A good time or a good story

This post is nothing other than a rambling that I started this morning while dropping my toddler off at school (and I’m posting it here for the sake of it being stored in some archive which the kids and I can read at a later stage). Can I even call our toddler a toddler? I feel like with the smart-ness of his specs and his un-be-liev-a-ble memory, I can’t actually call him that anymore.

A great life motto we picked up from a dear friend in Vancouver when something doesn’t go QUITE like we planned is this: It’s either a good time or a good story. Store that gem in your brain files.

So while dropping off my post-toddler toddler at play school this morning, our past weekend experience popped up in conversation. You know the one about the flea infestation, the buying of 4 doom foggers, the family camp out in the kitchen and the vomiting? No? Oh well – brace yourselves.


Our family was DESPERATE (read: des-per-ate for more effect) for a weekend away. There is WAY too much going on in our lives and the Bainskloof family cottage was our light at the end of the tunnel. Change of jobs (involving some shenanigans by the ex-company which we are VERY glad is an EX), on-going building renovations, constant drilling and noise, and and and… called for some very much needed time.out. The week leading up to Bainskloof started with vomiting from the youngest, then conveniently passed to eldest (post-toddler toddler) which then settled, and juuuust when we thought we’d dealt with it, nope, it came right back. Great. Then hubby started, and let’s just say the next few days were a blur of all things we dont like to admit we have. Let’s just call it gastro-esque.

I’d been in emergency at hospital that week myself at 5:45am one morning (long story, it’s all good) and so listen, with the family barely holding on by a thread, as Thursday night/Friday morning approached, we had our eyes on the prize – a weekend at Bains. Just us, no noise, only sunsets, braais, hammock sleeping, the river… bliss. Did I say no noise?

So, even with hubby and I both functioning around 50% of normal capacity, we did it. We packed the car to.the.brim. Food, clothes, nappies, camp cot, bedding, pillows, linen, swimming cossies, bikes, toys, books, balls, running stuff, mozzie repellent, fan to keep mozzies away (I HATE mozzies), sunscreen, medical aid kit, not enough warm clothes, our kitchen sink – you name it, we’d packed it. We loaded the family in the car, handed them some milk tart to stuff in their faces and off we set for the 1hr15min drive which only took us 2hr30min on a Friday leaving at 2pm. Yup. We should’ve known things were going south. But let’s stay positive.

We ARRIVE. Hallelujah. Let’s all get out the car and kiss the dusty, dry Bainskloof ground.

Here’s where I’ll speed up the weekend for the sake of you all reading the longest post ever.

Drop bags/beds/linen in cottage. Find flea on smallest child. Think nothing of it (other than I hadn’t seen one since we had a dog). Find flea on post-toddler toddler, think “that’s strange”. Find flea/s on myself. OH SH*T, the cottage is infested with FLEAS. Hubby and I look at each other in despair. Hubby frantically removes bags/beds/linen from cottage. No energy in reserve tank for this. Big undies need indeed be worn (if they’re not flea infested already). *Sigh.

What do we do? With one Doom fogger on hand we fog the place and decide to leave that night after sunset. We thought we’d hit the river, have a braai, leave after dark with sleeping kids in the car. Then we decide we don’t actually WANT to go home (besides the fact that we’ve mustered all our energy to just GET THERE). Decide to check out some chalets across the road for the night. Decide to not pay R400 to sleep for 6 hours. Neighbour offers flea-free mattresses. We gratefully accept. We camp out on the floor of the kitchen (a separate flea-free dwelling) – a family sleepover. The things kids’ dreams are made of. Kids are LOVING it. There are only about 5 things to do at Bains: braai (and eat), go throw stones and swim in the river, melt marshies, watch the sunset and sleep. We’ve done them all. Kids think we’re winning.

After another session of Doom fogging (apparently one wasn’t enough for the buggers – the greenie in me screaming inwardly at the thought) and proper ventilating, we managed to move back in the following night and enjoy the rest of our weekend, along with some projectile vomiting from both kids (ahhh good, seems we brought the bug with us) and more than our fair share of necessary nappy changes on the youngest. Gross. Both kids poopy and vomity and refusing to eat their boerewors rolls, but desperate as desperate gets for s’mores. Do your kids also not swallow over-chewed meat? Mine neither. Do you also try enforce the no dessert without dinner rule? Us too. Makes for a good time. S’mores consumed, then vomited, then time for bed. No bathing, no teeth brushing (and certainly no flossing), barely a change of clothes was had – how we roll in survival mode.

Sunday morning brought with it more joy and happiness (and less projectile anything). Lots of cuddling in the hammock, story reading and counting gum tree pip/seed things. Post-toddler toddler content as. Pancakes, milo (bad idea in retrospect) and left over marshmallows filled the morning with delight. My phone had died the Friday night (and we’d brought the wrong charger) so the entire weekend was phone free (and this post clearly photo free). Something I struggle to force myself to do, but when it’s forced upon me, it’s FAN-TASTIC.

So just when you think your day is going bad… ask yourself? Did you have a flea infestation and two vomming children with you?


On the bright side, let’s think about what we learnt:

– all jobs are better with a friend (such as cleaning vom or shoving the post-toddler toddler to your spouses side of the bed).
– s’mores solve a lot of things
– Bainskloof has the most incredible sunsets
– watching our kids throw stones into the river and splash about makes it so worth it
– the smell of a wood braai out in nature releases happy hormones I’m sure
– the thought of how content our kids are in silence and with no toys
– getting away from noise really does clear your head
– the EXPERIENCE is (almost) ALWAYS worth the effort.

Your turn! Tell me your good story…

5 thoughts on “A good time or a good story

  1. Deb! What an adventure (of sorts haha!) Well done for surviving and seeing the good in it. Bainskloof is amazing at the very least, and time out from technology is also super awesome. #supermom x

  2. Oh Debbie, I do love reading about your adventures. Lets be honest life with kids is always unpredictable. They have a wonderful knack of getting sick when you are on holiday!!
    The fleas sound pretty awful, lucky you noticed before they chomped the life out of you all!!
    Happy building…… it will all be worth it in the end

  3. I am itching just reading this!!!!! I love how I can HEAR you telling this story!!!! Next time, the austwicks are on the kitchen floor too!!!!

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