Hello campers, the Analtyns are having a fab time on holiday. The kids are really enjoying themselves. Weather is lovely, food is delicious and the pace is slow and relaxed. The perfect vacation. It definately was a good idea to leave the laptop at home. Must dash, Max is stirring xx
In what might become a family tradition, the Analtyns are going on vacation to Umngazi next week. We are VERY excited, we've been counting down the sleeps.
Once again, we are fully prepared for any eventuality.
Marko will be driving up and meeting us at the airport as we have a trailer load full of things to take with. The Analtyns are anal about being prepared. The good news is that I don't have to drive for 10 hours in a car with three kids. The bad news is that I have to fly alone with three kids. I might start drinking now already.
I have decided not to take my laptop with me. This is the first time in three years that I have been apart from my laptop for more than three days. The only reason why I was apart from my laptop for three days is that I was busy giving birth and recovering from a c-section. If I could have taken my laptop with me to theatre, I would have.
I am feeling a little anxious about not having my laptop with me but I am comforted by the fact that I will have my iPad and my Blackberry with me. Having zero internet / email access would be just plain silly. One could never cope with that. However! I am putting an out of office on my emails and getting someone to stand in for me. I really want to try this whole 'taking a break' thing. Not quite sure how it will work for me, but am going to give it my best shot.
We have packed, sorted, ordered, prepared, written To Do lists for the housesitter and done a five day weather forecast. I think we are ready to go on vacation.
Please put in a request for good weather, safe travels and some R&R for the Analtyns.
I enrolled Kate in dance classes at the beginning of the year. I thought she might enjoy it. Three of her other friends do it as well, once a week for 45 minutes.
About half way through the term she said she didn't like dance classes. It was too hard (common complaint) and too long (also a favourite complaint, everything takes too long). I think part of the problem is that Kate doesn't like doing anything that is too hard or too long (according to her) and the other part of the problem is that dance classes start 20 mins after we get home from Adam's extra mural. The kids normal routine is that they come home from school and chill in front of the TV for an hour or so. It is their time to relax and be still for a bit. After that they spend the rest of the afternoon running around outside. Having to rush through lunch and leave straight away doesn't sit well with Kate.
Today Kate said she really didn't want to go to dancing. She started crying. Mostly crocodile tears, but still. I said she could stay home. (I was leaning towards making her go but Rose persuaded me to let her stay home)
I am torn, I don't know what to do. Do I force her to finish up the year with the dance classes because she should finish what she started? The thing is, she didn't really want to start - it was my idea, not hers. She actually has no desire to do dancing. Perhaps if it was lizard collecting she might be more keen. Or do I say 'she is 6 years old, she doesn't HAVE to go to dance classes now'. Kate is a real home body, she loves being at home.
My heart says that I should let her stop the classes and stay home. My head is scared that I am somehow not teaching her the right life lesson by saying she can stop.
What do you think?
PS here she is at dance class last term (purple long sleeve leotard).
Guess where I am! I am in a lovely hotel with my husband for a romantic night away. Unfortunately for him, I am (a) at my laptop working (and taking a quick break to blog) and (b) full of coughs and snot. And as we all know, there is nothing particularly romantic about snot. Although truth be told, this was not about a romantic night away but more about using the opportunity to have a rest and catch up on some sleep. Alas, that didn’t happen either as my dear husband’s phone went off at 6am this morning. It was his boss. And by boss I mean He Who Thinks My Husband Should Be Thinking Work 24/7.
I spoke about surrogacy (<-- need to talk to you about surrogacy!) at an event recently and the lovely organizers gave me a gift of one night’s stay at a really lovely hotel – the Protea Colossuem in Century City. What a gorgeous hotel! Seriously. The hotel is stunning – Marko is raving about the decor. Very mod. He loves that type of thing. I love that it is spotlessly clean and everything is working as it should. Plus all the staff are super friendly and efficient. Really is a gorgeous hotel. Highly recommended.
Thanks Protea Hotels and the Singer Group for the night, you have an absolute jewel in your crown with this hotel.
Moving on, I must share this with you – I am a letter writer. I write letters to companies complaining (or complimenting) them on their poor (or excellent) service. Which means that I am officially old as that is what old people do – write letters. The next thing I will be writing letters to the newspaper complaining about The Government.
Funny aside – my dad phones me the other day to ask me for a word – (he was struggling to find the right word. He would have asked my mother, but my mother has done a Shirley Valentine and skipped off to go lie on the beaches of Thailand with her second and third favourite daughters for 2 weeks). I gave him the word and asked him why he needed it. He said he is writing to the bank (the Bank) to give them feedback. Oh, I ask, what happened? No, nothing happened he says, he is responding to a question they sent him saying “How would you rate our service?”. I think they were looking for an answer from 1 – 10. Instead they got a 10 page lecture on how they don’t have any loyalty to their customers anymore and do they know that he has been a customer of the bank for 40 years etc. Poor bank. I do hope they reply to my dad’s letter.
So I write letters. In fact, on reflection, I have not only turned into my mom (“go take a headache tablet and lie down, you are not dying, you will be fine in the morning”, I have turned into my dad too. I wrote a letter on Wednesday, because I was very cross.
On Wednesday I had to have my car serviced. I absolutely HATE having to have my car serviced as it is a royal waste of my time and it always takes longer than they say it will. After five years of traumatic service experiences and lots of letter writing (with little or no response) with Renault, I swore never to get another Renault again – purely because of their extra effing useless service. And I loved my Renault.
I bought a Toyota Fortuner and on Wed it had its third service. I wont go into the long story about the experience (although I could just reference my letter dated 13 April 2011 – Re: Poor Customer Service), suffice it is to say that my car was NOT finished on time, that this made me late for an appointment (which is an absolute sin in my eyes, I am a stickler for being punctual) and that the car was not cleaned.
So I wrote a letter to management, sure that I would either get some insipid response or no response at all. Was I wrong! The first thing the next morning I got a call from both the general manager at Barloworld Tygervalley (Hilton) as well as the service manager (Grant). They emailed me to say how sorry they were and have arranged to have my car collected from my home, have all the things sorted out and they will give me a courtesy car sorted out while I wait. I love the way they manned up to the complaint and didn’t try to fob me off.
In the customer service experience, It is not really that you have fucked up, it is how you address and resolve the fuck up. Toyota Tygervalley did an outstanding job at that. They have my loyalty.
I am going to talk to you about surrogacy in a separate blog post because I must dash now. Bottom line – we need surrogates! Badly. If you love being pregnant and you have the passion to help other people, please, pretty please consider becoming a surrogate mom. It is the most rewarding, beautiful, generous, amazing, spiritual thing you will ever do. More information to be found here: www.surrogacy.co.za
Right, off to be romantic with my husband. I hope he doesn’t mind the occasional sniff or cough (knowing my husband, he will be so happy to get ANY romance, he wouldn’t mind if I was bleeding profusely from a gunshot wound to the leg, as long as he was getting some romance. Poor deprived chap. Oh well, his fault, he wanted three kids. Oh….sorry – my mistake, it was ME who wanted three kids.)
Marko playing with my iPad while he waits patiently for me to get off the computer.
As I might have mentioned, I write a weekly column for South Africa's best parenting magazine - Living and Loving. The incredibly good looking and amazingly talented editor (who has a personal blog where she writes about parenting her son also called Max *cough*, *copy cat*) kindly agreed that I could repost some of my older articles here on my blog. As long as you all go out and buy the magazine and write lovely letters to the editor telling her how incredibly good looking and amazingly talented she is.
Can you sense how zen I am? Do you know why? It is because I am in my study. I LOVE my study; it is my favourite room in the house. It is a proper, grown up study with a big wooden desk with leather inlay, it has dark mahogany bookshelves and buttoned leather chairs. My study is my sanctuary, my creative space, my hiding place. It is where I ply my trade, recharge my batteries and drink my wine. One day when I die, I want to be buried right here in my study.
Unfortunately for me, not everyone reveres my sacred space as much as I do and my desk has become the final destination point for all the paraphernalia in the house that apparently has no final destination point of its own. Bills (unpaid and paid), receipts, old magazines, newspapers, party invitations, toys, kids artwork and a half-eaten peanut butter sandwich (not mine!) all jostle for space on my beautiful leather desk. It drives me CRAZY! I hate clutter, and I especially hate clutter in my sacred space!
Every few days I make half-hearted attempts to sort my desk out, but that usually involves straightening the piles so that the mess looks neat. I make piles of “can put off until tomorrow”, “can put off until next week” and “can put off indefinitely”. I like my procrastination to be ordered, if you know what I mean. Plus a neat mess is more calming than a messy mess, right? No, I know. It isn’t really. Which is why every once in a while, I get stuck in and sort that mess out!
I am a ruthless tidy-upper. Already very un-traditional and unromantic, I save absolutely nothing for keepsake. If it isn’t a case of life or death or being handed over for non-payment, it gets turfed. Yes it would be nice to have an old magazine to cut out of, but I can’t take the chance that if I let the magazine back into the wild (of my house), it will find its way back to my desk. Half-eaten peanut butter sandwiches, old receipts, broken toys and kids artwork all get relegated to file 13 – the dustbin. I can’t tell how satisfying it is to sit at my clean, tidy desk and gaze loving at its empty expanse.
Last week, after a particularly satisfying purge, I was calming sitting at my desk, hard at work at some Serious Work Stuff (which may or may not have included updating my Facebook status and checking Twitter) when I heard a loud gasp pierce the calm: “MOM!!” shouted my six year old son in shock and horror. “What! What’s wrong?” I yelled back, envisioning all sorts of catastrophes.
“SOMEONE THREW THE BEAUTIFUL WOODEN TREE I MADE IN THE DUSTBIN!!”
Mental note to self: When doing desk-purge, always remove evidence immediately.
“Oh dear!” I replied, scrambling for a victim on which to lay the blame. “It must have been... the baby! You know how he likes to throw everything in the bin, silly boy”, I replied nervously.
“Here, let me put it on your desk next to you. Thank goodness I found it, hey Mom!” Thank goodness indeed.*Sob* Back on the desk went the very-sweet, but totally-without-any-usefulness wooden tree.
Yes, I am ashamed to admit it, but I don’t keep all my children’s artwork. In fact, I bin the majority of it. If I were a better mom who spent less time at her desk working (and checking Facebook while drinking her Chardonnay), I would be labelling all their artwork with their names and the dates of their beautiful creations, and filing it away for when they are older.
I suppose I could get some kind of system set up to file and store their (mountains) of artwork that didn’t involve (a) my desk or (b) the dustbin, but where would I store the artwork store? I know what would happen, the artwork file would somehow find its way back to my study and add even more clutter to my lovely me-time room. No, I can’t take the chance.
Luckily for me, modern technology has saved my mother-cred to a degree. I am now able to scan some of their drawings and save it on my computer’s hard drive. A few kilobytes of data is so much easier to store than an A4 piece of paper with Picassoesque-like scribbles. Unfortunately the scanning thing doesn’t work as well on wooden trees with bits of mosaic stuck on it.
Yes, I will probably go straight to hell for throwing away my children’s artwork but at least my final resting place (my study) will be neat and tidy and free of clutter.
PS: In my defence, the wooden tree really wasn’t his best work.