Bump in the road

Al­tus has a thou­sand prob­lems, in­clud­ing broody wife Paula and Bruyn­waves be­ing on the brink of fi­nan­cial ruin.

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R250 000 – that’s how much money Al­tus’s (Heino Sch­mitt) PR busi­ness Bruyn­waves lost back in Novem­ber when an im­por­tant client dropped them. Pick­ing up the pieces of his com­pany and keep­ing things go­ing is about to cost Al­tus dearly, not only in time and hard work – he’s got to dig into his own fi­nan­cial re­serves if he’s to keep Bruyn­waves afloat.

In typ­i­cal stub­born Al­tus fash­ion, he’s kept th­ese cash woes to him­self, with­draw­ing more and more as the pres­sure weighs down. He’s also been clos­ing Paula (Di­aan Lawren­son) off, but on Fri­day 11 De­cem­ber, Mrs Al­tus has had enough and Al­tus is forced to tell his wife about their cur­rent fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion. She can spot trou­ble a mile away in her hubby and im­me­di­ately tries to cheer him up with a spe­cial gift, but that just causes more stress for Al­tus, who’s at break­ing point as it is.

KIDS COST MONEY

Where did all this drama start? Let’s re­cap quickly: Bruyn­waves em­ployee Diederik (Hen­nie Ja­cobs) put down a large de­posit on a client’s venue in Novem­ber. What he didn’t do was show the client and get the con­tract signed. The client wasn’t happy and pulled out… leav­ing Diedie with egg on his face and the busi­ness bank ac­count miss­ing a huge chunk of change on Mon­day 7 De­cem­ber. Worse yet, he still had to tell his boss, who Heino re­veals is fu­ri­ous at the news. “He is an­gry and dis­ap­pointed. That’s not how they do busi­ness. Diederik knows that.” Al­tus has been moody and short-tem­pered ever since and Di­aan says that Paula re­alised some­thing was up when “he be­came rest­less. And when Al­tus did speak to Paula, he was abrupt”.

Sup­port­ive wife Paula tries to give her hubby a pep talk on Fri­day 11 De­cem­ber fol­low­ing his con­fes­sion about the com­pany woes. Later that day, she sends Al­tus a play­ful gift at the of­fice – and there’s a baby book in it… her hint­ing that she’s ready to start try­ing to fall preg­nant again. Heino says that Al­tus’s stress lev­els shoot through the roof as “he won­ders if it’s her way of telling him that she’s preg­nant al­ready. His first thought is about where they’ll find the money to look af­ter a child”. Af­ter ar­riv­ing home on Fri­day 11 De­cem­ber, in­stead of love and joy, there’s an ar­gu­ment for the hus­band and wife. “It feels like Paula wasn’t really lis­ten­ing to Al­tus that morn­ing,” Heino says. “Kids cost money that they don’t have at the mo­ment.”

A BIG MIS­UN­DER­STAND­ING

On Mon­day 14 De­cem­ber, Paula’s day­dream­ing about her lit­tle Pikkewyn, the baby she lost in a car accident in March 2013. “She brings a baby book to the Hill­side Times, pages through it and dreams about a baby, think­ing to her­self that she’s ready to do it again,” Di­aan says. But drama’s around the cor­ner on Wed­nes­day 16 De­cem­ber, when Aggie and Er­rol (Mimi Mahlasela and Christo Davids) spot the baby book and jump to the wrong con­clu­sion: that Paula’s preg­nant again. While they chat about Paula’s “good news”, Al­tus walks in, over­hears ev­ery­thing and races home to con­front his wife.

OLD WOUNDS RUN DEEP

He de­mands to know if Paula’s ex­pect­ing on Thurs­day 17 De­cem­ber, but by this stage, she’s in no mood for silly games and blasts him back that she’s not preg­nant and that it’s a big mis­un­der­stand­ing. That’s the tip of the iceberg for their fight – Al­tus blurts out some­thing that rocks Paula: he doesn’t want more kids! “The pain of Pikkie’s death still haunts him,” says Heino. “A new baby won’t be able to take Pikkie’s place. He also doesn’t have the en­ergy to think about a fam­ily now, what with the fu­ture of Bruyn­waves be­ing at stake.” Rough wa­ters, for sure, but they’ve been through worse be­fore… we think.

There’ll be very lit­tle for Al­tus and wife Paula to smile about

af­ter this fort­night.

Diederik has dropped

the ball badly.

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