Sunday, 31 March 2013

The Tin Man's Eggs

The Tin Man's Eggs
31 March 2013

Aaahhh, Easter!  A time for family, chocolate, good food, relaxing, the first bit of rain, painting of hollowed out eggs, family vegging sessions on the couch watching movies or a good mini-series, the mystery of the Easter Bunny, flour and baby powder footprints right through the house and the garden, ponderings about why a rabbit delivers eggs and where the whole bunny thing comes in at all (the egg bit I get - it represents new life, I think), The Giant Egg hunt, feeling sickly sweet from chocolate, great excitement all around, schloefing around at least one whole day in PJ's, drinking hot chocolate (like we need any more chocolate), letters written and pictures drawn for the Easter Bunny, etc.  Basically, family nirvana.

I bravely ventured a trip to the shops the day before Easter.  How daft!  Because braveness or not, Easter eggs don't buy themselves.  And I hadn’t really gotten my act together yet.  What a surprise.  Not.  And so I needed to stock up on some loot.  The eggs were literally flying off the shelves.  Shop staff were busy unpacking them from boxes and customers were loading them up into trolleys immediately.  Some even delving straight into the boxes.  Queuing for eggs in fact.

I always go slightly moggie over Easter myself.  But then again, I go moggie over Christmas too.  Every year, the kids and I have a ball painting hollowed out eggs.  We spend ages before Easter stocking up on eggs, by eating omelettes, waffles, pancakes, flapjacks, etc.  In fact any egg dish requiring eggs to not be whole.  You simply make little holes on either end of the egg, and blow the inside out with all your might.  I never seem to make the holes big enough and always seem to suffer from a bout of severe dizziness including visions of floating stars from blowing so hard.  The painting is such fun. I've got loads of paint and more than enough brushes.  Every year we try a few techniques.  We do stripes and patterns.  Scribbles with special pens after the painting's been done.  Dotting stickers all over, painting over the whole egg, pulling the stickers off and leaving perfect patterns.  And over the years, my egg stash has grown.  It is lovely to see how the children have grown in proficiency and artistic skill as they've gotten older.  Still their early smudged and splotchy works are some of my best.  We decorate the whole house with baskets of painted eggies, little chickies, and bunny goodies.  Our decorating loot ever increasing.  Predictably at age fifteen, Luke has unsubscribed to it all and simply wants us to stop fussing and hand over the eggs.  Still he does actually understand that he had his turn in believing in the Easter Bunny and doing it all.  And now it is the turn of Cole.  And though Amber doesn't believe in the Easter Bunny anymore, she fully subscribes to all that goes along with it.  She simply laps it all up and helps to keep the mystery alive for Cole.

Yet, apart from all of the above, one other story simply always springs to mind when I think of Easter.  A very, very good friend of mine, was still in her pre-kid-years with her husband.  In fact, I think her husband was then still only her boyfriend.  And judging by the story, I don't think they had been together for very long.  Because if they had been, he surely would have understood the need for him to spoil her on Easter with lots of chocolate bounty.  Especially of the Lindt variety me-thinks.  Clearly, my friend had spoiled him.  Knowing her, most handsomely too.  And I would imagine that her surprise was rather huge, when the chocolatey goodness was not reciprocated.  From the sounds of things, they had a bit of words about his insensitive lack of spoiling.  And then, in order to gain some distance from him and to soothe her hurt feelings, she decided to go for a long leisurely bath.  Girls do that.

Now said husband/boyfriend was not a stupid guy.  He realised he was in the proverbial dog box.  And he needed to get out of there fast.  But how does one do this on Easter Sunday, once you've already messed up?  He couldn't just dash off to the shops and get her a treat.  By this stage, all the best goodies were gone in any rate.

But being a man, he relied on his baser instincts and thought of an ingenuous plan.  One that would have guaranteed results.  But his plan would have to be so good, it would have to a) dig him out of the hole he was in, b) add a bit of humour, as humour goes a long way, c) slightly humiliate himself, as that would show true remorse, and d) hopefully aid him in getting lucky on Easter Sunday.  He was going for broke.

Which explains perfectly, why he waltzed into the bathroom whilst she was lying in the bath (wallowing in self-pity), to proudly display to her "his eggs" wrapped in tinfoil.

I do believe that it was an unmitigated success and that it met all of the abovementioned requirements.

Though to aid in the humiliation part, said friend shared the story with all of us.  Much to our mirth and his horror.

And so, till today, we often refer to him as Tin Man.  We even went to so far as to print him a Tin Man t-shirt for his birthday one year.

Which serves to illustrate one point with perfect clarity.  Not only does hell have no fury like a woman scorned.  It also has no fury like a woman who has been deprived of chocolate.

True story.  You have been warned.

Some of our painted egg loot
And more

Still more

Even random candle holders are not left unscathed

Friday, 29 March 2013

I'm having one of those Really-Missing-My-Dad-Days

I'm having one of those Really-Missing-My-Dad-Days
29 March 2013

It happens every so often.  I think of him pretty much every day.  And most days, it’s absolutely okay.  The memories are fond and I have a little glow.

But sometimes, I have one of those Really-Missing-My-Dad-Days.  The memories are still fond.  The glow is still there.  But on these days, the missing can actually turn into a physical ache, like my heart has been squeezed too tight.  These days are always quite hard.  And the reason for today’s occurrence, was a dream I had about my dad.

It wasn’t one of those weird type of dreams that one has sometimes.  You know the type.  They normally make no sense at all.  And so he wasn’t driving a pink Cadillac in the sky.  Nor was his driving partner “The Hoff”.  He wasn’t on his way to the office of the Receiver of Revenue to deliver Easter Eggs.  And he didn’t randomly wear a skirt either.  And for that matter, he hadn’t managed to change into a twenty one year old blonde at all.

It was a perfectly normal dream.  I stood outside our old house in St James Street.  And when I opened the door everything looked exactly the way I remembered it to be.  Back when life was still so simple.  My dad was still alive.  My mom was still a teacher.  My brother was an annoying teenager, obsessed with his guitar.  My sister was an exuberant pre-teenager girl, obsessed with her appearance.  I don’t think I’d even met my Grantie and I therefore most definitely had no kids yet.

The biggest worry in my life, was what outfit I was going to wear to the latest party.  The fact that my lame parents wouldn’t buy me a new cool pair of shoes.  I most probably hadn’t spent enough time practicing for my next piano lesson.  A huge worry, the split ends on my hair I obsessed about.  But most worrying of all, were my embarrassing family.  Jeez, they were just so seriously uncool.  My brother and sister were just sooo dorky.  And as for my folks!  Worst of all, they thought they were so hip and with it.  As if! 

As I opened the front door, I could hear music coming from the lounge.  Eric Clapton of course.  Albert was sitting on his bed, guitar in his hand, strumming a tune.  His room was covered from floor to ceiling with live music posters.  Not a solitary spot of plain white wall.  And amidst all of his posters, there was always one upside down.  A tribute to Ray Charles and something we had seen in the original Blues Brothers movie.  Katrine was busy preening in front of the mirror.  Absolutely gorgeous.  She was singing along to old EC of course, until she started bellowing to my Mom, asking her what’s for supper.  I walked past the TV room/lounge, with the old little coal stove reset in the alcove with the stained glass window of the butterfly my dad had painted.  It had an ability to cast a warm glow to the entire room.  And there in the kitchen, my mom sat marking school books at the dining room table.  A heavenly pot of pea soup on the go.  She makes the best!

And right there.  Right in front of me he stood.  He was standing at the Oregon pine surface between the kitchen and the lounge, playing a game of old fashioned double pack solitaire with real cards in his hand.  One of his favourite forms of relaxing.  He barely seemed to even concentrate at all.  He looked up when I walked in.  Gave me a wink and a smile.  Naturally, I immediately walked over to give him a hug.  His hugs were legendary and truly beyond compare.  And as I hugged him tight, I got a whiff of oil paints and turpentine, because he’d been painting in the back room before.  At the surface, he had his coffee within reach, as my mom also had hers.  A smouldering Gauloises Plain cigarette, resting in the ashtray.  They were chatting about a music festival they were thinking of hosting at Grahams Town.  Which artists to get.  All the bits they’d have to put together.  Every so often, my mom would look up from her work, red pen clutched in her hand, chatting away.  Only to look down again, absentminded concentration on what she was doing once more.  She gave meaning to the term multi-tasking.

This is what I miss.  The very ordinary and mundane.  A day like any other day.  Nothing truly unique.  And it felt like we had millions of these.  I don’t even think I really appreciated them at the time.  Perhaps Katrine would have walked in later, chatting to my mom.  Albert would have loped in his teenage, floppy, long legged style.  Maybe someone would have said something funny, and we’d all have a laugh.  Which would start us all off.  As dinner was ready, the kids would set the table and help to hustle in the kitchen.  And we would all sit down to a social family meal.  Talking about our day.  Or perhaps we’d indulge in reminiscing about our favourite movies and funny scenes from it.  This was one of our best pastimes.

And after dinner?  Us girls would help tidy in the kitchen.  Albert would claim to have a sore stomach.  Again!  He claimed to have one every night, when it came to doing the dishes.  It annoyed Katrine and I sooo much and we whinged about it constantly.  My Dad would mosey about.  Perhaps play some more cards.  Maybe listen to some music.  Or watch a spot of TV.  Even go outside to paint some more, or play some drums.

When I wake up in the mornings after dreaming about my dad, I always tell Grant, “I saw my Dad last night!”  It is a bittersweet feeling.  Because nice though it is to see him, it reminds me so very harshly that he is there no more.  Perhaps I’m missing him extra hard, because I’ve got quite a lot happening in my life at the moment.  His presence would have been reassuring and his calm would have been, well calming.  In any rate, his hug seemed to cure many ails.  I could really use one of those right now.

I miss you Frankie-Baby.  And I wish you were still here.

I hope you’re painting up a storm wherever you are.  And that they’ve got really awesome live music for you.  I bet the sunflowers are simply huge and gorgeous too.  I’m sure they stock your beloved Gauloises Plain’s and that the coffee is always coming.  I bet you have the very best drum kit and that you’re jamming quite a lot.  Throwing music festivals galore for a little bit of fun.  Furthermore, I hope they let you watch your favourite movies again and play solitaire as much as you like.

Do you remember that one funny bit in……?


Thursday, 28 March 2013

My muffin

My muffin
28 March 2013

My brave and foolish husband, has taken to calling me, “Muffin”.  Not cool.  And just to clarify, lest there be any confusion, he is not talking about muffins of the edible and mostly sweet variety.  He is talking about my alleged (I do actually have one) and supposed (yip, there for sure) belly peering over the top of my pants.  Once again – really not cool.

Oddly enough, he seems surprised that my “charming” new nickname has not endeared him to me at all.  Actually, I don’t really think he was going for endearment to start off with.  And so, he’s probably not all that surprised.  I reckon he’s merely trying to get my goat, annoy me and get my back up.  And big up to him.  It’s clearly working.

So, yes there’s a bit of a muffin top at times.  However, the size of my muffin, is directly proportional to the tightness of the pants I’m wearing on any given day.  There is also a strong correlation between the muffin top severity and the length of my shirt.  If I’m wearing a short-ish shirt and tight-ish pair of pants or shorts, then my muffin is rather well risen.  As in an excess of yeast in evidence.  And in the same manner, if my pants are slightly looser and my shirt is slightly longer, my muffin is practically non-existent.

It is also true though, that the muffin directly relates to my fat.  The fat that is there.  Sad though that fat fact may be.  Because, much as I wish it was not so, it does exist.  Intellectually, I know I’m not grotesquely overweight, but there certainly is a bit of excess.  But then again, there are certain factors to take into account.  I don’t exercise at all.  I don’t do the gym.  I don’t swim.  I don’t run.  I don’t even jog.  I don’t Zumba,  Kick box, heck I don’t even Wii Fit.  In order to keep fit, I lift Jumping Castles.  Though technically, I do it less to be fit.  It’s more a case of it being my job and not having much of a choice in the matter.  And over the years I’ve noticed something rather remarkable.  I don’t seem to be getting any thinner or any fitter by lifting Jumping Castles.  I am merely getting stronger.  And thus, my husband doesn’t mess with me at all.  I’d take that boy down in a fight.  At least, that’s what I’d like him to believe (not entirely sure he does though).  It gives me a bit of an edge.  Good to keep those husband folk guessing and on their toes.

Still, the whole “muffin” term of endearment irked me none the less.  I even went so far as to tell him that I have never, not once in our twenty three years together called him “Beach-Ball-Belly-Boy”.  Not once!!!  Very kind of me if you ask my opinion.  Furthermore, apart from calling him Dr Evil with his bald head every so often (merely as a term of endearment of course), I’m always complimentary about his physique.

And so, one day, I met up with someone (a friend of ours) and he asked me how the “Bald-headed-wonder” (his term, not mine) was.  To which I replied, that he was skating on thin ice.  And upon enquiring as to why, I enlightened him as to the “muffin”.

And you know what his response was?  He said, and I quote, “tell the bald-headed-wonder to be careful – some men like muffins”.  It’s true.  And it gave me such a good laugh.  Probably because it is so very true.  There is no accounting for what some people find attractive in others.  Or what they don’t.  This guy wasn’t flirting with me, or being inappropriate, he was merely being funny and joking.  Still, there probably is a certain ring of truth in there.

It is amazing, how we all have different things that float our boats.  I was at varsity with a girl, who was adamant from the very first moment that I met her that her future husband would drive a Bakkie, as in a pick-up truck.  Oh, really, I remarked?  I wondered if he drove one already.  Well, she wasn’t really sure she replied, as she hadn’t even met him yet.  Huh?  So we were talking about her dream guy then?  And so I asked her, if she had any requirements for other distinguishing features or characteristics she would perhaps want?  Maybe a brunette or a blonde?  A muscular build or more slim?  Any particular job she would like him to have?  Must he be a teacher, a lawyer, a doctor, an architect, a businessman?  And you know what?  She didn’t give a hoot.  As long as he drove a Bakkie, that was all that mattered to her.  It tickled me pink.  And in the end, she did marry a man with a Bakkie.  A farmer, if memory serves.

And thus, back to the muffin thing.  Grant doesn’t really think I’m fat.  Even when I’ve been really porky (and I have in the past), he’s never said a word.  He likes me just the way I am.  He truly does.  Irrespective of my weight.  In fact, I’d venture so far as to say that he really digs me.  Big time.  Added to that, muffins are nice.  Particularly the chocolatey ones.  And I know that Grant likes them too.

Though truth be told, he doesn’t particularly like it when I wear my orange sweater.  He’s not complimentary about that one at all.  And when my newly washed hair makes tufts on either side of my head, he calls them my horns.

Watch out Baldie!  As mentioned before – I’ll take you down.  Dr Evil or not.

Today has been a low-rise muffin day - thankfully

Though to be truthful, for the pic, I felt like I was pulling my belly right through to the back of my spine, I sucked my stomach in so hard. And no, I've never taken a photo of my tummy before.


Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The modern era Cake Sale

The modern era Cake Sale
27 March 2013

Gone are the days of old, when kids went off to a Cake Sale, with R5 in their pockets and a sense of anticipation about the wonderful chocolate cupcake they were going to buy with their dosh.

Firstly, kids don’t have a measly R5 in their wallet for Cake Sale days anymore.  Fair enough – inflation, keeping abreast with market related pricing trends, etc.  Kids certainly need more than a measly R5.  We ran out of change, very, very quickly.  Hardly any coins at all.  The kids paying with a twenty or a tenner, I still found pretty normal.  It was those forking out a fifty or a hundred which really gave my pause for thought.  My poor deprived kids!

And speaking about kids - I have three kids.  Let me repeat that – three kids.  I am also not a new Mom.  And so I have done my fair share of Cake Sales.  My Mom likes to say that I’m civically minded.  That I always like to help at my kids schools and be of service.  I’d venture that she’s wrong.  Maybe I’m just nosy and inquisitive.  I don’t like missing out and I’d rather be in on the action and be there to help, than have to hear about it afterwards.  Furthermore, up until about Grade 6, kids really love having their Moms at school on Cake Sale Days, or any other special day for their matter.  It makes them feel good.  And I am very guilty of liking to make my kids feel good.  Selfishly, I also like the excessive quantities of love and appreciation I get, as well as the look of happiness on their faces when they see me at school. 

And so, in short I am a helping mom.  I supervise classes, I number raffle sheets, I help at Cake Sales, I cover text books, I work at Fun Days, I’m a time keeper at Gala’s, etc.  In short – I’m a sucker.  Yip, a sucker (not a suck-up – that’s something entirely different).  Still I love it.  For me, it is not a chore.  I am simple minded enough to actually enjoy it.

And thus, doing a quick spot of calculation I have come to the following conclusion - four Cake Sales per child, per year, for both of their pre-school years, one Cake Sale a year for each child for every year in Primary School, as well as the odd market day, School Fun Day, etc.  I would guestimate that I have most likely survived easily in excess of about 50 of these.  I know.  How stupid can one person be?  Apparently very.  A sucker indeed.  Ironically, my sister feels the same way as I do.  She is also “civically” minded (another sucker).  My mom got blessed with two.  She reckons it’s a backlash because we are the children of a teacher, and appreciate the hard work it takes and the support that is required from parents.

But, back to the story on hand.  This morning, I once again helped at the Cake Sale.  I am not saying that I’m so good or helpful or noble because I’m helping.  Not at all.  I’ve explained that I gain by doing this.  There are many moms that help and that do the civically minded thing too.  I am simply trying to illustrate, that I have a fair bit of experience when it comes to Cake Sales.

But today?  Today, I had an epiphany of sorts.  An eye opener if you wish.  Times, they are a changing.  How do I know this?  Well, it’s quite simple really.  I am used to Cake Sales with oodles of cupcakes, cake slices, muffins, lucky packets, popcorn, chips, pizza slices, cocktail sausage rolls, mini pies, sweeties, caramel bedecked eats, houndreds-and-thousands sprinkled treats, coconut ice, lollipops, pink sticky rice crispie snacks, etc.  You know the usual stuff.  The type of stuff moms send to school on Cake Sale days.  Perhaps they made the treats themselves.  Perhaps, they bought them.  It is not important.  The principal is very simple.  You supply the Cake Sale treats, give your kids money, and then they buy the treats back again, and the school gets the money.  It is an ancient custom and one that works well to raise funds.  It is fair.  It provides variety.  And the kids have awesome fun, gorging on sugar and having the opportunity to handle money and be consumers.

Therefore, imagine my surprise, when I was still busy in the “holding room” this morning.  It is in actual fact the staff room.  And on Cake Sale days, all goodies are sent to the kitchen and then sorted, categorised and priced in the “holding room”.  And the reason for my surprise?

Well, that is quite simple.  Gone are the days of years gone by.  Amidst the usual eats and treats that are expected, there was a plate of gluten free ginger cookies, a dish filled with lactose free cupcakes, as well as a platter of perfectly rolled home-made sushi.  I.  Kid.  You.  Not.

And most bizarre of all?  The sushi sold like “hot cakes”.  Though technically, I would prefer hot cakes myself.  The gluten free ginger cookies lingered for long.  But I’m blaming the ginger for that and not so much the lack of wheat products.  And those lactose free cupcakes?  Never saw them again, so I’m assuming they sold quickly too.  All I can hope for is that the children of the very brave and dedicated moms who supplied those treats for their children, who most likely have special dietary requirements, actually got to have some of those treats themselves.  They were more than likely lovingly prepared for them.  And I would like to commend those mothers for their effort.

Which reminds me of a story of a little boy that Luke was friendly with in pre-school.  Now this poor little guy was allergic to just about everything and had a very, very special diet.  A diet that I would imagine, his mother took lots of trouble for him to adhere to.  The mother related the story of her son’s fifth birthday party.  She said, that it was really hard for her child to go to a birthday party with his own prepared-before-the-time-at-home-snack-box, because he wasn’t allowed to eat any of the regular party treats.  And that this was particularly challenging when it came to her son’s birthday party.  And so for this 5th birthday party, she baked a wheat free, egg free, dairy free, sugar free cake.

And nobody ate it.

And therefore, on the occasion of his 6th birthday party, she made a normal cake once more.  And her son, ate his own little baked-especially-for-him-cake. 

What a mom!

Not so yummy!!!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

The "p-word"

The "p-word"
26 March 2013

Now admittedly, swearing is a rather bad habit.  That’s a given.  Supposedly, it’s also an indicator of a lack of vocabulary and expressive language abilities.

I beg to disagree.  Yes, it’s bad and naughty.  And I most certainly don’t want my kids to indulge in the habit.  Still, it’s just so delightfully fun.  I don’t do lots of it and try and be cautious.  Being careful of the company I keep when I do give in to an occasional bout.  But I have to admit, that loud exclamations of “Testicle!”, are my best.  It is normally not said with any malice.  It is simply an exclamation which can portray frustration, anger, relief, joy, etc.  All depending on the circumstance and the trigger which has led me to exclaim my very favourite swear word.  In fact, I’m not even sure that it is technically a swear word?  Certainly, it is no different than exclaiming “Tentacle!”, yet I somehow don’t seem to love that word as much.  Furthermore, I never envision the male bollock area when I say the word.  Gross!  It is very simply just a word to me.

Now certain of my family members are also given to indulging in the occasional spot of foul language.  In fact, some of them, indulge in more than just a spot.  They actively encourage it.  And have even been able to turn it into a linguistic art form of sorts.  They are able to weave it into any conversation with remarkable aplomb.  And I think that perhaps due to the regularity and familiarity of use, we tend to forget that they are in essence swearing. 

And so I recall an instance when one of my little cousins was only about five or six years old.  My aunt and uncle got a phone call from said cousin’s school.  His pre-school if memory serves.  They were called in to come and see the teacher, because of the inappropriate language that my young cousin had been brandishing about.  My aunt’s obvious first question, after receiving the dreaded call, was “what word did he use?”  Now just imagine her horror, when all the teacher was willing to divulge over the phone was the fact that he had used the “p-word”.

I do believe shock reverberated, like a physical thing.  Many, many absolutely dreadful words could all fall into the “p-word” category.  Most of them pretty awful.  And pretty much all of them referring to genitalia.  As is the habit with most swear words actually.  Why, just take “testicle” for example…..

Family phone calls started.  Exactly which horrid “p-word” did he use?  How bad was the damage?  What were the repercussions going to be?  Would he be expelled?  What damage control would they be able to do?

The inevitable teacher’s meeting ensued, with both my aunt and uncle present.  I do believe they were rather nervous and fearing the outcome of the meeting too.

Furthermore, I imagine, that their relief was huge, once it was divulged, that the dreaded “p-word” was in actual fact only “panty”.  As in little girlie broekies.  Apparently my cousin, said something about a little girl’s panties.  More than likely, she was hanging upside down from a jungle gym, which caused her dress or skirt to hang around her neck, obstructing her view, and her panties to be on display for all the playground to see.  And my cousin’s “insensitive” use of the word, hurt fragile feelings.  And at this school, this sort of behaviour was frowned upon and the “p-word” was deemed to fall in the dodgy and questionable category.  Most likely referred to as bathroom language.  Or as kids call it, “toilet talk”.  But who knows, maybe that phrase is also a dodgy one?

My cousin is all grown up now.  And though his parents still indulge in “toilet talk”, I am happy to report that he does not.  A straighter arrow, you will most likely not find.  He is a natural leader, a brilliant sportsman, strong in academics, and a charismatic person.  He is the captain of his hockey team – the school’s first team of course.  He has been a learner council leader, for four years in High School already.  And this year he is Head Boy of a prestigious school in the Northern Suburbs.  A school that is seen by the Education Department, as a success story and the model that they achieve to duplicate in schools all over the country.  They simply have a formula for success that works.

And nowadays, I bet that when my cousin, indulges in the “p-word”, he is referring to his patience, his wonderful parents, his dedication to perfection in all that he undertakes, his perseverance in completing any task he starts, his pride in his school, two-ply toilet paper (his favourite), his pride in his numerous academic, sporting and cultural achievements he’s had, his many blessings of absolute perfect hair (it’s true – he has really good hair), the periodic table of elements (he used to have science as a subject), his pals, his fellow prefects (as their leader, I believe he leads them well), pink (his father’s favourite colour – love you!), his awesome public speaking and debating skills, his deep and abiding love of pasta, the absolute mountain of projects he gets swamped with, and so the list continues.

In fact, perhaps panty was a better “p-word” after all.

 The dreaded "p-word"

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Teenage Time

Teenage Time
23 March 2013

Now if you live in Africa, then you will indeed be familiar with the practice and custom of African time.

But if you’re not….. African time?  What is that?  Is it the position of Africa on a line of longitude, determining it’s time zone?  The exact moment that sunrise or sunset occurs?  Africa’s proximity to the Equator (Uh, hello!  The equator runs through Africa – even I know that)?  Or simply the country’s internal clock, unrelated to Geography at all?

No, indeed it is not.  African time, refers to the custom of people from Africa, let’s call them her natives, to take a rather lackadaisical and relaxed view on the standard and conventional approach to the keeping of time.

Oh, they can tell time.  That’s not it.  It’s more a sense of what that time means.  And their rather loose interpretation of that time.

And somehow or other, in terms of actual punctuality, African time, is rather a lot more spot on and accurate than Teenage Time.  Believe it or not.  And I am pretty sure that fellow parents of teenagers will corroborate my claims.  It is irrefutable.  Teenage Time, elevates the whole interpretation of the space-time continuum to a whole new level.

Some might even venture so far as to say, that it has no bearing on actual time at all.  Perhaps it comes from teenagers’ rather relaxed, never mind and never care attitude?  Or from their belief that the whole world revolves around them and their needs?  Even Father Time himself, would not dare to tell a teenager anything about time.  Maybe it comes from the over developed sense of self importance and self-worth they’re so abundantly blessed with?  Who can actually tell?  It simply is a fact of life.

Their sense of timing is also directly proportional to the actual event that that time relates to.  And so to illustrate….. If you ask them to do something as ordinary and mundane as spend half an hour studying, then time seems to speed up.  And so that half an hour can actually turn into a shortened fifteen minutes.  If even that long.  And inversely, if you ask them to quickly help you to wash the dishes, then a task that would take an adult a mere ten minutes, ends up being stretched into thirty minutes at least.

They also have this same lack of dedication to punctuality, if they’re the ones keeping you waiting.  If you are for example fetching them from a party or a friend’s house.  Then they can dawdle and once more stretch that time out.  Dragging their feet and keeping you waiting.  No qualm about your time that is being wasted, sitting in your car.  All this while you’re not so patiently twiddling your thumbs and working up a good steam.  However, if they want to do something, or go somewhere and you keep them waiting, even for a mere five minutes, they act like it’s hours.  And so therefore, they are not in possession of a very developed feeling of the length of time.  Of how fast or how slow time actually seems to pass.

Another phenomenon to African and Teenage Time, is it’s terminology.  For instance, five minutes from now, can be called anything from “just now” to “now now”, “just now now”.  This exact same terminology can also refer to a time frame three hours from now.  The same can also be said for the word “soon” and “later”.  Rather loose terms at the very best of time.

To give you an example, in answer to the question, “How soon before you’re done with the dishes?”.  The answer can range from “just now”, to “now now”, to “just now now”.  However, it could also be “soon” or “later”.

And so, I think that it is only fair, that us adults, also indulge in this habit every now and then.  Therefore, in response to the question from my teenager, as to when he may move out of home, I feel obliged to answer, “soon”.  However, given his current behaviour, I’m leaning more towards “just now”.

Or even sooner if I can.

It explains it perfectly
No grey area, right?
Rather fluid - a perfect teenage clock

Friday, 22 March 2013

There's something wrong with my kids

There's something wrong with my kids
1 February 2013

Seriously!  I’m not kidding about this.  Something is fundamentally wrong with my kids.  Something really weird and odd.  Even twisted.  And just perhaps, it’s my fault.  I’m hardly all that normal either.

They spent a rather large part of yesterday afternoon stalking each other and licking one another’s elbows.  As mentioned before – something REALLY wrong with them.  As in weird.  And odd.  Twisted too.

Interestingly enough, I am spending A LOT of money on their education.  Huge amounts.  And in return for parting with my cash, I don’t find it unreasonable to expect them to be…..well…..educated.  As in learn stuff at school.  You know – Maths, Geography, History, Science and a bit of languages too.

It does then come as a huge surprise, that the only tangible knowledge Luke came home with on Thursday, that was imparted on him after nearly seven hours at school, was the sincere conviction and belief that you can lick someone’s elbow and they won’t even know about it.  So this is my question – did he pick this little nugget of seemingly useless information up from Maths, Geography, History, Science or those languages he’s supposed to be learning?  And perhaps more importantly of all, is it indeed true?

His best buddy has a mutual acquaintance in his class, and this boy supposedly spent most of Thursday proving his point.  He even went so far as to lick a teacher’s elbow in passing.  Amazingly, she was none the wiser.

But apparently, here’s the clincher.  If you anticipate and prepare yourself for the lick, you will indeed feel it.  But if you’re unsuspecting, then you’re a goner.

This was all discussed in great length while we were driving home from school.  Everyone tried to surreptitiously lick each other.  Rather difficult, given the close confines of the car and the fact that you can’t really sneak up on someone when you’re sitting right next to them.  It was however revealed to me, when we got home, that I was the lucky recipient of two licks myself.  Hard to believe, as I never felt it at all.  My attention was focused on driving, so I was pretty much a sitting duck.  Just to recap – my kids are REALLY weird.

So, I ask you – what was I supposed to do?  Possessing an enquiring mind and in the interest of science, I had to give it a go too.  Luke’s supposed elbow-licking hypothesis had to put to the test.  I did this experiment purely for science.  Or is it biology?

And by early evening, the licking had not stopped.  People were walking up behind each other, stooping and licking each other’s elbows.  If the aliens had to land in my living room last night, they would have left our planet unharmed and us earthlings unscathed.  Firm in their conviction that there is indeed no intelligent life on earth.

We formed two man teams, working in cahoots.  One distracting the victim, with something random, whilst the other did the licking.  And in this manner, I successfully licked all three of my kids – some more than once.  Perhaps I’m the one that’s REALLY weird?  The odd and twisted thing goes without saying.  I don’t think any of my friends would do the same.  I’m sure in some cultures the licking of elbows is frowned upon.  Apparently licking behind the knees, not so much.  But that’s something entirely different, as we all know.

All of us were eagerly awaiting the arrival of Grant yesterday afternoon, after a hard day at work.  A new guinea pig for us to experiment on.  He had no sooner walked in the door, briefcase still in hand, when he got licked.  Twice!  By different kids.  Cole however did confirm that licking Daddy’s elbow is not all that nice – way to hairy for his taste.

And should an outbreak of Hepatitis B, be the result of our forays into investigating some of life’s great mysteries like the elbow-licking anomaly, I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologise.

I did notice something though during the course of our afternoon.  No one volunteered to lick our domestic worker’s elbow.  Not once.  And we all simply adore her.  It’s not because she is a different colour, so it’s not racist.  Or for matters of hygiene, because quite obviously she’s meticulously clean.  I would hardly invite her into our home every day if she was not.  Occasionally she babysits or house sits for us, and she sleeps in Amber’s bed.  It’s nothing personal either.  I think it’s got to do with comfort level and personal boundaries.  One simply doesn’t kiss just everybody on the lips.  And apparently the same goes for elbows too.

So, I would like to urge you.  Should you visit me in future, take it under advisement and from a place of concern – wear long sleeved shirts.  Sweaters and jackets are even better.  And should you per chance get licked, know this – you are deeply loved. 

It’s a sign of affection for sure.


Truth behind the evolution of the species

Truth behind the evolution of the species
22 March 2013

The evolution of the species.  That Charles Darwin dude sure had it all wrong.  Clearly, he didn’t have teenagers.  He messed the whole story up.  None of that humans descending from apes, mumbo-jumbo.  That’s just a cover for what actually happened.  The real story is far more juicy.  Yet believable too.  So, this is how it all really went down.
We weren’t all originally covered in body hair.  Or walking on all fours.  Nobody dragged their little wife around by her long hair.  Opposable thumbs were there all along.
But despite all of this, all was not hunky dory.  All was quite simply not well.
Many, many years ago, our species was facing extinction.  The birth rate had dropped.  Procreation had in fact nearly stopped.  I’d like to believe that copulation was still fine though, but who can really tell.  Pre-historic man had started exercising birth control measures.  Perhaps the rhythm method was used?  The entire human race was on the brink of collapse.  A population apocalypse was sure to follow.  All trace of our very existence, wiped off the earth.  No evidence would even be left of us all.
And the reason for this?  Where did it all go wrong?
Well, the answer is quite simple.  Teenagers were the ones to blame.  Who else? 
The elders and adults in society, found it rather hard to cope with their continuous exposure to the most testing of specimens who roamed our fair earth.  The teenagers.
They were lazy.  They liked to lie around.  They gave lots of lip.  They grunted quite a lot.  Though, to be fair, everyone did in those days.  Our language had not yet fully developed.
The pre-historic girl teenagers were all obsessed with their hair.  In fact, I do believe that they actively encouraged the wild and teased hair look.  They couldn’t be bothered to help their elders with the gathering of food.  Or grinding it all down.  They forgot to tend to the fire.  Didn’t like looking after the young.  All in all, they were pretty useless and rather annoying.
The pre-historic boy teenagers weren’t really any better.  They all tried to prove that they were the alpha males.  They thought they knew everything and were very opinionated.  They even tried teaching their male elders how to hunt.  Well, that’s when they actually could be bothered to lift one of their fingers and put themselves out.
A crises was looming.  Our species was heading for a fall.  The male elders put their heads together.  To try and think of a solution.  If only they had consulted the females in the pack.  But back in those days, those poor chicks simply didn’t have any rights.  No voice and not much of a say.
Which does make it rather ironic then, that the solution to the dilemma was found by a woman.  A very ordinary one at that.  I believe she was in fact a mother.  And her solution was so very clever and unexpected, it took them by surprise.  Furthermore, it was a rather obvious and eloquent solution to a rather troublesome problem.  And so, they decided to give it a bash.
The only way to minimise the cancerous effect of continued and lengthy exposure to teenagers, was to let them sleep late.  To let them sleep their very fill.  For the adults to merely get on with their day.  Unhampered and weighted down by the annoying presence of teenagers all the time.  As well as the frustration of trying to micro-manage them into submission, and doing hard labour and contributing positively towards the pack.
And by that one simple act, letting them sleep late, the entire species managed to turn things around.  The adults would get up early as was their habit and get right stuck into their work.  They’d graft and they’d graft for the common good of one and all.
And only much later in the day, would the teenagers finally awake from their slumber.  Once the adults were satisfied that most of the work was done.  And the daily pressures had dropped.
Oh, the teenagers still had to do chores.  But these were slightly easier ones now.  Less straining.  Less needing of constant supervision.  Perhaps the fetching of water.  Or looking for firewood.  And perhaps by reducing their responsibility, the adults and elders found their presence, when they did finally emerge from their hibernating state, to be less taxing in turn.
And due to the hard physical exertion that the adults did, they were tired rather early and went to bed when the night was still young.  As opposed to the teenagers, who were still really only in the morning faze of their day.
And thus, daily exposure of adults to teenagers dropped to a mere eight hours a day, as opposed to the original and rather trying and debilitating sixteen.  This was a much healthier state of affairs.  In fact, adults suddenly had more time for procreation and copulation too.  They also believed that their teenagers were not all that bad, due to their shortened exposure.
So basically, our biological clocks (not of the tick-tock-tick-tock I want a baby variety) were synchronized.  So that we would not have to see so much of each other every day.  Thereby annoyance and frustration levels dropped.  The urge to do physical bodily harm too.

And in actual fact, had we not made this essential and vital adaptation, none of those annoying pre-historic teenagers, would even have lived to become parents.  And procreate our species.  Without them, none of us would even be here.

And clearly this worked.  Because we are here to tell the tale.  This biological adaptation was inspired.  It saved us all.  And this habit has continued until today.  The adults rise early and get on with life.  All this whilst the teenagers are still in hibernation.  And only much later in the day, do they arise.  Thereby minimising our exposure to their annoying presence and behaviour.  And once we’ve gone to bed, they stay up late into the night.  Watching those irritating Kardashians and Cribs to boot.  Thereby minimising their exposure to our annoying presence and behaviour too.
And so, our species has remained intact.  Our future was secured.
The human race was saved.
Man, descending from apes!  Poppycock, I say!
(I would like to pay tribute to my friend John Pereira, for his insight and idea for this story.  And though I reworked it a bit, the essence remained the same.  Thanx!)

This one gave me a giggle
Not far from the truth
Old Charlie

It's all very Planet-of-the-Ape-ish to me