Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

Red and Green II


The image is not so pretty, today. Red and green describes the colour of my eyes. I woke to find them greenly glued together, and when I finally prised them open, the insides were red. So after dropping my people at their various Higher Institutes of Craft-Making and Fun-Having, I went to the doctor. There I sat and I sat and I sat. I sat for two and a half hours, amongst moaning pensioners, expectorating teenagers and quietly wilting people of the middle years. Once I finally had the attention of a doctor, I was told it was a virus and that I need to go home, take paracetamol and rest. I basked in the light of his wisdom for a full three minutes. All in all, not a satisfying experience.

Damn, I’m cross. Cross at the waste of my time (I read my book, but still, the principle!), cross that I’m sick, cross that I can’t rest, cross that I can’t go to gym, cross that I have a precious 12 hours a week to myself and that today’s three hour allocation was balled up into a doctor’s prescription and tossed into a sanitised bin. He offered me a doctor’s note, and then when I said I work from home, made his swiftly becoming unfunny joke that there’s no being written off sick for mothers. Ha! I laughed not!

I’m fantasising about sending my children to a school with longer hours, about committing the sin of not providing a hot lunch, about having a bit more time to myself. We had dinner with newly-arrived US friends on Friday and I was explaining how school only lasts until 12.20 because the entire fabric of German society is based on the hot lunch.

Friend’s husband: So what do you give them in summer?

Me: A slightly cooler lunch.

Cheer me up, won’t you? See that shiny little badge over there on the right? Please go and vote for me in the category Best Overseas South African blog. That would really make my day and I promise to stop complaining about my health and my very extremely tough lot in life if you do. While you’re there, you could vote for my friends the fabulous Cooksister and the inspiring Vanielje Kitchen too, but save a little vote for me and my red-and-green eyes.

While you do, I’ll just lie here in the foetal position, groaning slightly. Then I’ll slap myself and go and tidy up the remains of Hot Lunch #1,026 (sausages, carrots and new potatoes).

Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

27 thoughts on “Red and Green II

  1. Aw Charlotte, sorry to hear you’re feeling unwell.
    I’ve already voted for your blog, should I vote again??
    Hope you’re feeling better soon

  2. Hope you feel better soon – glad you’re not too far gone to make me laugh with your description of the doctor’s appointment – didn’t know the NHS was alive and kicking in Germany too!

    That hot lunch business i’m sure is very good for the constitution, but it would drive me crazy too – bread and cheese and jam it is here, even in winter to my shame – I’d give them soup but only one of them eats it.

    I’ve already used two of my email addresses to vote for you and our mutual friends – shall I keep going with my other ones too! then my husband’s and I could hi-jack the children’s too …what it is having a webaholic husband. BTW the animals don’t have their own e-mail addresses – we found they got upset by all the spam.

  3. You are right, red and green are so much better if it’s a strawberry and cucumber! Sorry to hear you are not feeling well. I will definitely vote for you and not just because it’ll make you feel better. I really do think you are the best!

  4. My poor Charlotte, I am so sorry your time was wasted today and that you are all green and red and gummy!

    I think the daily hot lunch is a wonderful idea, but perhaps not every day? Perhaps there could be Mom’s day–and I don’t mean on the weekend–when lunch is eaten cold and at school? I propose Friday, Frigg’s day, in honor of moms. Frigg being the goddess of fertility, love, household management, marriage, motherhood, and domestic arts…apropos, no?

  5. Oh, too bad I’m not there to make you some grilled cheese toasted sandwiches and ice cream (well, BRING you the ice cream. Store-bought is much better than anything I could make) and then to whisk the children off to play with me all afternoon, leaving you some much-needed rest time.

  6. My girls stay at school until 2 pm and eat their hot lunch there. Or I think I would go mad. Can’t you do that as well? It’s bad enough providing the hot dinner: on weekends it’s putenwurst and eggs because I can only deal with 1 hot meal a day.
    Btw, try the one pot, hackfleisch, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, noodle meal. I make that at least 1x a week;-)

  7. There really is nothing like sitting for hours in a German doctor’s waiting room… oh, I sure miss it! Too bad you are not feeling well. Do try and get some rest.

  8. Oh poor Charlotte. I have voted for you. I am v. impressed by how easy it is, you just click on the link and shazam (sp?), you’ve voted for this blog. Bravo for the organisers. Good luck, by the way.

  9. I voted for you!

    My son must be German. He thinks he has to have a hot lunch everyday. I have tried to familiarize him with the concept of a ham sandwich, but he wants pasta, corn dogs, tacos, etc. I have to pack his hot lunch to take to school (no cafeteria). I am SO over that.

  10. Thanks, Diane!

    Tanya, I think you’re only allowed one vote. But thank you for it, thank you, thank you for your lovely vote.

    Kit, your commitment is impressive. Votes from multiple wed addresses! Wow. And as for the NHS, I was actually dreaming fondly of it today in the waiting-room. I don’t remember ever waiting that long in my Surrey GP’s office.

    Aw, Alida, now I’m blushin’. Thank you.

    Ms Henitserk, there is sadly no such thing as lunch at school. But what I do do on certain Fridays, unknowingly celebrating Frigg’s Day as I do, is heat up pizza. Mama’s Day Off, as it were.

    Thanks for the v, v, kind offer, dear Emily. Cheese, ice-cream and a rest all sound wonderful.

    Gail, you clearly have more enlightened school administrators in Berlin than we have in Baden. There are no canteens here, and no school lunches. The only way I could have my children eat at school would be to go private. However, my guilty secret is cold supper. When pushed I may rise to an omelette or a bowl of porridge, but no further. I only cook hot once a day.

    Thanks, Tesha! I’m sure you remember those long, long waits very fondly. Hope your visits are going well at the moment.

    Wow, YogaMum, that’s dedication. Does the food stay hot until lunch-time or do you have a nifty, heat-saving lunchbox arrangement? Thanks for vote, BTW.

    Thanks for commenting, Anne, and for voting. I be honoured.

  11. They have microwaves to heat the lunches. Really I’d rather just slap some peanut butter and jelly on a piece of bread and be done with it.

  12. Of course I’ll vote for you. I suspect the fact that you’re the only overseas South African blog I read might make me a teeny bit partial, mind you. German school hours are quite…different. And traditional German lunches are something else altogether. On the other hand, at least you don’t have a royal family there any more that someone’s threatening to pass a law requiring your children to swear allegiance to. Not that I’m annoyed or anything.

  13. Yes, YogaMum, I can understand that. My kids have breakfast at home, then a “Fruehstuck” packed by Mama (sandwiches, juice, fruit) for mid-morning, then a hot lunch. When people tell me mid-afternoon that they are hungry, I am usually lacking in sympathy.

    Oh, (Un)Relaxeddad, you’re allowed to be a bit partial. That’s okay. The German education model, certainly in this province, is outmoded in the extreme. But as you say, at least we don’t have to swear allegiance.

  14. Poor Charlotte! I’m right behind you in every possible way for snipping out more you-time in your schedule. And as for the doctor – gah! Don’t get me started on doctors treating mothers. I once swore that the next time I had to take myself or my son to the doctors I would bring along every single educational certificate I possessed, and once we had perused them together, I would say, now you know I am an intelligent person, please do not feel the need to patronise me, discuss me in the third person as ‘mum’, or dismiss any maternal concern as ‘fretting’ or ‘anxiety’. Ah, such a great fantasy. But actually I just stopped going to the doctors. Do hope you feel much better soon.

  15. Oh Charlotte, so sad about the eye thing, so glad about the blog awards. Have voted for you and using Kit’s trick of hijacking every email address and contact I have. My mom has voted for you too. GOod luck and even thought you’re feeling under the weather you’ve still made me laugh. Anyway, you think your life is tough. My daughter forgot to feed her tamagotchi familitchi this morning, yes that’s a whole family of the electronic little blighters and the screen is so small I can’t see what the silly little icons mean. It keeps beeping at me and if I don’t push some buttons pretty soon they’re going to die of starvation or lack of nappy changes or something.. Oh boy am I going to be in trouble. I’ve had it out with the school board but they still refuse to allow the children to bring them to school. How will they ever learn to be modern women that can raise three children whilst cooking a gourmet meal and chairing a fortune 500 company boardmeeting if they aren’t even encouraged to carry the responsibility of their tamagotchi’s through school hours too!

  16. I’ve voted too. Good luck Charlotte and I do hope that you start feeling less red and green soon (although even when moaning about your health you are utterly engaging).

  17. I have voted too! So sorry about the eyes – those sound bit like puff the magic dragon eyes.. I sometimes think those long doctor waits are to winnow the chaff of those who are only halfheartedly ill, though that is rather cruel. But maybe it is neccessary when the health care is otherwise so good. It does seem an unecessary waste of time though, and an excellent way to pick up another bug while wallowing with fellow sufferers. I’m sure it would be possible to introduce an appointment system with penalties if you were late though. That might motivate.. I don’t know though. Anyway, I hope your princesses and prince are gentle with you.

  18. Poor Charlotte! When I read your title, I first thought that you wanted a second Christmas during late winter… Take as much rest as you can and just forget about that stupid doctor! How about a great book and a hot chocolate, that will terrifying any virus?

  19. Charlotte, take care! I voted, good luck!

  20. I’ve been and voted and was glad to do so.

    German kids get off school at 12:20? Good God, I’d go mad! What time do they start? Do they go on Saturdays? How do they get the hours in?

    I think the hot lunch is a European thing. It was always striven for in Britain and I’ve heard that on the continent it’s similar but in America most kids take a packed lunch, usually cold of necessity and that’s that. Even in the Northern wintry states like Minnesota. I wonder – genuinely – if it makes a difference.

    Get well soon, Charlotte and best luck in the SA Blog Awards.

  21. Litlove, I can understand your irritation at being patronised by doctors. And for the me-time, it’s looking good today. All three children well, my latest deadline met, so it looks like I’ve three hours for myself and my novel. Yay!

    Ms Vanielje, hope you pressed the right buttons on the tamagochi. Thank you for using all your email addresses and getting your Mum to vote me. I’m thrilled!

    Thanks, Kerryn. The red and green are diminishing, I’m pleased to say.

    Thanks Emma. Perhaps they do winnow the chaff, but I suspect it’s just lack organisation. At least the rest of the health system is good. I guess the sicker you are, the better it gets.

    Smithereens, I took your advice last night. I read a book and drank some cinnamon tea and felt much better.

    Thanks for voting, Ms Kitten. Much appreciated.

    Thanks for your vote, Ms PCB. Would you get that German schooling thing? They have “early” days and “late” days, but are never home later than 1.30. It’s madness and not kind to parents, especially working ones.

  22. Hope you are now on the mend. I have sick daught Jordan. She wants to go to the doctor. I am trying to convince her that doctors are not nice because she would live in the doctor’s rooms if she could! The doctor has suckers. Didn’t you get a sucker or chocolate for the wait?
    Voted long time ago.
    I watched your godson play cricket yesterday. He made 1 run and took 1 wicket. He looked great. He had the biggest fan club. So he finished school at 5.45pm yesterday along with the rest of the family. This is not good either!

  23. Oh Charlotte — major bummer! I loved voting for you, though…

  24. Oh that fantasy of longer school days… What’s worse is when you make the hot lunch.. and they tell you they don’t like it.

    Feel better soon… and I’m heading off to vote for you now.

  25. Did wordpress eat my comment? Not sure… But, I hope you feel better … soon, and I’m off to vote.

  26. OMG, how familiar that sounds in light of my hubby’s experiences with the UK health service recently. Oh how I miss those halcyon days back in SA when you had a family doctor who knew you (practically since childhood) and knew whether or not you were a hypochondriac or not, and knew that when you as a commited medication-phobe asked for antibiotics (or showed up at their office at all!), it should be taken seriously. Hope the eyes have all cleared up now and that red and green shall henceforth only apply to cucumbers and strawberries!

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