Monday, 30 April 2018

Pyjama Day

Today we had a pyjama day - although not the kind you would expect on Day 4 of a five-day-long weekend.

Truth be told, when we decided to keep our kids in their sleepwear as we roused them out of bed at 05h30 this morning, we didn't think they'd be in them all day. We simply thought it was easiest and most comfortable for them to be kept warm and undisturbed when we bundled them into the car and head to Home Affairs to get their biometrics for their passports.

Thank goodness I packed toys and something to eat.

I stood in the queue outside the building for two hours before it started moving. It was 06h00 when I jumped out of the car at the traffic light, and joined the line snaking around the first block (it would be around another full block before the office would even open). It was dark and pretty cold, so Andel stayed in the car in the parking lot with the kids. Someone nearby me counted that we were around #175 in the queue. Apparently the guy at the front was wrapped in a blanket as though he had spent the night waiting for golden circle concert tickets. Except, of course, he wasn't. By the time I made it to the mall entrance around 08h00, Andel was waiting with the kids, who had already watched Captain Underpants on his phone, and were characteristically starving. I took pre-made sarmies from my bag and watched them devour that along with an apple each. Had I known how much longer we'd still be there, I'd have rationed their portions.

The already 110m-long queue at 06h00 this morning

It didn't take long for us to make it to the passage outside the DHA offices, and at that stage I was both optimistic that we'd be out before it was totally uncool for my kids still to be in pyjamas, and pretty chuffed that despite waiting three hours already, I had not yet lost the plot or my testimony. Little did I know, we'd be there four painstakingly long hours more before we were even allowed inside.

The physically shorter but other wise as long queue inside

I feel it's necessary to mention here that today was a South African school holiday. The powers that be (correctly) decided that one day of school between two public holidays and weekend was definitely not going to be productive, and allowed everyone the day off. It was not, however, a holiday for Andel, who was confident he'd make it to work more or less on time. This was not to be. It was around 14h30, when the system went offline for the third time, that Andel decided he had to get to work (meaning that he would have to work a closing shift), and although I stayed - with the help of my aunt who came to my aid (bless her soul) - I already knew our mission was over and unsuccessful.

Already feeling over the wait - only half way through

When we arrived home around 15h30 without nothing but three exhausted kids to show for our nine-hour long experience, we were almost more relieved to be back home than we were disappointed to have still not sorted out the passports. Almost. The sad reality is that we have to do this again sometime. All five of us. Again.

I now have feeding, changing and sleeping on the floor down

I could write about the lack of logic in the processes, the challenge of having and controlling three children between five years and seven months for nine hours, or the injustices we witnessed in the wait. Maybe I will still. For tonight though, it's enough that, even today, was unforgettable holiday experience. Never may it be repeated. Please. Ever.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Rugby Firsts

Not long ago, Andel bravely took the boys and two of their cousins (that's four kids between 8 and 3 years old) to watch some test cricket at Newlands. To say that it was a hit with them would be a major understatement, as they basically still haven't stopped talking about it. It was at the end of the season though, and so we weren't able to take them again, despite many requests.

This weekend, Andel was given some rugby tickets for the Super Rugby match between the Stormers and the Rebels, so we decided to take the boys.

The weather wasn't great. Just before we left home it started drizzling steadily, and I was not certain that walking the kids in the rain from the parking to the stadium was a good idea. I was even more concerned about where we were going to sit, and whether or not it would be in a steady stream of rain for the entire match. (I'm telling you: being a Captonian at present is hard! We are so excited about and grateful for every drop of rain that falls, and feel terribly guilty about any thoughts of it being an inconvenience).

Thankfully the drizzle was light and intermittent, so we were able to get the boys to the stadium without really getting wet. As we walked towards our gate, they shrieked with delight at being able to see the field, and for a moment, I took in their joy and excitement for something I have for a long time already taken for granted. We ended up sitting behind the try line - a great spot for Zac who wanted to see the kicks go through the posts. Sam, a little less interested in the rugby, still enjoyed being able to see the players scrum, and hardly missed a beat as we entered when he said, "hey, what's that I smell? I smell donuts!".

I think Andel's waited a long time for this

Full of excitement walking to the stadium

Sam getting in on the action as well

Before the game: wondering what we'd let ourselves in for

Zac giving his analysis - obviously

Sammy taking in the atmosphere

It was a good afternoon; everything you imagine when you think of watching rugby on a wintery afternoon. The boys were bundled up in their beanies, munching on hot chips, and treated to chocolate. Their team won, and they had to race each other to the car to avoid getting caught in the rain. When they collapsed into bed later that night, they were still smiling about what they'd experienced.

I suspect there will be many more such days in my future. I can't wait!