Writing a book via Email.

How could I help her remember her roots and learn from others experiences? I decided to write a book just for her.

I email myself things I want to tell my daughter when she is grown… things I wish i’d known about how the world works. I have the intent of compiling a book for her for when she heads to University.  Hopefully she’ll take a few moments to browse the pages and be able to incorporate some of the things shared.

There is so much I wish I had known and stumbled upon this idea a few years ago. Not wanting my daughter to fall into the same trap of starting from scratch I came up with a way to pass down the things I learned through graduating from the school of hard knocks.  Things on budgeting, careers, prioritisation, staying very close to friends and paying particular attention to the quality of your girls who are friends, making time for oneself, becoming subject matter experts in things which she is passionate over and which are useful to the wider community, health, how much I love how she can work a room, how much I love how she notices the people who need someone to talk to, some memories of her before she can remember, how I found moving beyond my own wants and needs led to a happier life, a reminder of her childhood dreams and aspirations, some photos of her early artwork and some comments perhaps about her to me over the years from our nearests and dearests.

Whether she loves it or not, it has been a delight to compile over the years.  Emailing myself little memories or thoughts on the hoof, from anywhere in the world using my phone, helped me to gather a wide repository of items to share.  Even reading back over early entries at this point in time shows me how quickly we forget the little things which make a life.  There are entries on subjects and events which until prompted I had completely forgotten even though I was the author.

I have noticed that when I stop and notice the good things in life, I am more prone to continue noticing the good things.  This has been a blessing to my life as it helped me focus on someone other than myself and helped me look for the good.  There is a sense of enrichment.  It also fortifies me against the moments which chip away at happiness.  It is like the id says “this rubbish thing may well be happening, but look at this vast array of successes” as it throws its arms wide over all the collected moments.

So, as much as this has been for Missy to peruse at her convenience at some later date, it has become a talisman of goodness in my own life, right here and right now.  I am pleased I started and pleased that I didn’t think to myself “ah, she’s already 10 years old, it is too late”.  Transpired I remembered much of her little years when she was 10, and as we start to focus on adulthood there are things for which I want her to be positively aware.  It wasn’t too late.

 

The House # 3 – what happened next

We had the key to the house, Missy had 3 days booked at a residential course in Cambridge, we had the shock realisation that the rental house wasn’t packed as much as is required to move home.

Elbow grease.  That’s what was required from this point forth.  That, and money.  Lots and lots of money.  My purse is now filled with receipts from DIY stores.

So, the teen seemed to be emotionally stopped on packing her room.  That’s all that was required of her apart from picking up after herself.  She had to pack her room.  I saw dozens of rubbish bags exiting her little sanctuary but didn’t see many boxes making it to the move me pile.  What should have taken half a day ended up taking more than two weeks.  Whenever I go in her room it is a cause of contention.  We end up arguing so I tried to leave her to it.  In the end I found myself standing on the landing tersely pointing out that she was not fulfilling her end of the bargain, I was highly disappointed in her and she needed to pull her finger out or argument or not I would go in and sort the situation.  “But I’m deciding what to keep and what to throw”, “Decide Faster!!!”.

I dropped Missy at Cambridge, and then collected her and took the day to look around that beautiful city with her and my cousin Noele.  We had an amazing day.  The course was more than everything she’d ever dreamed of.  We needed some together time.

The house with the key needed emptying.  Debris everywhere, cupboards still full and unable to receive our personal effects.  So, every night after work and every morning before work, there I was emptying the house into my car to be taken to the recycling centre.  Walls needed scrubbing, floors needed scrubbing, every single surface needed scrubbing.

Every time I moved something in the house I found more mould.  Rather than being able to proceed, I would have to stop, strip the wall, apply mould remedy, wait, scrub, reapply, rewash, repaper, before I could get on with what I had intended to do before moving the item.  It was rather disheartening and time consuming.

I bought trade paint.  I thought “Tradesmen, they know what they’re doing, I’ll buy their paint” but it transpires that tradespeople do not buy trade paint because it is fit for very little.  What should have taken 2 coats took upwards of 4.

Missy had design ideas about her room including stripping the woodchip wallpaper, painting, and adding brick wallpaper as a feature wall.  Apart from me sneakily adding 4 coats of paint to her room while she was in Cambridge, and laying a carpet, she did the rest herself.  It looks great.

So, slowly the house began to change from dirty, mouldy, icky to a place where you could touch the paintwork, run your hand down the bannister, walk through a room and open a cupboard to find emptiness.

The helpers helped, during week 2 mum arrived and stayed over.  We hired gardeners to help tame the wildly overgrown hedge.  We’d cut it down to an appropriate width using heavy duty power tools but needed help topping it off and taking away the cuttings.  The gardeners also helped me to put the fence back up which had been pulled down.  The Mormon missionaries arrived and helped me change the roof of a shed, to re-board and re-tarp so that it was watertight.  I still have remedial work there fixing the back wall, but baby steps.

The skip filled, the cars filled over and over again.  One of the dogs my mum owns, a big floofy German Shepherd, slipped through the gate and took a walk through the neighbourhood causing much excitement among the local residents.  Appliances were delivered.  Things were starting to come together.  Now, to pack the old house and book a removal company.

But one thing at a time.

 

 

Cambridge University for 16 Year Olds

Missy is off for a 3 day residential course at Cambridge University, England tomorrow entitled Women in Science.  

She qualified to attend as 1 of 30 year 11 students which means the children are 15 and 16 years old.  In the acceptance letter the University stated thousands had applied and that they were excited to extend the offer. 

To qualify the candidate had to be female, getting fantastic grades in science, have chosen to study sciences in the next phase of education during A levels for the next two years, have a reference from a senior staff member at school and generally be an all round good egg who’s parent didn’t have the opportunity to attend University themself. 

As with all new experiences there are some small measure of jitters.  I told her it’s just like camp where we think we won’t get along with anyone but end up firm friends.

“Not this time, all these people are nerds”

“I hate to break it to you, Honey, but so are you!  Ha ha”

She jokes that if it goes squiffy she’ll head out on the razz because she’ll obviously be the cool one in the group.

“Honey, I am going out with my girlfriends, I will not collect you”

“No need, I’ll be on the razz, ain’t no stopping this razzzzzz, [insert heavy metal aaaarrrrgrgrg sound]”

She made me hoot laughing. 

Prepping: Water outage

I have a slippery landlord.  Very slippery.  Right now, with a cracked cistern in a 1 bath house and no water he is holding us hostage with the invoice to replace a poorly fitted, old and broken WC before they’ll replace and fix and turn the water back on.

For clarity, we officially have no piped water for sanitation, food prep or drinking.

We are impeccable tenants, we maintain the home, we hire window cleaners, we garden, we take in parcels for the neighbours, we pay the inflated rent on time every time.  In the dictionary where it lists “Model Perfect Tenant” there is a picture of me.

The idea that somebody could hold me hostage for water is shocking and despicable.  I have discovered that it takes  more than 30 litres a day to wash your body and to flush and to get one drink each.  30 LITRES!

What the landlord may or may not have been ready for is water storage.  We’re rationing like crazy but Mormons got the water storage thing going on a strong game.

So, who blinks first?  This is about to get interesting.

 

+++++++++++

5PM UPDATE:  We won!!! (so far, anyway)… without continuing to make a fuss the landlord replaced the equipment and turned the water back on while we were at work.  We discovered the great news upon returning home today.  I could hear the office maintenance guy rolling his eyes on the phone yesterday evening (eye rolling and “whatever” attitude is so loud) but all’s well that ends well and the showers and taps are now operational.  They apparently viewed my video this morning chatting about how the plumber had mentioned the cistern was not attached to the wall correctly and there was too much give and play which caused the crack and leak and were a little easier to deal with once their hostility subsided.  Me to them “In the nicest possible terms, we have no sanitation, could you confirm when we will have access to sanitation please?” was apparently a reason to become terse.  We won!!!

Two weeks is too long for kids to not see their friends

In trying to do a nice thing, I messed up. My teen, Missy, had jet lag so pronounced that her eyes have rolled in their sockets a few times so that Sunday I let her sleep in while I went to services so that she can be ready for school.

Upon my return home she gently shared that she  was upset with me that she hadn’t had the chance to go to Church and see her friends and say goodbye to a great girl friend on her final day in the Ward before reporting to the Missionary Training Centre on Wednesday. Apparently not seeing your church friends in Young Women’s for two whole weeks is too long.

I kind of kicked myself for not waking her and said sorry. BUT the delightful thing was that I got to hear that she wanted to go to church… She was a very isolated person during primary, wouldn’t join in and didn’t enjoy those years at all. It wasn’t anything to do with primary or the teachers, she just wasn’t inclined to participate back then and couldn’t be persuaded to be cheerful about it all.

So, music to my ears that her attendance and participation is important to her as an independent person. We wait a long time for kids born into the church, covenant kids, to choose for themselves and there is never any way of telling what their decision will be ahead of time but her disappointment in my choice today sat happily with me and in future I will honour her ability to decide for herself.

I would love her and respect her choices as long as she was on the right side of the law no matter what. If she died her hair pink and was full of nose piercings (but not ear tunnels, those things gross me out) I would still respect her freedom to choose. But to hear her express a desire to be where I think we ought to be for our little family made my heart happy. I am kind of glad I messed up so that we both had that moment, her realising where she wanted to be and me hearing it.  Nice, eh.

Hypothetical Teens, Parties and a Safety Net. 

What if…. we listened to our teens. Crazy, huh!

So hypothetically, if a teen had accepted invitations to an overnight birthday party and attended, but had asked you to be on call for if they needed to get home, be happy.

If that teen then sees that it is time for her to say her good nights and rings you at midnight for a collection from the deepest and darkest part of the countryside where the house is located, be happy to pull on you jacket and attend accordingly.

Kids can have fun and hang out. They cannot drive. We have to trust their gut instinct and support their appropriate decisions.

If you were a single mum with a rare “night off”, it is still your responsibility to be available to attend to matters. Kids rarely need a doctor or a collection at a convenient time!

If that same single mum has friends who don’t understand why she doesn’t drink even when by the kiddo is away, hard cheese and too bad! You know what is right.

If you were in a car and stuck in fast flowing water and called the tow truck or emergency services and they said ” sorry, we thought you were out for the night so had a few beers, we cannot get there til morning “, how safe would you feel?

Most stuff kids get in to is because at first they don’t see a way out. Please be that way out. It is really easy. Just don’t get sloshed and keep your phone on. Turn up with a happy countenance and tell the kid that you are happy they called if they weren’t comfy anymore.

It is easy.

Beautiful Crowns

A wibbly wobbly timey wimey thing happened in sacrament meeting today.

Today in sacrament meeting we sang a song called beautiful Zion built above. During the third verse a phrase goes “beautiful crowns on every brow” and as the music played I caught a glance of several children who would be identified as having special needs, and teens who were being very teenage, and several friends and acquaintances who I know are facing challenges and for a fraction of a second in my minds eye I saw them whole and happy and able to chat as they wished and had a crown on their brow. For a part of a second I think I saw them as they will be and it took my breath away. It made me feel appreciative for the atonement.