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.


April Weddings
04-06-09, 1:16 am
Filed under: Culture, Home | Tags: , ,

  Two of my boys are getting married this month.  The circumstances are night and day.

Chef is finished with his education.  He is a professional civil engineer, specializing in water and wastewater.  His fiancee is also an engineer.   They have good jobs, and can support themselves.  They are in their late 20’s.    They only got engaged the end of last year, and the wedding is in a few weeks.  They plan on moving to the US in June.   They have enough money to go 6 months without work.  Chef thinks if they don’t try now, they never will.  It’s been his dream to come back and live here.  They’ll stay with us.    He told me he ‘pooped’ the question officially  last month.  I love Spanglish.

The other one is way too young, and it’s a shotgun wedding.  He is in his second year of college, and doesn’t have a job.  He’s from a deeply machismo society.  His wedding is a day before Chef’s.   It will be a quiet, quicky wedding with no church, reception, or guests.   The condom malfunctioned, and the girl’s parents are pressuring him into a wedding before the she starts to show.  He doesn’t love her, but says he’ll learn.  My heart is breaking for him.

More Coincidences
08-28-08, 10:20 pm
Filed under: Home | Tags: , ,

Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today!  Both Husband’s and my laptops are dead.   Mine “only” has a dead AC adapter/charger.  Husband’s is much more serious.  His AC adapter/charger is also dead, and so is his battery.  The odd thing is his charger and battery died with no warning.   It acquired a virus somehow, and really messed up the entire computer.  He had the Blue Screen of Death®.  Husband is not a happy man. 

Chef knows nothing about how any of this happened.  He feels really bad, and took my baby laptop to a friend’s to charge.  He’s bringing the charger home to try to fix Husband’s. 

Good thing we bought the external hard drive earlier this month.  Husband is on his way to work, and asked me to back up his entire contents.  He said if I let Chef do the backing up,  don’t let him know. 😉

All Coincidences
08-27-08, 1:45 pm
Filed under: Exchange Students, Home | Tags: ,

  Chef, our eldest Chilean son is here visiting for a few weeks.  He’s 27, but some things never change.  (A dear friend always says “Only the names change.”)  In the last week or so, the bathroom door towel bar fell off, Husband’s laptop acquired a virus and also no longer recognizes the charger,  the charger cord is failing, and more.  None of this is anything other than coincidence.
BadLab’s leash fell out of Chef’s hand, too.  Three times!

ETA: I’m sleeping with my Ipod and laptop under my pillow!  Husband’s computer isn’t looking too healthy.  We don’t care about the desktop.

Porn Cookies
08-18-08, 10:49 pm
Filed under: Culture, Home | Tags: ,

  I picked up Chef at the airport tonight.  He’ll be 27 in a few weeks, but is still the same.  He didn’t bring a toothbrush, socks, or underwear with him.  I told him to pack as little as possible, but not that skimpily.  Since he didn’t bring much, he only brought one suitcase with him.  The child must have forgotten how much he likes shopping.  Good thing we have spare luggage in the attic.  Husband and Chef wear the same clothing and shoe size, so he’ll have clothes to wear until we hit the thrift store.   We did make a quick Wal-Mart stop for a toothbrush and underwear.

We also bought Mountain Dew and cookies.  Chef ADORES Keebler E.L. Fudge cookies.  He called his mom when we arrived home to tell her he’s here.  He told her he was eating ‘his’ cookies.  She called them his porno cookies.  Uh, what?  Those cute little elves?  She said they look like they are in different sexual positions.  I’ll never look at the Keebler elves the same way.

Home Update
08-13-08, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Home | Tags: , ,

Our old Chileno son is coming Monday to visit for 2 weeks.  Chef was an exchange student 10 years ago.  He’s been back several times.  I last saw him in November.  We’re excited.  It’s been almost 4 years since he’s been ‘home.’
I took BadLab and GoodDobie for their walk tonight, and we stopped to get pets from 3 high school boys.  After they petted GoodDobie for a few minutes, one of them asked if he was ‘friendly and nice.’  i just said yes.  I didn’t know what else to say without being snarky.
 Earlier today, I cleaned BadLab’s stinky ears.  Know what works like a giant Q-tip? A Tampon.  He has big ears, it fit, and it made him happy. 
My new FES arrives tomorrow.  His hostmom and I are picking him up.  I’ll be back to the airport Saturday to greet 2 more FES’s and introduce them to their counselors and/or host families.
 We almost got another dog last week. We need another dog like I need a baby. (2 dogs, 2 humans.  I can handle both beasts alone for walks, but I couldn’t control 3 of them.  If Husband or I are home alone, we have a dog velcro’d on each side. GoodDobie is 9 or 10, and BadLab is 6½.)
 But read this bio, and tell me you wouldn’t call about her. Rumba is a 10 year old black female with cropped ears and a docked tail. Rumba’s story is a very sad one. Rumba’s elderly owner became very ill and had to move into a nursing home. Rumba’s human brother (Owner’s son) decided the only option for Rumba was euthanasia. Once again, this is a person we hope receives a haunting rather than an inheritance once his mother passes. At any rate, a concerned acquaintance of the family contacted us about the situation and we intervened so that Rumba would not have to die unnecessarily. Rumba is an absolutely wonderful girl. Everyone who meets her, falls in love with her. She is perfect!!! Rumba is very gentle and sweet and she gets along great with other animals. She has impeccable manners both in the house and out in public and would make a wonderful addition to almost any household.  She was adopted Monday.  I hope she lives happily for several years with love.   I asked Hand Me Down Dobes to keep us in mind if they get another little old lady dobie. 

*The photo isn’t Rumba.  It’s an image from Google.

Chipmonkey, Squirrels, & Chile
04-14-08, 7:28 pm
Filed under: Culture, Exchange Students | Tags: , , , ,

 From CuteOverload.com

Chilean students are always unreasonably excited over the oh-so-rare sitings of squirrels and chipmunks here in the states.   It’s funny and cute unless we’re on a trip to Washington, DC and the kids spend all their time taking rodent photos instead of checking out the monuments.  Our Chilean son, P, was bitten by a squirrel in DC when he wouldn’t let go of a peanut.  He was running out of food, and wanted to play longer with the squirrels.  We told him they were urban attack squirrels, and were really relieved he didn’t get any squirrel disease.

Chef, our oldest Chilean son, told us that Chileans keep squirrels in cages as pets.  It seemed really weird to us until we thought about it from the other side.  We keep guinea pigs as pets in cages in the US.   Chef was entranced with the squirrels.  “They’re sooo cute.”  “They’re so funny.”  Then, “Can you eat ’em?”  Husband about choked on the last question.  He said yes, people can eat squirrels, but you need a whole lot of them to make a meal.   No, we never fed any kid a squirrel.  

We missed the best one.  Another Chilean boy couldn’t wait to see a chipmunk.  He sat and sat in front of windows just waiting.  It’s not like chipmunks are rare around here, so it was a bit odd.  Until someone pointed one out to him.  FES was so disappointed.  He thought the word was ‘chipmonkeys,’ and they were actual tiny monkeys.   The kid was forever known as ‘Chipmonkey.’