Friday, September 29, 2006

Muchacha Moment(s) #2 and #3

Ok, here we are again discussing my "muchacha" and the interesting moments I have because a complete stranger lives with me and cleans my house.

Our apartment has a sit in kitchen and a separate dining room. I am more of a kitchen type person (read: too lazy to get out the placemats). If we eat in the kitchen as opposed to the dining room, the maid stays in the kitchen with us. I have told her she doesn't need to, but apparently she wants to and I don't have the heart to tell her to leave.

But, she just stands there and watches us eat. I feel like I can't relax or have normal conversations with my kids even though she doesn't speak English. I've gotten to the point of getting out the placemats when Guapo is home, but when he's not I feel too bad not eating in the kitchen. I just think maybe she's lonely. I don't know. But it still bugs me!

Ok, that was my vent. To assuage my guilt for venting online about a very nice girl, I will share a funny muchacha moment from Small Town. In Small Town I had a maid that came 3 mornings a week and she was a delightful lady that I got along with well.

One day I came home and the house reeked of bug spray. This lady was really good at finding ants nests (ewww, huge ants, I get the shivers just thinking about them) and she was kind enough to take care of the problem for me. So, anyway, I go into the house and the smell is overwhelming. I was thinking I had better get Juan Carlos out of the house before he dies. So I ask her if she found a nest and she replies, "No, you were out of Lysol." So I say, "We were out of Lysol AND you found some bugs?" "No, you were just out of Lysol and the bathroom smelled (home of the kitty littler box), so I used the bug spray instead"

I never did figure out her thought process there. "Hmmm, lets douse the place with a poisonous spray so we can't smell the cat box." Luckily the cats (and the kids) survived the massive fumigation.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

These Are Tough Times

I can't take Blogger anymore. I switched to Beta and now I can't do anything. Can't upload pictures, can't comment on my OLF's blogs. Beta sucks. Maybe they will get it all worked out. I'm not saying I'll never come back, but for now, please visit me at my new "vacation home".

Please, pretty please!

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11

My memories of 9/11

We were in Venezuela September 11, 2001. My mom who called me after the first tower had been hit. Guapo was travelling in a remote part of Venezuela where he barely had a cell signal much less access to a television. I called and updated him throughout the day.

We had only been in Venezuela for about 2 months at that point and I didn't know a lot of people. But, it was not a day that anyone wanted to spend alone, so I called the one friend I had made. She came over and we spent the day glued to the TV, crying and talking. When I went to pick up Margarita at preschool I can remember several moms and teachers from other countries offering their condolences to me and to my country.

Our apartment was very close to the US Embassy at the time and almost instantly people brought flowers to show their respect. We had our kids take flowers as well. Here are a few shots:

embassy 1


Julio and flowers

It was hard to watch our nation suffering and be so far away. I will never forget the strong desire I had over the next few months of wanting to be in the States, around other Americans, to feel and to share in the loss. When I finally did make it to Florida for a few days in December I remember being in awe over the number of American flags that were flying and feeling so proud to be an American.

What a day. I am so grateful that, so far, that day has been the only one like it.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Muchacha Moment #1

First off, thanks to all of you who commented about the sleepover issue, I really appreciated all of your input. We still haven't come to a firm decision on what our family policy is going to be, but when we do, I'll let you know.

And now, onto today's topic.

A major part of ex-pat life is the opportunity to have domestic help. I have had lots of experience over the last five years with the different forms available: live-in, daily, 3X a week. When I moved to Venezuela one of my first impressions of ex-pat women was not a favorable one in regard to maids. I found that at playgroups and social events, they spent a majority of their time talking about the problems they were having with their help at the time. This disgusted me. So much that after a few months of being there, I said, "enough with the maid thing" and I didn't have one for 7 months. But, all the bathrooms and the tile floors get annoying and not having anyone to help with the kids because all of your friends have maids and family is out of the question, we went back to having someone.

And now, I find I talk quite a bit about our maid situation. So, I apologize to you if you think that in writing about this topic I sound like a spoiled brat. I know I am lucky to have someone else to clean the house and help babysit my kids. But, there are some funny stories that go along with having a complete stranger from another culture living in your home. Bloggable stories.

With all that being said, I will embark on a new series called, "Muchcha Moments." A "muchacha" is what Mexicans (and Venezuelans) call their maids. I hate the term and usually when I talk to someone about our maid I will say, "the woman (or girl) who works in our house," because I can't bring myself to say, "muchacha". But, I figure since I didn't come up with the term, and everyone uses it, and "Muchacha Moment" sounds much better than "A Curious Thing the Woman Who Works in My House Did," that it'll be ok.

So for today's Muchacha Moment I will share something that happened this weekend after our maid had left (she has Saturday and Sunday off). We could not for the life of us find Guapo's tennis racket. ANYWHERE. So, I checked out the maid's closet.

No tennis racket, thank goodness we finally found it partially hidden in the boys' closet, but somehow a can of Campbell's Chunky Soup and a can of Spagetios (both rare commodities here in Mexico) got moved from here, the canned food shelf in the pantry:

cans in pantry

To here, her closet (along with a bottle of hot sauce that I don't care about at all):

cans in closet

Just so you know, I told her she is welcome to eat whatever she wants. That goes along with having a live-in, but hoarding the food so no one else gets to it???

I was flabbergasted.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

To Sleepover or Not To Sleepover

I'm just wondering what other mom's opinions are on sleepovers. We are about to be bombarded with sleepover invitations. I feel like in this day and age, it's kind of scary to send your kid off somewhere for more than 12 hours. Most of the trouble I got into when I was younger was when I was "sleeping" over at a friend's house. But, I don't want my kids to be the freaks that can't do them either. Do you say yes to some and continually decline offers from their friends you don't know as well, or that your not quite sure about the parents?

Please share your insights with me!

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Incredible Growing Shoes

Remember my post on Crocs? I mentioned that you could bake your Crocs down to size in the oven. So, this is what I found in the freezer on Saturday (sidenote: check out my Ben and Jerry's! They have Chunky Monkey here. The joys of Big City life are endless):

Here it is a little closer:

My kids figured since heat = shrinkage (this is where I expect NCS to come up with a clever Seinfeld quote) cool temps must bring about growth.
Crazy kids! :) Got to love 'em.