Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Parent Teacher Meeting

It was parent teacher meeting tonight for the eldest. We didn't get off to a very good start, with Eldest leaving his appointment list at home. But - wonder of wonders, we were EARLY. I repeat: we were EARLY. At least he remembered that our first stop was Mr Geography and while we waited our turn in the passage, he could text his brother who duly sent back the run down of which teacher we had to see when. Modern technology. Wonderful!

Mr Geography wasn't very friendly, barking that Eldest is immature and needs to pull finger. But it is true. At least the pulling finger bit. He barked that Eldest's CAT scores are very high, but his work does not reflect that. (I have no idea what CAT scores are and had to Google it when I got home. Where I come from we didn't do CAT stuff.) Onto Mrs English, who only had praises for Eldest, showing me his work and saying he is very well mannered. Hmm...seems not the same boy Mr Geography was talking about. Mrs English and I briefly discuss Africa. She is from Zimbabwe. We talk about the colour of African soil, the smell when it starts to rain, the blossoms in the spring and "Have you read Don't Let's go to the Dogs Tonight?" She starts nodding even before I have finished my sentence. Because we know. We understand. In only a way you can, when you are African.

On the way home Eldest tells me he thinks he should take Home Economics. I say he can do that on one condition - he cooks at least 4 nights of the week.
"Okay, maybe I'll do Science instead."

Monday, January 30, 2012

What's In A Name?

Have you ever read Crow Lake by Mary Lawson? I highly recommend it if you haven't.
This is one of the many profound words she put on paper: I remember reading somewhere a theory to the effect that each member of a family has a role - 'the clever one', 'the pretty one', 'the selfish one'. Once you've been established in the role for a while you're stuck with it - no matter what you do people will still see you as whatever-it-was - but in the early stages, according to the theory, you have some choice as to what your role will be.

I've seen this in action. The way you're stuck with a role that you have let go of ages ago, but not others.
In South Africa there's a fabric softener brand called Sta-Soft. Everyone talks about Sta-Soft, whether it's really Sta-Soft or not. So, in actual fact, every fabric softener is Sta-Soft, even though it's not. If you know what I mean.
A lot of psychology goes into the names of products. The name has to be able to do it's job. Although sometimes it doesn't. Well, not for me anyway - like 'Spotted Dick' pudding. Seriously? Spotted Dick? That just sounds to me too much like a penis with acne, so no - no Spotted Dick for me. Ever.

My eldest son tells me the other day that a boy in his class had an accident. Unfortunately it was of the poo variety, so rather embarrassing. The boy's name is Mark. He is now Skid Mark. Ten years from now when he's still explaining why he's called Skid Mark, it will be long after the accident - an accident that probably would only have (publicly) happened once - but - the name will be stuck.

My youngest son is referred to as Cuddle King or The Eternal Optimist. He is both of these things most of the time. I wonder, though, if by calling him these names we reinforce this. My middle child on the other hand is referred to as The Voice of Doom or The Eternal Pessimist. Now, these name are not used to his face, but even so - are we reinforcing something else here just by attaching these names to him?

And as the youngest son has these names, and the middle one his, the eldest one does not. Does this have any influence on him being unable to decide what he wants to be when he grows up? Subject choice time has come for high school and he stares at the options looking a bit dazed and confused.

Mr Husband was from a very early age labeled Negative. Piecing various stories together, I think he was probably an earnest child, a worrier, brought on by his father's loud verbal daily commentary of the expectant financial ruin of the family (which never came) and the state of the country and the approach of Armageddon (which never came)... So that even when he gradually stopped being negative, he was still called that - every time he just remotely expressed concern about something.

Me? I'm called Lovey. Mr Husband calls me nothing else except that. So, it gets a bit tricky when we have a fall out - especially the way things have been of late. I have told him, "Learn to call me by my name!" He seemed appalled at the idea.  To him, I am Lovey. Or My Love.

My Love.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I hate ultimatums. This is how I feel: You know what to do, so just do it.
Even with my kids. I don't want to say, "Tidy your room or else (insert horrible punishment).
I want to say, "You need to tidy your room." The 'so-that-finding-your-shirt-is-not-such-a-bother'  part doesn't occur to me to add. Naive perhaps, I am to think that they would just know that for themselves.

In the workplace, I feel the same. I spend a lot of time wondering why the heck people don't just do what they are employed to do?! Really! I don't want to say, "If you don't do this, I am going to tattle tale to the big boss about you and you're going to get your butt kicked out of here." I hate that - hanging threats over people's heads. It's demeaning and insulting, I think.

But, what do you do, when the person you share your home with, your children with, (we're not counting furniture or transport - no point) your life with, doesn't seem to understand the importance of amending and altering certain behaviour?
I am trying to be fair. I'm not even sure that I am being fair, but I am trying to give him, me, our kids - this family - the best chance possible and because I know him like I do, the unfortunate (or perhaps fortunate) thing is, it has taken an ultimatum (with many conditions) to get him to pay attention.

The thing is with ultimatums - and writing now, I realise what it is that I truly hate about them - is that you have to carry through. I think - and this is my own opinion - I have absolutely no professional background or training on this, so you can't quote this as gospel - that giving someone an ultimatum is what we do when we are afraid of doing what we have to do. Can that be it, I wonder? Sort of - if I give you an ultimatum, you will do what you should be doing anyway and then I won't need to take responsibility for what I need to be doing. Hmmm.... that thought just came to me, by the way. But then again, perhaps an ultimatum is also a way of saying 'we have spoken about this so may times, but you have not taken me seriously and I am serious and this seems to be the only way to make you understand'.

Well, whatever ultimatums are or aren't, this is what it is for now. We'll see what happens.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Second Chances...

We sit on on the couch. Him on one end, me on the other.
We talk.
He looks bewildered and vulnerable in a way I have not seen him before.
We talk.
I am angry and upset, but state things clearly and calmly.
He asks for a second chance.
I wish my heart would sing when he asks this. I do.
But it doesn't, because I am so tired.
So, so tired.
But here's the thing. I do still love him. And really - I love being a family. That part is actually quite a suprise -  for me really - seeing as I never wanted to ever get married or have kids and here we are 20 years and 4 children later....
You just never know.
Here's the other thing - if you were booking a trip and the travel agent said, "Oh, I know you're investing a lot in this trip, but you're only going to have fun ten percent of the time." Would you go? I certainly wouldn't. So, that is how I feel looking ahead - I can't carry on with this trip seeing the next 20 years being as the last.

Still. I said yes.
I said yes to a second chance.
And here's why:
1. It's only fair.
2. I still love him.
3. You just never know.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Broken Telephone

Today I sent Mister a message that was meant for my sister - the one that some people think is my twin. This is what happened: When I got home from work, he told me that he would not be taking the flat. He said he had contacted the landlord and cancelled the cheque. So, I typed a text to my sister saying that I was going to drink copious amounts of wine and perhaps throw myself from the kitchen window.
And then I sent it. To Mister. Instead of Sister.
Oh, well. I haven't started on the wine yet, but maybe now is a good time.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Me and Katy Perry

I know what Katy Perry feels like.
Okay - that's not a fair statement. I have no idea what it feels like to be beautiful, glamorous, have a great voice and sing songs that everyone wants to dance to.
But. I read the other day - while I was in the supermarket - and I want to be clear on this - I DO NOT buy gossip magazines. No, I do not! I might browse them ever so slyly in the shop, but I am not spending any of my precious money on them. And Lord forbid someone should discover them in my house and lose all respect for me. So, I just had a quick browse in the supermarket and I read about Katy's split from Russell Brand. According to her friends (if you can believe anything the tabloids say and we all know that most of it is just a load of pure shit, but still) Katy is crying the one minute - saying how she knows how her and Russell can sort everything out and then the next minute saying it's better for both of them if they split.
Okay - so there - that is the sum total of how much I know of how she feels. I also feel like that. One minute sure that somehow we can make it work, and then the next feeling - It's time to just Let It Go.

So - Mister got the keys to his new place today. It is right across the road. Right on the next block. This is inconvenient and convenient. Inconvenient coz - oh, well - I can see how this might go - too close for comfort and maybe him still expecting cooked meals and what-not. I don't know. I'm jumping the gun a bit instead of going with my initial let's-take-it-one-day-at-a time approach.

Convenient, because that means he is still close to the children and they can come back and forth and he can still do the football run and have them over and so forth. Well, that's what I hope for, anyway.
We'll see.
It feels like I'm heading towards a slippery slope.
I will have to be strong and firm.

So, I went to look at the place and it is all fine except that it is bloody dirty and what is it with these damn landlords that don't have the place cleaned before someone new moves in! Sis, man!  Well, best he get cleaning. I'm a bit peeved at the moment and not feeling as accommodating to his needs as I was earlier because of some things that happened. So right now I feel that he must just clean as fast as he can and be gone.

I have had too much gin. So before I say something that will mortify me tomorrow, let me say goodnight.


Friday, January 13, 2012

One minute, then the next

One minute, I'm dead sure everything is going to be just fine, then the next minute I'm thinking there's no way this is going to work out well and I am going to be fetched by the men in white coats, they will throw me into a padded cell and dispose of the key!

You see this is the thing about time. It doesn't always heal.
I was thinking about this over Christmas when I was making a trifle. I had made jelly, but it seemed I hadn't put the right amount of hot water - cold water. The jelly hadn't set. And that was after 24 hours. I was looking at that very watery-wobbly jelly and this is what I thought: It doesn't matter how much Time I give this jelly. It Is Not Going To Set.
You know - it's like cement. If you don't get it right, the cement will not improve over time.
Sometimes it's like that with things in life too. Not everything 'gets better' with time.

Anyway - despite it being Friday the 13th, it was a good day. Not that I'm suspicious or anything, but sometimes I worry that other's suspicions will somehow end up on me. My youngest (the Eternal Optimist) said to his brothers today: "Today was my luckiest day!" Middle brother (the Eternal Pessimist): "How so?" Youngest: "Nothing unlucky happened to me!"
The Eternal Optimist is also the one who said, "Something doesn't have to be perfect. I just have to like it."

So, this is what was good about today:
1. It was pay day.
2. I had the sweetest, most delicious mango I ever remember having. It came all the way from Brazil. I felt a bit like a traitor eating a Brazilian mango and not a South African one, but -
3. I bought some nectarines (my second favourite fruit - bananas are my all time favourite) that came from South Africa. They just need a day or two to ripen. 

And now I will go and lay my weary head down and hope I get a peaceful nights sleep. Although - I'm sure I'm getting abducted by aliens while I sleep and this is why I am tired all the time. I swear.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Today I made huge progress. Huge, I tell you. No, not the hey look I have a new job and a new lover to match, no. Not that kind of progress. Just the good old fashioned practical progress kind. Like just getting the Christmas tree down and packed away. I know it's past the 12th night and all that jazz and now this should mean that bad luck will befall me and what-not. Well nothing new there then. I even found 3 edible candy canes that my eldest, sugar-addicted, son managed to miss. I'm sure my punctuation is all wrong in that last sentence, but let's clear something up from the start - this is not about punctuation or good spelling, or rounded characters and plot development and what-not. This blog is just for ME. MY diary where I can say what I want and spell as I wish and forget about full-stops and commas and God-knows-what-else and throw in all the !!!!! and ?????? that I want.

I probably only managed such great progress because my niece was here to help. Admittedly she did most of the work and gave me instructions if she caught me staring into space. Put the beads in that box. You missed a Father Christmas. It was a big job. She fell asleep on the couch after and I looked at her snoozing - not even hearing the text messages coming in from her boyfriend on the other side of the world and I felt a pang. I am going to miss her when she goes back to Africa. Okay - South Africa really, but Africa sounds so much more exotic at the minute without thinking of Malema and his cronies and what nonsense they have been up to lately. This is MY diary remember, I can say what I want. I am not here to be anything else except ME. Crikey, I'm ranting on a bit about ME, me, meeee today. Sorry.
And my sister, my darling sister that some people even think is my twin (which is very complimentary to me - people must think I am thinner than I really am, and very insulting to her because people must think she is fatter than she really is) - came after work and I made a marble loaf that I am becoming the master of. This time I added butterscotch pieces and put walnuts on the top and we drank coffee. Real progress here, I tell you - drinking coffee and not alcohol!

And then slowly it all started to slip. I'm not sure exactly when. But I started feeling a bit low and then annoyed with the boys when they started bickering and I became Witch Mother, then I felt miserable for being Witch Mother and then I was short with my sister who some people think is my twin and then I felt bad for being short with her because the last time we fell out I was about 15 or so and it was probably about me stealing her mascara which I did often...
I feel like I'm on a see-saw.
That would mean it's time for a very strong G&T.
Progress, I tell you, progress!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

In The Beginning

In the beginning there was this very unrealistic woman...
Yip, that would be me.
I know I'm being unrealistic to think that we should be talking as if we're friends.
What was I thinking? I mean, I was the one that told him he had to leave. What did I hope he would say? No problem, Honey. Would you like the cream couch or the brown one? What about this coffee table? Any DIY I should do quickly before I pack up my tool box?

It's horrible and I'm scared of him being nasty, because boy can he get nasty!
I feel uncertain and worried and anxious and he's not telling me anything -like the flat he went to view last night or what he intends to do...
And when I suggested that maybe he stay one more night as his sister lives so far, he said don't worry about me I'm a big boy and I wanted to give him 'the eye' and say don't worry, Darling, I know you are.. but that would have been highly inappropriate and thankfully my big mouth managed to stay shut.

I know this is not realistic of me. Of course I just want this to go smoothly and easily - like how many separations have been fortunate to go that way, I wonder?

When my parents separated, my father told my mother she could have the house and the kids. Which was ironic really, as the house was already hers and well, the kids... No one would have put their hand up to go with Dad. That part is different over here, though. So, we'll have to see.

And now I have eaten a week's supply of chocolate in 10 minutes, my blood sugar has dropped through my feet and I am needing a nap.
When I awake, I might have to make a gin and tonic. Like a strong one.

Monday, January 9, 2012

By The End Of Today...

By the end of today, I will have more space in my cupboard.
I will also have more space in my bed, at the dinner table, in my life...
Okay, that's not completely true. He never cared much for sitting at the table.

He's taken out some suitcases, dusted them off and now, it seems, has started packing.
Oh, goodness.
I hear coat hangers. I hope he's not taking them all - I don't have that many.
Every time he comes back up the stairs to get more of his stuff, I say a silent prayer,
Please don't speak to me, please don't speak to me, please don't speak to me...

Knowing what needs to be done, knowing what has to be done, doesn't make any of it any easier at all.
Deep breaths.
Eventually it will all be okay.
It really will.

How To Survive A Divorce?

It's early hours of the morning and I can't sleep. At first I panicked, until I remembered that I don't have to sleep if I don't want to. I can be awake. And so I am. Googling 'how to survive a divorce', because I think this is where I am heading.
I deleted a blog where I had an ugly rant about Mr Husband and I feel better now that I've done that. People that air their dirty laundry have always made me squirm - I came close to doing the same. Yuk.
I think of my mother when my parents got divorced. She was a lot younger than I am now and had 4 very young children. My brother was in fact only 2 when the divorce went through.
I don't know that I am made of the stuff my mother is made of. She's a proper dignified lady, she is. She doesn't let anger get the better of her, making her scream and shout and swear.
I'm worried I might go to pieces and behave badly. I need to take deep breaths and KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON. Actually I am so sick and tired of hearing that, I could scream.
But right now, I suppose there really isn't anything else to do, except to keep calm and bloody well carry on.