Saturday, September 24, 2011

There is a new sheriff in town

In every household there are rules. They may vary, but everyone lives by some sort of guidelines. I have been thinking about the rules in our household after a day of complete mutiny carried out by my two little monkeys. They are both at that stage where they have realised they have free will. Oh it is exciting times in the Sharp household (she says while twitching involuntarily). There are rules I never thought would be needed but oh how naive I was. So here are some of the unusual guidelines of my household for your entertainment. By the way, these are also rules for the adults in the household too.

1. Whinging will not get you what you want. In fact it is going to make me dig in my heels and definitely say no because whinging will not be rewarded. You are more likely to get something if you ask nicely and say please.

2. We eat food. Not sand, paint, dirt, rocks, paper or anything else that is not food. When I have lovingly cooked you dinner and you are full on sand, it makes me twitch.

3. The cat has fur and does not need clothes regardless of what they portray on Shrek. After I have warned you about this more than once, if you get scratched, that's on you.

4. Rubbish goes in the bin. This is not a Viking dining room where things are thrown over the shoulder with great merriment. It makes me feel anything but merry.

5. Please keep your clothes on during daylight hours. It freaks people out when they arrive for a cup of coffee or to drop off something and there are half naked people running around.

6. When you go to my work, it is impolite to ask my boss if she is 'one of the old people'. It is also impolite to refer to an old lady in a wheelchair as the 'lady in the buggy'.

7. When I am on the phone, don't bug me with things that can wait. I am talking to someone else and it is rude to interrupt for things that are not important. It will be quicker if I can say what I need to say without interruption.

8. The supermarket is not a free for all. Whatever you put in the trolley needs to be paid for and we can't have everything. If we don't pay, we get in trouble. And I am not running from the law over a pack of chips.

9. When we need to be somewhere at a certain time, that time is not a guideline. So when I tell you to be ready by a certain time, HAVE EVERYTHING READY and HELP EACH OTHER GET READY. People always judge the mother if you are late or shoeless.

10. No matter what your father says, waking me up by jumping on me screaming 'MUMMY MUMMY MUMMY' is not endearing. In fact it may result in crazy Mum appearing.

What are some weird and wacky rules you have in your household?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

That's PARANOIA!

I probably should admit two things at the beginning of this blog.

Firstly, I am writing to avoid doing the housework. There seems to be a never ending amount of cleaning and tidying that needs to be done and right now I am choosing to ignore it because the thought of having to tidy the house for the 10th time today (no exaggeration) is making me want to scream.

Secondly. I am a rather paranoid person. I know this and I know some of them are weird. But through sharing some of the crazy in my head, maybe I can become a bit less paranoid.

Welcome to the crazy mind of Tasha Sharp. Please fasten your seatbeats and keep all pointing and laughing to a minimum. Here is the weird paranoid section of my crazy brain...

When I work on night shift at the rest home I worry when I am walking around the complex alone that people will break in and I will have to protect everyone. This has resulted in me carrying my torch like a baton and thinking to myself that I will be able to beat them with it. I know this is unrealistic as the place is like Fort Knox and also I am kinda little so chances are I would be as effective as a bikini for an Eskimo, but the fear is there.

When my husband is away overnight, I sleep with a bat next to the bed for similar reasons as stated above. Seriously, where did all this crazy break in paranoia come from?

A man left a bag outside the check in area at the airport and walked away for about 5 minutes and I was SURE he was trying to blow up the airport. It turns out he was just helping his friends with their luggage but still I had considered running and screaming from the building. Not reporting the bag, no that would be embarrassing if I was wrong, but running and screaming seems WAY more logical.

When my sister's credit card didn't work online when we were ordering pizza and the pizza place asked for her credit card over the phone, I freaked out. In fact I had to resist grabbing the phone and yelling at the poor pizza person about WHY they wanted all that information and would we get a receipt and surely they didn't NEED all the details of the card. I know that they just needed us to pay for the pizza and it was way more convenient, but didn't stop me acting like a crazed lady.

I will go for a walk at night by myself around our street but will not go into the garage in the dark in case there is a crazed murderer in there. Because obviously the most logical place for a crazed murderer is in my messy, cold garage. This also goes for public toilets after 5pm. Yes even in summer.

After watching 'Toy story 3' I was so worried that one of my son's toys would feel abandoned that I hunted for two hours for it. And I feel worse if it is one of the toys from the movie. The rational part of my brain knows this is ridiculous but if you have seen that movie you will understand.

And my craziest paranoia?

I have a zombie apocalypse plan. And have had one since 2002. I didn't have a natural disaster plan until after the Christchurch earthquake but am pretty convinced zombies are a real possibility. And we will be ready.

Yes I know I am crazy. But at least I'm not paranoid about that.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

When cellphone users go bad

My cellphone is broken. It had a horrible encounter with a glass of water and my two year old and now is broken. I am getting it repaired but for now I am out of the cellular world. And the funny thing is that I don't actually care. It may be different if I didn't have a landline and Facebook but not having a cellphone is not bothering me in the slightest.

This lack of cellular contact combined with going out and about with various visitors over the past fortnight has allowed me to observe from the outside the crazy places and ways people use their cellphones. So sit back, relax and enjoy.

I was at the airport on Saturday and needed to go to the toilet. Imagine my surprise when a lady walked into the toilets and was talking on her cellphone, then walked into a stall and KEPT TALKING! After I had thrown up a little in my mouth I started laughing so much that people were concerned. WHY WOULD YOU TALK ON YOUR CELLPHONE WHILE GOING TO THE TOILET?! I cannot think of a single instance where a conversation could not wait until I was out of the toilet. And what about the poor person on the other end? There are things you don't need to share with your family and friends!

I was buying coffees on Saturday (before the traumatic toilet incident) and there was a man ordering food while talking on his phone. This was holding up the line and was making me angry. Talking on your phone and treating check out people like crap by using hand gestures and grunts is RUDE! What could be so important that the conversation could not wait while you ordered your food? I'm thinking that if it was that much of an emergency that maybe food should be the last thing on your mind. And think about the other people that are waiting while you talk on your phone! Step aside and let the polite people use their words to order!

I am not sure if this is a new thing or not but why do people scream in their phones? I thought this was just reserved for old people (Nana Ross used to do this and it was endearing) but I have noticed people of all ages doing this. The most annoying places are on public transport because you can't escape. I have learned more about random strangers than I know about my own husband. There are some things that should be texted or not spoken about. Please don't scream down your cellphone about your latest conquest on the bus. Think of the children!

And my personal favourite?

I was at the mall the other day eating McDonalds and saw a group of adults all sitting around a table. The funny part? They were all on their phones! What a way to connect with people! I have an aversion to people talking on their phone while eating. Unless there is an emergency don't talk on your phone while you are meant to be talking with real living people. I'm sure that if I was at that table and wasn't talking on my phone I would feel incredibly left out.

Technology has allowed us to keep in contact with people we would otherwise not be able to contact without a significant time delay. But I wonder if cellphones have actually made us ruder as a people? We seem to have forgotten basic manners (don't talk on the toilet, sharing your personal life with a busload of people is a bit skanky, ignoring people is rude etc) and have become somewhat isolated in our own little technology worlds. Also some things can wait! Instant contact isn't necessary. It is handy if there is an emergency but honestly how many things can't wait until you are somewhere appropriate to be conducting a private conversation?

So let me know what is your craziest cellphone story?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Things I wish I knew at 25

Recently I have been getting asked a lot for advice. This has gotten me thinking about what I wished I had known between the ages of 16 and 25. So instead of just mulling over this in my own mind, I thought I would blog about it and we could all share what we wished we had known when we were younger.

1. Work hard at university
Although I worked very hard through school and got great grades, once I got to uni, things went a little pear shaped. Apparently not attending classes and partying a lot means you probably are not going to graduate. At the time this did not seem like a big deal because I decided I didn't want to be a teacher anyway, but now working for just above minimum wage while trying to support two kids, the partying and wagging class were really not worth it.

2. Some guys are just losers and they will not change
No matter what romantic comedies teach you, a guy will not change. A great test I learned later on in life was that you can judge a guy by how he treats his mother. So if he treats his mum like crap, then guess how he's gonna treat you. However if he treats his mother with respect, then you are in luck. And no matter how much you want them to, YOU CANNOT CHANGE THEM! And don't listen to those stories about how some guy used to be a loser then he met the right girl and now he's amazing. Yeah it happens but so does snow in Wellington. It's the exception not the rule.

3. What others think of you is sometimes important
Notice I said sometimes. If a random person thinks you are a horrible person, then that doesn't matter. It doesn't affect your life in the slightest. But there will be people in your lives whose opinions matter. This doesn't mean you should change who you are to fit their expectations, however sometimes (again I say sometimes) they may have a point. If it is coming from a place of love, then at least listen to it.

4. There comes a point when you have to be responsible
I think most people go through an experimental stage (otherwise known as a speed bump to becoming a grown up). Whether this is drugs, smoking, drinking, random dancing on police cars etc most people do something that they look back on and shake their heads in embarrassment. This only becomes a problem when it doesn't stop. By all means live your life, but if you are getting to the point when all your friends are settling down with careers, studying, kids, marriage etc and you are still out every night living the vida loca, then maybe it's time to look a little deeper.

5. When you have kids, some of your friends will disappear
I really wish someone had warned me about this one. Again, romantic comedies LIED to me. This isn't necessarily because your friends don't care about you anymore, it's more because you are at a completely different stage in your life. Your world is consumed by a small person (or people) who is incredibly demanding. This makes maintaining friendships hard. Thank God for Facebook or I would never talk to some of my friends! But there is a silver lining. When they start having kids, they may make their way back. But at the beginning, realise a lot more changes than just having to buy nappies at the supermarket.

6. You are not as fat as you think
I realised this when I was 8 months pregnant. I had taken my little waist for granted. Oh the clothes I could have worn! But seriously, you are not as fat as you think. And, unless you have to be removed from your house by a crane, no one is judging you by how much you weigh. And if they are, they are random people and see bullet point three. Love your body and value what you have.

7. Your parents are not always right
In the end you have to make the decisions for your life that may contradict your parents views. They may not like it, and in some cases may not be able to get over it, but (unless you are Buddhist) you only get one life. You have to live it as you see fit.

8. Foundation comes in lots of shades
Yep. AND if you don't pick the right shade, it looks gross. When the lady in Farmers says 'can I help you?' say YES! Or get a mother in law like mine who is a wealth of knowledge in this department.

9. Everyone is a little weird, it's not just you
This was a huge revelation to me. I always assumed I was some freak of nature that was TOTALLY unique. Nope. I am just as messed up as everyone else. Everyone has their quirks. Also everyone's families have quirks too. Compare notes sometime with a friend. You are not as weird as you think.

And my last thing I wish I had known,

10. ALWAYS close your curtains before you have a shower
This is in case you have to make a mad dash to the dryer to grab a towel or the phone rings or your child wakes up. The time that you don't is the time the MP for your area shows up at the door and then RUNS for the gate. You have been warned.

Please share your advice here! I would love to hear it :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

When society doesn't care

Today, in Wellington, an 88 year old man was found dead in his council flat and it is believed he had been dead for over a year.

Let that sink in for a minute.

For a WHOLE YEAR a man lay dead in his council flat and NO ONE noticed?! How does that happen? I work in Aged Care and so when I hear about cases like this, I take it personally. I get angry, I rant and I rave. And then I wonder WHY? And today I got my answer from reading through some facts that I would like to share with you.

1. The Wellington City Council is meant to check on it's elderly residents once a year. Even if this procedure was followed (which it wasn't) how is once a year a reasonable amount of time between visits to people who are vulnerable and when it is known that they have no family? And the only time they go around outside of this yearly check? When they haven't paid their bills. Now while the caring part of me would like to believe this is because it could be an indicator that something is wrong, the realistic part of me knows that it's purely financially driven.

2. This has happened before, not once but several times before. According to the Dominion Post, in 1999, Wellington police called for the council to check regularly on tenants after several cases in which the bodies of elderly people were not discovered for some time. So in 12 years, there has not been a review of the policy? This has happened several times and the council is not taking responsibility for the welfare of those who live in their flats, even when the police recommended it?

3. Mr Clarke (the 88 year old man in question) had lived in his flat for 30 years. How did no one in that complex notice he had not been to his mail box to collect his mail, or been seen pottering to the grocery store or noticed he hadn't opened his curtains for a year? While the council is at fault, I am astounded that none of his neighbours noticed he hadn't been out of his flat for a year. Did they not know he even existed?

So why did no one notice this poor man was dead until a year later? Because we just don't care about each other. Wellington City Council doesn't care about your well being until you stop paying your bills or your yearly visit is due. Your neighbours may not even notice if you don't open your curtains or collect your mail for a year. We are a society of people that are so insular that we have forgotten to watch out for each other.

We can hide behind the idea that people don't want to be bothered by busy bodies making sure they are okay, but consider the alternative. I would rather have someone call me once a week to check I was okay than be found dead after a year. It is not an 'unnecessary intrusion', as was described by Wellington City Council Social Portfolio Leader Stephanie Cook. And how long does a phone call really take? Considering that these people have paid taxes, the least we can do is call them to make sure they are okay.

Those were my recommendations for us as neighbours. Here is my recommendation for Wellington City Council.

Review your policy. A year is an insult. You have been told by the police and the several dead bodies found long after death that this needs to happen and you have ignored it. Either you are lazy or you don't care. Take your pick. But don't you dare let one more person die in your flats only to remain there unknown for months. And Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, this is not just 'very sad'. It is a travesty. And it is one you need to make sure never happens again.