Thursday, 23 February 2017

Dishwashing 101 with Miss Keiralea

Before we began our chores, I told Miss Keiralea that I was looking forward to her coming over and just KNEW she was going to be a great help to me.

She insisted on carrying a kitchen chair over to the sink to stand on.  I rolled up her sleeves.  "If you get wet, don't worry; Mama has another top for you to wear", I assured her.  I rolled a towel into a 'sausage' and placed it on the edge of the sink to soak up any spills and prevent water dripping onto the chair, potentially making it slippery.

I placed a plastic, removable bowl into the larger sink and filled the smaller sink with water for rinsing.

"Mind while we run the hot water into the bowl.  If we put dishes into the bowl the water could splash on you and we don't want that, do we?

"No, Mama"

"Is that too hot for you?"

"A little bit..."

"OK, I'll put some more cold in.  Mama likes to uses the hottest of water as possible to clean the dishes because it makes lots of dishwashing bubbles and it is that hot water and bubbles that help clean all the food mess and oil off the dishes"

"Mama, can I wash this knife?"

"No, Baby.  How's about we wash the glasses first because they are the cleanest of all the dishes.  We can soak all the knives and forks because soaking makes all the food that is stuck to them - soft - and it is easier to wash off".




"To wash the glasses, we put them in the hot, soapy water and use the dishwashing brush or bottle brush to wash inside".

"Why do you use a brush, Mama?"



"Because it is safer than putting your hand inside the glass - with or without a cloth"

"What will happen?"



"Sometimes, some girls and ladies had their hands cut from the sharp glass"

"Did they bleed?"

"Yes..."

"Oh noooo.."

"Anyway, after we have washed the glasses and everything else, we rinse them in the other sink with  clean water, then put them upside down on the draining board so that all the water can drain off and then,the tea towels don't get so wet."



After a decent chunk of time, Miss Keiralea decided it was time to stop. "Can we have some tea now,  Mama?"


A girl after my own heart.....

Saturday, 18 February 2017

The Predator of Dusk and Dawn

Mosquitoes love to drink my blood.

Not so much the Machinist's blood.

He is most considerate of my dilemma when I become insomniacal (if that is a word)  after being brutally savaged by the Culicidae Family.  Especially those who have ties to the Mafia.

He urges me to wake him, should I be harassed in any way, shape or form by these pesky, midge-like flies.  In past times, I've watched him swat and swing, balancing  and bouncing on the bed as he does so -  with threat of lurching himself off.  I can't handle that kind of drama in the middle of the night.

And so - the other night, after switching on the light and thankful that it hadn't woken him, I proceeded to spray the room.

*Cough cough*

*Splutter splutter*

"Babe, what's going on?" he pleaded drowsily

"It's ok, I'm just trying to get these mozzies.  They've bitten me a hundred and twenty three times"



I was determined to convince the Machinist that I was doing my part in thwarting their plans of a blood-fest, even if I was exaggerating just a little.

And then he said it.

I had to make an urgent dash to the bathroom.

"You don't have to over do it....we're not in Auschwitz..."

Grand Escapades

More power outages today.  Over two hours of non-productivity in the workshops.  However, the Lads took it upon themselves to mow and trim the lawns in order to stay busy and earn their wages. I didn't even have to take the whip to them and give them twenty lashes each!.

The Mummies, on the other hand, were more concerned with not being able to shower, flush toilets and make baba bottles.  Fortunately, we have a gas stove, so we boiled a saucepan of water and made tea and coffee.

Oh, and a couple of bot-bots.

Priorities!

A phone call from Granny (of "The Grands" fame - my mam), answered by Sarah, as I had baby Lyla on my hip, watching and waiting for a pot to boil.

"Hello Sarah, is your mum coming through today?"
"Yes, Gran" - as she looked at me, enquiringly to confirm
"What time is she coming through?"
"I'm not sure, Gran, as we currently have no electr...."
"No what?"
"No electricity"
"No what did you say?"
"No electricity.  The power is out"
"Your mums gone out?  Where's she gone?"

Sarah and I share the same routine with the Grands when we (separately) go through to see them on different days each week.  They like to  take a break from their "dailies" at the residential care home, book community transport and meet us late morning in the mall.  We usually start with a weekly "news" or "show and tell" over cups of coffee.  Then a bit of window shopping, (but usually buying).  Perhaps a banking errand.  A trip to the local chemist.  Then lunch in the food hall.

After lunch - a trip to the supermarket for treats and those 'extra's' that are so personalised, of which are dependent on moods, fancies and wants - differing from week to week.

And rightly so.  Why not.

Maybe another tea or coffee.  Usually the time to plan or make arrangements for the week to follow.  Hearing their concerns or complaints (sometimes whims) and deliberating how we can help them.

Usually, this routine can take up to five hours, when trips to the toilet, slow movement due to aching arthritic or gouty joints and breathlessness, meeting and greeting of friends and acquaintances and other unforeseen distractions are taken into account.

Today, for instance -

Mam and I were sitting on a bench - just outside of the supermarket entrance.  An elderly chap, pushing a wheelie-walker came to join us.

"I can sit here with you ladies, can't I?"
"Most certainly you can", I assured him
"Mine [husband] has just gone to the loo, but you can sit there in the meantime.."
"Oh, ok.  Thankyou"

The chap told us all about his experience with a faulty phone, and Telstra's incompetence and the long queues he had to wait in to get his new phone fixed.  The conversation then changed course into the general lack of public privacy and the protection of personal credit cards.

As it happened, I had only just (today) bought two - yes two - not one, but two - credit card holders which claim the ultimate protection from credit card number theft.  I reached into my bag and gave him one.

"For me?  Are you sure?"
"Yes, please take it.  I bought it as a spare"
"Can I pay you..."
"No.  Honestly.  You're welcome to it..."

Grandpa had returned from the loo.  He was waiting - standing up against a wall - and I could tell he was getting impatient, as Granny, with her head tilted to the side was enquiring of the elderly chap where he had left his wife....

We said our goodbyes, got up to leave and I automatically grabbed Granny's wheelie-walker and proceeded to walk towards the coffee shop.  She was left standing, holding my purchases, staring after me in disbelief.  I was steering the walker as I would a baby pram - weaving it in and out of oncoming human traffic. But today, there was no baby and it wasn't a pram.

Chuckling, I turned to see where my mam was.

She was doubled over, laughing.

Grandpa was way in front.  His long black with hot milk on the side could wait no longer.



Friday, 17 February 2017

A Random Day In The Life Of The Machinist's Wife

I had to return to the microsurgery hospital today, so that the surgeon could check on the status of wound healing, after a procedure on both eyelids.  This is the second time I've had small benign cysts of un-known origin removed from my eyelids.  It seems that I'm 'prone' to get them.  It pains me (yes!) that I may have to go regularly for blimp removal.  (I have this picture in my mind's eye of huge carbuncles with hairs sprouting out of them, weighing my eyelid down).  I know if I mentioned this to my daughters they would tell me not to be so dramatic.

Shhhhhhh....... don't tell them I thought that.

Then it was lunch at Ikea with Sarah and her baby, Lyla Melody (Sarah had offered for them to keep me company, in return for a few "keeping companies" I had done with them.  Not that it matters.  I would have gone with her to prenatal appointments anyway).

We made a pact that we would have lunch only; not wander around the rest of the store.  We were strong and stuck to our resolve.  Lyla was happy about that.  Any time is food time for her!



Because of our uncompromising will-power (jesting), we were able to leave within a reasonable time frame and move on to our next chore:  delivery of products to a customer on the other side of town. It was last on our errands list, and we were making good time (for us).  My plan was to return home,  (a 60km distance), then head in the opposite direction to visit my parents - the Grands.

I never made it in time to see the Grands before their scheduled dinner time.  I only made it to the TV lounge at home, put my feet up and started watching re-runs of "Tabitha's Salon Makeover".

I was awoken by the Machinist -

"....coming for a dip in the pool, Babe?  I've just got to scoop out some leaves and then she's ready to rock and roll....."

Oh the shame of being caught napping.

Not.

And later that evening "Babe, I thought you could do with being taken out.  I thought we could go and watch a movie.  How's about going to see The Wall.  I've been wanting to see that...."


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Cherished Kin

I know and have known for some years now, that we, - the Machinist and I have a very unique situation.  We view our situation very seriously and never take it for granted.  In truth, words cannot describe our fortunate circumstance.  We (separately) think about it each day.  We talk about it most days. Sometimes, the sheer recognition, the joy of it all is overwhelming.  Blissfully overwhelming.

Our children live and have lived with us through to adulthood.  Those that have left home and have married live less than 500 metres away from us - with their children - our grand-children.  Not only do they live with us and near us, they earn their living from our family business.

They show up, each work day.

They desire to be with us.  Seek our approval.  Ask our council.

"Mama's" large living room is a haven for regular family gatherings.  In cheer and delight, in trouble and strife.  In loud disagreements (sometimes furious) and peaceful accord (often without verbal apologies).  Mediation and reconciliations.

The kitchen table is seldom clear.  Not only topped with food and drink - but also crayons, play dough, baba bottles and dummies, bibs,  hair ties and brushes, Lego, soft and cuddly toys as well as "interesting items to occupy the young".  Oh - and blood pressure machines!

The kitchen table; -  without a cloth, but rather - covered most days with chunky babies, passed around as if on a Party Susan.


In younger years, I could never even imagine a life like this.  Nor could the Machinist.  Although I, from a large family, and the Machinist an only child, both of us grew up painfully aware of loneliness.

We are often reminded that God setteth the lonely in Families.

And we are grateful.  Truly grateful.  




Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Mannequin Humour

Every time I see this pic, I laugh out loud. I don't know why it tickles my funny bone so much.

Perhaps it reminds me of an occasion where my Mam and I were walking down main street Dundee, Kwa Zulu Natal - South Africa.  We were chatting and I was in the lead (chatting, that is.  I wasn't in front of her.  We weren't power walking or running or anything silly like that).

Mam stopped suddenly and I looked at her to see why she had come to a sudden halt.  

She was pointing at the window of Truworths Ladies Fashion, doubled over, laughing so hard, she couldn't speak.  She was holding her belly with one hand, while gesturing me to look with her other. 

There was a line up of mannequins wearing the latest fashions.  The expressions on each of their faces were different.  Mannequins manufactured in the 1970s were dramatic like that.   Not like those pouty, alluring ones of today. 

The one that held my Mam's amusement and humour so much had what I can only describe as a gazed expression.  But with a wide open mouth - somewhat like the icon on Facebook that depicts "wow".  

The eyes didn't match the mouth.  

And to add more hysterical laughter (from both of us now), the short-bobbed blonde wig, styled with a block fringe was skew, covering one eye, while revealing the other and it's neighbouring hairless ear.  

I can't look at a mannequin without smiling....or thinking of my Mam.



Monday, 13 February 2017

Jelly Belly Fan Club

We were at the kitchen table and a pack of Jelly Belly beans was being handed around for all to choose a flavour / colour or flavour / flavour combination.

(This is an exercise in extreme patience as others carefully select their beans by referring to the flavour chart on the packet).

OK, so we all get that.

However....

We all decided to smell the packet, too.

"This smell just reminds me so much of younger days.  I can't figure out what the dominant scent is, though..."

"Could it be pina colada?"

"Coconut?"

"Vanilla?"

Miss K, almost five years old, inhaled deeply

"It's Mama's house!  The jelly beans smell like Mama's house!"

I can live with that.

I know what I have to do to keep up a sweet home fragrance.



Sunday, 12 February 2017

Moonlight Imaginings



Last night, I swam in the moonlight.

The Machinist had gone into the workshop to get the huge fan and bring it inside so that we could later enjoy it's prowess while watching a movie.  Cezar was on the pool deck - tormenting himself with the prospect of joining his mistress in the water versus fighting his fear of heights.  Polly was doing her usual panting routine - not wanting to take part in family activities, but whimpering (whinging) if any other canine did so.

A huge orange moon seemed to be perched on the pitch of the Machine shop roof in the East North East.  Lightning flashes appeared above the ivy clad willow tree in the North West.

My delight and admiration of such beauty was broken by the sound of mosquitoes buzzing around my head.  I plunged underwater hoping that said mosquitoes would be gone when I resurfaced.  They weren't.  I knew they wouldn't be gone.  I knew it was one of life's great misconceptions.  I didn't want to stay too long underwater either - cos - well - you know - the Jaws theme song.

By now, I was in the middle of the pool.  Another sound.  What was it?  What did it remind me of?  That's it... Anthony Hopkin's as Hanibal in the Silence of the Lambs, - the sound he made as he reminisced over brains and fava beans:

Flup-flup-flup-flup-flup.

But it wasn't Sir Anthony.

It was a ....

BAT!

Swooping me - just like a magpie in Spring.

Flup-flup-flup-flup-flup

I could feel my flesh instantly turn to chicken flesh at the prospect of that bat getting closer and - horrors!

what IF it got caught in my HAIR?

Flup-flup-flup-flup-flup

"Babe.  BABE.  BAAAABBBBEED!!!"

"What is it?"

"A bat.  Swooping me....sob...."

"It's ok.  He's probably thirsty"

"Yes, for my BLOOOD...."

And with that, I was out of the pool and the intense heat of a kitchen in an Australian Heat Wave never felt so good.

And comforting.