Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Completely Clueless

When you know you're moving away from your moron in-laws, life seems rosier. There's a light at the end of the tunnel. And you tend to overlook some of the annoying things, reasoning with your brain that soon, very soon, you will be flying over 8,000 miles away from them. Of course, my in-laws seem to really want to help...help me go completely insane before we leave that is.

Today, I came home and discovered this...
Yes, that's part of a green bell pepper on our dish drying rack. Why? Lord knows what ever goes through the head troll's empty head except a constant swirl of sawdust.

As I took the baby back into our bedroom, I noticed something less amusing...amongst all the toys in there, there was an open box of Raid plug-in mosquito repellent discs. Really? Because she has absolutely nothing else to play with. Let's give her a freaking box of poison! I holler to MIL and ask her what the hell is up with this being in the crib and she of course blames her idiot husband. OF COURSE! Not that I doubt he's probably the culprit but if you see your nutsy husband giving the baby something unsafe like that, how about telling him NOT to do that? Or taking it away? No, this couldn't possibly occur to MIL because she has such an alarming lack of common sense it's frightening.

But soon I will have the last laugh. It turns out that maybe they don't know quite when we are moving away. Jeremy confessed that he simply told them we were leaving this summer. So that will be interesting. I told him not to tell them until the day we leave. Ha! Bye Felicia!

Monday, May 18, 2015

More Encounters With Crazy People

 This photo is NOT of the crazy woman described in the post. Much thanks to Google for turning up this ge.

Just when I think I can't possibly be more aggravated with being in China, we had an encounter with a truly insane person on Sunday. Remember the crazy lady in the library? This next one just might be even more certifiable.

Church services are now held at the Crowne Plaza. We're still getting used to that but they sell cupcakes there for 10 rmb, which is a pretty sweet deal. In any event, we'd gone to the first floor so I could use the bathroom. It's a long wait if you ever try to use the bathrooms on the same floor as the services. As I went into the bathroom, I asked Raelynn if she needed to go. She said no and stood with Jeremy outside the door. But as the door closed behind me, she shouted to me that she needed to go.

So in she came. I let her go first and then I had her stand outside the stall, which I now regret, so I could go. The stalls are small and I had Seoul strapped to me. The stall doors were wooden with slats in them so I could still keep an eye on her. If I hadn't known Jeremy was right outside, I'd never have just had her stand in front of my door by the sinks. But I had a misplaced sense of safety. As I peed, I heard a woman come in. She began asking Raelynn lots of questions, like how old she was for example. I could tell from her accent that she was Asian even though she spoke English. I called to the woman and told her to please leave my daughter alone. "I'm her mother," I shout but she ignores everything I say. I whip out of the door and the woman is trying to coax Raelynn to go out the door. She's holding the door open and I can see Jeremy outside.

"What is wrong with you?" I shout at the woman. Now I'm furious. She ignores everything I say to her in English and obviously speaks English rather well and she turns to me and speaks in Chinese! What the hell?!? She tells me she was just taking the girl to her father. "That's not your business! I told you to stop bothering my daughter and you kept talking to her!" The woman begins pleading to Jeremy that she was just trying to be nice and this is the thanks she gets.

Jeremy is trying to make her go away. And he tells me it's because she IS crazy. He explains that when he was working at the nearby bank branch selling financial insurance, she came in a lot and she was totally crazy. Well, damn! No duh!

Mental illness is a huge problem in the world, especially here where no one wants to admit anything is wrong. Add to that the hierarchy-style society and you have a lot of messed up people walking around here with no one doing anything to help them because "it would be insulting to them." Yeah. It's sad, but hopefully people here will start catching on that this is a real problem and these are real illnesses that shouldn't be just swept under the rug and ignored.

I learned my lesson though...even if Jeremy IS indeed standing right outside the bathroom door, I will keep Raelynn and Seoul in the stall with me until I'm done. Especially next time we go to the Crowne Plaza. Eek!

Thursday, May 14, 2015


A few evenings a week, my in-laws take Raelynn over to the neighborhood mountain park. They're usually gone for about an hour, returning her to us around 8pm. Which is a little annoying but because we're moving away, I am letting it go. It won't be much longer we have to endure The Stupids. Thank GOD!

When I came home today, I found half of a watermelon sitting on our table. My husband had cut it open last night and wrapped the remainder of it with cling wrap. Now it was sitting out, sans wrap, attracting gnats. Who wants watermelon with gnat corpses? Oh me me me ME! NOT.

She saw me scowl at it and quickly covered it up. Why don't you take the tainted watermelon home and eat it then, if you like leaving food out for insects so much? Dummy.

Then, I went to turn on the satellite TV so Raelynn could watch Nickelodeon while I fed Seoul. And as I go to turn the cable box on, I see, sitting on top of the wires that connect it to the TV in a place the baby can't yet get to (thank GOD!) a gnawed on apple segment that was now rubbery and textured like it had been sitting there ALL day. Please note this was not there when I left for work. I grabbed the offending apple piece, chucked it at the table and just began shouting at the sky. "I hate it here! Gah! I can't wait to move!" Is she trying to make me even more excited about moving away? If so, job well done, though I sincerely doubt that's her intention.

Just after 8pm, as I'm almost about to worry, I can hear Raelynn in the stairwell. So I start to whip open the door. Only FIL and Raelynn are standing right there and he's stupidly rang our loud, noisy ear-splitting doorbell even as the door is opening. Because. He's. A. Total. Idiot. Hello???? Sleeping baby in here! I tell him as nicely as possible the baby is sleeping and he seems confused as to why this is an issue. Or he's just jerk. I'm not really sure about that, but what I am sure about is that very soon, we will be moving away and I won't have to deal with these troglodytes for a good long while at least. Hooray!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

No More Oven Lovin'

 Just so you know, this is NOT our oven. But ours is a toaster oven because in China, it's rare to have a normal-sized oven like we're used to in the US. To look at ours, you couldn't tell it's no longer working so I randomly selected this gem from a Google search.

Thank GOD we are moving soon. Because MIL broke our oven. Seriously. How does one do such a thing? I've no idea. And I suspect she'd have played dumb and denied it if she hadn't been using it to roast some ribs (which Jeremy taught her how to make so they're really good). Somehow, it broke while she was cooking them and she had to use that crazy barbecue setting on the microwave to finish them off. How is it she manages to kill, maim or ruin everything in our home? I have used this oven for the last few years with no problems. And now she starts using it to make her rib things and she breaks it. When this woman visits us in the US, I will not allow her to use my kitchen. NO.

In addition to killing appliances in our home, she simply has to do all she can to kill my good mood. So she stands there in the living room when I come home from work while I'm turning on the satellite TV. It's so quiet in our home that I can't stand it. I've never been the type to endure this kind of silence, even in my younger years. I need sound. But you know what sound I DON'T need? Her (or anyone for that matter) making that sucking noise people make when they have something in between their teeth. AUGH! Can we just make it a universal law that if someone does that in your presence that you can punch them in the throat, free and clear? Let's make that happen!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

My Marvelous Mother's Day

Happy belated Mother's Day to all of my mommy readers out there! I hope you had a wonderful day! For me, I'm still getting used to the fact that I am a mom. This was my first Mother's Day as a mom of 2 kids though. Last year, I was very pregnant with Seoul as we went out for lunch at a nice Italian restaurant. Click here if you'd like to read what I wrote for last Mother's Day. It's got some great old photos!

Anyway, in regards to this Mother's Day, I just want to say that this is, so far, the best Mother's Day I've ever had. Feel free to outdo yourselves next year, Jeremy, Raelynn and Seoul!

What did they do to make me feel so special? Well, let me just tell you that they perfectly figured out what would make me happy.

It all started the night before when Jeremy declared he'd give Raelynn a bath and send her off to bed. And then he picked up the awesomeness again in the morning with Seoul waking at about 5:30am. She does this now, which is rather annoying since, during the work week, I don't need to be up until 5:55am. But she's just so cute. She can't help that she rises with the early-rising sun. So when she woke up, Jeremy took her to Raelynn's room so I could get some more sleep. 30 minutes later though, she was wailing for me. So everyone came back into our room and we had a lovely family snuggle. I really love those precious moments when Jeremy and I can cuddle up with our kids. We laugh and play and soon, Seoul is sleepy and ready for her morning nap. So I put her down for the nap and Seoul gives me her gifts - she falls right asleep and she STAYS asleep. For 2 whole blissful hours. And I get to nap right along with her. And Jeremy keeps Raelynn quiet and busy that entire time so I don't hear a peep. In fact, I sleep so soundly that I am astonished when Seoul wakes and I see how much time has elapsed. I'm amazed.

As if that wasn't a wonderful start to my day, my husband, I discover, is making me breakfast. He made some sort of eggy-crepe-like thing and stuffed it with homemade hash browns. Holy fuck was it delicious! Way to go, Jeremy!

On Sundays, we usually go to church but Jeremy wanted me to relax and not worry about rushing around. So I took my time getting ready to be taken out to lunch. I rummaged through my closet for something I didn't hate, did my hair and makeup and then dressed both my daughters in adorable clothes. We killed some time watching The Take Home Chef on TV and while we did, I had 2 glasses of wine without anyone pestering me. Ahhhhh. Bliss!

For lunch, my sweethearts took me to The Diner. It's a Western restaurant with several locations. Usually we go to the one in May 4th Square but fearing it would be crowded, we chose the location in the Taigu area, near The Canvas, just in case it too was crowded. That way, we'd have plenty of other choices within walking distance. I have always liked The Diner, but I also like The Canvas too. Jeremy has never liked The Canvas though and wasn't up for trying it unless The Diner was a zoo.

But it wasn't. The downstairs was packed but upstairs, there were plenty of open tables. As we sat down, I noticed on a board of specials "Artichoke Pizza." I took it as a sign. We were meant to be there. This was the right choice. See, one of my most favorite things ever in this world are artichokes. Of course, it makes sense that I would also adore it on pizza. So we ordered an artichoke pizza, an appetizer of beef nachos and a burger. Drinks were also buy one, get one. So I got mojitos.

When our nachos came, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven - there was guacamole on them. REAL guacamole! Probably tied with artichokes on my list of favorite things is avocados and guacamole. It was perfect. Soon our pizza and burger came out, and those too were so beyond amazingly delicious. We'd never been disappointed with The Diner on any visit ever, but on this visit, I swear it was the best it's ever been.

Seoul had been happily distracted with a crazy straw. But with food on the table, she wanted a taste too. She's still breastfeeding but we're of course giving her bits of this and that to taste and try. She's had bread and pizza crusts before. I shared some of that with her this time too but she seemed curious about the burger. None of her teeth have poked through yet so I thought the soft burger meat would be perfect. I'm happy to say Seoul is my little American girl. She gobbled up the burger. And potato wedges too!

After all this food, I was stuffed. But Jeremy insisted on ordering the chocolate lava cake for us with 3 spoons. And to make it even sweeter? He took Seoul and held her so I could enjoy the dessert without incident. God was it good!

At dinner time, I was still stuffed from lunch. Jeremy made us a light dinner and did all the dishes too. Yes, the whole day was just one fantastic thing after the next. Probably because my husband knows very well "happy wife, happy life." Thank you, Jeremy! Raelynn and Seoul too! You made me feel relaxed, refreshed, appreciated and so unbelievably happy. I love you all so much!

Monday, May 11, 2015

They Know

I thought I'd mentioned it in one of my recent posts but a quick glance through them tells me that I neglected to write about it after all. What is that crazy broad abroad talking about now? Why, I'm talking about how my husband didn't tell his parents when we were moving away. Yes, really.

Jeremy told them that he was issued a visa to the US. He told them we needed to be inside the US before the date on the visa. But he did not tell them WHEN that would be. Even after we booked and paid for the flight, he still didn't tell them. He was putting it off, trying to figure out when he'd say something. Surely, they had to have an inkling.

But this weekend, after packing up 2 of our suitcases (leaving me to wonder how the heck to fit the rest of our crap in the remaining 4 suitcases, but that's a story for another time...), we had nowhere to put those heavy badboys. We shoved them out of the center of the floor but it's quite obvious the process of moving has begun for us. So Jeremy manned up and told them when we're leaving.

And MIL seems cool with it. They will come live in this apartment when we're gone because all the appliances are better. And we have internet that we paid for already. We'll get them a new computer so we can Skype with them too. Most of all though, MIL insisted we sell the car. I told Jeremy we should sell the car but he said he wanted to leave it for his parents. Which pissed me off because THEY CAN'T DRIVE! After exhausting myself explaining about depreciation in regards to motor vehicles and how maintenance is still mega-important even when you don't drive a car for a long time, this lecture plus what his mom said got through to his man-brain and now we'll be selling the car.

I kind of feel sad about the car. It's been a member of our family. Even though I never drove it personally, it's been our little car for most of the time we've lived here. I will miss it. I mean, remember when Jeremy first started driving? If you don't, it's worth checking out here and here. He's come a long way from those days, back when his English name was "Lane" and he'd decided to change it to "Jeremy." Hahaha!

Anyway, now that the in-laws know exactly when we are leaving, I am sure they will constantly be in our faces even more so than they already are. Which will be even more annoying but at least I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel and when I feel like I'm going to snap, I'll just remind myself that we'll be leaving in just under 2 months. And I won't have to deal with them for a good long while after that. Ahhhhh...splendid!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

And So It Begins!

With 8 weeks to go before we fly home to the US, we don't have much time to spare. Since we decided we're not shipping anything, the task now is to go through our things and decide what can fit in the 6 checked suitcases we will be bringing with us. I took command, telling Jeremy we should pack what wintery items we wanted to take along with us because we don't need those things now.

I explained my strategy...
Since we will have 6 suitcases with us, we do NOT want to dig through 6 suitcases at my parents' house while we're staying there. We want the things we need while we're there to be confined to one, maybe 2 of those suitcases. Yeah, I know. I'm fucking brilliant.

So I began the process of rolling and folding and loading. And before I knew it, one suitcase was packed to the gills.
Before I stuffed it completely full, I crammed in some of my favorite Carl Hiaasen novels. Like hell am I leaving those behind!

But the real genius is my friend Meredith who left a comment on my luggage photo on WeChat. She suggested we get those vacuum clothing bags off TaoBao. And suddenly, I felt like a huge idiot because WE HAVE THOSE! I cannot even believe neither Jeremy nor I had this genius idea. Maybe I'm not as brilliant as previously suspected but hey, we still have plenty of time to pack using this newly acquired strategy. Stay tuned for more adventures in packing!

Friday, May 1, 2015

For Why?!?!?

It's the start of a 3-day weekend! Last night, I had a migraine and was determined that today would be awesome. But Seoul has a cough and runny nose so we've been chillin' at home. I decided it would be an ideal time to begin going through my crap and whittling it down. I know the next 2 months will fly by and I don't want to be panicking before we leave for the US.

So I started with a giant storage bag (the kind you vacuum-seal shut) that was under the crib. I noticed my fatheaded troll of a MIL had been in it because she took out the ugly polka dot pants she'd given Raelynn. She must have taken them home in defeat because they're not in Raelynn's closet again. Good. I'm not wasting precious suitcase space on ugly garments from her. I will be absolutely thrilled when that woman is not rummaging through my items!

Anyway, I pour out all the items onto the floor, much to Seoul's great delight, who has helped herself to some of my bikini tops while I begin trying on shorts and t-shirts. Oh what did I expect? That I would fit into my size 3 pants now? Ha. They mock me as I try to pull them up but I'm rather surprised that I can get them pulled up even partially over my butt. That's progress at least. But since it will be quite some time before I'm a 3 again, I put them in the pile for sale. Most of my cute Hollister t-shirts were a no-go either. I'm so booberific now that they appear like they have shrunken onto me. No, no. I'll go buy new ones at Hollister when I get back. They're in great condition so I'll sell these too.

And then I find some stuff that's just had it. It's old and ripped and I've no idea why we've wodged it into a storage bag. Time for it to be thrown out. I make a pile of things to be thrown away. I'm pleased though that there are a few things at least that I can wear again since having kids. Not many things, mind you, but I'll take it. And hey, at least now I have good reason to go shopping.

I sort the bag out and then fill it back up with carefully folded items to be sold. I feel productive. Jeremy comes in and I proudly show him my work. I point to the pile to be thrown away and he gets all concerned. "Oh no, we can't throw it away. We'll give it to my parents," he tells me. "Um, what? WHY?!?" I ask. He explains that in China, there is none of this culture of giving away or selling your things, or throwing clothes away. Even ripped clothes. "But these shirts are old and ripped! What in the world are they going to do with them?!?" One of the shirts in question is a black t-shirt that has faded to that grayish black and has lots of holes in it from being washed excessively. It's an old shirt I creeped from an old college boyfriend and it says "SECURITY" on it. For many years, it had just wound up in my closet as that t-shirt you wear to sleep. Somehow, it wound up in this bag. And now, he's going to give it to his parents. Because. I have no earthly idea why. What will they do with an old ripped shirt?!? I used to have one that said "FUCKER" on it (from a different college boyfriend) and if I find that one, they can have it because I HAVE TO see one of them wearing it. That would totally make my day.

But it just seems odd to give them old clothes they will likely never ever wear. Perhaps they could make rags with these old things, but they won't. They will use the same dirty rag over and over without ever washing it once we go. Jeremy and I wash our rags every week. I bet they will never get washed again once we move. Would my FIL actually WEAR any of these old shirts? He wears this one shirt of Jeremy's. OMG. I need to tell you about that.

HOW did I NOT tell you guys?!? About 3 years ago, MIL bought a decent shirt for Jeremy. It's a Tommy Hilfiger. It may or may not be a fake but if it is a fake, it is a darned good one. I was stunned that she'd picked out something that wasn't fug. Anyway, here is the shirt in question...
 This was on our 2nd anniversary, incidentally.
We had left Raelynn with the trolls so we could go out to a nice Thai restaurant.

Anyway, I hadn't seen this shirt in Jeremy's side of the wardrobe in ages. I had been wondering about it. I think he'd been wondering about it too. Guess what happened to it? His dad took it. No, really. He took it. I checked and checked the closet. So did Jeremy. This was not a case of his mom buying her husband the same thing. No, he randomly took it at some point. Why? We have no idea. When I ask Jeremy about this, he just laughs and laughs. Maybe because he can't explain it either. Now every time FIL wears the shirt over here, we laugh hysterically. It's just bizarre.

So maybe they will wear our old, ripped, outdated clothes. Or they'll just shove them in the cupboards and we'll find them when we come back to China to sell the properties or, his parents, whichever comes first.