You’re Stupid, Cupid

I’m that girl. The one that wears her heart on her sleeve, the archetypal hopeless romantic. Yet Valentine’s Day is one Hallmark holiday I absolutely abhor. I associate it with rejection, and have done ever since I was at school. As I’ve got older it’s got worse. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a hearts and roses kind of gal, but I’ve never been the recipient of such on this particular day – not in thirty-two years. As some people feel Bah! Humbug about Christmas, I feel Cupid should shove is heart-shaped arrows up his arse, sideways.

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Every year while at school, the prefects would come go door-to-door to every classroom handing out anonymous cards and trinkets to the chosen. Some of the girls I was in high school with would go home with bags full of goodies. But not me. Not a single one.

In late 2014 I met someone who was in the process of getting divorced. We had fun together and I found my affection for him growing.

Then in January 2015, scarcely six weeks after his divorce was final, he tossed me aside like yesterday’s news after meeting someone a decade younger than me at a party he partnered me to.  But wait! It doesn’t stop there…

A mere two weeks later, on Valentine’s Day, he asked her to marry him, and as has become the norm in this day and age, the announcement was broadcasted on Facebook. I was gutted. So was his ex-wife of almost 21 years. Both she and I have moved on, and while I can’t speak for her, the day is still one to which I attach a negative connotation, so for now, until someone changes this Misfit’s mind, I’m going to abide by these images:

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Gut Feelings…

A mere two weeks ago, I blogged about this very topic. If you want to read that post, it can be found here.

Premonitions.

Forebodings.

Warnings.

Omens.

Signs.

Call them what you like, they’re never good. There is always something dark attached to these feelings of impending dread.

This morning my mom phoned me on my direct office line, with a simple question: “Are you at work with your own car, or did you travel with Nikita.”

“Nikita, why?”

“It’s just a question.”

“No Bean, it’s not just a question. You wouldn’t be asking without some sort of reason.”

She proceeded to tell me that for the past two days she’s seen shadowy figures passing by her bedroom window, or door. I’ve seen one before too, shortly before Malcolm died, so I don’t merely want to dismiss her feelings, because I believe they hold some merit.

I’ve done a lot of reading about Shadow People, which as defined by Wikipedia are:

“A shadow person is the perception of a patch of shadow as a living, humanoid figure, particularly as interpreted by believers in the paranormal or supernatural as the presence of a spirit or other entity.”

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They generally are associated with sleep paralysis. The night I saw mine, I woke up to see the figure at the foot of my bed. I was terrified, but it merely put a finger to its lips and I heard ssshhhh and it walked through the door. Gone. Disappeared into thin air. I knew something was wrong and mentioned it to my parents as I had a sick aunt at the time. It never crossed my mind that Malcolm might be coming to say goodbye.

The Bean sees them when she’s awake, and her sense of them extends beyond merely seeing them.
This morning, after her daily quiet time, she felt anxious about me and got a strong smell of my perfume.

“I’m so worried for me, Chickpea.”

“Don’t worry, Bean. I’m fine. My car is at home.”

“Okay, just tell Nikita to drive safely. Please. Promise me.”

The distress in her voice was tangible.

“I will. Promise.”

As much as I tried to downplay it and reassure her that everything is fine, because it is, it does have me wondering…

I told Nikita and the poor woman is now as high-strung as a faulty Jack-in-the-Box.

We’re taking it seriously though. I will let my mom know when I am home.

Listen to that Little Voice Inside

Sometimes in life you forge a bond with someone that no amount of time, nor distance, can break.  You don’t have to talk to each other every day, nor do you have to see each other even once a year, or once a decade.  You’re connected, by something intangible, something some might even call supernatural.

I am extremely blessed to have a few of these ‘someones’ including Natalie, who I got to know in a very short period of three months, in 1993. Three years older than me, she was the proverbial big sister.

We stayed in touch over the years, writing actual letters to one another, when pen-pals were still a real thing, and then with the advent of Facebook and Skype, we got to share in each other’s’ lives, touching base on the odd occasion.

I watched her evolution from a timid, freckled-faced girl, into a successful, high-powered business person; an independent force to be reckoned with. After a long, tumultuous road, she married Jacob, a bloke she’d met while travelling on business in New Zealand. This year is lucky number thirteen, or maybe not-so-lucky…

Last night I spent the evening on the couch mapping out a few things for a story I’m writing, having renewed motivation after finding my writing tutor’s comment on an “on this day” post on Facebook.  It wasn’t that late, shortly before nine PM, when I received a message from her mum on Messenger, telling me that she thought I’d want to know: Nat, Jacob and Teagan, their ten-year-old, had been travelling home from a weekend away when they had had an accident. From what I can gather it was the result of a tyre issue.  Jacob came out of the wreck with scratches, but Nat is in hospital with pelvic injuries (which have fortunately not caused any internal bleeding) and a broken leg. Teagan is in a medically induced coma to slow down swelling on his brain. I was shaken. Not only because of the obvious shock and reminder (once again) of how precious life is, but from guilt.

For a while I’ve had this inkling to Skype with Nat and thought that if I did go to my parents this weekend, I’d schedule some time with her just to catch up.

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The adage of the best laid plans applies here. I am praying for all of them and reminding myself that she’s a tough broad, that loves life, her ‘boys’, her family and her friends – she has so many reasons to fight for a full- and speedy recovery. When she’s able to, come Hell or High Tide, we’re going to catch up. There is so much to tell her.

I guess what I’m trying to say with this post is that if you hear a little voice in your head telling you to get in touch with someone, whether it is just to say hello or make amends or whatever…heed it, because we never know what tomorrow holds.

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House Hunting: A Nightmare in the Garden Route

I’m a member of various FB groups in our region – mostly to market my Herbalife sideline business, but also to stay in the loop as to what is happening in the area, because I live under a rock most of the time.  I don’t buy the local rag because it is more ads than news and with social media being reported in real time, by the time the paper makes the round on a Friday, most of the news is old already anyway.

One thing I have noticed on many of the groups is how many people are looking for accommodation, yet they can’t find because of limited availability and for those who do manage to find something available, the places come with ridiculous rentals and the owners are very particular about no pets.  Some even state “no children”, which I think is cruel – and this coming from someone who is not a parent.

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It’s the price of living in the Garden Route, I suppose, but it doesn’t seem fair.    It brings that Roger Miller tune, King of the Road to mind.

One member pointed out, “How am I supposed to afford a house with a rental of R8K when between my wife and I, we’re only bringing home R11K.  We have accounts that need paying, kids that need to be fed, clothed and schooled, and then some…”  Some replies were, “If you can get a house for R8K you should count yourself lucky” and “if you don’t want it, I’ll take it.  Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find accommodation here?”  These statements are true, but it doesn’t make the reality any easier to deal with for those who are struggling to make ends meet, because in many instances employers in this area are still pay their employees way-under-market-related-salaries.  Every morning I say a prayer of gratitude because I work for a company that not only remunerates its workers well, but also allows for both professional- and individual growth.  Add to that great colleagues, and it’s a recipe for success.

Besides the supply vs demand for accommodation in general, another topic came up for discussion: In December many people were left out in the cold as their landlords put them out to rent the places for the summer holiday at rents only the Northerners can afford.  There are two sides to the argument of course – as a tenant of a furnished flat, the first thing I did when signing the lease was to check that I wouldn’t have to vacate the property during the summer holiday, because my brain said, “where will I go?”  I wanted the assurance in writing that I would have a roof over my head during the busiest part of the year, and I got it.  I will say too, that the couple that owns my home, are amazing lessors.

So, the question begs, did these people that were displaced not know about the requirement to vacate, or did they merely not bother to procure alternative accommodation in time?  Or did the property owners merely shaft them?  It’s anyone’s guess.  The plight of the tenants left stranded has now been raised to the point where the legality of such rentals is going to be investigated.  A good thing, I believe because there is clearly exploitation of a loophole somewhere. Whether it is intentional or not is irrelevant.

It will be interesting to see what the outcome of the investigation is.  Guess we’ll have to just wait and see…

Candles in the Wind…

This past fortnight has been quite emotional for me.  It can be written off to the Mirena I had put in when the doctor did the other two procedures in November last year.  It’s normal.  Apparently.  I must just ride the wave.  Does that mean surf’s up?

Last week was a particularly bad week for me.  I would go from zero to bitch to activist to snivelling heap, to centre of attention to strong silent type in a matter of minutes.  Add to that I sometimes have foreboding premonitions and well, you pretty much have a category five hurricane on your hands.

I don’t often have these gut feelings, but when I do, they’re generally not wrong.  My friend Cassey was on my mind a great deal last week, and instead of just touching base, I kept putting it off.  Turned out she, along with another friend of mine, both lost parents last week, and one of my FB friends lost her brother, but the heartbreak doesn’t stop there 😦  On Saturday Shayla-Rae let me know that a couple of our former teachers lost their eldest son in a tragic drowning accident.  He was only seventeen.  A young man, with his entire future ahead of him.  It puts things in perspective for me once again.  Life is precious and in the blink of an eye, it can be ended, whether after a long illness, or in a heart-rending accident.  It also leaves one asking Why? Why did God decide to snuff their candles out?  Only He knows…

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In the bigger scheme of things – you all know how scared I am to lose my parents, but having heard of all this loss this past week, I’m grateful The Toppie only broke his arm.  It could have been a lot worse.  A few people have sent well-wishes after my post about The Toppie.  As I said, going back to work did him the world of good.  I also think it saved The Bean from committing murder 😀  The next bridge to cross is when the plaster comes off.  I’ll give y’all another update shortly after.

On a happier note, I’m having a catch-up with Carmen after work tonight.  She’s visiting her parents for a few days.  Can’t wait to have a decent chinwag with her.  Even though I saw her three weeks ago, it feels like years has passed.

Have a great week everyone, and remember – tell the important people in your life that they mean something to you.  You never know when they won’t be around anymore!

The Toppie: An Ulnar Fracture Update

Quite a few of you have enquired about The Toppie and his broken arm.  So, instead of repeating the same thing over and over, I thought it best to let you all know the way I did just after it happened.

One thing I can tell you from this experience is that I am grateful I have never broken a bone.  The closest I’ve come is having torn the ligaments in my left ankle some years back.  Accidents happen in the blink of an eye, I tell you.  One minute I was strolling along admiring the Tsitsikamma scenery, the next minute I stepped wrong and bam, swollen blue ankle.  I don’t care who-, or how old you are, unless you have some serious psychological illness, you don’t hurt yourself on purpose or you might suffer from Munchausen Syndrome, but then you’re merely only pretending to be sick.  The bad thing is, an injury like torn ligaments, tendons and broken bones have repercussions for the rest of your life and they get worse as you age.   It’s almost three years down the line and I still have issues when it comes to walking long distances, even more so on uneven ground.

Okay, getting back to The Toppie… the whole ordeal took the obvious physical toll on him, but for the few days he was at home, The Bean and I were very concerned about his mental state too.  He was understandably frustrated because he had to do everything with his left hand, but clearly worried about stuff too.  At one stage I wanted to start calling him Snappy.

He went back to the hospital on December 28th, eleven days after the fall and the temporary cast was removed.  Not all good news, but not morbidly dark report either.  After new x-rays were taken, they showed the bone had moved into the right position and there appeared to be no visible swelling.  The doctor on duty also sent the images to another doctor in a neighbouring town who looked at them too.  Both were satisfied with the progress to date.  The concerning factor was that the open wound on the forearm hadn’t closed entirely and to prevent infection The Toppie was given a course of antibiotics, a petroleum jelly gauze was applied and then he got a proper, hard, plaster cast.  It turned out to be quite a bit heavier than the temporary one and the sling the hospital had given him, did zero to support it.  Uncle Barry lent him a fancy adjustable one, like the one pictured below, which made a mountain of difference, because it reduced a lot of the discomfort.

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He got asked to come into work during his sick leave tenure to help out, driving with one arm, potentially risking not only his own life behind the wheel, but those of other road users too.  Obstinate! He continued to help out, because in our Sleepy Hollow town, December and January are particularly busy months. This resultd in him ending up working for almost two of the three weeks he was booked off.  He said though that the team of ladies he supervises were stellarly helpful, not allowing him to do anything that might result in him causing himself further injury.  It did help a bit to keep his mind occupied at least.

Last weekend when I visited there, he mentioned that his left arm is starting to ache, so much so, that he even started drinking the pain medication again, after having weaned himself off it.  I’m of the personal opinion it is because he has overcompensated with it because he stubbornly hasn’t heeded medical warning, but he swats my words away like an irritating blow fly.

The next appointment is set for February 1st.  The cast is due to be removed during that visit, and new x-rays will be taken and further action, if necessary.  In the meantime, we’re all trying to stay positive and hope for the best.  One thing I will tell you though is every time any one of us has to go down the stairs, the other two parties in the house shout, “Be careful on the stairs!”  Even more so when there’s been a bit of rain because as I mentioned earlier, accidents happen in a split second.

To each one of you reading this, who have sent well wishes and other forms of support, thank you!  It is a comfort to know that there are still some real people out there that do care.

Love at First Sight

I fell in love.

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At first sight.  This past Sunday night.  Yes, the evening before last.  I couldn’t resist.  Problem is, I don’t know what to do now because it’s way longer than I originally expected.

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I had you there, didn’t I?! 😀

But I did fall in love with this bookshelf when I saw it advertised online and using some money I got from Tina and her partner for Christmas, I bought it.  It needs a little TLC (hell, aren’t we all?) and I know I want to turn it into something amazing; I just don’t quite know what yet.  The right side of my brain is firing on all cylinders, but the Voices in my Head are arguing as to what I should do – paint, wallpaper, collage… So, watch this space ’cause This Misfit is going to get her hands dirty.  Now, where’s my toolbelt?