When you’re trying with little success to rid your place of stuff and when the stuff fills a double garage and at least one room, with other rooms a bit crowded, you should not accumulate any more stuff, but I can explain.
There was a damsel in distress. I was on my horse. She asked ‘would you?’ What was a gallant knight errant to say? There’s only one thing a gallant knight errant can say in such circumstances:
Actually quite chuffed: Check those armrests as drinks platforms:
This is made worse as just the day before I was rolling my eyes at my Dad (96) who in one breath was stating his absolute determination – ‘this time’ – to get rid of stuff; and in the next breath was mulling over buying two new armchairs for the room he wants to add on to his house ‘for her (that’s Mom Mary) to sit in the sun as the room will have big windows.’
Right. Alone in a three bedroom house with Mom now in a home, he thinks he needs an extra room.
Lemme confess that the first emotion when Sambucca the black labrador finally breathed her last was relief. The sadness and the memories came later. See, she grew a brain tumour and it grew and grew until it was about as big as her head.
When the bump first started we knew it was the end and I told the kids I would just support the old dear and only consider ending things if she was no longer comfortable, not eating, not happy and not interested in a ear rub or tummy tickle. I said I don’t want you shooting me just cos I’m inconvenient and so I’m not shooting Sambucca for our convenience. And anyway, she’s only 87yrs-old in human terms. Born in August 2012.
Well, she hung in and kept eating while getting thinner – which is a terminal sign in a labrador. I was vrot with worry and angst as she started getting smelly and the parasites attacked her – fleas, flies and ticks. A daily bath and shampoo helped but she’d disappear for hours and come back covered again, her hidden spots in our jungly garden obviously infested with the lil bastids. Yet she still kept getting up and walking towards me tail wagging as I got home each day, asking for a scratch. Then Friday she got weaker and Saturday and Sunday she didn’t eat. I added gravy and fat and she refused it. Refused a meal! I knew it was soon. Sunday night she suddenly yowled a bit and then went quiet, considerately choosing Aitch’s birthday as her last day so we can remember it more easily.
I started digging her grave early Monday morning and three inches down I came to an astonishing and unexpected realisation: I am not cut out for physical labour! Can you believe it!? I sub-contracted the task and Tom and his mate Jose dug a goodly hole – after negotiating a financial reward – and Sambucca now joins her predecessor Bella and a gerbil under the soil in our garden. Also Aitch and her Mom and Dad’s ashes.
Rest in peace ole Sambucca, you made twelve years and five months and were the best watchdog ever: you watched the monkeys stroll across the yard, you watched the hadedas glean the lawn, you watched our neighbourhood kids stream in and out of the gates whenever. You only barked when I got home to say Hey Welcome Back! About Time! Look What A Good Watchdog I Am! and by the way, When’s Supper?!
And that’s when you showed you had 12% greyhound blood, as you tore off round the trailer, gleefully thinking “He’s Home! He’s Home!”. Two laps when you were younger, one lap the last couple years.
Jess was going to call you Sweetie when you arrived, so we hastily canvassed friends for a less saccharine moniker. Terry Brauer from the Gramadoelas of Pretoria came up with Black Sambucca. Just right.
Finns are cool, pragmatic and undramatic. They do and say what they think is right and true, not what they think you think they ought to do and say. When they chill they chill the way they want to. Sometimes they Kalsarikänn – literally “drink at home alone and in your underwear.” Finnish writer Miska Rantanen has chosen Päntsdrunk as the anglicized word for it. He outlines the philosophy in his book titled: Pantsdrunk: Kalsarikanni: The Finnish Path to Relaxation.
Apparently Päntsdrunk is a philosophy and way of life that many Finns swear by. They’ve been doing it for ages. Sounds like a concept most of us sane people could get behind, no matter where in the world.
Päntsdrunk is not complicated: Be alone, drink alcohol and do whatever you please in the comfort of your home. That might mean binge-ing on Netflix, watching meaningless professional sport, staring mindlessly at the wall or your phone, blogging, thinking – or just getting some well-needed rest and recuperation. I’m guilty: Blogging indoors; or birding on the porch, accompanied by some cold white vino or some coolish box red is a favourite pastime.
Raksha Singh had a magnificent full Hindu wedding, and me and Jess were invited! I did a bit of homework as the only other one I’d attended was probably fifteen years ago:
Marriages are made in heaven. Once you are married, the bond is to last for seven lifetimes. Hindu weddings can be long, and various rituals may be held on different days. Every custom and practice in a wedding ceremony has deep philosophical and spiritual significance. Hindu traditions of marriage vary, but some form of them take place throughout the world.
Raksha and Pratish looked magnificent sitting on stage in the center of the mandap, or wedding altar. A fire burnt brightly in an altar in front of them. The bride’s brother gave her popcorn as a wish for his sister’s happy marriage. Each time, she offered the popcorn to the fire, an offering known as a homam. I kept thinking Don’t let her clothes catch fire! especially when they did The Seven Steps, getting nearer to the fire with each step!
The traditional white horse the groom would arrive on is more often a motorcar these days, and Pratish arrived in a very noble steed: A white Merc 6.3 AMG!
But Raksha trumped him! She arrived in a McLaren 650s – much to Tommy’s awe when I sent him this picture:
The food was delicious and plentiful and everyone was so welcoming and friendly. I had the lucky job of keeping five ladies company: Jess, Prenisha and Yandisa from work, Raksha’s colleagues; Prenisha in a Hindi outfit, Yandisa in a Xhosa outfit and Jess in a Dress! plus Seema and her daughter were also at our table. It really was an awesome day.
Aaaargh! I shrieked in my head but “O-ka-ay” I said out loud, all calm-like, “Have you thought about it?”
Oh yes, lots.
“OK. What’s a tattoo? Is it safe? How much does it cost? Does it hurt? Who would do it? Have you got enough money? etc”
Oh, she hadn’t thought of any of that.
“OK. Do your homework and get back to me with the answers please.”
She did. Now that she knows more, she’s more nervous. But still determined. After all, Sindi has a lovely outline of Africa tattoo’d above her ankle.
The very next day she arranges a visit to the tattoo parlour with Sindi, where they are going to find out more and then come back for a final decision. They take themselves there by taxify.
The main thing I’m interested in is: Who’s the artist? Is he/she good? Does he/she do a skilful, safe job? Ask to see their work. Show me their work.
So I’m furiously kicking for touch and I think I’m delaying things nicely. I went through enough trauma with the piercings, I hope to dodge this mutilation. I feel like I’m handling things well as The Dad. I’m In Charge.
So I get a message: Hey Dad please can I have mom’s birth date and her death date.