Friday, 29 August 2014

Our safe word is Pineapple

Our safe word is Pineapple
29 August 2014

Siblings bicker. 

It’s part and parcel of the parenting landscape when you’re raising a family.

They bicker because not only do they annoy each other, but they know exactly which buttons to push to annoy each other the most.  It’s a talent.  As a kid and a sibling.  Something you pride yourself on.  To have that inherent knowledge of knowing exactly what to say to trigger your brother or sister.  Hopefully both at the same glorious time.

However as a parent, it’s not a talent.

It’s a challenge.  And an annoying one at that.

Now I’m sure this happens in most families.  And that us, the parents, are victims.

My kids in particular, spend an inordinate amount of time, parenting one another.  Oh joy!

Clearly I’m not doing a good enough job myself.  And they feel inclined to step up to the plate and not only correct one another, but reprimand too.

I know – oh joy!

A few years ago, one of the most often heard refrains in our home was, “Stop it!”.

Followed by, “Enough!”.

Which inevitably lead to, “I’m telling Mommy!”.

Which was usually counteracted by, “I’m telling Daddy!”.

It was so boring.  And it literally drove me up the wall.  I even found myself saying to them, “Stop it!  It’s enough!  I’m telling Daddy!”.

Yip, I run a tight ship.

Anyway, everyone was continually saying “Stop it!”.

So much so, that the word lost all value.  It was overused.  Abused.  Carried no meaning.  And held no weight.

Everyone just simply ignored it.  Across the board.  In fact, it seemed to encourage them.  Leading to more raised tempers, louder voices, increases in irritability, and even more “Stop it’s!”.

I needed a plan, and fast. 

We called a family meeting.  And I explained to the kids, that we had reached a point of no return.  “Stop it”, had to stop.  Enough already (sorry – had to throw it in there).

The problem was that people were using the word too randomly.  We needed a word that was new.  That really meant stop it.  A word that made everyone freeze in place.  A word that signalled that someone had reached their breaking point.  That immediate inaction was called for.  It had to be a word that glued their feet to the floor, kept them in place, and their mouths shut.  It was a halt.

And for some or other weird and wonderful reason, I chose “Pineapple”.  Go figure.

It was a word we didn’t use very often.  Except in summer salads.  And fruit salads too.

It was silly.  Would diffuse the situation.  Make everyone freeze, and give all of us that moment to just be quiet and listen.

It was supposed to be special.  And effective.

And to be fair, it worked for quite a while.  Actually, it worked like a bomb.  It made them stop fighting in the car.  Over who’s turn it was to shower first.  Who would have to open the gate.  Who had to pour water with our supper.

It wasn’t rude.  We could use it anywhere.  And it certainly had the desired effect.

Until one fine day, when I looked at my family in a moment of reflection and pondered about the verbal “Pineapples!” being flung around by all.

And realised the sad truth – it had replaced, “Stop it!”.

With time “Pineapple” faded.  And “Stop it!” returned.  Yet the sting felt gone.  Or I became numb.

Years later, every so often one of them shouts, “Pineapple” in a moment of extreme sibling duress, strife and stress.

And it still makes me smile. 

These are the silly little memories, I’ll hold dear one day.  When they’re all big and gone.

And with a wee bit of luck, they’ll remember it too.  And reminisce to their kids, about their childhood.  And their funny Mom. 

Or perhaps given time, and the experience of parenthood, they’ll completely understand.  And harness the Pineapple-Power too.

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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

I giggle at very inappropriate times

I giggle at very inappropriate times
27 August 2014

Giggle – to laugh lightly in a nervous, affected, or silly manner

I am known to giggle at times.  Unfortunately, mostly at inappropriate times.  Brought on by inappropriate things.

This is a problem.

Bouts of giggling are usually precipitated by an extreme case of nerves.  Or funny things.  Uh, duh!!!  Funny things - it goes without saying. 

But perhaps the problem lies in the particulars of my sense of humour.  Odd things amuse me.

And let’s be honest – the world is filled with odd things.  And odd people.

Someone once sent me a pic of a woman with a terrible condition (I’m not known to laugh at people with disabilities or hardships, but this took my surprise and the caption was VERY FUNNY), which meant that she practically had a prolapsed chin.  Or maybe it’s a collapsed chin.  Basically no chin to mention at all.  And the caption of the photo was, “How does she fold towels?”.

I laughed for days.  Days, I tell you!  More-over, I even laughed at night.  I’d get up to go to the loo, and burst out laughing again.  Immediately grabbing my phone, to check if it was really that funny.  Only to see the pic, and collapse into gales of giggles again.  Waking my husband (he did not find it funny).  This continued for many, many days and nights.  I still laugh when I see it.  My daughter has asked if she can load the pic onto her phone, so that if I’m ever annoyed at her, she can flash me the photo.  A sure fire guaranteed way to distract me and get her out of trouble.  Rather clever.

But laughter of this manner, is okay.  I can indulge privately.  On my own time.  It is provoked by something that is obviously humorous.

However, it’s that inappropriately timed laughter that usually gets me into trouble.

As a Matric student, with a passion for the piano, friends of my folks once arranged very expensive, zhooshy tickets for us to go and watch the symphony orchestra.  A great treat.  The musicians were spectacular and super talented.  The ambience of the theatre, with patrons all dressed up, was incredible.  The music was phenomenal.  Everything about the evening was magical and majestic.  It was by all accounts a very, very grand and stately affair.  Sedate.  Grown-up.

But unfortunately, there was a very theatrical solo violinist.  Who made her stage debut in the very first song.  And that was it.  Done.  Over.  Uncontrollable. 

It was the first smart event Grant and I ever went to as a couple.  We dressed up and the whole toot.  But by the first dramatic upstroke, Grant and I were toast.  We did not stop the entire concert through.  Song after song, we collapsed.  The difficulty being that we had to be quiet.  Not distract other patrons.  Not offend our hosts.  Not make a peep.

I leant forward and put my head between my knees.  My shoulders were shaking.  And I thought I would burst.  My mom kept on giving me evil looks.  I would just barely get it under control, and the violinist would start up again, or I’d see Grant’s shaking shoulders out of the corner of my eyes.  We were horrid!  We still speak about it to this day.  During the interval, my mom wisely separated us.  Ensuring we didn’t sit together, so that we wouldn’t trigger each other.  But alas it didn’t work.  We were both a goner.  My mom was mortified! 

Then there was the time Grant and I, as well as a school friend went to the movies together.  I was also in matric.  For the life of me, I can’t remember what we went to see.  But all that I do remember, was during the previews before the show, the guy next to me broke his seat.  Well, perhaps he didn’t really break it on purpose.  It was just his time.  Or the chair’s time.  Still, there was a really loud thwack, during a very quiet moment.  And when I glanced over at him, he was sitting with his bum on the floor, but his arms still raised upright on the arm rests.  And there he uncomfortably remained for the remainder of the movie.  Once again, I had it really bad.  Hence I can’t remember what we went to watch.  What I do recall though is the end of the movie.  Walking out of the theatre, and the guy being right behind me, tapping me on my shoulder and saying, “You can stop laughing now”.  I.  Nearly.  Died.  Still, it made me laugh even harder.

However nothing can ever compare to getting the giggles during a funeral.  I kid you not.  In addition, it wasn’t just me.  But most of the rather large Lombard family.  We’re not so much a family as a tribe.  There are loads of us. 

Someone really special died.  And we not only cared about this family friend, but we cared about the family he left behind.  In fact we were terribly heart sore for them.  It was a very sombre, sad occasion.  The church was absolutely packed to the rafters.  And somehow we found ourselves sitting in the very front.  The problem came in though, when it became obvious that it was a very evangelical and charismatic church.  And one lady in particular, was extremely vocal.  Loudly.  Exuberantly.  Which is all fair and well.  No judgement whatsoever.  No mocking intended.  It was just unexpected.  And unanticipated. 

The first time she shouted affirmations, it was so surprising, that someone giggled softly.  And just like that, it was an epidemic.  Unstoppable.  Right across the family it came in wave upon wave.  The funeral was a rather lengthy one.  And this passionate lady gave it stick.  We would barely get it under control, and she would start up again. 

My brother, sister and I, are known to laugh and giggle a lot when we’re together.  Even at the best of times we trigger one another.  On this occasion, our predisposition to laughter was not a good thing.  My mom poked me in the back a few times.  I would imagine she prodded my brother and sister too.  Our shoulders were shaking.  At times we were spluttering.  I could feel my face glowing, and my eyes watering.  Convinced I was going to spontaneously combust.

We were not trying to be disrespectful.  We weren’t any less heart sore. 
We were just sad.  And having the giggles.  At the same glorious time.

Laughter is always a very good stress reliever.  Though timing is everything.

And sadly, at that, I suck.

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This still gets my every time - poor girl. Absolutely dreadful. And had I seen the photo, minus the caption, I would have been horrified and felt terribly sorry for her. But the caption killed it for me. I still feel awful for her. And I'm not really laughing at her. Just the choice phrasing. Which cracks me up every single time. 

Shame man!

Monday, 25 August 2014

Sayings have an age limit


Sayings have an age limit
25 August 2014

So it would appear as though certain sayings have an age limit.  Like a maturity or advanced years statute of limitations.  A cut-off point.  Too old to utter.

How rude!

I remember being a teenager, and occasionally hearing my mom or dad uttering a teenage word.  And being utterly horrified.  Mortified!  How dare they?  Some words weren’t meant for them!  Didn’t they have enough big-people’s words of their own?  Teenage words were off limit.  They weren’t eligible for use thereof.  They were far too old to use them.  To uncool.  Too parent-like.

Words like “kiff” or “lank” sounded odd coming out of the mouths of adults.  Like it didn’t belong. 

Because it didn’t.

And somehow I now find myself on the other side of the same divide.  My kids have a lingo all of their own.

But there is a slight difference.

Surely I’m not too old.  To uncool.  Too parent-like…

Eish!  Growing up and acting like an adult is hard to do.

The thing is this – when we were “cool teenagers”, our folks only heard our language from us.  And usually we were clever enough to not give away our lingo in front of them.  We nestled it close, like treasures.  Usually reserving it for our “lank kiff” peers and friends.

But now things are different.  Social media has changed language and the way we use it.  Texting, Facebook, WhatsApp, the Internet, TV, etc.

Now I know we had TV way back then, in the dark ages.  But TV times have changed.  A lot.

So, sadly for my kids, without them teaching me, I know their language.  In fact, I can’t escape knowledge thereof.

And thus, being a bit wicked at times, I indulge.  Purely to freak them out.

It is such fun. 

It is most fun, when you do it in front of a friend, and you really embarrass them.  Cause if you haven’t got an audience, what’s the point?  And a fresh audience at that.  Making a kid cringe, is one of the few free pleasures in life.

So I put my little theory to the test on Friday night, when I picked up Amber and two friends (one was a boy – her romantic interest) from a social gathering.  Shame.  They were sitting ducks.  And lames ones at that.

I started off slow – easing my way into it, saying stuff like, “Did you have a totes adorbs night?”  As well as “Awe”, when they got into the car.  Thrown in with a bit of “cray-cray”.

However, by the time I pulled out, “You’re so jelly”, Amber was howling. 

And I can positively confirm – it’s so much nicer being on this side of the fence.  Way more fun!

Anyway, gots to run.  See you toz.

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Friday, 22 August 2014


22 August 2014

Right, so eyebrows.  With a wee bit of luck, we all have them.  If you’re really lucky, you’ll have two!

In fact, most of us have them.  At least at some or other point in time. 

But, as we get older, eyebrows can tend to thin.  It happens.

However natural eyebrow thinning due to advanced age or hair loss is one thing.  Careful meticulous plucking is another.

Because scary as super thin eyebrows may be, they have nothing on bushy caterpillar wanna-bees.  Personally I think that Fernando Alonso has a black hairy caterpillar above each eye.  A little bit of trimming and shaping, by a qualified professional, is a good thing.  Giving shape and definition.

Unfortunately, this is where it all goes wrong for some people.  They find themselves in that dark and scary place – they’ve either plucked too much, weirdly, or applied incorrect use of eyeliner to create the appearance of eyebrows.

These little puppies are really interesting. 

Personally, I’m always on the look-out for the uni-brow.  The uni-brow is a perfectly legitimate reason to pluck and pull.  In fact, it’s pretty much mandatory.  Unless you would like to remain single for the rest of your life.  Each to their own.  For me it would be a deal breaker.  I mean, just picture Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp with a uni-brow.  It quite simply wouldn’t work.  Captain Jack Zero.  Not Sparrow.  And there’s no way Brad would’ve managed to pull Angelina if he had a uni-brow.

But it would appear that this whole obsession with eyebrows thing, is kinda global.  And not just me.

KFM radio station, put together a little selection of some of the very best of the very worst eyebrows around.  Most of them manufactured by the untrained hand.

The unskilled. 

Though judging by many of the confident looks these individuals are sporting in their photos, I’m thinking that they think they rock it.  That they look pretty hot.  Bringing their A-game.

Brace yourself – it’s helluva funny!

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Right - so I'm surmising that the girl on the left, took a ruler to do hers. And the girl on the left decided to. To... To... Actually I'm not sure what she was trying to do.

Hoop girl on the left looks like hers are a tat, and dot-dot-dot girl on the right clearly ran out of ink. Or eyeliner. Or khoki. Or permanent marker.

I'm thinking that the girl on the left is a maths boff. And is a huge fan of long division. Don't believe me? Just check out her whybrows! She's all about eye divided by nose equals pink lips. Girl on the right can't do long division. She can only subtract...

These are the thinnest widest apart eyebrows ever. Girl on the left, that is. Girl on the right is actually a fan of the uni-brow. And maybe waves.

Now I'm not entirely sure, but I'm thinking that both of these ladies had their two year old kids do their eyebrows. Also, they both have serious circus ambitions.

My only explanation here, is that the girl in the orange tried to draw a moustache. Upside down. And then she kind of forgot where a moustache goes. Hey, it can happen. The girl on the right, well she... she... she...

Now I've heard of pencil thin. And I'm sure you have too. Girl on the right sports pencil thin eyebrows. The girl top left also has circus dreams. The girl bottom left is confused.

The first rule is outline. Don't go over the lines. Only fill in once you're confident you won't go over the lines. And when in doubt, create a uni-brow.

Yay!!! Two more pencils!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Selling Pot - Location, location, location

Selling Pot - Location, location, location
21 August 2014

We’ve all heard to the old real estate adage – location, location, location.

Now presumably, this does not only apply to buying a home.  It stands equally true, for retail shops, businesses, factories, offices, etc.

So, let’s assume, that you’re into sales.  You need to look at your target market demographically.  Who are they?  What are their ages?  Where do they congregate?  What are their needs?  What can you supply them with?  What are their habits?  What is their budget?  Their socio-economic status?  What do they need?

I reckon you can tackle the problem from two angles.  From a retail point of you, you either start off with a product you believe in, and that you need to move, and then you look at your market, and try and make a match between product first, and customer later.  Or, alternatively, you start off with a gap in the market or easily identifiable client base, and you come up with a solution, to fill a need they don’t even necessarily know that they have.  A product you can supply to them.  Hence customer first, and product later.

It’s the classic equation of supply and demand.  And it’s as old as the hills.  Maybe even before that.  It is the basis of all successful financial models, leading to true fiscal success.

However, you don’t need a degree or two in economics to grasp this principle.  Even a child can understand this.  Or, more importantly, a child’s parents.

So, take a thirteen year old little girl.  A Girl Scout, no less.  And we all know that they have this thing for selling cookies.  A fund raising initiative I assume.  Most likely it gets hell of a competitive.  And the kids are each given an allotted amount of cookies they have to sell.  Sort of target setting if you like.  Classic sales incentive.  Perhaps one of those sell-the-most-cookies-and-you-get-a-really-cool-badge-for-your-shirt, or campfire blankie.  They do that kind of thing.  Been there done that – had three kids that did cubs, and even one that ventured into scouts.  I have to wonder how many parents simply end up buying the whole lot for themselves.  Way easier than traipsing around, door to door, pawning them off on to your neighbours and family members.

But then, we got an out-of-the-box-thinker.  Yip, our entrepreneurial thirteen year old.

I would like to assume that she chose her location on the behest of her parents.  And that she didn’t just have this random knowledge on her own.

She set up shop, outside a legalised Pot-Shop in Colorado.  I swear!

The little cherub supposedly sold 117 boxes in two hours.  So I’m thinking – a huge influx of happy customers left the Pot-Shop, sporting a monster case of the munchies.  Clever girl.

Sadly for her, the word got out.  And underage peddling of Girl Scout wares outside deemed unsuitable potential selling points like Pot-Shops, casino’s, liquor shops, strip joints and bars, have now been curbed.  In fact, it’s been prohibited.  Vetoed.  Formal statements issued, the whole lot.

And I must say, I completely understand.  It is all rather unsavoury.  And I wouldn’t like my kids to be exposed like that.

Still I find it really funny.  And really clever.

It’s obviously true what they say – location, location, location.  It is everything!

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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

If his bits weren't attached, he'd lose those too

If his bits weren't attached, he'd lose those too
19 August 2014

I’ve always been one of those pathetically predictable people.  Pretty much even tempered.  Moderate.  Responsible.  Stable.  Dependable.  Blah, blah, blah.  Boring!

Always looked after my stuff.  Don’t really break things often.  Never lose things either.

But the universe has a very odd sense of humour.  And I love her for it.  To cure my boring regularity, she gave me Cole.

My delightfully “loskop” kid.  And I can’t quite put my finger on it.  Did I get him, because the powers that be knew that I needed someone to loosen me up?  Or did the powers that be give me to him, so that he would always have someone to look after him?

Whatever the cause, we have a definite symbiotic relationship.

A large part of my function as his mother, is to remind him about things.  And look for his stuff.  Cause remembering his own stuff is way too boring and mundane for him.  He’s got more exciting things to think about.

His current obsession is paper airplanes.  He’s obsessed.  He makes them from anything and everything.  In all different sizes and shapes.  On all different papers.  From newsprint, to folio’s, magazines, to cardboard.  He decorates them, times their flights, lengthily discusses their trajectory with anyone willing to listen, selects suitable launching pads, measures flight distance covered, etc.  His room looks like a paper tip.  And woe betide you if you throw one away.  He’s even taken to enormous flights of fancy – huge A3 sheets of paper, sellotaped and glued together, to make monstrously big planes, that are aeronautically impossible to ever take flight.  Still, this is his flavour of the moment.

The downside of the way that Cole’s brain works, is that he simply doesn’t have space inside there for arbitrary things.  Like bringing his school bag home from school.  Collecting his lunch box after break.  Picking up his shoes after sports practice.

It is a challenge.  Mostly for me.  He’s not concerned at all.  That’s my job.

Monday last week saw him coming home without his school shoes.  Well, he had hockey after school, so he got changed in the changing rooms, and most likely left them there.  Luckily in preparation of eventualities just like this, he has two pairs.  On Tuesday he came home without his school sweater.  Luckily in preparation of eventualities just like this, he has more than one sweater.  On Wednesday evening I got a phone call from another mom, saying that they had picked his PT vest up on the sports field after school that afternoon.  Luckily in preparation of eventualities…..  This was just a regular week.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  Amazingly all the bits eventually found their way home.  More by luck than anything.  The grace and kindness of others.

The only reason that Thursday and Friday afternoon didn’t yield a similar something-left-behind-or-lost-surprise, was because he went off on a three day sports tour to Oudtshoorn.  Anything sent off with Cole on camp or tour, is an act of faith.  As we might never see it again.

I dutifully marked every single item of clothing and sporting equipment.  Being familiar with his pattern.  The hope being that when he left something behind, someone else might pick it up and hand it in to a teacher.  It was not an “if”.  It was a definite “when”.  However, I decided to draw the line.  Jocks and socks were left unmarked.  If lost, I would write it off to collateral damage.  A casualty of war.  It certainly wasn’t worth my time.  Or the cost of the khoki I would ruin and dry out in the process.  High ticket items were marked in more than one spot.  Extremely well.  I’ve learnt the hard way.

When he came back on Sunday, a few things were clear.  I firstly checked whether his most prized possession made it home.  Happy to report that he is still the owner of Princess A5 hockey stick.  It is his pride and joy, and for the first few weeks after getting it, he slept with it every night.  Secondly I checked for his hockey togs and school shoes.  Though we have doubles of both, it would be awesome to continue having doubles of both.  Huge was my surprise, when I found two pairs of matching shoes – togs and school.  Oh happy day!  Next I unpacked the clothing bag, and the next obvious thing jumped out at me.  He wore the same jocks, pants, shirts, socks, and sweater the entire tour.  They practically stood up on their own.  Though I am not unfamiliar with this boy pattern.  Cole is of course not my first boy child to go off on tour or camp.  I’m not even entirely sure he thought of turning the jocks inside out for alternate days.  So I saved a heap on washing.  Though the limited dirty laundry he did bring home, had to be washed more than once.

I wasn’t sure if he had left anything behind.  But all the bits and pieces appeared to be there.  However by Sunday I got a message from a mom saying that she had Cole’s school sweater (never even noticed it was gone), and that she would deliver it laundered and clean at school the next day.  On Monday morning, when I was hanging up the washing, I found a friend’s school shorts in our wash.  So I’m assuming Cole’s pair is floating out there somewhere.

All in all, he had a lovely tour.  Though for their fun outing on Saturday afternoon to Wilgewandel holiday farm, he left the pocket money I had sent with at his room in the hotel.  Not all that surprising.  It was the whole reason he had pocket money in the first place.  Luckily part of the package was a go on most of the activities on the farm.  But kids could buy extra rides, attractions and snacks with their own dosh.  Still Cole did quite well.  A friend paid for a Camel ride for Cole and his latest love.  Not quite a horse and carriage, but still.  Bet it was pretty impressive.

All I’m saying is that it’s just as well his bits are attached.  Cause if it wasn’t for that, he’d lose those too.

PS:  Yesterday afternoon saw him coming home without his maths book for homework.  Wondering what missing item this afternoon will yield…  Or rather not yield. 

So a few hours have passed, and this is what I can report.  Fetched him from school in the driving rain – minus his school sweater.  Luckily in preparation of eventualities like these…  And big surprise – no Maths book either.  His homework is supposedly complete.  Right!

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Paper jet made from a maths work sheet

Jet made from exam notes we made together

Pile of planes

Friday, 15 August 2014

Chinese hairy leg stockings

Chinese hairy leg stockings
15 August 2014

Right!  So unwanted attention from men can be painful.  And annoying.  Especially if you’re not in the market for attention, that is.

Worst case scenario, it can be dangerous.

But fear not – the ever-entrepreneurial Chinese have come to our rescue.  With the most stupid invention ever.

Hairy leg stockings.

I kid you not.  Seriously!!!

As inventions go, I personally think it is a stellar example of idiocy.

And I can’t imagine there being a huge demand, nor market for these stockings.

We live in a world, where appearances are everything.  Vanity is all important.  And people pay large amounts of money to look their best.  The women of the species in particular.  They diet.  The pluck.  They wax.  They make-up.  They wear extraordinary painful outfits at time, because the look the part.  They squeeze their feet into high heeled shoes.  They wear thongs.

So the whole hairy-leg-stocking-thing leaves me a bit baffled.

Supposedly it is ideal to wear when travelling on public transport.  Trains, busses and subways.  Which is apparently where the men in China are obviously stalking their prey.  If the stocking manufacturers are to be believed.

I can’t imagine many young nor old women, venturing out in a pair of these bad boys.  Firstly, you’d have to wear closed shoes with your stockings, so your hairless feet don’t betray you.  Secondly, the assumption is that they’d match anything you own.  Or perhaps that’s the point and it shouldn’t.

The downfall of this little plan for the single ladies, is though they may supposedly be a bit more safe sporting the hairy wonders, they certainly won’t fall prey to handsome single young men either.

Perhaps the answer to unwanted attention from men, should be a bit more subtle and less obvious. 

Like a tazor gun.  Or bullet spray.

The last time some guy was staring at me lustfully, and he sidled over to me and said, “So where have you been my whole life?” (I swear – that was his line).

I smiled at him sweetly, looked him in the eye, and said, “With my husband”.

Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. 

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Thursday, 14 August 2014

Katrine, the gin in her ear, and the dentist


Katrine, the gin in her ear, and the dentist
14 August 2014

It is a well-documented fact, that my sister has an extreme fear of dentists. 

No, I don’t think you understand.  Extreme.

Now to be fair, as a profession, dentists are generally not all that well liked.  Which hardly seems fair to them. 

They don’t hurt people on purpose.  In fact, in order to prevent hurting people, they give them an injection, that anaesthetises them.  Minimising pain. 

In addition, they’re usually kind enough to wait before commencing with drilling work, until the drugs have kicked in and your mouth is blessedly numb.

So do they deserve all this bad press?  All this paranoia?

Well, yes. 

I’ve got my own theory.  It’s not so much the pain, as the creepy noises when they’re drilling away and working.  The awkward conversation they’re trying to make, while you’ve got a spit-sucker and numerous dental equipment in your mouth, and you can’t answer back properly.  The dentist smell.  The silly little pictures on the ceiling, or the mobiles they have dangling from the roof.  The stomach churning you experience in the waiting room, listening to someone else having some work done in the chair.  The stupid little cups, with mouth wash, that you end up dribbling down your chin.  That idiotic fat-tongue feeling afterwards.  For me there’s definitely a correlation between the fat-ness of my tongue and my IQ.  The fatter and clumsier my tongue feels, the more intellectually challenged I become.  And act.

Yes, so it’s perfectly clear – I’m not really a dentist fan per se.  Or should I say, either.

Yet, I don’t have the whole irrational fear thing going for me.  I mentally take a slice of time, the bit while I’ll be at the dentist, and I put it in a bubble.  I remove my body from my brain, disconnect, and simply get on with it.  I don’t think about it before the time.  And to be honest, I’m never really hurt at the dentist.  Actually I rather like my dentist a lot.  She’s kind and gentle.  And she understands my garbled talking while I’ve got the spit-sucker and dental equipment in my mouth.  I’m guessing that learning how to really listen to people with speech impediments, forms a large part of dental training and school.

But my sister, Katrine?  Well, she takes dentist-fear to a whole new level.

She cries when she makes the appointment.  A few times.  Usually over the phone to the receptionist.  Then in remembrance of having made the appointment, she cries.  Numerous times.  Dread fills her stomach and wets her palms.

The day before an appointment is usually the worst.  For her and her family.  She’ll break down a few times.  Crying intermittently.  But by now, her family understands.  Her husband and kids humour her.  Tease her.  Yet treat her with empathy and kindness at the same time.

The drive to the dentist is interspersed with tears.  And she normally succumbs to a fresh outburst of tears, upon entering the reception area.  Often blubbering on the shoulder of the receptionist.

I remember when she had to have her wisdom teeth removed.  She came to stay with us, and I took her and fetched her from the dentist, and was basically there to hold her hand and calm her down.  We had reason to phone the dentist’s rooms before the removal, just to double check some or other detail.  Can’t quite remember what.  But we needed to ask the dentist something about the painkillers she had to use, or something like that.  And upon explaining our need to get some info, the receptionist put her hand over the telephone receiver and told the dentist in a loud stage whisper, “It’s Mrs Auld – the one that cries so much”.  True story.

Part of Katrine’s process in between crying, is indulging in excited and fast nervous chatter.  Talking about anything and everything.  Usually too fast.  Not making all that much sense.  I believe adrenaline kicks in and she powers on, on pure hysteria.  Hoping that the sound of her own voice will calm her down.  It doesn’t work.

While over in England, she had cause to go to the dentist again.  A familiar dentist, she’d used before. 

She followed her usual pattern.  Tears.  Anxiety.  Stress.  Fear.  Nervous chatter.

And then, in an effort to calm her nerves before her appointment, she decided to go down to the municipal pool with her daughter, for a swim.  She assumed it would be both relaxing and distracting.

However, she got water in her ear.  And couldn’t hear a blessed thing.  Now she’s pretty deaf at the best of times.  Having water in her ear, simply amplified (very funny), the problem.

I think she just felt off kilter.  And terribly out of sorts.  Not in control.

Now she’d heard this old wives story about getting water out of your ear.  Supposedly the density of alcohol is different than the density of water.  Which would help to burst the water bubble trapped in your ear, leaving you water-free once more and able to hear perfectly.

And so, mere minutes before leaving for the dentist, she asked her stepson Cory, to quickly give her a hand.  The first liquor she grabbed hold of was a bottle of Gin.  Cory happily obliged, tipped a bit in her ear, and I’m assuming didn’t spill too much in the process.

However, marvellous though this plan seemed on paper, it didn’t work.  The water was still in her ear.  She still couldn’t hear.  She was still crying.  She was still scared.  She still chattered nervously and way too fast.

And now she stank of alcohol too.

I believe she cried in reception when she got there.  Cried in the chair, when it was finally her turn.  Kept on saying pardon, cause she couldn’t hear.  Kept on giggling nervously in between.

She was mortified when she realised that the dentist must think she’s really odd.  Apart from the crying and babbling that is.  And then she tried to explain why she reeked of alcohol.

“I’ve got some Gin in my ear.”

I believe he gave her a very, very odd look.  Most likely mentally making a note, “Sure she’s a young mother – must remember to phone Health and Safety.  She doesn’t sound all that stable.”

Recognising his very strange look, Katrine then compounded it by waving her arms around, pointing at her ears, and saying, “I’ll take it any way I can get it.  Just shove it in.”  Yes, that would be the nervous chatter I told you about.

I’m surmising that by this stage he was visualising rehab at the very least.

However, I suppose on some level, he was rather used to her by now.  Having lived through more than one consultation before.

She eventually joined the dots between the reeking of alcohol, the wild gesticulating, the odd expression, the tears, the excessive chatting, and the bubbling too. 

And upon explaining the situation to him properly, he burst out laughing.  And thought it was very, very funny.
Which I believe in turn made him question not only her dental health, but her mental health too.

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