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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
What is it again that paves the road to hell? Best laid plans? Good intentions? Whichever, because I have all of that stuff in SPADES. Tomorrow, my sister and I are taking four children, two minivans, one mother and 800 cubic yards of supplies (ramen noodles, bubbles, peanut butter, etch-a-sketches and wine, along with a few other, less important things) to the coast, where we will meet up with two aunts to enjoy the February weather and the sand and surf. While we are gone, Lloyd will be moving about a million pounds of furniture, ripping up carpet, tearing out the hideous asbestos-laden tile underneath it, and refinishing the fir floor that is the bottom layer. What could possibly go wrong?
Oh, AND I have two giant boils for which I cannot receive medical attention unless I waste a half a day at the emergency room because after four business-hour phone calls, multiple web attempts, three emails and an aborted 'live chat', we have so far been unable to change our medical benefits to the appropriate status so that I can go to a regular doctor. Or at least one that is desperate or altruistic enough to accept the poor substitute for health care coverage that is foisted on military families. This is called 'Tricare', if you are lucky enough to be unfamiliar with it. I could, of course, go to a military facility. The question is, do I want to die at the hands of a military quack, or would I rather keel over and have a stroke from the skyrocketing blood pressure associated with trying to even SEE a civilian quack? Or just wait and die from the untreated boils? It sure is great to have so many choices. I'm tempted to put up a poll so you guys can help me make up my mind but I think I better go to bed. I can't be sure but I think I might possibly be starting to get just the slightest bit irrational, and that's no good when you're trying to make such major decisions. Or when you're setting out on the highway to hell. There's plenty of time for that when we get there. See you in a week or so! If I'm not dead, I mean. Of course. But if I am I will be so totally pissed if you don't all come to my funeral. Now I'm starting to scare myself. You can't really die from boils, right? RIGHT? Okay, I'm going to bed for real this time. I mean it. Right now. Goodnight.
What, are you still here? I said I was going to bed, and I meant it. Seriously.
Today I am pleased to announce that I am finally starting to really believe that I'm really back home: Bossed around by sister? Check. Thrift store clothes and hand-me-ups piling up faster than I can wear them? Check. Dad nitpicking my writing attempts? Check. Mom giving me the stinkeye for crumbs on the counter and naked children? Check! If I had a Magic Eight Ball it would totally be saying 'All signs point to yes'. We all know that a toy that exists solely in my imagination would never lie so it must be true.
Now that I have had a chance to catch my breath a little, I fear I might have left out some salient points in my previous post where I was comparing the relative merits of Korean Air and United Airlines. I know this because I have been laying awake at night thinking about it. It drives me crazy when I think I have left something out or used a badly constructed sentence or a less than optimal word. It's actually possibly slightly obsessive (see all those '-ly' words all in a row? Sure to elicit a comment- CHECK!) In fact, I know it is, because one time in about 1990 I used 'prescription' when I meant 'subscription', and I STILL THINK ABOUT IT.
Anyway, she typed, dragging her attention back to the matter at hand, now that I'm in a one computer/three addict house, the situation around the singularity can get a bit dicey and I might have been rushed off the computer at icepick point before my thoughts were fully unveiled. But after I've had a few nights to ruminate over the issue, I've come to the logical conclusion: A new reality show! You take any random KAL trans-pacific flight and a similar United flight (or any other airline if you're really feeling saucy) and give them some zany in-flight challenges to overcome while still fulfilling all the standard responsibilities. For the opener, the teams would have to design and then make a gown for an extravagant wedding and simultaneously deliver twin lambs. KAL would kick United ass, because I swear, those flight attendants keep springing fully formed out of the overhead compartments or something, each one more charming and accomplished than the last. They would have that mother sheep parked on a business class seat with their arms up inside before the beleaguered United crew could even adjust their trusses.
Sadly, the reality show idea is perhaps not an entirely practical one for security reasons. Most of my challenges involve sharp implements and/or fire, but wouldn't it make an outstanding series of commercials? I can picture it now: the smiling KAL crew is turning backflips down the aisle and building a go-kart in the galley while their rivals lumber around, banging into each other with stupid looks on their faces. If anyone from the KAL marketing department is reading this, my ad concepts are available at a low, low price and an advantageous exchange rate. Rest assured, there's plenty more where this one came from. Call me!
Geez, where to start? Not at the beginning, that's for sure. It bores me half to death just thinking about it. Maybe with the pictures. I tried to put them in chronological order but this stupid program rearranges them randomly, as far as I can tell. SO, the one of the truck is the first glimpse of our very own moving truck taken out of our former dining room window. It was a glorious sight, let me tell you. Then the boys sitting on a packed box in our former living room, then the boys in our former hotel room, then Shane in the snow on our former sidewalk on our last day at Osan.
Missing photos include our last meal at our former Chili's, our enormous pile of bags, our sumptuous feast at the McDonald's at the Tokyo Airport, and our luxurious United Airlines accommodations. I had intended to document all these important milestones, of course, but I lost my camera somewhere between the last trek in the snow and the enormous pile of bags and have just now unearthed it, so sadly, these few will have to suffice.
Our trip was long but relatively uneventful. It was my birthday, you know. It was my birthday when I got up at 4:45 a.m. (note: military time has been retired here at Stories from Korea). It was my birthday at 5:30 p.m. when we left Japan. It was my birthday after we flew for 8.5 hours and arrived on the west coast at approximately 9 a.m. It was my birthday when the boys crashed at 6 p.m. And when they woke up at 10:34 p.m. for about 4 hours? STILL MY BIRTHDAY. I milked it for all it was worth: 'Honey, Shane has to poop. Can you take him while I eat these fries? It's my birthday, you know'; 'Honey, you sit next to that guy with the typhoid because it's my birthday and I don't want to die today'; and 'Don't forget it's my birthday, can I have your drink? I dropped mine on the floor all over your backpack.' Not much, I know, but I have always been a take-what-I-can-get kind of girl.
It wouldn't have been quite such a long birthday had we been able to fly direct from Seoul and not change in Tokyo, but we had to fly United instead of Korean Air, and United doesn't go direct. Lloyd and I were both apprehensive and with good reason. Me because United Breaks Guitars, and Lloyd because he really likes the lithe Asian babes that are the flight attendants on Korean Air. There's like a million of them and they're there to help you out at the drop of a chopstick. United, not so much. The cabin crew consisted of a stooped old crank who closely resembled one of those grumpy old man Muppets, and a woman who had to have been Miss Dairy Maid of 1942. Instead of fetching us hot towels and cunning little toys for the boys, they strung up some kind of curtains over six rows of seats and closeted themselves for hours. But they did rally to give us the most vile breakfast I've ever seen, and I'm pretty old, and a product of public education. Lloyd's descriptions would be MUCH less flattering than mine, so don't even think about asking him.
But now we're done, and here we are. I still can't believe it. Happy Birthday to me!
I am giddy, my friends. Giddy with delight and sleep deprivation after the long, strange trip home. It was not without incident, of course, and I am just itching to tell you all about it. But alas, not tonight. I should have done it earlier, but I couldn't resist the siren song of the Goodwill and I blew all my writing time buying shirts without dryer holes and completely unnecessary toys.
So, that's all for tonight- I'll try to post the rest tomorrow, and if you don't like it, you can just shut it. You know who you are. Helen and Lauren, that's so everyone else knows who you are too.
Some of my most ardent fans have been asking, nay BEGGING, for me to do a new post. Okay, FINE. It was my sister and I'm pretty sure she mostly wants me to tell you about her new blog, The Way of the Woo. If you know my sister, you know she is VERY clever and talented, and perhaps, just the teensiest bit bossy. If you don't know her, you can check out her art here. There, Jennifer, are you happy NOW?
And, moving on, things around here are, well, moving on. The packers come tomorrow to gather all of our household goods. They pack like lightning and you have to move fast to keep them from packing your kitchen garbage, keys and passports. It's especially challenging here, because they don't understand when you say, 'No! Don't take the goldfish!' or, 'Ack! That's my dirty laundry, and put that pot roast down!' I wanted to take some pictures of the house and all our piled up junk for your viewing pleasure, but of course I can't find the camera.
We had our housing pre-inspection yesterday. If you haven't lived in military housing, this is where they come and look around and point out all the things you have to clean up before you can move: The scribbles on the wall, the dried slime on the rug, and the shaggy carpet of dust on the ceiling fan blades. Anyway, she came in and looked around and immediately assumed that we had already shipped our good furniture out and were using ratty loaner junk. Sadly, however, this is not the case. The ratty junk is, in fact, our actual belongings, and once I informed her of this, she slunk out quickly, probably good and embarrassed. So that worked out well. Sorry, Korean housing lady, better luck next time!
Let's see, what else? We will be computer and phone free after today so you might not hear from me for a while. We will also be television, book and toy free, so that's probably going to be super fun. Someone did loan us a car starting tomorrow so we can just go cruising Osan to entertain ourselves. If I don't shrivel up and die from having no computer, see you in America!
Just a little public service announcement: Stories from Korea will be kind of sketchy at best and non-existent at worst for the next few weeks as we get packed up and move, at which point they will become equally ridiculous stories from the USA. The blog name and URL will remain the same for now. I'll try to spare you all a future sob sister post about how much I will miss all my Osan friends but I can't make any promises. Smell you later, Osan!
Want to get rid of all that junk mail in your mailbox? The catalogs, the coupons, the 800 pieces of junk mail the average home receives every year? It's actually surprisingly easy. Contacting six or eight organizations will stop the vast majority of it. Heather at The Greenest Dollar has a great post up with directions on how to do it. Click here to read it, then spend a few minutes and save a lot of trees, emissions, and landfill space. And tell all your friends!
As we get ready to move, cooking gets more and more challenging. Some of you might be familiar with the game of pantry scramble. The goal is to make edible meals out of what's left in your house, leaving as little as possible to throw away at the end. I am not especially good at it but am trying very hard to win. On deck tonight: tuna fish and garbanzo beans in barbecue sauce, wrapped up in tortillas and dusted with allspice, served with brussels sprouts and barley.
In what surely must be a bizarre coincidence, we are sick again. I was so sick, in fact, that I had to default on a margarita night at Chili's, and that's bad. Lucky for you, there is no poem this time. You're welcome. Not because of any particular empathy for my readers, mind you, but because the poem would be exactly the same, and where's the fun in that? But there's always a silver lining, right? Sure, it's a teeny, tiny, barely glimmering silver-ish lining, but it's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, I always say. And here it is: extra pantry scramble points, because I got to drink the ginger ale that had been hanging around in the fridge from the last time we were sick. Otherwise, it would have been doomed to the dumpster for sure. Hooray!
In other moving related news, I have been to the library for the last time. Lloyd has to check out at the library, and after that's done I can't check out any more books. Out of the last batch, 'Open' by Andre Agassi was definitely the best. At first I thought I wouldn't bother getting it because I had already seen the good stuff on the internet: his hair weave, the drugs, and the marriage to Brooke Shields. But I picked it up anyway and was glad I did. It's a really good read and an excellent primer on how NOT to raise your kid. A definite do-read if you get a chance.
And, here's a link to an American cartoonist living in Korea that my Osan friends might like called Roketship. If you don't live in Korea, you probably won't get the jokes. But if you've ever lived here, they are sadly hilarious. And that's all for this Sunday. I hope you are having a great weekend, free of vomit and full of delicious meals!
Last weekend Lloyd and I went flying. He has been going up occasionally but I hadn't been in ages. I don't really love flying; I get airsick easily and I don't like the ever-present thought of crashing. But he talked me into it, so we scattered some Cheerios on the floor for the boys in case we didn't make it home and soared into the wild blue yellow-gray yonder. We flew around the base and our little local town until I was pretty sure I had to vomit.
I tried to figure out how to put captions or mark on the pictures on my fancy Mac but had no luck at all, so here are a few notes:
1. Our apartment building is the tallest building in the top of the photo that also shows the airplane wheel.
2. The Korean man is the maintenance guy at the flying club.
3. Despite my professional-aviatrix-like appearance, I actually have absolutely no clue how to operate my own headphones, let alone any other airplane-related equipment. Including the seatbelt.
You might remember a satirical little essay I wrote a while ago, called 'Tensions', about the ongoing battle between me and my jeans. At the time I found it quite clever and entertaining. Today, however, I am no longer amused. Today, I had to go to the BX and pay FULL CLEARANCE RACK PRICES for three pairs of new, next-size-up pants, mere weeks before I return to my Mecca, the land of plentiful Goodwills. I think this is the worst day of my life. I care not at all about needing bigger pants. In fact, I am surprisingly pleased with them. They're quite sassy. It's just that I had hoped to hold out until we got out of here, but the pants apparently did not get the memo.
I was down to four pairs: the ones that ripped at the library, a pair of baggy bleach-stained black sweatpants, and two pairs of five-year old Old Navy cords, of which one had paint stains. And, of course, the three pairs of jeans I can barely squeeze into and no longer want to wear because of the pinching. But those ones don't count. Well, okay, if I'm going to tell the WHOLE truth, the ratty cords were getting a little snug, too. Oh sure, I could take the pinching as a warning sign that something is seriously wrong and go on a crash diet sensible eating plan until the pants fit properly again. But I'm a practical girl, and that's really not gonna happen.
What really chaps my hide, besides pinchy pants, is that three new pairs of pants cost SIXTY DOLLARS! Outrageous! For sixty bucks I could get between eight and twenty pairs of pants at Goodwill, and some of them would still have the tags on. Then I wouldn't even care if I spilled paint or bleach on them, or if I busted out of them. In fact, I would welcome it, because then I COULD GO SHOPPING AGAIN. I know that an average of twenty dollars per pair of jeans/pants is cheap for a non-thrift store venue, and I have had good luck in general with finding clothes I like at reasonable-compared-to-other-new-stores-but-not-compared-to-thrift-store prices at the BX, so really I should just shut up and happily wear my sassy-larger-than-usual new pants. BUT I CAN'T.
I don't LIKE the BX, of course. Don't get me wrong here. I have plenty of complaints about AAFES: They run out of the most ordinary things like fluoride-free toddler toothpaste, number 10 envelopes or the crappy but only variety of water processed decaffeinated coffee available anywhere. Then it's weeks or months, or NEVER when they get restocked. AAFES is very weird and annoying, if you're not familiar with it. It's the retail service for the military (except for groceries, which is another freakish patron-screwing agency called DeCA) and it's part of the government with a General in charge and everything. They claim to return all their profits into base programs, but they'd just as soon hose you over as look at you. The local manager has little or no discretion about what to stock; they get a 'set' of goods that depends on how big the base population is and some little formula they use. So even though 95%+ of the Osan population lives in apartments, they have tons of space devoted to garden sheds, giant patio furniture, hoses and lawn mowers. And wait, I'm not done! There's WAY more!
Wow, I don't know how that happened. I started talking about my pants and all of a sudden I veered off onto a completely irrelevant rant about the BX. Hey, do you think maybe it's time for me to get out of here? Also, I DEFINITELY need some ice cream right now. So, anyway, I came home and put on one of my new pairs of jeans to go to the commissary. I used to wonder why people would go out and buy bigger clothes instead of just going on a diet so they could fit the ones they have, but now I know. Having new, slightly bigger clothes makes you feel nice and skinny, so you deserve that extra cookie and the third beer. Maybe even at the same time. AWESOME.
Let's see, let's see, what's going on at Osan these days? Oh yeah, I know! We've had another one of those THINGS that we regularly despise. You can read about one here but basically the military is practicing in case the VC overrun us or something. I'm not really sure; I don't really pay that much attention except as it directly affects my life. And it does, believe you me. Lloyd is working long and hateful hours, from the early afternoon until sometime in the middle of the night, leaving me in sole charge of dinner and bedtime. Then he sleeps the morning away, leaving me alone and in charge of breakfast, lunch and all other daily activities. This gets a bit onerous, as you might imagine. Surprisingly, no one here cares AT ALL what I think.
Since he has to be all fresh and perky every afternoon, I have to get up when Shane wakes up, and he has been waking up a ton all week, probably because he's not used to me doing bedtime. I have these big huge circles under my eyes and I am exhausted. Yesterday, I was laying down, trying to get Shane to take a nap. He wasn't going for it and got up to play. I didn't want to get up, so I didn't. I just laid there, sort of dozing, sort of listening to what they were doing. I guess my dozing was a little better than my listening, because after a while, I heard them down the hall arguing about who had locked the door. Then the doorbell rang. I still didn't want to get up, and usually they run to answer the door, so I waited a minute. When they didn't dash to get it, I heaved myself up, grumbling under my breath about who would be ringing my doorbell. I looked out the peephole and saw some little kids. Figuring they would be easy to get rid of, I answered it and saw my own two children out there, one of them naked. Turns out they had decided to go next door to return a drawing the neighbor kids had left at our house, and if they hadn't locked themselves out I never would have known. Luckily they didn't see anyone but our next door neighbors and they're unlikely to rat me out, because I have the goods on them. Sometimes they feed their children store-bought bread instead of homemade, AND I heard the kids bicker once, can you believe that!?!?!?!? And that's all I have to say about that, capische?
In other non-negligent-parenting-related news, I just read possibly the worst book ever: 'Trial by Fire' by J.A. Jance. It was truly awful. Interestingly, J.A. Jance has a blog at Seattlepi.com and I recently read this post about how she gets nasty letters from readers telling her how much they hate certain books, and what a waste of their time that is. When I first read it, I totally agreed with her. But if I had spent my hard-earned money on a hardback copy of 'Trial by Fire' instead of checking it out of the library, I might have written her an angry letter, too. I also might have slashed her tires; that's how bad it was. I was going to do a whole review with all the things that are wrong with it, but it's so bad that I don't even have the energy to start. It's just horrible; DO.NOT.READ.
And, on the cape front, my ever-so-helpful sister sent me this link to capes for sale on Etsy. Over 1,200 capes! I'm sure one of them would suit me. But then she said that capes were really more for willowy people and someone like myself might want to consider another solution for flattering ripped-pants coverage. I'm not really sure what she meant by that, are you? Oh well; she says weird stuff sometimes. Check out the Etsy link and help me pick out a cape!
I really, really want a cape. That's not weird, right? Not a Dracula cape or some bogus magician's cape or a superhero cape, but a real George-Washington-Crossing-the-Delaware cape. Wouldn't that look AWESOME on me? Not in red and blue though; those totally aren't my colors. I was thinking more chocolate and cream, or chocolate and a soft apricot; what do you think? Ummm, chocolate and apricots, now I'm hungry. This isn't just some crazy whim, either. I have actually been coveting a cape for quite a while. I just happened to be reminded last night because I was watching the 'Seinfeld' where George's father is hanging around with a guy in a cape and Jerry and the gang all think wearing a cape is VERY strange. That's pretty rich coming from a guy that wears white sneakers with jeans every single day, now isn't it? But I'm a little nervous, because a cape IS a bit bold. I was thinking of having one made here. Right off base are a million tailors who will make anything you want. It's risky at best, though. This is the 'Land of the Not Quite Right' (I did not make that up, though I wish I had), and I have seen plenty of custom made garments that deserve the NQR label. I went to bed last night thinking about the cape.
And I woke up thinking about it. Then I got up and flipped on the TV so the kids would shut their gobs for twenty seconds and I could have some coffee and Facebook. To my dismay, there was a big warning not to drink the water. As it turns out, it was just a practice warning, and I felt a little sheepish for being worried about it. Baaaaaaaaah, baaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. But then I got to thinking: In a place where the water sometimes ISN'T safe to drink, where the elevators don't always work, where the washing machines have been known to catch on fire, and where the dryers eat holes in clothes, perhaps assuming the worst is a reasonable reaction. Oops, sorry! My short-timer's bitterness is showing again. I bet a generously cut cape would cover that nicely, though.
Once I found out that a shower probably wasn't going to poison me, I took one and went to get the mail and go to the library. The mail sucked: a crumpled up 'Redbook' magazine, which I barely even read anymore, and a reminder that I've been neglecting my Roth lately. So I don't get enough exercise, my hair has been out since 1989 and I'm going to die a bag lady, quite possibly soon. Blah blah blah, what else is new? Off to the library, where I returned 'Under the Dome' after reading about half of it. I still want to know what happens but not badly enough to slog through the last 500 pages. I'm sure I can find an outline of all the important spoilers online, and just for the record, I'm willing to bet there's cannibalism involved. I squatted down in front of the new book rack to pick up 'Bobby and Jackie: A Love Story' (every word true, no doubt) when I heard the terrifying and distinctive sound of my pants ripping right down the middle. Luckily, the book racks are always deserted so no one saw, but of course, I had to go home. Wearing pants with a rip down the crotch, in weather so cold that it turns snot into boogercicles. And me with no cape. I have never run so fast in my life.
Okay, FINE. This post will contain no gratuitous Dick Cheney jokes, I promise. Especially not about his colon; that's just cruel and unusual punishment, and there are enough ugly things to think about without adding that, am I right? It's just that he's such an easy, beady-eyed, sanctimonious, icy-hearted, hypocritical target. Funny, I used to think George was the dumb one but at least he has the sense to keep his mouth shut. Either that or Laura has chopped him up with an ax and stuffed him in the basement bunker at the ranch. Either one is cool with me. Doh! There I go again. Sorry! No George jokes, either. And, I KNOW: Domestic violence jokes = not funny.
But I DO really want to tell you how cold it is here. HOW COLD IS IT? It's so cold that Dick Cheney has to.... oh, wait. Never mind. Sorry! I promised, and I mean to keep my word. It's so cold that I got boogercicles this morning when I walked to the BX. For real, and that's no joke. Can you believe that? Icy snot chunks right on the edges of my nostrils! I wonder when one of those dogs that pee outside by my deck will freeze itself to the ground with a stream of urine; now THAT would be something to see. I'm going to sit by the balcony door with a camera and a bucket of hot water; let me know if you want to get some beer and come hang out!
Sometimes when people update their blog, they have exciting news to share. Sometimes they have a fun list of new blogs to for their friends and readers. Sometimes they have words of wisdom for those who might be considering a liver or colon cleanse. And sometimes, the same old post at the top of their blog is driving them insane and they have no good ideas so they have to post whatever ridiculous foolishness spews out of their fingertips. Not wanting to be one of THOSE people, I thought I would give the other ideas a shot.
Exciting News: Today I purchased a carton of half and half that has an expiration date that comes AFTER the day we leave here. I have been waiting for this day FOREVER! It's ultra-pasteurized, of course, but STILL.
New Blogs: We all know I am a blogaholic and I am ALWAYS looking for new blogs to read. If you have one I don't already read or know of some I might like, please share in the comments. And here are some new ones I've been reading lately:
Liver Cleanse: This is the most disgusting thing I have ever heard. And I live in Korea. With two small sons. And a pilot. How does this sound for funsies?Fast for a day or two, then drink a bunch of epsom salts in water and olive oil mixed with grapefruit juice, then check out your poop for green globules that are supposed to be cholesterol and/or toxins from your liver. Ummm, epsom salts! You can find out the whole truth here, but if you don't want to read all the gross details, I'll give away the secret. The excreted green globules are actually the result of ingesting large amounts of olive oil mixed with grapefruit juice! And, if you are really brave, check out the colon cleanse post. Here's a handy tip: unless you are Elvis Presley or Lindsay Lohan, your liver and colon do a very nice job of cleansing themselves and they will thank you for leaving them alone to do it in peace. Oooh, or Dick Cheney. I'm betting he could use some help with his colon because there is for sure something up there. I think it might be a giant stick, though. The cleanse would probable be overwhelmed when presented with Dick's colon, and my dad always says to take the time to find the right tool for the job. This one definitely calls for a chainsaw. Or a skidder.
So! I hope you are all having a fabulous new year. I am not a fan of resolutions, but I HAVE been trying to eat a little better and exercise more for several weeks now. The 'Osan 15' is a common phenomena here, so I am right in the thick of things. Well, let me rephrase that: I have heard rumors that perhaps I am not the only one carrying around a few extra margaritas, but I have seen no such evidence on any of my slim and statuesque friends, acquaintances or assorted Osan beauties. In any case, soon I will be in the land of Target and Goodwill and I will be ever so sad if I can't fit into the ratty cargo pants of my choice fifty-three times a week when I need to go shopping.
Tonight, Lloyd and I went to the BX and Chili's, which is the standard big night out on the town here at Osan. I sucked down my fair share of wings and a couple of margaritas, varying the position of the straw so as to cleverly avoid the tequila abrasion. When we got home, I virtuously pounded out some sit-ups, dips, push-ups, leg lifts and stretches. Don't I sound ATHLETIC? Hahahahaha, I totally have you fooled. You should see me, for real. Oh, how you would laugh. After that strenuosity, I didn't want to 'run' the stairs, so I jumped on the mini-trampoline for a while. And by 'a while', I mean about 2.5 minutes. But at least I wasn't smoking deep-fried twinkies, right? Hmmm, I wonder if anyone has tried that?
While I was jumping, Weston weighed in:
Weston: Mama, are you sure that trampoline is strong enough for you?
Me: Yes, I'm sure (pant, gasp)
Weston: Well, those springs have to work awfully hard. You're so HEAVY.
Me: It's fine.
Weston: But look how much they're moving! They go almost to the ground!
Me: Grrrrrrrrrr (pant, gasp)
Bring on the twinkies! I might as well load up; I'm going to die soon anyway. I didn't used to be so fatalistic but I recently had a VERY interesting conversation with Shane. He likes to rub my scars, scabs and rough skin with his grubby little paws. Yesterday he was trying to pick at a spot on my chin, and when I told him to stop, he replied, 'I'll pick your owies WHEN YOU'RE DEAD'. I'm not sure what he has planned but I might as well give up the jumping for the good of trampolinekind everywhere, since my days are numbered. I can see the headlines now: 'Police Baffled by Mysterious Scab Free Corpse; Trampolines Rejoice in Streets'. I just hope they don't try to pin it on the poor twinkies.