Thursday, 3 May 2012

The universe hates me

Go ahead, Big Guy Upstairs. Chuckle into Your galactic-sized mocha latte with asteroid sprinkles! Have a laugh as I scurry about the face on this insignificant planet like a panic-stricken ant.

You’ll recall I’ve had to arrange for transport for the Lionheart to school and back. The first day rolls around, the husband leaves by 7am so that he can open up shop at the car wash. That gives me a whole 15 minutes to get the Lionheart dressed, lunch made and schoolbag packed before the driver arrives. I’m a Tasmanian Devil-like whirlwind of activity, rushing around the house with Travis doing his standard high-pitched whine, my hair half-wet and bedraggled, when there’s a ‘tap, tap, tap’ on the glass sliding door. It’s the driver.

Shit. I wanted to be waiting in our complex’s driveway. I peer over the driver’s shoulder at our murky green swimming pool that she’s just walked past, cringe, and open the door. “Sorry, sorry, sorry!” I mumble, as I rush back into the house to retrieve my grumpy-as-hell Lionheart. The driver follows me into the house chatting away, and I desperately hope she won’t notice that fuggy smell you get in winter when you combine a heater that’s been on all morning, with unchanged nappies and baby vomit.

Kicking my way through the spoegdoeke, blankies and landside of toys I rush into my messy bedroom (still being followed by the driver, who I now fear is thinking “What kind of white trash clients have I taken on here?”). I scoop up Travis, his school bag and hobble to her car outside – which is way more larney than my car. Travis weighs a ton, but of course my five-year-old can’t walk yet, so I kick off my high heels at the door before I break an ankle. Classy, neh?

As they reverse out my complex, all I’m thinking is: “Please, Big Guy Upstairs, don’t let Travis shriek, bite, maim or freak this lady out; she’s the only kiddie transport company I can afford!”

Now it’s 7.20am, and Saint Irene arrives just in time to take Ryan the Squishy Gorilla from me so I can get to work. The garage door choses this moment to pack up, so I have to put down my laptop bag, unhook it from the motor and carefully hoist the heavy door up without getting grime all over my white jersey.

By 7.35am I'm on the N1 heading to my offices in Woodmead. I’m supposed to be there at 8am, and given that it takes at least 60mins to do the drive – I am going to be gloriously late. Good thing the company CEO is giving a strategy presentation to my business unit at 8.30am! Crawling into the boardroom on my belly is a great way for the new girl to get noticed by the suits on the top floor.

I make it with 2 minutes to spare. On the Nascar-style drive to work, Trav’s driver texts to say he’s at school safe and sound, and she still has all ten fingers. I mouth a silent thank you to The Big Guy Upstairs.

The presentation is scheduled for an hour, which means I should be released into the wild at 9.30am, giving me 2.5 hours to get a multi-million rand proposal printed, packed and delivered at our client’s offices down the road by noon. The CEO is taking his time, though. I look at my watch, I look at the slides, I look at my watch again, and decide to make a strategic exit. (Note: it is impossible to sneak out of a room where there are only 10 or so people.)

9.45am. I am back at my desk. I have three copies of the proposal printed and I’m ready to start punching and packing. Except… wait a fucking minute. Where are half of my dividers that the Husband collected from Jetline near our house yesterday? Shit! Crap! Holy Mojitos! I phone Jetline who are like 25km away and yell: “WTF!” into the receiver. Turns out they made a boo-boo. “Start printing and cutting!” I shout. “I’m coming over right now!”

I rope in one of my colleagues to start packing the proposals, while I hurtle down the stairs in my heels, wait for an eternity for the biometrics to scan my fingerprint at each door (actually, it’s only a three-second wait)… and I’m out into the parking lot.

Where are my car keys? Aaargh!

Clack, clack, clack go my heels. Beep, beep, beep go the biometric door scanners. Into the building, and then the same procedure back out the building. More Nascar-style driving down the N1, slowing down under all the bridges where the po-po sits with their speedometers. Arrive at Jetline by my house at 10.35am.

Am ignored completely by the staff. “Hello!” I say, trying to be polite while my left eye begins to twitch slightly. “Dividers?” I say into the ether. Echo, echo, echo… Long story short, I’m back on the N1, and hurtling back to Woodmead like a comet through space and arrive back at my desk, with the missing dividers, at 11.05pm.

Now, if you’ve never been involved in submitting a proposal before, let me educate you. If you miss that deadline by so much as 30 seconds, you and your fancy documents, and hours and weekends of blood, sweat and tears as you crafted your response, are turned away at the door. I have no doubt that missing proposal deadline = you’re fired.

11.30am. The secretaries at Mad Men couldn’t pack a proposal as quickly and efficiently as I am at this point. I. Am. A. Machine. Done! Now I just need to put the proposals in three brown envelopes, put on the envelope label and we are good to go.

So who took my envelopes? Where are the envelopes? WHERE ARE THE ENVELOPES? Balls.

I kick off my shoes and run to the stationery guy on the ground floor. He’s not at his desk. I run to reception. “Do you ladies have the stationery guy’s cell number for me please?” “Sorry, we’re not allowed to give out his number,” I am informed. Now my adrenaline is pumping in full “fight or flight” mode. I choose “fight”. I stride determinedly into the stationery room, and start yanking open doors. Even the flimsy locked ones.

11.40am. Back at my desk, the proposals are packaged. I phone the team member who should be delivering them. “Oh, am I doing the delivery?” he says. “Uh, yup!” I say a little too brightly. “Just give me 10 minutes,” he says. “The proposal is due at noon, dude.” All I can make out is swearing on the other end of the line.

The proposal arrived with three minutes to spare. The guy who delivered it to our client; in true Murphey's Law fashion, his clutch gave in halfway there and he had to drive in second gear for the last few kilometres.

Sitting in the courtyard downstairs having a ciggie, I’m waiting for my heartbeat to slow down as it sinks in: “It’s over. I survived this day. Screw you, universe!” Victory cackle! And then I realise that there’s still a noxious something-something in the air...

It’s me. Garlic breath. Fabulous.

I’m not sure I win first prize for Worst Day Ever, though. Have a read at Celeste’s blog about her manic Monday morning last week. Jinkies!

Anyhow, I know I’ve said this before – but I promise my very next post will be that follow-up to the stem cells Q&A I went to a month ago. If I post anything else before then, it’s the Fine Jar for me.


  1. Got to love days like those :-/ NOT.

    I think the universe has a thing for us mothers some times - ok not all of us - but some of us (in my case the ones who drink too much)

    1. I know! It's like there is a big bulls-eye zero'ed in on us. Warning: overburdened human being on the edge of the madness alert! Let's just bump her over.

  2. WTF! Can just picture it... You deserved that ciggie. I'll join you for one next time - oh and maybe a stiff whisky?!


  4. Totally crazy!! Amazed that you got the proposal in! Well done!! :D

  5. Holy Cow, I have heart palpitations just reading your post!! You GO girl!

  6. oh my crap...that was funny...the Universe threw every test at you and you passed with flying colours...big congratulations.

  7. Good gracious and all this happened before noon. I hope you had a big glass of wine with your dinner that evening, I know I would have needed it!

    I think the Universe owes you a break.


Thanks for sharing, Lionheart readers. ROAR!