Sunday, July 18, 2010

toyos and swing cutters.

(the swing cutter being an arse on ngorobob hill)

good lord. it's holidays and i haven't written for a week. . .apart from signing cheques. i have also discovered, that left to my own devices, i am crap at managing time. or actually achieving anything. i feel pressured without deadlines. how fucked up is that? three weeks later and i am still wondering if lisbeth salander killed everyone? i cannot get to the end of the frikken book. perhaps its the thought of starting the next one, which i know is gruelling. a True Story about an abused girl who spiralled into schizophrenia.

i have found myself at a complete loose end. or stuck on a hamster wheel of coffee, cigarettes, riding and OPK's. (other people's kids). why do they keep coming back? i am so horrible to everyone. added to this is my startlingly new and menial (to the point of wanting a satellite to plummet down and kill me) task of being a taxi driver for sub adults. for free. because i have to. i drive around arusha town, from A to B to X to C squared, which is treacherous at the best of times. now made worse by the The Toyo. toyo is a cheap Chinese chromed monster motorbike recently imported into tanzania. (remember when china bought africa at the beijing conference for a song? what a day that was. whoopee) everyone has one. a toyo. except me. i have adamantly and loyally stuck with a toyota.

the toyo is the new taxi in town. cheap, shiny, fast and infinitely mobile in heavy traffic. which would be perfect except that not many people have any experience in riding a motorcycle in these parts. a ward at mt meru hospital has recently been re named Toyo Ward because of the frequency of casualties caused by the irreverent use of the Toyo Motorcycle. they are not bicycles. but are ridden in a similar carefree fashion. driving in town, managing The Toyo Factor, has taken on a whole new dimension. rather like a computer game. i'm still "in" though. no hits taken, yet. my friend natasha isn't. she hasn't been quite as lucky. she was hit on the streets on friday whilst crossing the road to the doctors with her friend, who, we discovered yesterday, has tick bite fever and not an urinary infection, as diagnosed. (warning: everyone here has urinary infections which sort of eventually morph into malaria, tick bite fever or tryps). she was fortunate. my friend natasha. she escaped with two stitches in her lip, a graze on her elbow, a bump on her head and a rather bruised foot where the bike rode over her. still. she's "out". (the toyo game. game over. new game? new level?)

she made quite a sight, it must be said, wandering marginally dazed around the car park at shopright (affectionately known as shoplift), looking like Dracula after a good feed. pale with blood streaming down her chin, onto her pretty shirt and smiling grimly.

hill life has become as treacherous as town. there is no where to turn to. i am sharing the space with two pre pubescent boys and one seven year old girl who is obsessed with fairies in jars and acts like my god. i can't do anything wrong without her knowing. it's exhausting being watched all the time. where are you going? what did you say? who are you talking to? you have a message on your phone. you can't say that. wear this. what are you going to wear? what are you looking at? why? where? perfume. now.
i. am. watching. you.
even in my sleep.
in your face.

to top it all, at a hill dinner precisely three nights ago (my god has insisted i am precise. i am not allowed to say "the other day" EVER.) i was informed by my gracious and divine friend and neighbour that My Boys Had Cut Her Boys Swing Down, with knives, when everyone was away. their little sister aka my god spilled the beans. "oh yeah. my brothers cut your swing down. they told me." when the perturbed (understandably) mother challenged them, my sons made a weak, transparent and thoughtless attempt to try and blame The Poor children. so not only did they do this ghastly deed but then lied and tried to blame the innocent, defenceless impoverished masses. good god! whatever for, for christ's sake? i became so preoccupied with this news that i had to leave the dinner immediately after death by chocolate pudding. i remained calm on entering the home, where they sat with flat caps and pimples listening to preposterous music. i magnificently managed to thwart the wild, screaming witch mother, who was growing like the green Incredible Hulk inside of me, bursting through its T shirt. through devious and extremely sophisticated methods, i managed to wangle out a tearful confession from second born (as pictured above). on being asked "but why? why this pointless act?" his answer: " because they annoyed me." oh. so if someone slightly annoys you, just go and damage their lovely things while they are away? right. i see. makes perfect sense. should i be worried?

they are now demanding spray paint for graffiti. the bakers are away. i fear for their house.

it is precisely half past ten in the morning and they are STILL asleep. apart from my god who is away visiting. doubtless i will have to report, in detail, everything i have said and done, if she hasn't already psyched it out of me, when i collect her. best i start making notes then. yay. a dead line. i feel safe.

toodely old toot, people. bisous X.X.X brave and flamboyantly long ones smack on the lips x j


Jon Storey said...

I loved reading this, thanks.

School holidays start on monday. GROAN....!

Celeste said...

OUCH!! I think you have just confirmed all my long-held suspicions about children - scary creatures indeed.

FYI stick with Lisbeth Salander, it is well worth the trauma, I have just finished the second book and now I am trying really hard to be a good girl and wait until the third one comes out in paperback.

I suggest a large slug of single malt to help you get through the whole mothering thing! Did that sound bad? NAH :)

Family Affairs said...

Just as your holiday should be - wildly chaotic - love your god - I have one of those too....don't drink, don't smoke, have you anyideahowmuchyousmell, why did you say that? You shouldn't wear that, you definitely shouldn't make that face bla bla until I want to shout F*CK OFF but then I remember that it is probably a very good thing that I have such very hostile critics - I would be an appalling member of society without them....are you off on travels soon? Lxx

word veri is "wishoms" which sounds very you.....

cammy said...

ah this gave me a chuckle...Im meant to be in bed mother says...but I tell her...
"Im busy"
so she mumbles horrid child and trudges off to bed...dont worry about the boys...they know the wrath will be down upon them if any art pieces are porduced on the face of the bakers house!!!
good one...gave me a terrific laugh!!!

Amanda said...

oh god janelle twas only a few years ago that i was experiencing something like this - esp a daughter who is watching you like a hawk and asking questions and generally making you feel like a klieg light is shining directly into your face.

i have one boy, not two, and i think two makes for more mischief for sure. must ask my sis on that one. at any rate - god bless you and the least of your vices is death by chocolate pudding. my escape during this phase of childrearing was weekly nights out at my best pal's house partaking in bad movies, cigarettes and wine.

hang in there


fushandchips said...

Still giggling into my coffee at the "looking like Dracula after a good feed" bit.

kief post.

Val said...

never ever a dull moment here! your life sounds full to the brim with passion, energy and fun. love it - flat caps pimples and preposterous music - and the beetle obsessed with fairies in jars; good luck eh xxx

Janelle said...

happy to see you back, jon! and thanks for reading. x j

celestial! sound advice! will follow it shortly. x j

heh he, yeah lulu. where would we be without 'em? (wildly living all our dreams?) heading off on horse safari early august for 5 days. then probably the beach, if finances allow. just bought a new saddle. ouch. xxx j

thanks amanda! yeah friends are my refuge! only the brave ones come and visit me, though. x j

fush! howdy! thanks, pal xxx j

thanks val! i need it. x j

Angela said...

Haha, there are times (about 15 years) when you wonder why in the world you ever thought you wanted children. They do things you would never have dreamed of (my oldest hit her hand hard with a hammer - purposely - and said, See, Mom, now I cannot perform with the piano!)and that watching thing seems a general obsession,
and there is a but, believe me,
around age thirty (maybe 28) they will suddenly look at you and think, Damn, my mom is really cool. I never knew that, but she IS! And from then on you have true friends for life!

What Possessed Me said...

My brothers and I were so terrible to my mom that I am terrified to have my own children for fear of divine retribution. My mom defended herself with a wooden spoon, but I'm not sure that's so helpful in your case. Maybe lock them in a room with spray paint, light sabers and a few wild animals, take a bath, and see who's left standing when you return?

No, that's terrible. I say lend them to another mother for a weekend under the false pretense of a "fun sleepover party."


Reya Mellicker said...

The Toyo ward, eh?

Gabriella is SEVEN? How did that happen?? Yikes.

Your life is exceptional in so many ways, but I admit it doesn't sound easy. Sending you love and good, clean energy. Salaam and shalom. Love,

JoeinVegas said...

Maybe you can get a Toyo with a little trailer to haul the group in. At least that would put them 'back there' where you could only hear the screams.

Janelle said...

heh he heh, p! thanks for swinging by here. i can assure that THEY will be left standing and the house will have fallen! honest! there are now FIVE teenage (nearly) boys in the house. one window broken and god knows what else....feh! i'm running away to west kili to stay in a j

thanks reya darlin'! yeah SEVEN. and first born now wears my running shoes. guess its a good thing because i can;t quite remember when i last actually RAN. but his feet are now my size....i am shrinking. xxx j

heh he, yeah joe. i usually plug my iPod in my ears and every now and then i stop and swear at them and do a back hand swing....? good parenting eh? xxx j

Janelle said...

hey geli! almost forgot to answer you but a good thing. because i HATE leaving comments on number 13! hit her hand with a hammer so she couldn't play piano!?????? MAN! yes. inshallah they all grow up and lead happy fulfilling lives. that's all i want for them ultimately. thanks for visiting! XXX j

Spiny Marshmallow said...

Hey Janelle this this blogger monster keeps gobbling my comments - I'll try again. It was a great read - hilarious.

It inspired tales of a couple of boys at seven years old feeding the irritating young sister "poison" (dishwahing liquid, staysoft etc all mixed up in a glass) which she dutifully drank. Even hospitalisation of the sister didnt quite bring the point home. He asked if your boys cut the swing rope RIGHT THROUGH?? Or left it half cut as sabotage? brake cables. Christ. So be glad. The malicious intent didnt actually constitute attempted murder!

(I also love the Dracula after a feed face)

Janelle said...

hey pamu....yup...straight through. clean cut and definite. sharp knife...and MY GOD! re: the dishwashing liquid poison...bastards! xxx j