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When So.Not.Superwoman goes on holiday, things are guaranteed to NOT go according to plan…

October 19, 2012


When Superwoman goes on holiday, everything happens according to plan. When So.Not.Superwoman goes on holiday, what she gets is mostly a rich harvest of irony for her blog…

When I refer to Superwoman, I’m referring to a working mother who does sports. Has extracurricular activities. Belongs to a book club. And is built like Halle Berry.

When Superwoman goes on holiday, she is prepared.

For weeks and weeks before the departure date, she checks and cross-checks her holiday plan, most probably entered onto Excel. Here, she lists groceries for nutritious meals, clothes and other paraphernalia to pack, the contents of a properly stocked first-aid kit and other important to-do’s. She has checked out their destination with a beady eye – somewhere in her lunch break while putting the finishing touches to a new strategy and posting something meaningful on Facebook – and she knows exactly what’s available, what’s lacking and how she’ll deal with it.

Now, back at the ranch, So.Not.Superwoman is already on a back foot. Oh, don’t get me wrong. Her ideals are firmly in place, and she has visions of sunrise walks, Pilates and meditation while reading a book on the fauna and flora of the area. But she has a ghastly bout of flu that is sticking to her like the proverbial poop to a blanket; she is trying to finish a freelance editing job and is having sleepless nights about her currently flailing career.

Last minute

So, as per always, all the arrangements are left to the last minute. On the Friday before she is supposed to chug off into the blue yonder with her beloved in a well-stocked Land Rover, she is sitting in a coffee shop, honking noisily into a variety of serviettes to keep her abundance of snot from scaring those around her (instead she scares them shitless with her nose blowing activities…), trying to send required documents to clients while, with the one limb not engaged in activity, she tries to edit a last piece of text for yet another client. She is pulsating with fever and discontent.

Next on the list is a visit to Woolies. Oh, what would Modern Woman do without Woolies? (She’ll generate about 90% less harmful packaging and ingest fewer pesticides and preservatives, that is) But, for now, all ethics are out the window as she is Pressed For Time. Not really and truly pressed for time, like women-with-careers-children-and-extracurricular-activities are, but like badly organized, neurotic, childless women are pressed for time. ‘Tis not a pretty sight.

Up and down the aisles of the grocery gods she tears, with a paper list (Superwomen do it on their smart phone, and with voice commands, I’m sure). She tosses a staggering variety of healthy food into the trolley. No bad snacks. Nuts, maybe. Loads of veg. The purchase of slaughtered livestock she always leaves to The Boyf, as he is an expert in the Choosing of Meat. As a wannabe vegetarian and two-faced meat eater, she’ll munch the chops first and then launch into a rant about the treatment of animals at feedlots and abattoirs.

Food bought. Extra electricity purchased for the weird housesitter, who resembles a Gringots bank teller from Harry Potter and who she’s convinced scares the crap out of her pets, as they always seem a tad unblinking and needy when she returns from her wanderings. For now, he’ll have to do.


Back home. She tosses a variety of leisurewear into her backpack. It basically consists of a choice of three pairs of fat pants, a few ancient T-shirts and comfortable shoes. Idealistic to the end, she packs her ancient cross trainers, a pair of sweat pants and a sports bra. They will never leave her luggage, but she doesn’t know this yet…

On the morning of departure, she skids around the kitchen, tossing cooking necessities into environmentally friendly bags. Oh, the fresh, wholesome food she’ll cook! The stirring of pots bubbling with nutrient-rich country fare – she can’t wait! She packs a flute – for the organic bubbly she’ll be quaffing. For a moment, she almost forgets that she feels like death warmed up and would much rather stay in bed with a tabloid mag, snarfing large amounts of chocolate…

The Way There

On the journey to her destination, she nobly refuses the chips and sweets thrust at her from the driver’s seat, and munches evangelically on a packet of nuts. At the farm stall where they stop for lunch, she orders a venison pie with salad, no chips. She eats the filling out of the pie shell to avoid ingesting wheat. She is feeling nauseatingly noble. There is a big however looming, though. She. Wants. Chocolate.

Oh, the country walks to come! The stretching! The healing waters she’ll partake of! Her eyes glaze over momentarily. She stops at a wine cellar in a small town to purchase her bubbly. She gets a few bottles of their version of “brut” at a good price. She is hopeful. She will limit herself to two glasses a day – one before dinner and one during.

Arriving at the Wholesome Holiday Destination, she is feeling like shit. Her cheeks flushed with fever, her nose running like the Cahora Bassa dam with opened sluice gates. She eyes the glorious early-summer veld; she gazes longingly at the warm baths. The Boyf has to unpack as she languishes on the bed, swathed in self pity. She. Wants. Ice Cream.

Reality takes a bow

With her beloved’s recent birthday, she purchased two “moon chairs” – read the most comfortable camping chair that ever lived – and a portable mini Weber for him, so they can “bundu bash” in style. But The Boyf has left the mini Weber at home as he doesn’t want it damaged. The moon chairs, folded, sit forlornly in the back of the Land Rover for the entirety of the break as the weather sucks and for half the time, they cannot go outside. For the other half, they are too bloody lazy to fetch them.

On the first evening, her Healthy Country Vegetables are a hit. Sadly, she fucks it all up by eating too much boerewors. Her liver rebels. She has heartburn and crawls into bed early. By Day Three, sick and barking like a junk yard dog, she discovers the campsite café sells cones. She schnarfs an enormous caramel-and-vanilla, and finishes off with a packet of Rowntree’s Cream Caramels, her comfort food from childhood.

So far, no healthy country walks have happened. Nary a Pilates move has been made. She has done some floating in the hot water and has had meaningful conversation about the weather with at least seven retired uncles with overly pink skin. The bubbly she purchased on the way is turning out to be an enormous disappointment – it tastes like dishwater and loses its fizz in a few hours, in spite of her elaborate plugging-up methods of the bottle. She has taken to mixing it with tonic water to bump it up. The flute languishes in the kitchen, forgotten. She is now employing a cool drink glass.


By Evening Four, she has overdosed on toasted cheese and tomato and onion. Her self respect is in tatters. She is muttering about the bad cell phone reception as she battles to post pics to Facebook. She is sick of the rock-hard pillows. She doesn’t want to stagger down the corridor to the ablution block to go pee. She. Now.Wants. Cake.

On the way back, they stop over in the town where they’re considering settling for a while. The “international delicatessen” in the main road doesn’t serve decaf and offers no card facilities. She is longing for her own bed, technology that works and a coffee shop with wifi. And she’s munching on vanilla truffles to help ease the road home.


Back home, Superwoman would have immediately tossed a load of dirty washing in the machine, sorted out the recycling and repacked the food cupboards. She then would have checked her emails, made a few work-related phone calls and cooked something Nigella-like for her well-behaved family.

So.Not.Superwoman has taken to her bed. Her cats are so happy to see her after four days with the Gringots bank teller that one of them lies on top of her. Did she return feeling refreshed and recharged? Nah. She returned with two extra kg’s worth of sugar on her ass, a virus that travelled there with her, and all the way back. The environmentally friendly bags crammed with leftover groceries are still standing on the kitchen table, and her backpack is spilling clothes onto the bedroom floor. The Boyf will proceed to fall over it twice during the night.

But, in spite of the ideal not having materialized, she really did have wonderful time. I shit you now. Thank God for that campsite café!


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