“Who am I going to meet in a blackout? Power company guys? Eligible looters?”

Lights on Lights off

Hello World, this is Jordy reporting live from the dark streets of South Africa. Lights, camera, act… Oh wait, definitely no lights here.

Load shedding has reared his electricity- less head again and we find ourselves crisis controlling the areas around us. Are the doors all locked? Is your computer charged? Are the candles ready to be lit? Is the food cooked and ready?

Last night all my housemates had left for the evening and I was passing the time sending voicenotes, waiting for my lift, when the lights went out. I knew it was coming, and yet I still got a fright at the fact that my vision was instantly impaired by the sudden pitch blackness of the house. One of the recipients of my voicenotes got a swear word somewhere in between my words. Luckily my lift arrived two minutes later, and I flew into her car with immense gratefulness.

Constantly on the alert for the darkness in a country known for its high crime rates; can we just acknowledge how bad ass South Africans are?

On Monday night my house decided to embrace the light- less evening. Dinner was ready and served on plates, candles and little lanterns were already lit and phones were fully charged. We waited for the power to warning-less-ly (yes, that’s a word) go out and blanket the house in shadows and darkness. The candles in the lounge held our vision and we took the shed as the cue to eat.

We chatted and laughed and ate delicious amounts of comfort- food pasta, stuffing our faces (no one could see us). We made use of the dark evening to have a romantic, candle lit, friend dinner.

We complain and grumble and moan about the power cuts and, yes, I do get annoyed with this manky situation we find ourselves in. However, South Africans are strong yo! They buy more candles and still invite friends over for a braai, they makes sure there are good movies on their laptops and ready themselves for a proper movie night in the dark, they create memes and funny videos of load shedding because sometimes the best way to get through struggles is with laughs, they host functions and when the lights ‘expectedly’ go out, all phone torches are activated and conversations continue as normal.

I love that my house always makes sure that there is hot water for tea during our power outages. At least they know what’s really important in life.

Context: Eskom is our power supply company

“Smelly cat, Smelly cat”

On top of the two dogs that I mention multiple times, we also have a cat. A sweet little tabby, that “meows” her entrance when she comes into the room, and who likes to snuggle on your legs while you’re sleeping, so that often times you will wake up with numb legs, wondering when they fell off.

We think she is rather cute, and she thinks we’re rather great, and in her attempts to let us know this, she has begun to bring us presents. Most cat lovers will know what cat presents are… Yup, live creatures.

The first time she tried to show her appreciation, it was me she was gifting, and in my room I found a long, tail-less skink, breathing heavily on my floor. I called my Upstairs Housemate to come help me get him out, and when we returned to my room, he had run into her room. Male Housemate came upstairs to find two hysterical females hugging each other on the bed, screaming, and this little thing ran around the room trying to get out. Poor Male Housemate had to catch it, amidst more screams and dramatics as we watched him pick it up by the stump of its tail.

We got some more skinks until Marmalade realized that we didn’t quite like her gifts. So she gave the present- giving another try. Within the space of a week, we found four baby rats in our house. We found one chilling on the door handle… He died. We found one in the kitchen. With game plan in place, Married Female Housemate and friend were going to chase him towards the door, while I was supposed to guard the other side of the kitchen. However, as I watched this siff scurrying rodent running towards me, I dove on top of the oven to get out of his way. I am quite the brave heart.

The last night of rat week, Married Female Housemate found two rats running around her room, and I came downstairs to find her screaming for help, not knowing what to do now that she had cornered them. Again Male Housemate had to come to our rescue and try catch these disgusting gifts, courtesy of Marmalade. As Male Housemate ran after the rodents, our timid Border Collie lay in a puddle on the floor, and practically fainted as the rats ran over his face and tail. Eventually our house was once again rat- free.

A few nights ago, Marmalade decided that the creatures that scurry where clearly not received well, and it was time for a new kind of present all together. As Male Housemate hopped into bed, he turned to Married Female Housemate and casually asked why there was a bat flying around their room. Another late night of catching creatures was had, as my two housemates had to capture the winged animal and release it into the wild of the city lights.

However, I think last night was the absolute last straw. Marmalade had come to the conclusion that we did not want anymore live presents, and so instead she brought Married Female Housemate a dead one. As Married Female Housemate was going to sleep, she became aware of a really bad smell. With Male Housemate away for the weekend, she had to investigate the situation herself. What she found was half a dead shrew, dried and stuck to the floor with its blood, and after a few more seconds of searching, she found the other half under a pillow on the floor, partially cat- chewed.

There was some gagging and chundering and considerations of calling Housemate Jordy down to help, but then throwing that idea out the window when she realized that she would have to deal with a torn- in- half- shrew and a fainted- Jordy if she went that route. I think Male Housemate was stoked to be out of the house after this find. Poor guy has had to be savior to his three pathetic female housemates so often this year, that the relief was great.

The cat- gifting problem has yet to be resolved but we’re thinking of buying a cat bell…

The ever- thankful culprit scoring some cuddles

“You were in a play!”

We have had a very excited Married Female Housemate. Her school performed their play last night and she has been advertising tickets to us for the last three weeks. Her late nights of prop- making and helping with scenery eventually came to fruition, where we sat among her parents, in- laws and twin friends and all marveled at her beautiful cart that she had so lovingly designed, and the cake that she rectified.

But wait! Let’s rewind a little bit to just before the school play. Chaos.

Upstairs Housemate and I are ready and waiting with our handbags and keys shouting to Married Male Housemate to hurry up. He’s running around toothbrush in mouth, shoes in hand, trying to tell us through foamy Colgate that he quickly has to feed the dogs. We are hungry and we are late. Not to sound Nazi- feminist, but I love it when girls are ready, standing around waiting for the boy; stereotype shattered.

We head for Nandos. Problem: the driver has only been here once and doesn’t have the ordering system down, so Married Male Housemate and I are shouting over her at the poor Order- Taker (I wish I knew what to call him) who has a car full of yelling humans telling him three different things. Eventually he has the right order and we spend the next few minutes waiting for our food and moaning at each other for butting in. “The Order Taker knew what I was saying! He didn’t need YOU to interpret!” “When he asked you what flavour chicken wrap you wanted, you said Chicken! He needed my help!”

We arrive at the school and want to inhale our food so that we can get inside and get our seats, but Nandos is quality and the Peri wedges are freshly cooked (temperature heat is about the same as the sun). With fingers dripping in hot sauce and my mouth gaining new blisters with each wedge I eat, who has to pull up next to us, but my most intimidating acquaintance I know. She is tall and beautiful and confident and has always intimidated me just by being her, and currently she is looking at us wolfing down hot food: could I want to melt into the ground more? Oh wait, I could, because as she walks away from us, she turns to say over her shoulder, “Good ice- breaker, guys.” What does that even mean?

We finally get to our seats in the balcony, and watch the most beautiful school production of “Singing in the Rain” you have ever experienced. Actually scratch the ‘school’ part, it’s just a beautiful production. The clothing is exquisite, the tap dancing and singing are delightful, and the young actors/resses are incredible. And props to the prop- makers, especially that lemon cart designer! Apart from the fact that Intimidating Girl sits right behind us (head in hands), there are no more awkward/ blow up moments and, surprisingly for us as housemates, the rest of the night went on pretty smoothly.

Of course we have to analyse and crit every moment of the play over cups of tea as soon as we get home, and our eyes get a little starry as we replay it in our heads (clearly we don’t do the show thing that often). Upstairs Housemate is so animated as she exclaims that it made her believe in love again, and that comment is my undoing. She becomes partially insulted as I walk away from the conversation in laughing tears.

Just an update on my seared mouth; it is still blistered and suffering from heat stroke as I type this.

This scene from the movie should brighten your Friday way up

“You hung up on the Pizza Place? I don’t hang up on your friends”

Fun fact about Jordy: she hates cooking

Every Monday night, our digs has house dinner. Sometimes I call it family dinner for lols. We rotate and each get a turn to cook for the house. For me, it’s the one night that I actually eat a real meal… except when I’m the one who is cooking.

Picture a kitchen with a flustered cook, toppings all over the counter, weak arms that can’t effectively roll out dough, flour all over her everything. That’s me.

Stress ball with the sudden realization that she hasn’t bought enough ingredients to satisfy the rumbling tummies around her. Starving eyes keep looking in her direction, even though their mouths are telling her to calm down, it’s going to be fine.

Eventually we’re sitting around three small crunchy pizzas, the kitchen to the right of us looks like a giant sneezed flour all over it. I am not happy with the outcome of my labour.

One housemate is not happy about something else.

Second fun fact about Jordy: I am not good with confrontation. I usually do the healthy thing and bury my feelings and issues way below the surface so that no one knows what I’m unhappy about.

Other housemates don’t do such things, and sometimes let their irritation at another show. From that you get a tense dinner, where everyone is staring at their laps, trying to chew their food as quietly as possible, except… Oh no wait! Jordy cooked, so each slow mouthful of crunchy pizza is more like rocks falling off a mountain.

Yeah… just in case you thought that communal living is all fun and games, you were wrong. We have our moments of true colour showing; like a girl who burns, under- caters, and delivers late food; and housemates who pick their moments to annoy and be annoyed at each other.

Inspired by previous pizza nights… Last night’s pizzas weren’t even worthy of being photographed

“It’s Sunday. I don’t move on Sundays.”

Lying next to a cactus that a house- full of boys tried to care for, and eyes wide awake because I had way too many double shot cappuccinos today.

So here’s the story. My house was empty this weekend; Housemate One was out at a bachelorette’s and Married Housemates were away with family. There was no way I was staying at home alone, so I packed a bag and went to sleep over at a friend’s house whose husband was also away for the weekend.

I was stoked when their security guard remembered my name, and even more stoked to walk into a burger- smelling home. Deep fried chips and burgers for dinner with a view of “White Chicks”? Yes please.

The old ladies in us got into bed at 9:30 but the gossipy best friends in us stayed up telling each other all the stories that we had accumulated. I was woken up when my best friend tried spooning me in her sleep. Her husband probably likes it, but I just about left my skin behind, diving to the very edge of the bed, and out of her reach.

At church the next day, I was on barista, and my breakfast- deprived stomach accepted two flat whites on my behalf. After church, another friend and I decided to visit the coffee shop we used to work for and grab yet another flat white.

What a blood bath! A lady who had just donated blood had started bleeding again and the baristas were throwing serviettes at her as the blood soaked the cotton ball and dripped onto the floor. Another lady saw the blood and was down on the ground in seconds. My braveheart friend and I were completely useless, lifting our hands in gestures of helpfulness while backing away fast, not feeling too fresh ourselves.

Bleeding lady did eventually stop bleeding and just became lady. Fainting lady got up and also just became lady. Done son!

Friend and I went off to a boys’ digs for a braai (this is South Africa folks), and after much meat and laughs, we found ourselves leaving with a cactus in hand. They had close to killed the poor thing in the efforts of caring for it, and so I offered to try revive it.

Back at church that evening, they were in need of one more barista. I accepted the position and the cappuccino that comes along with the job.

At home, I tried to get my housemates to stay awake with me as late as possible, but it reached a stage where the yawns were happening more than the talking. I eventually had to take my foster cactus upstairs to my room with me and attempt to fall asleep.

You can see how well that’s going.

If you have any advice on how to revive a succulent, please help a girl out!

“Nauseous, Physically Nauseous”

Our local park probably has stories about those people who live in that digs down the road. It’s seen me play hide- and- seek with our dogs (hide yo kids, hide yo wife), it’s seen my friend running after our Border Collie as he steals yet another ball, causing some other dog owner to stare at us in frustration, it’s seen me on an awkward date, and it’s seen me at my absolute worst – seeing blood.

I was still a little tender after a relationship that hadn’t worked out so well, and my housemates were doing their best to get my mind off of it, writing me letters and buying me chocolates and biscuits. This particular day, we were sitting outside at our concrete table shoving our favourite chicken strips into our mouths, pretty much only speaking to comment again and again on how good they were.

After full bellies and cups of tea, we decided that a drive to the park with the dogs would be a great way to end off our public holiday, so we threw on slops and got the dogs to hop into the boot.

We threw sticks for our Border Collie, and lay in the grass, and chased our lanky- ass black dog around, and really enjoyed the warmer weather. Housemate one pulled a ball out of her bag and gave it to me to throw for our Border Collie. After a while the ball was covered in slimy slobber and so I opted to kick it instead. With happy mouth- open dog, crouched close to the ground, bum in the air, and me with no shoes on, I kicked the ball as hard as I could. Except my foot connected with the teeth of happy dog rather than the ball. The whole park heard the dull thud of soft skin against hard dog teeth, and they all winced in unison before returning to their leisurely activities.

I felt blood and pulsing on my big toe and pinkie toe, and I knew that I was going down fast. I turned to face my shocked housemates and swore with emotion, telling them with my eyes that this sight of blood was not going to end well for me. It never does.

Housemate one ran over to check the dog, but he was just annoyed that no one had thrown his ball yet. Housemate two grabbed my arm and helped me to the water fountain. I lay in the grass breathing like they teach you how to breath in prenatal class, hoping that I wasn’t going to faint in front of all these random people. Both housemates were now splashing water on my barely bleeding toes and cry laughing at my over exaggerated response to the blood.

Housemate two, although also laughing quietly to herself, sacrificially wrapped her jersey around my foot and helped me to the car. Housemate one was also amazing, although extremely facetious, as she disinfected and bandaged my foot up when we got home.

I know that my reaction to blood is just too much, but honestly I have no control over it. Also the bruising and scarring that is still on my toes today is proof of how hard I kicked that dogs teeth, and how sore it was.

Thirdly my medical team were amazing, albeit a tad condescending at my weakness. They also now understand that when I tell them that the doctor has said that I cannot donate blood, I mean it.

Lastly, they definitely managed to get my mind off other things for a really long time.

Happy dog still waiting for someone to throw his ball
My bruised and battered toes after connecting with Happy dog’s teeth

“Your Love Life’s DOA”

After church on Sunday night, my housemates and I love to have tea on the couches and rehash the week that has just gone by. This Sunday was no different… Well apart from the left over carrot cake from our Saturday tea party that we got to enjoy for a second day.

My Honorary housemate was extremely angry over the fact that an old flame of mine had chosen to sit in our row of seats, right next to her in church, with his new girlfriend. She ranted over his audacity, when there were hundreds of empty seats all over the building. Her outrage was entertaining and we joined in with her when we weren’t laughing at her.

As it often happens, male housemate (he’s home!) turned the tone of the talk into a life lesson, analyzing were I went wrong, who I had let into my life, and warning all of us to not make my mistakes. He wasn’t saying that I was the culprit in the failed attempt of a relationship, but even I know that I could have done some things better. The main problem area being that I was so worried about looking like your typical needy, clingy stereotype of a female that I didn’t speak up when I wanted to ask a question.

After dates and hangouts and kisses and hand holding and months of togetherness, I was still too scared to ask if “this was going anywhere.” I feared that asking such questions would lead him to see me as some pushy, desperate thing that I never wanted to be. So I let whatever kind of relationship we were in continue until it came to its inevitable death.

Male housemate used this as a lesson to his three single housemates, “If you don’t feel safe enough to ask the important questions at the right time, then should you be in that relationship?” Amen brother, I back you on that point.

Guys, if you’re happy to be up front about your intentions from the semi- beginning of the relationship, that would make our jobs so much easier. If not, however, then at least take our concerns and questions seriously and not turn us into some sort of whiny girl that we’re not. Girls, obviously don’t ask a guy when he intends to “make it official” on date one, but also don’t let him string you along for months. Ask the questions, get the lowdown on his thoughts. If you don’t like his thoughts, get out; and if you don’t feel like you would be taken seriously, ask the questions anyway. Either your perception of how he will take the questions is warped and you just need to get over yourself, or he doesn’t make you feel safe enough to ask. Of both these potential reasons, the action should still be the same, because you either end up in a relationship that actually has meaning, or you get out of a relationship that will hurt you even more in the future.

I know that this is a rant and a half of relationship advice from someone with less wisdom than her dog, but hey, if you don’t receive my thought process well, then are we really meant to be?

Married housemate said that next time, she would give me three months, and if my questions have not been answered by then, she would intervene. In the words of Barney Stinson, “Challenge accepted.”