Category Archives: Family

How The Search For The Dead Rat Turned Into A Full-Blown “Feng Shui Attack”

So this morning we walk into the office and we are immediately greeted with the tedious, nauseating and horrid smell which resembles that of a dead rodent (e.g. rat). What could it be? Where could it be coming from? As I walked further into the office towards my desk, this odor was becoming more intense. I thought to myself “this is a very terrible way to start the week”. Joined by my equally irritated colleague we began (Mission: Find The Dead Rat). It started calmly; checking file cabinets, underneath tables, behind air-conditioning units (and even inside them as well), soon it snowballed into a full on “Feng Shui Attack”. At this point we were emptying our entire drawers and reorganizing, throwing out old table calendars and exhausted note-pads. We got so engrossed in this that we actually stopped looking for the rat and focused more on re-organizing. When we were done, we sat back on our seats, slightly tired out by the mini-marathon cleaning we had just engaged ourselves in. At this point we realized that the dead rat was still at large. Fueled by the Bible teaching that says “we should ask, and we shall be given”, and in a last resort form I said: “I hope the lord will lead me to the place where this rat would be”.

We settled down to work. This was obviously made impossible by the rather imposing stench of the dead rat. About five minutes later after giving up on the search, I was hit by another “Feng Shui Attack”. This time around I made sure that this energy was channeled solely on finding the rat. Bolstered by the small file drawer, I started to venture into the roof region. I figured if we can’t find it down, the only other logical place to look would have to be up. I started to shift those roof tiles one by one (you know those ones that act as a buffer between the actual roof and the room itself). While all of this was going on, we kept going to bathroom to spit out intermittently like pregnant women laden by morning sickness. I don’t think any of us had ever experienced such torture. In fact the last time I experienced something similar was when a neighbor of ours came over to our house to visit, and while she was there the baby needed a change. The smell was achingly overwhelming, the good thing about that situation compared to this one was that I had the option of leaving the house and going over to a friend’s place (obviously to one where there were no infants in sight).

After a couple of futile attempts searching the roof, I called in the help of our security guard. He got on the drawer and started to search as well. I was down, giving him direction based on the intensity of the smell I perceived for every tile he moved. (I am sure you must be wondering why I was doing this given that he was right up there with his own nose to work with, but the thing is that I believe the guy may have mild anosmia or something. He kept telling me that he could only smell burning wire. I was puzzled by this, because I could not reconcile how “burning wire” could have a similar odor to “dead rat. Or maybe my own sense of smell was quite keener than he’s given the agitation). A little while later I noticed a yellowish/greenish patch on one of the tiles we had not inspected. I thought to myself this must be it. I immediately summoned him to move the tile and behold, there it was in all its dead and smelly glory the reason for our attack, dripping with eager maggots, cloaked in the most nauseous of scents. It was disgusting. I almost threw up.

Ok now I have just realized that someone might have started reading this in order to get some perspective on how to find an elusive dead rat. I apologize for truancy with respect to your need for knowledge. Well I guess the only advice I can give is that you should really keep your living area quite “spacey” (I need to clarify the meaning of that word in this context. When I say “spacey” I mean keeping an area uncluttered so it’s easier to search for “hard to find” things). Also if it ain’t down on the floor, search the roof.

Have a good week everyone. I hope your week started up better than mine (on a less smelly note, that is).

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Daily Prompt: Connect the Dots | Story Of An Obliterated Heart.

A friend of mine Bethany recently broke up with her boyfriend, Tim, of five years. They both loved each other so much that they actually tattooed each other’s names on the top right corner of their scapulars. They went on holiday trips together, they both loved to share great moments with each other, Bethany once told me that she was so grateful to have a guy with whom she shared so many great interests. So much more than some married couples even.

Bethany is the only child of her parents. She works at the local animal shelter. It had always been her dream to care for animals and nature in general. Her father died when she was eleven. She never had a real relationship with her dad because he was an abusive drunk, who constantly beat up her mum and her. She told me once that her dad once flogged her mum into a coma with his belt. I don’t really know much about her family background, because she really doesn’t like talking about it. When you look closely at her forehead, the scares of an unloved daughter of a drunk lay bare on her face. Her mother has been her everything, giving her all the support she needs.

Tim is a senior accountant at one of the midsized firms in the city. He has a super furnished apartment and drives the latest cars. He recently bought the new BMW 3 Series. Tim is the second child in a family of doctors, both of his parents are doctors and three out of the five children are almost out of medical school. The last born, Sherry is a teacher at a government high school not too far from the family house. Bethany had met them all, and they absolutely adored her and so did she love them. Bethany was the only girlfriend of Tim that the family had unanimously fallen in love with, she was simply a homerun of a girlfriend. She would go over every other Sunday afternoon to help out with the cooking of the family lunch. It was a tradition that Tim’s father, George, had inherited from his own dad. They would all sit around the table and reflect on how the week went for everyone, and also talk about the plans for the week ahead. They would sometimes all go on road trips in a rented bus. The camaraderie among family members was simply out of this world. Bethany once told me that she felt closer to Tim’s family than even her mother.

Bethany told me about a month ago that she feels Tim was about to propose to her. The way you feel a storm when it is brewing in the distance. She also told me that her friend Sarah had seen him at some point walk into a jewelry store and spent some time perusing the ring collection on display. I was happy for Bethany; at last she would get the happy ending every woman deserves. In some ways she had always been searching for the perfect father figure given her very painful background, and she had found it in Tim. He was a twofer; a great partner and an excellent father figure to her.

One early afternoon, she left the shelter early to go home for a quick nap. She had been complaining about nausea and a chronic headache from some days. We both laughed so hard one day when I told her that she had taken-in for Tim. She told me it was impossible, and that she was waiting until they get married. When she arrived at the apartment she shared with Tim, she noticed that the front door was left slightly ajar. She thought they had been robbed. She proceeded carefully, taking the baseball bat behind the front door with her. As she went further into the apartment, she noticed that Tim’s suit trouser, shirt, shoe, socks, a female blouse, Stiletto shoes among other items were littered on the ground forming a trail leading to the master bedroom. She did not want to jump to any conclusions even when there was ample incriminating evidence to support it. When she finally made her way to the master bedroom door, Beth told me she said a little prayer that it was all some joke. Like one of those TV shows (Punk’ed). Then she went on to ponder the implications of what she might see. She stood in front of the door for about five minutes before opening the door. When she opened the door, she spontaneously threw-up. She could not contain herself, and so she fell to the ground in tears. Apparently Tim was in bed with his new secretary Yvonne Nelson. I had always suspected Tim’s unusual closeness to the lady, but I dare not make this known to Beth. She was one of those “blind in love” kinds of women. She utterly trusted Tim, and never for a second did she think he would ever cheat on her.

Beth eventually ran out of the house screaming with Tim running after her with his boxers barely covering his “privates”. She yelled profanities at him and drove off with rage. Beth laid in bed for about two weeks only getting up to pee. She was completely devastated. The whole ordeal had obliterated her heart. She was crying so much that I feared she might die of dehydration. Tim called countless times and left tonnes of messages on her answering machine and in her email box. But it was obvious she was in no mood to speak with him.

Eventually she got herself together. Went back to work and took up a pottery class. She did everything she could to keep herself busy and also to keep her from going over to Tim’s house and blowing his head off with a gun. She was still mad at Tim, but at least she was out of the fetal position and back to life.

Beth recently Joined a book club and they are currently reading the book; “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” by Steve Harvey. She absolutely loves the book, that she carries it with her even to the bathroom. One night while she was reading it and I joined her. She was on page 82 and I just hooped over and saw an interesting line:

“If he takes your number but waits longer than twenty-four hours to call, he’s sport fishing; if he calls you right away, he’s showing that he’s genuinely interested in you, and is most likely looking for a keeper.”

We both laughed at this sentence and the others that followed. (Steve Harvey thanks for betraying us guys, we shall be hunting down very soon)

I don’t know if she should be reading such a sensitive book at such a fragile time in her life, but the smile on her face when she reads the book is way too priceless for me to take it away from her.

It’s Not A Job

Towards the close of business today, a couple of my colleagues at work somehow all found themselves discussing various issues in my department. Our schedules are so busy that it is quite rare for us to converge in one location at a time and discuss for such a long period of time. Initially we were only three, but as the discussions progressed, one by one a few others joined in. I can’t really remember in detail all the issues we talked about, but one particular topic sparked a heated debate among us. We were talking about the roles of women in relationships, specifically the married ones. I should warn you that of the six people having this debate, only one of us was actually married. So forgive me if you do not share my view point on what I am about to share.

 

The heated debated was kicked off by a particular statement made by one of the single ladies. One of the guys asked her what she thought about wives washing the undergarments of their husbands, and she reacted with a quick sense of disgust. I think she said something like; “Eww….How can I do that, Am I his slave?” and “why would a man expect me to do that for him?” Immediately everyone jumped in and had an opinion to voice out. Two other single ladies also supported her saying that; “If he doesn’t wash mine, then I can’t wash he’s”. The married lady among us was particularly annoyed at her answer, and she wasted no time in expressing this. She was of the opinion that things like washing undergarments were just few of the various ways you show your spouse that you care and also a deterrent for keeping your husband from getting distracted by other women outside( funny but somewhat true I guess). She went on to emphasize that it was the “Right” thing for a woman to do, and that any woman who doesn’t help out her husband it a terrible wife. I agree with her (The married one), in the sense that a woman is supposed to do her very best to keep the flame in her marriage/relationship. There is a saying that goes: “A wise woman builds her home, while the foolish woman tears it down with her own hands”. Before I get a barrage of responses slamming me for sexism, I also believe that men also have a role to play in keeping the relationship going as well. But I also disagree with the normative nature of what she prescribed as the way to having a successful marriage. The word “Right” incites the idea that there are set rules for marriages and this I think is wrong. I think it is up to the married couple to decide on what works best for them and grow with it.

 

My main reason for writing this post was that I felt the three young ladies had a wrong impression about some fundamentals of marriage. I am not yet married, but I have spent time with enough married couples to know that whatever you do for your spouse should be from the abundance of your heart and not be seen as a job. The first single lady later went on to say that she would actually wash it, but she would not expect it to be a regular occurrence. The responses the ladies gave implied that such a task, to them was a chore that they could not condone. When you truly love a person, you find that you would, without any eternal push, want to go the extra length to make the other person happy. Even at the cost your own happiness.  Why do you wait for him to ask it of you, if you see his undergarments dirty, I think you should instinctively know to help him  out with it, without being asked to. This is not slavery, it is called love. Some modern women have blown the Women’s Rights movement out of proportion that they see simple things from a chauvinistic point of view, which is not right. When your husband asks you to do his laundry, it doesn’t mean he wants to turn you into his slave, he is just asking you the way your brother or father or mother would ask you for a favor as well. Ladies need to calm down and be more patient, understanding and loving. It’s not a Job, It’s Love.

Life Anew

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There is Mr. Stuart Green and his kids, little Cathy on his left and Princeton to his right. Looking at this picture all might seem well, but things are far from well. Mr. Stuart was in a very fatal car accident about a year ago and as a result has lost a great portion of his memory. While the car was Somersaulting, his skull was repeatedly slammed against the dashboard, resulting in major head trauma for Mr. Stuart. He was in a coma for a month and two weeks before eventually waking. The nurse on duty said when he woke up he uttered only three words “Where is Mother”. Nurse Jackie rushed off to get the doctor in excitement, she had assumed that he was all well, but little did she know that the worst had happened. Mr Stuart’s mother had been dead for about 10 years now. She died of a heart attack. She was 80 years old at the time, she lived a lovely life.

The doctor called Kate, Stuart’s wife to give her the news that he had woken up. Kate immediately got the two kids to get dressed and headed to the hospital. Approaching Stuart’s room, little Cathy burst of her mother’s grip yelling “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!”.  Stuart had this blank expression on his face; obviously he could not remember who his family was. He picked Cathy up and gave her a big hug, Princeton joined in. When Kate saw this, she knew exactly what had happened. Even though he was right there in front of her, she realized she had lost the love of her life; she walked over to Stuart and broke into tears. While Stuart was with the kids, the doctor called her aside and gave her the full details. He explained to her that she would need to exercise a lot of patience with him while he tries to reacclimatize himself with the family again. After three weeks in intensive care, Mr. Stuart was discharged to go home with his family.

Kate has been working really hard to ease Stuart back into his former life. She is a member of a support group for women whose husbands are challenged in some way or the other. Old school photos and videos, trips to some of his favorite restaurants and taking him to meet with some of his good old friends. So far things have been going fine in general, but there have been some really tough times in-between.  I really feel for Kate because she has had to take on an overwhelming role in the family on such short notice.

The picture above is from one of the trips that the family took to the house where Stuart grew up. It was quite emotional, Kate told me Stuart seemed to have recognized fragments of the house. Places like his room and the courtyard where he played with his friends as a kid invoked some really strong emotions in Stuart. She told me that little Cathy was actually the one who suggested the picture be taken.

Everyone is constantly praying and hoping that one day Stuart would look at his kids and actually remember who they are. I personally pray for Kate to be blessed to with the fortitude to carry this heavy cross of hers.

GET WELL SOON Mr Stuart!

Fear of The “Ember” Months

September. October. November. December.

To many around the world these months have a religious significance. These months bring forth the spirit of happiness, sharing and celebration. During this segment of the year; from east to west, north to south the world is wrapped in various types of celebratory activities. The Muslims celebrate Eid ul-Fitr, Christians celebrate Christmas, Jews celebrate Chanukah / Hanukkah, African Americans in the U.S celebrate Kwanza and Buddhists celebrate Diwali etc. I have also been told that Atheists, although they don’t have a generally known holiday, spend more time with their friends and families during this period. Although these religions vary in the way they carryout festive rituals, there is a common denominator, a common concept. This common denominator is that spirit of sharing and love. It is during this time of year that you can see people of different faiths let go of their prejudices for each other and just relish in the moment. There is gift sharing, family dinners and parties everywhere. In this period Investment Bankers and the likes, take time off their very busy schedules to just be and relax. There is joy and laughter in the air everywhere you go, it is quite infectious.

Down here in Nigeria things aren’t so different. The people here have the same joyful spirit flowing around but it is tainted with a very dark fear. Fear that is embedded in the minds of people regardless of their social or economic place in the society. A fear that grips everyone from the elderly to the young, no one is immune. This fear stems from the fact that these celebratory months have a history of being ravaged by a huge wave of crimes of various types. Car thefts, burglaries, rapes, ritual killings among other despicable acts, skyrocket to such heights relative to other months. The one that quite baffles me is the issue of ritual killings, given the magnitude of church programs in this country; it is quite ironic to see that there is such a high occurrence of fetish activities. The entire country is held spellbound as scores of social deviants perpetuate incredible horror in the country. Parents inflict greater restriction on the mobility of their children while adults abstain from unnecessary outings and activate self-imposed curfews on themselves. No one can really place the particular date when things went arye, but it is quite a terrible situation.

During this period in Nigeria, especially in the month of December, people begin the annual pilgrimage to their hometowns. In Abuja, Lagos and other urban cities people pack their bags, service their cars or buy plane tickets in anticipation of the trip. This yearly pilgrimage is mostly prevalent among the Igbo people of Eastern Nigeria. No matter how rich or poor, young or old an Igbo man or woman is in the city, when the month of December rolls around they do not hesitate to answer that home call. They shop for the best dresses, shoes, cars and other personal and household items which they carry along with them to their hometowns, where they can show off to their rural counterparts how successful they have been in the city. There is this pressure everyone carries around with them during this time to try and outdo the next person. At this time of the year markets are extremely crowded with herds of people seeking to grab first before stocks run out. For many, much of the income saved from January is spent in a space of about one week. The cause of the fear lies in this very pronounced culture of trying to outdo the others and be seen in a particular light.

In the book “Discourse on Inequality”, Jean-Jacques Rousseau makes us see that humans have inadvertently turned themselves into slaves of their own wants and desires. I find his writing quite interesting because, he attempts to buttress the true “nature” of man by peeling away all these layers of lies and facades he has coated himself with to seem superior to others. He highlights the danger of this unnatural tendency that man possess to want to alter his true nature, by deceiving, cheating and killing his fellow man to possess material things. In summary Jean-Jacques Rousseau alludes to the fact that, like a vestigial organ, man has rendered his moral sense of judgment useless so as to achieve his selfish objectives and thus has in effect deviated from his real self. Applying Jean-Jacques Rousseau philosophy to the situation at hand, it is quite obvious that this same tendency is very much at play still. Those who perpetuate these reprehensible acts have a desire to seem “successful” to their peers at home, and thus would go to great lengths (even at the expense of lives) to reach their “unnatural” goals.

This year in Nigeria is no different. On my way to the office today, I heard a rather grueling story of rape and extortion. This horrific act took place in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja. I don’t have the full details of the story, but this is what I could gather. The story goes like this:

The woman (name withheld), residing in Gwarinpa, on Monday told the police her ordeal. The lady said she boarded a taxi from Gwarinpa to Wuse.

“The driver sprayed air freshener in the cab. I woke up in an uncompleted building naked and messed up. I received an envelope the next day containing a video disk showing how I was raped. The envelope also contained a demand for me to pay 5 million naira (about $31,000) into an account in one of the new generation banks”.  More.

Imagine the height of inhumanity; as if it wasn’t traumatic enough to rape her, they are demanding a ransom. This is just LUDICROUS!!!. As sad as the story is, the real tragedy is that, before the year runs out, we are going to hear more stories of a similar nature. Some more haunting and horrifying than this. The law enforcement in Nigeria is not as efficient and effective as we would like it to be. So if you are in Nigeria right now or scheduled to be here, please take extreme precaution. Regulation is key, try and limit unnecessary movements. These villains have no aorta of human sympathy and should not be toyed with.

Guest Without A Passport

Daily Post:

The moral of this story is so very important that I have to mention it before any other thing starts. Never go to a family event with a family you just met and also where you do not know the other families. Essentially, Do not go to a family event without you own family, it’s the one of most uncomfortable and awkward positions you can put yourself in. I learned the hard way.

A very new friend of mine invited me to the birthday dinner of a cousin of he’s at a restaurant within working distance of my house. I had misgivings, which were somewhat mollified when he told me that there would be a variety of food and wine, and so I considered. I met my new friend, Dave (I will call him Dave for the sake of anonymity, because no one invites you to a family function so you can go blog how bad it was for you) at a bus stop recently in Victoria Island where we were both stranded. Due to the artificially induced fuel scarcity in the country, finding a bus had become such a chore. We immediately bonded over our mutual disdain of the current political and economic predicament of Nigeria; suffice to say the friendship was an instant hit. Now when I think about it, I wonder how many friendships have germinated from a shared dislike over some political or economic situation, I am guessing a lot, because living in a country like Nigeria, one thing you can count on is for the leaders to always give you something to make your life miserable and thus give its citizens the opportunity to engage in heated debates about them. Eventually Dave and I finally found our way home that evening.

Dave comes from one of those nascent bi-ethnic families in Nigeria. His mum is Yoruba while his dad is Igbo. So unlike me, he had the privileged opportunity to learn two languages. I have always wondered how my life would be like if my parents were from two different tribes, there would be a lot of harmonizing to do but otherwise I think it would have been overly awesome.

The Dinner was to start at 7pm. But as the time drew closer I began to ponder the implications of accepting the invite, given that the only person I knew was dave, in what was going to be the combination of two different families with over twenty people. At 6:30 pm I contemplated calling in sick or just flat out bolting, but I did neither. At 7:10pm I got a text from Dave asking me if I was there already, it was my chance to finally give an excuse and bolt, but I did not and instead I replied “I am on my way”. I reluctantly peeled myself off the living room sofa and headed for the bathroom. At this time I was already 30 minutes late Nigerian style (there is a self-imposed stereotype that Nigerians are always late for events and so you would often hear the phrase “No Nigerian Time”).

At 7:45 I arrived at the venue, thinking I was going to be the last one to come in, but to my surprise I was the first there. Dave and a few of his relatives arrived about 5 minutes after me; we took a couple of pictures before heading in. Upon entering the restaurant I realized with it was a buffet. How wonderful, I would not be subjected to the miserly hands of discontented servers. We moved around seeking for the biggest table to sit everyone else, eventually we found one. (I don’t know why I keep using the word “we”, there was no “We”, there was just “Me” and “them”. They made all the decisions and I just went along like an obedient German Sheppard dog). A few minutes later everyone was present. Dave introduced me to aunties, uncles, cousins, sisters, brothers, nephew, nieces etc whose names I honestly can’t remember.

They began by catching up with each other, with questions like; “where are you working now?” “how is that is that angry boss of yours?” “Looks like the weight-loss program is beginning to yield results right?” “Dave, where is Ifeoma (his girlfriend)?” etc.  I on the other was just hanging on the sideline, smiling courteously at anyone who made out a few seconds during their own catch-up conversation to make eye contact with me. This “family catch-up” went on for the next grueling 20 minutes. One question led to another and longer responses, I tried to make conversation a couple of times, but their lifespan was shortened by reluctant shot answers. One older lady actually made an attempt to get to know me, she was asking me about my hometown, and the conversation lasted for about 20 seconds until it was cut abruptly by a strong cough from her. It was as if the cough had killed her interest in me. I went back to my former state of awkward solitude.

I felt like a foreigner in a different country without a passport. I became an embodiment of awkward conversations, laughing at unfunny jokes out of courtesy. At some point I began to despise Dave for bringing me to such an event and abandoning me. Because the minute we got in the restaurant, he was engaged by different family members for most of the time.  After what felt like a hundred hours I finally decided I could not stand it anymore. I stood up and pull a lie out of my ass, I told them I had a dental procedure done earlier and that I needed to go home and rest. Dave asked one of his cousins to escort me out, which I thought was weird, but then again I had only just met Dave twice before the Dinner.

Remembering this event just brings up pent-up hate in me, so I am going to end this post here. NEVER GO FOR A STRANGER’S FAMILY EVENT WITHOUT YOUR OWN FAMILY OR FRIENDS.

Thank you for reading.