The Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything

Surprisingly enough, the answer is not 42. The answer can be interpreted in many different ways. Some say 1+1=1, others say 1+1=2, but the majority who have been through the experience will say “I just married the love of my life”.

The most interesting part of this story is the shitstorm that happened before the most amazing day of my life. It was 2 weeks before I was due to be married. I was climbing through the roof of the “Man-o-meter” project, a 8c/+ project at the Chosspile. I was trying to pivot 180 degrees around a heel-toe-cam. It worked just fine the previous two times. In fact, I almost did the route in two parts. There was just one move I couldn’t do the previous time, but what do you expect from an 8A+ move in a roof? I’m not superman! I cannot climb 8c in 3 tries.

Bad things happen in 3s

Bad things happen in 3s

Brace yourself

Brace yourself

The sound I hear was gut-wrenching. Ebert was belaying me and he totally turned white. Alex and the other explo guys just tried to patch me up. Alex was a rock star, he just brought me a bandage and tried to help. My knee was was screwed! We all had just heard this terrible sound. It was a loud pop, combined with a tear. Just imagine popping the top off a beer and tearing a shirt on a nail as you walk past. It was bad. I knew it was bad. There was no denying it. When it heard it, they lowered me to the ground. I just laid there a few minutes, freaking out a little. I called Yvette; I told her my knee was ruined. She tried to downplay it but she hadn’t heard the SOUND. Life, the universe and everything. It’s really quite subjective.

I used to to think that my life revolved around climbing. It did. The universe was everything that I touched through climbing. Everything was the outskirts, definitely not least. Yvette is part of my universe. I love her with all my heart. When my knee exploded two weeks before my wedding I thought I was cursed. You have no idea, how cool it’s been to be hurt and have some time on my hands with Yvette… But I’m getting ahead of myself.

When I met with Dr, the shit hit the fan. I found out that I needed to have an MRI. I called my mom and told her, it was a necessity and needed to clear it with my medical aid. 10 minutes later I found out that my medical aid had been cancelled 10 months ago and I was a free agent. More accurately, I was in a lot of trouble. My dad and I apparently had a miscommunication; he thought I was on my company’s medical aid and I had told him that I was staying on my family’s medical aid as it cost much less. My MRI was R6700. This was the first of many terrible costs to come.

My diagnosis was bad… I’d torn my lateral collateral ligament as well as my posterior cruciate ligament. *insert obligatory stressing words*. You know what, life sucks sometimes. I really hate it. There is nothing worse than this diagnosis for your knee as a sportsman. 9 months was the recovery period. What else could be worse.

Other than the fact that when you wake up after the surgery, you find out that it was not a repair but rather a reconstruction. WHY!!!!????????

My dad is amazing. I’m 30 years old, but because we’d had a miscommunication he promised to help me out. This was not a cheap promise. All in, the surgery cost him R120,000. ****! It was a lot of money. BTW, the day after I found out I wasn’t covered, I signed with Discovery and Vitality. I’m not stupid. I just had a bad miscommunication. $11,000 is a lot of money for a day at the crag. I’m not sure if he really understands me, but the fact is that as a professional athlete, I consider my health too important to be disregarded. I would never have gone a single moment without adequate insurance. It’s like driving a Lamborghini at 200mph with no insurance, during peak traffic. Life is bound to say “hi, I’m here!”

Dr  is an amazing surgeon. The more people I spoke to, the more people referred me to him. It’s insane. He has more clients / patients than you could imagine. I’ve only heard good things. He has very high expectations and that is the way forward. My fiance, at the time, was working at Tembisa hospital as an orthopedic surgeon. When I told she’d torn her PCL he was curious. When I saw that she had a bad injury, he looked at us and said,”look, I really think you need surgery. It looks like a single injury, which is quite rare for the amount of movement you have in your knee.” also offered her the opportunity to see what it means to be an orthopod in the private sector, not operating on trauma but rather on electives, like ME! That is amazing. He is an artist. As far as surgeons are concerned, he has an amazing bedside manner. Trust me, Yvette can vouch for this!

There are a lot of things that suck in life. One of them, not have enough pain killers. When you are in hospital suffering and the nursing staff at Rosebank won’t call the surgeon due to a misentry into the file. I had some really weird experience where the artificial morphine didn’t work on me (pethidine) and I needed something called omnopon. This was pretty bad, I have no idea why the one worked and the other didn’t. But shit happened. The difference was, an increased level of pain (pethidine) and eight hours of happiness (omnopon). Fuck knows.

Paying cash for you hospital visit, you really think hard about what you’re doing. I’ll tell you what, staying an extra night to be in a lot a excess pain…. NOT SOMETHING TO PAY FOR. ROSEBANK CLINIC DID NOT HELP ME! The nursing staff can be completely incompetent. Even after my (DR) fiance called at 10pm they refused to call my surgeon to sort out the issues. I spent another R12k to spend the night there, to have my pain managed. I could have done this from home from about R150 for a regulated dosages of Traumacet; it would have been fine. I was kept in the hospital because I “needed” the shots, I needed strong medication. That night, I was offered pethidine (for most people this is great, however, considering that I responded negatively to the injections twice, this was worth nothing to me. In fact, it made it worse) and then later Stilapane. They nurses told me they gave me a shot of omnopon, however, after an hour I was in tears and crying out for meds. The other three times, I’d been given omnopon, it lasted 8 hours per shot. I hate to cause trouble, but I think they lied to me.

The next day I saw Dr , he looked at me with a puzzled look, wondering why I looked so bad. When I told him that the sisters refused me treatment, he was shocked. He asked me for names and I provided. For the rest of the world “TOPAZ WARD, the night of the 4th”. I’m still submitting my formal complaint. Please let this in no way reflect negatively on the amazing treatment of the rest of the staff and the surgeon. I had a great stay at the hospital other for this shift.

Well, now that the shit has hit the fan. The next week was filled with me trying to finalize my nuptial plans. I had to organize my tux (thanks Andrew for picking my up from my house), and everything else. When I got married, it was the most amazing day of my life. There were so many things at play, life the venue at Chez Charlene, the photographer Henry O, our amazing cake designer “Cakes by Pat”. But these are just a few of the truly amazing mentions.

My life will never be improved. This day in my life was perfect. I have never experienced anything that was beyond improvement. That day was simply perfect. I have a few words that I published on facebook that I would like to share with my readers. This one is from me:

Husband and Wife

Husband and Wife

Oooh la la

Oooh la la

Oh Yvette, your horses are everywhere!!

Oh Yvette, your horses are everywhere!!

Posing on the Triumph!

Posing on the Triumph!

What a dance, very private

What a dance, very private

Our wedding day was the most amazing experience of my life. From the moment I saw Yvette riding towards me on her horse I knew it was going to be an amazing day. She was without a doubt the most beautiful girl I had ever laid eyes upon. I have never seen such beauty. Instantly, my eyes began to tear up. I had to try so hard not to just burst.

Admittedly, standing at the alter was one of the most painful and uncomfortable experiences ever. My beautiful bride was standing beside me and I was balancing on one leg, foot going numb inside my new, uncomfortable dress shoes. The price of looking great? Perhaps. The words spoken between us were breathtaking, the ceremony was memorable to say the least.

And then we were man and wife. It was quite something to walk out of the chapel and be showered in rose petals by our close friends and family.

The wedding cake was a masterpiece of design and culinary prowess. “Cakes By Pat” is worth every cent we invested! The design depicted me climbing a wall modeled after the cliffs of Dover. I had just made it over the top and in my hand is a wedding ring. I’m reaching upwards to Yvette who is sitting on her horse in her wedding dress. Truly a masterpiece.

The venue was incredible, surpassing all of our expectations. Charlene and her team went out of their way to ensure that there was no room for improvement on any aspect of our special night.
The food was art, the dessert required the room to be dark for the full effect of the flaming creme brule to resonate leaving all of us in pure awe.

The speeches were heartfelt and genuine. Etienne wrote a poem to thank his mom for the life she gave Yvette, Theuns and himself. Celia is a truly selfless person.
Andrew toasted to my parents, Chris and Nancy. He handed out photos of me, sharing all the stories about my ability to break. Tales of snakebites, ground falls and broken bits and pieces filled the air. He is my best man for a reason.
My dad’s speech told the tale of the adventure that is my life. It was so heartfelt and amazing. I love you dad.
When it was my turn to take the microphone I was so happy. I am married to the most beautiful bride; a doctor, a passionate, driven perfectionist. I am a lucky man.

Being able to share this special day with my mom was a cherry on the top of my perfect day. I love you mom.

We weren’t supposed to have a first dance because of my knee. After I finished my speech I promptly walked up the the coordinator and DJ so I could have my first dance to Lifehouse “you and me”. It was the perfect song because it is perfectly true. With all the other people around me, the only person I could see was Yvette. It was only us on the dance floor and we held each other tightly while I balanced on one crutch.

Theuns and Yvette shared a dance to “butterfly kisses” and I cried some more.

What happened next was amazing. They say me down on a chair in the middle of the dance floor and Yvette took the mic. Yvette serenaded me to her own version of Avenged Sevenfold “Warmness on the Soul”. Eddie rocked out the guitar solos and added to the streams of tears in my cheeks.

By far the best part of my day!

Now the dance floor was open and my friends were having a blast. When Rammstein started playing, heads started banging. Ian and Stefan definitely helped me rock out. Yes, I was headbanging, yes, I was balancing on crutches, no, I’m not crazy.

Yvette and I had the pleasure of being photographed by one of the most talented and psyched wedding photographers I’ve met, Henry O. We can’t wait to see the final results. The pics on his camera were breathtaking. I think it helps when you have two drop dead gorgeous models to work with.

When the music turned off, Yvette and I were shuttled up to the honeymoon suite where we found a bath had been drawn for us in the jacuzzi-style tub, with champagne chilled in the bucket next to the bath.

I won’t tell you about what happened next.. That’s our special secret but what I can say is it was hot!

Thank you all for being there for the best day of my life. I don’t have everyone on Facebook, but if I’ve missed someone please share this with them.

 

So that is me… Yvette has her own perspective

 

So here we are! I am a married woman now. The luckiest one ever! What an incredible day. Best day of my life…

All the preparation and planning, faffing and fiddling has reached the crescendo. On the one hand wanting everything to be perfect, on the other knowing it won’t be and being completely at peace with whatever happens. Watching the weather report but knowing that watching it won’t change it and knowing, that in the end, it will all be perfect in its own right; keeping the focus on what this day was really about. Not a pretty dress or nice make up, not handmade menus or seat names (not falling off my horse was still important though…). I am to join my life to the person that means most to me in this world. The person I have loved and will love till forever comes. The person I chose to spend eternity with. Brian Michael Weaver.

Getting ready was fun. A room full of gorgeous giggling girls, getting hair and makeup done, sipping champagne, swathed in anticipation for the great day. My hair, make up and dress, along with the details to accent each aspect, a pearl on each ear and adorning my neck, was done. I stepped in front of the mirror and before me stood a new woman. A strong, stunning woman that was ready for this new adventure. I have never felt so beautiful in my life! This is going to be EPIC.

With many different looks coming my way: a few raised eyebrows (are you REALLY sure this is a good idea?…), a few frank looks of “this is really not a good idea” and a few that simply couldn’t look at all, I gathered up my reins, whispered to my phenomenally patient mare: “Ignore them my girl, we are gonna be fabulous!”, put my foot in the stirrup of the antique Side-saddle and mounted. And off we went! My beautiful black steed, proud and regal (sporting her tiara with grace) to the entrance, Henry wildly snapping photos along the way with the occasional “wow!” and “beautiful!”. I was filled with nervous excitement. Not about my horse behaving (which she did), but about what, or rather who, was waiting at the end of the path. He is waiting there for me. Just for me.

A grand and elegant entrance. A few ooh’s and ah’s. And there my Knight was standing in the centre of the crowd. My heart stopped. This is it.

Everyone was ushered inside. After a graceful dismount (phew!) and a few adjustments, I stood in front of the chapel door, accompanied by my two dear brothers Etienne and Theuns.

The doors swing open.

A string quartet awed me as I entered and made my way down the aisle to my waiting Love. He took my breath away.

The sermon delivered by Rev Graeme Mercer was genuine and meaningful, though to be honest, some of it was a bit lost on me as I was quite distracted by this handsome man standing by my side. Brave and proud, balancing on only his uninjured leg, having abandoned both crutches. We vowed. We kissed. We tied the knot (literally. A figure 8 with each of our own very first climbing ropes), we signed or lives over to each other and walked out as husband and wife. And Yes, having rose petal confetti thrown over you IS that awesome .

Next, while enchanted by another live violinist, we had to cut a cake that deserved to rather be preserved for all eternity if it hadn’t been so illegally delicious. Cakes By Pat made a masterpiece, with Brian soloing the Cliffs of Dover to present me with a ring, with me sitting atop my black steed. Wow! And divine!!

We left the guests to devour said masterpiece and some snacks. Thank you to Carina for the personalised snacks… Climbing and horse themed cookies! Yeah!

Photos and video by Henry O and Nica from Mighty Fine Productions, respectively, was professional, efficient and FUN! So much enthusiasm! It was so easy to be ourselves but at the same time feel like supermodels and get some awesome moments on film. The weather was perfect, by the way…

The speeches were heartfelt and honest, offering different perspectives on both Brian and myself. Sharing a bit more about us as individuals to our friends and family present. Thank you to my uncle Jacques for being MC and keeping things running on time, thank you dear brother Etienne for your poem that captured the essence of our mom. To Andrew for almost pulling out Brian’s worst nightmare… A bag of diapers lol, and instead gifting a climbing rope. The photos were a great touch! To Chris Weaver for sharing a few facts that I hadn’t known yet about my new hubby’s past… To my mother, Celia. Your love and support made me who I am, and because of you this day was what it was! You are wonderful. To Nancy for travelling far to come help out, thank you for all the hard work and late nights!

To all of our friends and family who attended. I felt blown away by how much AWESOME there was in that room. Each one of you made the evening so much more special.

The food was a decadent, delicious, delectable! We had been looking forward to it since we planned the menu. The venue and service were impeccable. My expectations were obliterated and superseded beyond anything. Thank you Charlene at Chez Charlene for a flawless evening. And yes, I did get to eat! Woohoo!

Thank you to Charlene and Dorette for a perfectly coordinated and seamlessly run evening. It felt like a CIA event with everyone wearing earpieces and walkie talkies, and us having our own personal “Butler”. Andries, you rock! Wow. Just wow. Again wow!

Brian’s speech just hit the nail on the head. It was so sincere. And I was sincerely embarrassed at some points ha ha ha! It was just lovely and so real

Then the lights went out. To the soul stirring tune of “This Girl Is On Fire” the waitron brought out the blue flaming creme brule. The gasp in unison from the guests gave me goosebumps.

Much to my delight, Brian pulled me to the dance floor, crutch in hand, and we danced to Lifehouse, You And Me. All night so far I had been doing so well, but this just opened the flood gates. My strong, brave husband, with bruised hands and aching legs, dancing with me. Thank God for super-make-up! As I thought it was over, the Father-daughter dance started. My eldest brother Theuns graciously stood in for my dad In Memoriam. I was brought to tears once more, allowing the memory of my father to wash over me and know that he is indeed present and proud to give me away to Brian and give his blessing on our marriage, and accept Brian into our family. I’m sure he would’ve passed the hole in a rock test…

Now was my turn to confess my promise to my husband. A serenade. Avenged Sevenfold, Warmth on the Soul, with a twist on the last verse. Due to circumstances we never got to practice. Me standing with the mic in my hand was the first time being up there. I had no idea if it would work. And the emotional overwhelming dances preceding this ensemble had made my voice croaky… So I had to talk the verses because I didn’t trust my voice! But I was able to fight the quiver just enough to have an epic chorus… Plus the main surprise, a live electric guitar solo by Eddie. EPIC! for those who missed it, here’s how it goes:


Your hazel green tint eyes watching every move I make.
And that feeling of doubt, it’s erased.
I’ll never feel alone again with you by my side.
You’re the one, and in you I confide.

And we have gone through good and bad times.
But your unconditional love was always on my mind.
You’ve been there from the start for me.
And your love’s always been true as can be.
I give my heart to you.
I give my heart, cause nothing can compare in this world to you.

And we will go through good and bad times.
But our unconditional love is always on my mind.
This is the start for you and me.
Our love will always be true as can be.

I give my heart to you.
I give my heart, cause nothing can compare in this world to you.

I give my heart to you.
I give my heart, cause nothing can compare in this world to you.

That is my promise
Soon after we disappeared for the night shoot (photos to follow!)

After all that, the party began! And we rocked out to some awesome metal and rock! Brian with a crutch in the one hand and a beer in the other. Yay for Rammstein, Manson and Disturbed! Yes, one can rock out in a wedding gown

We were chauffeured back to our suite to find a bottle of iced champagne and a hot bubble bath already run in the jacuzzi tub. The rest is history! And the start of the best love story ever…

And that is life. I love her more than life itself. What else can I say?

Yvette and I went to an awesome game lodge in the Hoesdspruit area. I wrote a bit of a review, here it is:

Just arrived home from our mini honeymoon in Hoedspruit staying at the Shikwari Bush Lodge! Oh Wow! What a place. 4 stars officially, but certainly a 5 star lodge in terms of the personal attention, the food and the wine! The chef at Shikwari is extremely talented and pairs the wines to the evening meals.

Anyone who is looking for an amazing getaway must head here!!! They make it effortless for you to book massages, game drives or anything else in the area. No need to take cash for any activity, it all runs on your tab. Same with the meals and wines over the duration of your stay. Just order and savour your experience.

She's not on facebook

She’s not on facebook

20141014_112559

Jessica the hippo!!!

Jessica the hippo!!!

2 seconds later it almost grabbed my foot as I cowered on Yvette's lap!

2 seconds later it almost grabbed my foot as I cowered on Yvette’s lap!

Elephant

Elephant

Need I say more?

Need I say more?

Just proving we're taking photos

Just proving we’re taking photos

Lions

Lions

Coffee on the game drive

Coffee on the game drive

Being treated extremely special, no one asked for this (not us and not management)

Being treated extremely special, no one asked for this (not us and not management)

The MiniMoon destination

The MiniMoon destination

Irony in motion

Irony in motion

Blyde River Canyon

Blyde River Canyon

Blowing me kisses

Blowing me kisses

My gorgeous wife!

My gorgeous wife!

Wow, so that’s a lot of information! You know what, I even have one more thing! Our halloween experience!

We went out on a Mystery Ghost Bus Tour of the JHB area. Was awesome!

The grave marker of the writer of the South African anthem, I'm standing on about 150 corpses to take this picture. There are so many unmarked, reused graves.

The grave marker of the writer of the South African anthem, I’m standing on about 150 corpses to take this picture. There are so many unmarked, reused graves.

Giving Godzilla a kiss, one monster to another

Giving Godzilla a kiss, one monster to another

IMG_0492 IMG_0475

The Mystery Ghost Bus Tour in JHB. Really worth it

The Mystery Ghost Bus Tour in JHB. Really worth it

IMG_0430

 

Well, we’ve just gotten back from our honeymoon in Germany and Austria. I’ve been told I’m allowed to walk again and it seems that I’m healing. That’s such great news. I’ve even joined a gym again so I can ride a stationary bike. More pics and story about the honey to come in the next week or so!

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