Wednesday, December 23, 2009

We're Moving...Blog and All

We've sold our apartment...finally. Not the price we'd anticpated...but the
important thing is that it's sold and our family will soon be reunited, God willing.
I've immensely enjoyed this outlet to my frustrations, joys and "situational
comedy that is my life." It's far from over, of course. But due to all the stress
of showing buyers my place, forcing kids to study at squirt-gunpoint, renewing
passports that expired TWO FREAKIN' YEARS AGO, and all the other
fun that an expatriate can have, I'm not writing here so much anymore. Also
due to the opening of a  portal to the dark side of Yahoo!, I opted to open a
Gmail account and I'm having some problems logging in here as much. (Mainly
due to my inability to remember all 674 passwords to accounts all over the
internets...I digress.)

So, God willing,  أنشاء الله to those who read Arabic, we'll be starting over in the
USofA next month some time. I don't know how long it will take before I have
internet service there, but I'll have a new and improved blog site to go along
with my new and improved address and new and improved outlook on life....
you know, since I'll have access to my spouse again. So stay tuned and I'll post
a new URL as soon as I get one. And do check back in...I'm 100% certain that
we should have all kinds of new funnies. How could we not? I'm going to be
travelling from Egypt to Texas by myself with 5 kids, 12 suitcases, 6 carryons
and a partridge in a pear tree. But one question from customs at any stop along
the way, and that partridge'll be stuffed with pears and handed over to the agent
as a culinary bribe!

Speaking of culinary bribes: I FINALLY convinced Randa that we should leave
"Randa's house" and move to Texas. I had to tell her that I'd take her to McDonalds.
See? Bribery DOES work.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mothers and Daughters

Today has been a truly mixed bag of emotions for me. I woke up
this morning and started to knock on the door to my mom's room
to remind her to take her thyroid medicine. Then I got this over-
whelming feeling of sadness as I realized she's gone. She left last
night around 10:30pm and cried that she was leaving us behind.
I'd threatened the kids not to cry in front of her so it wouldn't be
so hard on her. Apparently, it didn't make a difference. My neigh-
bor, who drove her to the airport in Cairo 3.5 hours away, said
she cried the whole way. Poor thing.
Now, don't get me wrong. My kids were totally affected by her
leaving. I just made them wait to get back in the house to cry. And
cry they did. Especially Ismail. He and my mom argued most of the
month she was here. He was sassy and bossy and rude...typical
tween behavior. But it was his usual false bravado that tends to
find it's way into him as he tries various "personality outfits." He
cried his eyes out for more than an hour and eventually fell asleep
in her bed.
I'm so happy that she came to visit us. We had a wonderful visit.
And I think I love my mom even more than I ever did before...even
though I didn't know I could love her more!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I Did Not Marry a Man...I Married a Pack-Rat!

 GOT THERE! Or at least that's what my neighbors were thinking as my poor
eight-year-old, Aiman, was lugging the three giant black plastic bags down to
the dumpster in two separate trips. MOST of the trash was courtesy of cleaning
out my husband's closet. And NO, I did NOT throw out the polyester leisure
suits awaiting their return to the (ahem!) fashion (yeah, I can't even say it without
laughing either) rotation. I did get rid of the sweatsuit with all those little fuzz
balls built up on it and the white oil-based paint on the leg of the pants. And I'm
sure some homeless guy will enjoy the acrylic sweater in camouflage colors with
the buck and deer embroidered on the front. However, none of those items, or
even the navy blue velour polo style long sleeved  shirt he's had for the last
ELEVEN YEARS made their way to the trash.
   Nope. It was mostly paper trash. Receipts from the electric, water, gas, and
telephone company spanning the last 6 years or so and including accounts from
three different addresses, every bank statement from two different CLOSED
bank accounts, and every bank statement from a third closed account that we
requested to go paperless at least 4 years ago had the first trash bag overflowing.
Then there were the old worn-out passport covers, 5000 saved drawings from
the children, every love note I ever wrote him (Awwwwwwww...) and a giant
broken Batman and Robin alarm clock that nearly gave me a concussion when
the glass face fell out of it onto my head when I pulled it out of the top of the
closet. Oh and guess where I found the VCR that was broken during a fight
over which video we were going to watch next...TWO YEARS AGO! That's
correct. In my husband's closet.
     Now there are a few good things about his ability to "save stuff." I found
the warranties and owner's manuals for every single appliance that I'm trying
to hock right now. My husband is a tidy man....errrr...neat freak.......can anyone
say OCD? He does not like clutter. Which leaves me to wonder why on Earth
he chose to marry me, because...uh...Martha Stewart, I ain't. He has been known
to collect up all the mail and bills from the kitchen counter and shove it into a
plastic shopping bag which was then stuffed into a tiny cupboard above the
fridge that I never use because I'm only 5'3" and can't reach it. Ordinarily, I
don't mind when someone tries to declutter my life. However, I'm fairly organized
for a disorganized person. I know that I have that whole "out of sight, out of mind"
mentality. So I tend to put unpaid bills on the counter to remind me to pay them.
When Mr. "Don't Clutter My Life" collects them up and hides them in a cupboard
so that he doesn't have to see any messy countertops, I show my blond roots
when I am completely clueless as to why we are sitting in the dark over a 3-day
holiday weekend barbecuing everything from meats to cheerios because the
electric stove is not usable due to my inability to remember to pay the bill simply
because I didn't see a piece of paper on the formica! I digress.
    So the closet is no devoid of all photos of people we both truly hate, checks
that we'll never use, broken shoelaces, plastic bags from various duty-free shops
around the world and the empty box and owner's manuals that go to the Motorola
mobile phone stolen over a year ago, AND both the 110v home charger and charger
that plugs into your cigarette lighter in your car for an Ericsson mobile phone 
that we sold 5 years ago. There was a cigarette lighter/ashtray combo thing
purchased as a gift for someone in the States only he forgot to take it with him last
time he went. I could go on, but I'm actually embarrassed. So suffice is to say, I
at last found wood that turned out to be the bottom of the shelf I'd not seen since
the day we put that bad boy together seven years ago. WOW. One really can
accumulate quite a bit of crap in eight years time. But when you're married to a
pack rat, all bets are off. (Hint: wait until your pack rat is out of town like I did.
It makes the separation anxiety over getting rid of stuff sooo much easier to deal
with...especially if they've saved so much crap they don't remember owning it in
the first place!)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Today I'm 29 Years Old....for the 12th Time

That's right! It's my birfday today. Though it started off on the wrong foot
with me having to go personally ruin the career of a teacher who hit my son
in school yesterday, it was all up after that. My mom flew in from the U.S.
to spend a month with me and the kids. And my sister-in-law bought me
cake and visited for a few hours and my other sister-in-law actually put on
her "human suit" and came down and visited, too. And my children all painted
beautiful pictures for me. And my husband called and sang to me. AND my
sister, mom, and husband got me a new laptop for my birthday. But the
best gift of all was my new bra.

Yes, that would be odd in comparison to a laptop. BUT having lived
in Northern Africa for the last 8 years, I've been reduced to buying these
Chinese torture devices in order to hold up "the twins." I was so excited to
have an actual new Playtex bra with no ragged strands of elastic hanging out
of the side panels that I put it on immediately after I got out of bed: BEFORE
COFFEE! My mother thought it strange that I was so excited about a very
functional (while still pretty) piece of underwear. I was never so unaware of
my breasts....this is a new feeling after breast-feeding 5 kids. I am constantly
aware of my boobs anymore. I have to throw them over my shoulders in
order to keep from crushing them against the sink while washing dishes. The
bras here really do little more than add a layer of fabric between your skin
and your blouse. The elastic is absolutely useless. In fact, one would have
more support were she to just tuck them into her pants along with the blouse.
So naturally, when I got this new brasierre with REAL elastic in it and REAL
support (YES...lifting and separating) and returning "my girls" to their original
homes after such a long visit at my waistline, I was on cloud nine. Let's face it.
When you nurse kids non-stop for a total of 7 years, your once perky bosoms
are going tend to resemble two tube socks full of wet sand and there is little
you can do about it...non-surgically, anyway.

But now with my awesome battle bra and a quick touch up on my dye job, I
could probably pass for 29 for real. OH what a wonderful birthday. Props to
Playtex for bringing affordable "front end hydraulics" to the masses!

Friday, October 23, 2009

I've Become a Stepford Mom

So we've been sick now for nearly two weeks. I even went so far as to take
all SIXof us in for exams at the same time last Saturday. Cost me 100 LE
just for the exams and another 125 LE for all the meds afterward. And of
course, when it comes to MY prescription, it's for (drumroll please?) an
antidepressant medication. I've managed being a mother for 14+ years and
never had to take more than my daily handful of acetaminophen due to the
noise levels. But apparently this really wicked case of "prickly heat" I've had
for nearly 3 months is ACTUALLY a stress-induced case of hives. And if
I'd not been depressed before he wrote my prescription, I totally am now.
And yes, while it's always up to me whether or not I actually fill a prescription,
the pokey, itchy, red and disgusting bumps all over my chest, neck, shoulders,
and left cheek won the argument with the obstinate part of my brain that wants
me to be SuperMutha and do this whole teenage thing sans drugs. And I filled
that bad boy!

I've been on them now for 6 days. And ya know what? Not that much has
changed. Am I any less stressed? No. Am I still having fantasies of duct-taping
my kids to the ceiling, cleaning up the entire house and then enjoying the quiet,
clean, argument-free fruits of my labor while they watch from above for a whole
24 hours??? You betcha. The only difference is I'm enjoying the fantasies more
and sleeping at night...and the red bumps are starting to fade. Oh, and I just don't
give a hoot anymore if the boys pummel the crap out of one another. I've gone back
to the old, "Boys! If you don't stop hitting and start using your words, REAL words,
to solve your problems, you're going to lose your computer priveleges!" It's not really
working any more than it ever did in the past but ya know what? I'm not stressed or
depressed over it anymore. How cool is that? I'm not crying on the floor in the fetal
position wailing about what a failure I am as a mother. It's actually quite liberating, this
whole chemical dependency thing. I think I'll buy a petticoat and a beehive wig. I may
as well look the part, right?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Writer's Block...Is That Like Creative Constipation?

Usually, I'm inspired on an almost daily basis to write either here or on my novel. Finding time to actually sit down and put word to paper (or fingers to keyboard) is another issue entirely. But every few days I do make the time and have a plethora of ideas from which to pull one and expound on it.

Then there is this week which has lasted all month. The administrator's at my children's school are apparently all smoking crack. They've altered the schedule no fewer than 5 times and they've only been in school for 9 days. NOW they are discussing disbanding the everyday schedule and having them go every other day, with side discussions of closing the school entirely come November. All of this from fear of the Avian and Swine Flus. There is word that 2 different girls (one in middle school and one in college) have died in the last week due to one of the two strains of influenza. And people are scared. And they keep reacting. And changing my kids' school schedules. And jacking up my current mental state by adding fuel to my insomnia fire. I'm not a pleasant person when I don't sleep. But that's okay. Being unpleasant also gives me plenty of creative outlet due to my cynical personality and sarcastic wit. But when the usual (lack of)
sleep schedule alters from 6 hours of interrupted REM to 4 hours of interrupted REM, my creativity starts to clog. Well, as it relates to my writing anyway. I still have creative ways of stacking dishes (where they are haphazardly placed with no thought to size or weight and sometimes fall and break) and fixing a cracked window pane. Normal Me would have removed it and had a replacement cut to the size of the window frame and installed. New and Exhausted Me took a hammer to that bad boy and knocked it out of its frame, swept up the shards of glass and warned the kids not to walk barefoot for a few days before passing out on the couch for a nap.
So I can't decide what to write about and I KNOW I've had at least 6 really great topics pop into my head. And the creative part of my brain has bound up like a septagenarian whose forgotten where she put the Metamucil. It's sad really.
Instead of sharing my really impressive outlook on the world, I'm writing about regularity meds and my inability to write. Perhaps I'll try the insomnia meds instead and tomorrow the blockage may loosen up.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Why Kids Don't Belong at Frederick's

Croft and Barrow robe Pictures, Images and Photos
Call it "Flashback Week" if you want, but I've been remembering all sorts of crazy things that have happened to me. Today I was thinking of embarrassing moments in motherhood and flashed back to someone else's embarrassing moment in motherhood. I was still just a "cool aunt" figure.
My best friend, we'll call her Anne, was divorced and had custody of her 4 year old daughter, we'll call her Marie. (Yes, you know who you are because I'm using your middle names in an effort to keep you "innocent.") Anyway, Anne had been seeing a guy for several months and decided to buy him silk boxer shorts for Christmas. They didn't fit.
So, like any good girlfriend, she volunteered to exchange them for him because he was too busy (read: too embarrassed) to do it himself. We piled into her big ole blue beast of a car and drove to the mall where we found (ta-da!) Frederick*s of Hollywood. The return/exchange line was a mile long. And Marie was bored. I took her to get some french fries and we looked at some toys at a toy store and she rode one of those mechanical horse rides. We went back and saw that Anne was next in line, so we busied ourselves walking around the store.
Like most four year olds, Marie was very impressed by all the colors and textures of the racks and racks of clothes. "Woooo, this one's shiny" and "Yuck, this one makes my hands itch" and "I like this pink one with the mirror things on it" were a few of the comments she made. Then it happened. The murmuring, chatting and music all seemed to go
strangely quiet all at once. And Marie's voice could be heard
shouting, "HEY! MY MOM'S GOT ONE OF THESE!" I looked up and over at the cashier where I could see Anne's shoulders tense up and her buttcheeks clench. Since I didn't want her thinking I'd shown her child something totally inappropriate I yelled to her, "RELAX! IT'S A ROBE!"
The whole place cracked up.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sanitary Napkin Memories

While I love to read the more she-geared blogs and subscribe to several of them, I tend to stay away from words
like "vagina" and "tampon" and "girly bits" in my posts.
Not for any PC reason, I just don't have to talk about it in order to have one. At any rate, today is a special day.

I was chatting with my mother today and we got into a discussion about menstrual pads. Now, contrary to what various advertisement agencies will have you believe from their life's work of 30-second spot commercials during prime time t.v., women don't actually sit around discussing their
preferred methods of catching "Aunt Flo." However, my 13 year old daughter is getting around that age where we expect she'll be starting her period soon. This doesn't seem like a
big deal, does it? It is. My daughter has what the "experts" call Pervasive Developmental Delays with Autistic Tendencies (PDD/AT). Whatever the hell that actually means, I don't know. I do know that she is pretty verbal and smart and reads and talks and writes in both Arabic and English. She learns visually and doesn't "get it" when you're trying to explain some abstract thing that she can't see. And since I had a hysterectomy about 8 years ago, I can't exactly "accidentally on purpose" let her see me change a pad in order for her to freak out on my menstruating...because I don't. So...back to Sanitary Napkin Memory Lane.
I mentioned ALWAYS with wings to my mom and she said those damn wings always flip over and cause some serious damage to pubic hair. And I started to laugh. Loudly. I had
flashed back to a memory of high school. Yeah, of course, it
had to happen there. It's funny NOW that I can look back from 24 years later...but when it happened. I didn't laugh so much as I cried.
In 1986, we only had to have 20 credits total to graduate high school. I'm sure things have changed since then. But my dad was ahead of the school board apparently. He frowned upon any non-academic electives and constantly pushed me to take extra academic courses, like extra math or science classes. He also encouraged me to take a paralegal course at the community college a couple of nights a week just to see if I really wanted to be a lawyer. Anyway, at the end of my senior year, I had 24 academic credits and some college credits to boot. So a week or so before graduation, there was an assembly for seniors. And I got an Achievement Award.
And I was on my period.
Mr. Reynolds, the assistant principal, called my name to come up on stage in the auditorium. My friend, Vickie, was sitting next to me. She knew I was on the rag since I had to borrow a pad from her since I had run out. As I started to stand up, I whispered to her, "Oh man. I think this pad has turned upside down." I straightened up and I felt lightening bolts shooting through the old hoo-hoo. I let out an "owww"
that was only heard by Vickie due to the applause of the other seniors. I proceeded to walk as carefully as possible up the EIGHT STEPS to get to the top of the stage and by the time I got to shake hands with Mr. Reynolds and take my award, tears were streaming down my now red face. I was certain that my lower extremities now had that "Brazilian body wax" look and I carefully lowered myself into the seat next to Vickie, who was now sitting cross-legged trying not to wet her pants while she died laughing.
I wasn't tragically scarred for life, physically or psychologically due to this event. But now I find it a bit amusing. Regarding my daughter, it looks as though I'm going to have to wear a pad with "monkey blood" on it in order to
get her slightly used to seeing the ole "big girl bandaids" each month. Hopefully, she won't follow in her mom's footsteps of Introduction to Bikini Waxing in a public place.

Friday, September 25, 2009

We're Clearly Doing Something Right

My brother-in-law remarked to my sister the other day that if their kids hate them, clearly they must be doin something
right. She said that she's going to print that up and stick
it on the refrigerator.
And now that his comment has reached my ears, I must say,
Dude is on to something. I hear all the time from my elder
teenager that I am hated. Of course, it's usually just after
he gets sent to his room for being disrespectful or hitting
someone or calling someone an insulting name involving a
specific part of the human anatomy.
Speaking of disrespect, my 11 yr old is now telling me as
I type this that if I "continue to treat" him the way I have been (read: demanding respect or he spends time in his room), then he's going to run away from home! I wonder if there is a respectful way for me to offer to pack his bags.
Probably not. Instead, I'll choose to just ignore the remark.
I keep trying to encourage them to use real words to discuss their issues but they prefer the slap-down/cry hysterically method. One slaps down a sibling who proceeds
to cry hysterically. The result usually involves loss of
computer priveleges or ability to play outside. The fighting
levels are starting to go down a bit, even though the "I-hate-you's" are going up. So, I'm thinking David's correct
that clearly, we must be doing something right.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Never Ending Summer

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? You must
adore me, then. It's been a few weeks.

So,not much has changed here. We completed the month
of fasting for Ramadan and today is the first of three
feast days of Eid al-Fitr. The kids are all fine. I'm
fine. And school STILL....HASN'T....STARTED....YET!
What in the hell is wrong with this picture???! Randa
is so fed up with this perpetual Summer vacation thing
that she pulled all of their backpacks out of the
closet yesterday and stitched up any holes she could
find in them and threw them in a big pile on the floor
by the shoe closet and yelled, "GO TO SCHOOL NOW!"
The girl is so right that it hurts. They've been out
now since mid-May. Frankly, I'm getting a little sick
of seeing them myself.
Don't get me wrong. I love my kids. I just tire of
the "He's sticking his tongue out at me!"-"She hit me!"
routine and DON'T get me started on the "Is it my turn
yet?" regarding the computer. I had to sit through "turns"
for each of the five of them TWICE and forcibly remove
my 8 year old from the seat in order to get MY turn in.
And I'm the one trying to download the webcam software
so they can see their father when they talk to him! Silly
me. I didn't realize that "just 5 more minutes of Spider
Man" was a higher priority.
Another high point to their going back to school will
be the facilitation of my working out and dieting. I've
been trying all summer to work out. It's hard to do kick
box aerobics AND yell at your 11-year old son to stop
walking with his pants down to butt-crack level and making
"gangsta faces" at his sister. Mind you, this is all taking
place in my dining room and my heartrate is getting higher
by the second more from the aggravation factor than the
hook to the head/knee to the face combination.
One of the teachers knocked me for a loop yesterday,
though. She said that due to the high number of influenza
cases this year, they're going to be sending the kids in
grades 1-3 in the morning and the kids in grade 4-6 in the
afternoon. WHAT?! There goes my chance at free time, house
work, cooking and homeschooling Randa! I've got a third
grader, fourth grader and fifth grader. Who KNOWS what
craziness they're talking for the eighth grader? So, it's
looking like I'm stuck with kids galore for the remainder
of the year. Lucky, lucky me. Poor Randa. It's going to
take a lot more than stitching up ripped backpacks for
her to get any one-on-one time now.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Legend in My Own Mind-Part Deux

It happened! First, the same guy who couldn't remember me
before e-mailed me again and this time remembered our Class President- duh!
AND my sister...who I introduced to him. Yeah. I'm thinking he's GOT to be screw-
ing with my head now. Did one of you e-mail him a copy of part one of this blog?
Maybe he actually read it...on his own...but I'm thinking that he may have enjoyed
a little more than the "experimental dosage" of black hash that made it's way from
Turkey to our high school in Germany. But damn. You remember my younger sister
but not me. Hmmm. Nope, you're obviously an idiot. Or blind. Or a burn-out.
Because I was way cute. Not that my sister wasn't. I'm not taking anything away from
her. She's a hottie. But let's get back to ME. I'm the funny one who ISN'T shy.
Whatever. I'm so going to just un-friend him on Facebook. I don't care if that's bad
etiquette. It happens. And it's not like he'll notice anyway. I'm obviously not even a
blip on his radar. So I will just have to chalk it up to the fact that it has been 24 years
since I've even seen him. And not everyone is as smart as me to remember names
and faces and dates and places.
This does NOT, however, excuse incident number two. I found a former co-worker
that I met about 23 years ago...but I worked with him for several years back then. And
then again about 10 years ago. And we had partied together several times. And gone
to lunch together a few times. And he dated a friend of mine. AND the second time
that we worked together, I was pregnant for like the 47th month...okay it only seemed
like it........I was about 6 months pregnant with the 4th kid and I distinctly remember
about 4 or 5 of us from the office riding together to a meeting or a luncheon and HE
was going on about how great Dr. Laura Schlesinger was and we discussed the friend
of mine he'd dated years before. AND his love of larger women. And when he men-
tioned one day that I was "looking real good," I made a mental note to start on a diet
immediately! So how is it that he sends me a Facebook message after ACCEPTING
my add friend invitation telling me he's drawing a total blank about me? Again, IS THIS
EVEN POSSIBLE? Someone is just screwing with me, I know it. I'm far too cute for
people not to remember me. And I'm funny. And I'm really smart. Not just smart-ass.
I mean, really smart. I have an I.Q. of 143! That's nothing to sneeze at.
There is definitely a plot out there to drive me stark raving mad. Why does this
bother me? Because I am totally 100% an attention whore. I know this. It's what drives
me to blog. Well, that and the fact that I'm raising five kids in a foreign country with no booze.
I suppose I should be grateful that my kids remember me. And my husband. And my mom.
And my sisters. I'm a little uncertain as to whether or not my brother remembers me. But
I can't un-friend him. That would be...just wrong. But these other two clowns? I have to
just remind myself that it's their loss. They won't get to reacquaint themselves with the
glory that is me. Gotta click that delete button. Obviously I won't be missed.

Friday, September 4, 2009

My Fantasy Life Has Been Interrupted by My Kids

I'm lying on a big comfortable king-sized bed, wearing pretty pajamas with no
food stains or holes in them, and my hair is clean and there's no one banging on
the bedroom door screaming, "MOM!!!!" I'm sleeping...actual r.e.m....and no
alarms and no telephones and no dreams of any kind........and......
BLAMMO! Someone slams into the bedroom door with his shoulder to open it,
because, you know...those damn door handles...well, they're just a decorative
option. "Hunh?...get the glue out of the cupboard...I'll make dinner...huh? What?"
I sit up in bed.
"Mom! Ismail won't give Randa the remote control back and he's not even
watching t.v.!" whines Samiya.
"That is NOT true. I turned the t.v. on an hour ago and so it's my turn to have
the remote!" shouts Ismail from the living room.
POLICE! ISMAIL'S JAIL!" screams Randa from behind her tear-stained face with
stripes of skin where her eyebrows once were as she plucked vertical stripes
when she found my tweezers sometime last night.
I crawl back under the sheet and pull the pillow over my face. Will death not
come quicker than this? Why now? I just went to bed at 6am. What time is it?
My mind is a tornado of questions that 30 seconds ago didn't exist. "What was
I dreaming about?" I wonder. The shouts are getting louder and the mother's
intuition is starting to kick in. I throw back the sheet and sit up, place my
glasses on my face so that I can find the bathroom without crashing into
furniture and shove my feet into my slippers. With very old, fat, and exhausted
cat-like reflexes I throw a hand up to catch the fist of Ismail that is about to
pound down on Samiya's head as he shouts, "TATTLE-TALE!" I spin him about
and shove him toward his room.
"Back to your room, Mister! And don't come out until I call you!" I continue
shuffling to the bathroom. "And don't throw anything out of the room at her."
I hug Randa to calm her down. "And don't call her nasty names from in there
either!" I yell out as an afterthought. "Samiya. You're grounded from talking
at all for the next 20 minutes because you tattled and minded their business
instead of your own."
"But I...." she starts. She gets the morning stink eye from me. She takes a big
huffy breath and stomps off to her room and slams the door at me. Whatever.
I think about how much my fantasies have changed over the years as I brush
my teeth with the door locked and use my "maternal noise-cloaking device"
(M.N.C.D.) deep in my brain to tune out the fight that has begun between
Ismail and Hamo in their bedroom.
I used to fantasize about my husband and me running hand in hand on the
beach or being wealthy jetsetters, not to mention the sexual fantasies. Now I
fantasize about clean, hole-free pajamas and napping without interruption!!?
What the hell happened to me?
The M.N.C.D. is starting to jam due to piercing screams and four-letter words
being yelled by the boy in the headlock and crazy, macho self assurances are
being shouted by the one clutching the owner of the foul mouth, "YEAH!
I spit and rinse and run my fingers through my graying hair (time for a touch up)
and take a deep breath before going to pry apart the warring teenage factions
and face the reality of my life: Motherhood sucks sometimes.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Why Your Sons Should Not Play Karate Games

So I carried on last night about how my boys had their Butt-kicking
Festival in the dining room and I ignored it. Missed that? Shame on you
for not being a better cult follower. Read about it here . So we have
already established I'm not up for a MOTY award. Well, how about the
World's Biggest Loser Award where I have to walk around with the
word LOSER stamped on my forehead and have my parental rights
revoked? Well, maybe not the forehead stamp....

Earlier yesterday, Aiman was doing God only knows what in the
boys' room and this required him to stand on Hamo's footboard in socked
feet. He slipped and racked himself, mostly on the backside but apparently
a little further forward, too. He told me he hurt his butt on the bed but
didn't mention any further details. And he wasn't crying, coughing, bleeding
or singing the high notes, so I asked for none. Blah blah blah. The day
continues and eventually ends with the shirtless free-for-all we discussed
earlier above. About two hours later, Aiman came in crying that his "butthole
is hurting on the left side." Okay. So I told him to go rinse it off in the bidet
hoping that his verbage was mistaken and that hurting really meant itching.
Nope. "It didn't work! My left butthole is still hurting me really bad." So
thankful for the previous hygiene advice, I went ahead and inspected. He
was right. The left side of his anus was swollen about the size of a half dollar.
So I put an ice pack on it. What else was I supposed to do? It was 2 am and
it's not like you can run to the nearest pharmacy and ask for the usual
prescription one receives from half a swollen butthole. He lasted 30 seconds
with the ice. Finally, he went to sleep.
Today when he got up he was walking funny. So, I asked him, "Hey, how's
your butt today?" And he said it still hurts. So I re-inspected and wow! The
half-dollar sized swelling was up to a couple of bucks....the swelling was about
the size of my hand now and included most of his left cheek and was extending
downward. I got him dressed and took him to the hospital and the pediatrician
there said, "I'm pretty sure he just hit himself pretty hard but I'd like to refer
him to a surgeon just to play it safe." SURGEON? Not the word you want to hear
when dealing with your kid's lower levels. So, I put on my brave face and wore
it for the rest of the day. Egypt is a fairly nocturnal society. You're lucky if you
can find a doctor around during daylight hours. So we had to wait until tonight.
I took him to a different hospital where I knew the two surgeons. By this time,
it was 9 pm and the swelling had increased now to include the entire left testicle.
He was so swollen that he had to walk with legs way open and he was in pain if
he sat down too hard. This doctor took one look at him and wrote up a referral
for a sonogram...across town. We caught a cab to the radiologist and the place
was packed. Wall to wall sick people. Yuck. We finally got seen and got his films
and got out of there around 1 am. YAY. Only needing a prescription and no
need for surgery as nothing was twisted or broken. Of course, the radiologist
gave Aiman and Ismail (who was along for the ride and PROBABLY the one who
kicked him in the ding-ding in the first place though he swears he didn't) a stern
speech about the dangers of karate kicks, chops, and punches to the testicles.
Aiman is only 8 and these types of questions don't enter his mind. But Ismail
will be 11 next week. And after seeing his brother's junk swollen 4 times it's usual
size, asked me, "Will Aiman be able to have kids still when he's old?" And I told him
God willing. The doctor did reassure me that he's okay down there but he MUST
be careful in the future.
I wonder if I buy three cups at the same time if I can get a discount. I'm sure the
wrestling around may stop temporarily but I don't think it'll last forever.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Oh the Testosterone is Getting Thick in Here

So, I'm sitting here just being the mixed bag of emotions that I am;
excited about my mom finally coming to visit, sad that my husband
isn't here right now, perplexed as to why I can never seem to get
my creative juices flowing on my book like I can when I'm blogging,
slightly psychotic, yet thankful to the old high school not-real-friend
that gave me fodder for yesterday's blog post. And then boredom
sets in with my lunatic sons.
Hamo, the 14 year old came in and asked if it would be okay if he
and Ismail, the 10 year old play together for a while. Normally, he
wouldn't have asked except that Ismail was grounded to the couch
because he had been aggravating Aiman and Samiya in the girls
room when they were trying to make an imaginary restaurant and
he kept stealing their table. So I tell him yes...but after another 5
minutes of his timeout. Hamo offered a nice quiet (yea, right) arm-
wrestling match. I started to smell this funky, aroma that I couldn't
quite identify.
"You're not a man! I'M a man. You're a girl." Hamo shouted.
"You're the girl, soft boy!" Ismail shouted back.
"Let's see who's the man here, Wussy." Hamo challenged.
Begin full blown wrestling match on the dining room floor. Thank
God Samiya and Aiman dragged the table into her room for their
restaurant business. "You're no man! You're a coward." shouted one.
"How do you figure, Sissy?" yelled the other.
"Only a coward kicks a man when he's down!"
"Only a loser would go down in the first place. I'm just kicking you
to keep you down, Loser."
Begin crotch-punching, ankle-biting, and other cheap shots. "Stop
grabbing my balls, Chicken."
"Keep your balls off my head, Coward."
"Keep your head where it belongs....up your BUTT! KAYAAAH!"
I shut my door. I can't deal with the noise anymore and they can't
hear me when I tell them to be quiet and settle down. "What is that
smell?" I again ask myself as it gets stronger.
Finally, I see shirts flying past the window of my bedroom door and
begin to hear punches meeting backs and stomachs. Oh great! Aiman,
the 8 year old, has jumped into the fray. Apparently, he's going to get
his revenge on Ismail while he tag-teams with Hamo.
"Okay, okay!" shouts Ismail, "I'm a woman! I'm a woman! I quit!"
and he runs into my room and shuts the door behind him. "I won them
finally," he lies to my face.
"Yeah, I could tell by the wimpy 'I quit- I'm a woman' revelation
as you ran to hide behind my apron," I retort.
"Well, look at how sweaty I am! I just need to catch my breath, "
he announces as he flops down on MY CLEAN SHEETS! The hell you say!
"Go catch your breath in a shower. I've gotta sleep here tonight and
I don't wanna smell your funky ass all night! GET OUTTA HERE!" I throw
the door open and shove him into the general direction of the bathroom.
Oh, yeah. It's testosterone. THAT's the smell.
Finally, the three boys have each determined which one is a man and
which one is a girl. I don't care who wins....ultimately, if there's silence
I'LL be the winner.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Legend in My Own Mind

I was an army brat growing up. We moved every 1 to 3 years. I lived
in Alabama, Michigan, Texas, Germany and Maryland and traveled to
all different states and countries in between. For some kids, like my
sister, all this bouncing around was hard. We had to leave friends behind
and start all over in a new place, new house, new school, making new
friends. I'm an extrovert. I just thought of it as new signatures for my
"autograph book" (remember those? Like any of us would fall over some
famous person and we just so happened to have an autograph book in
our back pocket next to that long handled plastic pink and yellow marble
colored comb?)
I was great at making friends. I always had the quantity, even if I
didn't always have the quality of friends my parents preferred for me.
I always felt sorry for my sister. Just one good friend at any particular
place we lived...maybe two or three more that were close acquaintances.
Of course, MY friends were usually popular and loud and everyone knew
them so I must have been fairly popular, too. Right?
Reality check: Facebook is great for reconnecting with old high school
friends/acquaintances. I've reestablished communication with lots of
people I went to high school with in Germany the first three years and
with a bunch more that I knew my senior year in high school in Maryland.
(Damn Army....dragged me off before my last year in Stuttgart!) So, there
was this really good looking guy who I met in my drama class my junior
year in Germany. He was very nice and always talked to me whenever we
saw each other in the hallways. My sister had a massive crush on him and
begged me to introduce her to him. ..which I did....begrudgingly...after
hearing how it's so not fair that I know all the good-looking and cool guys
and jocks, etc. So, I introduced them. And they began to talk in the halls
between classes.
Twenty-five years later I open a Facebook account. While looking up
people from my two high schools, I ran across this guy's name. "Oh, wow,"
I thought to myself. "I always wondered what happened to him." So, I
sent a message and an add friend invite and then NOTHING. I figured
surely he MUST remember me. I hung with all the popular kids in my class
and even though I was a year behind him in school, he MUST know me.
I was so damn cute in high school. You know, despite the braces, freckles,
really curly hair when everyone else was wearing it straight and feathered
back....and blonde....except mine was reddish brown. But I stood out.
Among all the other popular kids while we were selling donuts for the
junior class formal. Yeah, he knew me. He HAD to remember me. Afterall,
I remembered him.
Two weeks went by and still no word. Well, until today. I got a Facebook
message that had my total reality check in just a couple of bland, ego shat-
tering sentences: I'm sorry. I'm old now. Help me did you
know me?
"How did YOU know ME?" Okay, that verifies that he didn't know me.
"I'm sorry" that's just common courtesy. "I'm old now" that's just crap. He's
41 maybe 42. "Help me remember" means, "all those conversations that we
had during drama class and in the hallways, and even meeting your sister
was all just time I passed nodding and smiling my dazzling, popular guy
smile while in my head I was thinking, "I wonder what's for lunch in the cafeteria
today" and "Who the hell is this dorky chick with the braces who keeps talking
to me all the time? Oh yeah. I think she sells donuts or something. I wonder if
she knows the girl with the big boobs in my calculus class. If she ever shuts up
I'll ask her. Oops there's the bell."
Yup. I apparently was a legend in my own mind. I must not have made an
impression on as many people as I thought I had. My sister will be relieved.
Perhaps I'm one of those "sympathy friend additions" on Facebook. You know,
where you feel a little guilty because you don't actually remember the person
who's friending you and you have to run to your yearbook and look them up and
you think, "Well, I saw her around. It's been 25 years. Maybe I WAS friends with
her and I just don't remember." Man. I think I'm going to go get the whole word
LOSER tattooed on my forehead, instead of just the letter L. At least then, I'll make
an impression on any future friends I make.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Teenagers, Lessons, and My Hellish Day

My apologies if I sound like a broken record
with my needle stuck on the lyric "teens suck."
But it's true. This is absolutely the most horrible
experience I've ever gone through. (Mom, I'm so
sorry for any hair-pulling, anti-depressant down-
ing, top-of-your-lungs screaming I may have put
you through all those years ago.) Ismail has begun
his walk down The Teenage Turnpike a little
earlier than his older siblings. He's not even 11 yet.
Today I went on the balcony to bring in the dry
laundry off the line when some white stuff caught
my eye on my neighbor's balcony (down one floor
in the building next door to ours.) I managed to
focus my non-caffeine-jump-started eyes on the
white stuff and realized it was about 15 to 20
snot-filled tissues. "ISMAIL!" I shouted.
He came out onto the balcony with me and I
asked him about the mess littering my friend's
veranda. He answered with a flip "I dunno." But
I caught a quick glimmer in his eyes before he
looked away. (Tell number 1.) I asked him if he
blew his nose in the tissues and threw them down.
"No, I did NOT," he replied, corners of his mouth
turning up for a nanosecond before scowling again
to show he's shocked at my disbelief. (Tell number
2.) So I looked right in his amber colored eyes and
said, "So, you're telling me that if today was
Judgement Day and you were standing before God
and He asked you about those snotty tissues on
Hayba's balcony you would HONESTLY be able to
answer that you did not do that?" He looked right
at me and said, "Yes (eye shift to the right and down)
I'd be able to answer that I did NOT do it! (mouth
corners up, then down, then eyes up and to the left....
Tells numbered 3, 4, and 5.)
"Go get the broom, dustpan and an empty shopping
bag, NOW!" I got dressed and pushed him ahead of
me to my friend's house. My friend, Hayba, has three
daughters, ages 14, 9 and 5. The oldest has autistic
tendencies and keeps to herself. The two younger ones
are smart-mouthed girl versions of Ismail and LOVE
to antagonize him. In their defense, they did NOTHING
to I forced him to apologize to Hayba for
littering all over her balcony and then forced him to
go out and sweep it for her.
My brother-in-law saw this when he was coming in
from the street and yelled at him to put that broom
down and what was he? A street-sweeper? And why are
you embarrassing your father like this? Ismail explained
to him that Mom was punishing him because he threw
used tissues all over the neighbor's balcony and she said
that he wouldn't learn his lesson if she apologized for his
behavior and the neighbors don't deserve to touch his
germs. His uncle told him not to ever throw trash off the
balcony again and went upstairs. Ismail went home and
started fighting with his older brother and things just
sort of escalated from there. I'm really too tired and
emotionally drained to relive all of that today. So I won't.
In fact, I was feeling rather depressed about how everyone
around here is going to think I have such a bad son when
I know he's just the posterchild for ADHD and he really
is a good boy.
Then Hayba called me and said that the neighbors
upstairs from her and across the hall all asked why I made
him sweep her balcony. She explained that I force my kids
to be accountable for their mistakes and apologize to those
they wrong. The woman across the hall from Hayba totally
hates me. But even SHE said, "Wow. If all of us did that
with our kids when they are young they'd grow up and be
respectful adults and not throw trash out of their windows
like so many people on this block do." And the woman
upstairs who is really old and cranky said, "Good for her."
Hayba said that she was surprised at their responses because
they are two of the most judgemental people she knows.
That made me feel better.
Maybe I'll survive this ride yet.

Monday, August 24, 2009

It's Ramadan again. Today is the third day of
twenty-nine days of fasting. Ramadan is the
holy month where Muslims all over the world
abstain from food, drink, smoking, sexual
relations, swearing or talking bad about others.
Well, the swearing or talking bad about others
is something we all strive to do every day. But
I think a more conscious effort is made to
refrain from those during the month of Ramadan.
We fast from just before sunrise until sunset.
Young children, elderly, sick, pregnant or men-
struating women are exempt, and can make
up for not fasting by feeding someone who is
Randa knows that it's Ramadan because
of the decorations and brightly colored lights
and lanterns everywhere. Autism gets in the
way sometimes when trying to explain the
intangible. But my other four children all fast.
The younger ones aren't really required to do
so. But they look at it as a challenge. In fact,
today Hamo forgot that he was fasting about
an hour before sunset and drank a big glass
of water. The ribbing he got from Aiman,
six years his junior, was unbelievable. "Ha ha
ha ha. I lasted alllllll daaayyyyyy and youuuuu
broke your fast early....You arrrreeee weeeakk."
It took three of us to hold him back so that
Aiman could get a head start.
May Allah bless and keep you and your
families during this blessed month and may He
guide us all to His path of righteousness. Amen.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Shopping with Five Kids is a Breeze

It's hot. It's sweltering. It's liquid heat. In nearly
eight years of living in Alexandria, I've never been
this uncomfortable. Well, there was that time that
Samiya told her cousin to stay off of her bed
because her mommy told her that her cousins have
"hair bugs" (lice) and she didn't want to get them.
THAT was fairly uncomfortable. But as discomfort
relates to the weather, this summer's heat is by far
the winner.
Yesterday I lost my mind. I announced to the
kids that they should all get dressed quickly, put
shoes on, comb hair and pee. Then we all went
downstairs and caught a cab to Manshiya's clothing
district. Whoa, Nelly! If you think Christmas shopping
on Black Friday is bad, you should try it here during
the August sales month 3 days before Ramadan starts
in the hot afternoon sun. Oh, and then do it with five
kids. If that doesn't land you in the local sanitarium,
then I don't know what will.
Actually, it wasn't that bad. Except for crossing
the busy streets on the way there and on the way home,
it was pretty uneventful. What made me lose it and take
all of them with me? I guess I wanted to get them out of
the house as well as get each one a new shirt for 'Eid
al-Fitr (the celebration ending the month long fast of
Ramadan.) It's easier and cheaper this way.
I managed to get out of there with only having spent
180 pounds. Woohoo. I talked Ismail out of ever asking
me to buy him leather pants again for the rest of his life.
(Barf.) And I also started the brainwashing mantra
therapy, where I whisper to him over and over "If you
want a leather jacket, then save your own money." I'm
so not buying a child a leather jacket.
I convinced Randa that shopping was fun and that
screaming and belching in stores is not. Aiman stopped
asking for the Nike shoes, red sleeveless polyester shirt
with a black zipper up the front and the word Laguna
Beach misspelled (Lagnua Beach) after hearing the word
"No" 422 times after each begging session. He and Ismail
tag-teamed me though when it came to the blue and gray
backpacks with a picture of a skeleton flipping the bird
with his bony finger. That time they heard it clear enough
the first time, "Not 'no', but 'Hell no!"
I didn't find anything respectable for Randa. (What's
the deal with these clothing companies trying to dress
our little girls like common whores? I don't want to
ever be able to associate adjectives like "sexy" or "hot"
with my 13 year old. The creep factor is just too high.)
So I got Samiya a beautiful yellow blouse and a yellow and
purple paisley scarf to match it. Each boy got a polo-style
shirt of a different color. I'll pick up something for Randa
this week. Each of us got a soda and drank it on the
trolley ride home. Most of our shopping was completed
and the kids got a couple of hours out of the house.
Mission accomplished....but it's still hot.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Finding Ismail

Everyone goes through that pre-teen/teenager
search time in his or her life. Some earlier than
others. My third child, Ismail, is ten years old. And
I'm a little confused as to why HE is hanging out
in the "personality fitting room" of life instead of
his 14 year old brother. I mean, I expect my teenager
to be trying on "the gangster" or "the emo" person-
alities right now. When I was his age, I wore "the
jock-ette" and "the sharp witted clown" suits quite
comfortably. In fact, I never took them off. But Hamo
seems to be content still in his "artist pajamas" from
way back in kindergarten. Ismail, on the other hand,
has a rotisserie style of personalities (from the sales
racks, I might add) that include ensembles from
"thug," "wannabe rap artist (hold the rhythm)," "bossy
McBosspants," "sweet, helper boy," "mean bully guy."
I don't understand the attraction to most of his favorite
designs. I REALLY like "sweet, helper boy." This is
the guy who does the dishes for me without being
asked, volunteers to take out the trash or pick up what
I need from the market. He defends his sisters, brothers,
neighbors and cousins and even picks up trash off of the
stairs when his slovenly cousins toss it from upper
"Bossy McBosspants" seems to be setting up coup
attempts daily in an effort to overthrow Hamo from his
current position as Oldest Brother. This guy jumps up and
yells out orders to the younger siblings and gets everyone
motivated to clean up their rooms and get dressed quickly
on days we're scheduled to go out on family field trips.
"Thug" gets on my LAST nerve. He has a fascination with
knives and swearing and fighting. He is not a welcome
personality in this house at all. In fact, he and "mean, bully
guy" have been the reason Ismail has lost computer
privileges so many times this summer alone.
"Wannabe rap artist" would be tolerable if only he could
keep a beat. Ever see that Steve Martin movie "The Jerk"?
You know, where they were dancing around on the front
porch and everyone was on time but him? Yeah...that's my
boy. He knows it, too. He's asked his eight year old brother,
Aiman, several times to teach him how to dance and Aiman
just looks at him and says, "I've tried. You just like to shake
your crotch. And that's NOT krumping." (Just a sidenote, I'd
like to thank stupid Nickelodeon and the show "Just Jordan"
for even adding KRUMPING to my little boy's dance moves
repetoire. As though "booty popping" wasn't enough.) Ismail
listens in awe anytime I'm going through my "oh I remember
THAT song" moments and has begged me to teach him the
lyrics to "The Rapper's Delight", "Parents Just Don't Understand"
and songs like "Freakazoid." (Yeah, I know I'm showing my age.)
I guess all I can really do is encourage him to tear off just
the positive pieces of each of these personality-suits and stitch
them into his own unique pattern to fit Ismail. All the rest of us
did it. And now it's my turn to just stand back like the changing
room attendants at Macy's and hope he opts for the classics
rather than the passing fads.

Monday, August 10, 2009

It Might Be About That Time

I was standing in the kitchen making my awesome
Chicken and Vegetable Pasta with Bashamel Sauce
today when a rare breeze blew through the windows.
I felt something touching the back of my leg just
above my ankles. Fearing it was a red ant (our kitchen
is FULL of them this summer), I immediately dropped
my spoon and started smacking the back of my legs.
Nothing there. "That's odd," I thought. I wasn't
sweating. So it wasn't a drop of sweat rolling down
where you aren't sure if it's sweat or a bug. So I went
back to finishing dinner.
Another breeze blew through the windows and I
felt it again...only this time it was more like a tickling
sensation. I checked behind me to see if Ismail or Hamo
were playing tricks on me with a dry paintbrush. Nope.
I was all alone in the kitchen. That's when I noticed.
been since I mowed those things? I mean, shaving my
legs is always one of the last things on my list of stuff
to do, ESPECIALLY when my husband is working
overseas. But DAMN! I could probably french braid
these puppies.
So, my list of stuff to do has one more job on it. Oh yay.
Now I need to make sure I've got at least 2 new razors,
just in case one breaks during the pending hackfest. I
don't think we own a machete. We live in the city, for
crying outloud. I may have to wait until the kids go to
sleep tonight. This looks like a 2-hour job. I know, I know.
TMI. But what's a girl to do? I'm really busy and I don't
have my man around right now to ask me why I'm wearing
legwarmers to bed in August to remind me to shave my
legs. I got the kids fed. What more do ya want from me?
So, I look a little "Sasquatch-y". It could be worse. At
least I remember to bathe!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Endorphins, Sore Muscles and No More Writer's Block

Yes! Today is a good day. It didn't start out that way.
But it's ending up that way (God, I hope I didn't speak
to soon.) I forced myself to do another 50 minute aero-
bic workout today and 20 minutes of crunches. I NEED
my endorphins if I'm going to get these children fed and
grown and married off and the hell out of my house in
the next 20 years. Since I'm doing this whole childrearing
thing sans alcohol, drugs or anti-depressant medication
I really have to use any healthy outlet I can find in order
to stay off the crazy bus. If I don't exercise, write, blog or
swear like a merchant marine, I'd be DRIVING the crazy
bus...right off a damn cliff.
So, I was so excited to see that Shauna Glenn published
my "guest blog" on her site today. Now my head is all
swollen...I had to send the kids out to buy food for supper
as I could not fit my bloated cranium through the doorway.
So now I've got endorphins and a huge ego....kinda match
my huge butt....which won't be big for long if I keep up the
power aerobic workouts. I'm so stoked.
I so needed a good evening like this. My neighbor, Hayba,
came over last night and borrowed my scale. She is about 3
inches taller than I am and wears 3 pants sizes bigger than
I do....but I outweigh her by 5 kilos. My heart started to
sink and Ismail, my ten year old son noticed. He reminded
me that muscle is heavier than fat and encouraged me to
work out today. He was so right. (Maybe I'll cave and let his
father buy him that motorized scooter he wants so badly.
Right after my frontal lobotomy.)
So now I'm motivated to work out for an hour every day and
write for one hour every morning after my first cup of coffee...
pre-coffee would be total nonsense and perhaps not even in
English. As long as I have a pen, a notepad and boobs bigger
than my waistline, I shall be a happy camper. And as long as
I'm working out, I'll be happier. Yay. Good days rock the Casbah.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Success, Fail, Success, Fail

We had a relatively good day, today. I slept until 11.
I got the laundry in before the lady upstairs beat the
dirt out of her rugs all over it. I sent Hamo and Samiya
to the supermarket to buy the stuff I needed from there
and at the same time, sent Ismail and Aiman to the
open market to buy the produce we needed. Randa and
I enjoyed about 30 minutes of quiet bliss! I had 2 great
cups of coffee and cut and cleaned 2 kilos of okra to
put in the freezer to save myself some work during the
month of Ramadan (starts in about 20 days or so.)
Then things started to go downhill.
The ceiling fan in my bedroom crapped out. Sound
the air-raid sirens...there is NO WAY I'm sleeping with-
out that thing. I can handle no air conditioning. I can
handle making my own ketchup. I can handle life
without Wal*Mart. BUT I NEED MY CEILING FAN!
So, I've planned to swipe the box fan we've been using
in the living room because that ceiling fan has been
running rather slowly. (And yes, I DO know that if I
wipe the 46 pounds of dust off the blades that it'd run
faster...but did YOU know that I'd have to do this
with the fan off and on top of a ladder and well, heat
rises, for crying out loud and I don't want to sweat
that much when I've already got prickly heat!)
Once the temperature goes down about 5 degrees,
I'll clean it off. I promise.
Anyway, I made the kids chicken nugget sandwiches
and chips. I had no intention of cooking today. It was
too hot. And I ate 2 pears instead of that. Come to
think of it, I've not eaten anything else today except
for 1 chicken nugget I tasted and oh yeah, 3 chocolate
chunk cookies that I made for the kids tonight. I know.
I'm just a walking contradiction. Too hot to cook a
nutritious meal but not too hot to bake cookies.
But Randa wanted cookies and just now came in to
tell me, "I'm STILL happy!" That's her way of thanking
me. I love her. She's a great kid. Always honest, too.
Like yesterday when she shouted at me, "EWWW!
Breath stinks!" as I was trying to tell her to please say
hello to her father when he called from overseas.
Well, excuuuuuuuse me. Gave her father a good laugh
I didn't get to sew today. OBE once again. (That's
Overtaken By Events, for those of you who've never
worked for the gubmint.) One of these days I'll get to
sew. Maybe. If I could only get over my fear of my new
sewing machine. It scares me. It's got 60 different
stitch choices. And these things called cams so that
you can use the different stitches. But I read the
manual from cover to cover and there is no mention
of what to do with these cams. And I really want to
learn to use this machine. I've got lots of plans for it.
Other than just dusting it every day. Maybe I'll be
able to make myself another dress but in LESS than
a year this time.
Oh and I tried to upload about 60 photos onto
Facebook and it was taking forever. Then after
nearly an hour it only had three photos left. The
boys were outside playing and called me to the
window. Randa was in the shower. So, I ran to the
window to see what the deal was with them and
I swear I wasn't gone from the terminal longer than
four minutes when Randa's radar went off and she
knew I was away from the computer. She wrapped
herself in a towel and ran into my room and clicked
the X in the corner of my window and zapped my
wait time into an hour long waste of time. Oh well.
One more fail to add to my list of failures for the
day. Tomorrow will be better, God willing.
I'll cook. I'll clean...maybe even the ceiling fan
blades. And I won't be baking any cookies. And
perhaps I'll sew. And maybe, just maybe, my teenagers
will all come down with a big, fat case of laryngitis...
non-painful, non-infected of course. And maybe
my husband will hit the lottery and come home next
week. I won't hold my breath...but here's hoping.

Friday, July 31, 2009

This New Jacket is the Perfect Fit!

Straight Jacket 1 Pictures, Images and Photos
So, it's 4 o'clock Friday afternoon and I'm STILL
waiting for Hamo to finish eating lunch so that I
can sit next to him and force him to study his
Islamic Studies books for his re-take test scheduled
for TOMORROW. He has the attention span of a
fruit fly on crystal meth.
I swear I'm losing it. Between fussing at Randa
every 5 minutes to turn down the t.v., at Samiya
to stop tattling non-stop, at Hamo to get back in
his room to study, at Ismail to stop teasing Hamo
to the point that he COMES out of his room to kill
him, at the people upstairs who decided to start
smashing their floors in with sledgehammers around
8 o'clock last night until 11:30 and then pick up up
this morning with their annual dwarf-tossing and
furniture juggling contests, I'm on the brink of
I think I could've handled things a little better with his
failing his final back in June had I not been blamed for
it. I tried to reason with him and explain that he needs
to take responsibility for his own shortcomings and how
you only get out of things what you put into them, etc.
Then I remembered he's 14 and all he hears is the WAH
WAWAWAWAH sound of Charlie Brown's teacher's
voice when I talk to him. So I went back to the old
"Get your butt in your room and you're grounded
from computer until after you pass your exam with
an A," strategy. He's pissed off, of course. But you know,
when isn't he? He's a teenager. He's ALWAYS pissed
I think the real trick is going to be coming up with
various errands to send Aiman and Ismail on today. If
I can just keep them busy enough, then they won't
fight or tease Hamo giving me just enough quiet to
stuff this vocabulary and memory work into his thick
little head. Don't get me wrong. He's not dumb and
this really isn't that hard. He's just bored of school,
lazy when it comes to study and blames me, the school,
the curriculum, me again, global warming, (fill in the
blank) for his shortcomings in this one subject.
I'm praying that I can make it through the next 24
hours without killing, maiming, or seriously hurting
the feelings of anyone I come across.
Oh, and did you see the picture of my new jacket?
It's just the right size, too!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Top Ten List of Things I Could Live Without

There are a ton of things that I could live without. People
who spit on the street when they're walking and guys who
"adjust" themselves in public are things NO ONE should
have to endure. Those selfish younger and healthier people
who refuse to stand up and let an old man with a cane or
a pregnant woman have the seat on the subway or bus...
who couldn't live without them? And those really LOUD,
obnoxious, self-absorbed people who talk on their mobile
phones really loudly at the eatery in the mall.....we could go
years without another one of those, right? Oh, wait. I said
THINGS I could live without. I didn't say people. Crap. Well,
instead of editing the title, I suppose I'll just start a new
paragraph and get myself back on track.

Okay, back on track-- There are a lot things that I could
stand to do without. Humidity, high prices, bad manners,
rodents of ANY kind, household pests like ants, roaches and
sometimes my own offspring are things that I could haul off
to a lost and found....well, the kids they'd probably force me
to take back like the whole Ransom of Redchief thing. But
the following are things that I could definitely, absolutely
without a doubt live without ever having to deal with again:

10. Slow internet/No internet. I have grown tired of my kids
(and me) whining about how "the internet is down again!"
especially when I'm trying to do something important like
cook, use the bathroom, hang clothes, or break up a fight between
the older two boys and I need the other kids occupied. It's also
not very convenient when I'm trying to do something important
online like banking, blogging or Facebooking. (Is that an actual
verb now?) Personally, I blame the loser who runs our ISP. He is
a man who should be forever in my husband's debt and give us
FREE internet for life due to the fact that my husband will not
get me a taser.

9. The c-word. I had honestly forgotten all about the existence
of the c-word because living in Egypt, no one here knows it or
uses it. And although my kids swear a lot when they think I'm not
listening, they don't know this word because they've never heard
it. Then last night they showed Saturday Night Fever and I heard
it about 5 times in a row within a period of three minutes of

8. Liars. I have no respect for people who lie especially when they
are habitual liars. I feel as though my intelligence has been insulted
and just violated. I have a sister-in-law who I think needs psychiatric
help due to the amount of lying she does. It wouldn't be so bad, I
suppose, if she weren't so stupid on top of being Queen of Prevarication.
But this chick is such a moron she forgets what lies she's previously
told me (who forgets pretty much nothing when it comes to useless
trivial information) and changes her story later. Maybe she's got the
double whammy because I think I'm also prejudiced against stupid
people. I'll have to rethink #8 as it pertains to her. Maybe I'll just say
#8 is my stupid, lying sister-in-law. Yeah, that's better.

7. Canadian t.v. drama series. I just can't get into them. It's like
watching bad porn that has no actual porn in it. Bad
writing, bad acting, bad music. What's the point? Why not watch the
weather channel? At least you'll get the excitement of an occasional

6. Rodents. I have been known to actually pee my pants in fear when
a mouse gets into our house. Now that we live in the city, I see rats
on a weekly basis. No, no, no, not inside our flat! Outside near the
trash bins or in alleyways. I cannot stand them. Or guinea pigs or
gerbils or hamsters or even rabbits. Nope, sorry. I can't get behind the
whole "cuddly bunny" conga line, man. That's just a rat with really
long ears. Bugs bunny I can handle. But other than him, move over
Ozzie Fudd! I'm a Wabbit Swayaw...a guitaw pwayaw!

5. Yeast infections. Yeah, no reason to expound, right?

4. Prejudice of any kind (with the exception of my prejudice against's colorblind, knows no borders, size, shape, religion or

3. Mean people. You know those people who treat waitresses badly,
talk down to anyone not in a position to do anything for them, and
those who laugh at someone else's expense? Those people are all
mean. And well, the bumper sticker says it all: Mean people suck.

2. Global ANYTHING. I don't like global marketing, global economy,
global warming.....I don't even think I like globes anymore. Well, maybe
just snow globes. But anything global is just too big and screws the
little guy in a really GLOBAL way. Global marketing made a lot of
people rich (mostly those guys up there in #3) at the expense of the
smaller businesses. Global economy...well, that's just a cluster waiting
for Obama to fix. And Global warming.......the reason for this stifling
unbreathable heat we're suffering through. Damn, I hate it when Al
Gore is right. And globes are just really not that convenient when in
need of a map, in most cases.

And my number one thing that I could live without: Teenage attitudes.
Because you love your teenager because he's your kid...but the attitude
can just die a quick death and spare me my sanity. In fact, I'd be willing
to tolerate the other top 9 if we could just get rid of #1. But you know,
I'll probably never be Queen for a Day no matter how badly I want to be.
So the chances of me being able to rid myself of my top ten list of crap
I could live without are slim and none. Perhaps I'll just have to adjust
to Canadian tv drama series, my stupid, lying sister-in-law, slow internet
and useless attempts at folding globes. Yeast infections and rodents, NEVER.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Moment of Booze-Free Clarity

I was just sitting here going over a few issues in my mind when I
came to the brutal realization that I've become....a little insecure.
I know! ME? Insecure? Never. I'd have never thunk it either, but it
is true. And this is a first for me. So I may not be handling insecurity
all that well. I'll explain.

If you ask any of my friends, family, acquaintances, high school
pals, former work mates, "What is Nikki like?" I'd be willing to bet
that NONE of them would say I'm insecure. You'd be more apt to
hear words like loud, wild, uninhibited, funny, crazy, short, a legend
in her own mind, and creative. But insecure was something
I could never be. And then a few events in my life left me in a tail
spin. Marriage, children, becoming a Stay-at-Home-Mom.....nah, I
could handle those. My two oldest kids becoming teenagers, however,
has just about sucked the life out of me....and I still have 3 more
teetering on the brink of Teendom. (God help me!)

I've always been just one step shy of "cool." Not quite a dork with
pocket protector and elbow patches, but still acceptable enough to
sell donuts for the junior class during lunch breaks in high school,
and able to give the old "I'm really flattered that you like me" speech
to guys at work who wanted to date me but DID have pocket protectors
and elbow patches. I've always been able to do anything I've set my
mind to do. I wanted to learn to speak Arabic and I have. I always
wanted to travel the world and I have. I wanted to marry a great guy
and have a big family...boy, did I ever! So, what's with the insecurity?

Well, I want to write. I've been talking about writing a book now for
ten years and I just cannot seem to get the flow going. Yeah, I write
all the time on here....but I can't make a book out of a blog. And
then I meet people on the internet like Shauna Glenn and I think,
"Wow. She's younger than me and she's published and she's got
one fewer kids than I do. Why can't I get my stuff together? I should
have even MORE to write about than she does?" And damn if that
little bit of intimidation starts to expand into full blown discouragement.

I know I can write. I know I can make people laugh. And I don't mean
just my friend, LaRonda. Yeah, she has a great sense of humor but
she and her husband have a pest control business. So who knows
what she's been sniffing all day prior to reading my blogs. She may
laugh at anything now, for all I know! (Just kidding, LaRonda. I know
you keep your chem-sniffing to a minimum.) I guess I just had that
moment of clarity where you realize what's been holding you back
from your dreams. So I guess I'd better get my stuff together and
start writing for real.