Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Bad Day 113--Happy Halloween!

Child 1 is mad, really mad. Slamming doors mad. Stomping around the house mad. For once, I am not the object of her wrath--the healthcare system is. You see, I went to the specialist today to find out what is wrong with me. I really am losing weight because I can't eat anything but oatmeal and mashed potatoes. I've lost 8 pounds in a week and a half which I'm not sad about but is a little worrisome since I have been trying to lose weight for several decades now and I didn't go on the oatmeal diet on purpose. So the doctor asked me lots of questions and got very worried when I told her about the weight-loss and had me schedule some more tests--for December. And not the beginning of December either--this test date is much much closer to Christmas than I would like although if Husband manages to come home for Christmas, this will be payback for the time he scheduled Lasik on Christmas Eve and then was in bed until after New Year's. He still owes me big for that one, not including the bevvy of holidays he is missing this year.

Anyway, I think Child 1 is tired of me being sick because she is very, very angry that I couldn't get a test before December and she stomped off and slammed the door. She rather has a point. If I continue losing weight at this rate, by the time my examination date in December rolls around, I will weigh less than I did when I was in elementary school, and I wasn't that chubby back then and I was a lot shorter. And besides not being thrilled to think I have to feel this way for two more months, if I lose that much weight, it is going to cost me a small fortune in alterations because I don't know how to use office supplies to take in pants. Maybe staples?

The children are back from trick or treating and we have a LOT of candy left. It helps that I'm still buying like we live in Korea where Halloween was an excuse for everyone who knew an American to dump off their kids on the base and get candy, even if they can't say "trick or treat" in English and didn't bother with a costume. So we have enough chocolate to last Child 1 for a good long time, which I suppose was the goal all along since I told her she's too old to go trick or treating.

This former congressional campaign manager is having a worse day than me. He decided during the worst part of Hurricane Sandy to get on twitter and spread false rumors about the damage, I guess as a "joke." Ha, ha 'cause the joke's on him and he lost his job when people found out who he was, which they always do. So thank you, Mr. Clueless Idiot, for reminding me to be grateful that I only tweet poetry and that I'm not stupid enough to make fun of a devastating hurricane. Good luck finding a new job in politics, until someone realizes what a good liar you are and remembers how good that is for politicians. Sigh. I hate politics.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bad Day 112--Happy Birthday!

Child 3 is having a birthday and is celebrating by being rude to political pollsters and hanging up on them. That's my girl! We survived Frankenstorm Sandy with nary a scratch and didn't even lose power. But just in case, Child 3 insisted that we buy her a pre-made birthday cake last week so that we would have something to celebrate with if the power was out. And I have to say that was a good idea because I am feeling better, but still not well enough to bake. Now if I can only remember where I put the candles, and the card, and most of the gifts. . . .

Work is back open and school is on tomorrow, so we will thankfully pick up our lives where they left off last week, feeling really grateful that we don't live in Hoboken or Point Pleasant because they look like this:

I'm too tired to write more. So I'll just get who is having a worse day than me and today that would be the people who went to dinner at this woman's house.

She is on a new TLC show called "extreme cheapskates" and she threw a dinner party and fed her guests on food she found by dumpster diving. Oh, and she's a millionaire. So thank you, Ms. Cheapskate, for reminding me to be grateful that I have never knowingly eaten food out of a dumpster, and I would never, ever feed that to guests. I wouldn't even feed them lasagna out of a box.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Bad Day 111--I thought there was supposed to be calm before a storm!

Sandy is approaching and things are getting tense around here--not because I fear the storm, but because yet again, the children are not listening to me and are not doing their homework which I am determined to have them finish before the power goes out because, darn it, they had all weekend and now it's Monday and couldn't they please just get. it. done! I have a feeling that teachers will not at all be sympathetic when they finally arrive back at school having had a long weekend to finish before the power went out. But I could be wrong. I suppose a miracle could happen and their entire school could blow away, but that is pretty unlikely since this is a hurricane and their school is on top of a hill, not on the beach or in a flood plain. Once, in Texas, a tornado blew the temporary buildings where all of the English classes were held into the house across the street. We were all thrilled (except for the owner of a house who must not have been happy to have trailers dumped on his home) because everyone thought it meant the slate was wiped clean, until someone, probably the principal  told us that teachers take their grade books home with them and since the tornado was overnight, the grades were all safe. But still, we got to have English in the gym for a while.

But having learned from the great Derecho last July, this time we are prepared and I am writing early to make sure none of you are disappointed by my inability to post with no power. The freezers are both full of ice to help keep the food cold longer. The laundry is done. We have lots of soup to heat up on the gas cook-top which we can use when the power is out, and my Kindle Fire is loaded up with reading material and is fully charged. We have gas in the car and lots of phone chargers, so I'll be able to check e-mail to see if there is school or work because I realized last night that all of the emergency notification systems assume that you have electricity! Not, perhaps, the best plan if your cordless phones don't work when the power is out and you can't check e-mail. Thank goodness for smart phones because I would hate to get ready for work tomorrow and get there to find out there isn't any.

Everyone in a boat off the Atlantic coast of the US is having a worse day than me. The HMS Bounty sunk off North Carolina and two crew are still missing.

A Disney cruise ship pitched so violently that the pool spilled over and all the guests were sick. Never fear, though, the Disney company nicely offered them all 25% off of their next cruise, wisely assuming that many of them will be so unhappy that they will never cruise again and Disney won't have to make good on the discount. So thank you, cruise passengers, for making me grateful that although I am sick to my stomach, I am not at the mercy of an evil corporation and when I go to sleep in my nice comfortable bed, it will be blissfully, and restfully perfectly still, not pitching around the Atlantic like some horrible ride at Disney World such as that big ship thing that goes up and down like a huge swing which I will never go on.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bad Day 110--You can't hide

Sandy is my new best friend.

Now, I don't love hurricanes and I don't really like violent storms at all having grown up in Texas and being so scared I slept in the bathtub with my Dad's shooting earphones on to drown out the thunder. But I have to say I'm really grateful to Sandy for closing the federal government tomorrow so that I don't have to use another sick day to stay home. I used 4 last week. I haven't been this sick since Korea tried to kill me the first time I lived there. OK, the country didn't try to kill me on purpose, but I caught some horrible e-coli infection and ended up in the hospital for 9 days back when Korea really was a 3rd world country and it was not fun and I really did almost die. This isn't as bad as that, but it's still no fun and I'm a very impatient patient.

School is closed, too, and the children have already made lots of plans for fun things to do when the power goes out which it will probably do because our power goes out all the time even when there is no storm because apparently the US is a third world country, or at least our state is. I however, will be spending the day trying to figure out how to fix the very obvious big chunk of hair that Child 3 cut out of her head. She apparently used permanent marker to color her hair purple and then freaked out when it wouldn't come out with shampoo and thought I would be mad at her so she cut it off. Because apparently that is less noticeable than purple? Seriously children, stop trying to hide things from me. It's completely futile.

My friend "Rachel" in Hawaii sent me a link to a story about this woman in China who is having a worse day than me.

Jian Feng's wife after the surgery

She had lots and lots of plastic surgery before she met her husband and ended up looking like this.

Jian Feng's wife after the surgery

I personally think she was pretty enough before the surgery, but I am not a Chinese man or her husband who was so angry when she had a baby that didn't look like her that he first accused her of adultery and after she explained about the surgery, he sued her for divorce and damages and the judge agreed with him! Now, I'm not a demographer, but from everything I've read, this man has no right to be very picky and ought to be grateful that he has a wife at all since they are pretty short of women in China. So thank you, Mr. Picky, for reminding me to be grateful that Husband loves me no matter what size I am or how bad my hair looks. I hope you have a lot of money because that is what it will take to get a new wife. And to the ex-Mrs. Picky--he's not worthy of you and I hope you got custody of the baby.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Bad Day 109--So much glitter!

Today was the annual Trunk or Treat party at the church. For those of you unfamiliar with trunk or treats, it's a safe way for kids to go trick-or-treating. Everyone decorates their trunks and people go all out. The family that won this year turned the back of their SUV into a teepee with drums and a smoke machine and they all dressed as native Americans. We turned our trunk into the North Pole, and I have to say, it was way better than the teepee, but the judges didn't think so, even though Child 1 spent a day and a half painting the backdrop and made us all dress like elves. It was beautiful and a big hit and people said it looked like a Macy's store window and we totally should at least have placed. First place should have gone to my friend who made at least 100 twinkies into Minions from Despicable Me. It was amazing. They looked like this.

But now I am covered in glitter--my sheets, my hair, my clothes, my skin, the carpet, and I think it will never all come out of the car. Child 1 is disappointed that we didn't win anything and she is planning already for next year when she wants us to be cowboys. I said cowboys would be easy because I am a Texan after all. Child 2 asked me how do you decorate like a Texan, and I said that you make it look like the 4th of July threw up all over the back of your car, which I would know because being a Texan, I know that we're very patriotic. Also, the children need to practice saying y'all. "Happy Halloween, y'all!" I'm actually rather excited about the cowboy thing because it will give me a good excuse to get some boots. I had a great pair in college but my feet grew and now they don't fit and they are even too small for Child 3 who has pretty big feet for a kid, although my feet in college were fairly small.

This Canadian Mountie is having a worse day than me. OK, not this exact one but since I love Mounties, I just have to include a picture.

He was driving in a patrol car and came upon two moose. As he got close, the bull charged, jumped up on the vehicle, broke the bumper and kicked in the driver's side window, injuring the Mountie. This is the best line in the story: "Both the culprit and accomplice departed the area on hoof," the RCMP said in a statement. So thank you, Mr. Mountie, for reminding me how happy I am to live in an area without any moose, although we did see a beautiful white-tailed buck on the way to the Trunk or Treat and I am extremely glad it didn't jump on our car and break the window.

Bad Day 108--Bring it on!

Actually, no, please no more! I managed to survive today, but only with massive help. I hope that everyone whose husband is in Afghanistan and has a horrible stomach disease and lice has teenagers as wonderful as mine. One of them made cupcakes for the birthday party and decorated them without asking! And they were adorable. And the other one came with me to the restaurant to be errand girl and took children to the restroom and carried things and was altogether delightful. So because my two oldest children are amazing, the birthday party for the third one was a success. "Genevieve " came with me just in case and to keep me company which was really nice because I forget how nice it is to have an adult conversation over dinner. Plus her new baby is very cute.

I discovered that mashed potatoes and oatmeal don't make me violently nauseous like other foods and I am so happy! So I shared my news with the children and Child 1 said with pity, "Oh, you're like an old person! But you have teeth!"  So according to my lovely child, I look like this:

But to make it all better, Child 3 just gave me a get well card with a balloon attached to it. I have to say that someone is raising my children right.

This woman is having a worse day than me.

She may be the world's pickiest eater, which just makes me sad. Because if I had a choice, I would eat it all--eggplant, and asparagus, pasta, and fritattas, and dragonfruit, and mangosteen, and curries, and Pad Thai, and oh, the chocolate! I would eat oodles and oodles of chocolate. So to have the ability to eat all those things and turn them down is just the saddest thing in the world to me. So thank you, Ms. Picky Eater, for reminding me to be grateful that even if I can never eat those things again and I am stuck eating oatmeal and mashed potatoes for the rest of my life, I know what a Milka bar tastes like and the memory of that is a beautiful thing to have.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bad Day 107--I surrender

I'm still sick and the doctor still doesn't know what is wrong. It's not gallstones, thank goodness, but I'm still unable to eat and too tired to do much. Oh, and Child 3 has lice. Lice! This is the child who has been growing out her hair for two years in order to be Rapunzel for Halloween and she has so much hair that we had to use two entire packages of the special shampoo stuff and it took an hour and 45 minutes to nit-pick her hair and all the while, I'm sick and keep having to stop and lie down because the smell isn't helping. And we had to change her sleepover birthday party tomorrow to dinner out, which actually isn't that bad but does involve calling everyone and telling them that plans have changed and why which is so embarrassing but the doctor told me that her kids have had lice so that makes me feel a little better.

But, on the good note side, the medicines I'm taking cause migraines as a side effect. OK, that wasn't good. But two good things did happen--our friends brought dinner, and "Betsy" sent me pizza from Taiwan which is I think the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.

She also sent a link to a story about this shark who is having a worse day than me, but not by much.

A leopard shark like the one seen here is thought to have fallen from the sky onto a golf course in California.

It was probably picked up by a bird and then accidently dropped 4 miles inland onto a golf course, completely freaking out the grounds keeper, who rescued the shark and drove it back to the ocean where it miraculously survived and swam away. So thank you unlucky shark, for reminding me to be grateful that I don't play golf.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bad Day 106--I need a plumber

Apparently, the toilet problem calls for replacing a part that costs around $6 but will require some expertise to fix, so I am either going to have to take a day off from work and call a plumber, or pray that it will hold out until Christmas, which is the next time that Husband will be home. I found out the bad news tonight when my friend "Lisa" brought me dinner and her husband to look at the toilet. Both were very sweet because I had asked for neither. She came to see me yesterday and was so horrified by how bad I look that offered to bring dinner, and her plumbing-expert husband was just a bonus. It would have been even better if The Dog hadn't taken exception to his entering the bedroom where the toilet is and tried to take a chunk out of his leg. Thankfully, we had muzzled her, but she was really going after him, which makes me happy to know she wants to protect me, but horrified that she almost ate our friend. Honestly, Lisa's husband looks nothing like Hello Kitty, so I don't know why she was upset. And also scaring away people who know about toilets does not make me like her any more. So not happy with The Dog right now.

I'm still not feeling well, so I stayed in bed again today. Child 1 badgered me into going on to Pinterest, which I'm still not sure I understand but I find myself surfing the net and looking for things to pin which nobody looks at but me. Is that the point? Because I can spend hours and hours doing it. (Look Husband,  you told me to get a hobby. At least I'm not shopping!) But I've decided that Pinterest is the perfect way to make a Christmas list so Husband can get ideas and order things online. Otherwise I will end up with an airplane model, or earplugs, or whatever else he can find in the airport gift shop right before closing time. So I'll start with this--a potato ricer.

Thanksgiving Cooks Tools

And no, Child 2, it does not turn potatoes into rice which I know is exactly what you're going to ask because I'm psychic, or as Child 1 says--I'm a mom and moms know everything. It mashes them beautifully with no lumps, unless you like lumps, which I kind of do, so then maybe not the potato ricer.

This teenage girl in Wisconsin is having a worse day than me, but her parents are amazing, so maybe it will turn out OK for her after all. She was rude to them and gave them attitude as teenage girls are wont to do, so they took away her phone. And instead of just hiding it from her, like I occasionally do, they took goofy pictures of themselves and posted them to her facebook wall like this one.

That makes me just smile. So thank you, awesome Wisconsin parents, for reminding me that I'm not the only parent who occasionally grounds her children from electronics, and for having a sense of humor which I promise your daughter will one day grow up to appreciate. And don't be surprised if those pictures show up in poster size at your next anniversary party, because if I were your daughter, that is totally what I would do. But you so rock!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Bad Day 105--Sick Day

You will be happy to know that the toilet is mostly fixed, except that the stand-pipe is too short, but Husband can deal with that when he comes home next time. I'm glad it's fixed because I spent the day in bed feeling like the crud on the bottom of a zombie's shoe. I went to the doctor who took a bunch of tests and prescribed a bunch of medicine and now I think I have a fever.

Since I feel too awful to write and it's going to take me at least 30 minutes to sort out the five prescriptions and figure out which one does what and when I'm supposed to take which with food or on an empty stomach, I'll get right to the bad day.

This man in Utah is having a worse day than me.


My head hurts too much to untangle, but I think what happened is that he stole a cop car, hit two other cars, got beat up and then resisted arrest. Apparently in his advanced state of drunkenness, he thought he could actually get away. So thank you, clueless police-car nabber, for reminding me that no matter how awful I might feel at the moment, my day was so much better than yours and doesn't involve waking up with a hangover in jail.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Bad Day 104--I hate plumbing!

Today was so not a good day. It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. I'm going to move to Australia in my pajamas. (Props to people not in my family who get that literary reference.) Actually, I'm not moving to Australia. I'm probably not moving anywhere because today I learned that our best bids have gone up in smoke and apparently my home bureau feels I'm not fit to wash dogs, let alone get a job with them. I am discouraged and depressed and eating fritos because I wanted a change from the cheetos. Next time I'm depressed, I'm making frito pie.

Oh, and the children are all pretending they are deaf to avoid chores and ganging up on Child 2 because they swear she is the favorite because they think I didn't yell at her when I was upset for them not doing their chores, but no worries. It was equal opportunity losing of tempers tonight and I was frustrated with all of them. Sorry children. I shouldn't have yelled. I'll try to do better tomorrow. But could you please, please try to do some chores instead of leaving them all for me?

That would be tomorrow after I go back to the hardware store for the third time because I got the kind of flapper that the toilet manufacturer recommended and it still doesn't work! I don't have to stick my hand in the tank anymore, so that is an improvement, but I do have to hold down the darn handle forever, so still not completely fixed. I am really beginning to hate plumbing. OK, that's a lie. I already completely despise everything about it.

Lance Armstrong is probably having a worse day than me, and I have to say he deserves it.

See, Lance, what happens when you cheat is that eventually you get caught and then all the people you fooled into believing that you didn't actually cheat feel duped and lied to and they get very angry and they turn on you. Because, you see, you didn't deserve any of those titles and you stole them from people who were playing by the rules. So now, sponsors have dropped you, your titles have been stripped away, and people want their money back. So good luck with the upcoming bankruptcy. I hope you have a very good lawyer. Oh, and thank you for reminding me that cheaters are losers in the end and I may be a loser today, but at least it's not because I cheated or lied about anything.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Bad Day 103--Still not a plumber

So I know you are all dying to know what is happening with my toilet and I am happy to tell you that my sort-of fix is still sort of working. My dear friend Artemis was so worried that she volunteered Adonis to come over and fix it for me, but no need, darling because Husband is on the case and has looked up all kinds of parts on the internet and is bound and determined to help me fix it long-distance. He had me take a picture on my phone and send it to him so he could do some research. So we will see if he can find the right kind of Star Trek flapper and then I will try once more to see if I can make it work. I can hear Tim Gunn in my head as I write that and I would be so much happier if this were a fashion problem, because I would be much more confident that I could fix a fashion disaster rather than a plumbing one. But at least it's nothing worse. My friend "Charlize" told me that she is on a first name basis with her plumber and I know her husband is often gone with the military, so she definitely is having a worse time with her plumbing than I am.

Child 3 is in bed with me not doing her homework. She is supposed to be working on it, but she is interrupting me every two minutes to ask random questions which I can only assume are blatant attempts to distract me into forgetting that she has this particular piece of homework because she forgot to do an earlier assignment. So far she has asked how kids get diagnosed with Autism, what are callouses, and what does "however" mean. Now she is looking at my eye cream. This particular exercise in frustration might just kill me and really, she only has to write two more sentences! Now she is asking if her hair looks weird. Please. Somebody shoot me now, or just tell me what I'm doing wrong. And I don't mean Husband who is full of helpful ideas but is not here to carry them out. Next year, when he is home, I am taking a vacation from homework duty for a long, long, long time.

But before I can take a vacation from homework, I have to also solve the problem of Child 1's computer which put up the blue screen of death and now appears to have problems with the hard drive.

So in addition to plumbing, I have to re-configure a hard drive which I might actually be willing to try to figure out if I had time, but the problem is, I don't have time. So if anyone knows how to resurrect a hard drive, please come help me out, or at least point me toward someone who can who charges less than a plumber.

These women in the Ukraine are having a worse day than me. They have caught something called the "Barbie flu" which means that they spend hours transforming themselves into dolls and have even had plastic surgery to look more like plastic. This is the result.

Valeria Lukyanova: The Ukraine's original, creepily accurate, living Barbie doll.

Now, she is getting a lot of attention, which I'm sure is the point of it all, but how sad to be that desperate for people to love you that you transform yourself into an inanimate object that is empty and has no emotions but what people project onto it. It must be a very sad and lonely existence. So thank you, Barbie girls, for reminding me that women are not dolls and that having your own emotions is a healthy thing and that as much as people love dolls, at the end of the day, they end up alone in a box in the dark. I would much rather be an imperfect, real human being in charge of my own destiny, or at least the part of my destiny that didn't decide to go to Afghanistan.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Bad Day 102--I am not a plumber!

Today started out great and I had high hopes that it would be a decent day, and then it all went down the toilet, almost literally.

Father-in-law was in town and he came over in the morning and we made pancakes with coconut syrup, which he highly approved of. The pancakes were even partly whole wheat and the children didn't even notice. The online grocery store we use delivered on time, which was great otherwise the pancakes would have been entirely whole wheat and the children would have noticed and Child 1 would have asked what was wrong with the pancakes and refused to eat them and complained that I was trying to poison her or something. And the maids came on time, and I dropped the children off at their activities on time and took Father-in-law to the farmers market and bought delicious home-made pickles and then drove him to the airport in time for his flight which was great considering last time he visited us he missed the flight. Here is a picture of half-sour pickles so you can see how yummy they look. Child 2 loves them and Father-in-law agrees that she has good taste, except I bet he would like my lasagna which Child 2 still insists isn't as good as the frozen kind. So wrong, that Child 2.

But then, I came home and I thought someone was in the shower but no one was. It was the toilet which was running at full speed without stopping. So I lifted the lid like I knew what I was doing which is totally not the case because I know less than nothing about plumbing. But I realized that the rubber thingy at the bottom was in pieces and had completely disintegrated. So I looked closely at the thingy and realized that it looked like the USS Reliant on Star Trek and I went to the hardware store and bought one that looked like it and tried replacing it and it worked! Well, that's an exaggeration because "working" apparently means only if you stick your hand in the tank and fiddle with the rubber thingy which I learned is called a flapper because it is the wrong size. I must have bought the Voyager instead of the Reliant. Oh, and I yelled at Husband because I was mad that he is not here to help me and I feel completely overwhelmed and I have no idea how many flappers I will have to buy until I find the right one and I'm running out of Star Trek names to compare them to and I'm so angry that I have to learn about flappers and they have nothing to do with the Roaring Twenties or fashion. And now I am completely depressed and I can't even have chocolate because God hates me and made me allergic and Husband said to watch a funny movie but I can't think of one I want to see so I'm just going to sit here and be sad and not eat chocolate and try to ignore The Dog who is snoring in the pile of laundry I have to fold before I go to bed. I. Hate. My. Life.

OK, one other good thing, though. Remember that clothing store full of glitter that I hate? Well, Child 3 said today that it looked like a Unicorn had barfed all over it and she asked me if I could take her there to buy some unicorn barf which made me laugh. I did because we really needed retail therapy after the toilet incident and I may have also stopped in a not-British shop and bought some boyfriend jeans because they look really good on me and I'm so glad they are back in style. They have no unicorn barf on them at all.

People at the Texas State Fair are having a worse day than me. Specifically, the people on this ride.

Apparently, the ride broke and they were stuck 200 feet up in the air for over 2 hours. Although I grew up not far away, I never got a chance to go to the State Fair because my parents would never take us even though everyone we knew always went every single year, so I don't know what the Stratosphere is actually like. But I can imagine that it was not fun to be up there for two hours and that by the end, quite a few of them were really angry and probably had to run to the restroom. So thank you, Texan fair goers, for reminding me that occasionally it is good to have parents who hate fairs, and I hope you got your money back from that ride.

Bad Day 101--I could teach a class on this

Today was definitely a purple day at the beginning and I spent the morning with my door shut again because I never knew when I would just burst out crying. If I didn't know better, I would swear I was pregnant because I am exhausted, I burst into tears at unexpected moments, and I'm constantly nauseous. But since for once I know that it's not physically possible unless immaculate conception is more common than we thought or you can conceive just by watching The Avengers, I think it must all be stress related and I probably need to take some of the anti-anxiety medication the doctor prescribed for me when I burst into tears in her office.

Child 1 has found me a hobby and she is blackmailing me into starting it. So I gave in and I'm finally on Pinterest, which I completely don't understand except that it seems like some sort of filing cabinet filled with clippings but it's electronic. Can someone please explain it to me? I don't get the difference between "like" and "repin". Why would you like something but not re-pin it? And then I get the feeling that someday far into the future, anthropologists are going to have a hey-day with all the data they get from early 21st century social media. They will know exactly who I am, what I like to eat, the books I read, my love of fashion, even what shoes and clothing I've bought, but they will have a super hard time knowing what I look like because I don't take pictures. Some privacy is necessary, don't you think? Also, I hate pictures. So if you google me, I look like this.

Beautiful, no?

The makers of this ridiculous costume are having a worse day than me.

Now, I realize that Halloween to some people means dressing like idiots who think they are sexy but really everyone is laughing at them. But this is beyond the pale. Really? Sexy Big Bird? Apparently the Children's Television Workshop was not amused and sent the retailer a cease and desist letter. I mean, honestly, it's disgusting if you think about it. Juvenile is not sexy, it is just juvenile and a little icky. So you go, Children's Television Workshop! And thank you, Ms. Bird, for reminding me to be grateful that I grew up with such a wonderful children's TV program and that it was still around when I had my own small children to watch it. And thank you for reminding me to go look for my witch's hat because that and a Wicked t-shirt are just fine for me for Halloween.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bad Day 100--No, there is no party.

100 bad days and i have to say, that although the wound of Husband leaving for Afghanistan isn't quite as raw, being without him still stinks. I hate it. Hate every minute of it. It's stressful and awful and I don't ever want to do it again. My hat is off to those of you who do multiple tours apart. I admire you a lot, but I sure don't want to emulate you.

In the lower grades, there is usually a party on the 100th day to celebrate that the kids can count that far. Everyone has to bring in 100 something. I was in charge for both Child 1 and Child 2 and they both made posters that said "100!" in 100 Cheerios. Ours were on poster board, but you can get the idea from this picture.

Husband, for some reason, took over with Child 3 and decided that a poster of Cheerios wasn't good enough so we had to do something more elaborate. (Seriously, Babe! It was 1st grade and it's not like there was a prize for the parents who do the most work.) So instead of the quick and fast and fun Cheerios project, we had to make 100 origami cranes for her project. I hate folding paper cranes. Child 3 didn't fold a single one because they were too hard, so for days, Husband and the other two children and I folded the darn things. I never want to fold another crane for the rest of my life. Thankfully, the children are all too old for such things now and also I am in charge of absolutely everything this year, so easy is the way it's going to be. Volunteer to be a coach for Odyssey of the Mind? No. Lead a Girl Scout troop? Nope. Sew the Halloween costumes? Not going to happen. However, I will cook the entire Thanksgiving dinner from scratch. A girl has got to have some standards.

Apparently, Virginia is not the only crappy state to hate people who serve our country because this woman in North Carolina is having a worse day than me.

UNC Denies Veteran State Residency

She is a veteran and bought a house with her husband in North Carolina. She was sent to Iraq, then came back to NC, then they were sent to Texas, but still paid taxes on the house. Then when they were sent back to NC after Texas, she tried to enroll in UNC, but they don't consider her a resident so she has to pay out of state tuition, which the GI bill won't cover. So thank you, Ms. Perez, for your service and for reminding me that it's not only Virginians who get treated badly by our state. Good luck with school and tell UNC they stink.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Bad Day 99--Leaking sewage counts as an emergency.

Child 3 has no school tomorrow because the building is closed to fix the sewage that is seeping up out of the basement. Child 2 was very excited to text me about the emergency and then called to make sure I got the text. I'm glad because for once, this actually is an emergency because I have to find child care because the day care is also closed. Thank goodness for "Gabrielle" who not only realized it would be a problem, she called me pre-emptively to let me know she can watch Child 3 for a while. I told you she was my gift from God.

I've been thinking a lot about the difference between urgent and important. The children have a hard time understanding what is actually an emergency. An emergency is both urgent and important and must be taken care of immediately. Here is a list of things that they have called me about that they think are emergencies which actually are not: a Star Trek sweatshirt, somebody ate all the brownies, The Dog won't do a trick, Child 2 just threw up at the church. OK, that last one was really an emergency, but a cute pair of shoes in a catalog does not an emergency make.

Here are some things that were important that they didn't tell me about: the toilet overflowing, the washing machine breaking, failing a class, Sister 2 calling and talking to Child 3 for a long time (I had to hear about that from my parents because Child 3 never gives messages.)

So, my dear children, here is an example of an actual emergency that sort of overlaps with someone having a worse day than me.

Passenger jet helps in ocean rescue (Thinkstock)

See there was a man on a boat who was in distress off the coast of Australia and he was too far for the Australian coast guard to pinpoint his location so they asked planes in the area to look for him. An Air Canada flight diverted to help with the search and the crew and passengers spotted him and radioed his coordinates so he could be rescued. So thank you, Mr. Yachtsman, for reminding me what a real emergency is and making me grateful that I am not adrift off a coast anywhere. And thank you, Air Canada, for showing that you understand what is truly important and that saving a life is a good thing even if it delays your arrival for a little bit..

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Bad Day 98--1+1 = 2 1/2

It is 7:30pm and I am in bed in my pajamas. This week is not going so well. I can't seem to shake whatever it is that has knocked me off my feet. But anyway, I thought since I had extra time to write today that I would tackle a political issue that I feel very passionate about. I may currently be in trouble with the Space Police. I know that might sound like some really cool inter-galactic organization and you are wondering how I caused an inter-galactic incident. But no, the Space Police are a group of people firmly committed to keeping communication rooted in the early 20th century and they are powerful and their reach is enormous. Yes, I am talking about my fight to get the Department to stop requiring two spaces after every period.

You would think that this would be a very trivial issue and not worth wasting much time on and you would be right, but you have seriously underestimated the ability to resist change in a bureaucracy. It all goes back to typewriters and courier fonts. I am old enough to have graduated from high school when typing classes were actually on typewriters and not called "keyboarding." And on an old typewriter, the standard was always two spaces after a period. But then the personal computer became popular and everyone used "word processors." I actually worked for a very large software company years and years ago and that is where I learned the secret that changed everything which I will now tell you. You see, developers actually already code in extra space after a period, so when you double space, you're really adding more like 2 1/2 spaces and it's completely unnecessary. So I stopped. Just like that.

It took a little bit of getting used to, but now it's completely natural to me. I happily went along for years and years single spacing. I even worked in academia for years and instructed all of my student employees to stop double spacing, although I never punished them for turning in work that had the two spaces they were used to. And nobody ever noticed that every draft I ever turned in for anything only ever had one space. In academia. They just didn't notice or didn't care.

Fast forward 10 years to when I joined the Department, and one of our very first lectures was on Department standards and we learned that the standard never to be deviated from was two spaces. And when you ask why, it's like you have just desecrated "the thing they most hold sacred" and how dare you even ask that question and you must be young (like that's an insult) or otherwise you would be wise enough to realize they are correct because it has always been that way and it will never change as long as they are alive. Never! Well, first, that assumes they will die before age 65 which is the mandatory Foreign Service retirement age because they can't guarantee that they can keep it beat down when they are sitting on a porch swing talking about the good ol' days when they used to send actual cables and use pneumatic tubes, and second, um, why is this such a big deal? And third, I'm not that young but I am adaptive and shouldn't that be considered a good thing in an occupation where you have to move every three years and adapt to a new place? But it is a very big deal to the Space Police and I spend a lot of time going over my drafts and adding an extra space after every single sentence. It's a pain, but necessary to avoid having everything returned to me so I can add in unnecessary spaces.

A while ago, I posted a link to this article on my facebook page:

Extra space.

I am actually a little bit in love with Farhad Manjoo for writing it. But you would not believe the furor it caused and people were kind of self-righteous and mean in their comments. Then someone I don't know posted the link on the Department sounding board which is a place where people who are bored go to rant, and oh the venom it inspired from the Space Police! Apparently, if you learned it in high school, it is a rule forever. So if we go with that theory, then neon is the only way to go, a Ford Pinto is a cool and affordable car to drive, and putting toothpaste on your zits will cure acne. Also, we should all be wearing Wranglers and have feathered hair and, of course, Pluto is still a planet.

Once, I showed my resume to someone during bidding season to ask her advice and she said she would never consider it because it was one spaced. Just like that, she dismissed all of my experience and qualifications because she didn't like the way it was typeset. It was as if all of a sudden, instead of saying "adjudicated over 25,000 visas," I said "ผมไม่ทราบว่าสิ่งนี้พูดว่า ฉันไม่พูดภาษาไทย". And that is the problem I have with the Space Police. If form is more important than content, what a news anchor wears is more important than what she says. Oh, wait. . .

This couple who filed for bankruptcy is having a worse day than me.

Eric and Cassandra Peoples (left) listen as their attorney discussed their 2004 judgment. (ABC News/AP Photo)

I think they are the ones on the left, but I'm not sure. They sued their company claiming that the chemicals they inhaled ruined their lungs, which may be true, and they were awarded $20 million. Now how much of that they actually took home is a good question. But let's say that it was only $1 million after legal fees and such--they still blew through a million dollars! Very sad. I can't even imagine how you could waste that much money. No, what I really can't imagine is having that much money in the first place. So thank you, Mr. & Mrs. Bankrupt, for reminding me to be grateful that I may appreciate a beautiful pair of Jimmy Choos, but I'm aware enough of my budget limitations to know that I cannot afford them.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Bad Day 97--I REALLY hate the DMV!

I firmly believe based on personal experience that it is impossible to go to the Virginia DMV and get what you want in one trip. Impossible. Because I went again today and I still didn't get everything I needed and I almost got nothing at all.

The first thing you should know is that I stayed home sick and I had no intention at all of going to the DMV because I woke up really sick to my stomach and with a migraine. No fun, right? But yesterday, we noticed that the temporary plate was no longer on the front of the Volvo and I was worried about Child 1 driving around without it, so I dragged myself out of bed and we went when she got home from school. I also had to give her a tutorial on how to pay for gas with cash, which is something I had grown up doing but now I realize she has only ever seen me pay at the pump. But that's another story.

So I go to the DMV which I hate but there is a satellite office in town and I was told by the dealer we could get plates there so off we went, arriving at 3:45. They close at 4:00 sharp but there was no line and we were good, or so I thought. You see, I mentioned before what an ordeal it was to renew my license last time which took several trips to the DMV, multiple asking for supervisors, and finally phone calls to Richmond, VA from Seoul, Korea. Honestly, they actually make you want to take out your eyeballs with a spoon rather than have to deal with them. The issue last time is that they will only mail the license to the address on the license and they wouldn't put my APO address on it because that meant I was no longer a VA state resident, except that I own a house in Virginia and I pay taxes to them and I still vote there. But apparently none of that counted at the DMV and they canceled my license. Infuriating, no? They will take my taxes but they won't provide me services. I should also mention that the State of Virginia goes after Foreign Service Officers who are former state residents but then switch to another more welcoming state when they move overseas. They will actually take you to court and make you pay back-taxes if you move back to VA for more than six months at a later date.

So after successfully fighting and receiving a license, mine now has my APO address on it. So when I went to register the car, they asked if I wanted to change my address and I said yes. That was my mistake. Because you see, to the VA DMV, I am not a state resident! I live in the state, and I pay taxes, even more now that I am registering cars here, but because my license has an APO address, I am from out of state and the satellite office would not change the address on my license. And they almost wouldn't give me plates for the car until I started saying how much I hated the DMV and asking exactly how many hours of my life I would have to waste at the DMV not getting service all because I am serving my country by living temporarily overseas. So they just issued the plates anyway and told me I would need to go to the regular DMV to change everything else. This was after they made comments about how much I didn't look like my picture any more, which I supposed was a dig at my appearance because I was sick and looked it. So I'm just wondering, has anyone ever gone to the DMV and actually been successful in doing what they set out to do because so far, it's taking me an average of 3 trips per issue to do completely normal things. I feel like I am trying to follow the rules and they are punishing me for it. I am convinced that when I die, if I end up in Hell, it will be exactly like the DMV.

Obviously I'm not the only one and I only wish I had thought of this first:

This Cleveland bus driver is having a worse day than me. He got mad at a passenger who was being rude, punched her with a pretty powerful uppercut, and threw her off the bus. He might have gotten away with it, but someone with a cell-phone camera documented the whole thing. Now he's been suspended and the city is investigating. So thank you, Mr. bus driver, for reminding me that no matter how infuriatingly bad the service at the DMV is, I will never, ever punch one of them. Complain about their abysmal non-service in a public forum? Yes! But physical violence--not ever acceptable.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Bad Day 96--My best friend

My best friend is a pot, a crock-pot to be exact.

(Listen Husband, I know you think it's you, but that pot has never left me for Afghanistan, and it can take a really cheap cut of meat and turn it into something amazing, which is really not your specialty, so quit being jealous.) I mentioned my amazing roasting pan before and it makes the best roast beef and vegetables. But the deal with the roasting pan is that it does best with the more expensive cuts of meat. But my workhorse of a crock-pot works miracles on the cheap stuff, and the cheaper, the better. The only thing is that it can only cook things well-done and I hate well-done beef.

Growing up, I only knew well-done meat and I never really could understand why my family was in love with steak when it was gray and chewy and dry. Then after I was married and trying to learn how to cook things that Husband would eat, I watched a lot of cooking shows and I heard someone say that beef should be rare and no foodie would ever order anything but and that when someone orders a well-done steak, the restaurant always gives them the worst piece of beef they have. So I tried ordering medium-rare and the steak was tender and juicy and amazing, and no offense to my family who likes the gray steaks, but I will never go back. Never. Except if we move back to Asia where they don't know what roast beef is and they have the weirdest cuts of meat you have ever seen and the ovens aren't big enough for my fabulous roasting pan.

But back to the crock pot, the thing it does best is chicken and pork. Here is my favorite recipe. Buy the cheapest pork roast you can find. Brown it first. Fill the bottom of the crock pot with carrots, potatoes, and onions. Put the roast on top. Add two cans of cream of mushroom soup and an envelope of Lipton onion soup mix. Turn the crock-pot onto high and leave it. Depending on how big your roast is and how many vegetables you have, it will take 5-7 hours. It is done when the meat pulls apart with a fork. It's amazing and it is now my favorite way to cook pork. It works just as well with chicken but don't leave the skin on and boneless is way better so you don't have to pick out bones and cartilage which is icky.

These UC-Berkeley law students are having a worse day than me.

The went to Vegas, got wasted, and then killed an exotic bird at the Flamingo Hilton by decapitating it. First, ick and that poor bird! And second, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas only in the sense that they are now in jail and facing felony charges. Guess they weren't paying attention in criminal law. So good luck boys, and thank you for reminding me yet again that being drunk and criminally stupid makes you a national joke, and I'm very grateful that I will never be that dumb. Ever. Seriously!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Bad Day 95--Unhomecoming

My house is full of girls. It normally is full of girls and Husband complained that even The Dog is a girl and he is outnumbered, but since the fact that we have only girls is entirely his fault, biologically I mean, then really he has no reason to complain. But it is even more full of girls tonight because it is Homecoming and Child 2 isn't going to the dance, so she is holding an Unhomecoming party instead and has invited lots of friends and they are having a marvelous time not eating the pizza I bought and watching something loud upstairs that may or may not be Phineas and Ferb which is one of the Disney shows that I don't mind so much because the person they are always rude to is the older sister, and she rather deserves it.

Child 1 is at the dance with friends and Child 3 is hanging out with the older kids pretending she is one of them and having a marvelous time. They are a good group of girls and there is not a mean one among them. I'm trying very hard not to raise mean girls and I think it's working because they are all remarkably kind and helpful and I love being their mother.

Artemis, Child 3 and I drove out into the country in the morning to a farm that grows an amazing variety of pumpkins. I had no idea there were so many different kinds of pumpkins--green, yellow, red, white, gray. Gray! Some of them looked like they were moldy, but they weren't that was just the variety. Artemis got one that looks like a big red lemon. I got four, normal, orange with warts, red and fat, and a "ghost" pumpkin with warts. It's a ghost because it is very pale, although not quite white. Here is a picture of pumpkin varieties. I think we saw most of these today.

The problem now will be what to do with the pumpkins. Oh, I know, we'll carve them, but how is the question. You see, I'm not actually very artistic. In fact, I used to say that I'm craft impaired although since then I actually got a job in a craft store where I had to do things like make bows and I burned my hands every day and I still have the scar from where I almost cut my finger off. But none of that involved drawing which I really can't do. So now I will spend the next two weeks combing the internet for ideas for pumpkin carving and when it comes right down to it, I will carve an incredibly boring, normal jack-o-lantern that looks like a 3 year old drew on the pattern. When I had a three year old, I used to blame the bad pumpkins on her, but now that they are all older and more talented than me (not older than me, please!), everyone will know who carved the slightly stupid-looking jack.

This woman in Dallas is having a worse day than me and she completely deserves it.

23-year-old Elizabeth Escalona is shown in this Dallas County Texas Sheriff's Department booking photograph dated October 8, 2012. Escalona, who kicked and beat her 2-year-old daughter and superglued her hands to a wall of their apartment was sentenced to 99 years in prison on October 12, 2012. "On September 7, 2011, you savagely beat your child to the edge of death," State District Judge Larry Mitchell said in sentencing 23-year-old Elizabeth Escalona. "For this you must be punished." REUTERS/Dallas County Texas Sheriff's Department/Handout

Doesn't she look mean? She superglued her two year old toddler's hands to the wall as a form of punishment. She was arrested and sentenced to 99 years in jail, which frankly is the minimum amount she deserves because that wasn't the only thing she did to that poor innocent child. So thank you, Texas State District Judge Larry Mitchell, for standing up for children who can't speak for themselves. Now I'm going to go hug mine and be grateful that no one ever hurt them that way and as long as I'm alive, no one ever will.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Bad Day 94--Coming home

Tonight was the homecoming game and Child 1 and Child 2 went to the game and had a blast because their team won, which is a rarity, apparently. The dance is tomorrow night, which is so much more sane than having it right after the game which my high school tried once and everyone complained. I also noticed that they do not do homecoming mums here. For those of you who aren't Texans, you may not know that the traditional corsage there has morphed into something mutant that is more akin to a Las Vegas billboard crossed with a funeral wreath and a toy store. Don't believe me? Here is a picture of one.

What you can't see are the blinking lights. Apparently, the size of the mum is an advertisement for how much your date likes you and some of them are actually bigger than the girls wearing them. I saw a picture of one girl whose mum was so big, she had attached it to a garbage can lid and was carrying it like a shield. Everything is bigger in Texas! (Except me. I'm rather short.) I am so glad they do not do mums here because Child 1 would never wear one and also, they are so heavy that you have to reinforce your dress, and I am not about to sew patches inside her dress.

Tonight, I went to dinner with friends and it was lovely. I'd forgotten how much fun it is to be around people. I spend most of my time avoiding everyone because I hate answering the question "how are you doing?" Most people really don't want to know and if they do, it's because of morbid curiosity, not because they genuinely care about me or how I am handling Afghanistan. But tonight was full of people who not only know me, but like me and support me and honestly want to know how I am holding up. And it was lovely. So thank you, my Seoul posse! Please, let's do it again soon.

This woman in Detroit is having a worse day than me. She left her home for a year, and when she came back home, there was a squatter living in it whom she can't evict without a long legal battle. So they are both living in the house together, even though the owner is afraid of the squatter who is absolutely crazy. So thank you, Ms. Peterson, for reminding me to be grateful that we were successful in getting our renters out before we moved in, even though they didn't want to leave. And I am especially grateful that the only crazy lady in our house is me, and I never have to leave if I don't want to. Except to go to the pumpkin patch tomorrow with Artemis. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Bad Day 93--Vomitrocious

The Dog is sick again. All over the kitchen, but luckily only on the cheap IKEA jute rug and the doormat. Except I think she just barfed on my pretty green rug in the bedroom, at least based on the fact that Child 3 just said ewww then disappeared and came back upstairs with some carpet cleaner. Would a cat be any better? We'll never know because cats are even worse that chocolate. And also, The Dog hates cats.

So every time I buy a new pair of shoes and wear them, I get blisters. This happens more than you might think because I, ahem, might perhaps buy more shoes than I need. (Stop laughing Husband. You left and I'm replacing you with shoes! At least it's not french fries anymore.) I bought this new pair of black boots and they are flats and have cushy heels and they still gave me a big blister on the bottom of my foot. And I wore socks! And it still didn't help. So now I'm limping around, but it is also the perfect excuse to keep Child 1 from dragging me to the gym and I really didn't want to go tonight because I am still sore, so now I don't have to. These are the boots. They are so worth the blisters.

The bidding is going terribly, thank you everyone who asked. It's infuriating and humiliating all at the same time. I feel like I'm just begging strangers to like me. Please like me and give me a job! And then I wonder, what happens if I don't get one. Can I just walk around the Department with a clipboard all day long and pretend to be going somewhere doing something official? Will they keep paying me if I can't find anywhere to work? I was so lucky last time that I just fell into the most perfect job ever and I know with my luck that will never, ever happen again. Bids are due tomorrow and bureaus will start giving out handshakes next week. So stay tuned if you want to hear about me crying every single day after that for months until I finally come up with a post who will take me. Sometimes I think this whole job is an exercise in humiliation.

Phil Keoghan had a worse day than me at the Emmys. 

His show "The Amazing Race" which I love won for best reality show. But he took his 16 year old daughter as his date, and a famous actor hit on her! And she's 16! And her dad was there! If a famous actor ever hit on my daughter, I'm pretty sure I would deck him. So thank you, Phil, for making me grateful that my children don't hang around actors. And future hitters on them, beware!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bad Day 92--So soooore!

So I exercised again today even though I didn't have much time because I'm having one of those days where you sit down for 1 second and someone comes and asks you for something like when will dinner be ready or can you proof read my science homework or where is my calculator? OK, that was actually all one child, but the other two contributed, too. And I am so tired, and I don't have time to do all this stuff! But Child 1 promised me if I would buy her a membership, she would make me go exercise with her and she is keeping her word!

But now I am so stiff and sore I can hardly move. And I'm tired. And there are not enough hours in the day. And I swear the next person who asks me to do something will be banished. Banished, I tell you! This is when it really sucks to be a single parent. OK, actually it sucks all the time. I don't know how military spouses do this over and over again.

So I discovered a new rule for people whose husbands are in Afghanistan: no more reading books where lots of people die and they watch their families be destroyed before their eyes. I'm reading a great book about the hurricane in Galveston, Texas in 1900 that destroyed the whole city. It's fascinating and really enjoyable right up to the part where the houses started collapsing and people's children start getting sucked into the water and they all die. And I'm reading it thinking, great. Now I have another thing to have nightmares about, as if Afghanistan isn't enough. This is what the city looked like afterward.

I know, I don't live in Galveston, or anywhere near the coast for that matter, but I read to escape, and although Issac's Storm is a great read and I will finish it because I have to know what happens in the end even though I took a whole class on Texas history and I have been to Galveston lots of times and I know that the Strand is now on a sea wall and I totally get why, I still want to find something else to read next that isn't so scary and awful. So I'm taking suggestions. Let me know if you have read something recently that transported you to a totally different world but is not science fiction or fantasy and has no vampires. Something Sophie Kinsella like but not by her because I have read all of her books and the next one won't be out until next summer.

The governor of Florida is having a worse day than me.

Oops: Florida Gov Rick Scott accidentally gave out phone sex number instead of the state's meningitis hotline

He was supposed to be telling people about a hotline they could call for information about the meningitis outbreak that is killing people, and instead, he gave the number of a phone-sex line. He says he just transposed a couple of numbers, but now everyone is wondering whether he was familiar with the wrong number and that's why he gave it out. Sorry, governor, that's politics for you. But thank you for reminding me that it's nice not to be a public figure and that when I get my phone number wrong, the only person who laughs at me is Child 1 whose job it is to correct me when I forget our number.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Bad Day 91--Somebody had a brilliant idea

While we were gone from the US, someone at Taco Bell thought it would be a good idea to make taco shells out of Doritos, and it was the best. idea. EVER!

I don't know why someone didn't think of this earlier and I so wish they sold the taco shells like that in the grocery store, but they don't which ensures that whenever I ask Child 3 what we should do for dinner, she says, "I don't know. Maybe Taco Bell?" Child 3 has been having some homework issues, so I signed her up for the after-school care program and today was her first day. I was nervous that she would hate it, but she loves it and discovered that some of her friends go there and they make her do her homework and then she can climb on the rock wall and I am hoping it will totally solve the watching Disney channel instead of doing homework problem. After we came home and ate the yummy tacos, she helped me clean up the kitchen and asked, "So, have you been visited by any aliens today?" I was perplexed for a minute until I remembered my earlier post and said that no, I was pretty sure it was my children and not aliens who did not do the dishes yesterday. She then told me she thought the aliens were going to come help with her homework. Love that Child 3.

So we live in a swing state which doesn't mean that we have fun on playgrounds but that the presidential election here is neck and neck and it is so not like a playground unless everyone at the playground is really mean and says nasty things about each other and implies you are stupid for not believing them. And you can't get away from it because the election is everywhere and if you try to avoid it all, they call you on the phone! And bug you at home! While you're in your jammies trying to escape all the stress! So I have taught the children they are free to hang up on all election calls which they do after saying things like I'm only 9 or I will never vote for you because you will be dead by the time I am old enough to vote or go jump in the lake. I have taken to flat out lying to the pollsters and telling everyone who calls that I will vote for their candidate so they will just shut up. If there are other people out there in swing states who feel like I do, then you can bet that polling numbers are completely wrong in every possible way. Although that might be why the race is so close and it's just feeding the beast. I'm not sure, but I am sure that I will really not like politicians or have any more confidence in them if they keep behaving this way for three more weeks.

At any rate this model is having a worse day than me. There were several people who suggested the man who died after eating roaches. But since he passed away, it is a real tragedy for his family, so I can't in good conscience mock him. My sympathies to his loved ones for their loss. But this girl is living her dream in the most ridiculous shoes ever.

I'm not sure why the designer calls these "shoes." I mean, they look like shoes and they sort of go on your feet, but they are impossible to walk in and work more like stilts, or torture devices for that matter. Scary. Fashion can be frightening. So thank you, unlucky model, for reminding me that I don't have to succumb to anyone else's idea of beautiful and that common sense is sometimes more important than fashion. But only sometimes. :-)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Bad Day 90--Can we ban mirrors?

We've made it three months, about 1/4 of the way through this horrible Afghanistan separation, so to celebrate  I decided to deliver a fatal blow to my self-esteem by doing what I know I shouldn't do which is to go shopping and actually try on clothes. The children and I celebrated Columbus' discovery of the new world by doing that most American activity of celebration which is shopping at the outlet mall until everyone's feet hurt and you have cramps in your hands from carrying all the bags. The day started out well in Burlington Coat Factory where the first thing I tried on fit like a dream and was really inexpensive and three strangers in the dressing room all told me it looked amazing. So yippee! I thought for a moment that all that not eating because of stress and exercising at the gym was working and I might fit into something decent and not look like a sausage. But no, that was just a trick by British fashion designers to boost my confidence temporarily so they could completely suck it out of me in the next store where I tried on 10 things every single one of which looked horrible. Horrible! Awful! Not leaving the dressing room to find the three way mirror bad. Sausage bad. Wishing I had never agreed to go to the mall bad.

See the problem with most malls is that they are convinced that their primary customer is a 15-18 year old size 0 girl, which I recognize is a very good customer because I have one of those and she has so many clothes that they broke her previous dresser from the weight of them and they are spilling out of the newer, bigger one we got her and there are so many that she couldn't possibly wear all of them in six months let alone one and yet she still bought more today and always complains that she has nothing to wear. Child 3 bought bags full of glitter which I think was originally attached to some kind of clothing but now it's all over me and the car and now The Dog. Child 2 is not so much into shopping because of the aforementioned hoodie, t-shirt, and jeans addiction, but today we managed to make her buy a dress AND a sweater, although the sweater is vaguely British because it has that crown on it and says "just keep calm" and Child 1 bought a sweater that is in the pattern of a union jack and they are both HUGE thus proving that the designers are out to get us because they make us think clothes will always be too big while we are young and then they get progressively smaller as we age! So it's very frustrating to not be able to find anything to buy in the entire mall except cardigans which always fit but I have so many of them, I could stock my own store because that is all I can find that fits! And it's so depressing when the only store you can go in and be certain you will find something that doesn't make you look fat is Yankee Candle.

But I now have three more cardigans and one dressy blouse which I can wear to future Marine Corps Balls which I thought would be very cool and glamorous when we first joined the Foreign Service and I had visions of ladies and gentlemen in gowns and tuxedos doing the Viennese Waltz but really it is a bunch of tipsy people dancing to the Electric Slide. Still though, we'll go to the one wherever we are next because I need somewhere to wear this blouse. It looks that good.

Amy Cheong in Singapore is having a worse day than me.

Former NTUC employee Amy Cheong.  (Photo: Amy Cheong's Facebook).

She worked for what I think is some kind of government-affiliated committe and a couple of days ago she got upset at a loud wedding taking place outside of her apartment and ranted about it on facebook using lots of profanity and offending most of the people in her country and all of Malaysia. So she was promptly fired and her job was posted on the internet the very same day. Oh, and also the police are now investigating her. So thank you, Ms. Cheong, for reminding me and everyone how dumb it is to write offensive things on facebook, especially when your job depends on public trust. And thank you to my fellow FS blogger "Hepburn" for the suggestion. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Bad Day 89--Gray day

It's cold and raining and gray and fall has finally arrived so we spent the day inside. I only left the house to walk the dog in the morning and it was really chilly and wet. But after the summer we had of 100 degree weather, it was refreshing but not nice enough for me to want to be out in it.

So we spent the day inside. We had crepes for brunch and then we made roast beef for dinner in my fabulous pan that makes everything taste better. And cookies for dessert while we Skyped Husband, because contrary to advice from other people about not bothering Husband with the mundane, we Skype with him at least once a day and sometimes two or three times on the weekend and we just sat in the room chatting and the children were complaining about their stupid spirit week costumes and how were they supposed to dress up like a board game and whose lame idea was that? And it was normal and natural and felt a little bit like he was home and a part of everything except he couldn't see that The Dog was licking the carpet again.

Honestly, I don't understand dogs. Why does she lick the carpet? There are two spots in the house that she licks over and over again. One is under the computer upstairs, and one is on Husband's side of the bed. Nowhere else but those two spots. Husband's theory is that she likes the smell of feet, but none of us sit at the computer with our feet on the ground because our feet don't reach the ground or we are teenagers who have our own computer and why would we use the family one when we could be in our room with the music blasting? So unless The Dog can still smell Husband's feet on the carpet after almost three months, then it must be something else like someone spilled something on the carpet and doesn't want to confess and will try to blame it on the children when really they were the one who put a big root beer stain in the middle of the living room. (Yes, I'm talking to you, Husband!) But since no one will ever confess, we may never know.

This man in London is having a worse day than me. He was chased up a tree by a deer in the park.

First, who knew they had such big deer in London parks? And second, having personally been chased by a moose when I lived in Norway, I can tell you that it is really scary. Those antlers look very pointy and that buck is pretty angry. So after he climbed up in the tree, the deer ran away and the police helped him down from the tree. So thank you, Mr. London, for reminding me to be grateful that I have never been to that park. We have deer in my town, but I have The Dog and I'm pretty sure she could take down a deer, or at least she would think she could and for being a very small dog, she has a very big bark. Maybe The Dog is good for something after all.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Bad Day 88--Not so lucky for me

8 is a lucky number in China but since day 88 has knocked me off my feet, that's about the way my luck goes. Today was definitely a purple day, but I managed to function anyway instead of just going to bed all day, so I suppose that's progress.

Today I walked The Dog, went grocery shopping, exercised until my legs are so sore that I can barely walk, bought some shoes with Child 1, and made dinner at 9pm because I was late to everything today. Now I'm watching The Avengers, which seems pretty good, although I'm having a hard time concentrating, but Captain America helps.

So does Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo. Seriously, how did I not see this in the theater?

This man had a worse day than me when he found a spider in his bunch of grapes. He posted this picture on Reddit.

grapes spider

For those of you unfamiliar with spiders, which I am not because I am scared to death of them even though my grandmother illustrated a scientific book about them and gave it to me, that is a black widow spider. Apparently this is not an unusual problem in grapes and one of the reasons why you should always wash them before eating. Although, black widow spiders can jump, so maybe you should stand far away and use the sprayer. So thank you, Reddit man, for reminding me to be grateful that I bought strawberries today and not grapes which I will probably not by ever again.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Bad Day 87--Hut hut!

I am blogging on my cell phone again because I am at the high school football game because Child 2 is in the band which is playing "Superfreak" right now. I have been to many dozens of high school football games in my life because I also played in the band. But that was in Texas where football is a religion. The band at this school is by far bigger than the football team. It is so big, in fact, that playing at the games is purely optional and they still take up 1/3 of the stands.

The other thing about football here is that the stands were empty at kick off time. The first quarter is almost over and there are still lots of empty seats. And there is no half-time show! Half-time was the JV cheerleading squad dancing to the band. No marching. No flags. It's a sacrilege, I tell you! Why else would you go to a football game if it's not to see the half-time show?

OK, there's the game and all but since I know only one of the players, it's not the same. Still, it was fun to go with the children and be a normal family at a football game and it brought us the best description ever of someone by Child 3: "He   is the one with the eyebrows that make him look like he just hit someone in the neck." I know that was in English, but I completely did not understand it, much like I didn't understand most of what was happening at the game, especially the cheerleaders because I could have sworn they were saying "Go Buy Twin!" which would not make sense so it must have been along the go fight win lines and Child 1 got tired of yelling in my ear and told me I was deaf. I know! I have been saying that for years, but they don't believe me.

Husband and I went to see Pirates of Penzance last summer and I had to keep asking him to interpret for me which he did, but then that made everyone around us mad because I kept saying what did he say and it was 105 degrees and it was awful because it was supposed to be our last date before he left and it was supposed to be special because that is what we saw on one of our first dates and we left in the middle. But leaving turned out to be a good decision because that was the night of the derecho which we got home ahead of by leaving early and then we were without power for 5 days and now every time there is a storm Child 3 freaks out. It has stormed pretty much every week since Husband has been gone, so I'm hoping eventually she will stop freaking out because all the drama is very wearying and it means that I can't freak out myself and I'm not very fond of thunderstorms, having grown up in an area where they turn into tornadoes and all.

This car buyer is having a worse day than me. He went to buy an SUV at a dealership and they accidentally sold it to him for $5,000 less than they should have. So the dealer wanted him to come back and sign a new agreement, which he declined to do seeing as how he had already bought it. So the dealer called the cops and had him arrested for theft. Yep. That's right. The dealer made a mistake and tried to fix it by arresting the customer who is now suing him for $2.2 million. I hope he gets every penny. So thank you, Mr. car buyer, for reminding me to be grateful that as stressful as my car buying experience was, it did not end with me in jail. And thank you, "Betsy" for sending this link and making me smile.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Bad Day 86--He loves me, he loves me n. . .Nah. He just loves me.

One of the things that really stinks about unaccompanied tours is not being in the same time zone, or even being a decent number of zones apart (9 1/2!) so that you can figure out when to pick up the phone and call. And when you have three children, there are multiple times of the day that you want to call because they do something funny, or they are driving you crazy, or their teacher called and asked if they were ever going to turn in any homework during the year and it might be nice if they did it soon before the grading period ends. And then of course, because you miss him.

I miss Husband like I never thought I would. We'd been separated before by TDYs which is government for a temporary assignment. The worst was when he went to North Korea for two weeks on a food assessment trip to measure the upper arm circumference of children to see if they were malnourished. They were, but not starving to death, thank goodness. But anyway, during that trip there was no communication at all and it was hard because some very troubling things were happening back in Korea and I so wanted to call, but I couldn't and I couldn't even e-mail. But that was only for two weeks and although I usually miss him, the deep dark secret is that sometimes I liked it when Husband went away because we could eat all the foods he doesn't like, like corned beef and cabbage or have ice cream for breakfast, or smoothies for dinner. And I could also watch all the Merchant & Ivory films I wanted on Netflix and never once have to watch Hawaiian flower documentaries. Or Korean films which either scare me to death or are the worst comedies ever made. I seriously don't get Korean comedic cinema. Must be a language thing.

But this separation is infinitely worse in so many ways. First, because he is in a war zone which, if you follow the news, which I do, appears to be disintegrating rapidly and it makes me nervous. But also because it is so. much. longer! The time when he was away for three weeks and I was pregnant and had a toddler and was so exhausted all the time and he called to say they had upgraded him to the presidential suite and he had a butler and I said "send the butler here! You're not the one who is pregnant!" That was a bad time, but nothing at all compared to this. And people are so full of helpful advice like "don't bother your husband with things at home because he has more urgent things going on." Well guess what? His urgent things are temporary and mine will last for the rest of our lives and will still be urgent even after they move out of the house and hopefully take The Dog with them.

And then there is Skype which works some of the time and gives us just enough contact to put a band-aid on the wound but not enough to heal it. And because we can Skype, Husband thinks he doesn't have to write, he can just say what he wants to say and it will be enough. Except it's not. Talking is not enough because you can't go back and replay the Skype video where he says he loves you when you're tired and discouraged and depressed, so I go back and read his e-mails over and over and they say things like "are you at your desk?" Or "Did you pay the newspaper bill?" which is so not romantic but it's all I have. Until today when He wrote to say that he was working on the hotel reservations for his next R&R and wrote something at the end that made me cry. Just six words, but it made me cry and I will read them over and over and over. Because he loves me. I have proof!

Julianne Moore is having a worse day than me.

Her townhouse was broken into while it was being renovated and the thieves made off with $127,000 worth of jewelry. That is some very expensive jewelry she lost. My first house didn't cost that much! But thank you, Julianne, for reminding me that sometimes it is better to be middle class than filthy rich because if thieves stole all my jewelry, they might be able to buy a clock/radio with the proceeds. So good luck Julianne. I hope your insurance kicks in quickly, although since you make 10 times that for one film, maybe it won't matter.