I hereby pronounce you ….. divorced {throws confetti?}

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As you may or may not know, Kennith and I are going through a divorce process.  It has not been a horrible divorce, but it has been a divorce, and ending a relationship that has been in existence for the last 20 years.

We have three children,.  We have a shared life that overlaps in many aspects.

We have been in a relationship with each other for our entire adult lives.

Sitting and breaking that up into a spreadsheets and pieces is traumatic.

No matter how nicely you “play with others” and no matter how much you try your utmost to act like an adult, the process is really awful.

It is often not the big things that leave you bereft and licking your wounds, but the tiny almost insignificant things that you realise are actually pretty significant, that make you cry and sob.  I remember when Kennith was meant to collect the rug that is in our bedroom, I felt like if he took that rug I was going to break into a thousand pieces.

It’s a rug — it really has no sentimental value.  But when he arrived to collect it, I really felt this was the time when I was going to break.  {In the end he left it, because he could see I was upset…..}

The last ten months have had me work through every possibly emotion.  Which includes sadness, denial, pain, indecisiveness, happiness, relief, anxiety, euphoria, being numb, pain and despair, confusion, rejection, chicken licken’s fear of the sky falling, and any thing else you can add to the mix.

For the most part I have tried to appear composed and that I have my shit together.  I am not sure why it was important to look like I am keeping my shit together. I think possibly because I felt that if I started to slip, it would be all over and I would be a crumpled heap at the bottom of the white cliffs of Dover.

There have been several moments where I have felt like I had taken a walk over to the dark side.  That there was no way I could actually hold on to this little ledge of sanity that I am clinging to.

That feeling of panic and irrationality often pops up at the exact moment where I think I have got this all under control.  To remind me in no uncertain terms that I am actually a minefield of emotions right now, poor decisions and sometimes immense sadness, fear and self loathing.

I cannot imagine what my life is going to be moving forward.  I am stuck in looking back, and am struggling to lift my eyes up off the floor and really get a good look at the horizon.

I am scared.  I am afraid.  I am still a bit shell shocked to be honest.  I referred to Kennith as my husband the other day … then I just stood there and stopped speaking mid-conversation ….. because I was not sure what to say.

Kennith attended court last week – it was an uncontested divorce, so I did not have to go along.  Kennith let me know when he was at court, and then let me know when it was over.

Wednesday was a very surreal day.

I knew what was going to happen. I had participated in all the decisions and the processes, so I was well up to scratch on what was happening, the how, when and what.

When it happened, I really felt like I had been sucker punched.  Like something in me had just caved in.

Last Wednesday left me feeling sad, scared, with a sense of profound loss.  Twenty years and it was over.  Officially.

It is difficult to explain — it is difficult to articulate.  Last Wednesday was an important milestone in my journey of life.  I am not sure yet whether it was a good milestone, a bad milestone or just a milestone.

 

Quotes about life and maybe a bit about divorce, that resonated with me:

 

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And the two I liked the most

 

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The stuff I learn from the Crime Investigation Channel ….

I like documentaries.  Unfortunately reality television has managed to find it’s way into nearly every channel, and reality television makes me want to bang my shin against the coffee table — really hard.

There is no History on the History Channel.  But if I have any interest what so ever in Pawn shops, then it appears it is the place to go.

I could also complain about most other channels in the same way.

The only channel that has not been affected, is the Crime Investigation Channel — well except for the show “The First 48 Hours” which I am not a fan of, but I digress.

Watching a documentary about Donald Piper who is eventually convicted on two counts of murder – however is suspected of at least four.   The women often work in the hotels, as housekeepers and they are killed whilst cleaning the rooms.

The MO is the same, and it is not limited to one hotel, it is happening across various hotels.  Each time he commits the crime he gets a bit more clever, and is leaving less and less information about himself.

Now the problem with hotel rooms is that there is a lot of “traffic” there – so it is not like they have to rule out the people who live there and discard those fingerprints — nope there is a few hundred fingerprints all over the room of different people, so these detectives are really have a difficult time of it.

I can’t recall if the perpetrator was killing these women, and posing their bodies, or also sexually assaulting them.

The crux of my story is that at some point the evidence team decide they will take the bed spread, wrap it neatly in plastic and take it to the evidence laboratory and then check it to see if they can find any evidence on it that will give them some sort of a DNA trace.

This is not the actual bed spread, but it is similar in that it has that wild crazy busy print.

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The technician, who looks like he has just learnt a valuable life lesson, explains that they unwrap this bedspread, they black out all the lights and use one of those blue lights to show up semen on the bedspread.

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It shows semen on the bedspread.  Initially they think “win we have evidence” —- and then they realise this bedspread lights up like a Jackson Pollock painting (see image below for a visual reference)

There was semen on the bedspread.  There were 120 DIFFERENT SEMEN STAINS.

“Waiter, bring the bill please …. I need to go now.”

It seems hotels do not wash their bedspreads as often as they should – hence the need for crazy designs.  On average once a year.

Yes, I retched a bit as well.

Tip 1:  Never stay in a hotel unless they have white linen.

Further in the same show, they suspect this guy who is the Maintenance Manager for a few hotels.

They approach him and ask him if there is any reason why they would find his semen in a particular room, where one of the women were killed, and it turns out that him and his wife had stayed in that room before and had sex, and that would be the reason his semen was in the room.

{let’s exclude the questions you and I are both asking about WHAT THE FUCK  IS HOUSEKEEPING doing in these establishments??….}

Any-the-who, same Maintenance Man phones the investigator the next day and says, well you are probably going to find semen in the rooms, the bathrooms and on the light shades or nearly every room.

Investigator:  “well thank you for telling us …. but why?”

Maintenance Man: “I used to go into every room in the hotel and masturbate on everything ……”

Investigator: “someone bring me spoon to dig out my inner ear so I can act like I never heard that….”

Tip 2 :  If you ever hire a Maintenance Man for a hotel chain, you may want to have an “excessive masturbation” clause as part of your employment contract.

Tip 3:  Invest in one of those black light numbers.

120 DIFFERENT SEMEN STAINS …… and you used to get all creeped out by your mattress having bed bugs.  It’s all about perspective.

 

This post is actually not about breast cancer, it is about praying.

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Someone who is very close to me told me she was diagnosed with breast cancer when she went for her last check up. (Let’s refer to her as Pamela, to make this easy.)  She had some issues with her one breast that had continued for some time, and at the time she and the doctor felt it was related to breastfeeding.

She had stopped breastfeeding, and had gone back to the hospital, and the hospital had run tests.

She told me she had been diagnosed with breast cancer about two weeks ago.  The doctors were running a battery of other tests to see what the severity was of the problem, and she needed to return to hospital yesterday for those tests results, and go through another set which would assist them to decide on the best treatment for her.

I was devastated for her.  She is a mom, and she needs to work.  She cannot be ill, and not earn an income.  But more importantly she cannot die.  I wondered to myself why is this happening to her —– for crying out loud.

I have never tested positive for cancer, so have no idea how it must feel to have someone across the table from you confirm your worst nightmare.  I have no idea how that feels.

I had to have something cut out of an area right next to my eye – which my dermatologist was concerned might be cancer.  Tiny little spot, minor surgery to take it out and send it for a biopsy.  I still sat and thought to myself “is this how it starts, you get a small spot somewhere which turns out to be a cancer that has already spread, and there you are staring at your spot going, it’s only a spot…”

Either way my totally inconsequential spot really scared me, because the word “cancer” had been used.

It turned out to be an inconsequential spot.

Pamela had an appointment yesterday to return to the hospital for her results, and then for them to run more tests and make a decision how aggressively to proceed.

I held her in my thoughts all day.

I have always admired her for the strong, controlled woman she is -and the way she deals with the punches that life throws at her.  She does not fall down in a wet heap, but works through it, stands up, dusts herself off and comes out of the corner with her fists up.

This post is actually not about breast cancer, it is about praying.

I thought to myself yesterday, is it enough to keep Pamela in my thoughts, or is it important that I pray for her?  Or ask other people to pray for her, say via Facebook?

I am agnostic, so praying is already a bit of an issue for me.

I wondered, that if God does exists, in which ever form he/she may be  (I am just going to use he, as this is going to get cumbersome) – and knows everything and is all powerful, then surely he would know the fight that Pamela is going through already, and he would make a decision whether to assist Pamela or not to.

Would praying change the outcome for Pamela — would God be swayed by prayers?

Is he like a cricket umpire who makes a decision, and only reconsiders his decision when the players run up into his face screaming OUT or what ever they scream.  Or does he stand there unmoved, because his decision is his decisions, and he is the umpire?

It started to remind me of IDOLS or America’s Got Talent, and that a person could only move forward if enough people phoned-in in support of that person.  Is the concept of praying sort of the same?

What if no one prayed for Pamela?   Would God still assist her as much or as little as he was going to do anyway, and it was irrelevant whether 1 person prayed for her or 1000 people prayed for her?

There I sat yesterday wrestling with this beast called religion —– and prayer.

I started at one point to reason, what if I prayed for Pamela, even if I technically did not believe in a god, surely then I would still be praying and well that would be good for Pamela.

I reverted back to my proposition that if God was all seeing and all knowing, then he would recognise an insincere request from someone who is not sure whether he exists or not.  Would that count against how he had already decided how Pamela’s results were going to go?

I am not sure.  I really am not.

Pamela had a full day of testing, and the results though still breast cancer, were not as disastrous as she had initially been told.  She is booked for a biopsy on the other breast, so that they can decide on the treatment and do it all at once.

I am not sure how prayer works.

I am not sure how life and the universe works either.

I do like the power that can emanate from people who are collectively thinking the same thing, or hoping for the same thing ….. and no I am not sure how that works either.

If you want to bear Pamela in mind for the 17 November when she has her biopsy please do.

 

 

 

Going on an airplane makes me scream like a 6 year old …..

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I am really petrified of flying.

Not drink a tiny bottle of Rescue, and down a large bottle of Chenin Blanc and you will be fine “sort of scared” – I am ridiculous over anxious and constantly sure that the plane is going to fall out of the sky in flames.

None of this made any better when a friend told me that when it a passenger plane “falls out of the sky” it probably takes about 20 minutes for the plane to go from cruising altitude to the “side of the mountain” in flames.

I can’t quite imagine screaming for 20 minutes.  Without having to stop and call the air steward for a drink, because no doubt I will be parched.

If I was on Kulula, do you think they would still charge me R22.00 for a Millers if we were going to crash and burn?

I digress.

I am scared of flying.  I try to avoid flying.  Not really a big ask in my world, as jet-setter is hardly the term that would apply to my sort of life style.

That being said I flew to Johannesburg last week.  I got on a plane and I thought okay, I am going to do that thing when I curl up in the brace position and this is before I am even seated in my correct seat.  Then I am going to spend the rest of the flight screaming every time the stupid catering trolley hits that metal skirting thing in the main aisle.

Every time the metal trolley hits one of those metal strips I am convinced the plane is going to break into two.

Yes, I do realise this does not make sense.

This time I thought I would use a new tactic.

1.  Don’t think about the flight.  At all.  To the point where you actually do not even print out the ticket things to take to the airport.

2.  Do not watch any “air disaster” shows.

3.  Download a few albums onto your iphone.  Songs you know.  You know the words, and you know the order of the songs.

4,  Fit head phones in your ear.

5,  Find  a volume level where you cannot hear your heart beat, nor the possible sound of the rivets popping off the wing on take off and landing.

6.  Keep music firmly on – but pause when the air hostess does the emergency procedure, because that shit could save your life.

7. Keep ear phones in and music going – the entire flight, before, during and after.

I realise it is not a method that is going to set the “people who are shit scared of flying” community abuzz, but it worked for me.

I am normally scared totally shitless when ever I fly. I had loud music, and the fact that the music was familiar and I knew what was coming kept me at ease.

I have never been “calm” during a flight – unless I am so medicated that even swallowing my own saliva appears like a challenge out of my realm, but I flew to Johannesburg and back again, and the entire time I sat there with a reasonably content look on my face.

Without crying, not once.

Without holding on to the passenger next to me, whether I knew them or not.

Without paging the air hostess once to alert the pilot that there are several rivets on the wing that appear to be working themselves loose.

I flew.  I sort of enjoyed it.  I was not scared.

Me + Flying = winning!!

 

For f*k sake, why do PR companies get it so wrong?

{I have been wanting to post this for some time, but I keep thinking that one of the rules of media is not to alienate all the potential advertisers and PR companies.  Surely.  I have however come to the conclusion that I really am not dependent on advertisers, and PR companies .. .. or their products. So, with that in mind, here is me throwing caution to the wind ……}

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I am not exactly the darling of the media industry.

I really do not care much for free give-aways.  I don’t really want to punt your product on my blog, and I automatically delete press releases that have been spammed on to me.

I have very little interest in trying to make a living through my blog.

I like to blog.  I like to blog when I want.  About what I want.  When I want.

Nothing makes me less likely to blog than feeling forced to blog about something or someone.

I do not really want to watch my P’s and Q’s when it comes to whether I am going to have a bit of a shit fit at a later stage that may or may not involve your product or your client’s company.

I really just could not be arsed.

The last Blog Meetup I went to – there was quite a bit of talk about Bloggers and PR Companies and how we can work together.

I have had very limited experience with PR companies other than the odd SPAM.  I get really frustrated when I get press release, after press release, after fucking press release.  {though I do ask to be removed from the mailing list …. politely}

I have not posted a press release on my blog.  Ever.  I am not likely to start now.

I do try to be as courteous as I can – if you think Reluctant Mom and your client can do something together, then contact me directly with something that sort of interests me, and will appeal to my readers.

The problem is I get invited to events.  In Johannesburg.  I AM IN CAPE TOWN.

I get notified about products that have ABSOLUTELY no relevance to my life.

In get sent the same thing that almost ever blogger is sent.  So even though I MIGHT be vaguely interested in your product, when I see the same thing pop up on 5 other bloggers pages, then I am not going to be posting it on mine.

I get press releases.  I DO NOT POST PRESS RELEASES.

I get asked by PR companies about my visits/hits/pap smear results.  NO, YOU CANNOT HAVE MY NUMBERS, NOW GO AWAY!

I am sure there are lovely, bright, clever and some very talented PR people out there.

I am almost sure of it, though the evidence that I am presented with leads me to believe otherwise.

Why do PR people not work harder at forging relationships with specific bloggers, rather than spamming all of them?

Or is this a numbers game and you send 100 mail shots in the hope of getting 2 that will stick?

If so, that even makes me feel more special.  In theory I am a motorist and you are just handing out brochures at a street corner, and hoping one of us is going to read it and then go and buy your pizza {insert product} or tell a friend about it.

I can honestly say my soul dies a little every time my mail box opens and there is something from a PR company.

I want to be excited about your PR company.

I want to be wowed by the product you are trying to punt.

I want to think “wow, you are so clever you have really got my attention ……”

I love a good advertising campaign — I do.  Make me think, make me go “hey I am intrigued” and I am yours for the taking.

The problem is that your email is generic.  And so annoying that you irritate me.

I just want to delete you. With a hard delete, not the soft one where I can change my mind and go and get you out of my deleted folder later.

 

I also accept that I might be the only blogger who thinks this way, and there are PR folks who are getting it right.  Or not.