The Self Employed Housewife – Diary of a foreigner – book2 Ch 9
Settling into their new home
No matter how much she cleaned and scrubbed, the old smell of stale energy would not go away. Somehow this house had not been a happy home. The property had had four different owners before them. That never bothered Jan, but somehow she kept disliking the house.
The garage was separate from the house with an attached servant’s room and toilet but she had one look inside that room and was shocked by the state of it.How anyone could ever have lived there was unbelievable. it had a tiny window looking out over the back garden. The ceilings and walls were black from soot. Someone had lived and cooked in the room. The toilet was even more disgusting;brown and chipped.
"There you are."
"You’re home early. Are there no ships?" She had never heard Jan driving up the driveway next to the house. The kids were both settling into their new school, and for Jan he was a lot nearer to his work, but she had no place to do her leather work.
"What a mess."Jan remarked, dragging on his pipe."I'm working tonight."
"I just cannot imagine how anyone could have employed someone and have them staying here. What kind of people were these previous owners? Oh I'm so hating, having to clean this."
"They were not the owners. They were renting it."
"That figures,but the woman behaved as if she was. How are we ever going to change this into my leather room. It's far too dark. We need to break out walls and install a big window for a start."
"Yes we could do that. I like what you suggested yesterday. Replace the window in the dining room with a glass sliding door so we can walk out onto the back terrace."
"What back terrace? This plot needs a landscaper. I can draw you plenty ideas if you are interested." She knew that the garden was his domain, so any suggestions had to be handled with care.
The back garden went on forever with a huge avocado tree near the servant’s room and a big tree in the center in which white pigeons were nesting. The owner's son had left them behind.
"We could use the dining room window and install it in this room, paint the whole lot and rip out that filthy toilet." She added before Jan could escape inside.
It took three months before she could move into her new workroom, but at least she now had more space than ever before. They had ripped out the old kitchen cupboards. Jan was getting very handy, doing most of the woodwork himself to build a new kitchen and he reused the old units, making them into storing space including a work counter for her leather dying jobs.
The glass sliding door out onto the back patio was truly a great improvement, but she still could not grow fond of the house. It had no aesthetic appeal , especially at the front. The other houses in the street were not any better and making friends with the neighbors was difficult, they were so not their type. She just didn't fit in. Her leather work kept her busy and her Lifeline and Yoga activities,when nobody was home, kept her from becoming a total recluse.
Her regular life line duties were giving her an insight into people who suffer from loneliness and depression. They were often so desperate that they wanted out.She was scheduled to be in a team who went to people's homes when they were threatening suicide. She never asked to be included, feeling rather inadequate to help people who are so desperate, but how could she refuse. It made her look at her own life. Yes she was not really happy inside, but that was her own fault. Her non-stop curiosity about the why,where and when of life was her own doing
Her Yoga social group every Wednesday morning was always an outing,not just for the exercise but more so about the discussions they had afterwards. She had shared her dreams with them, and Cynthia had lent her a book about dreams. Not that the book described anything she could relate to, but the fact that there were authors who wrote books about dreams kept telling her that she was not alone in questioning life.
They were chatting about the latest developments at Life Line. It was clear that Sonja's mother-in-law Cynthia wanted to get more involved. She suggested holding their Yoga sessions every two weeks, so she could take on more duties. It was a real disappointment but she was not going to show it.
Sonja and her husband purchased a small holding out of town, so that they could keep horses, so would be far away in future.
"Gosh that has always been your dream. I'm so glad for you." She was truly glad for her, especially since she and her husband seem to love the same things.
"Yes we love our new home. It's out in the country but the kids seemed to have settled in very quickly. Mom what about playing a last ouija game before we all go our own way?” Sonja asked.
"I know why you want to” Cynthia replied smiling.The housekeeper took away the tea tray to make place for the board.
"Remember the last time we played?" Sonja asked. "Gosh it was a few years ago. I kept asking about my horse that we had to sell before we moved into our home in Rowallen Park."
"Yes I do." she replied. "You were truly worried if the new owner would look after her. You kept getting the same reply back when you asked if you would ever have horses again. Your horse’s name came up all the time."
She recalled Sonja's frustration saying that she stopped believing in the game. Her own experience had not ever made sense. She had asked if they would ever more away from Port Elizabeth (PE). What else was she going to ask?All she kept getting back was a name no one knew. She never thought about it again.
"Well guess what! Last week we saw an advert in the Farmer’s Weekly about a horse that was for sale with the same name and we thought that must be an omen so we bought it...from the paper...and you will never believe it... " Sonja was silent while they were all waiting for the punch line.
"Mom she arrived yesterday!" They all wondered who had arrived.
"It's my horse! We got her back. The ouija board was right!"
"That was at least four years ago. Wow! OK I'm going to ask the same question again because I keep dreaming about mountains and PE has no mountains." What she really wanted to ask was if she and Jan would be together for always, but that thought made her feel so sad, and nobody knew about the emptiness in her marriage, so why bringing that up.
During her drive home she kept being disappointed. The board must have read all their minds. Those were the letters that were coming up for her... C.l.o.v.e.l.l.y.Nobody knew what these letters meant.
(I have only ever once played with a ouija board many years ago)
A new family member
Both Sascia and Jeroen had adjusted to their new primary school and Jeroen joined scouts. She tried to get Sascia interested in the girl guides, but after two attempts she gave up. It was clearly not her scene. The scout hall was nearby andJeroen loved it.
"Mom can we now have a dog" Sascia asked one afternoon after school.
Lately she had been thinking that to own a cocker spaniel would truly be great.
"Let's look in the papertosee if there are puppies for sale."
Lo and behold there were...8 weeks old golden cocker spaniels for R40.- The owners lived thirty minutes drive away. She phoned the number
"let's go...before they are gone."
The home was very messy and in the spare room there were at least three golden puppies running and jumping around. Two males were already spoken for, so they took the girl. She was so very cute. On the way home they stopped at a pet shop in Walmer and bought a special bowl and a basket.
"I hope Daddy will like her, what we shall call her?"
"How does Snoopy sound?" She and her sister had owned a pavement special called Snoopy and loved her to bits.
Jan was not all that impressed but snoopy was impossible not to like.