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Diary report 15, 16, 17: The Hardiman Diaries

In one sense we are living in strange times, so unpredictable events should actually be fairly predictable; in another sense, just some bloody normality would also do quite nicely right now.
Report 15: Day 14

Alcohol units: 140 (went easy last night)
Showers: 5
Cat: 1(not home but roaming)
Dog: 1
Wife: 1
Kids alive: 4
Potatoes: 5kg
In-laws: 3
Easter Eggs: 20

My f*k Marelize.
Dear Diary actually I do not know where to even start.

The latest antics all started with my hastily installed scarecrow and Mrs. B’s obsessive surveilling of the neighborhood. Her current peeping-tom nature was ostensibly to track Raymond her cat, but at the same time there is a little dash of obsessive nosy neighbor thrown in; it’s a combination of these two that kicked off the circus that was last night.

At 2am the doorbell rang; not in a polite “there is somebody at the door” kind of way, but rather a regular and obsessive pushing of the button until the whole house was up and blurry-eyed, wondering what the hell was happening.

I stumbled through and answered the intercom to a Sergeant Du Plessis, the owner of the finger that was punishing my doorbell. The Sergeant explained to me there was a situation in our back garden, and they needed immediate access to the rear of the house; everyone inside should go upstairs until said situation was dealt with.

I let the man through along with 4 others in his posse, opened the backdoor and hustled a very sleepy Poppie upstairs to one of the kid’s bedrooms, while my wife and I proceeded to watch the show from our bedroom. To be honest I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it all.

They headed straight towards the shed shouting – they had been training and waiting for this moment all their lives it would seem – at this point dear Diary, I thought the jig was up; the day before our Police minister, Bheki Cele, had announced a nationwide crackdown on illegal alcohol production and last night’s news was full of prohibition-style crack downs all across the country; police raiding residences, large barrels of fermenting beer and other assortments and concoctions of homemade cocktails, being emptied into the streets, with the homeowners handcuffed and led away to the awaiting cop cars.

My time had come; my fermenting stash of “EverREDi” was about to be emptied onto the streets of Pinelands for all to see…the impending shame, dear Diary! The Pinelands Facebook group would just lap this up; every opinionated ‘Karen’ would be adding her 2 cents worth from her precariously balanced suburban ivory tower.

Oddly though the shed was not their intended destination, I let out a sigh of relief; oddly so did my wife.

Guns now drawn, they surged past my distillery and into the darkness behind it; shouts of “get down” and “armed police” could be heard and then three quick shots fired off! After that silence…for what felt like an age.

Eventually, the five policemen emerged back into the light trailing behind them with what appeared to be my winter coat entangled in two broom sticks and skiing goggles. I could feel my wife’s eyes bore into me. I stoically looked ahead.

Even then, just as I thought life could not get more complicated, life laughed and said, “hold my beer”.

As I ran downstairs to find out what on earth was actually happening, I bumped straight into my sister-in-law and my niece in our kitchen, my niece understandably quite shaken up from the loud bangs.

Given that there are only six people staying in the house and none of them being my sister-in-law and her daughter, you may be wondering, as I was, dear Diary, what the hell my upset niece and my sister-in-law, both in matching pink onesies, were doing in our kitchen?

Before I got to ask this question Sergeant Du Plessis, holding a bright neon pink towel with crumbling oats and potato mash oozing through 2 bullet holes, was standing at the back door with some questions of his own.

Okay. Let’s deal with the police and the dead scarecrow first. Mrs. B (confirmed by Sergeant DP) had been on the lookout for Raymond and had seen some lights going on and off in our back garden, the granny flat she thought? She then made it her mission to see what was going on at 1:30am and focused her unwanted gaze on my back yard. Being a windy night her eyes eventually fell on movement at the back of the shed, my overdressed scarecrow, who to Mrs. B took to be a burglar waiting to pounce on something in the garden.

Being the dutiful (nosy-parker) citizen she is, immediately hit her speed dial and the number of Pinelands Police station. After 10 minutes on the phone with the dispatcher (no doubt catching up since her last incarceration?) the police were sent out to deal with the imminent home invasion.

Sergeant Du Plessis tells me it was pretty dark back there and difficult to see; my scarecrow was vocally unresponsive (no surprise really) and a sudden gust of wind had whipped up the jacket’s arms; in retaliation to the waving scarecrow they shot and “neutralized the threat”.

He was very apologetic for the disturbance and more than a little annoyed that since shots were fired, a report would now have to be drawn up, which was going to be hard to explain to the station commander.

He asked me why we would have a scarecrow so far back and hidden in the garden, to which I replied that it was probably just the kids messing around and I will “have a chat with them later.” He nodded and made some notes.

As the posse left and headed back to their blue lights he turned and offered some gardening advice; “I think your plants might enjoy a bit more sunlight, if you want them to get a bit bigger…” he winked.

I’ll let Joseph know that on the advice of the local law enforcement, he may need to replant the “Pot plants” in a sunnier clime when he comes back.

To be honest dear Diary, I am exhausted again. I will enter into the record of the house, how I have now gained two more strays tomorrow.

RH


Report 16: Day 15

Alcohol units: 150
Showers: 6
Cat: 1(feral)
Dog: 1
Wife: 1
Kids alive: 4
Potatoes: Unsure
Father-in-laws: 1
Easter Eggs: 28

Dear Diary, things are hotting up here.
After yesterday’s fatality (1 x dead scarecrow) the house is in a somber and reflective mood. We are like a poorly written version of ‘Ozark’ right now…if the Jason Bateman TV show was based in suburban Cape Town and the drugs were melatonin (I now have to smuggle it in when I travel, since the health minister banned Clicks from selling it) and some almost ready weed being grown in the back garden for which scarecrows have given their lives for.

On the night before the Easter Bunny arrives, I sit here typing and regaling my story about a house of 5 that became a house of 6, became a house of 8.

You will remember that during the debacle of the “police raid” I happened to bump into my sister-in-law and my niece in the kitchen; given that up until then they had been living several streets away locked down in their own house this came as a bit of a shock to me; what shocked me further was that they had actually been in our house for a week without me even knowing about it!

Here is the story; but first a recap.

Previously on “days of our wives”

You will remember that when my father-in-law arrived 2 weeks ago, my wife put up quite the argument that he could not come in as we were all in lockdown and trying to limit the spread of Corona; a sound and reasonable point to make in these uncertain times. For all intents and purposes, I agreed with her, except that he just popped round to say hi to the kids and he had arrived with a full bottle of Bells in hand. I was worried about the alcohol stocks running low and this (at least in the short term) seemed to provide a brief top-up of said supplies.

My wife relented, the FiL and I sat down to have a drink. Long story short, Poppie ended up moving in, now wears my clothes (he didn’t bring any), drinks my booze (same reason as the clothes) and helping (in his own unique way) to get the distillery up and running; all seemed fine in this topsy-turvy world.

Here’s the twist in the tail dear Diary.

About a week ago my sister-in-law’s hot water cylinder burst, sending a shower of water everywhere through their attic (apparently the Christmas tree and decorations now needed replacing) while at the same time leaving them without any hot water. It was going to take an emergency plumber a couple of days to do the repairs and while this was happening my wife suggested they move into the granny flat.

The reason I wasn’t informed of our new “tenants” was that my wife thought that given the fight she put up when the FiL moved in, changing her tune now would seem a bit odd and disingenuous (she would be right). As it was only for two days, she thought they would be in and out and nobody would be any the wiser; to be fair, sound thinking.

What they hadn’t factored in was the delays in ordering a new geyser and what was one or two days become a week…by then it became more and more difficult to let me know.

This of course explains two things quite clearly. Firstly, as my wife tells me, by day three things were becoming quite worrying as Poppie and I were spending more and more time in the garden which of course is close to the granny flat and the chances of the new tenants being found out was increasing, this resulted in her being overly nice to me in case it all unraveled and she needed a sympathetic and understanding landing.

Secondly, it also explains the increase in wine and gin bottles being slowly secreted by our household. As the sister-in-law was now being forced to hideout in the granny flat for longer, she needed something to get through the day, which I completely understand.

It may also explain the sudden jump in internet usage in our house as well – we did 200 gigs last week and pretty sure it wasn’t Poppie uploading TikTok videos!

There are a few positives here Dear Diary.

Firstly, the SiL having realized that she would be locked down in the flat for an extended period had Ubered to her house in the dead of night and retrieved a large supply of drinks (she needed an Uber XL on way back) to get her through the days. She strategized well…she says we can now add this to the stockpile. She also bought extra Easter eggs, so the collection has now jumped significantly!

In the spirit of Perestroika and Glasnost I also owned up to both Joseph and my marijuana plantation and the distillery. As it turns out the wife already knew about the plantation after Joseph had asked her to purchase a less chemically based weed-killer as he hadn’t wanted to inhale any toxic chemicals when the crop was ready.

I had wrongly assumed that some sort of “Omerta” had existed between Joseph and I when it came to growing our drugs but as it turned out when it came to his smoking habits and health, Joseph needed only the most ecologically friendly of weed killers and had no time for secrecies when it came to crop management.

The wife has also offered to help out with the distillery and the manufacturing process; I had explained the back story to Poppie and my dilemmas with the cooking process and she has been brought on as an official advisor as far as ingredients and preparation goes.

In all, what was a rollercoaster of a few days has turned into quite a positive time for us just ahead of the Easter Bunny arriving; which is a good thing given that we have 4 children about to go into a chocolate eating fest in lockdown. The warders are preparing for the worst.

RH

PS. mentioned gently to the SiL re the higher internet usage; she tells me that they brought their own wireless with them so as not to arouse suspicion – they haven’t even logged in to ours! It seems dear Diary that there is another user of the Wifi that I am unable to track down at this stage?


Report 17: Day 16

Alcohol units: around 160
Showers: 7
Cat: 1(found)
Dog: 1
Wife: 1
Kids alive: 4
Potatoes: 10kg
In-laws: 2
Easter Eggs: 04

Dear Diary,

the day of the Easter Bunny and all its religious paraphernalia has arrived; while some will see today as a chance to celebrate the miracle that is Easter, smash chocolate eggs into their faces at an accelerated rate or merely enjoy the comfort and closeness of their families, that’s just not me right now. Dear Diary, call me the Easter version of Ebenezer Scrooge but bah humbug! I for one, am happy that I no longer need to stress over chocolate egg stocks, missing being away for Easter holidays instead of lockdown, or having to stay up very late so we can make powered-flour bunny feet and plant Lindt around the garden whilst kids are asleep.

Happy it’s all over; there I said it!

I have been more than a little grumpy today if I am honest; maybe the hangover from all the goings on in the house or the excessive amounts of marshmallow and hard candy eggs that I may or may not have consumed. Either way not a happy bunny. Nope.

Dazza across the road nominated me for the “Egg Challenge” (eye rolling emoji). This apparently involves filming yourself individually downing a raw egg, some tequila and depending on who you ask, a beer as well. You film it all and then post to Facebook and nominate the next lot. I watched a couple of these online. FFS, everyone seems to think that being “Nominated” is akin to getting the nod to a Nobel Peace Prize; honestly the amount of “thank you for the nomination, especially during these trying times…” and giving shout-outs to various family members and mates…you would think they were at the Oscars! Just down your egg Meryl Streep! There is no silverware coming to the trophy cabinet for this!

I am debating whether to do it or not; the real egg stocks are low AND I don’t have any tequila left after Friday nights session.

After the Easter Eggs were found and collected, we proceeded to do nothing but eat chocolate and laze around for the whole morning; there is nothing better than a chocolate marshmallow egg, a good up of coffee and a hot-cross bun to cheer you up.

Kids of course went berserk on eggs, with the youngest of the litter ending up vomiting two tons of half-digested Cadbury’s finest at about 11am. He literally “bounced back” half an hour later by sending most of the afternoon on the trampoline working off the sugar rush.

Must admit having the wife acting as advisor and consultant on the distillery has been a dream; I was a tad worried as she is pretty much a teetotaler but to be honest it’s like having Walter White on your team – he didn’t touch his wares either; the best drug dealers and narco cooks never do! She has come up with a simpler recipe and found some more of the “correct” ingredients.

She also found Raymond.

In a turn up for the books, the wife was carrying a fresh batch of potatoes to the shed when she opened door to find what can only be described as a scene from Reservoir Dogs!

Raymond had somehow quietly snuck back into the shed, probably when I was showing the wife the setup, and obviously decided to stay overnight. When the wife opened the door this morning, she was greeted with what looked like pure bloodshed covering the windows, patio furniture cushions and lawnmower. In the corner looking bedraggled and passed out and “bleeding” was Raymond.

It turned out that like his owner, Mrs. B, Raymond is a bit of a soak.

He had shifted the lid off the purifying alcohol and helped himself to a vat of slowly distilling vodka. You may remember that I had dyed the brew red with food colouring to give it its own distinctive look? It appears that Raymond had drank his fill (possibly thinking it was water?) then knocked the vat over onto himself and ran in wild and drunken circles through the shed until he passed out.

The wife, realizing that she was not looking at a Tarantino-esque scene but rather some food colouring, a comatose cat and her husband’s ex-moonshine, lay Raymond out on the grass to sober up while she sent me out to the shed to clean up; which I dutifully did cursing the ginger drunk all the while.

We are going to start a new brew of what my wife has now renamed “Raymond’s Revenge”. Not bad for a teetotaler. The sister-in-law has chipped in for a new sack of potatoes so now it’s truly a family affair.

Once Raymond was sober enough to go home, we notified Mrs. B’s daughter to let Mrs. B know that we would be releasing Raymond back into her care. At the appointed time I lightly dropped a now very red, but at least sober, Raymond onto his side of the fence and to an awaiting Mrs. B. She looked equally thrilled but confused by the return of her oddly coloured pet. For my part I offered no explanation and just waved hello.

Did the Egg Challenge; nominated a few mates and Poppie. Feel like sh*t. Had to replace the tequila with a shot of dry sherry (owing to the lack of tequila) …the combination is not something that will catch on round here very quickly.

RH

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