Wendyl Nissen

Wendyl Nissen on being 'The Supportive Wife'

Wendyl Nissen: Even nanas need a break from chores

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Wendyl Nissen goes on strike.

An empty liquid handwash dispenser used to trigger Wendyl Nissen into action with a bar of soap, this time she's had enough. Photo / Thinkstock
An empty liquid handwash dispenser used to trigger Wendyl Nissen into action with a bar of soap, this time she's had enough. Photo / Thinkstock

I'm taking a holiday from being a nana. It's not something I planned, it just happened the other day when I looked at our liquid handwash dispenser. It's amazing how the minor things have the ability to trigger major decisions.

Once again the dispenser was empty and for the past eight years when this has occurred I have obediently taken it to the kitchen, got out a pot, grated some soap into it, added water and heated it to melt. Then I've added rosewater, glycerine and essential oils.

This has then been poured back into the dispenser and returned to the bathroom. Just like a nana would do.

This time I looked at it and said: "Do you think I have the time to fill you up? You know what? No, damn you."

So it remains empty and a bar of soap sits on the handbasin instead.

My garden remains untended and unloved since every tomato plant I raised succumbed to blight.

"Really? Do you think I have the time to clean you up? You know what? No, damn you," I said to it.

So it remains a weedy disgrace to this former nana who should really have planted the broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and winter lettuce we live on or, at the very least, some mustard to cleanse the soil.

My five chickens have stopped laying eggs and instead huddle together on cold mornings glaring at me from across the fence.

"No, damn you," I say to them.

I refuse to let them out to dig up worms and bugs on my entire property because it means I have to clean up the poo they deposit on the paths and deck. Nor do I make yoghurt for them from scratch or give them cuddles to warm them up.

"I think I may be over being a nana," I said to my friend.

"That could be awkward," she replied, stating the obvious. "You have a successful business and a large following simply because you live like a nana. Isn't your business motto 'It's Okay to be a Nana'?"

"Yes, but nanas didn't write 320-page books which have to be proofed and sent to printers. Nor did she write four columns a week ..."

"It's okay," she said soothingly. "I'm sure nanas are allowed holidays, especially when they've been very clever and written a very big book."

Then my adult daughter came over to clean the house, for which she is paid as this nana is far too busy to clean. I make her use a cup of white vinegar in a bucket of hot water to clean the floors.

"It doesn't seem to be working very well," she said. "I think you need to invent something a bit stronger."

"You know what? No, damn you. Tip a bit of meths in," I said.

"That's not green or nana. It's unnatural," she said.

"It's a bloody alcohol with a bit of oil and dye in it. We'll survive and actually my nana used it," I snapped before stropping off to proof another chapter.

So it began. The sourdough bread is being made only once a week instead of daily. The green coffee beans no longer are roasted at home but bought ready-roasted. Expensive free-range eggs are bought instead of collected.

"I quite like not living like a nana anymore," said my 14-year-old daughter with delight. "It's just so normal. I don't have to apologise to my friends for my mad mother."

That was all it took. I sent the book to the printers and got out the soap grater. Nana I can do, normal I can't.

- Herald on Sunday

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