Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bad Day 82--Wait, what was I supposed to be doing??

I discovered that the problem with Sundays is that they have long stretches where there is nothing to do but think, so the thing to do to keep from being purple is to stay so busy that you don't have time to eat or sit down let alone think. So today I tried that strategy, not on purpose, but because I'm fairly certain that everyone who knows me got together and conspired to have non-stop meetings and activities all day long. So aside for the 30 minutes or so when I got to talk to Husband, I was on the go the entire day. Day of rest, my foot! I'm so tired and exhausted I can't remember what it was that kept me so busy all day or what I was supposed to get done today.

But I see a big pile of laundry on my bed, so I'm guessing it must have something to do with folding the laundry. And there are cupcakes downstairs, so we must be meant to be eating those, which will be very yummy. And I'm so tired I can't think about what to write. And the delicious cupcake made me completely sick, so apparently it's not just chocolate that I can't tolerate.  So I'm going to bed early and I'll fold the laundry tomorrow, unless I forget.

But before I go, I should mention that although I tease Husband about being a nerd, and he really was a little uptight when I married him, and he still reads way too much non-fiction, he is actually a very fun guy and I fell in love with him because he wasn't afraid to be silly and make me laugh. And if I tease him, it is only because for years he has made me the butt of his jokes, so now that I have a public forum, it's only fair. :-)

This swim coach in England is having a worse day than me. He sent a racy text message that was intended for his girlfriend to his entire address book on his Blackberry, which included a bunch of 13-14 year olds. He lost his job, and was arrested and convicted and sentenced to 9 months in prison for corrupting minors. Lucky for him, a judge decided that being stupid and not knowing how to use a Blackberry wasn't a criminal offense and released him. But still, he lost his job and he sent a racy message to everyone in his family which is pretty bad punishment in and of itself. So thank you, technology challenged coach, for making me feel much better about my texting skills and for reminding me to be grateful that my job doesn't require a Blackberry.

Bad Day 81--What did I do?

I joined a gym today. I can't believe it's come to this, but I did it. I am sick and tired of being out of shape. I mentioned that I broke both ankles in China and they have never been the same, since. So my preferred method of exercising (walking and/or jogging) is another accident waiting to happen. Then a 24 hour fitness place opened up down the street from my house and then Gabrielle gave me a coupon, so I signed myself and Child 1 up, with an option to let Child 3 hangout in the kids' area while I exercise on something that doesn't require strong ankles. My hope is that I will feel guilty enough about the cost that I will actually go. Also, I'm really hoping that it will push me over the weight-loss edge and I will finally fit into all the clothes I wore before the ankle mess. A girl can dream, can't she?

So this week was apparently National Dog Week, because we need a week to celebrate dogs? I celebrated by taking my dog to the DMV because the maid service came and I had to go to the DMV so Children 1 & 2 went off to collect food for charity and Child 3 and I went to the DMV with The Dog because we don't want her to eat the maids. The Dog loves to ride in the car, but she barks a lot and keeps trying to climb in my lap because she must be with me every chance she can get. We got to the DMV and the line was really long. I mean really, really long and we waited an hour and thank goodness for modern electronics because I read my Kindle and Child 3 played Doodle Jump on my iPod which is fine because I hate that game and she rocks at it and it kept her occupied for the whole hour and 20 minutes we stood in line. And it was for nothing! We got to the front of the line, and they said we had to have the title that the state would mail to us, not the one from the dealer which is says nowhere on their website and I hate the DMV! And now I have to go back again after we get the real title. Ugh!

I've been sitting here staring at the computer screen for about an hour and can't think of anything else to write. I don't know if it's writer's block or just that I'm incredibly sad at facing another Sunday without Husband. Sundays are the worst. I hate them with a passion now because they, more than any other day, seem to stretch on into forever constantly reminding me of what I don't have any more. So let's get this over with so I can sleep in and be irresponsible tomorrow morning and pretend I don't care that Husband is in Afghanistan and I hate everything about it. This man in Sweden had a bunch of worse days than me because he is either the best, or the dumbest friend ever. He actually agreed to serve his friend's prison sentence and no one found out until after he was released on probation. The guy who was really convicted fled to Asia which leads me to believe that he was Chinese because this apparently is common in China and lots of people believe that Gu Kailai paid someone to attend her trial in her place. You can see the pictures in question below.

People in China were so riled up that searches for "Gu Kailai body double" were blocked. But back to the guy in Sweden, thank you, clueless friend, for reminding me to be grateful that none of my friends are criminals and I hope your "friend" paid you an awful lot of money. But then again, prison life in Sweden might just be better that whatever you had in China, so good for you for moving up in the world!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Bad Day 80--Really? Only 80? It feels like so much more.

80 bad days means only 285 more to go. That's how I would think if I were an optimist, but I'm not, so I'm thinking "80 Days! Seriously? We're only at 80?!!" Each day feels like an eternity, so I'm not sure how I'll survive to 365. I keep hoping that some miracle will happen and I won't have to. I had a small health scare a couple of months ago. It was nothing, but in the back of my mind I was secretly hoping it was cancer so that Husband would come home. That's right. Cancer is more appealing than this whole Afghanistan thing.

Tonight I'm missing China. Not the crowds, not the poison milk that make me sick, not the regular food poisoning or the broken ankles. What I really miss are the foot massages. For $15, you can have someone massage your shoulders and then your feet for an hour. It's sooooo relaxing. When I went back to China in June, I was only there for two weeks, but I got 5 foot massages. I miss them. There is nobody in America who will massage my feet for an hour. So because it's been a really long week and I'm tired and achy and can't get a foot massage, I decided to sit in bed and watch TV, but the really expensive TV that Husband bought for our anniversary 5 years ago is on its last legs, I think and instead of showing a picture, it is green. That's right. The green screen of death. It's a lovely color of green, rather like Kermit, but there is no picture and I can't see anything! So in addition to buying a car, I am now going to have to look for a TV which will may just cost more than the car I bought. Which tells you how cheap the car was, not that Child 1 is complaining because hey, it's a car and it runs and it has a radio, so what's not to like?

I know, you are thinking, who get's a TV for an anniversary present? A man, that's who, and a man who picked out his own present. I got a diamond anniversary band and he got a big screen TV, and guess which cost more? But to be fair, it was a buy one get one free deal so actually it was two TVs and I was happy to give them to him, or actually just to say hes he could buy them. Because you see, Husband, when I met him only watched PBS. Yep, he was that guy. His parents never had cable, and he didn't watch much TV growing up except PBS so he would come over to my apartment and we would curl up and watch nature programs and it. was. so. incredibly. boring! But I loved him, so I watched them. But after being married to me for years, he is now a TV convert and he misses it so much that he was thrilled to find out that he could access Hulu + in Afghanistan and it has changed his life. So you're welcome, Babe. What would your life be like without The Daily Show? And you owe it all to me!

Rob and Bobbi came through with another funny story. Apparently Rob's job requires him to troll the papers and he found this story about people jogging in Rock Creek Park who are having a worse day than me. Apparently, the owls in Rock Creek Park are on a rampage and are attacking joggers who are innocently running through the park and then suddenly an owl dive bombs them. Nobody knows why. So now, I am grateful that I don't jog anymore after breaking both of my ankles in China so that no owls will ever dive bomb me and I am going to stay very far away from that park.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bad Day 79--My children are from Mars

I went on strike again. I had a very long day at work sending e-mails begging people to give me a job. I know you're all dying to know where we're going next, but I assure you not as much as I am. I still don't know, but I hope to find out soon, which in Department time means sometime in the next year. I hate Department time. Anyway, I spent all day begging people to give me a job except for the part where I had to make a PowerPoint presentation on the history of my bureau AND make it sound interesting, which I was accomplishing until the fire drill and I had to evacuate the building after locking everything up. So it was that kind of day. And then I came home to find my children had been replaced by aliens.

Here is how I know they are aliens. I came home after a long, hot, tiring day to find that the dishes had not been done even though I had asked them two days in a row to do them. It was definitely my children who did not to the dishes. So instead of making dinner, I went upstairs and played on my computer and told them there would be no dinner until the dishes were done. And sometime in between not doing the dishes and me going on strike, the aliens arrived and took over my children because not only did they do the dishes without whining and complaining, they made dinner. Without my asking!

OK, I had to help a little because there was a tiny grilled-cheese sandwich disaster. But still, they planned the whole thing and it was very sweet and yummy because who doesn't love grilled cheese sandwiches with creamy tomato soup? So kind aliens, could you please keep taking over the children when it's time for chores? I'd like them normal when we go to the movies or are playing a game, but if you could keep them helping out in the kitchen, I promise I'll not only take you to my leader, I'll sing your praises.

Husband finally found a way to Skype again tonight. He is growing a beard. Child 2 not only doesn't approve, she insists that it be shaved before he comes home again. She mentions it every single time she sees him. You go Child 2! The beard is itchy. I'm not a fan. But this brings up the question, if Husband can grow a beard while he's away, what can I do that he never liked? I'd volunteer to stop shaving my leg,s but that's icky, and also hard to see over Skype and find annoying. So I'm open to suggestions. Most of the things that annoy him you can't see on Skype, like using the parking brake (which you are totally supposed to always do) and making corned beef and cabbage. So I'll have to consult with the aliens  children and come up with an appropriate plan. Stay tuned.

My friend Bobbi who lives surrounded by evil British fashion designers who are out to get me came through again with someone who is having a worse day than me. It is this woman who is a Cook County Illinois prosecutor. Apparently, she and her friend had too much to drink and caused a disturbance in an adult lingerie store. When the clerk objected, she showed him her badge, and then bit him. And then got arrested. This may have been a career ending mistake, because even if she keeps her job, every defense attorney will now use the line "bite me" against her and everyone in the courtroom will laugh. Hard to be very credible after that. So thank you, clueless prosecutor, for reminding me to keep my teeth to myself and to be grateful that I will never, ever be that drunk or that stupid.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bad Day 78--Not exactly black tie

Husband is in Kabul at a conference, but it's not like any conference I've ever heard of. He has to bring a sleeping bag because they will be sleeping on the floor. For those of you who think that diplomats only attend cocktail parties and always get fancy accommodations, here is proof that we don't. Sorry Husband. We didn't think to send the air mattress with you. I hope you get some sleep.

I am exhausted and in my normal zombie state because I stayed up late last night waiting for Husband to Skype, and of course he didn't because he was having too much fun partying with his friends in Kabul. See the problem with Afghanistan, OK one of the problems with Afghanistan besides that Husband has a lot of friends there is that it is 9 1/2 hours time difference from the East Coast. Yes, you read that right-- 9 1/2. 1/2! Seriously, why the 1/2? It's like they're saying we're not like Pakistan, so no to that time zone and we don't want to be confused with Iran, so we'll just pick something in between. So people of Afghanistan, one thing you could do for me besides not kill my husband is fix your time zone! It is always so hard to figure out what time it is and I am constantly opening the world clock because it's the only way to know for sure if I got it right. But apparently last night, it didn't matter because Husband was too busy chatting to notice how late it was getting here.

Babe, if you're reading this, I'm not waiting up late for you to Skype anymore. It's killing me and I mean that literally. I think this zombieism has taken a couple of years off my life.

I'm too sleepy to write much more, so I'll get right to the bad days.

These students in Kansas are having a worse day than me because apparently they don't like vegetables. See, new rules limit the amount of food kids get when they buy lunch and the children of Kansas are complaining that they are all hungry. So hungry that they should be given cake and fried chicken to eat.

So very funny, children of Kansas, but I'm on to you. You have a couple of options. First, the cafeteria will gladly give you extra helpings of vegetables and fruit so you won't be so hungry. And second, you can do what my very smart children do which is pack your own darn lunch! But kudos on the cute video.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Bad Day 77--This had better be worth it!

I am now the owner of an old Volvo. We finally got the right VIN and looked up the Carfax and everything looked good, so we bought the cheap car. It doesn't smell like fish and the salesman was very nice, didn't pressure us, and gave us a great price on it, so it's ours. And all it took to insure it was one phone call, and since it's a cheap car, the insurance really wasn't that much. So it's done! Everything except going to the DMV, but since we can go to the little office here in town, I have high hopes that it won't be like last time I went to the DMV which took around 5 hours over two different days and when I left, they told me I had a license, but actually I didn't and when I called from Korea to complain that they only sent me a copy of the license I already had which was expiring which was why I was trying to renew it in the first place, they canceled it! I hate the DMV. I actually had to invoke "why do I pay thousands of dollars in taxes to this state for nothing" and "I guess I'll just have to call my representative and let him know how you don't support state residents" before they agreed to give me back my license and renew it for the proper amount of time. Seriously hate the DMV.

But at least we have the car and now I don't have to be in two places at once, and I can send Child 1 on errands, which was the evil plan all along. Bwaahaaahaaaa! (That was an evil laugh.) Little does she know that this car comes with strings like buying groceries, taking her sisters to Girl Scouts, and dropping the dog off at the vet. But she can handle it because it also means she can go hang out with friends on the weekend and I don't have to drive her! So a good thing all in all.

Tonight, Artemis "kidnapped" Child 2 and Child 3 and fed them dinner and entertained them. They had a blast, and it allowed me to concentrate on the car purchase without worrying about cooking dinner when I got home. And she even said she wanted to do it again in a few weeks! Artemis is a saint, that's what she is and the children love her, so it's a win-win for me.

This Canadian father is having a worse day than me. See, he wrote a blog about how his older son is his favorite, and he wasn't joking! I can't imagine hurting your child that way. Even if you are a bad parent and have a favorite, at least pretend to be a good father and keep it to yourself!

Now, I want to go on the record and say that I love each of my children differently because they are each unique, but I love them all equally desperately more than life itself and I cannot imagine life without each one and every time they leave the house, I hold my breath a little bit because I am always a little terrified that something will take them away from me. I'm pretty sure I'm not going to handle the leaving the nest part at all well. Now, my lovely children--quit arguing about who is the favorite and go to bed. You are all my favorite children in the whole world and I am very lucky to be your mother. Will one of you please come hug me?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Bad Day 76--Too good to be true?

I was all set to buy a car today. We went to a dealer that we thought we could trust who found us a car in our price range which is pretty low. I know people who have purses that they spent more on than we want to on a car. We test drove it, wrote down the VIN so we could look it up, and were so ready to buy it tomorrow. And the VIN doesn't exist. It's wrong, even though we double checked it. So now, tomorrow, I get to call back the dealer and explain that we really don't want a stolen car, so please give us the right VIN and if we can't find it, we're not buying it. Why is buying a cheap car so hard? Put this on the list of things I'm mad at Husband for sticking me with. He was supposed to take care of this when he was home for three weeks doing I don't know what because I still bought the school supplies and painted the trim in the bathroom. Hmph!

I'm in hot water for yesterday's post about fashion. I am under strict orders to tell you that the hoodie in question is super cute, that no one told Child 2 not to wear her hoodie in the picture, and you can all read Child 1's own words in her comment on Bad Day 75. I will never be forgiven, ever, because I didn't say that she no longer dresses like a 4 year old. She also didn't appreciate my observation that nobody dresses like they did at age four or fashion would be a lot more pink. But apparently I have children who like to micromanage because they want me to write about them, but they want to have final say in what I write. Sorry children, that is the way with media. If you want to be famous, you can't have control over what the press says about you, or in this case, your mother. Seriously, do I ever write what you want me to?

This boy Ricky is having a worse day than me and it's breaking my heart. Bullying is a serious issue here in the US. I really hope that it's not wherever you are. The fact that children can be so mean without consequence is wrong. So in solidarity with Ricky, here is my show of support.

Thank you, Ricky, for reminding me that what is really important isn't what everyone thinks of us, it's who we are on the inside that matters, and who you are appears to be pretty courageous.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bad Day 75--Yes, she is wearing that!

So I have a houseful of fashionistas. I supposed it's not surprising given my obsession with fashion, myself. I am not a glamazon and I don't have enough money to be a real fashionista, but I do believe in dressing well and I like to look put-together. I'm not into the matchey-matchey look where shoes, and bag and outfit all are the same color, but I do love me a pretty shoe and my pewter commuter bag is beautiful and perfect for work. I hope it lasts forever.

But this attention to fashion has resulted in some children who have very strong opinions of their own. A week ago Friday when we went to the mall with Artemis, I allowed Child 3 to go into a store that I hate which caters to princesses and I told her she could buy one thing. She chose a black hoodie that is a little too, shall we say, urban chic for her sisters and they are always trying to hide the hoodie or convince her not to wear it, or when that inevitably fails, to make me force her to not wear it. To which I say "hoodie in a school picture" and "black leather pants."

See, Child 2 does not attend a school that requires uniforms, yet she wears one every day which consists of skinny jeans, a t-shirt with a slogan, converse, and a hoodie. She is so wedded to the hoodie that she wears one even when it's hot and she didn't even take it off for her school picture last year, so there she is, immortalized forever in her fake Abercrombie hoodie that we bought in China which I know is an intellectual property rights violation but because I hate everything Abercrombie stands for I don't feel guilty about sabotaging their bottom line one single bit, but still could Child 2 occasionally leave the house without it?

And then there is Child 1 who maybe I shouldn't have let watch Faith Hill videos with me at so young an age because when our Bishop asked her at age 4 what she wanted for Christmas, she looked up at him and in the sweetest little voice said "black leather pants." I suppose I only fed the beast by actually finding pleather size 4 pants which she wore until the knees wore out. She loved those pants. They did not look like this, which I think is the look she was going for but which I toned down considerably.

But my point is that my children all live in glass houses and should not be throwing stones. I could also mention the times they cut their own hair, if that would make them stop. So please stop, children. The world is so ready to take girls down a peg or two. Family should be the place where you put on the most hideously awful outfit and say how do I look and your sisters look at you and say beautiful and absolutely mean it. And then they don't steal your clothing when they leave for college, but that is another story. (Sister 1, you still owe me a brown corduroy skirt.)

On the good day front, my friend Genevieve had her baby today which was early but not too early and although her husband hasn't made it back from Armpit, China yet, they are that much closer to being together for good.

But this couple in Washington state are having a worse day than me. They stole a coin collection worth around $100,000 and then spent it at face value on pizza and movies, including a rare Liberty quarter worth up to $18,000 which they spent as a regular quarter. Does this look like a regular quarter to you?

So thank you, clueless couple, for reminding me that crime doesn't pay, especially in your case, and to be grateful for my very interesting if at times frustrating job that pays me enough so that I never have to steal.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Bad Day 74--Anybody want a dog?

Ohhhh, The Dog was in fine form today. So fine that she almost severed my finger. No, she didn't bite me. She hasn't bitten anyone--yet. But she did lunge at the maid while I was holding the leash and it's one of those retractable ones and my finger got caught and I have a really bad rope burn and it hurts a lot. I put about half a tube of Neosporin on it and I have a big bandage, but I'm afraid to use it much because it really hurts. And of course The Dog did not apologize and then she chewed through the leash so I had to buy a new one. Not her finest moment. Oh, and that was after she broke a stool and licked the carpet until it was sopping wet. Why on earth does she lick the carpet? Seriously, there are two unforgivable things Husband has done in our marriage: 1. Leaving for Afghanistan. 2. Leaving me with The Dog! Which I never wanted in the first place. Good thing she's cute or I wouldn't give her a million second chances.

I'm watching Julie & Julia which is one of my favorite movies. Julia Child was married to a Foreign Service Officer and she took up cooking because she wanted something to do while her husband was working and back then, women were not allowed to be in the Foreign Service if they were married. I know! So very unfair. Since Julia had a government job and had to give it up to get married. And your husband's yearly evaluation had your performance in it as a spouse. Like "Mrs. John Smith has not entertained as often as she might. Her last dinner party was woefully under attended and the food was late and dry." Yes, your husband's promotion could be at risk because you overcooked the roast. Husband wouldn't have to worry about my cooking on his evaluation, but I'm glad things have changed. I would hate wearing white gloves, although I must say that I look awesome in hats.

But I supposed that we should thank the Department of State for its previously sexist policy of firing women who got married, because then we might not have had Julia Child and her marvelous books and shows if she could have kept her job. From pain and difficulty can come greatness. Nora Ephron, who wrote the screenplay for Julie & Julia and whom I've mentioned is one of my idols, wrote her best book Heartburn after her husband Carl Bernstein fell in love with someone else and cheated on her. Husband thinks he should get credit for this blog, not that it's anything close to what Nora or Julia ever wrote, but he still thinks it's all due to him that I started it. That is true that his leaving for Afghanistan caused the pain that gave me the idea to start the blog, so Husband if you want to be considered in the same class with a sexist department or a cheating jerk, be my guest. :-)

All things considered, I would rather have never had a reason to write the blog, because then Husband wouldn't be in Afghanistan and I wouldn't watch the news every night holding my breath.

My friend "Betsy" in Taiwan told me about this woman in England  who is having a worse day than me. She got very drunk, took some kind of hallucinogen, and then stole a ferry boat and took it for a joy ride, all the while screaming to the police that she was Captain Jack Sparrow. This is her picture.


This is Captain Jack Sparrow's.

His hair is definitely better. And she's now in jail with probably the worst hangover ever. So thank you, pirate lady, for reminding me that ferry rides are for paying customers and to always check my makeup before taking a photo, even if it's only for a mug-shot.

Friday, September 21, 2012

"Bad Day 73--Never underestimate the power of a nap

Child 3 was sick again since her fever is back and she was mad, mad, mad! as you can see by her comments which she inexplicably left on Bad Day 62. So She stayed home from school and I stayed with her. When I realized I wasn't going in to work, I started listing all the things I could accomplish while I was home, like going to the grocery store before the evening rush, or folding all the laundry, or cleaning the kitchen. Because when you're gone for 10 hours out of every day, you fantasize about all the things you could accomplish instead of being at work.

So I thought about all those things and I prioritized them deciding that the laundry really needed the most attention, and then I did none of them. Not. A. Single. One! I had a blissful day of doing nothing. OK, I did throw in a load of laundry and I did make a trip to the grocery store when I went to pick up Child 1 and Child 2 from school and put gas in the car. We bought important things like cookies and soda. But really I spent a blissful day being irresponsible and it was the best day ever, in spite of the sick child. I took a nap! A really, really long one. And I talked with Husband on the phone for an entire hour by myself not having to pass the phone to anyone! And I feel so, so much better. Not even a tinge of purple. The laundry can be folder later (as soon as I finish blogging, probably because I discovered I can't sleep well surrounded by piles of laundry) and the kitchen will get cleaned when the maid service comes tomorrow, and I already paid all the bills on Wednesday, and I don't feel guilty about being irresponsible one bit, because I am probably the most responsible person I know and all that has done is make me stressed and depressed. So maybe slacking off is just what I needed, so I owe the total change in my mood all to Child 3 for being sick. Poor thing. But I think she's feeling better now anyway.

This evening, I went to dinner with a friend while Child 1 drove Child 2 to the high school football game. (Don't worry. Child 3 was fine by herself for the one hour in-between when they left and I arrived home. Please. I'm not that irresponsible.) My friend "Jill" and I served in China together and even once went to Bangkok and took a cooking class at the Blue Elephant together with our friend "Lana." It was one of the most fun things I have ever done, despite the fact that I was ill from the poisoned milk I drank in China and had to go to the hospital afterward. But that's another story.  Jill is also in the Foreign Service and is way braver than me so she is on her way back to China, and it was fun to catch up and talk about some the crazy things that go along with FSO life, like why on earth it is so hard to move every single time and what is up with the med unit giving the all clear to someone who is running a fever? Patch 'em up and move 'em out! But it was really nice to hang out with Jill and just be me and eat really delicious Mexican food.

This man at the Bronx Zoo is having a worse day than me, but that is because he is an idiot. I'm sorry, but you have to be really, really stupid or extremely drunk to think it is a good idea to jump off the monorail and into the tiger pit at the zoo. But that is what he did and of course the tigers got very excited at this unexpected snack and mauled him. Lucky for him, there were quick-thinking zookeepers around with fire extinguishers handy to fend of the tigers and rescue him. But thank you, tiger man, for reminding me how nice it is to go to the national zoo and look at the tigers from far away and never, ever be chased by them.

Now I have to go put away the laundry so I have somewhere to sleep if I ever go to sleep because now I'm thinking about being chased by tigers.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bad Day 72--Grrrrrrr!

I am purple again today. I just love Dr. Seuss. Purple is a much much better description for the way I'm feeling--it's deeper than blue and has just a tinge of red to color it which is perfect because I am terribly sad and yet still a little angry. I was having a fairly good day and hadn't cried at all and then someone asked me how Husband and I came to the decision that he should go to Afghanistan. So now I'm purple because if I had been making the decision, we all know that Husband would not be in Afghanistan. So Husband, if you're reading this, I'm too purple to chat tonight. I'm going to go to bed and watch bad TV until my eyeballs dry up and avoid the growing pile of laundry on my bed that I should be folding but I don't feel like folding. I can just sleep around it. Today would have been a really good day to gorge on chocolate, but since God hates me and made me allergic, the only vice I have left is TV. So I'm watching mindless entertainment, which is unfortunately very funny (Big Bang Theory) and is making me laugh. Sigh. I can't even do purple right tonight.

I realized that in my blog description that I said I'm a working mom, and that is true, but since all moms work, I really should have said that I was a working outside of the house and getting paid for it mom. I've done the mom thing both ways. When the kids were little, I was at home, and in that case, I was really at home because we only had one car and Husband used to car pool so he had to drive 2-3 times a week and that meant that I was really stuck at home. We had no money, and I mean no money. Once, when my friends wanted to meet at the McDonald's with a play land to go to lunch and let the kids play, I literally dug in the couch to find change to try to come up with $1.99 so Child 1 and I could share a Happy Meal. I would eat the cheeseburger and Child 1 would eat the fries. It was hard and awful and stressful and tiring. And I miss it. Because the thing you don't realize when you go to work is that you will never have another nap for the rest of your life.

This British soldier is having a worse day than me. Not only was she pregnant and didn't know it, she gave birth in Afghanistan. On an army base. That is constantly under attack. With no pediatrician, or ob-gyn, so definitely no epidural. But at least she gets to leave Afghanistan. So thank you, soldier, for reminding me how nice it was to give birth in a hospital with an epidural. (I love anesthesia.) And thank you for your service. I hope you have a lovely maternity leave.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bad Day 71--What do I do now?

I am in the house alone with The Dog. That hasn't happened to me in years--over 16 I think, but I can get used to it. The children all had activities tonight, but I didn't have to drive them! I love that Child 1 can and wants to drive. I had time to do the dishes, pay all the bills, and decipher the extremely complicated picture day forms for Child 1 and Child 2. Building a rocket ship couldn't be as complicated as figuring out this form. But the house is quiet, so I had time to do it without being interrupted by people who can't find the bread, or need a permission slip signed, or want their sister to stop looking at them. But now that everything is done, I don't have any chores left, so I'm blogging and going to bed early. I seriously could get used to this.

I must really miss Husband because I had Korean food for lunch on purpose. You should know that Husband is not of Korean descent, but he might as well be. He speaks fluent Korean. He even taught Korean for years. And nobody who is not Korean speaks fluent Korean because it is the hardest language in the world. I'm not exaggerating! Look it up. See? I so told you. So because Husband loves Korea so much, we keep moving there. I have lived in Korea three times since we've been married and for the first 10 years of our marriage, every time we went out to dinner, Husband would pick a Korean restaurant. Now, Korean food is delicious, but not if you have it all the time. And I mean all. the. time. Anniversary? Bulgogi. Promotion? Kalbi. Friends visiting from out of town? Japchae. So when it was my turn, I would choose steak, or Thai, or Italian, or anything but Korean because why pick Korean when the next time we went out guess what we were going to eat?

Even when we lived in China, we spent a lot of time looking for an authentic Korean restaurant, which they have in abundance and is totally ironic because guess what they do not have in Korea? Authentic Chinese. We were so desperate for real Chinese food that we asked the Chinese Embassy where they got good food and they said they all brought chefs with them from China. Bummer. But we just lived in Korea for our last post and we ate Korean food a lot, because that would be what they do best and why would I want to eat more Korean food now when we just had it every single day for two years?

Now, I have mentioned that they have these lovely things called food trucks that drive up to my office building and deliver delicious hot food of all types and it is the best modern invention. The Hawaiian truck is my favorite, but it doesn't come around very often. Monday I had Thai food. Today, I almost got a kebab, but I saw the Korean truck and I just couldn't help myself. I got chicken japchae and I ate it and I cried because I miss Husband and that is his favorite truck. I'm not sure why because the Hawaiian one is WAY better, but it's his taste buds. And it was delicious, and I totally thought of him with every bite. Husband says that he also cries and thinks of me when he eats in Afghanistan, but that is because the food at his base is really, really awful and he misses my cooking. (And maybe a little because he loves me? Feel free to chime in, Husband!)

This former submarine commander is having a worse day than me. He was discharged from the Navy for faking his death to avoid breaking up with his mistress. Not only did he cheat on his wife and lied about it, he was too cowardly to face the girlfriend and tell her it was over, so he set up a fake e-mail account and wrote her that he had died. Cowardice and lying are both very bad things and the Navy agrees with me because they fired him. So thank you, Mr. Ward, for reminding me to be grateful that I never have to break up with anyone ever again, and even when I did, I never faked my own death.

Door slam. Children are home. Blissful, peaceful interlude is over. Sigh.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bad Day 70--I'm not sure I'm ready for this

Child 1 passed her driver's exam today, so she now can officially drive without me. She couldn't be more thrilled and is now out driving around by herself and I think I'm having a heart attack. I just remember when she was little and she used to literally cling to my leg and had to be in the same room with me all the time--a lot like The Dog, actually, only way way cuter and less smelly. I have a lot of pictures of her looking up at me while bear-hugging my leg. I miss those days because I always knew where she was. I used to be terrified of SIDS, but teenagedom is a whole new kind of terror because I realize that I am completely not in control. Sorry friends with babies and toddlers. It doesn't get better when they get older, it only gets worse. My saving grace is that Child 1 is a very mature, responsible teenager so I know she'll be fine. I'm sure she'll be fine. She'll be fine, right? This is when it would be so , so nice to have the calm and relaxed parent here instead of in Afghanistan.

Husband used to always joke that he was going to volunteer for an unaccompanied tour when the girls were teenagers, but I didn't think he actually meant it. That was supposed to be a joke and I laughed when he would say it. I am so not laughing now and I will never, ever forgive him for making me responsible for buying the second car. Child 1 asks about the car every. single. day. Approximately 50 times a day, but I may be underestimating. Apparently driving the family minivan is way too much to ask and she needs a car now. Yesterday, in fact. This is not fun for me because I don't ever want to go car shopping again, not that the salesmen on Saturday weren't perfectly nice, but they were salesmen and I hate feeling pressure and my default is just to run away which makes it really hard to buy a car because you can't sign a contract while you're fleeing.

Child 3 is rebelling in her own special 9 year old way. She is disappearing every time I tell her to do a chore and I've already grounded her from TV and she still completely ignores me. I caught her tonight not doing her chores and sent her to bed and instead of going to bed, she went upstairs to watch the Disney Channel. I hate the Disney channel. Not only is it responsible for inflicting Mylie Cyrus on the public, it is the source of the worst kind of bad behavior--sassiness. Have you ever noticed that every adult on every show is stupid and incompetent and it's a running gag at how bad they are at everything so their 11 year old child has to step in and save them and then make fun of them? Once, just once, I would like to have a sensitive, wise, yet well-dressed Mom on one of those shows. But no, idiocy reigns supreme and I am certain that channel is the reason my child thinks it's OK to never listen to a thing I say. You've convinced me. I'm blocking it tomorrow. Now I have to go stop The Dog from licking the carpet.

This woman in Tacoma is having a worse day than me. She suspected something was up with her husband when facebook suggested she might know someone. Turns out the "someone" was her husband's second wife. The only problem was, he hadn't divorced her first. Today, he plead guilty to bigamy. So thank you, ex-Mrs. O'Neill, for reminding me to be grateful that Husband left his facebook open on the home computer when he left for Afghanistan and if he had a second wife on there, the children would have told me. They had a lot of fun scrolling through his friend list.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Bad Day 69--How many times do I have to tell you?

Three of us are sick--the three who never go to bed and never get any sleep. So Child 1 got sick first and then gave it to Child 3 and me. Thank goodness Child 3 is sick because then I don't have to feel guilty about using a sick day to stay home. My last boss was so evil and canceled my leave so often that I was paranoid that if I called in sick and I wasn't in the hospital with a terminal disease that she would make my life miserable when I returned. Once she came looking for me while I was in the restroom. When I returned and told her where I had been, she said "I guess you're allowed to do that." I still have a little PTSD leftover from that job, even though my current supervisor is amazing.

But anyway, I keep telling the children that if they don't get enough sleep then they will get sick. They never listen to me, but since I don't follow my own advice, then why should they? The difference is, though, that I cannot sleep whereas they will not sleep. I would totally go to sleep and stay there for hours if I were able, but I haven't slept since Child 1 was born and it is entirely her fault. I asked the nurses to take her to the nursery so I could sleep because I had been in labor for over 40 hours. Yes, you read that right--almost two days of labor. So they took her away and then brought her back an hour later and said she was hungry. Except she wasn't hungry, she lied. She was five minutes old and she was already lying to get what she wanted which was to stay up late and play and I haven't slept a wink since. I'm too scared.

Since I'm not feeling well, I'll get right to the bad days. This man in Kiribati had 106 worse days than me. He was finally rescued after being adrift at sea for over three months where he subsisted on rainwater and raw fish. My friend "Sparrow"  who was there in the Peace Corps says that this kind of thing happens a lot in Kiribati, which is rather sad because Kiribati looks like this.

If I lived on Kiribati, I might never leave at all because I am really not a big fan of sushi and I would hate eating it for 106 days in a row. So thank you, Mr. Teitoi, for reminding me to be grateful that I had chicken and ceasar salad for dinner and that if I ever go sailing near Kiribati, I will bring a satellite radio and GPS with me.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Bad Day 68--I moan. I drag my tail. I walk alone.

For those of you familiar with Dr. Seuss, today was a purple day. For those of you who don't know who Dr. Seuss is because you've been in a time capsule or outer space, or are completely unfamiliar with American children's literature--purple days are not good. But I learned a few things today--most importantly that I have awesome children, although I did already know that.

So last week, you may remember, Child 2 and Child 3 together decided to bake something for me as a surprise. It turned out to be peanut butter cookies, some of which were delicious, and some of which were rather black and inedible. However, the non-burned ones were quite yummy and they did a really good job, although not so much at cleaning up afterward. But still, it was very sweet of them, literally.

Today, because I was having a purple day, I spent most of it in bed. I had planned a yummy dinner which I had bought all the ingredients to make, but because I was purple, I just left it all in the fridge and took a nap instead. The children, realizing that dinner might be up to them, decided to make a party for me. Child 1 made a delicious home-made soup which was the perfect dinner for my migraine-induced nausea, and Children 2 and 3 decorated the kitchen with signs about how much they loved me and put flowers from the garden on my placemat and gave me a present which they found in the gift drawer. It was lovely and touching and a perfect reminder that I'm not in this alone. Whoever raised them did a darn good job. :-)

Then Sister 2 called and I chatted with her while I tried to make blonde brownies because I am allergic to chocolate and we are still trying to find a substitute for brownies which I am pretty sure we will never find because nothing is like a brownie. It was fun to talk to her even though I know she was only calling because she felt guilty. But I'll take it. I think I may have missed a step or two while chatting because the blondies turned out like goo. The looked lovely on the top, but they were positively goopey underneath. We ate them in bowls with spoons anyway, and they were pretty good with melted vanilla ice-cream on top. Sometimes a cooking failure is still edible. I made a breakfast casserole once that the children have named "breakfast glop" because once the potatoes had thawed before I started frying them and they were very mushy, but it was still delicious and we still call the casserole "glop." I don't know if we'll repeat this blondie recipe, though.

Bob-bob the cat is having a worse day than me. Apparently he didn't want his owner to go away without him, so he stowed away in the suitcase that was loaded onto the plane and arrived in Orlando pretty shaken. My favorite part about the story is that the baggage handler saw the bag moving, but loaded it anyway. I hope he has a more comfortable ride back. That is one loyal cat. If The Dog ever tried to stow away in my suitcase I would know, mostly because she is very loud, but also because when I opened the bag, all my shoes would be chewed to bits.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Bad Day 67--Seriously?!!

I'm sitting here in the nail salon enjoying a pedicure which is the only thing I have done purely for myself in months and it's lovely and relaxing until Child 3 calls me up to yell at me. This is the problem with modern technology--it it's now impossible to hide from your children. I suppose I could have turned off the phone, but then I would have nothing to play Angry Birds on while I'm waiting for the polish to dry.  There is this commercial on the radio every five minutes that brags about how they can turn your TV into a phone and your computer into a TV  and your phone into a remote which I think is a horrible idea because why on earth would you ever want to be accessible to everyone all the time wherever you are and also I would hate it if I were trying to text someone and accidentally started recording "Jersey Shore" instead which is totally what would happen if bought that service.

I should mention that Child 3 was yelling because she is grounded from TV and she is bored to death and she will positively absolutely die if she doesn't find something to do and can't I come home and entertain her. No, I cannot. I am trying to have my first hour of solitude and pampering since Husband left the first time for Afghanistan and it is now ruined. She is also angry because I left in the morning to take Child 2 to a fundraising car wash and then I went grocery shopping and then I took Child 1 car shopping and why does she have to stay home all the time and she is so booooored!

About the car shopping, I hate care shopping. Does anyone actually enjoy shopping for a car? I am a shopper by nature and I love a bargain hunt, but buying something as expensive as a car gives me heartburn and I would really rather have all my fingernails pulled off except that we really need a second car so that Child 1 can use it to drive her sisters around when she gets her license next week. So we are scouring the area for a car that is cheap, reliable, and doesn't smell like fish and isn't sold by some icky dealership that has an annoying actor in a cowboy hat trying to pretend he is a good ol' southern boy when really he is an actor from New Jersey. Or some disgusting schmoozy salesman who keeps pretending we are best friends. Wish me luck.

These two men in Colombia are having a worse day than me. They both swallowed a bunch of money wrapped in latex that amounted to over $80,000. They were caught when the arrived in Bogota, apparently looking very ill and were fed lots of laxatives. First, ick. Second, they are going to be charged with money laundering. It seems to me that what they did was pretty much the exact opposite of money "laundering" but that is what the authorities want to do. So thank you, money smugglers, for reminding me to be grateful that my money is in a bank and not in my stomach. I feel so bad for the poor policeman who had to wash that stuff off. Double ick.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bad Day 66--Bad Chinese food makes a family

A couple of people at work asked me how I manage this whole Afghanistan thing without any family in the area. My answer is that I do have family here; they are just not related to me by blood. My family whom I'm actually related to live far away. So far, in fact, that apparently phone calls, e-mails, and facebook posts can't reach me from the distant shores that they live on, or so I assume since I never hear from them. (Yes, sisters, I'm speaking to you. Also nieces, and nephews, and in-laws and assorted others. I'm not sure if I even have a brother any more because he never writes or calls even though I totally fought with his bank on his behalf over his car payment while he was at sea in the Navy. Just saying!)

Husband's parents have been great because they have visited twice since we moved to this far away place that is way closer than China, for sure, so I can't figure out why it's so hard to get to. And my parents get a pass because, well, my Dad has cancer so they can't actually travel. I wish we did live closer because then maybe some of the rest of our family could actually help instead of just reading my blog and thinking about me. (Feel guilty yet, family? Good!)

But I do have a family here that supports me and keeps me going. They are the family I have collected over the years and they are amazing. One of them, "Gabrielle," is truly a gift from God and was bequeathed to me by my own sister-in-law whose sister-in-law she actually is. Don't worry if that doesn't make sense. Just know that we moved to this little town because Gabrielle lives here and she was so worried about me after Husband left that she changed her morning jog to coincide with my morning dog-walking so that she could check up on me daily. I love her for that.

And I also have my Foreign Service family. We are not related by blood, either, but we are related by sweat, toil, boring training that you have to take every single year, ugly furnishings, terrible 4th of July parties in the rain that go on forever where you aren't allowed to eat the food, frustrating cable clearance processes, and shared cases of food poisoning because we all ate lunch at the same awful restaurant. We bond quickly because we all know that we'll only be in each place a short time, and yet, in each place we still manage to make friendships that will last a lifetime. And my FS family totally gets how hard the Afghanistan thing is because some of them have already done it and many of them will do it someday. They distract me with silly e-mails, post on my facebook page, and even leave weird comments on this blog (yes, I know it's you, Guido,) and I love them all for it.

My FS family received yet another blow today when we learned that an amazing colleague lost her battle with cancer. She was beautiful, and smart, and fun, and most importantly way too young to go. We started the FS together and none of us imagined that she would be taken from us so very soon. She is already deeply missed.

And finally, I have my Norwegian family to thank for today's bad day win. My friend "Thor" is definitely having a worse day than me. He was being environmentally conscious as people often are in Norway and dried his laundry outside. When he put on his socks this morning, he felt something painful. It was a very angry bee that had been stuck in the sock for a couple of days and stung him. Thankfully, he is not allergic, but his job does require him to be on his feet for long periods of time and that will not be fun on his bee-stung foot. So Thor, thank you for reminding me to be grateful that I don't have bees in my socks! And thank you for helping me smile at your pain on a day when I really, really needed it.

I'm now going to go to see a movie about fish with my sister Artemis who is related to me by a really bad boss and excellent Japanese food.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bad Day 65--I want to be a Hiro

I'm sitting in the high school parking lot trying to figure out how to split myself in two. Not literally because I know a god buzz saw would do it, but figuratively. You see, it's back to school night and I am supposed to go to my children's classes to meet their teachers. Simple, you're thinking, but then you haven't sen our back to school nights which are highly scheduled (down to the minute) and designed by people who have only one child and unlimited amounts of time. There are seven periods of 15 minutes each and I need to meet 14 teachers.

I told the children that whoever did the most chores, I wouldn't talk to any of her teachers. But this is unfair because Child 2 totally did the most chores and she actually wants me to meet her teachers. So I'm thinking 4 of hers and 3 of Child 1's. Or maybe I'll just skip the whole thing and hang out at Starbucks and pretend I actually went. They'll never know if you don't tell them.

These are the times when I miss husband the most because we could double team and then compare notes after. How was the band teacher? Crazy, but what is the history syllabus like? I suppose I could carry him around on Skype but that would eat up a lot of phone battery and ask my data and also would be no help at all. So if someone has one of those time turners from Harry Potter I could borrow, I'd appreciate it. Also, if I had one of those, I could take a nap. I miss taking naps. It's the best thing about having a baby--naptime!

But since I couldn't manage to stop time, I went to 3 of Child 1's classes and 4 of Child 2's and I think that was fair. What was supremely unfair is that I got blisters from all the running back and forth and I had forgotten how crowded high school hallways could be. Imagine this only with double the people because most of the kids had two parents there.

And the layout of the school makes it easy to go back and forth, right? Wrong! A 5 year old child with Legos would do a better job of designing a school. This one has rabbit warren corridors and hallways to nowhere. And I swear they move, just like in Harry Potter. All in all, not the most fun way to spend an evening, but rather instructive because every single teacher said they have homework every single night so now when I ask if they have homework and they say no, I will know for certain that they are lying. (I knew before, but now I have proof!)

The guy who used a BMW to break into an Apple store is having a worse day than me.

Temecula Apple Store burglary

First, he got two flat tires, second, he left his license plate at the scene, and third, he staged the break-in only a week before the iPhone 5 launch and now the phones aren't worth that much anyway. So thank you, clueless burglar, for reminding me to be grateful that I will never, ever be that dumb. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bad Day 64--The worst yet

Today was a bad day. I spent the morning reading traffic about the murders of my colleagues in Libya and listening to the Secretary and the President speak eloquently about their sacrifice. Then I spent a lot of time in my office crying. These deaths were very personal to me. Not because I knew any of them personally, although the Foreign Service is small and there were three people in my office who had worked with Chris Stevens, and one who played online games with Sean Smith. But the real reason is that if there are going to be widespread riots over this stupid film that an idiot in California made that no one in America ever saw, then you can bet that riots in Afghanistan will begin shortly. And that makes it so very personal to me.

I was feeling pretty down and ready to just give up on diplomacy altogether. I mean, why are we even trying if people don't want us there. And then I saw this picture.

There are some people in Libya who are genuinely distressed that their fellow countrymen killed an ambassador who really had the best interest of the Libyan people at heart. And maybe, in this case, some of them will be inspired to work together for change so that this kind of thing will become a faint memory. That is my hope and that is exactly why Husband went to Afghanistan.

So I'm sorry for not being funny today. I'll try again tomorrow.

Angela Palazzolo

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bad Day 63--I remember.

I'm sitting waiting for Child 1 to be done with one of her many activities, so I'm typing on my phone again. It's going rather slowly because the auto correct keeps guessing wrong. It just thought that "early" was  "deathly".  I'm a half hour deathly (appropriate, no?) because that is what happens when I am in charge of everything all by myself with no help which happened all the time even before Husband left for Afghanistan. At least we didn't miss the plane for Australia this time which we totally did once and really stunk. But now when the children say it was the worst day ever I say did you miss your flight to Sydney? Next year I will also say, oh when did your father leave for Afghanistan? But right now I can't use that because Husband is there and that does make every day a bad day.

Today had its ups and downs. I got about three hours of sleep last night so I'm in zombie mode again. But the Hawaiian food truck was there for lunch so I got to have a plate lunch and that makes any day better. For those of you unfamiliar with plate lunches, they are a Hawaiian staple and the best ones include roast pork, cabbage, and macaroni salad. I got hooked on them when Husband was stationed in Honolulu for a month and we tagged along for the best month of my life. Ever. There were only two children then and one of them didn't talk but she could say "cheese" by the time we left because every Japanese girl on Oahu took a photo of her. I took a leave of absence from my job and my only responsibilities were applying sunscreen and deciding between the beach and the pool--exactly the opposite of now. No wonder I'm so stressed because my life is nothing like a beach.

Today, lots of people are having a worse day than me because they are remembering the worst day in our recent memory. It was the day that changed everything and is the reason Husband is in Afghanistan while it is a war zone. I remember where I was when I heard the news. Husband called me from Tokyo which was a good thing because I then spent the rest of the day telling everyone we knew when they all called that no he wasn't working at the Pentagon any more even though he had been working there the previous month. So today I am grateful that he is in Afghanistan because it means he was safe on 9/11/2001. My thoughts and prayers tonight are with the families and loved ones of those who weren't.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Bad Day 62--I'm Having A Bad, Bad Day

Today was not a good day and the longer I think about it, the worse I feel. I had to drive the high school carpool this morning, which leaves at 5:40am. No, that was not a typo. I asked for help because we only need to be in it for about 2 weeks until Child 1 can get her license, but instead of helping, they said I should drive the first week. So, now, in addition to being stressed and not getting enough sleep, I am annoyed and angry. I decided that we should do some math so that people can see just exactly why I say I have no time. So here are the things that I do on a daily basis with a very conservative estimate of how much time each one takes.

Work:  9 hours (This is how long I'm at the office on a good day, which hardly ever happens.)
Commuting: 2 hours (Again, on a good day when everything goes right it's an hour each way.)
Shower, breakfast, etc.: 45 minutes
Walking The Dog: 30 minutes
Dishes/cleaning the kitchen: 90 minutes
Laundry: 2 hours (for one load including folding and putting away)
Homework: 4 1/2 hours (90 minutes for each child and that again is on a good day not including projects.)
Cooking and eating dinner: 1 hour

So the things I have to do take 21 hours and 15 minutes each day. That leaves me with 3 hours and 45 minutes to do things like drive the carpool (30 minutes), help with school projects (these pop up a couple of times a month and take at least 5-6 hours each, grocery shop (about 3 hours a week), prepare my weekly Sunday School lesson (2-3 hours a week) and the list goes on and on and on.

Notice the things on my list that are missing? Sleep (what's that?) Exercise (you're kidding, right?) Reading (my favorite hobby which I only get to do while commuting or eating lunch.) Husband told me before he left that I should find some time to do something for myself. Ha! I didn't have any time for myself last year and he was home! The only thing I get to do that is completely for myself each day is this blog and it takes about 30 minutes and sometimes, I ignore the laundry so I can write it.

Now, I know some of you extremely well-meaning and clueless people are going to suggest that I have the children do some of the daily chores. But if that is the first thought that comes to your mind then you do not have children. Because if you did, you would remember that making the children do chores does not save time because everything takes at least 10 times as long and then you have to have to fix what they helped with. Words that strike fear into every mother's heart? "Look, Mommy! I'm helping!" For example, tonight I am on strike. People were supposed to do dishes and clean the kitchen counters when they came home and I got home 30 minutes late and nothing was done so I said I would only cook dinner when there was a clean space for me to cook on and we'll be eating dinner around midnight with the pace they are going. How is it possible to take 30 minutes to put away two plates a cup and a fork? Correction--we might be eating dinner for breakfast tomorrow the way things are going.

And if you think this gets better when you have teenagers, then you have forgotten what teenagers are like. They will mess things up on purpose so that you won't ask them to do it again. You know that is what they are doing, and yet because you don't want all your white T-shirts to turn gray, you just give in and do the laundry yourself because they swear there is no difference in the way you do the laundry and they way they do it, but then why are the T-shirts always icky gray when they do it? Even Husband told me that he really isn't that bad of a packer, but he likes it better when I do it for him, which is why he was throwing his hiking boots in on top of his dress shirts so I would shriek and take over. I knew I was being played.

So all you well-meaning people who are just dying to comment on this post, know that all your helpful suggestions will be deleted unless they involve coming over to my house and doing my laundry yourself. And I expect my T-shirts to be sparkling white when you are finished.

People in Kent, Washington are having a worse day than me. The were just minding their business, getting kids ready for school, when wham! A landing gear door (the size of a refrigerator) from a cargo plane landed on their street.

And according to the article, this kind of thing is not that uncommon! So thank you, people of Kent, for reminding me to be grateful that I'm not getting hit by falling aircraft parts every time I walk out the door. I sooo wanted to have something else to worry about today.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Bad Day 61--So not a good day

I have mentioned that I cry a lot lately. I mean a lot. I would like to not burst into tears every time anyone asks me how I am, but apparently this is not in my near future. So all you well meaning people, stop asking how I am unless you really, really want to know because I am incapable of giving you the answer you want (fine!, and how are you?) and I will start sobbing right in front of you because I. am. not. fine! My husband is in Afghanistan. How did you think I was doing?

Oh, and also, well-meaning people who really are clueless, the fact that my husband is not here does not mean I have extra time on my hands waiting for you to fill with a project or two. It means I have less time. Much less time because I am only one parent filling the role of two and by the way, their father is in Afghanistan, so there is a lot of hand holding I need to do.

So, based on the above, you can tell how my day went. But a couple of good things happened in spite of all the well-meaning people determined to ruin my day. First the electricity finally came on. It came on briefly at 12:00 for just long enough to fry my alarm clock which now no longer works. Then it went off again, but it came back on at 5:45 for what we hope is for good. Yes, I know the pioneers had no electricity and no cars and walked across the United States with no shoes (stupid well-meaning people again) but in case you hadn't noticed, I am not a pioneer and have been raised with things like electricity and listen, if you plunked a pioneer down in my life, they would have no idea how to fix the internet connection when it goes down, or to drive the kids around in my car, or to turn on the stove for that matter, so please! Stop saying I'm a wimp because I enjoy electricity. Does this woman look particularly happy to you? I bet she would have loved to have an electric oven that doesn't use buffalo chips for fuel which had to have been the worst way to cook food ever. Enjoying not cooking food by burning dung is not wimpy, it's normal.

So once it came back on and I could check e-mail, I had one from my friend "Cate" that was really nice and offered us the use of her camera, which was both thoughtful and helpful, but unnecessary because I actually found the camera in a place Husband never told me to look. But I loved the e-mail because she neither gave me advice nor chastised me for not writing her which I should have done a long time ago. That is a good friend.

And lastly, the children (perhaps appalled that I started sobbing again during dinner) have been extremely sweet. Child 1 fixed the garage door which wouldn't work after the power outage, and Child 2 and Child 3 are downstairs baking something by themselves which doesn't involve chocolate because they want to surprise me. I'm a little frightened because they keep asking me things like how do you preheat the oven, and what is shortening, and can you use butter instead of margarine (yes, you can and should). So we'll see. But however it tastes, I'm sure it will make me cry.

This man in Idaho is having a worse day than me. In an effort to save a little money, he thought that buying crystal meth in bulk was a great idea and tried to get his friends to go in on a large purchase with him. The problem is, he actually sent a text to a narcotics officer who promptly set up a meet and then arrested him. So thank you, clueless Idahoan. I'm sorry you're in jail, but I'm really glad that I have never been dumb enough to take drugs, let alone text a police officer about my intent.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Bad day 60?--who knows?

I think we're on day 60 but I can't tell because we have no electricity. The power went out again this afternoon and I'm blogging on my phone. We escaped to the mall way out in the suburbs where Child 1 bought an entire store but she deserved it because I made her drive and it was very far and I didn't scream once or step on an imaginary brake. And we were gone for hours and when we came back the power was still not on. But at least it isn't 105 degrees like in July.

Genevieve is having a worse day than me because her power is out too and she didn't escape to the mall.
Husband, if you read this, call my cell because we have no phone and no internet and that means skype is out. Grrrr.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Bad Day 59--Mmmm, brownies!

So "Genevieve" and her kids came over for dinner and she brought brownies. I know, you are thinking, what kind of friend brings brownies to a house where someone is allergic to chocolate? But it was actually very sweet because not only can't she eat them (gestational diabetes, remember?) but she also knows that my kids love brownies and haven't had any for a very long time. Plus, they were warm and I got to smell them and that was lovely. I miss the smell of warm brownies, and just smelling them made me feel a little better. Kind of like how it makes me feel a little better when I can Skype Husband. I wish Skype had smell because I miss the way he smells. (Don't judge. You see how you cope when the love of your life is in a war zone.)

The heavy duty sleep drug worked last night but then I was sort of a zombie the whole day. It felt like everything took twice as long to do and then I would forget what I was doing in the middle and I would have to start over. Not so good when you're trying to write and you can't remember how to finish the sentence. So no more sleep meds. Unless I'm really, really, really tired and can't sleep and I need them. Like maybe tonight. What was I talking about again?

The Dog was in fine form again protecting me from Genevieve's baby boy. We kept them apart, but The Dog scratched up my door and stripped most of the paint from it in a couple of spots. Luckily, I have lots of trim paint leftover from painting the bathroom on Monday. So now I know what my next holiday project is. Just exactly why I wanted a dog so much in the first place because I really don't have enough to do.

Speaking of things to do, Child 1 is taking a photography class and needs a camera. This would normally be a very easy thing to remedy because we have around 5 digital cameras hanging around the house. But unfortunately, she needs a 35mm that uses film. You know, that stuff that you used to have to load in the camera and you would always get it wrong and then the pictures would be over exposed or off center or turn out weird and where on earth are we supposed to buy film, let alone a camera that uses it? There is a film camera somewhere in the house, but the problem is it used to belong to Husband, and he is the only one who has seen it recently and of course he is in Afghanistan and is no help at all because everywhere he said to look the camera isn't. The box Husband said it was in has the user guide, but no camera unless it has a Romulan cloaking device and is invisible. (Star Trek reference for people who are scifi deprived.) So now, in addition to doing the grocery shopping and taking Child 1 to her activities and recycling the batteries and possible taking the old broken Ikea dresser to the dump, I also get to tear apart the house looking for a camera that just might not exist anymore. Joy!

Kenneth Smith, Jr. is having a worse day than me.


His girlfriend's ex-boyfriend posted a picture of her on facebook that made Ken so mad that he called in a bomb threat on the flight the ex was on (blaming the ex) and it was diverted to Philadelphia and the ex was led off in handcuffs, but then the real story came out and Ken is in a LOT of trouble. So thank you, Ken Jr., for reminding me to be grateful that not only am I too old to have any compromising pictures on facebook, there aren't any compromising pictures of me to begin with. And also, I am not stupid enough to call in a fake bomb threat. Good luck with life, Ken. You're going to need it.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bad Day 58--I'm going to start the Zombie Apocalypse

I. am. so. tired! I've got to get some sleep. Husband has been gone for three whole days and I think I've had a total of 5 hours of sleep altogether. It's going to kill me. So tonight I am taking the heavy duty stuff. If you see me driving in my sleep, flag me down and make me pull over before I drive into the ocean because I'm sure I'll be on my way to Afghanistan to pick up Husband.

But I can't go to sleep yet because the children still have homework and I need to help them. Homework, I'm convinced, is the school's evil plan to ensure that I never ever have a life until the children graduate from college. So call me in about 15 years if you want to go have dinner. Tonight was Back to School night at the middle school and they told us that not only will the kids have homework every single night, they will have 1 1/2 hours of it. I suppose this is a step up from when we lived in China and Child 1 was in 5th grade and was doing 4 hours of homework every night so we told the school it was killing us and we couldn't afford a tutor and they said nope, that was an appropriate level and we hated that school.

I am so sleepy that when the staff assistant to a VIP called me this morning, I said "which office are you from?" She got a little testy, but to be fair, I am the Uest of VUPs and nobody important ever calls me. My phone rang 4 times to day and 3 times it was Husband or the children. So why would I ever expect a VIP to need something from me?

Today, two very little girls in France are having a worse day than me. I can't imagine anything worse than watching your whole family slaughtered in front of you. So please send prayers and good thoughts their way, especially for the sister who was shot three times.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Bad Day 57--Wow! 180 Degree turn just like that!

I was all set to write about what a terrible day I was having. I had composed the post and everything in my head, and then Child 1 did something amazing and I am so very proud of her for it, so it turned out to be a good day after all.

Here is why it started out badly--I was late to work. Not just not early, nor just on time, but actually late by 10 minutes which really made me mad because I left early. The problem is that Husband is a cheapskate frugal and convinced me that taking the bus is a good way to get to the metro because it saves money and is convenient. That might have been true before, but Metro changed its schedule and I found out today that I either have to leave the house at 6:50 in the morning to get to work by 8:15, or I can leave at 7:05 and wait for the bus outside for 20 minutes while it never comes and my hair gets all sweaty and arrive 10 minutes late and get rained on because I forgot my umbrella. So sorry, Husband, I'm just not the kind of girl who can live with sweaty hair and being late, so I choose option 3 which is drive to the metro and park. This would be option 4 if I had a magic carpetbag.

Then, when I got to work, I had a million e-mails to go through (OK that may be an exaggeration. Maybe only 500,000.) and only two were from Husband, but at least now I know he arrived safely in Dubai. And then I had a meeting with my Bureau and they told me that pretty much my favorite options for bidding were not going to work out and I should consider working outside the bureau which is what I'm already doing and I'm afraid is their way of saying "don't call us, we'll call you" or "we're going in a different direction" or "what makes you think we're ever going to give you a job?" Which is why I so hate bidding.

And then I only had 30 minutes for lunch, and I got a blister from running around our HUGE building looking for people who were in the wrong place, and then I was late coming home because an Ambassador wanted to chat and you can't turn down an Ambassador, plus he is really nice and maybe he can get me a job someday. And then I didn't have time to cook dinner and I ordered Chinese and was just going to have barely enough time to gobble a few bites before taking Child 3 to her activity but then two good things happened.

Thing 1: my friend who lives down the street and is also a single parent called to ask could we carpool to the activity so we would both only have to drive one way. Yes! Brilliant idea! Thank you, thank you. I got to eat, and chat with Child 1 and Child 2 and then make my way to the activity to pick up Child 3 and her friend and bring them home. So much better than doing it on my own.

Thing 2: Child 1 stood up for her beliefs in a very mature yet very public way and showed the world that she is a kind and loving person. And I am so proud of her because I'm sure there are many people who disagree with her position, yet she was courageous enough to do it and without any prompting from me. She is awesome in every way and so much braver than I was at her age. Her parents rock! Oh, wait. . . that sounds a little self-centered. How about she is so being raised right? Or maybe, I'd like to congratulate her parents! :-) (Child 1, you know I'm just kidding. You would be awesome even without me for a mother.)

Today, this law student in North Carolina is having a worse day than me.

A Honda Prelude fell into a sinkhole in North Carolina. (ABC News)

He was on his way to get pizza when his car was swallowed by a giant sink hole. He was unharmed, but his car is probably totaled. So thank you, Duke Law Student, for reminding me to be grateful that the earth has never opened up and swallowed my car whole, and that I have good insurance if it does.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Bad Day 56--Goodbye again

Husband left to go back to Afghanistan, and I packed for him again. Honestly, for someone who travels as much as he does, how on earth has he not learned how to pack? I managed to fit in the extra cargo pants and shirts we bought, along with the 100% cotton barn jacket. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a warm jacket not made of fleece or polyester? But we did and he took it with him because I figured out how to fold it so it fit in his luggage.

This time wasn't as hard as the last time. Maybe we're getting used to it, or maybe we're all just in denial. It was an amazing visit and it wasn't tense at all. At the beginning, when he came home, Child 1 asked God in her prayer to make it seem like he was home forever, and I think it worked because he was here for almost three weeks, but it felt like it was longer--in a good way, not in a bad way.

Today was also the first day of school, which was just awesome timing that Husband had to leave today, but at least the girls were distracted for a little bit. Now we just have to deal with all the paper and schedule changes and lunch cards and bus stops and back to school nights and everything that goes with the beginning of the school year. Our schools are incredibly organized and kindly sent out packets of material three weeks ago which I promptly lost. Thankfully, I didn't throw them away, and I've found them, along with a big note that says they were supposed to be signed and returned with the students today. Oh well. Child 2 said, "I can just play the distracted parent because my Dad is in Afghanistan card." Oh she knows me so well. But I fear that even if Husband weren't in Afghanistan, I still may have dropped the ball because I am generally disorganized and distracted but now I am also emotional on top of that, so maybe it's OK to blame Afghanistan after all. But I just looked through the packets and there are like 800 pages of forms in there! Aggravating.

And the eyeglasses that Husband ordered for Child 2 and Child 3 came in today so after we went to fill the 6'2" hole that Husband left behind with Arby's sandwiches and curly fries (there is not enough food in the world to fill it, but sometimes it helps temporarily,) we picked them up and they are awesome. They totally make up for the baby blue fake Mickey Mouse ones that he got the last time he went alone to get glasses for the children. Child 2 has super cool blue iridescent oblong glasses, and Child 3 has pink rectangular Ray Bans.  Child 3 is convinced that they make her look super smart, and is planning lots of outfits to go with them.

Today, Kelly Rutherford  from "Gossip Girl" is having a worse day than me and I feel really terrible for her. No, truly, I do. A judge in California incomprehensibly is sending her children to France because her ex-husband got deported and that is where he lives now. Never mind that the children have never lived in France and Kelly has no basis for a resident visa and child custody laws generally tend to rule in favor of the child's habitual home, which in this case is California. It's a horrible, horrible decision and I hope that someone remedies it soon. So Kelly, thank you for reminding me to be grateful that my own children are safe and sound at home with me.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Bad Day 55--We're not over it because it's not over.

Today we decided to celebrate Labor Day by doing actual manual labor. Yes. Today we painted the trim in the bathroom. Nothing like leaving things to the last minute, Husband! But since this is his normal pattern of behavior, I wasn't surprised that he put off painting until the day before he returns to Afghanistan. I did not do as much painting as I anticipated I would have to, mostly because I woke up at 5am with a full-blown migraine and I discovered that migraine medicine and paint fumes are not a good combination and it made me very sick. So I took a nap upstairs away from the paint while Husband and Child 1 diligently finished the trim. I know you are thinking that it was very convenient to have a migraine, but that would only be because you have never had anything close to one. If you have ever had a migraine, you know that there is nothing convenient about gremlins setting off firecrackers behind your right eyebrow, because that is what it feels like every time you move. And then there is the nausea to deal with. It's like the worst kind of morning sickness where you can barely move, only shorter and there is no baby at the end.

I did manage to live through the family picture taking and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be but then I haven't seen the pictures yet. I wore the blue shirt that makes me look slimmer and my new black jeans that are a size smaller than I used to wear. But it was hot and sticky and I was sweating so I'm sure my hair will look fabulous because sweaty is such a good look and maybe the photographer can photo shop a burka onto me.

We played our favorite game of Scribblish again where the Starship Enterprise turns into fried eggs. This time I turned a soccer ball into cheese and crackers. I think the problem isn't that I'm terrible at drawing, it's that I'm terrible at drawing under pressure. So it's clearly not my fault that I stink at this game. But it does make for lots of giggles. Child 3 announced during the game that she was over Afghanistan. I mean, she said, it's just Dad's job. It's what he does. Then later in the evening, she came and sat in my lap and cried and said maybe she wasn't over it after all. It's breaking my heart to see them so sad and there is nothing I can do to comfort them. Except draw badly, so I think I'll keep doing that.

This woman in Oregon is having a worse day than me. She was busted for driving in the HOV lane with a teddy bear. For those of you who aren't aware, HOV lanes are only for drivers of High Occupancy Vehicles, meaning that you need to have at least one passenger. And as much as I'm sure she loved her teddy and however real he may have been to her, a teddy bear is not a person.

Woman gets busted for HOV lane stunt

So thank you, clueless girl in Oregon, for reminding me again that honesty can save you a $260 ticket and for reminding me to be grateful that I have never underestimated the intelligence of state troopers.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Bad Day 54--Be careful what you wish for

Tomorrow is family picture day and I am a little panicked. Mostly because I absolutely positively hate pictures and also I have nothing to wear. Child 3 is willing to solve this problem for me by picking out my clothes for me, but that could be a little dangerous unless I want to look like 80s fashion Barbie. I am a firm believer in the fashion rule that if you wore the trend the first time around, you shouldn't have to wear it the next time. So no neon for me, thank you. Also, I'm happy to leave the rainbow shoelaces to the children. I have managed to find lovely navy blue clothing for the rest of the family that coordinates very nicely, but I can't decide on my own outfit. I'm leaning toward a bag. To put over my head. Sometimes, I think a burka might not be such a bad idea. Then our family picture could look like this.

We had lasagna for dinner because it is Husband's favorite and it was his last Sunday dinner. We all had fun mocking Child 2 for not liking lasagna. It turns out that she does like lasagna, just not homemade. She likes the kind that is frozen in a box. Can someone please come do a DNA test to see if she is really my child? She looks exactly like Husband, and I was there when I gave birth to her so I'm pretty sure I'm the mother, but how can she be my daughter if she likes frozen lasagna better than my fabulous homemade four cheese version?

Then, in the middle of dinner Child 3 announced that she would like to try being vegetarian for a week. Not vegan, because she likes milk and cheese too much, just vegetarian. She thinks this would help her lose weight. But she is not even an ounce overweight, so we don't know where this is coming from. But she is adamant that wants to try it, so I will support her. Child 1 thinks it's a horrible idea and vowed that she will never ever give up meat, which is a good thing because sometimes it is all she eats. Child 1, if you remember, is a picky eater and hates all good things like mangoes, nuts, and tomatoes. She announced that when we move to our next home, she is going to tell everyone she is allergic to tomatoes and nuts. I told her that is only a good idea if she never wants to eat pizza or spaghetti again, because if you are allergic to fresh tomatoes, you are also allergic to the cooked ones and that includes pasta sauce. She said she would think about it.

Then all three of them proceeded to hate on the delicious pecan pie we had for dessert. Child 1: the nuts are too dry and the pie is all mushy. (Sigh, where do I begin?) Child 3: I hate almonds. (So what? There are no almonds in this pie!) Child 2: It's pronounced "PEE-can." (No it's not! It's puh-CAWN as every good Texan knows and again, are you related to me?)

But even with the bickering, two good things happened spontaneously. Child 1 told Child 2 she could sit next to her on the school bus. (Heart. Is. Melting.) And then Child 1 and Child 3 were torturing each other with the massager. That sounds mean, but they were giggling uncontrollably so really it was a bonding thing. I hope.

Jonah Lehrer is having a worse day than me. He was recently fired from for plagiarism. I have always abhorred cheating, so I'm not sad that he is paying the price for stealing from other people, and sometimes just making things up and passing it off as his own work. So thank you, Jonah, for reminding me that integrity can be its own reward. So in the interest of full disclosure, I will fully admit that I loved Erma Bombek and read all of her books when I was younger, and that Norah Ephron is my favorite writer of all and if any of my writing sounds similar to theirs, it is merely because I aspire to be like them, and not because I have stolen stories. Plus, neither of their husbands ever left them to live in Afghanistan.