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.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The best laid plans

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.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


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!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Longest Birthday

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!

Saturday, February 13, 2010


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.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Moving Day Photos (not for the squeamish)

I found my camera and was moved to put up a few pictures after I dumped the toaster upside down to empty the crumbs. Note the telephone for scale.

The other picture was taken in the part of the house formerly known as the dining room, and is of the pile of stuff that the movers are NOT taking. We hope.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Okay, FINE

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!