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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Lunchtime update

I’m working from home today because I had to wait or the washing-machine repair man. He has come and gone- without repairing the offending machine. I prayed that he would arrive early so I could still make it to the office- God answered my prayer, he came early. What I didn’t know was that I should also have prayed that he wouldn’t be chatty, that he’d simply fix the thing and leave with a smile.

He started by telling me he didn’t have all the parts. In my opinion he shouldn’t have bothered to come. But he went on to say that he had to log the call, blah, blah, blah. I permitted him. Next he proceeded to show me drawings of the washing machine, and all the different parts. He showed me the parts he had and the parts he didn’t. He then went on to explain why the missing pieces were essential. Mohammed then carried on, telling me what would happen if I continued to use it. He explained how one customer’s machine drum “was ripped apart like a can of sardines” when they carried on using it in its faulty state. Perhaps it was because I didn’t rant and rave about the wasted time that Mohammed felt the need to educate me on how angry I should be when I called Comet’s customer services to complain. “You really must put your foot down. You cannot afford to wait another 2 weeks for me to come back. Ask them why they are putting you through this. Write a letter to their head office. Don’t say I told you. Call first then write a letter”. I already knew that. But you see I have learnt that you cannot change what has already happened, and God forbid I waste my energy and emotions on ranting about something that cannot be altered. At this point I began to consider feigning disgust and anger, just so I could move on from there. It’s a sunny day and this might well be my last chance to wear my floaty summer dress. I don’t think I did a good job because my feigned irritation only seemed to spur him on. Finally he offered to show me the parts he had in his car “So I could understand the gross incompetence of Comet”. I quickly declined and said I needed to “GET ON THE PHONE RIGHT NOW!!!” and “SORT THEM OUT!!”

When you visit the PP website, you’ll be greeted by an orange bubble that allows you to chat live with me, or anyone manning the store. I smile when I hear first a ‘knock-knock’ which notifies me someone has landed on the homepage, and then get even more excited when the message notifier comes up for a chat. So that was how I felt some 15 mins ago when Bertha* came up with a chat. I haven’t met her before but she is a retailer in a complementary business, we send each other customers (at least I hope she does). Anyway, she asked if I attended Langley Girls School*. I said I didn’t and asked if I looked familiar (she had gone unto my Facebook page and seen my photo). She explained that she used to know a very sweet, very pretty girl like me called Toks, but she went to Nigeria after graduating from Uni. Her family owned a luxury apartment in Marble Arch (that’s how we roll!) She has been trying to find her for the last 10 years or so. After smiling bashfully at being called sweet (she doesn’t know me) and pretty (even photos can’t be relied on these days), I asked for her friend’s surname and promised to ask all my (Nigerian) contacts. Which is where you come in. Do you know any Toks F that is sweet and pretty? I don’t want to spell out her surname so my cover is not (completely) blown as my friend said she googles her all the time- but if you want to help, do let me know.

Of course the amebo in me couldn’t sit still and I wanted to do my own searching. I google everything!  So I came across a pretty Toks that sadly passed away recently. I start to dig and try to find out more about her, where she schooled, etc. Then of course I get really sucked in and find pictures of her sister, in-laws, etc. No I don’t watch CSI, I simply wanted to update Pawpaw and Mango with my findings. Nothing to report I’m afraid. I decided not to send Bertha the link to the late Toks’ page, just in case. I spread good tidings, not bad ones!

*Bertha- not her real name!

*Langley Park- not the real school either!

Thanks though for reading, I’ll keep you posted. Back to work!

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The insanity test

Dear Rosemary,

It is 8:43am. I very nearly forgot that I need to pick child #3 up from his sleepover at your house.

You see it has been a blissful week. Child #2 went on a school camping trip on Monday and only returned yesterday, Friday. Five days with 3 children has had hubby and I wondering what life would have been if we stopped at 3. Of course we love all our sons equally and life would have been lacking a ‘certain something’ if we had just 3, but boy!  People ask me how I ‘do it with 4 boys‘, ‘boys’ is always emphasized. They think I’m superwoman. Or suffering from madness. Or both. Those who tend to accord me these laurels usually have one or two children and naturally find things very hectic already. My response is always the same. “When you have 3 children, adding 1, 2 or 3 more really makes no difference, so please leave them, I’ll be more than fine”,  I respond dismissively. The other mum will then look at me in awe, no doubt wishing she had my powers. Or mental condition. Or indeed both.

Well all that has now been proven to be inaccurate.  In the last one week, the scales have had a recalibration. Stress levels, down. Shouting frequency, down. Accidents, greatly reduced. Even whining is on the low.  On occasion hubby and I find ourselves calling one or all of the remaining  3 just to see if they are still in the house. Yes it is that blissful. This serenity isn’t being enjoyed across the board, i.e  in other homes that have one less child I mean. While the parents waited outside the coach seeing their children off, there were tears, lots of them. I didn’t see ours off, hubby did. He saw some mothers crying hysterically. Some trying to console their friends, all were about to suffer the same demise for a week. Hubby was baffled. In our house when one child goes away for a short period, we don’t cry, we laugh.

So Friday came and child #3 was off to his sleepover at your house- as you know right after school. We even had the privilege of a 1 hour window with just 2 children as #2 didn’t get back home until 4:30pm. Consequently we were granted an extra night as parents to 3 boys.

Clearly I am getting used to this. I love my sons and love them being around me. But are you sure you said one night and not two? Just asking. Sometimes I do get my dates muddled up.

Thanks so much for keeping our Zack, I would love to return the favour someday but you’ve pretty much just told me that I’m not superwoman. And that I’m mentally stable. I can’t promise anything, but er, ‘we’ll see’.

Yours most thankfully & worrying-about-life-going-back-to-normal-ly,

Toks

Thank you for reading, do come back.

A Culture shift

Following CNN’s award of the 5th sexiest accent to Nigerians, I suspect change will be coming our way very soon.

Here’s the tongue-in-cheek comment;

Famous tongues: King Sunny Adé, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde
Dignified, with just a hint of willful naiveté, the deep, rich “oh’s” and “eh’s” of Naija bend the English language without breaking it, arousing tremors in places other languages can’t reach. Kinda makes the occasional phone scam worth the swindle.

Don’t mind them, we are not phone-scammers.

Do you think we may at last start to feel comfortable with our accent? I watched a Nigerian movie at a friend’s barbecue a couple of weeks ago. It was a Yoruba movie with subtitles in English. The entire movie was cringe-worthy especially when they kept spelling many English words with an “l” inserted in it. Dealth. Belthday. A guest explained to me it was the “aso” way of speaking. Dealth. Okay o!

I attended my friends baby dedication on Sunday. It was a proper naija affair, packed with hundreds of people with aso-ebi to go. You see, the fan-fare was necessary as the twins were waited for for 16 long years. An awesome, emotional testimony indeed. I noticed quite a few of us had on English dresses topped with burgundy gele. I’m so loving it and have started to acquire a collection of geles for future events.

The boys are back at school, yes school runs have begun. Child #2 will be going camping next week for 5 days. To remind you, child#2 is the fashion conscious, it-boy. I have threatened to pack up some eba and banga soup to take with him.

You should see his face, I keep a straight face whenever the conversation comes up.

So mum what am I taking to camp?

Sweets, biscuits and of course Eba and banga soup.

Mum! I can’t take Eba to camp!

Why? Are you ashamed of your culture?

No, of course not. It’s just that I’ll look weird. 

Do you look weird when you eat sandwiches?

No, but it’s..

Ehen! Nothing weird about eba and banga soup. You love it abi? Or do you want me to stop making it?

No, but…

That settles it then. Eba to camp!

It is very hard to keep a straight face but I’m able to pull it off every time! He believes me. I hear him mumbling to his brothers about it. A few minutes later he comes back.

How am I going to warm it?

That’s true, I didn’t think of that. You can eat it o the coach on the way to camp.

Horrified look!

Yep! I’m on a mission to increase cultural awareness, what better place to start than at home?

Thanks so much for reading!

Glossary:

aso: Westernised Nigerian, usually used as a form of ridicule

gele: African head-gear- quite sizeable

aso-ebi: Outfits made from matching fabric to be worn by a group of people to an event

Eba: Staple food eaten in parts of west Africa, sticky, heavy and very filling

Banga: Nigerian soup made from palm kernels. Whatever you do don’t get some on your clothes while you eat!