No Parental Involvement Required

Yes, I am THAT person. The one that always follows the rules. Typical of my personality type, I just believe that rules are put there for a reason and if they are not followed everything will fall apart. I also just assume that if one does the ”right” thing, everything will fall into place.

This is a bit of an odd attitude, as I never take things at face value, trust nothing and no one, and think everyone else (for the most part) are idiots. So strange that I would just take for granted that the rule maker knew what the flying fox he was doing when he made said rules. But anyway…that is me…the eternal conundrum.

I have learnt along my journey, however, that following the rules does not always ensure things falling into place. My journey has also taught me that many rules are actually created by…..wait for it….yes…….IDIOTS!!

I continue through life this way though, as I have a very sensitive and fragile conscience, coupled with an excessively manic and compulsive mind. So, if the rules are not followed by me, I will obsess about the fact that I broke a rule, to the point where I just land up punishing myself somewhere down the line anyway. Not worth it I tell you!!

So here I stand, rule follower, vanilla flavoured and dull. I say dull, as I would imagine rule breakers achieve a certain amount of an adrenaline rush when breaking the rules. Perhaps I am wrong though, as perhaps some of them do not even realise they are breaking the rules, or do it so seamlessly that it just forms part of their normal daily behaviour.  Now, me, I would land up in a coma from an overdose of adrenalin,  even if I had to do something as minor as drive through an amber traffic light!!

My one condiment, Pepper, was always a rule breaker at heart. I mean I remember when he was even an itty bitty thing, he would ask why we were standing in a queue for something, as he felt the intense desire to ”push in”. He literally thought I was in the wrong for being right. Naturally, me being all vanilla and such a stickler for rules, was HORRIFIED at these types of suggestions. How on earth did I produce such a ”rebel”, I would wonder.

Even today, when driving in the car with me, there are a thousand suggestions offered by Pepper of ”go quick, you will make it” about my driving. Naturally with each one of these suggestions, I always tell him how concerned I am about his reckless attitude.

Anyway, back to me…..The Rule Keeper. So I was driving to work this week, and there has been an intersection on route which has been ”worked on” for the last couple of months. Yes….. couple of months. Love my country, love my people, but here an entire intersection can be uprooted (literally), and then you do not see anything else happen for a while. It just sits there….all uprooted like…..waiting for it’s Master to return and continue with the original plan of action. Happens so often, I don’t even realise that literally nothing has happened since the original defacement commenced.

Anyway, us being a very resilient and I suppose complacent bunch, we just continue our lives around this. So, things have been running very smoothly! The traffic lights are deactivated….nooooooo problem…..four way stop it is. Traffic really has been running smoothly, and the drivers have just kind of forgotten that there were ever traffic lights there in the first place!

What reminded me of the fact that this intersection was defaced a few months earlier, and had not been visited by a parent or guardian since that time, was when I was approaching the area this week, and the traffic was unusually backed up. Oh, they must be working on it now….on that note, they haven’t been working on it until now, I calmly and maturely (surprisingly) thought to myself.

Anyway, on getting closer to the intersection, what do I see before my very eyes?? A traffic cop attempting to take ”control” of the ”uncontrolled” intersection. Firstly……no, what it actually was, was a traffic cop ”uncontrolling” a previously very controlled and somewhat content intersection. Secondly, since when do traffic cops work in this town?? 

This is something that has always amused me. If and when our traffic department is on duty (as opposed to members being visible for the purposes of receiving money for bribes from as many motorists as possible), they actually cause more chaos at a temporarily uncontrolled intersection, than leaving it to us dumb twats to do what is required to keep the traffic running smoothly.

Anyway, next day everything was back to it’s calm and peaceful self, as there was not a traffic cop in sight!! In all probability, taking a few days off for having worked the day before.

But as I was approaching the very same intersection the next morning, I was in deep thought as to what possesses me to be such a rule follower, when the people making the rules are idiots!! Next best thing, the news comes on the radio, and I hear that, as from the next day, COVID vaccines were going to open up for kids aged 12 years up. Now, without getting into yet another feisty and ugly debate about whether this vaccine is toxic poison or not, or whether the anti vaxxers are going to single handily obliterate the human race, I was GOBSMACKED when I heard that these kids did not NEED THEIR PARENT’S CONSENT!!!!!!!! In fact, I was CONVINCED I had heard incorrectly, and once I got into work, quickly Googled to confirm that I had heard incorrectly. But nope….nope, nope, nope…..I heard correctly. I literally still did not believe what I was seeing!!

Is that how desperate the powers that be have become to ensure everyone gets vaccinated?? Is it not enough that they are finding ways to give people with a choice no choice, by passively aggressively imposing rules about where non vaccinated people can or can’t go, or what they can or cannot do? Seriously, they might as well just make it a universal law that one has to get vaccinated.

Essentially, someone’s 12 year old daughter is apparently mature enough and informed enough to make up her own mind whether or not to get the vaccination?? Well, okay then….perhaps she can stop past the pub for a few shots of tequila on the way there to calm her nerves? How will she get there, I hear you ask? Surely she is mature enough to drive herself there? The possibilities are endless when you are twelve and your cognitive development is mature enough to make decisions without a dreaded parent thwarting your fun!! Imagine………

A Blogging Dilemma

So when I started re-blogging after many years, I had so much content to get off my chest, that I literally had a blog scheduled twice a week for 6 weeks in advance. I was just spewing them out like a mad dog with rabies!!

I started again during the original lockdown. My weekend business, which is a kiddies party venue, had obviously been put on involuntary hold due to COVID, and my other jobs had had their hours reduced due to COVID. So my drop of mercury, Pepper, was explaining that times have changed (aka ”you are old”), and that it was possible for people to make money in todays times by earning a passive income. He also mentioned that it could well be something one enjoys, or a hobby. Of course, because I am so bloody old, I could not wrap my head around such a ridiculous notion. For me, money could only be made by hard work, sweat and tears. That was just the way of the world…… know, all old school like.

After prodding and nudging my brain to find an interest I could monetise, we had concluded one thing for certain….. I was a miserable old witch who enjoyed nothing. But then I had told him about how I used to enjoy blogging in my previous life. 
So there he was trying to YouTube tutorial me to death by showing how a blog can be monetised. Typically, I followed NONE of the principles and guidelines suggested, well actually followed none of what those young pubescent multi millionaire YouTubers were trying to tell me, and landed up blogging again, but in an un-monetised kinda way.

During that time, we all had more time on our hands, we all reflected more…why not give it a bash, I had thought. 

Now you need to understand that reflecting and time to think are two of my biggest pet hates. I prefer NEVER to have time to think, as that is when all those wretched emotions and dreadful feelings start coming to the surface. No Siree Bob…not my definition of life.

So after a while, I had noticed that those days of blogs being scheduled twice a week for 6 weeks in advance, had become blogs that had been scheduled only 2 weeks in advance, and had felt some kind of inane pressure to ensure that I had kept on top of this blogging thing.

So I argued, in order to not put myself under any undue pressure….you know…..for this thing they call a hobby….enjoyment….I would post only weekly on a Sunday. In that way I would ensure that my blogs were written organically, as they should be. And that is what has been happening for a while now. Truth be told, this works out better for me.

Anyhoooooooooooooo….the other day I decided to have a looksee at how many blogs I had scheduled, as I did not remember knocking one out for a minute. To my utter horror, I had only one more!! My mind has been busy on other issues, and in addition to that,  I have been starting to get bookings for my weekend party venue business, as we are able to restart for a third time since COVID struck. So as a result I have had less time to reflect, and have neglected my blogging.

It caused total panic in the thing they call my head, and I realised it was of the utmost urgency that I needed to get back to my blogging. Because you must surely understand that I would lose all my sponsors and endorsements, and not to forget how truly disappointed my 0.5 followers would be if Sunday rolled around and there was no blog posted????

But to be honest, you cannot just sit down and write a blog. Everyone knows, us creative geniuses need some sort of inspiration to create our masterpieces.

Generally, the only time I have no choice but to reflect, is in my free time. Now for me, ”free time” will NEVER amount to ”quiet time”. Nooooo, cannot have quiet…too dangerous for the psyche. I am either working or watching T.V. Hence the mind is being occupied. What would amount to other peoples’ ”quiet time”, would be when I am listening to music. So generally, my quiet time is driving or walking and listening to music. This is as close as I get to quiet time or reflection. So while I am listening to music, my mind cannot but wander off here and there, AND BAM…there begins the process of the seed germination for each blog.

Couple of problems though…..First problem was, most often I would forget everything I had so brilliantly and coherently drafted in my mind, once I sat in front of the screen to write it. So I found myself scrambling for a piece of paper and a pen or my phone to put voice notes as reminders. Wow look at me taking my artistry and creativity to a new level of brilliance!!
Next problem was unfortunately that, once I sat down and read some of the stuff which in my mind sounded like the most hysterical and or poignant thing I had ever heard in my life, it fell so absolutely and completely flat when I read it back. But again, us creative prodigies tweak here and adjust there, and we get right back on track!!

Point being, that when I have been walking or driving and listening to music, my mind has been elsewhere, and hence I have not come up with as much content for my blogs.
So I have been thinking perhaps to just cancel my WordPress subscription, and just give this blogging a miss. Typically, if I cannot do it completely and totally, I shall not do it at all!! Perhaps the 15 minutes of blogging was yet another chapter in my life that I needed to move on from, I wondered. Alternatively, it could be revisited, as I had done during this chapter. But if you knew me well enough, you would know that I do not do well with closing chapters. No, I would still be on Chapter 1 of the life and times of Grumpy Mummy if I could. No chapters…no change…..same same, day in and day out….for the rest of my life. It’s a little known condition that affects some called A COMFORT ZONE!!!!

However, I think I have also been finding my blogging very therapeutic. I think I tend to rant and rave marginally less, as I can now do so in the comfort of my relationship with my blogs. Of course the most important advantage of that, is that I am slightly less offensive in person. Because, believe it or not, I do not enjoy being honest, passionate and authentic. I wish I could just keep my mouth shut like most people, and just stay on everyone’s good side. But nope….on the few occasions that I have tried that ridiculous behaviour, I have felt like I was slowly erupting a la volcano style.

Of course sitting in front of a blank screen, all ”writer’s block” like also defeats the purpose. I mean, my whole life revolves around honesty and authenticity. Who the bloody hell wants to start LOOKING for content when one’s livelihood does not depend on it?

So, essentially, the reason for this here blog, is to inform you, my thousands of readers, sponsors and endorsers, that should a Sunday roll by and I have not published a blog….get over yourself, you will survive…..not sure how I will cope with that though!!!

That Point Where the Line Between Virtuous Behaviour and Obsessively Compulsive Behaviour is Crossed ??

So, let me introduce myself…..I am totally and utterly honest. I think by now we have established that I speak my truth. But this is about making what I believe are honest decisions. Not because I am extraordinarily upright and virtuous, but because I believe so much in Karma, that even if Karma did not exist, I would be so obsessed with thoughts of it, that that b***h would eventually come to bite me in my bum anyway.

Full disclosure…….in my youth, there were about 7 minutes of dishonest behaviour on my part.

I remember when I was but a cub, my mom and I went into a local stationary shop, and she had somehow forgotten to pay for something. When we got home she realised this, was mortified, and said that we needed to take it back immediately. I was slightly annoyed at her ridiculously virtuous behaviour, and told her to see it as a gratuity. Although in retrospect, the annoyance was possibly linked to the fact that I did not feel like traipsing off to the shop again. But noooo, off we traipsed to return it.

In my early teens, my friends and I dabbled in the life of crime. We went through a delinquent phase, where we used to dare each other to steal petty things. It was all for the thrill and exhilaration of it. This is not me trying to justify it, just explaining the reason for my behaviour. Concerning behaviour, I will admit, but all ended well, as it was very brief, and none of us became kleptomaniacs or hardened criminals……that I know of…….yet!! Mind you, probably did not end quite as well for the people we had stolen from……but  pilferage is all part of the perils of being a shop owner isn’t it? 

Another full disclosure….never felt a shred of guilt! Quite concerning indeed!! Anyway……..can we please move on from this dammit?? It is over!! Done and dusted!! Stop laying a guilt trip on me…….leave it be!!!!

So other than my brief brush with kleptomania, and the fact that I felt being ”too honest” was going overboard, I have led a ridiculously honest existence. 

I also have a phobia about accepting gratuities. I have never believed something can be given as a gratuity without there being any strings attached. I mean, offer my child a sweet, and I KNOW you’ll be phoning me to drive you to the airport ay 2am in the future. Or even worse, you will tell anyone who will listen how you fed my children when they were growing up!! Over the years, my children have probably missed out on a number of opportunities on account of my refusing anything gratuitous, but I can proudly say that they learnt from my behaviour, and turned out just like me in this regard.

So taking the above into account, I was put to the ultimate test last week. Since COVID I have become a pro online shopper (aka ” a compulsive online shopper”). Not clothing, and all things decadent mind you. No……just the shopping that most humans go to the shops for. Even my weekly grocery shop is done online. 

In the heart of the lockdown, a very forward thinking chain store decided to launch an App, whereby you could order your groceries online, and within 60 minutes, they would be delivered to your doorstep….voila!! They have stuck to their promise every time I have ordered. I mean, who needs problems with parking, faulty trolley navigation, queuing and, well, human interaction, when all you need to do is click, click, click, checkout and never leave the house?? Not me I tell you!

Initially I started placing my order as I was leaving work on a Wednesday, which is about 15 minutes from my home. But the bloody efficiency of it all…they always arrived shortly before I managed to get home. Then there would be a whole catastrophe, as the one Security Guard at the gate of our complex and myself have a hate-hate relationship at best!! Obviously that was the man on duty every Wednesday. He would not even call me, which is literally the only job he is employed to do, and would tell the driver I am not home. All the while I would be receiving notifications that my order was received…….my shopping had commenced…….my shopping was completed… delivery was on its way……my delivery had arrived and I must ”listen for the doorbell”. Needless to say, I would not have heard the doorbell, as my doorbell was supposed to be the call from the spiteful, bitter and twisted security guard. Not only that, I would by that stage have been driving with an aggressive attitude, making rude gestures to all and sundry, displaying a complete lack of patience, and more than likely tailgated across intersections when traffic lights were out of order.

”Do you have to order it on that day and at that time?”  I hear you ask? Well no, certainly not. It could quite easily have been ordered at a different time or on a more convenient day, but why would I make life less stressful for myself?? What would I possibly do with one more stressful thing to worry about??

So, the last few weeks I have gotten wiser, and placed my order WHILE driving with an aggressive attitude, making rude gestures at all and sundry, displaying a complete lack of patience, and more than likely tailgated across intersections when traffic lights were out of order. I know that sounds irresponsible, but my trolley had already been completed earlier in the morning. I just had to click, click, click, checkout and continue driving in the aforesaid manner. Okay…..agreed, still irresponsible, but….let’s just move on shall we? 

So, on the day in question, I had arrived home about 30 seconds before the driver arrived, it had started raining, I darted inside my house, and my little helpful Salty said he would collect the parcels. He then walked in to share what an amazing guy the driver was, and asked if they were always that pleasant.

”Well of course they are….this is the best, most efficient miracle of an App from start to finish”, I declared.

As always, I replied to the survey, which gets sent 0.05 seconds after they have delivered. Happy with the service? Check. All arrived in order? Check. Driver friendly and professional? Check, check and one more check for my Salty!!

As always, I proceeded to rip the stickers off, and ferociously pack the groceries so that I could start dinner, as I am always STARVING when I get home from work, and THIS FLIPPING INCONVENIENT TIME that this needs to be done, BUT ACTUALLY COULD BE DONE AT A MORE CONVENIENT TIME, is keeping me from preparing my feast.

And then…it happened….finally they had faulted. I realised that I had someone else’s one parcel. Oh nooooooooooooo, I thought, I need to get hold of the driver to come back. My main concern was less about the person who had received one parcel short, and more about the fact that the driver was going to suffer some sort of repercussion. And Salty said he was so sweet!!

But try as I might, I could not retrace who the driver was. So my next thought was to log a problem on the App. But then I would be getting the driver into trouble?? No, I would just take it as a lucky packet.

I continued unpacking, but it was burning a hole in my brain. So, I logged the problem, but begged them not to take any disciplinary steps against the driver, or take the money off his pay. I mentioned that I have had nothing but first class service in the past, and I have set the items aside for collection in the morning. Of course this monster of an establishment cared about my pleas for clemency……not.

Anyway a sleepless night ensued, as I had ”unworthy” groceries in my house, and a driver might lose his job.

By the time they emailed me back the next day, they had thanked me for my honesty, said it was their mistake, and I should keep the items. Well, how could I?? Nothing is for free? I would somehow be paying for this later? No….not to be touched, I thought.

So I decided that I had two choices, either find a person in need, and give the bag to him, or keep it for my helper, who comes twice a week. This was of course on the Wednesday, and she would only be coming again on the Monday, but I had hoped that the already tired looking lettuce would survive until then.

I guarded this with my life. When I told Pepper what had happened, he shrieked with delight and asked whether there was any ”nice stuff’ in there. 

”None of your business, we not keeping it”, I sternly replied.

”But why?” he asked, totally confused by my reply.

”Because we did not pay for it!”

”But we got it and it is here”, he responded, to what he believed my upright and virtuous behaviour of one living in No Man’s Land.

So naturally, on the Monday the mission was successfully completed once the contents of the parcel were deftly handed over to my helper, wilted lettuce included!!

Social Anxiety…..Working With What Ya Got!

So, little known fact….. I am a shy, shrinking and self conscious piece of work, which in turn comes across as arrogant, confident and rude (well known fact).

I have suffered from this disorder for as long as I can remember. But as I have gotten older, I had just assumed that I had grown out of it to a large extent. However, I recently realised that actually, I have just subconsciously managed to build my life around it. Through maturity (old age), I have learnt of ways to only allow myself to be in social situations that I can feel comfortable with, and surround myself with people I feel comfortable with. Of course, this is not ALWAYS going to be possible (unfortunately), and in attempting to weed out the ”can do me’s” from the ”cannot do me’s”, I have offended many. 

So essentially my family have had no choice, and my friends who have accepted me for the way I portray myself, are the friends that see beneath the surface, understand me and are those that I feel most myself and safe with. Of Course there have been some lightweights over the years that have come and gone…..but for me that was just excess baggage that needed to be thrown overboard… you don’t get me? Abracadabra, hocus pocus….where did you go??? 

Now the word ”unapproachable” has been bandied around a number of times by friends and family over the years, none of which I have found offensive, as it is all perfectly true! Besides my awful personality disorder, I also have a very unapproachable and grumpy resting face. Even I myself have on occasion been taken aback when I have seen photos of myself, or have inadvertently caught a glimpse of my reflection somewhere. And that is my ”happy face”, so I can ONLY IMAGINE what my not so happy face looks like.

If I am together with other humans, and everyone is having fun and enjoying themselves, even when I am having a whale of a time, I, in all probability have the face that gets people wondering ”I wonder if she’s enjoying herself?” Or even worse, ”she looks like she’s hating every minute of it!”

What people don’t understand is that if I’m not enjoying myself, there will not even be a shred of doubt in that regard. So……to keep you up to speed…….angry and/or irritable and/or grumpy face….having fun. Angry and/or irritable and/or grumpy face……hating every second of it. Not so confusing surely???

I was never that person, nor will I ever be that person, who when having oodles of fun, displays  joyous, jovial,  jubilant, uproarious, and backslapping jollification. In my dreams and fantasies….sure…and yet………angry and/or irritable and/or grumpy face.

Unfortunately, it took me until fairly recently to see what other people see. I knew what other people thought, but never actually saw what they saw. It is quite frightening actually. But as I said, it seems I have craftily managed to live my life around these issues.

Now in case you thought that was where my social disabilities ended, you 
could not be more wrong!! I am not going to paint myself as a paragon of virtue, I mean I swear I smoke, I drink……… none of these excessively (well maybe the swearing), but one thing I cannot deal with is CRUDENESS OR VULGARITY!!!!! If I am in the presence of a song, film, tv show or person where this type of behaviour is being displayed, every hair stands up in a ridge along my spine, sometimes ending in a puff of erect hair at the base of my tail……. oops, sorry that’s an agitated cat….but same same!

The minute something is threatening to be visually or verbally crude, I will get up and leave the building. If I am not in a position to do this I feel very trapped and angry that I have had no choice but to endure the situation.

A lot of times, the line between humour and vulgarity is so faint that even I myself sometimes get ambushed into allowing the situation to cross the line into vulgarity before realising that this has actually happened. Then I am REALLY p***ed off!! 

So now I was recently invited to a bridal shower for a work colleague, and not having been to that many in my lifetime, or certainly not for the last thousand years, I did not really know what to expect. 

At this particular shower one of the friends had organised a male entertainer. Now this might sound very raunchy, but for the most part it was just pure innocent fun. Well, other than the inbetweeners that crossed that line from funny to crude, but not offensive to a normal human being…..of which I think we have established by now, I am not. 

So in walks this Adonis of a man child, probably around my son Pepper’s age. He was acting very ”normally” when introducing himself, and getting ready for all the ”fun games” he was going to entertain us with. At that stage, the only (in my mind) cringeworthy behaviour, was when chatting to us, he made sure that he put his arm around each of the ladies seated at the table. There were squeals of delight from all the ladies, but me….I wanted to take him down by reaching over my shoulder, grabbing his wrist, and throwing him over my shoulder, only befitting a martial arts expert. Firstly…….best you stay on the perimeter of my pretend bubble! Secondly……COVID!!!!!!

Now, if I had joined in with the others earlier, and had a few drinks, I might not have been QUITE so uptight, but I was driving so refrained from doing so.

Thank the heavens above, he immediately realised I was not gonna be like the others. Perception perhaps? Angry and/or irritable and/or grumpy face perhaps? Or perhaps it was holy f**k expressions on my face?

In case you think that I could not have felt more awkward, I just need to mention that my son Salt had been asked to take the photos of the function. Cannot lie….best thing that could have happened. The bride-to-be was asked to pick a partner for the first game, and she said that she would have picked me, but my son was standing right behind me. Bless her soul. She knows me well and I think she just wanted to assist with any doubt that the man child possibly had left, in case the holy f**k expression didn’t give it away.

So there I sat…observing…as I do…the remaining 45 minutes of the entertainment. To be honest, he was very entertaining. He really had the ladies squealing with delight, laughing and just all round having fun, fun, fun. 

But me….despite the fact that I was actually for the most part (vulgarity excluded) enjoying myself, could literally feel myself bringing the room down. You know when you are having fun in a group, and there is that ONE person, throwing disapproving and judgemental looks at everyone? The person that manages to make everyone who even cares, feel like they just rolled in from the land of the uncivilized, ill bred and uncouth? Yep…I felt like that person.

That got me thinking about how my whole life has revolved around sitting on the outside, fantasizing about how I wished I could throw all my inhibitions to the curb, and just join in with the fun. You miss out on a whole life by having this wretched social disability.

But, like so many before me, and so many to come, you is what you is, and you just have to work with what ya got as best you can.

Wifi…..A blessing or a Curse??

So now…..uuuum…..Wi-Fi…..what a necessity it has become (well in my house anyway). With two teens and now young adults in the house, this was always a prickly issue. From as far back as I can remember, there was never ”enough data”, ”fast enough upload and/or download”, ”let’s just get uncapped”, ”let’s just get fibre”, ”lets just change the service provider/contract”, blah blah f****ng blah!!!!!

Until COVID (sigh…so tired of that word now being part of our daily vocabulary), I was the fuddy duddy Grumpy Mummy who was not feeling the whole unlimited, uncapped, fastest upload and download thing. I had quite enough for my emails and messages on my phone, and these children just needed to deal with the unfair and ”torturous hardships” of our always ”worst Wi-Fi of anyone we know”. To make matters worse, we have a bit of a dodgy signal residence, and there are certain rooms in the house that battled with signal more than others….even with an extender.

So there were negligible upgrades over time. Of Course with upgrades always comes higher costs. So my long held personal mantra that our lives would not revolve around Wi-Fi, and I would not be selling my soul to afford it, started showing cracks a while ago. But still, we actually were the people with the ”worst Wi-Fi of anyone we know.” So all in all, my ”underprivileged” children (you know….the ones WITH WI-FI AT ALL) had to endure these tortures themselves. I was happy…that was all that counted.

Then COVID struck (words which have literally become predictive text on my keyboard), and life changed. We had had paid T.V for a gazillion years, and from the time that my children had started to speak for themselves (why did I let that happen), they tried to convince me that it was a total waste of money. They argued that everything gets repeated continuously (100% true), that I was just in a comfort zone with it (100% true), and that actually I could be SAVING money by cancelling it and upgrading our Wi-Fi.

Now these little swines just KNOW, when they say ”saving money”, they have my attention. So, I listened….. They (well Pepper was the main culprit….always up to no good that child), explained that if I subscribed to Netflix, get a Smart TV and have access to YouTube, I will be more than happy with the variety of viewing. ”BUT WE HAVE TO UPGRADE OUR Wi-Fi TO DO THAT”, he stressed. So obviously, all I heard was, ”Smart TV” and ”upgrade Wi-Fi”, and I totally dismissed his argument that I would be saving money!!

Now my T.V comes first, then it is a photo finish between my children and everything else. I do not read (attention span of a guppie), I do not go out and about often (retarded social skills) and I do not have any hobbies (nothing interests me). So when it is time for me to get into bed at the end of the day………my T.V viewing I must have!!! If not, sleep bad, feel bad and become worse.

However, on going to work the next day, I was telling a colleague (closer to Pepper’s age than mine), of what a swine bastard Pepper was for trying to MANIPULATE me into upgrading our Wi-Fi. She mentioned that it would not be necessary for me to purchase a Smart TV, I could just purchase a ”Smart Box” to convert my stupid TV into a smart one. On explaining the costs, and how it works, I was most sceptical, as it just seemed to be too good to be true!! Essentially, by cancelling my monthly (exorbitant) paid T.V subscription, purchasing a ”Smart Box””, and upgrading my Wi-Fi to a fibre package, I would INDEED be saving a couple bucks.

Needless to say when I told Pepper of the plan, his jaw nearly shattered as it tumbled to the ground. Salt took it in his stride, but think he was internally jumping for joy, as he is the YOUTUBE King!! So as fast as you can say “I might just have been duped”, pay TV cancelled, Smart Box ordered (online….as one does with everything since the “”C”” word), and fibre requested, with new Wi-Fi, uncapped… ”everyone else’s we know”. Working remotely a fair amount since COVID, kind of would have had me needing to upgrade anyway….but wasn’t going to tell Pepper that…..just felt he needed to bask in his triumph. 

For the most part, the last year has been fairly seamless. Well other than the few times my f****ing Smart Box was not so smart, and had moments where it would not connect to the Wi-Fi.
However, two very pertinent issues reared their ugly heads in the last few months.

Firstly, I have now become informed about the fact that ”uncapped” does not mean ”unthrottled”. Ever the cynic when it comes to service providers in my part of the world, I inadvertently learnt about this thing they call ”unthrottled” data. I have found that at various intervals, I was having to reboot my router at least once every day. The Wi-Fi slowed down during those periods too. Each time, I would phone my service provider to request a reason, and they would have me switching on, off, unplugging, plugging, pooping and farting, all the while doing something on their side. Then, for a few weeks after that, perfect signal, life was good!

After a few months, I made what had by then become the customary call, but inquired why it is that after I have spoken to them, it seems to sort the problem out. 

Perhaps there is a fault with my router,” I naively offered forth. “should you not send a technician out to see if there is a problem?”

”No, your data is being throttled, so we unthrottle it when you call”,  said the naïve call centre lady, not realising that she was revealing the little known abuse we as customers endure.

”Throttled??” I asked.

”Yes, when your line has used too much data for the month, we throttle it so that it slows everything down until the end of the month”, she unashamedly continued.

”Oh, but you must be mistaken, I have uncapped Wi-Fi,” I said calmly, totally convinced she was not in the least bit correct.

”Yes”, she continued, ”but uncapped does not mean unthrottled”.

”Well why are we not told about THROTTLING when we sign up?” I said, a little less calmly. ”Is that not deceptive, misleading, and false advertising?”

”Well yes, but…….” she said, going on to explain in some or other Wi-Fi dialect, why they do that.

” So if I upgrade my package, will that stop you from UNILATERALLY THROTTLING MY Wi-Fi?” I asked, a tad more irritated by then.

”It might help, but it is not guaranteed. How many devices are used in your household?”

WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES THAT MAKE?? I AM PAYING FOR UNCAPPED WI-FI, NOT WI-FI PER DEVICE”, I screamed, while going purple in the neck and jaw area.

”Well….” she continued CALMLY, and started speaking that other techno rot lingo again.

So here we sit, still having uncapped, but still being THROTTLED!!

Next issue reared it’s ugly head up a couple of weeks ago…..thank goodness for all the little puppies, Pepper was not at home during that week. There I was, on my Sunday afternoon…so involved in Episode 9087 of Season 643 of Outlander…and poof…….those dreaded words….”Netflix cannot connect to the internet” pop up. Now I was totally calm (well maybe not totally), and off I skipped (stomped) to restart the router. Nothing. Again…nothing!!! Salt then piped up that the internet light was flashing. Now that does not normally happen.

Anyway the condensed version is that there were countless calls to the Call Centre over the next few days, and it took 4 days to realise that the problem was not with the service provider, but with the fibre provider!!

Once the weekend ended, I needed to stress about the fact that I would not be able to do my work remotely. You see, I am working off a 1932 PC which connects me to the shared server at work via a …..wait for it….phone cable, which is plugged in from my motherboard to my router. So there I was scuttling off to get some gadget to make my motherboard Wi-Fi compliant, so that I could hotspot off my phone data. Wow!! Look at me being so techno literate and all!!

The only reason I became so exceptionally techno literate, is because my IMMEDIATE concern was HOW AM I GOING TO WATCH T.V?? In my old life, no Wi-Fi…no problem. My T.V viewing was not reliant on Wi-Fi.

So Sunday night I was squealing like a pot bellied pig about the fact that I could not watch my T.V that night, when Salt casually mentioned that for 12 bucks, there was an option of buying 1 gigabyte for 1 hour with my service provider, and then I could watch Netflix by hot spotting off my phone, so that my now totally dumb box could have the Wi-Fi it, well I, so desperately needed!!! 

To be fair I did ask the question as to what happens when the one hour runs out, and he seemed to think it ”probably” would cut off.

So cut to me getting into bed, all chuffed with myself, technology and the fact that it was only costing me 12 Bucks for 1 gigabyte of data.

As always, after two-and-a-half minutes of watching television I fell asleep. Now you might ask yourself why is it so important for me to have my viewing time, when I fall asleep so quickly? But that’s not when it is desperately required. No it is desperately needed for the 8 times I wake up during the night, and need to lull myself back to sleep by watching TV. 

I had by this time reconciled myself to the fact that for that evening I would not have access to TV viewing the entire night, and would just enjoy the hour so graciously granted. I had accepted that I would just have to toss and turn, poop and fart until I fell back to sleep for the rest of the evening, almost proud of myself that I had managed to be so flexible!!

Anyway next morning I wake up to find that my new little “nifty portable router” (aka my phone) has been depleted of all its data, airtime, oxygen and blood supply levels, and was completely useless to me for the remaining three weeks of the month. So then I was required to buy more airtime, which I would then be able to convert into data in order to have a phone that works for the rest of the month. 

After 4 days of arguments, screaming and making myself mental, I wondered is this bloody Wi-Fi a blessing or a curse??? Maybe the answer would be to try and actually get a life, and not rely on Wi-Fi to give me a life.

But once the situation is restored, one forgets how lost we were without the cursed Wi-Fi………so probably not gonna happen …

The Emancipation of Pepper

Of course everyone knows that a parent’s job is to prepare their children to go out into the big bad world and fend for themselves. I have come to terms with the fact that I am not that parent ….. so a bad parent then? Probably

So now due to COVID, Pepper had been locked down by his Grumpy Mummy for the first five months of the plague’s appearance. Thereafter, and when said Mummy allowed him to, Pepper ventured out and interacted socially. However, it was never enough for the one they call Pepper (and always too much for the one they call Grumpy Mummy)! So what with studying remotely last year, and working remotely this year, Pepper had had literally had enough of myself, Salt and the four walls of our house.

Poor Pepper, someone who relies so heavily on social interaction, had been virtually house bound for one and a half years.

So finally, and granted, it took a lot longer than I thought, Pepper decided as he so eloquently mentioned, he was ”outta here”. Of course, I did not totally take him seriously, as, among other things, he was not on leave, and had never taken such a bold leap. However, one day I walked in from work, and there he was, on his laptop booking himself a getaway. He had decided he needed to be working in another environment for 10 days…..”away from everything” ….aka Grumpy Mummy and Salt.

Needless to say, I refrained from asking the gazillion questions that entered my turmoiled head within the first three seconds. Pepper really needed this for his sanity, and perhaps he would love his family again on his return.

Now something that you need to understand about my children Salt and Pepper, is that they have done very little traveling in their lifetime. They have done even less flying, and they have NEVER travelled on their own! ”Why”, you may ask? Well, when in my right mind would I have allowed my children to venture forth without another adult….child….emotional support dog (for their mother) in tow?? NO unaccompanied travelling was going to take place on my watch….until now that is.

So naturally, I immediately go into complete anxiety mode, feel sick to my stomach, have in the first five minutes imagined absolutely everything that could possibly (and impossibly) go wrong….. on the way to the airport….. at the airport…..on the plane at the airport on the other side….getting to his new improved work space…..but through gritted teeth I tell him that it will be good for him and I hope that he enjoys himself.

So for the next couple of days, I pretended not to give a rat’ a** about his decision. But, being human….well, being me….I obviously CANNOT refrain from mentioning that I had hoped that both him and his belongings would be safe. To be fair, you need to understand how many times my Pepper loses his belongings………IN THE HOUSE!! So surely I cannot be blamed for having this miniscule concern??

Of Course there was the obligatory rooooollllllling of the eyeballs all the way back into his brain cavity, and the obligatory ”Oh Mommmmmmmmm”, followed by the new and improved ”can you see why I gotta get outta here so bad?”

Once I had picked my shattered feelings off the floor, I told him that I would not be worrying about him, would not be phoning him on a daily basis, and just wanted him to check in here and there so I know he was safe.

”Thank you,” he snarkily replied.

It was at that stage that I wanted to send him an Invoice for his board, lodging, education and emotional damages (self imposed admittedly) that I had endured over the previous 24 years!!

Anyway….I managed to behave as best I could, and said not another thing!!

A few days before he was departing, he asked if it was okay that I needed to have him at the airport by 4h45.

”Am I dropping you?” I asked, just assuming that now he had become all adult and independent, the trip to the airport would be handled by adult him.

”Well can you?” he icily retorted, with a tone that suggested I was a shocking excuse of a mother.

”Ummmmm, I suppose”, I replied, not entirely ecstatic about the fact that I would have to get up at sparrow’s fart to drop the soon to be emancipated Pepper at the airport.

Now the operative word here is ”drop”. Yes, I was intending to be dropping him off at the Drop Off Zone, as I was not about to be parking, getting out of the car on a faaaareeeezing Sunday morning at 4h45, seeing him to the check in counter, and getting my parking ticket at 4h55 in the amount of R 850 000. No…you want to be emancipated…I hereby release you!!

Again, a gazillion scenarios played basketball in my head about his lack of knowledge of the infrastructure of our airport. So I meekly mentioned that once he enters the airport, there are information kiosks that are there if he needs to know where he should be going. Reason being that on the very few occasions I have needed to be at an airport to pick someone up or drop them off, I get totally bamboozled every time. One might argue it is because I do not frequent the airport regularly, but if I drop someone off, and need to collect a week later…….still get lost. Not to the airport mind you. I know exactly how to get there. It is only once I am there, that I get horribly confused and lost. So yes….transferring my own angst onto my child……alright……got it…….nope cannot for the life of me imagine why my spices are anxious condiments.

So for the next Few days, I did not sleep very well. Knowing that I would have to get Pepper up and at it on time, which is virtually impossible, as he gets up, but not so much ”at it”….. drive him to the airport at sparrow’s fart, hopefully not get lost………leave him on his own, and then start worrying about him getting lost, and literally every scenario that could take place thereafter.

In the meantime I had. Sheepishly recruited Salt to come with me. Salt… know…….the only one with any sense of direction. In fact he could never have been somewhere, and he would find it a whole lot better than myself or Pepper.

So the night before, Pepper confidently informs me that he is going to get up half an hour before we need to leave for the airport. Mad child!! Generally it takes him half an hour to decide to go and shower.

Salt is different….he gets in and out..…you know..…like a normal person. So strategies were beginning to take place in my head……virtual worksheets were being drawn up!! Most importantly, Pepper needed to shower FIRST, so that we could be assured he was ready on time!

The night before I had instructed him to have his bags packed and READY, boarding pass, Identity Document and wallet needed to be all in one place, and with his bags. Other than us searching high and low for the boarding pass (NOT left with everything else as instructed), he for the most part did the rest.

Anyhoo we actually got into the car timeously, Salt was in a relatively good mood due to the fact that he’s done us this MASSIVE favour, which would normally involve a reminder from him every 5 minutes for, well…..ever, and off we went.

Approaching the airport I was so grateful that we had Salt with us, as too much information coupled with anxiety causes my brain to become complete porridge. I literally would have driven through the airport and got back on the freeway, if Salt was not there to restore calm and common sense.

After parking at the International Departures (as this is the first parking one comes across, and I always park there, so that I know I have parked, and there would be no further opportunity for me to get lost or confused), we walked a day and a half to the Domestic Departures. Once there, Salt told Pepper to go ask someone at the Information Kiosk where we needed to go.

“I think I know where to go from here,” I said proudly.

”No mom, let Pepper go and ask, he needs to learn,” said Salt authoritatively.

So, to my surprise, off trotted Pepper to go ask at the Kiosk. Never mind that he left his suitcase and WORK laptop bag lying unattended. Luckily Salt and I realised this, and went to stand guard! On his merry and more informed return, he pointed at his baggage and laptop, and with the facial expression one would have when pointing to dog poop, said ”what do I do with that??”

Now I am still not sure if that was his way of saying that he had carried the bag for long enough, and it was now someone else’s turn, or he genuinely was inquiring about checking the bag in. Be that as it may….Pepper cannot but look like he is disgusted with any ”menial” task he is ever required to do.

On my way home, while reflecting about the unnecessary anxiety I had placed on myself the previous few days, and contemplating the unnecessary anxiety I would surely be placing on myself for the following ten days, I was wondering how this child can be so confused when he becomes anxious or does something he is unfamiliar with. While reflecting, I missed the turn for home, and had to make a detour to get back on track.

Anyway, back to the question as to why Pepper is like that…… is a total mystery I tell you….a total bloody mystery.

Economic Disparity and Contentment

There is economic disparity everywhere in the world, but in some places more than others. South Africa is most certainly one of the places with a bigger gap between those that have and those that don’t have.

Of course the larger the separation, the larger the lack of respect for those that have less. We all know how those with more look down upon those with less. Some might display outward empathy, compassion or tolerance, but truth be told, those with more do believe that they are superior to those with less. Those with less are treated with less respect and less dignity, even disdain. I personally have heard people discuss those with less, automatically assuming they are criminals, untrustworthy and unhygienic. Why? Because they have less? Because they live differently from you? 

However, at the risk of me sounding devoid of any empathy or compassion for the socio economic conditions that many are faced with, I got to wondering recently, are there those that just don’t desire more?

We often see on social media (and I myself am guilty of it), people posting memes about running away from the madness they call life, and living on a hilltop all off the grid, isolated and quiet like. Many of us have those thoughts regularly. Of course, whether we would actually be happy and content like that, we do not know. We have tasted the life of luxuries, excess and convenience. Perhaps this isolated off the grid type of life would not be as great as we imagine. But what of the people that have never had more? 

As mentioned in my previous blogs, I am very selfishly selective of whom I allow to destroy my soul with feelings of empathy and compassion. So, the 16 year old standing at the robot looking for free hand outs to buy the next tube of glue to sniff, while in all probability, his mother sits at home feeling distraught and totally helpless in being able to assist her child, does not qualify as someone who I allow to take residence in the destruction of my soul.

I am fully cognisant of the fact that he would probably have grown up without the privileges and opportunities that so many (including myself) had. I would not even pretend to understand what his life was like growing up. But there is a huge possibility that his mother and/or father worked their fingers to the bone, in order to try and create more opportunities for him. But he preferred to live a stress free life. Not a great life. Not a comfortable life. A STRESS FREE LIFE. 

Now the people who I do allow to take residence in the destruction of my soul, are the people who do want more, but who never had the opportunity to get more, who constantly try to improve their lives, despite the fact that they are faced with immense obstacles on a daily basis. These are the people who have the responsibilities, even if on a smaller scale compared to the middle and upper class. They have the home loans, the school fees, the utility accounts, the children and themselves to feed and clothe. These are the people, who to be honest, in their entire lifetime, will never have anything more than the bare minimum. They go out there every day, and do what needs to be done, just to live in the life that has become our norm. These are the people who never had the opportunities so many more had. These are the people who would have had more, had they been gifted with more opportunities. These are the people that I would love to save. These are the people who WANT to be saved. These are also the people that want the respect, that deserve the respect, but don’t receive the respect.

But then, I was wondering about another class of people. These are the people who might actually not want to be saved. Rather than seek employment, they live their lives on the streets. There are so many of them. It is like a whole community. They socialize, share their stories of the day, discuss the weather and so on.

What got me thinking about this was when I moved out of my White privileged environment one Sunday morning, to accompany my son Salt, who is coaching Little League soccer, to one of his matches. I am not going to delve into why (helicopter mom) I chose to accompany him (helicopter mom), as that is not relevant (helicopter mom) to this blog….HELICOPTER MOM!! Be that as it may, we drove through areas that we do not regularly get to see, especially at 7am on a freezing winter morning. We drove past many people, more particularly groups of people, who were huddled around fires they had lit for warmth. Some were eating, some were drinking…..pretty much having started their Sunday morning like everyone else….just on the streets. They had blankets wrapped around them, and seemed quite content with their lives. They had a lot less to worry about at the start of their day, than I had to worry about.

I was anxious to get back in time to attend to the one of three jobs that I hold down. Of course one has to work 3 jobs to pay for the nice house. Naturally, what comes with the nice house, is insurance to protect the house, security so no one takes your nice things out of the nice house, sky high utility bills, petrol costs to get to and back from the 3 jobs for the nice house, nice food for the fully stocked fridge in the nice house and everything else that goes with having a nice house!  

What I saw that Sunday morning, were people who had a huge sense of community, as opposed to us privileged lot, who honestly just stand on the shoulders of others to get where we need to get. Who are so stressed in maintaining a certain lifestyle that, not only do we not ”love thy neighbour”, we don’t even know thy neighbour! 

With people such as these, there is no such thing as eating alone. Whatever they have they share. Honestly, they have nothing, so there is nothing that the next person envies, nothing that the next person can take from them. Their only concern (which is a major concern, granted), is where they will get their next meal.

Now I might sound devoid of any compassion, but on that drive, I just saw a different picture! These people do very little to contribute to society, or the upliftment of a country’s poor socioeconomic conditions. However, I truly do suspect that given the opportunity to improve their situation, by working or being proactive in finding employment, having responsibilities and bills to pay….. they would decline. These are not the criminals. These are not the people coveting the possessions and lifestyles of the privileged. No, these are the people who are actually content with their lives.

So perhaps before judging and labelling all people that have no roof over their heads, think about the fact that maybe we have it all wrong. In all probability, many are judging us!! 

Only a Few People Care……The Rest are Just Curious.

Now the reason for writing this gloomy, bleak and cynical Blog (so unlike me), is to try save you some time in realising who people really are….a Public Service Announcement if you will. Yes, there are better and worse, nicer and nastier and many different types of people, but the common thread running through many people in your life, is that they don’t really want what’s best for you, and they don’t truly ‘have your back”. Sorry, but if it looks like a cat and meows like a cat…..well…..”here kitty kitty”.

So, on realising this, the key is to sift through all your people, and realise who actually does want what’s best for you. Either discard those that don’t, or if that is not possible, just be aware of who you are dealing with, and behave accordingly. Alternatively, you can be all kumbaya, and believe that everyone just wants the best for you…….said me so wishing I was all kumbaya!!

I must say I really did, for most of my naive little existence, truly believe that if someone was making a concerted or regular effort to inquire about my life, they were doing so because they had wanted to hear that my life was rainbows and sparkles. I kind of reasoned (understandably), if they didn’t care they wouldn’t ask….. period. 

I get that everyone has their own lives, and their own issues, and very rarely actually give a rat’s a** about what is happening in other peoples’ lives. That is fine. To be brutally honest, that is human. That is how I operate at least. I just need to know that my people are generally fine, and that nothing earth shattering has happened, or is going to happen to them. I do not need to know the finer details, and do not need to be kept in the loop about the normal day to day ups ‘n downs. If I am not told, I certainly will not ask, and I am certainly not going to be waiting in the wings to feed off bad news that has occurred to some or other person, or more disturbingly a friend of mine. That would just make me vermin, surely?

I also get that, if we are really honest with ourselves, we are all a little verminesque. When we hear that someone else’s life is less than perfect on some or other front, do we not all appreciate our lives and ourselves that much more? Obviously we can then pat ourselves on our backs, congratulate ourselves for getting this thing called life right, and move on with our imperfect lives.

But surely no one spends their days waiting to hear the bad news about other peoples’ lives…..or do they??? Well, the short answer is ”yes”, but that would not a Blog make. So here is the slightly lengthier answer…….

I have come to realise, and it becomes more apparent to me as life goes on, that there are very few people who genuinely have your back, want what’s best for you and are happy for you when your life is going swimmingly.

I have seen this so clearly in my situation, where being a single mother, people have waited in anticipation for over 15 years to see the fruits of my failure. Oh, in the beginning, I was awe struck by peoples” concern and interest. But after a while, I realised that for the most part, that ”interested” and ”concerned” behaviour, was in fact condescending, and that they were actually on their tip toes, with binoculars, looking ahead into my future to see where and when it was all going to fall apart. 

I would probably have had the same attitude if I had not been a single mother, as on my worst days I sometimes question if my pear-shaped moments would have ended differently, had I not been a single mother.

But I digress, the fact remains that there are hungry people lurking in the cracks ready to spring up as soon as they hear bad news. It’s almost as if they feed off it….. thrive off it……you know…..all vermin like!!

Realising this quite late in life, a lot of things that had happened in my past started falling into place. What initially opened my eyes to this a few years ago, was when a ”good” friend of mine…..always the first one on the phone if there had been mutterings that things might not be going splendidly…..became very scarce when things appeared to be running smoothly. Please do not interpret this as me feeling all lonely and rejected because someone has not been phoning me…..hell no….that is my definition of bliss. However, I ”tolerated” her private calls, as I believed that her concern was genuine, and that perhaps she had felt that I had needed her shoulder to cry on, or to have a sounding board. Oh bless…how special is she, I would always think, hoping the next call would not be too soon in the future.

Sure, you are probably thinking about what a prize b**** I am for believing otherwise. But know this, I have the genuine people in my life…….. those are the quiet people, the people who make a call or text me just to say ”hiya”, as they know or suspect that I am going through something, the people who do not need to know what, why or when…. they need no finer details (that they can rush off and discuss with others, or use to make themselves feel better about themselves). No, these are the people who just quietly let me know that they have my back. Me, I am those people too!

So things cooled down between myself and this ”friend” a while ago, initiated by me I admit, as it just takes one ”see” for me never to be able to ”unsee”. However, once ”seen” I do sometimes think maybe I had been wrong, but whatttaya know….the gut never lies.

I never heard from her privately for a few years. We were still in regular contact, as we are part of the same group of friends, but that was just surface and inauthentic (my pet hate). However, whenever the pear shaped police alerted her, I would get “the call”. To make it even more irritating, the tone was one of sympathy and concern. Thank all cute puppies and kittens, the pear shaped Police were mostly misinformed, but still….

Now the obvious question to me was what the f*** is this woman phoning me for when we haven’t had a private conversation for yonks? And then, unfortunately, the only fraction of naivety that was left in my bones quickly slipped away.

Then of course I became an absolute master at judging whether people were being sincere about expressing concern or interest, or whether they were not… And moved on with my little jaded existence.

Recently such behaviour happened in such a cluster, that it was almost comical. A friend of mine, who is not active on Facebook, decided to clean out her kitchen cupboards. She asked if I would mind trying to sell these items for her on Facebook. So there I went, listing a gazillion little pieces of cutlery and crockery in an attempt to assist her.

Within the hour, ”ping”……I received a What’s App message from a ”friend” who had relocated 3 years ago, and who I had only been in contact with twice since then…..and only because both times she had reason to believe that my sky might have been falling. Just a ”hi, this has happened in my life in the last three years….blah blah……and how about yours?” I was so pleased to hear from her, and told her about the non eventful previous three years in my life….and then….crickets. 
To be honest, I did not connect the dots at that stage, and had still doubted my scepticism about the two previous times she had contacted me.

Shortly thereafter…. ”ping”…….I received a private message on Facebook from another friend from the distant past. You know, one of those people that you even forgot you had as a friend on Facebook. There she was, private messaging me to ask me if everything was okay. She thought I was selling all my belongings because I was in some kind of trouble, or was leaving the country.

Only when I heard the third ”ping”, and it was ”my person” sending me a message in jest about my posts, that I put two and two together.

So to the vermin I say….worry less about what is going wrong in my life, and more about why you need to to know what is going wrong in my life!!

If I was prepared to risk making my children all bitter and twisted like me, I would probably tell them to trust no-one, rely on no-one and seek comfort from no-one. I would tell them, they are on their own in the world, and whatever comes after that is a bonus.

But becoming bitter and twisted like me doesn’t just happen overnight!! Nope….it is all a lengthy process which they will unfortunately have to learn for themselves. Cos ain’t no sprogs of mine going to be any kind of kumbaya in life!!

How To Lose Weight Without Even Trying.

Ha ha….clickbait much???

So, over the years I have gone through bouts of severe weight loss due to stress. On encountering….well….umm…….people, the conversation generally goes like this:-

‘’Oh my gosh you have lost so much weight, what did you do?”

To which I reply, ‘’nothing, it’s from stress.’’

To which they reply, ‘Oh….. I always put ON weight when I am stressed, no, really, what DID you do?”

The fact that these people think I have discovered some miracle method of losing weight, which I have decided to keep CLASSIFIED, under lock and key in a vault, until I am ready to impart my newfound discovery, is very annoying. Although the fact that they do not believe me is preferable to the other response, which is, ”what are you stressed about?”

Firstly, to these blithering bozos, I say everyone has stress. Secondly, everyone stresses about different things, and in different degrees. But at the end of the day, a Type A personality will find a gazillion things to stress about, including, why there is not currently anything to stress about!!

Just by way of an example, because I am so self aware and sensitive……. those are my “good” traits by the way…. I am constantly doing post-mortems on my social encounters, which drives me and the twelve demons living in my head absolutely looney!!

Generally in my head the post-mortem of any given conversation takes ten times longer than the actual conversation itself took. Maybe I should not have said that…..maybe I should have laughed when saying that….maybe I should NOT have laughed when saying that….hope nobody was offended (mmmmm…… right). Then when I have tried to stay silent to be safe……maybe I should have said something. That then is just the stressful situations I put myself under on a minute by minute basis on a daily basis.

Naturally with this ”stress free” environment we are currently living in, anyone who is not experiencing stress, needs to be bottled and distributed to all stressors….no FDA approval delays necessary. Just distribute, distribute….distribute!!!

I mean….with all this sanitizing going on, my OCD (CDO to be alphabetically correct) has OCD!!

So back to me for a change (she said…tongue in cheek), and the issue of my weight loss since COVID reared its ugly mug. Mind you, if I could talk to people using parentheses after each sentence, in order for my tone to be better understood by the victim I am conversing with, that might solve a lot of my problems. But I can’t, so there is that.

Again….back to me……Firstly, what people don’t see, is that by that time I have lost that type of weight, I am generally underweight. Somewhere along my bloodline line, (I think from my mom), myself and my one brother have very skeletal tops. Our shoulder blades, arms and rib cages can tend to look somewhat emaciated when we are too thin. But with me, I was also ”gifted” with a very solid pair of legs……especially calves!!

Just as a side note…..never one for letting an opportunity to mock his mom go to waste, my son Salt mentioned the other day, that maybe he should try squeeze me like a toothpaste tube… know…roll me up from feet, and perhaps get some of the meat from the bottom to the top, so that I would be evenly distributed. After being slightly offended, I actually thought about how wonderful that would actually be!!

So with my ”solid” lower half, and my oversized clothing covering my skeletal top half, I look like a fairly normal slim somebody. And yet…by that stage, I have generally lost any trace of minerals or vitamins in my unevenly proportioned body, hair, teeth and all my hopes and desires of ageing gracefully…..that ship has so sailed!!

So now that you have a vivid (and dare I say disturbing) description of my appearance post excessive weight loss, you might be wondering why I am choosing to over share as I have. Well, it got me thinking the other day, that actually, it is not stress, but fear and panic which actually leads to this type of weight loss. I stress ALL the time. If it was the stress that caused this type of weight loss, I would look like a carcass permanently.

Generally, when you find yourself in this predicament, the weight literally ”falls off”. It does that within the first few days rapidly, and then continues to do so at a steady pace thereafter. You are not eating less or differently. On the contrary….you are actually eating more, but your ‘’nervous energy’’ is making quick work of the digestion process, and Bob’s your uncle….you have been graced with a fast metabolism. Before you know it, you have dropped a few sizes. I cannot lie….your clothes fit better, you actually feel healthier and stronger.

But to those who now feel like hunting me down as I am sounding like one of those annoying creatures who “forgets to eat’’ or ‘’ just cannot put on weight’’ no matter how much they eat…know this…. this type of weight loss always comes to bite you in your bony butt!!

Eventually things start falling apart, and that is when you realise that your new found weight loss was as a result of something other than some inexplicable gratuity.

I remembered the times I had this happen to me in the past, and each and every time it was not stress, but anxiety, fear and panic. It was when I felt I had no control over something life changing. When the future was uncertain. Yes, of course all our futures are uncertain. But, I am quite capable of misleading myself into believing that I do indeed have control of my future. What’s more, I have mastered this skill like no other. But when something happens that makes me feel like I have no control over what is coming, I panic like no other.

That is when one always has to start putting oneself back together. It normally involves a gazillion vitamins and minerals, visits to the dentist, untold hours of Googling as to what can be done about hair loss……NOTHING…… and an attempted reconstruction of whatever else was lost in the process. Unfortunately, each time this happens, there is a certain amount of irreparable damage done to your body and psyche.

So how does one avoid this? Well…… can’t………unless one resorts to medication, which drains you of feeling anything emotionally….so this ‘’one’’ will not even consider going down that road.

Any personality Type B to Z, as well as those fortunate enough to have not been faced with a scary situation (if anyone like that even exists), might never even have experienced this feeling of fear and terror. But sista, if you be a Type A AND you have suffered some kind of shock……you are buggered.

You see, we do this to ourselves. I mean every living being suffers from some type of shock at least once in a lifetime. However they manage to deal with it differently. You don’t see every part of their Temple falling apart and crumbling into little anxiety ridden pieces, do you?? No…nope…those freaks of nature just deal with what life throws them by using all their sense and sensibilities that they were given. Hate those people!!!

So, next time someone asks me how I lost so much weight, I will just tell them I forget to eat!!

Selective Information Processing – Trying To Stay Sane Amongst The Lunacy!!!

Me Staying In Lala Land

Now, for anyone who knows me well enough, they know two of my many…..uumm…quirks are, firstly, I have OCD issues, and secondly, I tend to overcomplicate things at times. So, by way of an example, I am so organized, that my spreadsheets tend to have spreadsheets, which then just leads me to be more confused than if I had no spreadsheets at all!! And then what ultimately ensues is death by spreadsheets!!

This lunacy extends to any technology that I use. So my email messages are read…promptly, and either deleted, or get put into a relevant folder. My deleted folder is cleared on the daily!! Same principle with my text messages, recycle bins and so on.

Of course, this gives rise fairly often, to me suddenly needing to revert back to a previous email or text…..but wait….DELETED. You would think that if this happens often enough, old numb nut over here would not delete things so hastily. But nooooooo……cannot have things clogging up our folders can we???

So to get to the topic at hand, my WhatsApp messages on my phone. Now I ask you to try keep up, as just the thought of what I am about to write, gets me thinking that I am going to confuse the hell out of you. But I may be wrong. So, previously (until yesterday actually), you had your ‘’Message Folder’’, in which all your messages appeared. Then you (or more particularly I), could read, not read, delete (and then permanently delete), let well alone or archive the message. Obviously I am the person, of which it seems has become a rare breed, who ALWAYS opens my messages… I see them…..immediately. It is plain rude not to. It is probably ruder to open the message and not reply, but I so seldom do that anyway. I just do not reply when I realize that replying would be more savage to the person that would read my reply, than just not replying at all.

Taking it one step further, I clean up my technology on the daily. So anyone who would not fall under a daily chat, was archived. It was always an internal struggle not to just delete the periodic chats, but I just found it more user friendly (well, if I am the user), to keep them archived.

I am currently living in a part of the world going through a third wave of COVID, which is way scarier, more frightening and closer to home than either the first or the second wave. Everyone knows someone that knows someone who has either been, or is currently infected with this plague! Some are riding the storm, others are in hospital and there are those that have passed away.

So this of course is a total fodder for my panic disorder.

Apparently, the processing of information involves three stages: Firstly, collecting the information. Secondly, storing the information, and thirdly, retrieving the information. I have got better at identifying whether I want to store and/or retrieve information in the collection stage!! When I detect that it is going to negatively affect my emotional well being, I just stick to stage1.

Probably not the first time that I have mentioned that I have a friends message group. This group has been going for over fifteen years and comprises of ten members.

Now, this group used to be my happy place. It had its own message tone (heaven forbid I missed out on ANY message on this group), and on hearing the tone, everything (and I mean EVERYTHING), came to an abrupt halt. This so I could get a bit of happy energy to carry on with the rest of my day. I laughed out loud….often…. at the crazy messages. We behaved like a bunch of mad bats on the daily. Unfortunately, especially since the start of COVID, this group has become my anxious place. These girls absolutely feed off drama and morbid news. Because I let things affect me so deeply, I do not need (or even want) to know about some person’s auntie twice removed who is in hospital or has passed away. The people you hear about that are known to you, or close to you, is more than enough for my fragile emotions to handle. At the moment, ten members, third wave….you do the math.

Ironically enough, they are all fighting to share their morbid tales, yet they are also able to totally disconnect and carry on with a some lighthearted and feel good conversation in seconds. It is almost like listening to a newscast, where the presenters impart news of the world, and then move on to the feel good story of the day. Perhaps others can remain level-headed and unaffected by all the toxic and morbid chat being spewed out incessantly, but I am incapable of doing so.

So I have chosen to mute my friends group, a group that was previously my happy place. No longer!! MUTED!! And just for extra measure….ARCHIVED!!

Now, until yesterday, archiving the group did not solve the problem in its entirety, as if any message was posted on the group, it automatically reappeared in your normal folder. So, when you click on to read other messages, there it is…in all its glory…. and then you see 20 or 30 unread messages, which means that at least one person has definitely mentioned that they know someone who has COVID, or how terrible our government is, or what a mess our country is in, or how overloaded our hospitals are etc, etc, and every member then jumps in to partake in the barrage of scary, morbid and depressing messages…or with their own new bit of news, which in turn leads to another 20 or 30 messages, and before you know it, there can literally be 50+ unread messages. In the space of ten minutes.

The problem was, that somewhere in the tightest corner of my smallest brain cell, I would think maybe something important about one of my friends has been mentioned, and that there I was, oblivious to it. So what I did was then open the group, scan through the messages, just to make sure that the ten members and their nearest and dearest were fine, and then feel totally depressed and gutted and wanna kick myself sideways and upside down for doing so, swearing I would not make that same mistake again!!

So the solution for me, was to send one of my friends a private message just asking them to give me a heads up, if there was anything that I would need to know.

A while back, I had not been on my phone for a few hours, and when I went into my messages, there were unread messages from about 6 people. So, in opening and reading the messages, I ERRONEOUSLY opened this Grim Reaper Group (‘’GRG’’). I only realized I had done so after I had read a couple of messages, which naturally were messages that had me wanting to slit my wrists. At first I thought, another group to mute?? But then realized I was on the GRG, at which point, like a two year old child, I shut my eyes tight and got out of that group faster than you could say ‘’get out’’…. Mature innit??

However, from yesterday, the algorithms, Siri, cyber monsters….whoever is in charge of us guinea pigs….changed my messages so that archived chats REMAIN in Archives. Brilliant, exactly what I have been asking for (in my head), for months. But, you know how they say ‘’be careful what you wish for’’? Well…yes, now my problem is, because of all my archived chats, if someone who is archived sends a message, their chat STAYS IN ARCHIVES!! No tone, no fart, no nothing to give me notice that the message has come through. So I do not see the message UNLESS I CHECK MY ARCHIVES FOLDER!!

I immediately started sending all my archived chats (excluding the GRG chat) to my normal folder, and then realized that this would just not do! It PAINS me to open my chats and see 16 names staring at me in the face. So, there I was, sending all my previously archived chats back to archives.

This led me to thinking…..would it just not be easier to read the f*&îng GRG chats?? Well, probably easier, but way too depressing.

And you thought it was easy being me!!!