Monthly Archives: August 2013

His Royal Grumpiness speaks.

 

Hello darlings, just a word from my throne.  Seriously, I have been the king of grumpy this week.   I have had to have a look at this in a little bit of depth.  Now I acknowledge that I am of a certain age however last time I checked I wasn’t menopausal so the Evening Primrose capsules are probably not much help.  I am taking Selenium, Vitamin C and complex, Magnesium capsules and St Johns Wort.  I am not sure if it is helping but at least I am contributing to the economy.

I know some of the contributing factors to my grumpiness and take an educated guess at the others. I have had a ruptured disc in my back for 25 years, the surgeons say it is  too  small to operate on, unfortunately it impacts on me really badly at times.  I have something else going on with my back pain as well at the moment so my pain levels have been pretty high with very  little relief from medication, and the anti inflammatory drugs are making me queasy.   It needs a review but I need to see myown Dr who has not been available when I am free and there is no point seeing someone else, the next Dr that offers me paracetamol as a pain solution is likely to have  a free paracetamol enema if not administered then definitely offered to them.

I have only 8 weeks of work potentially left this year and as it is mainly casual I  have to take it when it comes so taking it easy is not an option at the moment.  I  have been trying to avoid heavy work  for sure so the heater is being used instead of fire wood.  But that is only one of the contributors.  I am frustrated I realise and am impatient with my work and living situation.  There is nothing I can do about it really yet I am still champing at the bit. I can’t make any long term plans and that is driving me mad.  The thought of being reliant on welfare again is driving me nuts.

The work situation is what it is and where I live is also difficult to change.  Without work I have no incentive or need to change.  I certainly don’t intend to interrupt my children’s education right now. The possibility of having to shift for work is real and looms, not that shifting in itself is an issue. I am well ready for a change.  There will be challenges to shifting but non unsurmountable.  I am over the town I live in.  I guess that says as much about me as it does about the town I live in.  The complication for me is that I want someone to share my life with.

That being said without any ability to say where I will be in the next year it just seems wrong to try and “find” someone.  The truth is also that I am not in a space to open up my life with someone else and establish that space where intimacy, a meeting of heart and mind can occur, and yet I am conflicted by a yearning for that intimacy.  I had it laid out for me in a dream the other night.  Not that it was a revelatory dream but I dreamt of better times, it was a pleasant place for just a while, I was relatively pain free and dreamt in my warmth that I wasn’t alone in my bed.  However when I awoke the reality hit and hit quite hard.  My son sings a version of a song, “You are my Sunshine”  have a listen at this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPVW2ed_9Lc.  It wasn’t a pretty place and I did shed a few tears. 

All  that as it is I need some advice, I however need to take my own advice that I dish out at regular intervals, that is there is very little that you can ?o should do to influence the way people think about you when you are in or were in a relationship.  Beyond the integrity of honesty and being true to yourself there is nothing else.  This is not a way of shirking responsibility for the need to be responsible for your own actions but merely saying you can only influence the way that you think.  Yo can not control someone else’s thinking.

So for me the reality is that I am marking time, waiting for a solution for my pain, emotional and physical.  The danger is that in marking time I merely perpetuate it because sometimes there are no solutions, so I need to do what I can and concentrate on that which I can do.  I can write and I can review. I can’t exercise as I should right now so I need to chase that because exercise is key for my health.  If I can’t walk or cycle I need to swim or find a way to press through that.  I need to be responsible for the way that I am responding to the pain.  I need to ensure that I am being reasonable and not jaded and dwelling carelessly.

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The face of evil?

ImageHave a look at the face of evil.  Here it lies the face of a child abusers, one as bad as the other.  ImageRead the stories and if I sound harsh well perhaps I am.  I do not believe either of these people are fit to parent now and probably in the future.  He kidnaps her and she tries to escape. She gets dragged behind the car weeks in hospital, amputated foot horrendous injuries, ongoing treatment, and she wants to marry him.  If it weren’t true it would be the script for a d grade movie.  The aggravating and ironic details of this story only serve to make it more offensive.  This woman was on her way to pick up a car bought with the proceeds of an ACC lump sum payment, compensation for some trauma that she has suffered, and here we are again she will be eligible for another payment.  She proudly states that she will stand by her man and in the media she is reported as saying she intends to marry him. 

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11112129

We don’t hear about her children of which she has at least eight, three in her care at the time of the incident, it may well be that they are no longer in her care.  We can only hope. In my opinion she should have very limited contact with them, once every six months is proven to be enough so they know who their mother is.  This contact should be supervised.   There is no way that she should be an active parent nor her chosen partner. An associate described their experience of the way that she was treated by her new partner “I only met him once at the West End pub and he was telling her, ‘Shut the f*** up and roll me a smoke’,” said a friend of Ms Eriepa’s who asked not to be named. 

Now before we talk about the howls of protest about how this woman is a victim as well, I acknowledge that undoubtedly she has a narrative of her own to share, and to say well I don’t care is untrue. But she is an adult and she needs to grow up.  I would wager that Ms Eirepa has had the gaze of Child Youth and Family over her before it is almost inevitable.  I promise you her story is not unique.  I also promise you that those that be have turned a blind eye towards parents who show by their choice of partners that they are not competent to parent.

I know of a case when a woman who was a drug addict kept her children for many years, she sold her body to pay for the drugs, in itself unremarkable, Here is the nub it was often with her children in the home and using the children’s beds for her business.  Her ex partner notified this behaviour to the department and he was dismissed on many occasions as a bitter ex partner only trying to discredit her.  I have investigated other similar cases in the past.  I can say this, often CYF is the last to know.

Family friends and neighbours are aware of abuse and often do nothing about it.  They dismiss it with statements like “She is a wonderful, beautiful person but she just picks the wrong men. 

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11111729. Oh she / he really love their children they just have a few difficulties.  I didn’t think it was so bad. 

We should not be hearing how Sonny Te Aramoana Waiti is a good man, who was only trying to show Ms Eirepa that he loved her and that she will stand by him, we should be hearing her saying, I have to choose between him and my children and I choose my children.  We should be hearing her family saying we will not allow such poor decisions to affect her children.  Ms Eirepa is 37 years old and should know better, if she doesn’t then we as a society collective should tell her that she is wrong and that Sonny Te Aramoana Waiti is not a good man at all.  He is a violent abuser who has no right to participate in society, let alone be around children. 

Now a rant without a solution by a person who takes no action is just that a rant. Those of you who know me know that I am not like that.  Today I emailed Child Youth and Family with a notification saying that if Ms Eirepa is in charge of her children or has them in her care that sshe has shown that she is not a fit parent.  It is not the first notification I have made and it won’t be the last.  I have approached people I know and told them that what is happeining in their lives is not acceptable and offered help as well as warned them of the long term consequences.  It is often a thankless task that can end with abuse and threats however in the end if I see and hear abuse and do nothing then I am as guilty as those who are actually doing it.  I do confess that at times it is a futile gesture as our child protection service is cumbersome, cash strapped and focussed not on the end outcome for the children but adult focussed on meeting key performance indicators.  If the interventions cost money it is just a bun fight trying to get others to pay.  The system is fundamentally flawed.  Why? Well simple we allow it to continue even when we know it is broken.  It serves it’s purpose as a salve to our conscience, it allows us to see that the issue is not our problem.

Paul

She has another man!

There is another man in her life and I am happy for her.  There is room for more than one and it is an opportunity for her that I welcome and embrace.  I am not talking about some form of polyamory here but I am talking about my daughters. As a father I have a privileged position in the lives of my single daughters and I like being the main man in their lives, but the other day I reflected as I realised that both of my single daughters had other men in their lives and I gave thanks.   The other men are important for a number of reasons.  I celebrate the fact that they are there.

Having other significant adults in the lives of my children is important to me.  Whilst I give it my best as a parent I am aware that like all of us I have areas in my life that just don’t quite get there, and that my view of the world whilst pretty broad it is just my view.   So having other people to expand and add to that is important.  I am blessed that there are other men who are fathers that take an interest in my children and encourage, challenge and educate them in a number of ways.  These men include my children in their family and they are made to feel welcome.

This brings me some comfort.  At times I have wondered and indeed worried what might happen should I no longer be around.  For a number of reasons this is a significant issue for me.  Sole parenting is sometimes a very lonely and difficult position to be.  Without putting too fine a point on it often it works out that one parent can be absent in terms of influence and impact on children’s lives.  In my case I feel as they I am both mum and dad at times for my children and I cannot help but worry that I do not do an adequate job, although I am oft assured that I am.

My reflection on this issue is ignited on this occasion by a couple of incidents.  Friday night my son burst in and presented me with a shirt that needed a button sewed on.  I replaced the button and secured another loose one and he asked me how I had learnt to sew on buttons, ouch my mum taught me.  I realised that it is yet another thing that I will need to  pass onto my children, list it amongst, cooking, cleaning tidying etc.  Now I am not sexist and believe firmly in an equitable division of labour but that is a little difficult in my case.

The second incident that set me thinking was my daughter hurting herself on the netball court.  I kind of dismissed it and helped her to harden up in essence.  Her team had no reserves and needed her.  She did fall over and hit her head on the asphalt and banged her knee.  One of the parents commented that she was probably looking for sympathy.  I replied in a flippant manner that she was looking in the wrong direction as I did not have much capacity for sympathy.  Later that night  as I reflected on my day I was troubled by my reply.  Was this true, had I lost some of my compassion towards my children?   I think probably it is just a situational context.  I love my children and take care of them the best I can.  Sometimes a narrative of pain and tiredness can briefly wash over me.

The only caveat I would register about my girls having another man in their lives is really about safety.  Julia’s friends parents know who I am and the fact that I am a single parent.  I never transport here friends without Julia being there and I do not allow any other man to transport her by her self.  Unfortunately experience in the past and the stories I have heard about this preclude me form allowing this to happen at any time, (barring emergencies).  The nub of the story around my daughter hurting herself was the genuine concern one of the other men showed for her.,  It made me check myself to see if I was being a bit blasé.  My daughter is tough and she was fine.

If you had said to me a year ago I would be happy that she had other father figures in her life I would have probably disagreed.  It would be nice for her to have an older female friend to relate to, her older sisters do a good job but it is not quite the same.  As I have said before when I was actively dating, my children don’t need another mum (that is another story) but a great friend would be good.  I am a package deal, it is my children and I that come together and any relationship where that is an issue just in the end will not work.  This in some ways saddens me as it is difficult to finds that kind of a person but I take it on board in the reverse.  When I find the right person if they have children then they are indeed part of the package deal.  End of story.  I am sure that I will be able to be a good friend.

In the mean time be aware of the singles with children around you, it may be surprising the impact you are having on their children and in their lives.

Paul

There be Monsters (Well Mad Max at least)

Fetch your pitchforks and clubs, light your torches gather your prejudices and leave your intellect, compassion and empathy Imagein the cupboard, there are mad people afoot! Well in Morrinsville there are.  If you are a Morrinsvillian then you may know who I am talking about, it doesn’t matter really as most places have their own Mad Max.  In this instances I will give you a thumbnail sketch, he weighs about 45 kgs, walks with a bit of a stoop these days, often wearing a full length oil skin coat, at times quite a natty dresser but then something missing you may see him in gumboots, an incongruous sight.   He is in his late 80’s now by his reckoning but gets out everyday and walks downtown, it used to be with a suitcase in his hand but these days he uses a Zimmer frame.Image

Why Mad Max you ask, well his name is not Max, he is called Aubrey.  Now Aubrey is an articulate man who is full of stories, I am not sure how much is truth, legend or just plainly made up to fill a gap of memory.  Aubrey is probably autistic, he says he plays the piano every day (complains that he needs his glasses and that he is not allowed to play before 8:00 am).  Aubrey lives in supervised accommodation these days, he used to have his own house. Now as I have written before kids can be cruel, they are like chickens really.  If chickens see something different about another one or they sense a weakness they will peck that chicken to death, turn on it and harass it hence the expression a pecked hen.  Well Aubrey is different, viewed with suspicion (an old man who lived by him self and wears a long coat).  Kids would walk along past his house on the way to school and throw things or insult him, invariably Aubrey would have enough and chase the kids and throw things on occasion.

Now I know this as a fact because he did it to my daughter once, she assured me that she had not wound him up that it was the girls in front of him that had.  On this occasion Aubrey threw something and it hit her and made her bleed. I was outraged who the heck is this Mad Max?  I called the Police and insisted that they deal with him, a menace to society, should be locked up.  Mad Max roams the streets looking for kids to harm.  Well the Police contacted Aubrey and told him off, issued him with a warning.  The story could end there but it doesn’t.  He wrote an apology letter and I saw something.  We invited him to church and he came to our house for Tea.

Aubrey is a harmless man who is different, he is talented articulate and even engaging.

He like most of us want to be seen as normal and to have the things that we all want.  He was even married briefly, unfortunately it seemed to be an attempt to fleece him and the community stepped in and sorted it out.  I saw Aubrey this morning whilst I had a coffee and we chatted a while.  I thought I should see him a bit more but I won’t.  Truth is I am too busy and life is like that.  I will stop and say hello, always wave and no doubt mourn his passing when he leaves this mortal coil.  Aubrey tells me he is looking forward to be in a place where everyone is friendly.

It is no secret that I dislike Morrinsville, for a whole lot of reasons but probably more than anything else I dislike my personal situation right now.  But let me say this.  Aubrey is safe in Morrinsville, he can walk the streets without fear, he became unwell one day and we bundled him into a car and took him home, no problems.  There are a few people, simple souls, the Delta Dawns of the world who live here and live here safely.  The cannot count some of them but lord help a checkout operator who gives them the wrong change, our community watches as they are dealt with and deals with those who would exploit them.  So thank You Morrinsville, lets extend that to the entire community, lets give a dam,who knows what may happen. Wherever you are, next time you see a monster in the street, put your pitchfork and clubs away, and smile or say hello!  I cannot guarantee the response but it is worth a try.

Paul

Die Here kom gou terug, The Lord is coming soon?

 

Sieg Heil, Sieg Sieg. Loosely translated it means we will win orHail Victory.It is on my pet hate list.  Here in New Zealand it has been adopted as a gang slogan  by one of our more notorious groups, I will not name them as I refuse to give them any publicity.  What is getting to me is the parroting of this chant by school children.  It is offensive on so many fronts; the worse part of it all is that they invariably do not know what it means

 I hear it on a daily basis and I confront it.  Millions of people gave their lives so these children did not have to have the enslavement of Nazism forced upon them.  When you question the young people they say well it is just a saying   and therein lies a large part of the problem. As I have written in the past bullying is a family issue so is racism, family violence crime and many of society’s ills.  That is the behaviors that we see in schools are often (not always) mirrored in the home.

So whilst I wanted to discuss the usage of such terminology it fits into the larger picture well.  A good friend of mine said to me the other day that the Lord is on the doorstep in Afrikaans it is die Here kom gou terug.  Now on the matter of the return of Christ I am firmly in the pan millennium court.  That is I believe it will pan out in the end.  Since the death of Christ people have been saying he is returning soon.  Now we can talk about the signs all we like but it is written simply in Matthew 24:36 no man knows the hour or day.

We can point to the signs and I know that each generation believes that things are worse, there may be some truth in that but the truth of the matter is that we need to live our lives with passion and that means one eye on the future but being firmly planted in the here and now.

I heard a phrase the other day, it was from a discussion where the author of a book about Brian Tamaki was having with a presenter on the National programme.  (Brian Tamaki is a whole other discussion).  The essence of the discussion however ws the point that was made about a moral vacuum and people being caught up in a society that is characterised by rudderless secularism.  It is this that I think is at the heart of many of the issues that we are having in our schools today.  In many homes there is no moral compass any more. 

Our young people bully because they see it and they are not held to account for their behaviour, they slavishly ape stupid slogans such as Sieg Heil, they call the Police pigs, they resent authority and being told what to do at school, they are often so firmly focused on beating the teacher using their phones sneakily instead of engaging with their work, and when they are behind they complain that the teacher did not teach them that or it is too hard.

Nothing particularly new there, but then there are the good kids.  These kids mostly have a \moral compass of some sort or another, not always one I would agree with but they have direction in their lives and something to measure themselves and their behaviour against.  Now before anyone gets upset (probably too late) I have to say this, we can raise our children well but in the end they still have to make their own decisions.  I am blessed that my kids often make the right decisions. But they will make choices that I do not agree with.  They will do dumb things for sure but far less often than those who live with rudderless secularism.  S naughty kids doesn’t mean bad parents.

But that is a subject for another blog.

In the meantime I hope I have raised your interest, intrigued you made you think perhaps even enraged you.  As long as I have reached you.

Living my life with passion and honesty

Paul

Sometimes it is very hard not to be judgemental!

There was something odd, at a distance I could see that something was wrong, perhaps it was the angle he was sitting or just the position, but as I drove towards him my senses were alerted.  As I got closer there he was slumped in a plastic garden chair with what looking like wounds on his face, I drove past and then stopped the car.  My instinct was to go back and check it out, perhaps it was an elaborate prank, maybe it was just a dummy but it looked too real.  There were people around but nobody was taking any notice it seemed.  I was wary of approaching something that I knew nothing about, I called the Police.  That in itself is another story as I struggled with the dispatcher who had no idea where I was despite me giving very clear and easily identifiable directions.  I  Was going to drive on but then I saw he was on the ground.  An elderly couple pulled up and went to check him out, he lay there with his trousers falling down and I got out of my car. 

I felt a little embarrassed that this elderly couple had intervened where I had decided not to but more about that later.   He was deeply unconscious, and smelt heavily of alcohol, un responsive to pain or any other stimuli and his breathing was laboured.  I did not want to move him but I rolled him into the recovery position and took his pulse.  I got someone to call an ambulance. Long story short we found empty bottles of a benzodiazepine on him, his wounds were nail polish and his legs were bound together by  a plastic bag, he was soaking wet with who knows what.  With a Glasgow Coma score of three, he was in some difficulty with potential of needing resuscitation.

It turned out that he had been slumped in the chair for about an hour, he was extremely cold.  The road he was on is a busy highway, hundreds of cars had passed by but no one had thought of calling the Police or Ambulance service.  As to his drinking companions who had placed him on the chair, their protestations of their innocence and lack of responsibility were disgusting and reprehensible.   I told them what I thought once the Police arrived.

Time stands still when these things happen, It seemed to take forever for other assistance to arrive.  I kept thinking I should have stopped quicker and gone straight away but in the end I decided that my safety needed to be first.  I care little about my own life truth to be told, but the effect of something happening to me on my children is not worth thinking about.  
After the best part of an hour I got back into my vehicle, I was chilled to the bone and very angry.  No one needed to stop per se, a simple call to the Police would have sufficed, he could have died easily, he was not a well man.

Someone had had fun at his expense, sellotaped his eyes shut painted his fingernails and his face with nail polish, trussed him up and then left him for all intensive purposes to die.  He smelt intoxicated and had probably ingested drugs but the thing that went through my head was this, he is someone’s son, someone, somewhere, loves him.

I write this not to trumpet how good I am but as a way of working out my anger.  Why the heck didn’t someone else care.  What is wrong with our society, where we can pass someone whom looke as if he had head injuries, slumped in a chair on a bitter cold day.  When I first approached him I couldn’t tell if he was alive?   Yes I was scared for sure but one could just call the Police.

Enough now from me before my anger and despair turns to vitriol and judgement.  If it looks wrong it probably is, just call 111 or 999 whatever your emergency number is. 

Be safe,

Paul

 

A good death?

This year I have been to a couple of funerals and also know a couple of  people whom have died that I was unable to go to their funerals.  Most recently a friend’s mother died, Beth was her name.  Beth lived life to the full we were regaled with many of the funnier stories around her life, her extraordinary love of giving her animals rather long and convoluted names, sometimes three or four names.  Beth died from cancer, she had fought hard and well but in the end it won.  Beth slipped into a coma and died peacefully, one of the attendees said “a good death”.
This may seem to be oxymoronic, how can any death be good?  We spend a lot of time, effort and money avoiding death.  Of course some people seem to be the opposite they spend a lot of many, energy and time courting death.  As I sat there at the celebration of life I pondered the remark a good death. Continue reading