The unthinkable has happened …

I am taking deep breaths, I am trying to find a brown bag to exhale in.

I am trying to get the screw top lid off the Chenin Blanc and it is 09h38 on a Monday morning.

Pepe has just had “the talk” with me.  She sat down on my bed, took my hand in hers, looked me in the eye, and said: “It’s not you, it is me. I need to start to see other people.  I need to start to go to interviews and look for another job …. please don’t cry………”

I picked up my pen, opened my diary, as it always looks composed in a situation of high stress and pending doom to check your dates.

It also gives you an opportunity to look down, so someone cannot see the tears in your eyes, and then you can doodle random shit in your diary along the lines of “Please help me, do not forsake me, please help me…” I find a rather soothing doodle.

Especially if you add a little doodle flower next to it.

So, Pepe has given me my walking papers.  I am trying to let her go with an open heart, and a smile – when in reality I want to scream: “Oh Gd please stay, please stay, love me, love me and stay, I will do anything, just stay……. I can’t live without you …. I won’t live without you …. I refused to live with you …. please for all things that are good and true stay with me….”

I hugged her skirts, and wept.  It did not help.

She needs a non-sleep-in job so that she can bring her daughter down from Zimbabwe and have her live with her.  Her daughter is 16, and she wants her here now – totally understandable.

I tried to be the bigger person. I tried not to have a full-blown panic attack. I am breathing.  I am drinking another cup of tea.

I am wondering how long the calm will last before I start having an anxiety attack.

So far I am just past the five-minute gap and am still counting my breathing through it.  My armpits are feeling a tad moist and hot, and I have developed a small river of sweat down my back, and my neck is starting to itch.

I am in stage one of my five stages of grief and loss.  Presently I am in “Denial and Isolation” … more on the denial.  But that being said, I have locked myself in my room with my dog, under the guise of having to work.

The problems of big boned people ….

I fetch kids from school on Friday, get everyone in the car.

I must confess I am starting to view “fetching kids from school” as an hour or so of hell.  I am quite willing to outsource it right now.

I would actually seriously think about boarding school – for me, or them, so that I do not have to do the hour of child-pick-up-and-drop-off-hell every day.

Before you start tutting and clicking your tongue in judgement, please bear in mind that I am in about my 10th year of this driving back and forwards shit, and at a certain time, the shine it does go.

Believe me, it goes.

The problem right now, is that the moment my brood are in the car, the arguing starts.  The insane conversations.  All of them trying to talk to me at once.  All of them wanting something different from me whilst I am attempting to drive.

I can take shoes off kids – I am driving, kids are in the backseat, I can glance through school notes, I can adjust the sound on my radio, and I can hold two separate conversations, one normally about fish, the other about smurfs, and all of this whilst I try to negotiate traffic at two really busy intersections.

I can do all of the above, and peel and eat a banana, and it is not illegal, but I cannot talk on my cell phone as that is deemed too distracting and dangerous.

I don’t disagree with the “no cell phone” law, but the government should intervene and get fathers to drive kids home from school at least two days a week, so they can understand and appreciate what it is like, and then they can understand why moms  me drink copious amounts of wine, and sit rocking themselves in the corner.

10 years of this mania, twice a day, in a sealed car, with the high-pitched chatter of kid’s voices = no wonder I am on medication and have developed a few coping mechanisms.

But moving along.  So Friday we are in the car ….

Connor: “I don’t want to be rude, but when you got into the car, it went down a bit….”

Me: “…?”

Connor: “I was putting my bag in the boot, and when you got in to the car, I felt it go lower…. you know when you got in to it …. I don’t mean to be rude …..”

Me – glaring at him: “Great, thanks for telling me that, you are rude actually… next time think it, and don’t say it.  Good grief Connor – do you mind leaning forward so I can smack you on the back of the head?  Good grief……”

<<while I feel my soul die slightly inside and I start to rethink who is my favourite child>>

Georgia:”It IS RUDE Connor!!”

Connor: ‘GEORGIA!! …”

Georgia:”You are being rude, only adults can say that people are fat….”

Me: “Guys, guys, GUYS …GUYS please do not start fighting …. please, can we just get home without a fight….”

Me: “Connor, what the hell….”

Georgia: “It is rude to say someone is fat, you can’t say fat ….. Daddy is fat, but that is a bad word, so I tell Daddy that he is round ….”

Connor: “Georgia, that IS RUDE, you can’t say that Daddy is round …… that is rude.  Daddy is big-boned!”

Georgia: “NO HE ISN’T …. he is too round and I cannot feel his bones.  I am boney and you can feel me through my skin, I can’t feel Daddy through his skin…he is not big-boned …. he is round like a circle shape …”

<<me, sort of glad that the focus has moved away from my fat arse and how I make the car go lower when I sit in it….>>

Connor: “You are being rude Georgia …”

Georgia: “Mommy you know what I tell Daddy when I am being rude?”

Me: “No Georgia, what do you say?”

Georgia: “When someone is rude to you, the hurt is not important, what is important is the love ….”

Me: “Yes, Georgia, I think that will make him feel a lot better …… can we carry on now and go to McDonalds for dinner…?”

This would be funny if it was not so true …

About two weeks back, Kennith and I went out to lunch.  There were two girls sitting next to me – probably in their mid-twenties – and they spent the entire lunch either taking photos of each other and posting them to where ever, or sms/tweating/facebooking or what ever.

Their conversation between them probably lasted to less than 5 – 10 minutes, whilst the remainder of the time they spent on their respective phones. I have no idea what they were doing.  My guess is telling everyone what a fabulous time they were having at the restaurant, and then LOL and OMG’ing along to what ever comments they got back.

Kennith is a little obsessed with his iphone – and I am hinting at the scale of it – he does not leave his iphone alone.

We are watching a movie.  Kennith is on his iphone.

We are driving.  Kennith is on his iphone.

We are eating a meal.  Kennith is on his iphone << though I think he has reduced this since I raised the issue a while ago>>.

The kids are going ape shit.  Kennith is on his iphone.

My phone it not an appendage it is merely a tool to ensure that should my kids be involved in an accident I will know about it.  However to contextualize the comment my phone is a Nokia XpressMusic, which is about as close as you can get to a piece of shit, other than putting an actual turd in your hand and using it to make and receive calls.

I really hate my phone.

I have a sneaky suspicion that iphones are a bit like remote controls for boys.  They must hold it all the time, and just keeping pushing the buttons – you know just because they can.  The beauty of an iphone is that you are surrounded by applications, so you can download them and sit and play with them, and then just as you start to maybe start interacting with real live people, you download another application and it all starts over again.

I have fantasies about taking the phone and throwing it over the wall, or atleast as far as I can throw it, which will probably bounce off the wall as I cannot get the range required to get it over the wall.

For now I think this image does sum up iphone irritation.

Children’s Birthday Parties are a Health Hazard!

I am sitting watching Scared Mom/Charlotte updating Facebook and her blog with all the work she is doing for her daughter’s birthday party – it feels like I am watching a nervous breakdown in process, or at the very least someone who is one Mickey Mouse ear away from going postal.

Charlotte is planning a party – her child’s party and that is about as painful as an enema with VIM.

Watching Charlotte spinning out of control and turning Mommy-Partyzilla is mildly amusing, but a bit unsettling because I am exactly the same, so it is resulting in some post-trauma flash backs to my own experience with me planning and orchestrating parties.

For me parties stop being about the kids who are coming to the party and all about how I am going to outdo myself from last year.

The parents who I need to impress.  The right cake from the right bakery.  The outfit my child will wear.  The photographs.  The organising.  The lists.  The party packs. It all gets too much, too quickly, and I spin out of control, as I add another stupid thing to the list of things to do and to stress about.

And so it goes on – my 6 week stress run up to my kid’s parties strip the life and the joy out of them for me. Every last morsel of joy.  Sucked out.

I hate kid’s parties.

No, you misunderstand, I like coming to YOUR kid’s party.

I HATE arranging, organising, paying way too much, stressing, getting annoyed with stupid people who do not rsvp, wanting to yell at people who rsvp on the morning or the night before to say they are not coming, or “oh yeh, do you mind if we come….” and the worrying that everything will not go to plan.

I hate the associated stress that comes with organising my kid’s birthday parties.

It is January, and you know what?  I cannot tell you the joy I feel that the next time my “turn” pops up is June.  I get 4 – 5 months of happiness and raucous party abandonment and do not have to give it a second thought.

I NEVER enjoy my kid’s birthday parties.

I am too busy, too exhausted, too frazzled to pay attention to what is going on.

Mentally I have a checklist and I am too busy ticking off what needs to be done and when, to actually have a normal conversation.  Logically I keep telling myself “it is only a kid’s party, calm the hell down…” but then I do not. I blow it out of proportion, and when I start booking the ponies, the jumping castle and the magician, then I know I have gone too far.

Problem is I can’t pull myself back, and the only way to behave when you are going OVER THE TOP is to step it up and see if you can book a bucking bronco as well.

Trust me, when my turn comes, I will be thrown in amongst the non-sensical-crazy-blubbering-saliva-on-your-chin-RAMPANT-madness that infects nearly every mother when they know their child’s birthday party looms.

Why is it that fathers do not seem to have their “I am fkn losing my mind” party gene?

Next time around I would like testicles – as they seem to be linked to a relaxed mood and party planning – this ovaries and oestrogen lark is really a bit much.

Good luck Charlotte.

I will be there with my brood, and some screw top wine – for me, not my brood, they can get their own.

If you opened a bag of marshmallows and Flings and threw them on the lawn and let the two-year olds fight it out, they would probably have an equally as good a time, but I know that once Mommy-Partyzilla fever hits, it is just downhill and an anxiety attack from there on in.

Good luck!!!

Got a second, sign a petition …..

Alison was abducted, brutally raped and tortured, and then left for dead by Theuns Kruger and Frans du Toit in 1994.

Alison crawled from the scene after these two had left her for dead – with her throat slit and her intestines in her hands, she crawled to a road and eventually flagged down help.

The story is part of the fabric of our society.  We all know about Alison.  We are in awe of her ability to repair her life, and go on to become a motivational speaker, and make her life work, and become a valued member of society – when Theus and Frans could have left her for dead, or she could have lived and continued to life in the darkness of her experience.

Theuns Kruger and Frans du Toit are looking to apply for bail.  I think we would all sleep much better knowing Theuns and Frans remained firmly behind bars, and never had the chance to touch let alone hurt another person.

There is an on-line petition for Alison Botha, to petition for these two monsters to not be released – you can go along and slot your digital signature on.

Background: –

Johannesburg – Two men who raped Alison Botha in Noordhoek, in Port Elizabeth, in 1994 and then slit her throat, could get parole soon after serving just 17 years of their sentence.

Theuns Kruger and Frans du Toit, who’d left her for dead, were both sentenced to life behind bars in August 1995.

However, in terms of legislation which came into effect in June last year, all prisoners who were sentenced to lifelong imprisonment before 2004 and have already served 13 years and four months, can apply for parole.

Du Toit and Kruger raped Alison, stabbed her more than 30 times with a knife and tried to slit her throat 16 times. She was left for dead in the veld. They’d told the Port Elizabeth High Court that the devil made them do it.

Alison’s aorta and larynx were not severed, which enabled her to breathe. She had to gather her intestines and tuck them into her shirt while she held her head on her body with her other hand.

She staggered to the nearest road, where a medical student saw her and rushed her to the Port Elizabeth Provincial Hospital.

The following morning Du Toit and Kruger used the bloodied knives with which they’d slashed Alison to butter their bread.

Kruger, who is doing his time in Pretoria, appeared before the parole board on December 14 and is said to be bragging to other inmates that he will be out of there soon.

Puleng Mokhoane, the Free State spokesperson for correctional services, said Du Toit had appeared before the parole board at the Grootvlei prison in Bloemfontein on January 10.

Frightened she said the “necessary procedures” would be followed. Alison had not been aware of the possible parole for Kruger and Du Toit before being contacted by the media.   She said she was extremely shocked as she’d already applied last year to appeal against their possible release should parole be considered.

“I now realise that I’d clung to a false sense of security and never even considered the possibility that they could be freed.

“I will be frightened if they are released and I would very much like to be part of their parole hearing.”

Sonwabo Mbananga, the minister of correctional services’ spokesperson, said parole applications were not granted or turned down by parole boards.

They are merely part of an “administrative process” after which the case is referred to the National Council of Correctional Services, where factors such as the Judge’s comments during sentencing, psychological reports and the prisoner’s rehabilitation are considered.

The final decision rests with the minister, Mbananga said.

SIGN THE PETITION – AT LEAST PUT YOUR HAND UP AND SAY NO THESE MEN SHOULD NOT BE GRANTED PAROLE!  NOT TODAY, NOT EVER.

There are few things in life that are as clear as this issue.  There is no conversation or debate to be had.  Men like this, people like this, should never be brought back into our communities.

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/petition-against-the-release-of-alison-botha-s-attacker.html

Sex On Fire …. and other household mishaps

I am working from home this week, for a variety of reasons.

My work, laptop, diary, workbooks and so on are spread over the dining room table, and it is all quite jolly.  I get a fair bit done, as all the kids are at school, so I get to put my head down and just get on with it. No distractions.  Unlimited supply of hot tea and day old bread.  What’s not to love?

Sat down this morning, got started.  Made some toast and some tea.

Was just thinking about how I had this great organisation going on my table, and at that point, I hit my tea mug over with my arm.

Hot tea running all over the desk and over everything I had so neatly organised.

My immediate reaction was to stuff the entire piece of toast in the general direction of my mouth, which would free up my hands to grab my laptop and lift it high away from the spillage.

I did all of this in a split second.  Comparing my split-second and catlike reflexes to a poised athlete – with a large piece of chocolate toast jammed into their mouth.

What I did not allow for was the rush of hot tea <freshly made> pouring into my lap.

For just a moment I started singing Kings of Leon – Sex On Fire …. I really have no idea what the lyrics of that song mean, but seriously my lady bits were on fire, so it made sense to sign the song.

 

 

Have brain … cannot speak …..

I subscribe to an email which I receive  from the Daily Love each day.  The emails are exceedingly annoying and I often roll my eyes.

But for some reason I do not unsubscribe, though I am itching to.

I probably endure it as there are some of them that really resonate with me.  I scoff and tut-tut them, but the truth is that there is some “truth” in the rather sickly sweet emails and “universal love” messages that appear on my screen each day.

I tend to “delete” most of them, but my eye can’t help doing a quick scan and read.

Today’s email resonated with me a bit.

It dovetails well in to some of the stuff I am working through Dr CBT.  Most of it comes down to what you think the other person knows, but the reality is that they do not know what you want, so are not aware they are not giving you what you want.

In short.  Communication.

The other person doesn’t know, so they do not react accordingly or give you what you need, so you get angry and frustrated with them because they are not doing what you want them to do.

But they do not know.

And so it goes on.

I struggle with the line between not-assertive/assertive and demanding.

Assertive communicating allows for you to express what you need, in a manner that the other person is clear on what you would like them to do.

You make your point, without being judgemental and attacking.  You make it clear what you need in a situation.

You then give the other person the opportunity to respond.  The key difference between assertive and aggressive is the “demand.”

Aggression is you telling someone your preference, and then demanding they act accordingly.  You may demand internally – so you imply it – but it is the expectation that the other person HAS TO DO WHAT YOU WANT OR NEED THEM TO DO.

Assertiveness is you telling someone your preference and allowing them the opportunity choose to either go along with it or not.  It’s a preference and not a demand.  You realise that it is what you want, but you accept that the other person does not have to do anything.  You accept.  What you want is a preference and there is no universal rule that makes it everyone’s MUST DO.

Yes, you would prefer them to go with your preference, but you remain in the space where it is a “preference” and not a “demand.”

It does not mean you are not disappointed when they do not do it the way your preferred, but the key is to keep the thought that it is your preference that they do something, and not your demand.

You cannot force anyone to do something that you want, that they do not want to do – and expect a good result.  Simple concept, difficult to apply.

The reaction to someone not going along with your preference is annoyance.  The reaction to someone not going along with your demand is anger. ** key point.

I make an assumption, and then my assumption turns into my fact, and I start to plan/create feelings based on that – instead of communicating effectively and allowing the other person to state the way they feel, and then I check in with them to see whether my reality is their reality.

I walk in to a conversation with a pre-determined set of demands, because I have internally already had this conversation, so the conversation is not the exchange of preferences, but merely me stating my demands, having decided the outcome, and getting very angry when it does not go to plan.

<<Side bar – it never goes to plan ….. but this does not stop me from repeating the exact same “conversation” over and over again…>>

I saw this on the Daily Love and I read it and thought “Yep that is exactly what I do…”

I had an “ah ha” moment (love those!) over the Holidays. You know there’s a saying that goes something like this… If you think you’re enlightened, spend a week with your family. You know what I’m talking about.

All those times you thought you had grown and become “so spiritual” go right out the door and BOOM – old habits come back like an itch you just can’t scratch.

When they first got here, I was so happy – and then the first hour passed and I noticed some of my old stuff coming up.

And I was shocked, I was SURE I had outgrown it. I went from an almost 30-year-old man into like a 5-year-old boy around them. It was SO funny.

A couple days later I was talking with my dad and I found myself really irritated at him.

And I didn’t know why. So I started asking myself while I was having a conversation with him “why do you feel this way?”

After a few minutes of inquiry I found out that all I wanted was for my dad to say I love you and ask how I was feeling.

And the irritation was coming because that unexpressed expectation wasn’t being met. And my dad had no idea all this was going on inside me.

I was the one who was aware of the Love that I wasn’t “getting” and I was mad about it.

My dad wasn’t aware of this. He has and does Love me the best way he knows how to, and he is a pretty kick ass Dad!

And this isn’t to say I didn’t get Love from them. No, I got a lot of Love – but there was a certain kind of Love that I felt was missing – and I got angry with them because I thought they were withholding it from me.

But my AH HA moment was the moment I realized that I was mad at THEM for something I was supposed to do.

So the breakdown is this… People give us Love the best way that they know how to. They can’t give it any other way than they do. And if we are trying to get orange juice from apples over and over again, not only are we going to keep getting let down, we are actually insane! Haha.

After I started treating my father this way, it was like an instantaneous shift in our relationship. And I didn’t go to him and tell him all this; I just started giving more Love.

My issue that I am having at the moment is that I cannot speak when something needs to be said.   I cannot tell someone what I need from them.  When I do not get what I need, I am hurt, and I then turn that into anger.

But I am not telling the other person what I need  – so they do not have the opportunity to give it to me.  Do you see how fked up this way of thinking is? I am not sure if you are familiar with it.

I wear it like a familiar shirt, over and over again, even though it clashes with everything, and I do not have a pair of shoes to go with it, I still drag this behaviour out and keep wearing it.

I stand there, and it feels like I am standing with my hands crossed over my mouth and unable to speak.  No one is stopping me from speaking.  I am stopping ME FROM SPEAKING.

The result is I get frustrated and then angry, but this only contributes to the situation that I cannot speak when I need to about something I want to change or that I want to happen.

I know how I feel, I know what I should say, but I just can’t come out and say it.

Then the issue gains momentum, and instead of being about one thing, by the time I say something it turns into a violent emotional puke and it is about 12 things, and comes out garbled.

It does not come out in a constructive manner about discussing the issue – it becomes about the fact that I am having a freak out.  And instead of reasonable conversation, it is me screaming.

I am frustrated.  But I can’t seem to speak out about what I need.

I am not sure if this condition is only limited to me, or you may also be a frustrated-communicator ….

The ability to speak in an assertive – non aggressive – manner and say what I think or feel on a subject, without feeling bad is one of the main things me and Dr CBT are tackling to start this year off.  Part of the trick is to practice it, so it means trying to communicate, knowing you are not so great at it, and maybe it not going as you planned it in your heard.

But then you get better for next time.  I am in Grade R for Communicating Effectively at present.

Maybe I am not quite ready to remove myself from the “Daily Love” mailing list – there is a bit too much there that resonates with me.

Reality TV … just not my reality ….

I read Sharon’s post on “What Reality TV has taught Me” and it reminded me of my penchant for E-Entertainment.  I nodded my head in agreement when I read her post <<granted I nod my head often when I read her posts>>

I am not a big television watcher, as I don’t have the time.  Lately I have just realised it is not enjoyable.

When I do have the time, I would rather be doing something else.  Usually sleeping, or reading, but just something else.

I used to often put E-Entertainment on to unwind when I had a few minutes, but I found that I was always watching the Kardashians doing something.

I am as intrigued by Kim Kardashian as the rest of the human species, but at some point I realised “shit this woman really irritates me” – two non-relevant facts 1.  Do you know that her dad was OJ lawyer?  2. Before she was the “celebrity” she is now, she used to pop along to rich people and help them organise their wardrobes.  True story!

It might have occurred after she spent a few million on a wedding and it last 39 minutes.  One minute she was in a white bikini which his name on her arse, and the next she was filing papers for “irreconcilable” differences.  I am not sure I can have the same respect for her once she bedazzled Mrs Humphries on her arse.

I realised the amount of time that family wastes of our precious time, and how much money is thrown at them to do it.  It is all so senseless.  I am fine with senseless entertainment.  I may even entertainment that involves dwarf throwing onto velro … I might if it was entertaining and if little people were having a good time.

But Kim and her troupé are just not entertaining, or maybe they are and the video editing specialist just suck.

I cannot deny she is drop dead gorgeous.  I cannot deny that I am jealous that she has gone from obscurity to probably one of the most “popular” people in the world, but what exactly is she contributing to my life or yours?

I have never heard something come out of her mouth (or her families) that makes me go, yes, I have learnt something new today.  Kim I want to be her.  Can’t say I have ever had that thought.

I realised that when I watch E the flashing lights and the high-pitched sound, started to affect the way I felt and reacted.  I know there are warnings about light sensitivity and so on, I am sure that is not the case, but the channel does make me feel anxious and a bit jumpy.  Granted most things do at the moment.

I could not put my finger on it exactly, but something about that channel started to make me feel “not great” – unfortunately it also made me want to sit there for three hours and absorb everything about the Kardashian clan.

At some point I realised, that watching people just because they were put in front of us to watch, is probably not the best way to while away time.

The Kardashians do not add any value to my life – I walk away from that show having lost a few hours of my life, and for some reason prizing being well made up with nothing intelligent to say as a commodity.

There is nothing about watching them for four hours that makes me feel good, teaches me something, makes me feel like I have improved my lot in life.

It does make me question how it is possible that these girls can have perfect hair and makeup all day and all the time, but you never see them touching their makeup up.

They are totally hairless, but you never see them have to go and have their hair removed.

There never appears to be anyone around making their bed, washing their floors, cleaning their lounge, but they never do any chores.

The girls never appear to be sitting with a wad of bills wondering how the fuck they are going to pay them.

They never stand in queues at the local grocery store waiting to pay for their trolley of goods, whilst their hungry, tired child is screaming for a chocolate bar.  They never go grocery shopping, but some how there are always groceries.

The girls never appear to have a real emotion.  Everything appears to be “placed before us” and we eat it up as it is reality because it is called “reality television.”

Reality is not perfect hair.  Reality is root regrowth and not having time to make an appointment to get it seen to.

Reality is not perfect makeup.  Reality is digging in your bag with one hand, whilst you drive to drop kids off in the morning, and attempt to put makeup on, while you listen to Cape Talk, ask your kid’s their homework, and discuss the latest adventures of the Smurfs.

Reality is not perfect manicured hands and feet. Reality is one toe nail ripped off, 9 chipped toe nails, and one thumb nail hanging on because you have covered it with a band-aid until you get time in your day to phone to make an appointment, let alone go.

Reality is not bouncing out of bed, with perfect clothing and your house miraculously being clean.  Reality is lying in bed ignoring the screaming in your house and hoping the kids leave you alone for 5 more minutes so you can just sleep a bit more.

Reality is waking up to find your 2-year-old has emptied the sugar into the washing machine, and made herself a peanut butter sandwich, and put peanut butter all over the counter, kettle and knife drawer.

Reality is standing there amongst the chaos of your kitchen in your dirty jammies, your hair that looks like a bird shat in it, your leg hairs at varying degrees of growth as you stand in your dirty kitchen sipping your cup of Earl Grey tea wondering how you can suck up the energy to get through this day.

That is reality.

The Kardashians do not add value to my life, and at the end of the day what exactly am I watching them for?

That is not and will never be my reality, and I am starting to worry that we are being sold that idea of REALITY, and we are gullible enough to just eat it up.  I would venture to say it is not entertainment either – there is no relaxing or fun to be had from watching this ridiculous family script their way through a propped up life.

Anyway long blurb, short blurb is E Entertainment is no longer on my list of things to watch.  Ah well, there is always Crime Channel and Comedy Channel.

Run away. Run away. Come back. Come back Annabelle.

I like my daily dose of normal.  My daily dose may appear chaotic and crazy to others, but is my normal, and the result is that my mind can tick off the “normal” every day.

If there is a shift or you take away a key element, or add something extra, I am likely to have a little spin out.  And this is the reason I make lists.  I always have a list, and I like to tick my things off my list, as then it makes me feel “in control” and that I have got it all buttoned down.

This morning I am driving to work.  Traffic is shocking.  My phone goes off, I hear it ring, but cannot attend to it and navigate an interchange.

I hear my phone beep a phone message.

I smile.  I love people who sms me a message, rather than leave a long fangled phone message.  I do like sms people.

I am in traffic, and in neutral. ,I dig my phone out.  It is an sms from a vet in Bergvliet saying “Hi we have your dog.  Thanks Carol St Francis Vet Clinic 021 712 0357.”

Hmm, I am thinking Carol is tucking into the tipple a bit early this morning.

I just left home.  My dog was there, and Bergvliet is several miles from Parow, even for a fast dog that might be bending the time/space thing a bit.

I call Carol – Carol tells me she has my staffie.  My brain is trying to compute.  I try to explain to her I do not have a Staffie.  She re-explaining to me that actually I do have a Staffie and she is at their vet.

I am starting to speak to Carol like she is a special needs person, and I am really to busy for these rather bizarre phone calls.

So she goes “I am sure microchips don’t lie.  We have your dog Annabelle, it is a red and white Staffie….”

Annabelle went missing about a year and a half ago.  I ran ads, I contacted vets, I put notes on Facebook, I cried, I worried, I felt terrible.  I healed.

I am floored. Once my brain started working, I decided to re-aim my vehicle towards Bergliet, and sure as sh*t there was Annabelle.

Older, fatter, but still Annabelle.

She looked at me like I had just come back from the shops, after buying some wine.  She was not going to tell me where she had been for the last year and a half, and instead decided to pant and leave saliva all over my car’s front seat.

Anything can be forgiven the day you get back from the dead.

I brought Annabelle home and explain that I had moved on.  I had mourned her death, I had got a new puppy.   Dexter looked at her and his hackles have risen, there appears to be an usurper in his midsts.

As my friend Joyce says, it is the dog version of the Bold and the Beautiful, where the dead husband returns to find his wife has now remarried … and has a new family … because in the Bold and the Beautiful, dead husbands and dead dogs always come back.

Moral of the story: Microchip your dog/cat.  That shit works.

We need to talk about Kevin …

I read this book several years ago in book club.

Actually it was me who brought the book to bookclub.  I liked the book jacket, and I liked the blurb.

What I did not like was that it was written in first person and in a diary entry format.   And once I flipped through the book, I was reluctant to read it.

The result was it lay in book club, and no one touched it.  Finally I picked it up – like an unloved child – took it home with the other 4 or 5 books, and thought: “I might get to it if I have a gap ….”

I read the book …once I had got past the first few pages, and the character of Eva, the mom started to unfold, I was gripped.  She was the quintessential “reluctant” mother, and strangely I started to see certain aspects of me in her, which made the story feel more familiar.

The story strongly debates the age-old argument of nature versus nurture.

Did Eva’s lack of affection for her son shape him into the sociopath he was to become – or was his fate predetermined from birth?  Could she have “saved” him by being a better mother?  And what makes a mother, better, if you just don’t have the maternal gene?

The book looks back on Kevin’s life, his mother, Eva describes her coldness toward her son and his strange behaviours, in gripping detail.

The book does not open with a sucker punch, but slowly starts to unfold.  The entire time you are not quite sure what to make of the characters – so you reserve judgement, or at least try to.

Eva starts to question if her son is normal.  She sees and experiences him and something in her starts to question him.  Her son is alert and intelligent, and even as a toddler soon starts to get the upper hand in the relationship.

She is a first time mom, and totally out of her depth, so she is not sure if she is making assumptions because she is inexperienced, or because there is really something just a bit off about Kevin.

The book was TRULY brilliant.  Even years on, it is still one of the most powerful and thought-provoking books I have ever read.  It was a story that really sat with me, long after I had handed the book back to bookclub.

No matter how many books I read, and I do read several, this one still tips the scales as being the story that just sits with me.

I am not suggesting it is an enjoyable read.  It is very unsettling, but the characters feel real and the author shapes this family so well, that you can’t help finding yourself lost in the fiction.  .

I heard there is a movie coming out soon-soon, which I believe is brilliant, so very keen on going to see that.

If you are going to see the movie, try to read the book before you buy popcorn and a move ticket …..

We Need to Talk About Kevin

A Novel by Lionel Shriver

2003 / 400 Pages

Freaking hell it is hot … and not in a sexy way

Today the temperature in Cape Town was registering 30 degrees, and that was at 8am.

By 12h00 it was around the 38 degree mark.

Fortunately I was firmly placed directly under the company air conditioning that blasted cold air onto my face.  Bless, bless, bless them. I sat there thinking cool thoughts, and feeling sorry for anyone who had to do manual labour in this heat.

Like all great moments, it came to a rather abrupt end.

Isabelle is at a new school this week.  The school is about 15 minutes walk from home, so Pepe is meant to fetch Isabelle.

This week the temperature is just too hot to expect Pepe or Isabelle to walk anywhere, so I have left to fetch Isabelle, and then the kids.  I go home and work a few hours from home to ensure I have done what needs to be done.

Today I spent an hour in my car fetching kids and trying to get them home.

It was not a little warm, it had passed fucking hot somewhere on the N1.

I suddenly realised that black leather seats in a car are not ideal.

I also realised that my road rage is definitely apparent when the temperature goes over 35.  I also realised that at a certain point you cannot turn the car air conditioner any higher.

I soon realised that I am willing to drive off a steep embankment if I am packed in to a car, with three children and it is so hot that my air conditioner just decides that it might as well send out hot puffs of air, as it is being asked to do too much.

It was an excruciating hour, and the kids were arguing constantly.  I really started to rethink why I have not run away from home sooner.  I had fantasies of the single life, and wanted to go on a 10 school tour to explain to school kids the benefits of remaining celebite and childless.

We get home and the arguing escalates.

Isabelle is screaming blue murder. Granted she started when I stopped at Pick ‘n Pay.  I told the kids I was running in to get them three times ice cold Fantas.  The reality was I needed to run in to grab myself a bottle of wine.  I realised there was no way I was going to make it through the evening without.

I had already stopped at Woolies before that, but thought, yep, I would be the bigger person and not do wine tonight.  15 minutes later, in a car, with three screaming kids and the outside temperature bouncing between 38 and 39, I felt a little pit stop was not a choice, it was a life necessity.

I am sitting here and I have little rivers of sweat running down my back and gathering in my Mr Price polyester underwear.

Kids + hot weather + short patience level = no fun!

The lament of the reluctant mother with school going kids ….

The last two weeks are the mania that all parents face in January.

The happiness that school has finally started and that you have survived the school holidays.  The reality of handing large sums of money over to school outfitters and stationery store.

Can you say “how fast can my Xmas bonus disappear?”

There is a certain joy as you hand your child over to the teacher and think “thank goodness, that gets me at least 5 – 6 hours a day where my child can whine at someone else…” You try not to punch the air in happiness as you skip out of the classroom.  You wave good-bye to your offspring – or just run out and not wave good-bye.

Sometimes you are able to hold back until you get to the car, and then you can scream whoop-du-fkn-whoop at the top of your lungs.

Again, this might only occur in my neck of the woods, your reality may be far different.

I do not think that school teachers are being paid enough.  I have no idea what they are paid.  But what ever it is, they are not being paid enough. If they were being paid more, we may have negotiating power to insist they only take the mandatory 15 working days holiday a year.

When I was at school, we had to fill in a form in standard 8 about what you wanted to be when I grew up.

I filled in “school teacher” as I thought “winner, I love school holidays…and how difficult could it be?” My career counsellor looked at me and said “But you hate kids ….” and I agree that this detal may well be the flaw in my rather fantastic plan.  Instead I wrote “vet”.

This December/Jaunuary I was seriously considering offing myself with a bottle of wine, and car exhaust fumes if school holidays carried on for much longer.

At one point Kennith looked at me and said: “I am really tired of doing things with the kids ….”  I wish I could pass a reply in judgement, but the reality is I had already had the thought two weeks ago, and just been chewing the inside of my lip in the hope I could just survive until the 11 January.

This year Connor headed to Grade 4, and Georgia started Grade 1.

Georgia was dead excited about being in big school.  She only showed a mild annoyance with me that I deemed to hang around in her class while I looked on to see she was settled in. She wanted me to bugger off and leave her so that she could do some serious colouring in.

Her first week has gone off swimmingly, and she is as happy as a bat in guano.  I am already drowning in the deluge of school notes and co-ordinating her extra-mural schedule.

Isabelle started her first day of school today.

I was a bit blasé about the entire thing.  You know, what with being an old hand at this and all.  Love them and drop them.

Isabelle is so supremely confident that I thought I might just send her to school with the bus and enough money to get home.

I realised that judging by the other moms and their super kean keanness around open day, I should probably arrive in person for the first day.  I diligently went along and did the “first day thing” with the drop off, her sleeping mattress and her funky pink school bag, and packing all her stuff in the right place.

Unfortunately it ended it as all “first days do” with her clinging to my leg, screaming like her limbs were being removed, and the teacher nodding at me that it was okay to leave.  Me looking rather forlorn as my off-spring screamed and the tears ran down her flushed pink cheeks.

I did not so much punch the air as I got into the car, as let out a rather sad sigh and wished it had gone better.  I already regretted that we had reached this milestone so quickly – remember when she was born, it was just the other day.

I feel a bit guilty now about judging new moms so harshly that they want to sms the teacher during the day, and start fretting about Junior.

It is all I can do to not call the school to check on Isabelle … I am sure she is fine … or at least I really hope so.

First day of school pictures – trying to get that “thing” that is each child, and I think I have got it in each of these little montages/collages.

<<Connor – January 2012>>

<<Georgia – January 2012>>

<<Isabelle – January 2012>>

Please hand me that parenting book … so I can hit my child over the head with it ….

This year I wanted to do it differently with Connor.

Last year (and the previous two) were filled with me being handed last-minute notes and requests to supply two dozen cupcakes or build a RDP model home which includes statues of goats. <True story!>

I really was pulling my hair out and it constantly was putting me on the back foot.  My anxiety levels really does not need this last minute injection of adrenaline.

Connor gets a note or an instruction from school, throws it into his bag, and then remembers to give it to me on the way to school of the day that the item is needed, or the night before at around 8pm.

It happens regularly.  Often my mornings include dropping off at school, high tailing it to a store to buy something, then sticking it together in my car, and dropping it off at Connor’s school’s reception so it can get to his class by 08h30.

I have used the principle of “if he does not give it to me, he will not get it, but then he will suffer and learn his lesson…” sadly the principle is better than the application.  What happens is he does not arrive at school and then gets excluded and I feel sh*t as I feel I have somehow failed him.

This year he is in grade 4 and I thought, okay, this is the year we get organised.  We get out sh8t together.  Yes we do.  Can I get a halleluja?

He needs to start taking responsibility for his things.  He needs to start doing things himself, without his mommy running around for him.

Seriously, this is the year!

My kids have few chores – really, there is always someone/me doing it for them.

They drop their towels on the floor, they forget to flush, they drop their clothes maybe near the wash basket, they leave toothpaste all over the basin, and so on.  I generally haul them in when I want them to help out with something, but in short they have few “you must do this every day” responsibilities.

The one I have tried to install is.  Get home from school, unpack your bag, give notes or messages to me/mom, and put your lunchbox and cool drink bottle in the kitchen in the wash up area, and then go off and do what ever it is you want to do.

You go and play or watch tv or set the cat on fire.  But do these things first.

My kids remember to do this maybe two days a week, and it does my head in.  I walk in their rooms, they are swimming/watching tv/playing and I see their school bags, dropped in the middle of their bedroom floors, nothing has been done, school clothes strewn all over the room, lunch boxes, juiced bottles and scraps still inside their school bag.

I go in and check every day, and three days out of five I am unpacking their bags, and putting their lunch boxes in the wash area, and finding shoes to put them together.

This year, I decided to start off with a very clear instruction and a punishment if not done.  I do not want to start it with Georgia doing it as well, and then I am sitting with two kids bags I am unpacking.

Later for that!

Unpack your bag every day, on the day I see that it is not done it is no tv/DS/computer/electronic anything for that day.  Solution = immediate punishment which I hope will teach a lesson and not repeat the bad behaviour.

Last night – Sunday night – after 19h30 Connor goes: “Mom I hope you won’t be cross with me” –  which generally means, yes, I am really going to be really angry now.

He produces 14 school books that need to be colour coded and covered for school on Monday morning.

It is Sunday 19h30.

I am so ready for a cup of tea and a catch up episode of Grey’s Anatomy that I can taste it.  I have been counting the minutes til 19h30 since about 17h00 as I knew kids would be shuttled off to bed and I could go and lie in bed, with my cup of tea and the visual flashes of Greys, as I doze off to sleep.

Connor presenting me with 14 books to cover sort of put an end to that.

I was deliriously upset.  I was so angry that I pursed my lips and started shaking internally.  I could only respond by being quiet and centering my anger, because if it was left to run around the room, I am sure that we might be one child shorter at the end of the evening.

Kennith covered the books in brown paper, and Connor stuck the front covers on, I then did the plastic covering.  We finished at about 10pm.  Fortunately we had plastic, brown paper, colour paper for colour coding and sellotape.

I thought that we had dealt with this issue, but it would seem that my “super nanny” stance on it was not working, as Connor had just done the thing I had asked him and reminded him for a week not to do.

I decidedthat Connor would lose tv/DS/computer privileges for this week until Friday.  Added to that he would lose fishing priveledges for the remainder of this month.

He sat there with his big blue eyes which started to film over. He looked down, closed his eyes and his lips started moving.

I paused as I covered “History Grade 4” and his eyes remained close and his lips were moving ten to the dozen.

Me: “Connor what are you doing?”

Connor: “I am counting so I don’t cry…”

Me: “Okay ……”

I felt shit, and I know the punishment was a bit harsh.  But I am very tired of the “last-minute” rush that I constantly seem to be doing.  I also cannot “run after him” – he is 10, he is in grade 4 and he does need to take some responsibility for his things.

But, I still feel shit.  This parenting malarkey is not all it is cracked up to be.

<<pictures from Connor’s first day of school this year>>

The one about religion and kids ….

<<This post is about religion and belief systems.  If you are easily offended and feel that discussion religion is going to lead to foaming at the mouth and fist shaking, then please do not read this blog post – for the love of sanity, skip it and stop by another day.  This post is not written in a very eloquent style and somewhat garbled, so apologise for that ……>>

Driving home with Connor yesterday, Connor started asking questions about religion.

Connor has quite a lot of “Jehovah/God” questions, and I try my best to work through them in a realistic fashion without getting all caught up in the fervour of religion and the “just believe” stuff.  I answer him truthfully based on what I understand.

There are certain grey areas where I am not clear on what I believe, so I may explain to him my take on an issue, and then I explain my interpretation of what other people think, and that he needs to decide what is right for him, based on what resonates with him.

I realise that is a rather lacksy-daisy approach to religion, and I may be stoned in the town’s square, but that is sort of where I am, for now, with regards to religion.

I am not sure/convinced/certain/some days and I have my doubts that God exists.  At the same time, I am not convinced that there is not a God. I think about it a lot, and it used to keep me awake a great deal, fretting and wondering and …. just not being sure.  I used to be a firm believer in religion, but then I started asking questions, and now I am not sure.

I have answers to my questions, but I am not sure that I the answers sit with me.

I respect that other people are religious, and they feel they “believe” and is a concrete thing, but it is not like that for me.  I just don’t have that “foundation” and I do not have that “certainty…” in my head and my heart.

Connor asks a lot of questions, and religion is a fairly frequent topic for him.

I am not a “just believe” person.  I used to believe all sorts of things.  I had a firm understanding of “religion” and how we all fitted in.  But then I didn’t, and right now I am still a bit in the grey area and I am just not sure….

<<could I ask that you not send me reams of emails and comments about how I should find God and just pray over it …. I really would like to put in a special request to not do that … really don’t… no matter how much this post is making your blood boil up and want to reach out and save me …. I will find my own path when I am ready >>

I naturally have a questioning mind-set, so I appreciate that Connor asks questions.

I try to answer him honestly and if I am unsure of something, in terms of that my belief system, and what is real for me, then I make it clear to him that because I think of something in a certain light does not mean he has to – it is the way I think about it.  I would like him to find and choose his own path.

I would like him to be exposed to the concept of God or Jehovah or Allah or ….. whom ever.  I would like him to view religions with an open minded, and a sense of respect, and try not get fanatical about anything.  I would like him to have a well grounded spiritual self.  Maybe because I don’t and I know how it makes me feel a bit like I am bobbing on the waves, on the proverbial ocean of life.

I have tried to reinforce to him to be open-minded, enquiring.  Avoid believing everything people tell you, and, and ask questions – no matter how uncomfortable it makes people.

Nothing is absolute.  Nothing.  Religion is a belief system, and belief systems are as faulted as the people who “designed” them – of course every religion feels they are the “right” one and that they are right in God’s eyes. <<in my opinion…>>

But as soon as you start running that logic through in your head, then surely you can work out why maybe it is not so.  I am not suggesting the Bible should not be believed, nor am I suggesting that God exists or does not – but I am not always sure, and my path, right now, is not clear.

Religion is a bit of an”issue for me” as I am not 100% sure where I stand on many things, so I can’t offer my children clarity on some of the issues.

Some we have spoken about – evolution versus creationism.

Worshipping Jehovah versus God or Allah or Buddha …..

Going to church versus not.

Using statues as part of your worshipping, versus religions that do not support using images and refer to it as idolatry.

Worshipping Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit versus only praying to one God, and not believing in a Holy Ghost arrangement.

Being a good person even if you do not believe in a religion.  Do all good people go to heaven?  If good people go to heaven, where do bad people go?  Is it enough to live a good life, or can you be a real shit, then on your death bed ask for forgiveness and thus get yourself a ticket to heaven or the ever after?

That bad people can also believe in God, go to church and still do evil things.  Who decides who is good and who is bad?

If there is a heaven and a hell, or just a heaven, or neither.

Why do people die?  Why do children die if they have not done anything wrong?

And so on ….

Our discussions do go off into a lot of areas, and often I am left thinking for days following a conversation with Connor.  He is an old soul in a young person’s skin, so his eyes see much more than just what you present to him.

Some of the more profound moments for me with Connor was: “If they have found dinosaur bones that were dated 20 millions years ago and humans were only on the earth 10 000 years ago, then how did God create it all in one week – and maybe there were animals here and plants long before man got here.”

“Why do people use statues to pray?”

This week Connor asked me “What is a Christian…?”

I explained to him that a Christian was someone who believed in Christ.  They believe in the Bible.  However when people read the Bible they interpret it differently.  Everyone reads it and they may decide that a particular section is more important or they understand it a certain way.

There might be lots of people who agree on one way to understand the Bible, and then another lot of people who believe in another way.  In short they are all Christians, but each of these groups “establishes” their own religion.

And that is fine.  The problems comes along, when each of those religions believe they are “right” and everyone else is wrong, which unfortunately is inevitable with religions.

That was how I tried to explain it.

The part of religious doctrine that leaves me unsettled is the “fear factor.”

I feel there a lot of people who stay committed to a religion because they feel if they do not they will not be saved or go to hell.  So they are so afraid of the repercussions of “not believing” that part of the motivation for them to just believe, is the risk of what will happen if they do not.

I sometimes reason that maybe if I just preached “religion” to my kids, then if there was a risk of them not believing to receive eternal life, then I can sort of cover that base, for just in case.

But the problem is I am a bit in murky water, as I am not sure what I believe and I cannot really convince someone of something that does not ring true with the core of my being.

So, that leaves me in the hinterland as far as religion goes.

Yesterday Connor asked me “If a Christian marries a Muslim, what will the baby be?”

On the days where my children are not trying to kill each other on the car drive home, I am faced with huge questions about religion and the meaning of life.

Who said raising kids was easy?

All quiet on the home front … for now …

I am not convinced my chat yesterday with Pepe was not received with joy and wonder.

Today she came in and I am not sure if I felt a sense of “something is off” or that I was just really uncomfortable with the entire situation.  But I was and am uncomfortable, and I slink around her, as I wait for the bomb to drop.

The bomb in this analogy is her resigning.

Pepe carried on as normal today, though I could feel there was a tension in the air.’When I am nervous and really tense I start to sound chipper and perky.  Me and chipper and perky are not a good combination and would unsettle anyone.

I took Dexter to the vet early this morning, as he was now poo’ing and voming and both included blood.

Vet did some blood work and had to go and “get a stool sample…” None of the results show anything, but Dexter was given two injections, a full check over, more deworming tablets, and three sets of medication which I need to give him to try to stabilise his tummy.

I have also put him on Eukanuba Puppy Digestion kibble and we will see how that fares.  I will wait 24 hours and if he is not better then he may need to do a vet+drip+24 hours stunt.

I hate that I feel so uncomfortable around Pepe.  I keep “waiting and expecting” her to tell me that she will be resigning, or what ever is worse.

I know I may have sounded glib yesterday, but seriously if Pepe leaves me I will be what ever the term is when you pass devastated and you just ran past gutted.  My little world, he would crumble – if you had seen me go nuts before, it is nothing in comparison to how I look when I get a Dear Janet letter from my domestic help.

On another matter – Isabelle went to her “school for an open day” today.  She had her outfit on, her hair in pigtails, her pink K-Way kids back-pack on and off we went to school.

I love the school, and I am thrilled she is there.  There were a lot of really new shiny moms, who asked questions like: “If my child is upset will you sms me … so I know how he is doing?”

“What should I pack in her lunch box?”

Shiny happy moms make me nervous, so I suddenly got really interested in a box of plastic dinosaurs.

Isabelle did not disappoint, and got into a little shoving match with a little girl name Lea over a little wooden toy.  In Isabelle’s defense, Lea did push first, but Isabelle was not going to be outdone, so came back with a might shove.  But Lea, who I was immediately fond of, shoved Isabelle back – and Isabelle was a good 5kg heavier than this little petite girl.

As Lea’s  dad pulled her away from Isabelle, Lea kicked out her leg to give Isabelle a kick in the shins.  I felt a bit more secure that other kids might also “not play well with others…” so that did reassure me a bit.

Officially she starts school on Tuesday.  I am thrilled for Isabelle and her new school.

However I am a bit distracted with mentally trying to make plans as I really think that Pepe is going to tell me to shove my job and abandon me.  Is it too soon to start skimming through gumtree??

 

The one where the puppy shit was a problem …

Pepe is our maid.   She has been with us for more than 4 years and she is what keeps me remotely sane for the bulk of the year.  There are a few months where even Pepe can’t help me, but that is another story.

I regularly preach the gospel of “Hire a full time, sleep in maid, if you have a child …. really do, it will save you hours at paeds and somehow life will have more meaning.  Really!!  Really.”

I have waking nightmares that she might leave me, and I regularly look at her with a twinkle in my eye because I love her so very much.

I really depend on her for all things that are good in the world.  If it was not for Pepe I might have shot someone or myself, long, long time ago.  She is my sanity, or at least the thin thread that keeps me tethered to it.

Dexter is our new dog.  Dexter is 8 weeks old.  Dexter has the shits.  Dexter has not learnt to poo outside.  Dexter is still learning.

Pepe appears not to like Dexter. Pepe refuses to clean up after Dexter.

Dexter poo, because that is what puppies do.  It is not a Dr Seuss poem it is just the way it is.

Our entire house has tiles or laminated wood, so there is no carpet – cleaning the floor is not exactly challenging.  Pepe has decided to leave it – the poo – until I get home.  From work.  At 6pm.  To runny, on it’s way to be dried shit.  Which I know has been there since early morning.

This has been going on all week, and I am a bit at my wits end.

Pepe’s job is to look after the kids, and to look after the house.  What ever that entails.  But she has decided that Dexter is not “her job” and anything he does is left until I get home.

Seriously?  Yes, seriously.

Contrary to popular belief I hate confrontation and will avoid it at all costs.

Mr CBT gave me a handout after our Monday session on the difference between non-assertiveness (basically avoidance) vs assertiveness vs aggression.  I think if your doctor starts photocopying notes from his doctor book then it is time to maybe start focussing your attention on an issue.

I know I avoid confrontation, and the problem is that it leads to anger and frustration, because I feel like I am standing mute in the corner.  I see the thing or the issue that drives me crazy, but I just cannot speak out.

All the right words are in my head.  But I look down, purse my lips and say “okay” when actually I mean “NO, NO, NO, hear me…” but I don’t say anything, and this clearly compounds the fact that “you” cannot hear me.

I explained my pepe-versus-dexter dilemma to Kennith last night.  Kennith is a take charge guy, like Captain Underpants, but with a slightly larger belt buckle and less shiny underpants.

Kennith spoke to Pepe and asked her if everything was alright, and if there were any issues.  She said no.  He then asked her what is the issue about cleaning up after Dexter.  She said it was not her job.  Not her job.

I sipped wine in the tv room, and turned the sound of “Ridiculous Large Cake Bake Off” <<or what ever it is called>> up louder so I could act I was not listening to any of this.  I just wanted it to be all unicorns and rainbows and not puppy shit and unhappy nanny-who-keeps-me-sane-who-I-am-terrified-will-leave-me.  Can you say co-dependence?

Kennith chatted to Pepe. I thought great that issue is resolved.

I woke up this morning with a spring in my step, and an almost smile on my dial.  I spoke to her this morning with a certain chipper, high-pitched tone in my voice.

I went to work.  Pepe sms’d me: “Don’t forget to buy milk and your dog has poo’d in the bathroom.”

I thought cool, I will buy milk, and thanks for the poo update.  Strange, but okay …..

I get home from work today.  Go in to the bathroom, and there is the poo that Dexter made this morning still there.  I am like WTF!  I go outside and the poo’s he has made on the paving outside the door is just lying there.

I clean up the poo and wash down the paving.  I purse my lips.  And then I get angry.  And then I realise I actually can no longer stand in the corner with my mouth closed.

I go and pull an old job description out.  When Pepe joined us we had two dogs.  Part of the description was to take them for walks, and all sorts of other things including cleaning up the yard after them, as I did not want flies-on-poo near my children, or near me for that matter.

I have no issue cleaning up my dogs poo – I have an issue cleaning up your dogs poo.  But I do not want flies on poo then on my kids, so if there is poo in the yard, clean it up before it becomes a health hazard.  Simple enough.

Dog poo’s, you see it, you clean it up.

But right now Pepe refuses to clean up after Dexter.  It is not her job.  So I get home from work, and then I face old dog poo, which has been there all day.  So now a rather simple issue, has become AN ISSUE.

Today I decided that this is now an issue that I can not look past.   Possibly because I rushed in, dying to go to the toilet, I was trying to, Isabelle was opening the door, I was looking at the mound of shit in the bathroom that had been there since the morning, Connor was hanging through the window and talking to me … and I just kept thinking “Can I not make a shit in peace …. is that really to much to ask??”

I pulled out an old job description, explained that actually it is “her job” and really there is dog walking and all sorts of other things that she no longer does, but that is not the issue.  I need her to do this, and why is she getting her back up against this.  It is one dog.

Today I just need her to clean up after Dexter.   She can leave him outside all day, really that is fine, but if he happens to stumble inside, then seriously clean it up – why leave it on the floor until I get home?  If there is a point then I am seriously missing it.

On Tuesday Isabelle starts school,  so from Tuesday there will be no kids at home.  Taking care of a puppy seems like a fair swap for three kids, or am I missing something?

Pepe got thin lipped and looked at me with disdain.  I began to gesture and repeat myself.  I tried to remain calm and remember that if I go hummmmmmm and put my fingers in a circle shape on my crossed knees it will be okay ……. I really tried … gawd knows I tried …….. I failed, but I tried.

I decided to make the final point: “Here is the old job description, go over it and see that your job does include cleaning up after two large Staffordshire Bull Terriers, who are no longer here, now I have one puppy.  This is part of your job.  Read it.  If I come home tomorrow and this problem persists, I will issue you with a verbal warning and then we can go from there.  I don’t want to.  This is such a stupid issue to sour our relationship after all these years, but I am not going to do this any more.  Go and think about it.  Talk to me if you need to, but tomorrow evening if I get home and walk in to this again, I will give you a verbal warning….. and that is the end of it”

I think I might have repeated the same phrase about 12 times.    I was nervous, and confrontation really makes me uneasy and bumble like the village idiot.

She glazed over at one point.  I slid the job description over, and did my best to give her a look of firm resolution – rather than whimpering fear that I felt.  I suggested she read through it and if there is an issue raise it with me in the morning.

Fk, I really do not want to lose Pepe over a stupid dog.  But seriously, I need to get out of the corner, stop covering my mouth and say what I need.

<<Please bear in mind that I am trying my utmost to restrain myself and not sms Pepe and tell her I am so sorry, and please will she accept a kidney she can sell, and I will pay her triple, and hire someone to come in and pick up the doggy poo, and I will rub her back with body butter, and I will plait her hair, and please, please, please for gawd sake do not leave me ….. or something to that effect ….>>

Introducing Dexter ……

I have been on a “get a dog mission” for several months.  I uh’med, I aa’hed, I rethought it.  I drew up a list.

I have been chatting to a breeder in Pretoria for a little bit about a litter she has, and about getting a male from her.  I like dog shows and my thinking was to look at a dog that I could start showing again.

We have had Staffordshire Bull Terriers for years, and I truly adore the breed.  Since we lost Annabelle, I really have not quite felt like getting another Staffordshire Bull Terrier.  I kept waiting and thinking “okay I will feel like a SBT soon…”

Part of it was, I think, that Annabelle was a real handful, and I think helped to jade me somewhat to the breed.  We have had several SBT and some were gentle giants, but then we had Annabelle.  Annabelle was like Robbie Williams on TIK in a small room, with no access to money and a dealer waiting to be paid …..all of the time.

I do feel a bit “embarrassed” about changing my breed, as I have been a staunch SBT supporter for years.

On Friday Kennith and I went along to SAA Cargo and collected Dexter.

Dexter is a Boston Terrier, and his eyes are so big I think he has 300 degree vision without having to move his head. He is only 8 weeks old, so he has not quite mastered the many facets of life and his funny legs at the moment – his ears sort of shoot off in different directions and pick up the landing signals from Cape Town International Airport.

Poor guy had a runny tummy in his crate, and what met us was not the that milky sweet smell of a puppy, but rather a rather forlorn looking puppy covered in his own faeces.

Since then, there has been a fair supply of faeces and urine.  Not always deposited in the garden.  Saturday afternoon I seemed to get some in my hair, which was somewhat disturbing, but the thing with faeces (and baby puke) in your hair, is a good shampoo and a really strong body scrub and you feel much better.

Dexter has managed to poo spray the entire house and Pepe is about at the end of her tether with him.

Thank goodness he arrived with a bit of a gutsy temperament.  I was concerned he would be sitting in the corner and shaking when he was faced with our family – but he seemed to take it in his stride.

This morning I went to say hello to him, and I was really chuffed he had poo’d on the paper.  Dexter was also really excited, and wagged his bum so much he fell over into the runny poo, and the more I tried to move him away from it the more he stepped into the runny poo.  The final moment was when I pushed him out of the runny poo, and he jumped up against my white towels.

Meet Dexter.  Affectionately referred to as Mr Stinky Pants.

We have very strict rules about dogs NOT sleeping on beds ….

The dilemma of bloggers and blog readers everywhere …..

I think this image accurately depicts the “trauma” all bloggers and blog readers go through.

I have got much braver about commenting on blogs in the last year.

I know in the beginning I was all wide-eyed and red-faced at the very thought of commenting on some cool person’s blog.  I would read the post in awe, and then sit there and think “I can’t comment, I can’t think of anything clever to say …. everything sounds so naff….” and then I would sit there.

I have a similar problem with Facebook and then often my “comment” runs through my mind so much and I evaluate then re-evaluate, and then try to think what the person will read, that it becomes so “paralysing” that I go back and delete it.

I think Mommy Bloggers have it a bit harder than most .. but I can only speak as a Mommy Blogger.

Blogging can be very cliquey (is that the correct spelling?) and there is some inherent bitchiness, and new bloggers compete to be noticed, and there is always the “IT” blogger whose attention everyone is vying for.  <<it by the way is not me, in the event you needed some guidance on that issue>>

Or am I just reading a bit more in to it than it actually is?

I think blogging does start as a personal vomit about your shit, and that is why people read it.  A bit like slowing to look at a car accident and gawking at the blood spatter and seeing if you can see the injured person in the ambulance – or am I the only person who does this?

The problem with “blog traffic” is that at some point you stop writing about what you really think and how you feel, but you start to write what appears to be “popular” and then you lose the plot from there.  Or so I think at any rate.

I am as guilty of that as much as the next person of being aware that someone is reading this now, so maybe I need to tailor what I say.

It is sometimes difficult to stick to your opinion and put your neck out on an issue when you realise the “popular” discussions are going in another direction.  So as much as I want to say what I think, I do start to question how acceptable it will be to put it out here, or there.  And then I start to think too hard about what I say, and who I say it to.

And then I just become a cookie-cutter blog ….. sad but true.  Don’t you love social paranoia??  It rocks!

<< apologise for not being able to credit this image, I dropped it on my desktop ages ago, and unfortunately there was no reference on it …. so apologise for no credit on the image>> 

First Day of School …. might help to be organised ….

Right now a bouncing ball and a fly on the outside of the window is distracting.

I struggle to stay hinged to a conversation flow, and to complete a thought — all I want to do is drink a mug of tea, and then switch it up to a large glass of Chenin after 5pm and stare blankly at blog posts and pinterest.

My mind happily skimming over the surface of life, no one asking me to clean up shit, or when we can go play at Daniel’s house or what is for dinner.  Just the quiet and silent oblivion of internet crap and liquid down my gullet.

Signs of trouble?  You betcha.

This morning (which is the day before school – Connor is going to grade 4, first day of school for Georgia, so sort of a big deal) I asked Kennith if he had got the stationery for the kids.

I had seen a pencil list lying on the kitchen counter and I assumed he had picked this one up as a task he was doing.

Kennith responded: No one asked me!

Me: Shit. <<silently wondering that no one had asked me either, but it seemed to be on my list of things to do …. but I will let that slide ….>>

It will mean that today will be running to get the last of the stationery at the stores that more prepared mothers have left behind.  1/2 of what I need will be missing.

Tonight I will get to sit with a marker and write Georgia or Connor onto 3 000 items of stationery as I develop arthritis in my writing hand.

Fk!

I thought we were organised this year.  We went and bought school uniforms on the 23 December.  We were the only people in the school uniform store.  I thought we had score a touch down and were the most organised parents.

Kennith bought Georgia a cool school bag, so I was so sure.

But like Christmas Eve when you realise you have not bought a present for your significant other and need to do the mad dash to Checkers and see if there is anything on their shelves you can wrap, today/tonight is fill stationery-list day.

Of course the catch is that I do not actually have the stationery lists so I need to go and find those.  Fabulous.

Officially the most disorganised and dysfunctional mother of January 2012.

<<my pill doctor office appears to be closed …. seriously if you are responsible for issuing medication to less than stable people, then you do not go on leave …. I mean seriously….seriously??…..>>

It starts again ….

That creeping sensation that things are not quite as they should be.

The whispers of self-doubt.

The gnawing sensation that everyone is plotting against me.

The hiss that people are talking about me.  Incessantly.  Always in the negative.

The worry that I am doing something wrong.  Everything wrong.  About to be “caught out” for doing something wrong I have not even done.  At all.  Ever.

The sounds of whispers and innuendos and recrimination.

Small sounds reverberate in my eardrums as echos.  My children’s chewing that sounds like the brass frkn band going off tune next to me.

The mental arguing and cross-questioning and “should I” or “what if…” and “maybe you need to go and fix that….”

Unfortunately it has all started again.  It was so lovely when it was gone.  It was so lovely.

It started as a quiet whisper in the darkness, but now it is turning into screaming in the day.    It might just be because I am feeling exhausted.  Tired to the bone.

Not ideal considering “yearly holidays” has just finished and I am in negative leave.  I could climb in to bed, pull the covers over my head and sleep for a week.

On the upside it is not depression.  Yip, fkn hooray for that.  Talk about seeing the silver lining.

But it is the mania – the creeping sensation of the full-blown anxiety as it’s bleeding fingers start to linger around the edges – the exaggerated sense of anxiety – every nerve ending hot like a poker – at the same time my brain starts to shut down because it can’t deal with multiple stimuli.

Yesterday.  True Story.  I forgot how to fill the kettle with water.  I was trying to make tea and coffee, and I knew I should fill the kettle, but I looked at the kettle and thought “fk how do I get water in there….” and the I opted to boil the kettle and hope there was enough to fill two cups.

By the time the water was boiled and I poured the water in to two cups, my brain went: “Hey the kettle comes of the thingy-me-bob, you just pick the kettle up and direct it at the tap thing …. and tah-dah….water in the kettle”  But I could not work that out earlier.

When you cannot mentally work out how to fill the kettle with water, it is time to call in medical supervision or at the very least a priest and an intervention or exorcism going.

Fk!