Tsitsikamma…..Where I Might One Day Nama-stay.

As I have repeatedly mentioned, unlike many……..many of my fellow citizens and ex-pats, I have always felt that I have lived in the best country in the world. I was never quite sure that I was living in the best part of it, but I haven’t really been around much, and where I have been, is not that much different to where I reside.

My condaments, Salt and Pepper and I have been fortunate and privileged enough to have recently had a holiday, which I can only describe as a Little Piece of Heaven….. right here……… in my country. I have heard about it, I have seen it, but I have never experienced it. I had found the yin to my yang….this is where I would ultimately nama – stay, I had thought.

I loved every minute of the Peaceful existence and the calm of our first stop in Tsitsikamma in the heavenly Western Cape. I have so often mentioned how I really only crave a simple and peaceful existence in a small Town. And here it was. The pace was literally something I had never experienced in my fast paced, anxiety ridden and angry City.

In my City, everyone is angry and intense. It is the place people need to be to have jobs and earn a living, but one gets so caught up in the day to day rat race, that one then needs to earn more to continue living the life of this City. Then of course there are those that have very little, need or want more, and take from others. So we live behind high walls, have vicious dogs as security and always need to keep one eye open. To top that off, we have litter, potholes, unattended infrastructures and just basically, as Pepper frequently points out lately, we live in a ”rat hole”.

Now, I have always defended our ”rat hole”, as it does have it’s own ”kinda special”. But this ”rat hole” is all I have ever known. 

Now, I had seen the calm we never experience. The two things that struck me initially, were seeing houses without high walls, if any at all. The second was, in addition to calm and content residents, there were calm and content dogs!! These are not dogs that live behind any or high walls. They are familiar with the outside existence. These are dogs that live with calm and content owners. People taking their dogs for a walk…..no leash…….no problem. The dogs just walked alongside their owners. If they saw another dog, nothing. If they saw another human….nothing. I mean, where I live, one does not take one’s dog for a walk without a leash. No Siree….here the dogs are not familiar with the world outside their four walls. They don’t even have the privilege of observing such life. So when the dogs do get out and about, they become like their owners….angry, intense and ready for a fight with any other dog (or human) that they might see. So I witnessed this anomaly of happy humans and happy dogs……wow…….who knew??? 

This clean, well maintained little Town had even more. Literally the most untouched and heavenly landscape that one could ever have the privilege of experiencing.
I reluctantly left Tsitsikamma after a few days to move on to Plettenberg Bay. Also renowned for its beauty, but I imagined a lot more holiday makers and a faster pace.

When we arrived, it was exactly as I had imagined, and I kind of went into anaphylactic shock. After the four days in heaven, I had developed a severe allergy to crowds, and a (only slightly) faster pace. But once I had recovered, and pulled myself towards myself, I realised, that if we stayed out of the tourist infested Town, we could continue to have our Heaven….and that is precisely what we had. Still low or no walls, happy and calm people and dogs, and a landscape that was not quite what we had come from, but good enough!!!

And guess what……even the weather on that side of the world is calm!!!! When my Town has rain….it is no longer rain as we knew it….angry outburst of thunder and lightning, causing damage and destruction. And that is before the rains even start. So where I live…..angry humans, angry dogs and angry weather….eeeeuch.

Of course contributing largely to my state of mind was the fact that I was continuously occupied, which is something that is a requirement for me to survive. I was accompanied by my two condaments, Salt and Pepper. Salt, being my earth child, took hikes with me, lapped up the scenery, had a desperate need to visit animal sanctuaries, took me out of my comfort zone with some adventures I might not have embarked on……all in all he occupied the earth of my personality. 

Pepper, being my fire child, the one who loves the ”high life” and rates himself as a bit of a high class somebody, would accompany me on dining out and some such….satisfying the smidge of fire in my personality.

It took me a minute to realize that when I was out and about with one, the other would be at the home base ”chilling”. To be fair it suited me fine, as owing to their pseudonyms, they are complete opposites. So generally there is much love between the two brothers, but when they get together there is invariably bickering and they just get on each others nerves. I was in my happy place, so this ”shift work” worked wonders for me. 

I say ”shift work”, as that is what they seemed to regard it as. This became apparent to me the one (early) morning when I ambushed Salt asking him what we were doing that day.

”Pepper, it’s your turn to look after mom today, I have been doing it for days”, the little bastard child irritatingly said to his brother. So the parent had become the child….who knew….who cared…….I was ZEN!!!!!

On one occasion we were going to spend the day out together, and when we got into the car in the morning, I did all my checks. 

”Do we all have our wallets and phones?” I asked. 

”I leave my phone in the room when we go out,” Pepper replied.

Wow, I thought. With his history of losing phones, breaking phones and having phones stolen, that was most adult of him to take the initiative to leave his phone in the room on our outings!! Alternatively, had he perhaps decided to carpe what promised to be the most unbelievably memorable day the diem, and decided to leave his phone in the car, so he wouldn’t have distractions?

How proud I felt in that moment……my job was done, I thought. The most irresponsible child in the world has moved into the responsible zone and I only had myself to thank.

Anyhoo, I turned around and saw that Pepper had no jersey, and the weather was not that warm. They had also predicted that it was going to get quite cold and rainy later that day. So not being the helicopter mom that I am….not….. I told Pepper to maybe get a jersey. So out of the car Pepper hopped and went to get this jersey. Tick bloody tock ……time was passing, of course Salt was getting hugely irritated, and I was just trying to remain in my happy place.

Shortly after my little pep talk with Salt, to explain that in order for that day to be special, we all needed to remain tolerant of one another, Pepper makes his appearance, gets back in the car, and lo and behold Salt and I turn around, look at each other in absolute shock and horror…. there is no jersey!!!! 

In unison we say to Pepper, ”Where’s  your jersey????”, and he says, ”oh yes my jersey”, hops out again and returned with his jersey. I could have left it there….but curiosity got the better of me, and I said to him that I simply could not understand how he had gone in to get a jersey, spent literally 5 minutes before coming back and still come back without a jersey. 

”I just thought I would check my phone which I left in the room and saw I had a message, so I answered it, and then forgot about the Jersey,” he said….as if this was normal human behaviour??

At that point Salt and I look at each other, both imagining us simultaneously climbing over the chairs to get to Pepper’s neck.

So here I find myself…..back in the ”rat hole”……..going from a complete speed wobble every time either one or both of my children mentioned that they would be moving out when the opportunity arose, to virtually fantasizing about packing their bags so I can go yonder……well let’s see how that lasts!!

The good news though, is that I now see I can have this life somewhere in a country which might one day become a reality.

Are We Living The Life We Have Manifested?

So back to my reflective blog I spoke about in my last Blog.

I have previously touched on the fact that I truly believe everyone is living the socio economic life that they are content with.

I believe that there are those who want a lifestyle of the uber rich, and will work extremely hard to achieve it. There are untold sacrifices, which they are aware of and are quite content to deal with. Their priority is live in the lap of luxury, have the best of everything and have life made a lot easier and ‘’less stressful’’ for themselves, than those with less. Don’t misunderstand me, I do not believe they live stress free lives….by any stretch of the imagination. Keeping up that lifestyle is by NO means stress free. Of course I think most people accept that this does also not necessarily mean you will have a ‘’happy life’’. But, that is what they aspire to, and that is what they are prepared to work towards to achieve. Kudos to them I say!!

Then there are those, who aspire to have life that is a lot simpler, accept (or don’t) that they will inevitably have a lot less and hopefully have ‘’less stress’’. Again…..their lives are not devoid of stress. The only difference is they have a lot less financial manoeuvrability than those with more money…..so perhaps more stress?

Then there are those who want very little, want to do very little and hope for a stress free and peaceful existence.

So, to sum up, I truly believe that the lives we live are, for the most part, the lives we have manifested (even subconsciously). This is the reason that I have no jealousy or animosity towards those who have more than me. They wanted it, they worked for it and they sacrificed for it. I am under no misapprehension that they are happier than me.

Now this is all content which I have discussed previously. This is not me repeating myself. No, this is me expanding on it due to a couple of events that made their way into my life recently.

Two situations bearing a striking resemblance happened to a friend and myself recently. Myself and my two children have not been on holiday for yonks. Every year, my mind has made plans, having totally decided that that was the year, places were Googled from August, road trips would be planned, and then……I start again the next August.

However, this WAS GOING TO BE THE YEAR!! So around August, myself and my condiments,  Salt and Pepper, decided we all totally more than deserve a getaway. Three individuals with different wants and needs. But we chatted, and agreed on something that appealed to all our tastes, and more importantly to our budget. But having said the “b” word, does not in any way mean that we were feeling compromised or begrudged. On the contrary, we had planned a holiday that we were more than happy with, and were really looking forward to.

Now, what follows may sound like a spoilt and ungrateful brat talking. Many would roll their eyes and sarcastically utter the words “oh shame, you poor thing”, but this is where my discussion actually starts.

We were offered an ‘’upgrade’’ by someone, who had available accommodation that they were not going to be using. The dates overlapped with what we had already booked, and although it was very close in proximity to the area in which we had booked, it was WORLDS APART in budget. With our budget,  we could only dream of booking a place like that. But the most important question, is did we dream it,  WOULD we book a place like that, if our budget allowed?

The short answer is a resounding NO. The longer version is that, first off Pepper’s answer (my King Farouk) would unhesitatingly be ‘’ yes, definitely yes’’. If it shimmers and shines, tastes, smells or looks expensive, 100% yes. He would literally be content just to sit in this luxurious accommodation day in and day out, and breathe in the riches. Salt and I on the other hand, are looking for the experience, the adventure. It’s not about the luxuriousness of the accommodation, but rather the activities and encounters we get to experience. So, when we go back to our absolutely acceptable, clean and comfortable accommodation, that cost us a finger as opposed to an arm and a leg, we feel we have made some memories.

But having said that, Pepper can totally deal with the 12th grade accommodation we have booked. Sure, when he books his own accommodation in the future, it will be 12 star. This is what he wants, and this is what he will work towards. And please do not find me presumptuous, but based on my argument, this is what he will have.

Me ‘n my Salty, we just want happiness and peace…..no luxuries and holidays of the rich and famous. No sitting all isolated and cold in 5 star accommodation, eating 5 star meals (never as enjoyable as our non 5 star meals), and not absorbing the culture and surrounds of where we have chosen to holiday. No, we want all the memories of each unique destination….the people…the food….the culture….the warmth and the joy.

So having said all this….and back to sounding like a spoilt and ungrateful brat, this very generous offer was made by a third party. My first thoughts were, oh noooooo, we have already planned everything according to our budget and preferences! My second thought was, how am I going to refuse without offending this person? The latter was virtually impossible, as knowing the person, offence would most certainly have been taken. You see, the way a refusal would have been incorrectly interpreted by this well meaning person, would have been that I had stared a gift horse in the mouth. How could I POSSIBLY have wanted to refuse this exquisite accommodation over our average and affordable accommodation? It would have made absolutely no sense.

So I found myself in this ‘’predicament’’ of desperately wanting to refuse the offer, but knowing I had no choice but to accept. I had finally calmed down after making all our original bookings, knowing all was going ahead, and I could not back out for yet another year. This curve ball had me all panicked and riddled with anxiety, as I then needed to cancel some of our already booked accommodation, change our already finalised plans of dates, activities and ……well everything else that had been so neatly wrapped up, waiting for the day of unwrapping on our first day of our adventure.

But, me being my normal sick puppy creating unnecessary anxiety for myself aside, it really got me to thinking about people in a higher tax bracket than most. They just automatically assume that you did not book a certain type of accommodation because you couldn’t afford it. They just assume that lowly creature you, would do anything to be able to experience what they, the privileged few can. Presumptuous much? Offensive much? I am sorry though that they cannot comprehend the desire to live simple though. I find it quite sad really. Honestly, if the situation was reversed, and I for some reason offered them our accommodation, they would be horrified. There is no doubt in my mind that they would be totally offended at the audacity of me assuming that they would EVER feel comfortable with that type of accommodation. So taking that into account, why is it that those with more feel they have the right to look a gift horse in the mouth, but would look at you with utter disdain and be totally offended, even finding you most ‘’ungrateful’’ if you did the same, when the gift is up to their standards?? In what self-important and pompous universe is this acceptable??

As much as I am sure that there are those who would be having different holidays if their budget allowed, I still maintain that if they really, truly wanted it badly enough, they would have been able to achieve it. Perhaps that is what they think they want, not what they truly want?

But once again…..maybe that is just me?

Crypto….Metaverse….NFT’S and some such!!

So here I am……an average 55 year old grumpy mummy….PETRIFIED about how quickly technology is advancing. As with an average 55 year old, I am taking note and attempting to learn only what I absolutely have to in order to get things done in my little non technologically advanced world. For the rest of it, I pretend it is not happening. I do not enjoy the fear and ignorance. I wish I had the inclination (and brain power) to learn it all……..but nope, not this puppy!!

I do, however, have children, who are totally interested in this new world. Each has different interests and for different reasons, but for the most part, I think 3 year old’s are more technologically literate than I am.

My one son, Pepper, is very much into his crypto currency. Bear in mind, that this is so foreign to me, that I initially spelt it ‘’krypto currency’’!! So he has been trying to sway me in that direction for a while, but like any normal 55 year old, I was having none of it!!!!!

“What is it?’’ I would ask.

‘’Mom, it’s the future. That is how people are going to invest going forward. It is higher risk than the ‘’old fashioned’’ insurance policies, and putting your money in a bank account, but the returns are much greater,” he would reply, clearly NOT answering my question!!

‘’Where would my money go?’’ I would ask, precariously implying that I was even giving this nonsense any of my much needed energy!!

‘’It’s there mom, you can draw it out anytime you want”, clearly STILL NOT answering my question!!

Anyway this crypto crap was brought up at any given opportunity, but he soon realised I was not taking the bait.

So in the interim, my Pepper was watching YouTube tutorials at every given opportunity. Educating himself about it, listening to what ‘’the experts’’ had to say and basically immersing himself in the knowledge of this intangible thing they call crypto currency.

Now, since my Pepper has started working, he has, without hesitation, put 75% of his (not huge) pay check into crypto. This is done before said 75% even has a chance to unpack it’s clothing in his bank account! The remaining 25% is used for entertainment, i.e ordering take away food and/or eating out. This remaining 25% is invariably depleted a week or so after it was deposited. With that, he would then ask me…… she who is constantly told,  ‘’I am an adult now and don’t need you to treat me like a child’’ mummy, for a loan. Why does his dummy of a mummy agree to give him the loan? Well because the mongrel child has no money for such trivial things as……uuuum…airtime……PETROL…..and some such!!!!!

The loan is always paid back though. Okay let me rephrase that…..I am always asked whether he must repay it, or whether he can put it into crypto for me? This is such a regular occurrence that Salt will blurt out every pay day, “Mom, must I pay you back, or can I invest it in crypto’’, sounding exactly like Pepper. And we all laugh and laugh….and Pepper laughs some more, probably reflecting on how cunningly he has managed to con his mummy.

You surely see where this is going?? My son Pepper, has slowly managed to force me to invest in this intangible Universe they call ‘’crypto’’. It is not a large amount, but I have repeatedly been advised that by December 2021….yes…..right now….we would be ‘’retiring’’. So, here we are…..December 2021…..and I asked him when he is cashing in our ‘’retirement fund’’. Well, apparently things have not gone quite as planned, but apparently we are still very much on the road to ‘’retiring’’!!

I still constantly insist that this is a load of hogwash, and the whole world is being duped, and he constantly tries to explain that this is very real, and it is not going away anytime soon.

“Okay my son, I trust you…..I have faith in you….make us rich, ‘’ I repeatedly, well actually patronisingly tell him.

Anyhoo, tired of my scepticism, he asked to sit down with me the other day, so that he could show me a graph of what he has done. He has put some here, some there, some here and there, but overall, I was not seeing where my retirement money was being made.

“Mom, be patient, it needs to be handled very carefully, as you have to predict the ‘next best thing’ in order to make proper money’’, he said reassuringly.

With all this, I still did not understand where the money was, and how we got it back. This of course made me very anxious about the whole state of affairs. I mean my retirement I was promised….my retirement I WANT!!

So there we were in a shopping centre the other day, and Pepper finally had an opportunity to prove to me the validity of crypto. You could have knocked me over with a feather, before my very eyes was a crypto ATM. So essentially, you can go draw money from this machine…..crypto money. Not sure how, but can’t pretend not to have been hugely excited. So excited, I expressed my willingness to try and proactively start investing in crypto from 2022. I mean, the more little bits n pieces I invest, the sooner my retirement will arrive.

Seeing that there was a spark of acceptance within me, Pepper started explaining the ”Metaverse” to me. The way I understand it, we are literally going to be …..in a not too distant time in the future ……..living in an alternate Universe……..aka the Metaverse. We will be sitting in our rooms, living our ”normal” lives in this alternate Universe. Buying property, applying for jobs, socialising….yes…apparently as we do now, but in this alternate Universe????

So, for some reason, my concentration span lasted longer than the normal 8 seconds, and I was enthralled with this information. I listened….but most astonishingly, HEARD, and even more unlikely, UNDERSTOOD, these words that he was imparting. The processing of it became a little more difficult for me though. All I could muster up, was “that is so f*****d up!!”

“Why mom? Imagine how awesome that would be?” he excitedly asked.

Now, honestly, because the way I understood it is just too much to even comprehend, I am sure I must have misunderstood, and therefore will not be discussing why in all the Metaverses of the Metaverse I find this totally unacceptable!!

But wait….there is more….on assuming I was slowly becoming one of ‘’them’’, Pepper excitedly came to tell me he had invested in piece of NFT art. Well look at you, I thought, who would have thought you would be remotely interested in investing in a piece of art??  

‘’Why did you buy it? Will you be hanging it up?’’ I understandably questioned.

‘’No mom, it’s digital art that can be resold in the digital world”, he said, assuming we now spoke the same language.

‘’What are you talking about Pepper?? You are getting very involved in all this virtual stuff. Please slow down and stop falling for all these money making rackets!!’’ I pleaded.

‘’But mom, it’s an investment’’, he insisted.

‘’How can it be an investment?” I asked. ‘’It’s not even REAL!! Who will buy it from you?? For what?? How does it become more valuable?? Let me see what you bought.” I screeched.

Well showing me the picture did NOTHING to calm me down. It was LITERALLY a random piece of graphic art that I could have produced.

So a few days later he came to tell me that he had sold it, and had made 400 bucks profit.

“Why did you sell it so quickly?’’ I annoyingly asked him.

‘’What do you meeeeeeannnnn???????’’ he waaaaaay more annoyingly asked me.

‘’Well obviously if you want the full benefits, you need to hang onto it for longer?’’ I said…stating the OBVIOUS!!

Please….help me someone…..I am still failing to see where his irritation and confusion with me lay?????? Just trying to help the child!!!

Just Checking In……


So hi ya all, it’s been a minute. As I anticipated, my Blogs were going to come few and far between. I did not however foresee a vow of silence happening????

Please understand that me, the absolute creature of habit……no chapters or doors closing kind of gal… only comfortable with just same same day in and day out (also known as mundane) life…..had the biggest change (COVID aside), since my husband passed away nearly 16 years ago. Now although it took me about 18 years to recover from that, this was thankfully way less dramatic.

Now let me share with you how ‘’change’’ in my life is defined…..very simply, a new job. Well yes, that is huge, you might say….totally understandable…….but my new job was not even a ‘’new’’ job. It was kind of my one of two old jobs, which became the only job. So, no new office, no new faces, no new job description…… just more time spent in the old office, doing the old work and seeing the old faces more often. However, for this here Madam Papenfuss, it was out with the old, and in with the…..well…. kind of….. marginally……new, but old life…..imagine my anxiety and sleepless nights??

Not only was there this ”dramatic” change, but wait, there was more. My party venue, which I had been running for 15 years on the weekends, started getting bookings again after the likes of COVID reared it’s ugly ass head. So basically, it was a ”what in the hard hit hospitality industry was happening???” Fifteen years I ran the business, not once feeling sorry for myself about the fact that I worked during the week and on weekends, and all of a sudden, I was thinking, how the hell was I going to cope with working during the week AND on weekends?? How was I going to get up and out on my newfound days of rest?? How was it fair that I had to work seven days a week??

So, to sum up….new but old job and continuation after a brief pause of a business that had consumed my weekends for the previous 15 years. Imagine….the horror. How was I supposed to adjust to these ‘’earth shattering’’ changes to my life at the ripe old age of 55??

So, as I said, it’s been a minute. In the meantime my younger son Salt turned 21. What a momentous occasion! Such a deserving dedication was called for. Imagine the blog that could have been devoted to that? Too late…moment is over. Sorry Salt….you deserved a momentous blog. Although my guess is that he couldn’t be happier that he dodged that bullet.

Another event that has plagued us beautiful people on this side of the world….we have been subjected to load shedding….loads and loads of load shedding. Probably a foreign concept to a lot of people. Let me explain….it is when a corrupt and inefficient Government causes the basic AND EXPENSIVE utility service that we pay for every month, to be handed out if and when they decide, as we are ‘’short of electricity’’. Imagine the amount of blogs that I could have devoted to that?? For this, I do not think my children were grateful, as I generally had to vent, poop and fart to them, when normally I would have been slamming my grievances out on a keyboard! 

To top that off, from the *&^% continuous power surges that loadshedding caused, NATURALLY (to someone with a fraction of a brain), our cables and whatever else powers our electricity….intermittently…..had a meltdown, and our area was in the dark for 5 DAYS!!! Always one to make lemonade out of lemons……NOT….there was a whole adventure attached to that too. Now that could easily have involved a couple of blogs…..well when the power returned and allowed for them to be typed!! But nope, sorry for you, that has been another masterpiece or two that you have been deprived of.

And wait……there’s more…..the fifty seventh wave of the nineteenth strain of COVID arrived. PRECISELY …..or perhaps suspiciously (content for yet ANOTHER blog) almost to the minute, as predicted a few months ago. Just in time for us to have our lives and livelihood disrupted again, and for us not to be able to look forward to the two and a half minute holiday season, which we all SO RICHLY DESERVE!!!!

Then in between all that, the 16th Anniversary of the loss of my husband came and went. I mean, that needed two blogs. One to reflect on the life and times of Grumpy Mummy and her spices post loss, and another to rave and brag about my friends, who never fail, every year, to remember, recognise and provide all the comfort and humour required for the day to be gentler.

So, to get to the point, as quickly as my blogging (re-) started, it paused again. Can’t say I cared much, as I was too busy manufacturing stress and anxiety in my life to even give it a second thought!!

But helloooooooo…..a seed for a very reflective blog was planted in the last couple of weeks, which of course had me anxiously putting myself under pressure to thrash out a long overdue blog. So…..here I am….all yours……try and contain your excitement……. 

But wait…..now that I have got weeks of no blogging off my chest, I am not totally in the mood to write that ever so reflective blog anymore. Well not today at any rate.

Just kinda checking in with the 0.5 followers who have told me they miss my blogs. Not all wasted I suppose.

So just to let you know, I am here, I am no saner, calmer, content or less snarky and sarcastic than I was when we last spoke.  

But as for that reflective blog……naaaah, not today…….maybe tomorrow.

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……..you 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…..my 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…..so 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…..like ”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…..you 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……..it is a total mystery I tell you….a total bloody mystery.