Friday, March 29, 2013

Sexism And The City

There are just 2 days until it's my second blogiversary. It was a great day to start my blog because it was Mom's birthday (not to confuse you too horribly, but I have 2 moms - one that gave birth to me and I was lucky to know for 9 years and another that came into our lives when I was a surly teenager and loved me anyway - and right now, I am speaking of my first mom). If she were alive today, she might not be happy with some of the things I'd write but I'm quite sure she'd respect my right to write them. This post that follows is for her, and my other mom too. Because both of them would definitely back me up on this.

On the way to work the other day, I noticed that outside the Shine City Mall (isn't that the best fucking name for a mall???) by our house, they had draped a large banner over the side, advertising for a place called Be You World. What is that, you ask? It's a play park for children where they can try out different careers, much like that Wannado City at the Sawgrass Mills Mall back home that apparently closed. That sucks. I remember when my friend Aaron and I were at the Sawgrass Mills Mall and wanted to go in there and they wouldn't let us. They said we needed to have a child with us and we were SO disappointed and briefly contemplated borrowing someone's snotty sticky-apple-juice-hands kid. But anyway, there's something like that here now and I will likely get to go check it out in the next semester when we take the children for a field trip. Aaron is jealous as he's reading this...I just know it!

But the more I look at this giant banner strapped down to the side of the mall, the more annoyed I become. Take a look:
The first thing that bothered me was that these 2 cartoon character children HAVE NO NOSES. I repeat: they have no noses! Second, in the smaller pictures, the graphic artist who designed this continues on a trend of laziness after leaving off noses to use the very same pose of the girl with the major cowlick for 2 of the 3 pictures of her.

But as irksome as those things are, there's one very large issue lurking on the side of this mall here: the issue of sexism. Now, if you know me, you know I'm not a feminist. And I'm not against feminists either. I'm quite grateful for the many women who stood up (and continue to stand up) for our rights. And I'm also not against women who would rather stay home and do what some people classify pathetically as "women's work" because that IS work and it's hard work. But I think women should have a choice on the matter. If you want to stay home and take care of the kids and the house and your family won't starve on one income, by all means, go for it. And if you want to be out in the work force earning your fair share and being compensated properly for it, you go girl too.

And thus, I come to my point. Aside from the stupid space-kid outfits the larger versions of the boy and girl don, look at what the girl is wearing in the smaller pictures. A stewardess uniform. A nurse's uniform. AND A FUCKING PRINCESS. Don't get me wrong on this either - if girls want to play "princess" I think it's beautiful and wonderful, even though I'm quite sure princesses don't do the things we suppose they do like sit around waiting in the tallest tower for the handsome prince to come and kiss her for a happily ever after. I mean, look at that Princess of Monaco. Come to think of it, she never really looks very happy, does she? Anyway, I find it appalling that this is a so-called career choice at this facility. Why, instead of using this experience to be a teacher, a doctor, a pilot, a police officer or any other actual career, you can just have your child dress up as a princess and stand around. I think for Disney World, that's perfect. It's the place fairy tales are made from. But if the whole point of this Be You World experience is to try out different careers, then I think that having "princess" as an option is missing the boat entirely.

There is nothing wrong with being a nurse or a stewardess, but I find it insulting that the girl character is shown doing these things. The boy is dressed as a firefighter and a chef. How typical! But what about this girl? She can't be a doctor or the pilot of the plane if she wishes? I remember very well when I was in first grade. My teacher had asked us what we all wanted to be when we grew up. Back then, I changed my career choice every other day. I had wanted to be a vet. Then a matador (which I practiced using a red towel on our dachshund, Snoopy). I think maybe I wanted to be Iron Maiden's mascot, or in Iron Maiden itself. Or was it Van Halen? I don't remember. But anyway, I do remember that at this point in time, I wanted to be a doctor, just like my daddy. And I told my teacher so. I will never forget what she said to me. Ever. "You can't be a doctor. You're a girl. You have to be a nurse." No fucking joke. She said this to me. Naturally, I repeated this crap to my mom when I got home and she gave the teacher a piece of her mind. I remember Mom telling me to forget what my teacher had said because it wasn't true. She (and my dad and brother, and my other mom too once she came onto the scene) always told me I could be anything I wanted to be.

The thing about that is that you CAN be anything you want to be, most of the time. But there's still the old white boys club mentality out there. It was alive and well at my old advertising job. America claims to be a free country yet there are so many inequalities, it's ridiculous. Women have rights but we're paid less than men on the same level as us. And if a woman breastfeeds in public in America, bring out the stones. Seriously, sometimes I am actually relieved I live in crazy China.

China is not a free country. Le duh. But here, you do see some women doing what would be classified all over as "men's work." Many families are poor so they take what they can get, even if it's a hard construction job. There are plenty of women bus drivers and taxi drivers too. And the whole staff that helped me deliver Raelynn? Women. But yet, our society and China's too, are very similar in that we (and they), despite having no restrictions on what jobs you can do as a male or female, have these antiquated portrayals of what roles we SHOULD serve in this world.

And that's rather alarming, isn't it? I don't know about you, but I don't want my daughter growing up and thinking she's got to fit into that mold. Not my kid. I will not raise her that way. The only thing she's got to fit into is our loving arms.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Yuck Of The Day

This evening, I was rummaging around in one of our cabinets for a plastic container. Imagine my surprise when I found this in there behind the container I'd selected...
The top juice glass in the stack has a brown liquid in it. I immediately hollered for my husband. I make him take a sniff. After all, it's HIS stupid parents that did this. But there's no smell. We suspect it was tea. Why put an almost-empty glass of tea back into a cabinet with clean, dry dishes and plastic containers? Perhaps this is another mystery that will never be solved. Lord only knows what goes through MIL and FIL's heads, besides dust and cobwebs. It just boggles my mind completely. I mean, you have a glass of tea (or so we hope) and you aren't finished with it. Instead of just chugging down the rest of it, or leaving it on the counter, or even washing it out and putting it on the dish drying rack, you hide it behind clean dishware in the back of a cabinet. I'm not even sure if they created this curious thing today or if it's from earlier in the week, actually. Which is even more alarming though it's not every day I'm fumbling around that awkward cabinet for tupperware.

Here's a photo of the mystery liquid that we suspect to be tea after I moved the glass onto the counter to get a better shot, before it met its' fate with soap and a rag in the sink...
See how little liquid is in there? Why would you even save that? What would possess somebody to do that? I think this is the most perplexing in-law incident to date, and that says a lot because there are so many of them. Unless...unless it's another piece of abstract art. But it was hidden and not on display. Maybe they weren't ready to have an exhibition yet. Who knows with these 2 trolls?!? In any event, this has been your yuck of the day!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Reason #5,967 Why My MIL Sucks

If any of you ever feel compelled to say, "Hey Jenn, take it easy on your MIL," I want you to take that and shove it right up your ass. I say this because after a long day of dealing with horribly-behaved kindergarteners who could all easily be poster-children for ADHD, when I got home today, this is what I discovered:
 Raelynn drew all over our bedroom door with markers.

And on this shelfy-poo thingie too.

Now, I'm not saying Raelynn isn't sneaky enough to escape and do this. Believe me, she is. But someone had to have given her the markers (they are kept on the highest shelf in our room). And that someone neglected to watch her while she was coloring for quite a period of time for Raelynn to doodle on these things. What I am saying is that even if you have the best of intentions and for some legit reason, you must turn your back for a few moments and something like this occurs, FUCKING CLEAN IT UP! Seriously! How fucking hard is it for MIL to clean this shit up? These are washable markers (thank GOD!) so all it takes is some cleaning products and a rag. Or even a wet wipe will do the trick most of the time. It took me less than 2 minutes to clean up the scribbles. But that old decrepit cow couldn't be bothered.

And this, my friends, is just one of many reasons why trying to be nice to her is such a challenge. She just suckity suck suck sucks.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Book Of Duh

This evening, I realized it's been 2 weeks since I've written a new post. It's not for lack of material, just lack of energy. This year, I have 20 hyperactive kindergarteners in my class. I'm pooped, and I have an active toddler to come home to. Most nights, I just want to veg out. But tonight, I realized I have to write something. My 2-year blogiversary is coming up and I can't have so few posts per month, can I?

And as I sit here typing this, my husband is innocently shattering my concentration by loudly eating fried rice. I turn and glare at him. How can you make THAT much noise eating fried rice? He's scraping the plate with every spoonful, unaware of the nerve-jangling impact it has on me. And the chewing! Dear GOD! THE CHEWING! I love Jeremy so much but sometimes in moments like these when I'm not actually looking at him while he's eating, I have to turn and look at him to make sure it's really him and he hasn't been replaced by some extraterrestrial bone-gnawing beast grinding skeletal remains into a powdery dust. It's a culture thing though. It's just how people are here. Take his parents for example. If you sat around the 3 of them eating together, you'd drink as much beer as I do in their presence too, I promise you this.

If you've read my blog before though, you know that most things my in-laws do are extremely irritating. I could let most of these things go and not give them another thought. But added together, they become unbearable to me. The last few weeks since I started work, I've come home to messes, dirty dishes put away in the cabinets with the clean dishes, vile smells that have nothing to do with baby diapers, unsafe objects within Raelynn's grasp and a whole host of other irksome treats.

But the thing that sent me seething and spluttering with curse words from around the world was the destruction of books. More specifically, the books we have for Raelynn. What caused me to foam at the mouth was that we'd already had this problem before when one of my idiot in-laws allowed Raelynn to destroy a very nice pop-up book that my brother and sis-in-law had sent us from Singapore. In addition to having my husband tell them more curtly not to touch the English storybooks, I moved the books out of Raelynn's room and into our room. We have a built-in bookcase in our room and I just tucked them onto there. I figured they'd be safe from the unwashed fingers of the morons, but I was wrong.

Last week, Jeremy and I came home and found Raelynn prancing around with 2 of her English board books. Don't even say it. Board books SHOULD be ok. But not with our kid. She has actually taken bites out of them. And destroyed the spines. I didn't know you could do these things to board books but apparently you can when you are being supervised by 2 of the dimmest people around. I didn't hide my annoyance either. I yelled in English but was careful not to say anything that would anger Jeremy. Calling his mother a fat toad to her face would not be in my best interests. He, more calmly, began to interrogate her on the matter. I didn't catch all of what he said, but I did hear him tell her to please not touch those books and to keep away from the book shelves.

But of course, do you think my in-laws fucking listen? No they don't. Which is why I have a hard time respecting them. Don't touch my personal shit, especially if I have asked you nicely not to do so already. A few days later, after MIL left, I noticed Raelynn's Beauty and the Beast: Friends Are Sweet book on one of her high-up shelves in her room. I know I didn't leave it there. I stalk over to it and snatch it off the shelf. I leaf through it and find some more tears on some of the pages AND that the pages had been taped back to the spine of the book. Oh fucking lovely. Really. Thanks for fucking listening and not touching my shit. You can't even read English! Why are you touching this book?!? WHY?!? This is why everything we ever have that starts off new instantly looks like shit when these 2 fuckwads come over. The new mop? Within one day looked like it had been used to mop up mud in a landslide. The kitchen sink? After having the repair guy fix the loose faucet, the very next day, that old cow-faced zombie knocked it loose again. All the coloring pages my precious angel did that I put away for safe keeping in a place my in-laws shouldn't be digging in? You guessed it...all over the floor, half of them torn to shreds. Everything they do is so totally DUH! UGH!!!!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

What The @#$%

Today when I came home from work, I could tell FIL had been here. How did I know? THIS is how I knew...

Given his fondness of package tape on other items (see here and here), it's rather obvious this was his doing. What you're looking at is a power strip on top of our dresser in our bedroom (along with some of my lotions just to the right of it). Why is there a power strip here? Well, if you've ever lived in this country, they seem to put power outlets in the damndest places, if at all. On the wall directly above this funness, there is an air-conditioner. And naturally, there was nowhere to plug it into. So, we creatively used the power strip to make things happen. I've seen this all over here and have no other conclusion to draw but that it is a Chinese thing (and possibly Korean thing since they do it at our school too but maybe that's because the school is in China). This place is full of half-assed electricians (and half-assed everything, actually).

Here is a closer picture:
Just look at that handiwork!

So now, you must be wondering WHY my FIL did this. Is it his next art project? Oh no. See, this was his way of "protecting" Raelynn. That's because my in-laws are too insipid to actually watch Raelynn. Never mind that we tell them not to let Raelynn play in our room, especially not unattended. They let her into our room and let her do what she wants. So she climbs onto our bed. Then she climbs onto Jeremy's nightstand, which is to the left of all this (not pictured). And from there, up she goes. And instead of curbing that behavior by telling her "No" very firmly and repeatedly and then removing her from there, they let her do whatever she fucking wants. Because they are absolutely the most idiotic and deranged people ever. Back home, no one would let such incompetent boobs watch children. Here, every family has a moron or two that you're stuck letting watch your children. How the population in China is so enormous is beyond me. Every day, I wonder how in the world my husband came from his parents. It is the most perplexing thing I have ever known.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Accessorize With MIL!

Would you take beauty advice from someone who purposely cuts their hair like this?
Of course you wouldn't! And neither would I. Perhaps MIL is a few dumplings short of a dim sum after all, much as I've suspected for a while. Today, when I came home, I made a discovery. A very odd finding indeed!

See, Raelynn has this one cabinet she loves to open. Even though it has a child-safety lock on it. She KNOWS how to bust that one open. We should have known when she was lurking around her daddy as he put it on there. Once we saw there was no stopping her with that cabinet, we took out anything that could be harmful. But there are still tons of things in there that are annoying to clean up if she gets into it. Try playing 52 pick up with the whole deck scattered about your house in the most random places. And of course, 2 people who lack a full deck are left in charge to watch Raelynn. Which means they just LET her open that cabinet up and take what she wants. Lovely, huh? Fucking morons.

Anyway, I hear the tell-tale sounds of Raelynn opening the creaking cabinet doors and I dash from the kitchen in a flash to stop her. She's pilfered some giant metal bolt-like thing that she can't swallow thankfully but I fear with her newly acquired throwing skills, she'll lob it at something, like one of the mirrors, that can break. I steal it back and go to lock up the cabinet, which also involves me TAPING it shut. But the in-laws just take the tape off. They have no fucking reason to enter those cabinets, mind you. There is no food in there. There is nothing they need to use in there. Yes, they suck. They suck big time.

But today, I saw something new in there. It was a plastic basket that was not in there before. Perplexed, I showed my husband and he too was dumbfounded. Would you like to see the magical mystery basket? Follow me, please...

For starters, let's check out the basket itself. It is absolutely filthy. Jeremy and I would never put something like this in the cabinet without cleaning it up. It looks like someone (MIL? FIL?) dug it from someone's garbage. Dig the stained and dirty pink paper lining the bottom too. It's quite disconcerting than an adult who is aware of how sneaky our child is would put something that has small, chokey items in it within reach of a toddler. You can see under the protractors (one of which has Hello Kitty on it) that there's a small, metal pin or button, a couple keys, bobby pins, gold twisty ties, a calling card (likely expired), and MIL's must-have fashion accessory pick for Raelynn...obviously used, ancient and rusty butterfly hair clips. Next up, a close-up of one of the hair clips...

I tried my damndest in the fading daylight to get a good shot of this. I'm not a professional photographer so shove it. At any rate, you can still see the screw in the clip (much like the screws in MIL's head) is rusted. Ugh.

Here is just another angle with different lighting. I moved it by the window to catch more of the fleeting last bits of the sunlight. The flash was just whiting out most of my other shots at this point.

Jeremy and I stared at the basket with alarm for a few more moments. Then, my husband makes me proud. "Hide it where she'll never find it," he commands me. And just like so many other items before it, the basket from hell tumbled into the vortex of ugly things from MIL never to be seen again.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Time After Time

It never fails. No matter how many times you tell my in-laws something, even if you tell it to them in Chinese (and even if their own son tells them himself so there is no chance of a fuck up), they just don't fucking listen. Maybe because their accent makes Chinese sound like a herd of yaks being boiled alive. Maybe we should try speaking it the way they do.

In any event, I've only been back at work for one week. And actually, we didn't work on Monday and the kindergarten children didn't come until Friday. Tuesday was my first day of teacher orientation. Jeremy had told his mother I didn't need to be at work on that day until 10am so she didn't need to come until 9:20am. Guess when that hag-faced beast rang our doorbell? At 8-fucking-30. I was in the bathroom when it arrived and when I came out of there, I gave her my trademark face of death. Jeremy said she misunderstood him. Does she just not listen? Or does she just do as she pleases because she's a manipulative, pushy toad who tries to steal every precious moment I have with my daughter away from me?

Of course, the rest of the week, I had to be at work at 7:30am so she spoiled my last chance to enjoy taking my time in the morning before I returned from vacation. During the week, she's done a few small things to irk me. Time after time, being reminded to use cleaning products never sinks in with her. But I honestly let all those annoying little things go...until tonight that is.

About 40 minutes ago, we got a phone call on the land line. No one calls it but them (and once in a while, some idiot friend or relative who hadn't kept in touch with my husband's troll parents and didn't know they were living in one of their other properties) which is why I never answer it. As Jeremy went to answer the phone, I hollered out that it was my weekend and they are not to intrude on it. I knew what they wanted before he even picked up the phone.

It was nearly 7:30pm and I was in the middle of my bedtime routine with Raelynn. I'd just bathed her and brushed her teeth. Now I was giving her some milk before story time. When my husband hung up the phone, he informed me that just his father was coming over to bring us food. What a crock! Seriously. My own parents would be unhappy eating before 7:30pm themselves, and once upon a time, I ate dinner much later. Even living in Seoul, Jeremy and I never ate dinner very early. But having a kid changes all that. Raelynn was hungry when I first started cooking our dinner so I scurried to make things happen as fast as possible. Jeremy fed her some already-cooked chicken that he'd picked up earlier to keep her happy as I made us mashed potatoes and a spinach side dish. We were all done eating by 6:30pm. These invalids KNOW that unless we are out to dinner, we have already eaten by 7:30pm. And they themselves eat dinner at 5pm which is even earlier than we eat. So calling us at that time was a sneaky fucking move. I heard Jeremy telling them that we'd eaten already and Raelynn was going to sleep. But of course, they insisted on bringing over this food immediately. As if we were starving to death. I KNOW HOW TO COOK BETTER THAN YOU, BITCH! Geez! I don't need your greasy, improperly refrigerated "food." Gag.

My husband promised that just his father would be coming to drop off the food and go. I rolled my eyes and went to read Raelynn bedtime stories. I read her several stories. As I began reading the last of them, Pinocchio, the doorbell rang. But instead of just FIL, it was BOTH of them. I don't know what they were expecting...they bring us food and I'd let them barge in and bother Raelynn? Not fucking likely. I think they make food for us when we don't need it just so they can throw it in our face, as is the Chinese way. "Well, we made you food that one time so you owe us." I don't fucking think so, fuckwads.

They left just now, thankfully. And without waking Raelynn. Time after time, they just don't listen. Time after time, they continue to intrude. And time after time, I feel trapped by them as though a boulder were tethered to my ankle and I were at the bottom of the sea. Don't get me wrong - I love my husband and am happy I married him, but I am so sick of his parents pushing themselves into the center of our relationship. I wish that just one time even, they would give us some space. I know, I know...I'll be holding my breath until the end of time before that happens.