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Posts Tagged ‘Magnar Mork’

Friend steps

Friend steps


I’ve been writing a lot about friends lately, and the impact they have on my life and on my veranda … and now it’s time to talk a bit about the hard part of this: how they come, and how they go.

Portia rather dropped in from out of the sky, which was a bonus, and we put her on a plane back to South Africa this morning. I’ve only known her for a few days, but she fit well into the family and is already missed.

Magnar has been around for much longer, although not to the same degree as he has been this week. (Note the photo of the exploding Norwegian and get an idea of his impact on my veranda.)

Magnar and I are having a big party here tomorrow to mark the occasion of his 36th birthday … photos and blog posts to follow. What we’re not talking about, not even for a minute if I can help it, is the fact that it will also be his going-away party.

Yes, Magnar leaves for Norway Sunday morning, and whether or not he comes back is still up in the air and depends on factors we have little control over … although I am doing my damnedest to ensure a return soon next year.

Just writing that brings tears to my eyes, but this blog is supposed to be therapeutic, so I must slog through the feelings his imminent departure conjures.

To tell the truth, I really don’t know how I’m going to make it without him.

Magnar has saved me, and not only through his tremendous hugs and comforting love, but also because he’s a bloody annoying nag that can fix anything. He has taken such good care of me and the kids, leveled my road, sorted out computer issues, set up my phone so I can access the Internet from anywhere, taught Sam the value of hard work and challenges, and generally set the bar for all of us inspiring the best, and not just to make him proud, but because he sees us for what we are and believes in us.

(He just saw me crying while writing and noticed how much I need a hug. He knows I’m writing about him, so asked me to include something about how often I’ve left him snot-covered. Feckin’ Norwegian!)

People come into my life, then they go … although never completely. With the Internet, I now have dear, dear friends I’ve never met, and for those who have shared my veranda a way to stay in touch every day and forever. And how great is that?

But change is a part of life, and with island life a predictable part of the process. I’m much better at airport good-byes than I was the first few years here, and see them coming years in advance, but some are impossible.

This one will be impossible, and the only hope I have of not falling to bits is to be so hungover that my head stops my heart from noticing.

Yes, I have wonderful friends … the best in the world … now they just have to stop leaving me.

The detritus of an exploding Norwegian

The detritus of an exploding Norwegian


The family ... this morning

The family ... this morning

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Portia ... stong in many ways

Portia ... stong in many ways

Will admit right here and now that I’m a HUGE fan of facebook. Not only have I met some of the world’s most wonderful people through this somewhat strange, but strangely comfortable social network, it turns out to also be close to a lifesaver under certain circumstances.

Take yesterday, for an example …

A while back I was “friended” by a young woman in South Africa. She sent her “add” invite to me because I’m listed in the “Seychelles network”, and she was engaged to a man here, so was interested in meeting people living in the country.

We “poked” back and forth and followed each others lives as posted on our “walls”, so when I read that she was planning a trip over, I sent her my phone number and suggested she give a call so we could meet in person.

She had just returned to SA from the Commonwealth Games in Cyprus where she took the gold in her weightlifting class … an impressive achievement … and wanted to surprise her hubby-to-be.

Wish I’d had a chance to warn her about Seychellois men …

Upon finding out that it was her to be surprised … him, not so much … she was not only heartbroken, but stuck — nowhere to stay but his empty flat, knowing no one and with a ticket that had her here until the 11th of January.

I was very pleased to get her call, but less so to learn of her situation. Of course, my immediate reaction was: Get your butt down here, Sweetie.

I picked her up in town, brought her home and dropped her right into the fray that is Magnar packing and Calina and Kim doing a sleepover … a full house!

With “dumped” being a familiar word on my veranda, there was is no shortage of commiseration … or wine … so she settled in, vented, bonded and now feels like one of this fab little family I’ve grown over the past months.

And all because of an online social intro that led to a much-needed bolt hole and friendships that will go on for ages.

I won’t even go into the phone calls from Switzerland that had me sharing my moon in the wee hours of this morning …

Wow.

Amazing.

Photo Credit: Magnar Mork

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Sam’s birthday was on the 10th, but that fell during his time with his dad, so we decided to do a birthday redo today, the first weekend home again.

I have to admit that the day had a tang of the bittersweet for me, and I suffered with that taste in the back of my throat through the morning. Not only did I navigate the first family celebration as a single parent since Jenn and Jaren were young, I also did my first non-spontaneous party, meaning that the tag-team Mark and Sandra show was obvious in its absence. The dance that we choreographed over 15 years that had him doing the food while I did drinks and entertainment was today a pas de one … a difference, a change to be recognized, new steps to be learned.

Stick today on top of the mountain that is Thanksgiving looming … my favorite holiday that has me bumming myself out every year I’ve lived so far from my original family … and, well, it’s the Blues grabbing me by the heart and tugging.

Had a good cry while Skyping with Sis, then sucked it up and made the day fun and love-and-laugh filled. Friends gathered. Kids played. Magnar manned the BBQ. Stan toted and tidied. A good time was had by all.

Tried to load a vid, but it won’t work. There are photos on my facebook page, though.

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I got my new car today.

That may sound like an easy thing to those who don’t live on an island in the middle of nowhere, but here it’s quite the feat. Won’t go into details and tremendous costs for a vehicle that in the rest of the world would be considered reasonable, but will say that I like it.

One biggie about it is that it represents another severing from Mark. We no longer have a car as bait for bitching. He has the company car … a French piece of shit with windows that pop out and wing mirrors that haven’t worked for 3 years … so less shit to toss at me as ammo.

I now have a cute little zippy number that is all mine.

Plus, it has a great music system that lets me blast out “low down, cheatin’, lyin’ man” country music at full blast … and I’m belting out tunes all the way up La Misere and down Les Canelles. (Rock on, Reba. Take it, Tammy!)

Goodie.

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Magnar teaches Sam and Cj to groom a horse

Magnar teaches Sam and Cj to groom a horse

After 10 days with their dad, Sam and Cj are now home again, and home is once again a calm environment, albeit punctuated with girly giggles and the occasional squabble.

This reality, the one that has them having another place that’s home-like with the man who is their father, along with some woman I’ve never laid eyes on … and a baby on the way … is one that I never saw coming back when Mark and I were going through the adoption processes for them.

I’m not going to whine on here about ends of eras or dashed dreams or bumpy roads. In fact, I’m not going to whine at all.

I will, however, touch a bit upon how pulling rugs out from under the feet of children who began life with loss impacts, and how unfair it all still seems … to me, yes, but also, and more importantly, to them.

I was a child of divorce, so unlike my husband who conveniently assumes that “they’ll adjust” because “kids are resilient”, I know the consequences that come from abrupt shifts in the world, and I see the effects creeping in.

Although they are happy, healthy, smart and funny little people, emotional bruises are showing.

A few examples:

Cj now asks many times a day if I love her.

Every drive to school has her asking, “Will you pick me up?”

Sam refuses to mention one word about anything that occurred during his week away from home, as if it’s all one big guilty secret he must keep.

None of the signs I see are blatant examples of emotional upheavals, but all show cracks that weren’t there before their dad walked out. Their trust levels are way down, while their worry levels are way up. Stress, in other words, has come to their lives.

As long time readers have noted, I no longer write much about adoption, and since I used to post about 2,000 words per day on up to six different sites, this has been quite the drop-off.

The reason? I feel a bit a fraud touting the gifts it brings since I can no longer offer the bubble of security and protection I thought I was assuring when we brought them from Cambodia to Seychelles, promising, I thought, happy ever after.

Okay, life happens. I know this. And I also know the long term advantages of learning early that life is hard and that adjustments will have to be made as one makes their way down whatever path is put at their feet.

That was an easier take with my bio kids. For one reason, I was younger and less concerned by outcomes years down the pike. For another, they were the results of what had always been a crap shoot. Neither was planned, so their existence felt meant-to-be in ways beyond my scope.

Sam and Cj came to me through great and concerted efforts that involved much inward examination of motives and well-laid plans for futures based on foundations forged in determined ground that was to hold solid for them.

There is no lack of love around them … Mark does love them … and, in fact, they are getting love from sources that wouldn’t be showering it upon them now had circumstances not put people like Magnar in their lives.

And they are doing well, according to all observers, from teachers to friends to me and their dad. But they do, again, know loss, and that hurts them.

I may again take up the adoption torch and advocacy roll that had me so active, and in some quarters so hated, but I’ll enter that fray from a different angle now and with a cautious optimism that my kids will make it through the upheaval in their young lives and learn to live with a family much less the “Brady Bunch” than I’d hoped.

Not all sunshine and lollypops, for sure, and that’s a drag when learned at 5 and 3. But learned it must be, and I’m working like hell to keep the lights and goodies coming while helping them navigate the unfamiliar waters of a family broken.

Life is what it is, and theirs has already had such drastic twists and turns. I can only hope the result for them will be like it has been for my brothers and me … a capacity to roll with the punches and make lemonade.

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This is, I promise, the last post on what should have been the mundane job of leveling the road that leads to my house in the bush, but ended up providing blog fodder for days.

That’s the thing about island life; you just never know the entertainment value of a day until you’ve lived it since so much can go wrong or HiLarryUS or climb to the pinnacle of WTF without one whit of warning.

You’ve already read about the Magnar in my life and how handy he is when a girl needs a Norwegian nag … or road work … and seen the photos of the work. You’ve also read of my preference in lawn ornamentation.

So what can possibly be left to this tale? My utter and complete humiliation, of course.

You see, although I didn’t have to fork out any cash for the amazing amount of work done resulting in my drive now being flat and negotiable, rather than a rutted goat track that caused any car not an SUV to bottom out numerous times on the way up and on the way down to my house, there was a price to pay: I had to dress up in stilettos and hot pants … a la Daisy Duke … and drive the bloody excavator.

To be fair, I really did want to swing that big sucka around a bit, fondle the knobs and feel the power of a huge hunk of MAN STUFF at my fingertips, but in yellow polka dot 4-inch heels and with my skinny legs dangling?

Not what I had in mind.

Unfortunately for me, that was EXACTLY the picture that came immediately to Magnar’s mind … I should’ve predicted such an image dawning, knowing him as well as I do .

So, for all you readers who are needing a good chuckle today, here are some photos. (There’s a video on my facebook page if you really want a laugh … ) Please, be kind in your comments. (Remember, I do moderate … )

(By the way, the kids are with Mark this week, so not subject to the trauma of seeing their mother being so incredibly silly. They won’t read this blog for a while, so I’m hoping they’ll be prepared by the time they do.)

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Not a gnome, but a garden ornament, nonetheless

Not a gnome, but a garden ornament, nonetheless

When I do lawn ornaments, I don’t mess around. Gnomes or bunnies or Santa and his reindeer have no place in my garden … although I could do a plastic flamingo or two if anyone wants to send me a set.

No, for me if it’s not the size of a dinosaur and purple … ack! Shades of Barney! That’s too scary, even for me, Barney being far too reminiscent of a bad acid trip that would put anyone off psychedelic drugs and children’s programming forever … I won’t provide display space.

Okay, regular readers know that there’s a reason I have a piece of earth-moving equipment festooning my acre of paradise, but I have to admit to loving the illusion that it’s just here because it looks good and adds to the ambiance of tropical island living.

Shit! If I could afford it, I’d now be ordering a John Deere … although customized beyond the boring green they always come in … to complement, and a 737 to adorn the bottom of the garden.

But I do have Magnar to thank for the festoonishment … and how do I do that?

I almost bloody kill him, that’s how.

We took him out to dinner at Antonio’s (actually, Maria’s Rock Café) last night in appreciation for the Sunday he sacrificed on behalf of my road, then had him up for a beer afterwards. Being Magnar, he was annoyed by the fact that the light on my stairs was nonfunctional due to a broken off bit of bulb that was stuck in the thing, so he grabbed tools and proceeded to do the necessary repair.

“Is the switch off?” he asked.

Being trained to ALWAYS do what he tells me to do, I checked carefully, and, yes, indeed, it was OFF.

“Can you please double check that it’s off?”

Yep, and yep.

In the kitchen prising the tops off two Seybrews, I suddenly heard a loud pop, a yell and a tumble, so ran out to find my Magnar shaking and stunned and in pain.

I’d completely forgotten, you see, that said fixture has another switch to it under the house, so he’d just stuck a metal tool into a live socket while standing on a chair at the top of a flight of stairs.

After hugging him with all I have to hug with and assuring myself that he was as alright as he could be under the circumstance, I ran upstairs and burst into tears … a turn of events that had him right amused. (I have my entertainment value, as well, you see.)

There are many people in this world who I would not be the least bothered by the lack of, but Magnar is so far from that category that the thought that I could have been the reason for an early check-out just about killed me.

He continues to comfort me by insisting that dying from such a stupid blunder is “95% impossible because you always fall, so let go”, for which I am thankful.

Less pleasant, however, is his determination to take the piss out of me until I can laugh about it.

That’s going to take a while …

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