I got loads of compliments on my outfit (a matching white and gold pin-strip blouse and long skirt) even though I had the nagging feeling of being over dressed on the way to work this morning. I s’pose after nearly twelve years of jeans and golf shirts I still need to get used to dressing nicely everyday. I also had my first official training session this morning, and where I was expecting to take five or ten guys briefly through our reporting system and allocate user IDs to them at the same time. I ended up with a boardroom full- about thirty people- mostly high level management too! I was juuuuust a little flustered and because I wasn’t even in the same boardroom I expected to be in I had a bit of a hinky start. But my boss as well as the client who called for the training in the first place both complimented me on my confidence and a good presentation. Now I have another training session on Thursday- which I’m a little worried about because even though it’s a small group and a short session, it won’t be as easy to prepare for as the one I did on Monday morning. The only real thing that’s playing on my mind now is that my car is giving me grief… it’s either my starter motor or it’s my battery- you know when you turn the key and all you get is a click… I’m hoping it’s just my battery- it’s a lot faster and cheaper to fix than the starter motor. And of course having it looked at means yet more time off work!
When I fetched Damien from school yesterday, he said a girl in his grade had invited him to her birthday party, which is apparently a “ball” of some kind. He has to dress quite smart and he can take a friend. I lightheartedly say okay, he must just be sure to get an invitation of some kind so we can RSVP and get maps and so on. Can you tell I wasn’t too worried at this point yet? It didn’t even occur to me that he might actually want to take an actual girl with him to the party… Ok- I was driving at the time- my concentration was elsewhere!! So, he’s quiet a while and then he says that she’s quite pretty… I say nothing- but secretly I’m grinning- ‘coz he never tells me things like that! A little more silence, and then he says he thinks he might ask her if he can be her partner for the party because she doesn’t have a boyfriend. Ok. Noooow I start wondering if I can handle this. I stay quiet for a while. Then I tell him that since we’ve discussed sex- the ins and outs and implications thereof at length over the years- I don’t feel we have to go over “the birds and the bees” again… His relief is almost palpable… I had to stifle a giggle! But what I do remind him of is that- no matter what- he is to be a perfect gentleman. And under no circumstances whatsoever is he to touch her- he may ask her to dance and if he’s invited to he may hold her hand- absolutely nothing else. You see- to my mind, these days it’s no longer a case of being cautious of unplanned teenage pregnancy and all that- there’s sexual harassment, STDs, HIV, not to mention rumours and gossip- and those last two are the very least of the possible problems! Buuuut then again- my parental super power is neurotic paranoia- I can drive whole groups of people crazy with my own personal version of mommy madness… I have put my lycra super suit away until I’ve lost 20 kilos or so (‘coz I can’t turn invisible and I kept being mistaken for the Oros Man), but in my mind I’m always wearing it! I’m also basing my fears on my own personal experience… so I’d appreciate any ideas, experience, nostalgic references, and or legal methods to keep him home and safe from heartache and or STDs till he’s about thirty-ish. Hey- I wonder if her parents will let me chaperone!?!?! Ugh… So, who’s going to own up to taking my brakes- can’t I go in reverse for a while to the time when he thought girls were gross!? Looks like I’m going to have to start reading one of my new textbooks a lot sooner than I planned to (Preparing Yourself For Every Man’s Battle).
It’s actually really easy- if I can, I spend a veritable fortune- and I really get some bargains! I love books, I read a lot and I could never have enough of them. And just in case you misunderstand me when I say I spend a “fortune”, here’s a list of what I’ve bought since the Exclusive Books Summer Sale (Fanatics Sneak Preview) started last Wednesday night:
Diana Wynne Jones: The Tough Guide To Fantasy Land Is just that, a spoof version of an A-Z guide to fantasy fiction and it’s very funny. I wonder if this woman has a blog, I’d love to read it?
Paul Scott: The Fetish Fact Book Is exactly what it says on the cover and it’s fascinating reading! It’s incredible to see exactly what is defined as fetishism!
Mitchell Symons: This Book The cover says ‘more interesting than the bible’ and I think. . . at the risk of being a hypocrite. . . that it very well may be! It is literally stuffed from cover to cover with the kind of crap I love- like a list of famous people born with a club foot, or famous people who were foster children, and famous people who turned 40 in 2005. . . oh wait, wait- you know those long emails you get over and over again that are called ‘amazing facts’ or something thought to be equally witty (me? sarcastic!?) well this is a 430 page book full of those lists!
Anne Rice: Blood Canticle Another one for my collection of her books in paperback as well as one I haven’t read yet. I nearly missed it too, on Wednesday night I had it in my grubby little clutches and put it back because I thought maybe I already had it- when I got home and realised I didn’t- I staunchly resisted the temptation to rush straight back to pick it up. . . and went back on Thursday after work instead.
Dr Bonnie Macmillan: Why Boys Are Different You aren’t really wondering why I bought this one are you? A text book to add to my collection. . . luckily it’s not too heavy a read.
Patrick Moore: Atlas Of The Universe Admittedly, I don’t “need” this one since it’s a friend of mine who’s into astronomy, but it’s really interesting with some stunning photographs- and I may just give it to my friend anyway.
Cassell Illustrated: Inside The Body This one is fascinating- it’s a massive hardcover book with images from beneath the skin- as photographed through microscopes of varying strength, mesmerizing. And so cheap even the cashier did a double-take!
Terry Pratchett: Going Postal and The Light Fantastic Okay- they weren’t on sale- but I haven’t read the former and I needed both to get closer to completing my collection of Discworld paperbacks (I still need Sourcery, Feet Of Clay, Wee Free Men and Thud!) I’ll supply my postal address if anyone’s feeling generous.
Chris A. Zeigler Dendy, M.S.: Teenagers With ADD A Parents Guide Another textbook, also not on sale but proving to be interesting reading.
Stephen Arterburn, Fred Stoeker With Mike Yorkey: Preparing Your Son For Everyman’s Battle Yet another textbook, the cover says “finally, a resource that guides you through the toughest- and most important- conversations you’ll ever have with your son.” Damien and I have discussed sex- the ins and outs thereof (so to speak. . . hee hee), and I’m hoping this will give me another way to make sure he understands the gravity of sex.
And last but not least…
C.S. Lewis: Narnia Also not on sale, and far from a bargain. . . but I’ve been waiting for it for a couple of years- it’s a big paperback with all seven Narnia stories in it. I read all of them about twenty years ago, and I’ve read a couple of them to Damien as bedtime stories since, now I’m going to read them again.
And this list does not include magazines… I can hardly wait for the next sale, thank goodness I can’t open an account at Exclusive!
Is this going to happen every weekend? Damien has gone home with one of his new friends two Friday’s in a row. In our house we have a rule that there’s no sleeping over during the school term. We have tried it before and it just doesn’t work- homework and housework get neglected, he’s too buggered and unprepared for school come Monday morning- and I seldom have the money to reciprocate with his friends the next weekend. Nevertheless, Damien will ask. On Friday morning on the way to school he asked for the first time if he could stay over at J’s house that night. I said no, and we reviewed the rules in the car on the way to school. A perfectly civil conversation, you’d think the message would have gotten through, right? On Friday afternoon- as J’s mom picked them up- he sent me a text message asking again if he could sleep over, I replied by reminding him of the rule and telling him that by asking me to do something I have already said no to, he will make me angry rather than sympathetic to his plight. I worked till 6:30, popped in to say hi to my folks and then left the fetch Damien. When I picked him up at about 8pm (since he’s older now I fetch him from his friends a little later) and as true as nana’s he asked again- saying that since I was fetching him so late- why didn’t I just let him stay over then?! I was speechless! I made like I hadn’t heard him while I said thank you to J’s mom, who invited him to return the next morning if he wanted to, which of course he did. There was a skateboarding competition the following day at a local skate park and Damien was keen on going to watch. On the way home I again told Damien about how asking me for something I had already said no to (twice) was simply going to make me the moer in- rather than make me give in, not to mention making me uncomfortable in front of his friends mom. You’d think he’d know that by now. Friday night. . . I fell asleep in front of the TV. Saturday morning I took him back to J (who wasn’t interested in the skating competition so they stayed at his house) and then I went shopping. I wasn’t going to shop as such, I just wanted some quiet time and a stroll- and lo and behold- I found a sale at Donna Claire! I bought a few blouses and a new handbag (credit accounts and sales go SO well together), then I went to my favourite coffee shop (Seattle) which adjoins Exclusive Books, bought myself a People magazine and spent an hour watching the people go by from behind my fluff and coffee. Then I went home to do some housework before fetching Damien. I picked him up and wouldn’t you believe he asked again if he could stay over at J’s house! I said nothing- simply pretended he hadn’t said anything of the sort. Anyhoo. Saturday night was movie club night, our first meeting for 2006. And this year we’re planning on going out to the movies once a month rather than one of us hosting each time- unless there’s an oldie we all really want to see or something. Munich was showing, but being nearly three hours long and only starting at 8:45, we decided on the more “light hearted” The Brothers Grimm which proved both scary and entertaining and I highly recommend it. Afterwards we stopped at the same bar we went to last time, but it was too noisy and cold to chat so we went to Burgundy’s instead. We were there till they closed too! Great fun- next month we’re hoping to see Casanova if it’s on the circuit. Gotta love jolling with other grown up girls! Sunday morning I fetched my granny for church and afterwards we had nibblies with my folks. My dad is getting better by the day- he’s even strong enough to drive now and yesterday they went grocery shopping! It’s such a relief to see him back to his old self. Then Damien and I went home ‘coz it was Sunday and its work tomorrow, and I had to finish preparing for my first big training session on Monday morning. I snoozed a little, caught myself up on some reading and writing, watched the A1 South Africa race which was on a Street Circuit in Durban- very entertaining- and finished my work. I covered the two school books that still needed plastic, then realised- a little after ten pm- that I haven’t even started January’s newsletter yet and it’s supposed to go out in a couple of days! I hope you had a fabulous exciting weekend- or at least an incident free one.
In preparation for taking care of the parental share of high school “home work” I bought sixteen (yes- sixteen) rolls of wrapping paper. Four rolls each of four different “colours” that I thought Damien would like (‘coz he wasn’t with me at the time). I wanted to make sure he had enough to cover his books the same if he wanted to- like all the math books yellow and all the Afrikaans books blue or whatever. I also bought two sets of book labels (16 in a set), a roll of sellotape, and two packs of my new favourite “find” with which to make my life easier: easy-fit-adjustable-pre-cut-slip-on-plastic-book-covers (10 in a set) because covering the books with plastic is my least favourite part. I have since covered exactly six books. Why? Because he has only received six books so far- this is so not what I am accustomed to. Every year so far I have received just about all his books and had to cover them all, roughly within the first week of school having started. He also has had very little homework. And since this is high school- he and he alone is responsible for writing down his homework- and if there’s nothing written down, I don’t know about it. He of course insists he doesn’t really get any and his work is up to date. But as much as I want to trust him and believe he is fine and coping, all this is doing is bringing back bad memories of school years past where he also insisted everything was hunky-friggin-dory while the teachers were all but begging him to do his work. I just hope that these teachers let me know about a problem a lot sooner than any of the others did.