Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Our House

As a child I loved loved LOVED playing in my Wendy house.  It was in very bad shape - a big hole in the roof and a door that wouldn't close and a sand floor.  The asbestos (wheeze) walls which had never been painted, made the inside very dark but I didn’t care, I had my dishcloth and my dolls and I played house with my one old wire chair.  It was my own private space where nobody would disturb me (this may have had something to do with the massive spider population with which I shared the place) and quite honestly, as the fourth child, if I was busy playing and out of everyone’s hair, everyone was pretty happy.  Seriously I had an awesome and imaginative childhood. 

Whenever we go to friends or to a play area that has a little house my 2 chicks are drawn like moths to a flame and I end up having to drag them out kicking and screaming when it's time to go home.  So when a friend of mine, Yvonne said she had a little house that her kids had finished playing with, I jumped at the opportunity to bring the little house home.

It was a surprise for the girls, so when they saw it for the first time, set up in the corner of the garden, they went berserk with excitement!  Both of them started emitting high-pitched sounds (that only neighborhood dogs could hear) and they ran around in circles in the garden, too excited to go near it. 


Now Yvonne is probably the kindest and most generous person that I have ever had the good fortune to meet, so she also sent along the entire contents of the house, which included a princess kitchen (with all the bells and whistles), a dressing table with a heart-shaped mirror, table, chairs, ironing boards, toaster, kettle, cutlery and crockery etc the list just goes on, the girls can almost start a catering company with all they have in there.  She also sent along beautiful material for curtains and fun stickers for the walls.

Some of the items that they had received for inside the house were a bit dusty and needed a wipe so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to teach the girls to clean their own stuff before arranging it as they saw fit.  They were only too happy to jump in and help, especially when the bucket of warm soapy water arrived, fun fun fun.  I didn't help at all, I just wiped the remaining water off because their idea of wipe the item vs. bath the item, are very similar.  I arrived with refreshments (after 5 minutes of cleaning) and Tomato, panting from the massive exertion of cleaning for 5 minutes, wipes her brow with her arm and says "Mommy, I feel just like Cinderella!"  I'm assuming this is Cinderella before the invite to the Ball, but she was just thrilled to be able to relate to her favorite character that she didn't mind cleaning at all.  Bacon lost a bit of interest and just wanted to get into the house but Tomato finished off and before long was ready to move the furniture in.

I gave them a few minutes to decide where the furniture should go and then I helped move it in for them and then left again while they packed their shelves and the lighter stuff into the house.  When they were settled in I was invited for tea. There was a big cordoned off space in the one corner.  In response to my puzzled expression, Tomato matter-of-factly pointed out that this was, of course, the naughty corner for her sister.  No house is complete without a naughty corner apparently.   Anyway my tea was a bit muddy and leafy but all-in-all it was a good cuppa made with love by Tomato and Bacon.

Well the house was in good nick but needed a little bit of freshening up so Dad set off with the girls to Builder’s Warehouse.  Even though he only needed to replace a few rotting planks on the patio (yes they even have a patio) they came back with everything bar the kitchen sink (and that was only because they already have one from Aunty Yvonne) and paint swatches (pink and purple – duh!)  Excitement was running high.

The renovation plan read as follows:

Objective:  Restore Fairy Cottage for new owners

1.    Remove and replace rotting wood on patio floor - Dad
2.    Sand and adjust door to close properly - Dad
3.    Install new door latches and hooks:
a.     to hook open   - Dad
b.    to hook closed - Dad
c.     to hang pretty things on outside - Dad
d.    to hang pretty things on inside - Dad
4.    Install ceiling board with Think Pink Aerolite (I kid you not!) - Dad
5.    Fit wall-to-wall carpeting (with 2 loose triangle carpets as requested by owners)  - Dad
6.    Installation of solar powered baby Chinese hanging lanterns inside and outside to gain maximum evening use  - Dad
7.    Sand and paint exterior in pastel pink with lavender detail – Cosmos (painter extraordinaire)
8.    Decorate interior with bunnies and flowers - owners
9.    Custom made curtains with matching tie backs, scatter cushions and aprons - Meema

Well I am pleased to say that all the items have been completed and the owners moved into their Fairy Cottage on Sunday.  They managed to sleep in the house until 12am when they needed to be moved back to the main house.
I would have given anything to have had a Wendy house like this - this is truly every little girl’s dream :-)



Sunday, March 18, 2012

Testing Testing 1-2-3

Last week I invigilated a test that was written by my 2nd year business students.  Oh but before I continue, I just remembered, when the spell-check went mad on the spelling of the word "invigilate," my wonderful mother (whom I have dragged into the 21st century kicking and screaming) saw one of my status updates on Facebook using this word and kindly sent me an email to correct my spelling!  So I can guarantee that “invigilated” is spelled correctly (I’m sure you were wondering).  Anyhoo, as I mentioned, I watched paint dry invigilated last week. 

What I find particularly amusing, is the student brain when a test is approaching, they literally go into a holding pattern.  Then, after they have made their stress known to anyone who will listen, they then go into test-mode.  Test-mode includes:

·        Donning “I’m gonna smash this test” outfits
·        Sporting comfy shoes for the long sit
·        Bringing pens and kokis of all colors to pretty-up the test paper (girls)
·        Bringing 1 old pen (boys)
·        Sucking the vending machine dry of dehydration and starvation deterrents   
·        The start of nervous bladder affliction
·        Arranging good luck charms

Now seeing as I had plenty of time on my hands during this process and I was trying desperately to stay awake, I was able to scrutinize the participants and came up with a group of finalists, whom I painstakingly narrowed down to the prize winners in the various categories.  The prize for my favorite outfit, went to the girl who sat right in the front wearing a short black mini-skirt and long grey Wellington boots, with white skulls all over them.  The skulls all sported different features (because obviously if they were all the same, that would look ridiculous).

The prize for my favorite comfortable shoes (and it was a close call with the skull wellies nearly winning a double-whammy, because they looked mega-comfy and this can surely be the only reason she wears them) went to the girl wearing….. wait for it….. slippers.  Yes it is apparently important to wear comfortable shoes when you have to sit for 90 minutes straight.  Now I am not a gambling girl but I would bet all of my hard-earned money on the fact that she had inherited said slippers from her Grandmother who had worn them until her bunions ultimately achieved their goal and broke free through the threadbare material on the one side.

At this stage I would like to point out that the test is written during the weekly lecture time-slot so as not to disrupt other lectures that the student is required to attend.  The lecture is normally 2 hours, the test is only 1½, but it’s different because IT’S A TEST!!

At least coming up with my 2 fashion winners had taken a bit of mind-numbing time, but there was another distraction from waiting to change the “time remaining” on the whiteboard and it came in the form of: – student questions during the exam.  My 2 favorites:

1.      Usually the instructions intimidate the students so I wasn’t too surprised when a hand shot. Excited that the monotony was broken, I rushed over to the young lady who had called me over to ask “is this what you mean when you say leave a line between each answer?”  Um I’m not sure what else that can mean but okay I’ll fall for it.  “Yes, that is correct.”  

2.      Then I got “Do we have a lecture after this?”  Seriously??  Let’s work this out together shall we?  The lecture slot is 2 hours, the test is 1½ hours and it took 10 minutes to settle everyone and to hand out the papers before they actually started writing.  This left us with 20 minutes for a lecture.  Then there is the usual 15 minute tea break in the lecture which brings us to a whole 5 minutes remaining, during which I would need to collect the final test scripts, so no sweetie it seems pretty unlikely to me, based purely on the time allocation, that we would be having a lecture after this!  But instead I took a deep breath and replied kindly:
“No, there is no lecture after this.”

Off I went to change the “time remaining” on the whiteboard, being very careful not to bash my head against it in frustration (it smudges, I’ve learned from previous head banging in class) because, another hand was in the air, waiting with another mind-blowing question for me to wrap my mind around – ooh I wondered what this one could be……. ah yes, bladder issues! *sigh* how sad that again, due to the boredom, I found this at least entertaining.