Oh how I long for a life of peace and quiet in the country. Since the dreaded move at the end of May (and by the way, I’m still unpacking and trying to clear the decks) it has been one thing after another until I finally fell into despair that life as I knew it would never be the same again. We moved, then I went to Cape Town for a wonderful holiday with my son, then we helped settle him into a flat in Durban, then Layla (our beautiful, gentle and ever so friendly Labrador) was savagely attacked by the neighbours’ 3 dogs on our property, and then Alex got sick with (and I kid you not) FOOT AND MOUTH, picked up from Durban’s unsanitary beaches no doubt. So life became a bit hectic what with visits to the vet, the doctor and Durban. Alex came home for a few days before returning to uni in Stellenbosch and, as much as I love the little bugger, it seemed to me that I never got out of the kitchen while he was at home. I think he was making me pay for selling the Durban house!
In between all of this Peter and I have had to adjust to once more living together, and that has not been easy. In Durban we had a fulltime housekeeper but here I’ve got used to doing all my own housework. In Durban Peter had a fulltime personal assistant, and here he doesn’t. This has taken some getting used to; suddenly I’ve become super house-proud and have started muttering like a mad woman when crumbs are left on the kitchen counter, and Peter, who is technologically challenged, has been getting very irritable when he has to wait for me to access something for him on the computer in my own time.
I’m not sure why but I do feel that it’s important to have routines and because of all the disruptions, Peter and I haven’t yet quite got into the swing of things, together. For as long as I’ve known Peter, he has always woken up earlier than me and brought me tea in bed. Since he moved to the farm, this has changed and now neither of us is sure who should get up first. It leads to confusion! I suppose the first one up not only has to make the tea, but also feed the dogs and the birds, and on a cold winter’s morning that’s not much fun.
As a stay-at-home mum, my life was in many ways dictated to by my family and their needs. Judy once stepped in to help when I was recuperating from a botched hysterectomy op and I was unable to drive for several weeks. At the end of it she declared me to be quite insane and my family way too demanding! When Alex flew the nest and I moved up to the farm, for the first time in many years I was able to establish my own routines without regard for anyone else (when I woke up, when I ate, when I went to bed etc). It was quite liberating and fun to be my own boss. But now I’ve got to learn to accommodate someone else’s needs again. Which in itself is not a problem but the trouble is that, for some obscure reason, I decided that when Peter joined me here that we were going to have shared routines. I admit that I’ve always had a yen for one of those relationships where the couple compare gardening notes / hold hands / watch foreign movies / do ballroom dancing…. but after 34 years of marriage I should know better – it ain’t gonna happen.
It’s different strokes for different folks, I suppose, and this works for us. He does his thing and I do mine. The trick is to work out how we do that here, together. It’s more about division of labour than shared labour. And the first step that I’ve made is to employ a young woman to come in twice a week to help with the housework (hallelujah). I’m hoping that Peter will make the next step by becoming computer literate in the near future.