Today is the first day that I’m feeling ever so slightly better and not absolutely consumed by overwhelming sadness. I’m not going to talk about Rolo anymore as it’s far too painful.

We have ordered a chocolate lab puppy. Why so soon? Olive was so withdrawn and wouldn’t touch her food until Kohl came to stay yesterday. She needs a friend. She is an absolutely useless watch dog and I’m not saying that labradors are the best watch dogs but a big, brown dog is better than nothing. My conscience tells me to go and rescue a dog, but my heart tells me otherwise. I won’t take a chance on a rescue dog when I have small children of my own, many that come and visit and our dogs are inside dogs. I know what I’m getting when we get a labrador and I want what a labrador can give me. Whether I’m ready for a puppy and all that comes along with that is another story. I’ve also found a dog school and will try and persuade my parents to take Kohl along every Saturday afternoon.

Don’t for 1 minute think that I’m not utterly devastated or trying to replace Rolo, I’m constantly reminded of him. Last night I logged onto Investec (to pay for the new puppy) and are pass phrase or whatever it’s called is “Olive and Rolo”, it’s stuff like that that breaks my heart. Anyway, I’m not talking about him anymore.

Friends of ours (they’re in our home group at church) bought a new house recently and on Wednesday myself and 2 of the other moms in our home group went to visit. I was shocked to say the least. I had an idea the house was big because they’d told us so but hearing about a house and seeing a house are 2 different things completely. I grew up in a pretty standard-sized middle class house – 4 beds,3 baths, study, 3 livingrooms, 1800 square metre plot, double garage, domestic quarters, you get the picture. Most of my friends’ houses were pretty much the same. Two of Chris’s sisters live in Joburg, 1 is in Saxonwold and 1 in Bryanston. Both of their houses are big but still within reason (kind of). This house (of our friends) is on a biggish plot 2000 square metres I think and the house is 660 square metres (EXCLUDING the garages and “cottage”). Do you have any idea how enormous that is. There are 6 LARGE (I am not kidding) living rooms, 5 ENORMOUS bedrooms, a study, etc.,etc.,etc. They have one son and another on the way. You could easily lose your children in this house, for hours, I am convinced of that. It’s an old house so it has doors and passages and and and many hiding places. It’s the usual story where each subsequent owner has done “something” and it needs quite a bit of work. Not building on (ha ha) but just updating the bathrooms and removing a lot of what people thought was nice and making it a bit more modern and suitable for their needs. The paving outside is outdated (all 200 square meters of it). They’ve already had to put on a whole new roof!!! (330 square metres of roof). Upstairs had balconies wrapping around most of the bedrooms which at some point were enclosed and they want to open up again, stuff like that. It may not seem like a lot but when you consider the scale of the house, the job is massive. They plan to have it all done in 3 months for about R1 million. No way, I think but I can’t wait to see the finished product, sure it’s going to be incredible. My point is that I would absolutely hate to live in such a big house. When we were upstairs looking around, the kids were downstairs (with the nanny) but we couldn’t hear them at all. What does one do with 6 living rooms (and remember there’s a study upstairs)? I can’t begin to describe the sheer vastness of all the rooms. Zoe has what I thought was a big bedroom for a child, think it’s about 30 square metres. All of their bedrooms were at least 2 -3 times the size of her room, easily, except for one of the bedrooms.

Not even sure why I’m telling you all of this, except that it made me feel a whole lot better about our renovations, they seem positively minuscule in comparison. Unfortunately our budget is also a bit smaller than theirs at this stage and we’ve made some decisions. A few things have prompted our decision.

There are 6 plastic surgeons in PE. Two of them are basically retired and just help Chris in the state on a part-time basis, then there’s Chris that does private and state and then 3 others that are fully private. One of the private guys is older (in his 50’s), one started in PE about 6 months before Chris started and the other one has been here about 8 years. We know the other new guy through mutual friends, he’s a very nice guy but works very long hours. The other guy also works unbelievably hard. We just found out that he’s recently got divorced for the second time. He has 2 young children (and 3 older ones from his first marriage as well). How very sad. Obviously we don’t know the story but it’s tragic and I can only guess that his long hours away from home possibly played a part in what happened. In order to pay for massive renovations, Chris will obviously have to work much harder. If Rolo’s death has taught us anything it’s that you never know what’s going to happen and one needs to appreciate and enjoy what you’ve got right now. You need to spend time together, enjoying your family while you can because one just never knows. What’s the point of making huge amounts of money only to find your children hardly know you, you never enjoy life, you’re unfit and your wife’s left you?

We want to go on lots of holidays and do stuff to our house that will make our lives more enjoyable. We also don’t want to spend every last cent on our house and not have money left to do other fun (or even necessary) stuff. My dad has done a very rough estimate and based on that we will probably only do the patio (it’s an expensive patio as it’s having a new, proper pitched roof and ceilings), the deck, pool (with solar heating and Chris’s own automatic pool cover), removing the flat in the garden and re-doing the garden(where necessary), the roof over the guest room (which leaks), installing air-cons in the bedrooms and raising part of the wall. We will more than likely not extend the garage and do the front boundary wall at this stage. We only have 2 cars so at this stage we don’t need a garage big enough for 4. Chris can easily park one of the cars inside the gate (and not in the garage) when he’s working in the garage. We do plan to do the rest of the stuff but at this stage the pool and patio will improve our quality of living in our house much more than a bigger garage and a higher front wall will. While I’ll probably change my story entirely after having had to deal with builders, our plan at this stage is to add an extra phase or even do 1 smaller project a year and keep trying to pay off our house as soon as possible. We are planning to live here forever, at the moment this house satisfies all our needs, so why try and do everything all at once and possibly skimp on quality. This isn’t easy for me to accept as I’m an extremely impatient person and usually want everything done yesterday but I’m slowly trying to change.

Watch this space. Our builder is busy doing the PE to East London Surfski race ( I know phenomenal) which ends today so later in the week we’ll hopefully get together and start really getting the ball rolling for January.


2 Responses to “Today”

  1. Marcia (123 blog) Says:

    Glad to read you’re feeling a teeny-tiny bit better about Rolo!

    How are the kids? Zoe in particular.

    Wanted to say about the house…. I would LOVE to live in your standard “middle class” house – I thought 3 bed, 2 bath was middle class 🙂

    Totally agree that it makes no sense to make lots of money and never see your kids and wife – sounds totally crazy to me. Think you and Chris have the balance right.

  2. samcy Says:

    Glad to hear you’re doing ok about Rolo hon, but word of advice? You need to talk about him and get it out. Don’t deny how amazing and wonderful he was to yourself cos it helps it to stop hurting… you need to grieve him. Sending you love and strength.


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