The Difference Between Lonely And Alone.

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Chances are, if you looked up the meaning of “alone” and “lonely”, there would be many very similar and interchangeable adjectives used to describe these two similar, yet TOTALLY different, emotions.

To feel ”lonely” is to feel isolated, friendless and solitary. Some people prefer to live like that, and they do this by choice. Others do not, and have feelings of being unloved, rejected and abandoned. Of course it is possible for people to be surrounded by friends and family, yet they can still feel lonely.

Now, to feel ”alone” is to feel unassisted, unaided and burdened with responsibility. It is less about being sad and depressed, and more about being anxious and fearful. To feel alone is to feel like you have a lack of support, like you are completely on your own with every decision you make, be it relating to money, business decisions, jobs, important decisions and choices you need to make regarding your children’s lives….anything and everything! So, as you would imagine…….not feeling like a member of the Kardashian family!!

I use this odd analogy as this is a dream I had a few nights ago. There I was in the Kardashian home…surrounded by my people….. all of whom totally related to every decision I had to make, and considered and answered questions as if they needed to make these very important decisions for themselves. This newfound family of mine knew EXACTLY what needed to be considered for each and every decision. They were not just there to give an opinion, judge me, or give their advice. No, they were there to make my decisions for me…and the cherry on the top was that if their decisions were incorrect, they were there to catch me as a fell!! I felt so at peace…..a feeling that I have not felt for fifteen years. It was as if this heavy weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Aaaaaah…such warmth and fuzziness!!

There have been one or two times when I had the luxury of briefly encountering that feeling, but they were very fleeting, and made it harder to go back to feeling alone!!

So there I was, the very next morning, trying to imagine me as a Kardashian sister……you know what they say….manifest it….attract it! Maybe I still had a chance of infiltrating this new family!! 

First off, I thought, I would have to change my name to Kranky  Karegiver….sorry, best I could do under the circumstances. Well I say “first off”, but to be honest, my lack of K.K initials would be the least of my problems. I have the wrong hair….wrong clothes….wrong body to wear these clothes….wrong attitude…..oh…..wrong bloodline…. what the hell….not gonna happen.

Bottom line, when you are alone, you are alone…despite all and sundry insisting that you are not alone, they are there for you, blah blah….no toots, you are alone.

Now this feeling of being alone is not a by-product of circumstances that decided to enter my life. We are all alone actually. Naïve and ignorant people (also known as ”pleasant”, ”trusting” and ”likeable” people) will surrender themselves to those in their lives. They believe that people are there for them, can lessen any burden for them, have their best interests at heart, will make the right decisions for them…yadda, yadda, yadda. 

Well I, (also known as ”unpleasant”, ”cynical” and ”unlikeable”), am here to tell you that actually, no one truly cares about your life, your worries or your successes and joys…. other than perhaps your spouse, your parents and your children (and even then…this is sadly not the case for everyone).

The rest of the people in your lives might appear to be feeling your stress, your pain and your joy, but nope…nope…they are worried about their spouses, parents and children (as they should be). Others will appear to have your back unconditionally, but they are concerned about showing everyone how wonderful they are because they have your back.  Alternatively, they will just be working towards paving the way for your everlasting gratitude and indebtedness to them. That’s just life. It does not make them bad people. It just is what it is.….….TRUTH!!

Now therein lies my problem. Unlike the naïve and ignorant people, I am (most unfortunately) perceptive and enlightened….oh and not to forget CYNICAL. So I am not really more alone than anyone else, I am just more aware of it….and that TRULY is a heavy load to carry.

So since being widowed 15 years ago, so many people have asked if I was going to look for a “companion” at any point. Now, I really understand the lack of comprehension on the part of people to appreciate that finding a “companion” is not going to make me feel less alone. This is because they automatically assume that, having been on my own for the last 15 years  I am ‘’lonely’’. If I was lonely, a companion might surely assist. However, at this point, I have my two beautiful spices, Salt and Pepper, and a handful of very special friends and family.  So, lonely I am not. But, all these people that I am fortunate to be surrounded by, cannot help me feel less alone.

Naturally, when my husband was still alive, I never felt alone. I always felt protected, warm and fuzzy… with my newfound Kardashian family! Now this might make me sound like I was one of those mothers or wives whose husbands controlled everything in their lives, and suddenly they are left to fend for themselves for the first time. Well that couldn’t have been further from the truth. I was not doing anything less before I was widowed than after. Of course financially there were huge changes, which surely have led to this permanent feeling of anxiety and weight. But you would be surprised how many other things contributed to suddenly doing it ALONE.

There is no one to bounce concerns, questions or decisions off. This is especially frightening when it comes to your children. No voice of reason when we become irrational (not me…I never become irrational…..but others going through the same thing might). There is just a feeling of being totally alone.

Now of course, if I was a different personality type….like say perhaps I had a fraction of confidence in every decision I have been required to make, and ….um….perhaps a bit of self worth thrown in there for good measure….I might have had a different experience. But nope…not this here Grumpy Mummy…..not an ounce of confidence or self worth here!!

So to the naked eye, I might have appeared to have effortlessly got through the last 15 years. Yes, of course people tell me all the time how well I have done, and how proud I should be of myself etc, etc. But had I not questioned (and continue to question) each and every decision I have made over the past 15 years, or had amazing children, who just somehow turned out okay (ish), or faked it until I made it…..I would graciously accept these praises. But I do feel a bit like a fraud for accepting these praises when I know that it was far from effortless. And the ‘’strength’’ that people always wish to assign to me…..forget about it….

So, unless any of the people in my life have the initials “K.K”….step aside, as me, Kranky  Karegiver, my two sons, Kumin and Kardamom are off to become Kardashians. 

Ain’t NOTHING golden about the “golden years”!!!

Spoiler alert….there is no gold in those “golden years”. Some might find silver, others bronze…but it is mostly metal. Oh, and P.S, it does not necessarily matter how you have lived your life.

The minute I got old enough to realize that I was not going to stay young forever, I started investigating my gene pool. Very important one’s gene pool is. That is as close as you are going to get to knowing how your senior years are going to play out.

Now, my gene pool is rather inconsistent. I am very fortunate in that I don’t have many dreaded diseases in my pool. Despite this, not all the ageing stories have had happy endings.

Medical history is something else you realize, only on getting older, that can prove to be of enormous importance. So, basically, once you go from the age of being highly irritated and confused by medical practitioners and/or questionnaires firing questions at you about your family’s health history, to being either terrified or grateful when answering these myriad of questions, is the moment you realize how important the answers actually are.

But I tend not to dwell on sickness and health. Me, I focus on quality of life. Both my parents lived into their 80’s, but for the last few years of their lives, I would not term it as ‘’living’’. It was a combination of existing at best, to suffering at worst. This I also saw with my grandparents. My paternal grandmother, however, was a little different.

This legendary lady (and a lady in the true sense of the word), lived to over 100. The last part of her life was not ailment free, but she got up and showed up every day. Her mind remained as sharp as a tack until the end. She made sure she looked amazing each and every day. Unfortunately, her body did not keep up with her mind, so she was bed ridden for a while. When the mind is fine, but the body is failing, I think that can even be more daunting, as you are fully cognizant of what is happening to you.

But then there is the alternative. I have been around old aged homes for quite some time, and a large percentage of the residents are alive, but not living. They become toddlers, and some even infants. It is dreadfully depressing, and seems so unfair. They sit in front of a TV screen, but are not watching. They sit next to someone, but are not socializing. They need to be fed, bathed and dressed. It is just awful.

For me personally, I believe that there was no consensus between our creator and our experts, as to life expectancy versus quality of life. We were not created to live as long as we do. That is the work of the wise ass experts, who found ways of prolonging lives. This is wonderful and all, but when you continue to prolong the lives of people who are not living, what purpose does that serve?

So, bottom line…whether you age with your mind still capable of seeing what is occurring to your deteriorating body, or whether your deteriorating mind prevents you from being aware of anything that is occurring….OLD AGE SUCKS!!

However…….as with anything…..there are ALWAYS exceptions!! Now, because I saw the way my parents aged, I desperately needed some hope that I just MIGHT not go through what they went through. Yes, I know, there are people who will yell from the rooftops, that they were blessed to live into their 80’s. Well rooftop people, my guess is that there came a point in their lives where neither of my parents would have agreed with you.

Enter my two aunties….one, my mother’s sister…and the other, my father’s sister. Yay….hope on both sides of my gene pool!! My mom’s sister is totally impressive. Very different to my mom. …she always kept herself busy and active, and approaching her 90’s, is still amazing, active and smart….a tad deaf, but she makes do. She lives in another Province, so I do not have the opportunity to ingest what she has done in order to still be living a good quality of life. But I see her once a year, keep in touch via a family chat group and Facebook….which in itself shows that she is someone to aspire to!!

Next…enter my father’s sister. Now, she has no knowledge of, or more importantly, the slightest desire to engage in social media. However, an absolute freak of nature. She had a 50% chance of having a fabulous gene pool (her mom was my 100+ grandmother). She always loved life and loved people in heaps. She was loud, crazy, fun and inspirational. Now I say ‘’was’’, as approaching her 90th birthday, she has calmed down a little….but only when no one is looking.

She is everything my father wasn’t. In fact, legend has it that she had got so angry with him on one occasion, she ran after him around the garden with an axe. Whether this is an exaggeration or not…something entirely possible with my legend of an auntie….is neither here nor there. She just needed to express that for every staid and proper trait that my dad had….she had a frivolous and fun trait!!!!! He was intolerant of her, irritated by her and often embarrassed by her….but that just made her more frivolous and fun.

She was THAT aunt….we had family functions there, I had my 21st and bridal shower there. My one brother ran away from home for a minute….to there. Her house was always open, loud and crazy!!

On a slightly more awkward note….my stupendously crazy auntie never wore a bra….never needed to!! Her bazookas could stand all on their own!! As a teenager I had two friends who always told everyone that my auntie had the best boobs of any woman they know. Try imagine, if you will, feeling awkward and proud at the same time…..that was me!! Just so you know, these two guys were more like brothers to me, and were as much part of my family as I was…so that makes it less awkward….well reading that back, I realize maybe not!

So, the thought crossed my mind, perhaps it was her zest for life that made her live this full and vibrant 90 years of her life. But, spoke in the wheel….my 100+ gran had all the staid and sturdy traits of my dad. So, there goes that theory. Although…a bit of a relief mind you, as I got the staid and sturdy traits too! So, perhaps there was still a fraction of hope of me LIVING to a ripe old age, as opposed to just ‘’being alive’’.

Then I moved onto the next possibility….she was the sole supporter of three children from fairly young, and opened her own landscaping business. She worked hard, she worked physically and honestly. She never asked for anything from others, looked after herself and her family to the best of her abilities, and remained completely self sufficient. Yay….that’s me….sole supporter….work hard, a percentage is physical and I too refuse to rely on, or accept from others. But has that been her saving grace?

All I knew, was that I needed to aspire to be this amazing woman…learn from her…..spend time with her…maybe by way of osmosis, I could also achieve the same results.

So spend time with her I have. We laugh, we chat, we talk, we reminisce….whatever floats our boat. With her….I am free….I am fun….I am wild….okay…totally not true, but I do kind of think I am.

Like the rest of the world, she wants me to find a man. One dinner together, she just launched into the conversation with no warning. She proceeded to tell me that before she dies, she wants to know that I have found someone. She also proceeded to scan the restaurant for any prospective suitors. This she did, to the point of not listening to a word I was saying, looked over my head continuously, and would intermittently ask if I minded bald men…hairy men….short or tall men, etc. I eventually realized that she was referring to these poor innocent sods having coffee in the coffee shop. Apparently I could have just handpicked any one that appealed to me. I bet if I had answered yes to any of the questions, she would have promptly got up and gone to have a chat with them about me. She even suggested I go to singles events, and said she would come with me if I wanted her to. Knowing her, she probably wanted it a little for herself too! Knowing me, she would have left with a man, and I would have left the same way I went in!!

Anyway….to my two senior aspirations, thank you for showing me that, should I get to 90 years of age (impossible to believe), there is hope that I can live my life, and not just be alive!!


So the age old question….do single moms overprotect and overcompensate for being a single mom?

My husband and I had an aunt who was raising her children as a single mom. She was very protective of her children, and mollycoddled them in buckets. The talk was always that it was excessive, and that she was not doing them any favours. I also recall the discussion that these children were not totally functional as a result of said mollycoddling. Of course, I was very much involved in that discussion…as I was one of those people…. you know…..the perfect mother…I had a solution to every problem…a suggestion for every dilemma ….well until I actually became a mother myself…which is when every perfect mom ceases to be perfect!!

The period in which I was not yet a single mom felt so brief compared to when I was a single mom. To be honest, during that period (those first few years of being a mother), everything is a bit foggy..…you know, just getting through each day at a time. So, for me, I cannot really remember what my method of parenting was back then. I just did whatever I felt needed to be done at the time. What I can say, however, is that since becoming a single mom, I have memories of me breaking out every level of crazy when it comes to protecting my children!!

Even in retrospect, I feel my conduct was justified. I have been accused of being over protective, a micro mommy and overcompensating. I admit….all true….but are all moms not like that?? If they are not….are they right and us over protective mommies wrong?? 

Does the fact that we feel our children’s pain more than they do, mean we are overcompensating? Is that not just totally normal for any parent, particularly a mother, to hurt for their young? Inherent in mothers is a primal instinct to protect our young, is it not?

There were a few times in my children’s past where I hurt so deeply for them, that I felt like I would just die!! Years later, during family conversations, it came to my attention that some of these incidents where I was preparing to ‘just die’’ were either not remembered by my children, or were not that traumatic to them. But easy for them to feel that way after the fact. I was there at the time, and believe me they were hurting…granted, never as much as I was, but hurting nevertheless!! So did I hurt too much for them? Can you hurt too much for them? Is it because I was raising them alone, and did not have their dad to tell me to calm down and stop over reacting? You know dads, particularly with their sons….wanting their boys to be men, to fend for themselves, to learn how to deal with things….that kind of irrational attitude.

Was I over compensating? I do not know. So many questions and no answers… I find someone without kids….the perfect mom….to enlighten me.

Anyway…for regular readers of my blog, I think it is safe to conclude that I am totally an overprotective micro mommy. But yesterday, I took this to a whole other level….which I still believe was not an overreaction! The fact that 9 out of my 10 friends believed it was, does not preclude me from believing that the 1 friend, who called me privately to support my cause, was right, and the other 9 were wrong. And no…she is not a single mom!!!

The incident involved my older son Pepper….obviously. I worry way less about Salt. Not because I love him any less, he is just smarter…wiser….sharper….oh what the hell….less dense!! So Pepper knows me so well, and also understands me completely. The reason for his insight is twofold. Firstly, he is so like me…..intuitive, emotionally intelligent, perceptive…..but denser….I am less dense than him!!! Secondly he worries about me a lot. So from the minute he was old enough to be a demented and tormented soul like his mom, he would worry about me. He wants me to be happy, safe and CALM (poor Pepper!!!) So when I ask him to message me when he gets to his destination….he gets it…and he does it. On the rare occasion that he might forget, he will reply the minute I ask if he is okay.

So he had to go in to work yesterday, which was a Saturday. After what would have been enough time for him to get there, I had not heard from him. So I messaged the child…message sent…..delivered… reply. Just give him time to settle in…after all, he had left, come back for his wallet…left…come back for his phone…before leaving. Perhaps he was a bit frazzled, I reasoned, trying to remain calm. Luckily Salt and I had an errand to run, so I was distracted. just a smidge. Driving to our destination, I mentioned my concerns to Salt, who rolled his eyes, and said Pepper was fine, and I needed to relax. Now I need not tell any female, especially a mom, what it does to them when they are told to ‘’relax’’!!!! But I was driving, so I had no choice but to do nothing, except …..obviously….at every red robot, check to see if Pepper had read the message yet.

I want to phone him…but I don’t. I thought to myself. For those silly, ignorant, calm and clueless people who do not understand why I thought that, let me explain my logical thought process. The fact that the message had two ticks, means that the message was delivered. This was good. This meant that the phone had not been stolen, as it had not been turned off yet. BUT, if it goes to voicemail when I phone….that is when I will totally and completely lose all sense of reasoning. That would mean that he has been involved in an accident. I do not even want to tell you where my thoughts trailed off to in that regard…as I shudder to even put those thoughts to paper. They just need to stay where they belong….in my demented head!! Alternatively, he could have dropped his phone somewhere, or left it in the car. However, Pepper knowing me as he does, would have halted any meeting that might have been taking place, to retrieve his phone from the car, so his mommy could be messaged that he was indeed safe!!

“I am going to phone him when we stop”, I told Salt (trying to convince myself that he was feeling as anxious about his older brother as I was).

‘’Whatever mom…just relax…he’s fine” the *&^%$#@ naïve, insensitive and ignorant twerp insisted.

If I was not so anxious, I swear I would stop the car right here, offload Salt in the middle of the highway, and drive off yelling “relax, don’t worry, you’ll be fine!!” I thought to myself. But I regained my sanity, and just ignored his irritating rational reply.

So destination reached, message still unread. I called…just rang…..that is kind of a good sign. That means the phone is still on. Meantime, out of the corner of my eye, I see Salt messaging and calling like blazes, who I can only assume was his brother. Heaven help him if it was not!! After about ten calls, Salt suggests we go into the shop to do what we needed to do, again telling me to relax.

‘What do you want to do mom?” he asked very soon after we entered the shop, realising that I was not going to be of any use to anyone, as my mind was now racing around like a race car.

“Let’s drive to his work,” I replied with the OBVIOUS plan of action.

“And then what?” he asked

“Well then we can see if the road is clear, and if he arrived at work,” I said, all of which made perfect sense to me.

So there we were…….doing what I would imagine ANY mother  would do. Thank all the puppies and kittens, there was no sign of any accident on the way there. Being a Saturday, his workplace was totally deserted and closed up. No problem…..I found a security guard, and explained that I somehow needed to know whether my child arrived at work. This sweet man then went to check the cameras, came rushing back (skipping more like it), so excited to deliver the good news, that he had seen Pepper’s registration number in the parking. By that stage, I had aged 20 years, lost 20 kilos and damaged my nerve endings irreparably. But what a relief!!

Anyway…driving home, I mentioned to Salt that perhaps I should have asked if I could go into the parking. Pepper’s lack of response still made no sense. Maybe he was in the car, and ….well….again…that needs to remain in my head. Or maybe he got the registration wrong…..or….so many thoughts…too many thoughts…..

“Why don’t we go back, and you can ask if the security guard will let you go in and see him,’’ Salt mumbled, which of course I took seriously.

‘’I really should have done that rather’’ I replied.

‘’MOOOOOOOOMMMMMMM can we just go home…..he is FINE….RELAX!!’’ an exasperated Salt yelled.

So my question still remains….are single mothers over protective of their children?

My Social Dilemma

I want to share with you my social dilemma. Now I am fully aware that this is not a social dilemma in the true sense of the word, but this is MY social dilemma.

When I was growing up, I was PAINFULLY SHY. Like I had no friends until I reached Grade 7 shy! I would keep so to myself that even I didn’t know I was there.

As I got older, I got less shy…or more confident, as that too could have been the root of the problem. I was still very much quieter than others, but at least there were eventually ”others”. I mean, one cannot go through life completely alone, surely?? Shame man…..all lonely and solitary?? Stop being mean!!!

Anyhoo..I might have found some people to call my own, but I was still exceptionally socially anxious. And yes, I am aware it has a name, but the minute I put a label to my ”condition’ it becomes a disorder….and I think we can all agree by now, that I do not have any space for yet another disorder!! So let us just agree that it was merely a trait as opposed to a disorder.

I managed to “blend in” socially by just keeping very still…pretending like I wasn’t there…and that seemed to work. But I still was a socially awkward, shy, self conscious and inhibited misfit.

Our social media in those days was the Citizen Band Radio…you know…’’10-4 good buddy’’ era. This is when life as I knew it, changed. I first met a friend…my special friend to this day…for those of you who have read my previous blogs, she is “The Deserter”. We were so similar, but therein lay the problem. We were both socially awkward, shy, self conscious and inhibited misfits. Sorry Deserter, but I know you would agree. We saw each other fairly regularly, but different schools, different areas etc, meant that we didn’t spend huge amounts of time together. So, when I was not with her, I was a misfit, when I was with her, I was one of two misfits. Hence, my social skills were not being challenged in any way. Don’t get me wrong….I was TOTALLY okay with that!! However, one cannot lead a normal life by hiding and being mute!!  

Then I met another friend, who totally got me and loved me, but would have none of that reclusive behavior. We were young and free, and she just wanted to have fun (you know, like normal people). Go out, socialise, be where it was all happening etc. So she virtually led me by the scruff of the neck, and took me on her journey. Now and again, I would play dead to get out of something, and grab me by the scruff she did. A few times I told her my mom said I couldn’t go…..ha….no problem too big for her…she would call my bluff and phoned my mom and asked if I could go. Well actually, she knew my mom had never said I could not go.

Now this might sound like a dysfunctional and abusive friendship, but, in retrospect, I realise how much I would have missed out on if I wasn’t ruthlessly and relentlessly dragged out of my comfort zone!! I still continued to keep very still…pretend like I wasn’t there…move in stealth mode and leopard crawl to a destination to remain invisible. 

Just because I would rather not have said anything, as I just preferred to observe and listen to other people, did not mean I was not enjoying myself. I was just doing what made me feel comfortable and safe. Often people asked me what was wrong. Truly, nothing was wrong…..ignore me and continue you exceptionally blessed and socially functional human, I would think, but just smile and insist that nothing was wrong. Of course the moment had been ruined, as I had now been noticed, and that never made me happy.

This lasted for, what felt like years then, but a couple weeks now, until I met my future husband. Let’s call him “Spice King” (aka SK), as he blessed me with my sprogs, Salt and Pepper. Now SK probably would not have been someone that a person who was looking for me to ”come out of my shell” would have handpicked for me. He too was not the most social creature, but he spoke…out loud… that was good. 

When it came time for me to meet my future mother-in-law, I vividly remember SK driving us to the house.

” Just try not to be too shy, my mother doesn’t like shy people”, he said, looking slightly uncomfortable that he even had to make such a request. 

Now, because I was but a puppy…..and one that barely spoke, I did not even think to question this any further. I mean, how can one not like shy people? Perhaps they could prove to be a bit annoying….as I am sure I was. Especially since on the rare occasion that I did speak….anxiety would grip me, and the sound that came out of my mouth was not unlike the squawk of a parrot. But after that, I tried to see myself from the viewpoint of others. I came to realise, that it was not the shyness per se, but how I was being perceived because of the shyness. I would come across as arrogant or angry…or both. So, I decided to start making more of an effort to….well……

This then created a whole new set of problems. When I did talk, it would be to say something. Now, that might seem obvious, but you really do get the people who talk, just for the sake of talking. Nope..not this nutjob….I speak if I have something to say. And yes….’tis true….I have a ”different” way of looking at the world. I like to call it correct, but that truly is just me. So, slowly but surely, the more I spoke, the more I put my foot in things. If you asked my opinion, I gave it to you….my opinion, not what you wanted to hear. If I had a completely different viewpoint, I expressed it….even though it was not the popular viewpoint. If compassion was called for, but I did not feel was deserved, I was not compassionate. And so began the unleashing of the beast. Slowly but surely, I spoke, and for the most part managed to aggravate, irritate and exasperate those around me. Even when I was using my snarky and superior wit and sarcasm (in the presence of people who did not know me)….I managed to aggravate, irritate and exasperate those clueless sods. Very often I would be witness to a face of horror and disbelief by the person in my presence.

So, this was, and still is, my social dilemma. I see myself…I hear myself…..and yet I cannot help myself. Even in my business, when I had Sybil working with me. He would be the social butterfly, the warmth, the person who made people feel comfortable. Me, I would say just one brief sentence, and people stared at me in disbelief. Sybil himself would laugh himself silly at what I had just said. I would then ask him if he thinks the person took me seriously, and he would laugh hysterically just thinking about what I had said, and then become very serious, and tell me that because the person did not know me, they might have been offended. So thereafter, I just tried to get back to my youthful social interaction…and say as little as possible. Of course, then they thought I was irritated or unhappy about something.

So honestly….what in the social awkwardness am I to do???? Perhaps the safest thing, is to retreat back into my mute world, and let me just thrash all my thoughts out in my blogs? Wait a minute….could that be equated with being a social media troll?? Nope…nope…I do not think so….the definition of a social media troll would be someone who ”purposely says something controversial in order to get a rise out of other users”. My motives differ, surely that counts for something?

Music Be My Food For Life

From as far back as I can remember, music has always been food for my soul. Perhaps growing up with some hippie brothers playing 60’s music all the time, had something to do with it, but I don’t see them hippies (bar one) making music the centre of their universe any longer.

You know all the clichés …music is the soundtrack of our lives…every song reminds us of a time and a place….. music affects our emotions…..blah blah…..? TRUE STORY…ALL OF THEM!!

However, I have always wished that music could be the background to our lives. So wherever you go, there would be some kind of P.A system which filtered music around the world every day…..perhaps The Seekers singing “I’d  Like To Teach The World To Sing”…. kind of all cheery and jolly, while we skip along going about our daily business…..aaaaaah bliss!!! Thinking about it now, this might be a tad problematic, as everyone has different tastes in music, and road rage might be replaced by ‘music rage’. So, seemed like a good idea in my head, but not that practical at the end of the day.

I suppose when the iPod made it’s appearance, that was the more sensible answer to my long awaited request! Aaaaaah….the cherished iPod. I would sit for hundreds of hours at night, downloading all genres of music. Being the techno geek that I am not, I would damn near physically carry it from my laptop to my iPod. For an illiterate techno bunny like me, ‘’physically’’ almost meant collecting each song in a box, taking it to the next room, and physically loading each song on the iPod. Well okay, I might be embellishing a little to get my point across, but you get the idea?

So shortly after my delicious Ipod was purchased, I opened a party venue. Then I became even more inspired to use, what should have been sleeping hours, to find even more songs to download. Then I progressed to playlists and genres….what with all the different ages, cultures and ethnicities booking at the venue…one had to provide the music for THEIR function to suit THEIR lives! I mean, this gave me so much more purpose….one simply cannot have anything without music….can one?????

When hosts would ask if they could play their own music through my docking station, I would be so terribly offended…..I mean, have you even heard my song selection, heffa?? Hours and hours I sat downloading songs, putting them in appropriate genres for the right crowd….and you have the ABSOLUTE AUDACITY to ask me to play YOUR sub par and inadequate music through my docking station, my head would think, and my face would reveal! On realising what my face was expressing, I would smile through gritted teeth and gently remove the love of my life from the connection, so that they could…well, listen to their crummy music.

Then…there have been people that would say that the music was not necessary. NOT NECESSARY???? But what is this ‘’not necessary’’ they would spoke of?? I cannot for the life of all trombones understand what ‘’music is not necessary’’ means. But nevertheless…customer is always right and all that….smiled through gritted teeth, and gently removed the love of my life from the connection.

Eventually along came Itunes, so much easier to navigate the downloading than before, and hence, I got a bit more sleep than before.

Now, I am yet to discover what I have been put on this earth to do….more than likely will not discover what it actually is before I die (so sad really), but I have always felt that I have two skills or talents in which I was more proficient than the average Joe.

The first one, is recognising voices…not with the aid of any type of  voice recognition technology….. with my ears. If I have even heard your voice once, I would immediately be able to identify it again. Random, I know, but a skill nevertheless. Perhaps I could have become a world renowned voice identifier? However, that would no longer be of any assistance to anyone, as there is a machine that does that job now.

The other is my ability to identify music that would eventually appeal to the tastes of a large segment of the population… know….like a talent scout or kind of music agent kind of thingamabob.

I remember little about my teens, but what I vividly remember, was the first record I ever bought….Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall.   

Now, when I had children, I just assumed that they would be as drawn to music as their mom. I also assumed that they would OBVIOUSLY do something ground breaking in the music industry. Naturally, I would be there to guide them every step of the way…I mean, my talent would finally be put to good use.

So when Pepper came along, he enjoyed music, until he turned about 3, and then it served little or no importance in his life. But on becoming a teenager, his love for music returned. Well, shall I say his love for Drake was ignited. All these years later, this child still only listens to Drake.

Now, because I love almost EVERY genre of music, I have been known to be partial to a few Drake songs. But please do not give me vulgar. When I hear vulgar, it immediately gets cut off.

”But just listen to the words mom, he is an artist, he is a poet, he is brilliant blah blah” he would plead. 

Perhaps our parents thought our music was crude and vulgar too, but somehow, I think it was different. They did not listen to any of “our” music, they just continued to listen to “their” music.

At least Salt has a diverse taste in music. He enjoys all genres. So having missed the boat with Pepper, I naturally decided that I would be making Salt into a famous talent scout/musician/agent. But Nooooo, the little twirp had the audacity to think for himself, and had no interest in such things. Should have put that ‘’thinking for himself’’ to bed the minute I realized it was happening dammit.

During those midnight sessions of fishing for music to download, I would sometimes hear a song that had not yet become a smash hit, but I had felt like I had discovered a gem. The next day I would sprint off to Pepper, and play the song so he could listen to this discovery of mine. He reluctantly pretended to listen, grunted a “‘hmmmmmm”….as Pepper does, and continued on his way.

At that stage, I realised that this was not going to be the child that validated my supreme talent. So, I realised that I would have to move on to the obvious choice….my Salty…..lover of all genres of music. Should really have thought of him in the first place, I would think, reprimanding myself for my carelessness. I mean, if I was going to become a world famous agent, I would need to surround myself with the right team, surely?? So sprint off to Salt I did. He would make, what appeared to be, a marginally greater attempt to listen to this song, and then grunt ”hmmmmmm”.

There were more than a few times, when one of these songs that I received grunts to, became massive hits. Then Salt and Pepper would come running to me and ask me to listen to this awesome new song. Oh…..the frustrations of a not yet famous and successful music agent.

So, my children were not going to travel this musical journey with me…..what of my friends, you may ask? Well…nope…struck out there as well.

In my teenage years, my friends did not share this passion of mine either. I have spent the most part of my adult life surrounded by Mediterranean people. They have so much love for music, almost as much as I do, but bugger, they only truly enjoy music belonging to their specific culture. Having said that, I love their music, (don’t understand a word of it) and have many such songs on my playlists, to which I listen regularly.

So here I am writing an entire blog on the importance of music in my life, with people that can’t grunt ‘’hmmmmmm’’, or turn up the volume of music I do not understand … least that counts for something!!

Facebook – My Meme Machine

So, being 200 years old, I am a bit past my sell by date regarding this social media thing.

I was introduced to Facebook by my niece many moons ago. It was still fairly new, and she excitedly said she is signing me up for this exciting adventure. I did, of course protest…..

“What is this all about?’’ I asked suspiciously.

‘’It is a social media platform,’’ she replied….clearly thinking that would suffice, and quieten me down.

‘’To do what?’’ I prodded further, refusing to be quietened.

‘’So you can meet people, make friends and share things with people,’’ she said, her fingers furiously tapping away on the keyboard.

‘’But I don’t like people…..or need friends….. or like sharing,’’ I answered, assuming those nifty little digits would immediately freeze, and that would be the end of that.

‘’Anyway, I would not know how to use it, am too old to use it and see no need to use it,’’ I continued, when I realised said digits were not freezing!!

But literally by that time, her nimble little millennial…. or gen y (who even knows anymore) digits had me signed up, profiled and suitably pictured.

And so, my social media journey began. At that stage, it was my first experience on any social media platform. Of course back then, there was not much else….I don’t think…..but what would I have known???

I was always terrified of technology, well still am to be fair. Always convinced that if I do anything wrong, the computer or phone will automatically combust before my very eyes. I have definitely calmed down, but am still not totally relaxed about it.

I was probably the last person to ever actively use a Blackberry. BBM’s…..remember those? I loved me my BBM’s!! I would still have my Blackberry, had my friends and children (who were barely out of nappies at that stage), not held me down and physically pried my little precious out my hand!!

So now, thanks to my well-meaning, but interfering niece, I was the owner of a Facebook page. Like anyone my age (40-ish at the time), I knew it was there, but chose to ignore it completely. Every so often, I would open the page, gaze at it blankly for a while, not understand what the flaming hell I was supposed to do with it, and then close it again!!

Sometimes I would get notification of a friend request, and absolute fear enveloped me. I was convinced that I was being stalked….by a person I knew….exceedingly well…sometimes even a family member…who I adored…..and as fast as anyone requested, I declined.

It was only later that I realized being on Facebook, with only my niece who had signed me up, as my friend, was probably be the reason why I could not understand what one was meant to do with this marvel.

So, requests from a few nieces later, especially the ones living in a faraway land, and way more trendy and ”happening” friends, I started to (barely there) dabble in this phenomenon.

Honestly….loved the ‘’keeping in touch’’ part….seeing my nieces and nephews who lived out of the country, and their kids too, but for my purposes, it served little more than that……….until my children joined!!!!!

And there it was…….all my questions, and my questions’s questions, my suspicions, my apprehensions, scepticism…..all of it…..POOF gone, just like that…….. I understood the whole purpose of this thing they called Facebook………..STALKING YOUR CHILDREN!!!!

So, until what seemed like a mere minute later, which was when all members under the age of 21 took action, and collectively staged a ‘’walk out’’ of Facebook, because their parents had joined, I was on Facebook (stalking) so very much more than I had been previously!!

So once my children had staged the annoying ‘’walk out’’, I became guilty of what, I suspect, every other overly proud parent was guilty of. ….posting a gazillion pictures of my drops of mercury.Well, again, until what seemed like another mere minute later, when I was abruptly informed by said drops, that I need to stop willy nilly posting pictures of them on social media.

Initially, I had to submit the photo to these inconsiderate and selfish pubescents, and eagerly await their approval of my submission. Too soon thereafter, I was totally prohibited from posting any photos, except for VERY special occasions, where I kind of had to kind of beg and plead.

After that, Facebook became more a marketing tool for my business, and a ”meme machine”. I just loooooove me some memes!! Memes here, there and everywhere. And so many of them could have been written just for me…or even by me!! I love them…you know, the snarky and sarcastic (hereinafter referred to as ”snarcastic”) ones. DON’T give me inspirational (eeeeuw) or emotional (eeeeuw…eeeeeuw) ones. Post a religious/political/sad/lost dog or person/sick or abused dog or person meme…and I will unfriend you forth and with (well unless we are actual friends and not virtual friends…then I will just VERY speedily scroll past your posts). 

Of course, I am human (contrary to public opinion), and find a special enough eeeeuw eeeeeuw meme now and again, which I share….but that moment passes VERY quickly…and I continue with business as usual. Now, the funny thing is, when I do post these types of posts here and there……everyone takes it super seriously, and I get a number of comments or reactions, as people think I am in ”that place”… know….. The Needy Place. I get reactions from people who I forgot even followed me. You know those MANY social media stalkers?? What people do not understand is that I don’t do needy publicly. I just liked the post enough to share it!!

I am a bit of a conundrum (in case you hadn’t figured), as I am an intensely private person, who prefers people to know as little about my life and emotions as possible. This from a blogger might sound inconceivable, but other than my nearest and dearest, my blog gets to remain anonymous. So, blogging is my therapy. It is also intended to serve as a point of easy reference for my children and their therapist, when they are in therapy one day, blaming every single thing that has gone wrong in their lives on their mother….as children do….as your children will too.

So back to my snarcastic memes. Comments and reactions…and even private messages, come abounding when sad/reflective or emotional memes are posted by yours truly. But when the snarcastic ones are posted….only the brave venture forth. For the most part there are crickets.

I used to think that I was offending people with my snarcastic memes. But Facebook ‘’friends’’ started commenting when they saw me. They would tell me how funny my posts are. One girl even said she goes on to Facebook every morning to see what I have posted, as it always makes her day. People who I had forgotten were following me….you know the ”friends” that are actually virtual strangers, would see me and say how much they love my posts.

This is not to say I have not offended anyone with my posts. But you can’t please everyone. Certainly not if you are an unfiltered, sarcastic, intolerant, politically incorrect and snarky somebody!!

So eventually I moved on to Instagram (got reprimanded repeatedly by my spawn), so now I literally just use it for marketing my business. Signed up for Twitter 100 years ago, and literally had no clue what one does with it. Although, hearing how much trouble unfiltered and snarky people get into, it is probably best that I don’t pursue that platform any further.

I have now dipped my toe into LinkedIn, which, if you have read one of my previous blogs, you will know that this is also purely for marketing….I think….will have to consult with my son Pepper before I can give a definite answer to that.

But for now, I will continue posting snarcastic memes, refrain from bragging about my children, and hopefully not offend too many people!!

What to Cook for Dinner.

So, this meme got me thinking…..about a problem almost EVERY mother faces! I am going to find this so refreshing…you know….to be writing about something that EVERYONE agrees with me on. This is not me having an opinion, or blogging on an observation, where generally everyone disagrees or thinks I am a ranting lunatic. This is FACT!! Yay…maybe we can bond!!

Now before I misrepresent myself in any way, I need to clarify that I was never what would be considered a gourmet chef….or even a chef!! I had my stages where I was enveloped in cooking and baking, but that was normally a byproduct of a stressful situation which meant I was not sleeping, or trying to distract myself from myself.

Overall, I am not very particular when it comes to food. In fact, my mom regularly used to take a few leftover meals, throw them in a pot, and call the dish ‘’mush’’. I loved me some mush!

Growing up, I remember my mom repeatedly saying, ‘’a holiday for me is anywhere where I don’t have to think about what to cook every day.’’ 

Now, at the time, I just thought she was being a Martyr. Well….here is but one of MUCH karmic retribution that has stealthily crept into my life, particularly when it comes to my mom! Mom, I hear you, I get you and I feel you. Who would ever have thought that WHAT to cook was way more arduous than the cooking itself??

Now my sons have driven me to all shades of furious when it comes to preparing meals for them. Firstly, I have Pepper…..likes ANY meal that is purchased or prepared OUTSIDE the home. Pepper needs to make loads of money one day, as he literally could eat three meals a day from anywhere else, except home. I definitely need to put this as a huge positive in my “Finding a Wife for My Son” Brochure! I mean….that has to be seen as total win for his wife to be!!

He would love his own personal chef, who would ensure that every meal was presented looking like a culinary delight. What would be on the plate would be of little to no significance. What would be of the utmost importance, would be that it looked expensive, was suitable for a rich and successful man (such as he would need to be to achieve this goal), and would make him feel extremely important!! Key to this would be that there would be different food groups….lots if possible. Oh…..and NO LEFTOVERS… EVER!! Leftovers include anything he might not have finished 30 minutes before he felt a tad peckish again.

This last mentioned irritating trait, he definitely got from his dad! Dad never UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES did leftovers. No ‘’mush’’ that I grew up on for The King and The Prince… way…no how!!!!

So that there is the eating habits of my Pepper.

Now, Salt….as Salt is, is the polar opposite of Pepper. Salt hates anything that might possibly be considered healthy. He would never even give anything that might have grown in a garden (other than potatoes) a try. But he could do leftovers, and the simpler the better. Home cooked meals….never a problem.

So there I was, trying to make everyone happy. Now, maybe my mistake, but we never all sat down to one meal. No, fool that I was, I tried to cater for everyone’s needs. No one knows the sense of delight one gets when everyone eats everything and enjoys and appreciates what you have cooked (other than a person who does the cooking!) When the food critics are not giving positive feedback, we say ‘’that’s fine, if you don’t like it don’t eat it’’, but what we are actually thinking is, next time I will try harder, I must try harder…maybe more sauce?? And so the road much travelled continues.

And don’t even get me started on the dreaded SCHOOL LUNCHBOXES!! This will just be too stressful for me to even discuss……and I know EVERY mother gets me on this!!

So to save my sanity, I continue with my efforts to try harder…do better, when it comes to meal planning for Prince Pepper and Squire Salt!

In the past, I have had moments when I have told Pepper…..especially when he was still but a peppercorn, that if he did not eat what I had prepared, he would have to stay hungry, as I was not about to make something else for him. And, you know what? The little degenerate went without the meal. He was never really particular about WHETHER he ate, just WHAT he ate. So, obviously I was the one that suffered with the feelings of guilt and anguish…and gave him an extra special, double sized meal at the next meal.

Then there were moments where I begged….no, pleaded for my children to sit with me so we could draw up a menu plan. Whatever they wanted, my Prince and Squire…..I just needed guidance …help in understanding what was expected of me in the planning of Their Worship’s meals????? But noooooooooooooooooo, the same reply came every time…..‘’mom you can cook anything, I don’t mind.’’

But ANYTHING WAS NEVER GOOD ENOUGH…..they minded…they critiqued….they had lied!!!!!!! What makes us even more pitiful, is the next time we hear the words ”anything, I don’t mind”, we believe that on that particular instance, they won’t mind. Like an emotionally abused caregiver…we just keep coming back for more, in the hope that ONE day, our children will honestly eat anything….. and not mind!!!! 

So in between we have our moments of despondency, where we attempt to sort the little nuggets out, and we behave like juveniles. 

”Fine, I won’t cook for you anymore, nothing I ever cook is good enough for you. You guys need to sort yourselves out. I just don’t know what to cook anymore,” we say, half hoping that that there will be the very last time we will ever have to hear our meals being critiqued, or even better, that our children will begin cooking for themselves….forever…..until the end of time.

In your head, you already start planning what you are going to do with all this free time that will be opening up. A hobby perhaps….and NO….NOT COOKING LESSONS!!!!!!!!!!!

So, our new lives begin…yay….day one… many children as you have, will be as many times that you hear that fridge door open and close, between 500 to 1000 times a day! As many children as you have, will be as many times that you hear the words ”there is never anything in this fridge”. These words could be uttered, literally, the minute you are back from the shops, and the fridge is the fullest it will be until your next shop!

You see, what the words  ”there is never anything in this fridge” actually mean, is that my mother is on strike, and there are no COOKED, READY TO EAT meals in the fridge.It is at that moment that the penny drops (just for a nanosecond mind you), that Mom doesn’t just open the fridge, and grab a meal for them. Noooooooo, mom defrosts something from the freezer (that little ice box that they assumed was just to freeze ice cubes), has to think about what she is going to make as accompaniments to this item, and how to spice it up, so it is different from the last 450 000 times she has cooked it.

Oh…and sorry for me, but my house always has a defective fridge. Each time you open the door, nothing else has miraculously appears….it is still the same things that were there 30 seconds ago!!

So invariably, to save the fridge door losing it’s hinges, and the mess that our kids have made, when attempting to maybe cook a meal, we go back to cooking meals for the unappreciative degenerates, and phone to cancel our woodwork classes that we had booked..

To Dog Or Not?

So, my son Salt wants a dog. Salt has wanted a dog for ……..EVER. We had dogs, three to be precise. Salt was not even born when we lost our first dog, but he discusses her with much love and affection, in order to play on my emotions and manipulate me into getting a dog.

Now, the loss of each dog will torture me with pain and guilt until my dying day. This is too painful for me to even get into, save to say, they were getting on in years, and my guilt relates purely to me not being physically present (and emotionally numb) with any one of them, when they died.

Our dogs were as much a part of our family as our kids. They joined us many years before our children did, so they literally WERE our family.

We lost our two remaining dogs, within six months after we lost my husband and Salt and Pepper’s dad. So, at the risk of sounding like suffering and tormented soul….you cannot imagine how we were affected by their deaths.

Well, it was not so much “we”, as me and Salt. Pepper, my other son, of course loved the dogs. Both kids had so much fun with and love for the dogs growing up. But my Pepper needs an emotional crutch at every turn WAAAAY less than my Salt. He is just more of a pragmatist. Thank all the cute puppies in the world, he does not hang on to hurt to drag him down. This is such a handicap in one’s life, but that is for a different blog.

So, with &^%$# COVID, Salt’s emotional meter had peaked. The nagging to get a dog became more persistent…..uuuurgh endless actually. Every day, I get shown another cute YouTube video of dogs…puppies….kittens…..pandas….squirrel monkeys….bumblebees……literally WHATEVER might trigger that emotional and spontaneous part of my brain.

Now, what poor Salt does not realize, is that this might not even exist in my brain. I am the most practical (I say sensible) and considered (I say responsible) person you will meet, I say this not with pride and joy. On the contrary, it is a trait that holds a person back in a multitude of ways. Our type of folk miss out on so much in life. But we are realists, and as realists, we are aware of EXACTLY how things will pan out.

But poor Salt………foolish Salt….thinks things are just simple, and decisions can be made on pure human emotions….I mean….does that even make sense??  Such an irresponsible and reckless child….what a way to live….silly Salt!!

I believe inviting a dog into your family comes with great responsibility. It needs to be SERIOUSLY considered. My pet (excuse the pun) hate is people who decide to get a dog…as a ‘remedy’ for a child that fears dogs….or to fill a hole….or to have company…or as a security guard…..and thereafter decide that they do not want that dog after all. This, for me, is the same as having a child, and when parenthood is not what you expected, finding another “home” for that child. Well, ‘tis true, we all do consider that at times, but we don’t actually follow through (hopefully)!! 

Even worse, is someone getting a dog strictly for security purposes, and then keeping this poor thing outside, or chained or CAGED. These people should be burnt at the stake!!

You become your pet’s family. They need to be treated with love, require attention, and are not a thing that can just be passed from one household to another!

So, poor unfortunate Salt. I truly am so sorry for him that he was burdened with this far too practical mom. I totally know that he would benefit hugely on an emotional level from getting a dog. But I cannot stop running through all the concerns I have about taking this (what I consider) gigantic step.

I was faced with this dilemma when he was an itty bitty, and we settled on a hamster. Salt played with the hamster for the first week….Pepper did not even know we HAD a hamster….and then that was that.

This is not my concern with a dog, as I do believe that Salt will care for this dog as if it were his child. He would be solely responsible for it, and would more than likely be that person who takes it WHEREVER he goes. Eeeek, just realised another negative….definitely do not want my Salt driving around with a dog that can distract him….and cause him to take his eyes off the road…… even for a second!!

But despite this, there are so many aspects to consider.

We do not really have a garden…………dogs need space.

We have bedrooms that have carpets…dogs…well, don’t care.

We have furniture……………………………puppies teethe.

We very rarely go on holiday…………….we literally can close our door and go, should we choose.

Dogs creep into your heart and soul……dogs leave you too soon.

And paleeeeeeeez, none of that ‘’ Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole “ claptrap… practical and sensible people will not stand for such nonsense logic!!

So, although this is one of the most (if not THE MOST) selfish things that I have done as a mother, I simply have refused time and time again.

He will go to any lengths my Salt will! I mean….these YouTube videos are becoming annoying!! . What he is even thinking, is beyond me. I mean….no dog also means no white tiger cub!!

Now a neighbor who I chat to now and again (you know, since I have become neighbor friendly due to the lockdown), was made aware of Salt’s desperate need (by his sensible and considered mom). She recently found herself adopting a dog, which of course Salt is besotted with…..manipulation besotted though. Like, genuinely, this is not that type of dog that you want to cuddle and love. But Salt….well Salt apparently does. He has now asked if I could ask her if he can take the dog for a walk here and there. She, of course was only too happy.

So, first walk happened. Post walk, I had to endure an endless discussion about how cute, adorable etc, etc this dog was. Wake up the next morning to a message from Salt to ask if I could message my neighbor….at 06h00…to ask if he could take the dog for another walk. Obviously I DID NOT, but by the time I had got to work at 07h30, he had messaged me again.

This is the thing with Salt….you know exactly what he is doing…yet he invariably still manages to achieve the end result. Once you cave, you spend the rest of forever being angry at yourself and angrier at him, for allowing him to manipulate you. He then spends the rest of forever asking you what is wrong, (my scowling and frowning are the alarm bells). He then asks one too many times, and when you tell him why you are less than pleased, he is shocked and confused at your mood, as you agreed to whatever you are now upset about! He is not wrong…. I LET HIM DO THAT, I am not blindsided. Nope….I am aware of every deceitful and manipulative step he takes and I still fall for his tactics…that is on me and me alone.

So this all then begs the question as to whether or not I will be caving in this instance. If I do, I know that it will be the best and worst mistake I could make…..oh drat…did I forget to mention we all suffer from allergies??

Self Confessed Micromommy

You know those moms who micromommy their kids for their entire lives? You know…….those ones who have to literally be right there to catch their child when they fall? Come now….you know them…. the “helicopter moms” who hover ceaselessly over their child’s every activity? Those moms that have a checklist ready before their juvenile, teenybopper, pubescent, teenager, adolescent….okay, adult….okay, 23 YEAR OLD….leaves the house. Them…everyone knows one of those moms. Well dammit……… I am those moms….present and accounted for!!

Now, let me enlighten you about my oldest son Pepper. Pepper, such a special spice, has the thought process of a guppy. He is smart…..but also thicker than a bowl of oatmeal!.

When he was younger, Salt and I would be sitting in my car at 06h50 EVERY week morning, waiting for Pepper to FINALLY emerge from the house. Like a repeat button had been pushed, Salt would then start bitching about how stoooopid his brother was, and complain that we had to wait for him every morning.

At approximately 06h55 (in winter terms….the car windows had already defrosted), Pepper would mosey on out the front door, holding at least one sock in his one hand, and a shoe in the other. This was first prize, as sometimes he would mosey on out like that, but 2 minutes from school realise the other sock and shoe were not on his foot, but still at home.

So, you get the general idea about why Pepper’s brain power has yet to be determined? Smart-thick-sharp-dim-wise……oatmeal!!

Anyway, those were the ‘good’ days. That was before a cell phone… a license… car keys…. a wallet…and later…. a student card for University….and recently….the latest  addition……A MASK!!! What was this cruel world throwing at my poor child??

Pepper then became a driver, and I was acutely aware of the fact that this dim genius would need the Mother Of All Checklists to be enforced. To be fair, I did try and let him learn his lesson on his own, but you absolutely need to believe me when I tell you…THE BRAINLESS CHILD NEVER LEARNT HIS LESSON!!!

So I just did what needed to be done….

‘Pepper, do you have your keys”, I would ask, as he was about to dart out the house.

“No….have you seen my keys anywhere?” he would ask, as I would know this how????

“On the dining room table” Salt, his younger brother, would bellow from his room, behind a closed door.

“Do you have your wallet?” I would ask, as he was about to dart out again.

“No….have you seen my wallet anywhere?” he would cautiously ask, a little hesitant after the glare he received when he asked about the keys.

“On the second shelf in the bookcase,” yelled Salt, still behind the closed door.

And so on and on….. and on this would go. So to cut corners, I eventually would just ask one question and included all the possible items he could potentially have forgotten. Sometimes this worked, other times, the length of the list led to this strategy failing. Ten minutes later, there would be Pepper, back to fetch something he had forgotten.

So friends (more particularly one friend), always told me that this was my fault, as I never let him think for himself. Well friend….how the hell did Salt always manage to think for himself? How did HE manage to leave the house unassisted?? Furthermore…how is it that Salt knew where everything belonging to his brother was, while his brother had no cooking clue??? Nope, I did that because I realised very early on, it saves both of us a whole lot more extra time and effort than if I did not.

So cut to Pepper getting his degree and waiting to start work. Oh, he thought he was a big man now, did Pepper, he did not need his mommy any longer. He was off to renew his Driver’s License. Now you can imagine…this checklist had to have a temporary addendum….passport photos, proof of residence, copy of ID etc. As Pepper was leaving the house in a big rush, I recited THE Checklist… always. I heard myself in my head, and suddenly realised that I could not go on like that. The child just needs to sort himself out. So, between him dashing in and out of the house about 5 times, to tick the list, I yelled….

“This is the last time I am doing this. I cannot be doing this every time you leave the house, you need to remember these things yourself!!”

“Well maybe if you stopped doing what you are doing, I would learn to remember on my own,” the little insolent twirp had the ABSOLUTE AUDACITY to say.

So, obviously, I decided at that moment, that I had totally ruined my child’s life, my friend was right, and my poor Pepper would now suffer the consequences of my actions. I needed to ensure he finds a wife who will photocopy THE Checklist for safety and continuity of my Pepper’s existence. I would have to email his future Employers to explain that they needed to understand my little darling’s handicap, and do whatever needs to be done to work around it. I would need to blind copy any of his future clients of this problem, as OBVIOUSLY they would need to know this too.

Before I did that, I decided to (in the words of this dense genius) ”stop doing what I had been doing, so he could learn to remember on his own.” Well….that did not go so well. Dense genius then started unilaterally approaching me, running through the checklist, to know where everything is.

“Don’t know…don’t care,” I would repeat every time this happened.

The big dilemma though, was that I was very quietly stressing that the child had left something important behind, and could not stop obsessing about it. So, when he came back (every time….at least once) to get something he had forgotten, I virtually had to superglue my tongue to my pallet, in order for me to avoid asking any questions (aka ”micromommying”).

So what, you might ask was the end result? Well since then, he has lost a remote for our gate (second one), dropped his phone one too many times (a lot better than the four previous times when he either lost the phone or had it stolen), thought he had lost his wallet…and I have no doubt that there are smaller things which have slipped my mind, or bigger things of which I have not yet been informed.

So, what am I to do about this child of mine? Well, the only thing I can do…….. I have begun ensuring I…. I mean HE, finds a wife who will photocopy THE Checklist for his safety and continuity. I will be emailing his now current Employers to explain that they needed to understand my little darling’s handicap, and do whatever needs to be done to work around it. And yes, his future clients will be blind copied in the email.