Five days ago I posted this, and the response has been incredible. Turns out, I’m, not the only woman who hates the way she looks and feels naked. Turns out there are a ton of ladies in the same boat (mom, non-moms, young ladies, older ladies and even some men!).
Being accountable on this blog has meant I’ve really had to own this, which means if I let myself down, I’m going to let a lot of you down as well.
So, while I may only be on day 5 of ‘New Kate’ its been quite a week.
I’ve cut out all alcohol (and plan on doing so until the 27th – because, birthday). Yes, alcohol includes wine. Have you ever?
I’ve started a Whatsapp group where like minded ladies share before and after pics, encouraging messages, post motivational pics like these below and basically talk each other off carbohydrate and sugar ledges, daily. If you want to be a part of this group pop me a mail with your number .
I’ve cut out all gluten, white carbs and sugar, which is easy most of the time, except when my child eats spaghetti in-front of me and proceeds to dangle it on his head like some sort of glory hat.
I’m exercising more and using my ‘off’ days to haul this saggy arse into the gym. I recently tried a ‘Shape’ class at Virgin active. Most fun I’ve had in ages! Also, I’m so fucking stiff I wee standing up. That’s the sign of a good workout.
I’ve paid for and signed up the the SleekGeek Ultimate You challenge, starting on 18 January. I might break the Internet with my ‘before’ photos, but I need to win the cash prize to pay for Crossfit classes.
I’ve found an office buddy who is lovely and kind and a huge motivation for me. I adore our morning coffee chats where we both bitch and moan about our cellulite, but then actually do something about it.
I’m quite excited to share stories of kilograms and centimetres lost, and hopefully that will come (dear god, let that come) but in the meantime I wanted to touch base and let you all know – I’ve started, and that’s the most important step.
If you started on your personal journey this week as well, well done! If you haven’t, remember: A year ago you’ll wish you started today.
Last year this time I was sitting on a beach in Port Alfred, admiring my 5 month swollen belly and dreaming about just what this year had in store. One year later I’m sitting on my couch in Johannesburg rubbing my still fat post baby belly and thinking back on the year that was.
Birth. Our life got turned upside down, inside out and every other direction with the arrival of our baby, Carter James. I remember the 5th of May like it was yesterday. Watching them pull you out of me changed the way I view the world forever. Words just cannot express how loved you are, and how much you have completed us.
Job. After a long 2 and a half years I was given a promotion at work. A promotion that I busted my lady balls for, and still do. I am exceptionally proud of myself. Any working mom knows just how hard it is to manage both a family and a career, and harder still, managing people’s expectations of you in the work place. I cannot tell you how many times I was met with comments such as “don’t worry about that issue sweetie, think of your beautiful family” or the “half day?” chirps when I left at a decent time to go fetch my baby from crèche. I have a long way to go, and women in general have an even longer way to go, but this is one small step for mom, one giant leap for mom-kind.
Everyone stayed alive. We had no deaths in our family. Everyone is living and well and that’s pretty much the greatest result to a year that one could hope for.
Balance. Like an athlete with an end in sight, I refused to lose myself amidst the madness of baby, career, family and friends. I feel I did a pretty awesome job at juggling multiple balls. As with all circus acts, someone will always get eaten by a tiger, and I’ve lost a few relationships along the way – but it was bound to happen. I feel better for it.
People. With loss comes gain and I have met some rather superb mommy friends along the way. Ladies I can drink wine with and talk about pureed chicken and green poo without fear of the pained eye roll from my non mom friends. (And that eye roll is perfectly Ok might I add, I still do it, often)
Money. I made none. But I also made no less, which is something, right? Right??
Body. 2015 can’t be all peaches and fluff now, can it. I may not have lost myself emotionally, but physically I’m a big fat wreck. My body has not recovered from having a baby, despite the gym, despite the eating and despite the pleas’ I make with the devil, I still hate the way I look and the way I feel. 2016 is the year of sorting out whatever issue is holding me back from (still) fitting in to my pre-baby clothes.
Marriage. Having successfully ticked off our 2nd wedding anniversary in style, I can happily say that marriage gets easier, and with a baby to boot. My husband, he can stay. (Plus, in my eyes, he’s father of the year).
Skills. I took it upon myself to undumb this brain of mine and completed a photography diploma as well as a digital marketing diploma – both with a 99% pass rate. So whilst I still leave the tap running, and put the milk in the cupboard and the coffee in the fridge, I cling to the fact that there is still a brain hidden in there, somewhere.
Travel. Nothing to see here. Moving swiftly along.*
You. Rupert Approves readers. You’ve helped me grow this little blog project into something that’s actually something. I don’t think I will ever not get a little thrill whenever someone mentions my blog or I see my posts shared across the interwebs. Thank you for putting up with my offensive language and brutal honestly about tampons and stretch marks. You’re all fucking lovely.
Happy Christmas, Merry New year and everything in-between. I really cannot wait to see what 2016 has in store, for us all!
It’s our wedding anniversary today. 2 years. 63,072,000 seconds. 1,051,200 minutes.17,520 hours. 730 days. 104 weeks and 2 days.
In that time we have moved house, moved jobs, fallen pregnant, had a baby, had the worst fights of our lives and subsequently the happiest moments.
Marriage is hard. It’s a daily reminder that you have to work for the things you cherish the most, and that the results are more rewarding than money or gold.
Happy Anniversary to my husband. The man who loves me the most in the world. I love you back. Thank you for giving me our perfect child, constant support (and advice when I don’t actually want it) and for believing in me every step of the way.
This morning I dressed Carter in the cutest little Australian onesie – sent as a gift from a friend Michelle who lives Down Under. When my hubby arrived at creche this morning the teacher asked if Carter had an Australian heritage. He only realised why she asked this after looking around the school – it was a Heritage Day dress up and all of the kids were wearing outfits representative of their history and culture. To be fair, my 18 month old niece dressed up as an (admittedly adorable) ladybug, and my nephew as a fireman, so creative licence was running wild.
We’re celebrating at the office a little bit later today – and everyone has been asked to wear an outfit reflecting their heritage. I always get so uncomfortable when this time of year rolls round. What do I put on that speaks to my heritage? I’m a quarter German, named after an Irish pub, have Jewish family and was born in Sandton. Can I just give my son a Yarmulke, eat a bratwurst while downing a Guinness in high heels and call it a day?
The people in my office have made such an incredible effort. The Xhosa girls are draped in multicoloured beads with face art and the Venda ladies are colour blocked from head to toe. A Zulu lady is wearing her traditional outfit and a few of my Indian work mates are in Sari’s. A Portugese lady has gone all out with her dress (except the white socks, that’s apparently where she drew the line) and another girl is proudly sporting her Dutch Cloggs and milkmaid hat.
I mentioned to a colleague how much I adored her outfit and how I wished I was allowed to wear something like it. “You’re South African, Kate of of course you can wear it!” was her reply. And she’s right. The thing we all love about our country is the fact that we are all diverse, and unique. No-one is the same, yet we all belong.
So, whether you are celebrating in traditional garb, with a boerie roll round the braai, or in a Shwe Shwe skirt – make this Heritage Day your own. After all, it’s what us S’Africans to best, right?
And next year, I promise to dress up, paint my face and represent the many cultures of Kate.
Until then, feast your eyes on some of the eclectic people I am lucky enough to work with every single day.
I have strep throat. Which is actually a good thing, as strep throat always means I’ve gone away with the girls. There have been some deviations to the strep – such as the plague like rash that covered my legs in Zanzibar, or the double bronchitis and laryngitis that rendered me to the sick bay in Dullstroom.
This weekend marked another year of what we’ve fondly labeled ‘Team Vino’. An annual getaway with the girls to a (generally) local destination in SA. I don’t know why, but this trip has been my favourite one so far. It might have something to do with the 40+ bottles of wine consumed over the space of 48 hours, or the ‘only 2 hour ‘cos I’m hungover’ hike which turned into a 6 hour trek through some of the finest countryside South Africa has to offer. It may have something to do with the box of grape cigarettes bought, when none of us is a smoker, the cheese and biscuits for breakfast, the 4 pm pizza and champagne or the very flamboyant ‘special friend’ Johann who we met at the local backpackers for shots of Potency and red lipstick.
I suspect however, that this girls weekend was my favourite because in-between the drunken karaoke, the debate over the decline in bobby pins, or the hysterical laughter upon finding out that the UFO we were all convinced was floating on the horizon was in fact a far away mountain fire, this weekend was all about 8 very close friends, spending 2 very special days together.
It was about 3 hours in to the mountain hike when one friend commented (look, it could be due to dehydration, but go with me) “we are all so smart, and great, and clever, and nice”. And she’s right. The 8 of us, some friends from high school and some picked up along the way, are some of the most creative, smart, savvy, intelligent and funny people that I have the privilege of calling my friends. There’s Alison, who I have been friends with for 27 years. Alison is the smartest chick I know. She’s the one who’s trying to convince me to start a podcast on the blog. She’s a terrific hugger, and she doesn’t give a shit about your personal space issues. She’s also the only person I know who hair is always ‘blowing in the wind’ perfect in photographs. When I grow up I want to be like Allison.
There’s Ilona. I met Ilona through a series of circumstances which weren’t terribly pleasant – but like the light at the end of the tunnel, there she was. All bronzed legs, boobs and loud laughter. Ilona is always up for anything. She’s my go to person when I’m in desperate need of a glass of wine. Or a shot of tequila. She’s the first person to get involved. She’s also a terrific dancer, a bloody genius and has a daughter who is going to rule the world one day. Ilona doesn’t give a shit about most things, but she gives a whole lot for her friends. Ilona was the witness at our wedding. That’s how much I trust her.
Amy is my sister from another Mister. It’s sometimes hard to explain the relationship we have. Other girls are loud ‘squeals and ohmigodss’ and hugs. Amy and I are tinned soup and Pick n Pay vests. We know what the other person is thinking and tend to communicate in silence a lot of the time. Amy is revoltingly skinny. She borrows my clothes and looks magnificent in them. Amy ‘bought’ me a cleaner as a housewarming, that’s the kind of person she is. Amy too, is bloody smart, and she’ll Web MD your ass in a nano second. Funny rash? Amy will tell you what it is before it has a chance to itch.
If it does begin to itch, then Candice will have the cream for it. Candles, as I fondly refer to her, came into my life like a rocket ship. It’s hard to picture time before her. If you ever need a motivational pep talk, or someone to talk you down from a ledge, call Candice. She will throw profanities like confetti, but man alive it’s a treat. Candice always looks amazing. Dolled up, dressed down, no makeup or dressed in a burlap sack, she pulls it off.
“Hey Candles, where did you get that burlap sack”
“The burlap sack store”
Speaking of clothes, I’ve resolved to never ask Kerith where she ‘got those great leggings from’ because the answer is always something along the lines of ‘The South of France’. Possibly the most well travelled person I know, Kerith and I share a strong love for makeup and sarcasm. Kerith will also always tell you about things that you have no interest in hearing, but she doesn’t care, and tells you anyway. Just this weekend she went on for about 25 minutes about a local dam and its history. It’s a bloody good thing I like you, Kerith.
Remember I told you that Candice will always have that cream for that rash? Lauren is the one who makes sure that there is sufficient cream left in the tub. My favourite A typer, Lauren and I met when we each had broken wings. We nursed ourselves back to full flight on a diet of quiche, Greys Anatomy and Red Wine. Lauren says I saved her, I say she saved me. Either way, we found ach other and rely heavily on our conversations of what gym programme to do on a certain day, what tagine is right for which curry and when the best time to plant a seasonal vegetable is.
Have you ever seen a close up of the sun? That’s pretty much how bright Shannons smile is. She is possible the most radiant soul I have ever met. Almost as well traveled as Kerith, and as up for anything as Ilona, Shannon is the biggest sport of them all. Just last year she took up triathlon, and I’m pretty certain next year she’s going to be winning them. If one ever needs a glass of wine, Shannon will be there with the corkscrew. She’s also flipping clever. And attractive. An all rounder really.
So there you have it, just 7 of my closest friends. There are more, so many more, and in each of them I have found a friend soul mate.
There’s just something about spending time with those you love the most, and the busier our lives get, the harder it is to do. We’ve already planned next years trip – ideas of Botswana, Namibia, Seychelles and Mauritius are doing the rounds. I don’t care. As long as I end up with these girls by my side, a couple of bottles of wine and some lifelong memories, I’ll be happy.
I just left a shopping mall in tears. No, not because I’d just spent my life savings on formula and nappies (although that had something to do with it) but because of a very impatient man who – after quite a trying morning – hit the final nail in my Blue-Monday coffin.
I arrived back at my car after a morning of shopping. Baby was sleeping, his diaper bag and my handbag were draped over his pram and I was clutching several large bags of items. As I unlocked my car a man in a large SUV pulled up behind me and indicated he was waiting for my parking bay. I’m sure other moms can relate, but there is something stressful about packing a car after a shopping trip. It’s a real life game of tetris – each action requires precision movement and skill. My car, for instance, is quite small, which means I have to stack it in a certain way if I have any hopes of getting home with all 4 doors shut.
So there I was, trying to hold down the pram with one leg as I lifted bags and packets and piled them in the back seta. When it came to clipping in Carter I realized that the person next to me had parked about 1 cm away from my passenger door. The side that the baby chair goes in. (Do you know what’s ironic? After I had parked in the bay that morning I realized I was a tad too close to the line, and decided to do the right thing and move my car so it would be fair to whoever parked next to me).
I felt a prickly sweat under my arms as I realized I would now have to climb into the opposite side of my car with the baby in his chair in order to clip him in. This also meant leaving my pram, cellphone and car keys outside wile I did so. Feeling bad as I had already taken what felt like 8 hours to lave the parking bay I looked back at the waiting car and mouthed a big ‘I’m so sorry!’ with what I hope felt looked like ‘gosh, aren’t I a silly woman’ face. His response? To throw his hands up in irritation and edge his car even closer to mine. Because yes, that’s going to help matters.
Finally, baby clipped in, bags in boot and pram folded away I was ready to go. Unfortunately the man was now blocking my reverse exit so I had to attempt a 9 point turn in order to get out of the way.
Prickly sweat now a river I left the mall and burst in to tears.
I have no idea why today of all days the rudeness and intolerance of one person hit me so hard. Perhaps its because I had spent the better part of an hour trying to get 4 km up the road to take my child for his vaccinations. Or perhaps it’s because my car was nearly hit twice with people driving illegally up the emergency lane, you know, because they are the only people on our roads with somewhere to be. Perhaps it’s because several people watched me drop a 6 pack of milk on the floor and looked away as I scrambled to retrieve them all, while apologizing to everyone I happened to be inconveniencing as I crawled under shelves to retrieve them. Perhaps it’s because I’m so tired of trying to be that one good person who always abides by the rules, arrives on time and tries to do the right thing.
Perhaps it’s time we all just started treating other people a little better, started being a little kinder and started realising that people are humans too.
It has come to my attention lately, that despite evidence pointing to the obvious, many of us are forgetting how to adult. Look, between you and me, being a grownup is possibly one of the worst decisions I have ever made, but I made it, and now I’m stuck with it, and so are you.
Before we begin, I think it’s only fair to establish if you are indeed an adult. I obviously don’t want to waste your time if you are not. If you agree with 4 or more of the statements below, then I’m terribly sorry to break it to you, but you are a grown up person. A real human being so to speak:
You are reading this on one of the following devices: A work computer or a phone that you pay the bills for. Extra points if someone has printed this out for you to read, as that implies you are ‘BC’ (before computer) and means you are older, and therefore have more adult in you.
You were born after 1994. Again, extra points for those that could do the maths and work out that this makes you 21 or more.
When you go out to bars and pubs you immediately assume that the child next to you is 14, and consider asking them if their parents know they are out this late!?, when in fact they are 23.
You pay tax, earn a salary and have a job which requires you to be present 5 days or 40 hours a week.
You know what the word retromingent means*. (Jokes, this was a silly interjection to provide some light hearted comic relief as you slowly make your way down the list and realise you are in fact fucked an adult)
You sob quietly into your pillow in the last week of every month as you debate whether to spend your last R500 on toilet paper and cleaning supplies, anti-scurvy inducing food or three quarters of your DSTV bill.
Excellent. Hello grownup. We need to chat.
Now that we have established that you are very much in the adult years of your life, it’s time to get serious. Below are the 8 most important things one needs to do in order to adult. Some may scare you, others may overwhelm you, but rest assured that atleast there will always be wine to help console you (another perk of being said adult).
1. Don’t be late. There’s nothing more rude than that person who is always late – be it to meetings, weddings, get togethers or any other planned event. It may come as a surprise that when people put a time on an invitation, it’s not a suggestion, its a statement.
2. Get a diary. Fill it in with all the things you have to do in your busy life. You will find this tremendously helpful when it comes to planning your life. It also really helps with not being late.
3. Embrace your vowels. If you cannot feel the need to embrace the A, E, I,O and U’s given to you, then I feel you owe the alphabet an apology letter. If this proves too much of a challenge then you must hang up your adult hat with immediate effect and sign up to Mxit. There you shall find many a like minded teen all too willing to ‘BRB” and ‘Chat wif’ u’.
4. Reply to communications promptly and efficiently. If you own a phone, keep it on you and try and check it several times a day. We are getting older now friends, death is imminent, you need to be available in times of emergency.
5. If you cannot afford to insure it, don’t buy it.
6. Own up and own it. Listen, we all make mistakes. I make more than the average person, but being a grownup means having the balls to admit when you’ve cocked up. So acknowledge your mistakes and move on from it.
7. Be empathetic. It’s bloody hard to remain soft in this hard world we live in. We are faced daily with the world and its problems, and at times it feels like everyone just wants our pound of flesh. I get you. Try not to let this deaden you to the needs and situations of others. Everyone is fighting a different battle, and sometimes we need to put down our own guns to realise this.
8. The world is not out to get you. I find everyone around me is so defensive and angry at the moment. That traffic light that just went off on your way home from work – not aimed at you. The store that just ran out of your favourite yoghurt – not aimed at you. The job you didn’t get, the colleague who let you down again, the friend who forgot your birthday – all not aimed at you. (If you get punched directly in the face though, then sorry, but that was most definitely aimed at you).
If all the above sounds horribly depressing, then let’s take a quick look at the 5 best things about being an adult:
1. You can go potty all by yourself. Who’s a big boy now hey?
2. You make the decisions that affect everything about your life.
3. You get to choose what you do and who you do it with.
4. You get to make money and then spend it on whatever you want (just remember the toilet paper and non-scurvy inducing food)
5. You are responsible for every action you make, and for the future of the children you bring into this world (until they too learn to adult).
Now isn’t that the most wonderful and terrifying thought?
** Retromingent: The ability to urinate backwards. “Wow Dad, look at that shiny hippo and his retromingent skills!”
I woke up this morning and realised I haven’t blogged in a few weeks, because I had nothing to write about.
3 hours later I got stood up at a meeting that took me 2 hours to get to, I ramped a curb and damaged my car leaving said meeting, I was spoken to rudely by several people and my colleagues played a harmless prank on me. All before 1 pm. All which made me break down in a sobbing fit about 5 minutes ago.
Other reasons I’ve cried during my pregnancy?
Money worries. How am I going to afford everything that comes with having a baby. What do I do if my baby is sick and I am at work. Can we afford a nanny? Can we afford nappies? Can I still afford Mitchum or do I have to move to Shield?
My neighbours dog died. About 30 minutes ago. It happened while I was on a conference call with Ireland and he was frantically messaging the neighbourhood WhatsApp group asking for help. All I could do was Google the number of a vet and ask someone, anyone, on the other end to phone the vet. I was too late and his dog died and now I feel like I have a hole in my heart the size of Texas because I couldn’t do anything to help him.
I thought I had lost something that someone had loaned to me, and after frantically searching and asking for it I had to tell the person I loaned it from that I had lost it. Turns out some colleagues had hidden it from me as a harmless prank. This is now the reason I’m hiding out in an old boardroom in the office (that smells like feet) and sobbing into my keyboard. (Me, crying over a prank. I invented the prank. What.The.Actual.Fuck is going on with me)
I couldn’t eat fishcakes. This happened really early on (around week 8). I bought expensive Salmon fishcakes from Woolies and realised, as soon as I started cooking them, that if I ate them I would be sick. I sobbed and sobbed while I watched my husband eat all 8.
Someone finished the rusks. And the Marie biscuits.
My husband forgot to buy dog food, and after a massive brief altercation I drove to the shops in my pyjamas and bought 16 bags. I also tried to slam his hand in the door when he tried to stop me.
I baked. And I fucked up 20 perfectly good cupcakes that I was making for a colleagues birthday.
I was told I was being ‘hormonal and pregnant’. Now, this is a tricky one, because if there’s a sure way to fuel that fire, it’s to cry when someone tells you that you are being ‘overly emotional’. That being said, blame my emotional state on my pregnancy one more time, and I will stab you in the fucking face with an unused box of tampons.
My mattress is shit. I cry for a sturdy mattress I will never know.
Traffic. But who am I kidding – traffic makes me cry even when I’m not spawning a child.
Most TV adverts and movies featuring the following:
A pet (extra points for dogs, triple points if the dog dies)
A homeless person
Any Tracker ad
The sight of my naked body in the mirror. (fun fact, the other day I was trying to view my belly button, convinced it was bruised. Dr D says it’s because my stomach muscles have split and my stomach is now just a round piece of fat holding my uterus in. Awesome)
People’s opinions. If I’m planning on tattooing a Swastika down my baby’s face after birth, then by all means, say something, but for everything else – unless you plan on paying for a portion of my baby’s life, your opinion is null and void.
So, on that charming note, I’m off to dry my mascara and have a cup of tea. I just hope it’s not with full cream milk, because that just may set me off again.
Someone last night said to me they had recently stumbled upon my blog, and now dedicate Fridays to reading it for their weekly laugh. That made my day. But Bron, I’m sorry, today is not going to be one of those days.
You see, I’m feeling pretty glum. It could be the late night and lack of sleep, it could be the preggy hormones, or it could be that for the first time my rose tinted view of South Africa is less rosy, and more realistic.
Last night we went to go watch Alan Committie at the Pieter Torien theatre at Montecasino. If you haven’t watched him live, do yourself a favour and buy a ticket- he is true comic gold.
As with all South African comedy shows, the majority of the fodder is always based on real life events in SA – load shedding, Zuma, crime and the ANC. We go there to laugh, because the state of affairs in this country make it so much easier to do so – we as South Africans are forced to find the humour in what is becoming a rapidly deteriorating country. At one point Alan turned to the audience and said “But despite it all, we truly have one of the most beautiful countries in the world, right?” and the audience cheered and cheered. Normally I would have joined in, louder than them all, but last night, I couldn’t.
Have you driven up and down our roads lately? Have you seen the rubbish, the mess, the weeds, the derelict buildings and the taxi ranks? Unless you travel by helicopter, you too would have been stuck for hours on end during load shedding, wondering why the robots weren’t solar powered (it’s a crime issues you see). You, like me, may have also seen pedestrians get knocked over, motorbike accidents and car accidents ranging from irritating bumper bashings to body bags. When you finally reach your destination you too may have had to use a bottle of water to wash your hands and rely on a generator or gas stove to cook your food.
In December we drove to Port Alfred. The carnage on our roads has me debilitated to such a point that for 11 and a half hours I could not close my eyes – even as a passenger – because I had the irrational thought that unless there were 2 sets of eyes on the road at all times, something dreadful would happen.
Coupled with this, our recent incident has left me paralysed with fear when driving home, and pulling in to my own driveway is now a mute-radio,unclip-seatbelt-watch-gate-close-whiles-keeping-an-eye-out-for-suspicious-activity process. And that’s during daylight! I wont even go to gym or out at night unless I’m driving with my husband. This weekend I’m home alone and I’ve already planned to be locked up indoors by 6pm.
All this while Zuma makes a mockery of what used to be my favourite place in the entire world, Robert Mugabe memes and load shedding schedules flood my Facebook feed and I pee in the office bathrooms with a torch because we have no power.
I suppose my entire view has shifted because it’s no longer just about me. In 100 days or less I am having a baby, and that baby is going to be born into an environment where I don’t know if I can fetch him from creche on time because I may or may not be stuck behind a dead traffic light. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to heat his room in winter or protect him from a taxi playing chicken at a 4-way stop. I don’t know if I will be able to walk him in his pram in my street without holding my breath, and I don’t know if I will find him a school we can afford where textbooks aren’t burnt and the teachers aren’t on strike.
So excuse me friends, for I am feeling fucking glum. I hope it lifts and I hope my fleeting thoughts of emigration fade very quickly. Because if there is one thing worse than the way I’m feeling today, it’s the thought of moving to a place where I don’t have my family and friends by my side.
At the beginning of my triathlon career, my husband bought me a shiny fancy new road bike. It was yellow and black and we called her ‘Bumblebee”. Being a complete novice cyclist I had no idea if she was a good bike or a bad bike. All I knew was that she didn’t weigh nearly as much as my prehistoric concrete mountain bike, she had thin fancy wheels and clip in pedals. I mean, could you get anything more professional?
Bumblebee saw me through many races, including Half Iron Man, without so much as a puncture. She was super.
It was only later when I learnt more about bicycles that I realised she was by no means the most expensive bike on the block, nor was she the most fancy or sought after. But I loved her and her no-drama attitude.
About a year after we got Bumblebee we were broken in to. It happened one night when we were both fast asleep and we only woke up to the guards at our complex telling us that our front door was wide open. At that stage we lived in a ‘security estate’. They stole a whole bunch of stuff, except Bumbleebee.
The next day we bought a terribly ferocious guard dog by the name of Rupert.
Fast forward to Christmas 2013 and we were broken into yet again. This time they hit the garage and literally cleaned us out. We only noticed a few days later on Boxing Day when I happened to go into the garage to look for the vacuum cleaner (Side note – the reason I never went in to the garage was because I’m married to a triathlete, and every woman married to a triathlete knows that cars sleep outside, and bikes sleep inside).
When I say they literally cleaned us out, I mean they took pretty much every single thing in the garage. Except Bumblebee. There she lay, mounted to the walls, between empty spaces that used to be her much bigger, better and more expensive bike cousins (husbands bikes).
We laughed the robbery off (bitterly) patted ourselves on the back and said the usual “at-least we weren’t home/hurt”, submitted yet another insurance claim and laughed (bitterly) at the irony that we LIVED.IN.A.SECURITY.ESTATE.
A few days later I turned round to my husband and said to him. Fuck this, If we keep getting nailed in a complex, let’s move.
We moved. To our glorious house in the ‘burbs.
At this point, ferocious guard dog 2 – Bella – had entered the mix
(Are you sensing a trend here, dear reader?)
This one happened 3 days after we moved in to our new house in the ‘burbs. They managed to take a lot of stuff before our security company arrived on the scene and/or the alarm scared them off. We were both at work and laughed (bitterly) about our luck, but also reminding ourselves just how lucky we were we weren’t home. Garden beams and CCTV were added to the mix, we claimed from insurance again and kept looking forward.
Bumblebee, if you’re wondering, was safe.
Yesterday as I was packing up to leave the office my phone rang. It was our security company notifying me that a panic had gone off and would I like them to go check it out. Yes please, I would like that very much. I immediately called my husband to find out if he had set it off accidentally, and when I got no reply I popped him a Whatsapp asking if everything was alright.
I jumped in my car and left the office.
5 minutes late I got a phone call that left me cold. My husband had arrived home at 4 pm and let himself into the gate and then garage. 30 seconds after parking he walked back in to the garage to hang up some washing (it was raining). In our garage he was confronted by a man with a gun to his face who made him lie down. There were others too, although at this point not visible to my husband. Luckily, he had his gate remote on him and he activated the panic button. Unluckily the alarm went off (not silently as it should have). The frightened thieves punched him in the face, grabbed his keys and left on 3 bicycles.
Almost 6 months pregnant and stuck in bumper to bumper traffic I was unable to get home and felt utterly helpless. Luckily my best friend and her hubby raced over to be with Barry until I could get home.
When I got home I was met with what felt like hundreds of cars, police, armed response and neighborhood watch. Our house was a hive of activity. My husband was (thanks a million stars) OK and the situation under control.
Fast forward to a day later and I am angry and sad and shocked and tired and so upset that this keeps happening. I’m devastated that there was a weapon involved. I’m apalled at our armed response for taking 20 minutes to arrive and I’m absolutely appalled that they phoned me when they should have gone straight through. I’m tired of hearing about crime riddled areas and how one can arm oneself to the hilt, but if these guys want in, they will get in. I’m relieved my husband is OK and I’m desperately emotional at the though that perhaps the only way to avoid living like this all the time is to leave my country.
I’ve also come to realise that riding expensive bikes is a very dangerous sport. Because all our bikes were stolen, except Bumblebee who still hangs on the wall, now very much alone.
Tonight, I’m convincing my husband to take up golf.