Thursday, May 17, 2018

training day...

(Original unedited image via Pintrest)

About three months ago I decided, “Right. No more mucking around.” And while this could be a metaphor that I should really be applying to my whole life, the specific area I had in mind was…exercise.

Confession time. I really like gyms. It’s more about the music and variety than the tight-fitting clothes. But although I’ve always belonged to a gym, I think a fair amount of my time spent there has been dedicated to mooching around in a pseudo-athletic kind of way. I also do a lot of sighing, yawning and have an internal dialogue running with the theme of “Wish I could do that”.

I “run” on the treadmill, putting great focus into my posture and incorporating “rapper hands” if the accompanying song calls for it. (A side note here: I once accidentally hit the emergency STOP button on my treadmill while doing “rapper hands.” Ironically was to the part of the song in TheClub Can’t Handle Mewhere Flo Rida says “Go Now, Run the show”.  I lurched forward as the treadmill abruptly stopped, almost knocking my head on the display screen in front of me.)

Anyhow, for the longest time I’ve mostly been doing a lot of flailing around on the gym equipment and not really making much progress in the fitness department. So, I decided to enlist the services of a personal trainer. 

This, dear reader, is trickier than it sounds. I found myself skulking around the gym, strategically working out alongside personal trainers and their clients so that I could eavesdrop on the tone* of their training methods. (*tone = how close to death they will take you.)

It was depressing. Some trainers are so incredibly fit that they literally have no idea why people like me can’t do a full push up. Other trainers set the bar so high (I think it’s deliberate – rotten show-offs) that you feel like the oneNavy SEAL (or even an actual seal, flopping around on the floor) on selection day that’s not going to make the cut. 

And there’s another thing. Most of the trainers, if not all of them, are at least ten years younger than me. I have no time for this kind of youngness because I know for certain that they have absolutely NO idea about the aches, pains, old-injuries and world-wariness of those in the 40+ age bracket. Oh no. For them its all “box jump here” and “scissor jump-squat thingy there”, showing complete disregard for the fact that both my feet haven’t left the floor at the same time while doing exercise in years. YEARS I tell you!

I managed to secure the services of a wonderful trainer who, while she looked like a million bux, was at least of the age where she would understand my deep love of sleep and taking multiple breaks in the day.

 I arrived at my first session in my usual suave way, which is to say that as I walked through the turnstile, I managed to hook the strap of my gym bag on the metal bar of the turning thingy. This had the effect of someone pulling a “jumper” off a ledge by the shoulder. My feet slid out from under me and I landed unceremoniously on my arse. At the entrance to the gym. 

Undeterred by this fantastic start, I gathered up myself and my bag and found “Killer Queen” (not her real name.)

She was all smiles (well of course she was…just look at her) and I felt really amped until she said “Before I work out a programme for you, I need to assess you.”

I panicked and blurted out “I’m not running”. 

Can I just say, at this juncture, that I’m not fooled by the word “assessment”. We all know that what it actually is, is a TEST. And to be clear, I hate TESTING more than I hate gelatinous food like Turkish Delight. I don’t think testing should exist. I think we should be able to swan through life with people saying encouraging things like “Measurements don’t matter” and “You’re doing fine, you’ve got this.” I don’t even care if it’s all a lie.

That’s OK”, said Killer Queen, “We’ll start off on the elliptical trainer” (which, despite its rather esoteric sounding name, is simply another instrument of torture.)

“Ten minutes only.” 

That was the good news. 

“Sprinting every 30 seconds.” 

That was the very, very bad news.

What ensued was an hour of me trying desperately to look fit enough so that Killer Queen wouldn’t think I was a total loser, while simultaneously making sure I looked tired enough so that she wouldn’t actually kill me. Like for real. That last bit came rather easily.

Everything was wobblying. My arse. My bingo wings. My hair. My heart. I silently thanked God that the session ended before my sphincter exhausted itself and let out a fart (this is a very real fear when exercising.)

When the session was over, she broke what I consider to be the most devastating news EVER. She said, “Just remember, training is very important, but you can’t out-train a bad diet. It’s 80% about what you eat.”

Feeling crushed (and disappointed that egg white consumption could not be in the form of meringues) I went to Dischem to buy the Glutamine and whey powder she suggested. I was not prepared for the wide range of supplements out there and was even less prepared for a) the cost of whey powder (what is it made out of? Flakes of pure gold?) and b) the size of the  tubs (who on earth is ready to make that kind of commitment to a food they’ve never even tasted?)

And that’s why, if you care to look at my browser history, you’ll find searches like “most protein, whey powder, cheap” and “box jumps for beginners” and “how not to cry during your workout”. 

May the force be with me.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

wassup doc?



(Original unedited image via https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Christian)

As I sit here and write, I get an actual whiff of my underarms and it’s not good. That, Dear Reader, is what a drought will reduce you to. My current state of low-groomingness is clashing horribly with my year of GeYoShiTo.

I already told you about my dangerous desk experience. Well, we now take a look at all things medical.  

Towards the end of 2017, I decided I was tired of being tired. So, I booked an appointment with an Integrative Medicine Doctor. You know, one of those doctors who asks you how much lip balm you’re using to that they can test for toxicity and then breaks the news that not only should you no longer use lip balm, but you should move to a country where perfume and lip balm is banned. Frightening stuff for someone like me, who by the end of December pretty much had pure VAT69 running through her veins.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I go to a doctor, I make sure to shower and scrub myself to the endth degree. Not only that, but I like to be completely groomed, so I also shave whatever needs shaving. It was timeous really, that I had this appointment, because thanks to the drought I was starting to look rather feral.

I’m not sure what my rationale behind all this pre-appointment grooming is. After all, it’s hardly like he’s going to spot my unruly bikini line and think: Yup. There it is. The source of all her medical problems. 

The main reason for my visit was to ascertain whether I am going mad, whether we all are going mad, or whether I just have a bad case of persistent, looming oldness. I fear it’s a combination of the first and last. (My niece recently asked - in all innocence - if there were any side effects of perimenopause. Poor thing had to sit through my harrowing account of sixty-seven symptoms and how most are only treatable with whiskey, exercise, crying, talking to pets and unrealistic amounts of sleep.)

Anyway, before I saw the doctor, I had to fill out a seventeen million-page questionnaire, which I tried to answer honestly, but honestly, most of the questions just seemed unnervingly loaded. Questionnaires make me nervous because you have to “tell on” yourself. It also seems to give the questionnairing person a lot of ammunition for judging. 

As it is, it took me months to work up to making an appointment the doctor (coz, you know, lip balm, whiskey, judging and shit). Before I went, I made a list of my main concerns because I have a tendency to get stage fright when I’m in front of a doctor and forget what I’m really there for. Worse than that, I have a tendency to appear overly jolly, which is the complete opposite of how you want to seem when you’re going to a doctor in absolute desperation.

I was ushered into Dr Do Good’s office and he said, “You don’t mind if Johannes sits in on our appointment. He’s a medical student who’s work- shadowing me today”.  My heart sank.

I did mind. 

I minded because I could already feel the stage fright setting in. I minded because I knew that I was going to be DOUBLY jolly. 

I minded because “Johannes” was clearly in his prime and, I have no doubt, could not relate to anything associated with oldness and in particular with perimenopause. 

I minded because I knew I’d try to appear all healthy and “I-have-my-shit-togetherish” while simultaneously having to discuss how I’m actually bordering on alcoholism and falling apart. 

But mostly I minded because I couldn’t very well say I minded because Dr Do Good asked me RIGHT IN FRONT OF “Johannes” and it was too awkward for me to say “No! The little shit must leave”. 

Fuckety fuck.

Another twist in the tail is that I’d done some “research” on the Internet and decided that a testosterone implant would be the solution to all my problems. 

Energy. Tick.
Libido. Tick.
Lean muscle. Tick.
Less body fat. Tick.
Not being so bloody irritable. Not sure but worth a try. Also worth it for the less body fat part.

I felt that if there was only onedoctor present then I could persuade him sufficiently to do my bidding but now, with Johannes present he could hardly say, (despite my cunning persuasions) “Let’s give this testosterone thing a bash eh? What’s a bit of facial hair amongst friends?”

No, Dr Do Good had to do the right thing and actually tell me that my testosterone was fine (codeword: you actually just are a roundish, tired, type of person) and that what I needed was this-and-that vitamin and some progesterone. 

Vitamins?!?!?! WTF! In the absence of testosterone I was at least hoping for some kind of legal, medicinal cocaine and I knew I wasn’t going to get it from Vitamin fucking D3. 

Fuck that shit. 

I bought the vitamins. And the progesterone. (Though I did consider it a triumph that I managed to swing him from prescribing topical cream in favour of oral tablets. It’s drugs I’m after, not topically applied fuckery.)

For my efforts, I still feel tired all the time until it’s time for bed, then suddenly, my awake button switches on and is all like “Heeeeey! Waddup? What should we do?” I feel slightly better and ten million rand poorer for all the vitamins. 

But in the absence of hard drugs, that’s the best we can do.

The best we can do.

















Wednesday, February 21, 2018

GeYoShiTo

(Original Image via Pintrest UK)

GeYoShiTo: The ancient Japanese art of “Get Your Shit Together”. 

During the December holidays I decided that 2018 was going to be my year of GeYoShiTo. Our house has been looking rather like a student digs with kak* lying everywhere. I don’t know about your house, but there are certain areas in our house that I refer to as “purgatory” – the place where things like half-worn t-shirts, used coffee mugs, refills for pens and stray pegs gather to decide where their final resting place will be.

One of BK’s absolute WORST purgatory areas is the desk where I do my sewing. See the thing about sewing is that you never want to pack your sewing shit away, because you just have to unpack it again. It’s much easier to have the sewing machines out and “ready for action” – as though knocking up a Zac Posen red-carpet gown is imminent. I’m not really prepared to comment on the scraps of cotton and offcuts of fabric that lie alongside the “sewing studio”, except to say that us Arteeests thrive on a certain degree of clutter. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Nevertheless, after an unnaturally prolonged staycation, I noticed BK’s left eye twitching whenever he would saunter past sewing studio purgatory, as (I for got to mention this part) the sewing studio also doubles up as his work-from-home space. Accordingly, I decided it was time for me to make a NEW sewing studio for myself.

And so it was that I found myself gleaning Gumtree for “wooden desk with chair, adult sized”. After a bit of deliberating (there seem to be an abundance of desks and chairs to be found – lots of ugly ones, I might add) I decided on one that was housed in a suburb a little distance from my own.

Unperturbed by the distant location, I decided that I would indeed take the desk and chair because a) the price was right (in other words, cheap) and b) a bit of a drive would get me out-and-about a bit. You know, like a little mini daytrip of sorts – to break the routine of the school run journey if you like.

Before leaving home, I thought I’d do a quick Google Earth search on the address. What I found left me feeling a bit confused. As far as I could see, the house that I was to visit looked rather like a well-fortified warehouse. From the outside, you could only see a vibacrete wall (painted in that very 80’s peach colour) and tons (like, really tons) of razor wire. On scanning the surrounding houses, I couldn’t help but notice that none were fortified in the same way. I found this to be very, very odd. Could my destination be an old photo? Was this house once a warehouse for gold bars? Was the house situated in some kind of war zone?

After looking up “How to enable Find My Phone” (in case I went missing and BK needed to find me), I headed off. Before I tell you about the peach house, there’s something I need to clear up. Has anyone else noticed how people on Gumtree lie about their location? The “desk and chair, adult sized” that was going to collect was said to be housed in Goodwood. But, as set my navigation thingy, I discovered that the address was in fact Parow. I’m not really sure why this was an issue for me, except to say that Goodwood is closer and more familiar to me (yup, I too spent time ice-skating with the kids when they were little at Grand West) and Parow, is, well, Parow. Like you wouldn’t go there if you didn’t have to go there, if you know what I mean.

As I drove down the Street I saw cute little houses painted in bright colours with low vibacrete walls that were also painted in bright colours. Then, I found number 24. Faded. Peach. HIGH vibacrete walls. Razor wire. 

As I parked my car, I spotted a life sized statue of a monkey on the other side of the wall. Someone had carefully placed a bunch of bananas that were fashioned out of black-and-white fabric on its head. I could see the top of a thatched lapa kind of thing, but other than that, just walls and wire.

Now. When it comes to houses that are overly fortified, I have a contrasting view to many other people. My immediate assumption isn’t “Who do they want to keep out”, but instead “Who do they want to keep in”.  And of course, once you start thinking shit like that, your mind goes on a total tangent. I can’t tell a lie. I cursed the fact that I was still in my stinky gym clothes because if I did, in fact get abducted, this would be the smelly old outfit I’d have to spend my confinement in. And then, when I was finally rescued, my photo would be in the newspaper and it would be of me and my fat arse in leggings. Fuck.

I rang the doorbell and heard the sound of small dogs barking (or maybe big dogs who had had their bark removed). I was greeted by a man and a woman. As I walked in, I lunged as I stuck my hand out to shake their hands, to show them that I’m the kind that won’t be trifled with and would therefore be a difficult- to-catch, irritating captive.

The man looked like a young 70 year old or an old 40 year old. It was hard to tell. The woman had a severe case of tooth drift and had a very agitated disposition; as though she might be ready for her next hit of tik.  And though the entire driveway was empty, they had chosen to stand the “desk with chair, adult sized” on the faaaaaar end of the driveway. Close to the house. Close to the garage. Far from my car.

While taking big, unnaturally strong looking strides, I closed the gap between me and the desk, all the while talking in a very nervous, laughy, chatty voice. I was not walking so fast, however, that I did not notice their garden “d├ęcor”. Stumps of wood lined the driveway and peach wall. On these stumps lay a collection of: chipped garden gnomes, fake snakes, more fake snakes, and something weird that may have been another bunch of fabric bananas.

“I’ll take it”, I said, barely looking at the table but eager to get the transaction over with. (Indeed, they could have upped the price to 7 million rand and I would have agreed just so that I could get the fuck out of there.) I handed over the money and said “Shall we carry it out to my car”.

“Oh no”, said young 70/old 40 year old. “Please bring your car inside so that we can load it up.” (I shit you not, he said it in the same voice as the witch on Hansel and Gretel when she says “Come in dears. Try my candy”.)

“Ah”, I heard myself say, somewhat weakly. “Are you sure we can’t just carry it out? It’s only a few metres and it looks quite light.”

“No”, says tooth-drift-tik woman. “Bring it in”.

And then she adds, rather cryptically, “There are strange people walking around outside”.

All that I could think to myself was: Faaaaak. Really? Stranger than you two?

I walked to my car, being sure to engage my ample calves as I walked, all the while eyeing out the mechanics of the gate to see whether it would be possible to drive into it and push it out if, well, they didn’t want me to “leave”.

By this stage my heart was hammering in my chest and despite my beefy swagger, I was starting to feel a little shaky. I not only regretted wearing my gym clothes but was also starting to lament the fact that I’d not eaten breakfast yet. After all, it looked like the last time these two ate was the late 90’s and I’m sure mealtimes aren’t a priority for abductors.

I reversed in, got out the car, and with super-human, adrenalin infused strength, I single-handedly loaded the desk and chair into my car. If you’d been watching, I would have looked like one of those time-lapse videos.

With screeching tyres, I tore out their driveway before they could close the gate and trap me inside.

And all I could think of as I drove away was caveat emptor. Buyer beware.

*crap







Sunday, November 19, 2017

potholes in the rust belt...

(Original image from oldpicz.com/Underwood Archives via Pintrest)

The name of the teller at Spar Tops in my home town, is Virginia. How is it that I’m on a first-name basis with her? Let me tell you.

I just came back from an unscheduled visit to The Rust Belt. As always, I approached the trip with trepidation for, as we all know, spending time with family is simultaneously exhilarating and excruciating. Despite knowing this, I am always surprised when things go Pete Tong, as I’ve always assumed that it is the natural order of things for families to “get along”.

For this trip, however, I was more anxious than ever, because a week before my departure I had a run-in on Facebook with an old school friend.  It went something like this: A mutual friend (Old School Friend No.1 - let’s call her “Smart”) posted a photo of a T-Shirt from MrPrice Sport. The T-shirt was sporting - if you’ll excuse the pun - a sexist message. She was enquiring as to whether it was only her that found the T-shirt sexist, or whether perhaps anyone else also found it also to be so.

As with all sexist jokes (if ever there was an oxymoron, that would be it), there were some people who were determined to see the “funny side” of the message, whilst others, like myself, reacted by bringing out their light-sabers, voodoo dolls and defence against the dark arts teachers.

I won’t bore you with the to-and-fro, but what I will tell you, is that I was told, by Old School Friend No.2 (lets call him MaNaS, #MaybeNotasSmart) that while us “liberalists” (yes, the kind that live in Cape Town, do yoga and sip on swan’s tears and only wear organic cotton) have no sense of humour, the “normal realists” are able to understand a subtle dig at the opposite sex. Furthermore, I was enlightened to the fact that it will primarily be up to MaNaS and those of his ilk to save the world from broad-mindedness, equality, and oversensitivity.  Phew. Hurrah, for that! What a close shave.

I was told, unequivocally, that I am exactly the kind of woman that men “run from”. RUN FROM I tell you!  And to think, for years Exotica and I did the *anti-mugging dance when walking around town after a night out when all along all we had to do was act like feminists. What fools we are! (*For those who don’t know, apparently acting like someone who is cray-cray is a brilliant deterrent against attackers. It’s worked so far.)

The point of this rather long-winded story is to explain why it is that you could find me, skulking between the aisles of Spa Tops in The Rust Belt, with a disguisatory look on my face, lest I bump into MaNaS. If you ever need to spontaneously disguise yourself, what you need to do is puff out your cheeks (as though blowing a vuvuzela), scrunch your eyebrows, and make your eyes all wild and crazy. That last bit came surprisingly easy to me.

Feminism and Liberalists aside, I should mention some other funny stuff about The Rust Belt.

The first morning I arrived in town, I went for a walk. This involved passing many houses that I remembered from my adolescence and recalling who lived there, what parties happened where, and who got laid in which bushes. Just trust me when I say that small towns are known for their drinkery and fuckery. I dare you to move to one to raise your kids in such a “wholesome environment.”

I digress. On my stroll, I noticed that almost all approaching cars drove as if they were drunk. Mystified by this phenomenon (drinkery generally only kicks off after 3pm, at least) I investigated, only to find that no one, in fact, was hammered. They were simply swerving to avoid the mammoth potholes that decorated the road. I opted to walk on the grassy sidewalk instead, lest I meet my doom.

On returning from my walk, I decided to do a spot of yoga on the lawn (because that is what us Cape Town-Yogi-Liberalist-Swan’s-Tears-Sippers do). Not long into my Breath Of Fire, I became aware of an on-going droning noise. It came from the neighbour’s side of the fence and went on and on without pause. I asked my dad what it was.

“Oh”, he said, “That’s the neighbour. He’s using his wind blower.”

“Then,” I was told, “he takes the vacuum cleaner up onto the roof, and vacuums up all the leaves that have fallen on the roof and in the gutter.” THE VACUUM CLEANER I TELL YOU!!! And this, dear reader, was all of a Sunday morning.

Later on that day, I went grocery shopping because as you know, groceries don’t shop themselves. As I drove into the parking lot I was nearly totalled by some old codger reversing out of a parking bay. Old drivers are dangerous. I have a theory on this. I think that old folk believe that we are only allocated a limited amount of movement in our lifetime. Accordingly, when old farts drive, they don’t want to unnecessarily “spend” any of their lifetime’s allocation of movement on mere driving.

Now is probably a good time to point out that The Rust Belt could also be known as the Retirement Capital of South Africa.  It has no less than seven million retirement villages and almost twenty-six times that number of retirees. And while on the surface that may not seem to pose any kind of risk or danger, I’d like to remind you that retirees aren’t particularly well-known for using their side rear-view mirrors. They also aren’t known for turning their heads in any particular direction and are especially not known for turning their heads to look behind them. For this reason, when you take a drive in The Rust Belt, be prepared to kiss your arse goodbye in slow motion.

And that, dear reader, is why I am on a first name basis with the teller at Tops bottle store in The Rust Belt.







Monday, October 23, 2017

dog hairs and TEARS...

(Original unedited image via Pintrest
I. Went. Camping.

I know, right. Me, of the 3-star-is-camping Brigade. Me, the person who gets fridge magnets as gifts that say “I love not camping”. Me, of the why-do-we-have-to-holiday-like-refugees society.

I know what you’re thinking. It must’ve taken some persuading on BK’s part to get me to go camping, but here’s the thing: he wasn’t even involved in this particular camping expedition! Crazy right? And here's the even crazier thing: I LOVED IT!

I’ll back up a bit and explain. I recently offered my services to TEARS, an animal welfare organisation in Cape Town. At one of my first meetings with them, Luke, their Animal Care Manager said “Hey, We’re having a Sleepathon in October. You should totally come and spend a night in the kennels.”

Had he known me better, he would have known better, but as it was, I felt it would show a complete lack of dedication on my part to turn down the offer. So while my mind was saying “Hell no!”, I heard my mouth say “Wow! That would be totally awesome!”

And so it was that I found myself at TEARS in Lekkerwater Road on Saturday afternoon with: my duvet (I’m not the sleeping bag type),  two camping mattresses (clearly made for people half my width and half my weight), pink-bomb painkillers (it’s all about pain management at my age) and a six pack of Smirnoff Spins (my “natural remedy” for peri-menopausal insomnia).

I’d arrived early to lend a hand with the preparations. This mostly involved me flitting from one group of volunteers to another saying “Need a hand with anything?”  I eventually found two awesome old ducks involved in food preparation (I know right, the irony. I hate cooking almost as much as I hate camping) and I think did a rather splendid job on the roll-cutting end of the assembly line.

For those who have never been to TEARS, it’s set amongst a whole bunch of trees, so the light that shines through is dappled and, at that time of day, golden. My favourite. The dogs had all been fed over lunch instead of in the evening (as they normally are). This was to curtail the pooping business. The dogs were all pretty excited but in a fun small-barking kind of way, not in a loud what-the-heck-are-you-doing-here kind of way. Life felt good.

As I walked through the facility, I was amazed by how spotlessly clean all of the kennels were. I swear, they are neater and cleaner than my home (which isn’t that hard, actually.) At almost every kennel I thought, Oooh, that’s a cute one! I hope I get to sleep with her/him. (Just as well I wasn’t allocated to sleep with the puppies or else I might still be there.)

I was eventually led to a kennel with two dogs, a boy, Zeke and girl, Neytiri. It took a few tries to get the girl’s name right, but she didn’t seem to mind me getting it wrong. On the contrary, there was lots of affection and licking regardless of what I called her. It was suggested that I don’t leave my bags and stuff in the kennel just yet because the dogs are inclined to get overly sniffy and scratchy when they see new stuff and may sniff and scratch my mattresses and bags to pieces. Fair enough. I get it. It’s a dog thing.

I was unreasonably excited to see that they were serving Old Brown Sherry and hot chocolate at the Bow Wow Bar. Alcohol mixed with sugar…they must have known I was coming. I was equally excited to see that they were serving dinner as I didn’t realise that dinner was included. Olympia bakery had donated ciabatta rolls that some marvellous people were serving up with delicious fillings. I inhaled mine and thought of making a T-shirt, which would say WILL CAMP FOR FOOD.

At this point, dear Reader, you might be wondering why I have this obsession with animals – or, as my Facebook timeline will attest – with dogs in particular. (My sister said to me, Li, I’m not looking at your Facebook posts anymore because it’s all just dogs, dogs, dogs.)

So here’s the deal. I’m at the stage of my life when I really want to help others where I can. And, while dogs may poop in public, they’re not nearly as full of S%$T as what humans are.  There are no “Dog-Harvey Weinsteins”. There are no “Dog-Hitlers”. Dogs don’t kidnap. Dogs aren’t cruel and mean. Dogs aren’t demanding.  Dogs don’t say they’ll come to your party and then cancel at the last minute because something better has come up. And, helping dogs doesn’t spawn spinoff problems in the same way that it can when humans are helped.

Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s not that humans shouldn’t be helped. Of course they should! But humans can help humans, and there are already a lot of people doing just that. But, here’s the thing: animals can’t help animals. Animals can’t set up their own clinics and hospitals. Animals can’t take themselves off to be sterilized. There are no animal police who can step in and save the day. You get my drift: animals need humans.

But back to the Sleepathon. After dinner and a short movie about the work that TEARS does, it was off to the kennels to hunker down for the night. Every person was issued with a goodie-bag which had info on “your” dog, dog treats, and a dog toy. Zeke and Neytiri immediately sniffed at the bag of treats and I showed the same restraint with feeding them as I do with myself when I have chocolate in the house. In other words: no restraint at all.

Zeke “discovered” the tennis ball and proceeded to chew it to pieces. Like literally, to pieces. He then discovered the rope-toy and alternated between delivering it to me and snatching it away when I tried to hold it. He wins at persistence.

I should point out that TEARS is situated alongside Masipumelele. And let me tell you, those folk sure know how to party. They’d obviously heard about the Sleepathon and decided to a “Lionel Ritchie” and keep us up and awake with the dogs. All. Night. Long.

Pfsssst. That was the sound of me opening up my first Smirnoff Spin.

Zeke: Here. Rope. You take. No! Don’t take. I take. Here rope. You take. Give back! Tug, tug, tug. And again and again.  I can’t tell a lie. Zeke sorted out my stiff shoulders in no time.

Neytiri must have been pre-menstrual or something because she would not let up with the treats. Who am I to stand between a girl-dog with cravings and her treats? My lack of restraint would bite me in the bum at around 3am when Neytiri did an impressive poop (I’m guessing they put a lot of bran in those treats.) Thank heavens she had the modesty to do it at the other end of the hutch.

After a few more rounds of tug-of-rope, snack-treat-snack, and pfsssst, we curled all up and went to sleep. Zeke found his way into the crook of my knees and Neytiri slept on my bag near my head. I’ve never felt safer and more loved.

I should mention that Lola, two kennels down, won the unofficial prize for being the most barky. Her human won at shushing. Sam in the kennel alongside, won the prize for the most humpy, and his humans won at saying “Sam. Dis genoeg. Sies. Dis onbeskof” *

Even for a non-camper like me, it was pretty awesome. In the morning, all the Sleepathoners felt bonded in our mutual stiffness, lack of sleep and, to be a sop, in our common love for these furkids.

And now BK knows that he doesn’t have to persuade me to go camping anymore. He just needs to bring along Old Brown Sherry and make sure that there are dogs at the camping site. Preferrably shelter dogs who know a thing or two about cuddling and unconditional love.


* Sam. That’s enough. Gross. That’s rude.