Parental responsibilities

I have not blogged for ages, simply have not felt that I had anything to say that others might find interesting but here’s something that happened recently.

We were at a dinner party with a newly married couple in their senior years. It was the husband’s first marriage and the wife’s third. He is a professional person nearing retirement age. I listened with shock to him complain about how disruptive it was to his office that his only employee who had children was forced to take three days off work when her child was hospitalised for surgery. Apparently it is a rule that children under five years of age have a parent with them all the time they are in the hospital. I don’t know if that is a general rule or it just applies to that hospital but he felt that this was completely unreasonable because “what are the nurses there for?”

107429815 I was gobsmacked that someone could be so out of touch with reality and parental responsibilities and I think I probably gave him a bit of a hard time. It just made me so angry to hear such self-centred shite in 2014.

I worked for most of my children’s growing years and know only too well the guilt I felt whenever I had to take time off work to attend to their medical or educational needs. Of course OH never had that problem because his job was far too important for him to sacrifice the time to attend his children’s year-end nursery school concerts and take them to emergency doctor’s appointments when they were sick, or take the day off when the nanny did not pitch-up for work in the morning. All these problems traditionally fall on the mothers whose careers, I believe are severely compromised by carrying this extra burden. At that time bosses viewed working mothers as unreliable and generally would not promote them to more responsible positions.  Often woman bosses were the most judgemental.

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I think it’s time to level the playing field as far as parental responsibilities go, fathers should shoulder their fair share of child care when problems or illness arises. Companies should realise that children have two parents (if they are fortunate) and that both mothers and fathers should play an equal role in parenting. That way, when it comes to promotion maybe women won’t be at such a disadvantage. Things may well have improved since my children were small but I remember even before they were born being asked at interviews when I intended to start a family. I’m not sure if it is politically correct to ask that question in a job interview today. I felt quite intimidated by it and really wanted to respond “none of your bloody business”.

Please someone tell me that the workplace is a friendlier place for working mothers today and that the comment I heard is not representative of business in general.

Gifts and Gratitude

I was blown away last week when our house guests arrived and I was presented with a little box containing earrings that I had pinned on Pinterest, as one does, not expecting or being aware of anyone else to viewing my Pinterest boards.

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My friend had seen the earrings on my Pinterest board and tracked down the maker in Seattle and had them sent over to the Netherlands to bring with for me. I don’t think I have ever received such a thoughtful gift where someone has gone to so much trouble to get something that they have seen that I liked. I was so grateful that I was moved to tears and I will treasure these earrings forever because of all the thought and planning that went into giving them to me.

Maybe that is why I felt so badly for footsy whose specially painted portrait of a beloved dog has not even been acknowledged by the recipients.

I find it difficult to buy gifts for other people, even those closest to me (who are perhaps the most difficult of all). Some gifts are just tokens because people feel obliged to give something and some are well thought out but still not really appreciated.

But some gifts, like my lovely earrings and footsy’s painting, are very special and personal and I just cannot get my head around gifts like these going unacknowledged.

Now as we move into the Christmas season I am inspired to find special gifts for the special people in my life so that they will know how loved and appreciated they are.

Celebrating Milo’s 1st Birthday

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The Birthday Boy

Very belated update – I got my meeting with the Chairman and resolved some issues relating to my billing but some important ones still remain unresolved. I am still not going to sign anything until I am happy that I have negotiated the best possible outcome from a bad situation.

In another meeting during last week it became apparent to me that locally there is a great deal of unhappiness and dissatisfaction with the head office and their performance which is well below what is expected of them.

So I will bide my time and if and when another door opens I might well decide to close this one, but I am not so stressed anymore. At the end of the day what goes around comes around …

Last week was back-to-back meetings, some of them quite heated so I did not get an opportunity to blog at all.  Also my internet connection is so damn slow at the moment that it takes all my time and patience to do what has to be done work wise and blogging does not get much of a look-in.  I don’t know if the problem is with my router that has to be rebooted on average about 4 times per day or with my computer which loses the wireless connection for no reason and has to be rebooted as well. The problem is that while waiting for something to load I start doing something else and then clean forget to go back and finish what I was trying to do originally.

We had a lovely day yesterday with our son and DIL celebrating Milo’s first birthday. Both dogs got chew treats while we enjoyed a delicious roast lamb lunch and then we sat outside in the sun and watched Ozzy and Milo have some fun with a new toy from son and DIL.

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That’s my treat Dad!

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Gotta keep my ball safe while I enjoy my treat

Interesting new toy

This strange ball is very difficult to get my teeth into but very easy on my jowls!

For the senior citizens in blogland

Senior citizens are constantly being criticized for every conceivable deficiency of the modern world, real or imaginary. We know we take responsibility for all we have done and do not blame others.

ATT00009HOWEVER, upon reflection, we would like to point out that it was NOT the senior citizens who took: The melody out of music, the pride out of appearance, the courtesy out of driving, the romance out of love, the commitment out of marriage, the responsibility out of parenthood, the togetherness out of the family, the learning out of education, the service out of patriotism, the Golden Rule from rulers, the nativity scene out of cities, the civility out of behaviour, the refinement out of language, the dedication out of employment, the prudence out of spending, the ambition out of achievement or God out of government and school.

 

And we certainly are NOT the ones who eliminated patience and tolerance from personal relationships and interactions with others!! And, we do understand the meaning of patriotism, and remember those who have fought and died for our country. Just look at the Seniors with tears in their eyes and pride in their hearts as they stand at attention with their hand over their hearts! YES, I’M A SENIOR CITIZEN! I’m the life of the party……. even if it lasts until 8 p.m.

 

I’m very good at opening childproof caps….. with a hammer. I’m awake many hours before my body allows me to get up. I’m smiling all the time because I can’t hear a thing you’re saying. I’m sure everything I can’t find is in a safe secure place, somewhere. I’m wrinkled, saggy, lumpy, and that’s just my left leg. I’m beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.

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Yes, I’m a SENIOR CITIZEN and I think I am having the time of my life! Spread the laughter Share the cheer. Let’s be happy while we’re here.

Communication crisis

It was a difficult weekend and I am still upset at the way OH is treating me.

Background – OH has a very short attention span. Whenever I think we are having a serious conversation he is easily distracted by a) why the dogs are barking, b) whose car has pulled up next door, c) what’s on television and d) just interrupting me mid sentence to talk about something else or to contradict me without actually knowing what I was going to say.

I find this disrespectful and very irritating. He constantly accuses me of not telling him things but it’s because he just does not bother to listen, not because I have not told him. Sometimes he will ask me the same question 10 times in one day and then take offence when I remind him that he’s asked me that nine times already!

So on Friday evening we had friends around for dinner and every time I opened my mouth to share something he interrupted me or started contradicting me. It really upset me that he behaved this way in front of friends. After they left I told him that I was not happy with the way he had kept interrupting me even though I had asked him politely to stop and once again he took offence. Buggered off to bed and left me with all the cleaning up, a job we always do together. No apology, nothing.
When we go out to eat he is always listening to the conversations around him rather than having a conversation with me. He does not even look at me when I try and talk to him in public.
So for the rest of the weekend I have only spoken when needed and refused to enter into conversations regarding where something is or who had it last, just said “I don’t know” and left it there. He still has not apologised and I am still mad.

In addition to the above when he asks me a question he does not give me more than one second to respond before repeating himself rather loudly. His excuse is that he does not know if I heard him or not. I feel pressurised by this treatment as there is not even time to think about a response before he is raising his voice. Sometimes I might have food in my mouth and am not even permitted to swallow before answering.
But he will take forever to answer a question with the excuse that he is thinking …

I spent my weekend reading and watching television. I also finally sorted out the medicine cabinet and dumped lots of expired medication, a job I have been meaning to get to for ages.

We have been married a long time and generally we are happy but I am finding my tolerance level for this sort of treatment is at an all time low. I am ready to blow – he won’t apologise or even consider that he is being disrespectful.

When it’s just too late …

Today is my WordPress Blogaversary, it’s hard to believe that a whole year has gone past but I am reliably informed that this is the case.

Today is also the 20th anniversary of my mother’s death. That seems even more incredible. Where did the years go?

I was reminded this morning about an incident at my mother’s memorial service. We were having tea in the church hall when someone came to tell me that my son, then aged 12 had taken off up the road in tears. I went looking for him, very concerned because he had been alright throughout the service and this was not the first grandparent that he had lost, but in fact the last. When I tracked him down he was distraught and eventually I managed to find out what was wrong. Some old friend of my mothers had got him one side and told him how proud his Granny was of him and his school achievements and how she spoke about him all the time. Now this should not have caused such an upset but his words explained it all ” Why could she have not told me herself, why did I have to hear it from a stranger?”  My heart just broke for him there and then because it summed up my mother so well. Never lavish with praise or physical affection, I too had grown up never feeling quite good enough. I was both angry and sad at the same time, angry that she had inadvertently hurt my son in the same way that she had hurt me and sad that like my son I had never had the affirmation I had so badly needed even when grown up and married with children. How important it is to tell our loved ones that we love and appreciate them while we can, and often too because you never know which day will be your last!

On a slightly different note we were leaving the church after the memorial service and before my feet could even make it from the church steps to the pavement another so-called friend of my mother’s accosted me. I had never met this woman before but had heard my mother speak about her. She demanded to know right there and then what I planned to do with  my mother’s little mini oven because she would like it. I told her that I would not be dishing out my mother’s effects on the church steps and those decisions still had to be made.  Needless to say she did not get it!

A cousin of mine drove all the way from the Free State to the Cape for the memorial service but mainly to collect an item of furniture that she said my mother said she could have.  I was not aware of that promise but as I did not like that particular piece of furniture I was happy to let it go. After that she did not bother to keep in touch with me anymore and I eventually gave up when my emails were never responded to.

Another lifelong friend of my mother’s did not attend the memorial service because she said she had nothing to wear! Really … you woke up on the day and your cupboard had been stripped clean!

I guess what I am trying to say is that death brings out strange characteristics in people, the living that is, not the dead. I wonder what will go on after I have shrugged off this mortal coil.  I certainly hope my children won’t bicker and carry on about who gets what like so often happens.

On that note, have a great weekend bloggers.

Just a nip and a tuck

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I can feel my belt tightening already

Most of you will know that OH retired at the end of November and now we are finally getting to see what this will mean for our finances. We opted to draw down as little as possible from his annuity for the next five years while I am still working in order to preserve as much capital as possible.

The reality of this decision, whilst financially sound, is going to put a bit of a spoke in our wheels. The coming year will be a learning curve in that every purchase will have to be justified if we are to keep within our reduced budget.

It won’t be all frugality though; one has to find the balance between living in the present and preparing for the future which could be months, 5 years, twenty years or more. I think I’m pretty good at saving money when it comes to food shopping. I can make a little go a long way and OH is not a fussy eater. We don’t buy many luxuries in the food department and never any processed or prepared foods. Winter is much easier than summer in that regard as healthy soups, stews and casseroles can be made in bulk and frozen in portion sizes and I already do a lot of that. Summer is more difficult as we both love salads and salad ingredients have a short shelf life as does summer fruit.

Eating out will definitely have to be one of the pleasures that we enjoy less of although we don’t go crazy there either. Our theatre season tickets will definitely stay as half-price shows are a pensioner’s friend and it’s normally a great night out.  We will make more use of our Discovery movie benefit and watch out for specials and deals that we can enjoy without a guilty conscience.

I’ve had some experience in belt tightening in my lifetime and I’m hoping that the things I learnt in the past will come back to me now that I need to budget more carefully again.  I would love to hear from others at this stage of life what adjustments they have made and what advice they can offer.

Obviously if OH should be offered some contract / consultant work he would seriously consider it but I do think that having reached 65 and having survived both leukaemia and a heart attack he deserves to take it easy now.

I’d better get back to work since I’m now the main breadwinner 😉

Summer holiday

I took an unintended sabbatical from blogging over the Festive Season. With my normal routine blown out of the water and visitors from overseas it was just too difficult to find the time to blog and upload photos.

We had a lovely stay at our holiday home, the first week or so was quiet as I finished up some work and OH did lots of DIY. Then our son, DIL and her Dad arrived to spend Christmas with us and the holiday really kicked off.

OH and J (son) spent some time re-rigging and repairing our little sailing dinghy that has not been given enough water time lately and after cautiously testing out their work they took off in a good breeze sailing together for the first time in about 15 years. J then took L (DIL) and her Dad out individually and all came back thoroughly enthused with the experience.  It was the first time L’s Dad has ever been on a sail boat of any kind and he loved it.

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The weather was very good to us this year, not too much wind and we spent a lot of time on and in the water. A fair amount of time was devoted to eating and between L and myself we made sure that no one went hungry.

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Fabulous sunsets were enjoyed almost every evening

Ozzy and Milo loved having the family around and made the most of all the cuddle time on offer.

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We had a great family time together, dogs and humans. We were relaxed, no clock watching was allowed or even needed as we enjoyed being on river time.

Back home we looked forward to the arrival of an old friend, more to follow.

Unsupported and disconnected

This has been an extremely frustrating and unproductive week. Today is Day 10 of trying to get my service provider to make changes to a domain I administer to enable an internet based mailing list.

In my dealings with my ISP I have probably been ”assisted” by every staff member in the call centre support department except the one that might actually understand what needs to be done and the implications of stuffing everything up.  As a result I have not been able to receive or send email on one of my business accounts and my clients think I have gone AWOL. It has been an endless round of “pass the buck”, fob her off with lies and untruths and the old “bullshit baffles brains” theory.

Today my son J got involved and as he is an IT boff he is able to view the back-end of the domain to check that they have made the correct changes but we are now waiting for the system to propagate whatever the hell that means.

So that is why I have been absent from the blogs and why a certain canine took advantage of my distraction and hijacked my blog, the young upstart. He has been given his marching orders “No squatting on my blog after Monday!”

In contrast to last weekend’s festivities in the way of OH’s 65th birthday party this weekend is looking decidedly dull.  All we have ahead of us are lots of errands / chores to fit into the business part of two days.

But back to the party. OH was delighted that a good friend had driven 250 km to celebrate with him. I let the details of the party unfold slowly as people arrived followed by the better-late-than-never caterers, but as it was a stunning evening everyone was happy to be outdoors until well after midnight. J made a very moving speech and got quite choked up which really touched OH. Three very good friends, one an old school friend of OH’s, made great speeches and OH was truly honoured by all the kind words.

Now I am going to climb into bed with the book I am currently reading, “World without End” by Ken Follet. It is all about the period leading up to and during the First World War and although it is a work of fiction, it is based on well researched historic facts. The narrative is proving to be an incredibly interesting social commentary on the differences between the gentry and the working classes as well as the status of women in both the upper and lower classes. The senseless brutality of war is well described and one cannot imagine how these same countries went to war again in 1939 just a generation later.  I’m getting near the end of the book but as it is the first of a trilogy there’s plenty more to come.

Night night Blogpeeps, have a great weekend J

Small steps, but definitely progress

A quick update as work pressures are huge at present.  We said goodbye to our daughter, her partner and granddaughter last week before they flew back to the UK and I followed up on the weekend with a short email wishing her well for her return to work today after a year’s maternity leave. I was surprised and heartened to receive an email from her yesterday saying that they had had a good trip home and that LT was an angel on the flight. She also thanked me for all the pressies we bought for LT and said that she would give her a kiss and a hug from us.

After nearly four years of silence this is better than I had dared hope for but I know it will take time for the closeness we had to return and it’s not something that can be rushed. At least if we have contact we can talk about everyday things like we used to and she can share LT’s milestones with us.

On Saturday OH was assisting our DIL with new business premises she has acquired as our son is away on business. He asked her about the fact that our daughter did not see her brother at all and found out that when our daughter emailed her brother to say she was coming to SA and asked for my email address (not sure why she would not have had it unless she had deleted all my emails) he replied and tore into her for what she had put us through and accused her of making her father sick (the heart attack in January) and said that she could not just walk back into our lives as if nothing had happened. He added that she better be genuine this time as opposed to when she came out for his wedding in 2010. DIL said he was very harsh with her and that is no doubt why she did not contact him again.  However these things did need to be said but it would not have done our cause any good if we had been the one’s to say it. I know that he was only trying to protect us from further hurt. Our son is not one to bear grudges and I am sure that when he sees that the reconciliation is genuine he will be more than happy for us and also to reconcile with her himself.

At last we are beginning to really feel like grandparents – just wish LT was not so very far away.