Saturday, January 29, 2011

Can someone please tell me how to actually DO my job?

 It's been a long (and wet!) summer break here and I'm back to work on Tuesday. I love my job and I'm itching to get back to it. Being a Teacher Aide means that I don't work during school holidays and the advantage of this is the long lie-ins on a Monday morning. Some of the disadvantages are: I don't get paid, I miss having lunch at work (the reason I actually go to work), I miss my friends, I miss the school kids, and, did I mention that I don't get paid?

Actually, Smiley and I are in a bit of a panic. We've always been part of a trio. We've been a clique. Smiley, Ant and Ange. It's taken the three of us to go to the Ladies' loo together, it's taken the three of us to stand at the back of school assemblies and look sternly at any kid who tries to walk in with a bag on their back. Where one of us has been spotted, the other two haven't been far away. We've laughed, cried, partied and hugged together.

Then Ant broke the news to us - she was moving. Smiley and I were devastated for ourselves and excited for her. Part of me wanted to tie her to the chair in "OUR" office and part of me wanted to release her like a bird that needed to migrate to a warmer climate.  Is Keri Keri really any sunnier than South Auckland?

Smiley and I have found ourselves in a bit of a predicament. Our roles in the workplace have always been very clearly defined.  Don't tell the boss but it has always been Ant who actually does all the worky-type stuff. In reality, she's the one who's been running the department all this time while Smiley and I wander about the workplace looking cute - and we do that job very well.  Once we'd absorbed Ant's news, Smiley and I just stared open-mouthed at each other and basically wet our pants!!! (metaphorically speaking). I don't even know where the teachers' plastic bags are - or even what they're used for.  I've been asked for said bags on a few occasions and have simply followed Ant's pointing finger and looked like a star when I've handed them over.

I did make a pathetic attempt at a Mr Spock styled Mind Meld on Ant to try and gain access to all her knowledge and expertise. Somehow all that sought after information just didn't manage the transfer from her brain to mine. So I set up a clearfile.  Up until now we've had all of our "important stuff" stuffed in a pink clearfile with the name "Cherie Nicholls" written on the front in vivid. Nobody knows who this Cherie was or is but her clearfile has come in handy every now and then - even though I don't really know exactly what's in there.  So I set up a newclearfile. A blue one, which seems like a very professional colour.  My plan in the last few weeks of the year was to put all my knowledge into that blue file so that Smiley and I would be all set for this coming Tuesday. The blue file is practically bursting with...ummm...emptiness.  That was Plan A.

It looks like Smiley and I are going to have to go with Plan B.  When asked to do any task, we will smile, nod and confirm that it will be given top prioritory. Then if it doesn't work out, we'll look cute and blame Mr D. Everyone blames Mr D ever since he started nicking people's lunches from the staff fridge.

I think I might google Cherie Nicholls...

Monday, January 24, 2011

False alarm

My 84 year old Mum was proudly showing me the new top she bought the other day.  Mum has a two bedroom unit and both rooms have wardrobes and tallboys bursting with clothes that she's bought over the years - each of them a bargain.  Mum never throws anything away. When I was 12 I counted her underpants...ummm...yes...I'm aware that might seem an odd thing for a 12 year old to do but it's now reasonably well-known that I have some degree of OCD.  I blame Jim Henson for creating Sesame Street. I grew up with The Count and his calculating ways.  Anyway, I counted about 53 pairs of underwear when I was 12 and I know that she hasn't parted with any of them since then so it must be quite a collection by now. I just wonder where she's storing it all.

Speaking of underpants, sometimes Mum "kindly" picks up a pair for me from the Asian Dollar stores around here and I'm afraid I just don't understand them. I can deal with them coming up to my armpits. That cuts down on the dreaded "VPL" that you get with tight skirts - although they do tend to create a wardrobe malfunction when I wear my hipster skinny jeans with them.  I can forgive the mistake of having them bought in the XL size when I'm only an S (really, I am!), but what I don't understand is the pockets. The knickers have pockets. Why? For what? Chewing gum? And how are you supposed to discreetly fish into your pockets when you have to dig deep into your undies?  Maybe it's time to cut the apron strings and buy my own lingerie.

Anyway, back to the flash new top that my mother bought the other day.  I have no idea how she's going to squeeze it into either of her already bulging wardrobes but I actually quite liked it.  It was a purple swingtop - not a colour I've seen Mum wear too often but I think it will suit her well.  But there was something about it...couldn't quite put my finger on it...until I picked up the label which clearly said: "Mum2Be"

"'re not in any trouble are you?"  I could tell that she knew exactly what I meant.
"It was on special".
" we need to have a little talk?  Just how well HAVE you been getting along with the greengrocer lately?"

I'm the youngest in our family. I came along about a year before the pill became popular which I'm certain was a very pleasant shock...ummm..."surprise" for my parents...

...and I'm not about to be usurped as the spoiled baby!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A day out

"Are you awake?" I opened one eye in response to Beloved's question. "I've just rung the Ns, we're going to have a cup of tea with them at 2 o'clock this afternoon."

I like the Ns. They moved down to Hamilton last year when Mr N became the pastor of a little church there. It looks like this was going to be a good day but why was I being woken up at 8:30 am on my day off to be told about it?

"So get out of bed, we're leaving in half an hour. We're going to spend the day in Hamilton."
"What? You mean I can't check my Facebook messages first?"

With the promise of a day out in a different town, I did my best to comply and was ready about an hour or so later (after doing my hair and makeup).  It looked like a nice day to spend at a pretty park with the kids and maybe to check out that icecream shop I'd heard about.  I asked M, my 14 year old, if he felt up to the drive.  He's nurtured a moustache over the last year or two and it seems that one of the hair follicles was rebelling and had developed an infection.  A build up of pus had made his lips and face swell up and he was looking like a cross between the Elephant Man and Daffy Duck (meaning that he looked like an "ele**uck", which I'm far too polite to say and really isn't pleasant at all). He's had a trip to the doctor and hopefully the antibiotics will start doing their job soon. 

Evil, nasty thing!
 Two hours later, we were driving in the city centre itself looking for a car park.  This wasn't what I had in mind.  We could have driven just 25 minutes in the opposite direction to drive around looking for a car park in our own city.  It was hot and I was getting sticky and grumpy. Beloved doesn't like to pay for parking. I just wanted to get out the car. I offered to feed the parking meter myself and after some heated discussion which seemed to take an hour or so to resolve, we agreed on a spot outside the Warehouse. For those that don't know, this is the NZ equivalent to Walmart.  There is a Warehouse in every town and they are all the same.

Sensing that I was becoming disgruntled, Beloved tossed around a few cans of warm coke in an attempt to quench the temper tantrum. M was instantly covered in it as he tried to aim the can in the direction of his lips, which by now looked like a botched botox job. He couldn't speak and needed a straw. Meanwhile, Beloved and I discussed what our plan was for the time we had to fill in. His idea was to look at the shops. The exact same shops that we have in South Auckland. We were smack in the middle of the city centre, I had poured my cash into a hungry meter and there was nothing left for me to do but to stomp off to the Warehouse in search of straws (and more change for the ravenous meter). The next exciting activity was lunch at Burger King.

Men!  I was even less impressed than I had been at the parking meter: "You got me out of bed, hurried my beauty regime and drove me all this way just to shop at the Warehouse and eat at Burger King? I can't even eat at Burger King. I'm a Coeliac!" then with a "you just do your thing with the kids and I'll do my thing" I trudged off in search of a gluten free lunch.

We met up shortly afterwards and it was decided that Beloved and M would look at the shops. Guess what kind of shops they like to look at? BOYS shops. Shops with BOYS' toys. Shops that I don't like! C and I stuck together and attempted to look into girlie stores but we were quickly ditched by the boys.  So we sat and waited where a young man was busking (badly) outside the movie theatre.

C tries to make her own entertainment with a scrap of paper
It was a long wait. C got bored. I got bored. We scribbled notes to each other to pass the time. We played music on my cell phone to entertain ourselves. We started singing along to the songs. We were pretty good. We even got a couple of moves going.  Some old ladies smiled at C and I think one of them was starting to fish around in her purse. The busker was giving us filthy looks. That was our cue to move off his turf and do something else.
Have altered C's physical appearance in an attempt to protect her identity. She sounded better than Abba when she sang along to "Take a Chance On Me". If only we'd had a hat for the collection. Or a coffee cup. Wonder where we could have got a coffee cup?

I phoned a friend and complained bitterly about my predicament and men in general.  She was especially shocked to hear that the men in my life had desserted us to go shopping and practically left me to beg on the streets of a strange city with my 6 year old daughter.

2 o'clock eventually came and at last we met up with our friends. The day was redeemed and even M managed to press through the pain to force large helpings of chocolate cake into his mouth. It was a sacrifice he was prepared to make for the sake of being polite.  It really was great to catch up.

I was car sick on the way home.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Life changes

Bit of a stressful start to the New Year in this household. One meltdown by Yours Truly and one massive clot on Beloved's lung. It's funny how events can take an unexpected turn. A few weeks ago we were a busy family of 7 or 8 plus and now we're back to a quiet five.  With Beloved coming so close to the Pearly Gates on the 2nd January, we're now required to "take things more quietly".  Very sad for one of the fosties who thought he had a home for life and the other who had already had everything taken away from him when he was taken into care.  I have to admit that a chunk of my heart went out the door with them. Still, my laundry load has dramatically reduced and there sure are a lot less potatoes to peel. Even so, it's unnaturally quiet around here and I'm not sure if I like it one bit.

The day after Beloved's near fatal clot did the dirty on him, my absolute favourite step-daughter-in-law was off to buy pizza for the kids' lunch.  Beloved, still in the throws of a near death experience, stretches out a feeble arm and croaks: "There are discount vouchers in my bedside drawer". You've got to admire his commitment to saving a buck.  It sure is nice to still have him around <3