I Miss You, My Daddy Darling

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August 7th 2016 was the 46th anniversary of my mommy and daddy darling “going steady”. It was also the day my daddy darling died.

My dad was “Uncle Duck” to many, many people, a larger than life personality who made friends wherever he was, drawing you in to his space and making you laugh. Able to discuss almost any subject, my dad’s general knowledge was vast, yet you never felt like he was trying to lecture you.
If you’ve ever been to a wedding with my dad in attendance, you would have found yourself being fed peach schnapps on the dance floor, and you couldn’t say no!
And he was a prankster too!
My BBF and I spent weekends and school holidays in each other’s homes, and one weekend we were riding bikes when Gen took a tumble, grazing her knee badly on the gravel. We limped home, and she sat in the bath as we rinsed stones and grit from the cuts on her knee. Then my dad appeared, full of concern, with a tin of mercurochrome spray. He gently patted Gen’s injuries dry, spritzing a little of the spray on her knee as he worked, and then before she could blink he sprayed a bright orange-red stripe of mercurochrome from her knee to her ankle! She went to school like that for a week before it finally washed off properly!

My dad’s family was his treasure. He loved nothing more than spending time with all of us together, and any occasion was a reason to get together. I have treasured childhood memories of me and my sister B as little girls, gallivanting to the movies with my dad, just us three, watching The Fox and the Hound and Bambi on the big screen. He loved tradition! He dressed up as Santa to hand out Christmas presents. He went to great lengths to hide Easter eggs for his children and grandchildren to hunt in the garden. We were given bicycles for our 8th birthday, a good quality watch for our 14th birthday, and sometimes for sport – a tin of condensed milk and a box of jelly powder wrapped in newspaper, like he got as a schoolboy.
I remember one time, he and my mom caught and painstakingly painted doors and windows on a couple of garden snails, so that we little girls could “find them” in the garden and see the snails carrying their own houses!

When I was raising my knucklehead on my own, my dad was there if I needed him. No matter how hard it was for him to be a father figure for my son as well as being his grampa, he never let me down.

My daddy darling, you can be proud. My life is filled with happy, treasured memories of us.

I miss you so much.

And I will be careful, always.

Don’t Wait!

Four years ago, I got a phone call in the afternoon, after a completely normal, even pleasant day.
I was told that my six year old nephew, with whom I had a deep bond, had been killed in a car accident.
I didn’t stop crying for days. It still seems surreal. It still seems too incredible that I will never again hear his voice or talk to him.
I know that a part of the reason I still feel his loss and his absence so keenly, is because I allowed the anger and bitterness I feel towards his guardians to prevent me from at least talking to him on a regular basis. I regret it. I wish I could change it. I wish I could honour his memory and his nature with love and forgiveness.

In the preparation for his memorial service, we were looking for pictures of him through the many we had. Pictures of him with his father, him with his cousins, him with us, and I found lots of wonderful pictures of him with my knucklehead, and even a few with him and I together. I wished there were more. Those pictures are my treasures.

I realised with a start, during that exercise, that I had maybe a handful of pictures of my knucklehead and I together, and he was already a grown up! I had mostly been behind the camera while he was growing up, taking the pictures, but as is typical of many women – I had avoided the camera because I was too fat, had no make up on, was taking the picture… Whatever. And now it was too late to take those pictures.
I wish I had taken those pictures, or had someone take pictures of me with my boy. Pictures with bot of our faces in them.
Now I take a selfie with my son, or I hand my phone-slash-camera to someone else, every time I see him. I love these pictures.

BeFunky Collage

I also take selfies with my family when I see them – my mom and dad, my sisters, my gran… To me the pictures are very special. I know not everyone sees photos as all that important, preferring to make memories rather than take pictures, but my pictures are a part of my memories and I look at them often.

I never part company with my son, or my husband, or my parents and siblings, without telling them I love them. I never want to feel the heartache I feel now because I didn’t talk to them enough.

Don’t wait to take pictures of you and your children together. Selfies are fun. Play silly buggers in a photobooth. Celebrate special occasions. Don’t wait till you’ve done your hair or you’re better dressed.

You can’t go back.

Holy Crap… Here’s A Monster Catch-up For You!

I swear this last week was a whole month long!

We have moved. We’re not far from the old house, but it feels like we are…
When we moved out of our house, it was painted, and it was clean. The floors weren’t spotless because of the moving and the painting, and the windows weren’t all cleaned, but the the cupboards were clean inside, the door handles and light switch covers were clean and I hired a rubble remover to take away ALL the leftover crap. The new house was not clean… I’ll leave it at that.
The signal in the new house is DREADFUL, as in, it sucks giant donkey balls. I have a little bit of 3G, and I can receive calls in the garage and next to my bed… But the rest of the time I am pretty much unavailable ‘coz there’s no reception!
The oven and hob were a challenge to say the least, but the agents have completely replaced it with – wait for it – A BRAND NEW ONE! Before we’d even been in the house a week, which is AWEsome!
Then on Sunday, the outside drains got all backed up, filling my garage with the stink of pee… Fan-fucking-tastic. Thankfully the agents were on the ball again and a plumber arrived this morning to snake the drain, so now it all just has to dry up so the smell will go away.
The satellite dish is misaligned somehow so we’re only picking up half the DSTV channels we should be able to see, and this morning the TV in the living room decided it didn’t want to have a picture anymore.

My knucklehead was a GREAT help when we moved, but he’s been home sick and nursing a sore ankle, and when we spend so much time together we do nothing but fight. It is beyond stressful.

My Blackberry is driving me up the wall! Not only does it HATE the new house – resetting itself every couple of hours – the touchscreen doesn’t respond like it should and its making me want to throw it against the wall! Even making a phonecall is a challenge.

And last week Thursday, late in the afternoon, I finally got our car back from the panel beaters, where it had been for more than three weeks, and then on Friday when I was rushing to fetch my Glugster from his bus stop and get to a SAGA event, I lost my temper with a tit at the garage who wasn’t moving, reversed in a huff, and hit a woman’s driver side door.

Fuck.

Can you tell its been interesting?

On the plus side, the new house is HUGE compared to the old house!

Our bedroom has a walk in closet and we have our own bathroom – with its own separate little geyser – and glass doors leading out into the garden.
The garden is big too and the dogs are loving it, and the birds are incredible! We’re going to put a Barbet log and a bird feeder and a bird bath in the garden and everything!
We’re almost finished unpacking too.
We’re happy here and I can’t wait to start having visitors.
Here’s a bit of a video for you, I’m not the best with a video camera and we’re still unpacking so the house is a mess 😀

Guide-dog puppy Lennox is a darling! He’s so smart and so cute! I have started a Facebook page for him, and I am blogging weekly updates like I did for Volt.

Our cats adjusted to the new house with no trouble and they’re loving all the bird watching they can do with the garden surrounding the house.
Thelma and Louise took a few days to settle and they weren’t eating well, but as soon as they realised they weren’t being abandoned again they were happy too.
My Riddick wasn’t at all phased by the move! He and Lennox kept each other company and they’re happy as long as they’re near us.

So how was your week!?

Annual Sibling Supper, Number Eleven!

On Friday night it was once again time for our annual Sibling Supper, where my three siblings and I get together for a bit of a Christmas celebration.
Since we’re all grown ups with our own families, we don’t always get to spend Christmas together. And because our family is a big one, we decided several years ago that we won’t all buy gifts for everyone in our “clan” because it gets insanely expensive.

So we have a “Sibling Supper” instead, and this year was our eleventh one!

Now, as a bit of a disclaimer, bear in mind when you read about our Christmas party and see pictures of our gifts- given and received- that taste is relative. Something I consider hideous may be seen as simply GAWjiss by someone else. By no means do we want to insult anyone’s taste when we label our gifts as horrendous and/ or kitsch. In fact, over the years we have each received something we actually rather liked, that was considered dreadful by the sibling who gave it away!
The funniest part is trying to explain the presence of these, um… atrocities… *coff* in your house for the following year! Some people like it, some people say they like it because they don’t know what to say, and some people flat ignore it rather than question it!

By ways of an explanation, here are the “rules” for the gifts we give:

  1. Give the most kitsch, kak, useless, ugly thing possible!
  2. The aim is not to splurge “money-wise”, cheap and nasty is the catch phrase.
  3. Size doesn’t matter.
  4. You then have to display the item you receive, in your house until it is replaced the following year with a new one.
  5. You may not “display” the item in the toilet window behind the curtains- it has to be prominently visible.
  6. If it breaks it has to be mended and put back on display, and it may not “get lost”.

I was looking back over the history of our sibling suppers, and by some miracle it seems I have never been the recipient of one of my brother’s dreadful gifts! My sister B has got her last SIX gifts from da Bruvva, sister C has received hers equally from the rest of us, and da Bruvva has also received gifts from all three of his sisters, but more from me than from sister B and sister C.
As a result, I received da Bruvva’s gift by default this year, and our mommy darling decided how the other three gifts were handed out- sister B and sister C switched gifts and da Bruvva and I switched gifts. That way it was still a random draw, but we didn’t pull names out of a Christmas stocking.

Sister C was our host this year, and she set a pretty table with candles and nuts to crack, and she served a delicious roast chicken with sister B’s rice and veggies and my salad. Da Bruvva brought ice cream for dessert and once again we didn’t get to the pudding, and for a starter of sorts I took along stuffed eggs and I made a salad.

We had great fun reminiscing and chatting as the chicken was carved and dinner served, and then we did the gift swop! Much hilarity ensued, and my gift (which da Bruvva got) was unanimously voted the worst which made me the winner!

Then we played Buzz on the PS2! It was so much fun! The characters you can choose from are very comical and we discovered that when the winner of each round is announced you can animate your character by pushing the buttons on your controller!

Such A Perfect Day*

Saturday was a perfect day.

My knucklehead turned twenty one in April and my daddy darling turned sixty this September. As we didn’t do anything big for my son’s birthday and they were both celebrating “milestones” we decided to combine their parties and do something together.

We found a caterer on Gumtree, my mommy darling brought chippies to snack on and I baked a chocolate cake for dessert. We invited close friends and family and everyone brought their own drinks (and chairs as we don’t have enough) and we had a lunch at our house.

It was quite simply fanTAStic. It was just a sublime combination of company, atmosphere, weather and food. I absolutely LOVE entertaining and having a houseful of guests and Saturday was just one of those days where everything worked perfectly.

Having it catered meant we really could relax even though we (my Glugster and my knucklehead) worked furiously to tidy the house properly whilst I baked (I had orders for the weekend and the party cake to do). We were a little nervous about hiring a caterer we didn’t know but we were more than satisfied with the food! There was nothing left of the two meat dishes by the time everyone went home and my mommy darling and I shared the leftover salad and the rice (done with spinach and onions) to freeze for ourselves.

After everyone left and the knucklehead went gallivanting with his friends, I had a few special visitors come to celebrate my surviving my son’s first twenty one years!

My puppies got loads of attention and loads of compliments too!

Such a perfect day.

Ooh, and we did say a few words for both my daddy darling and my knucklehead as it was a special occasion, but we were blown away by a song my brother wrote! Using the tune from a Robbie Wessels song (see the Youtube video below for the song being sung by someone else) he wrote lyrics especially for my dad. It had us all in tears. It was just so wow.

HAPPY 60TH POPS!

Irene school and catching trains
To dorms and Jeppe Boys
From buying beer and cigarettes
To four brats and new toys
Boxing in the navy
Cleaning army bogs
And screaming out the windows at the neighbourhood dogs!

CHORUS

He’s Duck, he’s my Dad
There’s not much he don’t know
He’s Duck, he’s my dad
There’s not much he don’t know
From gardening to spiders
Fishing to cars
Just don’t mention government – you’ll end up seeing stars!!

Long drives down to Cape Town
Christmas in Natal
UniSA dance at Fountains
With music from hell!
KFC at drive-in
Shakes at Snackaroo
Just don’t change that channel that ever you do!

CHORUS

Fishing trips to Belfast
Bassing on the boat
He taught me all I know
Kept us afloat
If you’re gonna use something
Damn well put it back
‘Cos if he can’t find it he will find Johnny Strap!

CHORUS

He’s Duck, he’s my Dad
There’s not much he don’t know
He’s Duck, he’s my Dad
There’s not much he don’t know
Way too much to say for one simple song
If I had to say it all we’d be here all night long.

So Dad, Grampa, Liefie
You’ve been there all a long
So Dad, Grampa, Liefie
Happy 60th Pops!!

*no points for guessing the song 😀