Wow. So much has changed in the last four years since I updated last. People still read the blog and comment. I’m grateful.
Our first exchange student will be 42 next week. The youngest is still in college. Husband and I love following along with their adventures. Many of them are still travelling, some have settled in their host countries, others work for the US government. I think they all use their experience in daily life to problem solve.
BadLab and GoodDobie are waiting at the Rainbow Bridge for us, both of old age. They were well loved. We’ve had four rescue Dobermans since in the last few years. We volunteer for Doberman rescue groups. A lot of background checking is very much like interviewing, checking references, and inspecting exchange student host family homes.
Husband and my health hasn’t been so great-all mechanical joint issues, fixable. Just boring! Less Machu Picchu, more canal boat in Amsterdam right now.
Filed under: Exchange Students
Hi, everyone. I’m still here, just have not even looked at this beloved blog of mine for 2 years. The domain name expired, and GoDaddy.com scooped it up.
Anyway, BadLab and GoodDobie are both healthy and running around.
Last year’s host family gift post is here. As luggage requirements tighten, gift selection becomes more difficult. If you must take coffee table books, put them in your carry-on or laptop bag. Take a big bag of penny candy or DumDums suckers for token gifts.
Look for gifts specific to you, your family, and your immediate area. Don’t take anything USA themed, but pack a tshirt from your high school. Do you have local postcards in your area? Bring them.
Filed under: Home
Wow. I can’t believe it’s almost a month since I posted. Bad, bad Wry.
BadLab-losing weight, looking good. He’s been a picky eater because Mrs. Chef sits on the floor hand-feeding him breakfast. Husband stopped that.
GoodDobie-Looks good. Can’t see at all, but he’s compensating well. We’ve been able to take him for walks. He’s happy and active. It’s a miracle he lived through April, and we’re thrilled.
Chef and Mrs. Chef-Love her, willing to sell him. They watched ‘Juno’ the other night and OCD came up. She pointed at the screen, and chirped ‘That’s me!’ She’s sweet, and a hard worker. Husband says Chef is going on 12.
WryMIL is still in the hospital, with ups and downs. She had 3 mechanical helper hearts pumping at the same time for a while. She’s down to one now, and can walk a few feet.
WryDad-Doing well, but we never asked about the feral cat that attacked him.
Fearful Leader-now Former Fearful Leader for 33 days now! Hurray! Our program survived her reign. She managed to get one last “Fuck you” in by changing the date of our first meeting. Kudos to her for being so inventive and sneaky. I never would’ve thought of that. As usual, we found out early enough to fix it. The gossip around says she has early Alzheimer’s. I don’t believe that. A few people vote for ‘clueless’ and ‘Peter Principle,’ but my vote is ambitious. She’l looking beyond the local area, either to move up, or to fold our program into a much larger group. I hope the date change was her last surprise.
BadLab: Losing weight, and not so happy about it. He’s turned into a picky eater.
GoodDobie: No seizures, and insulin is up to 20ccs twice daily. He’s lost his sight completely in the last week-10 days. He was adjusting well, and BadLab has been fantastic about watching over him and helping. Last Thursday, I couldn’t find GoodDobies eyeballs. He was scrunching his eyes shut, and when I pried them open, all I saw was red, yucky, and empty. (The third eyelid was up. duh.) The vet saw him Friday morning, and found his eyes. :) GoodDobie has severe conjunctivitis. The vet said it looked like he was pepper-sprayed. We think maybe he ran into some poison ivy in the backyard? He has bacitracin ointment, and amoxicillin. On the other hand, he’s back up to 84 pounds, and eating well.
Chef and Mrs. Chef: Chef has car insurance, so they have some independence. They’re getting better about not cleaning and organizing all.the.time. The kitchen table has some clutter. We convinced them we eat pizza in the living room. The doggy toys are all neatly lined up, and I can’t find a few things that I’m certain are ‘put away.’ Husband likes to tease Mrs. Chef. I brought back 2 weeks worth of hotel shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, and soap to donate to a local women’s shelter. I emptied my bag on the bathroom table, and she had everything lined up within 10 minutes. I put my personal items away, and she re-lined up the travel sizes in order. Husband moves them around on the table or pulls a few out of line. They quickly return to formation. She’s a sweet girl, and they are trying so hard.
WryDad: Husband and WryDad are very close. Husband called WryDad a ‘fucktard.’ I spoke with WryDad one night about 10 days ago. He didn’t say anything, WryMom never called. Husband called WryDad from the hospital (next story) and WryDad said he was in the hospital for a few days, but ‘don’t worry.’ My parents took in a feral cat and her newborn litter around Easter. They were taking the kittens to get fixed, momma cat didn’t like that. She scratched and bit my father. His doctor started him immediately on antibiotics. The next morning his arms were bruised and swollen, with red streaks running from his fingers up his arms. He went to the doctor who called the hospital for a bed. WryDad was in the hospital for 3-4 days getting IV Cipro. He just finished oral antibiotics. I still haven’t asked about the cat.
WryMIL: Husband isn’t close to his family. He doesn’t see or speak with them. It used to be because of abuse and hurt feelings, but now it’s indifference. They will call Husband if they need money or something fixed. A sibling called to say WryMIL was being lifeflighted from a local hospital to one in the big city. We’re grateful she called. Husband has spend much time at the hospital these last 2 weeks. WryMIL had open heart surgery to implant tubes and wires for 2 mechanical pumps yesterday. Her heart is quite fragile, and she’ll be sedated for the next few days. It’s awkward. Family members are crying, and I sit there trying to be invisible. Husband sits a little apart from the family, but is cordial to them.
That’s my update.
Filed under: Culture, Depression, Home, hosting | Tags: chef, Dogs, Home, Husband
I am home. I love home. I missed Husband and the doggies. Husband missed me, GoodDobie looks great, but BadLab is a porker. I can’t feel his ribs, and he has a little pot belly. No more rice and hamburger for him. My baby Dell is here, with new innards. I’ve been adjusting and installing today.
The other big news? Chef and Mrs. Chef moved in with us. They arrived a few days after I left. Mrs. Chef had never been out of Chile before. Chef was last here in August, and they married in April. They’re looking for engineering jobs here. They have lots of free time. I thought it would be easier for Mrs. Chef to settle in without me around. I want her to be comfortable here. She’s adjusting well, and the dogs love her.
I returned home at 2:30am today. (GoodDobie jumped all the way up to kiss me. He hardly ever stood up even when he was healthy and strong.) I walked in, and the changes were staggering. The kitchen, and both living rooms. Our house is over 100 years old, and we have 2 living rooms. I assume one was once the parlor. The upstairs bathroom and third bedroom were rearranged, too. Anyone who knows me in real life knows I am oblivious to a lot. I don’t notice things. For me to be exhausted and notice all the changes was a surprise. I still haven’t been to the basement. Can’t take the shock.
Husband requested they not ‘clean’ his office, toolbench, our bedroom, and the third bedroom. I use the third bedroom to keep my clothing and ironing board. They haven’t touched the first three areas, but ‘my’ room is all rearranged. I had clothes in different piles on the headboard/bookcase to sell on eBay, donate, or be mended. They are all ironed, damp, and folded nicely on the bureau. The shelves were cleared off except for junk, my scarves moved, the ironing board moved, and everything rearranged. Apparently, she likes to iron. She irons everything, including washcloths.
The bathroom door was closed, shower curtain closed, handwash in the bathtub, 3 scatter rugs on the floor, tp hung backwards, and blinds slanted differently. I know it sounds petty, but we’ve lived in this house for 30 years, and Husband grew up in this house. It’s all different. I emptied out my travel cosmetic and bathroom bags onto the small table in the bathroom. She lined everything up in neat rows.
We’ll skip the kitchen and backyard, but my bookshelves. My bookshelves. Husband built a wall of bookshelves in our front room. I have them arranged just so, and they’re accented with photos and tchochkes picked up from our travels. I regularly purge books by moving them to the attic or donating. I’m anal enough about the books that they’re arranged down to Chile-travelogues, Chile-language, and Chile-history. I have Spanish dictionaries on one shelf, and all other languages on another. Half of the shelves are nonfiction reference and travel, and the other half is fiction and art books. The books are now arranged by size. “Diving in the Caribbean” is now next to a Diane Arbus photography book. I don’t see my little piece of the Berlin Wall anywhere. “Lamb” by Christopher Moore is next to “The Book of Nothing.” The photos, boxes, and decorations are all rearranged.
Most women would probably feel violated by someone going through their clothes or makeup, but the books are what killed me. I want to move it all back into place, but it would hurt her feelings. Thankfully I have an appointment with the wacko doctor on Monday.
I’m going on a business trip for 2 weeks. I’m leaving you in the hands of an excellent typist and s0-so storyteller. She’s writing about an end of the year bus trip that inbound exchange students participate in if they wish to see the West.
Her blog is like a miniseries. It’s only for 3 weeks. I hope you enjoy reading it. It’s good Summer vacation reading.