Too old to go outdoors?

This happened years ago.

It was a busy shift and when Mr G. pressed his buzzer I was annoyed. I knew what he wanted. I knew it’d take me at least 20 minutes to get him organized and outside. But he was an outdoorsman. And he didn’t want to be in his room all day. Until fairly recently he’d been going out on his own, but his muscles had weakened significantly and his legs were unable to hold him up.

He’d been a farmer all his life. At first with his father, later in life, after many years of running the farm with his wife, his son took over the farm and he’d stayed on as a farm help. That was until he came to live with us in the nursing home. When he moved in he told us he wanted to go out daily. “I don’t mind bad weather” he said.

His daughter in law had constructed what looked like a sleeping bag out of leather and sheepskin. This ‘bag’, if you will, went up to his chest. This went over his trousers and shoes. A thick wind and watertight parka went over it. I put his gloves on his hands and placed the buzzer inside. A hat and a cap adorned his head. The last thing I put on him was a scarf in the colours of the Island Flag.

He looked ridiculous. But you’d want an old fragile man to be kept warm when it’s freezing.

So I rolled his wheelchair outside, just under the awning. It was snowing, so it wasn’t too cold. I told him I’d come and check on him every 30 minutes and if something was wrong he’d buzz me.

After the first 30 minutes I went to check on him. He was fine, he told me. I checked his temperature by placing three fingers on the back of his neck. He yelled at me, my hand was colder than he was. I offered him a cup of tea which he declined. After the second 30 minutes he was still felling warm, but took the cup of tea I offered him.

Twenty minutes later, I was taking a tea break, I heard commotion in the hallway. I went to see what was going on.

The scene was hilarious. Mr G. was  being rolled indoors by a woman I’d never seen before. Behind her was a man looking very embarrassed. Mr G was shouting, screaming and yelling. She wasn’t listening to anything he said.

When she saw me standing at the door of the staff room, she immediately began to yell at me, glaring at me. She basically told me off for putting Mr G outside in the snow. She said it was unheard of to put a man of his age outside for any amount of time. Apparently they had come by earlier and she’d seen him outside then. All the while Mr G was screaming bloody murder. I placed my hand on his shoulder and told him to stop and trust me. He stopped screaming.

When the woman finally stopped yelling, her husband ( I assume) looking more embarrassed than ever, I asked her if she had asked Mr G why he was outside. Mr G immediately started yelling again. “No, she hasn’t asked me anything. Bloody woman just rolled me inside!” The woman started saying that this was beside the point.

Behind me I heard my boss. Her office was close to the hallway and instinctively I knew she was standing behind the door. There for me should I need it.

I told the woman my question was not beside the point. That if a patient wanted to go outside they were allowed to. That he was better suited for the cold than she was. And that he’d spent his life working outdoors. It’d be cruel to lock him inside, saying it was too cold in winter, too hot in summer and too wet on everything in between.

Her husband quietly told her she’d made a mistake, but she was still having none of it. “I’m going to go to the police. I’m going to complain about this.” I told her fine. Even gave the name of a police officer that would be more than happy to talk to her. It was the name of Mr G’s son-in-law.

Mr G laughed. The woman and her husband went to the police station.

I heard later that the son-in-law and his coworkers had a good laugh about it.

Holiday

We’ve been to Zeeland on holiday many times as a family when I was young. I loved it there. The sea, the beach, the landscape.

A few years ago we went back.  Again I loved it. I’m sure we’ll be back again in the years to come. Not sure when, but we’ll go back.

This post has been written for The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge

My Love Of Reading

A few days ago a fellow BookCrosser asked for children’s books. I had a few so I send her a box. There were a few books I had read as a child.

Lotje

These books were used for learning to read. Nowadays this happens in small groups I’ve been told. Groups of children that are on the same level. In my time we had to read with the whole class. It didn’t matter if you were ahead or behind on your reading skills. This is what we read and you have to do it.

Now I’ve always been an avid reader. Ever since I started to read I’ve been reading everything that I could get my hands on. My mom took me to the library when I was very little and when I was 4 I got my own library card. In these days (and it’s not that long ago) a child couldn’t get a library card if they were younger than 4. It’s quite different now, thankfully.

So these books triggered a few happy memories and quite a few bad ones as well.

“Frouk, would you read the next paragraph?” Well, I would, but I had no idea where in heaven’s name we were. Being ahead of my class in reading I silently read more than I should have and lost where the rest of the class was in the book. This, of course, got me into trouble quite a few times.

“Frouk, you can’t read that book, it’s too advanced for you.” No, it wasn’t. I had read that particular book from the library and enjoyed it so much I wanted to read it again. It was supposed to be for the class ahead of ours and me reading it got me into trouble again.
This happened a lot and after a while I didn’t want to read books from the library anymore. When my mom heard why not she went to our teacher and I got moved ahead (as the only one in my class) just for reading. I know soon after that they’ve changed the way they taught children how to read, but I’m not sure if my case had anything to do with that.

“You can’t borrow book from that section.” Our library had three children’s sections; 6-9, 9-12, 12-16. And in these days you weren’t even allowed to wander into a different section of you were choosing your own books. Now I started reading books for the ages 9-12 when I was 7. My mom and dad applauded this and always encouraged me to read whatever I wanted (within limits of course). But the library wasn’t that encouraging and it got me into trouble a few times.

“You can’t come in here 3 times a week and constantly borrowing books.” Yes, this was actually said to me by a librarian. Our library was open three afternoons a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And every single one of these days I was there, borrowing more books. By this time the limit was only 3 books and I read them all in two days. Kids books just aren’t as thick as adult books. Luckily my mom was there and told them I could come in as many times as I’d like, provided I brought back the books I’d previously borrowed.

“You can’t borrow boys books.” My favourite book series are ‘boys’ books. But apparently girls can’t read those books. I’m still not sure why. In the following years I’ve heard this many times (never by my family) and never stopped reading those books. On the contrary, my love for ‘boys’ books has grown and I’m buying them whenever I find them in charity shops.

“Your mom needs to borrow her own books.” By the time I was 14 I’d pretty much read the entire children’s section. My mom gave me permission to borrow ‘adult’ books. Of course the library did not agree with me borrowing adult books and my mom had to come with me every time I wanted to borrow books. By this time I was in high school and had homework, friends and sport, so my reading time was reduced quite a bit. The maximum amount of books was upped from 3 to 5, so this meant I was only in there about once a week. It took quite a bit of persuasion before I was actually allowed to take adult books and sometimes still got into trouble with it.

“Why are you always reading?” Again, said by a librarian. And still, I have no idea why she said this. You are in a library, what do you expect people to do? Maybe it was because I was in the check out line and many times I started reading while waiting. I don’t know.

“Why have you chosen the hardest books?” We had to read 10 books for our exams in high school. And I did not choose the thinnest, easiest books, like my classmates did. And of course this triggered a lot of abuse from them. They thought me reading thicker books would have an impact on their grade. I don’t think it had any effect. Only their own actions had an effect on their grades.

“Why would you even read such a thick book?” Said to me by a teacher. Yes, a teacher… I was reading The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough at the time. And, as you might know, this books is almost 700 pages. So why? Because I’d seen the mini series and I enjoyed them and I enjoyed reading the book as well.

Luckily, all these snarky comments have never stopped me from reading. I’m very grateful to my dad, who let me borrow his Kameleon books when I was just 7 years old, and to my mom, who always encouraged my love of reading.

old cover (1955)

Dread…

Changing colors, dropping temperatures, pumpkin spice lattes: do these mainstays of Fall fill your heart with warmth — or with dread?

Right now, the thought of autumn fills me with dread. Why? Because last week, I got tagged into a Facebook group, which consists of almost every living being I despised at school. Yes, it’s yet another “Let’s have a reunion” group for our class.
About 5 years ago they tried the same thing on a dutch site and I quickly left and never got back. Now they did it again on Facebook…
I can’t help it. There are only 6 out of about 28 that I’d like to meet again. One of which I have regular contact with. The rest can fuck off.

Needless to say, I haven’t had a great time at school. I’ve been bullied quite a lot. But somehow most of the people who were bullying me seemed to have forgotten what they did. And now they want to be “friends”. They want me to read their timeline, which I’m sure, I don’t want to read. And, I think more importantly, they want to read mine.

asshole

Now I know my timeline is filled with sarcastic ecards, but even then I don’t want them there. I’m not that naive… No seriously, I’m wishing them a great time, but I won’t join them. Despite my wish to see those 6 again.

This post was written for the postaday.

Memories of Holidays Past

When I was a child, Boxing day, or the second Christmas day, as it is known in The Netherlands, was spend at my grandparents house. My grandfather celebrated his birthday on December 26 and the whole family gathered around coffeetime to celebrate.

I remember clearly everyone bringing food and drinks, to put less strain on my grandparents. We started with coffee and cake, quicly turning into a lager for my dad and my uncle. Which my grnadfather loathed. He was teetotal. I don’t really know if he simply disliked alcohol (like me) or if he disliked the things alcohol does to you.

My uncle always cooked dinner, every year the exact same thing. I think my brother and I were to blame for this. We absolutely loved endives with ham and cheese.

Endives

recipe for two

Ingredients:

  • 750 gr of endives
  • 10 slices of ham
  • 150 gr of grated cheese
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

Chop the endives in quarters and remove the heart. Cook the endives for 10 minutes. Drain it off. Roll the endives into the slices of ham and place them in an oven dish. Remove excess liquid with a clean towel or kitchen paper. Put the grated cheese on top and season with salt and pepper. Bake in a hot oven (225 °C) for 20 minutes.

 

Enjoy!

This post is written for the Daily Post.

Thanks to Sunday Driver for the photo.

 

Can we please go home?

I’ve never really liked travelling. The mere thought of airplanes scare me. The different wildlife (spiders, snakes) scares me. Thus I’ve never been far away from home.

When I was 14 we went on a schooltrip to Luxembourg. It scared me. I had to be away from my parents for 5 days, sleeping in the same room, it turned out to be the same bed, with a classmate I didn’t like. No teachers around me that I trusted.
The thought of not having enough medication on me scared me. The thought of not being able to travel home when I wanted scared me.
It turned out not to be so bad.

We had to be at school on monday, at 6 AM. This was hard for most of my classmates and at least one of them missed the bus. The first part of our trip was to a vulcanic lake. I can’t remember where exactly it was and Google brings me no further. We were allowed to swim in the lake, but one of our teachers scared us by saying it was incredibly deep.

The next stop was at a chairlift. It almost went straight up and I think it might have been in Cochem, Germany.

After this my memories are a bit foggy. This because of the damp surroundings and altitude. It made me have multiple asthma attacks for the rest of the trip.

The things I can remember are a trip to Bastogne, where we went to the Bastogne War Museum. I loved it there (pretty weird thing to say about a war museum) and I was so annoyed by my classmates not listening to the stories and not paying attention and fooling around.
We also had a walk through the Müllerthal, which I liked, as my last name is Muller. I remember this day clearly as I thought I had a good day, without Asthma attacks. But halfway in the walk the hills began to climb very steeply and I almost couldn’t manage. I remember classmates helping me up and teachers carrying me. But the views… The views were amazing!

The rest I really can’t remember. This trip was the furthest I’ve ever been from home. I’d like to do it again with Jay, but I’m scared of being away from home, to places I don’t know. Most of the holidays we took together we went home early because I didn’t want to stay another minute…

A Special Toy

Everyone, meet Jiska. She’s my special toy.

She was given to me by Sinterklaas, when I was 4 years old. In about 3 months time my mom would have a baby and my parents thought me having my own doll would be a good idea. It was.

From the moment I unpacked her I loved her. I didn’t want to put her down. She was always with me, even the first time I went to school after Sinterklaas. We all were allowed to bring one toy we got given, so Jiska was the one I chose to bring to school.

I can’t really remember if anything happened that day, but reality is, nobody was allowed to touch her. I remember when I was about 12 years old I dragged a friend out of the house by her hair because she would let Jiska alone.

Jiska

Jiska doesn’t “do” anything. She can’t pee, eat, cry, or whatever dolls can do these days. She has a cloth body and the only moveable thing is her eyes.

She’s currently in a box in the attic, but thankfully Jay knows just how important she still is to me, so he put the box on top of the pile. Making her accessible all the time.

I realised yesterday, when I took her out for photos her eyes are starting to go yellow. This makes me sad. I want her to have the white eyes she always had. So I guess it’s time to find someone who cleans and repairs toys for a living…

Jiska

This post was written for the link-up on the blogpost over at Tattooed Mummy.

How did you learn your middle name?

This tweet, by Carole Holland, got RT-ed into my timeline this afternoon.
It made me laugh so much I almost choked on a piece of candy.

It actually reminded me of an incident that happened a long time ago, when I still worked at the Butchery.

middlename

It was 2 days before Christmas. We’ve had been busy for days and I hadn’t gotten around to buying groceries. My mom, being the good woman she is, had taken my shopping list and gotten out to buy my groceries.
I lived on the other side of town, so she thought she’d bring them by, while I was at work.

I was so busy I didn’t see or hear her come in. I was standing with my back to the door when I heard her voice pretty loudly saying: “Froukje [middle name] [last name]!” I immediately stood up and yelling back: “I didn’t do anything!”

My coworkers almost pissed themselves from laughing so hard. I was pretty embarrassed, my mom tought it was the funniest thing ever…

The smell of my childhood holidays

What I remember most from my childhood holidays is the smell of petrol when we were in the back of the camping site owner’s GMC. On our way to the beach. Or on a dropping. In the middle of the night, in the back of a GMC is something special. Not knowing where we were going. Not knowing what lay ahead of us. It was exciting!

gmc_1944

When we got to our destination we were greeted by the smell of the camping site owner’s pipe tobacco. He had a special brand and it smelled so sweet, so good. It’s a smell that you don’t find a lot. Whenever I smell it I’m back on the camping site. The owner is somewhere close. He must be, because I can smell his tobacco.

Campingsite

We’ve been on that same camping site for years and years. It has been my get away for all those years. I loved going there. But I haven’t been there for 12 years. Ever since the new owner took over.

This year is the first year we are going back to the area. Not the camping site, I’ve chosen a different camping site. But we are going back in 17 days. I can’t wait.
And I will be on the smell-out for that particular smell of his pipe tobacco. I should be able to find him if he still is smoking his pipe. I know I can find him through his smell.

This post has been written for today’s Daily Post. For more entries click here.