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.

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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.

Mug 001

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

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.

THE BEGINNING …….. Empty Nest!


The very first topic given to me for the blog was “Empty Nest”

Now to be absolutely honest, and I mean deeply, deeply honest, I yearn for an empty nest.

I am quite sure that if we lived in China, Frans and I would be arrested for breaking some kind of hideous “Overpopulation” law.  If we lived in TV land we would have been sent off to Terranova because the Loots family simply suck in too much oxygen – there are too many of us.

Empty nest means to me that I can get onto my bike and not worry about at what stage the bike is going to fall to bits because Jamie has “loaned” (read loaned without telling me) a strategic bit off it.  A toothbrush that hasnt been used to clean a bicycle chain would be a treat – QUESTION TO SELF – Why do they always use my toothbrush?  Empty nest means that at any given time I will be able to lay my hands on a hairbrush, nailclipper, nail polish remover or pair of scissors without having to put my life in my hands and enter Rosies badroom – oops – bedroom.

Empty nest means I can buy a slab of chokkie and not have to hide it.

Frans and I are NEVER alone. There is always an under-17 someone lurking somewhere, taking something, making something and breaking something.  We are always taking, fetching, helping, cleaning, moaning and consoling.

Its not to say I dont like my full nest, but being the mother of a handicapped child (and yes the word handicapped is correct – words like special needs, challenged and needy do not cut it for me), a fourteen year old boy and a pre-teen girl – and all their friends, is simply exhausting and chokka-to-the-rooftops busy.

We also spend many hours bonding, laughing, talking and playing.

Those things I will miss ……… but right now I could sure use a hairbrush……

BLOG TIP

Sorry guys the only blog tip I can give you is to start ……. put those first words onto your screen.  For the first time ever I couldnt write anything and the words EPIC FAIL! kept dancing before my eyes.  How this is all going to pan out?  I have no idea but lets just give it a bash!