Etiquette tip: More people will get out of your way if you say “I’m gonna puke!” than if you say “Excuse me”.

We headed up to spend Easter in Hermanus – as we usually do.

It rains each Easter  without fail – but like Lemmings we head up any way, in the hope that maybe this year it would not rain and we could get a last weekend where the kids could play in the sea sand and mom could drink wine and read her book.

Unfortunately fantasies are just that, illusions created in our minds, that disappear in the harsh light of the day after.

This Easter weekend was no exception.

Kennith had come down with a form of the Ebola virus which had him coughing up parts of his lung. 

If I was lucky, he farted at the same time as he coughed.  Unfortunately after the first dozen or so times, it was no longer funny.

The kids were all ill.  All three of them had huge chunks of mucus sliding out their noses and resting on their respective top lip.  The only mildly interesting part was me, comparing whose was less green and whose would get to the top lip first.

The weather turned dreadful and we were stuck inside.  My mother’s house has wooden floors – three kids+wooden floors+no wine for sale on religious holidays = mom having a hemorrhage of her own.

Anyway, Kennith proceeded to get sicker and sicker.  He was looking and sounding really bad – like rush you to the ER bad.

But I was lacking in sympathy for a few reasons.

  1.  We were sleeping in the same room – Kennith is not coughing as much as taking a lung biopsy on himself – so I lie there while this retching coughing is going on and on …. I am not exactly sleeping.
  2. Kennith is retching and retching and when he has stopped retching and coughing, and finally falls asleep, Isabelle who is sharing our room wakes up – so if I am not awake listening to Kennith expel bodily fluid, I am attending to Isabelle who is coughing and crying.
  3. Morning comes, and Kennith is exhausted as he is sick and has been coughing, so he will lie in and sleep late – but me who has been listening to coughing and alternating sorting out Isabelle, is up at 6am with the kids as Kennith needs to sleep.
  4. We are trapped inside and it is so just not fun!

Anyway, we decide that we are going to head home on Tuesday instead of Wednesday.

We all get in the car.  Kennith opts to drive as he does not like to be a passenger/my driving/feeling emasculated by letting a woman drive (leave which ever is the most relevant) and we head home.

It is all going quite well.

Traffic not too bad – kids are in varying degrees of “not feeling well” so are a quite ‘medicated’ and thus sleepy.

We are on the R300 about 15 minutes from home.

Connor goes:”Mom I am not feeling so good.”

Me: “How are you “not feeling so good? i.e. point to a place”

Connor: “Here” – indicating his throat – “it’s sore!”

Me (relieved it is not nausea): “Okay my boy, just sit tight we will be home in a few minutes.”

A few moments pass.

Connor: “Mom, I am not feeling goooooodddd…”

Me – looking a bit more panicky – “where?”

Connor indicates his throat, and I judge by his slightly green complexion, and that strange thing people do with their throats when they are about to expel the content of their stomach, that things are about to get very chaotic. 

I am buckled in to the front seat.

Three kids buckled up and packed in tightly with luggage in the back seat.

I indicate to Kennith in a rather insistent voice that he needs to pull over NOW!!

Kennith can’t pull over – and drives faster, which is making it harder for me to get out the car and get Connor out the car.

I realize that things are going to go from bad to really bad in no time, and Connor is really starting to look violently green.

I quickly glance around the car, and realist that my handbag appears to be the only receptacle available. I eliminate that as an option, as I am not quite ready to throw the bag away – and look some more.

Connor unfortunately has run out of patience and he starts doing that “uccccchhhh-uccccchhhh” sound that every parent recognizes.

I grab Isabelle’s pink blanket and attempt to make an origami swan, and when that fails I create a sort of loose bowl-shaped object and get it under Connor’s mouth.

Slightly too late – I should have spent less time on the design.

Connor is puking – Georgia – in her defense is just looking at him (she is sitting right next to him, so really she is the one with the most to lose!).

Isabelle is too stunned by the now violent “uccccchhhh-uccccchhhh” coming from the backseat to cry about her blanket being snatched away from her.

It is mayhem.

Connor is projectile vomiting.

We still appear to be driving.

Connor vomited the blanket-bowl full.

I was trying to fold it over and make a new bowl without pouring it over the car, while Kennith is doing 180km on the R300 and I am screaming for him to pull over, and he is screaming that he cannot pull over and Connor is going “uccccchhhh-uccccchhhh”!!

I fold the blanket-bowl to make a new bowl area, and then Connor does a bit more vomiting – it is quite impressive how much managed to come out of him, and how much the fleece-pink-blankie bowl managed to hold.

I did catch most of it in the blanket – I must really applaud the girls who sat there in stunned silence while total fekn mayhem is going on 30cm away from them.

I am still buckled in to the front seat, but twisting around and reaching over to catch vomit in the pink blankie!

Connor is apologizing for vomiting.

Georgia in a small voice is going: “Accchhh, Connor vomited on my doggie!”

I am trying to keep calm, because actually I could use a good vomit about now.

Connor is still apologizing for vomiting.

So I catch all I can.  I am trying to fold blanket up so that it does not all go sloshing all over the kids.

I am trying to undress Connor as he has got vomit on his jersey, his pants, his belt – and I really do not need him to vomit when he sees vomit.

I get all the stuff off him – while we are doing 180km and all buckled up – I put all the vomit-paraphernalia at my feet in a ball, and we all turn around and face front and try to get home in one piece. 

I know there is vomit at my feet as I can feel it against my foot and my leg!

Georgia still complaining in a small voice: “Connor vomited on my doggie!”

I reassure her that it is fine, we can wash doggie and everything will be as it should be.

We get home, and unpack – and guess who gets to flick vomit off the pink blankie before she does 5 loads of Easter washing?!

I better get a good bloody present this year come mother’s day, I will really get annoyed if all I get is a damn macaroni necklace again!!

I don’t really want to die in an airplane crash ….

Very exciting time.

I am very excited about Saturday night.  The SA Blog Awards is being held at the One and Only in Cape Town and I wish I could be there – it is a cash bar, but I still would have liked to be there.

Seriously, how many opportunities like this are going to present themselves to me?  Clearly very few in my life time, but that being said we will need to miss it as we are going to be in ZANZIBAR!

I really do not get tired of saying that!

Can you come over for a lunch on Saturday?  Er, no sorry, we will be in Zanzibar.

Would you like to join us for dinner on Monday night? Sorry, would love to, but we will be in Zanzibar.

This is Dr E, your yearly enema is scheduled for Tuesday, can you make the appointment? As lovely as that sounds, I will need to miss it this year, I will be in Zanzibar!

Yes, one does not tire of saying it.  But I can well imagine one tires of hearing about it rather rapidly, so I won’t say it again.

My friends Alice and David will be going to the evening and taking photos and hopefully drinking too much.  I will be waiting in excitement to hear the outcome.

The reality is Tertia is an established blogger, book writer, and all around incredible woman.  She has not only been around the block, but she knows everyone on the block and well might have created the block as well.

I also acknowledge that I am officially the “great white hope” or the “total outsider” in this categroy, and losing out to her will not be a disgrace.

I will be very sad, desperately sad actually, and probably need an extra few Mojito to get me over the disappointing.  But I think drinks and a two hour back massage on the beach, should assist me in soldiering through this one.

The downside of Zanzibar is that I really do not like airplanes.  It is not the metal structure of the plane that is the problems, as much as the thought of me in them and them not quite making it to the other side.

Me – claustrophobic – in cramped economy seats.  Me with 2000 litres of highly-explosive jet fuel under my lady-bits.  Me with only a badly designed life jacket standing between me and shards of my body being strewn over the landscape.

I not only think the plane is going to crash, I am convinced of it, and then start to panic because I am the only person in the know.

When the drinks trolley shudders down the aisle I think it is going to knock a hole into the base of the plane and we are all going to die.  As happy as I am to see the drinks trolley, it does unfortunately cause me further stress.

If this trip is anything like the jaunt we did to Mozambique, the plane will be small, there will be some questionable repairs on it and the runway will be about the length of my driveway.  The plane will come in at an almighty speed, the pilot (licence gained via correspondence) will pull up the brake so hard that the entire plane will shudder.  We will slam into the runway, and know we have about 12 meters to stop before we run into the herd of cows peacefully grazing at the end of the stretch of tar.

I do drink Rescue, and then attempt to drink copious amounts of alcohol on board – even if it is the breakfast flight.  I live by the idea that in accidents, it is always the drunk person who walks away unharmed.

This morning in the shower I started thinking about what dying would do to the kids.  Not their dying, my dying.

When Kennith and I got married we drafted a new will and sorted out guardianship of the kids, so that did make me feel a bit better.  I must confess it did not make me feel any better about any of the flights, and I think I might have peed a bit at the thought, but I was in the shower, so who will know?

I am decidedly anxious today – I need to pack, and I need to hug and kiss the kids and leave them with a good impression of me in case I do not see them again.  Tricky to work out what you would say if it was the last time …. you can see why I am not the life of the party can’t you?

But if all goes well, I will have a great time, survive the trip, my luggage will arrive this time – however I did learn from my last experience and will pack my swimming costume, a sarong, change of underwear, toothbrush and hair conditioner in my carry on luggage.   Last holiday I ended up having to wear Kennith’s spare underwear!

I plan to buy a book in Johannesburg as I always do – a big fat period (as it Tudor, not menstruation) piece, so that will be my little present to myself – actually it will need to be Kennith’s present to me, as I am too broke to afford a book right now.

No blog updates this coming week I am afraid.

I will ask my mate Alice to post a comment update on this post with the results of Saturday -the Blog Awards, not my death – so if anyone is interested they can go along and take a look see.

Enjoy the long weekend, and travel safely if you are going away.

Good luck to moms and dads, I hope you survive the school holidays in tact!  Take comfort that it is much shorter than the June/July massacre we had to contend with.

Panic stations …

Yesterday I had such a busy day at work.  There was too much too do, and no time for forums and blogging or even making cups of tea – it was chaos I tell you, chaos!!

I did not get a chance to go to the bathroom, and by the time I realised that I was going to expire from thirst and needed another cup of tea – I realised it was past 4pm.

I had a deadline that I was rushing towards, and I easily had another two hours of fires to put out.  I also then realised it was late, I needed to collect kids from school/holiday programme and just could not get there.

I called and cancelled with running guy, as there was just no way I was going to make it.   I hate cancelling with someone when we have  set arrangement.  But there was no way I was going to meet him at the red jungle gym to run around the block based on how my day was going.

I still had not sorted how the kids were going to be collected.

I then started to panic – the dance on the spot, start dialing random people sort of panic.  I tried two friends who often help me when I am stuck, but neither were answering, I kept calling and then my panic started escalating as I realised I did not have a plan B or C in operation.

It was nearly 16h30 and I either needed to leave and collect the kids, or …. well I did not have an or.  I also could not leave as I had less than an hour to sort something out that had to print …. oh the panic and the stress.

I phoned Kennith and said “if you had to go and collect the kids now, just leave work and go, could you …?”

You know what he said.  Sure, and then my boy made a plan.

He dropped what he was doing, did not argue with me why his work was more important than mine, got in his little car and drove from Cape Town to make it to the kids schools to collect them.

In one instance my knight-in-shining-car had solved my fetch-kids-before-they-are-deposited-on-the-kerb problem.  I was so happy I could have yodeled.

My bunny is quite a good egg, even if I say so myself.

The lament of the school-going-child’s mother …….

Connor amazes me.  I am not sure whether he is the thing, or it is the age he is at, or whether he is a boy and thus this sort of thing is normal.  Or a combination of environmental factors.

Last year I bought six pairs of school shoes for Connor.  Even rudimentary mathematics that tells you that with only 10 school going months in the year – that is really an unacceptable amount of school shoes for one child to work their way through.

It was not so much that he grew out of them, because he is growing like he is on steroids and growth hormones.  It is that he gives his shoes such a hammering, that after three weeks it is time to resign the shoes to the dustbin.  The soles are destroyed or the front of the shoe has been worn away so badly that I can see his socks.

I did not have a very organized December/January, with the result that when school started I sent Connor off to school in his last year’s clothes and shoes without doing any Xmas Bonus school clothes shopping (I spent it all on the stationery I had to purchase.)

His feet had however grown and he complained that they were too small.  The shoes looked like utter crap, but he did not complain about them aesthetically.  But when your child complains that his feet are getting sore in his shoes, then it is time to pull out the credit card and not worry too much about how you will be buying wine this month.

Kennith bought him a pair or new bright and shiny white takkies from a reputable shoe manufacturer (I want to add that just so there is an understanding that he is not wearing R19.99 specials – these are dinkum hardcore shoes).

Fast forward two weeks, Kennith sees the takkies and realizes these shoes have maybe a month in them if we are lucky, as this pair is pretty much annihilated.  The only way they are going to see a future is to send Connor to school barefoot for at least three days  of each week.

Connor is in a school that encourages kids to come bare feet, except on Friday when it is “saal-day.”  We really must get our kids into private schools ….

When I pose the age old question “what the hell do you do with your shoes at school?”

Connor answers: “I run … a lot!”

As if that totally explains and justifies mom having to cut back on wine purchase to keep the boy in shoes.

On the weekend we stopped and purchase 6 large water bottles for the kids to use for school.  I really do not want to shock you with how many bottles I purchase and the fact that the part where you suck the water out gets eaten, which means they spill water or juice all over the school bag, which becomes my problem when I discover this at 10pm at night.

So we buy 6 bottles.  First day.  Connor loses one.

I am not sure we can afford to keep Connor in school at this rate!

I think we are alone now …..

This being the first week of school holidays we have been lucky enough to ship our two older kids off to my mom for a bit of a holiday by the sea.

Right now Connor eyes are rolling back in his head as he is overcome with the delirious euphoria of days spent at the beach and fishing with his oupa. There’s a child with a serious OCD thing for fish.

Georgia got to draw a toilet in the beach sand today, and then proceeded to use it in full sight of the other beach-goers, much to the horror and mortification of my mother.

At home we have Isabelle – one child – one teeny weeny little child who does not argue with me.

I got up this morning – okay, I opened my eyes blearily. Kennith had gone to pick Isabelle up, changed her bum and brought her to me for a morning snuggle. I made a cup of tea, a bottle for Isabelle and then retired luxuriously back to bed while I drank my tea and had a little bit of time for my mind to start functioning.

Sure, I was pushing the lines of being tardy for work or fashionably late, but I was having one of those rare moments of peace and quiet in my home. I even ventured to go the toilet without being interrupted – I know, I am still a bit shocked at the turn of events.

I showered and washed my hair. I even had a bit of time to put some conditioner on it. I do so realize the absolute luxury that this morning was turning in to, and I was reveling in it.

Normally I am in the shower and the curtain is being pulled back as Connor is coming to tell me his sister is doing something that she should not be doing. As soon as I have sent him on his way, I will have Georgia pulling back the curtain to tell me her side of the story – usually at the same time as I have shampoo dripping into my eyes and my good sense of humour is evaporating in the morning light. Usually this progresses to them both standing in the bathroom and shouting at each other, so that I am supposed to listen to the story and decide who is right.

When I was ready to leave this morning, I picked up my bag, found my keys, gave Isabelle a wet slurpy kiss and climbed into my car. I actually sat for a minute before putting the key in and thinking that this is all decidedly odd. No screaming, no return visits to the house to get something, finding something someone needs for school.

Usually my morning routine from the time I enter the garage has the sound track along these lines:-

“We are late, hurry up!!”

“Move, move, move, we are late”

“Get in the car, no I do not care what that is in your hand, just get in the flippn car.”

“You have tennis today, did you remember your racket. Damn it, we have to go back! Why can you not remember your stuff.”

“Georgia just leave that alone, you do not need to take that to school, I said no, leave it!”

“Stop fighting, just share the middle seat, I said stop fighting!”

“No, I did not remember to buy you the board. You did not tell me you needed it – you cannot tell me on the drive to school about something you were meant to tell me two days ago.”

“Yes, pass me your school homework book, I will sign it while I am driving.”

“No Connor I do not know what bait one uses to catch Strepies, I have no idea.”

Today I even listened to 567 Talk and heard what they were saying. As a treat I drove a new route to work, it really was blissful peaceful. I started feeling all carefree …….

Afraid to be Alone …and can we murder Horatio Caine?

I really had quite a difficult spell over December/January. I find this time of year really hard. Work starts to pick up from about September and in December it is crazy – insane stuff.

I do my utmost not to urinate at work, as I don’t actually have the time – no really, I have unbelievable bladder control.  I am in print and production and it seems like every year our clients are shocked and stunned that Christmas will fall on the 25th of December.

Every year it is this chaotic rush around and it builds to a fever pitch as the 25th approaches. It is so stressful and I am pushed further than I am willing to go.  Every year the schools my kids attend, plans an end-of-year something, so I am flying around trying to attend all these things at more than one school.  Add to that your own company end of year function, your department end of year function, your must see friends before end of year, and basically that leaves you with about two hours free on the 17th December sometime between 2 and 4 in the morning.  It is absolutely certifiable  i n s a n e!!

My son also has a birthday in December so that only adds to the pressure.  It’s the planning, booking a venue, the invitation, the annoying parents who do not RSVP.  These really pip me over the edge.  So I never know if they are coming or will just arrive, so I start catering and planning for “possible children.” <double scream> Several times I have had kids arrive whose parents did not RSVP – this is not a totally rare occurence.

Then my absolute favourite – Christmas shopping.  I end up having to do it on the 22 – 24th, as it is the only time I have!!  I end up dragging kids through shopping centres.  Usually  the combination of my frayed nerves and the sound of Mariah Carey doing what ever Christmas warble she has thrown together this year, is unfortunately enough to take what ever HO out of the ho-ho-ho christmas jollies for me.

This year was EXTRA special. I was dealing with “being-abandoned-by-my-maid-who-was-filling-in-for-my-actual-maid, as-my-actual-maid was-home-in-Zimababwe-for-the-holidays” situation.  Suffice to say I was one Valium short of a full nervous breakdown.

This set of circumstances pushed me into an entirely new sphere of off-the-hinges behaviour.  It even shocked me a bit.

In the first week of January I stood in my house trying to assess my situation whilst Isabelle was firmly attached to my left hip, with my hair tightly entwined around her mucus incrusted chubby little fingers, which she was rhythmically pulling. I had stopped feeling the pain of my hair being pulled from the roots, as my mind had already left “the place where it is sane” and had started shopping in the crazy aisle.

I was standing there and realized that:-

1. The dust blowing in from our destroyed garden is doing my head in. No matter how many times I wiped a surface, it is black with dust 10 minutes later.  And I really am not a neat freak, but this black grit on the toilet and every other surface was really doing me in.

2. The dog is scratching because she needs Frontline and I have not had a chance to get to the vet to buy it. Every time she scratches a little bit more of my sanity vacates, as I picture the fleas jumping off her and on to my children.

3. Georgia is deciding now is a good time to empty her toy boxes all over her room (see earlier note regarding no maid)

4 Connor is arguing with me about everything and right now, I really need a large glass of wine, a long lie down time and to be left alone.

5  To really crown it all Kennith is on a business trip to China, so I am not going to be getting any help for a good seven days at the least. That might have been the deal breaker right there.

6  I feel like  am this awful mother as I am not coping with my kids with my house, and my inability to have a chance to shower or put my contact lenses in are doing nothing for my sense of morale.

When all of those pieces started to come together and make a Rorschach pattern of my life, what was left of my little brain just went “pop!”

I lost it  ……  totally off the rails stuff.  Its the one where one minute you are fine and then **poof** it’s over.

I grabbed Connor and Georgia and banished them to their rooms and told them that today is “throwing away toys day” and clean up room day. And no one comes out of their rooms until toys are sorted and rooms cleaned.  I might have been shrieking like a fish wife at this point – actually guaranteed.

Of course I am doing this with crazy hair, eyes a little too wide open behind smudged glasses, and no doubt spittle being emitted from the corners of my mouth.  It really could not have gone much worse.

Isabelle was crying as she was no longer on my hip. Georgia started to cry because I forced her to start throwing away her toys and I was screaming.  Connor started to cry because he could not watch the television programme he wanted to, and he realised mom was going suicidal on him …… and really I wanted to cry, but I screamed instead.

I decided to keep this up for about three hours. Then I was exhausted, my nerves were raw, and I was sure that I was going to kill someone.  It really was just a case of where to bury the bodies.

Once the toys had been sorted – which as you guessed it, I ended up doing in my now rather manic episode.  Once everyone stopped crying and sniffling, I threw them in the car and we went down to McBadFood for a nutritious meal and a crappy toy!

I do not know why I get myself in to this state. If Kennith is left with the kids, you would find him lying on the couch watching his favourite show, and occasionally scratching his scrotum for some light relief.

Isabelle would be in her cot, having the longest afternoon sleep of her life. Georgia and Connor would be in the television room, high on too much Oros, and happily watching Cartoon Network, while their brain cells died one cell at a time.

Sure the house would look like a scene from CSI. The one where you really hope that this is the episode where someone murders Horatio Caine for his annoying mannerisms, and quirks. The thing about him is that he has to pause, remove his glasses and say something completely redundant to anyone with half a brain. For example, standing over a drowned person – takes off sunglasses and looks at nothing in particular and says : ” This person wasn’t just drowned… they were killed.” However I digress …

Kennith somehow is able to manage our children and our house without getting himself in a total state. Part of his tactic is to totally ignore the state of the house, and do make the kids what ever is the easiest for him.

Me, I am afraid of being left alone with my house and my kids without some sort of domestic help to intervene. I do worry that one day Kennith is going to come home to find that I have run away, or there are dead bodies strewn over the just washed white tiles.

But for now I take deep breathes, and try to find my happy place …. and pray that December stays far far away from me right now.