Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lost in translation

I've been having a think. I really do need to get my mojo back and look for the smiles in life. The last post (Please Say Amen) was a bit of a downer and a huge thank you to those of you who read it and came to me with encouraging words (not everyone posts comments - some people actually do speak to me in real life). Being a foster parent can be rewarding and it can be bl**dy hard - excuse my French. Oooh, that reminds me...when I was a kid, I used to belt out that Beatles song called "Oh Blah Dee, Oh Blah Da" because it meant that I could say "bl**dy" and not get told off for swearing.

Anyway, I thought I'd look for some of the lighter moments. Just before our guy had his spin out (and got cruelly ripped away from us by a "Certain Government Department!!) he would often have friends over to stay. One of these is a lovely Vietnamese boy, J, who has limited English. There had been some talk about a mufti day at school with a super-hero theme. J knocked on my door and asked if I could buy him "clothes". I was a bit concerned and asked if his parents could take him to buy clothes. He said, "No, they no understand. I only one who use computer". I thought that was a bit random but agreed that if he had the money we could arrange something - especially after he flashed 160 bucks under my nose. I mentioned this to Beloved who organised J and his non-English speaking mum to accompany him to the mall on Thursday night.

Incidentally, did I mention that Armageddon was coming up and my son M had been hanging out for it all year? I relented and bought him the costume he'd been begging for. It cost loads but since I have a weakness for costumes resulting in two wardrobes bulging with "interesting outfits", I gave in so that I could add it to my collection.

Anyway, Thursday rolled around and Beloved rocked up to the Mall with J and his mum in tow. It didn't take long for my phone to ring. It was Beloved.
"Errr....what's this costume M's got?"
"Costume? Why do you want to know about that for" I know that's apalling grammar but I was a little nervous about talking to Beloved about M's costume. I couldn't remember if I'd actually told him I'd bought it - on account of how much it had cost (I just thought I'd slip it into my collection without anyone noticing).
"Well it's not "clothes" J wants, it's "CLOUD"! He wants a CLOUD costume like M's!!!"

Ummm...slight misunderstanding there I think.


Back to Armageddon, M wore the costume and now it stinks of his armpits. I'm not exactly sure how to wash it without damaging it. And as for the Cloud costume. When M first asked for one about a year or so ago I said I'd think about it. I planned on surprising him by making one for him but thought it was a bit out of character for him to want something so....fluffy. Thankfully I opened my mouth and suggested that I would need an awful lot of cotton wool to make a cloud costume big enough to fit him. Phew! Good save - he might have looked a bit silly walking into Armageddon covered in fluff. Not that any of the other sci fi fans looked silly of course!

Just one more thought on the horror of the past week. Can someone please tell me, if something doesn't kill you does it make you stronger? Or harder? I don't think I ever want to be hard but is that the only way to stop being hurt by a stupid CGD?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Please say amen

So where's this post gone? Let's just say I'm aware that when it comes to fosties, one must be very aware of "confidentiality" and such. Having just signed a Caregivers' Contract assuring our agency that all information relating to our fosties is handled discreetly, there's been a severe edit here. Kinda like WWII Britain and those letters home with all the holes cut into them.

Thank you to all those people who said "Amen". Things didn't go as we might have liked but I do believe something positive will happen as a result. Although, that doesn't necessarily mean I understand it

Monday, October 11, 2010

Eee by gum!

I was standing outside the McAnnalley Takeaway the other day, waiting for the chips for our Sunday lunch when I noticed something interesting about the pavement. It was literally covered with dried up, old blobs of chewing gum.  I'm a relatively deep thinker and began to ponder the significance of this. I'm guessing that a large amount of the gum had lay there since the shops were built way back in the 20th Century. It would probably need a scientist and a carbon dating kit to confirm this. I'm really intrigued. If only gum could talk - think of all the stories it could tell. There are so many questions I want answered. Who was it that spat it out onto the footpath? How long had they chewed it? Did they blow bubbles with it? What history lessons could the gum teach us? Who has walked over it? What colour was it originally? What became of the original gum chewers?  Are they still alive? Had only one person chewed the gum or had the same piece been shared around a group of kids? Confession: When I was a little kid I once resorted to scraping some fresh gum off the kerb and giving my jaw a bit of a workout before I swallowed it. Now that's recycling at its best!

All very haunting thoughts, but there is one thing that really started bugging me. The takeaway shop is in a block which has a dairy on the corner (for the non-NZ readers, a "dairy" is a corner shop that sells milk, bread, candy, lotto tickets and adult magazines wrapped in plastic). It seems to me that the dairy is the obvious place to buy gum so why would there be so much gum art surrounding the shops? It doesn't make sense. If you've only just bought the stuff, why would anyone spit it out right after buying it?

Speaking of gum art, I've just read that there was a guy in London mysteriously turning old gum into works of art. He was a "gum-guerilla", a phantom, and nobody knew who was doing it for a while. He could have been any "homeless guy" squatting down, inspecting the asphalt.  Now here's someone who speaks my language! He can see the beauty in the ugly and has produced brilliant masterpieces such as this:

Sadly, the rest of London didn't see the merit of his works. It took a while to find him but he was actually arrested for it. Now I think that's much more disgusting than gum on my shoe.

It was the first day of a new term back at work today and my head was still swimming with all these questions when I was in Mr Wi's class. Some kids were googling "How do aeroplanes and birds fly?" and my curiousity peaked.  I wanted to know what exactly keeps an aeroplane from dropping out of the sky because if you ask me, that's just not normal. Some of the boys tried to explain things about engineering and such but I have ovaries so can't possibly get my head around any of that stuff.

"Okay," I interjected "how does a bumblebee fly? It has a fat body and tiny little wings. It just can't do it."
"But it does Miss"
"I dunno, it just DOES!"
"Well what about ants then?"
"Errr....Miss? Ants don't fly."
"Yeah, well how come if I were to fall off a cliff I'd just go *SPLAT*! But if a tiny ant falls off a desk it just keeps going? And what about a car driving off a bridge bursting into flames while a hotwheels car falling off the shelf is fine?"
"Errrr.....Miss? Aren't YOU supposed to teach US things?"
Fair point.

Being the first day back at school meant that the technicians have been upgrading the school computer system again so during the forty minutes I was waiting to log on (I'm not exagerating. It really did take forty minutes!) I turned to Smiley and asked her what she thought about the gum. "Why is there more gum on the pavement outside the dairy and takeaway shop than anywhere else?" Smiley rebooted her computer for a second time and thought for a moment. Then it came to her. "Clearly the chewers arrived at the dairy with their gum and bought a pie, so they had to spit it out. Or maybe they bought chocolate." Of course, how obvious. This is why Smiley is in charge of the laminator while I only get to staple scrap paper into notepads.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

If the bunk's a rockin'...

Years back there used to be an ad on the telly with the catch phrase "Don't leave town till you've seen the country". Geography is one of my many weak points but I'm proud to say that, thanks to Beloved, I have travelled this beautiful little country of ours from Cape Rianga to the Bluff - top to bottom. Well, except for little Stewart Island. As you'll recall from a previous post, poor little Stewie tends to get left out of a lot of the action. I did actually look out across the sea from Bluff because I heard that on a clear day you can actually see little Stewie from there but my eyesight's not that great so I just saw sea and sky.

I was about 6 months pregnant with C when Beloved took us to the South Island. He's a bit of a cheapskate so we drove down in the ute with my kids vomitting in the back (he doesn't seem to believe in hourly pit-stops on a road trip). We crossed the Cook Straight on the Interisland Ferry where I learned that I'm prone to chronic sea sickness (more vomitting).

Not long after Picton, after all the public restrooms had been passed, my eldest announced that she needed a toilet stop. Beloved pulled over at the nearest rest area, which consisted of a patch of grass, a few shrubs and a rubbish bin. Eldest searched for the most discreet area and settled on squatting behind the rubbish bin. Indeed, she was well hidden from the view of all the south-bound traffic. It was just a shame that she hadn't worked out that all the tooting and cheering from the north-bound traffic meant that she'd been mooning them with her little, pink tushy. I would save that story for her 21st but she's 22 now and I forgot to tell it at her birthday dinner so now's as good a time as any.

Flitwick was living in Dunedin at that time so we dropped the kids off with their dad and went on a little tiki-tour around the South Island in the ute. Eventually we found ourselves in beautiful Queenstown. We knocked on the office door of the only backpackers' hostel with a vacancy sign (No expense shared with Beloved, eh?) and were given seperate, mixed, bunk rooms with people half our age. With a bulging uterus and swollen ankles, I found myself staring incredulously at ladder leading to the top bunk. I wondered if this was such a great idea after all and was about to consider the option of sleeping in the back of the ute... Then a nice English boy offered to trade the bottom bunk with me. Relieved and exhausted, I slipped into bed while my young roomates went off to experience the Queenstown nightlife.  I slept soundly until about 2am when my roomies stumbled in the door. I tried to ignore them but it seems that the fun was only just beginning.

I felt someone lifting my blanket and a warm body was attempting to slip in beside me! I knew this definately wasn't Beloved so either my luck was about to change or somebody was making a huge mistake. She was about 20 years old and Canadian and was a little taken aback to find that the nice English boy who occupied the bottom bunk the previous night had morphed into a middle-aged, pregnant Kiwi lady.  My voice was shaky, "Err...we swapped" I said, pointing to the the upper level. You'd think she would have been embarrassed but she just calmly slid out from the covers and climbed the ladder. Then the fun started - for them. Let me tell you, it is not easy to settle back to sleep on a bottom bunk while the whole structure is shaking amidst groans of ecstacy. I know I was pregnant at the time but I'm still quite naive at heart and could not get my head around the situation. Being prone to motion sickness I decided the safest course of action would be to slip out the door discreetly and "wait" in the lounge area for the United Nations to finish their convention. I waited for an hour-and-a-half.
I hadn't waited long enough.

I took a long shower.

They still weren't finished.

I would have been better off in the back of the ute.

I waited until morning and gave them a filthy look when they emerged. Yeah, I bet that taught them a lesson.

Meanwhile in the other room, Beloved hadn't slept so well on his hard bunk either and he had the audacity to have a migraine the next day. I gave him a filthy look too.