Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The End

Well, here it is. The last post on Stories from Korea. I am pleased to announce the arrival of the new blog, 'The Woman with the Dead Cat in her Purse'. SFK will stay up for now, but I might take it down later. Thanks for reading and for all the great comments! I hope to see you the new blog.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

News Roundup

The winner of the mystery won is Janelle. I will be sending her fabulous prize out early next week. Congratulations, my friend! Don't spend it all in one place.

In blog news, I am looking for a new name for 'Stories from Korea', since my stories are no longer from Korea. If you have any ideas, let me know! As soon as I get a new name, I am going to have to figure out a way to get a new header. My clever brother-in-law made my existing one, which I love, but he is very fancy and important and most likely has better things to do than draw cartoons for me. Hard to believe, I know. Then, when that's done, I'm going to set up an email subscription form like Helen did. If you haven't signed up for notifications from 'Tips from the Trenches', you totally should right now, because it's awesome.

In some random Seattle-ish news, there are like a bazillion bald eagles flying around here all the time, a rousing Endangered Species Act success. Super cool. Also, I am very pleasantly surprised with the driving situation around here. There is a noticeable improvement in the traffic flow, even during the busiest times. Lloyd thinks it's because no one has a job anymore but WHATEVER; it gets me to the thrift store way faster than ever before!

And speaking of the thrift store, here's the weird news of the day: thrifting seems to have partially lost its luster. Maybe it's because all those people without jobs are can't afford to drive their cars to the donation center? That must be it. GET WITH THE PROGRAM, PEOPLE! GET BACK ON THE ROAD AND DROP OFF ALL YOUR OLD CRAP RIGHT NOW! There, that should do it.

And finally, here is the last boil report ever: the gaping hole has turned into a handsome little scab. Now it looks exactly like a half healed-up wound from a glancing blow from a paring knife. On my hipbone. Not that I would know.

Have a happy weekend! I'm off to the thrift store to get Janelle her treats from America. Okay, FINE. Maybe I'll go to Target, too.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Woman with a Dead Cat in her Purse

Isn't that the GREATEST title ever? It's the name of a story I have in my head. About a woman with a dead cat in her purse, duh. Doesn't it give you that delicious shiver of anticipation and make you wonder a million things? Like, does she know the cat is in her purse? Is it fresh, or has it been there for a while? And what kind of a whackjob would think up a story like that? Well, I had a dream. About a woman with a dead cat in her purse, duh. I think it was me, but I'm not sure. I rarely remember dreams, so when I woke up and recalled this one in vivid detail, I knew that the story was speaking to me.

I doubt I'll actually WRITE the story, of course, because that's a lot of work. The fun of a story for me is finding out what happens. And once I know, the motivation for the hard labor associated with continuing to write wanes significantly. But it's a good story. I don't mind telling you the point of it; I'm not THAT lazy. Plus it's easy because the details are still pretty fuzzy. Sort of like a dead cat, hyuk, hyuk. So here it is: We all have a dead cat in our purses, all the time. What's important is not how much it smells, or how it got there, but what you do with it.

And, while you're pondering that, don't forget to enter to win some mystery won and a surprise from America! Enter by commenting here. I'll choose a winner by the end of the week. For those of you who are concerned that I don't have enough souvenirs from South Korea, not to worry! I have a whole kimchi pot full of won for the boys in our stored household goods, so they won't be subjected to a miserable, won-free existence in their later years. Enter away; you know you're salivating just thinking about the yellow slip!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Giveaway: Win some won!

I find myself in possession of some leftover won, which is South Korean currency, for those of you not on the ROK. Since the thrift store won't take it, I haven't been able to figure out what to do with it, and it's been mocking me every time I open my top drawer. It's not so much that I want to go to the effort of finding a place to exchange it, but it's more than I'm willing to let go to waste.

So, I decided to give it away. If you are on a military base in South Korea and win the won, I'll even toss in a treat from America and make sure the package is big enough that you get a yellow slip in your mailbox when it arrives. To enter, just leave a comment on this post and make sure you leave your contact information if I don't already know who you are.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

All the news that's fit to post

Fit to post, that is, if you use the terms 'news' and 'fit' VERY loosely, indeed. First and foremost in everyone's mind, I'm sure, is the boil. It's good as new! I showed it to Lloyd this morning:

Me: Doesn't this look GREAT?
Lloyd: Relatively speaking.
Me (stung): What??!! It looks fantastic!
Lloyd: It looks better than before, but it's still hideous.

So that's all I have to say about that.

Moving on, we have spent a lot of time shuffling our Toyota minivan around from shop to shop. After having it in Korea for 2.5 years with minimal maintenance, it needed a little work. We took it into the dealer first. I'm thinking they might be getting a little desperate what with the whole recall thing because the first thing they said after they had put her up in the stirrups and looked at her private parts was, 'Maybe you should buy a new Toyota.' Now, I know we have the Fred Flintstone version of the Sienna but telling us our 12-year old Toyota is ready for the scrap heap is probably not the best way to sell us a new one. But maybe that's just me? In the end, Lloyd took it down to the local Dirty Joe Mechanic shop and they fixed it up real nice for about a fifth of the dealer quote.

My own reintegration to American society is going, um, not exactly seamlessly. My driver's license from three bases ago expired while we were at Osan, and apparently I will be required to take both the written and practical tests to get a new one. Because I am both infuriated and lazy, and also an exceedingly poor parallel parker, I haven't done it yet. This forces me to be less cavalier about traffic laws than I have perhaps become accustomed, coming from Korea where stop signals are optional at best, so as to avoid having to give Officer Friendly a sob story about why I am driving around with no license. I COULD curtail my driving, I suppose, but I'm not about to cut out any thrift store trips. I'm barely making my quota as it is.

I am absurdly pleased with myself for having acquired a cell phone, courtesy of my mother, but I had a ridiculously difficult time programming it online. I could almost hear myself muttering about newfangled contraptions and kids these days.

Also befuddling are the nosy old ladies here. The problem is that I can understand them, leaving me completely strategy-less. I've complained about the Korean ajimas before, and deservedly so. One of my friends, a pediatrician, for Pete's sake, was once practically chased home from a walk with her baby in a front carrier by a nosy old Korean woman shouting, 'Baby cold! Baby cold! Go home! Bad mother!'. The busybodies here can't really compete with that, but blowing past them while saying 'Good morning' with a big bright smile doesn't deter them. Actually, maybe it would. Or I could pretend not to speak English! I'm totally going to try that next time. I was at the park the other day and Shane was running with a stick, and this ajima wannabe kept going on about how nervous she was to watch him and how dangerous it was, even if it wasn't as bad as running with scissors. It wasn't even a sharp stick. Does she even know any little boys? THEY RUN WITH STICKS. It's like their job. I can always think of tons of things to say afterwards, like, 'Better not watch, then', or the old standbys, 'Thanks for your concern', and 'I'll give that the consideration it deserves.' At the time, though, I just stood there, silently, until she went away. So that worked out well.

Lloyd has been working like crazy fixing things around here. He's fixed the floor and revamped the fish pond, and now he's working on the gutters and eying a few other projects. He's VERY handy and he can't sit still for for than a millisecond so I'm not sure how this retirement thing is going to work out for him. I'm thinking of hiring him out to the neighbors to keep myself in thrift store funds.

Weston and Shane have been having a great time playing outside now that they have a yard to run around in. They would be out there all day long if they didn't need to come in for snacks. They work in the garden with Grandma, look for bugs and worms, throw the ball for the dog, who may or may not run after it, and run around with sticks. Sometimes they even whack each other with them. Oh, the HORROR!!!! They jump in the mud and throw rocks. Take that, snoopy old cranks! And while I'm at it: ne ŝovu la nazon en fremdan vazon, plendaĉa sinjorino!

Aaaaaand, that's all the dirt for now. I do plan to be a little more blogular, but I have had a little trouble this week. I have been really wiped out, I think from the multiple boil medicines, and haven't had enough energy to get into the melee around the computer and jockey for my turn.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I know, I know, enough with the boil already, right?

Believe me, I'm way more sick of the boil saga than you are. If I hear any complaints, I'm totally putting pictures up, I swear. As it turns out, Lloyd has a similar affliction. He had been working on the floor, and had chafed his left leg, which subsequently grew a nasty looking little boil. He had a fever and his whole leg was red. Mine, on the other hand, was much improved, if still ugly.

The other day, I went out for a leisurely 'run' and by 'run', I mean I panted and gasped around the block a few times, feeling virtuous and athletic. The second I walked in the door, I was practically assaulted with this:

Lloyd: I'm going down to the ER at the base. You should go too. Let's go together.
Me: What?! I'm not going down there! My boil is getting better, I already popped it. You go.
Lloyd: It will be a good chance to spend some time together.
Me: Get off my case. I'm not wasting a half a day down there for nothing.
Lloyd: Fine. Don't come crying to me when you die of sepsis. Goodbye.
Me: Well, don't be so pissy about it. What do you care?

You can see what happened, right? Between them, Lloyd and my mother bullied me into going down there to the ER at the closest base. All the way, I was fuming, hating myself for letting him push me into something I didn't want to do, sure that the trip was useful for him but pointless for me. Except for all that quality time together, of course.

So down we went, blowing an entire afternoon. I was SO SURE they were going to tell me my boil was healing fine and I should go home. And guess what? Lloyd and my mother were right, can you believe it? That almost NEVER happens!

They shot me full of crap and sliced a giant hole in me so they could scoop out this nasty old crinkly mass of goo, about the size of an apricot pit, leaving a depression the size of small plum. Then they hosed out the hole and shoved a bunch of shoelace-like packing in there, and told me I had to come back EVERY DAY to get it repacked until it heals from the inside out. Otherwise it will heal over the pocket and I'll have a big dimple there. Then they gave me some hard-core painkillers and some enormous blue-green antibiotics that I have to choke down for TEN DAYS. Lloyd got a similar treatment, only his boil was much more petite than mine and his wound is far less hideous. I know it sounds super freaky that we both got boils at the same time, but apparently they are super common, and can pop up out of nowhere, for no obvious reason, and get huge really fast, and it's actually no more than a mild coincidence that we had one at the same time. The medic said that they see about fifteen cases every day, frequently on soldiers where their backpack straps rub, or on belt lines.

The next day we dutifully trotted down there to get repacked and blew another entire morning enjoyed some more couple time. Luckily, the healing is going nicely and we were overjoyed to find out that now we can jam big wads of string into our brand new body cavities all by ourselves. This, as you might imagine, is vile beyond words, making me wonder if I should have gone with the sepsis. Or the souvenir divot. It's still not too late!

Sunday, February 28, 2010


You may or may not be pleased to know that I am, in fact, not dead. Yet. It makes me giggle to gross you guys out but I try my hardest to model my nicest manners whenever I can muster them up, especially now that Weston can read, so I will spare you the play-by-play of the boil-bursting episode. Let me just say, though, that cheesecake with strawberry sauce is probably ruined for me forever. Also I may be blind in one eye. It's too soon to tell.

Potentially more deadly than the giant suppurating carbuncles of doom, however, was the six day 'vacation' with Weston, Shane, my mother, my sister, her daughter and her miniature Godzilla charming twenty month old son. Seriously, I thought I would expire from exhaustion just watching my sister. She was constantly lunging after him, her face was haggard, and there were always raisins stuck to her pants. Not an especially good look, if you were wondering.

'What is wrong with this kid?' I asked myself from my comfortable vantage point as the mother of an oh-so-mature almost three year old. Until I went back and read about the times I was handily humiliated at the post office, the office party, the barbecue, the boss' house, and the sidewalk. Then I was a little bit more understanding, but I'm still pretty sure Shane never attacked a pack of other kids with a kite, or kicked them until they ran away, or pig-piled them while evilly chortling. It could be because I kept him tied up in the closet for about eight months, but I prefer to chalk it up to his inherently better nature, or perhaps to my superior parenting skills. The other kids, including Shane, were surprisingly tolerant of the tiny tyrant, and didn't once smack him back, despite what must have been a major temptation. Lucky for Teddy, he's a cute little monster.

We hit all the hot spots of the Northern Oregon Coast: the Tillamook cheese factory, Fort Clatsop and the pizza place on the corner. Okay, we went to the pizza place twice. Whatever. We went to the beach seventy zillion times and ate forty bucks worth of candy from Bruce's. On the way home we stopped overnight to visit Aunt Ina in Portland and visited the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI).

And now we're back. The floor Lloyd did while we were gone is gorgeous; I have a vanload of wet filthy clothes; and Jennifer is probably crumpled up at home like a wrung-out rag, waiting for Monday when she gets a nanny day. And there are sure to be tons of new things at the thrift store! It's good to be home.