Posts Tagged ‘household’

This is what I have been waiting for……..

My car is parked surreptitiously down the side of our house in my neighbour’s driveway. Josh is next to me in his basket. He watches intently as the ‘foreign’ visitors make their way up our stairs and through the front door. He is accustomed to the ritual of ‘clearing out of the house’ each day. Private viewings seem to be the format here in Canada and Show Days are reserved for the inquisitive shoppers. Once he notices me grab hold of his bed, he rushes to the door. He is ever hopeful that this evacuation might include a walk. We sit there in the sub-zero temperatures until the viewing is complete. Each prospective buyer is sized up by myself and my canine helper. Is this the one?

I know it is going to be a good day……

I struggled to write this passage as I found the whole process of selling our beloved house emotional and difficult. Strangers were in and out of our Maison de Morkel. They quizzically sized it up from all angles and inspected every corner. But 3 weeks have passed since then and I am happy to announce that the deed is done. Our house is finally sold!

It has happened!

It has happened……

Canada is a huge country and to move from east to the west coast is like moving to another continent. It would have taken us 4 days to drive the distance. Instead we are going to wing our way over this vast country while the contents are being shoved into containers and onto a truck. Josh has had his very own designer wooden crate made and squeezed back into the hold on the plane too.  The Groot Trek Mark 2 is about to begin.

I shuffle my slipper less toes to the kitchen……….

A house does not just shut itself up! Besides the disconnection of all the usual utilities like gas and water, there is mail to be redirected. We won’t even mention the sorting and discarding that needs to happen. Conveniently I am the only one left at home once my youngest son leaves for university. So the lot of packing and throwing out has been unanimously delegated to mom. A quick word of warning…….Don’t play the ‘Where is it?’ game with me once we get to Vancouver!

Hello, you beautiful thing……

There is some merit in the sorting frenzy as one gets to re-evaluate your worldly possessions and to say farewell to those that just don’t bring you ‘joy’ anymore. I know that might sound trite, but hear me out. I recently read The Life- Changing Magic of Tidying Up. According to the author on the New York best seller’s list, Marie Kondo, “If it does not bring joy……chuck it!” This book could not have arrived at a more timely moment when all our household goods were about to be scrutinised, categorised and some eliminated. You begin to realise how little you really need.

My thoughts are all I have so I try to make them brave……

In my mind’s eye I can see myself with my head buried deep in a cupboard looking for the elusive joyless item!



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Go for it!

Good one!

The words ring in my head as I spectate on the side of yet another match. There is a stash of supplies close by of protein rich sustenance and plenty of liquid to quench even the most insatiable thirst. It has been almost 25 years of running up and down the side lines. There were times when excitement pushed me to the limits and I took being the family ‘cheerleader’ to the next level! Many a red face gave me ‘the look’ while mom did her thing oblivious to any observers.

Oh I think I have found myself a cheerleader….

Ever since I joined the ranks of being ‘a senior’ and have hung up my proverbial ‘teacher boots,’ I have questioned my function not only in my family but in society. It is a humbling experience to go from this active role to one of finding purpose in your day. Yes, I know there is lots to be grateful for and I am. I also know how fortunate I am to be able to stay at home. I have revelled in this time and the many new exploits and endeavours have filled my days. But fortune has changed that lately as our main bread winner was given the handshake.   Initially there is the shock and the insecurity that floods one’s thoughts. Then the reality check and the deliberation of “what to do next.”

A spot of camping maybe.....

A spot of camping maybe…..

The prospect of moving countries again was entertained but quickly dismissed as we decided as a family that Canada is definitely to be our home. This was no idle thought as some promising openings came up and it had to be considered. So what were we to do in the meantime? We could go into overdrive and take the first job that came along or…..take some time off and get to know what that little voice sounds like again. The latter seemed to be much more attractive as extensive global travel and long hours had robbed us of our head of the household for far too long.

Our tentotik, a Canadian version of 'glamping.'

Our tentotik, a Canadian version of ‘glamping.’

Deep in a drawer was a folder. I had been collecting articles of all the local places that I would like to visit. It had been gathering dust as we could not find a gap in this busy schedule. As I was the one who would have to organise such outings, I had the advantage of choosing the first break away activity. I knew exactly which one it would be and pulled out the article on tentotiks. These are tent like structures that have been erected by the Canadian Parks Board in rural areas to encourage the intrepid camper. I love camping as it conjures up so many happy memories of lazy holidays along the coast of South Africa. Therefore there were no illusions as to the thought and effort that would go into making a trip like this happen.  So ‘glamping’ in style was an easier option. This meant that our heavy, thick canvas lion-proof tent could be left at home. Food, bedding and fishing paraphernalia was all that was needed. What a win!

The road less traveled...

The road less traveled…

In the last 2 months we have explored the ‘road less traveled.’ It has been a time to reflect and to consider what we feel is important to us as a family. One thing I know, there is still an active part for me to play here at home. I have been reminded never to underestimate the importance of this role. It might be unseen and sometimes feel trivial, but vital nevertheless.

All I need now is a colourful tutu and the largest pair of pompoms I can find!



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I expect all the bells and whistles on Sunday! After all it is Mothers’ Day! I would like to start off with my tea in bed and a whole grain rusk. I like the ones from Ouma with cranberries inside. So that’s a huge call being that we are on the other side of the world! Thank goodness for the South African shop nearby. I have stocked up so all they will have to do, is have a dig in the capacious cupboard. Then a gloriously full bath will go down well if it is run with heaps of bubble bath.  As long as my day starts like this, I will be happy just to spend some time with my boys. On second thoughts…..a little back rub and a list of ‘I promise to do the following’…. that would also go down well!

As I am the MOTHER in this household of men, I give myself permission to celebrate and marvel at my 3 sons. Thank goodness they are all so different, as this gives me the opportunity to enjoy their varied interests. These differences have also proven to be rather challenging at times. I refer to the handling of the ‘teenager stage.’ Just when you think that you have this whole stage waxed, you have to rethink your strategy.  It kept me on my toes! What am I saying? It still does! As David, my youngest, is still there.



 So David keeps me young. Well hopefully, or else I will crumple up in a heap from exhaustion. As I charge from one rugby match to the next, I lap up the fact that I am still part of the ‘rugby moms.’ The fact that I am nearing the big six, this is quite a feat!

David has a peaceful soul and is happy with his own company. I marvel at how easily he has made the transition into this new country of ours. I can’t imagine how daunting it must have been to have walked into the High School of over a thousand kids. He did not know a soul! That takes guts! He is a strong lad too and is my right hand man in the garden. He has dug many a deep hole for the copious plants that arrive each week in the summer. But with all this strength, there is also a gentle side. It becomes apparent when Dave cares for his animals.



Bryan is the passionate one. What can I say? ‘Die appeltjie het nie ver van die boompie geval nie.’ He attacks whatever he does with fervor. He involves me by discussing his day at a busy pharmaceutical plant. Bryan has a good eye for design and often helps me with projects around the house. This artistic streak is also noted in his photography. He has documented in photographs much of our new life here in Canada. He is our ‘outdoor kid’ and drags us out over weekends to try all sorts of new Canadian activities. This enthusiasm is infectious, although it does get us into trouble at times. A broken wrist or just a case of sunburn and sore muscles is often the result of our escapades into the unknown. I admire the way Bryan has kept up this enthusiasm even through the winter when our spirits were low.



John is my eldest son and my old soul too. He has an innate wisdom as if he has lived for a very long time. He knows a lot about everything and I can talk to him for hours. John enjoys his work as a software engineer and I marvel at his commitment. His hours are long and he is often called upon in the middle of the night. This is because the US is just waking up when the day in South Africa is drawing to a close. His American counterparts were obviously not strong contenders for the geography prize at school!

Where is South Africa? We share a love for music and I enjoy watching him sing. He comes alive when he plays the guitar. I miss him now that we are so far away. I am grateful for the regular contact that we have and the for the man who invented Skype. Actually I am sure it must have been a woman…….what man would invent software that enabled you to TALK to someone on the other side of the world!

John and Kristen

John and Kristen

 I need to add someone else to my ‘celebration list.’ I am grateful for the lady who calls me mom. Kristen is my daughter in law. She has balanced out our family and has improved the plight of the only woman in the house. Ha! Ha! Kristen is a creative whiz kid and has developed an online textile design business. She produces the most amazing designs and has recently appeared in many of the South African magazines. Some of her designs have made their way over the seas to Canada too. When I need to touch base with my roots, I only have to look over at my Nguni or protea cushions that she made. I enjoy her creativity and her work ethic. Kristen has included me in their lives as a couple and I am eternally grateful for that.

Thank you for allowing me to indulge myself with my thoughts on my children. I feel content and proud today. Although I know that they all have their foibles too, they are my children and therefore my legacy. I rejoice in that!

The Morkel mom

The Morkel mom

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It is March break and the cupboards are being raided by teenage boys in my house. In the mornings I find the empty bowls of ice cream and tell tale wrappers of the ‘good chocolates’. Nothing is sacred in the path of this mob, but I do so love the fact that they think it is cool to hang out at Maison de Morkel. They seem to have endless energy, probably the high carbohydrate diet of expensive chocolates allows them to stay up till the wee hours of the night. This results in me tip toeing around the place till lunch time so that they can get there 10 hours in. There are times however that I resort to ‘The Mother’s March’. This is when the scorpio in me rears it’s head. I rush around and bang doors, put on the dishwasher and the washing machine and for a bit of added crescendo…the tumble dryer!

 This whole exercise is marvelous for any deep seated tension that might be lurking in this stay at home and recently retired mother. It also has a profound effect on young men and they seem to respond by bouncing out of bed and stumbling down the stairs. The kitchen is obviously their first pit stop and they open the fridge as if at a bookshelf. They stare glibly into the shelves and scan the contents for delectable treats. These have been hidden by a much practiced mother under the healthier options. They continue to stare and the duration is usually influenced by whether their brains have kicked in yet. Once the IQ begins to function, the problem solving begins….where has mom hidden ‘the quick breakfast food’ this time? For those of you who are not familiar with the term ’quick breakfast food’…… this is the food that requires no cooking or preparing and can just be put into a mouth and swallowed. I have learnt that it is incredibly difficult for a teenager to try to wake up and prepare a sandwich or bowl of cereal at the same time. The brain just cannot do it!

There are those wonderful mornings when I wake up and smell the delicious aroma of flapjacks being tossed in the kitchen. Can you believe they are made from scratch?

 A greater force moves them to get up…. it is not the banging of household appliances….. it is far greater than that. Maybe it is a sudden surge of hunger pangs. Whatever it is, I am so grateful as the ‘Mother March’ does not have to  be executed and I can get to enjoy breakfast in bed!  

Flapjacks with maple syrup.....mmmmmm!

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