Friday, February 4, 2011

The Party - Part 2

continued from here...

....Despite the eleven or twelve hour flight, my tiredness and need of rest I absolutely had to tidy things up and make it respectable before I even sat down. My Mum helped me, all the while standing up for her eldest granddaughter. And, while we're here, when you continue something, like I have above, with the dots like this...... well should I start the first word ("despite" in this case) with a capital letter? I never know about these things.

"Don't be too hard on her RD"

"It's not too bad RD"

"It's like that time we went away and you had a party"

"No Mum it's not" I said, for the reason they found out was that I got the carpets cleaned and they came back and noticed that things were too clean. What the hell is it about grandparents? As parents they give us hell, then when our kids do the very same stuff that we got hell for doing, it's all different.

It only took us about half an hour to get things in a wholly respectable state. A quick Dyson over the floors, empty the bin, put the dishwasher on, wipe the surfaces down, handwash a couple of things and we were done.

Which kind of disappointed me more, the fact that it wouldn't actually have taken A that long to have made it perfectly nice.

I rested and seethed, wondering how to tackle the situation with her.

We all have things in our life, situations to deal with and problems to handle that are challenging. I don't want to sound like I'm moaning. One of my things with A, not so much with K who has reacted differently to things, is that I find it very hard to "parent" her. By "parent" I mean things that a father who wasn't divorced would probably take for granted.

Four years down the road, though she's healing, she retains some anger towards me for the divorce and the consequences. I understand this but it's very hard to deal with sometimes. I want to be the Dad, to be able to counsel, to tell off and advise where appropriate. And I have two daughters and, as everyone knows, girls are evil.

So the thing is with A, often when faced with a situation in which I have to tell her off, a concept I'm not a fan of anyhow, preferring to try to talk calmly, she'll literally remove herself from the scene, by just storming off in a huff. When you live under one roof this is one thing as they'll usually eventually return, seeking food and shelter, that sort of thing.

But, when you're divorced and living separately the dynamics are a bit different and the storming off is back to the other home, where one parent can be played off against the other by the smart kid.

Vut too doo?

I knew that the situation was unacceptable, that something had to be done. I just wasn't sure exactly what it was that had to be done and how to do it. After a spell of pondering and a nice poo, the first in my own toilet for a couple of weeks, always a pleasure, I sent a text to each of the girls.

To K I just said that I'm back, a bit about the flight and how I was looking forward to seeing her. I said similar things to A but also that I was sad to see the state of my apartment. A lot of thought had gone into my wording. I reasoned that a mere "I'm back and angry with you" type of text would have backfired and felt that use of the word "sad" was wise.

She responded with some "I'm entirely innocent what are you talking about?" message. I told her that I'd talk with her on Wednesday about it, the next time I was due to see them. I know full well that a sixteen year old girl, whose head is filled with things like drama, boys, clothes and why that other girl is angry because she like you know well said that like to her and then she like told me, really really really worries about being told off by her parents.

Wednesday came round and I collected the girls. I was nice, giving them the presents I'd bought in Sri Lanka and catching up with things. Then I summoned A to my room where I told her, in calm tones, that I was really disappointed about the state of my apartment. I told her that she'd been disrespectful to me and that, if it was going to happen again (a big "if") she needed to understand that my apartment has to be left exactly how she found it.

There was a brief few seconds of fight from her, just token words really. Some garbled things about not knowing how to put on the dishwasher or where to put the rubbish. But, after I more or less laughed at these objections, she apologised profusely, told me she understood and said that it wouldn't happen again.

This left me feeling like a salesperson who's just made a big and good sale but knows that he set his price too low. I got the exact result I wanted; an apology and a promise of no repeat, it just didn't feel right. But, when you sell something for too little, you can't go back and ask the customer for more money, unless you're a graduate of the Sri Lankan school of customer service, which I'm not.

Still, job done we moved on. I knew she'd had a party of sorts on the 31st Dizzember, I knew that she'd overstepped the boundaries, I'd dealt with it and I knew that next time I'd let her do it again as long as she tidied properly, which she probably wouldn't do.

That was, as you may have worked out, about three, nearly four weeks ago. Life ticked on as usual during that time.

Until last Sunday.

........... to be continued. Yeah I know, sorry about that, but there's more.


Jack Point said...

So far looks like you handled it ok and there are worse things than a dirty flat I suppose.

Jack Point said...


Would you care to support a cause?

I'm not sure if you are a visitor to the Galle Lit Fest, but this year Reporters without Borders called for a boycott of the festival. We have set up a Facebook group opposing the boycott call and we will write to the signatories once we have enough members.

Sunila Abeysekera, an award winning human rights activist makes a good case as to why the boycott call was a mistake, see her letter here:

My own post on the matter is here:

If you think the call for the boycott of the literary festival was wrong, please add your friends to the group below.

This years festival went well, but if properly organised next years could be sunk by a boycott, which would be a pity. About 312 people so far have signed the RSF appeal, we are hoping to grow this group to something larger than that. If each new member can add 5-6 friends we will be there.

"Whether you like the literary festival or not, whether you support the government or not, if you feel that Reporters without Borders' boycott was damaging to the cause of free speech, please join this group, to prove that most people oppose the boycott."

Please pass this on


Angel said...

There's more?? O_O

(bites nails in suspense)

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Yup, there's at least another post out of this one Angel!

Serendib_Isle said...

What a drama!
Like I said before RD, my girl is only nine and already giving me enough grief. Whether you like it or not, I'm following your footsteps in parenting - so the next episode better be some good news, for both of us. :D

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

SI - I'm flattered but really, don't follow in my footsteps for God's sake!