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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Grocery Shopping

Definitely one of my least favourite things in the world. I absolutely HATE it, but I do tend to need to go… ever so often. Small flat, small fridge and the tendency of produce to parish…

First problem: food doesn’t make me happy. It’s just that not eating leads to dying at some stage and since that’s not entirely my intention, I need to eat. I try to make it somewhat pleasant. I have no idea what I want to eat today, let alone what I want to eat the day after tomorrow.

Second problem: planning it out is tedious; but sort of a minor neccesity. Monday it took me an hour to sort out my meals for the week. I keep a list of things that need to be replaced, the experience of not having toilet paper was not the best one I’ve ever had. I only recently, as in Monday, started doing this again, because else I end up eating fudge for lunch because that’s the closest thing and it hasn’t had the best influence on my well being. If you have to eat, might as well benefit from it.

Then comes the actual experience. Getting there was a bit of a nuisance, I’m half down with a second bout of bronchitis but I don’t have a car so I have to do this thing on my old school bicycle with bags. It’s not as fun as it sounds when you can’t breathe properly. So, sat down for a tiny bit then popped into the drug store for a minute -resisting the urge to buy make up which I won’t use anyway, and resisting the lure of the Essie stand. I just needed to gather my strength and that was the quietest place.

Enter grocery store. For some reason I can choose between a small store which sells more or less the boring basics, and an XL one. (All Albert Hein, nothing else is close by) Whenever possible I avoid rush. This week I was at the XL one, I had some new recipes in my meal planner. I use the self-scan system which at least allows me to keep a check on my expenses while shopping, and I get to bypass the queue at the till AND the hasty 16-year-old cashier who throws the next person’s groceries on top of mine, annoyed with me for not being able to pack it all up within a minute.

So, I’ve got my scanner in one hand, my phone (=list) in the other, and then I need a hand to pull the basket (wheeled baskets, brilliant!) and another to take the items from the shelves. Using a trolley would make sense, except that it doesn’t make sense to go to the car park to get one if you’re parking your bicycle somewhere else… and a basket full is about the max I can transport on my bicycle. Plus, then I’d have to put the trolley back where I found it and carry the heavy load to my bicycle.

Then it requires utter concentration to get the job done, because grocery stores don’t make sense. Utter concentration in a city supermarket is a great example of wishful thinking. Even less so if you’re in a city full of expats. I tend to think in English because it helps block out the loud Dutch being spoken around me. Except then this random oke starts a rather loud convo in English in the veg department… in a South-African accent. Meanwhile you need to watch out at all times to prevent being run over; remember, this is a country where people are raised to put themselves and only themselves first at all costs and under all circumstances. I haven’t quite figured out how it’s supposed to work if nobody watches out for anyone else and just expect them to move out of their way. In one shopping trip I’ve had several instances of people simply not noticing me minding my own business trying to be out of the way. Luckily neither me nor my carefully selected veggies got crushed, but it was close. If someone runs into you they will yell at you…

Another problem I have with supermarkets is that the layouts don’t make sense. Instead of walking through and getting the stuff I need, I end up criss-crossing through the store trying to locate things. Tomato ketchup is right next to canned goods, however, tomato paste and canned tomatoes are not there. That can be found in the world foods section, in the Italian part. None of my recepies requiring canned tomato products actually are Italian. Lemon juice would logically either be in the condiments and spices section, or in the juice section. It was in the salad section. Dried fruits? Baking products of course… because it’s so similar to flour and instant cake mixes. Condensed milk is not a milk product, but a world food. Baking soda? small chance supermarket has it, else try the drug store. It’s sold as an antacidic. All these things are Dutch cultural logic; they only use tomato paste in Italian dishes, they never use lemon juice, ‘Asians’ use condensed milk but not normal people trying to make a dessert….

So, 1,5h later I had my basket full, and paid at the auto check out. That’s really fun, because in this country of bicycles, supermarkets think we all have cars. So, I pay, this goes fairly well, unless the 16-year-old girl who does the auto checkout help needs to check that I’m over 16 because I bought some alcohol, or I get a ‘controle’ meaning they have to see that I didn’t steal anything. Then I get the receipt, and on the receipt is a barcode which you need to scan in order to get out. This is a bit of a precision task; it doesn’t scan your code if it’s not held exactly right. Great fun, when you have both hands full with your bags! If you put your bag down to scan, you need to be very quick to pick it up again because the gate closes quickly…

Repeat episode due in less than a week…

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Posted by on January 30, 2013 in ADHD, Rant

 

Damn uterus

Yes, this is a blood-spattered whiny hysterrant. Because I have half an hour before my pain killers start kicking in, and those still are the ‘wrong’ kind -how did I manage to be without naproxen?

Men just have it so easy, you know?

The stupidest part is that somehow, period pain is something you shouldn’t ‘complain’ about, something you should just suck up. Why? I did not ask for this? This is not some ‘mild’ cramping, this is the type that leaves me barely able to stand, faint, tired and pale. ‘Us women’ usually don’t get that ‘just period pain’ can be so debilitating.

Sometimes it’s just worse than usually, this is one of those times. I’m no sissy, really. It feels like being kicked in the lower abdomen really hard. Pop pain killers, and go to work…

Heh. Now, the mental image of men having manstruation pains is really amusing. I mean, we all know what they’re like when they have a cold… if men had monthly cramps women would rule the world. I think it would actually be a better place. I mean, the only reason men are ‘dominant’ still in society is because they’ve got bigger muscles. Just, seriously… imagine it! Oh, wow, imagine how bad pregnant men would be! They’d probably DIE during labour. (Yeah, just asked my male rat, Taylor, he nodded)

manstruation

And of course, this post would not be complete without the anatomy
uterus

And look, they even have a picture of a Dutch uterus!!
Dutch uterus

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2013 in Random, Rant

 

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Overwhelmed!

I’m pretty sure there are many people who ‘suffer’ from a constant feeling of being overwhelmed, like I do. ADHD and non-ADHD. There is just too much of everything these days, and too many choices. Too many people. And the worst bit: nothing really matters. It will all change by tomorrow. I sometimes miss the world I grew up in. It didn’t feel like being in a perpetual multicolour IMAX 3D sandstorm with dolby surround.

info overload

If you want to know something, all you have to do is google it; even possible on your smartphone. Of course, there’s no real way of knowing that what you learn is trustworthy. Any idiot can post stuff anywhere. Hence occasional waves of paranoia, especially among young stay-at-home mums (But If I Vaccinate My Baby He Will Be Autistic….) I mean, just try to get some new style ideas…

ad overload
choice?

Then, try to go shopping. Apart from being faced with a constant ad overload, everything is the newest and the best and the most wonderful… you have to make sensible decisions between stuff screaming BUY ME, whilst dealing with either rude salespeople or the overly excited type. Of course everything looks marvellous on me darling…. Very rarely you’d find the actual helpful type. There are just too many choices. And meanwhile, ‘new’ happens about every week or so, so you can never really get an overview and choose the ‘best’ product for you. The downside to this ‘new’ craze is that things that DO work will not be found ever again. So next time you’ll have to start all over again.

I can imagine this is hard enough to deal for ‘normal’ people, AKA those with Attention Abundance Hypoactivity Disorder. (Hello couch potatoes!) but for me it’s sort of explosive. Because everything leads to brain storming, and while you’re trying to control one impulse the next one is on and over you. I mean, with ADHD (especially if you have the H bit with related impulsiveness) you see, act and then think. Kind of Vidi, Vinci et Veni… rather than in the appropriate order. There’s too much to filter. And then, when things go wrong you get this:
point finger
from those ‘normal’ people who can simply not understand. ‘But you should have thought of it/prepared better/known/done it differently/looked up the info/just controlled yourself’. So infuriating. Especially when these people have something to do with making the situation overwhelming in the first place. I was trying my damn hardest to make it work!! And they always get to me, so apart from being caught up in a massive mess that has everything to do with wanting to make things ‘better’ and being overwhelmed by the amount of everything in the first place… I also get left behind with a feeling of falling horribly short. Since pointy fingers never really help; I end up having to ‘sort it out by myself’ leading to the whole cycle starting all over again.

If anyone has any ideas about how to deal with this, please give me a shout. The irony of it all is that you have too many choices, but it’s ridiculously hard to find what I want!! It would be easier to just go in and out if I didn’t have to try on 25 jeans before finding one that fits, or if supermarkets stocked the things that I’d like to have. The last one has everything to do with me not being Dutch. Apparently I’m weird for wanting cream of tartar, baking soda or Horlicks. I’ll post a ‘part 2’ when I’ve figured out some ways to deal with this problem. Not the lack of Horlicks, but the overwhelming bit.

The sad bit is that most of whatever ‘new’ and developing it is really damaging to the environment, our health and animals and in some sense relationships. But who cares, as long as there’s money to be made and personal pleasure to be attained, right?

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2013 in ADHD, society

 

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Snow boots!

Snow boots!

Ok, they’re not formally snow boots, but they did make my otherwise crappy day. See, I managed to make it to the city hall in time for my passport renewal; only to learn that they would not help me because I don’t have my no-longer-valid ID card with me, which I chose not to renew because I already have a drivers licence AND a passport. Then I got told off for it ‘It says you should bring that too on the website’. No, it does not specifically state I should bring invalid ID cards, it states I should bring ID and my old passport. (And my friend ran into the same issue, so it’s not just me). I protested, said it did NOT say so on the website, then I got a lecture about how all forms of ID are government property and I only get to ‘borrow’ it. (Fair enough, but then why charge me?). Then the lady went on about me being there in the first place; why did I come to the city hall and not to one of the smaller offices in all parts of the city except the centre? I pointed out that I came here because I live in the city centre. Then she told me that that doesn’t mean I couldn’t go to one of the other offices, unless of course this is the closest council office. Exactly. After being told off she said I could go and make another appointment for the passport. I did not, I didn’t bring my planner and I was too pissed off to act normal.
This was my second effort at getting the passport, last time I was late because of a vet emergency. Trust me, the Dutch won’t accomodate for things like that. Having to make three appointments to get a simple passport is ridiculous, and having to face these rude council workers is not fun at all. There are days that I still really hate this country and today is one of them.

photo (3)

So, where do the snow boots come in? Well, there’s about 10-15cm of snow laying around. They come in handy… It’s I think the 4th or 5th year in a row Holland has had significant snowfall. I hate winter, I hate ice, I hate snow. That’s not the point, it’s here and there’s not much I can do about it except adapt, and maybe do it in style. The first winter-winter came as a surprise to me; I’d never experienced something like that before. Snow in Holland is fairly normal, actually, if you look at the past 100 years, it just hand’t been around for a few years which happened to be the few years I was here. I ruined a few pairs of shoes, but also revamped some of them. Viva creativity. Up till then skateboarding shoes turned out to work just fine for the few times you had to deal with snow. After that first winter, I ruined another pair of boots, my wide-soled FitFlop boots, and I used them for the snow ever since. FitFlop doesn’t actually do what they promise, and caused me cramps instead as they got worn out. This year, I was right on time and decided to get a pair of snow-proof boots BEFORE it started freezing. I refused to wear the ugly ones everybody wears. Turns out everybody slips like crazy in them anyway, and they’re usually more expensive than the 35 euros I counted down for my winter wellies.
As far as snow boots go, the ones I have look kind of good. They’re formally rain boots made winter proof, the bottom bit is nothing more than lined wellies. But they’re waterproof, have good enough grip and keep my feet toasty while still looking better than those slip-sliders with their ‘real snow boots’. Plus, my good shoes can stay nice and pretty. The wellies have thinner soles than actual snow boots, but have grip since they’re made for slippery conditions. The thinner, softer soles mean I can feel where I’m walking, giving me a better natural grip… kind of like barefoot trail running but with wellies and snow. If it gets really icy I can always put spikes under them, you know, when it half starts melting and then starts freezing again.
I started really enjoying it when I noticed that I was getting along quite well, stomping past everybody else without slipping. I was really pleased when I got home and my feet were still very much dry and toasty… and rather than stepping in an entire snowstorm stuck to my shoes, I could simply shake them off outside. Nothing like an idea that works out really well! How come nobody else thought of it?

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2013 in Brilliant ideas

 

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The Orange tape (aka Dutch red tape…)

Dutch people seem to enjoy doing things the hard way, only to get a reward that should have been a given thing to begin with. Either that, or I don’t know. I’m merely a South-African when it comes to these things. It’s a frustrating hassle for those of us who likes things to be simple and sensible so we can get on with the fun things, you know?

I am not sure what type of health care system and funding they are pretending to have here. I am obliged to have health insurance, and I can choose where I can get my basic insurance, which covers the same mandatory things. The basic insurance does not actaully cover the health care I am most likely to need, but it does cover most things for the elderly. This doesn’t make sense to me; why am I not entitled to health care which would enable me to better contribute to society? Contrary to apparent popular belief my mental health issues are not my choice. ADHD is a very expensive problem to have.

Alongside the mandatory insurance, I also have a mandatory 350 euro deductible. Says the law. This would make sense in an insurance where there’s actually the possibility that you won’t need to call on the insurance. I have ADHD, I use medication for it, and I am getting help for it because I really want to make the most of my life. So, basically, apart from the mandatory insurance which doesn’t cover my meds or the contraceptive I’m using for my debilitating periods.. I have to set aside 350 euros for whenever the company decides to cash in. No, I can’t simply pay it in advance. And what if I lose my job? Then I can’t afford any health care, despite being insured for it. The only option I have is to sit and wait for the bomb to drop on me. Last year it happened together with a massive bill for my utilities; leaving me with no money left for anything other than rent. You can’t complain to a Dutch person about this, they don’t understand that you simply need things to work without massive paperwork hassles everywhere, because the utilities thing could have been prevented if I was able to consider each and every possibility. ‘Own fault’ they say.

OK, so this year I got a more expensive insurance which does cover concerta, and it does work out cheaper than paying for it out of pocket, considering that I’m on a plus insurance which also covers the other type of health care I might need: physiotherapy. Like I said: I don’t know which moron decided to not cover a drug which has so many evidence based advantages for those who need it, but to cover accupuncture. I also don’t understand why melatonin is only covered for the elderly, when it’s proven less effective in the elderly. Anyway. So, I sorted it out, and got myself a more expensive insurance. That was a bit of a hassle, really.

In my world, it makes sense that it’s all sorted then.

In Holland, it doesn’t.

This, I learned at the pharmacy. In my world, it would simply be more efficient, less annoying and cheaper to simply send the bill for my meds to the pharmacy, and send my on my happy way to face the rest of the challenges related to day to day life with ADHD; without having to worry about budgeting for and paying for my meds. Because, in the end, it’s covered.

In Holland, it makes perfect sense to have several transactions and a lot of paperwork for the same little bottle of pills, every month. First off, my prescription for 2 months of concerta has been split in half because they don’t hand out concerta for longer than that. Same pharmacy who happily counted out 400 tablets of methylphenidate a few months earlier. So I have to go back once a month to get my pills.
Apparently the PLUS bit on my insurance is not the same as the basic insurance. Basic insurance covers the price of short-working methylphenidate. So that part of the bill for this one bottle gets sent straight to the insurance company. The remaining 40+ euros (+60 for contaceptives as mentioned somewhere above, which is not covered because I’m over 21 and of course perinatal care is cheaper than the oral contraceptives…) have to be paid out of my pocket to the pharmacy. The pharmacy lady looked at the 100 euro bill, said well that’s a lot in one go. I said I had no choice. Right. So now I have to manage to not lose the receipts from the pharmacy, then I have to manage to find and correctly fill out the declaration forms (Every month??) to get my money back from the insurance company, who will then send me a bill for the bit paid directly to the pharmacy because of the deductible. I think the bit I declare back from them doesn’t go off my deductible.
And I have no idea when this will happen.

I don’t know. Somehow, a bunch of smart Dutch people agreed to this after a very long discussion, but I think the rush of the discussion was too much for them to handle and they should have let a foreigner handle this.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and use every single ADHD coping technique I’ve learned in order to handle getting the care I need to cope with ADHD.

I think the world would be a better place if there were more smart people with ADHD. Coming up with the complicated solutions is too much mental effort for us, so we’ll hand you over the smart and simple solutions and then the non-ADHD people can go and do the computer programming for it or whatnot.

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2013 in ADHD, Rant, society

 

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It’s cold.

That’s all really. I’m suffering form a bit of brain-freeze. So I’ll go and amuse myself with some South-African ads on youtube. I find it really interesting how adverts reflect societies and what’s going on in them, also it reflects the culture of the country. Plus, I’m a bit homesick I suppose. And Dutch adverts are boring. In Holland the taking-a-piss at society style of humour is called ‘cabaret’ and is typically trying too hard to be funny, plus, you have to pay for it. In South-Africa it’s common art, and really more part of day-to-day life. Laughter is our pain killers, really.

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Don’t let me run into Murphy….

… because I WILL beat him up. Stupid law!*

I need a break from this. I need everything to stop going wrong… just to give me some breathing space…

If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which something can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth way, unprepared for, will promptly develop
Corollary: It will be impossible to fix the fifth fault, without breaking the fix on one or more of the others

Honestly, I can’t deal anymore. It’s hard enough for me to get my shit sorted out in the first place, and I never managed to do so after moving a couple of months ago because everything keeps going wrong. And the result is that I am close to exhaustion, and my ADHD is out of control. Of course, this results in more things going wrong.

So, really, I need a break from this to get my shit together.

Rule of Accuracy: When working toward the solution of a problem, it always helps if you know the answer.
Corollary: Provided, of course, that you know there is a problem.

I need to organise my house so I can find stuff. I need to organise it so I can keep it organised and find more stuff.

In order to do that, I need energy and focus.

In order to get that, I need to be healthy.

In order to get healthy, I need rest, excercise and good nutrition.

In order to get rest, my environment needs to be less chaotic, aka organised. I need to have my ‘system’ in place, but I can’t manage that.

I can’t excercise because of the lingering bronchitis.

Lack of excercise makes ADHD worse.

Worse ADHD makes planning healthy meals just about impossible.

Worse ADHD makes organising things just about impossible.

In 2012 I went seamlessly from recovering from depression to losing my job and finding a new one and starting a new one to moving to a new relationship MEANWHILE dealing with my brand-new diagnosis ADHD, MEANWHILE going crazy on one antidepressant then losing three months’ worth of deep sleep on the next which, I might add, is completely exhausting. Because I was so exhausted, my body couldn’t fight off the cold which turned into a bad bronchitis… which still hasn’t lifted fully. I spent most of the year trying to get some sort of a break. Looking forward to just a tiny bit of peace and calm. I don’t know, just an opportunity to not have to fight as much all the time.

I mean, what are the chances?

Nothing is as easy as it looks

Everything takes longer than it takes

Whenever you set out to do something, something else must be done first.

A few other things:

  • It would be great if public transport planning sites were actually accurate and gave you the most sensible route.
  • It would be great if the tram actually ran on time rather than 5 minutes early¬†after I did my bestest to get there on time and actually managed to get to the stop 4 minutes before the scheduled time
  • It would be amazing if after managing to get to the stop 5 minutes early the tram ran at all… instead of somehow resulting in me being 30 minutes late… AGAIN
  • It would be great if I could find my umbrella
  • It would be amazing if it didn’t just start raining as I walked out of the door after getting my make up right, or after not being able to find the umbrella, or if I’m carrying stuff I don’t want to get wet

That’s all for now.

* Green text from this fun site www.murphy’s-laws.com

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2013 in ADHD, Rant

 

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