Monday, 14 December 2009

Exploding the Sock Myth


Years ago I was told that if you had a household help or maid here in South Africa, you would slowly find that your pairs of socks became singletons, the theory being that the maid would have removed one and would then wait for you to throw away the other. Not so! I haven’t had any help in the house for 18 years but when I did a wash for small son the other day there were no less than 12 single socks afterwards! That must be some kind of record. There is still no sign of the missing ones.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Just a little thing but....


I got my first Christmas card today - from my cousin's daughter. When my mother died earlier this year, all of us that were close to her took home a few precious souvenirs. I've marvelled at how her ring and her watch fit me exactly and what a comfort it is to wear them every day. I have one or two of her flower vases, filled with flowers and her two favourite handbags - they are just the shape and size I like. After nearly nine months, I thought I was accustomed to her absence, then this card, "I'm using Aunty Joan's knitting needles to knit winter jerseys for my boys". It brought a great lump to my throat.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Job Ideas for Small Son


My husband is now petrified that our son will make a habit of ‘lazing around the house’ and continually comes up with entertaining job ideas for him. The first was vetoed by me - on the grounds that it might be dangerous on several counts for it comprised an offer from a family member to drive a pick-up truck to the vegetable market at 4.00 a.m. daily and deliver same around town until 2.00 p.m. This would not fit in with son’s biological clock at all and I could not see him lasting a week never mind being able to select fresh vegetables - as he doesn’t know a fresh veg from a rotten one as he avoids eating them whenever he can. Another idea is for him to go out on a tuna fishing boat as crew - sounds like fun, but I know that is also very early, long hours and not just a walk in the park (as it were). I feel that an untutored youth needs to start with something more menial, like waiting tables. Both my elder children did this, from around 15 years old - as they keep reminding me. Let’s face it - this last one is just spoilt. He’s going to need a wake-up call e.g. no more pocket money as of Dec.31st. Another idea suggested has been to kick him out of the house but my husband is adamant on that one: he believes firmly that your child must always be able to regard his home as a sanctuary and that there will always be place for him there. Wonder if he would still say that if said son is still at home in 10 years time? Not unheard of theses days. Still, we mustn’t get ahead of ourselves. Matric exam results first - on 28th December. Thank goodness we’ll be able to enjoy Christmas!

Starting Off Small



Feel very sorry for my husband today: he decided to chop out the shower floor tiles because we have long had a leak which has finally penetrated through to the TV room and the paint there is peeling off the walls. He had already cut up left-over tiles into small squares last week-end to re-tile the floor and after a triumphant visit to the hardware store we returned home today with the requisite sealant, waterproof grout material etc and he got to work with the hammer and chisel. Unfortunately, he had decided against purchasing the new “Grout Lift” which was a mistake as grout is a devil of a job to excavate and the tool (a glorified Stanley Knife) which they sell for this proved to be useless. Then disaster struck! While banging away at the bottom row of tiles (in order to play it safe he decided to take off one row vertically and paint the tarry stuff up the side a bit) a tile on the next row up broke in the middle and fell off. Last I saw when I delivered his tea and muffin, was him gloomily staring what started off as a smallish job and which has now turned into a big one.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Travelling Babe



I forgot to mention that the other drama at the check-in desk was that my little granddaughter of 3 months only had a British passport, having been born in London and could therefore not be allowed into South Africa with her permanently returning parents without a return ticket - which my son duly had to buy. (Of course, he should have known this.) However, I do hope this will remind them to get her dual- citizenship sorted out post haste!

After the Last Exam



November 28th, 2007


The last exam is over, except for the controversial rewrite of the English Lit. paper, so I have one son at a loose end. He has announced vague plans for getting a job this week, but his father has decreed that his bedroom has to be painted out first. It took him a day to clear out his stuff and another day to bribe a pal to help him. He finally got stuck in today and there is at least a strong smell of paint in there (complaints of headache and sore arm from squeezing the Painter’s Mate tube). When my husband and I inspected the work we noticed four small symmetrical lumps in the middle of one wall. Upon enquiry we were told that this was Prestik which he couldn’t get off and therefore painted over, hoping we wouldn’t notice. Will anyone employ this boy? His main idea has been to follow a friend to the Antarctic on a boat. This other 18-year-old has apparently secured a R20,000 a month job for himself, three months on and three off. We have suggested our son find out the facts. He has also been offered a job by a family member which involves getting up at 3.00 a.m., starting work at 4.00 and finishing at 2.00 p.m. I have vetoed this idea for several obvious reasons. Unfortunately, another friend has just landed his first modelling job so now my son has stars in his eyes and will be off to the modelling agency once he has finished his other jobs at home viz. pressure-cleaning the walls of the house and filling in the hole left by the guys who took out the tree on our sidewalk. He also has to clean and polish my car before he can borrow it again. Tomorrow he has to hand out brochures for a friend’s brother - to earn the money to pay the joining fee for the modelling agency. And then maybe we’ll let him relax for a bit.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Visit to the Dietician


My husband’s insidious weight gain has driven us to the last resort, the dietician. This is after years of various diets, including the blood test one - he lost 20 kilos that time and got medals for achievement when he was the only man on Weigh-Less in our area (all put back now, but slowly over about 7 years.) However, it is the last straw when trying on 5 pairs of size 38 trousers in the same shop, and only one fits. The other four can’t all have been cut too small for their professed size? So off we went. A delightful young, slim lady, unmarried, no children and only cooks for herself - probably my daughter’s age, ushered us into her smart office. Thence followed an hour-long appointment (bill to match) which basically yielded nothing new to us seasoned dieters but we tried to match her enthusiasm and we all deduced finally that there was nothing much wrong with my husband’s current diet (based as it is on previous experience) - but his lack of exercise was the glaring fly in the ointment. We duly promised for the nth time that this would be rectified, half an hour a day every day. I was asked to pick up the ‘eating plan’ two days later. When I went for this I thought I would just pick up an envelope, but no, another hour-long appointment to ‘explain’ the self-explanatory two- page plan (bill to match). At one point I was unable to totally conceal my impatience and the young lady said that I looked a bit depressed. I couldn’t tell her that I had washing in my machine that had to be dried and ironed for my husband’s business trip the next day, nor that I was bored to my toenails with eating and cooking suggestions - having cooked non-stop for the last thirty years, nor that my husband will not eat spinach, lemon juice, brussel sprouts, any fresh herbs etc. Most especially I couldn’t tell her that the only reason we had come was in the hope that she would sanction his daily double whiskey as stress release. Naturally, this was the first thing to go. The only thing we hadn’t known before was that you can’t use virgin olive oil to cook with. Apparently, when hot, it mutates into as much of a villain as fully saturated fat!!! Dieters may only cook ‘dry’, add things like fruit juices and scatter a bit of olive oil on your food afterwards. We may use oats as a substitute for gravy - but that sounds like a sludgy mess to me but we’ll give it a go. We’ll start next week.