Prior to our move late January we decided to cancel our DSTV subscription because our house didn't have a satellite dish and we weren't too sure where we planned to have our tv room - we had two options - but have since then decided to convert the second living room into a spacious kitchen - as I type this I have the noise of chainsaws ringing in my ears as the tree fellers remove four large trees that surround the house - ah, the joys of property ownership.
In the meantime, DSTV announced they were increasing their subscription rate to almost R800 a month (I almost vomited a little there as I typed that) so we thought, bugger it - we are not going to be those type of people who complain about exorbitant fees yet still cough up at the end of every month - it's not that we can't afford it but more from a moral point of view.
When we lived in Johannesburg, we stood up against the e-tolling debacle - so why not DSTV too?
Apart from all the contractual re-runs that they air, we weren't really taking full advantage of the subscription - I'd watch Food Network - mostly - and Chris would watch his favourite sporting events. Besides, for the most part, the TV is not even on for more than a few hours an evening.
So for the last two months we have spent more money than I care to admit at Musica and Takealot buying various series on DVD. I discovered the absolute pleasure that is American Horror Story (albeit years after all the hype) - I didn't even know that I loved Jessica Lange until watching the first 4 seasons! - and I'm not even sure if DSTV offered it? Just goes to show how we were underutilising our subscription - again.
Apple TV remote.
We know many of our friends download TV shows and everyone passes around their external hard drives for people to share their loot but we've never really been fazed or more likely too interested in getting that all set up - it just seemed like a schlep - plus we're not that tech savvy. I pay for and download the odd song or two from iTunes but for the most part I'd rather buy an album or DVD - sad to say but I honestly think technology moves faster than my heart.
Two dear friends loaned us their hard drive whilst we were in limbo awaiting Telkom to sort out our line and I must admit I did enjoy a few seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race, which is something I'd never watch by choice but beggars can't be choosers...
I digress though.
So after deciding enough was enough with regards to DSTV we signed up with Netflix - at a nominal fee, no contracts involved and at the same time thought we may as well get Apple TV, it makes streaming the shows so much easier - no having to connect HDMI cables from the TV to a laptop - what a pleasure it has been.
The quality of their TV shows and documentaries are outstanding, it almost feels like another whole world has been opened up to us - that we did not know even existed! We have only touched the surface, essentially just seeing what Netflix has to offer - apparently one can rent channels from Apple TV like HBO, for example - so we are getting there, slowly but getting there. All one needs is a decent internet speed and boom you're ready to rumble - so to speak.
So if you're thinking of calling it quits with DSTV, investigate your options - there seems to be more on offer now than ever before and if you're like Chris and enjoy your ruggers and footie - do what he is planning on, join your local sports club and take advantage of the telly in their bar area. It will get you out the house on a Saturday afternoon and what could be better than a few beers (at club prices) and making some new friends whilst watching your favourite sport?
Now what to watch? Narcos, Elementary or Cooked? Decisions, decisions.
Until next time,
Max or 'Maxi-Moo' as he is affectionately called officially joined our family on 14 April 2011 - my 27th Birthday. It was around a month before the second set of operations to sort out my clavicle were to take place and we thought a Jack Russell would be the perfect start to our family and also to help me focus on something during my convalescence following. We had met him about a month before he was ready to leave the litter and it was love at first sight.
Meeting Max for the first time.
At that stage we were living in a small complex in Pietermaritzburg and Chris was away on business - I knew Max's arrival was imminent but had no idea the official date would be my birthday, we had everything a puppy could want on hand - as any expectant first-time parents would have, well in our case puppy parents - early that morning Chris phoned to wish me and to tell me that there was a package at the gate. So off I marched to find Tandy (our friend whom we bought Max from) at the gate with this little bundle awaiting me - I won't lie, I was terrified, Chris wasn't home - could I look after this puppy on my own?
I must have 1000's of photos of him - He is the sweetest little soul
Our next door neighbour had this unruly little mutt that we tried to socialise Max with but he would just bully our little one so I guarded him fiercely - you would never say that I was his primary caregiver in those early months as is witness to how he follows Chris around - we call him Chris' second shadow. Heaven forbid he pops in at home for half an hour then leaves again, as Maxi-Moo will just sit at the door, anxiously awaiting Chris' return
We had a small fence put in to keep the neighbours dog out
Up until Max's arrival the only pet I had ever known was our family dog, Duke, a Weimaraner - he was a German hunting dog - so I had always been sceptical of small dogs, which really was a misperception on my part. I can't imagine life now without a Jack Russell, if anything I like to think of both myself and Chris as being able to give advice on how to raise them - Max is the first of three that we own and I have bought many a book on them. Even carting one from London all the way home on our last overseas trip.
He will always be my first baby
Those first few months were a learning curve, especially after I had come out of hospital with my arm in a sling and crutches to aid with my walking but we managed. He spent most of his days on the bed with me - I suppose looking back he was spoilt, but he was and is still such a well-behaved dog. We took him for walks straight away to get him used to a collar and lead - something we followed up with Cleo and Jessie too - and made sure he would ride along in the car from the get go to make sure he became used to the sensation of driving - in an attempt to avoid him getting car sick. It worked a treat - he loves nothing more than going for a drive with Chris, even if it's to the local shop just around the corner from us. We also made sure that we had him fixed so that he could never father any puppies, after researching we found out that in the long run it's beneficial to their health and lifespan - obviously not for those who plan to breed with their animals.
I still laugh when I recall his first experience with a swimming pool - I was at my good friend Michelle's place and Max was running around her massive yard with her two dogs and two children in tow - he ran straight across the lawn into the pool without even realising it - it was the funniest thing watching this little Jack Russell at break-neck-speed come to a dead halt as he hit the water! I suppose I shouldn't laugh but at the very least I was being a responsible parent as I was keeping a watchful eye on things.
I can't believe he is 5 years old already, the years seem to be flying by. The first year or two after Max and the others arrived, I'd get terribly down thinking that we only had a finite amount of time with them but those feelings have dissipated, not only with time but as I have come to realise that it is about savouring the moments and cherishing the memories - if I had to put a finger on one regret, it would be that we never gave him a child to be a best friend to - as he thrives on attention and he would've made the best 'get-up-to-mischief-partner' - but I can't look at it like that, it just wasn't meant to be.
I always say to parents that bringing a pet into a family is one of the best things they can do for their children as it not only teaches them how to look after and respect animals but in a bittersweet way it also teaches them the circle of life - birth, life and then ultimately death.
On a more positive note, Max has been a relatively healthy little dog - in the last few months he has been diagnosed with a bacterial skin infection, for which he is being medicated but apart from that all is well on that front so I feel blessed in that sense.
He has the most intense and thoughtful gaze.
People think we're crazy when they find out we have three Jack Russells - we've heard tales of holes being dug around gardens, escape attempts and furniture being chewed to bits. That is not the case with Max and Cleo and Jessie - yes they get excited, well the whole pack does truth be told, when we arrive home but I'd be very worried if they didn't - but I guess it all comes down to what you put in, you get out with constant, fair training and rewards.
Weimaraners will always have a special place in my heart, having grown up with one in my younger years, but Max has shown me just how special the Jack Russell breed is and his presence during a difficult time in my life has cemented that fact. Love you so much, my Maxi-Moo.
Until next time,
Spending the day in a snowy Drakensberg a few years back
I recall a good friend of both Chris and myself (who I see once a year, when she takes her leave and comes back to South Africa - my dear friend, I do miss you so) saying to me a few years back that her mother had questioned her about what I do on a day-to-day basis to validate my existence - I vaguely remember telling her something along the lines of that I look after Chris, the hounds and make sure that everything is running smoothly around the house. Which is completely and undeniably true.
I also remember feeling slightly annoyed by that statement / question - that somehow working a regular 9 - 5 job in some way 'validates one's existence'. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't annoyed with my friend nor her mother - whom I adore just as much as I do my friend - it's a question / statement that, fortunately, doesn't get asked or stated anymore as the years have gone by but it is annoying nonetheless. Why do we - or any couple for that matter - have to explain the inner workings of our relationship? Or to justify it? Luckily those close to us have come to realise that both Chris and I support each other wholeheartedly - just not in the conventional (whatever that may mean?) way.
It's not as if I haven't worked before, if anything I am a good worker. I remember when I was working and studying to become a high school educator, I was studying full-time through UNISA and working a 3/4 teaching timetable, 5 days a week - the last year, before I became disillusioned (and finally chose to leave the field) I was in charge of the Grade 8 English department. Essentially I was doing all the prep work for the entire grade. It was exhausting.
Donating all the supplies that we managed to accumulate from the various regions that Chris was GM of in Johannesburg to aid the owners of the dog kennel that the hounds regularly stayed at when they took in over 30 abused Greyhounds on behalf of the SPCA last year.
Then I did a complete u-turn and found myself managing the front office of an Architect firm - I had never answered a phone for a living prior to this - but I excelled and was, by the time I left a few years later, in charge of the front office, assisted in the creditors and admin department and was the PA to both the partners of the firm.
Then I was involved in the accident that put me out of commission for a year. When you can't use one of your arms - it limits what you can do. So Chris and I managed on one salary and we made it work. I was traumatised by the accident and went for counselling - we then added Max, Cleo and shortly after that Jessie to the family. So in short, by the time I was physically able to work we had a pack of dogs that needed constant attention - I still maintain to this day that our Jack Russell's are so chilled because they weren't left alone during their formative years.
At Wimpy on the Durban Promenade, many moons ago!
Before we started our company, Chris worked for a big corporation that required him to move from region to region, as and when they needed him, so with me not working it made it easier to follow his rise up the ranks - which I totally supported - we wouldn't be here today if he had not taken those opportunities and ran with them.
Late 2014 I found myself being offered a position as a PA to a tax practitioner - by this stage I hadn't worked for at least 2 years - thoughts of 'Can I actually do this?' ran circles around my mind but I gave it a go and enjoyed it, there were days that I was like 'I can't do this!', 'I'm exhausted!' but one gets on with it. Then we started the company and because of Chris' previous employment contract, we weren't allowed to operate within a certain radius of where he was previously employed - so we headed back to the East Coast - I handed in my resignation to a very sad ex-boss but I did it because Chris needed me, I could have easily stayed on in our home in Johannesburg with the hounds whilst Chris sorted business out down here but it has never worked like that with the two of us. We're in it together.
A couple of months later, my ex-boss contacted me and asked if I would be willing to return back to Johannesburg and work for him again, with him giving me a certain amount of leverage to negotiate a deal that suited me too - I toyed with the idea, I turned him down, he approached me again and I have sort of left it there. As exciting as it would be be, my place is here - with my partner in life and best friend, Chris. Some may see it as me halting myself to put Chris first and to a certain degree that may be true but I believe that Chris wouldn't be where he is now without my support and encouragement driving him - I wonder if he would agree with that statement? He probably would. I am not saying it has been plain sailing all the way, I'm a wilful Aries but so is Chris!
At an award evening in Cape Town, where we met Ryk Neethling.
It is so easy to question a relationship or partnership that doesn't quite fit the mould - where outwardly it appears as if one is giving more than the other - you may be pleasantly surprised to find out that all is not what it appears and that sometimes in order for one partner to give, the other needs to sacrifice.
Until next time,