Saturday, 31 August 2013

A restful weekend - NOT!

A restful weekend - NOT!
31 August 2013

Aaah, weekends!  Don’t you just love them?

Weekends are supposed to be an opportunity to brace yourself for the onslaught of the new week.  Filled to the brim with challenges.  A chance to recharge your battery.  To rest.  To relax.  To recuperate.  To revitalise.  To regroup.  To reenergise.  To revitalise.  To have a reprieve.  In fact, to indulge in a whole host of words all starting with “re”.

But sometimes?  Things don’t quite work out as planned.

Now I acknowledge, that for me the dice is loaded, as I have three kids.  And so I have three kids’ activities and schedules to contend with.  Still on weekends, I do like to slow down and take a break from the constant carting of kids up and down.  Especially as we live in the Strand, and simply everything, including school and extra-murals, are in Somerset West.  And this past weekend, I had really thought I was in with a good shot.  For once, none of the kids had sports matches on Saturday morning.  This in itself is a rather novel concept.  Especially in the winter months, when most Saturday mornings are spent next to a hockey field.  My two boys in particular, are hockey mad and play matches every week.  And so it is not uncommon for Grant and I to head off into different directions, to go and support our two boys, playing at different schools.

And what possibly makes this past weekend even more challenging, was the fact that I had looked forward to a quiet-ish weekend.  And exercising my right to do “re” words.  And lots of them.  Hey, even reading is a “re” word.  Imagine that!

Still my luck seriously ran out.  Cole had a birthday party on Friday afternoon between 17h30 and 19h30 in Somerset West.  He was so excited about going, as it was going to be a scientist party at a venue, that specifically caters for parties of this nature.  And so lots of experiments and mushing of things was on the cards for him.  Just a bunch of boys.  Still, I suspect Cole had been wishful that there would be a few girls.  He wore his very best outfit – a red pair of skinny jeans (you don’t understand how skinny he is already – and so his skinny jeans just serve to amplify this), a smart top, his favourite sweater and his new takkies.  And to complete his ensemble?  He liberally doused himself with some of Grant’s Dunhill Desire aftershave.  I’m sure Thomas’ mother really appreciated the effort…..  Though perhaps he has cougar ambitions and he’s really set his sights on her?

Quickly dashed home after dropping Cole off at the party, to fetch Amber and her friend Jemimah (who was spending the night).  And the reason for this rush, was that we had bought tickets to go and watch a little mini fashion show hosted by one of the Grade 6 classes, in order to raise money for charity.  Our aim was to be at school by 18h30 already, to get good seats.  A very tight schedule, especially given regular Friday traffic.  It allowed me a mere ten minutes at home.  Furthermore, we couldn’t just go straight up to school, as we had to swing past Jemimah’s house, to fetch her older sister, as she too was going to go to the fashion show.  I really don’t mind, just time was tight.  Fetched the kids, rushed up to school, quickly dropped them off and dashed down to Checkers to get a few essentials.  Urgh!  And I had already done grocery shopping in the morning, but left a few needed goodies out of my trolley, as I was rushed.  Please bear in mind that I had to have fed my family by 18h15 already in order to meet my tight schedule.  In other words, supper had to be cooked in the morning.  The fashion show was absolutely charming.  Too cute for words and provided a few lovely laughs.  By 9pm, after dropping Jemimah’s sister off at home again, we too were home.

Saturday morning was an early start with Jumping Castles.  Made a humongous pile of flap jacks for the kids to tuck in to and eventually Luke and I headed off to a hardware store at the Mall.  And the reason for our excursion?  Well, the reason is Mrs Luckhoff.  Now I’m sure Mrs Luckhoff is a lovely lady.  But on this occasion, she has complicated my life.  Why?  Well it’s simple - for Luke’s 3rd term Grade 9 Technology project, he has to build a cantilever bridge.  I.  Kid.  You.  Not.  It has to incorporate at least two pulley systems, be able to open and close successfully and carry a load of 500gr.  I don’t like Mrs Luckhoff very much.  Is that really a surprise?

We were rather fortunate though, in that Luke was at least able to team up with a friend, so that they could slog and struggle through this project together.  Term 1 was easy enough, as Luke had to simply do a written project about cantilever bridges.  Term 2 was a bit more challenging as Luke had to design a cantilever bridge.  And as we know, Term 3 now yields building a model of a cantilever bridge.  I can but only imagine that Term 4 will require a full scale effort.  Perhaps across the now-flooding Lourensriver?

But we were not alone on our quest.  The hardware store was chock-a-block with a whole bunch of other Grade 9’s too.  Running around like headless chickens too.  In fact the kind gentleman at Builder’s Warehouse, who helped us, told me that they have been overrun with PV Grade 9’s.  Can’t imagine why?  I wonder if Mrs Luckhoff perhaps has a contact there?  A bit of an inside edge?  Luke and some of his mates teamed up quickly, to try and pool ideas, never mind resources.  At R67 a pulley, we quickly realised that we shall have to make an alternative plan.  The boys, climbed right into the off-cuts skip outside Builders, rummaging around for any odd bits and pieces they could use.  Not surprisingly this took rather long.

Went straight from Builder’s to home, to fetch Cole (had to ensure he had his hockey gear on first), give Luke the opportunity to change into his hockey gear, and fetch Amber’s friend Jemimah, so that I could finally drop her off at home.  But the boys weren’t supposed to have hockey?  Well Cole’s kind coach, invited the kids to have a bonus practice session with some of the dads on the mini-Astro at PV.  She too is a hockey player, and on Saturday afternoons, when she has a match, the kids are allowed to have a practice session, given that there are adults supervising.  Cole’s little hockey team is incredibly good.  They are a bunch of talented boys and luckily for these kids, their parents are willing to put in the extra effort.  And so a few dads volunteered to play along.  Even a practice game time is good for them, and helps to hone their skills and keep them fit.  Particularly as the school fields have been so flooded and regular practice has pretty much ground to a halt.  And Interschools against their arch rivals were looming.  I thought that I would take Luke along, as he too would benefit.  And on this occasion he could fill a mentor role of sorts for the littlies.

After their practice session, one of Cole’s friends asked him for a play date, and so Cole went home with his friend Josh.  Luke I headed off to do a quick grocery shop and then ambled home, so that Luke could wait for his friend to arrive.  Luke’s buddy would sleep over, so that they could work on their Afrikaans oral and the dreaded cantilever-bloody-bridge.

I was home for about half an hour, before Luke’s friend got dropped off and I had to get back in the car again to go and fetch Cole.  On my way home, I quickly stopped off at Flameros take-aways to get delicious spicy chips, to supplement our steak and salad supper.  Yip, the salad I hadn’t yet made.

Sunday proved to be no more restful.  Luke and his friend Keegan, discovered that they didn’t actually have all the materials that they needed.  And so instead, a plan was concocted to drop them off at Keegan’s place.  Keegan lives on a farm and has access to sheds, filled with odds and ends that the boys were sure they could use.  And so, after breakfast, and taking in a returned Jumping Castle, I hooved the boys over all the way to the very top of Sir Lowry’s to drop them off.  And headed to do grocery shopping once more. 

I was home for about an hour after that, in which I indulged in a bit of light relief…..  Writing Cole’s Afrikaans oral for him and testing Amber on her History, for the upcoming week’s test.  As well, as getting a crack on lunch.

Quickly dashed off again all the way up Sir Lowry’s to fetch Luke and take him to my friend on the other side of town.  All this in aid of the extra Afrikaans lesson, he required for his Afrikaans prescribed test the following day.

I finally got home from all of my kids carting about and shopping expeditions at 3pm on Sunday.  And I was well and truly shattered.  We still hadn’t had lunch.  And Grant was embroiled in a very exciting Grand Prix race on TV.  I don’t know how I would cope without his help…..  Oh, how dads slave away…..

The irony of course being that at 15h15, I got an sms from a dear friend, inviting Cole to a game of soccer on the beach.  The same bunch of dads were going to have some fun with the kids once more.

Now had Cole been an only child, I might have indulged.  But given the fact that I had put more mileage on my car, than during a 14 hour drive to Joburg, I graciously declined.

I couldn’t wait for the kids to go off to school on Monday.  As I was desperate for a break.  A breather.  A bit of brainless relaxing.  Indulging in deep breathing.  Some brandy.  In fact, a whole host of words all staring with “br”.

So what is the moral of the story?  Well, I should clearly do more forward planning and combine my shopping trips. 

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Amber and Jem all dolled up - dressed like twins.  Quite accidently, as it turned out that Jemimah packed in an identical outfit to the one Amber had planned to wear in any rate.  Gorgeous, cute little gals!

Cole and his mates having a blast on the mini-Astro at PV.  Always a highlight for the boys.

The cantilever bridge end product.  Hugely impressed if I say so myself. 

And it works!!!

My friend, Checkers and I, see far too much of each other

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