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The Self Employed Housewife – Diary of a foreigner – book two Ch 11
Both kids in High school
Her mind wandered elsewhere while hammering away, stamping a pattern into a leather belt.
Sascia had admitted to her that objects in the distance appeared blurry and out of focus. Her eyesight had apparently deteriorated at a fast rate. Her prescription glasses were now -8.That truly shocked her since her own glasses were only -1. Her new thick lenses were really a shame. She was happy that Sascia saw a lot better, but told her that the moment her eyes had stopped growing she would help her to go for contact lenses.
Jeroen’s eyes were fine, but would have to be checked again at a later stage.
Now that they were both going to a High School walking distance from home, she had more time to spend at her workroom in the back garden, creating projects for her afternoon and evening classes at the art college and for her monthly show at Art in the Park.
Sometimes she wondered if a part time job would not be good for her, if only to meet more people,but then the jobs that Jan wanted her to apply for were so not what she wanted to do.
"Knock, knock." Jan said as he stuck his head around the corner.
"Hi, back already?It's only eleven O'clock."
There was a silence.
"I've been retrenched."
"What? Really?Why so suddenly? Was that because you took leave?"
Oh gosh that could not have come at a worse time. They had just spent a lot of their savings on an overseas trip!
"Who knows? They gave me a six month package, so I'm not worried. What are you busy with?" Jan seemed fine, but then had she never seen him being emotional about anything.
"I’m preparing belts for Sunday. Now what? Are you going to look for another job in the harbor?" Wondering if he was more upset than he let on. "Come let's have coffee."
Jan had already been to the harbor master to fill in forms to apply for an opening as a first officer on the tugs, so the rest of the day he enjoyed spending in the garden.
She was earning money from Art in the Park sales and her evening and afternoon classes, but that was not a stable income. It varied. Jan had posted an advertisement offering himself as a freelance kind of handyman in the local newspaper, but after a few jobs he did not enjoy it. He didn’t find it easy to give quotes for his work.
She had applied to several advertising agencies and made a kind of CV, but after having gone to some interviews, she knew it would be difficult to find a creative job without some kind of an art degree.
"I'm sure you can find an office job." Jan kept telling her.
"I'm not so sure. Don't forget that my English spelling is non-existent, and I have no experience."
They were both going through the paper's job opportunities in the morning after the kids had left for school. She skipped the sales jobs from 9 to 5. She knew that would never work with her part time lecturing and leather work.
"You do like gardening, so why not consider starting your own nursery?" she hinted
"That will take years and then you need far bigger grounds."
If only he had started to grow plants while he worked so few hours but got paid a full time salary. Every time they visited a plant nursery over the years she suggested it, but he was just not interested.
The phone rang in the hallway and both had the same thought.
Jan went and came back to tell her that it was for her.
"Who is it?"
"No idea, a guy asking for you."
When she answered the phone she was told by Paul, a man who worked from home as an advertising agent, that he had heard she was looking for a job. He was looking for a part time assistant who could draw.
She was so excited; her interview was for the following morning.
Part Time Employment
Her job entailed going to two large stores and taking back with her the clothes they wanted to promote in the newspaper. Then she had to draw them in grey scale on a transparency paper and Paul taught her how to use the big PMT image scanner machine that took most of the room in the maid quarters of his house.
Three months later
Lately when it came to her Friday payday she was disappointed that Paul had not turned up until well after two O'clock. Weekly paydays became a problem and Paul's wife seemed to resent her asking for it even as late as well into the following week, telling her that it had to be paid from her salary!
Walking out of her job
She stuck it out for eight months and left when he had not paid her for over a month. She had learned a great deal about advertising drawings but she might as well do her leather work and offer her leather products on consignment to shops. That became a better income in the long run. Being her own boss was far more to her liking.
It took six months before Jan heard of an opening on the tugboats in the Port.Elizabeth harbor. He worked long hours compared to his previous job and hated it.
Jan had done a lot of renovations in their own house and was getting better with all kinds of builders work, but he had less and less free time and often worked weekends, or so she thought.
Her volunteer work for Lifeline, Yoga,the stage backdrops and props paintings for Sascia's modeling and drama classes, and helping Sascia and Jeroen with school projects in-between her own crafts and housework, kept her busy. The only time that she engaged socially with others was at Yoga twice a month, her evening leather craft classes and after her gym classes. She had never met any other friends who were interested in new age philosophies, but she kept reading everything she could find at the local library.
Jeroen became a boy scout leader and Sascia got involved with modeling. They were growing up fast.
Snoopy was pregnant for the third time
When their dog Snoopy was a year old they all decided to get a spaniel companion. Scamper was a pedigree golden cocker spaniel so they allowed Snoopy to have puppies when he was ready. They had two litters from her and it was easy to find homes for them. She also earned some pocket money from them.
To give Snoopy some rest the vet gave her a contraceptive injection and they kept them separate when she was on heat, which was not easy.
"Well that injection did nothing. Soon we will have more puppies to sell" Jan remarked. When the dogs were both with him in the garden, Scamper mounted her but Jan had not separated them, thinking that she would not fall pregnant.
Shortly before Snoopy was due they made her comfortable in a big old suitcase without the lid. Both kids were watching over her so as not to miss the birth.
"Mom come, one puppy is out, but it's black."
They were all watching while Snoopy was in labor and she had three black and three golden puppies. She phoned the vet to ask if both father and mother are golden cocker spaniels could they get black spaniel puppies.
"Oh there must have been another finger in the pie." was his reply. She was flabbergasted. She had never known that it was possible that another dog had also made her pregnant at the same time!
Jan hated his job and wanted to quit
After lots of discussions she got Jan interested in looking for a plant nursery for sale. They would have to sell their home, but rather that than him hating his work.
They looked at three possibilities but the prices were too high and they would have to rent a home to live in, so instead she decided to open a plant shop from where she could give leather classes and offer gift lines.
The Prickly Pear
Jan had come up with that name and she had done the window sign writing while he made her shop fittings. Jeroen helped after school by painting the walls.
"Jeroen can you get some more paint rollers from the hardware store across the road so that your dad can help you?"
Jeroen ran out of the front door of the shop. She could see that he was getting tall.
Her shop was in a busy street full of shops. Next door was a small bank and a TV repair man on the other site.
She heard a loud screeching sound of a car braking followed by a soft thump which made her walk out to see what had happened.
Pedestrians stopped but she saw nothing, so she asked what happened.
"Did you not see that? A young boy was hit when he ran across the road. The van tried to stop, but I'm sure it hit him."
The words "A young boy" hit her in her solar plexus.