About Duckie

Author, Coach, Celebrant, Life Transition Adviser.

Slow Writing

Most people have by now heard about the slow food movement, which seeks to counteract the fast food evolution, and to maintain traditional and regional cooking and food consumption.  I’m all for it.

What has been running through my mind lately though is a slow writing movement, if such a thing exists.  Actually, I have just done a quick Google search and see that there are a range of articles and sites on the topic, not all with the same interpretation.   I wanted to write a brief note yesterday to slip in with a payment that I was about to post and contemplated on which paper I should do this.  I have heaps of scrap paper (thanks to my endless printer output), various notepads and then some ancient quality paper notelets with matching envelopes, meant for a day when one sent hand-written letters.  Preferably with a fountain pen, but of course others writing implements are equally acceptable.

My first reaction was that I should save the notelets for ‘best’ whatever that might be.  Then I changed my mind and decided that best was now and I would combine this paper with my best handwriting and use that for my communication.

Remember handwriting classes?  If you are of my vintage, you will.  We had special books with the lines drawn in, resembling the staves on a musical score except that there were only four of them.  The top and bottom lines measured the upper and lower extremities of letters such as h or y and the two middle lines were guides for lower case letters without a riser, etc.  Each week, we practised our loops and swirls, developing our best copperplate script.  Yes, we even used pen and ink, with each desk equipped with an ink well though intially it was pencil only.

How often do you receive a letter?  I mean a proper letter – not just the mass mailout that accompanies the Christmas Card but a letter that is hand written and tells you about the life and news of the sender.  I love the feeling of opening the letterbox and finding a hand addressed envelope that indicates that perhaps there is a personal missive inside.  It is fantastic knowing that someone has actually taken the time to write in what now seems such a personal way.

I have kept many of the letters that have been sent to me over the years (proper letters I mean) and also have the letters that I wrote home to my mother during my travels and time away from home in my twenties and some other times as well.  I am so glad that she kept those.  They are a wonderful record of what I was doing, who I met, the adventures that I had and even where I was.  I can also see the evolution of my handwriting and can equate it with the person that I was at that time.

I use email all the time of course and I love the convenience and the immediacy of it.  The cheapness also.  I send many of my emails late at night when I happen to have a spare moment and when I feel that it is too late to call someone.  I am time poor and look for shortcuts and solutions that impose minimal disruption on my life.  Emails are great.  Texts not so much as I don’t have a smart phone.  Typing texts is tedious and also each small text costs me. 😦

My teenage son can hardly write, which is very sad.  Partly this is because he has dysgraphia and the physical act of converting words into written form is akin to torture for him.  He hates it and his writing looks like the standard that you might expect of an eight year old, and that is being generous.  He had minimal writing classes at school and certainly none of the lessons in cursive writing that I had.  He got through high school with a form of disjointed printing.

Young Donald sees no reason why he should try to improve his writing, as what use is handwriting anyway, and nothing that I say will convince him otherwise.  He will type or text, though the bare minimum at that.  It is sad that he will rarely know the joy of a written letter and will certainly never send any of his own.  I suspect that he is very typical of his generation.

I know that I will continue to be time-challenged, but I will try to write more letters and I have promised myself to bring the nice writing paper out from the closet and to use it.  I might even look for my fountain pen and get it in good writing condition.  Time to write hand-written letters and notes again.

A Sort of Chrysalis

Times are a-changing.  Young Donald is still lazy and frustrating and irritating and causing me to lose my hair and at time leaving me a quivering blob of despair.  Parenting a teenage boy is never easy and even less so doing it on your own, with limited dialogue or input from another person who cares about your child as much as you do.  I know that technically, at 18 Donald is now an adult but he’s my child and always will be.

I have been concerned about many things relating to Donald.  His non-existent academic achievement, his attitude, his lack of motivation, the negative influence upon him by his girlfriend Daisy (sometimes known as Dippy Daisy).  The last twelve months have been bringing slow and subtle changes, but changes nonetheless. 

I can see that my son is slowly morphing into a more likeable human being.  I even get glimpses of the man he will become.  He is developing a sophisticated sense of humour and has a wicked appreciation of the absurd.  He is still hard work in that it is a major effort to do him to do anything – like get out of bed for instance – but I know that he is capable of doing a lot and probably will do so later.  He is observing some of the truly assinine behaviour of some of his mates and noting that it’s not a good look.  Best of all, he is thinking about things.

I was all set a week ago, spurred on by disappointment and frustration, to tell Donald that I could no longer support him and his bludging lifestyle; that he needed to either start paying Board (which would entail him finding more work than is offered by his casual role) or that he would have to leave home.  He got in first.  When I arrived home that night, Donald told me that he had been thinking and that he might travel to Western Australia to work with his father.

Ours is not a conventional family scenario.  When I decided that I wanted to have a child, even though I was still single, I asked an old friend and lover if he would assist me to do this.  Although living on the other side of the country, he agreed and after flying to see me and discuss it further, left a sperm donation with a fertility clinic, the result of which was ultimately my son.  There were two stipulations that I made: that financial responsibility would be all mine; and that I wanted him to acknowledge any resulting child as his.  It was important to me that a child could know who his or her father was.  There was agreement on both these issues.

Donald has had minimal contact over the years with his father, due the tyranny of distance and more recently, a lack of interest.  I gave him the option of what to call this man, and Donald chose Dad or Father.  Knowing them both, I can see a lot of similarities between them.  I know that they are father and son (always a worry when using donor sperm).  This man (I shall call him Duncan) has maintained a regular interest in his son (and seventh child) though has never actively sought greater involvement.  The offer was always there for Donald to spend school holidays with him but it only happened twice.  Donald wasn’t really interested and I didn’t push it.

Duncan works in the building trade, and has always said that he will find work for Donald if that is what he wants.  Work, being a four-letter word, was not terribly appealing to Donald and he always dismissed the suggestion with a degree of horror.  How could I even think such a thing.  Hard, physical grunt work with long hours.  Shudder.

Now suddenly, this is an option to Donald.  It caught my breath a bit as it would mean that he really was leaving home, even though possibly for a short time.  It would mean though taking responsibility for himself and having to honour commitments to the work environment; having to contribute and organise himself and to earn a living.  It will be an opportunity for him to test himself and to learn what he is capable of.  He might even develop a relationship with his father.  I doubt that it will ever be a traditional father-son relationship but at least they will get to know each other better.  I am pleased about this because there has been minimal male influence in my son’s life.

The other issue that I am relieved about is that Donald has finally recognised that his relationship with Daisy did not have many benefits and has ended it.  He has tried to do this a few times already but never made a clean break and things got messy and then sort of resumed.  He has learnt a lot during this relationship, and I think will be a little more discerning when entering into the next.  I know that Daisy will be devastated, as I think that Donald is a dependable influence in her life and she has come to rely on that.   I fully understand though why Donald feels that it is a relationship that has run its course.

*****

Donald had his wisdom teeth extracted today also.  I was also concerned about this as he is seriously needle phobic.  The procedure was done in the chair, but with IV sedation prior to have the local anaesthetics applied to  all four extraction sites.  The surgeon and the anaesthetist were professional and caring in their treatment of Donald (I remained for the sedation) but I was impressed with his determination to cope with the first needle that he has submitted to in many years.

Ode to Mothers

Mother’s Day is approaching, giving rise to what it all means – mothers, acknowledgement of mothers, the relationship with our mothers and then our relationship with those that we mother.

And here I have a confession to make.  Sure when I was a child, I bought my mother ludicrous ornaments and soaps and scents or whatever, and eagerly watched as she opened them.  Looking back I had totally abysmal taste.  As I grew up though I moved around a lot, and lived interstate for a long time.  I lived  a single lifestyle and although I was always family orientated, was also fairly self-absorbed.   Mother’s Day was not something that featured strongly on my horizon.  After all, it was such a commercial event, with the letterbox full  of brochures and the retail industry in your face for weeks before hand.  I didn’t want to be part of that and I was sure that my mother didn’t either.  Mother’s Day faded from focus for me and sometimes I never even registered that it had come – or gone – beyond wishing my mother a happy Mother’s Day in our regular Sunday  morning call.

Time rolled on, and then I was pregnant.  This was a long time coming, given that I was a couple of months shy of 40 at the time.   I was a whole 8 weeks pregnant by the time the next Mother’s Day came around.  To my surprised delight, a friend and his partner sent me a Mother’s Day card.  It made the who motherhood business seem so much more real.  That card was so treasured.

By the next Mothers’ Day of course I really was a mother, with an infant who was a few months old.  Parenthood was a solo venture for me, so I didn’t have a partner to express any sort of appreciation for my maternal efforts, but I had a beautiful child and we had a mutual adoration thing going. We were pretty absorbed in each other and my mother was a big help too, making the interstate trip whenever possible.  She had a special relationship with my son as well.

With each year, another Mother’s Day rolled around and passed again.  Another commercial opportunity that I chose largely to ignore, except that I was a little more aware of it now.  My friend never sent me a card again, so there wasn’t any acknowledgement of my own motherhood, beyond my own reflections.  My son and I moved back to my home state and my mother was so pleased to have us close to her.  We were pretty pleased as well and over the next years that were challenging over many fronts, Mum was always there for us.

But then she wasn’t.  Her cancer was sudden and cruel and we never made those last goodbyes, mostly because we hadn’t quite comprehended that it was really happening.  We were rather a ‘stiff upper lip’ type family anyway and weren’t open about affection and our feelings.  That last morning I reached her a few brief minutes before she slid into a coma.  I’m sure that she knew I was there during those minutes, but I never knew if she heard and understood the words that I softly whispered to her over the next hour as I massaged her hands with cream and gently massaged her scalp and face, easing the transition for us both.

As the saying goes, your never appreciate what you’ve got until it’s gone.  So, it was far too late to tell her when I really acknowledged and appreciated all that my mother had not only done but sacrificed for me.  Part of this understanding came from an evolving maturity (so OK – I was a late developer) and part of it, well perhaps a lot of it came from being a mother myself and looking at life and events through totally different eyes.  I was very much aware of what I did for my child, with much of it unacknowledged and un-thanked.  I began to understand motherhood in a way that I never had before.

It’s poetic justice of course that my son, now in his late teens, gives no recognition to the significance of mother’s day.  He always sleeps in on Sundays so there is no breakfast in bed.  I may get a passing hug if I’m lucky, and perhaps he will ruffle my hair on his way out the door with his mates.

I still think that Mother’s Day is unnecessarily commercial and that making an event of one day out of the year is in a way to belittle the support our mothers give us not just through the year but through all of our lives.  I still could have shown my appreciation more demonstrably. I could l have told her how much I appreciated all that she did.

I miss you Mum.

 

 

Words in and out of favour

Do you find that some words resonate with you more than others?  There may be a context in which the word has been used that has an influencing memory for you, or perhaps you just don’t like the way it sounds.  Lugubrious is a word that is as mournful as its meaning and will never provide an emotional uplift.  Perhaps it suits you though when you are feeling blue.

I have been reflecting on words and have realised that for me, not all words are created equal.  Some I quite like and some I definitely do not.  It is by no means comprehensive but I have made a brief list of some that have achieved favoured status and some which have not.  I am sure that there will be words that you could add to the lists, based on your own perceptions.

Favoured words

Bespoke              The term comes from England where it originally referred to custom or tailor-made clothing.  In recent years the term has been applied to information technology and refers to custom services or products.  I would love to be able to afford bespoke clothing from a quality tailor.

Discombobulating           Throwing into a state of confusion.  I never use this word because I probably won’t remember all the syllables but it still fascinates me.  Use it and you will certainly throw your listeners or readers into a state of confusion so its very use would be discombobulating.  Perhaps I should practice it a bit.  Watch out for my next blog.

Pithy     Concise and to the point.  Should be more of it.

Recalcitrant        Marked by stubborn resistance to and defiance of authority or guidance.  As one who has never warmed to the direction of authority, this word describes how I often feel when being told what to do.  My son exhibits a significant level of juvenile recalcitrance.

Segue   seg-wey               The smooth transition from one topic to the next.  If tongue is pronounced tung, why isn’t segue pronounced seg?  Besides being applied to the transition of a discussion, I have heard it being used in relation to dancers, who make the transition from one style of dancing to another.  It has always sounded quite bizarre to me (though a graceful word) and perhaps that is why I like it.

Non-favoured words

Dude                Pretentious and sounds odd on the lips of young people.  Mostly used by kids who are searching for a sense of self and looking to portray a sense of coolness and one of the gang.  I’m not hung up about this but just notice that it does not sit comfortably on the lips of many users.

Frigid               This is a word that has become an instrument of abuse and denigration.  Of course I don’t like it.

Senescent        I am not ageing, I am senescent.  It has a soft sibilant sound but is a little too close to senile so I think that I will relegate this word to the back benches.

Synergistic          I was liaising with an architect once, whose conversation was peppered with this word and I developed an aversion to it.

Wellness             This is a word that surfaced in the last decade or two and is used extensively by the alternative health industry to promote skills and products – wellness as opposed to illness.  To me it smacks of chicanery and I will not patronise any business that promotes itself with this word.

Words themselves contain so much power.  They wound, they delight, they draw us together.  As a celebrant, I love the power of the words that I use in ceremonies, but I will leave that story for another blog.

Death of the Dictionary

Are paper-based dictionaries dead? Do you still have one on your shelf or do you hit the online dictionaries instead, with a plethora of offerings in response to your search?

I may be out of step with emerging trends, but I still like to pick up my dictionary and rifle through it. I should say ‘one of my dictionaries’ as I have a choice of three. I often research a word, making sure not just of the correct spelling but the correct context. I will find myself using a not-so-common word in my writing and suddenly pull myself up short thinking ‘Hold on – where did that word come from? Am I using it correctly or do I just think I am?’ These words obviously spring from a subconscious memory based on past reading and tend to surprise me when they surface again.

I do use the online dictionaries as well, but I like exploring the associations and derivations of the word and possible uses, all the while flipping through the pages. I like the immediacy that the book offers (don’t have to be logged on) and like to feel the weight of it in my hands and the sound of the pages turning.

Probably where I use the online facilities the most is when looking for a synonym. It can be so quick to do a right click on the word and pull up a range of options – click on the best alternative and you are on your way, with only a second or so interruption. OK – so I so use online spell-checkers too (so convenient, except for the American spelling) but I’m not ready to put the dictionaries or the thesaurus’ out to pasture yet.

The Finer Points of Dining

I have had occasion to eat out several times this week.  These were social events and the opportunity to share company and break bread with friends and family.  All good.  My waistline and purse are suffering a bit, but hopefully this is not a permanent state of affairs.

I had some wonderful food, served with attention to service and detail.  Good experiences. You can hear the BUT coming though can’t you and there is a bone of contention in all this.  There is a practice now in many restaurants of not providing vegetables with a meal (whether cooked or salad variety).  You are provided with a piece of meat or a piece of chicken or a stack of vegetarian equivalent, tastefully displayed with a sauce or jus or perhaps some cauliflower foam, and a decorative garnish.  If you want vegetables with that, then they are ordered and paid for separately.

The restaurant I dined at last night did not do combined vegetables, so it was another $10 for a plate of beans, lightly sauteed in butter and served with toasted slivered almonds, or another $10 for chunks or roasted potatoes, seasoned with sea salt and rosemary, and then there was the usual roast beetroot and rocket salad – probably another $10 but I forget how much exactly.  Admittedly, these dishes each provided enough vegetable to be shared between two people, but given the cost of my main dish, I would have expected that an array of vegetables would have accompanied it.

The preceding night, I dined at a fish restaurant – new and with very positive reviews.  The service again was wonderful, but a platter of fish and the ubiquitous chips only was supplied.  A Greek or Green Salad had to be ordered extra.  No bread was provided – that had to be ordered extra as well.  The owner of this restaurant spent many years assisting his parents to run a Fish Cafe – great and unpretentious food with lots of repeat customers.  Eventually the parents got tired and decided that it was time to retire and their son moved on to his own restaurant.  He must be focusing on a different clientele.

On a positive note though, we did not realise when booking at this restaurant that it was run by the son (who also cooks).  My father had become quite well-known at the Fish Cafe, as he was a regular patron and always ordered the same thing.  Battered Garfish, with one fillet on the plate and one in a bag to take home as he could never eat the two.  (His appetite has declined in recent years.) When they saw him come in the door, the staff anticipated his requirements.

At the restaurant, Dad again ordered battered Garfish.  When it arrived, it came with a take-away box and the waiter explained that there was an extra fillet provided and that we would understand what the box was for.  It was only then that we discovered whose restaurant it was and were tickled that not only did the owner recognise my father, but that he catered for him as he did.  We will probably only go back on special occasions, given the cost but the gesture in looking after my father (in his nineties) was much appreciated.  That as much as anything will draw us back.

Am I alone in feeling that restaurants are gouging in pricing their meals as separate components, or am I exhibiting a lack of understanding in how costs are rising for restaurant managers?

A life in Boxes

De-cluttering (see earlier blog). What a surprise – progress is slow!  Much slower than I anticipated.  I keep getting sidetracked on associated issues, like sorting through boxes of mixed up Lego.  I have re-assembled kits and reconnected the bits with their instructions and boxes.  The balance, I have sorted into colours or like pieces (i.e all the wheels together) and stored them all in cliplok bags.  Once I had done all of this, I was still in a quandary.  Do I keep it, sell it, or give it away?  Some of the bigger kits are worth a couple of hundred dollars on eBay.  In the end, it was stored carefully into large plastic storage boxes and put back into the attic.  Those boxes are along side other boxes containing the train set and similar multi-componented toys.

And so it has been – sort, classify and decide on disposal.  I still have stored in that attic things like boxes of linen and towels, old dinner sets and household bits and pieces that I have always thought that young Donald might use when he leaves home.  I have this underlying concern that as soon as I dispose of these items, they may be required.

I must have around twenty of these boxes in the attic now.  They contain much-loved clothes from earlier decades, each with their own memories.  Perhaps one day I will have granddaughters who will enjoy exploring their contents, and might give those designer labels an airing again. There are boxes of quilting fabrics that I will use one day.  Boxes of other craft items.  Boxes of bedding and quilts – we have had many different bed configurations in the house over the years and have retained the blankets and quilts, even though the beds may have gone.

I also have a large plastic box that is the ‘picnic basket’.  In theory, I can just grab this and go, but I should check its contents and their cleanliness etc before the next trip.  It has plastic plates and cutlery, chopping board, sharp knives, can opener, bottle opener, scissors, tea towel, washing up brush and detergent, tea, coffee, salt, pepper, storage bags and items of this nature.  So handy to have it all together and it just needs checking now and then for currency.

I have all the travel items in the attic as well.  Suitcases and wheelie bags and back-packs and sleeping bags and packing cells.  I love the packing cells that I discovered a few years back.  It makes the organisation of packing so much easier.  Of course these things are not in boxes but are tumbled in their own corner, along side the sporting equipment that is rarely used and in fact hardly ever was.  There are still the tennis racquets and the boogie board and the cricket bats and those sorts of things – just in case.

As I write this, it is apparent to me that I was always equipping our house for a larger family – in my mind there would be children coming and going and ‘doing things’.  The reality was that I only had the one child, and he was very non-sporty and as there were no other children of similar age growing up in our immediate locality, he didn’t do a lot of outdoor stuff either.  It is a warning not to place too much emotional anticipation on the advent of grandchildren.

I also have heaps of financial records, the sort that should be kept for 7 years.  I haven’t addressed them as yet but I am sure that there are some older years now that can be culled.  Stored on those racks (I have heaps of metal shelving racks in the attic as well) is lots of stationery and study notes from various courses over the years.  That could do with critical evaluation.  Many of the notes are probably out of date.

Sounds as though I have kept everything, doesn’t it?  I have still managed to give away a lot of items – furniture, books, clothing, and toys.  Some has gone to friends and some has been disposed of via Freecycle.  There are other items, that I have had for many years, that I have decided to dispose of via auction.  There is a lovely brass art nouveau fire tool set.  I have always loved the lady, but I don’t have a fire and don’t have a use for this item.  It has just been stored in the attic.

Brass Fire Tools

And then there is the antique phone that I have had since around 1980.  It still has the inner workings and my techie brother-in-law tells me that it could be made to work again, in a limited fashion.  Again this has just been sitting in the attic for years and I have to ask myself of what value it is stuck up there.

Antique Pnone

Another item that I will be very pleased to see go to a new home is a Dexter Rocking Chair that was left here by a lodger and never re-claimed.  He had promised someone to french polish it and it has been sitting on my back verandah for around five years.  I feel so sorry for the person who originally owned it as they must have done a lot of work in stripping it but I have no way of knowing who they are or contacting them.

Another aspect to the de-cluttering is sorting out all the stuff left by lodgers.  Mostly this is clothing and shoes, but also electrical items, tools, fishing gear and of course antique rocking chairs.

One task that I was not looking forward to was de-cluttering my computer.  There will still be junk data files lurking in corners but I have deleted a lot of dead software and many folders also that have not been access for a long time.  In part, I had to do this as I am running out of storage space but in part I want to de-clutter before my next computer upgrade.  I felt very virtuous after I had spent the time on this.

So what of my transitional son?  I have received the odd text but I haven’t seen him since my last post.  He was supposed to come home last night (with Daisy) but did not turn up.  Perhaps today.

Uneasy Transitions

Transitions are never easy. There have been many changes in my son’s life over the last twelve months. Donald is 18 and so has acquired adult status, in years anyway. He now sports a cool stubble and his bedside drawer reveals a box of condoms. He has a girlfriend (Daisy) and other female friends, at least one of whom would like to be a little more than that. At least I can see that she would like this, but it doesn’t quite seem to have registered on his horizon.

Daisy has turned his life upside-down over this year. She is very needy and also very manipulative. She is used to clicking her fingers and for Donald and whoever else she requires, to come running. She frequently has emotional episodes which require hand holding, brow wiping and attendance, regardless of the time of day or night. Given the huge quantities of caffeinated drinks that she consumes, these episodes usually occur at night, meaning that Donald is frequently summonsed in the wee hours, with his absence discovered the following morning.

With so much nocturnal activity, Donald’s school work bit the dust last year and he only passed one subject of his final year of high school. Daisy dropped out just before the exams so she did not fare any better. They both have casual jobs and are supposedly studying again but I will be very surprised if they complete the academic year in their enrolments. Their entire focus is on partying.

Remember how when your children are toddlers, they love to help you around the house? Whatever you are doing, they want to do to. Sweeping, washing up, working in the garden and especially cooking. Helping mum is wonderful. Sigh. It doesn’t last. For a start, Donald sleeps for a greater part of the day because he is up all night. When I race out the door for work in the morning, I might leave a note asking him to hang out the washing or some such chore. I then need to ring him later in the day and tell him to read the note as I cannot assume that this will happen without prompting. When I get home, there will be damp clothing on the line, indicating that it has only just been hung up. Assuming that it has. Some days, it is still in the basket and I hear ‘Oops – I forgot!’

Doing something of his own volition just does not happen, although on odd occasions, (very odd) I will come home to find that a meal has been cooked. More likely though I will get a text message through the day asking me to pick up more milk or whatever on my way home because there is none left. (Yes, he has drunk it all.) He feels that he is being responsible in advising me that we are out of this item. The idea of actually stirring himself to go shopping would not occur to him. This sort of organisation does not rate as highly as continuing with the computer games that he plays most days, when he is not watching the latest series that he has downloaded from the internet.

You start to get the picture here that his life is all about rights and not at all about responsibilities. Daisy is even more strongly an adherent to this philosophy, and to a general extent, so are all of Donald’s mates. The mates are generally reasonable kids – just totally wrapped up in themselves and the lives that they want to live. I frequently wake up and find that one or more of them has stayed the night, with all concerned assuming that this is OK. In general, yes it is but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Usually though they have arrived in the early hours of the morning whilst I am fast asleep. If they happen to see me as they slip out the back door in the morning (the easiest route to and from Donald’s room) they chirp ‘thank you for having me!’ before dragging their dishevelled and red-eyed selves off home. I can’t complain about the amount of water that they use, as they rarely shower.

Donald and Daisy’s relationship has been turbulent, as he has gradually come to realise that she is not always honest, not always faithful, and uses people shamelessly. He has gradually met a number of her discarded friends who have been used and abused along the way and now choose not to get too close. She cannot manage money and so frequently spends his as well. Progressively Donald has become aware of her shortcomings and has experienced much in her company that has distressed and dismayed him. Consequently, he has broken up with her – several times.

Last Thursday evening was the last of those occasions and it was with an indication of relief that he told me that he was meeting her later that evening to tell her that it was over and to give her back her possessions that she had left at our house. The next morning he confirmed that there had been tears because she loves him, but she had accepted his decision and that they would stay just friends. Ha! I popped home at lunch time and found them both fast asleep in his bed and I believe that this is where they were for most of the day. Not sure how she talked him around again, but the pair of very sexy red and black knickers that I found on his bedroom floor probably had something to do with it. I still wonder what she wore home that day! Donald went off to work that evening (three days ago) and he hasn’t been home since. He is presumably staying with Daisy, but has not seen fit to let me know that, nor to answer my texts asking that he check in with me on a daily basis, as he is supposed to do.

For some time, I have been contemplating telling Donald that it is time he moved out of our house. The reasons will not be new to him – I am sick of being taken for granted, and also don’t like losing control of the house. It is time that he learnt to take responsibility for himself and to pay his way in life. I am not being treated with respect and I do not deserve that. The concerns that I have of course are those that would occur to any mother. He barely earns enough to support himself – how would he manage and would I be putting him in moral jeopardy? Would he keep up his current course of study or would this be the final straw that encouraged him to drop out? Would it be the start of a downward spiral into a boozy and perhaps drug-related lifestyle, which would be more restricted if he continued to live with me? He would have to rent a room somewhere and could not afford anything too comfortable. Should I give him a small allowance to ensure that he has enough on which to sustain himself when combined with his wage?

The alternative is to ask him to start and pay board, equivalent to 25% of his earnings or thereabouts. This would also help to reinforce the understanding that there is no such thing as a free lunch, although I know that in order to get this money I would have to set up a direct debit arrangement. The down side though is that he would probably feel that this payment absolved him of any further domestic responsibility, and still would not abide by domestic rules that have been put in place but are difficult to enforce without his cooperation.

Donald is still a nice kid, and others are always telling me that he is so pleasant, helpful (to them), sociable, etc. He is not a lost cause and in future years he will probably become a reasonable human being. Right now though he is selfish, lazy, feckless, self-centred and unreliable.

This transition in in Donald’s growing up is difficult. No doubt there are issues for him, insecurities, unknowns, etc. but it is also immensely difficult for me as his parent. It is especially hard given that I work 40+ hours on week days and so am not around through the day to monitor what is happening at home. When he is awake, I am asleep and vice versa. If we are both awake and at home, there are often other people around, making personal communication difficult. There are days when I so wish that I had a partner with whom to address these issues and who could talk about man stuff, and respect, and the meaning of life and all that. A decent role model would be brilliant, but we have never had one of those in our lives. I am just hoping that he is home when I get home from work tonight, or at least has the decency to contact me.

De-Cluttering

The objective today was to start with some de-Cluttering.  If I am going to sell the house, besides the usual painting and gardening and generally making good, I need to sort out what I carry over into the next phase of my life and what needs a new home.  Really, this should apply to my computer, my office, my house and my mind.  Challenges all of them.

This morning, I was looking for a bed on the appropriate section of Gumtree, and I saw a Huon Pine Dressing table advertised – for only $170.  I have a few Huon Pine pieces of furniture and am rather partial to it.  They are all Edwardian, and all dust catchers, but distinctive pieces of Australian furniture.  I didn’t need this dressing table but at that price I couldn’t resist it.  In an antique shop it would probably sell for $500 more. I bought it.

This evening, I have also bought the bed for young Donald – just have to organise a trailer tomorrow to pick it up.  So, at the end of the day, I have two additional pieces of furniture.  So much for the de-cluttering.  However, we are taking two King Single beds out of his room and I will probably sell those, so I guess that will be two pieces of furniture less.