mykonos swim 385

The moon is 384 000 km from earth.  To most of us travelling into space and over such distances seems unattainable and impossible ….  Or maybe not.  I HAVE DONE IT – WELL ALMOST…..

My cars odometer reading sits this morning on 256 892 – which takes me almost to the kay 2 thirds to the moon.  And I can honestly say 99.0% percent of my “two thirds to the moon” travelling is dedicated to ferrying ungrateful children to and from their exciting commitments.

So ……. Here I am with a car that in Moon miles would take me 2/3 rds to the Moon, which in literal terms would put me as close as blazes to the middle of nowhere – and you know what …….. that’s exactly where I feel that I am right now …… the middle of nowhere.

I sometimes wonder whether when Mr August Horch first sat at his drawing board to design the first Audi ever imagined that his sleek racing machine would be used for the lowly task of stuffing as many bodies and sports equipment into it as possible.

During a recent survey in the UK it was found that men at the wheel of an Audi as seen as the sexiest men in Britian.  I kid you not ………… there are actually surveys about this nonsense.  There is no mention of Moms at the wheel of the Audi.

Anyway …….. back to my moon quest.  Now the biggest thing you have got to realize is that we do not stay very far from our children’s schools.  Add to this they are fully able to go to and from school on a bus, which costs us a fraction of what it would cost us to drive them to school ……… actually Frans drives directly past their schools on his way to work …. But

  1. They like the bus, and
  2. Frans doesn’t need their crummie early morning attitudes at 7.00 am every day.

So my family is travelling either to or right past the Schools every morning …………… Kids are plopped on the bus at 6.50 am – I drive them to the bus stop (I have to add here that my parents would not have dreamed of taking me to a bus stop, I walked to the bus stop, rain and shine.  After school I walked home from the bus stop – rain or shine),  as I see the bus disappearing into the sunrise I normally get my first bbm , they normally go on the lines of ……………

“Mom, I forgot it is Netball today ………… please can you bring me my bag”

“Please bring me my Technology drawing board (this one is a favorite)”

My personal favorite is ………….

“Mom, Danielle/Jessica/Josh/Reece/Fill in name here, has left their jersey/book/swimming cap/fill in item here at home please can you bring it to school”

By the time I get home from the bus Frans is normally standing in the living room with an offending text book in his paw – “Look!  Rosie has forgotten her geography book!”  The unsaid words here ………”And what are you going to do about it?”

Jamie takes the whole thing to a new level.  He does not ……… under any circumstances take sporting equipment to school ……….. ever  never ever ……….. why?????  “It takes up too much space”  He gleely tells me “My bag is heavy enough as it is”  He has really thought deep here.  HE DOES SWIMMING !!!!! How heavy can a second skin a swimming cap and a pair of goggles be?  He then expects me to bring his extremely heavy second skin, swimming cap and goggles to the school at 1.45, directly outside the pool gate ….. with an appropriate lunch ……… so he can swan into the pool area.

I am ten minutes into my day.

So I load my car full of extra-mural sporting goods, forgotten bags, books and lunch boxes.  My driveway is really busy with other Moms (not a Dad in sight) chucking their kids forgotten sporting goods, books and lunch boxes into my poor boot.  The phone lines haven’t stopped ringing with the “can you please drop ………… at school, each phone call is accompanied with a story about how forgetful, stupid, unreliable and ungrateful their child is.

By this time I can hear you saying “She must be mad” or “More the fool her” and you know what?  YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!

I then drive off to work, which as co-incidence has it is EXACTLY the same place which Frans goes to work.  Before work number 1 I drop off all the offending items at different schools.  I am not alone here the school secretaries office is full of stupid Moms like me.

At   1 I leave work, rush to the shops to buy food for THEM and look for something interesting to make for dinner.  I rush to Jamies school to literally hand him his weighty swimming stuff, I then skedaddle out of Jamies school over to Rosies school to whisk her to the pool for her session.

Then I sit ………… for one hour waiting for them to finish their training, everyone clambers into the car and we drive home, drop off my staff, take Rosie to horseriding, come home (spare 10 minutes here to do some of my real work – running my guesthouse) home again, put dinner on, shuttle Jamie to NSRI, come back home, talk to my husband whilst finishing cooking the dinner, fetch Jamie from NSRI, eat dinner and try and do this all before Greys Anatomy.

Frans recently took me on “holiday”, I found out the holiday consisted of him hopping onto a boat in Cape Town and sailing to Langebaan, me, well I was the driver – he had to be fetched on the other side!!!

A few Christmases ago Jamies gift to me was a car sticker saying “Moms Taxi”  – I KID YOU NOT!  He was so proud of that gift.

And the kids wonder why I am such a cow.

Right now, I have got is figured, I only have 120 000 kays to go to get to the Moon, this will take me out of the middle of no-where and place me in a quiet bouncy white place ……………. Ahhhhh the Dream!!!!

It is Monday ……….. 6 days to go.




How did Grade 10 creep up on us?  We are still reeling from the mid-year examinations for Grade 9 and we get a letter from the school.

“You are urged to attend a presentation regarding your childs subject choice for Grade 10 2013”.  You also had a chance to discuss your childs progress with their teachers.

Now discussing your childs progress with their teachers is that schools answer to speed dating.  You get 15 minutes to hear how your kid is doing and to discuss them – it is fast – it is furious – and I hate to say to a certain degree it works.

Well …….. back to subject choice.  Its almost like they are wishing the year away and we have to start mapping out a 14 year olds future.

DONE – He wants to be a pro cyclist, easy, no brainer and now just to choose the subjects so that he can achieve his dream.

Anyway, we trek into the school hall and the presentation starts.  The presenter is informative, motivating and makes the whole subject choice really exciting.

He goes on to tell us that the standard for Gr 9 is much higher than in previous years and it will be more difficult to pass Grade 9 this year than before.  DANG!

He goes on to tell us the reason for this is that the end of Grade 9 is one of the first “exit from school” levels that is recognised by Govt.

“Right we are OTTA here!” I hear a murmur beside me ………..

I look next to me and there is my son, I see a kaleidoscope of feelings crossing his face and all of them involve a bum on a bicycle and none of them involve a bum at a school desk.  In his mind in 6 months he is checking out of the school system – never to return.

He starts standing up ……….. and in mid-stand I say one word.

“SIT!!!!!!!!!”  not loudly ………… sort of a whispery ssssssssssssssssssiiit!

I hear the sound of about 20 backsides returning to their seat.

His look of disappointment is heartbreaking …… but  ………. I am the parent here and I am pulling the parent card.

Right  –  the ever important subject choices.

English First Language

Afrikaans Second Language

Life Orientation. 

Maths or Maths Literacy

The above are mandatory subjects.  The interesting one is LO, it seems the Govt deems that all children must do LO because it will make them better citizens!  Shrieks a bit of big brother to me but then I hear the best news – in Matric they will not have to write LO exams the whole subject is task driven!!!!! Loving LO!

Thereafter the learner must choose a further 3 subjects – and from these 3 subjects a fourteen year old must seriously consider where their life is going for the next 50-odd years.

Will get back to this because something is not adding up, at the moment Jamie is doing

Home Economics
Technical Drawing

And from Grade 10 he will only be doing 8 subject  – surely dropping 5 subjects is making their lives easier?

Anyway …….. this is how it is done.  Oh and subjects have different names (very confusing).  Physical Science is the old Science.  And life science was Biology – or vice versa I am a bit confused.  Maths is maths but you get additional maths (not sure either), Maths Literacy is there for the students who really see maths as easy as reading and understanding ancient Greek  (pi was Greek).  Computer Applications Technology replaces the old typing class.   Economics and Business studies and Consumer studies  are different subjects and Accounting does not form part of either of them.  The old Technical Drawing is now Engineering Graphics and Design.

Oh and they must make their choice by the end of August.

Our role as parents are to guide – note, not force – our child to make the right choices.   Hey to put it bluntly,  its been a long time since I was in Std 8 and I can’t remember what subjects I did at school.  I am too scared to look at my old school reports.  I have vague memories of ……..

“If Tanya would apply herself to her school work and not talk so much her results would be ……..” (I think the words they used to use here was “more pleasing”

or ………

“If Tanya concentrated on her work more and not on her social life …………..”

You get the drift.

Frans wasn’t that hot at school either.  His brother was – I wonder if that counts?

So here we are …… two bad scholars expected to advise our kid on some major life changing decisions and we simply are not up to the task.

My gut feel is to just let him take the easy route to getting the magical Matric cert.  For the most entry level into a Varsity or Technikon is so pathetically low that you can almost guarantee a tertiary education pass, or you can be the real parent and try and guide your child into waters that you have never been.

What is it about us as parents that makes us want them to have what we never did.  Or have we forgotten that we did  and had everything we wanted and still turned out ok.  I would love to see Jamie live his dream and cycle for a living – and yes, I know the stats that less than 1% of sportsmen and women achieve this dream – but hey – what if he is part of that 1%?

To confuse matters even more – I know some guys who went to the best schools, did the “big six” subjects, went to varsity and got degrees – only to end up not really successful or nice.  On the reverse side I know MANY school reprobates, who did the minimum to pass who went on to become pillars of society.

Frans took it one step further and explained to him that you need maths in order to cycle properly i.e. working out cog ratios  and wheel speeds etc.  That he would need Geography to understand the world around him to improve his performance.  That he would need technical drawing if he wants to design and manufacture bicycles and lastly he will need business studies to run any business associated with cycling.

So I reckon as parents we are supporting him – I hope we are doing it the right way because there is no manual for this one.

The day before the first day of term ……

This term I was going to have it waxed.  I was going to get everything ready the day before the 3rd term starts.  Why?  Well I am so tired of the total chaos that goes hand in hand with the first day of term.  The frantic searching for school bags, uniforms, the report that has to be signed and returned, the forms that have to be filled in, the holiday homework, lunch boxes and the other million things that have to be dealt with on the first day, when all I should be dealing with is waking up and waking up two kids that are used to waking up at their leisure.

I jump up – pre-woken-up kids to get the basics done with the least hassle, then, PLAN A is that the kids will do the rest without the “where is ………….”, and “I cant find ………….”, and “Mom I’m sure Rosie took my ………..”

 NOTE TO SELF :  Teach the children to find their own stuff without blaming each other and without asking me.

It took a while but I found the school bags ……… under the stairs ………. pushed into the deepest darkest corner (this should have let off a warning light).  Rosies bag is very heavy and Jamies bag is empty.

JAMIES BAG – TICK – Bag Found.

As I open the Rosies bag I get the most horrible feeling something is watching me.  HELL!!! This is like something out of a Steven King novel – CHRISTENE! The bag episode. 

I made my biggest mistake just after that – I opened the bag – and was klapped good and proper in the nose by the thickest, most horrible smell I have ever come across.  I gingerly lift up the lunch box – the outside is orange – the inside is a black greenish furry mass.  

 NOTE TO SELF : Chicken Burgers do not last well for three weeks, under the stairs, in a dark corner in an orange lunch box.

Now if any of you know our Rosie, she doesn’t do bad things.  In Rosies world everything is clean, everything works, nothing smells, everyone is nice and gets along, nobody argues and is nasty.  Green, vrot , stinky furry stuff in lunch box does not even get into the same stratosphere as Rosies planet.   KADUNK!  The lunch box gets chucked into the neighbours outside bin.  The bag gets scrubbed and jikked to within an inch of its wheelie life.

ROSIES BAG – TICK – Bag found, contents in the arms of HAZMAT.

Now for the contents, this normally involves the School passing on a lot of forms, newletters, reports, extra- mural- pay- through- your- nose fliers, your school account, your bus account, next terms programme and other important paper details.

Now remember Jamies bag is empty.

JAMIES CONTENT OF BAG – Tick – contents dealt with.

Now remember this is all happening whilst the rest of the family is blissfully sleeping away a very rainy day Sunday morning.  Even the dogs aren’t bothering me they are busy sniffing away at the neighbours outside bin.

Rosie bag is chokka block.  I sort books into one pile (she can deal with those).  Sign her report and put it back in clean bag.  Deal with notes for School Play, have a pile for Frans to deal with (accounts), and find the notes with the homework for the holidays.

WHAT!!!!!!!!!!! Homework for the holidays???????  This is just cruel.  The list was:

  1. You must read the book “ The something or other really boring holiday reading” and you will be tested on this book on the first day of term.  All 34 Chapters of it.  Now I hope you are all remembering that Rosie is my organised child, Jamie is my disaster management type of kid (but …… Jamies bag is empty so no worries there)  how are things going so pear-shaped.  She is going to crack when she sees this.
  2. You are in the public speaking quadrathlon please have a prepared speech on one of the following topics ………………………………. .

Now to be quite honest I really don’t want to wake anyone up just yet and lets put it mildly I cannot read her book for her and I am not in the right frame of mind to assist her with a prepared speech.

Important dates are diarised, class notes between friends ie. You know the ones folded 8 times and says on the front – FOR ROSIE – PASS TO ROSIE!  Are carefully put back into the bag. The bag is ready for action.

NOTE TO SELF:  In future leave school notes well alone until given to me by the kids.

ROSIES BAG – Tick – it took a while but it is dealt with.

I must say the rest goes pretty smoothly.  School and sports clothes all present, no reports of missing books, pencil cases, scissors, calculators and flipfiles – all present.  The kids are given the pre-term speech about how they must try hard, be organised and most of all have fun.  The kids are ready, I am ready – there is peace.  I have even bought tasty treaty type lunches for the first day of school.

A few hours well spent.

Back to school day dawns and we have relative peace in our world.  I am so chuffed none of the normal  hectic first day run around.

…………… All good until ………. Rosie comes running up the stairs ……….. and she is not happy …….

“MOM!!!!!!!  ………. I cant find my lunch box…………”

NOPE – we will never win.


It really crept up on me, it’s sneaky shoes tiptoed back into my life and without warning the total onslaught has begun.

Now the first thing I think about when I think about “back to school” thingies is the old PEP Stores Ad featuring the Rosenkowitz Sestuleptiuons …. um there were six of them.  There they all stood in the ad, three boys and three girls, all brushed and polished and shined, their school bags neatly slung over their shoulders and big smiles on their faces.
I now know what a lie this all was:
1.   Not one kid on this planet is smiling at the thought of back to school,  normal kids like holidays not going to school.
2.   New school shoes don’t make people smile – they are sore and uncomfortable.
3.   New school clothes don’t ever fit properly – they are at least two sizes too big and to say the least a kid feels like a dork in the “lets buy the uniform to last the whole year” clothes.  Girls even have less to grin about because they know they will be tripping over the hem of their gym slips for at least two months.
Now lets give some thought to poor Mama Rosenkowitz, she had six kids to get ready – that is six sets of books to buy, cover (brown paper and contact please), lable  (hope she never messed this one up), uniforms to buy and label, pens and pencils, sissors and geometry sets again all marked.  She then had to sort out who would get what for lunch, who was doing what sport, when, how and why.  After sport she had to supervise six sets of homework or listen to six sets of bulldust on why there is no homework today.
Ya know what I am going to do??? …. phone Mrs Rosenkowitz and see how she did it – I sure need the help.
This year I only remembered on Friday that we have less than a week before the dreaded back to school time of year.  This year I have decided to use the “teach a man how to fish …….” ethos and let the kids organise themselves.  I will buy the books – full stop.
I inform the kids:
Rosie immediately launches into action and starts making a list.  She comes to me about an hour later  and all is done – uniform draped over the chair in her room, school bag (a selection of two) in my office, next to it is 2 pens, 3 pencils, a geometry set, various koki pens, pencil crayons and colouring in pencils, there is a pencil case, and in-case pencil case, 2 rulers, rubbers, highlighters, bookmarker sticky thingies, pritt, a diary, a dictionary and a twee taalige woordebook – I have no idea where all this stuff came from.
She also has a menu plan as to what she was going to eat before school, during school and after school.
Her sports bags are ready
She has only one question for me “Do you think I need a haircut?”.
I sometimes question whether I really gave birth to Rosie.
At the same time Jamie says “Oops!!!!!”
“Whats wrong?”  I ask, fearing the worst.
“Ummmm, I dropped the TV remote”
Now the day before school starts Rosie has gone to the stables – basking in her golden glow of readiness.
I ask Jamie “is all your school stuff ready”
“Well ….. show it to me”
“Well …. its all ready except I cant find my pencil case, geometry set, school pants, school shirt, school bag, blazer, shoes, socks and sports stuff”
“Ummm …. there is a School Dance Tonight” – this from someone who doesn’t really know what day it is.
Right …. I am not sure whether I gave birth to this one either.
I am really not sure what has happened here.  We have two kids, same parents, same house and in general over the years exactly the same teachers.  I dont know how things went so so wrong.
Oh his hair hasn’t been cut either.


The highlight of the Kids school year, this year anyway hands down – no arguement – is the school play. The play this year is a Review covering Musicals.

The Grade 4’s (remeber these are 9 – 10 year old knoweverythings) have decided to present High School Musical AND Sarafina (bless their cotton-picking knoweverythinginthewholeworld socks).

You may think that these two tales are poles – think not – the two stories are very similar – just the ending differs ….. think about it – both are:

1. Set at a School
2. The story line is about pupils wishing to stage a school play.
3. Great musicals.

I digress, back to today. A decision was made to let the kids have a large amount of creativity regarding the insert – so today I went into Rosies class to do a marketing exercise regarding the reveiw. Armed with a black bowler hat, Sarafina video and a passion for the play I was ready to sell the kids the idea of the Review.

I present the ideas to the kids and, then, ask the following…..

“WHO’S IN?” – 32 hands poke holes into the ceiling – GREAT

“ANY QUESTIONS?” – 32 hands shoot up – NOT GREAT!

Who do you start with – do you ask them alphabetically? From smallest to largest? Largest to smallest or front to back?

I decided on the back to front method:

QUESTION 1 – “Teacher-Mom”, I kid you not, “what are we going to wear?”

ANSWER 1 – “Good question little Grade 4 knoweverythinginthewholeentireuniverse midget – we are going to wear ………..” (the outfit is still a state secret).

Smiles all round.

QUESTION 2 – “Teacher-Mom, what are we going to wear?”

ANSWER 2 – Same as ANSWER 1.

QUESTION 3 – “Teacher-Mom, what are we going to wear?”


REPLY 1 – “Cool!!!!!!!!”

Now there are 29 hands still waving at me, and I can see the question comming, so I try a different tack. I trick them and swing my eyes to the other side of the room – firstly No 4 in the cue bursts into tears – oh dear. I hold my ground – “yes Kieran”.

QUESTION 4 – “Teacher-Mom, you look pretty today”.

ANSWER 4 – “You are No 1 in line to marry my daughter – I LOVE KIERAN”.

Its amazing how, at this stage the whole conversation steers completely towards my prettiness, I get “you smell nice”, “you’ve got nice shoes” – and…..as nice as this amazing Q and A session is, it is not getting us any closer to a Review plans….

We vote for the lead – closed voting of course. We decide on a costume – it took a while. Backstage crew voted themselves on (and yes they wanted to know what they were going to wear).

Reveiw plans day one – a huge success.

FOOTNOTE – Teachers need medals.


Jamie, my just turned 12 year old is in Grade 6 – the old Std 4.
So far in SS (Social Sciences) aka – history, he has done mapwork, Population distribution, and Medical Science. Yesterday we started revising for a test and this terms module is …….. The road to democracy in SA since 1910.
It starts with all the who-ha about the establishment of the Union of South Africa, expands into Lois Botha and this racial policies and SANNC retaliation thereof. It then moves into Dr Malans timeframe and where apartheid becomes national policy. It covers the homelands, group areas act and seperate amenities act , the Alexandra Bus Boycott as well as the unsuccessful Freedom Charter. The Sharpville uprisings are covered.

Then things start getting dicey:
The Soweto Risings and the (in) famous photo of Hector Pietersen is covered in depth – I REMEMBER THESE INCIDENTS – Chris Hani, Steve Biko, necklacing, the boycotts of the 80’s these things are all part of my life – JAMIE IS LEARNING IT IN HISTORY.
Now…..Jamie is writing a test on the Road to Democracy, in our house the way we learn is that I set mini-test papers, in the old days we call this Spotting (and yes I am a GOOD spotter) (not as good as Costa was during my Vasity Days – anouther story) and Jamie hopefully learns for the test.
What was it called when Dr Malan made it policy in SA that Black, Coloured and Indian people had no rights?
ANSWER – I dont know……….
OK lets change tack here
What is Apartheid?
ANSWER – I dont know…..
Now I am getting a little worried – ARE WE BAD PARENTS – that we havent sat our children down and told them about our deep and dark past, or are we good soldiers where no matter what happens we pack the past in our backpacks and move forward.

I decide that it is time for the APARTEID talk – Jamie and Rosie listen to my well prepared tale (as well as a 12 and 9 year old can listen) at the end ……..

Do you have any questions?
Jamie – What was the point Aparteid?
Rosie – What is a Black Person????????????????
In their world colour and discimination DOES NOT EXIST peer groups are categorised according to how nice they are, how polite they are and how clever they are.
In our household the Road to Democracy is an old/unused road – the new freeway that we travel on is easier and more user friendly.


Once a year in Pampolona normal, albeit slightly demented, individuals pit their strength and stamina against a mob of frustrated, albeit slightly demented, bulls.

A more unknown, but just as dangerous annual event is held in Jeffreys Bay where in the town normal, albeit slightly demented, parents pit their strength and stamina against a mob of hungry and definitely demented School Kids – the event is the CLASS CAKE SALE.
The structure for both events is very similar.

At Pampolona the runners must be in the running area at 7.30 am. The actual run stretches from the corral at Santo Domingo where the bulls are kept to the bullring where they will fight on the same afternoon. The length of the run is about 825 meters and the average time of the run from start to finish is about 3 minutes. Six fighting bulls run the route as well as 2 heards of bullocks.

At Jeffreys Bay the Parents must enter the Cake Sale area by 8.30 am. Gates are then locked to ensure that no parents or children manage to escape before the event. The actual event stretches from each of the childs classroom to the Cake Sale area – where they will fight for the best goodies on the table. The length of the run differs from cake sale to cake sale because the location of the table is a highly guarded secret leading up to the event. The average length of the run is about 100 meters and the strict time of the run is 30 minutes. 1000 hungry children run the route as well as 25 teachers.

The tension builds as the release of the bulls approaches and at 8.00 am on the dot a rocket is fired to confirm that the gate has been opened at the Santo Domingo Corral. Runners dressed in white with red scarves pray to San Fermin then a second rocket confirms that the bulls have left. The bulls and the runners then proceed along the route.

In Jeffreys Bay the tension builds as break approaches – hotdogs are made, the table is set up groaning with cakes, fudge, sweeties, popcorn, donuts and other delectable goodies – and at 10.00 am on the dot the SCHOOL SECRETARY (remember her) – rings a bell to confirm that it is break time. Parents dressed in aprons do not have time to pray, there is no second bell to confirm that the children have left.

At Pampolona the bulls and runners climb Santo Domingo go accross the square continuing down the c/Mercaderes , the most dangerous part of the bullrun approaches as there is a close curve leading into c/Esterfeta which is the longest stretch of the run. Next comes a small section of road known as the Telefonica stretch. The last stretch is also very risky as it leads into a dead end street providing access into the Bull Ring.
At Jeffreys the children and teachers dash out of their classrooms, this is a very risky stage as each class only has one exit door and 35 children and teachers have to get out of each class quickly in order to get the best food, the next risky stage is when all the runners converge outside their classes and dash to the Cake Sale table – athletic ability, mental prowness and sheer willpower is a must at this stage. At no time is the Parent allowed to leave their post from behind the flimsy cake sale table. The last stage of the actual running part of the race is when the 1000 odd beings collide with the table and the grappling for the yummiest goodies begin. Goodies are despatched, money changes hands and happy customers leave the table. But …. they have one more hurdle before the end of the run – they must get past their friends who have forgotten their cake sale money. Friendships are forged and lost at this stage and finally the successful cake sale buyer can sit down and enjoy his (sometimes squashed) prize.
The parents are a frazzled mess.
A third rocket is set off once all the bulls arrive in the bullring, and a forth, and final, rocket is fired to signify the bulls are in the bullpen and the bullrun is finished.
The runners celebrate with high spirits.
After 30 minutes the second, and final, bell is rung to entice the children back into their classrooms and the cakesale is finished.