Meet Hilda.

Being alone is never as painful as when  you have to dine on your own but men are men and men must eat. Steak. And I am not suicidal, so I refuse to have dinner in my hotel room. There is something fundamentally wrong about a person sitting down to have dinner by his lonesome self. It must have been how leppers felt in biblical times. Outcasts, sitting on a dump, scratching their open, puss-filled wounds. Shit, that is disgusting and do you mind, I’m trying to eat over here…As a business traveller I am quite accustomed to this form of social torture and more so because I never dine alone. I always have company.

Let’s call her Hilda. Continue reading

When the kids go on tour

Both our little monsters left on their respective school tours this week.  After all the hussle and bussle of getting everything prepped and packed on Sunday, we managed to get them on the busses, in time, without any major cause for councelling on Monday.  And off they went.  The girl waved excitedly like those Energade Bunny adverts, whilst the son seemed more interested in what his friend was saying about the girls in front than bothering with a farewell wave.

It has to be said that the prospect of having a babysitting situation wihout actually having to plan a babysitting situation was spectacular.  Our evenings were suddenly an opportunity to do adult things.  Like not watching Disney Channel and stuff.  Plans were made and my excitement grew to levels last experienced when my wife wanted a second child.  (It’s the only time where the female sex drive is similar to that of a man.)

Monday night we went out to dinner.  Just me and the wife.  I wouldn’t blame anyone for conjuring images of a romantic candlelit dinner in a cozy place where the wine actually arrives in a wine glass, and the flowers in front, is not fake.  Our reality was very different.  We ended up at the same old family restaurant where we always go.  I even had my signature order.  Creatures of habit?  Boring lives?  Resistance to change?  No.  It’s more complicated than that.

After having been forced to eat food in a kid-friendly restaurant for more than 13 years now, my digestive system cannot operate without the cries and screams of a 100 kids.  And my taste buds has been conditioned to confuse junk food with gourmet cooking.  And we were not the only ones.  The whole restaurant was packed with couples sitting quietly at their table wondering why on earth they would want to end up at this place – without their kids!

When we returned home we flopped on the coach, switching to a movie channel with some age restriction and no corny theme song, sung by a dinosaur, a cartoon kid or some Justin Bieber/Selena Gomez rip-off.  But even with all the plans in my pants, we both fell asleep, seven minutes into the movie.  Isn’t forty awesome?  We eventually tore ourselves of the coach and  went to bed and slept.  Not together, just slept.  Cause we can.

Tuesday played out semi-the-same as Monday, even though we decided to stay in.  I did what any man would do with opportunity knocking.  Bought flowers, got the fire crackling away in the fireplace, opened a bottle of wine and prepared a meal.  Actually I just braai-ed some ribs and bought a salad.  It still ended up being a great evening with the fire licking at the cold air, spreading it’s heat gradually throughout the house.  😉

It would have been perfect if not for the deafening silence.  That awkward house-without-kids-kind of silence.  The absence of bickering and conversations about school and Playstation gunshots and the loud singing voice of our princess.  Just silence.  And we didn’t like it.  It was official.  We wanted our kids back in our house.  An empty house sucks.

Wednesday was just ridiculous.  We watched the weather report in detail trying to ascertain if the tours might be shortened due to bad weather.  No luck.  We strolled through the house entering their rooms, touching their beds, holding toys.  The wife sat like a shrivelled raisin in front of the computer with wet hair, hoping to catch another glimpse of her angels on Facebook.  (The teachers were posting photo’s of the kids on tour.)  They looked happy.  Darn it!

We finally got our romantic dinner with another couple at a decent restaurant with flowers on the table and champagne in the cooler.  Great conversation and better food.  The only indication of us having kids were the fact that every random discussions would turn to topics of our children.  Real balanced adults we are.

Once we got home our sullen moods was a dead give-away that we haven’t seen or spoken to our little bundles of joy for more than 72 hours now.  (Weird how the descriptive words changed from the beginning of this post) The wait is turning into torture and the anticipation of my kids return is actually visible on our facial features.  My daughter will return first, and I broke the silence this morning wanting to know when we need to pick her up.  I will be the father who sits at the school and wait for two hours, looking up and down the street for glimpses of the bus.  The little kid waiting for Santa Clause on Christmas Eve.  I also managed to convince myself that she misses us tremendously and here’s hoping she jumps of the bus and runs like a lunatic into the arms of her dad. (and mom off course)

The only problem with anticipation is that it reduces the progression of time.  It. is. moving. very. very. slow.  I miss them OK…

I am really ecstatic that my daughter returns, but I am trying not to think about my son only returning tomorrow, for I am slowly dying without them.  The anguish and longing is eating away at my sanity, taking bite-sized chunks of my soul.  They must return before it’s too late.  I can hear their voices echo: “Hold on dad, hold on.  We’re coming.”

*man seen with back of his hand against forehead, wife shaking her head*

And no, they are not going again next year.  Just kidding, jeez people.