And I’m back. Yes, yes, I know the blog has been ticking over in terms of at least one new post a day, but to be fair, I do have filler posts scheduled all the way up to March next year! Anyway, I took a couple of weeks off from blogging, meaning that there is a fair bit of catch up reporting that I need to get to in terms of sharing all that is going on in our lives at the moment, and I will get to it in the next couple of posts, I promise.
As for what is happening right now, well Jessica has been living with Oupa and Ouma Montgomery for the last week thanks to her creche closing last Friday, we’ve played host to good friend Retha who is down visiting after her extended stay in Spain, Chantelle is working super hard at her Chantelle’s Cookies & Cakes baking venture, and I’m patiently waiting for tomorrow to arrive so that I can finish up with work and kick off a nice and relaxing two and a bit weeks’ of vacation.
Oh, and here’s a picture of Jessica helping Mommy with her baking to tide you over until all the real life posts start rolling in…
I know, I know, I’ve been really slack over the last month or two with regards to reporting on our weekend happenings and all the goings on with our friends and family. So to make up for my unforgivable lapse in reporting, here is a fairly comprehensive list of all the big family and friends stuff that I’ve failed to mention on my blog.
Will that be sufficient?
So let’s start with the family then shall we. Not much exciting happening in terms of Ryan as far as I know, apart from his purchase of a cool splash pool for his house, which I can assure you Jessie and I will be paying multiple visits to during my Single Parent weekend stints over this summer. Claire and Riley are currently enjoying another overseas holiday trip, with Riley first practising Kung Fu in Hong Kong, before they moved off to Singapore and then Thailand. Not much exciting in terms of Dad, but a big one for Mom, as she underwent a successful knee replacement operation, meaning she is currently in the lengthy process rehabilitating her knee.
As for the other side, still big drama for Chantelle’s grandparents who are caught in the unfortunate Radisson Blu Blouberg debacle, but we did get to enjoy a fantastic 60th spit braai celebration for Monty, who celebrated in style with family and friends over at Gordon’s Beach Lodge a little while ago. Same old, same old for Robert (outside of his shiny car of course), and can’t think of any big news revolving mom-in-law though, other than she’s been a real star when it comes to playing babysitter for us! ;)
As for the friends, a fair bit of big happenings, most of which revolves around babies (boy, we really are all at that stage of our lives now!).
Terrance is still very much missing in action, enjoying his big adventure in Japan as far as what we can tell, Karl is still tinkering around at varsity and Trish is enjoying playing Bass for their band. No idea what Wayne and Candice are up to come and think of it. Damen and Michelle welcomed their little bundle of joy into the world a couple of weeks early, giving him the claw-tipped name of Logan. Similarly, Evan and Natasha welcomed into the world little Evalynne, the tallest little baby girl I have ever seen! Zania and little Zandea (who turns two pretty soon) have been pretty quiet, but maybe that’s just because Dean has been so hard at work on his braai room that he and his father-in-law or in the process of building!
Retha and Miguel are still teaching in South Korea (and organising charity work here in South Africa on the side!). Albert landed a sweet gig of producing a television series for KykNet, while Andy continues raising little Annebella who also turns 1 pretty shortly, while Michelle and Gary also welcomed their second little one into the world, named Hannah. Oh, and in case you thought I was done with all the babies, Malcolm and Andri brought little Annabelle into this world (their first daughter) and Chantelle’s cousin Chané with husband Jasper also welcomed their little bundle of joy recently.
Seriously, it’s just babies everywhere one looks! :)
And that is that as far as what everyone in our lives are or have been getting up to, so now you know. Happy?
Okay, I guess it is time that I resume with some live life blogging again (thank you my carefully crafted blog buffer – an intricate process I might add, filled with pen marks and printed out calendar pages if you must know), now that I’m no longer feeling like something the dog dragged in for supper via the gutter, no longer constantly bending over to pick up the chunks of my lungs that I have coughed out, or clenching my nostrils as the seemingly endless hammers go to work in my brain.
Shame, it has pretty much been a month of on and off sickness in the Lotter household over here in Gordon’s Bay, with little Jessie forced to do a course of antibiotics half way through and who still coughs and wakes up with a snotty nose each and every morning, a Chantelle who alternates between splitting headaches, a throat on fire and who knows what else, and myself whose infected chest has prevented me from being active for at least four weeks now! (Which is torture indeed for all those around me who are now forced to endure a Craig who hasn’t been able to release his energy for quite some time now. That said, I have been sleeping three times as much as what I normally do!)
Thankfully though I ended up not missing out on too much karate time over this period, but that happens to only be due to the three week long Gushku that was attended by Sensei Birgitt and a handful of others from our dojo in Germany of all places, under Dai Hanshi Ward who made the trip through from Canada. But as for gym and my lovely long morning walks? Ha, forget about it!
(On that note, would have loved to make the Germany trip, but damn, I don’t have that kind of free cash lying around any more, never mind the three weeks leave I would have had to try and sneak in past the bosses!)
Anyway, while we were pretty much constrained to home for the most part (I was even forced to work out of my home office a couple of times – not Chantelle though, she has no other choice but to go in), we did get up to one or two small family-related shenanigans, like a braai at Mom’s place with Claire, Riley and the rest of the family (plus extended) in celebration of Riley’s 30th birthday, a final evening of FIFA with the boys in our old four-man format, a evening out at Cattle Baron with the friends, followed by Scattegories and cake as a sending-off for my good friend Terrance Brown who has left South Africa behind in order to go and teach English in Japan. We slept over in Bellville, enjoyed breakfast with the Montgomery clan, visited with Dean, Zania and Zandea for the first time in literally months, made homemade pizza, watched Jackie Chan (okay, only I did that one), did a couple of slow walks with Jessie in the pram, finished up the cement slabs/brickwork under the carport (wait a minute, wasn’t I meant to be sick over this period?), so yeah, we didn’t completely rest on our laurels despite the sickness permeating number 5 Country Mews, which I guess is a good thing.
Still, I’m pretty sick of winter and all of its associated germs now. Summer had better get here soon…
Anyway, it looks like we’re over the worst part of it now, and I’m going to try my hand at karate again this week.
Hopefully I don’t die. (But if I do, rest assured that there is still at least a month and a half worth of buffer blog posts to keep you entertained.)
Tomorrow I will be officially 31 years of age. Yup, now well and truly on the slippery slope downwards, towards the dreaded “old age” that will eventually catch up to all of us. A lot changed in one year, and from having a lot of goals in front of me, and perhaps being a little despondent and questioning at this exact point a year ago, I am now down to only a handful of life achievements that I aspire to, or that I can at least think of.
Case in point. I now have my loving wife, my comfortable home, my beautiful daughter, I’m earning a decent salary in a field which I enjoy, I have a reliable car for a change, and my journey towards that elusive black belt continues at a steady pace.
So what does this mean for me and the things I still want to achieve in life?
Well actually I’m in a pretty rosy position, considering that I literally only have four identified achievements that are of any importance to me – and best of all, all four of these “life” goals are actually very, very achievable. And so in no particular order…
Outside of it being the year in which both Chantelle and I turned the milestone 30, it was also the first year in my marriage to Chantelle, which as anyone can see, continues to go from strength to strength. On the birthday note, we celebrated my birthday with Chantelle whisking me away on a surprise holiday in the gorgeous Drakensberg – where I also learned that we were expecting our first child!
Needless to say, as you also all know by now, 2010 also proved to be the year that our little beloved Jessica decided to join the Lotter clan (a little ahead of schedule), in other words a momentous 2010 saw me grow as both a husband and become a father all in a single breath!
Although nothing particularly great happened on the career front, the work situation did force me to buy my very first, brand new off the showroom car (a beautiful midnight grey Hyundai Getz) – which of course was further complemented with the purchase of my very first house towards the end of the year, again all in a single breath and now firmly placing us a Gordon’s Bay locals!
Someone pointed out to me that this really has been one hell of a year in my life. In the span of 1 year I have gotten married, tried to make the jump into management, gotten my wife pregnant, bought a brand new car off the showroom floor and am now in the process of trying to buy a house!
So because I’ve just recently turned 30, does this mean that this period could then officially be referred to as my Onset-of-Adulthood Crisis?
Man, talk about trying to make some changes in one’s life – Hell, I hate to think what I’m going to do when I hit forty and then have that little thing called a Mid-Life Crisis still to deal with! ;)
Last Friday didn’t get off to the best of starts, and technically the drive home didn’t end on a good note either.
You see, I arrived early morning at the Steenberg Virgin Active gym like I always do and as I proceeded to swipe in, I was asked to please stick to the one side of the gym as they were currently dealing with a medical emergency on the other side. There on the lower level, down the left hand side of the pool a number of screens had been put up and you could see a number of paramedics working on someone lying down on the ground. Twenty minute or so later, the foil sheets were pulled up, police arrived and a bodybag made its appearance.
You see, as Chantelle later confirmed via a newspaper article, a middle-aged man had succumbed to a rather unexpected heart attack while swimming laps.
This got me then thinking about how death really can strike at any time and now with all my family responsibilities, I really do need to make better preparations for that possible eventuality. After all, now that I have a child on the way and something was say to happen to me, how would my wife be able to cope financially, never mind emotionally and everything else that comes with an unexpected death?
So what does this mean?
Well for starters, it does mean that I really should start looking after myself a bit better. I’m one of those “if I don’t know about it then I don’t have to worry about it” sort of blokes and as such have no idea of my current health status other than the rather informal “I feel fine” verbal test. Maybe, just maybe I guess I need to start forming some sort of relationship with a healthcare practitioner sooner than later, something I’m pretty sure Chantelle will be pretty wild about! :)
More importantly than that, I do now have to look into things like life insurance policies and the like, because quite frankly, I really don’t want to sit with a situation where if I pass away my wife and child are dropped into absolute poverty or something like that. Of course, this means a bit of legwork from my side, and also leaves me with a question or two which I guess I’ll have to make time to find the answer to.
Sigh, all these extra things to think of and plan for now that one has padded themself with a family!
But responsibility is good and providing for is one of the things that makes a man a man and for that I am pleased to be in the process of building up the next generation Lotter family.
But it wasn’t good starting the day witnessing the life of a man ebb away after something as trivial as swimming a lap in a pool. Nor was it good to witness another man lying dead in the road after being knocked down by a car on my way home…
And then I was 30. So last Tuesday, the 11th of May, saw me end off my time in the twenties and enter the age of the thirties, and following the awesome surprise long weekend away to the Drakensberg courtesy of a sneaky Chantelle, this was probably the best process of ageing one more year that I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying in absolute ages.
Amazingly enough, thanks to the machinations of Chantelle, we were both actually off on the day of my birthday and what followed was a great sleep-in, pottering around the house, going shopping together and in general just spending time in one another’s company, before finally getting ready and pulling the door closed behind us.
A while back I had decided to invite the family out to Cattle Baron in Somerset West in order to celebrate the big event with me and so we found ourselves hitting the road in a hurry to make the meet-up time of 19:00 at the restaurant which I hadn’t actually been to before. Needless to say, as is always the case with Chantelle and I, we were late. 10 to 15 minutes or so late. But at least our excuse was good. The entire Strand area was swathed in darkness, bringing with it no traffic lights and thus heavy, slow-moving traffic. But, as you might point out, we were still late.
The Cattle Baron itself is pretty okay, seems to sit in an old converted house which means lots of corridors and walls, and to be honest, I think I would prefer a more open venue though the plus of it is that it provides you with a fair bit of privacy I guess.
The Montgomery’s were there in full force, but the Lotter’s were missing Claire and Riley and unfortunately Ryan’s girlfriend couldn’t make it either, leaving us with a grand total of 8 mouths to feed on the night. Banter was good and I received and opened a host of awesome presents like FIFA World Cup 2010 South Africa, the Unseen Academicals and Papa Roach’s Metamorphosis to name a few. We also chose this moment to drop the bombshell of Chantelle’s pregnancy, handing each mother a “belated Mother’s Day gift” which was a simple white box with a ribbon around it. Opening the box revealed a white baby booty inside and with the moms’ eyes wide open, we delivered the happy news.
In other words, even more to celebrate now! The wine was flowing, the food eventually came and on a whole, the evening was just an awesome family get together.
Eventually I attempted to sneak out and settle the bill as a surprise for everyone, before we all left the confines of the restaurant to return to our flat for coffee and Mom’s first look at our frankly awesome wedding album.
And that was that, the mechanics of turning 30 was over and done with.
But what about the other side of it? Well as most men do when they hit a big decade change number, I am forced to look back at life so far, and unfortunately I must say that I’m rather disillusioned with what I see. As I try to explain to Chantelle, I believe I have far more potential than what I exert and as such sadly look back on having achieved pretty much nothing so far. It’s a depressing thought really, but one I think that everyone goes through when they haven’t managed to achieve something pretty awesome by the time they hit 30.
That said, I do have plans moving forward and so hopefully this decade will be the big one for me. As it is, I’m already off to a good start, having basically just successfully completed the first six months of my marriage and now have the planning of opening up of our little family to its first child to deal with. Plans for a house are now gathering speed, I’ve purchased my first brand new car and I have some business ideas which moving forward I’d like to see slowly but surely be put in to action.
So in other words we’ll see. I have now had 30 years of experience on this planet, I have the privilege of knowing myself, knowing my limits and abilities pretty well and have now built up a beautiful support structure around me.
In other words?
The next ten years should be a blast! :)
Friday evening kicked off with a visit from Candice and Wayne who joined us for a supper made up of Chantelle’s home-baked chicken pie, savoury rice, caramelized pumpkin fritters and roast potatoes, followed by her first ever attempt at a shortbread grandilla tart with vanilla ice-cream. Naturally the evening was absolutely fun and games as we chatted the night away and eventually let the two of them hog the couches as beds for the night.
Saturday morning the four of us awoke to a delcious Chantelle-cooked breakfast of bacon, croissants and scrambled eggs, before we sent W&C on their way and headed out in two cars to Hyundai Somerset West, where I accosted the Tammy, the sales lady I had spoken to on Thursday and went ahead with applying for finance on a new car, i.e. the birth of Craig’s first ever real debt. But more on this particularly exciting bit on news in its own post, ‘k?
Chantelle left me at the dealership busy to go and have her hair done in preparation for the night’s activities, and so once I had finished up chatting with the finance guy, I slipped off to the Mr. Price Sports shop at the mall where in an attempt to purchase a golf glove I ended by this absolutely awesome brown suede trail/hiking hat which I then pretty much preceded to wear all weekend long. (I forgot to get a glove by the way).
The afternoon Chantelle passed by lounging around in great difficulty (because of her inability to lie her head down in case she crushed the neatly arranged hairdo she had returned home with), giving me the perfect opportunity to grab the television from her and put in some Tomb Raider: Underworld timem taking full advantage that she couldn’t really fight back.
The evening saw us dress up in our finest (well Chantelle in a beautiful dress with jewellery, make-up and heels, and me in a long-sleeve shirt with chino pants) and off we went in search of the Ruimte Nasorgsentrum in Strand where we were attending the first ever Funakoshi Fundraiser Ball, which saw an intimate venue laid out for about forty people, with a big open dance floor (accompanied by some big speakers next to it) and an excellent three course meal that saw us chowing down on some delicious butternut soup, chicken pie and lasagne and peppermint crisp tart amongst others. I did take a slight break from the evening by sneaking out of the grounds to pick up some Tab from the corner cafe to accompany the bottle of wine we had already polished off, but for the most part I thoroughly enjoyed the festive evening of conversation with all my training buddies outside of training, even if a night of unabated sokkie dancing was a bit hamstrung by the inexperience of young Jens as the night’s DJ (damn missing MP3 names! :P).
(Heck, we even enjoyed a completely fun but pointless Easter Egg search which consisted of locating glow in the dark, jellybean-filled easter eggs… well in the dark!)
Sunday was decreed our day and so Chantelle and I slept in, did some shopping at the mall (we finally bought a toaster and I got that golf glove I was looking for), before we sped down to Bertie’s Moorings where we enjoyed a thoroughly relaxed lunch out on the deck, taking in some fresh air and the always energetic atmosphere that seems to exude out of the boardwalk on a lazy weekend afternoon.
The evening was deemed Idols omnibus time and so Chantelle hunkered down to watch that, meaning the signal for me to finally tackle all those dishes generated by W&C’s visit as well as the rest of the housework was finally upon me! As the evening stretched its legs and Chantelle found herself glued to the Curious Case of Benjamin Button, I rounded my weekend off by finishing Eyeshield 21 volume 4 and catching some Blade on my PC, meaning I put the perfect fanboy cap on what turned out to be a great mixture of socialising and relaxing weekend after all!
But seriously, more on the new car in the next post, okay? :P