By Janine Milliken

You know how your socks seem to make a disappearing act as soon as they hit the laundry basket. Interestingly, I found a sock of mine hanging outside my gate on a cactus bush. I go past that cactus every day and really want to retrieve the sock but I am too embarrassed, so there it sits taunting me. I was thinking of waiting until midnight, leopard crawling to the gate and retrieving my sock. Now the question is, how did it get out there? I have a theory that there are ‘gnome sock thieves’ and that after this gnome stole my sock he dropped it or he deliberately hung it off the cactus bush to taunt me. The good news is the gnomes do not steal my knickers, as having my knickers hung on a cactus outside my garden might look like I am part of a swingers club.

War has been declared on the sock thieves and I shall use my Tupperware lids as weapons should I ever catch sight of these little people. I now have to go and buy some more socks – this is the never ending story of my life. I seem to buy socks, wear them once and they disappear into thin air or are hung on cactus bushes.

As for my Tupperware lids, they seem to multiple by the day and I have a whole kitchen cupboard full of lids – which I have never purchased or seen before. My gym bottles also have a habit of losing their lid and so I have bottles with no lids. How does this happen?

As we have no electricity I think I will start staying up all night and have a ‘stake out’ in my kitchen to see what actually goes on at ‘witching’ hour. I shall hold tight to my knickers draw and lock them up as I would hate to retrieve my knickers off a cactus bush. Maybe I should throw all the Tupperware lids away and see if they can magically reappear back in the cupboard.

Changing the subject, I work at a vet on Saturday mornings and I have to say that it was like a train station. I had no idea we had that amount of people in this country. When I got home I collapsed and was never seen again. While trying to sleep last night all I could think of was ‘dog food’, ‘deworming’, ‘injections’ and puppies. Never in my life have I seen that many puppies and it’s almost like a nightmare as I have to fill out papers for each puppy and there must have been about 20 that were brought in for vaccinations. I dreamt all night of paperwork, swipe machines, ecocash and puppies. I had to take an extra tranquiliser just so I could get to sleep. Balancing books is a nightmare right now as you have a book for ‘swipe’ payments, ‘ecocash payments’, ‘bond payments’ and also the threat of handcuffs should anyone produce USD$. Even Albert the goose followed me around at the office and managed to leave his mark on the floor, which I had to clean up. As soon as it was closing time, I ran out of the office hoping that I was not being followed by the goose, the chickens or a puppy – oh let’s not forget we even had sheep visit the office yesterday. I actually thought I was hallucinating when the sheep appeared out the car and was ready to admit myself into the psycho ward, but I checked with the vet that I really was seeing a sheep and hope he could see it too. Thank goodness I only work there one day a week otherwise I might lock myself into one of the kennels whilst rocking backwards and forwards mumbling about puppies and geese. So that is my one and only job and apparently I am not organized enough to handle the chaos. Last week I thought I had been fired as I forgot to write payments down, forgot the customers, forgot who I had seen and drew a complete blank when asked what I did on Saturday. I remember arriving and leaving, the rest is a blank.

I am trying to study for my fashion designing course and decided the best way forward on that is to go buy $5 tops from the flea market and bling them up as it is cheaper to do that than buy the material and actually sew an outfit. I remember my mom sewing all my outfits, as a child, as it was cheaper to do that in those days. These days, the tables have turned and if you can find the material and afford it you are too scared to cut it and so you sit and look at it for about a year. I remember when I used to make duvet covers, sheets, curtains and cushions but now the material is like ‘gold’ and I cannot bring myself to just cut it up.

When I was small, my mom insisted on making me frilly dresses and being a tom boy this was totally against my rules. I remember throwing a tantrum, having the dress stuffed over my head and then walking around with a lip because I looked like a girl. Even destroying a dress by snagging it on a nail and appearing at my mom’s side with half a dress did not deter her. She found the remnants of the dress and ‘boom’ the dress was back in the cupboard. There was a fight every morning as to what I was wearing and needless to say my mom knew me too well and I always ended up walking out the house in a frilly dress and a dragging lip.

After insisting I have a new sewing machine, I have actually 'outdone' myself and I admit I am defeated by this high tech, computerised, 100 stitch machine. I have not figured out how to sew a straight line as yet and I have had it a year. I have to say my maid uses my machine more than I do and I will have to take sewing lessons from her. I think I might go to an antique shop and buy one of those machines where you use your feet to power it up, now that I can do. I am sounding more and more like my gran!

I think I terrorized my mother when I was little with the tantrums, stomping of feet, refusing to wear dresses, always asking ‘why’ and generally just pushing all her buttons to see how far I could take her before she cracked. Oh let's not forget opening the car door every time she went around a corner just for the adrenaline rush it gave me. My mother never cracked, for the record and then my gran told me I would have a child just like me and I would find out, the hard way, as to what my mother put up with. This came true with the arrival of Niall, who never listened to any rule, went against the flow, did not sleep, obsessed about everything, opened car doors while the car was going and would not wear clothes. Resulting in me taking a little boy out to shop, naked with his gum boots on. While my daughter always dressed as a fairy and I felt like putting a sign on my back saying ‘I did not dress them, do not judge me.’

Changing the subject, I was going to have a laundry party this morning but we have no power and have no idea if we off for an hour, a day, a week or forever. I found out how to iron clothes using a frying pan. You heat the pan on your gas (should you have gas) stove, then iron using the pan and repeat. How I love my country and the ingenuity and cleverness of us all as to how we get around simple things like ironing your clothes with no iron.

Right I am off to retrieve my sock, as a fog has descended and I will be not be seen by my rich judgmental neighbors….. yes I have to retrieve the sock because I do not have many matching pairs left. Plus the little sock gnome has made his point now and should I find him I will hang him upside down on the clothes line or get him to live with my mother and see who survives. We’ll call it ‘Survivor – the gnome or the mother, who will come out’. I know who will come out, it will be my mother and she will have tamed the gnome – and he will be wearing frilly dresses.

I am also trying a new thing where I buy the person's groceries in front of me at the shops. I ask them to 'pay it forward'. One man actually stopped me and said, 'you have taught me something new today.' So let's hope us Zimbos stick together and look after one another. One kind deed a day could save a life.

God Bless. May God keep you in His shadow and protect you during these stressful times.


Goose, gnomes and socks

Beautifully Broken
by Janine Milliken
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