Tuesday, August 30, 2016

You ARE 40 now.

What am I doing? No. Like, what am I DOING?? For sure laundry. Yes, definitely laundry but only washing and drying it and definitely only folding it when every member of my family has expressed their utter disgust with my lack of laundry folding. Then maybe.

Pinterest. DEFINITELY Pinterest. Constantly searching for "Artspiration." Did I tell you I am an artist now? Well, I am and if you ask me, from now on I am going to call myself an artist. I tried it out at Lowes today and it made me feel super cool.

Guy at Lowes: So what do you do with all this wood? (laughs because that's kind of inappropriate and he's like 19)

Me: I am an artist. [exits lumber aisle feeling like Beyonce].

Why can I call myself an artist? Because I'm 40 and if I don't start calling myself an artist now, its not going to happen. I'm probably past the days of becoming a super model (although I did have a nice run with Shopko and Fleet Farm for a while...you're welcome).

Probably not going to the Olympics...but did you see that 41-year-old??? I mean she looked a little stiff but I was cheering her on all like, "You go, old gal! Make the middle-agers proud out there!" May never see that magic number on the scale again. Thigh gap is becoming a leap over the Grand Canyon at this point.

So you gotta do what you gotta do.

What am I doing? What was I afraid of before I was 40 that I am not now? Why does EVERYONE say, "Well, you are 40 now." My back has been killing me for months, I've got a little extra junk in the trunk, and my hangovers seem to require an extra ibuprofen and a burrito, but I am also a little bit less afraid to throw myself out there. I am a better friend at 40 than I was at 30. I still have no patience but my friends don't either and I know now to count on them to make me feel like a "normal" mother. I am super talented in the swearing department which means I am able to shut it off in front of my kids. I am old enough that a discussion about poop can be about adult regularity but young enough that it might include our kids' regularity and potty training too. I am old enough to say that I haven't seen my college friends for 20 years but young enough to know when we meet up in Florida in September we will have way too much fun...in our comfies.

Old people love to tell you how everything goes to shit when you hit 40 and I say, RISE UP MIDDLE AGERS! We may have shit knees and obnoxious kids and cellulite but we are living life the way it should be lived! As my dear friend loves to say, #zerofucks. Don't get me wrong, I got some F's for lots of things but when I have ZERO for stupid shit, it feels really good.

So what am I doing? I am making things in my ARTIST'S studio in my basement (that doesn't sound super glam but you should see it). I am loving my friends harder than ever before. I am parenting the best I can. So yes, I AM 40 now and maybe, just maybe, this is exactly how it is supposed to feel.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Benefit of the Doubt. Always.

Every single day I encounter some situation that could have gone better. Some could have gone A LOT better. I say or do the wrong thing, someone is less than kind to me, I am impatient with my kids or my husband, someone takes out their frustration on me. In any case, feelings are evoked that make us flare up, fly off, or bring us down. I am here to tell you that I think its time we all gave each other the benefit of the doubt. Every time. All the time.

Have you seen all of the articles lately listing out the "Ten Things Never to Say to...?" I've seen the one about what never to say to the parent of an adopted child. Or how about what not to say to someone who has lost their father? Don't say XYZ to breastfeeding/working/stay-at-home/organic/non-organic moms. Ten things never to say to white, single, gay men who prefer carbohydrates for breakfast on Tuesdays at 10 am. Stop. Just stop. I understand that these articles are meant to be a guideline for people attempting to provide insight into what it is like to be a white, single, gay men who prefer carbohydrates for breakfast on Tuesdays at 10 am, however, they absolutely kill the benefit of the doubt concept.

Because I am human and I'm assuming you are too, I have said the wrong thing at the wrong time (actually, filter failure is my middle name). I can't even fathom how many times some idiotic comment has flown from my lips and I have offended someone I love or someone I hardly know. But what if - just what if - what I said was an honest mistake? What if I meant absolutely no harm at all with what I said? What if I was having a terrible day and was distracted by a million different things and the wrong words just happened? Would you spend the day being mad at me or would you give me the benefit of the doubt that my intentions were not ill at all?

I have a particular person in my life whom I admire very much because she is just a good person. I strive to emulate her attitude about people. She told me that when someone crosses her, she makes up a story about them in her head about the bad day they might be having and it helps her to be more empathetic. This seems so basic, right? Someone honks at you and gives you "the naughty finger" on the road. Instead of letting that anger creep into your bubble, tell yourself the poor guy is late for work, his credit card just got declined at the gas station, his wife is mad at him, and his pants are too tight. Dude...that sucks and if it made you feel better to show me your naughty finger, then let it out man.

We recently made an honest mistake and forgot to ask permission from our neighborhood homeowners association to paint our house. It was truly an honest mistake. Nevertheless, we got a notice from a property management company on behalf of the board of our association, that we were to cease all work immediately. There was no indication of next steps, timeline for communication or action...nothing. In the meantime, I told the painters to stop painting the brick (apparently painted brick is the issue) but told them to continue painting the white trim. The trim was white before we painted the brick but as the gray was sprayed on, it needed to be redone. I consider myself a pretty reasonable person so I thought, surely this can be resolved in a friendly, neighborly way. I sat down and wrote an email to the board explaining our intentions to improve our home to benefit the neighborhood, describing the success we have had selling (lots of) houses in the past, and that we continued painting because we take a lot of pride in our house and having it half finished just didn't seem fair to do to our neighbors. No response from the board. No one from the board took the time to knock on the door, meet us, and have a neighborly conversation about the house. Are they interested to know that no less than 5 cars stop at our house daily to let us know how much they like what we have done? Do they care enough to take the time to meet us and realize we are not pot-stirrers but just proud home owners? Have they taken the time to really look at the house and realize that it was done professionally? While I understand the importance of covenants, design standards, etc., it seems there must be room for the evolution of style in any neighborhood. Review things on a case-by-case basis. Now all communication from them is coming through an attorney, we have hired a lawyer (ridiculous)...and yet, these people are my neighbors and I am still hopeful that there is some reasonable resolution other than stripping the paint from the brick (which we were told we have 30 days to complete or we pay a $25/day fine until it is done). All that aside, let's work together. Give me the benefit of the doubt that we are not ill-intentioned people.

Imagine what things would be like if we all tried a little harder to give each other the benefit of the doubt! We would be kinder, we would love more, argue less, and certainly wouldn't carry the weight of so much frustration with us. "Be kind always. For everyone you know is fighting a battle you know nothing about." There is a reason this saying resonates so deeply with so many of us. I promise to always give you the benefit of the doubt. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

I Made it Out Alive...A Tale of Giving Birth in Johannesburg

I am writing this mostly just to document my experience before I forget. I am also writing it so that the next time you go to the hospital, have a baby, get a routine check-up, or just a visit with your family doctor, you will have an appreciation for how good we have it in the good ol’ USA. I feel like I should just state for the record that this is only my experience. I am not trying to make a judgment of the entire South African medical system. I am only reporting on what I went through during my birth experience at one hospital in Johannesburg…but it certainly was a doozy.

Jake and I arrived at the hospital (Sandton Mediclinic) for one last check with my doctor, Dr. Peter Koll. This guy is brilliant and I loved him more with each appointment. He was laid back, enthusiastic, caring, and all around perfect. I never thought I would love anyone as much as Dr Kaldas (Neenah) but this guy was a close second. After a quick check and a chat, they sent me up to the Labor and Delivery ward where I was introduced to my nurse/midwife for the day, Nurse Pippa. Once again, the gods were smiling on me. She was absolutely awesome. Straight forward and no fluffy talk (I hate fluffy talk). Things started out slowly but they cranked up my Pitosin and I was 4 cm to 10 cm in a little over an hour or so. I will spare you the details but the birth of my little – or not so little – Jack was the best of all three. The miracle never ceases to amaze. I can’t say enough about Dr Koll, Pippa, and that very important part of the experience. What followed was a whole different ball game…enter the JV squad.

From the L & D ward, I was moved to the Maternity Ward. As you may recall, I had booked myself for the VIP Suite. Unfortunately, all three of them were taken and I was moved into a private room. It was small but at least I wasn’t sharing a room…pretty common here. I am no princess, but the thought of sharing a room with another mother and baby makes my stomach turn. No can do. Once I was in my room, I was supposed to have dinner, some pain meds, and some water (we’re talking basics here people). My dinner arrived 2 hours late, was microwaved slop, and only showed up after I asked the head nurse about four times…she was annoyed with me. No meds. No water. There was supposed to be a bed for Jake…no bed for Jake. On a happy note, my friend Alex showed up with a teeny tiny bottle of champagne for me. We had a good laugh, sipped a teeny tiny glass of champagne, and compared small humans. Later that evening a nurse – well, I think she was a nurse – walked into the room, grabbed a wrapped and sleeping Jack from his little bed, unwrapped him, held him up in the air, smacked his butt a few times and said, “Ooooohhhh…I love these fat little boys!” She wrapped him back up and put him back in his bed and that was it. She didn’t check him over, she didn’t take his temp or whatever else they are supposed to do, just a smack on the little baby bumbum. She left and Jake and I looked at each other and said, what the hell was that? Needless to say, Jake went home that night and I was on my own. Over the course of the night, not one nurse came into my room to check my blood pressure, check my temp, or make sure I wasn’t dead! They encourage “rooming in” with your baby which was fine, but what if I had fainted? What if something would have happened? No one would have known until………

4:30 am: Jack and I are sound asleep. The door opens, the lights flip on, and the “nurse” says, “I’m here to change your catheter.” My response?

I DON’T HAVE A CATHETER!! Can you please turn the lights off and leave?

5:00 am: The door opens, the lights flip on, and the lady says, “I need to empty your garbage bins.” WHAT!?!?!?! Now? You have to empty the garbage now? While I’m sleeping?
5:30 am: The door opens, the lights flip on, and the “nurse” says, “I have your meds.” I ask her what it is and she replies, “I’m not sure, they just said you requested it.” Nope…didn’t request any medication and if you can’t tell me what it is, I don’t think I should take it. She told me I should take it with my breakfast.

Breakfast: Never showed up. I asked probably five times, again annoying the head nurse with every request. Luckily Jake came back and went down to the hospital café to get me breakfast. Just before lunch a tray showed up with absolute SLOP that was leftover from breakfast. Gross. No thanks.

That morning the pediatrician (a pediatrician that came recommended) came to check Jack. They did a heel prick and told me that his blood sugar was low. I had never heard of this. Apparently its pretty common, I had just never heard about it. She told me they would be checking it again in a few hours. Fine. Nothing to worry about. The test a few hours later came back lower and she told me they would give him some formula. Now, I’m no card carrying La Leche League member by any means, but I didn’t want to give my baby formula without understanding how it was going to help this low blood sugar thing. When it was time for the second test we walked Jack down to the nursery and I told her I just wanted to understand why we needed to give him formula. She looked at me – totally annoyed – and said, “I don’t know when it became a criminal offense to FEED a hungry baby!” I felt my eyes well up and my chin wobble and knew I was done. Were we feeding a hungry baby (and was he hungry??? He seemed pretty content to me) or were we doing something for his blood sugar? In any case, I told her to do the test and just see what his levels were and then I would decide. Miracle of miracles, his blood sugar was exactly where it should be and I was done dealing with her and the blood sugar incident. I still wonder if the test really came back ok or she just wanted me out of her way. She was clearly annoyed with my tears and new momma stress. From that point on my interactions with her were short with a twinge of watch-out-for-these-hormones, b*tch.

We finally complained when Dr Koll came to check on me and asked how things were going. He sent an administrator up to talk to us and we thought things would get better. We were moved to the VIP suite which was great. It was big and nice and comfortable and I had every hope I was going to get at least the last couple days of rest and recovery that I had hoped for. The rest of that day was great. My in-laws brought the boys up and we just hung out. It was great.
That night a “nurse” came in and I will never forget her. She was wearing a blackish/purplish wig and scratching her head with far too much vigor for my liking. The scratching went on for what seemed like an eternity and I could feel any tolerance slipping away. She told me she was there to give me my suppositories. I asked her what they were for and she told me she didn’t know but that I had requested them. Again, I had not requested them and…well, let’s just leave that one alone. Then she said, “I’m also here to wash you.” WHAT!?!? Wash me? I, unable to hide my absolute frustration, told her that this was my third baby and I was very capable of washing myself. My head nearly exploded. She did take my blood pressure and this was the first time in the 24 hours after Jack was born.

At this point I realized that my hopes for my hospital stay were crushed and I just wanted out. The next day was slightly better. Its seems the A Team works days and the B (C, D, Z) Team works nights. I resigned myself to the fact that my dreams for “the Beyonce suite” were fizzled and gone. Unfortunately, the popular phrase, “TIA” (this is Africa) also applied to my recovery from childbirth. What would I have done if this had been my first baby and I didn’t know what to expect? There are a million what-if’s but we made it out alive. In retrospect, I still feel a little sad about what I had hoped for and what really happened, but I am also eternally grateful for the most amazing birth of a most amazing - and healthy – little boy.

Monday, October 22, 2012


Home is simple.
Home is always here.
Home is family and people who have known you for lots of years, through good stuff and bad stuff.
Home is Piggly Wiggly.
Home is Erb Park and City Park.
Home is College Avenue.
Home is parents and sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew, aunts and uncles and cousins.
Home is my dog.
Home is warm and cozy and alwasy comfortable.
Home is how happy my kids are being around people who love them.
Home is seeing familiar faces and running into people at the grocery store.
Home is sharing things in common.
Home is knowing who to call when my kids are sick.
Home is a house that we own, Jake and his lawn, weekend projects, and random gatherings.
Home is safe.
Home is clean and quiet.

Home has been a lot of places for us, lots of different "buildings," almost-country and big cities. Home has been three different countries. Home has been too close to the train tracks. Home has been really good quality and one impulse decision. :)

I don't remember my exact feelings while living in England...that was 2000 and I have a terrible memory. I know we had lots of fun but I also know we struggled. Now that I am 13 years older and 7 homes later, I feel safe to say that Johannesburg will never be home and will never feel like home and its ok. Our life in Joburg is an experience, it is not home. We will live an extraordinary life there, soak in what we can, appreciate it for what it is, but it is not home.

My job through all of these moves has always been to put the house together. I love to do it. Making a building into our home is my favorite project and I think its why I can tolerate and even get excited about our moves. Its always a challenge to me to see just how quickly I can have a place whipped into shape and exceptionally comfortable for my family. Jake does the work part, I do the home part (for the most part). My time at HOME HOME is affording me lots of reflection and I've come to realize that I need to let a few things go.

I think I need to stop worrying about WHY Joburg doesn't feel like home. Its not home. Let it go.

I need to be ok with living in a house that I don't love and don't feel super motivivated to beautify. Its ok. Let it go.

I have to appreciate that Joburg is temporary. I know we are coming home. Its ok to not feel 100% settled in...even if I feel this way the whole 2 years. Its ok. Let it go.

I am going to miss the people I love who are so very far away. The pain is worth the appreciation I will have when this is not the case anymore someday. Let it go.

Jake and I have been through a lot together and moving to South Africa will no doubt go in the column marked, "Not easy but an experience that made us stronger." I can't tell yet if being home makes things better or worse knowing that I have to go back, but I do know this:

1. Home is home. It doesn't matter how long you are gone, where you go, who you meet, or how great the weather is...HOME IS HOME.

2. Its all about having your people close by. On paper, life in SA is dreamy on all accounts (minus a little crime, poverty, racism, etc. yikes). But nothing matters if you don't have your people. I don't want to be without my people. People are what matters. You have to have people. People.

3. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Enough said.

4. I will never ever take little old Appleton for granted ever, ever again. It is safe and clean and friendly and green and cute and charming and I love it.

5. At the end of this experience I will look back and be amazed that we did it, we survived and flourished, grew as a family (literally and figuratively), and came out wiser in the end.

Now, on a far less serious note, a list of observations being at home after living in SA for 7 months:

- I love how colorful the packaging is on American products.
- I could eat Jimmy Johns every single day (I probably knew this before but it has now been solidified).
- The streets are SO CLEAN. Quinn said, "Mom, there is no litter here."
- Wisconsin Avenue never ever changes.
- I have realized just how deep my love for Target is.
- We have so many options. For example, I was looking for some kind of athletic-looking sweatshirt in a dark color. I think I had 15 different options just at Target!
- We know how to make products for packing a really kick ass kids lunch.
- Being able to drive down the road with your purse on the front seat without fearing someone will smash your car window and steal it is NOT overrated.

Thank you to everyone who has shared my excitement for being home. Your kind words have made it that much better.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"Life is so hard, ma'am. Life is so hard."

I lost it this morning. I seriously lost it. I lost it so badly that I posted this to Facebook:

You know what gets me all fired up? The way so many white people treat black people here. I brought Miss to the eye doctor because she can't see. The optometrist is treating her like she's an idiot. Over my dead body will we be buying glasses here. I am absolutely FUMING right now!!!!!

They are words that I mean and words that were not well thought out, words that were fueled by absolutely shock and frustration and more shock. Words and frustration that felt the same as if someone had insulted one of my children. I had a reaction that got my blood boiling so hard and fast that I consciously had to keep myself in my chair and say, “Jessie…don’t say anything stupid.” I thought of my grandma Doerfler…I know what she would have done. She would have told that woman WHERE.TO.GO. As tempted as I was, I didn’t.

I made Miss an appointment to see the eye doctor because the poor woman can’t see 5 feet in front of her. She said she had glasses once but her brother “borrowed” them. Our appointment was at 9:30 but since I still have no idea how long it takes me to get places, we arrived about 20 minutes early. I filled out the paperwork for her and wrote myself down as next of kin. The optometrist rolled in at 9:26. I greeted her with a plain old “hi” but she barely acknowledged us sitting there. There were only two chairs in the waiting area…I was in one, Miss was in the other. She walks over with the clipboard, looks right at me and says, “Mercy Cnube?” First of all, Cnube is a common Zimbabwean surname and second, Mercy is a very common translation for a Zim first name. Did she really think I was Mercy Cnube? Of course not, but she was not about to acknowledge Miss sitting there.

(On a side note, months after Mercy/Miss started living with us, we realized her name was not Miss…it was Mercy. Merc for short. Because of all of our accents it all just got a little confusing. While Mercy is a beautiful name, Miss has become almost my affection name for her. She said she likes Miss…she likes Merc…no matter.)

She asked Miss a couple questions and she didn’t know that answers so she asked them again, only louder and more impatiently. Now, one thing I have learned about Miss is that when she’s nervous she gets an attitude. She was obviously uncomfortable and I knew that but having this creep in her face certainly wasn’t helping her answer the questions any better.

“Do you know what your prescription is?”

Lady, do you really think she knows what her prescription is???? Of course she doesn’t. She’s been without glasses for years. Just her chance to fling an insult…make her feel stupid. When Miss couldn’t answer her questions she rolled her eyes and led her to the back room. Miss told me that back there she kept saying to her, “Choose! Which one looks right? If you don’t tell me I’m going to give you the wrong glasses. Choose!” I asked Miss, “Weren’t you mad?” Miss said, “No. I know these kind of people. She doesn’t like black people.”

Miss is right.

The outright, blatantly obvious racism in South Africa is painfully hard to stomach. It’s the snide remarks, the condescending tone in which people speak, the blanket statements, “You don’t have to feed them much. All they need is bread and tea.” THEM? THEY? Are we talking about PEOPLE here? People with real feelings and thoughts and a million things to contribute? People who make your life ridiculously easy? People who, in very few other countries, would tolerate the way you treat them?

Miss often says, “Life is so hard, ma’am. Life is sooo hard.” Today it was right in my face. Today I saw the way this poor woman has been treated her entire life. So badly that she didn’t even really notice that this woman treated her like a meaningless piece of shit. I know Miss’s story – the parts that she feels comfortable telling me – and the fact that she has the strength to even keep going is a miracle.

You know what people tell me when I say, she’s had such a hard life. I feel so bad for her? I have heard all of the following multiple times (and without an ounce of shame in saying them):

“Just be careful. Once you offer them one thing they expect it all the time.”
“They all have a sob story. There are always family members dying, sick relatives, funerals to go to. Pretty soon she’ll ask you for money for a funeral.”
“Just make sure she knows exactly what you expect of her or she will take advantage of you.”

Well guess what? She is a woman who was forced to drop out of school – the school her parents could only afford to send her to for one term a year – when she was 16. She works her ass of and always has to support her two daughters (and they don’t even get to live with her). She has never asked us for one red cent. And you know what else? She loves Indian food…chicken Jalfrezi, in fact, but you probably don’t know that because you have always looked past her and everyone else like her working hard to make life easier for you. It is easier to group people together and make blanket statements than to really get to know someone. If you get to know them and realize they have interests and thoughts and feelings, it is much harder to justify treating them like they are any different than you.

Miss told me she likes to watch “the soapies” because they are like the fairytales. She imagines that someday the fairytale will happen to her and life won’t be so hard.

My life here is not hard. On paper, it is as good a life as I have ever dreamed of. The emotional part of life here takes it out of me every day. It kicks my ass. It challenges an already emotional me to figure out how to compartmentalize these feelings about the things I see and hear. Nothing will ever be the same for me after living here. I will never look at things the same way. My feelings will be deeper, the thoughts will be wider, my life will be richer…not because I have lived a privileged life, but because of the people I have met who never will.

Monday, August 27, 2012

100 Things to be Thankful for and Happy About

(not in any particular order)

1. The happy coffee guy who made me a really good latte this morning.

2. A husband who loves me and takes really good care of our family.

3. Warm, sunny summer...finally after a year with two winters in a row for us!

4. Quinn is happy at school once again.

5. Forgiveness from my children for not being a perfect mother.

6. My mom and dad who still love each other.

7. My sister who is sisterly perfection.

8. Matthew and Raffaele's baby.

9. A healthy body that will do most things.

10. Willie Nelson.

11. Talking things through with people who love me and feeling better.

12. Knowing exactly who my go-to people are.

13. Really cute babies wrapped up on their mamas' backs just along for the ride.

14. The first swim of the 2012 pool season yesterday. Water temp was 60 degrees but my kids didn't care!

15. Listening to Ben talk like he's 16.

16. Quinn's reaction to his new bike.

17. Considering my sister-in-law Julie a true soulmate even though we don't get to see each other often enough.

18. Alisha Keys and Ray Charles singing "America the Beautiful."

19. Running on a treadmill. Yes, I really enjoy running on a treadmill.

20. Patriotism.

21. Sitting on our patio.

22. Decorating magazines.

23. Facebook friends who take the time to write messages.

24. Cousins.

25. Lucy...the greatest dog to ever live.

26. MAC mascara that just knows when to stay on and when to come off.

27. My kids' bare feet.

28. Ironman...yes, Ironman...for proving to my husband just how strong he is.

29. Green grass.

30. Dallas.

31. Having friends so great that you are pretty sure you will never have friends like them again in a lifetime.

32. Really big, gas-guzzling SUVs full of kids, dogs, groceries with room to spare.

33. Amatuli treasure hunting.

34. Tom's twist cones, especially in June, July, and August.

35. Hair appointment day.

36. Yoga.

37. Having time.

38. Knowing a great girl and a great guy and just hoping they get to meet at some point.

39. Planning a party.

40. Teachers who send reminders.

41. Restaurants with playgrounds.

42. Chardonnay.

43. Hearing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" just when I needed a little pick-me-up. Thanks Grandma Frannie.

44. Every shade of green.

45. Clean kids in snuggly jammies.

46. Babysitters who love my kids and take care of them like they are family.

47. Choosing the perfect paint.

48. Eagle River.

49. Chocolate dipped in chocolate with chocolate on top.

50. I live really close to really cool, really big wild animals.

51. I live in one of the sunniest places in the whole world.

52. Being a grown-up.

53. I am 99.9% sure Jake and I could survive anything as long as we have each other.

54. Good-smelling hair products.

55. Stripes.

56. I know exactly what my first three moves would be if I ever happened upon a huge amount of money.

57. Ballet that gives me goosebumps.

58. Kate and Charlie.

59. In my head, I can still smell the cologne (or just plain soap) and perfume of all four of my grandparents.

60. Papa's tractor.

61. Black and off-white pajama pants.

62. Quinn reading his library books with an Italian accent.

63. Sleeping with the windows open.

64. Going to the gym.

65. Not going to the gym and doing something fun instead.

66. Fresh chocolate croissants.

67. Florence, Italy.

68. Our apartment in Tonbridge, Kent, UK.

69. My extended family who love to get together for just about any reason.

70. Facebook friends.

71. Mio in my water (thanks Abs).

72. The perfect pair of sweatpants.

73. Food on the table and clean water to drink.

74. The guarantee that I will laugh until I cry every single time I am with my friend Matthew.

75. Abi, Ellie, and Vivi.

76. Vanilla candles.

77. Yoga.

78. Ribbed tank-tops.

79. Circle Street.

80. Christmas.

81. Good chats with good people.

82. A happy husband.

83. Healthy children.

84. Knowing who I can call when I need someone.

85. Johnny Cash.

86. The Help.

87. Reading something and thinking, "YES! Thank goodness you said that so perfectly for me."

88. The things I am learning living in South Africa.

89. Shiraz.

90. The perfect bedding.

91. Spring.

92. Mamma Mia every single time.

93. Warm weather, pool-laying vacations.

94. The Postcard Inn.

95. Lambeau Field.

96. Flip-flops.

97. Happy hour.

98. London.

99. D & G Light Blue perfume

100. Waking up every morning so far. :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Now, Just Now, or Now Now

There is this weird thing in SA and I learned today that mistakes are not welcome when it comes to "now." Because I am not working in an office or part of anything organized really, I don't get the opportunities Jake does to learn how things are said, what they mean, where they are, etc. In other words, I am a slow foreign learner.

A few weeks ago my friend Sandy (across the street neighbor) was going to come over for a glass of wine. She said, "I'll be there just now." So I quickly open a bottle of white, pour her a glass, and add the ice that she likes. After all, she just lives across the street and she said she would be here now. Twenty minutes later she arrives. This is when I got my first lesson on "just now." I would equate "just now" in South Africa to "in a few minutes" everywhere else. So I learned not to pour the wine and add the ice if she is coming just now.

And then there is "now now." Now now means now. I didn't even know "now now" existed. Can you see how this gets confusing? And I've used the word now to mean NOW for so many years that it is automatic. This is where the problem came in today.

I stopped by the doctor’s office to pick up a prescription and rumor has it they are "between office assistants" (this is not really a rumor...I heard it from the one they do have but I thought by saying "rumor has it" I would sound connected to some inner circle). Anyway, the phone was ringing, there were people waiting and it was general chaos. I stood there and waited until she said, "Can I help you just now?" Perfect. I say, "I'm Jessie Elson and I am here..." She jumps in rudely as she picks up the phone, "I said I can help you just now." Me, "Ok, I just need to pick up a prescription."

And then I remembered...just now = hang on just a minute there sister. I had really made her mad, understandably, and I wanted to explain so badly that this foreigner’s light bulb had just gone on for this rather odd thing they say here.

Oh well. Lesson learned.

Talk to you just now.