Monday, May 29, 2017

Parents meeting - sigh!

I am thrust a newsletter from the school. Of course I was supposed to respond two days ago and sign an indemnity form. Now Cheri is demanding that I fill it in immediately. I dread these school notices it is as if they have – to the bad mother – written in invisible ink at the top.

The problem you see is that I am not one of those super efficient mothers that thrust all their ambitions onto their offspring. I have no ambitions for my offspring. Well I want them to do well - but am not going to run behind them with a stick. 

I often remind them that if they fail they will end up on the street and often give them a lecture on the privileges of a good education.

But I stopped doing homework with them in Grade 2 when the maths became a challenge ... for me!

I have no need to be on the PTA, school committee and prefer to be in the car outside the school reading a book.

 I am one of those mothers that stumbled into motherhood unprepared and lost. I am always mildly surprised when my children score well on tests and if they pass – Bravo! I dread these school newsletters as they seem to be proof of my dismal failure as a responsible parent.

Requests for cakes, donations and tuck shop duty are my idea of hell. I would gladly host a water bomb fight or man the pie-in-the face stand than have to stand around the school tuck shop and make small talk with these other mothers that seem to have nailed the super mommy role.

I dread any school meetings with the teachers as it seems to me that everything that is wrong with my child is invariably MY fault.  I also get that feeling that the teachers treat me as a “special” case and are quietly sorry for my children. 

The offspring of the poor mother who is slightly batty – of the artistic temperament and not quite A grade material. If the kids have two wrong socks – it is my fault for not spotting it before they get to the bus. If my child has peanut butter sarmies invariably the others have chicken mayonnaise –  it is my fault – of course.

I suspect my resistance to school may have been induced in me at an early age when I was never one of the star pupils at my school. My own mother was busy always and her mother was a teacher - which instilled in her a hatred of school.

I didn't hate school. It was okay. My survival tactic at school was to fly under the radar and do enough work to pass but not enough to get noticed.

I see one of my children has adopted this strategy. Greg said: “Mom – they want me to be a prefect. That’s so uncool. I don’t want all that responsibility. All my friends will think I am a jerk!”
 I hear myself saying : “Oh come on, it will be good for your CV one day.”

He would much rather be captain of the rugby team than a prefect. Priorities ....

Monday, May 22, 2017

Office ettiquette

I get a script writing job for a small corporate video on office etiquette. I am thrilled as I know the money from the porn script ( see earlier entry in January  ) will run out soon and I need the work but I cannot get my creative juices flowing.

 Every time I sit at my computer it seems that there are a million things I should be doing – walking the dog, washing the curtains, re-arranging my CDs in alphabetical order.  Aargh - ok so now I have to think about office ettiquette ... hmmm.

Having worked in generally creative environments - like advertising agencies, film production companies I am not sure I am au fait with the notion of office ettiquette. 

At one place I worked we had a guy who watched porn ... in full view of everyone else. I objected when the "Ahs and Ummms" were distinctly audible. Another nut-job used to bring his lunch to work in his briefcase with a fully loaded 9 mm gun and a half jack of brandy. 

A colleague of mine used to keep a vibrator in her drawer - for emergencies of course. Personally I thought she should have invested in a bumper pack of condoms. Our dress code was also a bit iffy. One woman came to work in a petticoat and black t-shirt with her Doc Martens. She was a scary Goth and we wouldn't dare comment. I'm pretty sure she had a stash of razor blades in her drawer for fun.

But I do realise that the places I have worked are NOT normal working environments. So I'm guessing nose picking and cell phone behaviour would be more appropriate topics for this script.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Crime and hysteria

Crimewatch alert – two patio chairs stolen from somebody’s garden. Panic! 

It is hard to get worked up when I have relocated from Joburg (murder capital of the world) a few years ago. 
When I moved into this idyllic country village in KwaZulu Natal I was quite sure that there were no criminals.

I mean people here actually have their names outside their gates - something no-one would do in Joburg - tsotsi's would know your name ...  and they may just nick the sign for the hell of it.

But here people still have sweet little names on their houses - Azalea Cottage and Bramble Bee and all these little names from Enid Blyton.
But I hear via the local chat group that crime is rising to new levels.

I stroll into the police station to have a look at their log book - OMG!
 Yes definitely a shock to the system - not one but two patio chairs stolen from somebody's porch and someone else is missing a hedge clipper.

Call the police commissioner and let's get a crime watch started. There are already rumblings about doing patrols at night - a kind of gentrified lynch gang.
Old men with exaggerated recollections of their time in the army. Between them they may have a stick, a taser and a few 4x4s.

Personally I have only once had a home invasion - and that was very unpleasant. I went out to the shops and then came back to see all of our groceries spilled on the floor.  It was chaos.
I was about to call the police when the gardener smilingly said that the police would have a hard time chasing the culprits - the resident troupe of monkeys.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Sibling rivalry

My children hate each other. Not a day goes by when they do not tease, insult or abuse each other. I think it is my fault. I should have had them closer together. The four year gap is just too big.
But I have to confess my brother Walter and I were no different. In fact not many people at school knew I had a brother until he enrolled in Standard 6 (Grade 8) and some twat pointed out a genetic resemblance. Most people thought I was an only child.
A few times a day Cheri shrieks as if she is being killed ... I fail to react with any sense of urgency because I know it is Greg teasing her.
No doubt he will be testing a new karate manoevre or stealing her choice of dvd and replacing it with his, a catastrophe of note. I know from experience that if I do intervene, Gregg will appear angelic and say: “But she wanted to learn karate or she likes this movie.”
What children do not know is that parents (especially mothers) have a built in lie detector. One lip twitch or glance in the wrong direction and we KNOW the truth of the matter. We don’t need a jury or a dose of truth serum.
I have also learnt that playing vocal boxing with a teenager is like pushing pins in your own eyes – an extremely painful experience. Teenage boys think they are clever, while their vocabulary is limited their energy is not. I have learnt that one must go straight to for the jugular – in this case – the cellphone.
It is much more effective. As tempting as it is to rip their ears off, the useless instruments that they are. The cellphone ban is one way to get these useless pieces of flesh to work once again, if only temporarily. What is more irritating than the back chatting teenage boy is the quivery lipped young sister who loves to play victim.
Pep talks and instructions on how to deliver crotch kicks have sailed over Cheri’s head, she much prefers to gloat while her brother gets the punishment. This is all so de-ja-vu. I recall in my last life, my brother Walter plotting his evil tricks quite military precision.
I was quite a soapie addict. I would race to finish my homework before the 4pm soapie would start. But suddenly the television had a mind of its own, the channels started jumping. I was confused, punching the buttons ...  until I heard a maniacal fit of laughter down the passage. 

Aha! My brother had the remote and was switching the channels knowing it would drive me insane.
Enraged I rushed to find a weapon to mete out punishment. My eyes spotted the sjambok on the door. I raced after him and he darted around waving the remote aloft. “Na, na, na”. I swung the sjambok menacingly. “I’ll kill you!” Then the tip of the whip hit my mother’s glass lampshades and they came crashing down.
The mood was broken and he said: “Ooh you’re in big trouble.” Of course my attempt to blame him was ignored.  My parents never understood the justice system. Our physical fights became tactical, and involved much plotting and strategy.
Of course eventually we grew up and stopped fighting. To be honest Greg and Cheri don’t always fight. There are occasionally times when they are oddly co-operative, usually that means one of them has co-opted the other onto their side. The co-operative party has been promised a chocolate or a chance to get out of their chores.
I am told that only children are likely to get more attention from their parents and will be much more creative and have higher IQs.  I am sure this is true, the time I wasted plotting revenge on my brother, I could have studied and memorised the whole Encyclopeadia Britannica. I blame him!
Tonight Greg is busy packing his bags for a school tour tomorrow, and Cheri plops next to me and says “Oh Mom, what am I going to do, it’s going to be so boring. I’ll have no-one to fight with.”

Monday, May 1, 2017

To dye or not to dye

So in between binge eating. I try to diet. But I find that starting a diet with good intentions does not last.
I drink green tea for breakfast, a slice of seed bread with margarine, I have a cup of coffee with no sugar or milk - eeuw. I snack on a few grapes and a carrot by 11am I am about to chew my arm off. 
Usually by 3pm I have charged off to the shops and scoffed down a greasy pie , a slab of chocolate and some crisps. I spend the evening chastising myself and indulge in mental self-flagellation.
So on this occasion I go to a store to find some hair dye ... I have managed to prolong my mid-morning binge thanks to a visit from Mercia.
I am starving - but the will to resist temptation is strong ... I think.
My gray hairs are sprouting at a rate of knots. Caused by children.... dogs and ex-husband.
I am a bit fickle when it comes to choosing hair colour - at any point in time I could be blonde, red or brunette. Sometimes combinations of both.
I am engrossed in my search for the perfect colour when I see the perfect colour. It is described as "Vanilla Mochachino" ... my stomach begins to rumble. 
Ooh I am almost salivating. That would have to look good on my hair. I stick it in my basket and my stomach is now rumbling furiously. I buy a small chocolate placed strategically near the till.
I rush home and then begin to dye my hair - I have visions of myself throwing gorgeous locks behind shoulder in Hollywood style.
I wait and then rush to the shower to wash it off.  Erm. It looks exactly the same. 
What a let down. 
I walk into my daughter's room and say : "Does anything look different?" She looks up from her romance novel and says after a PAUSE ... "You have a pimple growing on your chin!"
Bloody cosmetic companies and their exotic descriptions. Bloody diets ...