I could write a lot of posts about the beautiful people in my life. Today I'm going to start with one but I won't name her so that I am 'protecting the innocent'. She knows who she is. When I went to university I was one of the oldest students...a moldy old 48 when I started my teaching degree!! I and the few other 'oldies' were surrounded by gorgeous and or strapping young things just out of high school or taking on uni after a gap year or two. I am pleased to be still be in touch with a number of people from that phase of my life but to the one I am introducing through some of her brilliant cartooning work, I became 'BundyMum.' Aha, you might thinking I am an imbiber of the famous rum, but no, we were at uni in good old Bundaberg, and so I was her 'mum' in Bundy, as the town is fondly known by the locals.
I'm not going to tell you all about her, because the beautiful gift she made me for my 50th birthday speaks volumes about her generosity, her kindness, her insight and her great sense of humour...to say nothing of her considerable artistic talents! She must have spent hours and hours dreaming up scenes for this book she made, which contains twenty pages of cartoons she drew with me as the main character. I was so honoured and it made me laugh so much! It has become and will always remain a treasure of my heart.
Here is the cover which hints at what's to come inside. I love to see this cartoon slimmer version of me!
Out of my mindOut of my mind...yes I was... going crazy trying to manage university study with a brain affected by menopause. I suffered intense anxiety for the first time in my life, and I think it was a combination of menopause, all the demands of university and lots of other things going on in my life at the time.
ProcrastinationI am the original procrastinator but it was seriously worse at university. Performance anxiety meant I was so scared of not doing well enough. Hampered by 'menopause brain' I had to apply for extensions a number of times because I left it too late to start. More than once I put an assignment through the slot in the dark and eerie wee hours, parking the car and keeping my keys in hand as I rushed up the steps to post the darned things, terrified that someone would leap out of the neatly trimmed hedges and go 'Boo!!' or worse! Deadlines were the enemy, as is so beautifully depicted below. PS I'm sure I wasn't the only one!!
The Bath Drama
But best story of all is the bath story. She gave me heaps about this one. The university had changed its protocols for enrolment, and of course, you don't just enrol at the start and it's all over. Oh no, you have to enrol at the beginning of each semester. I'd just get something worked out and then bang! They'd go and change it all and I'd (we'd) have to learn something new again. It's all pretty strenuous really, but well worth it in the end. More on that later. Back to the bath.
So the university had changed the enrolment process and one afternoon I thought, you know, it'd be nice to have a relax in the bath. I got the bath running nicely and thought I'll just do my enrolment while that's happening and then I can chill for a while. So I get online and nothing is the way it was. I have to read a lot and figure out what to do and time goes by and by and by and I can no longer hear the bath running in the room next door because I am too focused on what I'm doing on the computer. Then I just casually look over my shoulder...maybe stretching my neck or something and I see the bath water coming out to meet me.
Aaaarrrrrggghhh!! I rush in and turn it off and then look around to see the extent of the damage. There was a drain in the center of the bathroom floor, but in my enthusiasm I had turned the taps on faster than the drain could cope with. Not only had the water crept over the top of the bath and out to meet me in the tiled family room, but it had gone the other way too into my bedroom with the fitted carpet. It was absolutely saturated! I grasped desperately at a few towels and tried to clean up but quickly realised it was way beyond anything I could fix. I consulted the yellow pages and rang for a flooded carpets expert to attend and called my cartoonist buddy to come and give me some moral support.
She will tell you I did it all to get her to come and mop my floors (see the cartoon below) but let me tell you, I could have employed a team of house cleaners for a couple of days with the $600 it cost me to get that mess fixed! The carpet had to be lifted and huge industrial dryers hummed and screeched for thirty-six hours to dry out the underlay and the carpet and then the carpet had to be re-laid.
It's good to laugh about it now, but it was quite a drama at the time. Thank goodness for friends who come when they're called, even if it is to mop the floor or just stand witness to supreme stupidity (no offence to anyone else who has ever flooded the bath).
The great thing is that there were lots of things about university that I might have forgotten if it wasn't for this beautiful gift. University was a gift in itself as it taught me so much about myself, life and much, much more. I think most graduates would say the same. It's not just getting a piece of paper to say you are qualified to do something. It enriches your life and stretches you so that you can do things you never dreamed possible. No regrets, other than forgetting to check the bath on time! And you get to meet some beautiful people <3