Telling my side of the story

WARNING: I'm not that deep.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Le Monde Sans Tunji

We have lost our darling nephew
It is so painful to imagine a world without our darling TJ Maxx
There’ll no longer be “Tunji, do the honors…”
It’s painful to imagine summers without Tunji
IHOP has lost its biggest fan
There’s one less soccer fanatic in the world
One guy is missing his brother
Two girls are missing their brother
Countless aunts and uncles are missing their nephew
We can’t imagine what his parents must be going through
TJ we’ll miss you
Ever so dearly
Your mom says you knew we loved you
We truly did
Always and forever

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Pressure’s Off

March 21st has finally come and gone and I didn’t make the deadline for my biggest project this year. Oh well. I don’t think I’m about to be fired for that. The ulcer-like feeling is gone. The pressure’s off and I can get my life back. No more 10-12 hour days. Thank goodness.

Meanwhile, I feel so bad because I have not been spending as much time as I’d like with DH. Some mornings, I put together a packed lunch for work. Whenever I do, I make up a lunch bag for DH as well. It’s my way of saying “have a good day!” without actually speaking. The other morning, I was in a real rush to get out of the house and I put out some stuff for him but didn’t have enough time to put everything together so I kind of left it half undone. No biggie really but I just felt bad that I didn’t have the extra minute to spare. I was running late so I just yelled out as I was heading out that I left his stuff unfinished, sorry. (I had time for mine though). Anyways, he was in the shower and couldn’t hear me so I yelled again and he was like no worries. No worries, no biggie, but I feel bad whenever it seems like I am putting work over him. Terrible, isn’t it? He said and meant no worries because he could do it himself. Still, I can’t but feel bad sometimes.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Why Don’t We Do More?

I find myself wondering why more Nigerians are not whistleblowers. Why do we allow wrongs to continue without reporting to the appropriate authority? For instance, why is it that we allow ourselves to be chanced (taken advantage of) by policemen over and over again? Everyone I know has a Naija police story to tell. Why is it that we don’t hold people accountable for their actions? Why is it that we live in a mess? Why is it that nothing works? Why? Why aren’t we a people called to action? Why do we just let things be? Do we not care? Are we too lazy to stand up for something?

The other day, I was with friends and I said the next time I’m in Naija and I get stopped by a policeman asking for a bribe, I will refuse to for as long as I possibly can, give the bribe only if I have to, cram the officer’s name and number in my head and then go to the nearest police station and report the situation. Funny right? My friends too just laughed and said whatever. Like, you really have time to waste? Actually, I just might have some extra time on my hands. I am tired of always being chanced (such a Naija word) whenever I’m in Naija. There’s always someone trying to get one over on me. Even though the whole reporting of police officers may not get me anywhere, I’d still be interested in knowing how many people will stand up and say enough is enough.

Speaking of whistle blowing, I have been a whistleblower for the longest. I’m one of those people that fills out suggestion cards at restaurants, stores, etc. I don’t care if no one reads them (okay, maybe I care a little) but I fill them out in the event that someone ends up reading it. One whistleblowing episode that comes to mind dates back to form 1 (middle school). Smoking was not allowed on school premises and I’d read the school prospectus thoroughly before my first day of school. Anyhow, at break time (recess) one day, my friends and I discovered some form 6 (high school) seniors smoking behind the food vendors’ kiosks. My pre-teen spirit was incensed because these guys were breaking the rules. I didn’t know who they were but I felt compelled to report them - not to my class prefect, not to my teacher, or vice principal, I went to the PRINCIPAL. I got the names of all the seniors from my class prefect by asking “what’s that senior’s name?” and promptly writing it down on a sheet of paper. I gathered my witnesses, the friends I’d been to lunch with (some of them backed out) and we went to the principal’s office. He was quite impressed and the next day, those seniors were called out at assembly and flogged right in front of the whole school. LOL. The principal didn’t reveal his sources and nobody except my friends and I knew how the whole thing happened.

Now that I’m older and wiser, this whole episode seems funny and not as dramatic as I thought it was back then. However, it reminds me that there’s something within me that gets called to action. I can’t just sit back and not say anything. I am a reporter so y’all just watch out. Whistleblowing does not always pay but I’m a whistleblower all the same. Some years ago at another job, I stumbled upon a new hire that I felt had no business being hired. Some background information validated my claims that the individual was far from qualified for the job. This person had only been hired as a favor and was getting paid beaucoup bucks. I went over to the person in charge of all hiring to voice my concerns and the reaction I got was shocking. I was asked what I wanted in return, what my goals were and if there was a job within the company that I might be interested in. This individual was trying to shut me up. Needless to say, I didn’t work there for much longer but I’ve never regretted the fact that I spoke up. I have digressed; the point of this post was to ask why Nigerians are so laid back when faced with injustice? We seem to just shrug and take whatever junk is thrown our way. Our people and our country suffer from lack of people who genuinely care. Okay, I know that there are people who put themselves out on the line but there's not enough of them. The lesson our laissez-faire attitude teaches future generations is that the people who came before them don't give a hoot.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Wondrous Weekend

This weekend was quite interesting to say the least. Let me start off by saying that my townhouse has been rented! Yup, it was rented as of Friday so I didn’t have the open house on Saturday. I didn’t sleep in even though I knew I wasn’t going to host the open house. What’s this waking up at 7 o’clock deal every weekend? I didn’t go to bed until 1:30 am but still, I woke up early the next day. Anyways, just wanted to say that my townhouse has finally been rented out to this couple and I am praying it all works out. Here’s to a 12-month issue-free lease. And here’s to not going to the place two, three, four times a week to show people that weren’t ready to rent. Thank goodness!

Saturday started off great. We walked/jogged three miles at 8 something. Only thing was this time around, I missed ogling at my favorite house. There’s this eco-friendly (I have no proof that it actually is, it just looks eco-friendly) house that is just the bomb around the ways. The owner also owns the adjacent lot and they have some kind of vegetable garden growing. That is so my dream house. If I had money, I'd just walk up there and make an offer. I don’t know how I missed checking it out but that's the highlight of my route. DH’s open house turned out to be one-kind. I went with him since I didn’t have mine but it looks like we’re going to have another one next Saturday. I need to dedicate more time to talk about what happened. People have some serious issues.

It was my girlfriend’s birthday weekend and our plan was to take her to dinner and do something fun afterwards. We are all grown now. It’s unbelievable. The theme was grown and sexy but that somehow backfired on me. Let’s just say I’m glad DH encouraged me to take a shawl because I didn’t get the memo that we weren't doing that any more. We were celebrating her 30th and we’d suggested going to dinner and then going to a lounge afterwards but she didn’t want to go anywhere there would be smoking and drinking. Ummm, okay. How about drinking only? There weren’t that many choices left but on the way to work that morning, I heard on the radio that the comedy club was featuring quite a few good acts. It would be something fun for us to do in place of going to a lounge. There was no smoking allowed so I thought that would be perfect for all of us. I can’t stand the smell of smoke. We met up at a restaurant and I got there early with balloons and a Birthday Queen tiara waiting for her. It was really important to us that she feel special. People react to turning 30 differently but the most important thing for us was her happiness. She so deserves it.

Dinner was good. Dessert was great. We turned the wrong way on our way to the comedy club and landed smack dab in the hood. We went to a gas station to ask for directions but these drunk-looking men came up wanting to chat. Eventually, this really young-looking cop came back and we asked him for directions instead. He was really gracious when we asked him for the particular street. He was like “Where are y’all going? Uptown?” I wondered how he just guessed where we were going but apparently on that street it’s either the comedy club or the strip club. He guessed right. We said yes and he drove ahead of us and showed us the way to the comedy club. Really nice of him. Anyways, trust our people. The line getting into the comedy club was loooooong. Why? I don’t know. Even though we had our tickets, we had to wait in line. They even had a VIP section with a shorter line but they still made people on that line wait. Whatever. The jokes by and large were very BET ComicView-like or HBO comedy-like and I’d forgotten how much comedians like to use bad words. Other than that it was fun. I stole glances at my girlfriend who is pretty conservative and a few times I was worried at how some of the jokes might affect her. I was glad when she called me the next day to say thank you and that she’d had a great time. She’s not the kind to say that just to be polite so I believe her.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Life Is Good

It's so easy to whine about life and how things don't always go my way but here are some reasons why life is good:
  • Despite health scares - some of it caused by me being a hypochondriac, I am healthy.
  • We got some dining chairs that I LOVE. Y'all need to see them. Totally cool and on SALE. They are plush and comfortable. Vastly different from the earthy looking ones we had going, these totally change the entire look of the place. Spur of the moment purchase but absolutely no regrets.
  • Hung out with three of girls from my inner circle back in the day this weekend and their new families. I am so happy that we are in touch and still have each other's best interest at heart after almost 20 years of friendship. How cool is that?
  • Oh, and one of my friends betrayed me recently and I'm okay with it because I knew she would. Actually, make that two. Two of my girls - not just one. You can't tell someone something and expect them not to tell anyone. Girls like to talk. I knew they would that's why I only give such gist about myself and nobody else. If it gets out, it's my gist. Besides, I half-expected it to anyway. I let the major culprit know that I knew what she had done and kept it light. We're still cool. Back in the day, it would have been a huge deal. These days, I'm like whatever.
  • The least likely of my girlfriends kept her word and it feels good because she'll be the only one I'll be sure of in the future. Need to give her kudos for doing that. I so threatened her. I'm glad she didn't drop the ball.
  • Moving on. I got asked to do what I call an ise iya (don't really know how to translate this but it's pretty much something my oga asks me to do that I don't feel like doing). It involves me doing a web & audio training for people to access time and time again. I didn't really want to do it because I don't like the idea of having my voice recorded like that for some reason. Also, I wasn't sure I could maintain the phonetics for that long without resorting to my Naija-speak. I guess I also don't want to hear in the hallways: "Who did that recording? They sure had an accent." Spoke to DH about it and ended up not feeling so bad about having to do it. Life is good when you can turn a negative into a positive.
  • What else? Oh yeah, my scale broke. Not literally. It stopped working and I had to toss it out. I haven't been able to weigh myself in my usual everyday compulsive fashion since November maybe. Anyways, I sure have packed up some pounds since that time and the good news is that I am totally loving my body as it is right now. Really weird, but hey, I ain't lyin'.
  • An old friend said she saw some pictures of me and asked if I was pregnant. Comments like that have the propensity to upset me and I will probably post about how inappropriate it is to ask if a woman is pregnant in the future. Normally, I can't stand when people ask that but I said to her, "No, I was just fat." Life is good when I say stuff like that without being sarcastic. If I looked preggie in that pic, it was because of the extras. And I really thought I was looking good with my mohawk and cutesy strapless dress. Moving on before I get mad about that.
  • DH and I did three miles yesterday around us. I finally got a chance to show him houses that I had been eyeing. God knows if I lived in one of them, I probably would never want to move back to Naija. Okay, that last sentence does not fit in there. The point of that was we finally worked out together for the first time since a long time.
  • When we got back, he made eba while I was in the shower. We had been debating about getting Chinese or cooking on our way home. I know. That's why I am fat :-)
  • It's Spring Break this week. It's not the same as when you're in undergrad and can literally check out for a week. However, I get to come home and stay home. What that means is this, I am living my pre-grad school life for a week and it feels good.
  • I discovered this place that does dry cleaning for $1.50 a piece. That is so ridiculous! Spring jackets too! I tried them out by only giving them eight pieces and there were no oil stains or other foreign stains on any of my clothes when they came back. I am totally going back there.
  • Despite using most of my bi-weekly allowance (more on this later) to get my hair braided, I didn't go back to the ATM for more money to tide me over the next two weeks. This cash-only thing might work and that's a good thing.
  • Last but not least, I'd been feeling bad about having to drive my bashed car like that to work but as I was leaving for the day, I saw one green Camry that's way way bashed. Kinda funny to feel good about not having the worst looking car on the block.
  • Oh, and finally, finally. I am so on a roll when it comes to getting our last two properties rented out. DH says he's got his wife back because something in me just sparked and I've been aggressive about getting these places rented. I placed ads on craigslist and in the paper and I have (yes, TWO) open houses on Saturday. I'll be at one from 10:00 am and eight people have confirmed that they'll be coming. DH will be at the other from 11:00 (good wife that I am, he gets to sleep in) and four people have confirmed they'll be there. The best part about that is that we had those numbers as of Wednesday. Who knows how many more will call because surely, not everyone will show up. The best best part is that I have two people so serious about the one I am showing that one wants to meet, sign a lease and put a down payment on the place today. The other says he'll fax in his pay stubs as proof of employment. If all goes well, I might have to cancel my open house and guess who'll be sleeping in? HaHAHAHAAA!!! (wicked laugh)

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Monday, March 05, 2007

I don bash my car

The other day, I was meeting up DH for lunch and less than three minutes after we hung up, I was in an accident. What a bummer. This was going to be the first time in a very loooooooooooong while that we were meeting up for lunch and I went from ecstatic to almost tearful in less than three minutes. It was such a stupid haxident. Really silly. The front of my car is bashed in and just looks ignorant. Now I know I won’t be getting a new car anytime soon. It’s no fun at all. I haven’t taken it to my friends at Classic Collision to find out how much I must pay this time to straighten up this mess. The last time I had a scratch from someone hitting the rear, it cost five hundred bucks. That was just a little scratch and paint job. With this one, there’s no telling how much it will cost.

One of my broda (older Naija male) friends knows someone that can fix my car. Hopefully, it wouldn’t be too expensive. I’m really really bummed about my car because I don’t need to be spending any money unnecessarily. My car’s so ugly now. It’s a total disgrace. I’m being ever so careful these days because it doesn’t matter who’s at fault – I just don’t want any more dents. Meanwhile, I’ve had such bad luck with this one car and silly haxidents that I am no longer entertaining the idea of buying a new car. I really was getting my head round the idea of getting a new ride before the end of the year. With my track record with this one, I think I’ll just fix it and bring it up to par. Bummer.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


I have always been skeptical of people that try hard to appear ‘good’. Call them goody-goodies, holy rollers, efikos, do-gooders, goody two shoes, whatever. I do not like them much because they are insincere. Not that I don’t like them, I don’t care for such behavior. It happens to everyone, you are with other people and you feel the need to put on your goodie cap. I catch myself doing this also. The other day, I think it was Friday, we had some Christianly folk over and even though I had been looking forward to having a glass of plum wine that evening, I decided against it because they were present. I didn’t want them to have the wrong impression of me. Eventually, I told myself that I would have some wine if I very well felt like it and poured DH a glass as well so that I wouldn't be the only 'bad' one in the room.

Not to pick on any particular group of people but some Christians tend to fall into the goody-goodie trap. They always feel the need to put on a good face. My friends and I once had a monthly fellowship that lasted a few months but eventually got canned. I have always wondered what happened, why we couldn’t sustain it and then it occurred to me that we probably got tired of putting on goody faces. Or maybe we got tired of acting overly good?

The other day, I was at another bible study and there it was again, people putting on their goody face. I don’t know, maybe one day, it will cease to irritate me. However, that day I felt particularly uneasy. The group seemed determined to pick on homosexuals and how their behavior is not right. Okay, so you’re not gay but isn't there something that you probably do in your private life that others would consider ‘wrong’? We all know that nobody is perfect, not one of us is perfect, yet, we avoid those conversations and pick on obvious targets. It irritated me to no end that real issues were not being discussed. Instead, everyone found comfort in doing the gay-bashing thing and no one got a chance to say what areas in their own lives could possibly use some improvement. How about the fact that there’s a lot going on in the world that we are not involved with? There are so many ways we could give back to our communities yet we spend all of our time avoiding the real issues. It gets tiring after a while.

Now, goody-goodies not only abound in the church, they are also in the workplace. People who feel like they know it all and no one else has anything half-intelligent to contribute. They are the center of attention displaying employee-of-the-year-like behavior only when the boss is looking. It is all about appearances with such people. They will copy the entire office on emails just to announce they’ve caught an error in someone else’s presentation. How about going to the person directly, the rest of the group did not need yet another email from you? These people will smile at you one minute and stab you in the back the next. The other day we were at a meeting and it was funny seeing two goody-goodies trying to outdo each other. It was like we were back in primary school and they were both vying to be teacher’s pet. They both had an opinion about everything and made everyone sick at the end of the meeting. I think it was in Time magazine or maybe Inc. that I read about the pressure people are under because of the apparent need to say something at meetings in order to appear intelligent to others. Here’s the deal, if you don’t have something valid to say, you don’t have to say anything at all. People, myself included, will be glad you did.

Green Series

These days, I've got a lot on my plate and not much time to blog. I'm going to be putting up blogs that never got posted for one reason or the other. Green is my favorite color and for some reason, I've decided to publish these posts in green so that it's clear that they were not written in 'real-time'. It should be interesting because some of them didn't make it because they were not very PC (politically correct) or because they were too whiny. I'm such a self-censorer. Not that that's a word but you get the picture.

Totally un-related, but I've been thinking about telling my friends that I have a blog. I'm not exactly sure why but I hate talking on the phone aimlessly and this might be a good way for them to catch up with me. My friends can be funny as in, how come you didn't wish me happy birthday like you did Filay? Etc. Etc. They are really not that bad but I'm trying to anticipate potential issues.

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