Don’t eat my cock!!!

The things you hear when you visit your (ex) sister in law.

I was over at hers, and her chickens were moving around the garden.  They normally are inside a coop, but the dogs were packed away and there were chickens hanging out, some being cool, some being total wankers.

I really don’t know much about chickens, so my perception of what makes a chicken a wanker might be flawed.

My sister in law asks me :”Would you like a chicken?”

I think about it a bit and let her know that I am not really interested in keeping chickens.  I have a dog and a cat, the odds of the chicken making it through his first week at mine is rather poor.

On the other hand I quite like the taste of chicken, and if he was serving no real purpose, I was happy to eat him.

At this she screamed: “Don’t eat my cock!!”

As if I was going to do it right there in front of her.  What does she think I am?  Totally unfeeling?

Anyway the conversation continued and we spoke a bit more about her cock that was available.  She insisted on using the word “cock” …. I continued the conversation far longer than I would normally, just so I could hear her say “cock” a lot.

If you are in Cape Town and keen on this lad who thinks he is quite good looking — and you promise not to eat him, then Charlene can make a plan to get him to you.

Chicken_001

Chicken_002

Sidebar note on this guy:  She mentioned something about him waking up and crowing a tad on the early side, so if you like your sleep being interrupted by a screeching fowl, then this guy is for you.

On a similar story — Cape Town has the Labia Theatre, for reasons that escape me right now.

A few years back, there was a promotion in Cape Town.  It had something to do with “something I can’t recall” – maybe it was their birthday or they were doing something epic.

Anyway they asked restaurants to get involved.  At that stage I had a family member who worked at a popular burger restaurant in Long Street, and she put a “Labia Burger” on the restaurant’s menu.

She did not or could not make the connection. And she kept saying “It’s for the Labia Theatre …” and I kept going: “Yes, I see that….but it’s a labia burger …….. ”

Anyway, so that is my post about the Labia, and a plea of not eating the cock mentioned above.

That, I think is enough from me for one day.

Advertisements

Happiness is … I actually have no idea …. none

I am always reluctant to mention that I am feeling happy.

My thinking is then people start to think that “happy” is a permanent state of mind.

If like me, you have never been “happy” for very long, you realise that “happy” is not a normal state.

It is something that flits in an out of your life, without any certainty or more importantly an ability to hang around for very long.

So best not to rely on it.  When I get “happy” I immediately get suspicious. I start to wonder what it is that made me feel like this, and I start to look at the reasons for why it will pass.

A friend,Sue,asked me the other day how am I.

I always take it as a very loaded question and I start over-thinking and over-evaluating when I know the right answer is “I”m fine, and how are you…?”

Lately I have been fine. I have actually been more than fine. I have moved to a state of being “content” for much of the time.

I am not going to get all “Kum ba yah” on your arse, but I have felt more settled, less anxious and just more “quiet” in my head.

My answer to Sue was “Great actually!”

Sue, being Sue, pried a bit more and wanted to know why I was feeling great.

The short answer was because I am no longer running to an office to be on time.

I am no longer running around like a mad thing trying to be all things to all people.

I no longer feel like I am always late for everything.  I no longer feel that I am missing out on everything in my life, and my kids lives.

I feel far more in control.

I feel measured, and I am doing things that give me joy.  Small things.  I read more, I watch less television.  I have gaps in my day where I can do things I want to do — and not in a mad rush, with the accompanying guilt.

I am not suggesting I do not work hard.  I do.  Starting a new business, and trying to penetrate a market where there are existing and well established competitors, is challenging.  It is not all plain sailing and great bank balances. It is often work for no money, and making some questionable decisions, but I learn.  

And I get better.

Much of what I do pushes me far out of my comfort zone.  I am not a natural sales person.  I am not a natural people’s person, but I work hard at ensuring I return calls, I sell myself as much as I can, and I make sure I interact with clients.  

I work long hours, but I structure my hours around my “other things.”

I have started volunteering at Ubuntu House recently. I did the volunteer course some time ago, but I just never got there.

I volunteer at the House and am aiming to do two mornings a week.  It was such a humbling and wonderful experience to be at the House, and hold the babies.

I thought it would be sad.  I thought I would be trying to smuggle a baby out under my jumper.

It wasn’t.

I loved holding the babies and rocking them until they went to sleep.  I realised (again) that I don’t know any songs or nursery rhymes, but the babies do not seem to mind.  “Ten Green Bottles hanging on a wall ….” seems to work like a charm, I could start at a hundred bottles and not one baby complained – bless their cotton socks, or onesie socks.

I officially became the “baby whisperer” I put three babies to sleep singing my off key little song and rocking them just like so.  It is such a lovely feeling to have a baby fall asleep in the nape of your neck as you rock them.  That heavy feeling that comes over them. The deep breathing … it is so gorgeous and intoxicating.

Why am I feeling great?

I am great because I feel less chaotic. If I want to go to Mr Price for two hours, then I go.  If I want to go to an art exhibition then I go.  I just take more time.

I work the hours back later.  

I really feel so much less anxious and less rushed and just less manic than before ….. I think for me the answer is “not to work for someone else …” and “not to just get a job so you can work…” – I should have “gone out on my own” years ago, it would have saved me a bundle on psychiatrists and medication, and a few breakdowns along the way.

I love what I do …. most of the time.

I still do not get to sleep late as I have the school morning run, get home, make myself a cup of tea and sit down and work until 16h30 and then dash out to fetch the kids.  I get home after collecting the kids, and I usually do an hour or three of work.

I think I am one of those people who “working in an office and ensuring you are there at 08h00 and then leaving at 17h00” is just not suited to me.  

I work hard, I am self-driven, I like to manage my own time —-  but if I cannot do it at 17h00, then leave me to do it at 19h00 or 23h00.

Rushing to an office and trying to juggle three kids at school can be a bit …. well a bit enough to drive you to a mental facility.

I don’t want to say I am  happy.  But I definitely feel content, and a little bit happy…. inside … quietly …. shhhhh don’t tell anyone.

{my hair dresser decided to put curls in my hair today … I said “okay”and then I came home with curls …. true story – this by the way is a “selfie” so don’t get too judgmental on the lighting and the mood music ….}

Celeste_1203

Celeste_1319

Should spanking children be made illegal?

Well this is a bit like suggesting kids should have their ears pierced at birth!

Or my other favourite whether to breast feed or formula feed – people go absolutely wild on this issue.

People with kids, people without kids, people who might once have seen a child, people who really have no business commenting on anything child related – all of them, are throwing their hands up at this one.

Everyone has an opinion.  Yes, just like  a marmite star-fish.

We all have them – but ours aren’t always as important to others as they are to us, and most people do not want to hear or see your marmite star fish.

But as I have a blog, I get to put my opinion out there.  Yay for me!

Should spanking children be made illegal?

I think that it is something parents should decide.  I do not think that this is something that can be legislated.

I am concerned it might become a stupid law – one that once made, is practically impossible to police.

Do you know smoking in your car when you have children in your car is illegal.  It is, tell me again how this is going to be policed?

Most people do not smack their kids in public – only those who are particularly brazen – most people opt instead for that breathy-raspy-low whisper “what until we get home…” which often works particularly well.

I wish to suggest from the outset that there is a difference between beating your child and giving your child a smack.

I do accept that the fact that both these decisions are left to the individual can sometimes lead to a child being physically abused – but again a “no smack” law is hardly going to prevent a person who beats their child from beating their child just because there is a law that prohibits smacking.

I came from a family where we got hidings/smacks on the bum.  I once was hit through the face by my slightly-less-than-loving father.  I did ask him he was drunk.  I was about 6.

Clearly the right answer was yes, and he felt that launching me across the room might be swifter than slurring “yes” – ah well, good times.  Not.

When I became a parent my parenting-toolkit was starkly empty, and I did not realise it.  I thought I was all up to scratch and mildly rational.

I had a clear idea of what was permitted, and what was not.  I did not want to be “those people” who were shunned from social gatherings because they had the child that would make Rosemary’s baby seem like a bonny wee lad.

I wanted a disciplined child, who listened, and who would pay attention when we spoke.  Kennith and I both agreed that we did not want to be over the top strict parents, but we wanted to be clear and consistent on our parenting.

Connor probably did not need as much discipline as I measured out.  He definitely did not need as many hidings as I gave him.  But (and this is not a defense plea) I did not realise there were other methods of teaching a child, and disciplining a child.

When Georgia was about 18 months, I took a trip to the UK, and my sister in law told me about “The Nanny” “Jo Frost.”  I had never seen her, had no idea there was a programme about parenting, and more importantly out of control kids and I watched in amazement.

I stopped at a bookstore the next day and stood there with my mouth hanging ajar, because I did not realise that there were more ways to discipline a child than:

1.  Saying NO loudly.

2.  Saying NO REALLY LOUDLY.

3.  Warning that if it happened again there was a hiding coming.

4.  Final warning issues – and then a hiding.

That was pretty much the order.  Sometimes the delay between 3 and 4 would be short, depending on the transgression.

Jo Frost gave me great ideas for alternate discipline, and we used time out, and a host of other actions since then.

I believe the there is a place in a home for a measure of discipline that works. Each home. Each child. Each parent is different.

I personally am okay with my kids having McDonalds once a week, and them having a set bedtime.  That suits me perfectly.  I get that this will make other parents shit in their khaki pants, and that is fine.

I am not suggesting that “children who get smacked are better behaved” and I am not suggesting that “children who are NOT smacked are better behaved” but I do suggest that “parents who discipline their children with love and patience, and remain consistent will have a better chance at a “child who respects discipline and who realises that there are repercussions to negative behaviour.”

Do I smack my children?  Yes

When was the last time I smacked my children?  Ages ago, like easily a year or two if not more.  No, I take that back I gave Isabelle a smack on her bum about two weeks ago.  She was throwing one of those mammoth tantrums and was screaming at me.  Yes, I felt we had crossed the line – and I had spoken to her rationally and warned her to “calm it down” and she decided otherwise – so I felt that a smack on her bottom was the right thing to do.  It suddenly calmed a situation that had been escalating for some time.

Would you smack your child again even though you know alternate options?  Yes.  I would definitely not smack my child as an initial reaction.  I would not smack a child who has no comprehension of the warning that I am issuing.  But a child that continues with a behaviour that is inappropriate and when a warning has been issue, is heading for a hiding/smack as a remedy should it be necessary

I still use it as a “final warning” when I have exhausted all the others.  The key is to follow through – you cannot keep threatening a child that you will do something and then never do it, because again that breaks the consistency and a child realises that they can keep pushing-pushing-pushing because nothing is going to happen.

Do I support a law that will outlaw smacking?  No.

Do I support a state that will focus on supplying better parenting classes? Or some sort of parental support and thinks about how a single mom or dad who is unemployed, and has five children and struggles to cope in her or his day – and probably did not come from a well parented home to begin with?  Yes, definitely.

I am not one of “those” people who when faced with something tries to deflect the attention from one bad thing to one that “appears worse” i.e. “why do you ticket me for driving 70km/h in a 60km/h zone, should you not be ticketing the taxis because jeez have you seen them drive?”

Nope, I really am one of those people who follow the law and the rules even when no one is watching.

But really really — why are we expending so much energy on this law to stop parents choosing how to parent, when we live in a society that has such rampant violence against women and children, it is actually enough to make you weep into your wine glass.

Sort that shit out people – sort that shit out – give parents support whether it is in social services, or classes or something.  What is the point of arriving with a law that takes care of a symptom but does not address the problem.

Should spanking children be made illegal?  No!

3163087

Notice how mom is going off her fking rocker in this image, kids are screaming and dad, well, dad is reading his Sports Illustrated and wondering why everyone won’t just pipe the fk down!

I think mom needs to stop smacking the kids, and maybe use that leather thing to smack dad across the face and at the very least knock his stupid glasses across the room.  Then mom needs to go out for a drink and maybe catch a nap.

But otherwise they are totally rocking that vintage look!!

Isabelle passes her test …. mother falls on the floor in thanks!

The grommet operation went as well as these things can.  There was far more gunk in your ears than either I or the ENT doctor realised.

She had a thick sticky pink liquid coming out of her right hand ear for about three days after the grommets, but then it settled down.  We kept the drops in her ears going until Dr ENT said, okay, all looks good.

I have been waiting for the two weeks to pass so we could have Isabelle do another hearing and audiologist exam.

I have been quietly chewing the inside of my lip and fretting over the possibility of “what if this is permanent”.  What if my beautiful perfect child has hearing loss and needs to be fitted with a hearing aid?

So I tormented myself with that for some time.  Of course I saw signs everywhere that this was the likely outcome, but none the less counted down  the days, hours and minutes to the audiology exam scheduled for 15h30 on Monday, 17 September 2012.

I did not walk to the exam as much as I shuffled through, dreading the result.

In short, my paranoia was unfounded and Isabelle has near perfect/average hearing – freaking hoo-freaking-ray!

The physical exam revealed the grommets were fitted correctly and were open.  I believe that is a good thing.

I am pouring myself a large glass of Pinot Gras to say “hooray”- because I am out of Chenin.

Happy Winesday … just because …

I’m over at Medi-Clinic Panorama today …. while arguing with my child that no she cannot have milk or something to eat, whilst I attempt to control her in a room full of sick children we are all booked in for grommets, adenoids or tonsils.

I am looking forward to being surrounded by haggard faces of other worried parents as we all wait for our mites to meet the anaethetist ….. trust you may be having more fun than me today.

Either way Happy Winesday!

{feel free to steal the image for a Facebook Timeline Cover Image if you like …. steal away}

So Grommets it is then ….

We did the Cortisone route and we waited it out.

Isabelle started speech therapy this week and is having two sessions a week until the first week of December.

This week I stopped in at speech therapy and asked if they would mind having a look at Isabelle’s ears to see if they looked a bit clearer and if the sticky stuff behind her ear drums have reduced.

I was feeling buoyant and a really quite optimistic.  Yep, I was feeling pretty chuffed with my old self.

Then the audiologist looked in her ears, and you know when someone’s professional very bland face changes.  They try to hide it, but you can see their eyebrow shoot up, their eyes widen and their pupils dilate for that split second.

Usually they compose themselves quickly, return to the “Be Calm … No Problem” here face, then she checked the other ear.  I could feel my optimism plunging in a nose dive to the hospital issued carpets.

She put a little thing on the probe and did a little echo thing to see how the eardrum was holding up.  I am sure she was preparing her face and her tone so as not to make a Mommy panic, but this Mommy can’t abide bullshit.

Me: “So, how bad is it then..”

Her: “Well, I am not really qualified to …”

Me: “Can you just tell me WHAT YOU SEE …. I realise you have not done a full audiology exam, but tell me what you see..”

Her: “Er, well ….. what did Dr P say?”

Me: “Dr P said she should get grommets and I should not pass GO or collect R200.  What do you see?’

Her: “Er, well …..”

Me: “What do YOU see? ….. honestly just tell me, what you see and how much it differs from the original chart?”

She went on to explain to me that Isabelle’s one ear drum was “extremely” inflamed, and the other one was not exactly looking great either.

The liquid behind her ears was still there.  Other than grommets there was no way to get it out.

The “echo test” (I am sure she used a more technical term) showed that her one ear drum had zero response to the echo, and the other ear was not loads better.  I insisted there was.  She calmly told me that there wasn’t.

Me: “Shit, I really was hoping that the medication would work … I know she needs grommets, I was sort of avoiding them as long as I can.”

Her: “If this was my child, I would get her grommets fitted tomorrow.  We fit children with this level of hearing loss with hearing aids.  If this level of hearing is permanent Isabelle will need a hearing aid.  You need to book with Dr P for grommets, so that you can check again in a week, two weeks and hope for an improvement.  Taking her for speech therapy now, is wasting valuable development time for Isabelle.  As she sits here she is technically almost deaf!”

I tried to look brave.  I try not to cry hysterically.  I tried not to wipe snot on the lapels of her white starched jacket.

I thanked her for her honesty.

I walked down to the first floor with Isabelle, and booked the first gap Dr P had.

Isabelle has a date with Medi-Clinic Panorama on Wednesday, 29 August 2012 and she gets her shiny pair of Bilateral Grommets.

I am trying to take a deep breath and not hug her too much!

{yes I realise it is only grommets, Connor has had three sets, but Isabelle is really my little monkey, and right now grommets seems like a major deal, but I will calm down …. eventually}

{feel free to steal the image for a Facebook Timeline Cover Image if you like …. steal away}

My mom reminded me ….

I was up in visiting my mom, stepfather and Sandbaai last week.

My mom reminded me of something I had completely forgotten about.

Years ago, I was in Standard 5, and I entered a writing competition.  I was 11 in Standard 5 – I turned 5 in Sub A, talk about having delayed puberty against my peers. Geez.

I think the competition was run  in a local newspaper, or The Argus, but I don’t really remember the details.

Basically I wrote about the fact that I did chores, and I loved my mom or something of that ilk.  I was 11, what did I know to write about?

The important detail is I won.  The sponsor was Dairybelle.  I received R300.00 or R500.00 in milk coupons – those plastic round disks that you used to exchange for Orange Juice or a Milk bottle.

Does anyone remember those plastic disks?  When I was younger milk or orange juice was delivered to your house in the morning in a glass bottle.  When you finished the juice/milk, you would put the bottle outside your front door, with a plastic disk in the bottle.

If the disk was white, the milk/juice man would leave a new bottle of milk, and if the disk was orange, he would leave an orange juice.  Fresh pulpy orange juice.  And you would reach out and pick up your bottles, outside your front door, and have them fresh for breakfast (or the milk was off if you got there late and it had stood in the morning sun).

Can you imagine fresh orange juice or milk outside your door – NOW – that no one steals?!  What an idea.

So there I was with a shit load of coupons, and I did not drink orange juice or milk – what is a girl to do?

My mom knew a guy, and that guy did drink orange juice and milk.  He was kind enough to take the disks off my hands, and give me the cash.  Back then R300.00 or R500.00 was a shit load of money.

I used the money (because now I was rolling in it) and I bought contact lenses!

I wore glasses than were as thick as the base of a 1.5 litre coke bottle.  I am like a minus 8 in one eye and a minus 8.4 in the other.  How blind is that you ask?  Get a labrador and a white stick blind – I am pretty blind.

I had been extremely self conscious about my glasses, and the opportunity to get contact lenses before I went to Standard Six was such a godsend.

Of course with contact lenses, one must get a cool hair cut which included short hair, a kuif (fringe) and a perm!!   All so bad, so very bad.  What ever my lenses redeemed, my near hair do shot out of the park.

Rocked 1985 like a rock star!!!!

The entire point of this post was to reminisce on my winning a writing competition as a child, which I had totally forgotten about and my mom had reminded me about this last weekend. Also on milk/orange juice disks.

Franschhoek I have your number! Call me, let’s get together.

Thanks again to everyone who reads this blog, and everyone who comments, and everyone who went along to VOTE.  Like really, thank you {tips hat}

I have had such awesome feedback and it really is all quite lovely. Yes, I appear like I don’t give a toss, but of course it is all caramel cupcakes and unicorns when someone says good things about my blog.

YOU LIKE ME, YOU REALLY LIKE ME!!  {gush gush}

Kennith has been away for about a month, so I have become a “hiking” widow.  I have had house, hearth and heathens (cleverly disguised as my children) to deal with.  Alone.  By myself.

I must confess there have been times when I have wanted to just off the entire household, but then there were times when the house is quiet, everyone is sleeping, I am making starfish shapes as I have the entire bed to myself, and I am surfing DSTV like a Mr-Price Surfing Champion!

He is due back next week Monday, and on Tuesday we have decided to take the day off work and spend the day celebrating/drinking cheap wine.

I am attempting to go to Franschoek – yes, I still have not been there.

I was aiming to go there on my birthday this year, but then circumstances conspired to work against me.  I do realise that I am probably the ONLY person living in Cape Town, who has not been to Franschhoek.  But there we go.  I am a Franschhoek Virgin!

I am so ready to pop THAT cherry.

On 17 July hopefully we are heading out for lunch/wine/truffles in Franschhoek – and I can buy a been there, done that t-shirt.

Things to celebrate over at the MacBarlow Manse:

1.  Reluctant Mom Winning Mommy Blogger 2012 – she still makes me proud {sniff} that old girl!

2.  Kennith summitting Elbrus, Russia and returning in one piece.  He has also lost a ton of weight and is super fit – he is at that point where he likes to stand around in his form-fitting underpants and says “you like, you like??”

3.  Kennith and my wedding anniversary on 17 July, and is also our first-date-anniversary – we got married on the date specifically for this.  I think our first date anniversary is 18 years and our wedding is 3 years.  Kennith only counts the 18 years – he gets quite chipped off if you say that we have been married “only 3 years”.

4. Happy Helpers -{ Nanny and Domestic Agency in Cape Town } taking off so damn well.  I am so proud of my little fledging.  She has managed to fall out the nest, and not nose dive into the tarmac.  Bless her little cotton socks!

5. Tuesday is as good as any day to celebrate that SCHOOL HOLIDAYS are the fk over, and kids can be handed back over to the school system!

Much to celebrate!

The hunt for the new Pepe!

Pepe has left me.  Try to picture me in a hair shirt, throwing myself to the floor sobbing – uncontrollably.  That is a pretty accurate picture of how things are.  I have managed to hide it well with an outward guise of  “disinterest and calm…”

Do you know how difficult it is to keep up a facade of serene yen garden when actually you are going: “holy harry, and fk a duck, what the hell am I going to do now!!” but screaming inside and using really bad cuss words?

It is a bit of a challenge.  But I have “blank face, non fussed” pretty taped right now.

I approached a nanny agency for assistance – they came back to me after a week, with no.thing!  Clearly they were going to be terrific in solving my problem.  To be honest I have really lost the “buzz” of agencies some time back.

I used to use this phenomenal agency Marilyn’s Maids (initially in Milnerton then moved to Sea Point).

Marilyn was trained by the KGB (I am sure) and had a degree in “not taking shit from shenola” – damn she was good.

You called her, explained what you thought you wanted, she then told you what you actually need, a week later you were sitting in her office interviewing three “perfect” candidates.  End of the day you had a new maid – worked every time.

Marilyn went to the UK, sold her agency to someone else.  They = suck = me at a bit of a loss.

I have tried a few other agencies since then, but in general they are all a bit not great.

I really do have a mild urge to start a nanny or domestic agency. I seriously get so little joy from the ones I deal with and I think based on my ‘in the trenches” experience I might just have an inkling of how desperate moms are to find someone who is not going to steal their baby and sell the family cutlery.  But more on that later.

So without too many options left to me, I decided to take matters in to my own hands, and after asking around if anyone knows anyone – I think it is called the “nanny network” I decided to run an advert on gumtree.

I wrote the advert, and placed it.  I DID make a gumtree 101 error, and added my telephone number to the advert.  Shall we just say that was a critical error in judgement.  I decided to switch my phone off for a week, as it was total chaos.

But that being said, I did several telephonic interviews.  I am actually not too sucky at interviewing and getting information: 1. Because I am a bit anal about information.  2.  I have a recruitment background, so that helped.  3: I feel like I have been interviewing “home staff” for about 12 years …..

I did interviews last week – I met the ladies in public places and we did one on one interviews, and I also did not want to put myself in a situation where I would be at risk.  Public places + a bit of caution = win situation.

This weekend I did second interviews, as I wanted Kennith’s opinion, and also wanted his buy in.

It went well.  I liked all three ladies I had shortlisted and I thought that either of the three would be right.

Kennith selected the one I had put in as a bit of an “outside chance” as she had attributes that I thought would be useful, but she was missing a whole host of experienced, but I saw promise in her situation and her manner.

In the end that is who I have offered the position to.  Granted I did say it was on a one month trial.  She arrives late this afternoon, and then we see how it goes from there on in.

I am apprehensive as I start to doubt whether this was a good decision.

I am fraught with worry as I am concerned that the safety of our family does rest to a degree with a person who I only know in principle.

But, I followed a good selection and interview process.  I asked great questions.  I have the correct documentation, and really there is not much else to do but “suck it and see it” and this point, and hope she fits in, and we fit with her, and well everything is Mary Poppins.

Then I watched the start of “The Help” (I had read the book…) and I started to feel a rather large set of “white guilt….” about employing a maid.

The one where the nanny left …. and the mommy went (more) loony ….

Pepe’s last day was yesterday.  I dealt with it by not dealing with it.  I knew the day was coming, but decided not to talk about it, to think about it, or to mentally prepare for it.

I really felt dreadful yesterday as I knew it was the day – and even ignoring it, would not change the fact that it was “the day.”

I really felt in a bit of a state yesterday.  I was sad.  I was anxious.  I was uncomfortable.  I was afraid.  I felt panicky and stressed all day.

Day ended and I got home.  Pepe had all her stuff packed up, and I just felt awkward and as much as I did not want her to go, I did want her to leave so I could then go “okay that is finished…”

I went to drop her off at the station, and I felt very sad.  I hate awkward situations, and can’t do people leaving or people dying.  It is like I can’t sort through the reactions and emotions to find the “right” one, so it makes me feel jumpy, edgy, itchy and irritable, because I feel scattered.

Left the station and I felt really sad.  I had taken Connor along for the drive.  He decided to lighten the mood by talking about the death penalty.  So instead of driving quietly and thinking about Pepe, and how I will cope without her, I spoke about the legal system, the death penalty, which countries use the death penalty, and described the three ways (that I know of) to execute someone – I had hanging, electrocution and lethal injection.

Sobering stuff.

We got home and we were going to have dinner with a friend celebrating her second 40th birthday.  I probably should have shut myself up in my room, and sat there quietly.  My brain was not really able to do a social situation, when I felt this panicky, stressed and anxious.  My head was in full “panic” and “scared” mode.

I am really upset that Pepe is not with us anymore – this is “the thing” that I have worried about for four years.  Always worried she will leave me and my life will start to fall apart, one brick at a time.

Now she has left …. and I glance around in horror … waiting for the crumbling ….

 

Yes, I realise I am being a bit melodramatic, but I am not having a fabulous day.

The one where the puppy shit was a problem …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seriously?  Yes, seriously.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have started internet dating … and I think I have met someone ….

It’s been more than a year since we had a dog in our house.

I have never been dogless.  I have been legless, motherless, and sometimes senseless, but I have always had a dog.

We babysat a dog earlier this year.

I really would like to tell you it was a good experience. I really would.

I got very angry that a family had probably had this dog, and given it no discipline.  They decided to move (probably to get away from the dog).  The dog then got passed along to a variety of people, but the dog really was too much dog for anyone.

I really want to find those original owners and make them listen to Whitney Houston’s “I will always love you” on a loop so their ear drums bleed.

I felt so bad for this dog.  I called a dog behaviorist and thought I would take it on the chin and keep the stupid and annoying dog and train her.

I have never met a dog I hated. I hated this dog.  Like day-dream-about-hate.

Towards the end of our “dog-sitting” time, I started wondering if I could kill the dog myself.  I also thought that maybe I could just leave the gate open and the dog could just run away.

I blame the original owners who did not love this dog enough to teach it manners.  They in theory should be found and slapped.  Hard.  With a spade.

Basically they metered out a death sentence for Maya.  And they made me totally shift my thinking regarding ever taking in a “rescue dog” (hate mail email address is along the side, feel free to drop me any hate mail you would like, really!)

In the end, the dog was poisoned.  Not by me, but clearly by someone who had slightly less patience than me, and maybe needed a bit more medication.

So that was my experience with a dog this year.

It jaded me to “thinking” about getting a new do in our house.  I really was not up for it.

I thought about a dog a few months back, but was not ready.  Flash backs of the black-bitch-from-hell kept playing through the VCR in my head.

A few weeks ago, I thought I might be.  Maybe it was a hormonal imbalance, maybe I missed a pill that day.  Who knows.

I started looking around and looking at what I wanted in a breed, and one thing led to another.

I decided that I wanted a French Bulldog or a Boston Terrier.  Then I realised I loved both breeds and I want both.

Recently online I met Declan.  I call him Dexter.  I love the sound of Dexter.

I sometimes say his name out loud in the middle of the day, to no one in particular.

I find Dexter very handsome and he makes me smile and giggle a bit.

I get excited every time I get an email from his mom.  I am quite “in love” with Dexter, but I am trying to act more aloof than I feel.

He comes with his own bowl, lead and collar.

I must confess I am quite smitten.  The only problem with internet dating is that you really do not know who you are talking to.

Dexter could be a 6-year-old Maltese Poodle, with bad breath and a hernia, masquerading as a Boston Terrier!   He could be.

I need to meet Dexter at the airport on the morning of the 18 November …… he comes with a box, as all good dates should.

His mom has asked me to deposit a large wad of money before she sends him, which makes me suspicious that our relationship is not founded on true love.  It has made our relationship a bit less “magical” than it was before.

I am still meeting him at the airport on the 18 November!

Transporting Polar Bears …..

I have mentioned before that Kennith and I are the owners of a VW Caddy.

It is not sexy.

It is large and it is white.

It screams FAMILY-VAN, and no matter how much you rev the diesel engine at a stop light, no one looks at you with envy.

It is about as close to a family of plumbers or electricians as you could get, without wearing overalls.

The upside, is that all the kids can fit in, and bring friends (or a nanny.)

The upside is that two children can be in the front row, and one can be in the back.

The downside is that even though the three kids are sitting far apart they still manage to have those physical fights that only children can manage to have in a car. On a road trip.  Where mom is about to lose her mind (if the kids only realised how tentative my grasp was on sanity right now!).

Though we have dropped several thousand rand on a vehicle to allow for the kids to be spaced FAR apart, it is not unusual for me to find Connor unbuckled, reaching over the seat to smack his sister on the head.

Yesterday he was “sucking her brains out” – fortunately she had an “anti brain sucker” machine so that it non-effective. <sigh>

The back seats can be removed so that it becomes a “dinkum” utility vehicle, and we can transport large things.

Yesterday Connor goes: “I think you could put two polar bears into this car.  I would be worried about three, but two will be fine!”

I am not sure quite why we would ever have the occasion to transport polar bears.

I am unsure of how this idea popped in to his head.  I am not sure how he is okay with two polar bears. In our car.  But three seem to make him nervous.

I was overwhelmed with the vision of a polar bear biting my head off before I had reversed out of the driveway.

On the upside, I would no longer be able to hear the kid fighting in the car, and that would be a bonus.

Connor further suggested that the polar bear face the other way when loaded into the van. (simple solution to a complex problem)

We would of course now we have the polar bear’s bum in our face.  Connor suggested we insert a cork.  It should be fine, he promised, as a polar bear does not have strong farts.

Have I mentioned Connor watches a lot of Discovery Channel?

Have I mentioned that I have some concerns regarding the government curriculum school system?

Shopping on line … with the option of n.ud.it.y

I love gumtree.

I sometimes troll around there even when I have no interest at all in purchasing anything.

My best find has been an adult guy selling his double SPIDERMAN duvet set.  Creepy much?

I will confess it was topped by someone selling a magic wand on etsy.com last week which really was brilliant!  I would have got one if it wasn’t for the import tax.

I find a perverse “joy” when I move through the wedding dresses for sale on gumtree.

Some times the dresses are so hideous I gasp.  Sometimes the photos are so bad they make me snort. <This one is yellow and on the market at the moment …. what were you thinking?>

Every now and then the dress is “never been worn” and then I stare at the picture and try to think of what could have happened as to why the dress was never worn.

What’s that story?

I do think the ads would be more interesting if people included the real reason for selling something.

On Friday I took a quick stroll on www.gumtree.co.za and saw a really great double bunk for Georgia.  It was one of those unit numbers (rather than the pine type we usually buy), and it had a set of drawers under the bed.

I liked it.  I started corresponding with the person selling and we agreed on a price.  Of course this is after I offered half the asking price, which was promptly rejected.

I sent a picture to Kennith and he showed his enthusiasm for the purchase with this reply “It does look nice.”

I took that as sufficient motivation to strike up a deal and commit us to going to look/purchase the bed.  The bed was in Hout Bay, which for us is a drive with snacks.

<I have sold and bought quite a bit through gumtree, and so far have really only had good experiences.  But it is definitely a shop-with-care-and-common-sense-and-be-on-your-guard site.>

Saturday we go over with the kids and look at the bed.

We arrive, he meets us at his house.  The kids and his wife are at the beach (or buried in the garden, depending on how suspect you view gumtree) and we look at the bed.

Cool bed, needs a bit of a clean-me-up, but a nice bed.  Perfect for Georgia.  Nice and solid and I liked the drawer system and it had built-in book shelves too.

Win.

But on a separate matter.  The house however looks like a bomb has hit it.

I was standing looking at the bed  and standing on lego and build-a-something pieces.  There were clothes strewn over the house.  If I was a policeperson I might have suspected we were there to investigate a robbery scene.

There were clothes strewn all over the show and underwear and basically it was a tip.

I thought to myself that these are one of two types of people.

  1. The wife did not realise that people were going to arrive at their house and thus had gone to the beach with the daughters, not being told by the husband that strangers were going to stop by, so had made no effort to tidy up.  She was probably horrified when he told her there were 5 strangers standing at the front door, who wanted to look at the bed.  If I was the wife, I would have opted to just remain at the beach, out of sight, and out of judgement’s way.
  2. This family really has no qualms at all about leaving their house looking like a total tip.  Like none.  And bless them.

<I may well appear sexist in my remark that the housekeeping and the shame must be born by the wife.  I may be projecting my household situation on to this family.  Kennith does not mind that there is toilet paper on the floor and underpants on the lampshade, while I privately die if there is not a clean towel out.>

We returned on Sunday with the little van to collect the bed unit.

We started taking the bed apart.

I stood at the doorway, like a girl, as I decided that two boys were more than sufficient to deal with a bunk bed situation.

At one point Kennith is facing Jannie and they are talking about how to break the bed up.

One of Jannie’s daughters (he had three small daughters!) opens the adjoining bathroom door.

Jannie’s wife is showering at the time – the shower door is a slightly opaque (but mainly translucent) material.  Kennith gets a full eyeful of the wife.  In the shower.

He tries to save the situation by trying to avert his eyes.

Jannie’s wife screams at the daughter to close the door.  The daughter ignores the mother.  The door remains open.  Wife continues to scream.  Clearly when someone is screaming it makes more people look.  As it did in this case. Eventually someone closes the bathroom door.

Jannie, without missing a beat, goes “That will be an extra R50.00 for the show!”

Hy-steri-cal!

We have a cool double-bunk bed for Georgia.  We (meaning my lovely guy Roderick) will sand it down tomorrow and repaint it a matte white and then it can go into Georgia’s room.

On the way back from Hout Bay we stopped at the “curio sellers” and bought a really terrific white paper+wire mache “animal head trophy” and mounted it at home on the wall.

I have been wanting one of those for ages, but they are ridiculously expensive at deco stores.  Zimbabwean guy at the side of the road sold us that and a divine wire/bead wild-pig for around R800.00 (granted Kennith did haggle him down from a ridiculous price.)

Good day informal shopping by all accounts.

The head purchase was a bit like this, but not quite this one.

Formaldehyde and other musings ….

I have recently returned from my “running away from home” episode.

Granted I did not actually leave my suburb for my medical care, so really it was not running particularly far.  And to be blatantly honest Kennith dropped me off.  So it was more “being dropped off” than “running away.”

It was a bit surreal to be “around the corner” from where the rest of my life appeared to be carrying on, but with me no longer in the starring role.

Several people have asked “How have the kids been?”

Thank you for enquiring.

As much as I would love to beat my chest and milk this for all it’s worth, they have been pretty much “unscathed” “unawares” “un-rattled” by my absence.

This of course does raise all sorts of questions regarding my importance Iin my children’s lives.

Considering I was away for nearly three weeks and got a cursory “Hey mom, are you sleeping over at the house tonight?” on my return did sort of burn.

It does make me suspicious that the “apron strings” are possibly not as secure or absolute as I initially thought.

I would like to congratulate Kennith and I on having well-balanced and secure children who are able to function even if mom is “unforeseeably detained.”  This may bode well as we suggest boarding school in the not too distant future, and longer holidays away from home sans children.

That is what I am taking from this experience at any rate.

I am on a fair supply of medication and combined with a very dutiful psychiatrist and psychologist I seem to be making some headway.

I am not sure in which direction, but I leave that to people I pay at an exhorbitant hourly rate to think about on my behalf.

I am gauging I am making some progress by their faint smiles and slight inclinations of their heads.  I do jump to far too many conclusions which are always rather pessimistic and somewhat fatalist in nature, and often cause me undue stress.

Adding it to my “to do list” of things to work on.

On another matter …

Connor brought a dead snake home after a play date.   I am not sure of this new custom, but I plan to be giving small dead animals to all the little boys who come over and play at my house from this point moving forward.

Driving yesterday Kennith asks me “How can we preserve a dead snake?”

Why I should know this piece of information say versus him, was not clear.  But having a uterus and a quick wit, and I suggested formaldehyde.

The go-to-chemical for most things I would presume if it is somehow connected to death and lifeless children’s playthings.

Kennith tut-tutted me and said he was sure paraffin or thinners would work equally well.  I rolled my eyes and looked out the window.

Kennith is a bit of a bargain hunter.  If the “real” stuff is R25.00, he will find a way to use a R5.00 stuff and get the value out of it.    Or better, purchase the R25.00 stuff and bargain the seller down to R5.00 and get
him to throw in a boerewors roll.

This principle cannot be applied to shoes, for which Kennith has an Imelda-Marcos-obsession.

No price is high a price for shoes that look practically identical to me, to the other few dozen/hundred he has already in his wardrobe.

Every time he comes home lovingly fondling a pair, trying to explain to me why this style is technically more advanced than the other 200 he has, I tend to glaze over.

But back to the dead snake.

I think Kennith googled and it seems formaldehyde is just the thing (the only chemical suitable) to preserve the dignity of a dead snake.

Interesting fact – chemists do stock it, but you need to pre-order it and it takes 2 – 3 weeks.

In the event that you want to preserve dear old gran, just remember to pre-order sufficient formaldehyde else you will be in for a nasty supply problem, and risk a smelly old person in your lounge.

Regarding the snake, I suggested I did not think it was a good idea to keep a dead snake, in a glass jar, in formaldehyde in our house, with a two-year old, who already unscrews things and regularly drinks my contact lense solution.

But I was vetoed. And we drove to a 24 hour chemist.

Fortunately the gods of the chemist were on my side, and they did not hold formaldehyde in stock, though were happy to order it.  Strange much?

Hopefully by tonight the dead snake is either in our large dustbin or given a pauper’s funeral in our back garden.

But I am sort of back from the dead.

I am still very out of step with “real life” and trying to acclimatize to appear normal.

One day at a time. Right?

<I really want a t-shirt like this>

Bet you did not see this one coming …..

I am not quite sure how to explain this phenomena without posting the issue in the words of the mother who was effected/traumatized/left stunned:-

I feel so betrayed because I trusted my nanny with my kids, little boy (2.7yrs) and
little girl (7months).

Last week I found her breast-feeding my little girl and I still feel
traumatized by the thought that she might have infected my little girl with HIV.

Of course I took little girl for HIV testing the same day and gave my nanny an hour to get out of my house, but I feel like I will never be able to trust another nanny with
my kids again.

I don’t even trust crèche teachers at this stage.  But what can I do
because I have to work and my job has a lot of travelling involved.

I feel so stressed and depressed right now. Please give me any advise on  what  I can do from this point.

Instinctively you will want to go back and re-read it as, if your brain is in any way programmed like mine, is going “What the Fuck!”

You might even say it several times over and then think “what!?”

It actually does not get any easier to absorb no matter how many times you try and take it in.

I could not  wrap my head around this.  Where in any women’s mind would it be okay to “breastfeed” another women’s child?  How ignorant must you be?  How totally removed from …. I don’t know ….. everything must you be to go “this is a super idea.”

The mom in question had stopped breast-feeding her daughter when her little girl  was 4 months old.  But as the little girl is now 7 months old and took the breast, the thinking unfortunately is too frightening to begin to imagine.

When I picked myself up off the floor from the rather dazed state I was in after absorbing this – it appears that this phenomena is not as “wildly” uncommon as my “suburban mind” is assuming.

Nope, if someone is looking after your baby and baby is upset and nothing is working, then said person often things “well, I got milk, and baby needs to be soothed, so let’s pop my nipple into baby’s mouth.”

Two other moms said they had heard of this occurring before and though they were horrified that it occured they were not as shocked as I was, as it “happens”.

Officially a total WHAT THE FUCK MOMENT?!!!

My point here (and I think there could be so many things we could say on this but I am going to leave it to this one) is if you left me for 50 years interviewing and hiring nannies to assist moms with newborns or young babies, and I would NEVER have thought to say “oh, my baby is being breastfed, I just want you to know in no uncertain terms that if you put your nipple anywhere near my child I will kill you – and not quickly.  I will kill you slowly and painfully and bury your body so no one will ever find you!  Okay, so we clear on that?  Anything else you need to know about the position?”

Not an issue that I would have covered in any interview, ever – no matter how many times I had interviewed or reference checked someone.

Ever.

But this it appears might be one I will suggest you add to your list if you are interviewing someone who has recently had a baby — you know, just because she could slip and her nipple could land in your newborn’s mouth.

Freaking unbelievable.  (or am I the only one who has just had the bejesus scared into them?)

My wife ….

Kennith sent this email around yesterday – he did not include me on the mailing list.   I started getting email comments from friends and initially I though “what?” – but then I realised what he had done.

I thought it was very sweet, and it is really nice that he is proud of my little achievements.

So here is the email so you can also know:

While my dear wife will go ape if Georgia does not climb in the bath when asked, she does likes to act all “Cool, calm and collected” about her personal achievements so let me share with you some of her latest achievements. 

1)      She has started her photography dream –  having done 4 or 5 shoots already – http://celestebarlow.wordpress.com/ – not sure why she has not posted the wedding shoot photos yet – but it has started.

2)      She was selected for a make-over feature in a HUISGENOOT type magazine – as winner of the Parenting Blog of the Year – and this should direct more feet to her blog as well.

3)      And most excitedly, she has been asked by one of the parenting magazines to write a 600 word article for their magazine – we are not sure whether this could become an on-going feature or a once off, but it is another step forward in her dream of journalism. Once published please ensure that everyone writes a letter to the editor about the “fresh new journalist and her honest, refreshing outlook on parenting”

So I think making headway on two dreams in one month is well worth a special mention. Well done bunny, proud of you!

Also Celeste and Alice are still signed up for the 2Oceans half marathon at the end of April, so there is another achievement just waiting in the wings…

 Kennith you are a good egg!

The one about the dead pigeon ….

I haven’t told you about Saturday night yet – I have left the best for last.  I suggest you put your poppy seed muffin aside for a bit, or eat it quickly before continuing to read.

Dinner ends, everyone goes home, and after saying goodbye to everyone, I walk back into the house.

I get this bad odour that whips past my nose at a certain area in our lounge.  I have been getting the same tinge for the last few days, but keep putting it down to something that is happening or not really dwelling on it.

It is not a strong odour, but it is a bad odour. 

Our lounge is not used much, and we have big sliding doors that are left open, so the smell was not strong, because (1) we had not been in the lounge and (2) there was constant flow of fresh air coming in.  The upper and lower door have also been open, so there was a lot of air flow during the week (because it had been so hot).

I stand there – it is about 22h00 on Saturday night – and instead of just walking through the lounge I stop and sniff, and this rather unfortunate smell assaults my nostrils.

I really hate a bad smell, and I know it has been hanging around for a few days, so I know I can’t ignore it anymoer.  It definitely is not coming from outside (as initially thought).

I stand and ponder this for a moment and then my beady eyes start moving around the lounge.  Our lounge is quite minimalist (which equals not well decorated and not a helluva lot of furniture) – so I am standing there looking around, trying to suss out where it could possibly be coming from.

Our lounge floor has white tiles (circa 1985 – the disco era), so it is not as if something could have been messed and absorbed into the carpet.

I consider that one of the kids could have dropped something on the floor and it could have rolled under the couch and that could be the smell I was getting.

I put my back into it and heave the couch about a meter from it’s present position, fully expecting to find a rotting apple.

What I did not expect to find was a great big dead pigeon!

Super.

Sounds like a job for Kennith.

I headed downstairs to the tv room and called for Kennith (and John – who is staying over) to come and sort the pigeon out.  I realize he was not going to be performing CPR, I just needed him to pick it up and throw it away. 

I do live animals, Kennith does dead animals.

Our tv room is on a level just below our lounge and there is a glass wall separating the two.  From the tv room I can look up into the lounge.  I close the door and sit in the tv room with Connor and chat to him, while I watch Kennith.

Now what happens next is put together from what I could see and hear, and what Kennith and John told me about the next day.

Kennith gets the big broom and the dustpan scoop and thinks he will just push the now deceased pigeon into the scoop.  Put him in a plastic bag and throw him away into our outside dustbin.

Easy enough.

What Kennith does not account for is that said pigeon has been dead since Monday (it is now Saturday) – and as he lifts the pigeon up with the broom, it allows the real smell to escape.  The smell of rank death.

Kennith is now gagging, not play acting gagging, but full on leaning over, eyes watering man-gagging.  John has entered the scene with the plastic bag he has found, and he takes one sniff of the odour of Senor Pigeon and he starts gagging, and leaves the room.

I am in the tv room and all I can see is this drama unfolding through the glass.  I can’t quite see the pigeon or smell the smell, but I see these two boys in a total state of mayhem in the lounge.

Kennith composes himself and uses the broom to try to move pigeon onto the dustpan scoop. 

Seems like another good plan.

However it seems that now pigeon has lost control of his inner organs due to what ever happens after rigor mortis stops, and his entire insides are now this greeny sticky slimey goo that is running all over our floor. 

But to detract from the smell of death and disease, is our troupe of friendly maggots who have taken up residence inside the pigeon and are now trying to flee the scene of the crime.

Kennith is trying to scoop up the pigeon, trying not to get pigeon death on his feet, and trying to round up the fleeing maggots in his dustpan scoop.  All whilst trying very hard to hold on to the pasta dinner he has just eaten.

Pigeon ends up in bin. Kennith and John are both feeling rather ill – and Kennith asks me to clean up the pigeon juice which is has leaked onto the lounge floor.

This is one of the few times I have been glad for white tiles.

I get jik and a bucket and clean the area, and lift little carpet and chair up, and leave everything to air.  Horrible, horrible, but problem sorted.

We all go to bed and that is that ………… or is it?

I really really wish it was.

Next morning Kennith, John and Natalie get up, put on some lycra, and ridiculous hats and go off and ride the Argus Cycle Tour.

I walk through to the kitchen at about 7am to get Isabelle a bottle, I walk into our little scullery and there are thousands of ants. 

I am like: “What the f&ck!”

I wish I could say I said “oh my goodness” but I didn’t.

There is a throng of ants – the part that is more confusing is we have not had much in the way of ants since we have lived in this house.  My brain is trying to understand what the hell is going on here and why would they appear so quickly.

Between the cussing and the confused look, I lean over to examine the ants.

Only to discover that among the ants are MAGGOTS – dozens if not hundreds of them!

I am like:”You are shitting me!”

My brain cannot spring into action.  My brain tries to look around for the dots so it can join it and make the picture.  I really cannot function unless my brain goes “there you go, dots connected..”

I am standing there staring at ants, staring at maggots, trying not to throw up, and trying to understand what is the connection from last night to now. (the scullery is two levels away from the lounge and there is no way even the fittest maggot could have got this far!)

Then I see it – the broom and the dustpan scoop – carefully placed right there next to the fridge, right next to our potatoes and other vegetables!

Excellent!

Guess who took a free ride up the levels via the broom and the scoop?  No prizes for getting this one right.

Of course at that point I was feeling less than gratious towards Kennith.

I mean seriously ……… seriously! 

At least I had the sense to take my bucket and mop outside after cleaning up after the CSI scene, and put them outside next to the house, not in the middle of the f&kn kitchen with our food!

Besides now standing in shorty jammies, and having Isabelle screaming for her milk – I am now up to my ankles on a Sunday morning in ants and maggots.

These are without a doubt, the best days of my life!

Let them eat cake …..

I am really sucky with many things …. none of the things Kennith would like me to be sucky about … but that no doubt is another post for another day.

But I am totally crap at birthdays/anniversaries/valentine’s day and so on, sometimes (often) forgetting them and just being ill prepared in general.

I really would like to blame my upbringing here and say that we did not celebrate anything, and thus I have not been trained correctly, so all holidays that require gifts throw me into total chaos.

The idea that a holiday/festival is approaching and one needs to start thinking of gifts and an appropriate card did not really start for me until I met Kennith.

But 16/17 years later and I realize that I just suck at it.  I actually love buying a gift and all of that, I just seem to always run out of time, and then instead of getting what I really want, I end up buying what is being sold in the aisle at Ackermans (or some other unfortunate place)!

I start about 4 months before hand and draft a list of potential gifts.  Then I criticize them and think well, that will be fine as a back up plan, but I will think of something better.

Knowing I have loads of time I think “no rush, I can deal with this later”.

Fast forward 4 months, the day seems to jump out of a bush at me, rather than creep up.  I am in a state, and usually have totally forgotten about my list and then have nothing, and realise – usually the day before – that I am in sh*t street and panic!  Like little boy from Home Alone panic!

I usually start looking around my desk for things I can gift wrap.

It is all a shocker, and poor Kennith is usually at the receiving end – poor little long suffering egg.

We have just been away and Kennith’s birthday was on the 11th.

The problem (or one of them) was that prior to us going on holiday I had that little thing of a new job to sort out.   I also had a babyshower for my friend which I had to organise.

When I finalized realized I was going to actually be away spent a few weeks in a tizz trying to arrange the logistics of kids/school/maid etc for while I was away and the usual stressing and hair pulling that occurs when one abandons one’s kids.

I also had to sort out some canvases for a friend’s wedding, and a friend asked me to do some photographs at their wedding – so I was very distracted and just was not getting my arse into gear on any level.

So the short answer is that before I knew it I was in the poo and though I had not forgotten about Kennith’s birthday, I definitely did not have a present to  present on the morning of the 11th.

<in my defense I did buy a birthday card for my husband – which for me is quite a thing – but I bought it and wrote in it, I just felt it was lame to give it to him without a present – so didn’t, still have the card …..>

I did however arrange a dinner for him and some (almost long lost) friends in Johannesburg.  Granted I did not cook dinner, our friend Cynthia did that.  I did not even clean up after dinner – Cynthia and Anita did that.  But it was a really nice evening and great to sit down for a dinner with so many loved mates, who all go back with us such a long way.

I ran out of time and I did not get Kennith any thing.

I think Kennith is still thinking I am going to jump out of a cake with his present, or at the very least pull out a cake from somewhere.  Shame he keeps looking up in expectant surprise every time I walk into a room, only to be disappointed … again and again.

To add to the timing issue, Kennith’s birthday is on the 11th February and then Valentine’s Day is on the 14th February – usually I do get my sh*t together and do a good effort for Kennith’s birthday, but then have totally lose steam for Valentines Day.

Kennith and I woke up this morning in Johannesburg after about 2 hours of sleep.  We went with about 110 000 others to the U2 concert at Soccer City.  It was a fabulous – the concert was beyond imagination.  U2 and his crew of friends totally out did themselves.  Loved the concert.

Bono pulled up a girl onto stage.  Initially I was really excited for her, and then loathed her and wished her a good dose of crabs and body odour as Bono lay on her lap and led her around the stage (as I wanted to be the girl on stage …. or at the very least having Bono lie all over me … on stage, off stage, does not really matter).

She had her hands all over him, and really it was quite unnecessary to be that excited! I mean clearly the girl was just trying too hard and it smacked of desperation.  I was not feeling very charitable towards her.

Then I listened to an interview with her this morning on Highveld while on the way to the airport, and some key points were:-

1.  She arrived at the concert at 12h00 on Saturday – concert started on Sunday at 8pm!

2.  She slept under a truck on Saturday night as they did not bring camping stuff and it rained (there was a  HUGE thunder/lighting/rain storm).

3.  She works for the Department of Labour!

I think once I learnt all of those things, I felt differently and realized had I been next to her I might have hoisted her up on the stage myself!  So good on her. (she has been in the same underwear since Saturday morning, the girl clearly needs a bit of love for goodnesss sake)

Anyway back to me and my problems.

Woke up this morning after 2 hours sleep, got to Lanseria, and got onto a Kulula flight, got home, kids, school, unpacking and so on.

Valentine’s Day was just not high on my list of things I could get to, and clearly there was not much I could shop for, unless Kennith specifically wanted a wire chicken for his collection (or to start one).

We collected kids early from school today (as we have not seen them in 10 days) and thought we would stop at Canal Walk and take the kids to the Spur, we also had an errand to run at the centre.

We walk through and Kennith takes me to Build a Bear and says that for Valentine’s Day I get to build my own bear.

I love Build a Bear – I do realize how naff it is, but I cry when ever they put the little hearts inside the bear.

Yes, now you know on the outside total b*tch, on the inside custard!  I cry at everything: advertisements, opening of Olympics, when I watch wildlife programmes, when I watch a child being born, when someone sings a song that I find moving, when Steve Hofmeyer goes anywhere near the Jikskaai River …. that sort of stuff.

It was really sweet – the helper at Build a Bear got the kids in to it.

To be honest there was no chance I was going to enjoy this moment by myself as Georgia was running around the store like she was on TIK!

We are standing with my Bunny (I got a Bunny and not a Bear) – and the helper Claytin (actually spelt like that, I read his name tag) says that we should all take a heart and rub it and so on.

At one point he looks at Connor and says – what is your mom’s favourite food?

Connor is caught a bit off guard, so he sort of shrugs.  I smile maternally and fluff his hair and I say: “I really love Chuckles…” and then I had to explain to Claytin what they were. (Does this guy ever shop outside his store?  Was he born in a Cave?)

So Claytin goes  “Okay, that is cool…” and he is just about to move on to another subject, and Connor goes (as now the question has caught up with him) – and in his loudest voice says: “My mom’s favourite food is WINE!”

Of course Claytin started to laugh.  Kennith smirked.  I clutched my little satin heart a bit tighter as I realised the magic of this experience was slowly evaporating before my very eyes.

Then Claytin proceeded to tell the story to everyone in the store – individually – whilst I was standing there with my Bunny’s heart in my hand and wondering where I should shove it.

I got my bunny, dressed her in a pink outfit, got her some white takkies and I thought it was really sweet (yes it’s naff, but it is still sweet for me, I am not trying to tell you it is sweet for you).

Kennith is a very good egg, even though I am sucky (or not!)