Wednesday, November 26, 2014

MIL Meme Of The Day

I'm busy prepping for Thanksgiving tomorrow since I have to work all day. That leaves me with precious little time to whip up stuff when I get home. Jeremy will pick up a roast duck on his way home from work and I will throw together some sides. To save time, I've made our favorite chocolate lava cake in the rice cooker again. If you haven't made that, you need to, like, NOW. Seriously. You need it in your life. You'll thank me later. And I went ahead and hard-boiled the eggs that will become my deviled eggs. Mom sent me Stove Top stuffing and I'll make homemade mashed potatoes and creamed spinach. Easy peasy.

But as soon as I needed to wash something, I made a grisly discovery. And thus, a meme was born.
Seriously, can I just ask how hard is it to keep from getting the gloves filled with water? This is almost a daily occurrence with this nimrod. And it's not just a little bit of's like water-balloon-fight full. Idiot.

She's also competing with Patrick's awful in-laws for the grossest MIL award because I found this...
On top of the vacuum (that she NEVER uses) and a garbage bin, she has a giant head of cabbage, a peeled squash, a bag of spinach and under that bag of spinach, a bag of cucumbers that you can't see because of the big yellow bag of spinach. WHY IS IT SO FUCKING HARD TO PUT THIS SHIT IN THE REFRIGERATOR?!?

This shit too. A half of a luo bo, an apple (a pretty busted one at that), a tomato and a quarter of a white onion. An interesting assembly indeed. Did she leave it out so I could chuck it at her head? She's lucky she left while I was busy with the baby or I just might have.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Even Crazier Chinese Road Construction

In July, I posted about some nutsy road construction they were doing on our street. You've seriously got to check it out. Go here for that. Well now, just a few months later, we have more insane road construction happening on our street. Check it out...
 If our building were in this photo, it would be to the left. I think I see a sliver of it behind that tree on the left side. Look at this busted-up road! It adds to the dumpy ambiance of this crappy neighborhood, the one my friend Andrea had dubbed "the part of Qingdao that time forgot." Seriously. When I look up and down our street, I KNOW I am in a third world country.

Anyway, to the right, in orange, you can see a worker laying bricks. Because they also tore up the whole sidewalk. Just because. Photos of that in a moment, but first...

 Here's more of the view down the street to the right of our building.

 Now I'm turning back toward our building. I'll just let these next few photos speak for themselves...

 They poked these holes into the asphalt. I am soooooooo happy our windows don't face this way. I shudder to think how noisy that would have been.

 The sidewalk as we're walking to our building. Or rather what was the sidewalk. Now it just looks like a war zone. They are laying the bricks you see from the giant stacks down right now. I think they are working around the clock on this. No kidding...they were at it when I woke up and looked out the window at 5:45am.

 Taken right in front of our building while my back is to our building.

A close-up of the rubble.

I shit you not, this is about the 10th time they've destroyed our street like this since I've been living here. I moved here in November of 2010. So yeah. They are ALWAYS doing this. Just when you think it's peaceful again, they start demolishing something else. And through traffic can just forget about it. The honking is enough to drive any person over the edge.

They also have these big piles of sand that they're using with the bricks and they have thoughtfully lined the side with the smashed up road bits with it so that it is nearly impossible for 2 cars to pass each other, making a drive down our street a total nightmare.

People that like living here don't live in our neighborhood. Maybe I'd like Qingdao if I didn't live in this neighborhood too. Or have in-laws like mine. Then again, maybe I should look at it positively...perhaps the construction crews were simply digging me a hole from China to the US. Oh how I wish. If only it were that simple!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

I Am Not Alone

Have you ever read my blog and wondered if my Chinese in-laws are the only mess-making slobs or if other Chinese people behave similarly?

Well, wonder no more, because today's post revolves around a photo my friend/Western boss, Patrick, gave to me. See, we are both official members of the unofficial Chinese Spouse Club. Sometimes during our breaks, we wind up trading horror stories about our in-laws. I'm not sure who has worse in-laws...Patrick or me. I'll let you decide. One thing is crystal clear though as I scan our apartment for more dough in random places...I am not alone in my suffering of incompetent boob-brained Chinese in-laws reeking havoc on my personal habitat.

Let's take a look at this photo of Patrick's kitchen. He explained that he has given up on cleaning the kitchen because moments after he cleans it, it resembles Chernobyl once more, as shown below.
There is SO much to discuss about this! Where to start? The green onions and other assorted vegetables on the floor. And is that a cigarette I see?!? Random green pepper on the window sill. Oh look! They have a luo bo on the counter too! Garbage on the floor. Every dish in the cabinet out on the counter, probably with food in it and even more probably left out for days. Geez! Patrick, I feel your pain, bro.

Apparently, this is what his in-laws consider to be clean. Only in China! Also, Patrick's MIL has some foot condition and when he gets angry with her about something, his wife gets upset and worries that his telling her to clean up after herself will make her die. Just like MY husband worries about his mom breaking into pieces should I happen to ask her to not treat our home like a pigpen.

Even though Patrick has the aggravating task of hiring a replacement for me when we get approved for Jeremy's visa, I think he's secretly rooting for me to escape the hell that I must endure with my husband's parents. Meanwhile, Patrick is surely counting down the days until he and his family go to the US for winter vacation, aren't you? Thanks again for sharing your kitchen katastrophe with us!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Long Time, No Yuck

I've been up since 4:30am so I'm going to get right to the point.

May was the last time I found a yuck in our home. Not counting MIL's cooking. Yucks are generally hidden somewhere. Today's yuck was hidden in a cabinet, much like the first yuck.

Unfortunately, I have no photos of this. I was reaching into the cabinet, which, as it turns out, was the same cabinet I'd found the first yuck in, groping for a large Tupperware container to hold crab shells. See, MIL made crab for dinner, which was mighty kind of her, so we needed something we could toss the shells into as we ate. I grasp a rectangular one and yank it out and suddenly, SPLASH! My feet and the floor are bathed in some sort of liquid. It's opaque and slightly resembles chicken broth. There's no smell that I can detect and I'm surely not going to put my face close enough to check it out. I scream. Jeremy runs in and sees it. He just shakes his head and tosses me a rag. Shouldn't he be the one cleaning up after his troll mother? Yeesh. What the hell was that in there anyway? Someone help me.

But wait...there's more! After dinner, I have Raelynn clean up. I'm helping her and that's when I discover THIS on my sofa:
What. The. Fuck. Do you know what this is?

It's d'oh! I mean DOUGH! Yes, dough. Stupid cow left a blob of dough on my sofa when she was making her baozi (those retched steamed stuffed bun things).


How does one leave shit like this on someone's sofa? I'm not upset about the sofa as it's pleather and coming apart. I'm just upset that I seriously almost sat in it and that she makes messes like this and couldn't be bothered to clean it up. No, no. Really, that's ok. I'll just work all day after getting up at 4:30 in the fucking morning to feed a baby and put her back down to sleep and have her wake up 30 minutes later wanting to eat her little hands and roll over and laugh and play and all kinds of cute shit while I feel like I might drop dead from the exhaustion AND THEN I'll clean up after you because Lord knows you can't possibly put the baby down in the crib for 1 minute to clean that up. Or do that while she sleeps. Oh no. It's so hard FOR YOU to watch a baby AND cook food.

And you know what sucks? She left one of her ugly scarfs on the sofa because heaven forbid she would use the fucking coat rack by the door and I was thisclose to using it to wipe up the dough. I should have just done it but me and my big mouth had to tell Jeremy what I was plotting to do and although he laughed, he turned to me quite seriously and told me not to do that. Ruin my fucking fun why don't you? Gah!!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Good Stuff

I always liked Chinese food growing up. When we went to our favorite Chinese restaurant, which was a place right around the corner called Jade Garden, I was always delighted. I loved the shrimp with lobster sauce. If you ask my brother and my dad, they'll have slightly less found memories because I didn't want to share my shrimp with anyone. If they tried to take a shrimp from my plate, I cried. Sounds like Raelynn, huh? Anyway, I still get teased about this. Except when they come visit me IN China because at least here in Qingdao, there is no shrimp with lobster sauce.

Yes, Chinese food in America is quite Americanized. But that doesn't mean that all of it is made up to pander to our American palates.

You might think based on my Someone Made Me Eat This posts that I dislike authentic Chinese food. True that I grow weary of it if I have to eat it daily, I truly like Chinese food. When it's prepared properly. And we've seen how MIL prepares it. Jeremy laughs every time I tell him his mother makes me hate Chinese food. And he also smiles big when I tell him he makes me fall back in love with it.

My husband knows a thing or two about flavors. Plus he's lived abroad in Korea before and he's eaten food from other countries. So when he cooks, he really makes things taste good. I wish he'd show his mom how to cook.

Sure, she makes some things good. Her dumplings are pretty good, especially the ones she makes with leeks and pork. But I hate that she uses the flour that she uses. It makes everything taste very gummy and glutenousy. Jeremy once didn't understand my complaint about the flour. Why couldn't I use it to make pie crust or bread or all the other stuff I wanted to make with it? Why did he need to buy more flour when we had a giant sack of it? Now he knows better. But she still doesn't. She insists the flour she buys is the best. Of course she does.

On weekends, we like to go out for a meal. We're mostly saving our money for America, but we can afford to eat out somewhere at least once a week. Places that serve Western food are usually much more expensive so unless it's a special occasion or I'm dying for something I can't make at home, we usually go out for Chinese food.

Even though MIL cooks for us 4 days a week, I really don't mind going out for Chinese on a Sunday afternoon. Because we always go somewhere good. Like the Sichuan place.

That's what I call it. There are tons of Sichuan restaurants here. This one is close to Minjiang Road. It's always got gobs of people in it. My friend Jon and his wife introduced it to us and we keep going back because it's really quite good. They've got lots of spicy things, which is why we're thinking of taking my parents there when they visit in February, if it's still open during the Chinese New Year that is. If I want to eat there, I just tell my husband "The Sichuan Place" and he knows what I want.

Sometimes, I simply request barbecue. Chinese barbecue is so popular in Qingdao. There are lots of good places. I just let Jeremy use his expertise as most of them can be dirty. And by that, I don't mean the floors (most places in China have dirty floors) but the food. My husband says that many barbecue places will use rotting meat or lie about where the meat came from. He looks for places where you can see the kitchen and where it's very crowded. We're currently trying to decide which place will be open during the Chinese New Year because squid on a stick and beer will make my dad the happiest daddy ever.

But my favorite of the casual Chinese places in Qingdao is without a doubt the one I call "Ugly But Delicious." This place rules.
Excuse the craptacular photo. I was sitting in the car with the children while my husband ran in to get an order of dumplings on our way home from church the other day. I'll get to those in a moment.

This place is called Jiaozi Guan, which Jeremy says basically means "House of Dumplings." It has other stuff too. It's a hole in the wall, as my folks would call it, but if we have a chance, we'd love to take them here. The decor is blah and the floors are often scary but the food is served up by a chef that's quite famous in Qingdao. I admit, the first time my husband took us here, I was very skeptical. Then I took a bite of the food. Since then, I often request we eat at this place.

They have pepper steak, which you'll find in Chinese restaurants in America and it is SO good. The Sichuan Place I mentioned before also has that dish but this place does it much better, much cheaper and gives you a larger portion too.

Because of MIL, I feel kind of blah about dumplings now. Unless we get them from here. Especially if they are filled with cucumber and egg. I know, I know. That sounds barfy but let me just tell you how fanfreakingtastic those are. I am entirely serious when I say they are the best dumplings I've ever had.
Unlike MIL, they use a good flour and they focus on the filling, not the wrapping. When Jeremy told his mother how wonderful these dumplings are and how we like that the casing is so light and not too thick she told him that they were being cheap for not using enough flour. I'm not joking. I laughed so hard I cried. Even Jeremy laughed. God, she's hilarious, right? Yes, that's it. Because flour is so expensive. NOT! MIL flies through flour and oil like the world is coming to an end and she needs to use it all in one night.

Anyway, if you're in Qingdao and reading this, Jiaozi Guan is on Jiangxi Road. Take a Chinese person with you if you cannot read or speak Chinese as the menu is completely in Chinese with no photos. It's worth it though, I promise. Amazing food, and great prices too.

Oh, there is one more thing I've found to love about food here in China. And that's these little snack sandwiches. We had them at a barbecue place not too long ago and I fell in love with them. While out shopping in Taidong the other day, Jeremy saw a place selling them and picked us up some to try. He watched as they were prepared, mentally taking notes so he could try to make them for us at home. The ones he bought us were really delicious. That night, Jeremy made us some more.
 Here's Jeremy's Chinese sandwich after a few bites. Very tasty!

 My husband, the sandwich model.

Mmm...mmm...mmm! That's one tasty sandwich! It's slow-cooked pork chopped up with onions and peppers. Only we didn't have onions and peppers so he left that out this time. It was still good though, but I am looking forward to his next batch. Thanks for helping me enjoy Chinese food again, Honey! I love you!

Monday, November 17, 2014


Wanted for uncivilized behavior: this stupid woman...
My husband snapped these photos while we were out in Taidong on Saturday. What you are looking at is a woman holding her child over a sewage grate so the little girl can pee. IN FRONT OF A RESTAURANT. Which likely has a bathroom.

Yes, this is not in some remote place, far from any buildings. This is on a busy street lined with eateries. And they have bathrooms within.
Here is a better angle so you can see what this lazy woman is up to. Why do people still do this here?!? Totally nasty. As a mom, I'd absolutely have sympathy if there was no place containing a bathroom around but as you can see in these photos, that is simply not the case.

It boggles my mind that people STILL do this here. WHY?!? Please stop! Gah!!!

Someone Made Me Eat This: S.O.S. Help Me

I haven't done a S.M.M.E.T. post in a while. I've just been too lazy to keep track of all the crappy food MIL makes for us. Thankfully, none of it has been as THIS meal. Lately, she's made things I like but the problem is she makes those same things over and over. Like every day. To the point where I just want to cry. If I wasn't breastfeeding, I was just starve myself, but Seoul needs me to eat, and thus, my torture begins.

Today I decided that no matter what, I'd be sure to photograph our meal. So here you go...
 Augh! What is that? Vomit soup? No, it's just MIL's cabbage and egg soup. It looks far more disgusting than it tastes, which I guess is a positive. Still, it's not anything I seek out to eat and I resent being told it's delicious and I have to eat it. Tell me it's delicious and I have to eat it one more time and watch how quickly you will be wearing it.

 Um...what? Are those random picked-clean bones in there? It's scary, isn't it? It kind of reminds me of the owl barf pellets that we had to pick through in middle school science class.

What's extra funny about this is that last Sunday, I'd made roasted chicken with vegetables using the poultry seasoning my mom sent. It was perfect and Jeremy and Raelynn devoured it. Jeremy told me 5 times while he was still in the process of eating it that I should make it again as soon as possible. So I did yesterday but with pork because MIL has been overdoing it with the chicken lately. And again, it was heavenly. I guess my husband relayed this information to his mother who did her best to duplicate my special Sunday dinner.

Can't blame her for trying, can I? The good news is that it only looks disgusting. It tasted great (though nowhere near as wonderful as mine did). The bones you see are from the chicken she cooked in there, which she cut up into pieces and scattered throughout the dish. Why leave the bones then? So weird, but then again, so is she.

 Close-up of chicken bone. Mmmm...not!

And here we have fried and greasy fish with lots of bones in it. I hate how people eat these tiny fish here. I'd use this to catch a big fish. The worse part is my husband makes me eat it because "fish is good for you." Yes, that's true, when it's not fried in gallons of oil. At least he picks out the bones for me. But I resent having to eat this. I like cooking and it makes me happy when I get to cook and eat things that I like. Instead, 4 days a week I am forced to eat Chinese food, which I used to like until I had to eat her substandard retchtacular puke on a plate. When Jeremy cooks or we go out to a good Chinese place, it's amazing how much happier I am to eat the cuisine from this country. I promise I'll blog about that very soon but for now, Mommy duties are calling.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

You Know You're In China When...

It's Saturday, and what better way to spend the day together than to do a little shopping out in Taidong? Or shopping anywhere, really. But today, it was Taidong for us. We went to the discount women and children's store in search of new jeans and socks for Raelynn. And we wound up with those things plus more hair clips for Raelynn, and make-up and jeans for me.

We also went to a coffee shop run by one of Jeremy's old colleagues. Raelynn enjoyed some ice cream while we enjoyed our coffee. Unfortunately, they didn't serve food so we had to look for a place to eat after that.

One of my new favorite finds here is this meat sandwich. It's slow-cooked pork on a bun...a Chinese sandwich of sorts. It's a popular street food here, and when I fell for it, it made Jeremy happy because I'm always complaining about something here. It's true, but what he forgets is that I do like Chinese food - when it's not made by the hideous troll that haunts my kitchen way too frequently. As we walked in the general direction of the car, he spied a place that sold them so we popped by there and got some to go. Jeremy watched vigilantly as the sandwiches were prepared while Raelynn, Seoul and I waited. As we stood in the adjacent alcove, I noticed something odd.

Well, it would be odd anywhere else, but in China, it's not surprising. I've been here so long now that this shit never surprises me, but it still makes me laugh because it's so perfectly half-assed.
It's a little hard to see, but please look at the thing hanging just above that guy's head, right next to the pole.

Do you see it now? Yes, it's a power strip. Just dangling there, in case they need to plug in another kiosk. Because that's safe. Of course. Only in China. And Korea too. I've seen some unsafe shit over there too.

And now, for my favorite sighting of the day, something that makes me happy to live on this side of the earth. When we move home, we'll never see this kind of stuff. It's just so delightfully wacky...

This is the name of a new restaurant out in Taidong. Find Crazy. Jeremy said according to the Chinese (not pictured) they were saying their food was so crazy. Ha! Maybe we'll try to eat there the next time and see just how crazy it is. For now, I'll just enjoy their awesome caveman sign.

Kids Say The Darndest Things Again

You can always count on kids to make you laugh. And sometimes they're the most hilarious when they don't even know it.

I've blogged about this before, which you can check out here, but it's been a while. This one comes to us courtesy of the other kindergarten teacher, Jon. We laughed for a good 20 minutes about it. You probably will too.
It's the last word.

See it?


Bwahahahahahahaha! It's made even funnier with "lick" right above it. "Dick" should have said "dock" but I guess this particular student got confused with "lick" and put an "i" instead of an "o." Funnier for us though. Ah, Word of the Day! Creating fodder for us English teachers to help us endure the work day!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Eggstra! Eggstra! MIL Still Sucks!

Some things never change. Ever. Of course she still sucks. It's like MIL looks for new ways to make me despise her. Maybe in her pea-brain, she's thinking, "Let's see if my daughter-in-law will really lunge at me with the butcher knife if I do this..." You have no idea how hard it is to restrain myself. No, I'd never stab her or even kill her. But I seriously must fight the urge to smack her upside the head. On a daily basis.

Today, the only difference was how strong the urge was and how close I came to living the dream of bopping her on the head.

We have an arrangement, as you are likely aware if you are a regular reader of this blog, that Mondays through Thursdays, she cooks dinner after I get home. I hate this arrangement but if I don't accept her help, I will never get to spend time with my Seoul, who, incidentally, will turn 4 months this weekend. Jeremy ordered her to leave me alone on Fridays. I am so happy every Friday because, for one, it's the weekend. And for another, I don't have to see that buck-toothed zombie for 2 whole days. Yay!

Each Friday, she basically leaves as soon as I get home and I am absolutely delighted. Raelynn plays while I nurse Seoul. Then I sing songs to my baby and play with her until she gets sleepy, which doesn't take long. Once she's asleep, I cook dinner. I don't make anything big and crazy but I do plan ahead and think of cool things I can make in 30 minutes or less. 45 minutes tops. Today, while on the bus home, I remembered we had bacon. And pasta. And I knew right then I'd make spaghetti carbonara. And if we still had lettuce, I'd make a fresh salad and homemade ranch dressing  to accompany the carbonara. Perfect!

So today, I feed Seoul and plop her into the crib while I go take the bacon out of the freezer. And that's when I discover MIL is cooking something. Incredulous, I ask her what she thinks she's doing. It's Friday and I'm cooking, not her. I am trying not to explode, but I seriously just want to grab her by the throat. I am so sick of being forced to eat her vomitous cooking creations. Is it so much to ask that I get to cook something I like on the weekends?

MIL tells me she's making an egg for Raelynn. It's just after 5pm now. An egg? I ask her. Why? I'm going to make dinner shortly, I tell her. But Raelynn's hungry, she tells me. Yeah? She just ate a snack on the bus. She's not going to starve if she has to wait 30 more minutes for her dinner. I tell her that if she gives her an egg now, she won't eat her dinner properly. But that evil cow goes about her egg-making ways and I curse at her in English, but without shouting so she can't whine to Jeremy that I shouted at her. She's no idea what I'm saying to her but I'm sure she knows I'm pissed.

Seoul falls asleep and when I come out of our room, I'm thrilled to discover MIL has gone to her house of farty smells and greasy grossness. I whip up spaghetti carbonara so delicious that my mom would be proud. Seriously, it was perfect. My salad was crisp and delicious too. And Jeremy surprised us by bringing fresh scallops, so we steamed and ate those too.

But Raelynn, who had asked for spaghetti, didn't touch it. She ate some of the scallops and a cucumber from the salad. Other than that, she was too full from the egg to dig into her portion of pasta. I think she took one bite of it. And it wasn't an "I don't like this" crybaby toddler issue. She was full. Now I was pissed. If MIL wants me to hate her even more deeply, she has succeeded.

I was fuming mad as I started writing this post, but Jeremy came home and we enjoyed our dinner and then some wine. And while we were unwinding, a wonderful idea popped into my head. On Monday when that awful woman is here, I will make a very big point of giving Raelynn a snack before dinner. A big snack. So she doesn't eat a bit of what that vile woman prepares. Then MIL will get a taste of her own medicine. Take that, cow!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Strangeness Afoot

Last weekend, Jeremy had one of his weekly soccer games. I know it sounds nuts, but when he told me he'd be home around 2pm and he wasn't back yet, I felt like something was wrong. It's not far from our home and when he says he'll be done by a certain time, he always is. If he were to go somewhere afterward with his teammates, he would have called.

He comes in 30 minutes later, hobbling. He hurt himself again. Remember the last time? Except this time, he wasn't whiny. He was playing it off like it was fine. He had a business dinner to attend that night and he didn't want to gimp out on it, pardon the pun.

But this time, it seemed like he did much more than just sprain it. He hit his heel bone and detecting fractures there can be a bit more tricky. To be sure, an x-ray is needed. I tried my best to check him out, thinking of what my radiologist father would do. There was no swelling or bruising. He could rotate his ankle without pain. But if he tried to stand on the injured foot, he could not do it. I feared it was broken but told him that an x-ray would tell us for sure.

He went to the hospital alone, despite my pleadings to assist him. He didn't want me to be stuck in the unkempt hospital for an undetermined amount of time with Raelynn or Seoul. Lord knows that would have been a nightmare. So we waited at home for him to return.

After about 4 hours, he's back, with a plaster cast.

"So it is broken then?" I ask, feeling sorry for him.
"I don't know," he tells me.
"Um, but you have a cast on your foot. That generally means it's broken," I declare.
"No, they couldn't read the x-ray and then they wanted to charge me 300 yuan more to do some other scan and then..." and he keeps explaining but I'm stunned. I'm still stuck on the part where they couldn't read the x-ray. I say so and he agrees. "Well, that's why I got the plaster, because I need to stay off it anyway and if it is broken then I don't want to pay 300 more yuan AND get plaster on it. They're just trying to scam me by making me take more tests," he says. I completely agree.

In China, it's really very common for them to push useless tests, medicine or treatment onto you. I consider myself very lucky to have had Dr. Wang deliver both my children because she's one of the few competent doctors here. Too bad she isn't a radiologist. At the very beginning of my pregnancy with Seoul, I'd gone for a check-up on a day that Dr. Wang happened to have off. There was another doctor in there and we went ahead with the ultrasound. The ultrasound tech said the baby looked good and healthy. Here, they do not give you giant print-outs of your ultrasound like they do in the US. They print it very small on regular printer paper. So imagine our surprise when this doctor tells us, after briefly glancing at the tiny picture, that there's blood in my uterus and we need to buy this medicine for it.

She kept trying to bully us into it and scare us, but we're no fools. We didn't cave into her extortion and we did not ever, not even once, see her again after that throughout all our check-ups at the hospital. Thank goodness. I hope she was fired. We had briefly considered changing hospitals because of it but I wouldn't hear of having anyone but Dr. Wang deliver my 2nd child.

Anyway, back to Jeremy's foot. The most fascinating part of all of this was how they told him they couldn't read the x-ray. So I asked him to explain about that. And he said they told him it was too blurry. He'd need some other kind of a scan "to be sure." He was trying to tell me the name of the scan but he wasn't making sense. Sometimes, we get lost in translation. I'm thinking maybe he meant a CAT scan but whatever scan they wanted was definitely unnecessary. How is an x-ray too blurry? I've never heard of that before. Like ever. Perhaps this kind of bullshit works on the uneducated masses of China, but it doesn't work on my educated husband. Or his wife, the daughter of a radiologist.

So to avoid paying 300 rmb more to be told for sure if it was broken or not, he just got the cast. His thinking was that if it was broken, he's saved us 300 rmb because they'd just put a cast on it if it was. And if it's not, well, the cast will help him from putting pressure on it and causing him more pain.

The next day, we got some good news - it wasn't broken! The morons somehow figured out how to read the x-ray. I swear I'm not making this up. This kind of stuff could only happen in China. What infuriates me the most, I mean besides so-called medical professionals trying to fleece us for more money, is that they must do this to so many people who have no earthly idea what's what. And no one stops this. They just allow people who are supposed to care for the sick and injured to con them out of more money. What bastards.

Our story ends well - Jeremy got his cast off and his foot is feeling much better.
For Lord knows what reason, he brought home the cast after they cut his foot out of it. Maybe so I could blog about it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Today's Blog Post In Meme Form

Because this meme I just created on this website perfectly sums up my frustration with MIL today. And every day, really.

Oh yes. And this one too...

Now that I've entered the world of meme generators, this could be dangerous. Stay tuned for more snarkiness from your favorite bitchy blogger soon, including how my husband broke but not broke his foot, nosy people who won't butt out that are not related to my in-laws and so much more.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Kitchen Nightmares

I've got lots to blog about but am too tired to really get into it now. But don't be sad because I have this short and sweet post to tide you over with.

Remember what my kitchen looked like the other day? Yeah. I didn't have to clean that up. But I did spend a considerable amount of time cleaning our kitchen this weekend. Because I don't want a kitchen like MIL's kitchen.

Despite this though, MIL is determined to convert our kitchen (as well as the rest of our home, from what I can tell) into the kind of grotesque hellish mess that her entire abode is full of. And I'm powerless to completely stop it because there aren't enough hours left in the day by the time I return from work to correct it. Any steps I take are completely destroyed the next day. Like when you write your name in the sand near the shore on the beach. Swoosh. Gone. And thus, so are my cleaning efforts. My wonderful husband does all he can but even working together, we cannot completely rid our home of the yuck that she constantly spreads around.

So today, I go crawl into bed early and attempt to catch up on the sleep I so desperately need, and while I do that, please enjoy these photos of what MIL left in our kitchen...
Do you know what I love about this? The fact that there are giant jugs of oil right by the stove? Ah, safety first, my friends. No, no. Not that. I looooooooooooove that there is an insane amount of apples piled into an enormous bowl OUTSIDE of the refrigerator. Not that there's room inside it for all 100 of her apples she brought for us. At least it's cold enough outside to leave apples out without them spoiling but we'll never be able to eat all of these before they go bad. Maybe I'd better whip up a pie...

Also, I just want to point out the green onions that she's also left out.

And the dried crud on the cabinet doors. I just cleaned those! I am the only person who wipes those down. I'm so glad I wasted my time doing that this weekend so she could gunk it up already. Thanks MIL.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Hurricane MIL Destroyed My Kitchen

Hurricane season just ended in my home state of Florida, but that doesn't mean I'm immune to Category 5 disasters right here in Qingdao. I cannot even begin to stress to you all just how happy I will be when my kitchen no longer winds up looking like this:
Or when we live in a place with a whole different kitchen. One that doesn't suck. One that isn't constantly being invaded by people who do THIS to it.

Please note that the above photo was taken AFTER she did some cleaning. Yes, AFTER. I had tried to snap a photo before but got caught up with the baby. She must be catching on that when I say, "What the fuck is this shit?!?" I'm talking about the unholy messes she's created.

Let's discuss this mess, shall we? She's piled a ton of cookery on the stove. She's left 2 giant containers of oil out. She left an assortment of dishes on the counter, next to her jumbo board she uses for rolling out dough for dumplings and that sort of shit. And that dirty rolling pin...memo to myself: go check the fucking drawer of kitchen utensils because you know old batshitcrazy MIL has probably thrown it in there without washing it. Oh and dig the dirty oily rag on the counter. I was just discussing that with an avid reader of my blog in the comments on another post. No matter how quickly Jeremy and I snatch up dirty rags and throw them in the wash, she will even more quickly grease up and grungify another one. If we didn't do that, I shudder to think how long she would go without washing a rag. Hang on. I almost threw up thinking about that. I think that will be what I use when I feel myself overdoing it on sweets. I'll think of the rag and I'll gag. And then I won't want to eat anything.'s just crazy enough to work! Goodbye, last bit of baby weight!

This is the other counter. The dish rack has been moved here, thanks to Jeremy. Don't ask. I hate it here. Although it DOES free up a lot of space on the other counter. You know, so MIL can stick random shit by the sink.

Anyway, just look at this shit. She never puts anything away. A bag of flour. A bag of peanuts. A pot filled with some meat dish. She served it to Jeremy but didn't even think to serve it to me. Pity, because it actually looked and smelled decent. No, no, no. Better serve Jennifer the baozi I know she hates. Baozi and cucumber sticks. Yes, my lovely daughter-in-law won't lob them at my big, fat lopsided head. NOT. You can see some of the baozi (those are steamed, stuffed buns by the way, in case this is your first time here) in that bowl by the electric kettle. And hey, by the blender, dig the beer mug FULL of green tea leaves. No joke.

 I moved it to the kitchen table to take better photos and show my husband. Lest anyone ever complain about the price of tea again. Or have any questions about who is wasting it. I'll give you a clue...MIL!

Just look how much tea is in there! Sweet Lord! And why are you using our beer mugs?!? My in-laws are so bizarre. Instead of using the countless coffee mugs we have, they use beer mugs or a glass I'd use for cold water to make their tea.

Half of that beer mug is filled with tea leaves! Gah! I give up. I'm going to throw in the towel. Or in this case, the oily rag.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Give Me A Hand, Won't You?

What do these gloves all have in common? Read on to find out.

Earlier this weekend, I went to wash the dishes and discovered that there were 3 right-handed dishwashing gloves at the sink. 3. Curious, I asked my husband who had 3 right arms in the family and he chuckled, saying I just had to make do for right now.

What did MIL do with my dishwashing gloves?!? Why do we only have them for the right hand?!? Also, I did not like this "make do" business. I know China is a third world country but it's not hard to buy a pair of dishwashing gloves here.

I am mystified.

In the bathroom, we keep an extra stash of old, worn-out dishwashing gloves for unpleasant chores or situations that don't come up often. Cleaning the air filters would be one. Scrubbing poop explosions from the baby would be another. Actually, it's more like HE than we. He started it. It's his collection of gloves. But last time I checked, they were in actual pairs with left and right hands accounted for.

And I thought 3 mismatched right-hand only gloves was a totally bizarre find! Jeremy checked them today and now there are 6 - yes, 6! - gloves and ALL of them are the right hand. Where did the left hand go? All I want is a pair of gloves that represent both of my appendages.

I mean, just LOOK at this!

Have you ever tried to wash your dishes with the wrong glove on one of your hands?!? Just give that a try, won't you? At least I don't have to suffer any longer at the hands of the 6 right-handed gloves. Jeremy stopped on his way home and bought us a brand new pair of gloves. Let's see how long these last before 1) MIL fills one or both with water when she's washing dishes 2) MIL rips one or both of them or 3) the left one wanders off to a home occupied by less nutsy people. Stay tuned!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Celebrating 100 Days Of Seoul

Technically, last weekend was Seoul's 100 Day Celebration. But MIL felt I might be too tired then and decided to have it this weekend. Which really made no sense. But whatever. I also wound up having a sore throat this weekend so last weekend would have been better. Oh well. In any event, here's how Seoul's 100 Day Celebration went. Click here if you want to remember what Raelynn's was like.

It was only recently that China decided to nix the one-child policy so most families have only one child. When that child hits 100 days, they throw a huge party, just like we did for Raelynn, where all the relatives show up and bring you envelopes filled with cash. In Chinese culture, to have another child and have another big party like that is considered greedy. We didn't care about getting any gifts...we just wanted to celebrate Seoul. So we kept it very small and MIL only invited the old people in the family.

Seoul and I had to pose with all of them.

 This is MIL's older sister. I'm pretty sure anyway. They look alike, don' they?

 Yes! Score! I finally got one of the Chinese relatives right. It is MIL's older sister. And there's MIL in the blue shirt and Raelynn is trying to give FIL sunflower seeds. Seoul watches.

 Ok now these this FIL's brother? I think it might be. God I suck at this. Sorry! And that little boy is a 2nd cousin to Raelynn.

Me and Seoul, trying desperately to figure out which relatives these folks are.

 So to honor our little guest of honor, we had a gigantic meal and gobs of beer. See? There are some things I love about China and this is definitely one of them. Jeremy helped his mom pick out which dishes to order so that I would not starve. Thank you, Honey!

 Jellyfish salad. I really dug this. Yum!

 Dates stuffed with peanuts. Another yum!

 Some sort of vegetable medley. Chinese-style of course.

 Spicy pickled vegetables. I was really surprised that there were peperoncini in this dish too. I haven't seen those since I was in the US.

 Here's a platter of assorted meat parts. With sauce. Which parts? I have no idea. I didn't try this one out. It all looked rubbery to me.

The Lazy Susan is beginning to fill up quickly. Now we've got steamed shrimp. Yum!

 While it might look like someone's dropped a turd into my soup, it's a sea cucumber. I just cannot get into these things. I do not like them. At all. But the soup surrounding it was really nice. It is quite the tradition to order a soup like this for your guests. It's basically showing off but everyone does it. I wonder if anyone else dislikes sea cucumber as much as I do but hasn't the balls to say so...

 A large bowl of soup and some other dishes are now on the table. To the right of the assorted meat bits was the dish I loved the most. It had squid and pork in a garlicky brown sauce. It was delicious! Also, I don't see it pictured but maybe by this point, we'd already gobbled it all up...there were these triangular pastries on the table. I have no idea what they are called but let me just tell I figured they were filled with the typical red bean paste. That they were typically dry, as most Chinese snack things are. Not these. They were buttery and flaky. My best guess on the filling is sweet potato. Whatever it was, it was heavenly.

 Just to show you how classy we are, we're drinking our beer from wine glasses. Because. Because this is China and people do this here. No really. In most restaurants, you'll get what we'd use as juice glasses in the US. But this restaurant down the street from our house really wanted to class things up a bit. So there you go. Beer in a wine glass...ou la la!

 The giant steamed fish has come out, which I've learned from all my big important Chinese dinners here, is like the fat lady singing. It signifies the end in most cases. So if you go to China and someone is taking you to dinner, try not to fill up too fast. There will be tons of food and then when you see the big fish, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Wear elastic pants too. Seriously.

Oh but no! Not today! We had a tomato dish, another soup AND this giant roasted big head. See the snout? God. I couldn't eat the snout or other facial features of course, but the meat inside was like pulled pork and it was divine. It was served with those thin pancakes, green onions, cucumbers and some hoisin sauce. Yum!

 Isn't she cute? She has a look on her face like she can't wait to get teeth so she can eat the food too. Love her!

 Why look who it is! It's MIL! And she's not annoying me for a change. I know what you're thinking...why would I let her hold the baby? Well, for one, I'd look like a huge jerk in front of all the relatives. For another, after all that beer (which did NOT help my throat, sad to say) I needed to pee. Plus, she didn't hoard Seoul like she did at Raelynn's 100 day party. Thankfully, she seems to have learned.

At the end of our meal, after the gargantuan fish and skull of pig, they brought us these fried balls. Inside, it was like a chewy rice cake thing (for friends and family back home, rice cakes in the US - those crispy Uncle Ben's things you eat when you're dieting - are NOT the same thing as rice cakes in Asia). These were awesome. It has a nice little message on there too sending us good wishes.

All in all, a nice lunch. I wish the beer had helped fix my throat though. Oh well. We went to the doctor today and now I'm feeling much better. Anyway, here's to 100 days of Seoul, and to 100 years more for my precious angel. Seoul, we love you so much. You make our little family so happy. Your smile warms us through and through and we can't get enough of your sweet little face. I can't believe a few months ago, I was holding you for the first time. And now, I'm treasuring every second because I know from Raelynn that you will grow way too fast and I'll be missing these beautiful baby days where I can cuddle you in my arms, where you won't talk back and where you have no teeth and just coo. Thanks for being my baby.