DRIVING LESSONS


Jamie Drivingn

Yesterday we bumped into two friends we havent seen for ages.  In fact they are Jamies Grade 1 and Grade 7 teachers.  Jamie was driving the car and one looked at me and said, “I found the two most stressful parts of being a parent was choosing the matric dress and teaching my children to drive”.  And this comes from a well seasoned educator.

The story goes like this ……….

The word was out, everybody was failing their learners licence …….. by one point.

Sentences like …… moneymaking scam, and waste of time was being brandished around.  Booking the licence alone meant a full day out of school …… I kid you not.  We arrived at the traffic department at 7.00 am and Jamie was given ticket number 14 – he walked out of there at 1.00 pm ……… now this was to BOOK.

Well the day to write arrived, exactly one month after his 17th birthday, and in went a group of youngsters all looking very nervous.

Jamie being Jamie, had only done enough studing that was required in Jamieland ……. or 17 year old teen land.

All the parents waited outside (wish I had gone shopping because it took ages).

Jamie walks out ……. a sad look on his face.

“I failed by one point ……….. ”

“Phone your father ……”

“Dad I failed by one point”

At this Frans launches into one of those Dad lectures.  You know the ones …… “Son I told you to learn harder” and “I told you to learn for an extra hour” and “I hope you will take the next time seriously”.

Mid Dad lecture Jamie bursts into a HUGE grin and says “Just Kidding!!!!” and hauls out a piece of paper – HIS LEARNERS LICENCE.

I got such a fright that I tossed him the keys …. learning to drive starts NOW.

Now being who we are, we really dont allow the kids to do things before they are legally allowed to do it, no driving, drinking, going to bars etc.  So Jamie has had extremely little driving experience apart from parking the car at home – mmmmm now that I think about it thats about it (that I know of).

So off we go to grab a celebration bite to eat, and then to drive home from Humansdorp.

I get into the passenger side of my car and Jamie gets behind the wheel.

After much adjusting of the seat and steering wheel and shoofling in the seat, he looks at me ………

“Put on your safety belt”.  Good start.

AND-THEN-WE-START-JOLTING-DOWN-THE-ROAD-ONE-METER-AT-A-TIME.

“How am I doing?”, he asks as he stalls at the stop street.

“Very Good”, I say with gritted teeth after managing to peel my cheek of the windscreen.

NOTE TO SELF – Maybe the first driving lesson should be done at a deserted salt pan in Nevada …..
 or something.

So we stop round the corner of the stop street and I go through a couple of basics.  Like how to go into first gear.

Off we go.  Not so rattly the second time.

I begin to notice that my right foot is starting to tramp an imaginary brake, my right hand constantly moves towards the manual gear shift.

Then he puts the left hand indicator on for the first time and the car veers straight to the left.  I clamp my left hand on the passenger window.

He speeds up to 40 kmph.  “Slow down Jamie!!!!!!”  I yell.

“But its a 120 zone” he says.  I have to add here that Jamie has probable spent more time on wheels on the Humansdorp/St Francis Bay Road …….. Bicycle wheels, there is a difference.

We agree that 60 kmph is a good starter speed.

My body is rigid and pushing hard against the seat,  my left foot has made its way to between the dashboard and the windscreen, my right food is pumping an imaginary brake, my right hand is hovering above the gear shift and my left hand is still firmly flattened against the passenger window.

I am trying to be positive but my throat has completely sanded up and my mouth is opening and closing like a fish.  My eyes are wide and nostrils flared.

“Good driving Jamie”, I rasp.

“I know”  he replies.

A friend of ours overtakes us and toots and gives the thumbs up sign.  Jamie waves and the car veers to the right.  Me, well, I dont have any body parts left to do anything.

So there we drive the 16 kilometers home and into the driveway.

As we stop, Jamie looks at me with a huge grin on his face.

“Well that was great!!!!! and you didnt shout at me at all!!!!!”

I smile.

“Well done boy”  I croak.

…………… It took me 45 minutes to get out of the seat.  Now I have 4 years to worry about the dress.

 

HAND EXTENTIONS


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I have just received a broadcast from Rosie.  Now I think that a broadcast is a message that you send to all your Blackberry contacts, I know they always arrive on a blue background and rule of thumb I ignore them.

They normally go on the gist of ………….

Make So-and-So your friend pin no 12345667 and she/he is a lekker person.

or ……..

Write down the colour of your pants you are wearing now plus the food you last ate and make this your new bb status or name i.e. “Blue Chips”

Normally these messages are a load of toss, but this one caught my eye

“Sorry if anyone got strange messages with hearts and kissy faces my brother hacked my phone”.  Next to the message is a yellow round face with a white Minnie Mouse type of hand over the yellow round faces eyes (in add smiley terms this means “cant watch”).

Anyway …….. what here brother has done is almost a logistical impossibility.

Lets face it, how often do you see a kid without their blackberry in their hands? I swear I have tried to get hold of their berries and I cant.  We dont even use their phones as a form of discipline anymore because the actual separation becomes so traumatic that the whole thing becomes so big that it is simply not worth it!

So ……… picture the scene.  Jamie is innocently walking wherever he is walking, and, low and behold there sits his sisters Blackberry.  Now what does a 15 year old brother do ……… does he pick it up and put it safely in his sisters hands with a “look Rosie what an amazing brother I am, I found your Blackberry”?, does he just leave it exactly where it is?  NOOOOOOOOOOO, he picks it up and sends some kind of broadcast with hearts and kissy faces.

Now who does he send it to, carefully selected contacts?  All contacts? Boys only – big possiblility, or one random poor soul who is sitting and pondering why he is getting hearts and kissy faces from Rosie.

Now maybe this poor soul secretly likes Rosie, he gets this broadcast and his day is made.  Maybe he gets the broadcast and has no idea what it is all about. Maybe Rosie secretly likes him and he doesn’t know yet.  Maybe he has sent it to a friend of Rosie’s boyfriends and all hell is going to break loose when she sees that friend (or ex-friend) again.

Someone getting hold of our Blackberry is totally outside of my realm of understanding.  We simply did not do this when I was 12.  Today the kids have a level of communication that is immediate and in the wrong hands can be cruel and destructive.

Now Jamies innocent prank is cute, but my mind goes wandering to how much damage can be done by hacking into someone elses private bbm.  I am getting this sick feeling in the base of my tummy.

A kids reputation can be crushed by a few cruel words – remember other kids in their essence only believe what is fed in front of them.  Unfortunately the more scandalous the better,  they will wreak havoc with someones life and all will be forgotten by everyone the next day – except for the person picked on.

Real or imagined a broadcast can be sent from “whoevers” phone to his/ her 300 odd contacts – the 300 odd contacts will then forward the broadcast to their 300 odd contacts and so on.  Within the blink on an eye a rumor, video or photo can make it to thousands of Blackberries and read and believed by thousands of emotionally immature 12 year olds who will believe and pass on anything fed to them.

My world is rocking here, and not in a good way.

What is left for us to do?  Not much me thinks and all I can do is hope and pray that the kids that live under our roof firstly hold onto their phones and dont mislay it and if they do send out broadcasts they will be filled with hearts and kissy faces.

Lekker Okes


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Cycling takes a huge amount of dedication, training and stamina.   But it also takes a huge amount of commitment from the supporting team of a cycling teen (read parents).  Actually this is also true for any sport that your kid is mal over.

This Saturday the alarm went off at 3.00 am, and I groggily got out of my warm, soft, snuggly bed.  Frans as normal was snoring lightly and contentedly in our warm, soft, snugly bed.

I go and wake up Jamie.

“Are you joking”  the first words rip out of his mouth.

Ummmmm DO I LOOK LIKE THE TYPE OF PERSON THAT MAKES JOKES AT 3.00 AM IN THE MORNING!!!

“No sweetie, you have got to get up for the Addo Cycle race”.  Voops!  He is out of bed in a shot and jumping into his monkey suit and shirt.  He efficiently packs his bag, gets himself breakfast, showers, brushes his teeth and hair and tidies his romm.  Each one of these actions a miracle in themselves because not once do I have to tell him to do anything.

He gets into the car on time – I am gobsmacked, it is 3.15 am and I haven’t raised my voice once.

Off we go to meet the rest of his mad friends at the Links Circle.

When we get there a bakkie pulls up and we get out the car.

“You look good for this time of the morning”  says a voice.

It is Grant, he is always nice, always chirpy and me thinks is long overdue for an eye test.

Anyway, off they go, four dedicated cyclists off to a 6.30 am start in Addo, 2 hours away.

My day goes as my day goes and at about 1 I get a call that they have just left PE.  The car sounds like there is a PARTY of NOTE going on.

“Whats cooking in the car Jamie?”

“Oh, the guys are just chatting “

I WANT SOME OF WHATEVER THEY ARE ON!!!

At 2-ish I get the call to fetch him at Grant.

“How did you do?”

“I did it in 2 hours fifty something ish minutes” he replies with a big grin on his face.  He is filthy, he smells odd and he has a very peculiar tan.

“But where did you come ….. 10th, 20th ….”

“I dunno”

Now this got me thinking.  Jamie has done 3 Addo races.   Each time he has come home happy, filthy, smelly and with a peculiar tan.  To date we have NEVER known where he has come in the race.  We have never even looked at the race results.  Did it ever make him feel different about going out there and putting his heart into a race – NOPE.  What did nark him was missing the lucky draw prizes when his name was pulled and he wasn’t there – but that is tough and that is life.

Anyway, all of a sudden over the last year it seems to have become very important WHERE one of us came in a race.  Horseriding means if you come first you get a sash and a rosette.  Sailing means you get ………. um …………. I am not quite sure what you get because there is always some kind of groovy handicap system and it just confuses me.  At cycling you get to stand on a podium for a milli-second get a medal and your photo taken and that is it.  Me, I am easy, I am consistently last in every race I do – I am happy last and there are always new, interesting and fun people at the back of races.

Add to this pressure, Jamie has recently secured a cycling sponsorship from Merida Bikes and Custom Bikes, and, although there is no pressure for him to get podium finishes, he almost feels he should do well to do well by his sponsors.

Pressure, Pressure, Pressure.

Now again this got me thinking.  Yes we look in admiration at the athletes on the podium, but, hey there are only 3 of them.  Of the 1 050 starters of this race only 3 get to stand on the podium.  But ……… 1 020 other okes are also in need of recognition for just starting the race.  Yes we remember the people on the podium, but the ones we really remember are the ones who threw us a bomb when we had a flat,  who pulled us out the bush when we had a bad fall and the ones we had a really good laugh with on the journey.    We remember the guy who came second who goes to the person who came first and shakes their hand.  Unfortunately we also remember the guys who sulk when they don’t win and blame their bikes for bad performance.

At the moment cycling doesn’t have many mentors.  I think sponsors should start looking at those “lekker okes” on the bikes to market their products.  The ones that make the races fun and making other riders want to go back for more.  The ones hakking it out with the masses and loving the sport for the sake of the sport and not for the medals.

As with anything life is a journey, and if we are constantly trying to be at the front it will get lonely.  Being in the masses means you will not miss out, but if it means that through hard work and dedication the front is the place for you, remember the guys behind you and remember to cheer them on, shake their hands and become a “lekker oke”.

SELF ESTEEM


A little while ago Rosie gets off the school bus and I see a black line all across the hem of her school shirt.

Now in our house school uniforms are the holy-grail of clothes. Under no circumstances, at any time, is one of the kids to dirty/mess/spill on their school uniforms. There are simply too many repucussions if they dirty their shirts – immediately got to be washed, dried and ready for the next day.

I know this defies the whole yummy school lunchbox theory, but, on second thoughts I deal better with a hungry kid than a dirty uniform.

NOTE TO SELF: From now on I will only pack white rice and water in lunch boxes – I have never heard of a kid comming home saying “Mom, I have messed white rice and water on my uniform”, I have never heard a Mom grumbling “Oh dear, Johnny has messed white rice and water on his school shirt”.

Anyway back to Rosie and her school shirt line (remember she is my good one). On closer inspection I see the whole bottom hem of the shirt has ROSIE ROCKS ROSIE ROCKS ROSIE ROCKS…….. written in permanant marker.
“Whats that Rose????

“I Dunno” – she replies, doing that twisty foot thingie and avoiding eye contact.

I try a different tack, “Why is there writing on the hem of your shirt?”

“I Dunno”

“WHATDOYOUMEANYOUDONTKNOWTHEIRISAWHOLEPENOFWRITINGONTHEBOTTOMOFYOURSHIRT!!!!!!!”

Rosie was in the dogbox.

Every morning when I drop the kids off at their busses (lot of bus thingies going on in by life) I walk past the laundromat and get my post. This morning through the laundromat window I see a pristine white curtain hanging out to dry, and in the middle of this pristine white curtain in – yep you got it – permanant marker is one word – Domnique.

From this I can only imagine the following:

1. Domnique really smaaks his curtain.

2. Domnique has a curtain theft problem and needs to label his curtain.

3. Domnique does not like plain white curtains.

4. Domnique is in really big trouble from his Mom.

5. Domnique is really cross with the laundromat because they labeled his pristene white curtain.

Well, this putting your name on stuff has really got me thinking. In the deepest depths of my soul I admire my daughter for enjoying herself so much that she writes ROSIE ROCKS on the bottom of her school shirt.

I honestly think we should all be able to take an item of clothing, curtain, lounge suite or whatever and write in PERMANANT marker – DAVE ROCKS, DEBBIE ROCKS, TRISH ROCKS. TANYA ROCKS or …………………….(FILL IN YOUR NAME) ROCKS.

If we dont love ourselves, how on earth are we going to love someone else. If we dont think that we ROCK ourselves, how can we make someone else think that they rock.

I encourage you all to get that pen and declare to the world that you ROCK.