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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Despicable Tim II: Society's Revenge & Collateral Damage

Reading the last several posts might lead one to wonder two things:  First, do these people ever do any work?  Second, does everyone hate Tim?
Let me take a moment to answer:  In reference to the first question, yes we do.  It's just that not that many interesting things happen when you're digging holes, hanging trim, building shelves, etc...  You can see other updates of the work at RHI's Facebook page.  In reference to the second, I'll just say that "everyone" is probably an exaggeration...probably.

This particular post may or may not shed light on any of those two questions.  Let me clarify: Tim and Rosina departed South Africa on August 8th.  Before they left we wanted to take a break from work and take them on a trip to the ocean.  "Which ocean?" you ask.  The One World Ocean, as so aptly defined by my best friend Jono and also by Wikipedia.  Specifically, we took them to the section of ocean commonly referred to as the Indian Ocean.  During the two weeks prior to our vacation we spent the time moving roughly 48 tons of bricks and 72 tons of dirt in preparation for our next building project.  So the answer is yes, we got a little bit of work out of Tim and Rosina recently.  The rest of this post will deal with the second question.

Our vacation officially started on Sunday right after church.  So you can't exactly say every day was rotten.  Sunday afternoon our whole family went with Brian and Liam on a four-wheeler ride on some trails around the area.  That was fun.  That was also probably the highlight of our vacation.

Monday morning we got up bright and early and left town.  The drive to our destination, Uvongo, was estimated to be about 8 hours.  Two hours out of Welkom we had reached the Drakensberg Mountains and it started to rain.  It continued to rain off and on - mostly on - for the next six hours.  We reached the coast just before sunset and saw the breakers rolling in, breakers that were cresting as high as twenty feet!

We checked into our lodging and went to get something to eat.  Being a Midwestern family we're more meat and potatoes than all the fancy seafoods, but since we were at the coast we opted for fish'n'chips.  Also, they were very, very cheap.  We all voted that this was the best fish we had ever tasted (outside of a Kim Heiderscheit fish fry).  But even at that Amber could only choke down about two bites.  Which is all the better for Uncle Lou, as I was able to eat two full portions.  However, the sudden dietary change brought about sudden intestinal change for yours truly for several hours.  So, all in all, it was a wonderful start to our vacation.

As a side note the people at the fish'n'chips place could talk about nothing but the abnormally miserable weather that had just arrived.  Apparently they hadn't had a winter storm like that in decades.  So we've got that going for us...which is nice.

Tuesday dawned, barely.  The breakers were still crashing in on the rocks about 50 yards from our little cabana, the rain was still off and on, and the wind was blowing in that refreshing saltwater mist.  Gone were our plans to spend the day exploring the tidal pools and playing in the surf.  Instead, we decided to go for a little drive around the area to look at what we could see.  However, before doing that we wanted to get a close-up look at the waves so Tim and Rosina could see exactly how high they were.  And this is when society began to exact its revenge upon the notorious villain, Despicable Tim.  And this is when the Louis and Rosina divisions of the O'Tool family began to suffer from society's collateral damage.

Episode 1: We - and by we I mean Louis, Rosina and Tim - braved the elements whilst the remainder of the family waited in the car on the bluff above.  The three of us scurried down onto the rocks.  Actually, Tim scurried, I bounded, and Rosina kind of did this slide/shuffle thing because she was wearing only flip-flops.  Tim and I wisely chose to wear tennis shoes.  Tim reached the rocks well ahead of me and that's when one of those small decisions was made that determines the fate of mice and men.  The rocks he had chosen weren't terribly close to the breakers, so I decided to take a different path to some rocks out nearer where the waves were coming in.  Tim followed me and Rosina, as per usual, brought up the rear.  I chose this particular jumble of rocks because it seemed to be well above the crashing waves, but yet as near as you could get without actually getting wet.  And I was terribly wrong.  If you've ever been to any portion of the One World Ocean you'll know that waves tend to be cyclical.  Unfortunately, the brief time I took to examine our perch was at the low end of the cycle.  So as we stood and admired the crabs, sea urchins and other creatures of the tidal pools we were caught unawares by a mini-tsunami that crashed onto our previously high'n'dry turf...nearly washing away Rosina's footwear while immediately soaking Tim's and mine.

Since we were already drenched it seemed a minor matter to get a few pictures of us and the waves.  While it may appear a little dangerous, I can assure you that we were well within the boundaries of the rocky shore so the waves washing in had already spent their power.  But you will notice that Despicable Tim was still frightened by them.  Check out the play-by-play, as Tim attempts to save his own life at the expense of his sister's.
Spotting the danger

Fleeing from the danger (using Rosina to boost himself)

Despicable Tim - 6, Society - 1, Collateral Damage against Rosina and Uncle Lou.

Episode 2:  On Wednesday we took a trip up the coast to Durban, the busiest port city in Africa.  Durban is also home to uShaka Marine World, a first class aquarium and water park.  Due to the inclement weather we chose only to enjoy the aquarium portion.  This is our third time and it's great every time.  They have sea lions that perform a drama for the audience, and they have a world renowned dolphin show.  This time just before the dolphin show they asked for volunteers to go down and feed, touch, and kiss a dolphin.  Tim was one of six contestants selected.  The hostess told all the contestants to do a dance and then the crowd would cheer for whomever they thought was the best.  The first round saw Despicable Tim show off his Sharks rugby jersey.  The Sharks being the local rugby team he received lots of cheers.  His opponent in the finals was an older gentleman who was there as a chaperone for an entire he had a whole section cheering for him.  Despicable Tim, knowing he was the underdog, could see that he needed to pull off a special dance to succeed against The Principal.  So when the hostess said "Dance" it was on.  While the older man pulled out some moves clearly from his younger days in the disco era, Tim made his move.  While feigning a dance move he took a planned tumble down the stairs of the arena.  Unfortunately it was too convincing.  The audience was more concerned than impressed.  When the time came for the cheers, The Principal was the overwhelming majority.  Despicable Tim was actually the recipient of more than a few boos.  And I think even if he had received the most cheers the hostess wouldn't have allowed him near the dolphin pool for fear he might injure himself or one of the animals.  And in addition, during the fall Tim received a significant bruise on his left bum.
Despicable Tim - 6, Society - 2,  Collateral Damage against the whole family, as everyone saw him sitting with us.  How embarrassing!

Episode 3:  Wednesday afternoon Amber took the kids to the uShaka playground while Tim, Rosina and I went body surfing in the sea.  This was about the same time that Tim was struck with severe diarrhea.  Several trips to the facilities later, we were on the road back to Uvongo, one of the longest hours of Tim's life.
Despicable Tim - 6, Society - 3,  Collateral Damage against the whole family as we had to spend time waiting for Tim during his visits to the loo.

Episode 4:  Wednesday evening and night didn't see our villain fare any better.  After the diarrhea abated he was afflicted with nausea and vomiting.  This lasted throughout the night, until about 4:00am when he was struck with severe pain in his lower abdomen.  We'll call Wednesday night in Society's favor.
Despicable Tim - 6, Society - 4,  No Collateral Damage.

Episode 5:  Thursday morning was an extension of Wednesday night for Despicable Tim.  While the diarrhea and vomiting abated, the pain in the side grew worse.  He was able to catch a bit of sleep here and there, but mostly he just lounged on the couch.  We considered a visit to the hospital and put it off for the following reasons:  First, Frank and Maggie never-ever-ever took anyone to the hospital (including the time one of my uncles hit me in the head with a shovel...twice).  Second, yours truly had a little episode of vomiting and intestinal ailment on Monday night, so we thought Tim's illness might just be a more intense manifestation of the same.  Third, Despicable Tim had already been admitted to the hospital once earlier this year for potential heart trouble that turned out to be merely dehydration and nerves.  So while Thursday was the one nice day of the week, we spent the bulk of it indoors.

Around mid-afternoon the pain hadn't lessened, so Tim and I made the decision to take him to a local hospital.  The next two hours found Tim being poked, prodded, stuck, giving various samples of various liquids and internally photographed.  Meanwhile, I ran from one office at the hospital to the next, handing over our "emergency use only" credit card.  The private hospitals in this country demand payment before services are rendered.  In addition, each doctor, x-ray facility, blood testing, etc... is independent of the hospital itself, so every service that was administered had to be paid for at a different location.  So Uncle Lou had lots of fun Thursday afternoon.

Finally, they determined that the most probably source of the pain was coming from an infected appendix.  The doctor ordered immediate surgery to remove the offending organ.  Probably the appendix was just as anxious to get away from the villain as we were:-)

Meanwhile, Amber, Rosina and the kids spent the afternoon exploring more tidal pools and walking along the beach.
Despicable Tim - 6, Society - 5,  Collateral Damage against Uncle Lou

More Collateral Damage:  Although Thursday was relatively nice and partially sunny, Friday regressed back to the mean.  But since it was our last scheduled full day on vacation we insisted on making the most of it.  That morning we decided to visit Tim during the visiting hours we were given by hospital reception.  Unfortunately when we arrived we learned that hospital reception was apparently listing visiting hours for a different time zone and we were politely escorted out of the hospital by security.  Since the hospital was about 10 minutes down the road from our lodging we decided to visit a beach nearer to the hospital.  It was actually a very nice location and although the temperature was chilly the Indian section of the One World Ocean is quite nice.  We thought we would take the opportunity to finally spend some time in the water.  Alas, this was not to be.  The east coast of South Africa is home to one of the greatest wonders of the natural world - The Annual Sardine Migration.  There have been Imax videos made of this great spectacle.  This year's reports listed Margate, South Africa as one of the prime locations...and Tim's hospital was located in...yep, Margate.  Let me clarify:  During this great Sardine Run, the shark nets are removed and waters are monitored for shark activity.  This year in early July an American biologist was attacked by a shark while researching the migration.  And the monitors declared the beaches of our area off limits due to increased shark activity.  Which is totally awesome.

Instead of swimming at that beach, we went down the shore a couple km's and found an isolated stretch of sand that was protected by a rocky reef.  While we couldn't get into the water we were able to hike around on the rocks.  Of course, while doing so I slipped off one rock and mashed up my knee pretty good.  I don't want to say that this is the worst vacation ever.  In fact, its not even my worst vacation ever (read: a spring break trip to Texas gone sour).  But I would definitely rank this right up there as awfully disappointing.

We were able to extend our vacation an extra day because Tim wasn't discharged from the hospital until Saturday afternoon.  And Saturday was actually pretty nice, although kind of a bummer because Tim wasn't able to be with us.  But that meant that Brian and Lois had to take charge of the church service back here in Welkom, and this on very short notice.  Yet another bit of collateral damage inflicted by supervillain Despicable Tim.

If you'd like to see more photos from this vacation, you can find them on facebook.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that was a lot to read. Nicely written though. :-) Glad everyone survived, even if it was barely.