Saturday, 31 May 2014

Me and the Nobel Peace Prize


Me and the Nobel Peace Prize
31 May 2014

I would hereby like to nominate myself, Helene Magda Cloete, for the Nobel Peace Prize.  The highest possible honour to be bestowed on an individual.  Most importantly, the greatest award I will most likely ever receive.  Apart from being award Weigh-Less Boland Slimmer Of The Year (From back in the day when I was a real porker.  Obviously I was their favourite loser.  Personally I prefer to view the whole loser-thing in a positive light.  Just saying).

Anyway, back to my Nobel Peace Prize.  Yes, yes, nominating myself might seem a bit distasteful and boastful, but still.  Once you realise the magnitude of my brilliance, I suspect fellow nominations for my greatness will follow.  In the thousands.  Nay, millions.  In fact, I suspect the Nobel Committee, will have an influx such as they have never witnessed before. 

So pray tell, what is my great invention?  What marvel of science did I develop?  What philanthropic effort to benefit world peace, end third world debt, and promote fair basic living conditions for one and all, did I devise?

Well, I thought I’d keep you in suspense a little longer.  Rather than go into a lengthy diatribe, heralding my greatness, I thought I’d do it in a novel new way.  I’d share my acceptance speech with you (I mean of course I’m going to win – it’s a no-brainer!).  It seemed only fair that I prepare one.  Nothing worse than standing on the stage, trophy in hand, mumbling your way through a garbled and incoherent tribute of thanks, whilst your adoring crowd is clapping away, giving you a standing ovation.  It really was for the best that I wrote one in advance.  Yet another measure of how good I am at forward planning.  I really have covered all of the bases here.

And so, without any further ado:

Ladies and gentlemen, I would firstly like to thank the Committee.  I humbly accept this award as a token of my genius.  And apologise for the rush in nominations my invention caused.  Secondly, I would like to thank my fellow nominees.  It is an honour for me, to be regarded and seen in the same light as captains of industry, doctors of medicine and science, and professors of literature.  Being a recipient of the Nobel Laureate will forever more be one of the highlights of my life.   Along with my Weigh-Less certificate of course (It’s a very fetching green piece of paper with an emblem and everything!  Bit disappointing that the signature on there, is but merely a facsimile of the real thing, but bygones.  My name is still handwritten at the top of the certificate – in blue ballpoint.).

Now as for the history behind my little invention:  I am a semi-proud owner of a teenager.  Yes, lucky, lucky me.  I can attest to the fact that the teenager of the species is a trying specimen indeed.  Moreover, they’re not solitary creatures.  They morph and multiply.  In addition, they roam in packs.  And hence in an effort to repel them, I invented the TEENAGE WEAKNESS IRRITATION THWARTING SYSTEM.  Shortly known as TWITS.  Clever, I know.  You get it right?  Twits!

Anyway, so exactly what does TWITS comprise and entail?  Well, it’s multi-faceted.  Complex, yet simple at the same time.  It aims to hit them at all of their weak spots.  Leave no stone unturned.  And have no avenue of repelling ability unchartered.
  • Don’t have good, enticing, tempting food in the house.  No sweets.  No sugary or chocolaty treats.  No take-aways.  No wheat.  No fruit.  To be safe, I advise vegetables only.  Of the worst possible type.  Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower for good measure too.  And as for liquid refreshments?  Water only.  Mind you, not refrigerated water either.  Preferably tepid.  Neither hot nor cold.  No ice ever.  Though should you feel like giving them a spoil, you could try and tempt them with a nice nourishing veggie smoothie.  As long as they make it themselves.  By hand.  Perhaps a combo of beetroot, broccoli, onions, leeks and gem squash?
  • No technology.  Hide the TV remote.  Better even, disconnect the DStv.  Internet unplugged.  PlayStation mysteriously “damaged”.  DVD player sadly “faulty”.  Xbox unfortunately “in for repairs”.
  • Now I resort to a subsection – a slight differentiation between boys and girls.  For girls – declare a make-up free zone.  Cover all mirrors.  Hide the brushes, hair straighteners, and jewellery too.  Accessorising is taboo.  Baking, an all-time favourite girl’s last resort, obviously a no-no.  Lack of sugar and wheat remember.  For boys – outside play is forbidden.  Remove all manner of balls, bats, rackets and equipment with wheels such as skateboards, bicycles, j-boards, penny boards and long boards too. 
  • Only make pre-approved literary material available.  Nature magazines.  Financial journals.  Historical works of non-fiction.  And please note – no illustrations at all.  Nothing.  At a push, graphs are allowed.  But no colour please.
  • Present a doctor’s certificate (these can easily be fabricated or downloaded off the internet).  Proclaiming horrendous and potentially fatal ear infection, barring noise of all kind.  No CD’s, no music, no instruments of any kind.  Not even a whisper of sound may be heard, so delicate are your ears.  Instead, all forms of communication, will be restricted to written.  On unlined paper.  In cursive.  With a red pen.  Using double spacing.
  • Declare yourself unfit for taxi-ing duty.  Just expand on some license revoked story or other.  Or car broken down.  You can even resort to lack of petrol, if push comes to shove.
And thus, you shall find yourself, miraculously free and rid of teenagers, one and all.  If you follow my rules, regulations and strict stipulations, as set out in TWITS, you will find yourself becoming familiar with unparalleled success.  In fact, you’ll find yourself unencumbered by twits altogether.

Cause the alternative for them is terrible.  Writing notes to each other with red pens, on unlined paper, in cursive, whilst they’re sitting in quiet rooms, munching on some Brussel sprouts, displaying all their spots and zits, and frizzy hair, looking forlornly at broken TV’s, unable to find a ball, pouring over financial journals and black and white pictures of the lesser-spotted-toad.

Yip, you’ll be free of all twits for sure.  Yeehaaa!!!
Btw - Moms, Dads, and fellow adults - it's a pleasure.  One small step for one small parent.  A giant leap for parenting of teens.  (I will be selling Franchising opportunities, with step-by-step instructions on how to follow my TWITS plan.  Including certificates upon completion.  I'll even do my own signature.  In a green pen, if you like.)

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Friday, 30 May 2014

Cell phone swearing

Cell phone swearing
30 May2014

I’m clearly a prude.  And a big one at that.

Now I’m the first to admit that I swear.  I own it.  I’m big enough to take it on. 

When my kids were really little, I kept it together and didn’t swear in front of them.  I didn’t have to.  I wanted to set a good example, and I found that I could express myself perfectly fine without profanity.  Unless they were out of earshot.  In which case, I could let rip.  Yes, yes – Bad Helene.   

Now I understand that you get various degrees of swearing.  What’s terrible for you, might be practically nothing for me.  And vice versa.  Dropping the “F” bomb is hardly seen as foul language by some and unforgivable by others. 

I have someone very near and dear to me, who in the absolute height of anger, frustration or pain, might softly exclaim, “Dash-it!”.  And then I know he feels badly about it for ages.  And has remorse for his self-perceived lack of control. 

Tweens and teens do not even vaguely have the same set of morals and attitude towards swearing, that us seasoned adults have.  For them it’s new.  It’s risky.  Dangerous.  A measure of exactly how badass they are.  Rebellious.  And let’s not forget uber cool.

And I’ve overheard them on occasion.  They can let rip too.  Most especially the boys.  I’ve even on occasion, had risen eyebrows, when I’ve fetched my kids from Primary School and I’ve heard some of the little kids, hanging in the trees on the school fields swearing away.  Do they really understand what they’re saying?  Or are they merely mimicking Dad or Mom?  A TV programme or a “cool” PlayStation game?

I’ve also heard the littlest of kids sledging and swearing on the sports fields.  Horrendous I tell you.  My youngest, Cole, once nearly dropped a ball in shock during a rugby game when he was in Grade 1, when a little boy from a different school both played and talked dirty, during a game.

However verbal swearing from kids is absolutely nothing, as opposed to the swearing they do on all forms of social media.  They’re not really discerning.  They do it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.  But by far, they do the most amount of swearing via texting on their phones.  Albeit BBM, sms, WhatsApp and the likes.

It’s as if they don’t have a filter at all.  No concept of the meaning of the words they’re uttering with their typing.  The connotations of those words.  What they’re really implying. 

They use and abuse them, the way you and I would use a tissue.  Or throw away a piece of paper.

For them, the penny has not yet dropped, that once it’s out there, it’s out there forever.  They might swear and say something terrible about a friend on a group chat, and delete it straight after, so that they don’t get caught out, or if they’re feeling remorse.  But those words are still out there, on the phones of the seventeen other friends, that were a part of that same chat.  It never goes away.  There’s evidence.  And a virtual trail, linking them back to the deed.

At sixteen, I don’t check Luke’s phone anymore.  Mostly because he busts me each time, and I made him a promise that if he’s worthy of my trust, I won’t breach his privacy.  And with having a sixteen year old son, some things are best left unknown.  I also realise that luckily for me, due to the fact that there were no cell phones around at the time that I was sixteen, I was indeed fortunate.  I’m sure I would’ve been the worst!

But my little twelve year old?  Well, I’m the mom.  I pay the bill.  And I’m allowed to check her phone.  Having a cell phone at her young age is a privilege that I’ve bestowed upon her.  It’s not a right that she has.  I feel that I have a moral responsibility to guide her.  And to look out for her safety.  And I’ve been shocked.  It’s not just the boys swearing.  It’s the girls too.  Language worthy of the foulest gangsta movie ever.  Uttered via texting by sweet little eleven and twelve year olds girlies.  Where are they heading?

There is a certain level of disassociation with the words they’re typing.  Because they’re not uttering them verbally out loud.  To someone’s face.  Where they can gage facial expression and body language.  Intonation doesn’t enter into it either.  It’s just cold, harsh words. 

My Berry has been warned.  Don’t type something you’ll be ashamed of later.  And that you won’t say to somebody if they were standing in front of you.

Raising kids in this day and age with all of the technology at our disposal is tricky.  Very tricky indeed. 

Paper trail?  Not so much.  Cell phone trail?  Very much so.

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Thursday, 29 May 2014

I feel a bit like a shepherd some days

I feel a bit like a shepherd some days
29 May 2014

Some days I feel a little bit like a shepherd.  Or maybe just like his dog.

And as opposed to herding meek sheep (who have an alarming pattern of bundling together or alternatively standing in rows), I herd kids instead.

Recalcitrant kids at times.  Kids that don’t really want to go, where I am leading them.  Like school, for instance.

They can be obstinate and difficult, occasionally claiming that they refuse to budge.  They will NOT go for haircuts.  Or eat their veggies.  Go to the dentist.  Or go to bed.

Waste.  Of.  Breath.

Cause I’m the shepherd.  And I need to lead my flock of three.

I’m thinking that if the shepherd ever let his rather sizable flock see, that they actually outnumber him and could intimidate him, he’d be lost.  And thus, he soldiers on.  Blustering at times.  Willing them to go, where HE has decided they should go.  And somehow it works, because he makes them believe that he could.  Yes – sheep.  They believe him.  Sounds crazy, I know!

The added advantage that he’s got, is that he can see the end game.  Knows exactly where they’re headed too (so occasionally, it’s the dinner table, but still).  He sees the bigger picture.

And in this exact same manner, parenting children is very much the same.

My kids outnumber me.  Age wise, collectively, they’re just four years younger than me.  Physically Luke is bigger than me. 

But I lead the pack.  Cause I know where we’re heading.  It also helps that I’m the one with the car.  The wallet.  And the cooking skills.

So just yesterday, I was driving to go and fetch Amber from dancing, and all the way back, I kept on saying to her that something felt wrong.  I had the unsettling feeling that I’d left one of my flock somewhere.  That I’d forgotten about a kid.  I could almost picture one of my boys standing somewhere, looking rather forlorn and lost.  Waiting for me to pick them up.

Even though, I knew that they were both safely at home.  What a strange feeling.

At times I juggle a lot of balls, and dash around fetching kids from various activities at various times, before driving them to even more activities.  Some afternoons can find two kids doing hockey, one kid doing gym, one at dancing, one at extra maths, and one at drumming.  And there is only three of them!  It’s like I have a spreadsheet open in my head permanently.  Pick up kid A at place B by time C, before fetching kid D at place E, then dropping them off at place F, remember to fetch kid G again by time H and drop them off at place I, then collect kid J from place K before taking them to place L, stopping along the way to collect kid M once more, before heading home for a brief stop, before leaving to fetch kid N from place O, before time P.

It’s very, very, very busy.  But most days, I like my flock.  And I’m happy to shepherd them.

Though, on the odd occasion, when they’re particularly difficult, I must confess to fantasizing about serving my sheep on the dinner table, with a dash of mint on the side. ;-)

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Wednesday, 28 May 2014

There are 3 kinds of people in this world


There are 3 kinds of people in this world
28 May 2014

It seems pretty obvious to me, that there are three kinds of people in this world.

Those who are good with maths.  And those who aren’t.

Old joke, I know.  In fact, a very old joke.  But how funny and how true.

In the traditional schooling system, a lot of emphasis is placed on Mathematics.  And I get that it is important.

But it shouldn’t define the kid.  It’s not who they are.  It’s simply an ability they either have, or don’t have.

In the same manner, some kids can draw and others can’t.  Some people can sing.  And some just really shouldn’t.

I find it interesting watching my three very different kids and both their approach to mathematics and their ability at it.

For some it’s easier than for others.  And they all have to work at it.  Some grasp a concept once and then have it forever more.  And for others, I can alternately see the light going on and then switching off.

So much self-confidence and personal perception of their own intelligence is placed on mathematical ability or acuity.  And it’s not really fair.  The same value and measure is not placed on sense of humour, emotional intelligence, social awareness and skills.  Things that are actually of far greater importance in real ife, than the mere ability to grasp fractions, trigonometry or algebra.  It’s actually a silly and very elitist approach to intelligence.  Most likely promoted by people who can do maths.  And a fairly narrow minded approach at that.  Only tapping into a certain type of child.  A certain type of person.  Not giving an accurate depiction of skills, that would really get them further in life.

My eldest is most likely the best of my lot when it comes to maths.  But he has to concentrate and apply his knowledge.  He often complains and whinges about why has to learn certain stuff in maths.  Of what importance is it?  And he is fond of saying, “I’m never ever going to use this stuff again when I’ve finished school and I’ve got a job.  Do you even remember what you did in maths in matric?  Do you ever use or need it?”

To which I can give him the only truthful answer, “No”.

But I’ve tried to explain this to him.  And I think I might even be right.  Learning maths at school, and especially in high school, is not about the actual equations you are doing.  It’s not about Algebra, Geometry or even Trigonometry.  It’s not important what the value of “x” is.  Nor does it matter what the volume of a cube is.  Or the square root of whatever.  It’s actually not the point at all.

I think it’s about exercising a muscle.  Of tapping into the problem solving and analytical side of your brain.  Of following a series of proven steps, in a certain order.  It’s about following certain basic rules and applying them.  It’s training your brain, to think in a specific way.  Like making muscle memory.

It is true that I haven’t directly applied what I learnt in maths at school in my everyday life.  Or not most of it in any rate.  The bits I apply directly, I learnt in the first few years of primary school.  Working out how much my groceries are going to cost.  Following a recipe and assuring that I have the correct ingredients volumes and masses.  Telling the time.  Accurately calculating how much time it would take me to get from point A to point B, taking into account traffic, red robots, poor visibility due to bad weather, actual distance, etc.  Basic stuff like that. 

However, more abstractly, it taught me to read something more than once.  To ensure that I looked at it from all different angles.  To be analytical.  To be methodical.  To be logical.  To not give up.  To push on and keep trying.  To try and tap into past experience.  To see if I had patterns or rules I could follow.  That there was usually more than one way to get to the correct answer.  And that there always was an answer.  There was a finite number which was magic at the end of each equation or problem.  Very much like real life.

And so perhaps I do use maths every day.  In hundreds of different ways.

I was NOT good at maths as a child.  I just got by.  Scraping at times. 

And looking back, I think I know what went wrong.  I did music at school.  And back in the day, especially in Primary School, music was a bonus extra subject.  Music lessons had to be fit into an already busy school day.  And thus, us music kids, were simply taken from our classes and taken to music lessons every so often – usually about twice a week..  I think for the most part, the powers that be scheduled us into the “freebie” class periods.  Like PT, Library, etc.  But quite often, we had the same teacher for most subjects, and they didn’t really stick to class periods.  At any given point, in any given day, our class teachers would do maths.  And if you were not in the class at the time, you quite simply missed out.

Maths is a little bit like construction.  When you build a house, you start with a foundation.  Certain concepts build on one another.  But you first need to cement a solid base.  If you were absent, or missed the base, your whole structure would be wobbly at best.  And though I took maths until matric and passed it, it certainly was not my strength.  I’d missed some bits on the way up.

The irony being, that one of my subjects in my first year of varsity was Statistics.  Now it’s not straight maths, I know.  But it’s a whole subject, dedicated to numbers, their relation to each other, and what they tell us about the world.  Many, many formulas.  I was petrified that I would quite simply flunk straight off the bat.  Was there even any point in trying?  In attempting to give it a go?  But sadly for me, no other subjects matched my course and it was a requirement for my degree.  I just had to try.

And so because I was so scared, I never missed a class.  Never missed a project or assignment.  Did revision often.  And during my three years at varsity, it was the only subject I ever received a Cum Laude for.  Who would’ve guessed?

Building blocks are clearly important.  And no matter what you do later in life, you will be using mathematic skills, you never even realised you picked up along the way.

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Tuesday, 27 May 2014

I have THAT kid

I have THAT kid
27 May 2014

Some of my fondest school memories, was of having THAT kid in my class.

You know the one.  We all had them.  Every single class has one of those.

They’re the one that makes everyone laugh. 

They’re slightly goofy.  Way too witty for their own good.  Occasionally they border on being cheeky.  They have very quick comebacks for anything said to them.  Whether it was said by an adult or a fellow child.  They’re challenging to their teachers.  A distraction to many (albeit a funny one).  Even to themselves.  They’ve got too much energy.  Find it a battle to sit still.  Often daydream in a rare quiet moment.  They’re often in trouble.  Are forever being admonished for something.  Have to be reminded about what they’re supposed to be doing.

But the bottom line is this – they’re highly entertaining.  Excessively charming.  Impervious to their flaws.  And completely and utterly lovable. 

Once you get past the almost-constant need to strangle them into submission that is.

Usually they’re very popular with their peers.  Both boys and girls. 

And teachers tend to have a love-hate relationship with them.  And depending on the teacher, it could very easily lean more towards the “hate” side. 

I mean, just imagine.  There you’re standing.  Doing your utmost to explain something to a bunch of kids.  And there’s that one kid, that turns everything into a joke.  That starts to laugh, which in turn triggers laughter from others.  They love innuendo and word play, and build it into their humour.  Any opportunity or slip of tongue is grasped.  And manipulated for mirth.

And it would appear as though I am the mother of one such child.  I feel the teacher’s pain.

I’ve done this walk.  Your kids do something naughty, you line them up for a major pep talk, and accidently, you bump your arm.  And just like that, the moment’s gone.  You’ve lost your momentum.  Cause THAT kid starts laughing.  Uncontrollably.  And no amount of parental anger or frustration could stop that tide.  Moreover it has a ripple effect.  All of them WILL start laughing too.

We have been extremely blessed.  Through two years of playschool, two years or pre-school and into Cole’s 4th year of Primary School.  Every single year, he’s had a teacher who not only enjoyed him, but they understood and loved him.  Arguably this is part of his charm.  But still.  It takes a special kind of teacher.

And this year, it’s the turn of Mrs Fick.  The fabulous Emmi, who also had the pleasure of teaching my Luke.  Cole’s polar opposite.  A quiet child at that age.  He was diligent, obedient, always did his work, never rocked the boat, and simply got on with it.  Two more different brothers it would be very hard to find.
Because "quiet" is not a word I would use to describe Cole.  Out-of-the-box-thinker is more like it.  Busy.  Perpetually moving.  Unusual.  Not afraid to voice his own opinion and be different.

On Friday I asked Cole, “Who’s the funny kid in your class?”.  To which he named himself and one other kid.  “Who makes everyone laugh?”, to which I got the same answer.  “Who does Mrs Fick always have to tell to keep quiet and do their work?”.  Same answer yet again.  And then I thought I’d shake things up a bit, “Who’s the good child in class?” To which I got, “Not me!”.

So delightfully and disarmingly honest.

I had cause to quickly pop in at Cole’s class yesterday afternoon.  And whenever Cole’s teacher sees me, the two of us share a look of perfect understanding and we both have a giggle.  We’re on the same team. 

I told her about my discussion with Cole, and she confirmed everything.  Just as he told me.  Extremely accurate. 

And hardly surprisingly, she said that he makes her laugh every single day.  That he is just so funny and so quirky, different, with the funniest little sayings and things he comes up with.  But that she absolutely adores him.  That he tries really hard and does his best.  But that he is most definitely challenging, entertaining, and endearing.  And yip you guessed it, charming.

Thanx Mrs Fick.  Proud to know that this year, in Grade 4E4, I’m the mom of THAT kid.  And that you get him.  And enjoy him too.

It takes a brave person to try and teach THAT kid.  And you’re succeeding.  

Hoping that Grade 5 finds him equally blessed. 

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Monday, 26 May 2014

Kids of the 70's and 80's had weird death fears


Kids of the 70's and 80's had weird death fears
26 May 2014

I REALLY feared death as a child.

Now when I say I REALLY feared death as a child, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I fear death any less as an adult.  Because perhaps in some ways I fear it more. 

For one thing, my responsibilities have tripled, as opposed to when I was a child.  As in I’ve got three kids.  Having me offed would really have an impact on their lives.  Could shape who they become, and leave them feeling bereft for ages.  Having a mom when you’re growing up, is really important.  Though to be fair, I’m an adult, and having a mom when you’re an adult is equally important too.

Perhaps what has changed is my approach to death.

I firmly subscribe to the Woody Allen school of thought on death – “I’m not afraid of death.  I just don’t want to be there when it happens”.  His philosophy kind of works for me too.  Very much so.

So how has my approach to death changed now that I’m an adult?  Well, chances are – if you’re a child of the 70’s and 80’s you’ll have the same fears about death that I had.  In terms of how it would all go down.  How you’d sing your final swan song.  How your light would be dimmed.  Exactly how you’d snuff it.  How you’d fall of your perch.  How you’d kick the bucket.  In which way you’d……  You get the point right? 

And thus, having a ridiculous fondness for lists, I thought I’d compile one:

  • Quicksand:  For years and years I really feared quicksand.  Even though I live in the suburbs.  In South Africa.  With no quicksand in sight.  No recorded instances of quicksand.  No mention of quicksand deaths either.  And to be truthful, when I googled it, there have been no reported instances of “death by quicksand” - apart from baddies in Cowboy movies.  It quite simply can’t happen.  Death from exposure due to being stuck in quicksand on the other hand, does occasionally happen.  But not in the suburbs of South Africa.  And while we’re at it – I blame my dad for this one.  It’s all those Cowboy movies he was so mad about, that we’d occasionally watch with him.  In addition, Hollywood has really promulgated the phenomenon.  With cartoons and kiddie’s movies and shows promoting “death by quicksand” too.  And let’s not forget those old Bud Spencer and Terrence Hill movies.  It was a recurring theme in those.
  • Shark Attack:  I have banned my kids from watching “Jaws”.  Ever!  The movie “Jaws” ruined great expanses of water for me.  And I must confess, I’m not really discerning.  It killed the sea, rivers and dams.  Even the humble swimming pool.  And I’m 41.  Logically I know that the average Great White won’t fit into a little swimming pool.  Much less an inflatable one.  Still, I think of “Jaws” every single time I swim.  And I still won’t swim on my own.  Safety in numbers.  If I’m swimming in the pool with my husband, maybe the shark will go for him instead.  He’s bigger after all.  Sure to be more worthy of effort, if that shark is looking for a meal.  As I’ve said – logic doesn’t enter into it at all.  And furthermore, I’m not alone in this fear.  I’ve spoken to many of my friends and peers – lots of us feel the same.
  • Failing brakes:  This is the easiest, neatest, and most convenient way to off people in movies.  And let’s be honest – it happens alarmingly often.  A safe away to avoid this horrendous death is to avoid hills.  Downhill slopes.  And people with murderous tendencies, that have an unusual knowledge of the inner workings of cars.  Brakes in particular.
  • Rattlesnakes:  I can successfully and with 100% accuracy identify the sound a rattler makes.  Once again – those darn Westerns.  Why do I have this skill?  Of what use is it?  Once again, I have found a successful and fool proof way to avoid “death-by-rattlesnake”.  I stay in a suburb.  In South Africa.  Clearly this is working for me.
  • Earthquakes,Tsunamis, Twisters, Volcanoes, Avalanches:  To the best of my knowledge, I don’t live on an earthquake fault line.  Nor is there any geographical evidence of volcanic rock or material where I live.  So all safe on the volcano front too.  We don’t have falling snow or snow-capped mountains, so I manage to steer clear of avalanches.  We are not in a hurricane belt or twister hotspot.  And though I live in a coastal town, due to the fact that I’m not close to an earthquake fault line, I have yet to encounter a Tsunami.  Now I’m not saying it can’t happen.  But so far, so good.
  • Meteor Strikes:  If the movies are to be believed, meteor strikes only happen in America.  And to be truthful, as an overseas holiday destination, America is looking less and less attractive.  I mean seriously! 

I’m sure, that if I gave it some thought, I’d come up with a few more strange and bizarre death fears.  Like collapsing floors down into the ocean bottom – worthy of any good James Bond movie.  The odd electrocution.  Falling off very high buildings.  Death by lightsaber.  Tumbling into a snake pit (very Indiana Jones), etc.  But I prefer not to dwell.
And to even up the odds on me living a long and healthy life, and eventually dying of very old age in my sleep, I have a pretty solid plan in place.
       I’ll stick to my little suburb.  In South Africa.  Just saying.

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Saturday, 24 May 2014

The Floordrobe


The Floordrobe
24 May 2014

I’ve recently been introduced to a whole new concept – The Floordrobe.

And I think it’s absolutely ingenuous!  Brilliant word-craft, at it’s very best.  And though I was unfamiliar with the word, I most certainly was not unfamiliar with the concept.  Having witnessed it daily – in my very own home to boot.

It extremely accurately describes the whole grey area that is the floor/wardrobe in the bedroom of any teenager.

And though I only have one fully fledged teenager in the house, he certainly shows admirable skill with regards to The Floordrobe.  The benefit for him, is the fact that his room, is in a whole different section of our home.  A bit off the beaten track, and one never accidently walks past it.  You actively have to go there, and so much of his Floordrobe usually goes undiscovered.  Lucky him.  Though it is fair to mention that his skills have morphed and spread out.  Branched off in a sense.  Expanded.  He has also mastered The Deskrobe as well as the The Chairdrobe, and The Bedrobe.

But most alarming of all in our home, is The Floordrobe skill of my middle child.  The only girl in the mix.  And a kid that is only just on the cusp of being a teenager.  Not yet thirteen.  Her Floordrobe skills are worthy of mention. 

Planning what to wear to an event or party, can take days.  Nay weeks.  Lots and lots of discussions and possible outfit possibilities.  Nearly daily requests for shopping.  Sadly for her, to not much avail.  And there’s the days, nay weeks, of trying outfits on and parading them around.  Occasionally even asking for pics to be taken, so that she can then semi-objectively look at them, and decide. These are usually once again met with shopping requests.  To not much avail. 

And at the end of any “trying-on-outfit-bonanza”, there is a Floordrobing explosion.  Sprouting forth and spilling over everywhere.  No surface is unscathed.  From desk, to bed, and beanbag to floor.

And I have to wonder, is Floordrobing more of a girl’s thing, than a boy’s thing?  Or is it but merely a lazy thing?

The downside of challenging the Floordrober in your home, is their solution to fixing the Floordrobing.

For them it’s fairly easy – “Why everything is dirty of course!”

Right!  And thus your problem goes from a “not-being-able-to-see-the-floor-in-the-bedroom”, to “not-being-able-to-close-the-washing-basket-because-it’s-overflowing-with-clean-clothes”.

Requests for them to hang and fold the clothes, are generally met with a blank and slightly baffled stare.  Occasionally the look is even completed with a gaping open mouth.  As if one is conversing with them in Russian.  Or maybe even Chinese.

The mysteries of the coat hanger leaves them dumbfounded.  As if it is a strange contraption, they can’t quite comprehend.  How does it work?  What is it used for?

And should they eventually with lacklustre enthusiasm attempt to diminish the Floordrobe in their rooms, and your washing basket is not overflowing, I’ll let you in on a little trick – check underneath the bed.  As well as behind it.  Flip top desks, with loads of holding room is also an attractive dumping ground.

When it comes to Floordrobing, nothing is sacred.  Even bookshelves can suffer.

And for some, the condition is never reversed.  Never quite put to rights again.  Not all outgrow it. 

Why my husband, has an uncanny knack for throwing discarded wardrobe items over the cupboard or bedroom door.  Where it is continually bumped off.  A most annoying tendency.  And on my side of the room?  Well I have a barstool.  Ostensibly for the kids to stand on, to reach the DVD player in the top of our cupboard.  Though sadly for them, it’s never clear…

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