I am so freaking happy …

I am seldom so freaking happy I punch the air.  Seldom.  Hardly ever.

Painting the scene:  My external harddrive power connection has always been a bit wonky.  Wonky is not a technical term, but you get the point.  I noticed earlier this week that I could not copy files over to the drive, I could move files off, but not on.  Okay, not a total disaster, but clearly time to trot down to the IT store post-haste, as it had about two years of valuable images on it, and I had not backed them up, as I had been telling myself to do for ages.

I arrive at IT desk – explain my problem, fill in the form.  Get asked technical questions that I answer with “Its a silver colour, does that help?”

I know the IT repair desk at Incredible Connection are judging me, but really what do I care, I’m pretty, and I just need them to fix my shiny silver thing.  I leave comfortable in the hope silver Toshiba external harddrive is in good hands, do not give it another thought.  Something about a new casing and R600.00 — okay, sure, just call me to collect, thanks, bye then!

I get a call back from technician guy on Friday and in a grave voice.  He explains my drive is fried.  He has tried to rescue the drive, but nothing can be done.  It is all gone.

I was devastated.  I felt my sphincter muscle release a bit, but I tried to hold it together.

I used that desperate voice of any parent: “Have you done everything?  Is there someone else I can take her?  Can anyone do anything for me?  Please tell me this is not happening….. please tell me this is not true!!”

Gerhard or Theuns or similiar, the IT guy is probably not used to this level of emotion on the telephone.

I could hear he desperately wanted me to just agree to fetch her, so he could get on with his life, and not have to sit in this rather uncomfortable situation.

I went to fetch her today.  I accepted her rather forelornly and stroked her a bit, then slid her silver self into my bag.  I said my quiet goodbyes, knowing I was just taking home a dead body, and really her spirit was already gone.

Yes, I realise this is all a bit meladramatic, but it has been a shocker of a week, and this is just another THANG to add to the shit pile.  There were images in there that are lost forever, and they are precious, I am gutted.

Got home, took her out of my bag, plugged her in, basically to confirm the status of dead drive – and true as nuts, her little light flickered back to life – and there she was in all her loveliness.

I can see my files.  I CAN SEE MY FKN FILES – ALL OF THEM.

I can get them off said drive.  I am about 1/3 of the way now moving them off to a brand spanking new external hardrive, and backing them up.  All images there, all images accessible.

This is the swan song of my silver Toshiba hard drive, and I just want to say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for hanging on to the bitter end, to give me back what I had lost …… I will never forget you.

{anyone who knows me, knows how much I despise ‘smiley face icons” so I am dedicating this one to Toshiba…}

The Bookery … love books? Get involved

I love books.

I love books to a degree that I can’t describe, without foaming at the mouth and my eyes growing freakishly large for my face.

I love the feel of them in my hands.  I love the weight of the pages.

I love that feeling of cracking a book and feeling the spine give way, as it forms a lovely groove where you opened it across your chest, as you close your eyes for an afternoon doze with your book resting under your hand.

I buy books for my kids and they each have a fully stocked bookshelf in their rooms, that creaks with the weight of the books.

I do love books, and I wish everyone loved them as much as I do.

Kennith bought a Kindle for me as a present, because I had been mooning over one for such a long time.

I was so excited about the Kindle, but I missed my paper-and-ink world. I felt like I was cheating on my books my spending time with my Kindle.  Kindle got put into my desk top right hand drawer, and there it has sadly been lying for months, whilst I returned to the world of big books, cartridge paper and the use of Caslon font.

My idea of a truly good time is to spend hours in a book store …. hours … with no limit on how much time I can spend there {or limit on my credit card}.

The inevitable result is that hours in book stores = piles of books in shopping bags coming home with me.

To prevent myself turning into the mad-cat-lady-with-piles-of-books-everywhere I have limited “book packing space” and when the space is full, then I need to take books out and give them away/sell them {to make space for the new ones I have bought.}

Second hand books have little to no resale value, but I am not going to throw them away, so I take them to second hand books stores because I do not know what else to do with them.

Introducing The Bookery – located at 18 Roeland Street, Cape Town.

The clever {and generous} folks there stock and service libraries in every single school in South Africa.

“The idea is to bring in as many suitable books to either high school or primary school kids as possible,” he says. Conyngham, who has been managing the Bookery since January works closely with EE colleagues in Khayelitsha. “The whole organization is engaged in a campaign for school libraries,” he said.

This is definitely where I plan to take my books in future.  Imagine a child from an improvished school able to use my books, and read and experience the happiness I have.

Imagine the gift of a journey through their imagination you are giving.  It makes me giddy excited.

Get your books, get in your car and take them to Roeland Street.  If the Bookery is closed, nip close by to 17 Roeland Street, to the Book Lounge, they have a “collection box” where you can place books for The Bookery.

The Bookery, 19 Roeland Street or if you have suitable books to donate, call 021 461 4189.

Drunken Texting … and other night time activities …

I think we are all familiar with the phenomena.

The night before last – I am sitting with my iphone and started chatting to a friend of mine.

I am used to using my nails as a stylus, but now I have to use the side of my baby finger.  The result is that it sometimes takes me a little while to compose a message.

Any the who, this friend and I start chatting.

Before I get in to bed, or actually as I get in to bed, I take my “night meds” – my meds work pretty quickly and are so effective that I do not take them and then go shower – as I am sure I may fall and knock my brains out.  My “night meds” are a commitment, once they are in, the game is over, there is no monkey business or operating heavy machinery, it is all fall down and stay there.

So I am chatting my my friend A on WhatsApp …..

At some point the medication kicks in, so technically I have left the building, even though my body is still there.

The next morning I pick up the phone and see there is this odd message on my chat history and immediately I think Kennith is a tool, as he has used my phone in error.

My phone is black and his is white, so I am pretty sure he must be seriously dim spirited.  I apologise to my friend for this strange message and we carry on chatting.

Last night I say to Kennith:” You know you used my phone in error and added a message ….”

Kennith looks at me, and I pass him the phone, he reads the message, looks back at me and starts to laugh.

Me: What’s so funny?

Kennith: Do you not remember this?

Me: Errr, no what?

Kennith:  Do you not remember struggling to type a message, so you decided to use SIRI and then you were slurring so badly SIRI did not understand you, and you said SIRI is stupid?

Me: I have SIRI on my phone?

Kennith – with tears running down his cheeks is trying to re-enact my slurring, and my inability to form a coherent sentence.

Kennith: Do you remember the movie you were watching?

Me = zero, like not even an incling of what he is talking about.

My message read: “Hpbst on this on well test for PC Bondeson well it’s a fine it’s 10 choices six.”

Seems legit.

When you realise you are old ….

I have had this creeping sensation in the last two months and that is that I am really old.  I am not getting old, I am old already.

I turn 40 this year (May actually) and it is all a bit alarming.

I do know the part that “you are only as young as you feel” and “age is just a number” but really that is bollocks.

I am turning 40 and 40 is what I deem as OLD.  The only people who think 40 is not old, are people who are 5o or 60,and really they have their own set of problems!

I have always felt like I was in my 20’s, care free, wrinkle free and just having a fun time, on the way up the hill that is life.

But some how, some way, some where, I pipped over the peak of the hill, and appear to be building up a good head of steam to the other side, where the hill pans out to flat earth — I think it’s called death.

I have realised I am the same distance away from being 60 as I am from being 20.  Which is quite sobering. Or in my case encourages me to not have too many sober moments to think about it.

The reality of my situation has become more apparent to me each day, and there is not much I can do about getting old.  I just feel it with

Soon people will be talking to me loudly and nodding and smiling to what ever non-sensicle thing I utter from my pursed lips, with spittle on the corners, and left over Marie biscuits on my hairy chin.

I was probably the person who remembers 1984 — not just because it is a title of a book, but because I can actually remember being there – CLEARLY.

I watch American Idol on television on occassion and everytime they introduce one of those children they have a birthday somewhere in 1990 … and then I want to kill them, so I have decided no longer to watch it as it depresses me, and the show irritates me.

There is no dignity in getting old. I feel physically sick at the realisation that I am old, and every day that moves forward will make me older, and more likely that my arse will get closer to my knees.

Fk it is all so very depressing, and I am struggling to think “happy unicorns shitting on fairy” thoughts.  I feel bleak.  I feel old.  I feel a bit desperate that this has crept up on me without me realising it.

What is worse than being 40?  I am not sure, but I am fairly sure it includes a bout of diahorrea and a case of athlete’s foot.

Do you let your child do sleep outs?

I am sure that this subject fills you with dread as much as it does me. Brace yourself, this post does not get any better.

Connor has a select group of friends that he is “allowed” to sleep at.  There are about four friends who sleep over at our house, and he generally is “allowed” to sleep at theirs.  I am not thrilled with the idea of “sleep outs” but I try and roll with them, because you know I am a cool mom and stuff.

Georgia is in grade one, and we are not really ready for her to sleep out.  But with all “rules of parenting” there is always an exception. Georgia has a friend Cara, and that is the only place she is allowed to sleep out at.

Kennith chatted to me a few weeks ago, and he said that he is not comfortable with Georgia sleeping out ANYWHERE and could I please stop agreeing to sleep outs.

Georgia ♥’s Cara. I feel that she would be robbed if she was not allowed to sleep at her home, and I would “awkward” if I asked Cara to sleep here, but Georgia was not allowed to sleep at Cara’s.

Cara has slept at our home a few times. Both girls are 6, and I am sure that we are both the exception to each other – just because the girls are such good friends and I trust Cara’s parents emplicitly, as I hope they trust Kennith and I.

I am always on the alert that I am going to become one of those parents that wrap their child in cotton wool, and can only function if the umbilical cord is in tact, and if their child is not in actual sight they cannot function.

I am a total paranoid freak at heart, but I try to not let this control my children’s lives.  I try.  I fail often, but I try.  So shit that makes my haemorraids leak, I try and smile, and just loosen my g-string a bit.

About two months ago I had asked a friend from school to do a favour for me.  Initially she did some work, but then I did not hear from her again.   I thought I had offended her, and ran over what I had said and done.  I felt uncomfortable to ask again, as she was doing me a favour, and I was sure she was just busy.  I would just wait it out.

She sent me a subsequent note to explain that her daughter’s best friend’s father had been molesting her daughter on sleep overs.  This had happened more than once.

She trusted  the family, and of course they were devastated. They were thrown into Hades and were dealing with the legal and emotional fall out of the issue.

How does one even start to say “how sorry I am for what you are going through and wish I could arrange a kangaroo court to shoot the muther-fucker” – is there a card you can send for that – if so, please do let me know.

I felt like I had been hit in the stomach with a cannon ball, and felt violently ill.  For her.  For her daughter.  For her family.  For me.  I started wondering if it was a case of “when” it would happen to my kids, rather than “if.”

It made me stop and rethink any sleep outs I might have thought were fine.  It made me wonder if I should homeschool {excuse me as I pull sawn off barrel from my cupboard}, and I wondered if I could let my kids out into the world.

Keep them at home, protect them forever!

This morning on CapeTalk they were talking about children who were molested always by “people the family knew well, or family themselves” and my stomach did a heave over.  Like dry apricots on my dashboard heave.

A person came on the line from a Child Abuse Centre and she wanted to motivate how prevalent child abuse was.  And how important it is to address “inappropriate touching” or “someone who makes you uncomfortable” with your child, or toddler, as early as you could – don’t wait, talk about it now.

I dry heaved a bit in my mouth.

Again that phrase of “are we teaching our children not to be raped” rather than “to be comfortable with who they are” – and then I realised that our society is fked – metaphorically and physically.

I am not a big fan of “street justice” as I understand {intellectually} the problem.  But please ask me if I have a problem with every perpetrator of rape/molestation is burnt in the road with a bit of petrol and a bit of a car tyre, and I would be hard pressed to not pull out my petrol card and suggest they put it on my tab.  Hard pressed — really hard pressed.

When I fetched Georgia today I started talking to her about how if anyone touches her in the “places her costume covers” she should tell me, because NO ONE WAS EVER ALLOWED TO TOUCH her in those places.

If anyone said she was bad and had to keep a secret, she must immediately tell me.

If someone said that I would be cross with her, because of something she did or something someone else did, then she must IMMEDIATELY tell me, as I would never be cross with her.

Secrets are not good.

No one – repeat in bold – no one is allowed to touch her in her costume area, no matter what the situation.  She must ALWAYS tell me.

How totally crappy is our world that I am having this conversation  with my six-year-old, because I might not be able to protect her?

I feel sick.  I want to drive heave.  Actually I did a bit.

Chemist homework – done …..

{I just gave myself a gold star, because actually I deserve it}

I really do not want to confess that I have spent at least 3 therapy sessions discussing why I cannot go to the pharmacist to explain that he made an error filling my script and I had experienced a bit of a downhill slide.

{understatement on the bit}

My CBT doctor gave me a home work assignment last time and encouraged me to go to the pharmacist and explain he made an error.

We spoke for ages about why it was so difficult for me {I feel at fault, even though it was not my fault, I still do.}

We spoke about what was the worst that could happen if I spoke to the pharmacist. {I would feel embarrassed that I had done something wrong.  I would feel bad that I was making him feel bad.  I was scared he would make it appear that it was my fault … you know because everything always is}

We spoke about the ability to see a situation for what it is.  Facing your fears and appreciating that your perception of something is not always what actually happens/happened/is going to happen – your video feed of a situation is really laced with your own {warped} self-doubt.

Yesterday I went to the pharmacist because I had Dr CBT today.

The idea was to talk to him, and then say “It’s done, I confronted him, look how I roll – word to my hommies!”  {or something of that ilk}

I bought wet wipes and vitamins the size of suppositories I will never use.  I don’t buy vitamins. I do not buy wet wipes that cost R45.00

I did not speak the pharmacist, because I felt too embarrassed to.  I bought my bizarre assortement of items, and left the store.

I had an appointment with Dr CBT today and we discussed the pharmacist, and several other issues.  I did feel a bit embarrassed/annoyed that we were rehashing the pharmacist thing.

The vision I conjure up, the perception that it is all going to go so very badly.  My coping mechanisms that I employ to deal with situations where I think I am going to be uncomfortable, then the anxiety and stress those coping mechanisms create. {repeat cycle ad nauseam}

The issue is not whether I actually confront the pharmacist, the issue is why I won’t and how it is an illustration of what I do in my day-to-day life.  Over and over again.

I avoid situations – at all costs – as I am scared of feeling bad. I am terrified of embarrassing myself, drawing attention to myself.

I am scared of how the other person will react.  I am anxious to avoid the uncomfortable feelings that I imagine will occur.

The result is often that by the time I arrive at a place/space/situation – I am so stressed and anxious about feeling stressed and anxious and worrying I am going to say or do something that will embarrass or draw attention to me.  It is often a bit crippling.

My “coping mechanism” is to do something, or say something, that I know is inappropriate or not “socially acceptable.”  Then I can say to myself “there, done it, now you are embarrassed, people think you are an arse, now get on with your day already!!”

Works.  Not well.  But works. {basically the theory of “Out yourself before someone else does.”}

I did not say it was a healthy coping mechanism, I just indicated it was one I employed.

Anyone after Dr CBT appointment I was feeling quite wired, and wanted to just get this pharmacist confrontation over and done with.

I went in and waited at the counter.  When the pharmacist approached me, I explained I would like to talk to him for a few minutes.

{sweating bullets, thinking everyone is looking at me, feeling embarrassed and highly anxious – and overcoming an overriding need/urge to run screaming out of the pharmacy}

He said, of course.  Finished what he was doing and he led me into a separate little office.

I explained that I had been given the incorrect script in November and it had been repeated over three months, with the result that November, December and January were a bit more shaky than they needed to be.  He has swapped out the medication I was prescribed for a generic and then got the grammage wrong, so I was on the wrong stuff, and too low a level.

He apologised profusely, and then I had a bit of a cry.  And then he gave me a bit of a hug.  Strange pharmacist giving me a bit of a cuddle in the private pharmacy room – nope nothing strange going on here, move along, move along!

I explained to Pharmacist that I was getting better as the medication had been adjusted.  Mr Therapist writes out script, Pharmacist fills it, I put it in my mouth with a sip of water.  That is pretty much how it goes, I do not check and am {wasn’t – am now} not aware of what I am on or the grammage.

When the script had been filled, I had queried it twice, but I was made to feel {or I made myself feel} that I was being silly and should just take the pills, so I did.

He was so great about it – and said that if I wanted to scream at him, it was fine, I should.

He was really kind, really sorry, really apologetic, and really understood how I felt – probably helped he was holding my latest script, and based on the cocktail of drugs on the list he was quickly able to assess that “stability” was not my middle name. It is Lucille actually.

Nothing in this situation was horrible or bad.  Not ONE of the bad/world is ending outcomes that I had imagined and been ruminating over for the last few weeks had occurred.

I don’t feel all sorts of wonderful, but I feel good {well a bit good} and have a real sense of achievement — I realise it is a bit silly and is difficult to explain to someone else.  Who is sane.

I decided to buy myself a cow-patch straw basket that was for sale at the Chemist, it was my reward for being brave!

The Mindful Way through Depression …..

I am not big on reading self-help books on depression or anxiety.  Partly because I think most of them are shite, and secondly because my filter system between other people’s issues and mine gets a bit hazy, and too much seeps over to my corner of the garden.

If I had to immerse myself in a book about someone and their issues, it would only be a matter of time before I started exhibiting the same issues.

I am funny like that.

That being said, on Saturday I stopped at The Book Lounge in Roeland Street, primarily to get a gift for the lovely Julie Hall, but whilst there I decided to spend my children’s inheritance on books.  For me.

This book titled: “The Mindful Way through Depression – Freeing yourself from Chronic Unhappiness” by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel, and Jon Kabat-Zimm jumped off the shelf at me.

I have no idea why, the cover looks like something from a really bad Jodi Picoult novel, and it is titled SELF HELP/PSYCHOLOGY – which would normally have me running for the hills – or at the very least rolling my eyes in sarcasm and prejudgement.

I picked the book up, parked my rather large rump on the leather couch and read a few pages.  I did it with a slightly raised eyebrow as I was expecting the usual “decide to be happy and you will be” bullshit.

I am pessimistic that way, go figure.

The part where I knew I was hooked was the example mentioned on page 20

You are walking down a familiar street … You see someone you know on the other side of the street … You smile and wave.  The person makes no response … just doesn’t seem to notice you … walks right past without any sign of recognizing your existence.


How does this make you feel?

What thoughts or images go through your head?

The example illustrates the ABC model of emotions.  The A is the facts of the situation.  B is the interpretation we give to the situation, while C is our reaction.

Logically one can work through this exercise and come up with the possibility that the person on the other side of the road was listening to his iphone and you could not see the earphones, and he did not see you.  Or maybe he was really distracted as he was thinking about a fight with his wife earlier in that day, and did not hear me, or notice me.

That is logic.  All of those are possibilities.

Me = immediate hot flush to my face, shoulders and chest and I start to feel this gnawing feeling that the person did not “not see me” he did.  But he ignored me because I had slighted him or I had upset him, or I done something to offend him.  But I had done something to upset/annoy/alienate him, and now he was angry at me.  Why do I do this to people?  What the hell is wrong with me?

{you can see I get totally lost in the interpretation of a situation, and tend to see the bubonic plague and the big bad wolf in everything}

Today is Monday night, and I still feel bad that the guy on the other side of the street did not acknowledge me.

Please let me bring you back to the fact that this did not happen to me, it was merely an example in an introduction of a book.  But since Saturday I have been running through the ways I could have offended this person.  This imaginary person.  On a street I have never walked on.  A greeting I never made, because it is fiction.

Crikey moses!!  Does this give you some idea of how warped General Anxiety Disorder is and how really ‘out to lunch’ my thought process is?

I am going to sit here and sip my wine, and wonder whether my script can be filled yet, and whilst I wait think a bit more about the “guy on the other side of the street and what I have done to hurt his feelings…”

Lunch on the grass …. Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm

This weekend’s weather was truly divine.  We wanted to go out for lunch on Sunday.

Actually I would have loved to sleep on the couch after reading my book, and Kennith take the kids out, but he was not having any of that plan.

Kennith and I are not the “book ahead” kind folk, we are the “throw kids in the car, drive to a place, and hope for the best” kinda parents.  This approach can lead to disappointment, but at the same time has an element of excitement and surprise in it!

Yesterday we went along to Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm.  The last time we had been there Georgia must have been 2, so we are talking 5 – 6 years ago.

I find little to no joy looking at animals – whether they are roaming the meadows or locked up in a 2 x 2 metre cage, I really do not enjoy it.

If I can smell animal faeces, then I enjoy it substantially less.

I have no idea what the draw card is of a petting zoo, or driving for two hours on a Landrover so you can spot 2 wildebeest 2km away from the road …. seriously there is absolutely nothing I would want to do less, than pet or stare at an animal.

But it might only be me.

We opted not to do the crocodile tour, though there was one every 45 minutes. I had zero urge to see big crocodiles and dead chicken carcasses … n0t even a fleeting urge in fact.

Our friends had been down to La Bonheur Crocodile Farm and said it has a great outside picnic area – I was suspicious. I pictured crocodile dung and flies, and I got a small shiver … not of happiness …. of decided unhappiness … but they said that there was fishing… the things we do for Connor-the-fisherman … and this was an outing we thought would be nice for him.

If Connor is happy, then generally the whining is reduced, and if the whining is reduced, then there is an outlying chance the rest of us may have a good day.  Call it the “Law of the Oldest Moany Child.”

We headed out to Le Bonheur.  I arrived wholly suspicious that this was just not going to be a fun day out … but I was proved wrong.

The venue is a bit “wedding reception empty hall” but once you get past that part, they have picnic baskets and I saw this sign they had put up – which made me smile, and then I warmed to the venue, and the prospect of spending the day with them.

They have a lovely outside area, where you can pitch your blanket (remember to bring one) and relax in the shade – they have big trees and the afternoon sun casts a lovely cool shadow across the grass in the late afternoon.

They supply a picnic basket and a full bottle of not-half-bad wine, and it is all quite delicious – there was bread, some cold meat, cheese, preserves, pate, water, nougat, and a few other things.  It is not the biggest picnic basket I have ever seen, but there was enough for us to consider it lunch!

We had our picnic lunch, and I gorged on cheese, with fig preserves, and when I was sufficiently full, I then lay on my picnic blanket with my book, and sipped my semi-room-temperature wine and kicked back.

There is a play area for kids – and if you are lucky a big herd of cows will come lumbering over and hang out in the play area.  The play areas are quite nice, and there is a lovely grass area for kids to run around.

They supply fishing rods and tackle and there are lots of people (big and small) who go along and dip their rods into the dam.  Connor did not catch anything, but I am sure that sooner or later someone would have.

It really was a very relaxing day out – I enjoyed it, and I felt thoroughly wine tired and lazy, once I had eaten my body weight in cheese.

The home-made bread and olive pate was mouth-watering, and we also got a tin of crocodile pate – plan to eat that tonight with more home-made (just not made in my home) bread and some more cheese, and yes, some more wine.

Definitely recommend this as a family outing if you are in Cape Town – actually this would be pretty good on your own, with a good book.  That would be phenomenally good actually.

It was not too busy, and I felt like I was picnicking in some pleasant person’s garden, and did not feel this over commercialised, over crowded buzz that so often is associated with Sunday lunch out in the Stellenbosch area.

Lovely day – but all days eventually end, and you need to get your shoes on, find your shirt and look at heading back home to the suicide hour that is bath/dinner/bed.

Wanna know more, click on La Bonheur Crocodile Farm webpage.

Mr and Mrs Nixon ….

The weekend at my mom’s home was bliss.  Some days I am in awe of my brilliant decisions, and my brilliant decision of taking Priviledge was no exception.

Wow – it really worked out well for me.  Especially when Priviledge took it upon herself to sort the kids out in the morning.  I was so happy I nearly cried, no I think I did actually have a wet cheek.  Priviledge is so lovely, and I am besotted with her.

She keeps calling me “mem.” I wanted to correct her, but then I felt embarrassed to.  Now she is just calling me “mem” and I have decided to leave it – I am immensely fond of her.

The weekend was wonderful.

The highlight was attending Sue and Ian’s wedding at Mogg’s Kitchen.

It was such an awesome wedding, enjoyed it thoroughly.   Maybe a bit too much.

But that is what happens when one is so full of social anxiety, stress of not taking a good photographs, skipping breakfast and lunch, being packed into a room with too many people you do not know, and being seated at the Tecquila Table.

I am the worst Tecquila drinker in the universe.  Unfortunately peer pressure made me buckle.  One tecquila …. floor, I do not need to do the two or three tecquila part, before it is all fall down.

It was a recipe for disaster, and the proof they say is in the pudding.

Short story – I left my camera bag (sans camera) at the venue and the plan was to grab it in the morning.  Safe venue.  Good plan.  Bad plan was that it contained my car keys and my cell phone.

I woke up at Dave and Alice’s cottage and tried to make a full assessment of my situation, including how I got into Alice’s pyjamas, where I was, who I was and how I got there.

I had a sore toe {which appears to be standard fare when ever I attend a wedding} and a gash on my foot …. sigh …..I recall that happening, but somehow it is always more sore in the morning.

I really need to invest in shoes I will wear the entire time during a wedding, as I tend to kick them off when they start pinching my toes, obviously the lack of shoes does lead to other issues.

Once that all became clear it turned into Plan “hunt for the camera bag.”  I decided not to hunt for my dignity, as somethings are lost for ever.

My (insert Kennith’s) car was stranded and I could not phone my mom to tell her where I was, as I did not have my phone.  Unless I push a pre-programmed number there was no way if hell froze over that I was going to remember it.

We hunted from cottage to cottage for about three hours looking for said bag, going back to the venue, and me realising that I was about to enter the zone of “full scale nervous break down.”

People kept asking me if I had a Plan B if I did not find my keys and phone ….. er no, not really, run away to the circus maybe!

We found the bag – I whooped for joy.  The last people to leave the party took the bag with them, for safe keeping.  Nice people.

To Voelklip, and did not tell me, or anyone else.  Small hiccup in the nice people plan.

But that being said, bag found, keys found, phone found, and I finally got to my mom where I could have a shower, brush my teeth, and have a little sit down.

Sue and Ian had such a stunning wedding.  It was so much fun, because, in part, they are such a lovely-sweet-divine couple, and no one seemed overly stressed about whether the wind blew, or the kids jumped on the chairs, or where anyone was standing.

The wedding was really just a big get together with lovely friends, lovely wine, lovely venue, and well just a really fun day and evening.

I forgot my honey jar gift “thank you for coming to our wedding” in Alice’s car … and I was really looking forward to that on hot buttered white toast.

<from the bits I remember, I am wondering if it is time to commit myself to an AA meeting, but maybe not quite yet.>

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Off to the Sea Side ….

{Image taken by me, in Sandbaai}

This weekend I am heading out to Hermanus to visit my mom and spend some time lazing around and have “treated” myself to a long weekend.  I really, desperately, need some down time, and just not to feel like I am rushing from one thing to the next and always on my way to something, or late for something.  I need some downtime, with just nothing to do.

Well, that is the picture I have at any rate.

Kennith is away in Germany/Bolivia or where ever, and I thought it might be good to take a long weekend and just have a laze around.  I am hoping to try to spend some non-stress time with the kids, and try to just “be present” – I have been a bit sucky at that as of late, and realised it again this morning on the drive to school that I seem to be living passed my kids and not really savouring the important stuff I should be.

My kids love being at my mom’s house.  They run around, get dirty, Connor over doses on fishing, Georgia plays doll house until she can’t anymore, and generally Isabelle spends her time trying to get someone to give her more Flings.

Again that is the plan of how I see it going – the vision if you will.  I feature in the role of a person sitting on an outside chair reading my book with a chilled glass of Chenin Blanc balancing on one of those plastic kid’s chairs.

I am taking my rather thick book of “Henry VIII King and Court – Alison Weir” along with me, and hope to move my way through nearly 700 pages of Tudor History – it’s a good time to me – I also have a back up book just of Sherlock Holmes in the event that Henry does not bring his A Game, one never knows with Henry, he is a bit tempestuous and erratic at times.

I am also taking along our new maid Privilege along for the weekend.  Yes, I do understand how “white colonial” that sounds.

Privilege does appear be a winner-winner-chicken-dinner.   But I am trying not to get too attached or too excited, things have been known to go badly quickly as of late, so I am just breezing along.

This week she has really been great, and her only “minus” appears to be that she cannot cook, but I can teach that.  She cleans really well, and is quiet, and has managed to pack/repack and sort out the kids clothing cupboards already – brilliant!!

On Saturday I am going to a wedding, so am leaving my three kids with my mom – no doubt she will have developed a facial tick, and be drooling a bit out of the corner of her mouth by the time I get back – but that is also why I wanted Priviledge to come along.

I am really looking forward to the wedding.  It is at Moggs in the Hemel and Aarde Valley which is going to be spectacular, and I know it is just going to make me cry – all weddings do.  Congratulations Ian and Sue!!

{Image taken by me, Sue with her flashing light bling on her Hen’s Night}

I feel relieved that we may be on the right track with our nanny/domestic helper/mommy’s side kick, and I have great aspirations of this weekend going well.

I do want some time for my brain to just slow down this weekend, and hopefully get some sleep — I feel like the walking dead.

Hope your weekend is good, where ever you may be and when ever it gets started!

City Animal By-Law … no this has nothing to do with children …

I remember when this discussion came out about two years ago.  The City of Cape Town had requested/required its residents to register their pets.

In terms of the City’s Animal By-Law of 2010, residents are required to register their pets so that the City can monitor and control Cape Town’s animal population

Easy enough.

When this was discussed, and I think it was at least two years ago, people went bezerk – there was hair pulling and “they won’t make me…” and the sky was so falling on Chicken Little.

People were foaming at the mouth, and there was discussions about how the City of Cape Town was going to take pets away.  Other than religion (in this case the Red Bull Advert which really is a fatal exercise in how to alienate half your market), vaginal vs c-section and breastfeeding vs bottle feeding, nothing quite makes people go as “befok” at the mere suggesting that you might take away their animals.

The short part of it is, unless the city knows how many animals are living in the city, and where the problem areas are, it can’t really do anything to assist people or animals.

Seems a fairly simple principle to rationalise.

According to the by-law I am permitted four dogs and/or four cats on a property of my size – which is a hell of a lot of animal as far as I am concerned.

The neighbour a few houses up has six dogs – that I can see (there may be others and cats I have not seen).

They are little Yorkshire Terriers.  So he would go along and register.  As he has more than permitted, he would need to request permission to keep the extra two or how many ever.  Judging by the size of his property (huge) and the fact that the dogs are not a problem, there is no reason for the city to say no.

If the City says yes, it does not mean that you are always now allowed to keep 12 dogs, it means that they give you permission, but as they start to die, then you are not allowed to replace them – you will need to get your numbers down to the by-law level.

Applications in terms of section 4(1) of the City of Cape Town: Animal Bylaw 2010 to keep a greater number permitted in terms of section 2(2) will in the first six months of promulgation of this By-Law, be granted up to a maximum of six dogs on any premises, subject to the owner not replacing any dog that dies or is disposed of as it would result in a contravention of section 2(2).

Of course there are always exceptions – kennels, pet shops, and so on.

I really have no issue with this by-law, and when I read through it, and listen to the discussions on 567 Cape Talk it all appears quite reasonable.

Presently there is no licence fee in place – but odds are there will probably be one coming.

I do not have an issue with the City deciding on a licence fee, provided I can pay on-line, and there is some sense in where the money goes.  I have no qualm about a licence fee.

But for some reason, people are still sh*tting in their pants about registering their pets.

I do think the key points are.

1.  People often do keep way too many animals, and they are a nuisance – and unfortunately the person keeping the pets often does not realise the effect on his/her neighbours.

2.  If you can afford to keep 6 dogs, then you need to appreciate that the city may need to charge you a fee per year.  And if you can keep 6 dogs, then odds are you can pay a reasonable licence fee.  We often throw our hands in the air about all these animals and them arriving at the shelter, but these animals do start somewhere, and unless the City gets a firm handle on it, and puts controls in place, the situation is not going to get any better.

3.  Register your pets – it is not a conspiracy, the City needs to understand how much animals they are dealing with.  Register on line, it is really quick – you will need your rates bill as they ask for your account number and erf number.

If you are Cape Town based, and own a property, and there is an animal on your property – even if you do not own it, you are responsible to register the animal.

Pop along to the link – it took me about 4 minutes to register.

Sense of responsibility ….

I saw my therapist earlier this week – cognitive guy, not pill guy.

We had a bit of a catch up as I had not seen him in a few weeks.

I explained what had happened with chemist guy, and that I had been on the incorrect meds for the last three months, and we discussed how much strain I had been under since December, and how in part it was due to the shift in meds and the fact that I was under and incorrectly medicated.

Long conversation and he started talking to me about how I felt I carried the responsibility for the incorrect medication, which added to the difficulty of being able to go back and speak to the pharmacist.

Logically I could explain that the error lay with the pharmacist.  I sensed there was something not right and had queried it twice.  I felt something was wrong, but after being assured that actually it was correct, then I put my head down and just took the stuff, because two people had told me I was wrong {even though I knew that they were wrong}.

We spoke about the need for me to go back to the pharmacist and explain that he was incorrect.  I explained that the idea of doing that would make me so very uncomfortable.

Dr Cognitive explained that the pharmacist had trained and that was his job to issue the correct medication.  He asked that if the pharmacist had trained and he had made the error and swapped something out, why was I feeling responsible.

I explained that maybe he had asked me to substitute medication, and maybe I had said yes.  I said I should have checked the script.

Dr Cognitive asked how I would have done that if the pharmacist kept the script.

I just said I should have made a copy and cross checked it {you can see logic has no real place in full blown anxiety disorder}.

Dr Cognitive was trying to hammer the point home that I was not responsible for the incorrect script, that surely I could see that the pharmacist held the responsibility.

I had followed the medication and taken it according to the stickers on the boxes, I had followed up and checked to be sure.  The error lies with the pharmacist.

Somehow in this I am responsible that the incorrect medication got given to me, some how it was my error.  I should have known.  I should have checked.  The onus is on me to have made sure it was right.

And this really is an illustration of what is at the core of a great deal of my stuff in my every day life.

Everything is my fault – if something goes wrong, somehow I should have known and anticipated that it was going to go wrong and seen it.  Some how I should have.

When things happen, I always feel like I hold all the responsibility.

You not having a good time?  Don’t worry somehow I should have made sure you did, and it is my fault.

No matter what the situation I always feel like I am on the backfoot.  Instead of being able to assess a situation and see that maybe I share some responsibility, I always feel like it is all my responsibility to ensure things go right, go perfect – it adds a huge amount of weight/responsibility to my day and it is a bit on the exhausting side.

So you see it is not just about going over the pharmacist guy and saying “Hey dude, you might have made a little error over here ….”  it is a bit more than that.

Dr Cognitive and I have a lot of work to do.  Logically I can GET that I need to be realistic, and that I also need to accept that not everything is about me, but that requires me to empower myself, and at the same time be able to express how I feel and be heard.  Which I fail at miserably, and impacts most of my days.

It’s a big ask – and this is the year for letting go of {some} of the sense of responsbility, and accepting that I cannot control and thus be responsible for everything.  Baby steps right?

<<an inflated sense of responsibility is a  standard side effect of anxiety and panic disorder>>

Epic fail …. there is just so much wrong ….

There is so much wrong with this tattoo, that I think it is hard to really find the right place to start.

After about the third take you realise what it is — and then realise you thought it was something else.

But then you realise “shit that is such a bad tattoo …” and even with your really innocent mind, you still saw it, and now it is burnt into your eyeballs, and then you blink a few times and hope that maybe if you squinted your eyes it will look like an innocent baby finger tenderly grasping it’s mommy’s finger …. but then you realise that it doesn’t.

Holy crapsticks, it is just so very bad, and suddenly those horrendous tramp stamp tattoos don’t look so bad.

Blogs by the Numbers ….

I realized my hit amount had crept quietly passed 200 000 and I had not noticed it (there is just a little over 202 000 – which seems like a pretty good number)

I really should of at least organized a cake or something, maybe a special bottle of wine.  Ah, what the hell I am drinking a glass of Robertson Chenin Blanc as we speak “cheers..”

In the spirit of the number, I thought I would quickly glance over my other numbers.

My first post: Pee on a Stick why don’t you.

The date of my first post: 2009/08/21 (blog birthday technically)

My busiest day: 2,986

The amount of comments: 4496 (or there abouts)

The person who comments the most on my blog is from  countesskaz.wordpress.com

(bless her cotton farming socks)

The post that is probably my favourite post:   Throwing the Baby out with the Bath Water.  I have written a few others that I was really “proud” of, but this one is still one that I look at and smirk a bit.

The post that made me laugh: An Arrow from Parow.  I laugh at myself when I read it, because it is still true.

I am not sure exactly what the psychology is behind blogging and why someone carries on with it.  But I know that it is part of who I am and what I do.  I enjoy blogging and I get something out of it.  I am not sure exactly what, I can’t really quantify it, but I enjoy writing, and I really enjoy the comments when I get them.

Blogging does help me to work through some of my things, and does help me not feel so lonely that “it is only me who thinks this way.”  I have realised that many of my issues are not as unique as I have often led myself to believe, but there are many people out there who “try hard to appear normal” when inside they feel alone and not normal at all.

We mimic “normal” to fit in.

I will blog for as long as I need to, or want to, and then I will stop, because then I won’t want to, or maybe no longer need to.  Maybe.

I do not make money from blogging.  It costs me nothing more than time.  It does however somes times come at a personal cost – as I do sometimes do or say things that have a ripple effect in my life and those ripples are not always good, and sometimes have dire consequences.

I do feel that it gives me more than I have to give away.  I have met some interesting people through blogging – and forums.

I have reduced my social media interaction since late last year – and have reduced my blog reading to virtually zero, and dropped out of forums pretty much all together.

It is not that I do not want to.  I am aching to read what people are up to.  But I have realized that I am unable to keep a good gap between “other people’s stuff” and “what is my stuff” – so the easiest way to break the cycle was “to go cold turkey” – I no longer read blogs {and I miss it like a lost limb}, I do so want to read and catch up with everyone’s lives.

I will confess to sneaking on to Moomie twice and I trolled around, but I realized I cannot read forums without getting totally wrapped up in them, and some of the “old feelings” came back, so it ws better to click away.

I read other blogs on occasion – but seldom – the moment I feel that “twinge” that I am starting to get involved, I click away.  I don’t get involved, I get committed and consumed …. my stop valve does not work very well it would seem.

I have also “removed” myself from reality television.  I no longer watch shows about other people’s lives as a way to distance myself from mine.   There is nothing quite like watching your evening get sucked up in some mindless and senseless reality show — and then you start fretting about why Kim is such a bubble head, and why ……. ah never mind, really it is best not to watch them at all.

Thanks to you the 200 000 odd (both in number and type) if you are reading my blog.

And really THANK YOU (sincerely) if you have taken the time to comment – I enjoy every one.  Even the creepy guy Steven with the gmail account who leaves questionable comments.


Morbid fear of social inter course ….

I must confess that my social anxiety is getting worse.  I was hoping that good sense and medication would tame it down a bit.

But jeepers creepers it is so out of control, that I should be wearing a white furry bathrobe and r0cking myself in a corner somewhere.

It is ridiculous.  I know it is so stupid, and a bit creepy actually.

I can rationalise why I should not be anxious or nervous – and it is not like everyone/anyone is out to get me – or are they…… but it does not assist the situation and my brain running off into the most bizarre directions.

My way of coping is that I block out everyone outside of the “immediate circle” I need to socialise with.

Before I go somewhere I work out who will be there, and what I will say {more or less} and what they will say {more or less} and then we go from there.  If it veers from the course I have worked out, then we are all well and truly fkd and odds are something bad will spill from my mouth …..

Add “surprise” people to the mix, and it throws it all on it’s head.  I literally “panic” like Bambi’s mother should have done before that hunter shot her.  Yes, had Bambi’s mom been a bit more socially anxious, we would have had a very different outcome to Thumper and his co-conspirators, just saying.

This weekend I have a wedding to go to.  I have a wedding I want to go to.  I really am excited to go.

Kennith is in Germany/Bolivia/Gibralta {leave the correct one) so I will be going on my own.  I need to be able to drive back afterwards, so wine is not there as a social crutch either.

Can you spell social panic?

I am so looking forward to the wedding, I am  reallyexcited {not sarcasm excited, really excited}.  But the idea that there will be dozens of people and a chance I will need to interact with them in some way, frightening the heabies-jeabies out of me.

I keep talking myself through that it is going to be a wonderful day, and I am so in love with the couple that have decided to get married, and I will be there and I am really thrilled.   It is all about them, and not about me.

But then I feel an overwhelming urge to throw up and my armpits get really moist, and I wonder if I should wear a large sanitary towel so I can feel free to pee in my pants and will, and throw up in a plastic bucket from Mr Price that matches my outfit.

It will be fine.  It will be fine.  Repeat 27 times and if all else fails, drink too much wine, and curl up in the corner with the cat.  Right?

Hiring domestic help ….

As you may know, Pepe has left us/me – she wants to bring her daughter down from Zimbabwe, and she needed to find a sleep out role, and my house cannot function without a person sleeping in, it is just too chaotic, and does not work.

Of course I am sure I will never find someone as good as Pepe, and I will embark on a journey of hiring that will kill me.

I did several interviews, short listed three ladies and had Kennith interview the “final three.”

I knew who I felt was the “top choice” but I am aware that often my decisions regarding “domestic staff” is quite emotional, so I wanted Kennith to have his 2 cents, and make a decision and then I could see if he agreed with my choice.

He selected T, which I thought was a bit odd as I felt P was a clear winner.  But I decided to go with his decision, and brought T in for a trial.

I told her it would be a one month trial, but after three days I started to get very nervous that we had made a “not great” decision.

T was lovely, and keen, eager and all of those lovely things, but she was unfortunately not bringing much in the way of experience to the party.  I felt I could train her, as she was really keen, but it would take at least 6 months of day-to-day training to get there, and I was not sure I had that in me.

She was lovely with the kids, and the kids really liked her.

Thursday night we decided to make some hasty decision-making.

We (translate into Kennith) would tell T that we were going to have some people in over the weekend, and that she should go home, and also that we were going to end the trial so that we could trial someone else.

Really, there is just no way to put that nicely – and it was as awful as it sounded.

I did not want to face her as I felt really awful – as she was lovely, but just not quite 100% right for us – I just did not want to see T sad.  I asked Kennith to tell her and then I would come back from work after T was gone, and then at least I would not feel so bad as I did.

It did not go that way.  Traffic and various other factors resulted in T being stuck on the side of the road with her huge bag, and me going to collect her and take her to the station.

I then had to make small talk for the drive from home to the station.  I managed to have a fully fledged one-sided conversation about bicycles.  All the way to the station.

I do not do small talk.  I do not do awkward situations in small spaces.  I really hate this process of “trialing” domestic staff and I feel responsible for everyone who comes in to contact with me.

I dropped T off at the station, and I think I was having a bit of a sob on her behalf.  It was all really horrible.

She is so lovely, and I knew that she had an “experience” gap, but the experience gap just started to feel a bit insurmountable, and I started to wonder if I was making my life more complicated when in actual fact having domestic help should make it simpler.

Saturday I got P in and then also asked Tarisai (who I have used on a day-to-day basis) to come in and “train” P.

The two worked like a tornado – and cleaned things I did not know could be cleaned.  P is lovely and by Sunday I was already feeling that this was the better decision.

So this week is a new week with P, and so far it is going really well.  This entire idea of finding someone who can work/live in your house, and you have to trust in your space, with your children, with your cheese, is fraught with stress and anxiety – and at a certain point you need to sort of fall back in to it and trust blindly.

Baby Competitions … bah humbug!

We have all seen them “please go along to xyz and vote for my nu-nu…” – moms like to enter competitions for their babies and children.

Fathers appear less interested.  Fathers appear to not really give a crap actually.  Unless the competition included beer as a prize, then maybe they would get behind some tiaras and ruffles.

I am not sure exactly what is behind the psyche of parents {normally mothers} who enter baby/toddler/children competitions.

Why as mothers we feel we want to put our children out there, and so desperately need public acknowledgement that everyone else agrees our child is the cutest/sweetest/most cherub inspired one?

I think that would only be fair if you could tell a mother that their child was actually butt ugly — but you can’t – – public decorum does not allow you to do that.  So all children – even the ones that are not beautiful, have to be told they are beautiful — the point that I am making is that when someone used to “awwww” and tell me that my baby was so pretty/beautiful, I would raise my left eyebrow in doubt, as I figured, what else really were they going to say.

The main problem with baby competitions – other than that they are pretty naff, is that they bring out the worst in people.   I know there is this feeling that “we should not judge you” – but here is a newsflash – put your child in a baby/toddler/child beauty competition and I will judge you.  True story.

Everyone believes their child is the most beautiful and the most perfect child.   I share this mass thinking – I think believe know Isabelle is without a doubt the most beautiful 2 year old there is.  I melt when I see her.

I wonder why anyone even attempts to have a child, as once they see Isabelle, they will know that perfection has been created, and everyone (EVERYONE) comes out second best.

I do however stop my obsessive adoration of my child at entering her in to competitions.

I have seen cuter kids (no I haven’t), and I have seen uglier kids (oh gawd, yes I have), and there is absolutely nothing I need that much which will require me to pi.m.p my child to win a competition.

I will confess that with Connor I was a bit more “competition befok” – as I was so sure he was without a doubt the cutest baby the world had ever seen.  I was a new mom, clearly my vision was blurry from lack of sleep.

It appears I was mistaken, he never won anything.  I entered several.  And I was devastated each time I did not get a call that he had won.

I thought “of course they must see how precious he is!!” and then they didn’t, and then I thought “okay, what’s wrong with him…?”

With Georgia I did not think about baby competitions. I was in the middle of a bit of a breakdown, so I will confess that competitions ranked pretty low on my list of priorities.

With Isabelle I really could not be arsed.

Probably because I realise the competitions are not about whether your child is really the most beautiful child in the world, or the most special, it really is about the mother needing some sort of public affirmation, and also about greed.  I also really hate the whining and begging that goes on for “votes” ….

No one would enter the competition unless there was loot at the end of the tunnel.

It is hard to say “I am going to enter my child into this rather tacky contest, which is nothing more than a meat parade. I will then proceed to annoy friends/family/Facebook mates by pestering them to vote for me, because really I want the big screen television like no one’s business.  I fully understand that my kid is not winning because they are really the most beautiful, but they have a chance of winning because mom/dad is well connected and has tons of friends to go and vote.  And all the promoters of the competition want is high traffic to their site so they can sel the advertising spots ……!!”

Nope, the phrases used are “it will be fun for little Cameron/Janet/Sarah/Johnny….” but actually baby competitions are not fun at all.  For anyone.  They are not indicative of hard work, or skill, or talents, they are simply whether you get the most votes ….

Unless you win, then they are trucks of fun.  Please stop entering them.  Please stop …. please ….

Checking your backseat ….

Several years ago (2006 if I remember correctly) there was a particular horrific incident where a professor, Dr Andrew Wilkinson, had his infant son (17 months old) in the back of his car, and forgot to drop him off at school.  The child had fallen asleep and was quiet, so the father did not hear him.

Normally the child would go to his grandparents, but this particular day Dr Wilkinson was meant to drop the child off at creche – it was a different routine, and whilst he was driving to work, he slipped into “routine gear….”  {I am doing this on memory, so I may be a bit off with the details}

On arriving at the university, he locked the car, and went to work as he usually did, not realising his son was still in the car.    It was unfortunately a hot day – around 26 degrees, and the temperature inside the car would have climbed to between 40 – 50 degrees.  The car was parked outside in a parking lot at the university.

It was a terrible story, with a tragic outcome.

I remember the incident clearly and probably think of that professor, that infant and the mother who had to bear that news, probably once a week.

It made me realise how often we slip in to “routine” and stop thinking about what we are doing.

You drive the same route to work, you park in the same spot, you follow the same procedure when you lock up and grab your stuff to dash to the office.

I have often been driving to one place, and then “wake up” at a point and realise I was driving to another, as I was doing my normal routine, and my mind had switched off.

We all do it …. fortunately we do not all have the tragic outcome.

Because of 1996, I check my car EVERY day in case I have forgotten a child in the backseat.   I actually double-check every day.

When I leave my kid’s schools I glance in the backseat to make sure they are not there.  I do not glance in the mirror, I actually swivel my head around and look at each of their seats.

When I get home to work, I consciously look around to check again that they are not in the backseat, and I have not noticed.   I mentally take note, and mentally take a quick tally.  Kids: 0 – check!

A simple oversight resulted in the worst possible outcome, and left a family hurt, scarred, distraught and a little boy dead.

I really am not in the mind of “good things have come out of that incident” as I feel the price paid was too much for what ever “good” might have come out of it.

I wonder how many other people were effected by that story, and how many other parents now “double-check” just to be sure that they have not left a child in the backseat.

I cannot imagine how that family was effected – I am not sure I could recover from that – I am glad the media appear to have left them in peace.



When the teacher calls ….

I am wondering how many times I need to reiterate this issue.

If my phone rings and I see that it is my children’s teacher/nanny/carer I die a little.   My heart races, my breathing gets shallow, I start to picture the worst possible scenario.  Usually involving one (or all) of my children, blood and possibly a paramedic.

I visualise kids floating face down in pools, television sets that have fallen on my kids, my kids abducted by someone, my children dead on a play ground.

I never.NEVER.never think this is a friendly how-do-you-do call.  Why do teachers/carers not get this?

I had just trained Pepe to start any conversation, should she phone me with “Isabelle is fine, no one is hurt …..” and then she can say pretty much anything after that.

Yesterday Connor’s aftercare phones.  They can’t reach me, they phones Kennith.

They open with: “Are you Connor’s father?”

Kennith: “Yes…”

School: “Your son has been involved in an accident at school, and hurt his neck…”

And then they stop talking — you know, to allow some time for the message to sink in.

This allows sufficient time for your mind to infuse with every paranoid thought it has ever had.  Your nerves bristle, your body floods with adrenaline and fear, and your bowels loosen.

As it turns out, Connor had tripped over a pipe, he had fallen off a step, and his neck had taken the full brunt of his full body weight.  Somehow his head had managed to fold itself into his chest so his neck could whack the tar with his full body weight and the momentum of his running.

It could have been very serious, fortunately it was not.

When I fetched Connor, he had a few scratches and I could see as soon as I was able to talk to him, that his neck was sore, but it was not serious or something that dinner and bowl of ice cream would not cure.  He was sitting, conscious and clearly had not sustained a serious injury.

Would have been fabulous had the school communicated that on the phone.

Do you know what it is like to drive to your kid’s school after a call of  “your child has hurt their neck, I think you should come….” ?

If you are a teacher or at any stage responsible for caring for a person’s child – please, as soon as the person answers open with: “Hello Kate/Bill/Mrs XYZ, your child is fine – there is no blood, no one is hurt, no one is dead, your child is fine.  I am looking at him/her, she/he is smiling and happily colouring in …. everything is fine … really… calm down … breath, breath, breath ….. okay?  Again nothing is wrong, Connor/Georgia/Isabelle is fine ….. brilliant in fact.  You okay?  Good.  Okay, the reason I am calling is that we would love you to sell hotdogs at the fete, can you do a shift from 1 – 3pm?”

Do teachers actually know what they do to parents with these calls?

Looking For A New Creative Director ….

Nothing to do with anythng, but I saw this and thought it was really clever …. it’s a job advert for a Creative Director – London-based digital agency Work Club are looking for a new CD.

The company has put together a creative job listing on Pinterest.   Clever people over there.