Saturday, 28 September 2013

TV and Transport

So we got a flatscreen TV.  Now to 99 % of you out there this will be a pretty unexciting announcement.  But see, we never had one before.  We still had an old fashioned TV, one that weighed 109kgs and the back end of it was about the size of an additional TV ..... it stretched about 45cm beyond the screen at the back. 

We have a happy teenage son.  That TV now went into his room on the proviso that it would not be connected to the aerial and the DSTV because that would turn him into a bedroom hermit.  And that is a no.  But he took his Xbox from the lounge and set up everything in his room.  So now we don't have to negotiate and run timeshare on our TV in the lounge between us trying to watch and him trying to play. 

Setting up the DVD player into the new TV proved a small challenge.  The plugs were labelled differently and we were holding a plethera of red, yellow and white plugs while staring excitedly and confused at the holes.  2 hours of trial and error and Ta Da!! It was a big choice.  Did we want sound but no picture or vice versa.  Choices, choices.  

Then there is the matric dance.  In my day you climbed in your parent's car and got dropped there.  Today arriving in your parent's car seems to be just a step away from insanity.  So you have to be creative.  I have seen everything from tractors, to camels and ice-cream vans.  Limo companies are rubbing their hands in glee.  Parents are recalculating their budgets in less glee.  My face is quite long at the moment.  After parties are all the rage ..... but kids, especially girls, have to get there.  There is not a chance that Eug and I will let our daughter go with an unlicenced driver, a licenced but inexperienced driver or anyone with a breath of alcohol in them.  This limits the choices.  It is quite a distance away this year which makes this a huge problem.  I am ready to tear my hair out.  It has caused some delightful arguments.  Next week this time it will be all over ... with tons of photos for memories.  By then we will know what the answer to the transport problem was. 

No wonder I had a Savanna at 1130am.  At a stork tea nogal. 

Till next time
c'est la vie xxx 

Thursday, 26 September 2013

the cellphone, the flame and the burn

Yes.  I accidentally set my Samsung S3 alight.  Yes this follows straight on from the underpants on the head incident I blogged about a few blogs ago.

It was simple.  I am candle crazy .... any colour, size, shape .... scented ...... and candleholders .... big, small, glass, ceramic .... I have a huge amount on my lounge table and I love to have them all burning at night ... it looks really beautiful.

So on Sunday early evening I am on the couch, candles alight on the table, family out, and I decide to have a little slumber.  Put my book down, phone on top and I am gone.  Wake up quite a while later because I smell something burning ..... open my eyes and when I see the small flame by my cellphone I just know I must be dreaming.  Or not.  The candleholder is an angel and it holds a small tea light candle.  This had tipped slightly due to having more melted wax on one side than on the other, the wick subsequently moved, taken the flame with it.  It leaned to my cellphone (pretty spiteful I thought) and burnt the cover.  Once through that it started to burn and melt my actual cellphone.  So now I had a beautiful white phone with a huge black melted stinking welt on the one top corner.  I sat and paintstakingly filed it down with an emery board but there is a hole now, right in my phone.  Thank heavens it still works and a non-see through cover makes it impossible to see the problem.

And yes, when I went to Vodacom to buy the cover, the saleslady did look unbelievingly at the phone and say "is that a burn?" and yes I had to explain it to her, and yes she felt the need to re-explain it to 4 colleagues, who then also looked along with 3 customers.

As my son says "mom you are never boring.  crazy, but never boring".

Till next time
c'est la vie xxxx

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

counting sheep

Not sleeping. 
You can call it insomnia, sleep apnea, lack of sleep, not falling asleep, not staying asleep, anything you like.  It comes down to not sleeping. 

Please don't tell me to get into bed earlier.  Or that it is the hours before midnight that count. Or that I need my beauty sleep.  Or that I should aim for 8 hours a night.  Some nights 8 minutes would be a blessing.  Don't tell me about coffee, or stress, or reading too late, or blogging too late.  I know all those things.  None of them, when changed, have any effect on the opening 2 words of this blog. 

I have darkened the room, lightened the room, bought that airplane eye covering thingy, I have read gentle verses, hummed, sang kumbaya, meditated, did that relax one limb at a time thing, got a new pillow, warmer pyjamas, cooler pyjamas, windows open a bit, windows opened wide.  Sleep tabs?  No.  Some are too weak and don't work and the stronger ones given to me recently?  I sleep .... oh yes I sleep.  And in the morning?  It is like trying to wake a mummy (not a mommy, a mummy).  It is ridiculous, I am puffy eyed and incoherent.  I would rather be sleepless than look like I drink first thing in the morning.  Warm milk?  I would rather have my lip pierced three times than drink any temperature of milk in a glass.  Milk is for milkshakes and cappuccinos. 

Recently due to some emotional unpacking, a course I went on, a major car accident, a daughter writing prelims and 2 deaths in my family 11 days ago, I started to unravel .... a lot.  And drove a lot of people crazy.  a lot.  And of course my trusty specialist is handling it all ..... and drying tears .... a lot .... as I seem to bump heads with everyone in my non sleeping path. 

And then, in Dischem, there it was at the Solal shelf ....... 30 sachets in a box aptly called Sleep Naturally.  It was a sign, because that is what I want.  I still want to stay up late watching movies, but then if I go upstairs I don't want to lie awake for 6 hours till my alarm goes off.  I want to read and blog after midnight, but know that I am on leave and can sleep till 9 and do so fitfully.   These delightful little strawberry granules get dissolved in a half glass of water at bedtime .... like a non-alcoholic bedtime treat and when I get into bed .... the box has it right .... I fall asleep quite quickly and ..... I stay asleep.  Cue Angelic Harp Music. 

And in the morning .... I feel dik geslaap, but not incoherent. 

So there you have it ...... I am sleeping.  I am healing.  And I am trying not to be too feisty.  Those feeling it will know who you are.  I ask forgiveness. 

Till next time, better rested 
c'est la vie xxx

Friday, 20 September 2013

matric dance fairytale silly season

Matric dance time is upon us.  
Cue "Hey Big Spender" song for parents.
Cue "rework the budget" for the 9th time. 
Cue "we can afford this if no-one in our house eats for the month of October".

Seriously though, tonight we were discussing matric dances over the generations whilst at an excellent dinner at the school's beautiful restaurant. 

In my and my hubby's time, as well as in my parent's time, these dances were held in the school hall.  There are very few schools where it still happens in the hall.  The gr 11's did the fundraising, chose a theme and were the waiters and waitresses (this still happens) and decorations were put up which included many flowers made from 14 layers of tissues tied with florists wire and then reshaped, lighting in different colours and streamers creatively draped across the ceiling.  If the budget allowed there were helium balloons and pretzels in the foyer.  The food was made at the school, by teachers, kids and other so we had delightful pineapple halves filled with tuna that had been standing waaaay to long, a main course of something that I to this day cannot identify, and melting ice-cream.  Added to the fact that my date wore a weird shade of green suit and brown grasshoppers shoes, it was certainly nothing to get over-emotional about.  I did, however, have my dream dress which my parents had paid to have made for me.  Today with the money paid for that dress, you are lucky if you can buy a clutch bag for a matric dance.  I also wondered out loud recently why my mom had let me out with that hairstyle.  Sort of bouffant meets Lady Di.  She assures me it was the fashion.  I look younger now than in that pic.  If I can find it I will attach it below.  The pose I am in is usually only reserved for reigning Heads of State in official potraits.  But I will embarass myself for your amusement.  

I still have that dress (yes I am ridiculously sentimental) and a few weeks ago Jess put it on.  She looked a bit like a combination between little Bo Peep and who the hell knows what.  They collapsed laughing.  I did feel a bit affronted.  Off the shoulder satin with 109 metres of lace triming was very in.  It was 30 years ago for heaven's sake.  And I definately had my sexy on.  I know my matric buddy, Baz, is reading this.  You better say something nice in your comment!

Dress shopping today is a BIG thing.  And can be pricey.  I was lucky that in March as we passed a shop in a mall, Jess saw a dress, stopped dead in her tracks and said "mom that is the one".  It was her size, was a one of a kind, we bought it and it has hung in state waiting for 4 October.  Shoes are proving to be our achilles heel ..... too high, too low, too much bling, too little bling, too strappy, too closed, too expensive, too this, too that .... I did not know there were so many words in the English language to describe shoes ......... I also did not know that one could take so many sips from a hip flask whilst looking for shoes. 

Then there is the hair, the makeup, jewellery, a bag and of course .... THE boy.  Depending on the girl, the level of difficulty for all these assorted "items" will differ in rank.  So we have hair and make up appointments (check) THE boy (check) .... yes you Brad #fantasticchoice, jewellery (check) and shoes and bag (uncheck, uncheck). 

At CBC parents of matriculants are also invited and they sit on the teacher's side of the venue.  The matric boys open the dancefloor with their moms and the matric girls with their dads.  A wonderful CBC tradition.  If you do not have your parents there, or do not have a parent or parents, you dance with a friend's parent or a teacher, it is your choice.  After this they have a 5 minute break to allow the wailing parents to gather themselves.  I managed to do the ten minute in and out the shop method of finding something understated to wear.  It is the kid's night.  

Venues are coining it at this time of year ...... as matric dances move to boutique hotels, fancy restaurants or other venues.  Jess' dance is at a beautiful place and will be everything magical she expects, with fantastic food and  without a Kleenex tissue flower in sight.  Her date won't have on brown grasshoppers and she has a mindblowing photographer so there are no queen's coronation style potraits.  

And mom and dad .... in no way am I knocking my matric dance things you got me .... merely reflecting on how it has changed. 

Oh and in closing ...... my dad told me tonight that at his matric dance at Affies, they had a kind of braai affair, and because there had been some "incidents" the previous year, there was no music or dancing.  Instead they were shown a movie called "Soldiers".. whoop whoop ...... that trumps the green suit. 

till next time, 
c'est la vie xxx

Thursday, 12 September 2013

the white underwear and blue helmet error

So today I did something so stupid I am still trying to wrap my head around it.  But first I will have to stop laughing.  And get my family to stop laughing.  And my friends.  And colleagues.  And teachers at CBC.  And most of all my son. 

He has 8 stitches in his ear from a small freak accident last week.  He plays cricket 4 days a week and obviously going in to bat with the helmet on is tricky as it rubs the stitches.  He told me yesterday, before today's game, that he may have to put something over the ear. 

This afternoon, around the time the match should start, he sends me a whatsapp asking me to please bring him, or buy him, a speedo or a white pair of underpants as he needs it for the game.  I realised that obviously he wanted to bat and did not have something for his ear and wanted to put this on his head.  What normal person would think that?  I am gobsmacked at my idiocy.  So I race off to Hatfield Mall.  Total Sports has speedos but I am not paying a fortune for one when he does not swim for the school.  I race into Mr Price but as time is short I am irritated to find 243 pairs of underpants all in colours, stripes, dots and everything except white.  I am also wondering why he wanted a big size when he is not big.  Only tall.  6ft 2".  And why white?  Then I spot it in a beacon of light at the back of the shelf .... a pack of 3 and one is white.  But it is a smaller size than he asked for.  So here comes the more than previous idiotic move.  I take the white one out and quickly put it over my head and ears .... It fits me well so it will fit him but I cannot help but wonder how this flappy thing is gonna work.  But it is his helmet and I do as asked.  Just then a young boy looks up at me .... standing in the store in the men's department with a pair of white underpants on my head and says "Tannie, wat maak jy?" (Lady, what are you doing).... I glare at him, I mean what the hell does it look like I am doing?  Trying on white underpants. 

I pay and race to the school, he is bowling and I am glad that I arrive before the 2nd innings when he will have to bat.  At the break between innings I proudly tell him that I have purchased the underpants as requested and they are in his bag.  He says it is a little late.  "Nonsense", I say, "you are only going in to bat now, put on the underpants before you hurt your stitches". 

Now it is hard to say what was in that look my son gave me ..... horror, pity, disgust, laughter, disbelief .... it was a thousand emotions that crossed his face before he burst out laughing ..... "Mom", he said, "I left my 2nd pair of undies at home, I need to put my cricket "box" into my pants between the two pair of underpants.  I said white, so it does not shine through my white pants.  There is silence as I realise with absolute clarity what he wanted, but also with absolute clarity that I had just stood in Mr Price trying underpants on my head.  The laughter that erupted from the teachers and parents was fantastic.  Nic shook his head every time he looked at me for the next hour.  Everyone kept asking him if he has his underpants on. 

It is now 6 hrs later.  I am still laughing. And the chirps keep coming via fb, whatsapp and sms from all those who witnessed this .....

I have been a cricket mom for 9 years .... it shows hey!!! 

till next time 
c'est la vie. 

STI's and other fun school project subjects .....

I can clearly remember in high school we did several school projects.  Mine included subjects such as Pygmies, the Titanic, Ford Motor Company etc etc.  Tonight my son had to finish off the work he had done on a pamphlet he had to design about a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI).  Now this is not a pretty topic.  But he turned out a damn fine pamphlet aimed at men, catchy, to the point and very, very clear about the dangers .... of the one he chose. His wording was pretty sharp I thought.

The real interesting part was when he had to print out a picture to put in the pamphlet .... I told him Google images is the way to go and since I was right here he Googled and bam!!! the pics opened on the screen.  We recoiled and stepped back about 9m at what we saw.  "Oh my word mom", said my son .... I could not even get any words out to be able to say "oh my word".  Fascination and shock at what we saw overtook us and we started to look,  After looking at the screen for about a minute, my son said "ok, awwwwwkward, here I am looking at this with my mom".  I had swallowed any uncomfortableness I had in order to remind him that this is very often the problem.  People don't talk.  To their kids.  About stuff.   Real stuff, that happens to real people every day.  As they grow up we teach them to cross the road, to chew with their mouths closed, to act like gentlemen, to focus on schoolwork, to be sportsmen with good attitudes.  When they are old enough, many simply rely on the dear Life Orientation and Life Sciences teachers to fill in the gaps.  We console ourselves by telling ourselves that kids will "talk to other kids and with their peers and fill in the gaps".  It is more comfortable like that.  For who?  The child or the parent?.

When the wording of the pamphlet was done he asked me how to the point he should be.  "Completely", I replied.  This is not a pamphlet for a day spa or an evening out at the theatre.  It is not supposed to make you feel comfortable.

And yes, dishing up supper and then announcing as everyone tucks into their lasagna "ok let's talk about condoms, STI's and other fun topics" is not the way to go.  And yes, boys in particular do not want to discuss it, let alone with their moms, but discuss it they must.  With an informed source.  I am lucky that with my kids we don't sweat the small stuff and we can talk about anything.  If I sense they are uncomfortable, we find a "comfortable" area of the subject, but mostly we mix it up with a ton of laughter and learn along the way.

So this project was certainly an eye opener ..... but it is signed and sealed and in his schoolbag.  It was a great opportunity to delve with a good dose of humour mixed with info into this scary subject and the good part is that neither child, of 18 or 14, moved out of the dining room.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate parents ...... it's the right thing to do!

till next time
c'est la vie.

Monday, 9 September 2013

me, st anthony and the keys

Following on my previous blog where I clearly outlined the dangers of letting me be responsible for the parking ticket in a mall, I now have to further report that I did, on Saturday afternoon, manage to lose my car key.  Of my new car.  Which I have had for 5 weeks. Luckily this tale has a happy ending.

It was very uncomplicated.  I came home from the carwash and coffee with my BFF.  Pulled into my garage at home (which meant I had the key), got out the car and opened the boot from that same remote (which means I had the key), took out the shopping and my handbag and packed into the boot a box for paper pick-up, some plastics for re-use at Irene Homes and 2 other items.  When I wanted to close the boot and lock the car the key was missing.  Now it takes a special kind of stupid to lose your key right by your car .......

I was calm.  I mean it had to be right there.  Right?  Wrong!  I went through the 2 grocery bags and my handbag (the latter took 36 minutes as it contained everything including half a goat).  No key.  Then I took those few items out the boot.  Nothing.  Look in car again in case I had put it down in some weird way.  I unpacked the cubby, took out the mats, searched under the seats .... I mean for heavens sake it had taken all of 2 mins to lose the key.  An hour ticked by, I started looking through the paper pick-up with a fine tooth comb.  I opened the flap to the spare wheel.  I looked on the tyres, I looked under the car.  Nothing. I was strongly considering to intensify the search with the help of some Tequila shooters.  Or not.

On the advice of a friend I prayed to St Anthony.  After hunting for some time again, friend suggested I move on to St Jude.  I think I managed to drive both Saints crazy.  Another friend told me to ask for help in finding key and stick a pin in the pinboard in the kitchen.  I went through 4 and a quarter boxes of pins and eventually ran out of space to put them.  No key.

Back to car with hubby.  Take everything out the boot for the 4th time.  Go through empty boot.  Go through car.  Mutter a lot.  Move to some stronger vocab.  Go through paper box and other items.  Re-pack boot.  Retrace steps from driver door to boot .... 3 steps .... how hard can it be.  No key.

And so it went for 3 hours, interspersed only by 3 cups of very strong coffee and a lot of retracing of steps.  It is not that we did not have a spare key.  We do.  But the thought of using it and not having a backup for a 5 week old car .... that made me more upset.

Eventually at 530pm we abandoned the search and went to Mass. We have been in that parish forever.  We usually go to the Sunday night Mass unless I read at another Mass.  It seems very quiet when we get there.  It is, because we are 45 mins early.  In all the trauma of the key we got the Mass time wrong.  More coffee as we wait.

After Mass we have hot chocolate, tea and coffee with new friends and they are highly amused by my quandary.  Even our dear priest is shaking his head .......... with laughter.  We bid our farewells and go to the car.  It then strikes me ...... did that huge box not hook the key?  I look under the box.  There it is, wedged into the bottom of the box, despite the fact that we removed and put it back in the car 4 times.

"Yes knucklehead", says my dear hubby.  But fondly.

Now ...... what did I do with my IPad?

till next time
c'est la vie xxx

Sunday, 1 September 2013

me. parkade tickets. rather not

If for any reason you ever go to a mall with me, do not under any circumstances allow me to be responsible for the parking ticket one receives at the boom.  I am not joking.  You will regret it if you do. 

When I go to any mall in the country, any other person in the vehicle except me, becomes the "responsible adult" when it comes to that ticket, irrespective of how young or old they are.  If I am alone, I park in the open area, where having to know the whereabouts of that ticket for prolonged periods of time, is not an issue.  Paying a car guard is a much cheaper exercise than paying for a lost ticket.  Repeatedly.  

And so over the years my bff, my kids, my hubby, my colleagues, my everyones have taken charge of that ticket.  I can't work out where they keep it, because every time we have to pay, they always know where it is.  Weird thing that. 

Last year I had to go to Sandton Mall.  I drove (this is why I always go with the Gautrain now).  I had one meeting there.  One.  In and out in under an hour.  I walked from the parking to his office and from there back to my car.  Somewhere in that trip someone must have stolen my ticket.  Cost = R75.

Earlier this year I ventured unaccompanied to the Kolonnade.  I had the ticket.  I promise.  I took it from the machine at the boom and clasped it between my teeth while I parked.  I am pretty sure I walked clasping it the whole time.  I figured not greeting anyone was a small price to pay for being able to see the ticket below my eyes all the time.  Someone stole it.  Cost = R25.

Then I went with my son to Junction today.  This was safe territory as he would be the responsible person.  Then it went wrong.  We were going to hand my car in at the carwash in the parking.  It is 4m from the boom.  So I held the ticket.  What could go wrong in 4m.  The carwash was full and so it meant I did not hand the ticket to them with my keys as per usual.  We had coffee.  And shopped.  And laughed.  And had fun.  I should have known it was destined to end badly.  Got to the car and I looked expectantly at the responsible adult aka my son.  He reminded me of the carwash thing.  Again ... can you believe it?  Someone had stolen my ticket!!  Cost = R30.

So what have I learnt?  Not to go to malls without other people.  No.  Not to keep the ticket in my mouth.  No.  To place the ticket in my bag immediately.  No. 

I have finally realised that the answer is simple .... to stop visiting Malls where tickets get stolen. 

Go figure.  Now where are my car keys .........

Till next time, 
c'est la vie xxx 

once upon a time ......

I have a good friend who always tries to teach me "slowly, slowly" in life and "to be gentle with myself" emotionally and every other way.  And it is slowly, slowly starting to work for me. 

This friend is also one of a handful of persistent supporters who feel I should start writing more seriously .... so I am happy to have got a good head start.  I wrote a short story ..... yes I ...  WROTE ... A......800 WORD CHILDREN'S STORY.  A magazine is offering the opportunity for them to purchase it if they like it and so I gave it a bash.  If they choose it will I be happy? Of course.  If they don't choose it will I be devastated?  No I won't.  I will have proved to myself that I am able to, on a very small scale, work out the outline of a story in my head, and working from the outside in, write something readable.  My normal editing guru and critic was not available last week to check it, but I also read it to a couple of people to check if it touched them.  One cried.  Two sat and stared.  I waited.  They stared more.  I started to panic.  Then the one guy said ... "you worked that out on your own?".  He was not being sarcastic.  So happy days.  It is the first stepping stone in a VERY long line of stones still to come. 

When do I have time to do this?  Well if you are a local, then you will know that it is now 01:30 and so to answer your question - this is when I have time to do it.  Between working and 2 teenagers and laundry and driving and blogging and all kinds of stuff my inspiration comes in the quiet of the midnight hours.  And what to say?  God puts it there, in my head, in my heart, in my conscious and sleeping hours .... I simply move it to my fingertips and then to my keyboard.  What a blessing He gave me with this. 

So now to bed, and to dream ... about what to write next. 

c'est la vie ... and thank you to the many that follow my blog. 
mwah xxx

Okay so lets move to another province

“The company feels that there are great growth opportunities for it in the Cape” says hubby whilst we are sitting on the stoep of our chalet...