One of THOSE Days

I am having one of those days. You know? The ones you think, why did I roll out of bed this morning?

Have nightmare about girls across the street. Wake up. Barely get to toilet after running into two walls (still asleep). Get back to bed. Still worried about nightmare. Sleep okay but shoulder is killing me. Look at clock. 3 minutes until alarm goes off. Might as well get up.

Kick dog out. Trip over something in dark garage. Nearly slam finger in door on way back into main house. Get to bathroom. Forgot new razor. Back into another room to get new razor. Shave. Cut myself again in the same place I always cut myself shaving (chin). Get in shower, try to wake up, put cleansing gel instead of shampoo in hair. Razor cut burns. I nearly kill myself on slippery shower tiles (which Noel did warn me about day prior). Dry self off. Put underwear on back to front. Not comfortable.

Eat Sultana Bran after putting toasting stuff out for Jamie. He wants cereal too. Go into drawer. No more Sultana Bran. Interrupt breakfast, go get other box of Sultana Bran (same cupboard as the razor), open up, pour into plastic container but get half on kitchen bench. Scrape rest into plastic container. Put away toasting stuff.

Get Jamie organised (finally). Running late. Get into car, drive off. At an intersection, nearly plow into car that has the right-of-way, but I didn’t see because no headlights on, it’s dark on that road, and his car is black or dark grey. Heart pounding. Late for work still. Stuck now behind someone sight-seeing at 30 kilometres per hour on 70 kilometre per hour zone. Think about ramming their car out of lane. Nearly do when they slow down and I’m still thinking.

Get to work. Can’t remember gate code. Barely scrape by (once I get through) big car and trailer parked by Unit 5 as In Fact are moving in. Park car.

Open up school. Lecture room lights still on, alarm off, looks like a bomb’s hit it. Steiner interviews in 5 minutes. Thrust sign at Jamie and give instructions (he gets it kinda right but not). Blow Kim up via text for leaving room a mess. Tell Noel room is mess.

9 AM. No sign of Janine. Room clean. Getting ready for problem we ALWAYS have with her laptop and our system and projector. 9:15, phone rings; it’s Janine. I cut her off by accident. Can’t get hold of her. Finally calls back; gate is closed.

Go down to help her; sign on wrong gate, couldn’t find thing to prop gate open with so stick will do. Get Janine. Walk back to work.

Try to get her laptop and our system to interface. Keep calling and bugging Noel at home re: problem. After 45 minutes, discover original plug was right one. System working finally.

Hair a mess. Sweating like a pig. Call up place for dinner. “Sorry, we’re booked.” Call another place for dinner. “Sorry, we’re booked.”

Shoulder is still killing me!!!



I hung up the phone rather bewildered.

Was I in an episode of the Twilight Zone? Or was I going insane? Or was that deja vu I used to get kicking in again?

Noel’s mother had called me earlier in the morning. I’d just finished an hour-long call to my Grandma in the US to wish her a happy birthday, when, my ear still sore from holding the phone up to it that long, the phone rang again. It was Noel’s mother, none to happy that she had to keep calling because she kept getting a busy signal.

(That’s what the redial button is for!!!)

Anyway… she called to tell me the quarantine on the home was off. Norovirus free. They could eat lunch in the dining hall today! She could have a shower in the morning! What would she do with her rediscovered freedom, I asked? Sit outside in the fresh air and sun.

So that was all good. We finished the call to let her do just that (as she’d been locked in her room for nearly a week, and, when your room is a little bigger than a shoebox, it would drive you nuts as well, I am sure.)

6 PM — 8 hours later — the phone rings again. It’s Molly.

She just called to tell me the quarantine on the home was off. Norovirus free. They could eat lunch in the dining hall today! She could have a shower in the morning! What did she do with her rediscovered freedom, I asked (mainly because I thought, just humour her… I’d already told Noel a few times that night that he was repeating himself, so, hey, why be a broken record?)? She sat outside in the fresh air and sun.

So, since I was cooking dinner, she was going to let me go do just that.

In a way, I was flattered that she would call me more than once to tell me the same thing — she must’ve felt it was very newsworthy — but on the other hand, it scared me a bit to think, will she be calling us twice, three times every time she calls us now to ask or tell us the same thing?

Watch this space!

I said, watch this space!

Thicker Than Water (2007)

After three tries, I finally got through to her.

Today (28 February in the US, 1 March in New Zealand, except on leap years) is my Grandma’s birthday.

We spoke about a lot of different things, and, with my Grandma being from quite an extended family (she was the youngest of 13 children, and, as the youngest, she was the same age group as some of her older siblings’ children), I asked her how everyone was doing. She spoke about different people, and how they were moving on in their lives. I prompted her with several names along the way, and she, in turn, told me how they were or what they were up to.

Now, for some reason, my Mom doesn’t mix that often with the Bauer/Dittrich side of the family, so we mainly see them at, as Noel so lovingly calls it, “hatches, matches and dispatches”. I, on the other hand, think family are family; our ties are thicker than water. We share some part of our DNA or may be related by law or marriage, and, to me, that’s just as good. Despite maybe not having the same tastes in music or clothing or having different backgrounds, we still share one thing in common: a common relative or ancestor, without whom, our bond (or even our existence) would have never been.

In 2004, my Grandpa died. I’d rushed from literally one end of the world to the other to say good-bye, made it with enough time to spend part of a night, a day, and part of another morning with him before he passed away.

With such a radical change in my life within a few days, my world felt as if it had been tipped upside down and that some greater power was shaking the world to try to get me to fall off too. I often say to people, when I describe what it was like, that that period in my life felt like I was a guest star in my own life, as if I was one of the main cast who started the show, left for greener pastures, but was brought back for an earth-shattering event. The writers gave me lines to say, only enough to keep everyone happy. It was very surreal.

There were no writers, no show, no lines though; this was life.

At the wake, the Dittrich side of the family (my Grandma’s family) comprised most of the visitors. (The Fack side, my Dad’s brothers and sister, their spouses and children, my cousins, were there too.) It gave me a chance to catch up and talk with cousins I hadn’t seen in years.

The only place to eat dinner was Little America across Central Road from the funeral home. Brian, Darcie, Jeremy and I took Grandma over there, and, in the middle of the restaurant, there were some of our older cousins. We sat down, amongst them, and talked. It was such a break from everything devastating that had occurred in the days before, and, for maybe an hour, we unwound, eating and talking and sharing stories. Bill Middleton kept giving Brian aggravation (for some reason, he thinks he looks like Cary Grant). The family told funny stories and fond memories of Grandpa, and wasn’t that the best thing to remember him? I think I laughed at one point: such an alien and foreign thing at that point in time that I remember at the time I didn’t think it sounded like me.

But they took our minds off everything, spinning the positive.

I remember my cousins filing by, Grandpa’s immediate family sitting and waiting, to say their final good-byes. What stuck out most was my cousin Chuck putting his hand on my shoulder and saying something like, “It will be okay,” and my eyes welling up with tears.

Another strong memory: the younger cousins, the ones my age (and I am sorry if I got this wrong but it was such a blur to me, I am trying my best to piece it together!) being the pall-bearers. Chuck, Darren, JJ, Jason, Brandon and Greg bore the casket because, to be honest, my Mom, Dad and Grandma felt Brian, Jeremy, Darcie and I wouldn’t be able to handle it emotionally (and they were so right, at least for me). I hope I said thank you to those cousins, because, I do know some of them (if not all of them) loved my Grandpa very much as well.

I know some people are not as fortunate as I am to have such a wonderful ans supportive family. At night, when I pray before I go to bed, my prayer thanks God for such a great immediate and also all-round family.

My whole point is family, no matter how distant, if they are our own flesh and blood or people who we’ve collected along the way and love just the same, is the blood in our lives. They are those people who, like our immune system, rush in to fight our battles for us when we are weak. They hold us together when we need it, act as a support crew and, funny enough, we don’t bat an eyelash when they need help; we rush in just the same as they did for us.

So they are right; blood is so much thicker than water. And we have so much to be thankful for in having them in our lives.