How important is this piece of material if it must have it’s own religion?”

Georgia – middle child – is unique.

I know everyone says their child is unique and special. Made up entirely from magic sperm, and a daisy encrusted egg.  They came into the world and ….. well special shit happened and and and …… yes everyone is so fucking special.

Right now “normal and standard” is the new special.  One more special Princess party on Facebook and I am going to lose my grip on reality.

Georgia came into the world in the fairly usual way — there were a few hitches along the way, that made me question the sense in ever being pregnant.  And how I was going to survive this one.   She also came into the world with the name Calum/Caleb —- I was convinced she was a boy, and did not want to hear otherwise. – so no girl’s names had been shortlisted.  It took about an hour or two to come up with a backup girl’s name.

Anyway, we can run over that story another day.

Georgia is a strange kid — some days I look at her and I really think to myself “this child is totally off the charts … like verging on bat shit crazy.”

She sees the world, and the people in  it through a lens that I do not possess.  She lives a great deal in her head — she writes stories and is constantly coming up with characters and making cards for the characters, and very complex sort of mind maps.

Georgia is a child who is happy — she is just happy.  Like every part of her is happy from the tips of her rather large feet to the top of her gorgeous head.

She loves everyone.  She hugs everyone.  Strangers.  She looks at you and you can see she is starting to tense up and she says “I need to give you a hug” and then she hugs you — and I think it is a release for her.

She does not have a mean bone in her body.  She likes everyone and she does not judge anyone in a negative manner.  I recall a time when she was trying to explain that there was a child in her class who was overweight and the weight was an important factor in the story, but she did not want to say he was fat, because she knows this is a mean thing to say … so she sat with it for a few minutes and then took another run at the story and she told me the child was round.  Again, in the kindest, least mean manner she could find.

She is fortunate that she is well liked at school and there are a few “strange” girls in her age group, so they all relish in their shared strangeness, and I hope she keeps it forever.

I do not know where Georgia came from — she is so unusual, I can’t even claim her as 100% mine.

I am a bit strange, but when I use Georgia as the scale, I am normal, like vanilla normal.  I look so main stream in comparison to her that it is embarrassing actually.

Georgia is Georgia, self created, self fulfilled and self made. We are merely facilitators that throw food at her every now and then.

Georgia often is busy with a conversation in her head, and she will blurt something out, that has nothing to do with anything that is going on —- because she does not realise you did not hear her internal thoughts.

Often I tend to disregard something she says, because there is so much strange from this child.  And some days I do actually just want to listen to the end of the song.

She often makes a statement that is so out of context, that it takes you 15 minutes to understand the context, and based on that, you can then listen to the statement or question again and it makes sense.

Or it still doesn’t and you just distract her with a colourful pencil or something.

Which is all good and stuff — but sometimes you are 20 -25 minutes into a story — because you want to be the attentive mother, and then you realise that she is telling you about a television show …..  word for freaking word …..and then you lose your mind and swear you will never listen to another one of these stories again.

I now know to ask — is this what really happened or is this from a movie or television show??  {one learns this sort of thing ….. eventually}

The result is that sometimes Georgia says things and my brain does not always “hear” her.

Yesterday I popped in to Clicks.

We already had a “weird” exchange in Pick ‘n Pay with regards to “frills” and why you can’t eat them.  That took  a lot of energy to understand what the hell she was actually saying.  (It turns out there is a sign and it is one of their new slogans….. a heads up would have been good).

I am standing there at Clicks looking at a shelf for a product, that I can see they do not have in stock.  I keep standing there staring at the shelf.  As if by the pure force of my wanting THIS product it will just appear there.

I am not sure if you ever do this — sometimes I walk away — like 5 steps and then go back to the shelf, as if something regarding their stock would change in the last 12 seconds or so.  {possibly I am not that far removed from Georgia’s strange}

I hear Georgia say something …. it’s strange enough that I go “Sorry, what Georgia?”

Georgia goes: “How important is this piece of material if it must have it’s own religion?”

I look at her — in the way I often do.

Knowing that there is something happening here I do not understand and this is going to take a long sit down and possibly two shots of tequila to get me to the other end.

I ask her to repeat herself, in case I had already had wine, and possibly had forgotten.  You now how it goes with afternoon drinking.

She repeats herself: “How important is this piece of material if it must have it’s own religion?”

I step towards her and look at her quizzically – she points to the product.

 

1703-muslinblanket

 

{In case the joke is lost on you — she was reading Muslim for Muslin}

Like any good parent would do, I snorted, laughed, praised her for being genius and did not correct her.

Let that blanket have it’s own religion.

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Finding you are not alone ….. in the toilet …. whilst you go off script

170228_toilet_time

 

I say “fuck” a lot — yes, I realise the big surprise that statement garnered.

I find it is one of those words that beautifully moulds itself around nearly every situation.

It works when you are happy “Fuck look at that wow!!”

It works when you are surprised “Where the fuck did you come from?”

It works when you a find the elusive remove “Why the fuck were you there —- ?”

It works when you are looking at some kid having a total collapse and it’s not your kid “Not my fucking monkeys people, not my fucking monkeys!”

And of course it comes into it’s own when you are really angry.

I was really angry yesterday — like burst into tears angry.  That is a special kind of angry.  It’s the kind where there are actually just not enough fucks to fit into a sentence.  And I might need a brown bag to breath in because I am going to over fucking stimulate myself.

I start using deviations “fuck’tard” “fucker” “you fuck” and so on.

I will confess it does take away a little from the magic of the word “fuck” but there are days when my fuck mug just overflows and everything just goes to shit.  I normal manage to get through an entire day with a semblance of what appears like normality.

It is actually raging crazy — but you add enough layers of margarine to anything and it will be shiny and yellow.  And no one wants to touch it.

Today I woke up angry — I tried to give myself a little “just be happy and do not kill anyone and you will get through the day” — but I realised fairly quickly I am not really a mantra sort of gal.

I have been in interviews all day — I have what feels like a million messages to read through, a few dozen call messages to return and I am at that point where I have nothing left to give.  I am tapped out.  I need a lie down — but I know I get to repeat this shit tomorrow, similar script, and that exhausts me to the freaking bone.

I got up a  little while ago to go the bathroom — its a public bathroom.  I always leave going to the bathroom to the part where I am just about to pee in my pants, or the poo is already on it’s way out.  And who said I wasn’t a thrill seeker???

I went in, assumed I was by myself.  And I started a conversation with myself.

That got more heated.  With “fucks” just being more liberal than say the situation might have called for.  The thing with talking to yourself is you rile yourself up pretty quickly — because no matter how lunatic your statement is from Voice #1, Voice #2 will just step it up to the insane level — like yeah, let’s go burn that mother fucker.  Or something like that.

I guess all our inner voices operate differently.

I was on a roll, and there is just no way you can hold a cowboy back when it’s crunch time.

I flushed and continued my little monologue — peppered —- like giant fucking black pepper grinder peppered – – with fucks and “you fuck” and so on.

I was on the way to wash my hands —- not breaking stride with my little fuck fest.

I needed a real venting moment and I was using the alone time in this bathroom to just lose what ever decorum I might have started the day with.

I was in full swing — like warming up for the dismount of the beam when I heard a noise ….. and realised that somewhere in this I was not alone.  There are only two stalls — not much place to hide.

Some poor woman was trapped in the toilet as I was going off my rocker.  No doubt she was figuring if she just sat there quietly and long enough, then I would go away and she could come out.  And maybe live.

Yes, it is a little awkward when you realise you are not alone.

Of course my over active imagination now sees every set of eyes staring at me going “bitch, I would have said the same thing…”

Yeah I know.  Fuck.

I thought it was about the peanut butter …………..

170209_peanut_butter

 

So I interview candidates.

I am one of those non-people-persons who seems to have stumbled into making a living that requires me to be a real people’s person all day.

Interview days are particularly difficult.  It is like all my energy is being pulled ripped out of me.  By the end of the day I am not literally weeping, I am actually weeping.

I am quite low on candidate numbers so I have booked three interview days per week from January through to March.  I may need to go and relook at that, as I realised today that I might not survive.

I am incredibly patient with candidates — at the end of the day I need to get the best out of her.  I spend valuable time with her to be able to get to a point where she is a candidate I can present to a client and at the same time  I try to give her some tips and suggestions and maybe see if she can see a situation from another angle.

I have had a lot of really bizarre interviews in my time, and I tend to forget them within 24 hours and not let them bother me again.  I usually do not talk about my clients or my candidates with anyone — it’s my work stuff.

Today I experienced a truly magic moment of epic proportion.

It might be that I am severely sleep deprived – insomnia has been kicking my arse all over the show for the last 4 – 6 weeks and I am really not coping during the day.  I have had medicated sleep for the the last 5 years so I know how this goes, and my medication is usually and has been just right.

But for reasons of many — right now my brain is fighting me.  The result is I struggle to fall asleep and my sleep is broken.  When the morning comes, I am pretty much broken.  Every morning.

So back to the interview — I go into a lot of detail with candidates.  I am patient.   I offer guidance, a little hug if they need it. I am Mother Theresa but with better hair, and jeans.

The candidate today is talking about why she resigned.  Candidates often go into wild detail, and run all over the show when in actual fact the reason they resigned is often a fairly simple one.  If you are able to cut through all the noise and get to it.

I have huge amounts of respect for the candidates I work with — I let them tell their story, I offer advise and encouragement.  I do a lot more than just interview.

This candidate is lamenting the fact that her previous employer only supplied bread and peanut butter spread for lunch every day.

{keep in mind I am sleep deprived, I am hopped up on caffeine and ritalin and my people skills got left at the school kerb this morning —- I am one step away from flying over the cuckoos nest myself at this point — I have murder on my mind and that was because I have been awake since 06h10 ….}

I nod and she just goes on and on about this peanut butter thing.  I am trying to identify with her as the victim.

I explain I hate peanut butter. Like intensely.

Then in a very gentle tone I explain the onus does not rest on the employer to supply lunch.  If an employer supplied bread, tea, coffee and a spread — then great.

It’s been given to you — they do not actually have to supply it.

There is a perception that an employer must supply lunch and thus an expectation, but the reality is that it is not a right.The issue I am having is that not only is she expecting lunch, but she is unhappy with lunch —- and I am trying to understand the situation.

Listen I have heard stories from candidates about employers that really make your jaw slacken —– and usually your facial features are arranged in a WTF?  So in this I am not trying to vilify anyone, I am trying to understand the situation — the actual situation — and then understand where her dissatisfaction crept in.

I explained I have never worked a job where they gave me lunch.  I told her that my first job was at a bakery — the irony was at lunch time we had to go the bakery next door and buy a pie, because the bakery we worked at was not interested in our shit, and they were not going to give us a roll.

She is still muttering about her peanut butter.

This peanut butter issue clearly goes deep.

I am nodding, and making all the coo’ing sounds and what ever else you need to do in a hostage negotiation process.

Then I think, okay let’s move this on.  Let’s find out what the solution would have been instead of say, resigning from that job, because you lost your shit about there only being peanut butter on the menu.

I ask her, okay, what did you expect your employer to supply you for lunch —- she is still muttering about peanut butter — so I say it again with a bit more force — what would you expect your employer to supply you for lunch?

I make eye contact with her, I lean in.  I nod and smile in an encouraging manner.

I show her my compassion for her peanut butter issue —- I encourage her to just tell me what it is that her employer should have given her.  Which might have prevented her from resigning, and now being unemployed.

I sit there and wait for her to build up the courage to impart this secret to me — this yearning she has carried.  This feeling that life has not treated her well, that somehow her employer was not doing right by her.

She looks at me — I can see we are about to have a break through moment …..

 

…………………..

 

…………………..

 

I am tingling a little –  this conversation has gone on for a very long time, I am heavily invested at this point

 

…………………..

 

…………………..

 

………………… “polony” ………….fucking polony

 

…………………..

 

…………………..

 

She wanted her employer to give her polony and not peanut butter. So she resigned.  Over polony.

 

I can’t —– I actually can’t.  And you think your job offers you opportunities to grow into a stronger person. Mine is “Postcards from the Edge” material.

 

…………………..

 

…………………..

 

You know that exact moment in the day when you sit there, reflect on your life, the choices you have made, and the series of decisions that has brought you to this moment and you go ………………… polony ………….fucking polony …. my job is about polony.

 

…………………..

…………………..

How I don’t kill more people I will never know.  I deserve an award some days.  Not today.  But some days.

 

 

When did parents become such arseholes?

170208_arseholeparent

I have written a few blogs about this, but have not posted them.  I get distracted when the squirrel walks past.

I am starting to become aware that when a person has a child — through what ever route — somehow there is this perception that somehow they are terribly special.  And their off spring is the most special in the universe.

Like not special-class special, but more “the Chosen One” special.

I drop Connor off at his school in the mornings – he is at Fairmont High School.

I have only good things to say about the school.

I drive him to school. Because he refuses to walk.  I have tried to press him on the issue, then he starts using phrases like child abuse ….. and quoting the Childline number. I drop him at school and watch him walk through the school gate.

Once he is through the gate he is someone else’s problem.  That people, is how parenting works.

You can imagine — if you can’t — try —big school, lots of kids. Most cars are dropping one child off — at most two, so there are a lot of cars moving through the gates from 06h45 – 07h50.  It’s controlled chaos basically.

The school has various drop off points.  You can drop your child off at one of the side gates, and the result is it reduces the congestion with everyone trying to enter the school.

Makes sense.  It’s a really good system.  Very easy to understand and follow.

At every drop off point there are red lines – clear red lines – so you know not to park OR STOP your car there.  If you do it creates a situation where other cars cannot pass or see you or what ever.  It’s a red line.  IT’S A CLEAR RED LINE.

I don’t care if you only need a minute.  It isn’t going to take a minute -it never does.  More importantly when did your minute get more important than my minute??

Basic basic stuff.  Red means no.  When you see any other colours you can do anything you want to.When you see red with regards to road and traffic,  it means no or stop. Or pull over we are going to be doing a breathalyzer.

Dropping off is simple.  You drive up.  Pull up close to the kerb where there is no red line.

Stop your car, put it in neutral, kick your offspring out the car.

He fumbles in the boot for his bag. He finally gets his shit together and as he walks past the passenger window he says something like “Bye mom” and every now and then I will scream out something like “I love you so much my boy — have a really lovely lovely day —- mommy loves you!!”

You know, anything to embarrass him.  I like to keep it fresh so he never really knows what is coming. I like the fear in his eyes each morning.

I don’t do it every day — I save it for holidays and high days.

Anyway, yesterday — I drive up.  (this happens almost every day, I am only blogging about it now, because though the diarrhea post I have is funnier, I am not going to put it up — I am trying to hold on to my dignity though it is a losing battle)

It’s a single road – so one lane up, one lane down, and the road has a right angle bend in it.

There is endless places you can drop your kid off without parking/stopping on the red line.

Sure, it means your butter ball might have to walk 20 meters, but you know I think they will live.  These are high school kids, not infants — I think we can trust them to walk 20 meters without starting a meth lab, joining a cult or getting a tattoo.

I shit you not.  One person in the up lane is parked/stopped on the red line whilst they are dropping off their overlord-and-master.  Then there is another person in the down lane dropping off their own saviour-of-the-world, also parked/stopped on the red line.

The result is no one.  NO. FUCKING. ONE. who is parked in the right place can go anywhere.

I am sitting in the middle of the road, whilst I am watching these shallow DNA pool swimmers dropping off their lucky sperm.  Of course because they are kids (the ones going to the school not driving) they always take long, or drop something or what ever.

This is what kids do.

There the rest of us sit, and watch these two mother (literally) fuckers back up the entire road.  In both directions.  You know, because they just need a minute.

I try my very best to be patient with people, but fek me — even I have my limits.

I could totally understand if the drop off point was so congested you had to park 200km away.

Totally, got your back.  Then you can put your stupid car anywhere.  But no, there is actually a great deal of road without red lines.  That is where the rest of us, with our the fruit or fruits of our loins/babies from various daddies/princes of Maine are stopping — if you looked up long enough from your self absorbed existence and noticed you might notice the mild irritation on our faces.

I know it is very hard to actually absorb your effect on other people when you are sitting next to the prince/princess/the chosen one.  I get it — all that closeness to greatness can be a bit blinding.

Granted the PLEASE ONLY STOP HERE spots are not 20cm from the gate you want your little angel to walk through.  I think they have legs for something or legs that work. Again, if you kid is in a wheel chair or in a full body brace I might go … okay maybe let’s let this one slide —- but then use the main gate, that has special parking parking for special people.

All these fuck-wits have to do is drive maybe 20 – 30 meters, and they could park/stop and the kids could get out, and we would not have to be involved in their dim little lives.

But no — “fuck that” they thought.

We will just put our cars right over here and now you, and you, and you, and especially you, can watch whilst our off spring gets out the car, unpacks their shit, drops their hockey/polo/beat a child to death stick — and then —- still has a chat with mom and dad….. at about this point I am losing touch with sanity.

Whilst we all sit here in contemplative silence thinking about ways to beat you to death with the wheel jack, or what ever we can find in our car on short notice.

I swear I was sitting there saying things that made Lil’ Wayne blush.  He eventually stopped singing on the CD and said “yo-yo-yo bitch, yo man, yo man… coming down a bit hard on the fucks … just be chill like…..” (it’s my story I can tell it anyway I feel it happened — prove it didn’t happen that way I dare you)

When these things happen you always think you are alone in the universe.

This is happening to you and obviously everyone else is fine with it.

I was really saying some fairly unkind things.

I had violence and rage running at full tilt.  This does not happen once — there is never one prick in the school having an emergency morning. There are dozens of them, all self entitled and assuming you can just sit back and wait whilst they ignore the rules and basically fuck up your day whilst you have to watch them be the fuck ups they woke up to be.

I aim my anger and rage mainly at the parent.  At a certain point I start to go for the child.

If the parent/adult person is this stupid then my guess is there is going to be something inherited there.  We —- yes we, this is a village issue people—- need to consider flushing out the DNA pool.  As a group, to at least delay the low IQ apocalypse, or at the very least save some water.

In all of this, I had so much time to take in the scenery and all of that shit — well because I am sitting there waiting for Prince William to get himself organised and all.

I looked in my rear view mirror and there was a mom who had dropped her kid off NOT ON THE FUCKING RED LINE.  She was going off, like OFF. Proper.  Which made my going-off look like I had maybe dropped a spot of Nutella on my almost black jean pant, and it was a slight inconvenience as I dabbed it with my wet wipe.

This mom person was dressed for work, all neat and proper and she was going off like a lunatic.  I think she was in Stage 5 of the use of the middle finger. I actually didn’t realise that fingers could do that —  I couldn’t read her lips but I am almost sure she was using the word po#s there with reckless abandon.

I stopped ranting to watch her.  She was that impressive.  Even in the rear view mirror.

I do wish you and I could have spent more time together.  I felt we were kindred spirits there for a little while.  I heart you, who ever you are.

Finally these two fuckers drop their “reason for living off” move their respective cars and drive away.  Allowing the rest of us to get on with our lives.

Yesterday like every day, I shrug it off and do not think about it again.  Because what am I going to do? Change direction and follow them, and when they park their car go along and key the side of the car …. I mean I could.  I could plan my mornings that way.

I have more flexibility on a Monday and a Friday, so lets just see how the week pans out.

I am trying to look at this and think that maybe someone else will take charge here.  Get out of their car with a baseball bat and take care of one of these annoying vehicles.  Taking a few swings at their front lights or their side mirrors.  I can’t describe the joy that thought gives me.

My money is on the mom behind me yesterday.  Chick, who ever you are, I am backing you in this episode of Mad Moms!!  I will be your alibi if you need one.

This morning I am dropping Connor off –  same thing I parked in the area without the red line.  Child gets out of car with necessary luggage.  Walks the required 12 steps and is in the school gate.  Easy.

I accelerate, as you do. To move to the part of the road where I can drive.  Away.  To work.

But no – because some fucker mother (see what I did there?) has decided that the red line is a good place to sort of park/stop — that the rules do not apply to her and her liebchen.

She has actually beaten the odds and done red line and sort of middle of the road park/stop (it is not a very wide road).  In one move she has fucked it up for everyone.

Close enough to the corner that the folks behind her have to sit and stare at her as well.

She isn’t even in a huge SUV.  She is in a Paleo (or what ever) fucking smurf car — like how the fuck do you manage to take up so much space with that??

How is it possible?  She beat the odds,.  This stupid cow peaked in areas that I did not realise were even a competition to peak in.

Of course her fucking gifted daughter dropped something and then needed to leopard crawl under the car to get it.  No worries we will just sit here as we watch our lives slip away from us.  Be late for fucking everything because you didn’t use a condom 15 or 16 years a go!!!

I didn’t even curse this morning (yes I realise how unlikely that sounds — I think I had used up all up my fucks and fuck-me’s yesterday).   I really just sat there with that look of amazement on my face and doing that thing.

That thing where you put your hands on the steering wheel, lift them up in awe with your palms still resting on the steering wheel, so you are sort of doing controlled jazz hands. Then you put the fingers down, grip the steering wheel so your knuckles go white — and keep repeating this movement as long as what ever is happening in front of you continues.

It’s the WTF sign with a steering wheel.

I am sure If this happens at all schools — because Fairmont High School surely cannot have the most clueless parents.  They appear like such nice people when they are not in their cars.

Parents cannot be this self absorbed they do not notice they are impacting on the rest of the world, in their aim to do what ever they need to do for their offspring —- because their shit for brains is more important than mine.

Surely other schools have these parents too.

I do not have a solution.  I have some more swear words though.

If YOU are a parent — if you are one of THESE parents at Fairmont High — then stop being an arsehole.

This is not an AA meeting.  You do not need to introduce yourself and tell us you are an arsehole, and when your last arsehole action was.

We have watched you on the red line, because we can’t go anywhere.  We know you are an arsehole.

BECAUSE YOU ARE PARKED/STOPPED ON THE FUCKING RED LINE even if it was only for a freaking minute!!!

We are asking you to recognise you are being an arsehole. Maybe if you admit it, seek some assistance and just don’t park or stop on the goddamn red line, then, well we can all be lekker again.

Just don’t be that MOFO ARSEHOLE who puts their time ahead of all of ours.  Then blocks us in so we have to sit and stare at you — you do know your car has glass? We can see you, your stupid face and all that.

Don’t be a parking arsehole at school (we can deal with retail spaces another day)  — it’s not cool and it’s not lekker.  Just stop it. For the love of all things good.

Choose not to be an arsehole today.  Come on, we are actually rooting for you to not be an arsehole — be a sunflower or a fucking rainbow, but not an arsehole.

So what actually happened? Please read this post — and tell me the wisdom of how we live through things like this.

I am not sure if you have read this post.

So what actually happened? This is how the best day turned into the worst day of my life 

This post, like everything else in my life, is me arriving late.  When everyone else is aware of something except me,  who holds the title of the designated idiot in the room.

I read this post about two nights back — I have had a run of insomnia and I am not sure how this post appeared on my feed.

How do you read this sort of post without your life changing?

Without your soul shifting — in one way or another?

How do you read this post and not sit there and consider, that you just DO NOT have any words.

No words to express the pain or to add comfort to a situation that is so painful that there just are not words in the English language that you could use?  That work.  That …. that are.

I read this post in contemplative silence.  I then got to the end and sat there and stared at it and realised that there wasn’t some magic ending.

There was no “Come to Jesus” moment or a “not a surprise this always happens” American movie ending where the hero sweeps in to save the day, to the soundtrack of some powerful music — there was just a family destroyed. No movie.  No nightmare to wake up from.

A life cruelly taken.  And nothing made sense.  Not to me.

Nothing.

I am agnostic, at best.  I cannot take comfort in religion — how do you find comfort here??  If the higher power took this child, how do you sit and say this higher power has a purpose for this child being taken??

Why could the higher power maybe not have just not taken this little boy, and maybe all the other little boys and girls — why do we have a higher power who does this?

Why this little boy — why so cruelly snatched away?  I do not understand.  My brain cannot comprehend or hold this thought.

natey_canter

{I hope Jane Fraser does not mind me using this image of her son —- her Natey}

How is this part of a plan of some mystical imaginary higher power?

How do I sit here, as a parent, and not wonder what if this was one of mine?

What if this was one of yours?

I have no words.

I have no words of comfort.

I have no words that can sooth the pain this family must be feeling.  I do not have words that can even comprehend this level of pain.

Why is there not a word in the English language for a parent who has lost a child?

I have no words that can explain why something like this would happen?

I have no words that I can use to explain in my head how and why this happens — and how we as parents can live through this loss.  Tell me how?

I have no words that can even touch on the pain – that can make it less tender, that can make it somehow less.

I have no words for Jane.

I have no words for her family.

I have no words for Natey.

I have no words for me.  Or you.

Read the story — hold your children a bit closer.  Put your face against their heads and smell their hair.  Avoid the urge to tell them to go and wash it — just smell them.

When they are fighting over the stupid things that children do — just smile, and count yourself as lucky.

Last night I had Isabelle with me — I had some medication to force me to sleep.  I was doing a 3 – 4 day run of not sleeping properly.  And I was at that point where reality starts to blur from insomnia and I was ready to sell my soul for sleep.  Or a donut.

Isabelle lay on my shoulder – she was sleeping in my bed.  I had put the lights off, it was 20h15.  I was searching through my podcasts for a story she may enjoy, which she could fall asleep to — it was still light outside, but she understood mom was tired and needed an early night.

I felt the weight of her.  I felt that warm hot musty breath that only young children have — I realised she had fallen asleep nestled against me.  On my shoulder.  Her body a little sweaty.  Her long eyelashes on her cheeks.

I thought of Jane and Natey —- I didn’t cry.  I closed my eyes and just breathed my child in.  Counted my luck/blessings/the twists of fate that made this moment possible.

I fell asleep with the weight of her against my shoulder and her presence against my skin.

Today I am crying.

My guess is tomorrow I will cry a bit more.

{I really hope Jane Fraser does not take offense that Natey has become the collective Natey to a lot of people.  I did not know this little boy — I was not that fortunate.  But there is a part of him somewhere in my spirit — somewhere in my consciousness he holds a space — he is there — I can’t explain it.}

 

 

 

Breastfeeding and my 5 cents ……

Breastfeeding in public.

Okay, this has sort of hit the level of people losing their shit and images of eating in a toilet cubicle to prove a point.

All very valid observations.

I breast fed my trio – I tended to opt to sit in a both or to the side of a restaurant (if we were out) and I normally had shirt that could lift easily and then I had a blanket I would throw over me.

Keeping in mind that I did not know anyone who had children at the time, I was not in a mommy gang, so I did not know all the stuff that moms seem to know now and feel entitled to. I felt like I was navigating this all alone and stumbling my way through.

Yeah, it was not ideal, especially if baby got hot, and sweaty, but I tried to retain some of my own dignity and at the same time not to shove my heaving milk soaked bosom in someone’s face.

It was about finding the balance between the two.

I am not sure if there were people who were still a bit “horrified” even if I was covered up, I was too busy trying to shovel food in with one hand whilst it was warm.

I recall going to friends for dinner/lunches and though I followed the more or less same routine, possibly not as rigidly, I know it would upset K and he would prefer it if I went off somewhere and fed the kids.

I recall with Connor – born December 2001 – my brother was visiting from where ever far off land he had been in, and he asked me to go into Cape Town with him to do something or another.  I recall us walking through Cape Town station and I could feel my breasts were doing that thing where they are packing 500 litres of milk, and one whimper from Connor and there was going to be this wave of full cream milk for everyone.

I explained to Bruce that we should find somewhere and I suggested a coffee shop and said ideally if they had booths that would work, but I was not that fussed, we just needed to get there in the next 5 – 10 minutes to avert the two puddles of milk I was going to have on my shirt.

As we walked through the station, we got to the outside section where the stalls are normally set up.

I walked past this black woman (nationality unknown) and she had her t-shirt pulled up around her neck area.  She had her infant sort of on her lap, and grasping a nipple.  She was not really holding the infant as she needed her hands to explain something that requires furious hand gestures, so that baby was holding said nipple for dear life.

I walked past and was mesmerized by those being the biggest nipples I felt I had ever seen in my 29 years or so on this planet and then the next point occurred to me.

This woman, was feeding her child without giving a crap about anyone else and there hangups.  No shits were given that day.

People were walking past her in droves and no one turned around and told her to pack away her boobs or go and sit in a cubicle somewhere.  No one called over a manager and indicated that this was indecent.

I thought of her whilst I made my way to which ever coffee shop we could find and as I adjusted my shirt, unclipped by breastfeeding bra, made sure he was snuggled close and that the blanket did not reveal any of my top half and I latched him.

I sat there and thought about all the effort I was putting in to this to save both my dignity and protect everyone else from having to witness my breasts, and I thought that between myself and that lady on the bench one of us was doing it wrong.

Granted I would not have been comfortable with whipping mine out, but when I was breast feeding I did stop thinking of my breasts as breasts — they became a source of food and functional items.

So here is my question – why are we so obsessed with this topic?  Why does it have to become a thing? Why do there have to be so many painful memes about it?

Breastfeeding is a personal choice.

How you breastfeed is a personal choice.

I do agree that my breasts are my breasts, and possibly not everyone wants to take a gander at them.

That is fine, and in so doing I will do the best, within reason, to cover myself and in this way be courteous to other people.

But when and how did breastfeeding become such a contentious issue??

In my opinion I think every one has the right to breastfeed where and when they please.  At the same time it needs to be done with some sense of courtesy for those around you.

Anyway, I am sure I have come about a half dozen years to late to this conversation, but there you are.

 

 

The one about the chicken sexer …..

chick-sexer

 

This is me sitting with a friend of mine having a chat.

The story does not really need any background – it works on it’s own.

But to give it context, she has this ex-husband who is always resigning to go and do things that are “great” but don’t guarantee an income.  They usually have the word “volunteer” in the title.

She on the other hand is working a heavily pressurized position, trying to recover from a financial shit storm which was not her creation, and is still doing work after her son is in bed.  To try and make enough money to pay rent, buy one ply toilet paper and maybe boil some water.

I am not one to step in the way of anyone’s dreams to be what ever the hell they want.  The problem is that his constant search for his dreams, means she is having to financially, emotionally and physically carrying the bucket for their son.

I was trying to explain to her what if she did what he does.  Decides to resign and pursue “her dream job” and drop their son off with him from 1 December.  From then on he would need to provide everything, and maintain a job and so on.  Possibly it would assist him to learn to dig in an endure a kak job sometimes, because that is what pays the bills.

I wanted to use an example of a dream career (but slightly ludicrous) which she could suggest to him.  I seriously came up with : ballerina, a horse urine tester and a chicken sexer.

I have no idea why any of those would be dream jobs and why I could not be normal and think of normal dream jobs.  I wanted to parody the conversation she would have with her ex-husband, so this is how this started:-

Me: Tell him you want to be a chicken sexer.

Her: What’s a chicken sexer?

Me: The person who checks the sex of the chicks. If the chick is a cock they usually snap the neck.

Her: ……

Me: Because you can’t eat cocks. They keep the hens.

Her: What do you mean you can’t eat cock{s} ….. (said with a very worried and concerned tone in her voice …. like very concerned}

Me: ……

Her: …… (realizing what she is saying)

Result: Me and her actually laughing to the point where we are falling off the couch screaming with laughter.

Pick ‘n Pay … Larry … Stikeez … Super Animal Cards …. and my changing wine purchasing habits ….

I had some less than complementary things to say last time about Larry from Pick ‘n Pay and his band of underlings who introduced the Stikeez concept into their stores.

I recall I had suggested that “I hope you get a case of chlamydia – you and your entire team.  And it is drug resistant.”

It was based on my own selfish need to walk around Pick ‘n Pay with my earphones in.  Getting what ever I need.  With no need to interact with anyone.  With no one demanding something from me.

I would go home and be grateful for my 15 minutes of “me time.”

I do realise it is a sad state of affairs when your “me time” is you shopping at a retailer.  Motherhood starts with you having high ideals, and then degenerates into being happy that you can pee alone.  True story.

My kids do not want to come shopping with me – I took it as a 15 – 45 minute free “ME” time moment.

For a parent with three children, I have come to put a high value on time to-be-by-myself-without-having-to-wipe-someone’s-bum-or-to-tell-a-sibling-to-stop-hitting-the-other-sibling-with-a-empty-bottle.

I rate that time highly.  And I get agitated when someone is about to encroach on that time.

Larry and his Stikeez came along and my shopping experience went to hell in a hand-basket.

I was subjected to queues with children whining and strained parents wondering if they should just buy 15 R10.00 items so they can get a Stikeez.  So that maybe.  Just maybe.  They can have a break from their whiny off-spring for just a few moments.  Peace, sweet peace.

Moms and dads with two Stikeez and three children were standing in Pick ‘n Pay trying to decide which was their least favourite child for the day.

One Stikeez, three children is just not an equation that works.  Even with standard grade mathematics.

Kids were crying and moaning.  You give them a Stikeez.  They are happy and joyous.  It lasts for 0.25 seconds.  The kid opens the bag and it is the one they have already.  Then the world ends.

They are whingeing again to their parents to get them another Stikeez.  Parents are staring at cashiers thinking “please save me ….. for the love of all things good ….. save me..”

And the Pick ‘n Pay cashier places a protective hand over the Stikeez box.  Clearly been trained on how quickly this situation can turn violent.  And she has been coached to protect the Stikeez at all costs.  All.  Costs.

stikeez

It was all a very unpleasant time for many of us.

I think as a nation of parents with young kids, we came together in our loathing for the fact that Pick ‘n Pay was getting us to “bribe” our children, for their silence.  At R150.00 a pop.

It’s a bit like gambling.

I just have to spend R150.00 and I will get 5 minutes of Johnny being happy. I will be the best parent in the world. Granted for only 5 minutes, but it will be the best 5 minutes of my life!!

Shit, not another penguin. Johnny has that one, and is now going full siren sound and blowing bubbles out of his nose as he screams for another Stikeez.  

Oh fuck it, I am this far in.  Here is another R150.00 — let’s see what I get ….. ah fek, another fecking penguin!!  What fresh hell is this?

People without children are looking on in horror and thinking, you know I  don’t think I am quite ready to come off birth control just yet.  “Honey I think you need to get some condoms …..”

This year Pick ‘n Pay has launched the Super Animals Card Campaign.

wildanimals

I will confess I braced myself, and prepared to run away from home, or change my retailer until this shit was over.

I still had vivid memories of the last campaign.

It was like Checkers and Spar were on to it.  Collectively deciding that “fek you parents” and  each released their own spend-R150.00-and-we-will-give-you-shit-your-kid-wants-and-will-whine-itself-into-a-stupor-to-beg-you-to-get-another Campaign.

I decided to pull my jacket on tighter against this storm, and just push through.  I was looking braver than I was feeling.

As a rule I do not shop with the kids – they are either at home or I have locked them in the car with no windows open (or you can hear their moaning) – either way, they are not with me.

I paid for my items and the cashier gave me Super Animal Cards.

I thought …. seriously, are my kids really going to get all excited about this?  {using an inside voice that drips of disdain}

It appears that Pick ‘n Pay knows my kids better than I do.

My 14 years old feels that unless it’s Pokémon it is a total waste of time.  So the campaign was lost on him.

The girls however were in hook, line and sinker!!

Then the whinging began.  It started with questions and has moved to full-scale instructions.

Did you go to Pick ‘n Pay today?

Have you got cards on you?

Go buy sweets and get cards from Pick ‘n Pay. <7 year old>

7 year old barely acknowledges me unless I have a Pick ‘n Pay bag – then she is in full frisk-me mode.  I have stopped being mom I have become “do you have any Animal cards?”

The cards are actually nice — the girls are learning names of animals they probably would never have known otherwise.  The little pop up facts on the cards are also quite nicely done.

It is however, similar to Stikeez, in the constant demand for more, no matter how much they have it remains relentless.

Re. Fucking. Lent.  Less.

It’s given me insight into what living with a crack addict must be like.

The overwhelming urge at Pick ‘n Pay to spend at least R300.00 so I can get two cards.  Two kids = two cards.

When  all I want is this one bottle of wine at R39.00.  Ah well, 8 bottles it is then.  That is the sort of lengths I am willing to go to make my children happy.  That people is parenting!!

The girls have got the book, the little box thing, the sound thing.  All of it.  It really does keep them busy for lengths of time.

I am not that person who is going to set up a meet with other moms/dads/psychopaths to swap my kids cards out so they can have the full set.

Yeah, that seems like way too much commitment to this project.

Being a shitty parent, with little in the way of things which strike the fear of Gd into my children, I have realised that nothing ends an argument quicker than threatening to take a few Super Animals cards away.

It wins hands down at the moment as the thing, most likely, to stop them beating the crap out of each other.

It ends the high-pitched glass-shattering screaming that only two girls can do.

It acts as a very convenient leverage to encourage kids to clean up their rooms and hang up the fecking wet towels which are lying on the goddamn floor.

I no longer have to stand there beseeching them.

I now give clear instructions <but in a threatening tone> “these towels better be hung up, PROPERLY, in the next 15 seconds or I am taking a Super Animal Card from each of your collections.  And you, 14 year old, will be losing wi-fi!!!  {he does not give a toss about the cards, but wi-fi is like oxygen to him}

Thanks Larry at Pick ‘n Pay – you have definitely pushed up my wine purchasing habits.  Not that it needed much in the way of motivation, but there you are.

I trust you and your team are all chlamydia free — wishing you all the best!

 

Post related to this topic:  https://reluctantmom.wordpress.com/2015/08/11/larry-at-a-pick-n-pay-and-my-wishes-around-a-venereal-disease/

 

I am still excited about voting ……….

It is the run up to the Municipal Elections on Wednesday.

I have checked I am on the roster. I know where I must vote. I have my ID book.

I am excited at the prospect of voting.  I am looking forward to Wednesday.

I have been given this right because there were thousands of people who fought for my right to vote, and who died to ensure that it is something that is given to every citizen of this country.

A hundred years ago (far less, but that is not what this is about) as woman, irrelevant to what my colour was, I did not have the right to vote.  My voice did not get a chance to be heard.

I was born in 1972.  I lived through the apartheid era.

I lived through some of the worst times in South African history, but I am one of the lucky ones.  I got to live through it.  I got to see our mistakes.

I got to be proud when we became a democratic country with a democratic elected president.

I got to stand in the queue when millions of people who had never had a chance to vote, got that chance.

I remember that day.  And every time I stand in a queue, I smile because I remember how monumental that day was.

And it makes me happy.  And proud of how far we have come.

I also remember how so many people felt we would go the same way as Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, how we needed to prepare for the biggest civil war ever experienced, how “they” were going to come and take our properties, our lives and our children.

Then we voted.  And we went home.

It was okay.

I am not denying that we have experienced our share of violence, political or otherwise – we are not a perfect country.

I am not suggesting that it has all been unicorns and rainbow farts.  I am however getting really exhausted by the amount of shit that is shared on Facebook.

Any article that indicates that this election may not be free and fair is shared, and shared and shared some more.

Does anyone actually stop and read the article, properly and then ask themselves, what benefit is there in sharing this crap? This information that at a glance can be seen as total twat material?

So why do you choose to share it.  What good will come out of sharing this shit on your time line?

No, it appears that the joy is in the sharing.

The adding to the “noise” that our elections are flawed and do not matter.

That my vote has no value.  That your vote has no value.

My future is in my hands on Wednesday.  I get to cast my vote — my vote.

And everyone else in South Africa gets to do the same thing.

Can South Africans who are not fleeing to Canada this week, just take a breath.  Remember how far we have come.  What we have achieved.

What we have become, even when everyone expected flames and blood shed.

I am going to case my vote on Wednesday.

I am telling my children that I get a chance to have my say in the direction that this country heads.  I get one vote.  I try to make them excited every year about voting, so that when they turn 18 they want to run up and vote —- not sit back with glazed eyes and mumble apathy.

What are you teaching your children by putting this shit on your time line and breathing out this negativity?

You get to vote.  Even after all the shit you have shared on FB, you get to vote too.

Instead of wasting your time sharing shit on Facebook, stop, go and do some actual research.  Ignore the big headline with the crap copy in it.

Start for once to believe that South Africa is probably the best place to live — well it is for me.  I am not blind to what is wrong in this country, but I am optimistic that South Africa should not be discounted just yet.

Listen if Canada rings your bells, then take a flight and go there.  Like now.

But try not to piss in the pool that the rest of us are sitting in with our G&T’s whilst we wait to cast our votes.

Wednesday is coming —- cast your vote!!

ballot-box-4-FEATURE-390x256

 

“The whole mall is fucked up …”

“The whole mall is fucked up …” truer words have never been uttered before by a spokesperson – alive or dead.

1607-Godfrey_Mashakgomo

Godfrey Mashakgomo, we salute you.  I have spend time stalking you, and I am really hoping this is the first of many many “take no shit” approaches to things that are fucked up.

You are our hero, our oracle.

I am not sure how you are still a Mall spokesman — I personally think you should be snatched up by a corporate who give you free rein.  They won’t need to tell you to speak the truth, because your truth is unquestionable at this moment in time.

I admire your use of the word FUCK.  Eloquent.  Not too vulgar, just the right amount of “see what happens when you put a few million liters of water on a mall roof” and I think we can agree that more people have read about Tembisa Mall that would have had you erred on the side of “right speak” ……

When you say “the mall is fucked up” I immediately understand the extent of the problem.  I saw the pictures of the roof, you are right that mall is fucked up …… there is just no better way to say it than you did.

I get it.

I see it.

If I had more PR companies that contacted me and said “listen this product is total shite, but give it a go, you may like it, we fucking hated it over here —- but see what happens …. write a review, don’t write a review, we actually do not give a fuck” ……….. I would probably be more inclined to actually read the press releases, and possibly even take a sniff of the formaldehyde.

Unfortunately their well worded emails bore the shit out of me, and I want to run them over with my car.  It would be a mercy killing.  They show no signs of life anyway.

Godfrey Mashakgomo — well done.  Well fucking done!!!!  You have put Tembisa mall on the map.

I hope that people are scrambling over each other to offer you spokesman position — actually fuck spokesperson positions, maybe you can just be a commentator on the political situation or something ……  I can’t think what, but I have a feeling we have not heard the last of you (I pray we have not heard the last of you).

 

its all fucked up

 

Read the original comments here:

http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/people-injured-as-roof-at-tembisa-mall-collapses-during-storm-20160726

And see the picture of the mall that is “fucked up” …………

Godzilla counts 1-Mississippi-2-Mississippi-3-Mississippi ….. and other coping mechanisms

Kennith has a significant other/plus one/special friend – I am not sure of the level of the relationship so not sure of the title.  She however is sufficiently part of his life, and thus my kids that I notice her on my children.

Yes, I know and you thought divorce was a fucking party from the beginning to the end.

I do not know Kennith’s partner – I really don’t.  I am not one of those people who go and stalk them.  Actually I am.  That is exactly who I am.

However in this case because I have decided to exercise some self restraint and I have opted out of this.

The less I know about her – the less material I will have to work with in my head (more on that later.)

My kids – for those who are new to this – is a 15 year old son, and then two daughters who are 10 year old and a 7 year old respectively.

My son could be living with Martha Stewart and he would still remain in his jammies until 12h00 and not give a flying shit whether his hair had not been washed since April.  He is not one of those kids who is overly concerned with his appearance.

The night before last I convinced him to take the dog for a walk.  In his jammies.  Initially he said “n0” and explained that these were his jammies.  I gasped in horror and said that he was looking rather snappy today, and there was no way I would have guessed his little ensemble was “ready for bed” attire.

Anyway he eventually took the dog for a walk.

I am sure one day soon he is going to spend hours on his hair and his get up, but that time is not quite now.  His idea of a great time is to go fishing for 12 hours straight.  The aroma of fish and red bait is hardly a deterrent to him.  He looks like a drowning survivor or a homeless person by the time I see him after a day with a rod, but he does not give a fig.

I can’t imagine anyone is going to influence how Connor steps out or presents himself.  Unless Kennith shacks up with a hardcore fisherman, then I think Connor will swoon and be forever in ecstasy.

The girls are girls, and have slightly stronger opinions on what they will wear, what they won’t and what they like.  They are not mad totally obsessed girls, but they get generally put together an outfit of one kind of another.  Georgia has a very odd idea here of what works, but sometimes we just let her go out as she chose to dress, and we praise her for her individuality.  And her bravery.

As time has moved on and Kennith has moved into a role of dressing the children, I have got used to what to expect in terms of what he chooses.

I know how he does their hair, and I can see when he has been in charge of “getting dressed, teeth brushed, hair done and out the door.”

Then there are the days I fetch the girls from school and I can immediately see that this is not all Kennith’s handiwork.  And I can recognise when there has been another person in this equation.

It’s such a stupid thing.

I arrive at school, and I immediately freeze.  I try to position my face into a sublime expression and smilingly move towards the girls for an embrace and hugs.  Sorry, I then proceed to sniff them — its really something I do.

So far I have not smelt Jessie on them, and for that I say a quiet thank you.

Jessie is Kennith’s partner and of course she is going to be involved with the girls.  Logically I can look at this and nod, and go of course.  Come on, its fine.

But the jealous those-are-my-fucking-children-monster unfortunately has more of this sort of a reaction …

godzilla01

My girls are young and they are loving friendly girls.

They are not highly suspicious of strangers, and a girl close to their age is going to appeal to them.  So to add to my “well isn’t that nice” I get to hear loads of information about Jessie.  And I can see (or I assume I can see) when she has had a hand in doing their hair or picking an outfit.

I am seriously only able to maintain my sweet and gentle demeanor because I know I am never more than 8 hours away from wine o’clock.

The other day I dropped by the house to collect/fetch someone/something and Isabelle wasn’t there, and I asked “where is Isabelle” only to be told she is out with Jessie.

Again the logical part of me goes, well isn’t that lovely.  Its so great Kennith has found a partner who likes the children and wants to spend time with them.  Right?  The logical side.

But then there is the other side that looks a lot like this …..

motherbear

Here is the irony in the Game of Divorce ….. it has been okay for Kennith to leave the kids with Jessie pretty much from when he knew her for 21 minutes.

There was no big issue. I definitely did not need to be consulted, and I was not really in a position to raise a flag and go “hey who the fuck is Jessie?”

However as I generally date people with penises, that sort of changes things.

If Kennith arrived and found out that the girls were out with someone who knew me, who owned a penis, there would be a shit storm of the size I could not even begin to fathom.

So this story really has no point really. It however does raise frustrations about having to deal with a “girl person” who is in a relationship with my children.  No matter potentially how nice that girl person is.

People with penises and people with vaginas are different in terms of how long you must know the person to leave your children with them.  That has been made quite clear to me.

Its a complicated formula, and I am not 100% sure of how it works, it just is, and that appears to be sufficient for it to exist as a law.

No matter how rational you appear, no matter how many times you count 1-Mississippi-2-Mississippi-3-Mississippi- you still cannot get used to some other woman being a part of your children’s lives.

And seeing the results on them.

Watching them physically being affectionate to that person is such an area of discomfort that I cannot even begin to describe it.  It does feel a lot like my heart is being fucking ripped out of your chest via my poop-hole and stomped on.

But I smile graciously and try not to shit in my pants.  Try.  Sometimes it leaks out a bit and that cannot be helped.

Yes, and you thought divorce was just about who got the big television!!

 

{One relief, and THE one AND ONLY relief only is that the girls used to give me a blow by fucking blow account of Jordan, Kennith’s previous girlfriend.

Everything I did was compared to Jordan.  I was reminded that Jordan also did this or that …. the word relentless comes to mind.

Sitting at the movies with my arm around Georgia, and her snuggling in to me, is sort of spoilt when she looks up to me and goes “this is just how Jordan hugs me…”

It’s freaking hard to sit there and smile and not rip the arm of your child off and fling it across the room screaming “Does Jordan do that??? Huh?? Does she???”

But that would be wrong.  I smile and go … great, super, happiness and again give thanks that it is never more than 8 hours away from wine o’clock.

The girls mention Jessie, but it is not as often and with the same intensity, and for this we can be grateful.}

Why do one punch when two punches will have a better chance of hitting it’s target?

I realise I may well be playing the world’s smallest violin in this particular series of posts.

But dude, I need to get this shit out of my head.

Part of me has been unwilling to write/post about this because I am consumed with who reads this blog and what they will think.

I took that entire situation under advisement and I have come back with a resounding “yeah, fuck ’em …” this is my story.

I get to create the scenes and the characters, if you do not want to read it or disagree, then please sir, may I show you the door?  Or the conveniently located “click away” button.

I may well regret things I say here today, later today or tomorrow morning.  This is how I feel at the moment.

I have always used this blog as a place to put things.

That no longer belong in my head.

I do not do well with bottling things up inside of me.  I can feel the cracks forming …. its time to just “blech” it here.

I realise that for some people who read this they are going to be thinking “Geez Louise that was ages ago, move on..” and that is fine for them to think.  Totally fine.

Unfortunately in my head things move at a different pace and time, and right now I have a lot of stuff that needs to come out.  I do not know how long I will need to “move on” and if my moving on appears too slow for your timetable, I wish to apologise that I cannot stick to your time table.

Not on this.

I am not planning on having a divorce pity party, but this shit has been simmering inside and it is starting to spill over the edges.

Today is one of the days I give in to this slimy shitty monster that seems to consume me on every level.  One of my many problems is that I get stuck in the detail.  A word, the way it is phrased, the way it is used.  Cuts.  Brutally.

>>>>>>>>>>>>> Being divorced from.

I realise this is semantics.  But semantics are important.

I did not do the divorcing.  I did not agree with the divorcing.  The divorcing was foisted on me.

I went through all the phases of denial, disbelief, cry to your mom on the phone, see if there is a chance that alcohol consumed in vast quantities will actually kill you, and every other way I thought could or would work to move into the acceptance mode and out of the “what the fuck just happened there?”

I was wrong.  None of the other ideas worked when one of the parties has made a decision.

We are not talking about choosing a paint colour for the en-suite we are talking about dismantling a life of twenty years and change.

I am still not sure which was the part that cut me the deepest.

Actually I kn0w. I just like to appear deep and soulful as if I have to bring up the memory.

There was the”I want a divorce” speech monologue, which actually did not have much in it, other than a killer fucking punch line.

Talk about stopping the world turning on it’s axis stuff.

Yes, very “show stopping” …. there was not too much in it of content.  But when you have an opening line like that, everything else becomes unnecessary.

Once that sunk in I could literally feel my teeth aching individually in my gums.

I am not sure when the next “big” announcement arrived, and I really cannot recall the exact situation, but the main thrust of it was: “I wanted to ask for a divorce last year, but then you had that mix up with your medication, and I thought I would leave it to see how it went……”

The key line here that carries the punch is “I wanted to ask for a divorce last year………” sorry, what again?

So not only have I been rebounding for the last few days/weeks with your big announcement but now you tell me that you have been THINKING ABOUT THIS FOR A FUCKING YEAR!!!

Listen I am seldom surprised.

The problem with anxiety disorder is that you are always thinking of every outcome and then every permutation, and then living through each of them.  The result is when I see a kangaroo steal a banana from a flower seller, and hop over a fence, part of me is thinking, yep, I saw that happening.

BEING DIVORCED FROM is really no fucking picnic when it comes to processing the information and trying to deal with it, so your fucking head does not explode.

Let me tell you when your other half tells you that he has thinking about this for a year —- an entire fucking year — and then you add that to the reasons who your head could fucking pop, it is a wonder that you managed to actually survive that moment.  Or that day.  Or appear normal in front of the kids.

It was a devastating blow.  I am not sure if it was meant to cripple and maim, but power to the people, that shit did massive massive damage.

I wonder about these things.

How someone feels when they drop a bomb, and whether they feel the same intensity of aftershock that you feel when you heard the information for the first time?

I must confess this particular “nugget” of : I was going to do this last year, but when the chemist fucked up your meds,  I thought I would wait it out and see if you got any better to remain married to…… was quite a lot to take on board.

I can tell you there is just no way you can be prepared for the blast of that information.

There is just no way to cushion the impact, when you have already been beaten and fucking mauled.

I am not suggesting that it might have been best if he just kept that shit bag to himself, but I am suggesting that that piece of information did nothing for me what so ever.

I wasn’t like “well, its great you gave this another year buddy, thanks man …..” or any other similar thinking.  I just kept going YOU KNEW ABOUT THIS A YEAR AGO ……. A FUCKING YEAR!!!! AGO!

I still use the label to describe myself “I was divorced from…” it conjures up a lot of emotion of not being good enough, not having worth, being the one that did something wrong, being the responsible party who could not hold this shit together.

>>>>>>>>>>>>> Being divorced from.

I know it is not a helpful title, and I know that I should discard it and not give it any more power over me.

I know that.

I know. That.

I. Know. That.

It unfortunately does not stop it denting my self esteem, my sense of self and how I value and view myself.  And having it run around in my head, bouncing off the edges – especially when I have suffered some emotional blow is debilitating.

I know it is not a helpful title.

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Raising Sue Heck …… and Sheldon Cooper’s love child …..

You know how you sometimes sit back and think “if I was a gazelle and had three gazelle babies would they survive in the wild?”

Okay, you may never had this exact thought, but I have.  I can swap out gazelle for pretty much anything, but today I would like to be a gazelle.

Georgia.

The best way to describe Georgia is just to say “Sue Heck” from The Middle, if Sue Heck and Sheldon Cooper had a baby, it would be Georgia.

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Georgia is unique in every possible way.

She is sweet, and kind, and does not have a mean bone in her body.

She is particularly excited by mathematics and science and she loves things that are no always “in her age range” – she really is a very sweet child.

But.  If we were in the wild.  She would not survive until 09h30.

I have never met someone who is so ill adjusted to every day life as this girl is.  It is not that she is “stupid” or “mentally challenged” it is just that she is so absorbed in what ever it is that she is doing that nothing else matters.

I would not ask her to cross our road, got to the neighbour and ask for a cup of sugar. There is just no way.  She would probably trip over the kerb and sustain a major head injury.  Or something similar.

So many things happen with her, I  sit there and think “this one cannot survive out there … she will need to live with either of her parents for ever…”

Last Thursday this happened.

It was getting kids ready to drop off at school, the three kids were sitting around the dining room table eating breakfast.

I sit behind Georgia and while she is doing breakfast I do her hair.  She has hair all the way down to her bum, so cannot manage it easily herself.

{her sister who is four years younger than her, has the same length hair, and can brush it and style it in almost any way possible …. but Georgia cannot brush her hair…}

I am brushing her hair, and I am making a high ponytail.

She is eating her cereal with milk.

She is close to finished her cereal, and I am at the ponytail plaiting part of the process.  Her hair is very long, so at a certain point, I push my chair away so I can stand.

These are big dining room chairs which when moved across the wooden floor, they make a distinct sound, so this is not clandestine chair moving.

I carry on plaiting, same procedure as every other day.  At some point Georgia stands up, so with my foot, I push the chair to the left, out of the way so that I can finish plaiting her hair and stand right behind her.

The scene.

Dining room table, all three kids sitting.

Georgia has stood up – she is finished her cereal.

I am right at her back —- because I am plaiting her hair, so she can feel me at her back.

I am plaiting her hair so if her body was working out where she was in relation to me, it would realise we are pretty close.

Then.  She sits down.

Not like a light sit. More like a faint – a direct, my legs are no longer interested in holding me up and I am going to collapse into this chair sort of sit.

This chair which has been moved away from her by me sliding it away – in a very loud manner as the chair scrapes the wooden floor.

The chair that could not be there because I am standing against her back.

I step back – still holding the plait, I am not giving this up for love or money.

I watch as her body moved past the table — it can’t really stop as there is nothing between the ceiling and the floor anymore, her head hits the spoon that is sitting in her cereal bowl.

An important point is that she has eaten her cereal and left the normal 100ml of milk in the bottom of her cereal bowl.

Just for detail. she is eating out of a white porcelain cereal bowl.

As her head zooms past the bowl, the spoon connects with her head or her head connects with the spoon.

I am watching this and for me it is all in slow motion, I might have still been plaiting.

The spoon somehow flies up into the air, but whilst in motion it has had the transferred energy to pick up the porcelain bowl which flips up into the air.

The bowl leaves the table, gets a bit of distance upwards, and then does a full 180 degree turn as it returns to the earth.

At this point Georgia has now discovered the floor.  She has started to apologise and say “I didn’t know … I didn’t know the chair was not there…”

At this point the cereal bowl comes down on top of her head, a bit like a fez actually.  An impossible amount of milk is now streaming down her head, all over her hair – somehow it managed to get a full 360 degree coverage, down her face and onto her school uniform.

All whilst she is in full amazement where the chair went.

The spoon in the meantime has been pushed into a trajectory, that I could not have imagined.

It had dumped milk on me, and then shot off across the room to again place an unimaginably amount of milk in a pool a few meters away.

Georgia stands up — bowl still on her head, milk coming down her face, not dissimilar from the scene from Carrie.

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I did not realise we had that much milk in the house, let alone in the freaking bowl.

There was the usual clean up that ensued and Georgia’s amazement that the chair had magically disappeared.

If this had happened to any of the other children, I would have been amazed.  But with Georgia it is usually a case of “Oh Georgia…”

This child cannot survive in the wild.  Ever.

Shit about divorce that you forget is coming …. this might be part one of a whole fucking series …. so brace yourself

I cannot explain the profound effect that this divorce has had on me.

It has changed something about me.  I appear to have lost my muchness.

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Initially I got caught up in the spreadsheet nature of this divorce.

Who would take what and who would get left with what.

Why Kennith wanting to take the red carpet would prove to be so upsetting.  And a thousand other things which now appear minuscule, but at the time it felt like my life was being wrenched apart

I often listen the The Script, and this line from one of their songs always resonates with me “I’m still alive but I’m barely breathing, just prayin’ to a god that I don’t believe in. ‘Cause I got time while she got freedom, ’cause when a heart breaks, no, it don’t break even.”

{swapping the he for her and so on….}

I am not “over” this divorce.   I keep thinking I am.  Or I have got over the worst of it.  But there are too many reminders that I am still struggling with this fucking beast.

It is actually like time makes it worse.  Time softens the edges of the things you thought you would cut your wrists on, but brings the things that you feel are going to crush you into sharp focus.

I think time reveals things you did not realise you needed to factor into this thing called divorce.

And then you are put into a situation and faced with something that makes you realise that you are not coping.  You have a semblance of coping, you might even look like you are skipping down the hill with the Trapp Family close at your heels.

But then something will come and remind you that this shit is not over.  Not by a long shot mate!

My most harrowing day of the year, was a wedding I attended in February.

It is a cousin of Kennith’s.

I have always had a close relationship with Thelma, her husband and her children.  During the relationship and after the relationship, I would stay over there often, pop in to see them and it was all really great.  I easily saw them socially once a month and Thelma and I taught many bottles of wine a lesson in what an hostage drama would look like.

Thelma and Zef had planned a Vow Renewal Ceremony and I was feeling very nervous about the day.

IMG_0246

Everyone was going to be in the same room, there was going to be this awkwardness (mine, I figured no one else would give a continental).

I really wanted it to be a wonderful day for Thelma and Zef, but I wanted to get through it without any more bleeding than I felt was probably going to occur.  On my part.

I took my partner W with and I had the three children with me.

The venue was the One and Only which is gorgeous.  The weather was on the side of baking, but everything was beautiful.

I could not quite put my finger on it what it was that I was so nervous about.

Maybe it was the thought of having to be introduced to Kennith’s partner ……. yeh, I am not ready for that.  Excuse me whilst I go and cower in the toilets.  See how much of a grown up I can be?

By the time I got there I had already worked myself up into a bit of a lather.  You know the moment when you are just one missing button from a full scale melt-down.  Like that.

Then it hit me.  And it hit me.  And then it just continued to hit me for what seemed like a very long time – I knew what the thing was that I was “fearing” the most.

I had been axed as a family member.  Through no fault of my own.

Kennith’s extended family was there and to be honest few, if any of them had reached out to me when Kennith asked for a divorce and he moved out.  And it really hurt. And this would be the first time I was seeing many of them.

I just disappeared.  Instantly from everyone’s consciousness.

I had (more often times than not) been the instigator in getting everyone together and making sure we kept regular contact with Kennith’s family.

I was now at a function that had clearly demarcated lines of “family” and “not family.”

It started with his family being together on one side and the other rabble being close to the bar.  I realised as I walked in to the room, that though I would naturally walk over to “the family” and say “hello” this was not going to happen.

In short Kennith was the MC so his partner was sitting with the “family.”  I sometimes think I have steel gonads, but not even I would venture into this without some sort of head injury.

I got that “cotton ball sort of feeling in your throat” as I summed up what was happening, and it just made me feel uneasy.  And there was no way I was going to drift over there and swan around saying “helllooooooo” to everyone.

It did not help when Kennith came over and told me the kids should sit in a certain section of the “ceremony area” where the “family” was sitting.  And I would be in the “other section…”

And so this “family” thing persisted for the balance of the evening.

Eventually I tried to “rise above” just fucking “rise above this shit” but these people were “my family” for the last 20 fucking years.  Then in one swoop, none of my doing, I get kicked off the “table.”

I do not have a big family – so it was nice to get a larger family from Kennith’s side to bulk up the numbers where mine sort of fell flat.

The evening proved to be excruciating.  I could have happily gone to sit in the bathroom and spent the evening crying.

Instead I took a stab at looking like I was having the best time imaginable.  I did my utmost to do 5 glasses of soda water for every 1 glass of wine, or I was pretty sure this evening was going to end in me having a “moment…”

One of the nicest and sweetest things that was Kennith’s grandmother’s husband – Kennith grandmother had passed away a few years back – came and asked to dance with me.  So for a song we danced together, I probably stood on his feet the majority of the time, but it was really such a sweet gesture.

Divorce.

Being excommunicated from “the family” and this really horrible feeling of not knowing where you stand is just shit.

I had spent years developing some of these relationships and “poof” there I was, not quite being invited to the family photograph.

I know I am not expressing myself correctly.

I think if I was drinking wine and not hot chocolate I probably may be able to word this better – with some really descriptive words and probably a bit more fucks than I am using right now.

It is this profound sense of rejection that the day represented for me.  And the realisation of what I thought I felt, to what was in actual fact reality.

This sense that all the time and energy I put into these relationships for the better part of my adult life have disintegrated into nothing.  Gone.  And I could basically just fuck off, but to leave the children because they were family.

The message is clear.  This is not my family.  These people do not give a flying fek about me.

Which of course makes me start to wonder, what the hell was it that went on for two decades there?

During a divorce you worry and fret about a lot of things, but the family you will lose usually does not come into the equation.  Or maybe it does, and I just did not buy the right “What to expect ….. when you are getting divorced from” book.

Yeah, so there is that.

Right now I am in a “just fuck it all frame of mind…”  I ap0logise for the frequent use of the word FUCK moving forward.  I don’t actually, but I want to sound like a courteous host.

My words sound better coming from my hands than my mouth ….

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I am really struggling with my wordy bits.

My head is crammed with all these thoughts.  Conspiracies and train signals.   I am finding that the pathway to my mouth seems to have been lost along the way.

I am not blogging like I used to – and that frustrates me.

I need my little corner of the blog-o-sphere to get what is inside my head out, but I am really struggling.  Which only makes this process harder, and my head a noiser more unfriendly place to be stuck in.

And I am well and truly stuck.

Blogging to a degree is a story that you tell.  Because I have been so absent from my story, I don’t know where to start.  Sometimes I am wondering if I am even a part of this story any more.

I keep telling myself to start more or less where I left off and build it from there.  A sound approach. {nods knowingly}

But I can’t seem to write things in a chronological order.  My head is just not working like that at the moment.

I am going to do a few blog posts to try and get this stuff out.

I can’t promise it will be pretty, or very concise.  Or make a degree of sense, so please bear with me as I need to sort of shuffle this muggy mugginess around in the hope it can clear.

Me feels very lost in it all at the moment.

Me is not sure where or how me is at the moment.

Me is the short stubby pencil in the Life of Pi – desperate to get a thought out, but feeling too small to really be able to, only to be washed away in the great blue ……

 

How pocket money works in my house …..

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I am not very good at giving my kids pocket money.

Possibly it is the fact that they are a bunch of freeloaders who have everything supplied, meals cooked, me as their personal taxi and courier service, and that their biggest gripe in life is that they do not have access to wi-fi for every second of their day.

Possibly.

Possibly because I forget to draw money and trying to divide a R100.00 note between 3 is just not possible whilst driving on the N1.

They get tuck shop money from Kennith/their other home, so they do get pocket money.

There is something about just handing a child money without them doing anything to earn it that really irks me.

I think we have become a generation of parents who just gives our kids almost anything and everything they want.

They have come to expect that they just get things – money – what ever, without them having to do anything to earn it.  I am not sure how your childhood was, but mine was hard, and nothing was given to you just because you existed.

I had part time jobs as soon as I was able to stand vertically and not dribble on my shirt front.  I do think HR laws were a bit more lax back then, and you could work for someone, for money, from a really young age.

The point was, I never got pocket money.  We were a poor family, and there was very little in the way of extras or money to do things. If I wanted to have new clothes, or go out, or have what my friends had, I had to work and earn the money to buy it, or pay for it.

No one stood and drummed it in to me, it was just a case of accepting the situation for what it was.

I have tried to set up regular chores (all quite manageable) for the kids to do every day.

If I am lucky it was done once or twice, which really took a shorter time than it did for me to draw up the stupid chart.  Then abandoned altogether.

I got tired of me having to continually “remind” them to do their chores.  Then debating with me why now was not a good time to do the chore.  Eventually I went with the “fuck it” solution.

They thought fuck it to their chores, and I thought fuck it, I will buy wine with their pocket money and it will be a win win all around.

I would get angry and disappointed that my kids could not follow and accept responsibility.  I felt a bit disappointed that I had somehow missed the mark at this parenting malarkey.

I realised — as all parents do — that we spend a lot of time repeating the same instruction.  The exact same instruction.  Over and over, and over again.  To the point where we are more exhausted by the need to repeat the instruction than the child not doing what ever the thing is that you want them to do.

Tell me as a parent, you have not sighed deeply, sworn under your breath and just gone and done what ever it is that you have asked your child to do like ninety-nine times already – because it is just less exhausting than repeating the same fecking instruction when no one is clearly listening.

I think kids are on to this.

They know they can go “okay” and then forget what every it is you have painstakingly told them.  Immediately.  Normally with no repercussions.

Anything else that does not directly benefit them, goes straight out of their head.

I battle with Misophonia.  Chewing food is probably my biggest “flare.”  Georgia either does not know, or she is unable to remember, or well there must be a medical reason, she cannot chew with her mouth closed.

I don’t eat with my kids because it drives me to distraction. I feed them, then let them eat and come back.

I can’t even sit at the same table with them, or next to her especially.  Which is terrible, because there are so many happy families eating together all over Instagram, and I cannot fake it long enough to get through a meal without totally losing my shit.

In the last three months I have made a concerted effort to either sit at the table when they are eating, or eat with them.

Georgia’s chewing with her mouth open is at the point where I am saying – in my best, most patient voice – “please chew with your mouth closed” so many times it actually does not leave any room at all at the table for any other discussion.  I am so stressed I can’t finish my food, and my jaw eventually aches from the amount of clenching I am doing.

In one bite/mouthful of food, I have to remind her at least three times if not nine times to please eat with your mouth closed.  And that is just to keep her lips together when she chews.

It is that bad.

She is sweet and kind, smiles and apologises and says she has forgotten.  Again I am reminding her at least three times per bite of food (at a minimum).

Okay, you may start wondering how the hell I have traipsed down this road when I was talking about pocket money.

I had a “Hail Mary” moment.  At the dinner table.  You know, when you see the light, and it is brilliant!!!

I drew up a list on the fridge.  A4 page, landscape, with two lines to allow for three columns.  Each child’s name is in a column.

On Monday morning everyone gets R20.00 credit to their column.

Seems easy enough.

The rest of the week becomes a case of adding money or removing money – R2.00 off every time Georgia eats with her mouth open (tonight at dinner I had to tell her twice – not great, but a huge improvement over the 55 times I usually have to say it.)

If I ask the kids to do chores, they are not automatically given money.  But if I think they did the chore well, did it when I asked the first time, did not moan about it and so on, then I add R2.00 or R5.00.

The same for when they don’t listen. I have to pick up wet towels.  I have to repeat the same instruction more than twice, they slam the fridge door, they do not clean up after themselves.  I do not expect them to be angelic or perfect kids – they still scream at each other, Isabelle bullies her sister, they punch each other randomly and so on ….. I just do not want to keep repeating instructions, that by now they must know.

The fecking neighbour probably knows as I have said it and screamed it so many times, but for some reason my kids don’t.

This system means they stop what they are doing, have time to think about it as they walk to the fridge, and they see how their behaviour is affecting their bottom line.

It’s not a lot of money that I am giving them.  So I can’t believe it is just about the money, I think they are learning the principle of “I do this and this happens….”  and “this happens” could be good or bad.  They see and feel an immediate upswing or downswing when they do something, or do not listen to something.

The trick is, they have to go to the fridge – the paper is stuck on the fridge door – and they have to write the minus R2.00 or what ever figure and then put in brackets why they have lost the money.

It is probably one of the most effective parenting tools I have used.  It’s still early days, but it works.  So far.  In a 100 small ways.

A conversation goes like this: “Please close your mouth when you are chewing.”

11 seconds later is the sound of open mouth chewing.

“Please go to the fridge and take R2.00 off.”

She stops what she is doing, puts her knife and fork down, goes to the kitchen and writes on the page.

She returns, and true as nuts I can nearly get through an entire meal without having to repeat the instruction again.

I have not had wet towels left on the floor in weeks.

I had begun to accept the kids just dropping their shit on the floor as what I will need to live with for ever and ever …. I mean it has been 14, 10 and 6 years respectively … at this point I have pretty much given up hope of ever seeing  dry towels on a rack.

I had accepted that this was not going to be a part of the life I was leading.

Now they switch lights off when they leave a room.

For the most part, their clothes are either in the wash box or hung up.  There is still the odd thing balled up in a corner, but if I compare what I was dealing with before, and the level of moaning I had to do, whilst now it just happens.

I also no longer repeatedly moan – within reason.  I still have to remind them at least four times in the morning to pack their lunch and juice bottles into their bags.  If I don’t one of them will leave their lunch at home.  Without fail.

But I am not up to number seven times I am repeating the same instruction/request.

I issue an instruction, then I say clearly “If I come back here and it is not done, then I am taking R2.00/R5.00 off…”

Again, I do not go and write the money off on the fridge – they do.

There is no hair pulling, shirt ripping and I do not have to repeat myself to the point where I want to run away to a mid-level hotel, that offers a well stocked bar fridge, a large bed with good linen, and the full DSTV package.

I also do not “reward” them to do a chore.  I do not say “do this and I will give you R2.00/R5.00” — so they do not expect money in exchange for chores.

I do not have to keep asking them to do the chore.  Now it is done.  I say “when we get home, I need Georgia and Isabelle to empty all the dustbins in the house, and Connor you are on dog poo duty…” and that is the end of the conversation.

If I feel they have done something well, or I think they have been helpful, or they have been polite to each other then I reward them.

Recently we played a game of UNO – and everyone played fair, it was pleasant and no one was mean to each other.  After the game I added R2.00 to each child’s column.

I don’t know much about the psychology of children and why this works, but at the moment, this works.

Pocket money – here take all my money!!! Does not work for me.  This system aligns better with my sense of fairness and being deserving.

They start the week with R20.00 and depending on their input they can either add to that amount, or they lose it.

I do not take huge chunks off – it’s always in small increments.  I want to encourage them, and keep them interested and I am not ruthless in the application.  But the point is that once they start doing things, then they keep doing them, and I don’t have to keep repeating myself to tell them to do it.

This is not the magic bullet, I am still repeatedly reminding them about stuff, I still get projects handed to me at the last moment, they still fight in the car, and life is still pretty exhausting …. but this pocket money system works for us.

 

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I am not a hooter.

I am not a hooter.  Hitting my hooter in the traffic is just not really something that I do.  It is usually because when an event occurs in the traffic where a sharp honk of the horn is the right, and only reaction, I usually cannot find the “hooter” spot on my steering wheel.

By the time I have, the event is long over, the idiot has crossed three lanes, and exited the highway and is sitting down with his chai-tea somewhere reading his YOU Magazine.

For some reason Connor wants me to be less afraid of my hooter.

He has taken it upon himself to point out incidents in traffic where he feels it would be appropriate to use my hooter.

He has recently taken to leaning over from the passenger seat and honking the horn on my behalf, which I find rude and an invasion of my space.

The way I get him back is now I hoot for him when he is standing with a group of his friends and it is obvious he (and all his friends) can see me.  Then I hoot at him.  And wave frantically like a Stepford Wife.  It’s sometimes the small victories that get us through the day.

Anyway on Friday there was an incident on the N1, and some jerk off cut in front of me.

I usually scream some expletive and then carry on with my life.  Connor felt we had been wronged and tried to be a passenger hooter.

He again admonished me for my lack of hooting prowess and I had to sit for the lecture.

I explained to him that hooting is the equivalent of walking somewhere and when someone does something that annoys you, you SCREAM at them.  Loudly.

I said that because there are a lot of people around you, you are really not going to scream at that person – its just not done.  You will swallow your anger, and no doubt purchase a chocolate and slam that into your face instead.

If the person is a total royal doos {for my 3 non-SA readers:  afrikaans word meaning “vagina” — but it is one of those words that in it’s self encompass someone being a total toss off} then you would scream at them, but they would need to be a TOTAL DOOS for you to scream at them in a public place.

Connor goes, “but you scream at us” — I said “I do scream at you, because in my normal voice no one seems to be able to hear me…” Connor says: “no, we hear you…..”

I thought that was the end of the conversation — but from the back of the car Isabelle pitches in: “We aren’t dooses and you scream at us….”

She then went on to use the word “doos” in every possible context – all of them being correct – until we got home.

I did not achieve much today, but I did teach my children the right use of the word “doos” … it’s not much of a win, but I will take it.

160516-winning_at_parenting

 

Dog fighting is a strong indicator of a society in decay ….

{article supplied by the Cape of Good Hope SPCA/DBV}

Join the fight against dog-fighting!

Dogfighting is illegal in South Africa in terms of the Animals Protection Act No. 71 of 1962 (2) (A) but the progression of this activity to the level of organised crime makes this hard to infiltrate.

We need our communities to be vigilant and to report incidences of suspected dog fighting without hesitation.  You may make a report anonymously and you can be assured of our secrecy.

DogFighting Poster

DOG FIGHTING HARMS A SOCIETY AS MUCH AS THE DOGS INVOLVED

Dogfighting is not only a problem of cruelty to animals; dogfighting is also part of a criminal subculture that can involve other criminal activities such as illegal gambling, drug related crimes, theft as well as contributing  to the destruction  of  communities. Illegal gambling is an inherent part of a dogfight, and because money changes hands, weapons are common on the scene.

Children are often present, and besides the inherent danger of the situation to a child, their witnessing such premeditated acts of cruelty lead to an ever growing desensitization to violence.

 as it promotes and encourages a culture of non-empathy.

Contrary to popular belief dogfighting, which originates in Europe, is not limited to gangsters and informal settlements, it in fact transverses all segments of the South African population.

  • “Street”fighters, often associated with gangs or unemployed youth, engage in dog fights that are local, informal street corner and back alley spontaneous events triggered by insults, turf invasions or simple boredom.
  • “Hobbyist”fighters are slightly more organized, with their average ability dogs participating in a number of organised fights a year as a side-line for both entertainment and to attempt to supplement income. They tend to breed their dogs extensively and have a ready supply of puppies for sale.
  • “Professional”dogfighters tend to breed, raise, train and fight their own dogs at a set location in matches arranged well in advance. They operate nationally and pay particular attention to establishing and promoting their own winning bloodlines.

THE TRAINING 

Most dogs used for organised fighting purposes in South Africa are . Historically bred and known for their known for their courage, loyalty, high energy levels and non-aggression towards humans. These traits, which make well-bred and well-trained pit bulls good companions, have unfortunately been exploited by a criminal element, unscrupulous breeders and by irresponsible owners and trainers who encourage unbridled aggression in their animals via both their abusive training methods and the introduction of human aggression via crossbreeding.

Abusive training/ management methods include:

  • Pit bull dogs that do not exhibit suitable fighting potential or are reluctant to fight sometimes have their mouths taped shut and are used as bait dogs for dogs in training. One bait animal can be used repeatedly for this purpose. A bait animal’s teeth may also be removed to prevent the fighting dog from getting injured.
  • Due to many of these animals being highly reactive and dog aggressive natural breeding is not possible so to breed and ensure the longevity of a bloodline and the income that this generates, an inhumane rape stand is used. This involves strapping down an unreceptive female Pitbull onto a purpose built rack so that she is unable to move or refuse a mating by a male.
  • Chains and Weights:Dogs have very heavy chains and weights wrapped around their necks, so that they build neck and upper body strength by constantly bearing the immense weight of the chains.

pit2-300x300 pit1-300x300

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dogs that are born, bought or stolen for fighting purposes are often neglected and abused from the start. Most spend their entire lives alone on chains or in cages, only knowing the attention of a human when they are being trained to fight, only know the company of other animals in the context of being trained to attack and kill them.

In the fight against dog fighting our Inspectorate is currently engaging with the SAPS to bring a halt to this crime and to curb the trafficking of animals to Angola and Namibia.

In the last financial year alone, we investigated almost 8 000 cases of animal cruelty, many of these involved either the suspicion of dog fighting or were in response to tip-offs of dog fights in progress.

 

Support – their events, and their campaignscape of good hopehttps://www.facebook.com/CapeofGoodHopeSPCA/

Gareth Glassman …. you rock, paper, scissors

160401_Rock Paper Scissors

I am not one of those people who get excited when it is time to renew their cell phone package.

I groan internally, then fret for weeks, and pretty much leave it until it either goes away or I just do not care anymore.

I like my electronics to work.

I know it sounds like a lot to ask.

My cell phone, my laptop and my other stuff work. Just needs to work.

I get happy when things just work.  I am not shooting for a dream here.  I am just happy when I put things on and they function like they are supposed to.

Or like they did the last time they were on.

The last time I upgraded – Vodacom is my service provider – was a less than ideal experience.

I called their call centre, and got a wonderful bloke who told me that this simple SIM swap was really simple.  He calmed me down and assured me that this would be done in minutes and I would be up and running in no time.

With my new shiny iphone 5S.

My general sense of pessimism was soothed in thinking that this might actually work.  He was so bloody confident and soothing.

I believed it was as simple as he said it was going to be.

I explained I had the new iphone 5S and it had been sitting in my cupboard unopened for two months and I was too shit scared to do the SIM card swap from the iphone 4 (add a letter of the alphabet) because I did not want to lose data, or contacts or the warmth of knowing I could just switch it on and it would work. And make that ring-ring sound when someone called me.

My entire life runs through my cell phone – personal and work life.  I stressed that.  I really stressed that part.

The soothing voice on the phone told me that it would be okay.  It was easy.  He would hold my hand – metaphorically – the entire way.  It would be over before I knew it — and my life would go on uninterrupted.

He assured me.  I fell for his voice.  His confidence.

I was so lulled.

Then somewhere the wheels fell off – like totally.  I wrote this blog post at a time when I was about ready to go postal at VODACOM ….. it was really really not a good experience.

The cascading shit storm that erupted in my life because of no access to my phone, records, history and basically anything had me wondering if I should call my psychiatrist for an emergency meet and great, and possibly a chat about which clinic would take me on short notice.

Or whether insanity could be a plea for beating the shit out of a few dozen people with a SIM card.

It started when I realised that the SIM card supplied for the new phone was not the right size.

The SIM swap which was happening was actually just going to lead to nothing — because the wrong SIM card had been supplied with the new phone.

Again all VODACOM’s fault at this point – the pack had been supplied by them.

Vodacom dealt with my problem like only a large conglomerate could.

No one seemed to give a shit that I was in the beginning stages of a full scale fucking mental break down.

I got shuffled/transferred to the “next person” and not one person stopped to hear me, or try to take responsibility for this problem.

I called the service center.  Numerous times.  At this point I was jotting down names, departments, times and the reaction.

It was like being stuck in Dante’s rings of hell.

I went along to the nearest/any Vodacom store I could find.  Thinking if I could just speak to human being, and make eye contact we could resolve this issue.

They sort of nodded and made the right coo’ing sounds but the fact that every hour I was losing income, and I was watching my phone not work (I think at this point we were in stage 4 of the SIM swap challenge) – the VODACOM store blamed VODACOM and told me to speak to them.

I explained I was in a VODACOM store. So you know …. fucking help me!!

They explained that though the signage said VODACOM, their shirts were doing, and the embroidery on their shirts said VODACOM, they were in actual fact not VODACOM.

You can see how this would make a sane person stand there and go “WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW?”

VODACOM store said I should call VODACOM …. the real one, not the store one, because they were not VODACOM ….I was of course very appreciative of that advise, as I had not even thought to call VODACOM ….. silly me.

I can’t recall at which point of FUCK (or how many times I had said FUCK) it was resolved.

I did my utmost to be polite with each service person that I dealt with.

I tried to have empathy that the problem was not the result of the person on the other end of the line.

I however did want them to solve it for me. What being VODACOM and whose fault it was.

That was kind of where I realised I was in the no man’s land of no-one-really-gives-a-fuck-of-service-providers.

Vodacom did not exactly impress me, the  problem was eventually resolved.  I think when I was transferred to “HR and Events Planning” {not joking} I knew I had eventually been transferred to everyone possible.

The real issue of moving my data and restoring all the history which the VODACOM-SIM-CARD-SWAP-DEBACLE-OF-2014 managed to create left me gasping for air and crying in the kitchen.

A wonderful man at the iphone store in Canal Walk assisted me to restore my history, and my contacts and and and …….. I realise that it was not Vodacom’s responsibility to do that BUT they had fucked up monumentally, and there was no gesture from them what so ever to do anything right.

A few days later I got a call from a VODACOM call centre and the lovely lady apologised and coo’ed.  She promised me it would never happen again, and said my data bundle would be increased at no charge, or I would be sent a virgin on a unicorn.  Or both.

I forget the details.  I was heady at this stage as my phone was working.

Neither happened (data or virgin on a unicorn).  I had my phone and my history and it was working.

Right at that point I was not willing to fuck with karma anymore.

Fast forward 2 years and I am again at the “renew” my contract stage.

To say I am skeptical does not even hint at it. I think I started experiencing PTSD symptoms at the thought of a SIM swap or contract upgrade.

I have one number that runs my life, business, personal life and fox tattoo fetish.

I need to keep that number and then have a second contract as a personal number.

Weighing up how to do that, and whether to use an existing device and how that would work was doing my brain in.

Remember now I am naturally very suspicious of smooth voiced call centre operators from VODACOM/HADES and calling them is not an option on the table — unless this time I just ask to be transferred straight to HR and Events Planning, and work backwards from there.

I tried to do my own research.

When you are trying to sift through the offers and the variances, eventually you get a head-ache, and choose to rather go and drink.

To cut a long story short (yes I realise that ship has already sailed) I just did nothing.

At least then my phone still worked and I did not lose 3 – 5 days of my life in what I would consider hell.

My feelings towards VODACOM are not dissimilar to how I feel about a urinary tract infection.

Best avoided.

Today I popped in to Cellucity at Canal Walk – to be honest my expectations were low.

Like snake shit low.

I expected to be overwhelmed, confused and walk away with absolutely no real idea of what to do.

Then I met Gareth Glassman.

When I say the name, I think I hear angel’s sing.

I explained my existing phone number and we discussed the present contract, it’s offering and where I fell short (had to pay in about two times more than my initial contract as I was using more data and so on) each month and what he suggested I do moving forward.

Initially I was getting a bit overwhelmed, as the options were endless.

I explained that I wanted a second contract – well not necessarily wanted a second contract – but I needed a second number that could be my private number.

Here is where Gareth Glassman (metaphorically) went into the back and returned in his skin tight outfit with his underpants on the outside, a mask and a cape.  Totally MARVEL MAN stuff.

He sat with me and we went through half a dozen options – he did it in a gentle careful manner.  When ever I got that “deer in a headlights” look about me, then he slowed it down.

He did not sigh once when I asked him to explain it again and slower.

We eventually hashed out a plan.  A brilliant plan.  For my existing contract and my new contract.

I was in that stage of amazement — I could not believe that someone had listened to me — actually listened and gave me what I needed.

I can’t really explain what I am feeling right now ….. is this the elation of great customer service??  It might explain why I am so giddy and overwhelmed.

I am unfamiliar with this animal.  I am not sure what to do with these feelings.

It’s all so new to me. {swoons}

Actual customer service ….. I know it does sounds like the beginning of a fairy tale where the princess loses her shoe and goes home in an Uber pumpkin …. but people I swear to you, today I saw it.  In the flesh.

I did not feel like I was having a sale’s pitch thrown at me.

I felt that Gareth was doing what many people don’t.  He was listening to his “potential” client and giving her options, until she was happy and felt content.

I have never been so happy with anything to do with my cell phone contract — EVER.

I have no idea whether this was just a run-of-the-mill client service’s experience for Gareth, or whether he felt any of the elation and amazement that I felt walking out of that store today.

I high-fived him when I left.  I would have chest bumped him if the desk was not so wide.

I walked around for the balance of the day feeling like a mountain was lifted from my shoulders.

Gareth Glassman at Cellucity Canal Walk – that man deserves ….. I don’t know.

What do you give a guy who has supplied outstanding service?  Who does what he is employed to do, and then freaking peaks at it??

I realise he is not a VODACOM guy, but maybe VODACOM can give him a call and he can pop over and train some of there client services people.

Or at the very least be taken out for a large lunch, given a back and neck massage and a week at AFRIBURN.

You have restored my faith that I might actually have a good contract upgrade experience.

Gareth Glassman — you rock. Paper. Scissors.

When do you tell your children about the wolf in the forest?

little red riding hood

 

The brutal and senseless rape (I am sure there are several other terms I should apply here, but let’s leave it at that for now) and murder of Franziska Blöchliger has affected us all.

I think we got lulled there for a bit thinking that the never ending summer and sunshine, and the carefree world we inhabited was real.

As South Africans we are all too aware of the rate of murder, rape and general disregard for life in our country feels like it is at an all time high.

If you read the news, listen to the news or read a street sign with the headlines of papers, you soon realise that this bubble we have created is just a bubble, and sooner or later it will go the way of all bubbles.

Burst apart and leaving us feeling exposed.  And then reality will creep in.

I know bad things happen.

I know there are some really bad people out there.

I know that innocent people die at a staggering rate, each day in this country.

I know.

But life distracts us with the stuff that we need to do to get through the day.

If you are like me, you get caught up in your day to day life of paying your accounts, ensuring that your TELKOM account is not cut off.  You do not run out of wi-fi before month end and you somehow manage to get through the day with all three children still alive, and your sanity intact.

Trying to understand your child’s mathematics home work so you can help, and basically doibg everything you can to just get through the day, so you can fall in to bed and go “fuck I survived that day,” and then set your alarm to wake up and do it all again.

Being caught up in THAT stuff makes you forget about the “other stuff” that is happening out in the world.

If I had to know how many children are raped each day — how many high school children are bullied, beat up and in some cases left for dead every day, I think I would not be able to function.

If I had to know how many children go to school hungry and leave the day with no education, and still hungry, I would probably end up in a catatonic state.

I would not be able to worry about my car sitting in the repair shop forever.   And the “surprise” bill I will be getting soon.

I would not be able to worry about all the other million things I worry about each day.  Which appear trifling now.

I watched a video earlier this week of a child in high school bullying another child in high school.  There were no weapons involved, it was some boy smacking another boy around.

The video made me feel ill and left me uneasy.   I had to stop before the end —

My son is in high school.  I think when you see something that you can easily relate to your own child or your home situation, it strikes a chord and your world gets a little wobble.

I did not bookmark the video and tried to go back to see if I could find it to link it here — but instead I found hundreds of others that made me realise that I cannot actually take in what the media (social or otherwise) is presenting to me each day.

My brain exists in its own bubble.

I cannot have that bubble burst.  That bubble not only protects me from little scrapes and scratches, that bubble {also} insulates me against the real world.

I know there is a wolf in the woods.  Red riding hood made it quite clear in her story.

The fable warns us to always remain on the path.  Not to stop and pick flowers and not to talk to strangers.  The story that has been passed on for generations gives us the message “stay safe” if you follow these rules.

Franziska Blöchliger followed the rules.  She was with her family on a well known path, We have all walked through Tokai forest. There are hundreds of people who run/jog/horse ride there every day.

Normally you are looking for tree roots that will trip you up and your biggest concern is falling and scuffing your knee.

At which point in this conversation do we start to talk to our children about what actually exists in the forest?

Do we tell them that they could be brutalized.  Raped. Sodomized. Murdered. And their bodies discarded a few hundred meters from their families who are happily walking.

Do we tell our children to be extra careful?

How do we tell our children that this is the forest that they face, and we cannot, even as their parents, protect them from what lives in the forest?

Sharon van Wyk over at The Blessed Barrenness  wrote this blog post that went viral, and basically ruled the world – http://www.theblessedbarrenness.co.za/dear-mr-mrs-blochliger/ …. I read this blog post and it made me profoundly sad.  Just sad.

I was not angry.  I did not give myself the space to think that “that” could have been my child.  One of my girls.  I was sad at the inhumanity.  At the fact that nothing you can do can protect your children.  Even if they are a few metres away from you.

We are at the mercy of what lives in the forest.

I felt this weight of sadness.  I kept thinking what and when do I tell my innocent girls that there is this horror in the world that exists.

Do I tell them so they can protect themselves?

Do I tell them so that they see this as a warning never to stray out of my eye sight until they are …. what, what age is it safe for your child to jog down a well known path in a well known area of forest?

This walk in the woods was not a fairy tale with a happy ending.

It is just filled with horror and indescribable pain and heart-ache.

I do not think any of us who heard the Franziska was unaffected.  It made us all sad, weary and exhausted.  I think as a nation we all cried – not symbolically – but with real tears at a waste of a life.  A child killed.

I usually talk to my children about things that happen in the news, so we can break the events down, discuss them and they can understand what is happening in the world.

I cannot tell my children about what happened to Franziska Blöchliger.

I cannot tell my children that I cannot protect them from the monsters that murdered Franziska Blöchliger.

My son is two years younger than Franziska Blöchliger.

Do I break his bubble and tell him about what can happen to a girl walking in the forest, who felt safe and protected. Until she wasn’t.

Should I tell him that he is not safe — anywhere.

I am absolutely without any power to protect my children.

The wolf in the woods has proved that he lurks and waits, and nothing you do can stop him if he is going to take you.

How do I explain this in terms that my son and daughters will understand, when I cannot understand it.

What do we tell our children?

 

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Three men formally charged for Franziska Blöchliger’s murderEarlier today, police confirmed three men were being questioned in connection with the murder.

EWN