Wry Exchange


Culture Shock in my Home
06-21-09, 12:31 am
Filed under: Culture, Depression, Home, hosting | Tags: , , ,

 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.



Substitute Exchange Blog for 2 Weeks
06-04-09, 11:36 pm
Filed under: Exchange Students, Home, Inbounds Inbounds

  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.

I’m not ready. Physically-pffft. Last year, I walked 2 miles a day with our 2 large dogs. This year, GoodDobie suddenly started falling apart mid-April. I spend a lot of time cooking for him, and watching. He’s doing well, and is stable. Brain tumor, diabetes, and brain seizures. He couldn’t stand for a few days, and didn’t recognize us. Mentally-I have so much going on. One of our former exchange students is moving in with his wife this weekend-after I leave.  We’ve never had adults living with us.  I suppose I can’t yap at them like I do with inbound students.  Chef’s wife likes to clean.  Maybe my house will be sparkly when I get back.   


GoodDobie Good Update
06-01-09, 1:30 am
Filed under: Home

 GoodDobie is a happy boy.  He’s gaining weight on people food diet.  He’s getting strength back,  and is playing with BadLab.   He hasn’t had a seizure in a long time.   He looks great.  We even took him for a short walk around the block this afternoon.  He pranced.   We’re mixing dog food in with the people food for him.

BadLab refuses to eat his Iams food.  He wants people food, too.  The little guy is spoiled.  BadLab has curly fur, so he can hid a few pounds by appearing fluffy.  I couldn’t get his collar over his head for the walk.  The little porker’s collar had to be let out over an inch.

I can’t take BadLab for a long walk without GoodDobie.  GoodDobie becomes stressed and anxious even with Husband staying with him.  We’ll think of something.

Since I’m going away for 2 weeks, I’ll have to leave lots of Dobie Chow made up in the fridge.



Dell Mini 9 FAIL
06-01-09, 12:45 am
Filed under: Home

  My five month old Dell Mini 9 died Friday night.  I’m mourning.  I love that dinky computer.  It worked fine until then.  I turned it on, and a black screen popped up with the dreaded words “Operating System not Found.”

I chatted online with Dell for an hour trying different fixes.  They’re sending a call tag for it to go back.  At least it’s under warranty.  I can’t be the only one who had a catastrophic failure since they’re discontinued already.  Dell Mini 9 has only been out in the USA since last Fall.

Santa brought it because it’s great for travel. (Santa thinks it’s stupid, and calls it a toy.)  I can carry it in my purse.  It was wonderful on my Chile trip.  Quick to boot up, nice long battery life, too.    It should take 5-8 days to return it to me. 

I’m leaving Saturday on a 2 week business trip.  without my computer.  I’ll be twitching and bitching.   While I’m gone, I found a blog about exchange students for you to read.  The blog is about a bus full of horny howler monkeys travelling in California and Nevada.   It sounds amusing in an “I’m glad that’s not me” kind of way.



30 Days to Go
06-01-09, 12:12 am
Filed under: Exchange Program | Tags: , , ,

 One month to go until my program has a new leader.   I hope we make it.  That’s not hyperbole, either.   Every time I think we hit rock bottom, we go deeper. 

The latest disaster is losing our program’s State Department certification.   I was too upset to write about it, or blog about anything.  It’s taken care of now, but it was a nerve-wracking few weeks.  

Our current President didn’t send in the re-certification paperwork.  It’s the government; how many reminders do they send out?  She’s been trying to kill this program, and almost succeeded this time.  The State Department employee in charge sent out one final reminder that we lost our certification a month earlier to several people, not just our President.  That’s the only way we found out-by accident.

Can you imagine being so vindictive?  We wouldn’t be able to host the 30 incoming exchange students.  The State Department wouldn’t issue DS-2019’s to those kids if they weren’t coming with a ‘real’ program.

The CSIET paperwork wasn’t completed in time, so the kids can’t play sports again this year.  We haven’t had an audit since she took over, either.   She’s not going out gracefully.  She’s not doing anything, not coming to meetings, but not sharing any information.  30 days to go…