Sunday, December 27, 2009
Anyhow...a few moments caught during my many many MANY hours working this past 3 weeks that I feel are worth repeating. Needless to say...a little humor (dark and dry none the less) goes along way to making the clock move closer to check out time and home to the kids.
Enjoy. Or not.
Every Saturday or Sunday night a man, of whom I believe is Mexican, comes into the store and buys the same thing. A 6 pack of beer and two boxes of condoms. Last week he also included a little device I didn't even know we sold...apparently it gives "more pleasure to the woman in your life". Ive worked in this store for about 3 months now...he has ALWAYS come in on one of those days and buys just those items. Might I also add he generally has a swagger in his walk and a lazy smile on his face? I thought not. Anyhow, this past weekend he didn't show up...I'm wondering...did he get married by chance? Now the need for protection AND pleasing the "woman in your life" is obsolete as she is now your wife. Ha!!!
Maybe hes just resting?
Side note...of ALL the packs of condoms I have sold in the store...and its been a lot...ALL of them have been sold to people I assume are Mexican (not trying to typecast or anything...but sometimes looks are all you can go on). None to White Americans so to speak. Not trying to point fingers...but SOMEONE is having unprotected sex. Does your mother know?
I can always spot a potential shop lifter. We basically get the same people in the shop night after night. The few "strangers" are either travellers...or punks from other neighborhoods coming to take their chances in a store that doesn't know them. You can spot them by one of several ways.
1. They keep looking at you over the shelves as they "browse". hmmm? Is my hair a mess?
2. The wear VERY baggy jackets and pants...very. Need help pulling those pants up son?
3. They pick up stuff and put it back again and again. Such picky shoppers.
4. They might even decide to leave...but then turn back and "browse" again.
5. For those that attempt to actually buy the alcohol rather than steal it...as soon as you ask for ID they do a pat down of their entire body, as if they suddenly forgot wear they keep their wallet, and claim they need to go get it from the car. Never come back. For those that do attempt to steal...the 42,000 cameras IN PROMINENT DISPLAY throughout the store...seems to bother them not at all.
Smile punks...your on Kelly's camera.
Ive discovered that the reading skills of Americans (I say Americans as I AM in America so lets assume most or a majority of those coming in the store are in fact American...OK?) has slid down that slippery slope even faster than previously imagined.
Take for instance, a sign on our front door indicating THIS DOOR IS BROKEN...PLEASE USE OTHER DOOR...merely results in a multitude of potential customers banging into the door as they attempt to open it. hmmm?
A sign I place on the door every night at closing that says CLOSED in big prominent RED LETTERS seems to have no meaning to the many customers that still park their cars...come to the doors and attempt to open them. Not once but several times...as if jiggling the doors will make the CLOSED sign magically disappear and the doors open. I will indicate by a sweeping motion with my arms that the doors are, in fact, CLOSED. They will stand there with puppy dog faces trying to get me to open them so they can come in and purchase that last "needed" item. If I for a moment thought that last "needed" item was milk or bread for the kids breakfast I would open that door with no hesitation...but I know your much needed item is more than likely a pack of smokes or 12 pack of Bud Lite...no thanks...door is closed...move along. Next?
People can no longer read a price tag. Not even a little bit. Ive lost count of the number of times Ive been asked how much something costs...and so I point out the price tag, generally in a bright red or flashy yellow sticker. They ALWAYS act amazed and claim they didn't see it...but I think they just don't know how to read numbers...or something. hmmmm? It happens far too often to be a coincidence.
When something declares itself 50% off...yes people...that does mean HALF!!! At least when I attended school a few eons ago 50% meant half...of course now days with economics being what they are...maybe 50% really means something else...so customers are just checking to be sure. hmmmm? Better check into that.
Some random comments and things Id like to share with you guys.
Last week a guy comes in late at night, a traveller, and ask me if I'm afraid to work alone in a store in which the chances for robbery are high statistically speaking. I told him that, while a few customers make me nervous when I'm alone, for the most part it hasn't been bad. (lets forget for a moment that it only takes ONE bad customer to change that thinking *sigh*). He commented that even though he was a man (hmmm?) that he would be "fucking afraid" to work there late at night...and he "carried a gun". Damn!!! Wheres the Jobs Wanted section of the paper? If a man with a gun is chicken shit to do my job...well heck...
One night a guy comes in wearing a cool jacket. I commented on its coolness. He thanked me and left the store. A week later he came back with a similar jacket in his hands and gave it to me. It was a Columbia jacket. Apparently "the best" winter coat anyone can have...according to the many people Ive asked about it as nearly 90% of the people here wear one. I went to the store to buy one before but they cost a pretty penny...anywhere from $100 to $200...and this guy just GAVE me one. How cool is that?
Now granted I just came from 23 years living in the Arab world in which its customary to be given something outright that you admired....whether you want it or not....but that almost NEVER happens in America...at least not the America I know. Then again...I haven't been back that long. hmmm? My jacket is the coolest.
Lady walks into the Calendar Club store Ive been working in and asks..."are these calendars for 2010?" hmmm? I'm thinking she required a smack on the back of the head...but I withheld for legal reasons.
Guy looks at my smooshed car and says..."did something crash into your car?" hmmm?
Lady runs into the store with small child and very dirty hands...shes like..."quick...sell me some Wet Ones so I can clean her hands!!!" I'm like..."why don't you take her to the bathroom and wash her hands?" ....Lady is like..."yeah...that will work too." and hurries off towards the bathrooms. hmmm?
Here is a thought to leave with all of you would be customers. If you come into a store and see the employee mopping the floor...do a small kindness and at least attempt to WIPE YOUR FEET BEFORE ENTERING...the life you save could be your own. I'm Just Saying.
That is all for now.
Monday, December 14, 2009
I made a note to keep under the speed limit. Seeing as how it was slippery with snow and ice any how that was an easy promise to keep.
It takes about 15 min to drive from work to my house and all along the route there were cops with people pulled over. Blue and red flashing lights could be seen EVERYWHERE...I even had a cop pull out and drive behind me for a block or two...definitely gets you feeling guilty for absolutely EVERYTHING you have done...real or imagined. I slowed down even more.
Eventually the pressure became too much as the cop was not going any faster and I just KNEW he/she was waiting for me to make a mistake...so I decided to pull into an all night store parking lot pretending I was going to buy something (as if the cop would know that...lol).
Little did I know THAT was the mistake I made. *sigh*
After giving the cop a moment to pass on by and forget all about me...I pulled out and went on my "merry" way...still below the limit and being watchful of more cops.
The closer I got to home the better I felt. I just had a FEELING that something was going to happen...if I only knew.
I finally pulled onto the last street to my apartment and there was ANOTHER cop right there with someone pulled over. Quota people? I clicked on the left signal turn and waited for a truck coming towards me to pass on by so I could turn into my apartment parking lot and FINALLY be home and off any cops radar....
suddenly out of nowhere a car came crashing into my drivers side door. If I could describe the sound of metal crashing into metal people....its unbelievably loud and jarring. It keeps repeating over and over in my mind. It was soooo freakin loud!!!
It was like the WHOLE WORLD BECAME SCREECHING METAL!!! I thought my heart had literally stopped in my chest the shock and suddenness of it all was so overwhelming and frightening.
Over to my left the car that had hit me came to a stop and a teenager immediately jumped from the passenger side and started screaming at the driver. He was shouting things like..."it wasn't me it was you"..."you did this not MEEEEE"!
Immediately that cop that had been down the street was on the scene. I looked back at the car and the driver had leaned over to shut the passenger door (maybe thinking of driving away...all though his car was completely totaled) and he had blood pouring down his face. Later I seen why...his front window had a huge hole where his head went through it. Seat belts people. Seat belts.
I was still sitting there nearly hyperventilating ...my heart was thundering in my chest and my ears were making a horrible wooshing sound. I thought I was going to pass out for a few moments there. I remember removing my seat belt (so glad I ALWAYS wear that law or no law) but then replaced it so the cops would SEE I was wearing it. I tried opening the door but it wouldn't open...all bashed in.
The cop had rushed over and called an ambulance when he seen the driver was bleeding (I still have no idea what became of that driver...how bad his injuries were) then came and asked me if I was hurt. At the time I thought "no" so told him so....he went off to check the driver of a truck that had also been struck.
Long story short. The teen driver was extremely drunk. He was driving much too fast for the slippery roads of course...and driving drunk anyhow...a recipe for disaster for sure. I'm quite sure he didn't even see me stopped with my blinker on waiting to turn...or maybe he did at the last moment as he hit me while I was turning...which means he swerved. Then again that may have been from hitting the truck as well...who knows?
Turns out the driver of the truck that was hit was ALSO drunk. How nice. He eventually was arrested after failing a sobriety test. The teen passenger was going to be sent home with a relative who came to take him...but THAT guy got arrested TOO for having some sort of conviction against him AND for not having a drivers license. What sort of fool comes to face cops with all THAT on their record...lol.
Cops checked my license and were quite happy to report I was the ONLY one that had a clean record. Yay me!!! for the moment....*sigh*
Eventually I waited in the FREEZING cold for about an hour and a half while the cops and ambulance dealt with the "real criminals"....my windows were broken so my car was freezing as well. One cop came and told me to just go home and they would get back to me the next day or so to get more info...yay...could hardly wait.
I got home and was too freaked to even sleep...and by now my body was starting to tell me that...Hey...you didn't come out of that as injury free as you thought. Oh happy day!! I took some pain pills and tried to sleep.
The next morning I woke up and was as stiff as a board. I could hardly move ANYTHING...and my whole left side was aching and seriously playing a tune. My arm and shoulder particularly. I called my friend who recommended I go to the hospital ASAP...one to get checked out and two to document any injury for insurance purposes. I'm clueless to all that people...there is no insurance sort of thing in Bahrain.
Off I went with her and spent several hours getting X-rayed from every possible angle.
Verdict: Lots of sore muscles...LOTS...and a potential problem with my left shoulder which on the second day doesn't seem as bad as the first...all though the kick ass pain killers they gave me could have something to do with that. LOL
Cops still haven't gotten back to me so I have no idea about drunk teen driver and what happens next. 3 days home from work which DID NOT make my boss very happy but what can I do.
Car? don't get me started. *sigh* Ive only had it for TWO weeks...
Did I mention I hadn't been able to get insurance yet? Was waiting to get paid. So when the cops do show up...I might make it a "4 in 1" with EVERYONE getting arrested.
What are the laws in Wyoming concerning driving without car insurance? Not good I'm sure.
Story of my life.
P.S. sort of ironic that I stopped at the store in order to AVOID the cops...which, of course delayed me getting home...WHICH caused me to be in that place at that time waiting for a drunk driver to come out of the dark and change my life...ironic isnt it. *sigh*
Friday, December 4, 2009
Like I said...very isolating.
At any rate...all this isolation resulted in me not really able to form friendships that went much deeper than what could develop during school hours...as that would generally be the only place I could see my friends. I wasn't allowed after school activities, parties, driving, part time work etc that most teens took part in...it was school and home...period.
Oh I had friends...don't get me wrong...some of them are still my friends to this day and I cherish those friendships...but Ive always felt I couldn't connect with them on a deeper level simply because I really hadn't had the experience. How well can u get to know someone that you see during lunch or the 10 min between classes etc?
School and home...remember.
My personality is somewhat of a conundrum really. I'm not very sociable. Period. I don't mix with people well...I don't start conversations if given the choice generally and I don't go out of my way to meet new people...its just not me. Once I know you that changes everything though...Ive been told I'm very funny with a sharp wit and an out of control laugh that leaves me breathless and hurting...but before that Ive been told I come off as cold and somewhat defensive. Blame it on my isolated childhood and 20 year marriage to an equally isolating husband...its deeply entrenched and not likely to change anytime soon no matter how I try to improve that (could try harder I know).
Anyhow, to make a long story probably longer, I want to talk about my best friend and the one person I love only slightly less than my own children. She recently visited me after not seeing her for two months (a lifetime it seems). She travelled from Bahrain just to see me and the kids...her "nieces and nephews" by love tho not by blood. 8 days of laughter and fun...and a chance for my kids to remember their Arab roots if even just for a short time.
I met her March 23, 2006 and its the one day I will remember forever. I walked in her sitting room and came face to face with a true Force of Nature. Life hasn't been the same since. (I would put her pic but she wears hijab and I don't have any with her wearing it just now)
Funny enough, my tendency to be unsociable nearly caused us never to meet in the first place. She was the guidance counsellor at my daughters school and from the time my daughter met her she just had a feeling she and I would be good friends...the trick was to get her reluctant Mom to actually agree to meet her.
She worked hard people...daily reminders for nearly a YEAR!!! Yes...you heard me right. It took me nearly a year to finally agree to meet my soon to be bestest best friend. When I think of the time I wasted procrastinating I could seriously hurt myself. Time wasted cant be reclaimed...*sigh*.
At any rate...I FINALLY agreed to meet her...reluctantly for sure. I practically dragged my feet to her house (which incidentally turned out to be barely a few hundred yards from my house in Hidd...how we lived nearly next to each other for 9 years without meeting prior is still a mystery to us).
I was literally dragged over to her house by my daughter who, by this time, had completely lost patience with me and was NOT taking no for an answer. She was expecting us...so imagine our dismay when her mother answered the door and told us she was sleeping and wasn't seeing visitors.
Vindication for me!!! This is why I'm not sociable people...so many irritating qualities that I hate...missing appointments or meetings or being late irks me to no end (ironic considering...well you'll see). I walked away somewhat miffed and determined not to come back. Later I learned she was pregnant and so forgave her missing our appointment...Ive been pregnant and so know how exhaustion can overwhelm you. When she called later that day to apologize and to invite me over again...I agreed (still reluctant but she sounded so inviting over the phone).
3 days later...March 23, 2006...I dropped my kids at their aunts house with promises that I would be back in about half an hour (as much as I was willing to give for a first meeting...lol) to have lunch with them. I drove to her house...sat in her sitting room for around 15 min (waiting for her would become a familiar feeling forever after that...shes lousy with the time) and grew increasingly irritated with the wait. I was nearly ready to head for the door when she FINALLY breezed in with a smile on her face that lights up a room...how can I stay mad at someone that smiles like that?
She was then, and still is, a force to be reckoned with...and I count myself lucky and blessed to have her in my life...and to be considered important and cared for in hers.
From that very first visit we clicked on so many levels it wasn't even funny. Its like we had known each other for years. My half hour visit turned into 2.5 hours and probably would have gone on longer if my children hadn't been calling me every 15 min wondering where I was. I dragged myself away RELUCTANTLY people!!! I'm usually the first one out the door and the sooner the better...but we were having such a good time...for once in my life I felt comfortable and welcomed and our instant connection was hard to believe. It had never happened to me before that I could so quickly dive into a friendship with no holds barred...no hesitating and full speed ahead. It was so unlike me...once I left I had to think really hard as to why SHE had such an affect on me? I had met plenty of people during my 20 years in Bahrain...many Bahraini women at that...but even after that many years I wasn't very close to any of them...I could take them or leave them...nothing in common and I preferred my own company to, what basically boiled down to, women who spent copious amounts of time gossiping...and ignoring me while I sat among them.
A Force of Nature people...I cant describe her any better than that.
From the moment we met our relationship has been chaotic...frenetic...we argue constantly...we laugh until we are gasping...we slam doors in each others faces (ok maybe that's just me) and we promise never to see each other again...and then are at the others house before the day is over. Even when we are so mad at each other we could spit nails...we are still impelled to call or stop by to make sure the other is ok. She is my most ardent supporter and defender, has helped me and my children in far too many ways to count, fights for me and them without hesitation and with the ferocity of a lioness over her cubs. I could mention how she has helped me financially in ways I could never count...but then when she reads this she will kick my ass for sure (sorry girl...it has to be said). She never hesitates to help me when I need it (and even when I don't but she thinks I do...reason for many arguments).
The ironic thing about our relationship is that we virtually have NOTHING in common. We argue about EVERYTHING!!! There are so many things about the Arab culture that I just cant wrap my head around (and don't want to) and she is Arab to the core.
She is late FOR EVERYTHING!!! Everything people. I have lost count of the times I have paced...sat in the car...banged on her door...dragged her out of bed or called numerous times on her phone just to get her moving.
I HATE PEOPLE WHO ARE CONSTANTLY LATE...AND SHE IS THE QUEEN OF LATE!!! Figure that one out cause I sure cant.
She irritates me in ways too numerous to mention. I'm more often mad at her than anything (I still cant figure out why or how she puts up with me and my temper)...she is a button pusher and not only pushes my buttons but jumps up and down on them until I want to pull hair out (preferably hers).
BUT...she makes me laugh until I cant breath...makes me feel cared for and loved...makes me feel like there is someone on MY side for once...no matter what...listens to me cry and berate myself over past mistakes...and either cries with me or kicks my ass and brings me back from the black. She supports me, defends me, depends on me (in ways I don't understand) and loves me unconditionally. She makes my children feel they still have family even though their blood family abandoned them wholesale. She is their connection to their past and to their Arab roots. She constantly reminds them that love is thicker than blood...and hers is constant and limitless. They get just as irritated with her constant lectures and demands to remember who they are and where they come from...but they miss her when shes gone and know she loves them...she is family.
She is everything that I am not. Sociable. Forthright. Loud. Commanding. A Leader. Open. Helpful. Honest (mostly...lol) and when she loves someone...she makes them feel it, experience it, bask in it, look forward to it, get comfortable with it, and expect more of it. She makes you feel important and needed...even when its the last thing you feel. People come to her with their problems...night and day...her phone never stops ringing...cause they know her ability to sort things out and make things right. Her own brothers turn to her for advice and leadership...very rare in the Arab world (yes they still try and "put her in her place" as a female...but that ship has sailed people) not to mention the "important" business, ministry and official type people in Bahrain that have her number and are forever calling her for some kind of help or another. (ironic considering they also want to put her in jail for having those exact qualities they depend on for help...her willingness to speak her mind and make things right)
To say I have a friend that has connections and knows people is an understatement. That can either be a blessing or a curse depending on time and place...lol.
Anyhow, she just came to visit us as I said for 8 short days. She reminded me how important she is to us. Reminded me of the sunshine she brings into our lives and the laughter and fun we have when she is around (when shes not busy pissing us off etc lol) Reminded me how she supports me, cares for me and loves me and the kids without limit or hesitation.
She is the ONLY hesitation I had about leaving Bahrain. I knew how much I would miss her...how the kids would miss her. I knew the move would be hard on her and on us. Its not easy finding a friend like her...especially for me...and I was leaving that behind. Yes of course we are still close and important to each other...distance doesn't change that...but its not the same as being together as everyone knows. Its been hard...very hard.....but....
She is still ours.
Our Force of Nature.
And I love her.
Dear Maryam Al Sherooqi...you are loved. Know that.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Too bad for all of you that have been waiting....you must wait just a bit longer as Ive got to get some sleep...just got home from work and Im too pooped to pop...or blog in this case.
Stay tuned and maybe something interesting will occupy this space in the near future...you never can tell about things like that. Random like and all....
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
1. Lets see...signed lease on 3 bedroom apartment today. Will move in tomorrow probably. Its not the Ritz but its a place to call home for now until our situation improves...and its improving day by day. We will be moving in with little more than our suitcases which, up till now, have remained unpacked. This apartment has huge closets....so lots of space to hang stuff. (note to self...buy lots of hangers)
2. Oldest daughter found job and son just got news that he got a new job which is much better than the Gamestop job he currently has. Better as in salary wise but, according to him, NOT better exciting wise. Sorry son, paying bills comes before any sort of excitement can be had. That's the law of the jungle. So we are doing OK income wise, OK but always needing improvement...lol. Got an apartment to furnish and seriously need transport.
3. As soon as I move into this apartment I will no longer have use of my friends car...which means my job that was just down the street is now on the other side of town...and I have no way to get to it. Bit of a problem there. Hmmm? The only solution is to ask boss if he will move me from the store location I'm at to the one nearer to my new apartment...that's just a short walk away..doable when you don't have a car. (note to self...catch boss in good mood)
4. Oh yeah...signed up for college. I'm soooo freakin cool. College freshman at 41. Haven't decided just yet what I will study...need to look over the list of possibilities...but journalism definitely gonna be in there somewhere. Need to boost my income potential so something that will help do that obviously...writing is for fun (would be nice if it paid as well but that's another story). First thing I'm going to do is buy me a t-shirt with my college name on it...woohoo!!!...never got to go to college as my father would not pay for it and I did miss that opportunity while in the military. Something Ive always regretted.
5. Kids are settling in nicely. Had school pics done. Something Bahrain never offered which I always missed. Lots of studio pics of course but school pics are nice reminders. My son the senior is helping prepare for grad night for seniors. That is definitely something Bahrain never offered. He is making lots of friends and that is important to me...I'm glad he feels he isn't alone...friend wise that is.
6. My son, the future basketball NBA star, is doing well on his basketball team. He made an awesome steal and full court run before dropping a left handed lay up in without a hitch. All you NBA scouts can start calling from now...
7. I bought a new mobile phone...something you didn't really need to know but I mentioned simply because it has the strangest set of ring tones Ive ever heard already in a phone. Wish you could hear them....makes you scratch your head and say hmmmm?
Anyhow, that's a bit of my update for the moment. For those of you leaving comments..sorry if I dont get back to them right away...hopefully we can get the net in the apartment ASAP now that we are signed up. One can only hope with my computer obsessed teens...and me. LOL
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Anyways....she drove out of the gas station parking lot and cruised down the road at a fairly sedate pace (she says this but I'm inclined to believe she was doing her usual heavy foot driving...I know your driving Mother) and of course it wasn't long before people were honking and pointing at her. Not realizing what the hell everyone was going on about she continued until she came to the first set of traffic lights...and applied the brakes...only to see my "carry thing" (what the hell is that thing called for griefs sake?) come sliding down the front window of the car and onto the hood. Thankfully she didn't slam on the brakes fully otherwise I might not be around to tell this wonderful story of Motherly love and devotion to her offspring. She screamed horrified and jumped out of the car and grabbed me up and made sure I wasn't hurt (oh...NOW your concerned for my safety...*sigh*)...pops me back in the car...and spends the next 40 years of my life telling everyone she meets this "amusing" little story.
I don't find it in the least amusing...do YOU? Wheres Social Services when you need them?
This, of course, is not the only incident in which my safety was put into jeopardy due to the negligence of one or the other of my parents. Lets forget for a moment that my VERY LIFE rested on a very fine line indeed thanks to my fathers abusive ways...but I'm talking for the moment about just things in general they did (or didn't do) that could have resulted in my harm or even death.
For instance, when I was 15 my father made me drive the family car from our house into town to the mechanics...he drove the other car which he was going to leave there...then drive back in the car I drove. Here's the kicker....I HAD NEVER DRIVEN A CAR BEFORE!!!
Of course that didn't stop him from telling me to do it...and it never even crossed my mind to remind him of the fact that I had never driven a car before...much less on a major highway with major type traffic. I just got in the car and did my best. He told me to follow him...and didn't bother telling me where we were actually going before hand...so follow him I did. This meant, of course, that I had to speed....run a few stop signs...merge onto a major highway without bothering to make sure the way was clear which meant the 18 wheeler that sounded his horn in order to alert me that I was about to become road pizza was fully in his rights...and cross a 4 way intersection...when it was NOT my turn....merely in an effort to keep the tail end of my fathers car in sight. If I lost him then I had no way of finding him again due to the fact I had no idea where he was going. No mobile phones back then...and losing him was just NOT and option. His anger was not something to mess with.
The fact that I survived that 22 mile "virgin" drive has got to be worthy of a medal or two...or at least a star on a sidewalk somewhere.
Funny enough when my Mother found out later about my little "joy" ride she went up in flames horrified at the danger he put me in and what the outcome COULD have been if I hadn't been lucky etc etc....
Gee Mom...its not like he left me on the roof of the car while tooling down the street singing to the radio...now is it?
So fess up people...what sort of dangerous situations have you put your children in...either accidentally (OK OK Mom...it was an accident) or on purpose (looking at you Dad)....lets hear'em. Confession is good for the soul...or so Ive heard.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Will be back (hopefully) when I can find the light at the end of the tunnel...hopefully that light wont be accompanied by harp music and goblets of wine...*sigh*
Be back soon.
Friday, October 23, 2009
I was always one of those moms that played in the park with the kids...kicked the ball around...pushed them on the swings etc. I did this, mind you, in a country in which its considered a no no for women to be doing much of anything outside that can call attention to her. Running after a soccer ball and screaming and laughing with your kids definitely calls attention your way...but I didn't care...I loved playing with my kids.
Need I mention how often complete strangers would hiss at me to "mind my place" so to speak. Not to mention throw out the word "haram" all the time. Yes people, it was haram for me to play with my kids in the park. I was supposed to act like all the other moms and just sit on a blanket stuffing my face, making a mess, and gossiping with the other moms that weren't allowed too (or didn't want too) play with their kids.
Not me. I played.
Anyhow, when we first arrived in Hamad Town it was practically a ghost town. The houses were mostly empty and the area itself was basically bare. No trees, flowers, shrubs, color...all tan...very dead looking. Home sweet home....but...I was actually able to play with my kids outside without too much hassle from the very few neighbors that we had. We had a lot of fun and I pity the women who don't play with their kids when they are young (men too for sure)...you don't know what your missing.
Anyhow, at some point I met a lady that lived 2 round abouts away from us and we became good friends. Trouble was...we didn't have a car at that time so whenever I wanted to visit her I generally had to walk to her house. It took about 40 min probably as the walking was slow with the little ones.
At some point I remembered that I had one of those backpack type things you can carry babies or small children in. I figured we could walk faster if I could carry my littlest one on my back (I didn't have a stroller then) and the 3 older ones could ride their bikes. Started out as a good plan...but my second youngest was just too small to pedal for long...he pooped out quick...so I had to come up with another plan.
AHA!!! I tied a rope around his bike and the other end around my stomach...so now I was basically pulling him along while he pretended to pedal..lol. Off we went. The two older ones on their bikes zooming back and forth...the little one being dragged down the street while waving at strangers like the parade Marshall...and me huffing and puffing with the 50 pound 1 year old on my back...and the 100 pound 3 year old on the bike creating drag.
Or so it seemed at the time.
While I started out all eager and spry...half way there I felt like I was training for a marathon or something. I was gasping and sweating and wondering whose bright idea THIS was?
Did I mention the affect we had on the people we passed by? No? Well put is this way. People literally stopped what they were doing to stand and watch this little procession pass by them on the street. I swear I felt like I should have been throwing candy or something the way they were lined up wide eyed and mouths agape.
I suppose we did make quite a sight. I had never seen any woman use a baby backpack type thing in Bahrain before (maybe they did but I had never seen one) and to be doing something like pulling my kid on the bike at the same time...LOL I could only imagine what was going through all those shocked minds.
Gave them something to break up the blandness of the life that was Hamad Town for sure.
It was worth it. We had a great time that day at my friends house. Only trouble was...
I had to walk back home like that too. *sigh* Couldn't walk without pain for a week.
Monday, October 19, 2009
So...been 2 weeks at work now and I cant help notice how many people come into the store wearing sleep pants...or pj's. Granted they could basically be considered an appropriate form of attire to go for a quick run to the shop etc...but seriously...we all KNOW they are for sleeping...and thus are just and indicator of how lazy you were in not changing out of them before heading out the door.
Last night an entire family came in with not only sleep pants...but full pj's...tops and bottoms....with house slippers as well. Mom and dad were in tshirts and sport team sleep pants...3 little kids were in assorted sleep wear with bunny slippers, tigger slippers and what looked like bear claw (?) slippers. It was ONLY 8 pm and its not like they were making an emergency run to get some milk for breakfast or something(and the WHOLE family wouldn't need to do that anyhow...right?)...so whats up with that?
When did Americans start wearing their sleeping clothes for errands...and does anyone else find that a little strange...or is that just me and something I need to get use too?
Monday, October 12, 2009
Ive only been working at this store for a week now but thats given me plenty of time to view the spending habits of Americas average consumer...at least for this store. Ive noticed in that time that...other than coming in to pay for the gas...there are 3 top ten items that are almost ALWAYS bought when someone comes in...can anyone guess what the top 3rd item is...alcohol and cigarettes are the top 2 (other than gas)...whats number 3? I will wait to give you time to make some guesses...then edit this post with the answer and more ranting..I mean editorial...lol. Have fun!!
So...there you have. Energy drinks are apparently all the rage now. Ive served everyone from young kids to the elderly buying a myriad assortment of expensive and very large containers of caffeine in a can.
Which makes me wonder...why are "we" so darn tired that we now find we need a pick me up of such monstrous proportions? Little kids are buying them at night...shouldn't they be in bed asleep? The elderly are buying them mostly in the mornings...are they finding it hard to stay awake during the days? Long haul drivers are buying them in 6 packs..which is scary all by itself...you have to sleep sometime people...those jack knifed rigs on the highways aren't purely accidental if you haven't slept in 3 days and flying high on Redbull or something.
I would assume that our high tech world is keeping us awake when we ordinarily would b sleeping. Surfing the net, playing PS3, texting and chatting and and and...in order to stay awake for our entertainment beyond our bodies intended capacity...we need our "fix"...and here's the solution. Energy Drinks.
In my opinion...they shouldn't be sold to children just like alcohol and cigarettes...I drank one small energy drink several years ago...could NOT literally close my eyes for 3 days. I was a zombie on auto mode. Never again. I don't know how these regular drinkers do it. It obviously CANNOT be good for you in such large doses...nearly everyday.
One solution...people need to get their required sleep and turn off whatever the heck it is keeping them awake...and a age limit needs to be put on them...they should be considered harmful in my opinion.
Thanks for all the guesses...no lottery here...condoms are in the bathrooms...haven't seen any porn mags under the counter or anything but I will give it a closer check just to make sure....purely for research purposes....lol.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
"That's the f**king youth of America today...and that's why Obama got elected president?"
So my question is...WTF?!!! what does a boy wearing the supposed Emo style have to do with Obama getting elected president? Did I miss something during the last presidential campaign...did Obama run himself ragged across America trying to win the "Emo" vote...and then apparently got it?
Are these two "good ole boys" trying to make a claim that NO presidential term before Obama had any sort of fashion statement all the rage during his term of election...or prior to it?
I would assume these two men were making a snide remark which was meant to portray the boy as ill mannered, unkempt and possibly some sort of criminal...merely by what he was wearing...but here's where they got it wrong...WAY wrong.
I served this boy, who might have been 15 or so, and he was very soft spoken and polite with me. He said please and thank you....and returned my "have a nice day
with a "you as well."....then left the store.
On the other hand the two fashion gurus sporting their beer bellies, baseball caps, and sweat stains under their armpits...were rude with me making loud demands and smacking their money on the table while reeking of beer and body odor. Did not say anything close to being polite...and threw the receipt on to the floor as they left.
Soooo...question? Does the old adage...don't judge a book by its lip piercings...still hold true?
It sure does. Give me an Emo type over a good ole boy any day of the week...and who knows...the way things are going in America...those Emo's just might get a woman elected next time around. One can only hope.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
I'm going to use this post to point out some differences I notice in general...and to either vent or praise something depending on the topic.
So, lets see. It SNOWED!!! full blown blizzard. Practically a white out. It was awesome...and freezing...but mostly awesome. My kids were amazed but were not about to go outside and experience it first hand. They viewed the white storm from the safety of the house and behind storm glass...lol. Wusses!! By the next day the sky was clear blue, the temps were "warm" (one day jackets and hats the next t shirts...lol) and there was beautiful snow on everything. The sticky kind too so much snowball throwing was had by all. Fun fun fun!!! I will let you know if my enthusiasm for all things snow remains further into the winter.
However, by the second day practically all the snow was gone and what was left behind...MUD!!! yuck!!! I haven't had the "pleasure" of walking in mud for quite sometime. Bahrain is sand really so the rain collects in the streets until it drains off into the sewers...not much mud in terms of that disgusting sucking messy gets into everything and makes your shoes a disaster kind of thing. Nope...didn't really miss that.
We are staying with one of my oldest friends...we met in the 3rd grade for a brief spell before meeting up again in the 7th grade and its gone on from there. I had planned to stay with her only long enough to find a place of our own...but with the theft of my wallet and a dent in my finances...that has been put on hold for now. So we are 11 people in a double wide trailer. So far its been ok. A flare up or two but not bad considering the number of young'uns running around. My kids are over the moon to be all together again...and they really love having this family like atmosphere since they haven't really had much of a family this past couple of years. It might not be so lovely in a few more weeks or something, tempers flare, privacy non existent, TP missing from the bathroom etc...but for now we will take it one day at a time until something comes along to change it.
In the process of starting our lives Ive been forced to do a MOUNTAIN of paperwork at every stop I make along the road. My Lord whats with having to put my name, address and SSN 3 or 4 times ON THE SAME APPLICATION?!!! Sheesh Ive got writers cramp doing that for the 6 of us over and over and over again. Because some of our SSN cards were in my wallet I had to send for new ones...took some time but not bad. I went and got my drivers license...I was fearing I would have to take ANOTHER test after just doing one in Texas last Dec, because my license was in my wallet, but she just let me apply for a new one with NO test. Whew!! lucky break. That written test is a b****h when it comes to maximum alcohol limits and prison terms and all that jazz. I can never keep those numbers straight...and really...considering I dont drink or drink AND drive...they dont interest me much. NOW when OTHERS drink and drive...that interest me.
On a side note...driving in Bahrain is truly a life and death experience EVERY FREAKIN TIME you leave your house. That no lie and NO exaggeration. So we can all be thankful that people drive crazy....but generally are NOT drinking as well...because one would have to assume the carnage already experienced on a daily basis would just be too much to bear.
Getting the 2 kids in school was a bit easier than I thought...at least for Ameena. She just started...no problems. Starting later meant she didn't get to be in some classes she wanted as they were full...but she was able to get in guitar class so that made her happy. I had to go BUY the guitar as they don't provide them but since my son Adam, the self taught and beautifully played guitar player, left his behind (the first one I bought him for his bday...sniff sniff) we needed another one in the house anyhow. Money well spent in my opinion. It makes them happy and is a better way of spending their time than other ways I can imagine.
On a side note, my friends son has an electric guitar so Adam got to try his hand on that. He loves it. He sounds very professional and Baaaaad Assssss or so Ive been informed. Obviously he has his heart set on getting one of those sometime soon...sorry son...get a job if you want one of those...they cost a penny or two.
Getting Zack in school was a bit more tedious. I brought his school record translated into English for the 10th and 11th grade. I did NOT know that the 9th grade was needed as well. So they wouldn't allow him into school until that transcript could be sent. Of course that took some time obtaining and so he sat home for a week while all that was straightened out. Turns out he took some of the harder senior classes already in Bahrain so he has quite a few easy classes..lol...so he shouldn't be too stressed this semester. He hit it off with the guidance councilor right away so I'm happy hes got someone to turn too. I was most worried about how Zack would settle in at school but so far he seems to be doing just fine.
It was funny though when I went to my old highschool and there were STILL staff there that were there when I went there. WTF!! Those teachers were surely OLD when I was there..at least they seemed to be...so what? Are they like 150 years old now? lol Obviously they werent old then but when your young EVERYONE seems old. Some of them remembered me too...and here I thought I was invisible in school...must have just been with other students for the most part...lol.
He spends equal amounts of time out here with the family, playing games or hanging out, or in his room alone. I don't mind cause I know he needs space to adjust and as long as he is balancing out the two phases then all is good. He spends time chatting with his Bahrain friends or playing piano (yes I was able to bring it thankfully) so he has his alone time to relax and center himself. I know he is the one who made the biggest sacrifice in terms of his mental preparations etc. I appreciate his willingness to give this a try and hes doing very well so far.
NOW...looking for a job has been harder than I thought. There are plenty of jobs around...help wanted all over and a decent amount in the papers...but actually APPLYING for jobs has certainly become complicated way beyond comprehension. Most applications are on-line and it can take up to 45 MINUTES to fill out!!! My Lord they ask everything under the sun and some questions from the far side of the moon as well. The funny questions are those in which they ask what you would do if you found money or would you rather work over time or be out with your friends. Tricky....lol. Do they want the truth or what WE know THEY want to hear? My daughter actually "failed" a few of those as she didn't understand the "rules" to applying and answering those sort of questions...ha ha. Poor her....she was honest...and failed to get a job because of it. WTF!!!
So the 3 of us, daughter son and myself, have spent 2 weeks applying ALL over the darn place and so far I'm the only one that finally got a job. Its one of those gas station/mini store type things but I'm fine with that. As long as I'm working I'm good....until something better comes along. I'm sure they will get something here soon...they just have to be more aggressive and not WAIT for opportunity to come to them.
I cant praise enough the driving standards here. So calm and relaxed when driving...I can actually look out the window at STUFF (scenery, houses etc) rather then just have my eyeballs peeled for tail gaiters, lane changers, speeders, and cars full of kids hanging out windows. I must admit I ha vent seen even one incident of that. You can only drive 20 mph (school zones) or 30 (residential) and 40 (main streets etc) through town...and people pretty much stick to that even though it takes AGES to get anywhere...lol. So civilized. lol (yes Bahrain IS THAT BAD)
ONE other thing I must mention just because of its interesting aspect. If your a man I suggest you brace yourself...the next bit is a bit personal (ok a lot personal). For the past year or more Ive suffered from a myriad of physical complaints...everything from extremely swollen feet and legs, constant headaches, knee pain and a monthly cycle that was almost non existent. I was actually starting to think menopause was fast approaching...because I hadn't had a "visit" in the past 2 months (either that or a new miracle prophet was about to be born...lol)...anyhow...call it a miracle but the swollen feet and legs ARE GONE. My shoes fit (or are loose depending), pant legs are definitely loose (yay), the only headache I got was from staring at the blindingly white snow and the knee pain is no more. Oh yes, cycle turned up and was everything a cycle should be...when I was much younger and "regular"...if you know what I mean.
Must mean something...lol. Im not too concerned about the WHY as much as the Thank God part of it.
So, that's about it for now. Let me know if you have any suggestions for starting fresh...from scratch and all. Im all ears.
btw a completely random note. Micheal Buble' is to die for. For anyone that hasn't listened to him sing...I suggest you drop what your doing and run out and buy whatever music of his you can (or check the net...lol). Dreamy looking and heavenly sounding. Right now I have his song Lost on repeat and Ive listened to it a gazillion times...wow!!!
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Ive been meaning to get this post up for a week...but Ive been so freakin busy its not even funny. I also considered giving you all a detailed over view of that past 2 weeks but figured that would be a down right mini series...so decided to spare you that trauma of anticipation for each new installment. Sooooo came to the painful conclusion that I would just give you more of a bullet type update...anyone with questions can leave them in the comments. Be nice.
So here goes...
1. Right up until the VERY moment we boarded the plane I was having one headache after another just preparing to leave Bahrain. Everything from missing passports...delayed visa...making new passports...stolen money and wallet with all my ID....aaaaaand the million and one other things moving from one country to another entails. I wasnt sleeping at all for the week leading up to our departure...and jet lag is still kicking my backside...so Im still trying to catch up a week later.
2. I had a dozen people calling me offering plane tickets....money...help with the bills etc...a dozen people if not MORE...they ALL CALLED ME due to the article in the newspaper I mentioned before....they all called me....ONCE... with heartfelt promises and BIG PLANS...and then never called me back. NOT ONE OF THEM. Like I have mentioned countless times before...why even bother to call or offer such things if you have NO intention of following through? Whatever.
3. One person from the blogs did email me and promised that she would make sure all the tickets were paid for (she found some people to donate them)....and she did. I am truly indebted to this lady because once some of the money was stolen I did not have enough for the tickets...but wasnt about to get on here and say that after the amazing turnout of people who donated. I sincerely apologize to those that donated for losing (had stolen) a portion of the money donated...I lost all my ID as well. Try getting passports, traveling...and starting a fresh life with NO ID (well eventually got my passport...barely hours before I traveled) and discover just how hard that can be. I dont recommend it.
4. At the airport I discovered I had too much luggage and had to open everything we had right there on the floor and rearrange contents trying to get some of them legal weight wise...had to leave two boxes behind. (have since discovered those boxes had some very needful things in them...of course) It was a mad rush of sorting and screaming and trying to organize in a hurry as the delay meant we were late getting to the gate. I was absolutely drenched in sweat and near to having a breakdown due to the 2 weeks build up of high stress over the stolen money, ID etc plus other delays...plus now the luggage drama. By the time I sat down at last on the plane and could actually take a very long exhale...I was pretty close to exhaustion. It was the hardest most stressful 2 weeks I have had since pre divorce...and thats saying something. (boxes were taken back with my friend who has promised to send them to me...Im waiting girl)
5. Oh yes...I need to mention that upon arrival at Bahrain airport I discovered one of my childrens passports had a page torn right down the middle...which page might you ask...the picture and ID page of course. Prior to heading to the airport I had stopped to make photocopies to leave with my friend....apparently the Filipino girl that did the copies tore the page (I assume by accident...but she did seem in a hurry to get us out the door) and I didnt notice til I handed it to airport reservation...who took one look and declared it illegal to travel on...ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!! Eventually much heated discussion followed in which numerous "higher ups" were called upon to make a higher up decision...and it was accepted but I was warned I would have a headache, no doubt, while traveling...now THERES an understatement. Every single passport check delayed us again and again while ALL of our passports were scrutinized due to that one having the tear. In Paris we barely made it to the next flight due to the delay. In Dallas the man just stared at me and asked..."did you do this...why did you do this...you know its not allowed to do this"....ok...gotcha...just stamp it and get on with it will ya? In Salt Lake the lady said...."how in the heck did they let you travel with this?" I have no idea but Im certainly glad they did and now that Im here I dont really care anymore...JUST LET ME THROUGH ALREADY!!!
6. The trip itself was sooooooooo loooooooooooooong. My lord was I tired of sitting and sitting and sitting...and did I mention how much I sat for heavens sake? At least we were pleasantly surprised to discover the first leg of the trip was in business class...so we could stretch out and enjoy our leg room...warm cloth...and REAL utensils with our meals. However, this set us up for the devastating realization that the next 2 flights would be in the Sardine Section. Im NOT complaining as I was extremely HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY to be on the plane at all...but for us bigger than average people (read:fat) its harder to be in the Sardine section when your a fat sardine...*sigh*. (need to work more on that...been going to the gym you know). By the time we reached Salt Lake my feet were the size of cantalopes...I dared not remove my shoes for fear of a minor explosion of flesh hitting innocent bystanders.
7. When we FINALLY arrived some 3 months later in Dallas (11 hours but whose counting), I might add...while standing in line at customs and my kids are looking around getting their first REAL look at America (the boys at least) (and you cant get anymore American than Texas) what should be their first EXPERIENCE in America be but a flat out rude f**k of a man who shocked them and left them with open jaws and round eyes. A guy was standing in front of me in the looooooong customs line that all the Americans stand in...the line drew ahead and he just continued to stand there. Made no attempt to bridge the gap...and the gap was at least 7 or 8 people wide by this time. Im very tired...very irritated...very thirsty...and very tired..did I mention that? So I did what just about any other person would have done...I made moves to move ahead in hopes that he would catch on and move ahead too. He quickly turned and looked at me and with a completely benign look on his face spewed out the most foul language I have heard in quite some time. "F" this and "F" that about how I dared cut in front of him and who did I think I was and how he F***ing hated people who thought they were better than you and cut in front of you in line...and how he had JUST ABOUT HAD IT WITH RUDE PEOPLE. I see. After I got over my initial shock I calmly asked him if he was having a bad day. Willing to give him some small excuse because I wasnt IN America officially until I was past customs....and I still had a torn passport to deal with...no need to cause heads to lift and focus on me anymore than they had already...right? So I was calm. I was good. I swallowed his sh*t just to get through customs. He said he was having a "very good f**king day and would continue to do so if people LIKE ME didnt come and try and ruin it". I see. My kids were in shock as I said and I was trying to figure out if the guy was actually going to have a mental breakdown and go all kung foo on me or something. He looked spring loaded and ready to act that was for sure. I decided to remain silent....but not in my head. Anyhow...he moved forward so I took a step forward as well. He then turns his head and dared me to touch his luggage or "see what he would do to me". Wheres a frickin police officer when you need one? I calmly (still calm) told him I wouldnt touch his luggage if my life depended on it. (and maybe it did?) When we passed a security man I pointed out the sh*t and told security dude that he was insane and rude and they should scrutinize him a little better than most. Security dude just laughed and pointed me to a line.
Welcome to America kids *sigh*
7. I did manage to get some exercise in at Dallas airport after all that sitting. For those that havent been there...there is a tram system set up that takes you from one terminal to another. It goes all around the airport. We found the tram after getting off the Paris flight...went to the proper terminal for getting to Salt Lake and sat down with a sigh. I then realized I had all the Bahraini money to change...not having had a chance to do so in Bahrain due to the luggage fiasco delaying us...and in Paris due to the passport fiasco delaying us...and I wasnt sure if Salt Lake airport would change Bahraini money or not. I wasnt sure if it was considered an international airport...so I went looking for a money exchange. Turns out that terminal did not have any...I had to return to the terminal I was just at. So I told the kids to sit and relax and dont leave the carry ons etc while I got back on the tram and went back to the other terminal. Once I located the money exchanger and he spent eons of time figuring out the rate for dinars and carefully calculating at least 10 times...he then asked for my ID. Did I mention I didnt have any? Thought so. I had not brought my passport either...ugh. Soooooooooooooo I had to scamper ALL THE FREAKING way back to the tram and to the other terminal...grab the passport with a quick word to the kids...and rush like mad back to the other terminal..change the money and get back on the tram to my departure terminal in which they were by now calling for all boarders. I didnt even have a chance to relax and enjoy browsing the airport (same thing in Paris...argh!!!) I sat down with an exhausted crash and held a silent pity party for one.
8. So we FINALLY reach Salt Lake...the last leg of our trip...but is it? No it isnt. We still have a 3 hour plus drive ahead of us to Wyo. It was lovely seeing my long time friend there to greet us...hugs all around...meet the family...wait ages for luggage....of course it was ABSOLUTELY LAST coming out of the little box thing....and off to the car we went. Arrived "home" at 2 am with my two kids and her two kids screaming like mad in the street having been waiting for 2 hours for our arrival. My sonny boy was first in the car into my lap and arms around my neck before the door was even fully open. I hadnt seen him in 9 months...he is nearly 12 now but he wasnt ashamed to cry with happiness at seeing his mom again. My kids were estatic to see each other and be all together once again (didnt last long til the first argument over who slept where was had but hey...it sounded wonderful anyhow). We all crashed out where ever we could find a spot(my sonny boy was right next to me..almost on top of me)...and it was lights out until the next day was half gone.
7 hours to Paris (give or take)
11 hours to Dallas (give or take)
3 hours to Salt Lake (exactly)
3 hours plus to Wyo
4 very very VERY tired travelers
*to be continued. Life after landing.