Saturday, September 13, 2008

And another one gone....

Yep - another driver bites the dust!

The Slug (as he shall be known) started on Monday and lasted until yesterday evening.

Slug took the job knowing where we live, the times, the expectations and the salary. He started on Monday morning, struck me as a bit slow in moving etc and drove with only one had on the wheel - the other was on his leg. He objected to wearing a seat belt and clearly was not impressed with the music we played!

He obviously did not understand more than seven words of English. Unfortunately the seven words he did understand were nothing to do with driving and directions! However I must say that when the guys from the office brought another driver over for test-driving, the Slug found enough words to interrogate me about the man - who he was, if he was a good driver, was he getting a job, when was he going to work, which car would he drive, oh and by the way, can he have Rs 500 as his daughter has conveniently ended up in hospital at the same time as he asked for Rs100 for the bus each day and was refused. I think he thought the sympathy card may work ... little does he know that once you have learnt the hard way about being taken for the loan ride, you have a heart of stone! Also - most bus rides here are between Rs2 and Rs4 per journey. This does not equate to Rs 100 per day ... max Rs8. but once they start trying to get cash out of you it is never -ending!

The final straw for me was watching him constantly sticking his pinky up one or other nostril and digging away for goodness only knows what. I shudder as I write! Revolting!

Since his departure, I have disinfected every surface of the car and all door handles! Luckily he was too much of a slug to bring any of the kids' paraphernalia up from the car so we are saved a ceremonial burning!

Uncle Sam is the new guy. So far so good .... but it has only been 3 hours! Who knows?!!

Old Habits ...

I swear, I need a keeper!! Just as I think I have come to my senses and dropped every responsibility I have, I jump in with both feet to several MEGA activities and all without the blink of an eyelid!

Read Around the World for the elementary kids at AISC - I have visions of massive maps and facts and rewards and t-shirts and tote bags or book bags etc etc. I have NO idea how I am going to manage all this, but I am on the slippery slope and have to slalom down as slowly as possible!

There's the Double Decker Club - gung ho with planning for that as the first meeting is planned for Sept 27th ... not far away at all! Again - t-shirts, folders, totes, badges etc.

Then the President of the OWC managed to collar me and asked if I would just help a bit. I agreed and then she told me that it was with sponsorship for the Ball, ticket sales, helping organise Halloween arts and crafts, sorting out the Trick or Treat and starting off the planning for the Santa Brunch. Did the fool in the pink tank say NO.... duh!! I am now eyeball deep in trying to plan and coordinate all the above and the main point here is that my Darling comes back to Chennai early Sunday morning. Then he needs full on attention for a few days!

I guess the old habits of volunteering and not being able to say no die hard!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

So a couple of days of freedom have passed. I am coming to the conclusion that I am a workaholic! Okay, so I don't get paid, I don't have an office and actually I don't even have a job! But I obviously NEED to keep myself occupied.

I have bitten my nails, eaten chocolate, baked cookies, brownies and cakes, invited a couple of people over and gone out more this week than in the last month! Clearly I cannot just sit still and do nothing! I watched the television for about an hour and then gave up the fight and switched the boring noise off! I went for a walk, cleared out my cupboard, sorted old shoes out, read books with Rhea, wrote a letter and made umpteen lists about nothing!

So when a friend called me and said come over for a cuppa - I went hours earlier than she had said and caught her making pom-poms with her girls! she tolerated my interruption and we talked about a new club for kids. We talked about teaching our kids about British culture, history and life. We brainstormed, googled, searched and smiled. We talked, watched a James Bond clip and smiled wider! Eventually I left her and went to finish errands, but I was stimulated, smiling and starting to make the Double Decker's a success.

I had a brief flash of inspiration months ago that we should get the kids in the elementary school Read Around the World. I dreamt of a massive map of the world and kids pictures on thumb tacks moving across this flat globe! I imagined passports, visa stamps, factoid sheets, quiz questions and little treasure prizes. A Forever Friend got as excited as I was and offered to help. She left. I am still going to do this - it just seems a little much at the moment.

I think I will start with making the map and see how far I get!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Ladies Who Lunch

I found out today that handing over the baton of voluntary PTA leadership comes with a massive amount of relief, reluctance and rejoicing!

Relief because a massive amount of time suddenly becomes free and not tied up with meetings, minutes, newsletters and a couple of nightmare people.
Relief because I don't need to meet deadlines anymore, I don't need to feel frustrated at the nightmares (during the day and the night!) that I could not eject, reject or suppress.

Reluctance because it was a pleasure organising and creating and working with such wonderful teachers and parents (except for the couple of nightmares!!) and students.
Reluctance because I have pride in the position and know I can do more with it (without the nightmares involved) and would have perhaps, maybe, possibly liked to do another year and continue with the plan.

Rejoicing because I had made it my mission to try and involve as many people as I could and to try and make the PTA seem more like a massive fun factory (than a clique-y group of snotty women out to exclude the rest), and I think I managed that as every position on the new committee had a volunteer stepping up who thought they can easily do the job - many of them new parents. I was so happy.
Rejoicing also because my days are my own, the thought of constantly bearing the responsibility of selling stuff, planning stuff, organising stuff, posting stuff, saying stuff, buffering against stuff, is exhausting and now it is lifted.

So instead, a select group took me out for lunch to celebrate my liberation and to share in all the emotions that come along with watching a friend who has suffered and succeeded and suffered and succeeded. Thank God for good friends.

We decided today that being Ladies who Lunch was clearly the way to go. It may end up being the weight that doesn't go, and the cash that flows, but it would be so much fun!

I told my Darling that he should be careful what he wished for - he wanted me to quit being anywhere near the nightmares (both kinds) and to think more of myself and no-one else. I told him that now I was FREE, I could go out all the time and sit in his office with him the rest of the time. Even from Chicago (on skype) his face drained of colour as the reality of what he has insisted I do hit him HARD!!!

Nikh and The Ray have suffered over the past year - neglect, absence, impatience, irritation ... each time I was knee deep in yet another project or newsletter they were brushed aside. Each time the nightmares grew more vitriolic and virulent they suffered the fallout of my frustration.


My family comes first - the nightmares can no longer reach me (I am sorry I ever let them) and my friends are still supportive.

A wise woman told me not to listen to the two unfounded critical, malicious voices full of spite, but instead to absorb and surround myself with the compliments and caring, the boost and the enthusiasm of the many positive voices around me. I have finally taken note and begun to practice this preaching.

So let a new day begin .... I am a blank canvass ready to take on new and exciting projects, to create and nurture, to educate and learn.

I am also free for lunch!