain situations. I know now that I am a bit of a control freak and if things do not go precisely as I want them (or very close) I get upset. So yes, having kids is super fun for me. I like to plan things down to the finest detail. I cannot “go with the flow” unless my plan was specifically to do so. Yes. It is weird, I know. When I was getting help I was given homework. I could not find the time to do any of it. I really tried. I did, but I just couldn’t carve out time in my day to sit and work on piecing the glass back together. When I get home in the evening I need to cook, clean, attend to the kids, bath time, etc. We get home around 17:00 and 20:00 is bed time. That’s 3 hours to get everything done. Gabby still likes to have a reunion feed when we get home, so that takes about 20 minutes in itself. Elijah will go and play with his friends and Gabby has started wanting to follow suit. I cannot let her go play outside alone, so if she demands to go I have to accompany her. Cue not getting anything else done. Trying to herd them back into the house for supper time (if I’ve been able to cook)/bath time can sometimes take a half an hour and usually ends with me picking Gabby up and carrying her home with Elijah in tow. Gabby has also suddenly become averse to bathing. She just won’t! A lot of nights she stands with one foot only in the bath screaming at me until I manage to wipe her down. Hair washing nights are very difficult. I lose my cool. ALL THE TIME. In between getting them out of the bath and dressing them I can be found sitting in a heap crying from frustration 8/10 nights. Before the tears comes the yelling. They don’t listen. I speak. I speak again. I speak again. Finally I shout. Nothing works. Not the speaking, not the shouting. Admittedly the tears also come because I feel like a horrible mother for shouting at them. I genuinely feel terrible for doing it, but I completely lose it and it’s like I can’t not. I have tried to stop many times. It is usually short lived.

Until we received a written warning from our body corporate complaining about the noise very recently. Somebody reported it. I really needed that written confirmation of my complete and utter failure as a mother. Thank you for that, dear neighbour. If I remove my emotions from the situation, I can envision that the complaint was made with good intent, perhaps even out of concern. I get it. The problem is and has always been that I have too many feelings. This written warning was a wake up call for me. My rock bottom. It made me feel like it is not only me that thinks I’m a shit mother. It is now a shared sentiment, common knowledge. Since receiving the complaint I’ve tried to be very careful. I’ve tried my best not to shout. The night after I received the e-mail Gabby was crying in the bath, standing on one leg wanting to get out. I tried to calm her, to quiet her…worried about the warning I had just received. I didn’t shout. Instead I sat sobbing by the side of the bath feeling completely powerless to do anything. Eventually I managed to suck it up enough to get her washed and out of the bath. It wasn’t the last time that night that I cried.

Sometimes I just want to escape. I just want to run away. I miss having help around the house. I miss it a lot. I am not going to get it back though, so I’m stuck feeling overwhelmed. Rudi is talking about applying for a new job where he will be driving long distance. He mentioned being away from home for 16 days at a time. I said under no circumstances do I want that for our family, but all he sees is making enough money to finally buy our own house. All I see is my children missing their father and time that they cannot get back with him.

The latter half of 2015 is kicking my ass. Come to think of it, this entire year has kicked my ass in different ways. In the beginning of the year Rudi was changing jobs and as a family we were under a lot of financial pressure for a number of months. This only settled down once he was made permanent in July. During that time my previous car broke and I had to buy a new one and it was very stressful not knowing if I was going to be able to pay for it. Just as the financial issues sorted themselves out, I had to adjust to taking on everything at home and a month or two into that my coping mechanisms gave in.

All in all I think I will be glad to see the back of 2015 and hope that 2016 will bring some sparkle back. Good riddance to 2015!

Thank you for reading x

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Rolling in the Deep End – Rudi’s New Job

Life has been super hectic lately. Rudi has been permanently appointed at his new job. This is absolutely great news for us! It means that we will at least have a basic salary to rely on at the end of each month as opposed to the drips and drabs we have been getting since the beginning of the year. He was supposed to be permanent from the first of June, but an administrative balls up at the office means he only signed his contract on the 16th of June. This means that all the work he did from the 1st to the 16th he was still classified as a contractor and will be paid less than he would have if his contract had been signed on time. It is so very annoying because we finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel, only for the light to be switched off. Not by Eskom, mind you! So he’ll likely only get half a salary this month and since the overtime cut off is the 16th of the month, any overtime he has worked while permanent will only be paid out at the end of July. Now we’ll be wishing another month away in the hopes of having some extra cash flow. He has been working so very hard. We barely see him. From the first of June he did not have one day off until the 21st where he finally got one day off, only to return back to the grindstone the next day. I have been concerned about him not having any time off and not getting enough rest, but he insists he is fine.

I don’t know who this is harder for, me or the kids. Elijah has always been very close with his dad. Since he was a baby, really and never having him around has been really hard on him. He regularly expresses sadness because his father is not home with us. Often Rudi only comes home after they have gone to bed and leaves again before they get up in the morning, sometimes days go by without them seeing him. Since Gabby is very attached to me it doesn’t seem to bother her too much, but she is still really excited when daddy does come home before bedtime. As for me…while I do miss Rudi, we chat during the day via Whatsapp and phone, so we do have constant contact. Rudi used to be very hands on when he was home. He used to cook and help out bathing the kids. Now I’m doing it all alone. Do we need something from the shop? I’ll get it. Do we need to eat? I’ll cook. Kids need to bath? I’ll bath them. The day mother needs bags packed? Sure thing (this has always been my responsibility). Dishes? Here, let me. Clean the house? I’ll get it! Kids sick? I’ll get them to the doctor, get meds and administer them. It is chaos. All.The.Time. I knew I had it easy with all the help I had before. I appreciated it then, but even more now.  Throw loadshedding into the mix and I am totally screwed some evenings. If we have the 18:00 – 20:30 slot and I don’t get home around 17:00 like we do most days, I can forget about cooking, we have to bath/shower in the dark and the kids go to sleep super early because it is dark and they are bored. If we have the 16:00 – 18:30 slot, I have to start cooking much later and that delays everything. I can’t exactly bath the kids at 17:00 and keep them indoors. Elijah wants to play with his friends outside/at their house so I have to wait. Thanks Eskom!

Sometimes my evenings look like this:wpid-img-20150603-wa0030.jpegwpid-wp-1435296954885.jpegThese 2 photos above were taken within seconds of each other. A lot of my evenings look like this at some point. Sometimes Elijah is playing with friends in the complex and they possibly look like this (if I actually have time to give them my undivided attention between the cooking/cleaning/preparing for the next day):wpid-img-20150620-wa0015.jpegRudi has migrated Elijah into our bed since he is often not there or gets home too late to go and lay down with him until he falls asleep. It’s a tight squeeze. All 4 of us in one king size bed. Although, I must admit while it is winter this is a warm arrangement. Heaven knows what we’ll do in summer. Before Elijah came over, I was able to turn around and cuddle Rudi if Gabby was content sleeping unlatched by herself. Now I turn around and am faced with Elijah, which means zero cuddle time for Rudi and I. I miss that. While I realize some people may cringe at the idea of having their children in their bed and will cluck their tongues and say “You’ll never get them out of there”, this arrangement is working for us right now. It means nobody feels left out and everybody gets a good night’s sleep. In fact, I listened to advice from people before Elijah was born and moved him into his own room when he was 4 months old. I also made sure he always slept in his cot before he moved out of our room. With Gabby co-sleeping was the only option for me as I successfully breastfed her and I’m all about that convenience. No getting up out of a warm bed for feeds for me thankyouverymuch. After co-sleeping with Gabby for a while I regretted not doing it with Elijah. I really felt like I had missed out on something special with him. My mornings look like this:wpid-img-20150612-wa0002.jpegI have been getting a lot of comments lately from people about still breastfeeding Gabby. Actually, the comments are usually directed at her. “When are you going to stop drinking boobs?” “Gabby, it’s time for you to get off the boob now”. Really? I just don’t understand how it affects anyone other than Gabby and myself. Breastfeeding is the most wonderful thing in her life and the most useful mothering tool for me. Another thing I missed out on with Elijah. No matter what crops up with Gabby, breastfeeding is the answer. Tired? Boob. Get hurt? Boob. Overstimulated? Boob. Thirsty? Boob. Bored? Boob. Tantrum? Boob. Best.Thing.Ever. When people ask ME when I plan to wean her, I usually just answer “Maybe when she is in high school”. This is normally followed by nervous laughter. I’m starting to wonder if people think I’m serious. Perhaps the statement makes them realize that nursing a 30 month old isn’t so ridiculous after all. I don’t know and I really don’t care. My circus, my monkeys – Mind your own tits.

Breastfeeding selfie…can you even tell?wpid-img-20150622-wa0026.jpegRudi’s work schedule is still completely unpredictable, so we cannot plan our lives at all. He is always at work, so if we are invited somewhere or try to make plans, I usually have to exclude him from the equation. If he is able to come along, it’s a bonus. It isn’t like we had a roaring social life before, but it is rather limiting. We cannot, for example, plan to take the kids somewhere over the weekend, or commit to popping around somewhere for a braai. I can’t even plan something for myself as we do not have anyone at our disposal that can watch the children if Rudi isn’t there to look after them if I go out. It just isn’t logistically possible. While this part is sucky, I’m sure we will adapt. It is the kind of sacrifices we’ll have to make to have more money and to progress.

Rudi has big dreams. He dreams of buying a house of our own. I have learnt to have faith in his dreams. At the beginning of this year he said “2015 is my year. I can feel it.” I didn’t believe him. He was relentless and worked extremely hard and here we are. His first goal achieved, his first dream realized. Onwards and upwards!

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When Life Gets Tough

In the last two months or so my day to day life has changed dramatically. I have a very hands on and involved husband. He helps me tremendously with the kids and running the household. He has been stuck in a dead end job for many years. He didn’t earn a bad salary for the line of work he was in, but there is just no room for growth or any opportunity for promotion or even doing something different in the company. I have always been the breadwinner in the household and he has done his best, but if the things I hear are true this kind of thing bruises a man’s ego. Apparently men have a primal instinct to provide. I don’t really know, I’m not a dude. So just over 2 years ago he decided to try and do something to get himself into a better position.

His father is a truck driver. Has been for over 30 years. He had spoken about wanting to drive trucks before, but I didn’t know how serious he was about it. Before I knew it he was writing his learners and we were booking driving lessons. He only had 3 and aced his code 14 or EC. He applied for and obtained his PrDP (Professional Driving Permit) and the job hunting began. For 18 months he hounded company after company. I would send out his applications to firms on a daily basis using details he had collected by browsing career websites and cold calling numbers on trucks. He never let up. He was turned down time and time again because he had no experience. Then he decided that his license clearly wasn’t enough and he went to get certification to transport dangerous goods and again aced the test. Rinse, repeat. He would often bring up the job hunt over a beer with whoever and not too long ago he mentioned it to someone in our complex who works for a trucking company. This guy put a good word in for him with the boss and they let him come in to drive and show what he is made of.  The week that he spent training/driving was really rough. He left the house at 5:15 in the morning and came home after 19:00/20:00 and one night after 21:00. After 4 days of driving they put him alone on the truck and even got him to come in on the Saturday and gave him a truck to complete deliveries with no co-driver. He worked from early the morning till after 17:00 that Saturday. He came home with stories about driving trucks and how scary/complicated/dangerous it is that left me cold. If there is one thing I can say about my husband it is that he is an excellent driver. I trust him with our lives. He is by far a better driver than anyone I know. So the fact that he was driving well didn’t surprise me at all, but I felt like I barely saw him all week. Some nights he made it home just in time to kiss the kids goodnight. He was informed that he could start working there and that he would be on probation for a few months. He finally got a job after all his hard work. It was hard for me and for the kids. We missed him so much.

This job never felt “right” to me. He explained to me that the truck he was driving had no working indicators and the speedometer also didn’t work. That just didn’t sit well with me considering he was driving over mountain passes! He would also only earn overtime after working for 10 hours. The company is 35 km away from home in one direction. I had to pick him up a twice late at night with the kids in the car. Not ideal. The guy that put a good word in for him also told him that he always gets his pay on time, but hadn’t seen a payslip for the 8 years he had worked there. That kind of “under the table” thing doesn’t sit well with me. I’m a stickler for rules. I shut up and sucked it up, because I knew he needed the experience and that he is chasing a dream. I knew how hard he had fought just to get a chance.

On one of his days off that he took to sort out paperwork and resign from his old job, he took a chance and drove to a huge distribution center close to home. At first they wanted to turn him away, but one of the guys there told him to come in and take a driving test. It was scheduled for a Friday, but they moved it up to the Thursday. I happened to be on leave on the same day to get my hair done and run some errands. I took him to the distribution center early in the morning and went off to go about my day. He was the only one that passed the driving test. The next thing he knew they were taking his fingerprints and making him an access disk. He had landed the job! I was ecstatic! It is only 8 km from home and is a big retail chain, so much more stability and structure than a fly by night tax evader, no? He had to start the very next day at 2:30 AM! We immediately went out and bought a him a scooter (motorcycle) so that he could get to and from work independently. We don’t even know what his new salary will be, but I’m pretty sure he is going to be earning enough overtime to bridge any gap there might be in what he is earning. I don’t know whether or not there will be more money coming in. I freaking hope so, considering how much less of him we see. Despite it not being about the money, fair is fair. Sacrifice should equal reward.

We are a little frustrated at the moment since he doesn’t get called in to work every day. He gets paid by the hour as he is not a permanent employee, so no work, no pay. He asks to work every day, but a lot of days there isn’t work for him. It looks like we’ll come up short in the budget again this month and it is really stressful. I work with the finances and I am a worrier by nature, so it really takes an emotional toll on me. Apparently they will be appointing permanent drivers really soon. We can just pray and keep the faith that he will be permanently appointed in which case he will get a basic salary plus overtime.

That aside, I now have to do the things he was doing plus whatever I did. I’ve always been against him doing long distance driving. I don’t care about the money. Money cannot buy your children’s childhood back. Money cannot buy missed events, missed memories. Money does, however, pay school fees/rent/child care/new winter clothes for the kids/groceries. Here’s hoping he will be permanently appointed very soon so that we can be guaranteed at least his basic salary as an income.

Cross all the bits please!

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Time Off and Time Wasted

I’ve taken the day off work tomorrow.  I worked the weekend and work has been really heavy. We work both days of the weekend, which mean you work 12 consecutive day when you work a weekend and that happens every 3 weeks. So you have 2 out of every 3 weekends off.  Because the work load has been extra heavy, instead of leaving work at about 11:30 on a weekend, we ended up working till after 2 both days. It doesn’t sound like much longer, but that is almost a full day. 12 full working days in a row are killer. I’m so exhausted. So, I decided to take the day off. Luckily nobody in my team is off so it was possible. This decision was hastily made when Rudi informed me he may be playing darts all day on Sunday and I realized that there was no rest in store for me.

 

I’m also feeling a little sick. I’ve been getting sick in a weird way this winter. Instead of getting the snots with a cough/sneezing, etc, I’ve been getting headaches, earaches and dizzy spells. Today I had a bit of nausea too. I’m not sure which I prefer. At least I can kill the pain with Panado, but the snots are very difficult to manage and nobody likes a raw nose. The dizzy feeling is really strange to me. I used to get it a lot when I was pregnant with PrincessIce, but I put it down to hormones and I also used to get it when getting up too fast, etc. This morning I was laying down on my bed feeding PrincessIce when I felt dizzy. No movement, no reason. Someone suggested it might be a middle ear infection. Luckily the pain isn’t too bad. I’ve had this before this year and didn’t require a doctor to sort it out, so hopefully it will keep on like this and just go away. I have just recovered from having a sore throat for about 10 days so I’m really bummed that I’m not well.

 

My last mani is still in pretty good condition, so doing my nails tomorrow might be senseless, but doing my nails in peace without being bothered might be nice. Also, I got a stamping kit that I’d really like to play around with. I might just mess around with it and not redo my mani. I’ll see how I feel! My weekend mani usually starts falling apart around Wednesday anyway, so might be worth a redo. On Saturday I’m going to Maskscara to go and acquire some more China Glazes! Be still my heart! I’ll also be getting the holy grail of top coats – Seche Vite! Enough rambling about manis, if you’re not into it then I’m probably speaking a load of Greek to you now.

 

Last month I burned through 3 GB of data on my phone. Yes, 3 GIGABYTES of data. ON MY PHONE. Holy crap balls. So when I saw Afrihost was launching a mobile offering of 5 GB (2 GB per month with 3 GB free till February) for R145.00 with a MiFi device for R1000.00 I thought it might be a good investment. Stupidly I didn’t try and pre-order to qualify for a free MiFi device, so they were sold out of free devices when I finally made up my mind and put in my order, but I did get R200.00 off my device at least. I placed my order on the 4th of September (Tuesday). They sent an e-mail saying once the money is debited from my bank account it can still take the bank up to 5 days to pay them the money and my order will only be sent once the money is paid to them, but then they only took the debit order on Saturday! So I’m still waiting. I’m starting to get so impatient. I’m so excited to have my very own WiFi at home (neighbour’s WiFi hasn’t been working for months now). I’ve even started having dreams about it! The data doesn’t roll over to the next month, so every day I wait for it is another day I can’t utilize my data. I also could of spent all day tomorrow watching nail art videos if it struck my fancy. *sigh*. HURRY UP DAMNIT!

Back at work

I returned to work on Tuesday. Reluctantly, of course.  I was surprisingly calm about everything. Monday night was normal. I packed my pumping equipment, handbag and baby’s things on Monday throughout the day. I hadn’t used my handbag in six months. I had been rocking a nappy bag which I just chucked my wallet into. I did my ‘back to work’ manicure, which I had planned more than a month prior when I bought a polish I felt would be perfect for it. I’ll do a post on that later. At no point did I panic thinking about going back the next day. I didn’t have “Sunday night blues”. I was numb. I just felt nothing.

 

 

I have had the most amazing maternity leave this time around. It was relaxed and I got plenty of rest. PrincessIce is such a chilled baby. I had a lot of breastfeeding hurdles to overcome, but none of them required intense physical activity or anything other than patience and determination. I watched a lot of series while breastfeeding which I had to do constantly for almost 12 weeks. PrincessIce isn’t the best sleeper during the day and after her 6 weeks of constant sleeping switched to cat naps  it became a little harder to nap with her. She did like to sleep “late” in the morning though. Once her brother and father left in the mornings she would have a quick feed and we would doze back off till around 9:00. It was heavenly. I bathed her in the early afternoons as not to occupy the bathroom in the evenings when everyone else needed it. Life was a peach. My maternity leave with Babyice was not as pleasant. He was a difficult baby. He cried a lot. There were also always a lot of bottles to wash and sterilize. Always something to do. My nesting kicked in after he was born so whenever he slept I was cleaning. With PrincessIce I tried to clean the kitchen on a daily basis, but other than that I slept when she slept, or rested while she slept. I’m not sure if the difference was simply their different personalities, or the fact that I was more experienced or perhaps because I was breastfeeding instead of bottle feeding. Whatever it was, I thoroughly enjoyed being at home with my baby.

 

 

I dreaded coming back to work. I was immensely saddened by the thought, but I didn’t panic. On some level I was trying to be an adult about it. No use pouting about it. Yes I complained a bit, but who wouldn’t? I know we don’t have any choice but for me to work. I know it is a fact of life and reality for most parents out there. I need to work and I need to accept that. I was at peace with the fact that I would have to return. Still very sad, but at peace. One of the things that made me so sad is the realization that I would be seeing my baby SO MUCH less. We finish work relatively early (when Rudi doesn’t work late) at 16:00 and then make our way home. If we get home at 17:00 after picking up the kids and maybe stopping at the shops, we have about 3 hours before the kids go to bed. Well, Babyice goes to bed around 20:00. PrincessIce goes to bed with us. Those 3 hours are filled with activity including bath time, supper preparations and sometimes getting things ready for the next day. That isn’t quality time. It would be even worse if we worked later. Having 3 hours a day with your children during the week should be a crime.  I work weekends sometimes too. Not every weekend, but that is more time apart from them. It is one of the reasons I insist on having a domestic. When we don’t have one we spend the majority of our weekend cleaning and ironing. More time we are not spending with our kids. Life is so busy. They grow up so fast. SO FAST. Such a cliche, but it became one because it is so true! I don’t want to miss my kid’s childhood because I’m too busy cleaning. I’m already missing enough of it because I am working. I have to work to sustain them, I wouldn’t work just to keep myself occupied (at least not before they go to school). If I didn’t need the money, I wouldn’t do it.

 

So the day dawned and I got up at sparrow’s fart, which is my regular wake up time. Actually even earlier because I have to fit in a morning feed for PrincessIce before we leave. I get up and get myself ready, then change and feed PrincessIce while Rudi gets himself and Babyice ready. I arrived at work and saw one of our admin ladies first. I managed to bite back the tears. I almost manage to make it to my desk when I was intercepted by another colleague that thought it a good idea to give me a hug. Rookie mistake. He inadvertently turned on the waterworks. Shame. He felt so bad, but it wasn’t him. Two of my friends at work decided to make up my desk for me as a welcome back.

 

Balloons and "welcome back" sign

Balloons and “welcome back” sign

 

Laminated pictures of the kids (stolen from Instagram it would seem)

Laminated pictures of the kids (stolen from Instagram it would seem)

 

A photo frame with pictures of PrincessIce

A photo frame with pictures of PrincessIce

 

 

There was just no stopping the tears then. I was truly touched by the gesture. Especially the pictures of the kids. For some reason it hadn’t occurred to me to bring pictures of PrincessIce to work.

 

 

I felt sad and tearful the entire day. Apparently PrincessIce felt the same at the day mother. She must have really enjoyed the long weekend spending time with me or perhaps she picked up on my feelings the morning.

 

I found a place to express at work. It is a quiet room on a different floor in our well-being area. Unfortunately you can’t lock the door. I discussed this with the lady that runs the well-being side of things and she made a sign for me to put on the door to prevent any unexpected interruptions:

 

Expressing Sign

Expressing Sign

 

The lights in the room have a weird dimmer switch and I didn’t know how to operate it. My first express was in the near dark, but on my second time someone showed me how to operate the lights and now I don’t have to worry about where to express at work.

 

 

My team have been very gracious and have been understanding and are helping me ease back into things slowly. I was actually scheduled to work my first weekend back, but they even re-scheduled the entire weekend roster so that I don’t have to. I was so relieved that they did. Co-incidentally I was invited to attend a Huggies event on Saturday which I wouldn’t want to miss.

 

It’s day 3 back at work and I’ve started doing some actual work. It already feels like I never left. How sad is that? I was gone for half a year and in only 3 days it is as if that never happened.

 

Onwards and upwards!

Dummy fail

On Friday we went to have a braai/sleepover at a friend, G. It was a lovely evening. The food was good and we enjoyed the company. It was a bit of a mission getting Babyice down, but I managed it. He wasn’t happy about the sleeping arrangements after Rudi came to bed and we ended up playing musical beds/couch. On Saturday morning I decided to take a swim in the bath tub. The bath tub at G’s house is HUGE. I felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. I didn’t fill the tub up like she did, but even with shallow water it was amazing. I lay back and put a face cloth over my eyes and just enjoyed it. It was probably the best bath I have ever had in my life. It is so awesome to bath in a bath that isn’t ‘too tight’ on you. We then ventured off for breakfast at Skilpadvlei Wine Farm. It was lovely! While we were busy eating, G decided that we should have some champagne and orange juice, stepping the breakfast up to a wonderful champagne breakfast. We ate while looking out over the vineyards and mountains. It was so nice! We then went back to G’s house, I took a nap with Babyice and after eating some leftovers from the braai we decided to head home. After a wonderful start to the weekend, being home just brought irritation and conflict. House work had piled up and we were faced with mounds of laundry/ironing, it was hot and to top it all off, we had no water again last night. We queried around the complex and everyone was without water. It did come on later in the evening, but too late for Babyice to have a bath. Meh. (I did the cleaning, ironing and packing away, BTW)

 

I’ve been trying to get Babyice to leave his dummy (pacifier), but he has started to demand it and want it all day, every day. We were succeeding at giving it to him only at bed time for a while, but I think Rudi showed him a crack in the front and he jumped at it. He started whining for the dummy at all times and would throw tantrums if it was not given to him when he demanded it. The day mother has absolutely no problems with it. He hands her the dummy when his nap is done and even after we arrive in the mornings he would simply give it to her once we had left. It is a clear cut case of manipulation on his part. I keep trying to tell Rudi he needs to put up with the screaming/crying and distract Babyice when he calls for the dummy, to no avail.

 

So we tried something else. A colleague gave me that stuff you paint on your nails if you’re a nail biter to help you stop. It tastes awful. I decided we would paint this onto the dummies. On Friday when I wanted to try it Rudi didn’t want to. On Sunday in church Rudi kept asking Babyice to give him the dummy. No other children had dummies besides him. It seemed to me that Rudi was embarrassed to have such a ‘big’ child sucking a dummy when other kids his age were dummy free. I pounced on the opportunity and after his Sunday afternoon nap we gave it a whirl. At first he sucked the dummy like nothing was amiss. I was confused. I thought perhaps I had put too little on. He then removed the dummy, pointed at his mouth and said ‘Mommy, eina’. I suspected that his mouth *might* be sore. He actually ASKED for medicine. Not like him! We gave him a different dummy (also ‘tainted’) and he pulled a face of disgust and gave it back. We told him the dummies must have gone ‘sour’. He tried another few times during the course of the day, eventually tossing the dummy across the house because he didn’t want it. SUCCESS?! No. Not quite.

 

Come bed time I put him down and again offered him a ‘sour’ dummy. He gave it back and said he didn’t want it. I walked out, things were quiet and I thought we had succeeded. He repeatedly came out of his room and screamed and cried if we tried to leave him there. Eventually I relented and gave him a dummy that had nothing painted on it and he still refused to sleep. We ended up going to bed so that he could sleep with us. Epic fail.

 

I now think I should just give up and let it go. Perhaps we’ll try and be more strict between sleep time and distract him when he asks for the dummy. Like @alambchop said, it’s not like you see 8 year old children sucking a dummy.

 

Work has been super frustrating. We’ve been tasked with the work we hate to do again. I’m not sure if there is an end in sight. I hope so. I hate this kind of work. I’m just not cut out for it. I don’t have much of a choice though and my entire team has to do the work. I could be miserable about it (like I was all day Thursday last week), or just suck it up and do what I need to do until it goes away. Focus on the positive.

Party Time

So the party went beautifully. Despite the jumping castle we ordered having a big hole in it being replaced by a different one. Despite Babyice being in a particularly foul and tearful mood.Luckily the jumping castle guy noticed the problem before they delivered the jumping castle and called me to arrange a replacement before delivering it, well in advance of the delivery time.

 

I slept late, till after 9. When I got up I made up all the party packs. I have pictures of these since I used my phone camera to take the photos! I was really chuffed at how they turned out!

 

Ready to fold

Folded

Contents

In the box

All done!

Names from the top

 

I had a shower and was then picked up by my friend helping me with the arrangements who had taken half day at work for the event. We went to fetch the birthday cake and buy some chips and ingredients for the punch before heading to the day mother. The birthday cake wasn’t as awesome as last year’s one in my opinion, but it did taste good. Also, they gave us a voucher for the cake at the shop and we ended up getting it for free! That was quite a pleasant surprise 🙂

 

When we arrived at the day mother the kids were busy eating after they had slept. The jumping castle was laid out on the lawn ready to be switched on. Babyice was really happy to see me. Every time I left his sight he thought I must be leaving and would stand and cry on the spot, despite reassurance from me. Eventually we just brought him outside while we were setting up, which didn’t really help since he continued to cry every time I went to fetch something inside. We set up the tables and while we were busy the kids started showing interest. We switched on the jumping castle and they began having a blast. The jumping castle was quite a hit, for everyone except Babyice. I really thought he would love the idea of climbing up the one side and sliding/jumping/bouncing down the other, but he refused. ‘Mommy scared’. What he seemed to enjoy the most was playing in the sand under the tree and then playing with the water in a bucket that the day mother had given him to rinse his hands off in.

 

We managed to make the singing and blowing of the candle a big deal this year. Last year it was sort of an afterthought instead of being part of the party (hey, I’m new at this!). We had a bit of a fail when the time came to light the candle. Nobody had a lighter or matches! Luckily Rudi managed to dig some stray matches out of the car, but then we had to contend with the wind! We somehow got the candle lit and we started singing. Babyice seemed to realize that everyone was singing for him, so he smiled and dug his face into my shoulder (I was holding him at the time). He blew the candle (which Rudi had to re-light while we were singing). This time everybody got a piece of cake and we then handed out ice cream. The kids loved it! I bought 3 different kinds of ice cream and the kids all seemed to want a specific kind…I was lucky that I didn’t run out and that they each got the one they preferred! We then went to open gifts in the kitchen. Babyice is an awesome gift opener. He will tear the paper open and it doesn’t matter WHAT is inside he will stretch open his eyes and say ‘WOW!’. It’s so very adorable. He mostly got clothes, which is great, but for some reason most of the clothes purchased were size 3- 4. At least that means we can use it in future 🙂 My grandmother bought him the most awesome soft towelling night gown with a hoodie. It is blue with red warsaws (dinosaurs) on it. Babyice loves it (because he loves warsaws) and I love it because I love hoodies and have been looking for a gown for him for a while now. It has just been too hot for us to let him wear it yet 🙂

 

I think all the kids enjoyed the party. That was totally the point and I am happy with how it all turned out. We also didn’t run out of camera batteries or punch this time!

 

Here he is playing with his gift from us:

 

From Mommy and Daddy 🙂

 

And here is one other mobile picture I got…trying to eat his candle (and regretting it):

 

Yuck!

 

He was suitably dirty at this point from playing in the sand, getting wet, eating ice cream and being a boy.

 

He has been in quite a foul mood for the past week and a half or so and this didn’t lift for his birthday. It’s still happening. He slept poorly this weekend, but it has been sweltering with temperatures soaring to 40 degrees in our province yesterday. Around midnight last night he was hopping around our bed and keeping us out of sleep for quite some time. Not crying or moaning at all this time, but seemed to be in a playful mood when we wanted to sleep. He threw tantrums in church yesterday and another epic tantrum at home. We had to give him his dummy for most of the weekend, just to soothe him! You all know how I feel about that dummy. I’ve gotten him so far as to take it out of his mouth when he talks to me at least 🙂 He has also had a runny nose for a couple of days now. I wonder if his moods are not being caused by the infamous two year molars. They are the only outstanding teeth and are renowned for causing bad tempers. As it always is with teething, we shall have to wait and see. So much guesswork.

 

My weekend turned out to be more interesting than I anticipated. Rudi arranged a potjie with Lindor’s friends for Saturday. I did not want to go, but thought I would make a concession for him since he has been home  A LOT more than usual since the darts season has ended and Lindor has moved away. Just before we left Sarah contacted me and she was in need. Rudi took one look at me and said ‘Go’. This is indicative of how serious the situation is. I had to drop him and Babyice off at his friends and make a detour at the bottle store and ended up at Sarah’s place an hour after I had spoken to her.

 

We shared a bottle of wine and spoke. It was lovely spending an afternoon with her on a Saturday, something we almost never do. Despite the dire circumstances I enjoyed my afternoon there, but cut it short to honour my original invitation. We agreed she would come over that night after we were home for a little more girl time and comfort.

 

Today, although nothing weird has happened I have started getting that “anxious” feeling again. The beginning of that feeling I had when my blood pressure and heart rate were elevated and I thought I was going to die. I still don’t know why. Leebeesa gave me a mild sedative and it has taken the edge off. Perhaps it is work? There is nothing bad going on at work at the moment, but there is a continuous tension in my team which could cause it? One of the people I have conflict with most often is not here today and I started feeling this way after I knew that they wouldn’t be at work. This has been going on for months though…so it’s not recent.

 

Maybe it’s gym. I know we have to go back today. I was fine all weekend, then suddenly this morning again? Perhaps I am afraid of injuring my knee again. Or scared that it is not ready for me to exercise it yet. Maybe that is what is making me anxious. I don’t plan to swim at gym today at all…so that couldn’t be it.

 

What on earth could it be?!

 

P.S. Yes. I know I owe you party photos. I still owe you Christmas photos. Don’t hold your breath. I will do it. Promise!

Weekend

Despite the fact that I was working our weekend turned out to have a few nice surprises.

 

On Thursday when we got home we found a man standing on top of a ladder in front of our front door. He was removing the light bulb from our outside light. We were puzzled since we had not reported any fault with the light. It turned out that he was an Eskom employee and he had come to replace ALL our old light bulbs with energy saving light bulbs – free of charge! None of the light bulbs in the house were energy saving and he replaced every single bulb. We had never bothered doing it since we rent and do not own the place. The light in the house is very different now. Unlike the older ‘big’ energy savers, these don’t switch on dim and brighten as they ‘heat up’. They switch on almost like a fluorescent light. It looks like day light when the lights are switched on now. It is actually pretty nice. The best part is that the bulbs were not only free, but we benefit now too because we will be saving electricity. We were lucky to catch the gentleman before he abandoned hope of anyone coming home and headed out.

 

Saturday was a very frustrating work day for me. The application we work on was fried and responding painfully slowly while trying to do anything. At one point I got so frustrated I broke my keyboard! Luckily we didn’t have a lot of work to do and we managed to head out after 11:00. We had a lunch scheduled with an old school friend of mine. Even though he lives in town and I live in the northern suburbs we only seem to get to each other about once a year. When we arrived he had laid a beautiful table for us and he made us the most DELICIOUS Thai Green Curry. The vegetables were still nice and crispy and the basmati rice was perfectly cooked. We had some fruit for starters. Not long after we arrived Elijah spotted the pool in the complex. Luckily I had a swimming nappy in his bag and they decided to take him for a swim. I got drenched in the process. Do not underestimate the size bomb a small person can make in a swimming pool! My friend jumped in, with ample warning, but I really thought he wouldn’t make much of a splash. I spent the next hour sunning my dress dry. It was a lovely afternoon. Some pics:

 

Table

 

Thai Green Curry Cooking

 

Fruit Starter

 

Thai Green Curry

 

Fun in the pool

Fun In The Pool

 

Lie Low 😛

 

Sunning Myself

 

I was very lucky to get that last photo. He was lying there for all of 5 seconds before he was on the move again. After the lunch we went to a kiddies party, which was already over by the time we got there. The party was moved from a Wednesday cake and tea to a proper party on Saturday, but we already had the lunch planned in advance so just popped by to drop off the gift we had gotten for the birthday girl.

 

Sunday was a much better day at work. No application issues and little work to do meant that I was only at work for just over 2 hours when I was able to leave. I went home and had a nap with Babyice. After an hour of trying to get him to sleep, Rudi took him for a drive and came to put him down next to me. I really wish he would get over this nonsense now and take his afternoon naps. On Sunday evening Lindor called and asked Rudi to come out with him for a beer. They haven’t seen each other in a long time, so I didn’t object. Lindor recently moved to Somerset West, which is a fair distance away. Since then he has been going through a divorce. I’ve never had much time for Lindor and he has received nothing but lip from me for a long time. I saw a different side to him last night. He said he thought having to deal with me to see his friend was one of his biggest problems, but now he knows what big problems are really like. I honestly don’t wish divorce on anybody. It is something I never, ever want to go through. Last night I really felt bad for him. He has lost a lot of weight. He wasn’t much overweight to begin with and the difference is noticeable. When he spoke of not being able to see his children whenever he wants to he cried. Not a sobbing, ugly cry, but he wiped away a tear. I could not imagine not being able to see my baby whenever I choose or whenever he wants to see me. I said to him last night that he is a lot less arrogant, he disagreed and said he still felt arrogant, but he realizes now that there are some things that money can’t buy. He had been doing really well for himself financially of late, but obviously this wasn’t enough. Last night he was giving Rudi some good advice for a change. He said things like ‘Don’t take for granted what you have now, because once it’s gone it might be too late’. I have no idea what was said when they were alone, but it was nice to see some sense come out of him.

 

Considering I had to work and I am totally exhausted, not a bad weekend.

 

It’s birthday week! Babyice will be turning 2 on Thursday! 😀

 

P.S. I’m supposed to be going back to gym today. My knee is practically 100%, but Rudi is working late, so I doubt it will happen. I can still feel my knee hurt a little bit every now and then, but I’m sure I will be able to train soon.

Lovely leave

I had a glorius, lazy week of leave. It was lovely. I was actually on leave from the 13th of October, but Rudi and I had had a fight and I wasn’t in a great mood. He then came home early from work and we carted him and Babyice off to the doctor as they were both not well. The doctor diagnosed them both with bronchitis. I had a viral throat infection as well, but I had no other symptoms so I just popped painkillers and sprayed my throat. R900 later we had a replenished pharmacy in our house and two sick boys. They both stayed home on Friday.

 

So, on Friday I baked a cake! At first I thought the cake had flopped because they seemed to come out really flat…but once the cake was iced it looked fine! It also tasted awesome! Yay me. I got a new piping bag to try and was messing around with the nozzles. I found the star nozzle quite easy to pipe with and I’m sure I can make some great cupcakes for Babyice’s next birthday. No help required from My Evil Mother! 😀

 

Cake 🙂

 

Yes, it’s not 100% neat and I couldn’t sell it…but it was just for us and we all loved it 🙂

 

On the Saturday Leebeesa came to look after Babyice as Rudi and I had planned a date night for him to make up for pissing me off the previous Saturday.  This does not include him pissing me off on Thursday! We went out to dinner to our usual favourite spot, Panarottis. We love their pizza and Rudi is gaga over their chillies. He usually bribes the waiter to bring him a take away container with extra chilli. We chatted about some of the issues we’ve been having lately. It has been really tense between us and Rudi misbehaving constantly hasn’t helped. This left me more and more resentful and frustrated and him not at all comprehending what I was upset about. We called a truce and went to see ‘Friends with benefits’. It was quite a cool movie and had a few funny moments. We had a good date. Even though we flared up at each other a few times in the following days, things are calmer now.

 

We had prepared some fish fingers for Babyice to eat while Leebeesa was watching him. While he was eating she said to him ‘Eat your fishy’. He looked at the fish fingers and said ‘Fishy. Nemo.’ and refused to eat any more! We suspect that he has made the connection between what he is eating and his favourite cartoon character…so when we feed him fish now we just tell him it’s chicken. He doesn’t seem to know the difference quite yet.

 

I spent practically the whole week doing as little as possible, catching up on series mostly. On Monday I did do all the washing, complete with carrying it up and down the stairs to hang it on the line. On Wednesday I went back to the dentist to replace the temporary filling he had put in for me the week before. It was painless, until the drugs wore off, but the next day everything was back to normal again.

 

On Saturday I returned to work. Taking leave before my working weekend might seem like a silly idea, but it really does have its benefits. Firstly it allows me to ease back into work since it’s not full day and instead of working 12 consecutive days, I only work 7 consecutive days. At least I *thought* I could ease into work…until I realized that my PC was stuffed. I had to sit at a different PC  both Saturday and Sunday. It really is inconvenient since all my applications and links, etc don’t work and I have to set up my profile on someone else’s machine. It took up a lot of my time. IT came to have a look on Monday and they will be coming to rebuild my machine tomorrow.

 

This week is slowly dragging by…and I have another Lindor weekend looming ahead of me. Rudi is going to be helping Lindor move his office (not just one office, the entire office) to Somerset West. Apparently his services (read: free labour) is required at 9AM on Saturday morning already. This means I won’t be seeing him AT ALL on Saturday. Heaven knows when he will make his way home >.<

 

I had plans with Sarah to go for a mani/pedi on Saturday, but we’ve postponed it anyway since she isn’t sure whether or not she would have been paid yet. Suits Rudi and Lindor just fine. We wouldn’t have had anyone to watch Babyice if we were both out. I guess I’ll just spend some quality time with him (and Nemo and Barney, no doubt).

 

I might also take my grandmother shopping since she has just had an op on her little finger and is finding it difficult to drive or do much for herself. They put a metal pin into her finger which has to stay in for 6 to 8 weeks. At least it will give us something to do and I’ll be helping her at the same time 🙂

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