Monday, June 30, 2014

History Repeats Itself

Just over 3 years ago, I was heavily pregnant with Raelynn and deep in the nesting phase of my pregnancy. It was after one massive scrubbing spree that I decided to document MIL's mess-making ways and, at the urging of many family and friends, turned it into a blog. You can see that post here.

And now it seems, after all this time and all this hard work, history is repeating itself once more, as I try to enjoy the beginning of my maternity leave, prepare for the new baby and spend time with my toddler. It's time to play another round of let's severely piss off the 9-month pregnant woman from Miami, apparently. My husband said that today, his mother would come and cook dinner for Raelynn. I could make what I wanted but she was coming over. Oh good. Because I love cleaning the house just so she can ruin it with greasy messes and other awfulness. Fabulous. Because I imagined the next 25 or so days to be filled with me cleaning up after all of you. How did you ever know? Grrrr...

Anyway, fear not because Jeremy and his family realized they were making a pregnant woman go insane and this time, stopped before she teetered right over the edge. I was promised my kitchen would be restored to the way it looked right after I finished cleaning, disinfecting and polishing everything in there by my husband and he took my maniacal stare quite seriously because he did one fuck of a job up in there. I was even granted reprieve from my in-laws until I ask them to come help or give me a break. And that, my friends, is all I really wanted in the first place. Time to myself without being bombarded with idiots. Because soon enough, I'll need all hands on deck up in here.

For now though, we can enjoy these lovely photos of my clean home and smile at all the changes in my home from that one post to now...
 Our bedroom, neat and tidy. Ahhhh. Not that MIL is to blame for messes in here. No, no. That is my husband's fault entirely. After the look I gave him earlier, I don't think he'll be crazy enough to make a mess in here for a while.

Our room from the other end. Gotta love the laundry drying rack. And yes, I cleaned our floor rugs too. Some people (coughcouchJeremyandhisparentscoughcough) track in so much dirt by not wiping their feet well enough on the entry rug. Sure, go ahead and wipe your feet on my bath mat. I looooooooooooooove getting out of the shower with nice, clean feet only to wipe them on a dirty mat. Thank you!

Living room is clean save for some of Raelynn's toys. She's at least got them confined to the area rug. If you have small children you know it's about impossible to keep everything off the floor. I pick my battles.

More of the living room/dining area.

More of Raelynn cutely eating a snack.

Raelynn's room which, hopefully, this weekend will get a big girl bed in it. Please don't ask why the fuck this is taking so long. I started that journey months ago but no. My in-laws wanted to butt in afuckinggain and apparently FIL has been modifying a twin bed at their home with some sort of frame on the side to keep Raelynn from falling out. I can't even wait to see what kind of fucked up mess this will be. He probably used tape, like he did when he tried to fix that satellite cable to the wall. You know I'll be blogging about this bed when it comes. Which better be this weekend. Because I threw an absolute shit-fit about it. And I should. Because this baby is due in a few more weeks and I need to get our big girl adjusted to her new bed. 
 She may have made a mess with toys on the rug but she kept her room tidy. Thank you, Raelynn! Good girl!

A view across the apartment.

And now, my kitchen, restored to full order. Do you know how long it took me to clean the crud that woman got all over our stove? Go on. Guess. Just guess. Because never have I ever had to work so hard to clean something in my life. 30 minutes. It took me 30 minutes. I did not continuously scrub it for that duration but I had to keep spraying it, scrubbing, then spraying again and coming back to scrub it. She is SO gross. Gah!

 More kitchen, more shiny clean disinfected floors! Yay!

Everything on the shelf is organized as well. It gets messy and crazy up there thanks to my husband. I will have to hurt him if he fucks it up again.

 Sink is freshly scrubbed and looking good!

 Yes, see this, sweet husband? This is how our kitchen should always look. Let's refrain from leaving food out on my clean counters. Or garbage. Or both.

 When it's clean like this, you can see all the counter space we've got. It's so peaceful.

 Ugly Chinese-style bathroom is now very clean too. You can' tell very well from this photo but I assure you this is the best it gets when it's clean. God, I miss US bathrooms.

Front entry after mopping, while rugs were hanging to dry.

 I had to marvel at this because I feared too soon, piles of stinky shoes from my husband and his parents would clog this area up, making it a minefield of crusty crappiness.

 Be it ever so humble, our shitty dining table. Wiped down and surrounded by bleach-scrubbed floors. Ahhhh...

 Now the rugs are dry and back in place. Don't step on that gray one on the left side of the photo with your shoes or I'll cut you!

Oh Raelynn. Mommy will give you a cookie if you get your shit off the floor.

 Ack! Look what's here! Run Raelynn! Run! There's a troll in our clean kitchen! Counter space on the right side vanishing, vanishing! Eyes burning, burning from the sight of those vile pants. Eeyyyyyyyyyyahhhhhhhhhhhhh!

 Mommy, what is wrong with Grandma's pants? They're so ugly!

Seriously. See those pants. WTF. 

 I'll end here with Raelynn laughing at the pants. Ok, she's not laughing at the pants so much as she's laughing at me retching over those pants, but close enough.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Someone Made Me Eat This: Pre-Birthday Edition

As I mentioned in my last post, today was my last day of school before starting maternity leave. Celebration is in order, especially since tomorrow is my birthday. But instead of having someone like Curtis Stone showing up to cook my dinner, I wound up with MIL. Boo.

Can I just tell you that nothing sucks worse than being hungry and pregnant EXCEPT when you're served food that disgusts you. Seriously. I've said it before and I'll say it again...if I eat like this after the baby is born, I will lose the baby weight in about a month. No joke. If you want to lose a few pounds, please come on over and have dinner with us when MIL is cooking.

Don't believe me? Walk this way...
Hey, look who's back! It's that nasty mystery meat and green bean dish she made the other day that I didn't eat. She made it AGAIN. It's not leftovers. She just made the same dish I wouldn't touch again. Um, aren't you supposed to be making us food I can eat? Don't you remember what my doctor said about too much salt? How am I supposed to eat this? Why can't you just steam some fucking green beans and leave them alone, huh? Ugh!

If you remember in the last Someone Made Me Eat This post, we were just served lu bao, which are very tasty and are basically similar to fried dumplings. Well, using the SAME filling as last night's lu bao, she flattened the dough and fried these up. How is this healthy? It is FRIED. It is GREASY. It might be a bit tasty, but I don't want to eat the same things over and over again, even if they are repackaged in flatter and more fried dough.

Wow, 2 leftover pieces of chicken. I'm saved! It would have been nice if she heated this shit up but no. And I love the plating. And the side of xifan which I ate tonight to simply ward off starvation for the baby's sake.

Tomorrow is my birthday though and fortunately for me, The Half-Assed Chef (that's MIL in case you were wondering) will not be serving up any combination of the same fucking dishes she always serves. THANK GOD. My husband is taking me to the Shangri-La so I can enjoy a sumptuous buffet of my favorite foods - crabs, lobster, steak, imported cheeses and more, not to mention a heavenly dessert table. Oh yes!

If you missed the other posts in the Someone Made Me Eat This series, please click here to catch up. Or read them again and laugh your ass off at my expense. You can always send me real food (waiting on a package from my folks and I swear I will rip that thing open and start chowing as soon as it's delivered) or if anyone wants to send a professional chef my way, I'd love that too.

A Real Pregnant Pause: Enter Maternity Leave!

Today was my last day of school for the semester. School actually ends on July 9th but because I'm officially into my 9th month of pregnancy, it is time for me to rest up before the baby arrives. I'm so happy to have 3 months off but I'll miss the daily buzz that comes with work. I'll even miss some of my students though I do not have to miss The Chihuahua. He's been absent all week and we have been told will probably not be coming back next semester. I know it's going to sound mean but YAY! Teaching class without him constantly causing disturbances has been so wonderful this whole week, for the other students as well as for me.

This morning as I settled in to finish my last schedule and newsletter, I was suddenly surprised by my coworkers with a cute little baby shower. Being as hormonal as I am, it brought tears to my eyes. I never had an actual baby shower when I was pregnant with Raelynn though my parents and my brother and his wife gave me gobs of gifts when I was 6 months pregnant with her. They truly thought of everything. I never had a baby shower in China for Raelynn because at the time, we'd just moved here and we had no friends yet. And now with this baby, it seemed silly to have a shower, since we have pretty much everything we need. Lots of hand-me-downs for this kid plus a few random new things.

And now here they were, busting out a cake and a big box full of lovely gifts from each of them. My buddy and work-brother, Jon, was kind enough to take these photos with his iPhone.

It was all very sweet. They sang "Happy Baby To You" while I tried not to laugh into the cake.

Here's a look at all the awesome stuff they packed into the gift box...

 Teacher Monica went to Beijing last weekend and hit up the IKEA. You can never have enough Kladd Smultron, I always say. I mean bibs. Kladd Smultron sounds like a name I'd have made up for a robot. Cute bibs though!

 A mobile, which is really sweet because this was one thing we never did get when we had Raelynn.

 Ah, now I don't have to worry about the girls fighting over spoons. Raelynn is SO territorial about her spoons now so this puts my mind at ease.

 It's one of those little cozy baby sleep sack thingies. MIL had bought one for Raelynn way back when but this one is much cuter.

My buddy Jon and his wife gave me these adorable onesies in various sizes. Adorable!

 I love that this says "Baby Plus" on it. Baby plus what, exactly? Or do you mean this is an extra baby? Baby Engrish. Bonus!

One Chinese teacher gave me this wonderful bag of assorted rattles. If you've ever had children, you know the more rattles, the merrier. This is a welcome addition to our current rattle stash.

 The other Chinese teacher gave us this cute set of little instruments. We had something similar for Raelynn which she destroyed in due time since, you know, it's all made in China. But this one seems a better quality. Still, we'll have to tuck this one away so Raelynn doesn't break it before her little sister gets to enjoy it.

And finally, a little sippy cup from IKEA. Another thing that Raelynn would have gotten territorial about if the baby didn't have one of her own...even though Raelynn is wayyyyyyyyyyyy past using sippy cups.

This sweet little surprise was a fabulous way to kick off my last day at school. I'll miss everyone but I'm sure 3 months will fly on by. I hope with it, the baby weight flies off too. Happy Maternity Leave to me!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Someone Made Me Eat This: Weekly Roundup

If you've missed my previous Someone Made Me Eat This posts, please click here to catch up on the barfy things I've been served for dinner by MIL.

This week, I decided to roll everything into one post because I've been hellabusy with my last week of work before maternity leave and just because I'm too pregnant to figure out which photos went with which day. I'll do my best to guess.

So let's see what MIL shat up in my kitchen, shall we?
Here we have an egg and leek dish. It's very ugly but it actually tastes good. Not the kind of thing I crave or decide, "Hey, you know what I really want to eat? That egg and leek thing. THAT is EXACTLY what I want for my birthday dinner." Yeah, not!

This scared me. Seriously. I did not want to go anywhere near it. Would you? I think I see some shrimp in there with those potatoes, and some weird, boney meat thing. I couldn't even bring myself to snag some potatoes out of there. It just needs to go away. Ugh. 
Fairly typical, for this province at least, a dish of cucumbers with crushed garlic, sesame oil and vinegar. It's not at all bad, but if you are served this at just about every meal as I am, it gets tiring. You might recall already seeing this in a previous post for the Someone Made Me Eat This category.

 This dish has potatoes, carrots, shrimp and cucumbers. I must declare right now that I absolutely fucking hate it when people cook cucumbers. They taste like wet farts. Not that I regularly dine on wet farts, mind you (unless all this food is considered into the wet fart category, then sure) but the smell and taste of cooked cucumbers makes me gag. Not like we don't have a bowl of cucumbers swimming in cloves of crushed garlic just adjacent to this. Why even put the cucumbers in here? It's annoying. And not delicious.

Here's something pleasant: steamed clams. Yay!

 And chicken wings. I can dig it. Of course, mine are better than hers, but she still does a good job making them.

Ok, this one was definitely on another night. It's a potato dish with clams in it. Oh and scary bits of meat. What bugs me about the clams being in there is that she served up a plate of steamed clams. So why put random clams in there? Leave the clams alone!

 See? Steamed clams. Perfect as-is. Stop throwing them into random dishes, MIL!

 Gah! What is this mess? Oversalted, over-soy-sauced meat and beans. Retchy-retch.

Oh egg and leek thing! Thank God you're back tonight! You saved me from having to eat that freakish mystery meat and beans dish!

 Oh look! It's cucumbers in garlic again. Yes, AGAIN. I hate being served the same things daily. It's not like it's leftovers that need to be used up. She makes this fresh each time. Can't you think of another way to serve the cucumbers? Oh, that's right...the only other way you can think up is to cook them with potatoes, shrimp and carrots. Of course!

 Roasted chicken from the market. This is always good. But you know what's not? The scary feet and head which you can't see from this angle. I didn't know until MIL flipped the bird over to pull apart some meat and there I saw its' cadaverous face gazing up at me. As I screamed in terror - not because I'd never been subjected to this gruesomeness in all my time in China but because I thought it had already been removed - I was also treated to the freaky feet which were tucked neatly into the bird. I totally needed to find my happy place after that.

 Xifan. My new trick to avoiding eating this tasteless mush is to claim I'm full.

These are called lu bao. I like them but as you can see, they are fried. So I try not to eat many of them. Fried things give my pregnant ass heartburn like you wouldn't believe. Inside, there's vegetables and ground pork. It's really quite tasty. Probably one of the tastiest things MIL makes. Problem is she likes to serve this a lot too which makes me less happy to see them. Oh and note the small bowl of xifan off to the right. Eat this and it's good for your stomach, MIL tells me. Oh, sorry MIL! Wo chi bo le (I am full).

Steamed clams. Again. Still delicious but I want some variety. She buys these fresh so why can't she buy something else fresh? Oh well. At least she can't fuck these up.

OMFG. Please STOP with the cucumbers and garlic. JUST STOP. She actually told me tonight that this will make me strong. Is that why she keeps serving it? Augh. Please, MIL, I totally appreciate the help. Really, I do. Thank you for cooking so that I can take a nap after work. But please, in the name of all that is holy, make some other dishes. PLEASE. I cannot eat the same things over and over and over. It is not in MY culture. I like lots of different things and while I don't expect you to suddenly turn out award-winning pizza or rack of lamb, I would really really REALLY love it if you could put more dishes into your rotation of crap you cook for us. Thanks!