by Susan Roberts
It’s time to pack up my house once again. Sadly, my time in the palatial, three-bedroom rooftop apartment is coming to an end because my landlord needs the larger space for his son who is returning unexpectedly to Durban. Family must come first, which is as it should be so I have no problems with that.
My problem is working out how I am going to squash myself and all my recently-expanded junk into the tiny cottage I burst out of back in March when the termites took over. The termites have now all been evicted, along with last season’s crop of woodborer, and the cottage has a new lounge ceiling, new dining room ceiling and new kitchen cupboards. In addition, the wardrobe area has been extended and there are more shelves in the dining room, all waiting for me to move in and fill them up.
Despite the fact that it is something of a relief knowing that my rent will go back to normal, I still have to work out the jigsaw-puzzle task of actually fitting back into the cottage. I have in my mind the image of a small boy taking apart an old-fashioned alarm clock and being unable to put all the bits back into it. That’s going to be the case when I try to put back the things that fitted there only a few months ago.
I mean, I haven’t expanded. Much. Well, maybe a little. Just a few rugs, some extra bedding and two clocks. Oh, and that lovely big ottoman on wheels that my friend Mark gave me before he left for Brisbane. I’m going to have to find space for that because it’s a really cool piece of furniture, and
Of course, I know that logically a single unattached female with no children should be able to fit comfortably into a one-bedroom cottage, but most people who fit that description are not self-confessed crazy bibliophiles who buy bookcases and fill them in the same way that normal people might fill their children’s lunchboxes daily – brimful of mouth watering goodies that we can’t wait to get our teeth into.
Let’s be honest here: how much stuff does one person really need?
Okay, I’ve decided that I don’t like that question.
I’ve tried to work out the pros and cons of this on paper. It was great having the space, but I’ve managed to get rid of quite a lot of stuff already. I fell in love with the luxury bath, but my landlord is putting a small bath into the cottage bathroom, so that’s okay. It was nice having an extra room for guests, but I still have a sleeper couch which many people have used before and it can be used again. I loved having an extra room to store garden things, cat carry-cages, boxes and tools, but my landlord has added the use of an extra garden shed in which I can store all of that, plus there is plumbing to install my washing machine, so that gives me extra space in the kitchen that I didn’t have before.
I will have to get my telephone and ADSL line moved back. Okay, no easy solution to that. Just get it done and pay up. I won’t be able to park my car right outside my front door, but I’ll probably need the exercise since I won’t be getting fit anymore by walking through the vast rooms that I have had to traverse for the last few months.
A few weeks back I had an informal birthday party on my big patio, and for many of my friends, it was the first time they had seen the new place. Unfortunately, for one of them it was the first time that she had used my bathroom and she discovered the hard way that the bathroom key sticks in the lock on the inside. The high-jinks that followed, with her throwing the key out of the window at an angle towards the braai area, followed by its impact on my elbow and its subsequent ricochet off my elbow down into the garden of the house below, followed in turn by my landlord having to climb over the fence in the dark, armed with a big stick in case the Boerbul attacked him (as it usually does) to retrieve the key, had to be seen to be believed. Those of you who missed it – sorry, but it’s your fault for leaving early!
On second thoughts, maybe this move back is a good thing. The cottage bathroom has a sliding door with no keyhole, so my friends will be safer.
Image courtesy of www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net
“I saw a guy who is just your type,” a sales rep friend of mine said one Monday evening. “You must come and check him out.”
It was during a five second break between tracks at our weekly Zumba session at gym. Understandably, I didn’t have much breath to object with.
2013 has been a hard year on my heart, and I’m on a voluntary man-break at the moment. I’m trying to edit a novel, and learn for exams; I don’t need even a whiff of a relationship to complicate things.
But in the end, I agreed to go with her, mostly for the fun of a mini road trip with a friend than anything else.
I spent a few minutes considering what I would wear. What does one wear to a mini check-out session? I didn’t want to put too much effort into it, but I obviously wanted to look decent, just in case…
Jeans and a T-shirt would be suitable, I decided, and not my new dress. But on the morning of the reconnaissance mission, I had a 5am plumbing emergency and was late for work and had to drive in the pouring rain, so I decided to wear my new dress, just to cheer myself up.
And the guy was my type.
Cute, sweet, funny, good morals. I learned quite a bit about him as we chatted in the workshop. I also learned quite a bit about the uses of metal detectors in the export business. Did you know that you can’t export anything to do with foodstuffs unless they have passed a metal detector test? Companies like Ouma Rusks use them in their factories to make their biscuits safe for consumers.
I also had a lesson in Rare Earth magnets from China. They are very strong, and I dutifully prised one of them off a metal cupboard as instructed by the cute, sweet mister.
All in all, I had a pleasant time. My friend really can spot my type of man.
There was just one tiny detail that I told her as we were reversing out the factory parking lot to go home.
Next time she did this, it would be advisable to check if the man was wearing a wedding ring before we went all the way there to check him out!
Image courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net
Having scuffed my heels towards retirement at sixty, I find myself flying down the moving carpet in the departure lounge. Yes, it’s early, but I’m wearing different shoes these days and can’t wait to kick them off.
I doubt they will fit anybody else. When a would-be successor discovers what size my feet were, how many toes were crossed inside, they might choose a different pair. The leather caps are sucked to perishing from getting them in my mouth. Nobody else would lick them; I wasn’t far enough up the food chain. The heels are worn from the dragging and the backs bear the marks of the many times I’ve had to change gear during my journey. I could go on about the colour, style and smell etcetera, but I’m sure you’ve got the picture.
I am so excited!
No, my pockets aren’t overflowing, and I will have to earn my keep so that I don’t have to live in my shoe when I become an older woman. It’s time to turn dreams into action and spend precious moments with the family and friends who are most important in my life.
As a child my horizon consisted of home, school, holidays to the beach to visit Gran and holidays to the Karoo to visit Gran and Grandad. Small or not that small, depending on your point of view.
Things exploded when I turned twenty-one and climbed aboard a flight to NYC. My eyes bulged, my pulse raced, I felt like I was living in a movie. Since then I have been fortunate to travel often and I’ve loved every second of it, even the bits I wasn’t loving quite so much at the time. Like being stranded at the airport because there were technological problems with the plane, or missing a flight or racing for a flight (which brings out all sorts of nefarious driving skills), or arriving three days before your luggage. There are passengers with BO, those who don’t know how to control their intake of free drinks and even those who use the ‘barf’ bag.
Even airports give me a kick, my heartbeat accelerates as I board the plane, fold myself into that tiny seat then, and this is my favourite part, we speed along the runway, thrust backwards in our seats and lift off – the huge bird takes flight. It blows my hair back, well it would if I were on the wing.
Lately I’ve been on a series of short domestic flights, literally a hop, there’s little cruising time. We’re
ascending, then descending as in drink your tea fast, and for the first time in my flying life I’ve been afraid to fly.
It’s not the aircraft, nor any of the crew, it’s my delightful fellow passengers. When you land or take off there are a set of specific instructions, repeated several times. Fasten your seatbelts, make sure your seat backs are in an upright position, lock away your tray tables and switch off all your electronic devices, even those that operate in airplane mode. Now I’m not sure about that last instruction, some people believe it is to do with satellite interference or some such scientific thing, others declare the crew simply want you to pay attention. It’s irrelevant. The point is you are asked to do 4 things for a maximum period of 5 minutes and yet when I look around all I see are blinking cell phone screens. The owners are vaguely furtive but they cannot not check on that final Facebook status or send that quick, ‘I’m landing’ message to their loved ones.
On the last flight I took and from what I could see, if we were to crash, there would be three people on the plane who knew how to follow instructions. And if survival depended on our ability to follow orders: Would we get out alive?