Four left feet

“I want to stand with you on a mountain…”

My immediate reaction to the sound was this: “Who the hell has that annoying song as a ringtone?”

Turned out that it was me.

My husband, in a pique of romance changed my ringtone to our wedding song.

It wasn’t our choice.

It went down like this…

Four days before the “I do” section of our marriage, I woke up, sat bolt upright in bed and shook my husband-to-be rudely awake.

“The dance”, I hissed.

“What dance?”

“THE dance. The wedding dance!”

“I can’t dance.”

“Neither can I.”

“Oh shit.”

Some frantic flipping through the Yellow Pages (yes, they still printed them then) and we found a dance instructor willing to give us 4 days of intense instruction.

The poor man.

Even now, after all these years, my heart aches for him.

Four left feet arrived for dance class and proved that despite what people say, everyone cannot dance.

We found it quite funny.

He did not.

He was dumbfounded. We weren’t so much uncoordinated as discombobulated with all four feet doing completely different dances.

I think we were the biggest challenge of his career.

After watching us trip over our own feet and each other’s for a bit, he sighed, a deep heartfelt sigh and got down to business.

We were to learn the rumba.

It’s a square, how badly could we mess it up?

To our credit, and his, we managed to get the steps sorted out even if we did have to count each step out aloud. 1 and 2 and whatever comes after that.

We’d made it through 2 days with no music.  

On day 3, there was still no music.

We unanimously hated every piece of music we could do the rumba too.

At that stage of our lives we were more likely to be waving glow sticks at an underground rave in an abandoned warehouse then prancing through a ballroom.

Boy bands were (and still are) objects of intense derision.

After witnessing the rejection of every contemporary rumba song in 2000, the dance instructor finally blew his fuse.

We weren’t really surprised. We were more amazed that he had kept it together for so long.

It was also less than 12 hours to the wedding.

He presented, as a fait accompli, Savage Garden’s ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’.

We were told, in no uncertain terms, that we would be dancing to this song.

We cringed, but succumbed.

Our first married dance went off okay, we counted all the steps under our breaths, did a twirl or two and avoided the stifled giggles from our friends at the choice of music.

It was also the longest song of our lives.

And, now it’s apparently my ring tone.

For better or worse, right?

It could have been worse. He could have made us dance to Dolly Parton’s “Islands in the Stream”.


Friday Fictioneers: Headgames


“Where are my glasses?” in desperation.

“No idea,” smirking.

“I can’t see anything!”

“Clearly,” with a tinge of ill-timed humour.

Crash! “Bugger! I’ve broken something.”

Stomp. Glass shattering.

“I’ve stepped on them, haven’t I?”

“No. Just that ugly vase your mother bought.”

“Good. Help me retrace my steps.”

“Am I a guide dog now?” the sarcasm drips like venom from a snake.

“No. A guide dog would help with a wag of its tail and a stupid grin. You, on the other hand, are quite useless. Just tell me if you can see them,” unashamed of pleading.



“On your head.”

“I hate you.”

5 Sentence Fiction: Happy ever after


It seemed so very romantic and it was, until the ski lift jammed.

We laughed until the sun went down and no one came.

Then it wasn’t funny anymore.

They found us in the morning, our lips locked together.

A forever kiss.

Visit Five Sentence Fiction by clicking here.

Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week Lillie will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word.

13 Years On…

v and mA few days ago I happened upon a blog post that listed the writer’s grandmother’s kitchen tea messages from her friends.

Each had used the letters of their name to advise the future wife on how to keep her man happy and content in the years to come.

The 16th of June marked my 13th wedding anniversary and 17 years of being together.

So, I thought I’d give the same style a shot.


Victoria said to Marc I do

In a pair of beautifully painful shoes

Caught one hell of a roller coaster ride

Travelled the wide world from side to side

Oh, but the dress was a terribly beautiful thing

Really overshadowed only by the diamond ring

In everything we’ve been through and through thick and through thin

Adventures are something we always find ourselves in

But when we forget to look when we leap

Remember that somehow we land on our feet

Under it all when push comes to shove

Companions and friends with a whole lot of love

Even when he snores. Which he knows I abhor.


And here is my advice for other wives…

Voice your opinion, but listen in return

Influenza for a man is a deadly concern

Cook chicken soup and be a good nurse

To ensure he does the same for you in reverse

On his birthday buy lingerie with red ribbons and lace

Remind him why he married you in the first place

In spite of the not insignificant cost

A man prefers sex to a pair of new socks

Be prepared to forgive dirty laundry on the floor

Rapidly deposing of rodents is what husbands are for

Unless he won’t in which case don’t

Coffee is essential for marital bliss

Eschew everything else but do not forget this




The testosterone equation

There are times I wish I was a man:
When there isn’t a rest stop in sight and Ineed to pee.
When I want to put my fist in someone’sface.
When I need to take my car to the mechanic.
When… oh hell, that’s about it.
There are times when I grateful beyondmeasure that I am a woman (hear me roar!). 
Testosterone must be a terriblechallenge to live with. Outnumbered by men in my home I am starting to acceptthat living with testosterone is a biological hazard. 
Once that man switch getsflicked there is nothing a woman can do but sit back and watch the situationunfold.
Picture this…
Lightning splits the sky. 
A curtain of rainfalls to earth. 
Men scramble through the mud to the safety of their cars. 
Simultaneously they all edge towards the exit. 
The switch is flicked. 
It is notabout getting home anymore. 
It is war. 
It is about being first – no matterwhat. 
The field on which they parked now turned into an ancient battlefieldwhere man takes on man in a primordial battle for supremacy. 
It is every manfor himself. 
Women and children sit mute as their alpha males enter the fray.
It was about now that my husband decidedthat he would rather die than let the Toyota Landcruiser take the forwardposition. 
Me: “Darling. He’s already driven over twotraffic cones. I don’t think he is in a very good mood. Perhaps we should allowhim to go first?”
Him: “No! I refuse. I was here first andI’ll be damned if I let him in.”
I shut up, regarding it as the most prudentcourse of action. About, oh, 30 seconds later the Landcruiser driver rammedinto the back of our compact little Ford. Then he reversed and rammed us again.I started to pray.
Husband: “I’m getting out.”
Me in tones of pure ice: “No, you are not.I told you he was not in a good mood. I have his registration. Just let it go.”
Husband opening door: “I’m going to takehis picture!”
Me: “By all means, if getting a fist inyour face is how you’d like this evening to end. And once we are home, I’llknee you in the balls for being a stupid idiot. Let. It. Go.”
Did I mention my mother was in the car? No?Well she was. Awkward much? We tried, we really did, not to take the piss. Wefailed.
Halfway home, my husband is ready to turnthe car around and scour the streets for the Toyota driving maniac. By now hehas convinced himself that he has let himself down as a man. A real man wouldhave got out of the car and indulged in a bit of old fashioned mud wrestling. 
That was three days ago. Each morning atthe school he eyes each Toyota Landcruiser with an Attila the Hun type of gleamin his eye.
Him: “Is that it? Was that him?”
Me: “No.”
Me: “What are you doing to do if you findhim exactly?”
Him: “I’ll key his bloody car, that’s whatI’ll do.”
Me: “Wasn’t it you who once told me thattwo wrongs don’t make a right?”
Him: “It’s not about bloody right andwrong. It’s about satisfaction. God! Don’t you understand men at all?”
Apparently not.

The Boobs, the Businessmen and the Balls

I have come to the conclusion that overt sexism by boorish pigs is preferable to the subtle nuances of discrimination that colour the words and actions of metrosexuals. It’s the unintentional sexism that sticks in my craw.

I’m not talking about a man being sweet enough to open a door for me or offer to pour me a drink. I’m not going to turn down an offer an umbrella in the driving rain either. I appreciate these gestures in the spirit of chivalry in which they are offered. I am humbled and absurdly flattered at these.

What gets me all hot under the collar and ready to get out my bic and set my bra on fire are the men who don’t even realise they are being sexist. They would never define themselves in those terms. They think women are fabulous, of course they deserve equal rights and after all, some of their best friends are women.

So, why do they direct a business conversation at the male party? Why do they assume that my gender makes me somehow less capable or my experience less valuable? When I get up from the table, suddenly they get all business oriented and keen, but my very female presence seems to detract from the professionalism of the environment.

When this company gets off the ground it will start as it means to continue and not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, religion, marital status or existence of children. I know women who have got up and walked out of interviews when asked whether or not they plan to have children. Trust me, if you can handle a child and a career you know more about effective time management and prioritising than anyone.

By the way, as a wife or as a business partner I am in no way inferior because I can fall pregnant. My position in either relationship is of an individual in a team. I am not there to make tea or small talk. I am just as serious and ambitious as any man. I’m not going to cry or explode in a hormonal tsunami, but I will cut you down if you put me down.

There seems to be a feeling that if you are married and in business together you form some of sort of unit, like conjoined twins. Does this mean I can pay a married couple less than two single people? I don’t think this would fly at the CCMA. I don’t think that either partner’s contribution to a company is less simply because they wear matching jewellery.

As for the “Mom and Pop Shop” commentary: Pick ‘n Pay, the Oppenheimers, Ikea… should I go on? What started out as amusing has begun to irritate me immensely. People ask if we can work together. What on earth do they think we’ve doing for the last 14 years? We’ve faced some incredibly tough challenges and surmounted every single one. Not many business partnerships last that long or marriages for that matter.

The most frustrating thing is that I have let it get to me. For the first time in my life and career I am starting to question myself, allowing other people to erode my confidence on the basis of… breasts. They aren’t doing it to me, I’m doing to myself and that is at the core of this tirade. Why do I let it get to me when they smile gently and indulgently at me then turn to my male business partner? I’ve sat through meetings gritting my teeth as I get more and more irate, and not even a blind man could miss the blood dripping from my fangs. I’ve stopped going to many of the meetings, because more seems to happen without me being there and more honestly, my self-esteem has been badly shaken.

How insane is that?
I guess I better grow me some balls!

The rat and the Man

The Rat. That was the title of a book my mother brought home from the library for her 6-year-old daughter. It had won awards and was lauded for its brilliance. It was terrifying. A little boy draws a picture of a big black rat with glowing red eyes in his school art class. Night after night he can hear scratching and squeaking. In his nightmares it hunts him, it’s eyes a beacon of horror. I can’t remember how he defeated the rat; surely it must have had a happy ending. What I do recall is the fear and desperation as he tried to outrun the monster he had created.

I have hated rats ever since and that feeling was only compounded by the Rats of Nimh and the Black Plague. I hate their scaly tails, their skittering little paws and the horrible intelligence in their eyes. I can easily believe they knew what they doing offering transportation and logistics to the parasites that caused the Plague.

I am not so much afraid of them, as completely repulsed by their very existence. When a close friend began to carry around a black hooded rodent on her shoulder, I can honestly say our friendship waned. After I almost caused a multiple car pileup on the highway when it stuck it’s little face out of her hair and after that she couldn’t forgive me for my prejudice.

They probably perform some crucial ecosystem function, but I’d just prefer it if they did it somewhere else. Specifically not in my kitchen! I am currently landlady to a rodent who took up residence behind my washing machine last evening. Not to be cowed I recovered from my glimpse of it streaking across the floor and called Small boy aged 9 to the front.

“Right,” said I with confidence, “What I need you to do is open the back kitchen door.”
“Why?” asked Small boy aged 9 with fascination.
“We need some air,” said I breezily despite the arctic conditions outside.
“Why are you sitting on the counter?”
“Just open the door.”
“Cool Mom, there’s a mouse! Can I give it some cheese?”
“No,” voice now rising to a shriek, “Get it out!”

It might be a mouse. I can’t tell the difference. I reminded myself of one of the primary reasons women get married in the first place and promptly called the Man of the House who is happily ensconced in warmth and tropical splendour in Mozambique.

“What on earth do you want me do about it?” ejaculated Man.
“Tell me what to do?” shrieks wife.
“Put a bowl or something on it?” suggests Man.
“Do you know how close I have to be to it to do that? Are you insane?”
“Probably,” Mutters Man “Give the phone to Small Boy aged 9.”
Small Boy aged 9, “Dad! Dad, it’s so cool, there’s a mouse in the kitchen, but Mom won’t let me feed it cheese.” Pause, “No, it’s really small, but Mom’s going on about it like it’s the size of the dog.”
Traitor. Who cares what size it is? It’s there, is that not enough?

Left to my own devices I built a wall of Lego boxes, ice cream containers and assorted Tupperware between it and me. I opened the door and left a trail of apple and bread leading into the wilderness beyond. And then I went to bed and dreamed. I dreamt of rats, huge salivating rats raising families the size of the Sicilian Mafia. It was not a good night and I ended up sleeping with Small Boy aged 6 for comfort and protection.

I have no idea if it is still there. The food is gone, but that could be the dogs who have lost interest in the small furry mammal they’ve introduced into my existence. My cats are too damn pampered and aloof to do anything so banal as catch a rodent. It is far too beneath them. Aside from which as little as I want to deal with a live rat, I want to deal with its corpse even less. Small Boy aged 6 suggested using karate on it and if that fails stomping on it. Yuck, yuck, yukkity yuk!