Friday, September 28, 2012

Dirty Deeds Done For Free

This week has been utterly insane preparing for the school's walkathon (or 'wakathlon' as one of the kindergarten Korean teachers had spelled it). And life has been pretty hectic in general as we prepare for my family's visit in a few weeks. I'm so excited and so busy and I feel like I am constantly on the go. Even in my sleep!

So of course, it should come as no surprise why these few things I'm about to piss and moan about would bother me. Venting is good for the soul and so here I go to release this anger before the molten lava causes some collateral damage...

When I go to work, I'm gone for about 9 hours (from the moment I leave my house to the moment I return). And in this time, MIL manages to create even more of a mess for me. I'm particularly pissed because I spent my Saturday of last weekend scrubbing everything in this house. It was so clean and wonderful in here. Until I came back from work on Monday. That old goat-faced bucktooth zombie let Raelynn play with tissues. And just like any baby who loves to shred papers, Raelynn had torn little shreds of paper and scattered them ALL OVER our fucking house. MIL sits on her dumb ass all day long and it never occurs to her to go get the broom and clean that shit up. Now, before you say something idiotic like, "but she's old!" or "maybe she's too feeble to handle sweeping," punch yourself in the throat and keep your mouth shut. This woman is just 10 years younger than my father. And her troll-ass hoofs it up her stairs (as well as ours) with bags full of vegetables. If she can lug a sack of potatoes up all these stairs without wheezing when she gets to our door, she is more than fucking capable of using a broom. The only thing feeble about her is her ant-sized brain.

It has occurred to me that perhaps she doesn't really understand how a broom works. I mean, when I've seen her use it, I'm astonished that she doesn't seem to get that when you sweep, you want to push the dirt into the dustpan and not just pretend to look useful. Oh right. That's her fucking gimmick. Pretend to be useful. Fanfuckingtastic.

Now, today is Saturday, one week after my major cleaning. Guess what I spent this Saturday doing. If you guessed cleaning, you get a prize. The prize being that you can live with the satisfaction of knowing that you are not as dumb as my MIL. Anyway, cleaning today bothered me less since we have off for a whole week next week due to a Chinese holiday, hence I don't feel like I've completely wasted my free time. Here are just some of the things I had discovered (and have hence cleaned up). I am sorry to say I have no photos because I was so angry I wanted to smash everything in my path and I actually had luck on my side because Raelynn's favorite cartoons were on and she was too busy watching them to swat at the broom and dust pan while I toiled away...

Our rolling pin was stuffed into the drawer of kitchen utensils. And it was DIRTY. It was CAKED with flour. She does this EVERYFUCKINGTIME she uses it. I don't care if the thing is just being used by either of us to roll out flour-based creations. Fucking wash it! I threw it into the sink (which, I am happy to say, has finally been repaired) with an angry clank.

Next up, our wok. She left it on the stove yesterday, filled with dumplings she'd made for us. That was kind of nice, especially since my school had a barbecue thing after the 'wakathlon' and after all the children left, complete with beer, so I came home a bit later than usual. It's HOW she left these dumplings that really pissed me off. She put them in a large metal dish that I usually use for baking which is almost the size of the wok itself. Then, she put another large metal dish that I use for baking on top of that. THEN, she put the lid for the wok on top of that. I should add that this cow NEVER washes the lid of the wok. If I never came along, this lid would STILL be caked in grease and smells from 10 years ago. Easily. Thanks for leaving me 4 things to wash up. You have nothing to do but play with a baby all day. Yeah, the baby keeps me busy alright but I can still wash up the dishes and put what I've cooked into *gasp* a dish!

Also, when I get home, I notice she has redone Raelynn's hairstyle for the day. It never looks as cute as when I do it in the morning before I go. YOU are NOT her mom! I'd say stop acting like it but in order to be her mom (which is the ever-awesome me) you have to clean the house. And not be an ugly cow. Grrrrrr!

Before I finished mopping the floors today, I picked up Raelynn's bigger toys and moved them out of the way. Things like her toy stroller which she loves to push around. That's when I discovered that yesterday, MIL had left a wet rag in there! LORD! I wanted to stuff it down her throat. Oh God. I know that's mean but I am so frustrated by her. Does it help having someone to watch the baby, for free no less? Yes. But I resent that I get so little time with Raelynn and then I have to come home and pick up the mess this useless old hag left for me. I should leave her a mess to clean up. I'm sure that would backfire though. You know as well as I do that it would totally still be there when I came home from work.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Water, Water Everywhere...

A few posts ago, in the middle of my laundry list of current complaints about everyone's favorite (not really) MIL, I mentioned how she'd somehow messed up the kitchen faucet so that it is now loose. And that in her clumsy, half-assed efforts to pretend to wash the dishes (I call what she does pretending as that is all you can call it - every dish she supposedly washes STILL has food on it), when she knocked this thing loose, caused it to now leak out water from underneath the sink somewhere into the cabinet below it and then out onto the floor.

Well, my husband refuses to acknowledge something is wrong with the sink. I don't know about you, but when water is coming out of the sink, I feel it's time to call a plumber. Because, while I personally don't mind mopping the floors, I do mind mopping the same spot on my kitchen floor over 20 times a day. He actually told me to just turn the water on a little because when I turn it on full-throttle, THAT is the reason it's leaking. You know what look I gave him, don't you? Of course you do! It's that look all women have programmed into their genes for when the men in their lives say something this insipid. If you're a man reading this, I can guarantee you some woman somewhere in the world at some time (and likely, many times) has shot you this exact look.

Anyway, for your viewing pleasure (and to prove to my husband he is a chopstick short of a set), here are some photos of our lovely kitchen floor covered with water that has escaped from the pipes of the sink:
This large puddle has oozed all the way to the kitchen door. You can see the bottom portion of the cabinet in the sliver of background there. Yeah, that's not a problem or anything. Sigh.

Here, you can see water all along the fugtacular baseboards. I'm sure my turning the water on too high was the problem and not that old bag of a MIL who comes in here and treats everything with no regard.
 A closer shot of the puddle that has formed just under the cabinets under the sink.

Smile for your closeup, puddle!

 One more puddle closeup!

Oh, how exciting! As I've been writing this, Jeremy has conceded that there might, indeed, be something wrong with our sink. I'm so glad he's gotten on the path to enlightenment instead of the lollygagging around under the bridge where the elves and trolls roam.Well, this is certainly good news. Now we won't need that raft after all!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Electric Co.

If you're a U2 fan, then perhaps the title of this post causes you to smile and sing:
Boy, stupid boy
Don't sit at the table
Until you're able to
Toy, broken toy

Thanks to the "boy, stupid boy" part, this song was one of my favorites as a little girl and this will probably always be one of my favorite U2 songs ever (take a listen here). But this post is not about U2. It's about the actual electric company. And maybe only marginally involves Bono and the band for I did revert to playing this song over and over inside my head while my husband blabbered on and on about the electric company. Allow me to explain...

Here, you get your electric bill every 2 months. So your charges are for 2 months. My husband had previously yammered on and on about how if you exceed a certain amount of electric usage per month, the government charges you something extra or something something. Oh go ahead and make fun of me for not knowing. It was THE most boring conversation you could ever hope to have with someone, even if it's someone you love as dearly as I do my husband. Anyway, our charges for the last 2 months amount to a little over 700 yuan. To anyone not living in China, this means jack shit. Let me break that down for you all. The US dollar is worth about 1 to every 6 yuan (roughly speaking) so would mean this bill is worth a little over $100 US. For 2 months. In the summer. Yeah. So I'm fine with it of course.

Jeremy, who makes it a hobby of complaining about how expensive EVERYTHING is, tells me about this electric bill and in the same breath says that his parents only had a 60 yuan bill. For 2 months. In the summer.

How is this possible, you ask? Well, for starters, my in-laws NEVER use hot water. They do not have hot water in their sinks, meaning their dishes are always germy since they wash them with cold water (another reason to avoid visiting their home, as if I needed one). They do not have a water heater. Their shower is solar powered. We have a solar powered shower AND one powered by a water heater. The solar powered one is just fine on a sunny summer day. But in winter you are S.O.L. if you want a hot shower. I think that is why most geriatric Chinese people (like my in-laws for example) skip showering during this time. As if they weren't stinky enough.

Next up: laundry. I do laundry every 2 to 3 days, depending on if there have been any poop explosions from the baby or not. Today, I did 2 loads - one for our clothing and the other for our floor mats and kitchen towels because everything was filthy, especially the floor mat in front of the bathroom, thanks to MIL who wipes her fugly-ass granny shoes on it when she comes and goes despite being told many times by my husband not to do that (and to instead, wipe her feet on the mat IN FRONT OF THE FRONT DOOR). I sincerely doubt my in-laws do so much laundry as they wear the same few things every day. And they don't have a poopy-pants baby in their home who has lots of little things for me to wash.

And we've got the big one now: air conditioning. We're paying now for 2 months of electric usage. Since it was just summer, we're paying for all the electricity we consumed during that time. We have 2 wall-mounted units. One is in our bedroom and the other is in Raelynn's room. And if you have no idea how I feel about being hot in the summer and/or enduring someplace that lacks A/C, please click here. So given that we ran the air a lot, especially in August, it's no wonder our bill was in the 700s.With as much as we used the A/C, I'd say this 700 yuan is a bargain. But my in-laws can't believe it. As you may have guessed, the hideous troll and her husband do not have an air conditioner. Of course they don't! They don't even have an actual toilet so why would you expect them to have air conditioning?!? They might as well sell their house and go live in a tent somewhere. Somewhere far away, preferably.

Let's not forget we've got a big and awesome refrigerator, which uses up lots of energy too. Maybe THAT is why MIL unplugged it! I can assure you that even though my in-laws have a refrigerator (an old, small one) that they store food outside on the window ledge. This is such an older Chinese person thing. I may have mentioned this in one of my posts a while back, while I was still pregnant with Raelynn but I am too tired and lazy to go looking for it now. MIL used to store some food items outside on our window ledge too. Which did bother me though because it wasn't in a place that got direct sunlight and it was beyond frigidly cold outside, I decided to let it go. That is until one day while in our kitchen, I watched with a mixture of amusement and disgust as a bird swooped in and began chowing down on the offerings. From then on, MIL's outside kitchen was closed. At our house at least. You can bet on it that she keeps food outside on her window ledge. And she'll probably still eat it, even if a bird munches on it or shits on it too.

Then there are smaller things, like the filter for the fish tank. Or the satellite dish. Or our 2 laptops. Or the oven, which I tend to favor when cooking since it's healthier than frying everything. My in-laws don't have any of those things. I don't know what they do when they are at their house. It is very boring there. They have Chinese cable TV, but as I've said before, even Jeremy states quite plainly that Chinese TV is very boring. But not to them. MIL and FIL just love those shitty singing shows. Not like an American Idol type of thing. Like these dreadful dinner and a show type things that  you'd see on a cruise to hell. In fact, I do have pictures of that in this post (just scroll to the end for those). They don't have any books or magazines over at their house that I have ever seen at least. So, if they just sit and stare at the walls, and perhaps occasionally, the TV, and then they don't bathe and then go to bed at 9pm, well, then it is easy to see why their electric bill is only 60 yuan for 2 months.

But wait! Let's not forget the troll is here Monday through Friday to watch Raelynn while we're working. Sometimes FIL comes too (I can always tell because Raelynn's room is even messier as he lets her destroy papers and magazines and doesn't dare to clean it up). So here they are using our electric, cooking on our stove, using our lights, watching our Chinese cable (we have that as a back up for when the satellite isn't coming in, or when these 2 morons come over) and unplugging our refrigerator and causing our kitchen sink to leak (I swear, I am writing about that one next...hopefully tomorrow if I have a moment). So yeah, that clinches it for me. Next time Jeremy opens his mouth to complain about this one, I'll remind him who is here in our house all day long. Of course, with how much his mom talks, you could easily say her mouth has used up all the power. If only there was a way to turn that noise off. Maybe Jeremy could ask the electric company!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Face Of Death

Birds always look pissed off. Just like this eagle here. Look at this fantastic creature. It has truly mastered the Face of Death. This look right here says, "Go ahead and try it. I'll peck your fucking eyes out, bitch." 

I want you all to know that I have seriously and sincerely been trying VERY hard to be nice to MIL. On paper (or even on computer screen for that matter), it seems simple enough. She's a nice person. And who wouldn't like someone that makes you delicious dumplings and wontons whenever you request them? Or watches your child for free? I must sound like a raging lunatic when you consider these things.

But then, there are the things she does that just pile up, like one smelly shit-caked diaper after another until it overflows with an overwhelming pungency, permeating every molecule until everything is essentially shit. Things like unplugging the refrigerator, breaking the Baby Bjorn chair (which had a fucking metal frame!), blaming the baby for things, that blasted knife with the sharp end pointed up, and let's not forget how that cow tried to intrude on my private time with Raelynn during my summer vacation because she thought I couldn't possibly manage to make food for my own daughter. Yeah, her dumplings and wontons aren't THAT good that I should have to endure this kind of shit.

As this new semester has gone on, I have really, truly tried to be polite when I see her homeliness enter our home before I head off to work. When I come home, I try to smile big and greet her too. But as all this annoyance builds up again, I am ready to burst from suppressing my rage. Each thing individually seems like no big deal. But add it up and here's the running total so far from just this week: left a container of food uncovered sitting in the steamer on the stove for God knows how long (and incidentally, it was one of the worst dishes she cooks and I have no idea why she ever makes it when she actually does make other good dishes); gave Raelynn something she shouldn't play with so that when I confiscated it, she had a meltdown; lets the baby destroy anything and everything; somehow hit the kitchen faucet so it's loose and now water leaks out from somewhere onto the fucking floor and my husband insists NOTHING is wrong with it (I should really write about this issue separately, quite honestly); wore the same ugly socks 2 days in a row; wore the same clothes 3 days in a row; left garbage in the stroller; talks nonfuckingstop from the moment she arrives and just won't shut the fuck up. That last one is really severe too. She just gabbles on and on and on and on, as if she's trying to make Raelynn sound just as stupid as she is. Don't get me wrong. I want Raelynn to speak Chinese. BUT I want her to speak it well and be educated, like her father. Not like this idiotic troll.

Today in particular, she did something that set me off completely. All the grievances listed above swirled about my head and I'd just had enough. As I opened the door, Raelynn ran up to greet me as is her custom. And she usually follows me about as I put down my things so I can then wash my hands and pick her up. But that old hag wasn't satisfied with having my angel to her troll-self all day for she picked her up, talking loudly over me while I was speaking to my daughter. That's when I gave MIL the Face of Death. A stare so calm and angry, it induces fear in whoever sees it. If my kindergarteners have been especially naughty, they too will shiver in terror when I look at them in this way. I didn't yell, but I did sound annoyed as I complained aloud to myself how I couldn't believe the balls this witch had for not only keeping my daughter from running up to me but also for blabbering on and on and on while I was talking to her. The Face of Death worked because she promptly put Raelynn down, closed her flapping gums and hit the road.

Jeremy, who had been outside on a business call, came back in a short while later. I guess MIL ran up to him and told him about the evil stare I served her when I came home because the first thing he asked me was if I made a face at his mother. I had to try not to laugh. She's tattle-telling on ME? Seriously? Oh that's rich. My husband admonishes me about being polite and I remind him that it's quite rude for her to pick up my daughter when it is my time with her and even more rude to keep talking OVER me when I am talking to my daughter. Well yes, but don't make faces at her. Oh I know...because she's old and frail and my having made a face at her will make her heart stop. Give me a fucking break. She is 10 years younger than my dad. And 10 years older than my friend Andrea who you would NEVER guess is 50.

I hope MIL always remembers that look I gave her. I hope it is burned into that tiny pea-brain of hers so that she never forgets that this is MY house and my daughter and my little family and I am in charge here. If she wants a place in my heart, she needs to fucking step off a bit and quit intruding. And for God's sake, stop tattling like one of my students. Even those kids know better.

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Depressing Visit to the Unbearable Bear Zoo

If you know me and we're friends on Facebook, you've probably already noticed my most recent photo album devoted to my field trip to the bear zoo. If not, let me enlighten you. Each month, the school wants us to take the children on a field trip. We plan it in advance at one of our after school meetings by making suggestions and taking a vote. One of the Korean teachers, Eun Ah, had suggested going to this fresh hell of a zoo. After having seen the Zhongshan Zoo when Jeremy and I first moved here, I didn't have high hopes for this place. The Zhongshan Zoo was the most horrible thing I'd ever seen.

At the Zhongshan Zoo, you are treated to a menagerie of the malnourished and mistreated animals kept in habitats or cages far to small for their needs. Each animal made me sadder and sadder until we got to the grizzly bear. This big and beautiful creature was stuck in a small cage where China's stupidly ignorant masses would gleefully attempt to feed it cigarette butts and candy. That was when I broke down and I cried. I never wanted to see that zoo again. In fact, when my parents came to visit last year, they'd mentioned they would be interested in seeing the zoo. Until I told them about this experience. My parents despise animal cruelty just as I do. Now with this visit to the bear zoo, I am quite sure they will be happiest not seeing it.

I wish I could unsee what I have seen.

At our meeting, I pleaded for us to go somewhere else on our field trip. Eun Ah assured us the bear zoo was fine and that it wasn't like the Zhongshan Zoo. Either she's never been to the Zhongshan Zoo or her idea of properly treating animals is vastly different from mine. In any event, I braced myself for the trip, knowing I'd have to put a smile on my face for my students.

So, join me on a tour of the most depressing place ever. And just so you know, I sent some of these photos along with an email over to PETA. If you live in China too, please write them about how desperately this country needs to be educated on proper treatment of animals. It infuriates me how people here are regarding this issue but I have to try to remember that these folks were not educated in this way and that a large number of the population never went beyond middle school. See, kids? Stay in school!

 From the entrance, it doesn't look too bad. It kind of has a Big Thunder Mountain Railroad look to it.
 That entrance leads into a bear cave which at first further attempts to make you feel like a Disney World patron. It even had a poorly-done Winnie the Pooh in there. And this, my friends, is where any likeness to Disney dissipates into nothingness, swallowed by darkness.
 Yes, real darkness. Inside, there are a ton of stairs and it is completely dark. Whoever thought up this design is a total bastard, but that's probably a given once you see these poor bears.
 We're shown the baby bears first, kept separately for reasons unknown to me. They're really cute but they were in a small concrete and glass enclosure. And the glass was supported by extra beams of wood like you'd have supporting a sapling. Yeah, that's safe.
When we left the exhibit of baby bears, our guide (who I might add said very little to us and when she did, it was all in Chinese of course and she walked BACKWARD the whole time to face us when it was completely unnecessary) led us to these bears. I had to stop the "oh shit" that was about to fly out of my mouth. Can't bears jump? Eek!
 But we didn't need to worry. These bears were so lethargic. EVERY bear we saw (except at the bear show - scroll down for that) seemed like it was drugged. And look at this lovely concrete habitat. This is just horrible, but it gets worse, sad to say.
You see? Now THIS is even worse. It's beyond awful.
 And more nightmare-inducing images for us all. Check out the giant hamster wheel in there. None of them looked like they had any energy to run around this barren habitat much less run around in a wheel. One of my fellow teachers at the school later told me that they use some parts of the bear - I think he mentioned gall bladder fluid - to make some Chinese medicines and this is why there are so many of these bears and they are all laying around in a heap.
 There was a bear in the wheel but he was using it as a place to nap.
And now, because those last images were so disturbing, please cleanse your eyes with these bizarre custodian bear statues. The mountain behind it is also nice.
Another cleanser for your eyes: this inspiring bear mural complete with angry bear in a thong. Ahhh!
 Now, I present the most abominable bear show ever.
 Twirling a baton of fire.
 Jumping rope.
 More jumping rope.
 Roller skating, which, in cartoons, is hilarious. I think of The Simpsons. But this is nothing like Matt Groening's genius creation. This is just so, so sad.
Walking on a ball.
 Tightrope walking.
 Riding a bicycle, which, again, I will say is just hysterical in cartoons. It is definitely not funny in reality.
 Then, for the finale, they bring out both bears for a boxing match. This photo actually shows one of the bears attacking his trainer. There was no blood or gore or anything (which makes me wonder if it still had claws and teeth intact) but my Korean teacher (who was just as disturbed by this field trip as I was) and I were secretly hoping the bear would eat his cruel master.
 No dice. The bear fight goes on and my soul dies a little.
Oh and to cleanse your eyes again, please enjoy this shitacular entrance to that unlit, unsafe cave from hell.

Despite how truly awful this mess of a zoo was, I took the opportunity to explain to my students why I did not like the park once we'd returned to school. I know at least one of them listened to me because his mom had written me a lovely note thanking me for teaching her son that animals deserve to be treated with love and respect, and that her son wanted to help the bears.

And now, you. I've already contacted PETA about this situation. You can help these bears and other animals by writing to them too (click here to visit PETA's website). Anyway, I know this was a bit depressing but I had to share it because maybe something can be done to change things here. And to make up for all the sadness, I will end with a super-cute picture of Raelynn:

Awww, now that's better!