in the middle of a move


Moving house let alone cities is not for sissies. And I’m a bit of a sissie I’m afraid. I may have given birth – natural no drugs – to a 2.9kg baby but when it comes to hard labour I want to run at the mention. On day-I’ve-lost-count of packing boxes and seeing no end in sight, I sink into a heap and put my head into my dirty hands. And weep. Then I think. None of this stuff really matters. We could start afresh in a new city and buy all these creature comforts from scratch – again. I remember our last big move from Cape Town to Johannesburg about seven years ago, Hein and I drove in convoy and all our prized possessions fit into his blue Bantam bakkie and my newly bought Fiat Palio. Life was so much simpler then. Years later, two-year-old in tow, another on the way and a husband who’s insistent on driving both cars by himself from JHB to CT rather than putting them on a train… I’m exhausted.

Let me tell you a little bit more about what the past few days have been like.

Thursday, October 6
Brother in law moves in with all his furniture and household and personal belongings. I had taken the week off to look after Maya who’s nanny we had to let go, do packing and last minute organizing as possible to prepare for this, make room for Howard’s belongings as much as possible in my pregnant and uncomfortable state. I remember chucking away so many things I know I could have given away but when you’re running out of time and patience… But as seasoned movers know, unless you can afford to move into a hotel or B&B while moving, there is so much you can’t do until moving day – especially with a small child. Okay you can but life becomes rather uncomfortable. Like switch off and defrost the fridge. Or disconnect the DStv (God forbid your little girl cannot watch CBeebies).
Tickets booked to Cape Town for me and Maya.

Friday, October 7
Official moving day. Hein could only stay for two hours as he was off to his work farewell in Soweto so a lot of the organizing fell to me. I had to direct the movers and keep telling them what not to take (stuff that we were leaving behind or stuff that belonged to Howard) and also look out for Maya who was taking full advantage of wide open doors and gates. Once the movers have come and gone I proceed to stuff all my clothes into bright purple garbage bags. Suitcases are just going to be cumbersome. And a lot of them I must confess apart from the one I was flying with, I threw out. Good excuse to get me some new luggage.

Saturday, October 8
Coldplay! Everything comes to a standstill this evening and I still need to get my hair did. And do some last minute packing. You see the plan is for me to fly with Maya and immediate supplies tomorrow morning. And Hein will drive my car with the miscellaneous belongings directly after South Africa plays Australia.

Coldplay was amazing by the way! Spent the evening with Jimmi and Heidi and even saw some old and new friends: Dikatso, Anele, Tumelo… was lovely!

Sunday, October 9
House is filled with boys at 7am! Already our home has turned into a sports pad. Hein and I get up at sparrow’s fart to pack and organize. And then it’s goodbye Joburg. He drops us off at the airport at 9am – my flight is only at 12.20 so you imagine missioning around with Maya is a bit stressful. We get comfy at the Spur and I make the command decision to book us into a B&B for at least tonight and Monday night. You see – our furniture is only due to arrive on Tuesday morning. I go back to work then. So I’m trawling the Internet and just as I reach for my bag to make some calls, discover I left my cell phone on the bed in our haste to get out of the house. So I have to ask the Spur manager to allow me to use the phone to call Hein to collect the phone and drop it off with me. He’s not impressed and to make matters worse, I can’t even meet him outside. Moving with trolley, luggage and child who’s busy eating breakfast is too much of a mission. We haven’t been able to check in you see. We arrived too early. Anyway, Hein returns with phone and we make the appropriate bookings at Underberg Guest House – highly recommended!
When we finally arrive in CT it’s sweltering hot and Maya and I are dressed for a chilly morning. Zanele picks us up and we’re off to go check in at our guest house and check out our new place. Both are great! We end the day with a delicious pizza at Narona and a warm welcome from Lulu. Nice.

Monday, October 10
Day off to wake up late (no such luck with Maya rearing to go at 6am). We catch a cab to Gardens Shopping Centre. I’m ready to ditch the BlackBerry. And good timing what with the BlackBerry blackout going on at the moment… You see, I’ve resigned from Marie Claire and will no longer be working in a virtual office. So I reckon my data demands will be far less than what I’ve been using. After five years I’ll be moving to New Media as deputy at i magazine – the new weekly supplement coming out with City Press newspaper.
Hein arrives at 11.30am and we head off to get some lunch at Puka on Tamboerskloof Road and then an afternoon nap at the guesthouse. Later that evening we head to Bardelli’s – I love this place. Great atmosphere. Great Italian food. Sjoe! The amount of money we’ve spent on food of late and we still have to do a monthly grocery shop.

Tuesday, October 11
Back to work and Maya’s first day at school. Hein is manning the flat for the arrival of our furniture and there are just two annoying snags. Maya’s school closes at 11am this week with no aftercare facilities offered until next week… and all the furniture – from fridge to washing machine, wall units, tables and more are still hanging around at our house. Where the hell are we supposed to put all our stuff?
When I arrive home everything seems to fit haphazardly – I don’t know how Hein has done it but he has. I set to work on unpacking all the boxes in the kitchen. I’m avoiding sorting out my clothes upstairs you see…

Wednesday, October 12
Hein is off on an 8am flight to JHB for business and to fetch car number 2. So it’s on me to do the school run. And today, Maya is not cooperating. Poor sausage has worked out that she is going to get left behind by me. I leave her wailing and race off to meet the nanny/housekeeper I’m supposed to interview. She turns out to be great. I phone all her references and she checks out okay. So she starts tomorrow. I race back to the school to pick up Maya and take her to work. She turns out to be a handful just as I suspected but what can I do? At first I feel bad really bad… and then I think. Fuck it. How many times have I done this? It’s just one off day and really being a single mom, temporarily – in a new town is not easy. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

Like I said, moving is not for sissies.

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8 thoughts on “in the middle of a move

  1. Funny how tough times lead to great writing. I loved reading this piece, and I was kind of wowed… Sounds hectic, and after all that just when it sounds as though you’re in need of a quiet dark space and a large G&T , you blogged it so beautifully. Kudos.

    Now, mind if I tuck into that G&T on your behalf? The least I can do is toast your happy home and new job… x

    • Thanks Pen. It was quite therapeutic writing it and letting go. Felt like I was on automatic pilot spewing it all out.
      G&T! What I wouldn’t give…

  2. I can only agree to the previous comment. That you found the time to write about it on top of it all is amazing, too!
    Congrats to your new job! I didn’t know. Sounds exciting!
    Stay in touch..xxx

    • But I bbm’d you! Twas the day of your birthday drinks… so all along you thought I didn’t pitch or forgot? I was wondering why you didn’t respond!

  3. Hiya Zo, I’m So glad to hear that, despite some drama, you managed the move intact. We will be moving to Cape Town (yip, we’re also leaving the OG) in December so I need every positive story I can find. I’m so extremely stressed out since this is my first big move as an adult and I cannot believe the amount of work. If you have any Jozi to Slaap Stad moving tips, please do drop me a line. I’m so in need of advice 🙂

    • Yay! That’s lovely news! My biggest advice would be to get rid of as much clothes and homeware and furniture as possible. No point in dragging all the stuff cross country and making thousands of rands for stuff that doesn’t have much value. You can always replace what you sell. And it’s a great excuse to start afresh!
      Let me know if you need any help? Key Moves are really great if you’re looking for a competitive quote.

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