Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Trip: Colorado Portion

I can't believe it's already been 10 days. We've had a great time in Colorado and we are headed to Utah in about 15 minutes for the second part of our trip. Here are the highlights of our trip so far:

(This picture was taken minutes after arriving at my parent's house) Pedro, obviously feeling very comfortable in his new surroundings, got right on making a mess of my mom's bathroom:

They ended up putting up a gate to keep Pedro out of the bathroom.

We got to pick out a real tree this year (Guapo's dream):

Although we were hoping for a white Christmas, it only snowed for about 5 minutes one day. I don't even think you can see the snow falling in this picture, but I promise it was:

We went to a Nuggets game in my dad's office's fancy-shmancy box. They were giving out free reindeer webkinz to all kids and the Nuggets won-so it was pretty much a great night for all involved:

They climbed the wall at the mall:

They got to make fudge and cookies with grandma (I can't tell you what a treat it was NOT to be in charge of these activities!):

(of course, no one wanted to eat Pedro's creations).

The one bad part of the week (and it turned out ok in the end) was that on Christmas Eve day we lost Juan Carlos and Julio for about an hour and a half. Unbeknownst to any adults in the house, they had gone over to a neighbor's to play and were in the basement where no one could here our repeated knocks, so we assumed the neighbors were gone. We frantically searched the nearby park and pond; finally, worrying (well, more like hoping at that moment) that maybe they got lost and wouldn't know the address or phone number of my parents' house, we called the police and they started searching. I'm pretty sure it was the worst hour and a half of my life. I felt like I was suffocating, about to throw up, and pass out all at the same time.

Guapo kept returning to the neighbor's with no luck; then he just felt like he should go inside, so he just opened the front door and he saw their shoes by the stairs (after, the officer joked that he was going to have to charge him with trespassing). They were fine and had no idea they had caused all of us such grief. The nice policeman in charge of the search talked to them about always telling someone where they are and he gave them a sticker:

What an ordeal! I so thankful am it ended happy. The experience served as a very strong reminder of what is really important in life.

That night we did our traditional steamy fondue with the family:

...and later that night Santa visited the house:

We finally joined the 21st century and got a Wii for Christmas. I am a staunch opponent of video games-we'll see how long before I regret the decision. Speaking of the which, please let me know if you can recommend any good, ACTIVE, games for the kids.

And, Guapo and I got a "grown-up" camera. So hopefully the quality of our photos will improve (I'm still scared to use it-so I've got nothing to show you yet.).

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas holiday!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

19 Hours 48 Minutes 32 Seconds

The amount of time that it took to get from our door in Brazil to my parents door in Colorado.

And all the stars were aligned in our favor: we were on the maiden voyage of a non-stop flight between Rio and Houston (normally you have to stop in Sao Paulo (an hour out of the way) for an hour (unless there are audio visual problems, which there always seems to be, in which case it can be an extra hour or two)), and we walked right on to our connection in Houston (instead of waiting around for a couple of hours like normal).

Imagine traveling with Pedro for almost 20 hours, frequently having to restrain him in his car seat or stroller (NOT his favorite thing). The very thought of having the little dude out in public for that long gives me nightmares.

We totally lucked out-he was an angel. He slept 7 1/2 out of 10 hours on the first flight and an hour on the second flight and was generally agreeable during his waking hours. It did help that there was another baby who screamed the.entire.night. therefore making him look like a champ. He got lots of nice compliments about what a sweet baby he was..if they only knew his true capabilities!

Anyway, we are here and trying hard to fight off jet lag (5 hours time difference) by staying up as long as we can. It's now 8:20 and my eyes are closing involuntarily (forgive any typos or poor sentence structure).

The first "American" thing I did today? Took my four tired, over-traveled, grouchy, toy-starved kids to Target less than a week before Christmas when of course I wasn't going to let them buy anything because we don't know yet what they'll get from Santa. Not the best idea I've had in a long time, but I couldn't resist the ole Tar-jay. We made it out of the store with only a few tears.

It's wonderful to be home. There's nothing like it!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Why the Lack of Christmas Posts?

For the last two years, during the month of December, I have posted all about our daily Christmas activities.

"And this year?" you ask.

Sorry, not this year. The past two years I have activated "Plan December" to make our home feel "Christmasy" while living in places far from home where it sometime doesn't feel that "Christmasy" to me. We are south of the equator here in Brazil, so Christmas is during the summer, which is why there are decorations like this all around:

These basking Santas are all over the place, and so you can see just how big Big Bathing Santa is, here's a little perspective:

Cute? Creepy? I can't decide.

Well, this year we are going home (YAY!!!), so I don't feel quite so motivated to do so many activities.

And, besides that, I'm just tired. Three kids in school, all with different end of the year activities- I'm exhausted. Since December 1st I've had 3 different music programs, two bake sales, a field trip, a mom-given presentation on the US, a mom-led craft, not to mention the holiday parties, teacher and friend gifts, etc. etc. I don't know how many dozens of cookies I've sent to school.

I'm throwing the towel in tomorrow and sending in the last of my American candy for Margarita's and Juan Carlos's parties.

So, we've done some of the Christmas stuff like decorating, watching Christmas movies and reading Christmas books...I measured the kids for the growing tree (Pedro was the big winner, growing 4" in the last year; Julio was a close second with 3 1/2"; Margarita grew 2 1/2" and Juan Carlos grew 2"). But, no crafts or baking.

It's just not as fun to bake when it's summer out.

So, Christmas will officially start on Friday morning when we arrive in Colorado! We'll probably all freeze to death, but at least it will feel Christmasy.

In other news: Pedro is in LOVE with his big sister. It is so cute to watch him follow her around, and, it gives me a little break.

And if you're looking for a good book, I just finished this one:

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. I the first paragraph to the last. Excellent!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Mystery Solved (sort-of)

Well, within 5 minutes of her being here this morning, my maid found the missing fabric.

The funny thing is is that she found it in a place I know I looked at least twice and Guapo looked once (behind the sofa in the living room).


I'm not even going to try to figure it out. I don't even care at this point. I'm sure you don't either.

And, I ended up using the new fabric anyway.

End of the uninteresting story.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Cold Case

The fabric that I was going to use to bind the quilt for my sister's baby is officially GONE. I had bought a yard of two different fabrics because I wasn't sure which I liked better.

How do 2 yards of fabric disappear?

After searching every inch of this house (wasting hours of my time) I am assuming now that foul play was involved. I looked under every cushion, behind and under every piece of furniture, in every drawer, in every closet, in every rubbermaid container (and believe me, I have quite a few), EVERYWHERE.

This is another disadvantage of having a maid-when something goes missing, you can't help but wonder if they had something to do with it. My kids swear they didn't see it, touch it, move it and I think after watching me pull my hair out for two days straight they would have fessed up. If the guilt didn't move them, then the $5.00 cash reward would have (yes, sometimes I pay my kids to find things for me. It saves me a lot of time and is pretty cheap at this point in their lives). Guapo was out of town. So, the only other person that has been in the house was our maid.

I don't like to think that way, but I just can't imagine what could have happened to it. Maybe Pedro destroyed it with a marker while I was gone and she took care of the evidence? Or she "accidentally" threw it away? I don't know, but it's NOT here. I'll probably find it when we are moving out of here and then I'll feel bad for thinking it was her, but at this point I can't think of any other logical explanation (and to assuage my guilt, I will of course post about it).

When I asked her about it-after she did a quick token run through the house, she told me, "Well, maybe you took it somewhere and left it there."

Innocent suggestion? Maybe, but my suspicious mind felt like she was admitting it wasn't anywhere in the house. It's not like I'm in the habit of taking my fabric to the grocery store or to the school with me. But then I started to feel guilty about being suspicious and I actually walked to the quilt store and asked if I had left some fabric there (which I had gone to last week, albeit without the fabric). The lady looked at me like I was slightly crazy.

On the bright side, I went to a quilt store here in our neighborhood and found a very cute fabric to replace the missing fabric.

The quilt will be finished!

Friday, December 05, 2008

End of the Week

The quilt is quilted.

I think that's the fastest I've every quilted before and therefore the most pain-free quilt as far as Guapo's concerned. I don't even think he even saw me quilting once.

But, someone is seriously trying to mess with me because now I can't find the fabric for the binding. Where could it be??? I am at a total loss. I just had it Sunday and now it's nowhere to be found. It's not like it would get thrown out. Or would it? Is my maid totally sabotaging me?

In addition to quilting until my fingers bled this week I also had some other activities. One of those was to change my layout, and even though I spent lots of time reading a tutorial on how NOT to lose my widgets, I have seemed to misplaced them along with my fabric. :( Sorry bloggy friends, you are still my friends, but your names aren't there today. They will be soon. Please leave me a comment even in you find my post dull, just so I won't have to google you. :)

Bookclub Christmas Party

Remember last year's fiasco? First I tried to save myself some energy so I bought a potato salad that ended up costing me upwards of $60.00 and then, as if that weren't enough, I lost my awesome bag chocked full of American food stuffs in the white-elephant gift exchange and was left with some Unicef place mats.

This year's party was held at Ballerina Girl's home. She is the best hostess; the kind of hostess I dream of being. You arrive at her house and she looks lovely and relaxed (whereas I usually look frazzled and sweaty), and her home looks beautiful (she doesn't have a Pedro, so this helps). And while she's whipping up her own lovely flower arrangements, her Indonesian maid is whipping up all sorts of yummy foods for us all to eat. It was great.

This year was an improvement in that I spent hardly anything on my dish (I made cinnamon rolls). As far as the gift exchange, I fared a lot better mentally this year. Getting my present stolen last year really annoyed me. Bookclub members still talk about my loss on a regular basis (ok, really only when we were discussing plans for this year's party... and I brought it up).

This year, a very nice serving dish was stolen from me and I was left with this decorative wall hanging:

Do I love it? No. But, I'm not losing any sleep over it so I think I've really matured in the last year (not really. Let's face it, the serving dish didn't have anything on macaroni and cheese, chocolate chips, and Stove top stuffing).

All in all a good experience.

Kindergarten Field Trip

Juan Carlos has a touch of separation anxiety, so his teacher invited me to go on their field trip with him. The plan was to go to a marina where we would visit a naval museum and go on a ferry ride. I wasn't looking forward to it; I may have been hoping for rain (isn't that awful?) so it would be canceled. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my kindergartner, but hanging out with 39 of them all hyped up with field trip glee right next to a large body of water isn't my idea of an ideal day (especially when there are quilts that need quilting).

But, it turned out great and I'm really glad they invited me. The weather was perfect, the kids were cute, and no one fell in the water.

And, it reminded me how grateful I am for kindergarten teachers. I could NEVER do that job. There are like 1000 other jobs, many of them blue collar, that I rather have. I really think they deserve six-figure salaries. I am thankful that there are so many different types of people in the world that enjoy doing different things.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Ahhh, That's Better.

Today I:

  • ran 5 miles
  • took a shower
  • finished and ordered the photobook
  • finished the applique portions of the quilt
  • basted the quilt
  • started quilting the quilt
  • made 4 dozen cinnamon rolls for various activities tomorrow

All that and I was nice to my kids. What a great day.

And how cool is this? My parents went to Seattle to spend Thanksgiving with my sister. They originally made the plans because my mom was going to run the Seattle Marathon. After she registered, she had to have knee surgery and wasn't able to run. They went to the expo the night before just to pick up the shirt that was included with the price of entry. While at the expo (the night before), my dad decided he would walk in my mom's place. No physical prep. No mental prep. He just went and did it and he finished in 6 1/2 hours! Not bad dad!!!

Ok, this next one's not for the faint of heart, but it's pretty funny. You have to understand that the bottom of my dad's feet are like a baby's bottom, and he treats them as such. The man is a disaster on the beach and he is very anal about how he puts his socks on, they have to be just right (think Mr. Pitt from Seinfeld).

Check out these blisters:


Three cheers for you, dad!!!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Because I Want to Be a Good Blogger...

...I will post. But, my heart is elsewhere.

You see, I am in Obsessive Mode. My mind is fixated on two things:

1) a photo book from our summer trip


2) a quilt for my sister's baby who isn't due until April.

Why do I do this to myself?

Let me explain. I want to do the photo book because the longer I wait, the more likely it will be that I will never document our 2 month trip to the States and all of our memories will be dim. And, I have a coupon for 20% off that is only good until Wednesday. My book is 56 pages and 220 photos so far, so the coupon will come in handy. But I fear that I will use it and an even better coupon will be issued... What to do?

And the quilt. My sister is having a shower in January and I will actually be able to attend and since I can't send stuff from here say at a later, post-holiday-more convenient date, I need to give it to her at her shower. "It's just a baby quilt," I tell myself, "No problem! It won't take hardly anytime at all." It really is cute, I wish I could post a picture, but she reads my blog sometimes, so it will have to wait.

Here's my thought process when I get like this, "I know I am neglecting X, Y and Z, but if I finish this soon, then my time will be completely freed up, and I'll be able to give lots of attention to X, Y and Z." Which isn't really rational thinking because of course there's always something else to obsess about...

What makes it 100X worse is that Guapo left for the week today and so it gives me an even greater push to get things done since he doesn't love it so much when I sit and quilt all night (I can't imagine why???). I stay up way to late when he's not here.

I haven't even had a shower today and now it's almost midnight here. I'm sorry if that grosses you out, but that's how I am when I'm obsessing.

Anyway, I should be focusing on Christmas (or my kids) and instead I am obsessing with a book and a quilt. I am blogging so I don't feel guilty about not blogging. Oh well, at least I'm doing it, right?

Anyway, here's a few Christmas-y shots to try to get me in the spirit:

The crew decorating the tree last night:

Pedro didn't quite get the concept of hanging the ornaments. He would grab whatever he could get his hands on, oftentimes an ornament that had already be hung with care, and just huck it up at the tree.

This year was Juan Carlos's turn to put the star on:

Saturday night, the big tree was lit on the Lagoa in front of our apartment. We had a few people over to watch the tree lighting ceremony.

I love the tree this year (it's different every year). It's got a star and angels on the top and it plays bells every hour on the hour.

And just in case you're wondering what Pedro's up to today, he's completely stopped saying, "No" and will only say "No Way". And it used to be like, "No (brain sending the message to the tongue) Way" and now it's like "NoWay". Sometimes now instead of "Yes" he will say, "Yes Way". And, good news-his hair has recovered from the vaseline incident.

now if you'll excuse me I've got to go quilt, or make my book. I'll be back when I'm done. (just wait til you see what a good blogger I am after I finish my projects...)

Friday, November 28, 2008

I'm Back. (Finally!)

Been a while, eh? Happy Belated Thanksgiving, I hope everyone had a great day.

We had Gaupo's brother, his wife and two of their four kids visit us for 8 days. We had a super time-I was sad to see them leave on Wednesday (it helped though, that we will see them in a few weeks!!!). We've had our parents visit and some of our single siblings, but we've never had any of the kids' cousins come to our house; it was a highlight of the year for my kids. We stayed so busy, I fell into bed every night exhausted!

We went to the beach:

Saw some sites:

Did some hiking (sadly, we did not see any monkeys while they were here :( ):

Ate (a LOT):

Had some funky sleeping arrangements for the 5 big kids:

The grown-ups went to "The City of Samba" one night where they give you a little taste of what Carnaval is like:

here's Guapo's very tall brother with two Carnaval people on stilts:

Margarita and her cousin, who are in the same grade, were inseparable-he even went to school two days with her which I think is pretty cool since he was on vacation. At night after we'd get the "little kids" to bed, they would stay up a little later reading:

(The grown-ups, on the other hand, stayed up watching our favorite episodes of "The Office". Good times, good times)

It was a great week, and we really appreciate the time and effort it took for them come to Brazil to visit us.

In Pedro News, the paint-in-the-hair trick was just the beginning of his "putting-gooey-stuff-in-his-hair" phase. Since then he has also put milky-cereal, yogurt and my personal favorite, vaseline in his hair. Any tips on how to get vaseline out of his hair? It's been 3 days and numerous baths and he is still totally greasy.

He has also started telling me "don't want to" when I try to get him dressed, and screaming "MINE!!!" when his (preceived or otherwise) belongings are touched by anyone. Aggggggh!!! 3 weeks until the dreaded 10 hour flight.

Not good.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Excuse My Absence

...but we have company! Guapo's brother, his wife and two of their 4 children arrived on Tuesday for a week. Our kids are loving having cousins to show around.

More later...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Congratulations Pedro!

Pedro is excelling in his Two-Year-Old-In-Training program. Really. I'm talking A+ work.

He is monitored in three categories: speech, temper-tantrum throwing, and destructive capabilities and he has fared quite well in all three.


Most of his speech at this point has to do with what HE wants which means expectations are being met for our future 2 year old . He has mastered the following phrases:

-No Way! (normally used when asked if he wants to take a bath or go to bed)

-I WANT __________! Most often followed by:

  • juice
  • water
  • "La-La" (he's still hooked on the teletubbies)
  • OUT! (of his highchair, carseat, stroller or bed)
  • eat
  • "tweat" (treat)
  • push (the doorbell or the elevator buttons)
  • "powda" (powder, when I'm changing his diaper)
  • WALK (when we are trying to get somewhere fast and are therefore carrying him)
  • THIS! (when he doesn't know the word for the thing he wants)


Final Grade: A


He is a decent little temper-tantrum thrower. His techniques include but are not limited to:

In-Arms Tantrums:

  • throwing his heavy little head back
  • screaming
  • repeatedly arching his back, buckin' bronco style
  • head-butting

Free- Range Tantrums:

  • throwing himself on the floor
  • rolling
  • hitting his head on whatever surface is available (the harder the better)
  • crying and screaming

Final grade: B (I've seen better at this age; he's lacking in a certain creativeness in this category (we have yet to be bitten). But overall, not to shabby.)

Destructive Capabilities

This is where Pedro really shines. He has true talent in this category that hopefully someday will be used for good instead of evil.

Of course we encourage him to draw on paper:

...but, he feels it really stifles his artistic ability to be limited in such a way; so, we find his artwork throughout the house (and believe me when I say, this is a very small sample of his work):

Sadly, sometimes he doesn't know when to stop:

(yes, that's MY ipod. and the pen was a sharpie. Grrrrrrr. When I discovered it, Julio wisely told me, "Mom, you should keep your ipod in a safer place." Don't you hate it when kids are right?)

He can't take all the credit here, he owes some of it to his older siblings who somehow al-ways manage to leave contraband markers within his reach.

A few days ago he decided to try a new medium out.


In this case, he owes a debt of gratitude to the maid who thought it would be a good idea to leave the paints on the bottom shelve in the toy room. Passive agressive attack? Possibly.

Before I realized the scope of the problem, I, of course grabbed my camera (rookie move):

...before I knew it, he was taking it to the next level:

I delivered him to the maid to clean him up (I figured that was only fair since she had left the paints within reach) while I surveyd the rest of the room. It was not good:

(I was in the room when it happened! 5 ft away! He is a very quick, and practically undetectable to the human senses.)

Look at this face:

No remorse whatsover! (Let this serve this as a warning to those we will be staying with over the holidays-hide the art supplies!!!

Final grade: A+++

Bravo, Pedro, you will make a wonderful 2 year old!

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Post for Margarita's Future Children

Great News!!!

Here's a little note that your mom left for me last night:

(After a long Sunday with the kids, all of whom seemed to have their ears filled with cotton, Guapo and I finally got fed up and sent them all to bed early, with the exception of Pedro who was being a little angel. Margarita was not pleased with our choice of consequence and vowed first vocally, and then in print, that she will never do such a thing. I can't wait! )

Friday, November 07, 2008

Why I Pay Someone to Annoy Me: A Maid Update

(I am hesitant to write about my maid; after my last rant, I felt kind of bad. But, it is a huge part of my life here and I want to be able to come back to my blog and remember what it was really like, so I think it's necessary. But, let me start out by saying that overall things have gone ok since our last big talk. Not great but ok. Luckily she is super sweet with Pedro, and the other kids don't mind hanging out with her on Friday nights, so at least there's that. And being a maid wouldn't be the greatest, especially if you were pregnant so I do appreciate that she still shows up and works.)

A Brief Review

Our maid got pregnant in July. According to Brazilian law, we cannot fire her throughout her pregnancy, her 5 month paid maternity leave, or for the first month she comes back after her leave. If we do want to fire her, legally we have to pay her out for all of this time which would not be cheap. What most Brazilians do in this situation (and what we were advised to do since this situation rarely works out well; the lawyers that work for Guapo's company were seriously laughing when he told them that our maid was pregnant.) is as soon as the pregnancy is made known, to give the maid a wad of cash and have her sign her rights away. When I say "wad of cash" I am talking about somewhere in the neighborhood of $3,000-4,000 USD. So, that's not really an option I'm willing to take at this point.

So, instead I try not to let her drive me crazy. But, I do spend a lot of my time wondering if she:

A) is trying to drive me nuts so that I finally break down and offer her the pay out, or,

B) just doesn't give a rip about doing a good job anymore and knows there's not a lot I can do about it.

And now, on to the grievances

Slightly Annoying

Has she been reading Amelia Bedilia? A few days ago I told her she could go home early because she wasn't feeling well. I just asked that she fold the last load of clothes that was drying in the dryer before she left. So, when I went down to grab something later out of the laundry basket, I was happy to see that the clothes were indeed folded, but that they were still very, very damp. Grrrrrr.

She is determined to plump me up. Remember my post about Brazilian carb loading? We had talked several times before that post about how we, as Americans, do not eat rice, pasta and potatoes all in the same meal, that we normally only eat one starch per meal. She traveled with, and ate with us every day for a month in the States and yet she continued to give us rice and potatoes (or pasta) together. So, I cut her back to two days of cooking because we were wasting a lot of food, and I made her this chart:

(and yes, in case you are wondering if that was the problem, she does speak English)

And I am still getting meals like this for dinner:


She tells me crazy things: Around the anniversary of September 11th she came to me all excited, waving a Brazilian newspaper, "Look at this! This article says that George Bush planned the whole thing!!!" And I was like, "yeah, there's a conspiracy theory for everything, blah, blah, blah" and she was like, "No, this is for real. G-e-o-r-g-e -W-B-u-s-h has 11 letters in it. Get it? 11 letters? September 11th??? " and then she showed me a photo of a 20 dollar bill folded so that the letters spelled "Osama". And she's totally serious...

I mean, I know the guy's not that popular, but seriously? 11 letters?!?

She uses my precious resources: One day, she was making a rice salad (to go along with our mashed potatoes) and the recipe called for a can of tuna fish. Instead of walking to the store (a 5 minute walk) and purchasing tuna, she instead used not one but TWO cans of my canned clams that I bring back with me from the States to make my kids' favorite meal. Canned clams are the only canned product I bring because of the weight limitations.

The remaining clams are now hidden where she will never, ever find them.


Cleaning. My maid was never the best cleaner in the world. But things have gone from fair to poor in the last few months. I even had to hold a special lecture one day entitled, "Every Potty. Every Day." It seems she decided that she would do a "good" cleaning on Fridays. When I asked her how she arrived at Friday, instead of say, a day in the beginning of the week so the house would look nice all week, she told me it was because she had all day Friday (she stays over Friday night so Guapo and I can go out to dinner), whereas the other days she leaves "early". She works Tuesday-Thursday from 7 am until 4 pm.

I guess I can see her point- 9 hours is really not enough time to clean a house. ???

So, now, I hate to be gross here, but I have to make my point.

Here is a photo of one of our toilets (they are all basically the same); please take special note of the water line:

Very, very low and definitely NOT directly below where a child would comfortably sit. Now, I won't show you a video of the flushing action, but imagine, if you will, a flush whose force isn't all that strong.

You know my kids aren't the best flushers in the world. So, do you see where I'm going with this???

The toilets are often "dirty" and I was finding myself cleaning them at nights because I was so grossed out. And then I realized that I pay her decent money to take care of things like this for me. And she was leaving them until FRIDAY to clean them once. So, I actually had to sit there and say, "Now, you need to go into each bathroom each day and if the toilet looks dirty, you must clean it". To which she replied "Everyday???" to which I replied, "" Geesh. It takes all of 60 seconds.

(and, BTW? I had to clean that toilet before I took that picture. So my lecture didn't even work. Maybe I need more visuals next time)

Very Annoying

The System. During our last talk with her we encouraged her to plan her dr.'s visits on her day off, Monday, and when she couldn't we would just deduct the time off from her vacation days (all Brazilians, including maids, get 30 PAID days of vacation a year). So, all was well. For a while.

Then one day she comes and says she shouldn't have to use her day off, and that we have to give her the time off AND pay her for it. This is very, very annoying to me because we, as her employers are only required by law to give her Sundays off and we give her 1/2 day Saturday, all day Sunday AND all day Monday. And it would be easier to deal with if we were talking about once a month for a couple of hours. But she "has" to go twice a month and it takes ALL DAY-she does not come to work the days that she has an appointment. But, sure enough, Brazilian law says it's so and therefore she can basically do what she wants.

And there is not a thing I can do about it. That is the worst part of this situation. If I get mad and make an issue out of every little thing, I have a belligerent person in my house. Not fun. When things would get tough in the past with a maid it was comforting to think, "Well, at least I can fire her if it gets bad enough" but not this time. We are stuck paying her until next September.

On the positive side, the situation is giving me some serious practice at trying to choose not to be annoyed and angry about things. I wish I could say that after 3 months I've mastered it, but I haven't. I spend a lot of time grouchy about maid issues. Just ask Guapo. Or my mom. Or Ballerina Girl.

Maybe after another TEN months of it and I'll be an expert!!! (Or I'll be in the looney bin for holding it all in and finally exploding... or in jail...)

(is that way more than you wanted to know???)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Fighting off the Blogging Blahs

I feel a blogging lull coming over me, so I'm trying to fight it off with a post. Luckily, Maine Mom tagged me for what sounded like an easy, quick post:

I'm supposed to go to my pictures file and upload the 4th photo in the 4th folder and the 6th photo in the 6th folder.

Sounds easy right?

Well, not if you are me and 1) love lots and lots of sub-folders to organize your photos and 2) are obsessive compulsive about keeping rules.

It starts well as I open my "my pictures" file. Then I count down 4 files and was about to open it, but wait, the 1st file was my "adobe" file where I keep my outgoing emailable pictures-not really photos that I use. Should I count that? And hey, the 3rd folder is one for bookclub that I use to save pictures of book covers of books on the too buy list. Does that count?

I don't think so.

Ok, so I'll just skip those two and count to the 4th file (which is really the 6th which is making me feel slightly uncomfortable already). No pictures, just more folders. So do I just pick whatever folder I want and pick out the 4th picture, or do I count to the 4th folder in this folder??? Or the 3rd because I already opened 1 folder?

Hmmmm. I'll just go to the 4th folder within the 4th folder.

Ok, this one's got one folder and (finally) some pictures. But do I count the folder as a picture and count to the third picture?

(Ward Christmas Party 2006)

Or, do I just ignore the folder (even though it is listed 1st) and just put the 4th photo?

(Juan Carlos on Santa's lap at the same Christmas Party)

Or, do I open the folder and take the 4th picture???

(Christmas Tree-Mexico City 2006)

maybe I count the sub-folder as one and take the 3rd picture?

(making cinnamon ornaments)

As I start to question my decision about not counting the bookclub folder, I realize that this is for MY BLOG and not really an issue that I should be spending so much brain power on. I mean, I could just stick two random pictures on and you would never know.

But then I would feel like I was cheating...

Sorry, but I'm not even taking you through Folder 6, Photo 6, but I did find this cute picture of Ronald from our Mexico days:

Pheww. That wore me out.

So help me out here-which of these posts are you most interested in:

  • "It's My Way or I'll Make You Pay" Pedro's New Motto
  • Finally-A Solid Poop!
  • Meat-Flavored Chips: Brazilian Fad or Worldwide Phenomenon?
  • I Serve By Receiving Massages
  • Why I Pay Someone to Annoy Me: A Maid Update
Or, feel free to ask me a question! Help me get through this blogger's block!

(And if you'd like to take the Photo Challenge, considered yourself tagged. It'll be really easy if you're not anal like me)