wayfaringwordhack: (Default)
As the mother of three small children, I often find myself wondering where my days and time go. Unsurprisingly, I have a definite answer to where all my energy goes.

These past two months have been crazy busy, though, what with dealing with the whole family being sick with one thing after another. We are coasting along with mild coughs and some eye discharge for the boys. As lon as its doesn't et any worse, l can cope. Ok, from that sentence, uess what key is screwing up on my kelybolarld now.l LWelll, besides the llinsane lllllllll that just inserts itself where elvesl.l...olr clever ...ollr ever it lwanlltls. Does charming things with my auto-correct, let me tell you. And makes it very hard to type. Sigh.

All this because there are no ground wires here in Egypt, at least not in the flats we've had. So every time there is a surge, my keyboard flips out. :( My laptop will also be glad to be back in France.)

And speaking of France...

We learned that despite setting aside vacation days into a special account for the past four years so he could insure having some time to settle the family on our return to France, J's employer insists he come straight to work. This is the craziness that they subject him to in order to not have his pay docked: remain at work until the end of his shift on 31 July, fly out on 31 July so that he can land IN FRANCE no later than 11:59 p.m., and report to work at 8 a.m. on 1 August. The answer to his request to have one day off from his vacation time (not a freebie) was, "Absolutely not."

Fine, we thought, and proceeded to plan out an alternative. J decided to take more vacation time before his termination date to accompany the family back to France, settle us in, fly back to Cairo on the 29th, sign some papers on the 30th, and fly back the 31st in order to be at work on August 1. We even asked the current owners of the house we are buying to move the hand-off date from 2 Aug to July 22. They agreed.

Then we had to look like idiots and ask them to move the date up even more when one of J's colleagues told him to be careful about the dates he was taking off. Apparently, he has to be in Egypt for the two weeks prior to his termination date. So nice of his boss to tell him.

The family we are buying from is super nice and understanding, so we'll leave Egypt 4 July, move into our new place 8 July, and J will spend a few days with us before flying back to Cairo. When he returns to France, he'll head straight to work and will work until the company releases him for time off.

For those who don't know or remember, he is with the riot police in France and is regularly sent on deployment for 3 weeks at a time. This means that we could potentially go for 5 weeks without seeing him. This is going to be a trying time for the kids. First an international move--for the boys from the only country they've ever known, but one could argue that Sprout doesn't remember much of living in France--and then not seeing their father for such an extended period of time.

BUT! We will be back in France. We will have a gorgeous home in a lovely, clean! rural setting. We'll have awesome adventures getting to know a new place. It will be peaceful; we will be in our element.  So good things on the horizon despite the bumps.

I'm to that stage of change where I'm getting antsy, with physical pangs, yearning for this transition to either get more squarely under way or to pass altogether. We should get the boxes from the moving company within a couple of weeks; that will help. As will a more solid move into hotter temps so I can put away all mid-season clothing and bedding.

In other news, I was also been busy painting a lot to raise money for Egyptian charities. I'll try to remember to take some photos and do a Sunday snippet...


wayfaringwordhack: (Sprout: !!!)
Just a little anecdote of the craziness we sometimes come up against:

J was out visiting apartments, and a couple came up to him on the street and asked about his criteria and budget. He told them and the lady said she had a place that was for rent. She gave him the address and said he could visit the next day, but that evening she called back and said he could come over immediately.

When he got there, he couldn't find the lady and she wasn't answering her phone. The doorman sent him to the wrong floor, and once back downstairs, he saw a lady and her two teenagers standing in the entryway, their belongings bundled up around them in sheets.

Turns out they were vacating the apartment he was supposed to be visiting. J was very uncomfortable, but the people told him the landlady was inside and he should go in and visit, that it was a nice place. The kids, who spoke good English, told J, "She used to be my mom's friend, but then she turned crazy." Uh-oh.

J didn't visit, and she called him the next day, acted like nothing had happened, and invited him back over again. He decided to see the place just in case it was really nice. He liked the amount of space and had me excited about it.

Until I went to see it. o.O

It was rundown in the extreme and downright scary in some aspects. And the lady wanted way too much money. Every time I would mention something that needed fixing, she would get a look on her face that said I was being ovely difficult and she would nod as if to humor me, her narrowed eyes and pinched lips telling me I was dreaming if I thought she'd do anything.

I told her I was confused as to why she even told us about the place when she knew it was over our budget. "Because it isn't that much over. You can make an effort." Or, um, she could make an effort.

"No, we really can't," I informed her, especially after she said that, OK, OK, she would fix some small things in the apartment, but that we "would have to help her."

Then she proceeded to tell me that I should get a job so we'd be able to afford it. I politely told her that wasn't in our plans. And she kept on. And on. "You can open a daycare here! It pays good money!"  Um, no thanks.  "Go substitute teach! It pays really well!" No. Thank. You. "You can do many things to supplement your income!"  Grrrr.

And poor Sprout kept saying, "Momma, can we go now?"

Once the lady realized we weren't going to budge on our budget, she told me she would look for us a place.  In New Maadi. "We don't want to live there," I told her. "Yes, but they have a lot of flats there in your price. I'll look there."  No thank you. And she said it again and again until I cut her off with, "My husband doesn't want to live there."

We are leaving a landlady who is very decent on the whole; Lord save us from going into a situation with a known "troubled" person. O.O
wayfaringwordhack: (critters: Maki World Domination)
Someone stole our car last night.

J realized it this afternoon when he went out to get groceries.  A witness said it happened around 2 a.m.

Our car is old and not one that would typically be stolen. There are two likely possibilities:

1. It was stolen for parts,

2. It was stolen for "ransom."

Regarding possibility #2:  A Korean gentleman in our neighborhood had his car stolen some months back. He was contacted and asked for 12000 LE for the return of his car. He told the police; they pretty much shrugged and said he should pay it, so he did.

If we are in the same boat, J says he won't be paying. When he made the police report, he was disgusted by the lack of concern, etc. and feels that we can't expect much help from the police at the station where he went. Tomorrow, he'll try to get help from people associasted with the embassy.

Good thoughts/vibes/prayers are requested.

Sometimes things suck.  At least we have a lot to be grateful for, like the fact that no one was hurt. :-<

ETA: A conversation with [livejournal.com profile] frigg made me realize that I forgot to share something else: we can't buy another car to replace ours. We are only allowed to buy one during our stay in Egypt. If anything ever happens to your car (breaks down, is totalled, etc), you can't buy another. I'm too tired to look up the exact law, but I think this only applies to cars with diplomatic plates. So, if we don't get ours back, we'll have to finish the remainder of our stay carless.
 
wayfaringwordhack: (art journal)
Posting for posting's sake because i have nothing to show for my week. I did do some doodling and playing with Faber Castel markers, but I have no photos of that. I promise I'll post some next week.

Sadly, while there was some artwork happening, I spent most of my week pulling my hair out* over the online purchase of plane tickets. However with hours spent on the phone today (thank you, thank you, thank you, MIL!!!!!!) and a wee bit of shouting at ticketing agents** who didn't want to fix their own mess, we finally have things sorted out and will be going to visit my guardians in OK this fall.  Hooray!


____________
* I seriously think I lost three solid days of my life with this mess. Poor Sprout got thoroughly sick of hearing, "I will after I buy these tickets." :-/

** They changed Sprout's status from child to adult and tried to make us pay 70 euros more than the original price. Then, instead of acknowledging their error and fixing it, they said a) the price had gone up, and b) we should  go back through the whole rigamarole of hunting for the original price and buying the tickets again. J roundly refused the "kind suggestion" and told them to fix their own mistake.
wayfaringwordhack: (web)
Both J and I have been infected with some kind of malware that is wreaking havoc with our ability to surf the net. We've spent countless hours these past couple of days trying to get rid of it, to no avail.

I've been trying to respond to some LJ entries without any luck, and I was only able to log in tonight by doing some weird round-about things.

I'll be back(ish) whenever we get this fixed.

Why do people have to invent this malicious stuff!!!!???? #@$%&^!
wayfaringwordhack: (web)
Both J and I have been infected with some kind of malware that is wreaking havoc with our ability to surf the net. We've spend countless hours these past couple of days trying to get rid of it, to no avail.

I've been trying to respond to some LJ entries without any luck, and I was only able to log in tonight by doing some weird round-about things.

I'll be back(ish) whenever we get this fixed.

Why do people have to invent this malicious stuff!!!!???? #@$%&^!
wayfaringwordhack: (hellville)
ETA: There have been at least two more attacks since I posted this entry this morning. :-<  Will be staying home.

A car bomb went off this morning outside the Cairo Security Directorate, about 5.5 miles from our house, as the crow flies.  I heard the explosion, even with my earplugs in. At least 2 dead and 40 wounded. :(  We had an appointment with our doctor at the clinic* where we'll be giving birth; I think today is not the day to do it.

______________
* a few miles away from the police HQ that was bombed.

Outraged

3 Nov 2013 01:11 pm
wayfaringwordhack: (critters: Maki World Domination)
Last night, J and I took Sprout to have a vaccination. In USA doctor-style, the pediatrician visit ended at almost 9 p.m. even though our appointment was for 6:45 p.m. Thankfully we had fed Sprout earlier. J and I opted to eat upon returning home, and maybe that, plus the fatigue, made me feel not-so-hot. We had to wait for change after paying, and J suggested I walk home alone since we live only about 500 meters from the clinic.  I finally caved and set off, sticking to the biggest roads as the safest option. Not because I was afraid but out of common sense.

Sadly, that was the only bit of common sense I exhibited in what follows.

About a block away from the clinic, I realized someone was following me. Stupid, stupid, but I told myself it might be J.  I *knew* it wasn't because the rhythm of the footsteps was wrong, and I couldn't hear any telltales from Sprout. I gripped my keys, ready to punch someone if need be, but rationalizing that I didn't have a purse/sack and no pockets and therefore was not a target, I kept walking. Stupid.

As I turned a corner, I could hear snuffly giggling and a shadow coming up fast behind me.  I stupidly kept walking and did not get my back up against a car. A boy, probably 12 or 13 years old, grabbed my butt--but not just one of my cheeks, right between them--and then ran off laughing with a band of about 6 other boys. I obviously couldn't chase them down under normal circumstances and it was certainly out of the question being 6 months pregnant and wearing Birkenstocks. So I just cussed and called him a bad name, which made me feel like an effectual loser and just made him laugh. Such elegant behavior. Two boys stayed near me, and I asked if they were his friends. I knew they were, but they denied it. I kept asking where he lived, while walking back towards the clinic, hoping to find J.  They kept giggling and acting stupid, but I couldn't very well hit them upon suspicion. A man came along who didn't speak English, but he kicked the boys and ran them off, leading me believe my assumptions were correct that they were insulting/mocking me in Arabic as they tailed me.

By the time I reached J, the boys were long gone, but he still tried to find them.  I doubt I would recognize them in daylight.

I'm sure that they didn't have any "ill and violent" intent; they thought they were just pulling a hilarious, daring prank--go feel up the foreign woman in front of one's friends!--but I'm so outraged that their stupidity has made me feel unsafe in my own neighborhood. I'm angry at myself for not listening to my instincts. I feel so disgusted to have been pawed like that. I hate all the violent scenarios that keep popping into my head in which I beat the crap out of a kid.

Before this happened, an acquaintance offered to pick Sprout and me up this evening and take us to a nearby club since we will be going after dark. I told her that walking in the dark didn't bother me, but now I'm sad, and yes, outraged, to admit that I can no longer say the same. It was long and late into the night before I finally convinced myself to stop mentally chanting, "I hate this country."

What I *do* hate is that this attack came at a time when I had finally made some peace with being here another three years and was making progress to stay in a positive mental space...

Yeah, color me outraged.

Breathe in, breathe out.
wayfaringwordhack: (Default)
...who cannot control their sp*mming impulses, my journal is going to be locked and friends-only for an indeterminate period of time. Sorry to those who do not have LJ accounts.
wayfaringwordhack: (art: guitton - housework)
Something very different today.  This Sunday, you get the joy of a glimpse of the week I just had.  I have been sketching and could show you a snippet of that, but I don't feel like photographing, down- and uploading, so...

Monday: Moved house. Did etat des lieux, which went all right, but I did something stupid, stupid, stupid:  Signed the document without reading it. In my defense, the lady filled it out on her Acer tablet and then passed it to me and asked me to sign. I didn't even think of verifying it, like I would have done had it been written on paper. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. She then emailed it to us and I saw some stuff that I would have definitely questioned, but now it is too late. On the mostly-bright-side, I don't think anything she mentioned is enough to keep us from getting our deposit back. Time will tell. I'm keeping an eye on the mailbox. :-<

Tuesday: Spent the day catching up with my daughter and resting from the move.  Rest made all the more necessary by the itching throat and runny nose that I'd been suffering from for the past two weeks...

Wednesday-Saturday: Catching up with in-laws, tearing up the room and digging through boxes in search of N'Djema's vaccination papers and passport. Yes, even the cat needs a passport to go to Egypt. Also did some packing and sorting for Egypt. And continued to feel unwell, except for Saturday.

Today: Woke up dark and early to go mushroom hunting. Found some, had the biggest one stolen by a rude mushroom thief.* Ate mushrooms with grilled duck breast, mashed potatoes, and sauteed green beans.  Made a gift for a friend's new baby. Finished carrying all the Egypt-bound boxes downstairs so that we can repack them into traveling chests and do last minute, do-we-really-need-this sorting. Started feeling like crud. I think I'm getting the flu. S is sick and my mil might be coming down with something, too... However, I FINALLY found N'djema's papers. Hallelujah!**

And that's what things tend to look like in the Faure household when we are preparing an international move.
____________________________
* I squatted down to get a better look at the ground because I was sure there was going to be a mushroom growing there (perfect conditions).  A woman saw me bend down so she made a beeline for my position.  Just as I turned to my head to scrutinize the ground, she came into my line of sight...and spied the very large porcini mushroom growing just to my left. Since I was squatting, she was able to get to it first. Not that I would have fought her over it. She ripped it up, gloating, "This is a big one," then proceeded to thrash her stick all around in search of others. I was beyond disgusted.

It is public property where we were, the mushrooms being there for whoever finds them, but to my way of thinking, if someone is already there, looking at a patch of ground, back off and give them their chance first. Then, if they don't see the "prize" you can move in and get it.  This lady also wove a figure 8 between J and his dad as they were talking, scouting out the ground all around them.  Sheesh.

** Her papers were in the same box with a writing notebook I've been trying to lay my hands on for the past 4 months. So, double hallelujah.
wayfaringwordhack: (art: guitton - housework)
...at least I hope I am.

I am very much dreading the "etat des lieux" tomorrow, the handing over of the keys, the verification of the inventory and the state in which we have left the apartment.

I always leave a place spotless. Spotless. I am not a tidy person, but when I leave a home, you could eat off the floors, the walls, out of the dishwasher*...  We have replaced what we have broken and have not damaged anything irreplaceable.

However, the lady who is coming to do the état des lieux has not been...friendly whenever we've spoken on the phone.

When we had to replace the broken induction stovetop and called to find out the procedure for insurance purposes, she was downright witchy, practically accusing us of trying to rip off the rental agency when all we were trying to do was follow the proper channels.

Then, the other day, in setting up the appointment for the "check out," she told me we were going to have to pay a plumber to do the annual maintenance for the heating. We lived here from March to 1 Oct and had no need of the heating. I asked her to discuss it with J, citing we had only been here six months.  She went ballistic and said we were going to HAVE TO pay so no need to discuss anything. To which I politely insisted she talk to J about it. 

When we moved in, the realtor (different agent) said the maintenance was our responsibility, at which time J asked for a receipt showing the last upkeep done on the boiler.  We never received anything.  

Anyhow, the witchy lady never called J. He called the agency instead and repeated the need to see a receipt for the last maintenance because, hey, why should we have to pay for something we never used? And the agency kept dragging it out, claiming to be waiting on the plumber to send them the last bill. Only the thing is: They handle this apartment for the owner. It is their responsibility to have all of these documents on hand, already.

Witchy lady finally called back, leaving a message, in which she said, "Lucky for you, the last maintenance was done in Sept 2010, so you don't have to do it." (Remember the maintenance is ANNUAL, so they dropped the ball in 2011.) Lucky for us? Why lucky for us?  If we had bowed to her attempts to cow me, then we would be stuck paying something that is not our business to be paying.  Luck plays no part in it. They messed up; they have to pony up. Who wants to bet they try to fob off the expense on the next renters?

All day today, I've been tormenting myself with scenarios of her trying to find something wrong with the apartment and succeeding, thereby getting to keep all or a part of our deposit.  I'm making myself miserable. I'm borrowing trouble from tomorrow, when perhaps there will be no trouble.  I know that, but I just can't stop. Stupid mental playback of misery!

OK, enough whinging. Time to get back to cleaning so as not to give witchy woman any ground...

____
* that might seem an odd thing to say, but have you ever cleaned a dishwasher filter? Nasty,greasy things...
wayfaringwordhack: (hellville)
only registered users will be allowed to comment on my posts. I'm tired of sifting through messages for handbags and Nikes.

If LJ has enough sense to realize something is sp*m, why should I have to receive a notification for the crap?
wayfaringwordhack: (gecko)
Dear Neighbors,

Thanks for taking my clothes out of the dryer and putting them in my basket. </sarcasm>  Next time, do you think you can let the cycle finish first so that my clothes are actually DRY? Especially since I don't exaggerate the settings needed to dry my clothes, unlike some.

Yes, yes, I know I've taken someone else's clothes out before while the machine was still running, but that was because, you know, the one pair of XS jeans was already dry and did not need to tumble about for the remaining 2 hrs of programmed time. Oh, and the child's kimono?  That was dry, too, with 90 minutes still to go. (See what I mean about exaggerating?)

My clothes?  Not dry.  

Pretty please have a little courtesy next time.*

Respectfully yours.

Me 

(* and clean the lint trap. I don't mind doing it--I actually enjoy doing it when it is my own machine and not full of strangers' hair--but I do mind that I seem to be the only one who does.)

______________________

Dear Mechanic,

For the love of my kneecaps (and those of all other customers taller than you), please move the seat back to its original position after you drive my car. It was very sweet of you to get it out of the parking space for me, but your consideration was cancelled by the extreme OW! of slamming my kneecap against the steering column when getting out of the car.

Painfully yours,

Me

P.S. Thank you for changing the brake pads and disks though...er wait, should I thank you when I had to pay that much for the service??? In any case, so happy that annoying noise is at last gone!


wayfaringwordhack: (gecko)
This, I took Soëlie out for a walk in her mei tai, and we passed a gathering of four old men standing by the boulodrome (where you play "boules," aka petanque), smoking cigars. Bonjours were exchanged, some more heartfelt than others.  On my way back to the village, only two men were left, and when one judged that I was out of earshot, he grumpily said to the other, "I just hate seeing babies carried like that..."  Then I truly was out of earshot and didn't hear the rest clearly, only that something "incites others to..." do something, probably something as equally wrong and rebellious as wear one's baby.  o.O
wayfaringwordhack: (hellville)
 Due to getting porn spam links on LJ entries--ones with photos of my infant daughter no less--I'm disallowing anonymous comments on my blog.  Sorry to the real people who visit and who don't have an account.  If the spammers start using accounts, I'll proceed to locking my entries.

Kind of sad that this is my second LJ sucks post in a week...
wayfaringwordhack: (Maki World Domination)
 Today, after a seven-month-long court battle, foster parents Marie and Alvaro Plaza are at last going to be able to re-welcome Anne-Charlotte et Émilien back into their home.

The children were snatched away from the foster parents in the fall of last year. Why? Because The Powers That Be decided that the children received too much love from their foster parents. Yes, you read that right: too much love

During the five years that Marie and Alvaro had care of the kids, they committed several crimes:

1) They lavished Anne-Charlotte et Émilien with affection, treating the children as if they actually belonged in the family,
2) They bought the children gifts,
3) They took them on family vacations
4) They celebrated national and family holidays with the children...

You know, the really bad stuff...

And what evil influence did this have on the children?  Why, it made them much less inclined to want to someday (if ever the natural parents got their act together) return to their "real" family.

The family where they suffered mistreatment and sexual abuse; the family where Emilien, aged one, was still crawling on the floor and eating out of the dog's bowl, as if it were his own plate; the family where the father is currently in prison and the mother has been declared to have "a slight mental deficiency."

But today, a wise, humane judge decided that the children belonged with those who actually care for them. This does not, however, make up for the 7 months that the kids had to spend in institutionalized care, cut off from all contact with their foster family and friends.

Here is a link to news segment.  Sadly it is in French.  Couldn't find word of it in the English headlines.
wayfaringwordhack: (animated rugby)
 Watch ten minutes of men chasing a round ball across a field, falling down and whining at the smallest touch, and I think you'll see why.  

You make hundreds of thousands of dollars, euros, pounds, pesos for your athletic abilities, boys. Leave the acting to actors. Stop acting like whiny butts and play the blasted game.
wayfaringwordhack: (hellville)
OK, probably going to offend some smokers out there, but:

I hate smoking.  Loathe it.

So, imagine my disgust that our downstairs neighbor smokes. And smokes, and smokes. So much so that we can smell it in our house.  it creeps up through the floorboards in the wee hours while we are in bed, for C comes in from work/partying anywhere between 11:30 pm and 5 am. 

I wake and light a candle in the essential-oil burner, but I still (or because of that?) wake with a sore throat.

And then the stench starts again around 10 or 11am when C wakes up.

It's his house and he can do what he wants, but it infuriates me that his nasty habit encroaches on our living space.

Does anyone have any experience with anti-tobacco wall plugs/ candles? Are they effective?  And while it might get rid of the smell, I guess I can't do anything for our lungs. :(

Thankfully we are moving into summer and can keep the windows open.  But what about next winter with a baby in the house? *wails*
wayfaringwordhack: (Default)
 Didn't count on having the net in the Hanoi Airport.

Just thought I would share:

Before takeoff, on the flight between Hoi An and Hanoi, Vietnam Airlines played a instrumental rendition of "I Surrender All," an old Christian hymn.  I wondered what they were trying to tell me, but we landed in Hanoi without incident.

In the Hanoi airport, in a restaurant of all places, we were seated across from a little imp of a man who decided to blow his nose...into the air! Completely ignoring the napkins on his table.  Let the snot fly, who cares, right?  Not.

Seriously, can you get any more disgusting?  Oh, he did deign to take up a napkin at the end of it to delicately pat at his face.

Oh, forgot the guy in the shuttle out to the plane who was sneezing all over everyone, not even bothering to put his hand in front of his mouth.  Just achoo, Here, have some germs and why not a bit of spittle in your hair... 
wayfaringwordhack: (Default)
Which is in Laos, not anywhere in China.

On the morning of the 17th, we crossed from Thailand in Laos. It was chaos at the border as everyone jostled to get their visas or recover their passports, but everyone was goodnatured about it; we were all in the same mess, and most of us were leaving on the same boat.

After the immigration formalities, we were herded like little children--or cattle, take your pick--into a cramped minivan where music was blaring because the driver was on the other side of the street, chatting, and apparently didn't want to miss a beat. We waited for almost ten minutes, and no one else came to get in the bus, so the driver finally deigned to take us to the slow boat dock.

He pulled up to a rickety, rundown restaurant overlooking the Mekong, where a Laotian in a white suit proceeded to tell us a truckload of lies. The list goes a little something like this:

Mr Smarmy tries to take us for a ride )
__________
* What a crock! Don't tell me that in a town that sees 100+ tourists debarking everyday doesn't have adequate accommodation options, not when everyone with a lick of business sense has converted every spare room and chicken coop to that effect in hopes of getting their share of the tourist dollar/baht/kip...Oh, speaking of currencies, yet another lie Mr Smarmy told: Change your money here because no one will accept baht or dollars on the river.  Yeah. Right.

** Some souls did trust and had their bags rifled before they arrived. The one we talked to, thankfully, didn't have anything stolen, but someone did have their backpack go missing while they slept on the beach.

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