Gifts and Gratitude

I am a rather simple chick. I have no illusions of grandeur and my wishes are verging on the dulland darn right boring.
  • I wish the Alien would listen to me the first time I saysomething (Not a difficult request surely?)
  • I wish my cats and dog would stop shedding hair everywhere(I am drowning in their hair, people. HELP!)
  • I wish alcohol didn’t give me a hangover (How can somethingso delightful be so punishing?  It’scruel I tell you.)
  • I wish TV adverts weren’t so bloody loud (They are at least1000 decibels louder than the programme you just fell asleep to.)
  • I wish women could stand together and force feminine hygienecompanies to bring down the prices of sanitary towels/tampons (Come on, it’s arip off.  I expect to see cotton wool pricesafter gold and oil prices on business news. It is clearly a rare commodity)

When it comes to my birthday I am therefore totally coolwith just a well-worded card or an e-mail or a phone call.  No mess, no fuss required.  I am over 40 remember.  As long as Chicken Man and the Alien rememberto give me an extra hug and kiss (and exempt me from cooking dinner) I am ahappy camper.
We have a no-gift policy in our family.  One of my brothers does not conform to thispolicy however and, together with his wife, always gets me the most apt and amazinggift.  I was nursing the last fumes in myperfume bottle and VOILA – they gave me perfume for Christmas. I was growing crow’sfeet like ostrich feet around my eyes squinting against the Durban sun andVOILA – they gave me sunglasses. So it goes on…
This year they gave me something that I have wanted since theproduct first hit the market.  Myobsession for reading has never been a secret. So, when I opened their gift to me last night, I could not contain mytears of gratitude.  I have aKindle! 
What more can I say? A fantasy comes true. I’ll ignore the cat and dog hairs and payfull price for tampons as I lose myself in my love for the written word on my new toy.  Thank you Herman and Michaela.
My joy cannot really be captured by Kodak but thank you Vernon for sending me this pic.

The Alien is no longer Alienated

The Alien turned 15 in December.  Of course, all she wanted was a Blackberry.  Every other need and want paled in comparison to her desire to have BBM (Blackberry Messenger)

I stuck to my guns of not getting her one – with difficulty though.  The nagging, tantrums, depression and blackmail would have had the most hardened Marine SEAL crying like a baby!

Her joy when she received a Blackberry from her Uncle and Aunt was a sight to behold though.

The look of love as she clapped eyes on her BB for the first time almost brings tears to ones eyes??

Then there is the “look Mom – I have a Blackberry.  How cool am I?” stage.  Pouting is of course compulsory.

This is followed by the far away stare of an Alien plotting all the possibilities opened up to her thanks to finally becoming a part of the BBM generation.

The Blackberry has been surgically attached to the end of her hand since she received it.  
Quick question: Is there medication I should be giving her or counselling sessions available to ensure that she is emotionally prepared to get through the first day of school without it tomorrow?

Makes You Think, Doesn’t It?

The Alien’s plea for a Blackberry in order to make her lifewhole has not waned since I wrote about it here.  
She has quite a sense of humour thatkid.  When all the children in her classwere told to place their phones on the teacher’s desk prior to writing an exam– she placed her calculator on the desk. She had written” Blackberry” on the calculator.  At least the teacher appreciated her humourand informed the Alien after the exam that she did not have any missed calls orBBM’s.
The Alien still does not have a Facebook account so, when Iread this little piece she had written, I took a look at myself.  Was she suggesting something?  Am I a neglectful wife and mother?  “Nah, this seems to be how everyone is thesedays.” She said.  Phew.  Still – it makes you think, doesn’t it?
Modern Times – guest blog by the Alien

I wonder why your faces don’t change colour from staring atthe light coming from your screen all day.
Your daily dose of exercise is poking people?
You are following him, she is following you.  Who is actually the leader in this wholefollowing pack?
Your laptop is an upgrade of your husband/wife.  It goes wherever you go.  You tell it all your feelings and it respondswith about 100 comments.
And if your computer shuts down – your life shuts down.  Oh no! Now you have to talk face-to-face!
I’ll give you some pointers about real life.
  •   You don’t poke people when you want theirattention nor do you put up your thumb and say “like” when they say something interesting. 
  • When you get bored of the conversation, youcan’t shut down.
  • You don’t actually follow people wherever theygo because that doesn’t lead to friendship – only restraining orders.
  • Your computer is NOT your life.            

Alrighty then, best I listen to my daughter and sign off, pack my laptop away and GETA LIFE.

Overworked and Underpaid

I have been feeling sorry for Chicken Man of late.  He is under so much stress, running around like a headless chicken tokeep his customers and bosses happy.

Likemost companies, those higher up in the pecking order are the ones that reap therewards of his moo-tivated and egg-zacting hard work.
But no matter where on the food chain we are – we all need tostop for a good chirple every now and again…

Raising Teenagers is Like Nailing Jelly to a Tree

School holidays are starting tomorrow.  I have stocked up on wine and informed everyone who knows me that I am available for coffee/lunch/anything that will give me a couple of hours break from being a taxi driver with an onboard ATM and fast food outlet.
I have very generously offered the Alien a couple of really awesome activity options available during the holidays.  The ungrateful eye-rolling and “Ag Maaaa” was all the thanks I got.  Fine!
I have found a solution which will hopefully elicit at least an “Oh Cool” response from my darling Alien…

Is there a Doctor in the House?

This was the subject of an e-mail I sent out to all myfriends who live in Durban North.  I wasgatvol with my doctor and was looking for another “quack” to give myhard-earned Rands to.
Just like with mechanics, plumbers and electricians,  we do not question doctors because they are sovery qualified and clever and can sprout words that make absolutely nosense what so ever to us.  I strongly object to being treated like an ignoramus and so I make sure I do my research (thank you, Google) beforeand after every qualified person appointment.
So, the Alien had a cough. No big deal I hear you say, except the cough continued for months. Ournow ex-GP treated me like I was a neurotic, overprotective, Munchausen by proxy freak. 

A general warning: Don’t mess with any mother with more than1 brain cell, clever people!  We aregenetically programmed to protect our young. We will kill forour offspring even if they are teenagers.

Once ex- GP finally started taking my concerns seriously I wasexposed to the overwhelming and scary concept of spending money quicker thanyou can earn it.  How do thesespecialists and laboratories decide on their exorbitant prices? Are they basedon their Mercedes and Ferrari repayments?
After 3 weeks of emptying my purse, bank balance and lifesavings, selling a kidney and gaining shares at the Pharmacy besides thefrustration of not knowing what was wrong with the Alien – I have a healthydaughter and a newfound respect for radiographers.  Doctors and specialists do not even look atthe “pictures” that radiographers take. They base their decisions purely on thereports the radiographers send them (and how much money they need for theirnext overseas vacation)

To the folk who took such …errr…revealing photos of mydaughter, you are my heroes. You may have the crappiest selection of ancient magazinesin your waiting room but you were the voice of tangible, understandable reasonthrough the medical nightmare I have just emerged from.  A bargain at the price. 

What Lies Beneath

I saw a competition on the Umhlanga Life blog just a day or so after meeting the charming Fred Felton. Always game to enter anything – I submitted this story. The rules where that the story had to be 100 words or less. Not as easy as you think or is it just me who likes to waffle on and on?

Nevertheless, this is what I wrote…

She moved cautiously but with purpose. She knew exactly what was lying beneath but her focus was on getting love and attention and she had finally pinned down the person she adored the most. She was prepared to stand on dangerous ground.

There was a stirring and a rumbling that grew louder and fiercer as she approached. She paid it no heed. She needed to feel cherished. Fear was not going to stop her.

The infuriated puppy eventually poked her head out from under the warm duvet and glared at the cat as if to say; “Go away, she’s mine!”

Word Count: 100

This is what I have to deal with every night by the way. Roxy the Foxy sleeps under the duvet and Cuddles knowingly steps on her as she makes her way towards me for strokes and loves. That cat likes to live dangerously! One day Roxy is going to make the effort to get more than just her head out from under the duvet and then there will be hell to play!

The Alien is Alienated

“I am a looser”
“You just don’t understand, my life is over”
“I am not going to have any friends”

All these passionate, sometimes hysterical pleas from the Alien have been getting the same standard response from me:

“Ag Shame”

I hear your gasps of horror from here. This mother has an emotionally disturbed, possibly unstable teenager and her response is “Ag Shame”? Relax! I did take the time to listen to the reason why her life was teetering on the brink of extinction.

The child does not have a BlackBerry.

Can you believe it? Even though she has a perfectly good Nokia somethingorother phone, a computer, the choice of 2 TV’s with DSTV and a DVD player, a pleasant roof over her head, a swimming pool, 3 adoring cats, 1 devoted dog plus a cupboard full of clothes – the child’s life is a misery because she does not have a BlackBerry Pin Number.

How sad is that? I am not totally heartless, you know. I was once a teenager and understand about peer pressure and all that psycho babble. It really is pathetic that a beautiful young girl can feel that life is passing her by because she does not have a particular make of phone. Talk about a fickle society.

Apparently all the kids who used to be on MXit have closed their accounts and are BB Messaging each other now. SMS is clearly so last week and actually calling a person and talking to them is what old people like me do. I suppose I could alleviate her misery just a tad if I allowed her to have Facebook but I see what some of these teenagers do and say on Facebook so question if I want to expose her to all that.

So, until her contract is due for an upgrade, I will just have to endure the endless whining and complaining. The advantage is that, because she no longer knows what is going on in the world around her because of her forced isolation thanks to her BlackBerry’lessness (cool new word that), the Alien can spend more time moping around me.
Hang on…did I just say advantage?
Anyone getting rid of their BlackBerry? Anyone?