Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dear MIL, The Shriners Want Their Hat Back

I take back what I said about those fucking red shoes. They can stay. MIL has proven that she can find something even more unsightly. On Friday night, we were invited I was forced  to go to my in-laws' house of dust and filth to celebrate FIL's birthday. His birthday is actually on January 1st but they wanted to celebrate it by the lunar calendar. This worked out better for me actually, since the 1st is the start of my vacation and it would really suck to have to spend my first day off with those 2 lamebrains.

When we got home though, there was no baby. They'd already taken her to their shack of shit down the street. I freaked. That old bitch probably dressed up Raelynn in something disgusting and Lord knows what kind of crap Raelynn would be playing with over there in their unhygienic household.

Just as I suspected, when we arrived, she'd put Raelynn in different pants, which I actually didn't mind. They were plain black. I approved. But she put a Snoopy shirt on top of a long sleeve polo I'd dressed her in. I should also mention that inside my in-laws' house, it is so fucking hot it's unbearable. How Raelynn could stand wearing all those clothes I didn't know. I tried to remove the Snoopy shirt but Raelynn got angry with me. God, she's one of them now. This isn't happening. They are totally turning her into a moron like them. I'm not having it.

I open some windows so I can actually breathe and it finally gets to a normal temperature in their hovel. We eat and I have to endure the shrill sounds of MIL singing stupid Chinese songs to Raelynn. No matter how much beer I drink, I can't block out the sound.

Raelynn eventually tires and MIL tries to sneak her off into their other bedroom to put her to sleep. "No," I tell her sternly. It's the only English word MIL knows. She looks at me all confused and I tell her again that there's no way Raelynn is sleeping at their house tonight. We will go soon and she will sleep in our home, where she belongs. She doesn't belong there with them.

Soon after, we start putting on our coats to head out into the cold. That's when my stupid in-laws bust out this busted hat:
Would you look at this raggedy-ass thing?!? It looks a bit like a Shriners hat...one that somehow got thrown into the trash, dragged through dirt and shat upon. Even if it were clean, would you put this on a little girl's head??? Me neither! The kicker is MIL bought us a hat for Raelynn last year that still fits and that I actually thought was cute. It's a pink ski cap. But this thing? It looks like a cheap piece of shit hat I'd see on any of the fat, ugly baby boys around here. It is so fug. I should also point out the tassels are all ratty too. Here's a closer look:
Yuck! I don't want this on my daughter's precious head! I begged my husband. I told him the shoes can stay. Hell, the faux mink scarf she got her can stay (I'm torn about how I feel about it - I mostly hate it but it looks kind of cool). The lame Snoopy shirt can stay. But this thing?!? Dear Lord! It needs to be burned. I'm tempted to accidentally-on-purpose throw it out the window but I fear my husband will get really angry and make us go to the hot springs with his idiot parents. I already told him I wouldn't go but I don't want him to be mad at me over this stupid hat. There has to be a way that we can both be happy and this hat can cease to exist all at once.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Dirty Laundry

This is not our laundry though it is the same style basket that we have. Picture courtesy of Google's Picasa Web Albums.


Of all the household chores, I've always enjoyed laundry best. Perhaps because it's fairly easy. You take the basket of dirty clothes. You dump said dirty clothes into the washing machine. You add laundry detergent. You push the buttons to make the machine go, and voila! A short time later, you have clean clothes. I don't think I would have done well living in a time or place where such an invention didn't exist.

I usually do laundry 3 times a week. I think I've mentioned before that we don't have a dryer. Most people here don't have one, as they cannot afford one. We can, however, we have no room in our home for one. So we must hang our clothes to dry.

On Monday, I'd come home to find MIL had brought Raelynn a new shirt. It wasn't too horrible, especially considering some of the shit she's picked out before. My problem with it was that, for one, she'd put it on top of the ample clothing Raelynn was already wearing, so she looked like some hobo baby. For another, it was stained with whatever she'd fed her for lunch and the bad medicine Raelynn had to take for her cold. And seeing as our radiators make it nice and toasty in here, I had no idea why she'd overdress her inside the house. In any event, I took the new dirty shirt and tossed it into the laundry basket.

Tuesday was Christmas and I had off for the day from school. I was busy spending time with Raelynn and Jeremy all day, making special Christmas memories, so I left the laundry for Wednesday. Except when I arrived to work on Wednesday, my Korean boss, Lesley, the one who likes to change everything, wanted us to all go out to dinner after work that night. Since Lesley is moving back to Korea, I figured going to dinner with her was important. So I left the laundry for Thursday.

I should also add that when I came home on Wednesday, not only did my in-laws leave a huge mess for me to clean up, but they also stunk up my house. I'm totally not trying to be a mega-bitch here, but seriously, it was fucking horrible. When I opened the door, I was greeted with a smell that could only be described as 1,000 farts being bottled up and left for dead, rotting away. I gagged. "What smells?!?" I cry, horrified, to my husband who kindly picked me up from the dinner. His face suggests he's also alarmed by the stench. Do you know what it was? MIL cooked that horrible luo bo thing in some sort of disgusting dish. Ugh! She also left more half-eaten pieces of luo bo around. There was one on our dining table and one on the counter behind the couch. There was also a giant half of a luo bo in our kitchen. As if that wasn't bad enough, when I came within a foot of my FIL, he smelled much like wet dog. Was it his clothes? Was it him? Probably both. They need soap. And I need more air freshener. Because I emptied that shit out after they left that night. Gah!

Anyway, now it is Thursday. We had our kindergarten graduation today and it was lovely. I even got flowers from one of my students' moms. My husband kindly picked me up and brought me home. Today, I was delighted that my home smelled like MY home, and not like it had been overrun with gaseous, eye-burning farts. But what do I see? Raelynn is wearing that shirt MIL got her. The one that was dirty on Monday. The one that was in our laundry basket. I ask Jeremy to ask his mother about this because I do not have the vocabulary to talk to her about this in Chinese. I calmly explain to him that I'd put that shirt in the laundry basket to wash this week and now it was on Raelynn again. She tells us she washed it by hand. So, you DUG through our dirty clothes to just wash THAT shirt? Is she fucking serious? Jeremy was visibly irritated by her answer. He stayed calm and seemed to tell her something to the effect of how unnecessary that was. He may have also told her I didn't approve of her digging through our dirty garments though I can't quite be sure. After she left, he actually admitted to me that his parents have no fucking sense whatsoever. Now I feel like we're on the same page about this. I do not want his troll-faced cow of a mother digging into our dirty laundry. Furthermore, the shirt she claimed to have washed was still FILTHY. It was visibly dirty. To prove my point, I threw it into the wash this evening and guess fucking what? Those spots and spills you could see a mile away are GONE! As I've said before, her definition of clean and mine are vastly different.

We got a package of clothes for Raelynn from my folks today. I went to put them into her closet and put away some clothes from the other day that were now dry and what do I find? A pair of dirty socks! She has put them back on top of the other clean socks! Why the fuck does she do this when we have TONS of socks for Raelynn?!?!? Why does she dig through our dirty clothes to pretend-wash a dirty shirt but yet puts dirty fucking socks back in a closet full of clean clothes? WHY WHY WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?!?!?!? I can't even come up with a theory, other than she's crazy. If you have any ideas as to why she's nuts, or perhaps how we can cope with this dolt, please comment away.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Mission Unpossible


If you read the title of this post and were about to come at me with the whole "unpossible is not a word" thing, just sit down and shut the fuck up. Because Ralph Wiggum of The Simpsons made unpossible possible. It's so fitting for what I'm about to describe to you. It is truly, as Ralph said, unpossible.

For over a month now, I have been preparing my students for their graduation ceremony. Over a month ago, I chose a song for my students to sing and dance to: Frank Sinatra's version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." I've been working hard on this and so have my kids. Every day, we practice and they have come to really take it seriously. I am honestly really proud of these guys.

When I'd selected my song, I checked with my Korean boss. I told her which song, how long it was and even played it for her. I also sent it to my Western boss. I double checked with my Korean boss that I only had to do one song and dance and she said yes. See, last year, they felt my song choice wasn't long enough. So I taught them an additional song, making for a total of 2 songs. And then, they came to me and told me they wanted a graduation song too. On top of those 2 songs. Three songs for my kids to sing. Somehow, I'd managed to get them to sing all 3 (and perform no less) perfectly. But during the graduation, they cut the graduation song out of the performance at the last minute. So I basically tortured those poor children for nothing.

Last week, my Korean boss tells my Korean teacher to tell me she wants me to teach the kids a graduation song. In one week! I seriously wanted to smack her and for the first time, I was ready to kick up my heels and throw a fucking party that she's moving back to Korea after this semester. On a personal level, I like her very much. As a boss, she totally sucks because she's always doing shit like this. She can speak English well enough to tell me this but she sends my Korean teacher to tell me. It's such bullshit. The song I was forced to teach last year's students was really, quite excessively long and very hard so it was probably for the best that Christina and I couldn't find it on the server. I found a much shorter, easier song which was thankfully the children picked up fast.

I was all proud of everything too. I'd taught them a good song and dance and now, I'd taught them a great graduation song to go out on. It was Christmas Eve day and despite having a long rehearsal for the performance this Thursday, we were having a good day filled with cake and a visit from Santa (one of the other teachers who was happy to dress up for us). Then, while I'm eating cake with my kids and Christina, the other teacher (who will also be taking my Korean boss' place when she leaves which will be super) pops in and tells me this lovely gem:
He says that our principal thinks that because the first grade children are also doing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" (never mind that it is a completely different version than mine) that we should combine them, essentially 1 day before the big performance. Is she fucking nuts? Seriously, I have no words for this that don't begin with "fuck." He went on to say that he told her it was impossible at this stage (or unpossible because of how fucked up this whole thing truly is) and that I shouldn't worry about it. I know they can't make me do that. For starters, my 2 Western bosses will totally shoot that shit down. I'm just venting because I'm super-pissed that they keep pulling this shit on me. I don't mind most requests, I really don't. But why don't you fucking come here and teach these small children IN ENGLISH how to sing a song and then, give them commands IN ENGLISH regarding dance moves. Then, when you're all done with that joy and you've been whipping them into shape for weeks with oodles of practice and hard work, change the whole fucking thing only 1 day before they go on stage. And better yet, go fuck up another class's hard work that they did to prepare for their performance. I'm sure the parents of both classes won't hate you forfuckingever. GOD!

Anyway, we have off for Christmas tomorrow and now that I've ranted via keyboard, I feel lots better. I'll bake my goodies and make a first class Christmas dinner and enjoy my day off. Then, just a few more days to endure before the school year ends. And then I have 2 months of paid vacation. Which I guess was worth signing a new contract for. Though my first official day of vacation happens to be FIL's birthday which means I am stuck going to their smelly house of dirt and boredom with no escape in sight. Oh yeah. Fa la la la la la la la la everyone.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bad Medicine

Sorry to disappoint, but the in-laws began to slack on their countdown to Christmas. Then again, we've been too sick to notice. Again, my germy students thwarted my attempts at staying healthy and spread some of their sickly goodness on over to me. Joy! The school nurse informed me that I had a fever on Thursday and recommended I go home and rest. I would have been fine just sleeping in the nurse's office except they chose this week to replace all the heaters in the school and her quarters were freezing. I wound up putting my head down on my laptop until my Korean teacher tapped me on the shoulder and told me to go home and get some real rest.

When I got home, MIL watched Raelynn for me while I rested. And then when I awoke, she said she'd make wontons, which she makes rather well. Only this time, she served them to me floating in some very unsavory seaweed, and I'm a gal who likes her seaweed. I didn't have much of an appetite to begin with either. After all, it was 4:55pm that she was forcing me to eat dinner. For once, I didn't want to be a complete bitch because it was nice of her to help me out when I felt so ill, but I couldn't suppress my laughter about how early it was. I even reminded her that I wasn't an old person in Chinese but she just laughed, thinking I was joking. I told her I wanted to wait for my husband to come home but she poo-pooed that and forced me to eat then.

That night, Raelynn fell asleep in less than 5 minutes. I thought it was too good to be true. Until she woke up an hour later and was acting a bit odd. I should have known it then but hindsight is always 20/20, isn't it? Anyway, she kept me up most of the night between wanting breast milk even more than usual and then, getting out of bed to pull things off the dresser and hit her dad with (which, I must admit, was hilarious). Neither Jeremy nor I slept very well that night.

I managed to make it back to school on Friday, but barely. My fever left me alone all day but made a return visit in the afternoon. Just in time for when I arrived home. My in-laws were planning to have dinner with us anyway to celebrate the winter solstice. Chinese people love to celebrate these kind of things and I have to admit, I think that's really cool. They make jiaozi (that's the Chinese word for "dumplings") for the occasion. I was excited about getting a chance to nap until I found out poor Raelynn had a fever, and suddenly her nutty nighttime behavior made perfect sense. My in-laws and my husband assured me that I should just get my rest and they would give her some medicine.

About that:
One thing that I find absurdly idiotic about China is how they administer medicine to infants and small children. In the states, we have those droppers and nicely-flavored liquids that go down with little fuss or objection from the wee one receiving it. I have a few of those for fever only, thanks to my parents and also Phillip and Kimmy. So when Raelynn has just a fever, or is teething, I can drop in some fruity deliciousness and she doesn't scream and run away from me like someone in a Friday the 13th movie.

The medicine for babies and infants here all smells horribly. No matter what you get or where you get it from, starts as a powder that you must mix with a little hot water to dissolve it. Then, you're supposed to take this concoction by way of spoon and pour it into your child's mouth. If I could describe the smell to you, I'd say it was like burnt dried leaves, that horrid star anise thing, rotten tea and death rolled into one. My in-laws have better success feeding it to Raelynn for several reasons:
1) Many things MIL makes are smelly, perhaps even smellier than any medicine we've had to give Raelynn.
2) MIL never lets Raelynn feed herself even though she can totally do it. Jeremy just bitched at her about that the other day, but she shot him down on that. I would have hollered some but I was too sick to make a sound. Way to drop the ball though, Honey. She has until Raelynn's 2nd birthday to knock that shit off before I knock her off. In any event, perhaps this is why Raelynn doesn't run for the hills when MIL shoves a spoonful of shitty medicine in her face.
3) My husband loses his temper at me for not restraining her properly (because if I don't hold her hands out of the way, she whacks the spoon and goodbye medicine!) and begins his bellowing which, if you know me, I'm not having it. So she associates her daddy's bad temper with the bad medicine.

Now I'm feeling better and it seems Raelynn is improving too, though I have to tell you all, I'm beat. At points during the weekend, she wouldn't go to sleep unless I was holding her so I became a makeshift pillow. Any attempt to lay her down onto the bed was shot down with an instant screech of disapproval from her. My neck and back ache, but I'd do it all again just to have her feel all better.

In fact, my husband said he'd ordered me a crock pot and some measuring cups for Christmas. None of those things have arrived yet (but all the toys we ordered for Raelynn have, thankfully) and it's okay with me, as long as Raelynn is healthy again. It's all this mommy wants for Christmas. Here's hoping Santa will make that happen.
And so we can all feel better, here is a picture of Raelynn licking her face after she had her first taste of chocolate pudding. Awwww!



Friday, December 14, 2012

Make Room At The Louvre!

FIL's abstract art project that I wrote about yesterday is finished! Already! 11 days until Christmas and I honestly thought his little collage-thing would take him longer. Then again, that's pretty silly of me since this is a man who uses package tape to secure things to walls (see exhibits A and B).

I must tell you that it's absolutely breathtaking. Yes, that's right. As soon as I saw it, it literally took my breath away!

After my husband and I arrived home today, and after the head troll went off to resume her post under whatever bridge it is she crawled out from under, I was washing my hands in the bathroom before picking up Raelynn. My husband came in to wash his hands too. We were talking about something, which I can't even recall what we were discussing because FIL's art suddenly caught my eye.

"What the..." I say, trailing off.
"What the what?" asks my husband. And then his eyes follow mine and fixate on this with me:
Oh. GOD! Soccer?!?!?!? WHYYYYYYYYY?!?!? Urgh!!!!

My husband looooooooooooooooooooooves soccer. He will set an alarm for 3am on a work night just to catch some dumb game that's happening in Latin America. He played soccer in college and he found some guys his age around here that play soccer for fun on weekends. I am so happy that he loves soccer. But I don't. And to me, this is okay because I know there are plenty of things I like that he can't wrap his head around either, such as my adoration for word games like Words With Friends or my fascination with handbags.

But even Jeremy burst into hysterical laughter with me as we gawked at this eyesore. It's hard to tell from the photo, but this is a collage of soccer moments from a magazine page. He didn't make the collage himself. He did, however, rip a page out of some soccer magazine which he (and MIL) couldn't have been bothered with picking up off our fucking living room floor today. He only taped the edges to the wall, this time using a clear package tape. Oooh! How fancy! It is now completely obvious, to me at least, that FIL has no idea that water destroys paper.

That's not what mystifies me in all this. I live here too. This is MY house. Why are these morons messing up the things Jeremy and I have set up to our liking? Why in the world would FIL even think I would want a piece of paper with soccer players on it in my bathroom?!? It makes me think of when my brother lived in Moscow and he told me how the bathroom in his apartment had been decorated with stickers from the previous tenant in an order like this: car, lady, truck, lady, truck, lady, lady, car, lady, etc.

Now I'm almost afraid to ask what's next. I'll have to go digging through Pinterest to see if there's some sort of craft that can cover this disaster up in a practical (and pretty!) way.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

More In-Law Abstract Art

Just yesterday, I was marveling at the bounty of gifts bestowed upon us by my in-laws. Ironically, at the end of that post, I wondered what other surprises we would find in the remaining days before Christmas. Well, I didn't have to wait long! Now FIL seems to fancy himself an abstract artist as well. I guess he wasn't done just taping our towel rack to a piece of wood and then taping it to the wall where it had fallen off. Silly me! I should have KNOWN it was a masterpiece in progress.

Shall we venture into the bathroom for a look? Come along now!

Hey Jenn, what is it we're looking at, you ask? Why, it's a picture from a magazine! It says "Marina City" which is one of the nice malls here, but my flash makes it hard to read. I have absolutely no earthly idea why he did this. It is just paper from a magazine. It is not laminated. It is not fitted onto something sturdier. IT IS JUST PAPER. You should also be aware that, being in Asia, this is a typical Asian-style bathroom. There is no shower stall. You just shower in the middle of the bathroom. Everything gets wet, though when you're cleaning, it is pretty handy. That being said, how he thought this would be a nice touch is beyond me, especially when it would get wet during the next shower.

Perhaps, since their views on hygiene are vastly different than mine, they didn't think about this being a problem. Or perhaps, this is a work in progress. I say this because I also found these sitting on top of the washer:

These 3 pictures were also cut out of a magazine. One has 4 ships; another has some sort of Chinese-style building. My favorite (and yours too) is the thing that looks like the I'm Just a Bill from Schoolhouse Rock after splicing it with a penis. I am not quite sure what he is planning to do with these pictures...a cheap collage of sorts? Your guess is as good as mine.

So you tell me...what do you think FIL was doing with these things? And do you think he'll finish what he started? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook. I'd love to hear what you all think. I'll keep a keen eye out tomorrow to see if we have any more interesting artwork sprout up. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Comes Early In The Qu House!

Our tiny little tree, which is actually on top of a table to prevent Raelynn from mutilating it and pillaging all the ornaments.


How I love this time of year! The freezing cold weather (despite the lack of snowfall so far this winter, and I don't count the ever-so-slight dusting of snow that consisted of about 10 flakes falling down on the tops of a few cars that line my street snowing, just so you know). Snow boots (even when there is no snow). Big, fluffy sweaters. Hot chocolate. Holidays. And presents! Who could forget the presents?

Even though they don't celebrate Christmas, my in-laws have kindly gotten into the spirit of gift-giving. And early too. And bitchy ol' me, I just complain about these two nimrods! Shame on me. Today, when I came home from work, I found the following lovely presents waiting for us...

First up, some more handiwork by my FIL. Allow me to first explain that a few days ago, our shitty towel rack came off the bathroom wall. I noticed it when I'd come home and figured MIL gnawed it off with her crackly teeth, but my husband said he was the one to blame (though I honestly think he told me that so I wouldn't scowl at her even more than usual). Well, before Jeremy even had a chance to call the one repair guy who actually does a good job fixing things (the guy who finally fixed the kitchen sink) or allow us to pick out one that didn't look like crap in the first place, FIL took the liberty of "repairing" it himself:

Why, yes! That IS package tape on there! Back in the USA, Tommy Peek is shaking his head back and forth, lamenting over the lack of use of duct tape. But here, oh yes. FIL has taped the bar to some old wood and then taped that old wood to the wall. Isn't it lovely? Here is a closer look:
You can see where the screws were originally drilled into the wall before this hideous bar fell off the wall.  
Here is the other end of the towel rack. That one part stayed in the wall just fine, but FIL wanted to make it match I guess, so he taped it too. I think he has a thing for package tape. Just check out some of his other projects here.

Next up, some gifts from the jolly old troll, MIL!

No joke, this is what my living room looked like when I got home today:
I want you to know that this is not how it looked when I left for work. Maybe she felt it just wasn't festive enough, what with the books actually being on shelves and all and garbage being in the garbage can.
Maybe she felt the chairs looked so much better assembled in this fashion. Books on the floor are the new throw rug, y'all! And dig on the plastic bag on my husband's desk (which I hate that he moved to this location but that's another story), within perfect reach for Raelynn! Wow, she remembered a toy for Raelynn too with a new plastic bag. MIL truly thinks of everything, doesn't she?
More of the mess, which just includes a better look at the table. There are used tissues on there as well as the table top for the high chair, which was dirty. Also, my coffee cup from breakfast is STILL there. Because a sip of cold coffee that has been sitting out all day long is exactly what I want when I come home from work! How did she ever know?!?

I know she went to great lengths to make this detailed of a mess for us, but it just isn't our style. It took me about 10 minutes to pick all this stuff up. I wonder how long it took for her to enact her lazy, room-wide abstract art project. Anyway, here is our living room/dining area just 10 minutes later, once I restored order:
Ah yes. MUCH better! Even Raelynn is impressed with the quickie clean up.


Don't feel too badly that I destroyed MIL's thoughtful gift of redecorating, because she is such a giver. She also gave us the gift of nearly breaking the satellite (not pictured) and tried to pass the blame to Raelynn. Someone unscrewed the cable from the box. I know Raelynn is sneaky and all, believe me, but even she couldn't have been that skilled. If she had, it makes me wonder if anyone is actually watching her, or if they just let her run amok and destroy anything in her path.

So, what's better than almost crippling our connection to quality programming?
GREEN ONIONS!

But it's not the green onions themselves that are special. It is WHERE MIL stored them for us. We shouldn't be surprised, given her history of not putting food items into the refrigerator. They weren't in the cabinets either, which, at this time of year, I wouldn't complain because it is freezing in our kitchen (it's the only room without a radiator). Much thanks to my keen-eyed husband who was kindly making dinner so I could have a break, both for the cooking and for pointing this out:
Hello, green onions, hanging out on the window box outside the kitchen! Still covered in dirt which probably doesn't matter since you're enjoying all the not-so-fresh air fumes of China. Mmmm...pollution-flavored vegetables! 
Here is another shot of the green onions, along with our poor dead plant. You can also see the craptacular courtyard below. Please take note that there is no snow there STILL.

With 13 days left before Christmas, I'm left to wonder what other surprises the in-laws have in store for us. More ugly clothes for the baby? Dear God, please just let her uproot my living room and call it a day instead!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Too Cold For School

I found this image on Google's Picasa Web album when I did a search for "it's too cold." This sums it up fairly well. I didn't want to use a photo of the students mentioned below to keep them anonymous.


One day last week, before the children had arrived at school, I heard my Korean teacher, Christina, on the phone with one of the moms. Iris's mom. I listened intently, trying to piece together what she was saying with my elementary Korean skills. All I could determine was that she was calling in. AGAIN.

Of all my students, Iris has been absent the most. BY FAR. Her mom always has the most asinine excuses for not bringing her too. I should add that her mother drives her to school. I'm not quite sure what part of the city they live in, but you'd think if it was too much for you to bring your child to school, you'd make arrangements for the bus to pick her up.

Iris is a really cute little girl but she's kind of bratty. I say this with absolute love. The kid can be bribed with lollipops and she's smart. She does a good job, when she feels like it that is. How can I blame her when her mother teaches her to have this kind of attitude toward school?

Her mom has called in for Iris with the following excuses:
1) Sick.
Iris has been sick quite a few times. I can't fault her for this one. Children are full of germs. Ack! Ick! Oog! If she's sick, she should totally stay as far away from me as possible.

2) The mom (and not Iris) is sick.
She's called in for this reason at least 5 times that I can recall. I'm sorry, but with a little pistol like Iris running around, wouldn't you feel better if you could just rest while she went off to school? She's 6 years old. I have no idea how having your demanding daughter whining at you all day would make you feel better, but whatever.

3) Waiting for a repairman.
She only used this one once. Again, you could really benefit from putting your child on the bus! It just goes to show parents will make the lamest excuses for their kids.

And finally, my absolute favorite excuse. EVER. Drumroll please!
4) It's too cold out.
Did you read that? Yes. THIS is the reason why she didn't send Iris to school one day last week. While I will agree that yes, it was cold. It was insanely fucking cold. But there was no snow. And this week is even colder. She has her own car. It's not like she has to stand outside and wait for public transportation to roll on by whenever it feels like it. Our classrooms are heated, though our hallways are ideal for storing butchered meats.

It makes me sad for Iris. I know kindergarteners don't have to take tests and the biggest worry they should have is what color crayons to use for the pictures they color. But when parents have this kind of attitude toward school, it sets the tone for the future. Meaning Iris won't really care about school which is a huge shame because she's a bright girl. Her mom is teaching her that she can shirk her responsibilities for the flimsiest of reasons.

Up until a few weeks ago, we had an adorable Chinese boy named Jacky in our class. His mom added him in the middle of the semester and then, after one of our notorious troublemakers pushed him down in the hall (not on my watch, thankfully) she pulled him out again. I can understand her concern about that situation, but when he was attending our school, the mom would bring Jacky late. EVERY day. Not a few minutes either. We're talking 30 minutes. 40 minutes. 45 minutes. An hour and a half. I had told her kindergarten classes start at 9am and she needs to have him at school by 8:50am. Her English skills are not good so Christina repeated that sentiment in Korean. And in Chinese. Even our director, Lesley, told Jacky's mother to please bring him on time. Her excuse? You'll love this...
"I'm busy."

Seriously?!? What is more important than your child's education?!? If you're so fucking busy doing your damn nails or your hair, why not put him on the school bus for fuck's sake?!? Busy my ass. Lazy is more like it. Jacky's mom and Iris's mom should totally hang out, go shopping and buy overpriced lattes. They can put their heads together and come up with even more ridiculous excuses for bringing their children to school late, or for not bringing them altogether.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Throw The Book At 'Em!

If you've been reading my blog for any amount of time, you are probably well aware of the fact that my in-laws are colossal morons. Neither my MIL or FIL seems to possess even a shred of common sense. It truly is a miraculous thing that my husband lived to be an adult while being in their care.

I have been trying to be nice to them as best I can. Hey, you would find it hard too if you repeatedly (and politely, I might add) asked somebody to please do (or even not do) something only to come home and discover that your wishes were not respected in your own home. And to add insult to injury, when you come home, your house is a complete mess. I'm not talking a few things out of place. I'm talking torn up papers on the floor, crumpled up tissues everywhere (some of them shredded into teeny tiny bits), my near-empty cup of coffee STILL on the dining table (now with tangerines dropped into it, because hey, why bother to tell the baby not to do that or not prevent her from doing it!!!), dirty counters and tabletops, food sitting out for hours in the kitchen, dishes put back with visible filth on them...I could go on and on. And on. And on. AND ON.

In other posts, I have mentioned how my in-laws leave out Raelynn's books, though I'm not sure which posts and I'm too tired to go sifting through them now. I have asked both MIL and FIL to please not touch Raelynn's good English storybooks. There is no reason for them to take them down off the shelves for her. Raelynn likes ripping things. She doesn't understand that we shouldn't rip books. Her Beauty and the Beast: Friends Are Sweet book earned the first scar a while back when I accidentally left it within her reach and then took a phone call. Luckily, I was able to tape the page she tore back together. It was from then on I pleaded with my husband and his parents to never let Raelynn alone with one of her good books.

But yet, I would come home from work and find the good storybooks strewn on the floor, easily accessible to Little Miss Destroys Everything. And yet again, I would tell them not to touch those books. I confronted MIL one time recently and as politely as possible told her not to touch those books. She can't read English! Why in the world is she taking these books down to show my daughter?!? I read them to her when I come home. I show her the pictures and then, when I am done, I put it safely out of her reach so I can read it to her again and again.

Despite my kind pleas to cease and desist, these 2 blundering buttholes did it yet again. This time though, they didn't leave the books all over our living room floor. Oh no. They put them on the most attractive nuisance of furniture in our home...Jeremy's desk.

Jeremy had decided that he wanted to move his desk out into the living room. I found his logic a bit moronic, as he stated Raelynn would come bother him too much in our room. But she bothers him and his things even more so now than before because he is so readily available. She takes EVERYTHING she can grab from his desk. Honestly, I am waiting to fart out a big "I fucking told you so!" when she breaks something important of his.

Well, MIL and FIL put Beauty and the Beast: Friends Are Sweet and Toddler's First Pop-Ups: Opposites on top of Jeremy's desk. They couldn't be bothered to put them back where they belong, could they? Oh no, because they're old! Gah! So just after they leave yesterday, I am putting our laundry in the washer when I hear the tell-tale sound of paper being torn. I run out into the living room and discover Raelynn sitting in the middle of the room, tearing up the last page of the pop-up book. Thankfully, the Disney book survived without any further damage. When I'd confiscated the pop-up book, I scanned the room and had found the other one laying on my husband's desk.

This page was the one I saw her ripping:

Sure, I can tape the doghouse and dog's head back on but it won't pop-up anymore. Look, I know there are worse things in life. For those of you that aren't married, just you wait until you do get married and your spouse has the most idiotic people in the universe for parents. And then when you have kids and they endanger your precious angel with the stupid things they do or they neglect to follow what you have asked them to do in your absence, then you come tell me I'm being bitchy, ok?

This book was a gift from Phillip and Kimmy. I really appreciate all the gifts we get from them but books, even more so. The reason is that here, original copies of children's books in English like the one you see here cost A LOT of money (anywhere from 50 to 150 yuan each, which in US dollars is cheap but you have to remember we don't get paid in US dollars). You can get some paperback covered books that are in English and Chinese but the English is very clinical and boring and not at all how the original stories were told, like in our Hansel and Gretel or Puss in Boots books we have. Here is an excerpt from Puss in Boots: "There is a miller. He has got three sons. One day the miller dies." Yeah. In these kind of books, they love to make use of "has got" and also constantly use the word "clever" to describe people. It's lame.

Anyway, for shits and giggles, I decided to check the whole book to see if Raelynn had damaged anything else, and lo and behold:
She must have destroyed this page a different time because the moon is completely missing. It was nowhere to be found, which really pisses me off. Her stupid grandparents just let her tear up a very nice book and didn't even try to fix it or at least tell us about it. This is perhaps the most ridiculous thing about this culture - that younger people (coughcoughJeremycough) won't confront even in the most polite way possible an older person when they have done something to upset you and that older people don't apologize for things they do wrong. On my end, I won't let Raelynn grow up like that. If she's got beef with someone, I will teach her how to constructively and courteously speak her mind to that person. And if she is wrong, I will teach her how to admit it without shame and how to learn from the mistakes she makes. Jeremy might be content to bury his head in the sand but I am not.
Here is a closer shot behind the cloud. You can see the moon was torn off and, judging from the fact that I have been unable to locate it in our home, it is safe to assume one of two things: 1) Raelynn ate it (less likely) or 2) MIL or FIL threw it in the garbage, which is most likely though incredibly ironic as they leave all kinds of garbage all over the table and the floor when they are here. Grrrr!

Next, I found this nearly-decapitated flamingo. His head is still there but doesn't pop-up with the rest of him.

Jeremy was mad about what happened to this book too but when he told me to calm down, it just made me feel stabby. I am even more pissed since he kind of insisted I give those vomitous miniature old lady shoes back to the old hag. I didn't think that was very fair. He said she was upset. Oh boofuckinghoo she's upset. I'm upset about all the crap she's fucked up in our home and hasn't even bothered to say she's sorry about. The thing is, I wouldn't be so pissed off and wound up if she simply offered an apology. Now this old goat gets to trot our daughter around in those disgusting boots AND destroy our things. I should throw the book at her and my FIL too for that matter and never allow them here again though I think I'd have more success actually lobbing a book at them, preferably a volume of Encyclopedia Britannica.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Return Of The Luo Bo And Other Nightmares

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone back home! Last night, we stuffed ourselves silly. My wonderful husband made us reservations at Cafe Yum, the buffet restaurant in the 5-star Shangri-La hotel. Forget what you think about buffets. This place is classy and awesome. Coincidentally, Thursday nights happen to be lobster night. Lobster, plus their usual spread of amazing sushi, sashimi, fresh seafood and a whole incredible Thanksgiving line-up made this one of the best meals we've ever had. We had made reservations for 6pm, which IS kind of early, but let's not forget that we have our darling toddler who gets loud and screamy when she's tired. She was really well-behaved too during our meal. It was such a lovely evening. The only thing that could have made it better would have been if I could have shared it with my family.

Since our reservations were so early, I didn't have much time to get Raelynn ready (who is now in the phase of removing her clothes so I have to dress her, then dress her again every time she undresses herself) or myself before Jeremy came home and announced it was time to go. So of course, it wasn't until this morning that I discovered the return of the luo bo in my kitchen. If you didn't read my recent post complaining about the luo bo, a Chinese radish, go here. Then I can tell you all about the latest luo bo findings.

They don't celebrate Thanksgiving here in China. But my school is kind enough to give us a day off to celebrate. Instead of a 4-day weekend though, we get a 3-day weekend. Hey, I won't look a gift horse in the mouth! Of course, Jeremy had to work. I told him I was going to scrub this house from top to bottom. It was nasty. It almost seems like a giant waste of time, what with MIL constantly coming over to fuck it up and make it smell like one giant fart. Even the diaper disposal smells better than some of the things she cooks. In any event, cleaning was necessary. My husband then tells me not to worry about cleaning today. We'll clean together tomorrow. We've been married just over 2 years now, and I'm willing to bet other married women will agree with me when I say the only thing he'll say about cleaning when tomorrow comes is that we should clean tomorrow. Jeremy's definition of "tomorrow" is different than mine. Earlier this week when I was pissed off at MIL about staining that shirt she had no business putting Raelynn into, I'd tried to get the stains out. I made them less noticeable but they are still there. My husband told me that he would scrub it by hand again and get the stains out "tomorrow." And several days have passed now where "tomorrow" has been used to describe when this activity will take place. But that's another story.

In the interest of saving my Saturday plans of having my husband take me to buy new boots for winter, I went ahead and cleaned the house. Truth be told, I couldn't stand for it to be so messy. Raelynn's toys were all over the place, making our small living room look like her toy box blew up. MIL only pretends to clean so it was blatantly obvious to me that our home needed a good, thorough cleaning. One thing that needed cleaning was our dish drying rack. Before I could even clean up our breakfast dishes, I had to wash that. As I put the dishes away, I found this hiding under a bowl:

It's a thick slice of luo bo! WHY with the fucking luo bo again? Right by my favorite mug with the yak on it too! Urgh! For just a few days, all signs of luo bo were regulated to the refrigerator vegetable drawer, where it should be. Now this shit again. Even if luo bo was my favorite thing ever, I would not be eating it after finding it here. I don't know if you can see the pink tray that is part of this drying rack very well, but it has remnants of flour on it from MIL making her dumplings and making a mega-mess in the process which she shirks all responsibilities for cleaning up.

After getting my kitchen back to the way I like it, I began the process of cleaning the rest of the house. I think I've mentioned before that things get so dusty in China. You could dust the counters and shelves in the morning and in the afternoon, there will be a ton of dust on there, as though you never cleaned a day in your life. I try to dust at least once a week. If I didn't work, I would dust hourly. I ran a few loads of laundry. I dusted. I swept. And that is when I found this lovely, shriveled thing under the kitchen table, in the prime zone MIL brags about keeping clean for us with her make-believe sweeping followed by a round of her pushing the mop that she has submerged into slightly clean water with no cleaning agent a few half-assed times across the floor. Raelynn does a better job with the fucking wet wipes when you give her some to play with!
So, what is this thing, you ask? Why, it's a dried up luo bo slice of course! How the baby didn't find this disgusting thing before me is a mystery to me. I moved it to this wood chair to get a better photo of it because it wasn't coming out very good in it's original spot under our table. I'm ashamed it was on my floor long enough to turn into this. Then again, I'm working and I spend my evenings playing with my daughter and making dinner for our family, followed by bathing my daughter and putting her to sleep (which is extremely difficult lately because she's got more teeth coming in). At night, I feel I've earned my fucking right to play Words With Friends or Song Pop or just catch up on emails and Facebook comments. Thankfully, Raelynn didn't try to eat this, another reason to be grateful during this Thanksgiving holiday weekend!

The house was really coming along nicely. Raelynn became preoccupied with the Nick Jr. cartoons so I really hustled, trying to get it all done before she got underfoot again. I got to her room and noticed she'd shoved a ton of toys into her toy stroller. As I cleaned it out, I found something else:
Dear God! What is in there with the baby doll?!? Is that a...
FUCKING PLASTIC BAG?!?

That stupid, moronic imbecile! All it would take would be for her to use the bathroom or more likely, for her to gab on our phone to her dolt-rod friends and not notice Raelynn slip this over her head. Maybe MIL should wear it on her own head. It would certainly be an improvement.

Until I can figure out how to bag MIL, I at least have an ideal solution for how to deal with new ugly clothes for the baby from her. It's my revenge for that shirt she fucked up the other day, not to mention the other clothes she has ruined by forgetting to use a bib (which just goes to show you what a total dumbwad she is when I leave bibs sitting on the table for her to use, right in front of the high chair). I'm taking a page out of the senile, ugly old troll handbook here. When she gives us something for the baby to wear, I'll accidentally on-purpose spill oily, greasy food and soy sauce all over it and then not wash it. And it will STAIN. Then she'll see how it fucking feels when clothes that should last the baby for another year are fucked up by sloth behavior like hers. Yes, it will absolutely fucking priceless.

Monday, November 19, 2012

They're Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

Cue the music from Poltergeist, won't you? Because when I was putting the laundry away this afternoon, I made a grisly discovery in Raelynn's closet...

OH GOD! These fucking disgusting things AGAIN?!? In case you missed it the first time around, click here to read about how MIL forced these awful things upon us. There they were, taunting me like some maniacal clown from hell. To top it off, she'd shoved Raelynn's dirty Hello Kitty socks in there, because we don't have 15 to 20 other pairs of socks the kid can wear before I do another load of laundry or anything. Total buffoon.

You might be wondering: how in the fuck did these ghastly things reemerge to see the light of day? My friends, there is a hole in the vortex of ugly clothes from MIL. It seems that while here during the week, she's got nothing better to do than go through our things. Now, if she'd gone through my own personal things, this would be a story about me kicking her so hard in her ass that it would become a permanent hat for her. No, this was my smaller, newer vortex in the storage part of Raelynn's closet. These things were buried by seasonal clothes from summer, extra blankets and clothes Raelynn is now too large for. Good old troll-face was rummaging around and guess what she found! Argh!

As you would be correct to guess, I have confiscated them once again. I already told my husband what I'd done. He didn't protest. I asked him why she was going through our closets and he said she just wants to control things. Oh, MIL, fucking please! You cannot and will not control my ass. This is my house and my family and if you want to keep coming over to see our baby, you will fuck off and quit rooting through our things.

You see? I told you all she's a manipulative cow. Bitch needs a hobby and fast. For now, the new vortex of all things ugly from MIL is holding steady. She'll never fucking find those shoes now. Ha!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Stupidopolis

I once wrote how Qingdao is famed for plastic bags, in addition to its' famous beer. But it seems to be making a name for itself with how many stupid people there are per square meter here. And perhaps with that in mind, it should consider renaming itself "Stupidopolis."

My MIL alone is cause to rename this place "Stupidopolis." Hell, they should make her some high-ranking stupid official of stupidity. Since I last posted, she's done a number of things to be considered for world's spokesperson for what happens when common sense is completely lacking. But she's not the only one. Oh man! The stupid things I see here every day! Some days, I just shrug my shoulders. Other days, I can't stop laughing. But on days like today, I've got to let it out before I go on stupid overload.

First, I'll begin with everyone's favorite bovine-brained spaz, MIL. For Lord knows what reason, she decided to change Raelynn into a different t-shirt while I was at work one day. And then, changed her back into whatever I'd put her in. How do I know this? Because today, after taking Raelynn to the church play group, I changed her into lighter clothing because with the radiators on in our home, it's really quite toasty in here. I put Raelynn in her new Bubba Gump shirt that my parents had brought her. She had only worn it once, in my presence, on the day my parents flew back out. She did not get anything on it then. So why, then, would it have stains on it when I put her in it today?!? I realized that far-sighted oaf had something to do with it. Angrily, I fumed off to the bathroom to scrub oily Chinese food stains out of Raelynn's shirt, muttering strings of curse words so foul, even I was surprised at myself. How hard is it for her to put a bib on the baby?!? How hard is it for her to clean up stains on clothing if she makes them?!? Does she need glasses?!? How she could miss those stains is a mystery to me! And then to put it back in the closet like it was fresh and clean!!!! AUGH!!!! Even with all my laborious efforts, I can still see the stains though they are fainter now. My folks bought the shirt a little bigger so that Raelynn could grow into it and wear it for a while. I purposely dress Raelynn in things I don't give a damn about when I go to work just so shit like this doesn't happen and look at what fucking happened! Sweet fuckity fuck!

Also, all week, she has been leaving luo bo all over the house. What's a luo bo, you ask? It's a green Chinese radish. A picture is worth 1,000 words:
It has a really sharp taste. It's not too bad but people here are convinced that it has all these benefits for your health. My husband is one of them and claims it will help with digestion. Yes, it helps you burp out the most disgusting smells known to man and causes frequent farting. Lovely. He slices a piece of it for me and then stands over me, like an austere parent who knows their child, when left unattended, will hurl that slice of luo bo out the window or stuff it into the couch, never to be seen again.

Anyway, MIL cuts some of one luo bo up and leaves it on the kitchen counters. And in the dish drying rack. And then she cuts up a whole different one even though there's still plenty in the kitchen and leaves it on our dining table. And in our refrigerator. In the cabinets. And on the window sills. It's taking over my home! ARGH!!!!

Next candidate for mayor of "Stupidopolis" goes to the man that walked into our car while my husband was parking. I mentioned this on Facebook the other day but didn't go into great detail. Which I probably should have because I left my friend Chrystal with the impression that my husband is horrendously slow at parking. He's come a long way since his first days of driving. One day after picking me up from work, Jeremy began the process of parking in front of our apartment. He attempts to parallel park, which he's become quite good at. But the problem on this day is that he's selected a spot that is too small, much thanks to the two chowderheads in front and behind this vacant almost-space. I tell him this but he pays me no regard and lines our car up with the front one, then slowly starts rolling into position. It's at this time that I notice a man of about 45 or 50 walking way-too-close to the passenger side of the car. He practically rubbed up against us. "Watch out for the moron, Dear," I tell my husband but before he can figure out which moron (to be fair, there are just too many of them here) this man walks into our car as it is reversing. Now, we were not moving fast at all. The car was just rolling backward gently. As soon as he ran into us, our reverse sensor went berserk. The man didn't even stumble. He just kept on walking and dusted himself off and he went about his business.

Moments later, Jeremy concluded that I was right about the spot being too small and decided to park on the opposite side of the street where he would back into a spot up on the sidewalk, which I've mentioned is totally normal here. He's now perpendicular to the sidewalk and is in the street and just before he punches it to roll up onto the curb, I tell him to watch out. Cluelessly, a mom and daughter keep walking BEHIND our car. Not even on the sidewalk. In the street. Oblivious that we are reversing. These our are next candidates for officials in "Stupidopolis." There are so many people like this here that it boggles my mind as to HOW this population is so insanely high. Seriously. NO ONE has any common sense here, hence no one looks both ways to cross a street. I cannot even understand why anyone would walk into oncoming traffic without a death wish, but here they all are, walking among us.

And finally, a whole slew of candidates for official positions in the town of "Stupidopolis" can be found at Metro, the German-owned Costco-esque store here. We went this weekend to grab a few things. One of the things we needed was conditioner. In the aisle for hair care, there is a huge section of shampoos. And then there is a really small area of conditioner. They even have box sets which you would suppose would be one shampoo and one conditioner, but no. It's 2 shampoos! How utterly stupid! The only conditioner they carry at Metro is of the upper echelon. Stuff like L'Oreal, which is what I wound up buying. But as my husband and I were having a conversation about this, the 3 Metro employees just standing about uselessly in the aisle, began doing that idiotic clicking noise I fucking hate that all people seem to think is just fine to make to a baby. Most people do this here, so it's nothing new. But what pissed me off is that Jeremy and I are talking about something and instead of just clicking a few times, these women went clicking on and on and on and on and on and FUCKING ON until I turned and glared at them, and snapped in English, "Would you mind stopping that now please? Geez!" Thankfully, they understood me enough to cease and desist or I would have lobbed some bottles of shampoo and conditioner at their empty heads.

Really, everyone here deserves a position in office in "Stupidopolis." The people who block traffic and cause it to jam should be highly considered for something such as this. Or how could I ever forget the woman who took our order for the cake we had made for our vow renewal? I can't believe I almost forgot about her.

First, a look at the cake:
It was a cheesecake from the German bakery in the Hisense mall, which for those of you not in the know, it is the fanciest mall here what with Tiffany's, Prada and Chanel, just to name a few. I had asked her to top it with chocolate which took Jeremy forever to get her to understand. Chocolate shavings? No, chocolate sauce. Chocolate cocoa powder? Nooooo, chocolate sauce. And on and on until finally it was comprehended. When she asked us what we'd like to decorate it with, I asked my husband to ask her if she could just put some hearts on top. He asks and she brightens, and even I understand that this is no problem to have done. She runs off for a moment, and returns with what looks like fondant in the shape of hearts. Yes, that's perfect, I'd said. And my husband conveys to her that this is just what I'm looking for. Then she starts saying something else and I'm not sure what it is but she seems concerned about something. And that is when Jeremy told me one of the funniest things I have ever heard. I am so surprised that I didn't write this before. Are you ready? Presenting one of the stupidest things I have ever heard:
She had said that of course she could do the hearts but we shouldn't eat them. I was quite confused because I'd thought they were made of fondant, which is not just edible but tasty. "Oh, you can't eat them?" I asked my husband. And he then told me that you CAN eat them. They are purely edible but, and I quote: "She said we shouldn't eat them because they have too much sugar in them."

Did you see that? Yes. I'm not even joking. I wouldn't ever joke about cake. I laughed. Hard. Right there while writing out "Congratulations Jeremy and Jennifer" on a paper to ensure they would spell our names correctly. Is it any wonder why Chinese desserts are horrible? I can just see them now, withholding the sugar. But they'll dive right into a greasy plate of fried crap, cooked in way too much peanut oil. No, that can't possibly be even worse for you. THIS is why I went to the German bakery. At least the cake turned out beautifully. And deliciously. And we ate every single heart on it too.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Rant #138

You know that I'm supremely pissed when I can't even pull a clever title for a post out of my ass. And of course, you can probably guess who sent me off into a rage. MIL!

There's been a few things bubbling up lately. Such as having to remind her AGAIN to give Raelynn the breast milk I leave for her. WHY IS THAT SO FUCKING HARD TO REMEMBER?!? I want so badly to tape a note for her onto the refrigerator that would be the Chinese equivalent of this: "Dear insipid, vomitous cow, give my daughter her milk or I will take your goat face and shove it up your hairy baboon ass." I better use Google translator for that because I doubt Jeremy will assist me in compiling that note.

Then there was the incident where she threw out my coffee measuring spoon! It was inside the almost-empty bag of ground coffee I'd had left. She leaves garbage everywhere but oddly decided THIS she would toss into the garbage. Sigh.

Also, MIL and FIL kept bringing these jugs that at one time, had contained peanut oil, which they had rinsed out and were now using to lug us drinking water. I should add that we would have real jugs of drinking water delivered here. Until earlier this week when my husband had a filter installed so now we can just get fresh water from the tap. Which is awesome. Especially since his parents' so-called fresh, clean mountain drinking water had pieces of dried tea in it. Yeah, real clean you guys. Now at least they won't bring these stupid jugs of water anymore.

These things were just mildly irritating. And as with anything MIL (or even FIL) ever does, each thing on its own doesn't send me into a rage. But added together they sure do, especially when added to what I discovered today...
One of my dimbulb in-laws broke the drum pedal on Raelynn's toy drum set!
Now when you step on it, it doesn't press down and make that lovely big boom that it should. I want to club them both in the head with the drumsticks. 
Raelynn loves her drum set and we do too. We got a great deal on it, but it still infuriates me that everything nice or cool that we ever have gets ruined somehow by Jeremy's parents. They don't even say, "Oh hey, sorry I broke that thing." They just break it and say nothing about it, which they have done so many times now, I've lost count. Or they get stains on Raelynn's nice clothes which has forced me to resort to dressing her in things I either don't care about getting ruined or darker colors. She just got a bunch of cute clothes from my parents and her Uncle Phillip and Aunt Kimmy and I don't want to come home after a long day of work to find that the cute clothes I've dressed her up in are now stained with soy sauce and Lord knows what shitacular barf she's cooked up for my poor child.

Here's hoping those troglodytes don't further damage this kick-ass drum set, or anything else. Especially my angel-baby. I'll end with a photo of Raelynn enjoying the drum set the first day we got it:

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Week Of Family

Many of you have been begging for an account of how my visit with the family went, which I'm happy to oblige you with. But you all need to learn some fucking patience. Remember, I work. I'm a mother to a very busy toddler. And I don't just shit out my posts on here. Plus, there have been additional delays due to the Halloween party I had to plan for my kindergarteners and catching some horrid cold on top of all that which either mutated into the kind of thing that causes you to cough from the hollows of your chest until gross chunks of mucusy goodness come up. Which makes me fit in more with the locals here since they cough and hack (and consequently spit) all the livelong day. Anyway, now you can chillax because here is my post detailing my family's brief but wonderful visit.

How did we spend our visit? Well, for much of it, it consisted of us enjoying lots of food and drinks. That's the Raskin Family way of course! But the best part was watching Phillip and Kimmy and my folks soaking in all the preciousness that is Raelynn. Phillip and Kimmy had last visited in January when Raelynn was 8 months old. She could crawl then but she wasn't walking. Now she runs all over the place and spouts out token phrases like, "Bye bye! See you soon!" Or, "Are you okay?" And yells out random words like, "Shoe!" So it's not surprising that my brother and sis-in-law were even more smitten with her this time. And Raelynn absolutely adored them too, of course. Here's some of my favorite moments:





My folks arrived the day after Phillip and Kimmy. And with their arrival, I realized this was the first time ALL of us were together in the same place. Over the last few years, it's always been some sort of combination of us all. Like, Phillip, Kimmy, Jeremy, Raelynn and me, but no Mom and Dad. Or Mom, Dad, Jeremy, Raelynn and me but no Phillip and Kimmy. Now here we all were. Eating, drinking and being merry. But of course, Jeremy and I had previously decided to take the opportunity to do something very important to us while we had everyone all together: have a small ceremony celebrating our marriage.

It just so happened that my folks had been planning their visit to fall on October 20th. That date has always been so horribly painful to us because that's the day Mom died. (For those of you who don't know the back story, I have 2 moms. One who passed away when I was a child and one who became my mom when I was a rotten teenager.) I had an idea: what if we renewed our vows on that day so we could include both of my moms? Would anyone be offended? Both my brother and father gave me their blessings for going ahead with it on this day. Other family members also found it a perfect tribute to Mom too. So it was settled.

Jeremy and I planned and stressed and stressed and planned. How anybody ever has a large ceremony and reception without going completely insane is beyond me. I was so relieved to just be having my immediate family and Jeremy's parents. No offense at all to any of my other wonderful relatives or friends. I don't see how the happy couple ever enjoys their wedding day with so many guests to talk to. It's YOUR day, right? Yet, you have to spend the whole time thanking everyone for coming and all that. I would have been miserable with a whole big affair. Somehow, we managed to get it together and were able to have it in a private dining room at the Shang Palace in the Shangri-La hotel, with flowers, a cake, an officiant and matching wedding bands. This turned out perfectly:



But soon, it was time for Phillip and Kimmy to go back to Singapore. And our hearts were heavy with sadness again. We still had Mom and Dad for another day and a half though. My father and I had been really looking forward to the Sunday brunch in his hotel. The food there is excellent but for this week, they were having a special lobster promotion. All you can eat everything AND all you can eat lobster. Oh yes! We all ate ourselves silly and Jeremy and I enjoyed watching Mom and Dad play with Raelynn.
This photo is just so cute!
But this one of my dad feeding Raelynn green tea ice cream totally wins. How cute is this?!?

We also got to show them our house, which they didn't have time to do the last time they were here. Raelynn of course showed her Papa and Mimi all of her toys.

We spent the rest of our time with them - you guessed it - eating and drinking. Before they left, we feasted on crab at the Japanese restaurant in the Shangri-La's business corridor. After that, it was very difficult to decide which of our meals had been the most sumptuous.

The whole time everyone was here, it was more than we could have hoped for. And as it was coming to an end, as all good things eventually do, my father showed me something that helped me in my sadness. He carries a little card in his wallet that reads: "Don't be sad because it's over. Be happy because it happened." It really spoke to me because I have always gotten so sad when visits like these end. I hate goodbyes. But now I have all these beautiful memories to treasure forever. And I will hold them dearly to my heart until I get to see my family again. Thank you all for everything. I love you all so much!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Eek! A Mouse!

The mouse pictured above is not the mouse in question.


This morning at school, the other English teacher and I were gabbing away about my impending absence over the next week while my family is here visiting and our upcoming Halloween party, among other things. Suddenly, my Korean teacher, Christina, came flying into the room, lunging for the office phone like it was the last subway of the evening with the doors closing. She looked extremely upset. She'd just been in a meeting for Korean teachers so I thought perhaps some office crap happened. I asked her what was wrong. "There's a mouse in Bell class!" she chokes out. Then she pleas into the phone for the maintenance guy to hurry up and get the wretched thing out of there. A mouse in our school house? I'm grossed out yet feel sorry for the creature all at once.

A short time later, I pass by the Bell classroom on my way to the bathroom and I have to swallow my laughter as I hear the sounds of furniture being pushed about and Eun Ah, the Bell class Korean teacher, shrieking. And soon, the hullabaloo was over and on went the day.

Of course, my last day before having a few days off to spend with my family would feel like an eternity. Every Tuesday, we have a team meeting. This Tuesday was no exception. Aside from wanting to go home in general, I was now being forced to listen to minute details about the Sports Day event we'd be having on Friday. Yes, Friday, when I will be drinking beers with my dad and making fun of my brother. Friday, when my daughter further ensnares all of their hearts with her darling little smile. My boss, Lesley, is droning on and on about the activities for that day. I'm beyond relieved when I hear her say, "Halloween." Now that's something I need to pay attention to!

But I soon grow annoyed as Lesley frowns over our activity plan - which I must tell you, she's reviewed no less than 20 times in the last 2 days - and asks the other English teacher and me how everyone will know our party is over. She now wanted some sort of finale to it. And suddenly, I had it! I knew how we could let everyone know that the party was finished. I say brightly, "Well, do we still have that mouse from this morning? We could just turn it loose again and everyone will run off. I'm sure they'll get the hint that the party is over then." And with that, Christina, my normally very professional Korean teacher, completely burst into the loudest, most hysterical laughter I have ever heard from her. Sadly, my idea was rejected. In the end, we decided it best to end with having all the parents hand out candy to their kids. That sucks because Christina and I were totally all for the mouse!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

If The Shoe Fits...

Insert one of my mildly annoyed sighs here. Because when we went to go shopping in Taidong earlier this afternoon, this is what I'd found in Raelynn's closet when I went to pull out her white shoes:
First of all, I looooooooooooooove that MIL shoved a pair of dirty socks into one of the shoes. It must be too hard to take them off Raelynn's feet and put them into our laundry basket. Yes, this is MUCH easier. At least she used the rockin' socks from Phillip and Kimmy though. Secondly, one of these things is not like the others. One of these things does not belong. Take a closer look and you'll see that one of the shoes is missing a round, sparkly circle. When we first bought these shoes for Raelynn, I swear she yanked that circle off one of those shoes (I think this same one it is missing from now) every week. Fortunately, working in a kindergarten, we have tons of hot glue guns lying around, so I'd just bring the shoe to work and glue the bedazzled, circular adornment back into place.

Now, I'm not angry with MIL because Raelynn tore that thing off her shoe for the 100th time. I'm not even angry about the dirty socks being stuffed into them. What has me all pissy about this is that, for one, MIL did not even mention this to Jeremy or me. There was no: "Hey, while I took Raelynn to the park and to my dump of a house, she broke this piece off of her shoe" conversation. For another, we cannot even find this missing piece, which, as I just mentioned, I can fix with relative ease. I don't want to take my daughter out in shoes that look like this! They look ugly now! Bah!

Jeremy will be discussing this with his mother and hopefully, she'll have stashed this shoe decoration somewhere (perhaps in her hagtacular purse, next to the vegetables and whatever crap she totes around). But Fall is here and Winter is coming up soon, so in the meantime, while we were in Taidong, we went to the baby store there and bought Raelynn a new pair of sneakers and a pair of black boots. We also have those horrid red shoes MIL bought for her but I have tucked those in the back of the closet in her room. You know what? I better go dig those vomitous excuses for shoes out and stick them in MY closet where that old oaf knows better than to go digging through. I don't want my poor daughter being forced to wear those cloddish miniature octogenarian shoes. Barf!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

MIL The Martha

Apparently, MIL fancies herself a Martha Stewart of sorts. At least that is all I can possibly conclude after my discoveries today. Let's take a look at the lovely things MIL has done to our home while we've been toiling away the day...
 Yes, folks. THIS is what I come home to find in the baby's room. That little shelving unit plopped on top of that table. Let me first explain about this table. It was in our living room/dining area along the wall, out of the way. But over the Chinese holiday, it was bothering my husband because he felt it was taking up too much space. Not one to argue when it comes to decluttering, I didn't protest when he moved it. Until I saw he put it in Raelynn's room. He said he was only sticking it in there until his parents could come get it and bring it to their home (it was their table to begin with). It's been a week though and this damn table is still in Raelynn's room. And so, instead of moving the fucking thing OUT of the baby's room and OUT of our home, MIL has chosen to move it UNDERNEATH this stupid shelving unit. Because it's so safe to stack furniture on top of furniture in a baby's room of all fucking places. What a total moron!

Here is another shot so you can see that it is now more difficult for Raelynn to reach her toys. Especially that treehouse thing on top, which she loves. Thanks MIL.

On to the kitchen, where MIL has decided to make the dish rack multi-functional. How? Why, by using it as a place to stick ginger root and green onions of course! Le duh! Martha Stewart would be so proud.

And finally, we have her favorite thing: unrefrigerated mystery foods sitting out for an undetermined amount of time. There is a shrimp dish on the bottom. Martha wouldn't approve of the ugly little heads still attached to them but oh well. She's cooked this with cucumber (why?!?) and egg. The other dish in the plastic container on top is pork ribs, which would be appetizing except for the thick layer of congealed fat and oil at the bottom. Like it's been sitting for a whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiile. I asked MIL why she didn't put it in the refrigerator and she told me that she'd made it recently so not to worry and it was fine. I'm sorry but I have never seen fat and oil unite like that in a short amount of time. Her concept of time vastly differs from mine, evidently. Who's coming for dinner? Yeah, me neither. I'm off to make something that won't cause us all diarrhea now.