Thursday, 6 March 2014

Will He Cope? Of Course He Will. I Hope

It is amazing how many seemingly unimportant and almost instinctual things go into running a smooth household. Not that the running of my household goes smoothly, it would if I put all the seemingly unimportant things into constant practise.
With my departure for the tropics, just on a week away I have been obsessing over making sure the Mauritian knows how things are done and most importantly how the girls like it done. Not that they get their way of course but there are some concessions made occasionally.
Silly things like where I store the dishwasher powder, or which draw the Butterfly’s socks are kept in the Mauritian has absolutely no idea about these things. I know, the girls know but the Mauritian is clueless. It’s funny only because they are such minor things that everyone thinks everyone should know. But it makes perfect sense; he has no clue because he never loads the dishwasher or folds the Butterfly’s socks. I did have a good giggle though when he asked me to show him how to work the washing machine again so he could write it down. Not that I am knocking him wanting to write it down, that way at least, he’ll not forget again or if he does he has something to reference. I of course have been writing everything down from the Butterfly’s after school activities to a Lollipop’s favourite television programs. I have made a daily timetable for him so he knows when to do what and will never be late or rushed. I have written instructions on how the Butterfly’s star chart works on the back of the chart. This amused the Butterfly immensely she laughed and said “Muuum! I can tell Papa how I earn stars!” Oh yeah, I’m sure you will my child! I have colour coded the calendar in the kitchen so he knows at a glance which days the rubbish or garden refuse is collected or when the insurances are debited to our accounts. Then there are the “just in case” instructions, who to call, where the important documents can be found and of course the doctor’s names and phone numbers. Then there are the “what to do” instruction for the stuff that may happen while I’m away, like Lollipop starting “Kindy”, the extra dancing lessons or dance recitals and dentist appointments. Don’t forget the everyday reminders to check the post box, hang up washing to dry, pack lunches for the girls or check emails. It’s a lot to remember, I’m having a hard time remembering what it is I need to write down for him so he doesn’t forget anything. Then there is the weekly shopping lists so he knows what to get and what brands are the cheaper or tastier, which vegetable shops or butchers I go to and when. I’ve gone as far as to pack the girl’s closets and drawers in a way that all items of clothing that go together are together. I have made biscuit dough and frozen it already cut into shapes and left instructions on how to bake them, bought the girl’s favourite cereal so there won’t be any arguing about what to have for breakfast in the mornings and let’s not forget the fudge and coconut ice made so there are treats for the girl’s on the weekends.
This week we have started doing “practise” runs. The Mauritian has been sitting with the Butterfly and doing her homework, getting them in and out the bath and doing the entire bedtime routine. The girl’s have responded well to the change and have been running rings around the Mauritian and having a grand old time. I have tried not to interfere but it is extremely hard not to, after all this is my domain. I have also tried not to smile knowingly when the Mauritian collapses on the sofa exhausted from the effort of getting the girls sorted for the night, that’s even harder to do. I did eventually  take over the first night, the second night he told me to stop laughing and last night he told me he needed a break. Tonight he goes grocery shopping with both girls, I’m trying to decide if I should go with and lent a hand in need or stay at home and leave him to work it out alone. This weekend however he’s on his own, I have things I want to do to prepare for my trip I shall be putting a “do not disturb” sign around my neck.  I’m even going to make him iron his own work pants!
I know I know I’m being obsessive and most of what I’m doing is pure over kill, but be nice. I have never been away from of my children or left them with their father for more than two nights, and then I was not that far away. This time around, I am away from home for a grand total of eighteen days and will be un- contactable when you consider the time difference. I don’t run a tight ship but it has yet to sink and I find myself hoping the Mauritian doesn’t drown. Now don’t get me wrong: I do not doubt the Mauritian’s ability to cope. He is very self-sufficient and an excellent father he will get what needs to be done, done. He just won’t do it my way! I know this and still I “worry.” My main concern is that he will be rushing in the morning and forget to do certain things, I would hate for the Butterfly to miss out on something at school because something went wrong at home. I also wonder if the girl’s will get to bed on time, the Mauritian is terrible at bed times and no matter how many times I yell at him not to rev the girl’s up just before or at bedtime he never listens. Unfortunately, both girls know exactly what to say or do to get the Mauritian started and they never ever fail.
Not so long ago the Mauritian jokingly- I hope- said he would feed the girls a glass of whiskey so they’ll sleep well at night. My response was that I won’t be here so I won’t know therefore it doesn’t matter because it’ll be his problem. “Exactly!” replied the Mauritian. I know all of this and yet I continue to obsess. Perhaps I should just resign myself to the fact that the Butterfly is going to be late for school, miss a few cricket matches, practises or dance lessons. Perhaps I need to accept that they will go to bed far too late and wear mismatched or dirty clothes now and then. Maybe I need to understand that it doesn’t matter if the girl’s lunches are made the night before or the next morning or if they bath after supper instead of before. I know they won’t go hungry because he will feed them far too much. I know they won’t get cold because he’ll dress them too warm or put far too many blankets on their beds. I know they’ll never come to any harm because the Mauritian is far too over protective. I know they won’t for a moment feel neglected or forgotten because the Mauritian is more than capable and lots of fun. I know he won’t do anything the way I do it because he is not me and nobody can do it like mum does it so he won’t even try! I know all of this yet I continue to make lists, write instruction and colour code calendars! Then every time I show the Mauritian what I’ve done, where I’ve put it and why he smiles, nods his heads says thanks and claims that’ll make things easy for him then changes the subject.
I know that while I wrestle with all these concerns, try  to ensure that everything runs smoothly or predict any issues and how to solve them  the Mauritian struggles with the intense problem of how to fit  his gym workout into the day and what to do with the kids.
In the end, whatever happens will happen it will be up to the three of them to deal with it. I really do need to stop obsessing and just look forward to spending some quality time with my parents, siblings, nieces, nephews and the myriad of other relations gathered at the upcoming celebrations.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Grumpy Old Men on Mobility Scooters

Grumpy old men on mobility scooters, should be locked up! Man, oh man I have had my fill of them this summer.
Perhaps I should be more specific and say one grumpy old man on a mobility scooter being the exception rather than the rule. However, he does spoil it for all the elderly charging about our small seaside town on those magical scooters.
Last year some time, I had a run in with an elderly gentleman on his mobility scooter while crossing at a pedestrian crossing. We almost collided because I wanted to go left and he wanted to go right. No one’s fault really but I stepped back, allowed him to continue, smiled and apologised as my parents raised me to do. My smile was not returned, my apology was not acknowledged and he avoided eye contact as he drove off mumbling profanities about the youth of today. What a grumpy old man I thought then brushed it off as someone having a bad day and hey, it was nice to be classed as youthful!
Then a number of weeks ago the Lollipop and I were going for our morning walk, which when you are a Lollipop, is a very leisurely stroll consisting of numerous starts, stops and looks at. The morning joggers, dog walkers, kids off to school and grownups off to work all go around us utilising the space provided by the wide pavements. The highlight of the morning is how most of the kids when they charge past yell, “Hello Sarah-Marie’s mum!” I often think that the entire school knows who I am! But I digress, so there we were, Lollipop and I, strolling slowly and happily along the pavement. The Lollipop was admiring the flowers and collecting pebbles and stones and putting them into her backpack. Suddenly we were both frightened out of our skin by what sounded like a fog horn. Spinning around to search for the source of the noise, I found a grumpy old man in a mobility scooter, gestating wildly at me to move out of the way. Considering the amount of space available for him to move around us, and the complete unnecessary use of an air horn to get our attention, I was highly annoyed. Scowling at him I realised he was the same grumpy old man from the year before; I wanted to tell him to go to hell and maybe learn some manners. I did not I was raised correctly! Clutching a very frightened little Lollipop close to me I stepped back into the flower bed out of his way apologised for not realising we had drifted into the middle of the path and tried not to glare! Again, he made no eye contact as he zipped past mumbling profanities at stupid people. Having now gotten over that, I realised I had now damaged someone’s garden and would be apologising for that too.
I don’t get it, I’m am not the world’s most tolerant or patient person but I do have manners and I always try and treat everyone with some respect, why is it there are so many people out there with none to speak of. I was raised to have respect for people, I was taught to always be polite and mindful of others especially pensioners. You know what I mean, those simple things like giving up your seat on the bus or stepping to one side and allowing them to enter a building before you. Simple things that take no effort but make someone feel noticed. It amazes me how many surprised looks I get from the elderly when I hold a door open for them or step aside to let them go ahead of me. It is almost as if they become invisible as people completely ignore them or push past them as they slowly make their way around town. Whoever came up with the idea of the mobility scooter needs to be knighted; so many elderly people now are able to continue living independently because these scooters give them the freedom to go places in their own time. They zip up and down the shopping aisles, along the pavements or the Foreshore having a grand old time. As a pedestrian, we do have to be a little more aware of them and it is our responsibility to get out of their way rather than expect them to move out of our way. After all these are elderly people whose eyesight may not be the best or their reflexes have slowed and they won’t react quick enough to avoid collision. On the whole most riders of these mobility scooters use basic road etiquette and share the pavement space with other users without incident.
Except, it seems for this horrid grumpy old man who, I believe, should not be allowed out in public! Today my Lollipop and I set off for our walk to town to complete some chores. There we were standing at a pedestrian crossing waiting for the light to change when suddenly my Lollipop squeals and falls forward into the street. Grabbing her by her shirt I was able to pull her back to safety and while I was picking her up to comfort her I looked around for the reason for her flight into traffic when my eyes settled on the same grumpy old man and his mobility scooter. He was nowhere to be seen when we got to the crossing so he had obviously come up behind us and not stopped, purposely riding into Lollipop. Forgetting all my upbringing, my manners and totally disregarding any misplaced respect I asked him what the hell did he think he was doing. I got told the light was @#$%^ green and to get a @#$%^&* move on he had things to do and no time for stupid youngest with too much time on their hands and living off his hard earned taxes. My response was that he was making assumptions which was a dangerous thing to do and that he could either move around me and my child or he could wait till I was good and ready to move forward. He went on to list all the things wrong with my generation and the generation I was raising and personally he felt that we should all be lined up and shot, in his day children were brought up correctly.
As the light changed to green again I had quite enough of his tirade and rudeness so I turned back to him looked him right in the eyes and said: “Clearly! Sir! You were not brought up correctly but rather dragged up by elevator!” With that I turned heel and stomped off dragging poor Lollipop behind me through the crossing.