EMAILS, FACEBOOK, OH AND WALLY


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I received an amazing message on my phone yesterday ……… it goes like this:

eBucks:  Hi Wally.  FNB rewarded you with eB220 for MAR’15 on all your qualifying purchases.

I read and re-read this message ……….. and only one thought came to mind – WHO ON EARTH IS WALLY?  and ….. WHAT ON EARTH IS WALLY DOING IN MY PHONE?

Even though this is not my real phone, because my real phone was stolen by bad people in Cape Town, and is probably doing the rounds on ebay, OLX and, and, and.  Which is exactly where I bought my new old phone and did the whole deal in Ratanga Junction parking lot …… where if you think about it, its the perfect place to do dodgy celphone deals ….. anyway.

Back to Wally, I have never been Wally, EVER, and now my trusted and long standing bank has decided to call me Wally, even though for many years they have been calling me Mrs T.J.

This whole Wally business just added to a funny feeling which has been hovering over me lately.  I AM BECOMMING INVISIBLE.  Its an odd feeling that as I age my purpose on this earth has become less and less.  But I could always rely on my bank remembering my name NOW THIS!!!

My relationship with facebook is wonderful.  Getting in touch with old friends and connecting with new friends.  Seeing friends pictures, achievements, relationship status’s and just general ramblings really completes my day.  But all of a sudden friend requests start popping up from people who I really don’t know.  So you start thinking ………..

a.   Did I meet this person sometime in the last week and don’t remember?
b.   Does someone out there just like the look of me and decided to become my friend?
c.   Did I go to school/varsity with this person and they have changed a tad?

or

d.   Is there a lonely person out there, and if I become their friend I might make their day?

So I push “Accept friend request” ……….. POINK …. seconds later a post that I am tagged in appears on my wall – MY WALL – selling raybans.  Flippit, I am gutted, the only reason that the person wanted to be my friend was to sell flippen sunglasses.  POINK …. I de-friend them.  So now I do a test ……… I accept a whole lot of friend requests, and low and behold a million posts appear on MY WALL, all selling raybans.

Is this stupid? no, the Rayban gurus are definitely onto something here.  Is it irritating?  Absolutely.  Is it hurtful?  Well yes, here I am trying to slot back into a meaningful slot in my universe and along comes the Rayban Train and puts me into the “We only need you if you buy something” slot.  What on earth gave them the idea that I needed a new pair of sunglasses?  I am gutted.

I really believe that parents shouldn’t live their lives through their children.  But hell, their lives are far more interesting than mine.  And how can we not be involved???? we are the driving force behind their adventures ……….. LITERALLY …. we drive them to horse riding, cycling, parties, shopping, concerts etc, etc.  Then we are expected to not get involved whist they are doing the adventure bit of adventure, then we drive them home.

Surely parents there is more to life here.

I cook, I clean, I drive, I mother, I wife.  I am on one committee that my one sole purpose is to put up street signs once a month.  For one of the kids sporting activities I have even been cut out of the commitment part ……. I pay, I drive, I have no say.

Its time to take my life back.  BIG TIME.

In a recent episode of Greys Anatomy (Yes I still watch Greys Anatomy).  One of the sexy brain surgeons has to do a really tricky brain op on one of her colleagues.  She is nervous, she is scared and the whole world is watching her to see if she can pull it off.   She is standing in the room where they clean their hands before slicing into a brain.  Her legs are slightly apart, her arms are at her waist, her fists are clenched, her elbows and slightly back.  Her shoulders are are square and her head facing firmly forward, slightly tilted towards the sun.  “What are you doing?”  asks her intern.  “This is the Superhero pose.”  She answers.

Apparently it is proven that people who take up this pose before a challenge or a task, do significantly better at what they want to accomplish.  So, I am going to start using this pose and those 5 posing minutes are going to be used to brainstorm my “take back my life plan”.

Now if you think about it, Clark Kent, when he gets the gist of a drama playing out or that Louis Lane is at the mercy of some baddy, he doesn’t go umm haaaa mmmmm, he dashes into the nearest telephone booth, strips down and soars to the drama.  He definitely doesn’t over think his future actions he just (here is that word again) SOARS with his cape flying and fixes what ever needs fixing, whether it is stopping a speeding train full of victims or just to make sure his chick is fine.

So back to Wally, people with the name Wally just don’t SOAR.  As in “Look, here comes WALLY soaring to the rescue!”.  Nope this just doesn’t work.

FNB, my name is Tanya, spelt T-A-N-Y-A, and I am going to strike my superhero pose and rescue my life before I shrink into nothingness.

TANYA IS GOING TO SOAR.

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.

 

HOW TO BECOME HAPPY


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Yesterday I was sitting in my office.  The wind is howling, its cold ……. and to be quite honest I was feeling just a tad down about life.  My get up and go had got up and left.  I didnt want to feel this way – but I did.

So I googled, “how do I become happy” ……… in 0.34 seconds I had 438 000 000 hits.  Starting with the 7 steps to happiness up good old Wikihow’s 12 steps (with pictures nogal!) to happiness (love wikihow ………. it will teach you how to build a sandcastle and teach you how to be happy).

So this is what it said ……..

“Happiness – its what we all strive to find and keep.  Nobody is jolly all the time, but some are definitely more fullfilled than others.  Happiness has little to do with materialistic needs, goods, wants or high achievements, it boils down to your outlook on life, the quality of your relationships and basic amenities (ESKOM!!!!!).”  It then tells you to check step 1 and beyond for tips and tricks……

STEP ONE

BE OPTIMISTIC

Optimism seems to be ruled by your baseline of happiness, and each of us have our own baseline, and no matter what happens good or bad, these feelings of happiness or failure, will always revert back to our happiness baseline ………. which reminds me of a story ……

Every Friday I give the kids R20.00 each to buy lunch at school.  Now as we all know, in this day and age, 20 bucks doesnt get you very far.  Now because Rosie is in hostel (we will get to this story another time),  Jamie has the mammoth task of taking and delivering this 0.00000001 gram twenty buck note to his sister every Friday.

She is optimistic that on Friday ‘s  she will bring her tuck money to school.  He finds joy in telling us that she only talks to him at school when she wants money from him.

On the Friday in question Jamie doesnt eat breakfast, and by the time first break comes he is HUNGRY, and not normal hungry but cold 17 year old boy hungry, he is OPTIMISTIC that 40 bucks can buy him more than 20 bucks can and therefore will make him happy.

As he gets to the school tuckshop, he sees Rosie on a return trip with her arms FULL of tuck goodies, there are chips, sweets and fizzy cooldrinks.

She asks him “have you got money for me?”

He makes a snap decision, (a bad one), “No”, he answers, “Mom didnt give me this morning”.  Now Jamies optimism levels are running high, he knows, that Rosie will not tell on him because she doesnt tell on.  He also reasons that her arms are full of food that her baseline needs have been met and he has a bigger need for the money than she does.

The day carries on as normal.

At the dinner table I ask “Rosie did you get your lunch money?”

Dead silence.

I try a different tack.

“Jamie did you give Rosie her tuck money?”

Dead silence.

Now in our house dead silence is rare, and it normally means NO I DID NOT DO WHAT I WAS MEANT TO DO.

Jamie says “she already had money cause I saw her walking with a lot of food”;

Rosie says “while I was waiting for you I went and bought food for my  friends with their money”;

Jamie says ……….

Rosie says ………..

Jamie says …………

Rosie says ………

No winners here, except maybe Jamie because his first break happiness levels had been elevated, but now his happiness levels were well below his baseline because he had been caught.

Rosies baseline happiness levels were very low at first break, but now they were hitting the stratosphere because her brother because of his own actions was deep in the doo doo.

Anyway I digress …….. tiny tricks to being optimistic

*  Add up the little joyful things that happen during the day.  They are there just look for them.

*  Feel deeply grateful for the things you have.

*  Veiw the glass as half-full, rather than half-empty.

*  Put yourself in situation where favulous, fortunate things are likely to happen to you.  Its easier to remain optimistic if you set yourself up for success.  Cheating on your sister, or stealing a bicycle – whilst temporarily thrilling – will rarely end up well for any party involved.

*  Think of those less fortunate than yourself.

BUT MOST OF ALL

Learn to enjoy life.

So there we have it – step one of being happy.

So what makes me happy?  Feeding carrots to a horse, my husband just phoning to say he loves me, when the kids are not constantly bickering, having uncomplicated friends ……… little things …… the list is endless.

Whilst I was at it I googled “what do I do if I am bored”

Dear wikihow responed immediately:

“Pick your favorite TV, film, or book character, and imagine what they would do if they were with you right at that moment”  – now I can honestly say this is the most random piece of advice I have ever been given.

So I pick Jeremy Clarkson.

So what would Jeremy Clarkson do if he was bored?

He would pick up the phone and call Richard and James, and off they would flit to an amazingly funny and ridiculous adventure.  So maybe it wasnt such random advice, and believe me hanging out for a day with Jeremy, James and Richard sure would make me happy!!!!

 

ITS ALL ABOUT THE T-SHIRT!


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With advertising by-lines like RIDE THIS ONE YOU WILL REMEMBER IT, and ARE YOU TOUGH ENOUGH?.  The annual Steeltek race at the Lurie Ruskamp promised to be at the very least a tough one.

Now Jamie and the Steeltek race have a history, and not a happy one ……… he has yet to finish a Steeltek with both himself and/or his bike intact …….. in fact …….. he has yet to finish a Steeltek race full stop.

Add to the mix this will be his last ride on his beloved Merida 29’er (its got to go up for sale on behalf of the sponsor to make way for the new …… to be announced).  Boy did he love this bike.

Add to this there is only one race this year, no kiddie dash, no family ride, no 30 kay – only 60 km and on a new course set to challenge the riders to their limits.  There is 2000 meters of climbing (more than the Karoo to Coast).  You are asked to check out the race profile before the race so that you dont start too fast.

Add to this ……. the Mountain Events, Fat Tracks and Steeltek have  dangled a once off cherry to the participants.  Finish the race in Sub-4 hours and you will get a special T-shirt.  Oh there was a nifty amount of prize money, but the T-shirt was the real cherry.

Add to this the weather has been playing up as normal.

All the riders wanted that T-shirt.  Top local and not so local riders started entering the race.

As we set off, Frans shouts to us, still under the comfort of his downy duvet.  “There is enough petrol to go 120 km – it will be plenty”

IT WASNT

As we hit the J-bay turnoff it was as if the petrol tank started sucking its own juice.  50 kays left it said.  Crossing the Gamtoos – 30 kays (impossible! its not 20 km from J-bay turnoff to Gamtoos.  By the time we hit the Thornhill turn off it said 10 km.  We limped into Lurie.

Now,  Lurie is cycling heaven, all the names are there.  Lots of really nice bikes.  Lots of bike talk.  Eventually the cyclists set off.

Did I mention that Lurie Ruskamp is in the middle of nowhere, except, close to Lurie.  To my horror I find out that Lurie does NOT have a petrol station and somehow I must get petrol in Hankey .

“How far is Hankey?”  I ask .

“20 km” the oke says.

“Oh dear”  I say “I only have enough petrol to go 10 km”

“Ag then its about 10, but dont worry its all downhill”  He retorts.

I decided since its a four hour wait I will try my luck at getting to Hankey, and if I get stuck I will phone a friend at the race.

Off I go, as I start the car the light starts beeping ………. 0 km’s it says.  I decide to see it through.

Now next time someone says to you “Its all downhill”, dont believe them.  I have never been so happy to see Sarah Baartmans grave in my life, I think I made hankey on fumes in the Ford.

Anyway …….. The car and I get back armed with 300 bucks in the tank and now I can relax.

The race has started claiming it first victims.  Last year, at this race I saw one oke limp home with s SQUARE wheel, I kid you not, it was square.

After 2h31 mins Jason Meaton flew in ….. “Shew that was tough”

Ten mins later Conrad Viljoen ….. “Tough”

and a mere 4 minutes later Jason Reed ……. “Toughest Ever!!!!”

And these guys are top top riders at the peak of their game.

More casualties came in, and still Jamie and his friend Nick are out there.

The riders start dribbling in, each of them heaving a sigh of relief as they come over the finsh.

At the 3 hour 40 mark I see Jamie in his Custom Bike shirt comming up the big finish hill.  He had made the 4 hour cut off AND he had got the T-shirt.  A few minutes later Nick came in …… he also got a T-shirt.

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The last sub 4’s dribbled in, and then the wait began for the rest of the field.  The question on everyones lips as they rode in was “Did you get the T-shirt?”

The T-shirt was important, 4 pieces of white cotton sewn together with some printing on it became a major aquisition at the Steeltek.  I proved that you were Tough Enough.

Which all got me thinking. Sometimes we need these physical reminders that we are good enough.

Rosie and Jamie gave Frans  a mug which says # 1 DaD,  he knows he is a good Dad, but boy does he love his mug.  Many years ago ……… many many years ago, Jamie painted Rosie a mug saying “MY BEST SISTER”, that she is his only sister is irrelevant, after he gave her the mug they were nice to each other for about two minutes and then the bickering started again.  I keep the mug in memory of those two minutes.

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I have a sticker …….. yes a sticker saying “MOMS TAXI” ……….. mmmmmm, I wonder …. does this mean I am tough enough?

THE DIET (AT LAST) THE FIRST WEEK


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Its taken me about 20 years to realise that I just may be a bit overweight!  I think that I have been in denial for about 20 years about just how I look.  I swear that every time I looked at the mirror I saw Demi Moore staring back at me.

So, it took the dreadful, harsh and unforgiving lighting in the Woolies changing room as well as the dreadful, harsh and unforgiving sizing of Woolies clothes, to actually make me see the light – as dreadful as it might be.

So ……… I have a plan:

a.  Firstly find a shake of some sorts to make sure I have breakfast – I personally think that not eating breakfast for 20 years has made me fat.

b.  Find a diet buddy and use bbm to motivate each other.

c.  Stick to my diet.

d.  Do some sort of formal exercise for half and hour per day.

So I find a shake, to be quite honest they all seem much of a muchness, they all offer at least 1kg weight loss per week if you replace TWO meals a day with their shake and follow a mild exercise plan as well as a kilojule controlled meal plan – MAN!!!  there is only one meal left and really should it be kilojule controlled?

So day one starts ……….. with high hopes I shake up my shake and sluk it down.

“IMHUNGRY, IMHUNGRY, IMHUNGRY, IMHUNGRY, IMHUNGRY, IMHUNGRY”  My brain is screaming to me.  I haven’t eaten breakfast in 20 years and now when I decide to go on a diet my brain decides its hungry at 7.00 am.

To keep myself busy I read the pamphlet a tad further than “replace two meals a day and follow a mild exercise plan as well as a kilojule controlled meal plan”  it say ……… and I quote:

“Take a CANDID photograph of yourself to check on your progress”.

YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME …………….. CANDID is not quite the adjective I would use to motivate myself.  Roll on the floor laughing, must I be naked in the photograph and look very sad?, in my underwear? (got to go back to Woolies – harsh lights and unforgiving sizes), fully clothed? (a tent) – sorry I dont know who the bright spark was that inserted that into the instruction.

Oh …… all the instructions that you must drink a minimum of two liters of water a day.

Finding a diet buddy was dead easy, in fact there are 3 of us.  We have formed a bbm group called – wait for it – “The Disappearing Act” – Cool name huh?  The plan is in order to motivate each other we will bbm our food diary as and when ANYTHING foodie and liquid enter our mouths.  The plan is two fold, firstly it is going to be interesting to see exactly what we are eating per day – fat doesn’t make its way onto our hips telepathically, and, secondly we can see that we are all human and make mistakes.

So here I am ….. 10 am on the first day of my diet ……. sitting on the loo …..  and I am sorry to say that I have my phone in my hand and “The Disappearing Act” lines are cooking.

Me:  1 shake, 1 coffee, 2 sugars, fat free milk

“IMHUNGRY, IMHUNGRY, IMHUNGRY, IMHUNGRY, IMHUNGRY”

Other 1 :  Coffee, 2 sugars, fat free milk

“IMHUNGRY, IMHUNGRY, IMHUNGRY, IMHUNGRY,IMHUNGRY”

Other 2 :  2 Iced tea, bacon and avo salad, then she kicks us in the teeth and sends us a photo and the words “OK I cheat!  half a slice of ganache and ice-cream”  KICK HER OUT THE GROUP!  or “THIS WOMAN NEEDS SERRRRRIUS HELP”

“IMHUNGRY, IMHUNGRY, IMHUNGRY, IMHUNGRY, IMHUNGRY”  I am really getting tired of my brain here, I have 3 kids and a hubby that nag me all the time I really cant deal with my brain doing it too.

I get up off the loo, wash my hands and sterilize my phone – not taking phone to loo again.

I last till lunch time and have my second shake.

Now the exercise part.  The Disappearing Act have decided that we can run to lose weight.  HUGE problem here – I DON’T RUN, anyway in the spirit of losing weight I decide to go with them.

We rock up at Other 1’s house and first we measure and weigh ourselves – between us we have to lose a massive 60 kgees, which will make us each 60 kgees.  If you think about it between us we are carrying another group member – its d disgusting!

We stretch for two seconds and off we gallop.  By step 100 (yes I counted) I am poked!  My running isn’t the sort of sexy looking stride, its a sort of jagged little bounce around where three steps take me about 20 cm.  The plan is to run 6,2 kays – at this pace I will be back next year!  Other 1 and 2 are chatting away, I can barely breathe.

“huff, huff, you guys carry on”

Off they stride, chatting away and looking very “Chariots of Fire”ish.

The plan WAS that 6.2 kays would take about 40 minutes – so I decide to run/walk/shuffle and wobble one way for twenty minutes and turn around and head back to Other 1’s house so that we can all meet at the same time.

I walk (fast) …… but each time I hear a car I break into a Chariots of Fire stride – my hair is blowing in the wind, there is a smile on my face, I wave at the car – the minute it rounds a corner I collapse – 4 cars later I am finished.

Now the first 20 minutes I swear were all uphill so I turn around and see a lovely downhill beckoning ………. piece of cake!

I start trotting down the hill, I go faster and faster, little itsy bitsy steps eating up the centimeters.  Now I’m getting tired – I CANT STOP – faster and faster I go, my 20 extra kilograms giving me momentum and push – a car comes past and I cant even lift my hand to wave, my hair is stuck to my scalp – I AM IN REAL TROUBLE HERE!!!!!  HELP!!!

Off I am zooting, I cant breathe, I cant stop, I cant take this anymore!  Eventually I come to Other 1’s house and I crash land into a tastefully piece of driftwood she has in her front garden.  After dusting pieces of wood out of my clothes, smooth my hair and get my breathing into check I saunter into her house – It has taken me 7 minutes to do the return journey.  Her hubby says “how was it?”.  “Piece of cake”  I lie …………. because I cant talk anymore I leave.  Get into my car and light a ciggie.  Half way home I meet Other 1 and Other 2 striding on the home stretch to Other 1’s house.  “How did it go?”  – “Great!”  I lie.  “Gotta go home and feed the masses ……..”  Gratefully I drive off.

Day One of Diet finished ……….. it was hell but it was fine.  Now I am on Day 4 but I have also given up running.

In the words of Holly Branson (yip …….. Richards daughter):

“If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together”  I hope that The Disappearing Act are going to go far together ……… hopefully not in running shoes.

THE LIVING ROOM


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We have a living room.  This living room is exactly what I DIDN’T want as a living room, you know the type of room that no-one ever sits it ……… I remember going to friends homes when I was young and there was this room in most of my friends houses (we didn’t have one).  It had cream carpets, a cream lounge suite, beautiful cushions, tasteful drapes, lovely lamps and works of art tastefully placed in carefully thought out places.  Amongst all this beauty there was always a sense of loneliness in these rooms – this was the sitting room kept for special occasions – to me, it always felt like a “left-out” waste of space and I vowed I would never have one if I ever owned a house.

Homes are meant to be lived in, they are not museums they are houses where memories are made and every inch of space should be used.  Anyway, we don’t use our sitting room – it isn’t hidden away behind a door it is there in the openplanness which is our home ……… it just doesn’t get used …….. ever.

So in this unused space Jamie saw an opportunity.  He gets home from training one night and enters the house – bike and all – through the front door.  Now at the best of times a cyclist chomping around in full kit with cleat shoes pushing his bike is not a pretty sight.  For one thing the shoes make them walk like ducks,  a cyclist in full kit walking is a bit Borat-ish, a bicycle inside a house just isnt great, add to this when Jamie finishes his daily ride everything, and I mean EVERYTHING is full of mud.  The bike is caked in mud, his body is full of mud, even his face is full of mud splatters.  It can be the warmest, sunniest day and Jamie will come home full of mud.

Back to the opportunity.  Jamie calmly minces in, bike and all and parks the bike in the sitting room.

Frans sits there looking to and from Jamie and myself like a spectator at a tennis match ……. his mouth is wide open doing sort of fishy movements – no sound comes out.

I sit there looking just at Jamie.  My mouth is wide open also doing sort of fishy movements   – no sound comes out.

Rosie on the other hand will never let an opportunity go by to point out to Jamie what he is doing wrong – 100% normal 12 year old sister behavior.

“Why are you putting your bike in the lounge????”  She asks just loud enough for the whole of St Francis to hear.

“Get a life …………”.   He answers. 100% normal answer of a 15 year old boy to his sister.

Frans’s fish mouth is the first to find words, “Jamie why don’t you put your bike in the garage?”

“The garage is too dirty”  replies Jamie, “I am trying to look after my bike”.  He has calmly forgotton that his bike is full of mud, he is full of mud, man, even his riding glasses are full of mud.

Now I am really finding it difficult to take a boy seriously who is dressed in full muddy cycling kit, still in his cleats, sunglasses and helmet I am wondering what alien has walked into my home.

Jamie also seems to have calmly forgotten about the other 3 bicycles that he owns that are safely and quite happily living in the garage.

So now I am beginning to see method in Jamies madness.  The sitting room is unused.  No memories are made there.  There is a little voice in my brain saying “why not”

Before I know it the words spill out before the brain has time to process ……. “why not?”

Frans looks at me …… you know that look a husband gives to a wife when she is treading on uneven kid ground.  Its a sort of look, the eyes narrow, the head gives a little shake, and then the eyes move in a sidewards upwards direction.

What he is actually saying is ….. “That is the most idiotic thing I have ever heard, STOP TALKING NOW!!!!!!, come upstairs so we can discuss this without the kids hearing”

But OH NO!  mouth is in full swing here and brain has shut down.

“Frans, I seem to remember you actually building a boat in our living room once”,  what he has forgotten in those days we only had one place to sit, no TV room, no seperate dining room – just one place ……….. and he built a boat in it.

The shakey head is going a bit stronger here, Jamie and Rosie are looking on with interest – I can actually see their ears flapping.

“We dont use the living room ……… so why not?”

The brain starts catching up ……. I know my kids, once you give them an inch – or in this case 1.8 meters x 65 cm – they will take a whole room.

I can hear Rosies mind calculating how fast she can get a horse, hay and water in the room so we can have a new addition to the family.

Jamie is checking out the space and mentally working out where his workbench can stand, and how he is going to fit a personalized bike workshop in there.

Frans is pondering how much bigger this living room is and whether or not he should start construction of another boat.

Me on the other hand is punching myself in the mouth!!!!!

In that one single moment I realized why my friends parents had this “room” in their houses.  We all need a sanctuary.  A place of beauty, serenity and peace.  A place where the word cluttered doesn’t even hit its stratosphere.  I have it in my unused living room and I was just about to throw it all away – I need that unused space of beauty in my house.

So the end of the tale is ……. Frans doesn’t get a new spot to build a boatie thingie, Rosie must realize that horses belong at Homestead Estate and that is it.

Jamie on the other hand is still putting the bike in the sitting room ……. but …….. when he does, it is clean and shiny – lets face it a Merida Big Nine is a thing of beauty after all.

TRADE IN THE HUSBAND?


I was lying in my bed when I heard the sound.  THUD – nothing more just THUD, not a loud THUD mind you – just a little plasticky THUD. 

I look at Frans “Thats my camera”

“Impossible” he replies.

I quickly go downstairs and there in all its glory is my camera lying on the slate floor, and one of the children (who will not be named) standing next to it.  In a nutshell – “they who will not be named” picked up my camera bag, I had left the zip undone and all the contents had gone-a-falling.

The camera is looking surprisingly unscathed.

I pick it up …… l look at it ……. I turn it on – OUCH!!!!! Immediately the WHIRRRRRRR of camera death starts …….. this is not good.

Now I am sad about my beloved camera, I feel sorry for “they who shall not be named” for this huge mistake, I am angst about the lecture I am going to get from Frans – all wives you know the one “well why didn’t you zip up the bag” or “you know you shouldn’t leave the camera there” and I am devastated about all the lost future memories.  All in all this is a crappy situation.

So this all happens on a Sunday morning and I silently stew the whole day.  On Monday I phone our insurance people, and low and behold we are covered, no hassle, no bother, small excess.  So off  to PE I a-trundle to go and find a new best friend.

Since I got my camera and now things have drastically changed.  The choice of what cameras can do is mind blowing and very very confusing.  All I want to do is capture memories.  Now cameras come with movie, panoramic, night scene, portrait, backlight portrait, backlight, spotlight, hand held twilight, Macro, low bright, landscape, tripod night, night portrait and baby – BABY?????  And this is just one of the mode dials. 

The booklet of instructions is bigger than the camera.

There is even a setting that automatically detects when everyone in the picture is smiling and snaps away. HUH!!!! I want to meet the person who worked this one out.  Why didn’t Sony just give the camera legs and arms (its already got an intelligent brain) and call it a person?

Anyway – off I walk with this newer, cleverer camera.  But, ya know what?  I liked the old camera.  I liked the way it felt in my hands, I liked the way it took photos, I liked the way I knew exactly what to do with it all the time.

Now imagine if you could just get a “ new”  every time there is a THUNK in your life.

Say Frans and I have an argument – THUNK!!!! – yes everything looks fine on the outside but inside something is broken.  So off you go and get a new Frans.  So the new model might be shiner and newer, it might come with a six-pack and a lovely feature that agrees with everything I say.  But to be quite honest if I got a new and up-graded Frans I wouldn’t know what to do with it.  Unless,  on the maybe/possibility  it had an incredible likeness to George Clooney.

But there is one very big problem,  I have no idea how to operate the new Frans.  And you know what?  I am so used to the old Frans that it is too much of a schlep to learn all the new functions of the new Frans.  I don’t need a huge instruction book with the old Frans.  I know which buttons to press and which ones to leave alone.   I know what time of day to operate the old Frans and which weather conditions aren’t great for performance. 

However, all said and done, I didn’t even scratch the surface with all the functions with the old camera because I simply didn’t need all it had to offer.  So living with the same person every day is a lovely journey of discovery and learning from each other every day.  Its about adapting as your needs change.

And ……….. you may ask ……. what if Frans wants an upgrade?

 Well every year he gets a BIGGER and BETTER version of me!