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.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

HEAT is a Four-Letter Word

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that it's HONKIN' HOT in Egypt
in the Summertime. But ohmigosh! It's hotter than it's ever ever ever
been in the nearly 8 years I've lived here. I swear, we sweat IN THE
SHOWER! I've had to send out my two oldest kids to get part-time jobs
JUST to afford the antiperspirant. Okay, not really. But it truly is
hotter than hot. And humid. It's so bloody humid that if it were just
one percent more humid, it would be raining. Damn the luck. If it WERE
raining in Egypt, it would be winter.

And do you wanna talk about thirst? I don't. I'm quite tired of talking
about it, frankly. I have saved up about 16 soda bottles that we refill
with water and keep in the freezer and refrigerator in order to help beat
the heat. I dutifully fill up allllllllllll the water bottles and re-arrange
the refrigerator (because ALL family members EXCEPT mothers pile
every damn thing in the kitchen onto the top shelf of the fridge as though
all other refrigerator shelves are just imaginary) and stock all the filled
bottles at night so that we can have cold water to drink during the
scorching heat of the day. Sounds like a plan, right? WRONG! I've got 5
little sponges running around behind me sucking down all the water
before it even chills 5 degrees! They get up to go to the bathroom in the
middle of the night and chug down an entire liter of cold water out of the
fridge. HELLO??? Why do you think you're peeing every 9.8 minutes???
Because everyone knows when you drink 1 liter of water, 2 liters comes
out! And since it takes me until around 3:30 am to get all of them in bed,
bladders drained and refilled several times over, they all get up before
I do. And of course, they start drinking all the water again. Does anyone
refill a bottle? Of course not. This would require at least 37 minutes of
the "It's not MY turn!" argument, followed by symptoms similar to the
D.W.C.'s (Dish Washing Cramps- the sudden urge to have to poop upon
being told it's your turn to wash the dishes.) And so around 11am after
I've had a couple of cups of coffee and decide I need a glass of water to
help get me through another flaming hot day in Egypt, I open the fridge
to find a plate of dried up cheese and a half-eaten apple (on the top shelf)
and NO WATER BOTTLES. Nope, they're all empty and piled in the sink.
Oh, and the ice cube tray? At least they stuck it back in the freezer, helpful

And the next person who asks me, "How about that heat?" is going to be
told: "HEAT YOU!"

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Because I Said So...

So, I've reached my limit of hearing the question whined at me, "But WHYYYY??"
every time I tell my kids to do or not do something. It is the reply to every request

from "Make your bed" to "Wash your hands" to "Stop giving your brother atomic
wedgies in public." I cannot for the life of me remember EVER asking my mother
WHY when she told me to do something. I had had the fear of God put into me at
a very young age, I suppose. And although we were always allowed to verbalize
our disagreements with their decisions with respect, we still almost 100% of the
time had to suck it up and do what they told us while our opinions were "duly

I guess therein lies the danger of our vowing to be "different from our parents."
We try to allow them to grow as little persons when they aren't capable of
handling that. I don't think my parents did anything really wrong with us. Oh,
don't get me wrong. I STILL have a few examples of what NOT to do when raising
kids that I learned from them. But all in all, I'm fine with the job that they did. None
of us did any real jailtime. (I'm not counting my brother's time in the brig when he
was in the Navy for peeing on his bunkmate while drunk because he was angry at the
dude for ratting him out when they went to Canada without permission.) Two of us
have college degrees (I'm NOT one of them) and one is a professional student. Three
of us are married and have kids and none of us has joined any wild cults like Hare
Krishna, the Branch Davidians, or Amway.

My kids are very polite for the most part. I'm rarely embarrassed by them in public
and I receive compliments all the time by relatives and strangers alike by how well-
mannered they are. Most of the sass I get from them is when no one else is around.
And of course, there is the whole "I'm a tough guy and can kick anyone's ass in the
whole school" crap that I have to endure with Ismail. Maybe it's my fault...okay. I'm
pretty sure it's my fault. I'm probably the most sarcastic, cynical and sassy mother
alive in Egypt. So admittedly I've brought a lot of this on myself. When I ask my kids
stuff like "DO YOU WANT ME TO BEAT THE HELL OUT OF YOU?" and they respond
with, "Sure. I'm free for an hour or so," I wonder what on Earth possessed me to keep
being the smart-mouth that I am after giving birth to the first one.

I've asked them, "What language do you speak?!" and I've been told, "Hindi." I've asked
what they're doing and been told, "Jumping up and down like an idiot." And I've even
been told, "Not mine," when I've asked, "Do you see how this behavior can be a problem?"
Grrrrr. Yes, it's true. They learn by example. Dammitman. I wish that they could actually
follow directions and do the whole "do as I say, not as I do" thing. But unfortunately, it
ain't happening. So, anyway, I'm going back to basics as of this morning and I've started
with the simple response my mother always had for the "But whyyyyyyyyyyy?" question
that we rarely dared ask when I was a kid, "BECAUSE I SAID SO, THAT'S WHY!"

Thursday, July 2, 2009

There's a Reason I'm Not a Seafood Chef

So, I decided to make fish today and before I left (LATE) to the open market
Ismail yelled out behind me: "I want SQUID for dinner!" So Aiman and I
booked down to the SOUK (pronounced soook means Market in Arabic) and
stopped to buy him some grape gum with the squirty insides from a candy
man next to the guy who sells eggs and homemade farmer's cheese. I got to
the fish lady, Um Karima, but she said the sardines went fast today and I
should get up earlier. (Yeah, Rup Rours, Reorge! as Astro would say!)
Anyway, I got a kilo of squid and passed on everything else. No one has any
good fish after 3pm So I decided to make green bean stew with filet of beef

Still, what to do with this damn squid??! So I got out my B.A.S.F.C.B. (Big Ass
Seafood CookBook) that my sister, Denise, sent me for my birthday twelve
years late (NOPE! Swear to God she signed the inside cover and mistakenly
dated it before she put it aside and forgot to mail it for 12 years until she
cleaned out a closet or something.) So I quickly read the part about "How
to Clean a Squid." Sounded easy enough. SHUH-HUH! They neglected to
say that Squid-skin is really thick and clings to the meat tighter than a G.I.Joe
kung fu death grip! Also, I figured out why they tell you to cut the tentacles
off below the eyes. Because if you don't pay attention and cut in the wrong
place the little eyeballs kind of explode and you get this nasty black ooze
all over your clothes, the counter, and the clean dishes you just paid the
8-yr old to wash for you because your legs are tired from showing your
muscle-head husband that you CAN lift weights even though you're over-
weight and over forty! So I cleaned up that mess, threw away about half
of the tentacles due to impatience being my middle name and squeezed
lemons over the remaining 3/4 kilo of cleaned and cut squid, tossed it in
a bag and threw it in the freezer. We'll have it tomorrow, God willing, if I
can "get up earlier" and get to the fish market before noon. If not, cheese
sandwiches and watermelon may just have to do nicely.