Some daughters do have them….

While I am grateful for and dearly love my father, he can quite easily drive anyone bonkers. As a child growing up, he invoked fear in me. He was and still is a very demanding man, who was very impatient and did not suffer fools easily. As a child, of course, I was foolish. That is what children do. But my father demanded that I undertake extra homework and take life more seriously.

He had a very negative effect on my oldest brother. He was definitely harder on him than on me and had very high expectations of him, which my brother could never quite meet. The expectations were also on me, but I was the apple of my dad’s eye. I was his daughter and not expected to be the man of the house.

All three children eventually grew up wanting to please my father and make him proud. My older brother especially. Unfortunately he was the one child my father picked on the most and by the age of 16, my older brother gave up. Nothing he could do would ever be good enough. His best skills were in sport. He was chosen to play for the state, and played alongside test cricketer Adam Gilchrist. But sport was not considered important to my father. My older brother’s dream of be a sports manager was quickly crushed by my father who told him he would never amount to anything by undertaking studies in this field. My brother tried so hard though. He undertook the studies my father wanted him to, physics, chemistry, calculus and eventually, he failed. He failed big time. He could not get his head around these studies. So, instead of wanting to produce D’s and F’s in his Year 11 report, he forged it. He got away with it also. Up until his little sister found out, he was a straight A student.

And I blew it. I told my parents. Unfortunately my older brother and I had one teacher that taught us both. I happened to mention how smart my brother was to this teacher, who informed me otherwise. Armed with this information, I tried to extort money from my brother (aren’t I the perfect sister) and when he didn’t pay up, I told my parents.

It was the worse feeling I ever had. As I watched my parents lay into my brother. My father kicking him as he lay crying on the ground. To this day, I wish I never told them.

It was from this day that I notice my brother change. He became angry at the world. He was reclusive. He started taking on the same attributes of my father. I was scared of him.

My father’s patience has increased somewhat after retiring from work. He is however, still like a child. When he wants something, he wants it now. Yesterday, I was sick (this is why no post). So, while in pain, my father comes up to me telling me that we need an O-Ring for the pool filter NOW! This is a very specific O-Ring. So, I change out of my sick-clothes (tracksuit and socks) into something more decent that the general public would accept and drive him to our local pool shop. Do they have this particular O-Ring? No!! When then go to three hardware places, none of these places have this particular O-Ring either, however we are advised that Mussafah (an industrial city in Abu Dhabi about 25mins drive from home) sells these. No name or phone number, just the location.

I am very hesitant to drive to Mussafah. It is not a part of Abu Dhabi I am familiar with, and hey, I am sick. But oh no! We need this part NOW!

So, I now start trying to find a place that sells O-Rings in Mussafah. I must have called about half a dozen places and after getting over the communication barrier, am advised that “no one sells O-Rings!”. Stuck, I decide to contact our maintenance man, Abdul “Oh no, no good” Abdul informs me and then tries to put the broken O-Ring back onto the pool filter (breaking it further in the process).

I am now fed up, but we need the O-Ring NOW! So I start calling electrical stores. Eventually, after being told that there is only one place that sells O-Rings in Abu Dhabi, I get given a telephone number. The conversation is very short. They sell O-Rings, please email size and quantity.

I am very sceptical, but I email the requirements. About 15mins later, there is a confirmation email, YES! They have the specific O-Ring. Great! All I need now is the location. (Insert cynical laugh). Anyone who knows the UAE will know that there is no such thing as a particular address here. I get told M9 section of Mussafah. That is it. They send me a mud map (which was no help) and off we go. It was the blind leading the blind.

I drive to Mussafah. Trucks driving like a prisoner dodging bullets while trying to escape. The only help I had was that the shop was near a bank. I decide to take the road that runs through the center of Mussafah. The traffic comes to a complete stop as I near an intersection. We are there for 15 minutes. My father complains. Complains about the weather, the traffic, how hard it is to find anything here. He is driving me insane. I smile and nod (a trait I have learnt to do very well). The intersection does not allow me to continue to travel down this central road, I must turn left or right and do a U-turn to get to the other side. So I turn right. No joke, I travel two kilometers before I can do a U-turn and we are back on track.

Somehow, I manage to see the sign for the shop we were looking for (on the other side of the road, hence doing another U-turn). Relieved that this is now over, I find a parking spot, grab my purse and off we go. This whole process has taken two hours and it is now lunch-time. Guess what! The shop is closed for lunch. Will not be open until 4pm!!! The desire to yell, stamp my feet and hit my father overtakes me. But I smile and nod. Not believing that this could happen, my father enters the shop next-door and asks if they know where the owner is. By the grace of God, they do and despite it being lunch-time, the owner appears at the shop 15 minutes later and provides my father with the O-Rings. Not happy that these are the right O-Rings, my father asks for the next size up!!! After punching numbers into the computer and into the calculator the owner tells us he has these too and then takes about 10 minutes to locate them. No, no, these are definitely too big. So we purchase two O-Rings (we need a spare of course) – the total being 7 AED!!! Seven dirhams. Oh my Lord! It would have cost me more in the phone calls and the petrol to get to the bloody store. But seven dirhams lighter, we are off. I decide I need a break and head to the nearest mall (Myzad Mall). At 1:30pm my bum gratefully sits down at La Broche and my mother and I order lunch. Not my father – oh no, he isn’t hungry (also known as he is chucking a wobbly).

While enjoying my wonderful Dukin allowed omelette, my father asks where we can get chlorine for the pool. Half of what is in my mouth flies across the room, but I smile and nod.

Let’s try LuLu’s. Nope. Okay, according to my bible ( there is a pool shop opposite Al Whada Mall. So we park at the mall and walk over the road/s. My father complains. About the weather, about the lack of pedestrian crossings, about the lack of addresses. I smile and nod. We search alongside Street 11 and can not find it. We then search on the other road opposite Al Whada Mall (Airport Road) and can not find it. Please note here: I am sick. I then enter the mall while my mother goes on the other side of Al Whada Mall and I am told by the information desk that they have chlorine at a shop in the mall called Beyond the Beach. I am skeptical. I remember buying a pair of board shorts at a shop with a similar sounding name. I make the mistake of saying this out load and my father no longer wants to go to the shop. I am now filled with anger and tell him that we may as well try it while we are here. Nope. But maybe at LuLu’s. This is a different LuLu’s and we all agree to try it again.

At this part, my head goes into my hands. I can not find the pool section of LuLu’s. No matter how many times I ask for help and “go straight” I can not see the section. Meantime, my wonderful mother who is just a fed up as I am with this day, decides to leave the party in search for another section which may sell it. And guess what!!! We lose her. My father and I search for about 20 mins until the party is reunited – all empty-handed.

During this time, my father has been told that there is a shop on the corner of Electra Street and Salam Street that sells chlorine. I am skeptical. From my research ACE hardware is the only place that sells chlorine at the moment, but my father refuses to buy it there as he thinks it is too expensive!!!!

So, I drive to Electra Street and Salam Street – I can not find any pool shop there. It is then, that my car alerts me to the fact that we are low in petrol. So I tell my father that we are going to get petrol and then drive home. It is of course, now around 4:15pm. The petrol station is filled with cars. We wait. My father complains. This time it is about the traffic, the roadworks, the lack of service and the communication barriers. I smile and nod.

Driving along Sheik Zayed Road, there is an accident. Traffic slows to a standstill. At 6pm we eventually get home. I am exhausted and can not help but think that it would have been better off if I went to work (yes, I said it!). While walking through LuLu’s, I managed to pick up a roast chicken. That’s dinner. Roast chicken sandwiches.

My father, happy to have the O-Rings, goes to fix the pool pump. I lay down on the couch…… for two seconds. He needs a bucket, he needs a cup, he needs thongs. I need to take his shoes off the ground before my dog gets to them. He needs someone to help him empty the buckets.

Dad…. you have officially worn me down. My husband has had enough, I have had enough and I take my hat off to my mother who has also had enough.

Looking forward to taking you to the Camel Races tomorrow though!!! I hope you have a great time and I get to see you really smile again. I love you dearly!