Friday, August 31, 2012

Fun House

This is our house. Which is the first house that we have ever owned. For years we were in rentals. And then there was that brief stint in military housing. That really sucked by the way. So when we finally settled here in Colorado Springs about 7 years ago, we were so excited to buy our dream house.

We were done with white walls and bad fixtures. So we went to town fixing it up and making it the fun house we wanted it to be.

I thought chalkboards in the kitchen would be cool. Luckily Craig is very handy. And the color on the walls? It's called Lucky Bamboo. Which makes double luck, right?

Then there's our antique 1940's rotary dial phone. And if you call me on my landline, which of course is also an antique, this is the phone I'm talking to you on and also why I'm referring to you as dame. Of course, the cord really restricts me and then I can't pace like I do when I talk on the phone. Not to worry though, because only telemarketers call on it. So the kids love to answer it and mess with them. Lucky thing, I don't like to talk on the phone anyway.

This is the stage Craig built. Did I mention he's handy? Did I mention that I come up with these really great ideas and then he carries them out? Oh, yeah, then there's the graffiti wall. No assembly required. But just so you know, the wall was kid tested and mother approved.

This is my favorite room in the whole house. Mostly, because it's so unnecessary to have a formal dining room these days. And it's even less practical to have a room that you don't allow your kids to touch anything in. And that's why I love it. Oh, and it's like a funky, sultry orange. That too.

When grandma was here over the summer, she helped the kids paint their rooms whatever color they wanted. Well, not whatever color, River wanted to paint it black. And, I'm not just saying that so I could fit the phrase "paint in black" in this post either.

In the basement we have a skee ball machine we bought from Cave of the Winds, a local landmark here in the Springs, for $100. And somehow that window right next to it hasn't been broken yet. Nor has anyone got a concussion from a wayward wooden ball slamming into their head. Yet.

The fun continues outside where we have s tiki bar that backs right up to the ridge behind our house. And from time to time, we get tiki with it. But mostly, we eat our breakfast out there and watch the deer meander by. We do sit perched on the edge of our chairs just in case we see a bear and need to flee though.

And then there's the hot tub. Which we have used as a replacement for bath/shower time for the kids on more than one occasion. Hey, there's chlorine in there which you know is actually disinfecting them. Because I'm pretty sure they don't actually use soap in the shower.

So, looks pretty fun right? You know what makes this house a real fun house? It's all distorted like the fun house at the amusement park. You see, in the 2 years that we lived in Morocco and rented our home out, one corner of the house sunk 2 inches. So now our floors tilt. And some of our windows won't close. So, it's all jacked up! Which is exactly what we need to do to fix it. Nope, I'm not joking. But, we're pretty sure we can do it over the long weekend and the kids can use this as their next science fair project. Ok, now I'm joking.

Let the fun begin! (And here I'm just being sarcastic.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Shit

That's right, this post is all about shit. Actually, that's not true. There's also some mention of puke. So if reading about shit makes you want to puke, this might not be the post for you. I'm pretty sure no one's gonna actually read this now. But, I don't give a crap. By now you've probably figured out that I don't write what you want to read. I write whatever the hell I feel like writing about. Not because I think my shit don't stink, but because I don't like bullshit.

The one thing you learn when you travel is what really matters. And when you're standing in the middle of the Sahara Dessert soul searching it hits you. Holy crap! I need to shit! Like right now. Where is the nearest toilet? Bucket. Um, dune. Anything! Oh shit....too late. You've already had the epiphany. Toilets are the unsung heroes of civilization as we know it.

I think I had my first such epiphany in Russia. I'd travelled to Europe previously and done the unisex bathroom thing. Which is totally no big deal, especially because I grew up sharing a bathroom with 3 brothers and 2 sisters. I could care less who's in the stall next to me. As long as they give a courtesy flush now and again. In general, European wc's (don't call them bathrooms there cause they won't know what you're talking about) are well equipped. But, back in the USSR, things are different.

Many years ago, I was in a little town an hour north of Moscow and I had the urgent need to bake a loaf, so to speak. So I walked for blocks in search of a public toilet. And when I found one, it was a pay toilet, which is quite common around the world. I had no money on me at the time and had to beg for change until someone took pity on me and my bowels and spotted me a couple Rubles. A big Russian bathroom attendant lady guarded the door and the huge roll of scratchy brown paper you had to tear off on the way in. Which means you had to assertain (sic) how much you needed before you exported the cigar to Cuba. But in my haste and embarrassment I was modest, way too modest, in the amount I took. And when I made it down the stairs to the basement to the toilet, it was a hole in the floor. And that was the toilet. That I paid for. Rather, that stranger paid for. Beggars can't be choosers after all.

I thought I had experienced the worst international travel had to offer at that point. I was wrong. A few years later at an orphanage in Astrakhan, Russia, I needed make some mud. So I sought out the unitaz and was pleased when it looked all western with running water and a seat even. Jackpot. Until it was time to wipe. And there was no paper of any kind. None. Just a can of sticks with the tips wrapped in rags. And the sticks had names written on them. Thank god. This is when I deducted how the town must have gotten it's name, Ass-tra-can.

Then there's the time, again in Russia, where both Craig and I got the worst case of food poisoning ever. We didn't leave the hotel for 2 days, both of us puking and shitting our brains out. It was so bad, the one hotel room toilet wasn't enough for the two of us. After begging Craig to get off the toilet so I could use it, I almost sat on his lap so we could go tandem. Luckily, that was enough of a threat to get him off and not a moment too soon. The next day, we were so stir crazy we had to get out of the hotel room and go for a short walk. There were no toilets around, but, we were almost back at the hotel. And I almost, almost made it. Almost. But when pee is coming out of your poop shoot, and there's gravity involved, sometimes things just happen.

And I'm not just picking on Russia. There are lots of countries with shitty toilets out there.

There was that time I went to Greece. And everywhere I went the locals told me I looked Greek. Which has nothing to do with toilets. But, everything to do with the bullshit that they were feeding me to try to get me to buy souvenirs.

When I was in the middle of the busy medina in Tunisia, I got the urgent need to offload some freight. So, I began the frantic quest for a toilet, dragging the kids along. We asked around for a toilet and they added a cute sympathetic desperation to my plea. And it worked. A merchant kindly offered us his drain in the floor in the corner of his shop. I'm sure he assumed the boys needed to drain their lizards. But of course that wasn't the case. And I was so bad off that I actually thought about it for a second. But, it was the only drain he had and I didn't want to contaminate it. But, I will forever remember his generosity, as I hope he remembers mine when I painfully declined his offer.

And I can't neglect Morocco. Where there was also, you guessed it, a food poisoning incident. With some subsequent and unfortunate donkey riding. And an ass who might forever smell like shit. All the other donkeys will probably tease him now and call him shit head. Poor shit head.

Dude, if I have to, I could poop anywhere. Don't judge me. You could too, if you had to. And 40% of the world has to because they don't have access to toilets. And there is a huge sanitation crisis. Did you know there is even a World Toilet Day? I'm not shitting you. There is. So on November 19th, or really any time you're dropping a deuce and you're thankful there's a toilet to deposit it in, think about how lucky you are and do a toilet paper clutched fist salute.

Just don't forget to wash your hands afterward.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


A paperwork snafu with the Peace Corps has left us temporarily without health insurance. As you know, we are a family of 6. I have 3 active children and one who can only be described as the spawn of Evel Knievel and David Blaine. Then there's Craig's penchant for power tools and mine for swords. I should be worried about this I suppose. But, I have a very intimate relationship with denial. So, I'm positive everything is going to be fine. Just fine.

When we were in Morocco we didn't go to the doctor, except for some needed shots. And we did go to the dentist once. Luckily, we're pretty healthy people. Knocking on wood as t p . (I'm right handed by the way.)

So, we haven't been to the dentist in two years now. And the kids are desperately in need of appointments. I'm sure they all have a mouth full of cavities from drinking Moroccan tea. I'm sure my teeth are fine by the way. Not because I have exceptional dental hygiene, but like I told you, denial and I are tight.

Back in July, I scheduled all 4 of the kids for their very overdue trip to the dentist so I didn't have to take them out of school. Much to my kids dismay. Then, our insurance company inadvertently cancelled our coverage. Much to my kids delight. You do know Peace Corps is a government agency right? Nuff said. Determined to get my kids in to see the dentist, I inquired as to how much it would be for the 4 kids to get cleanings and exams sans insurance. And that would be a whopping $800. And that's without x-rays and without that sticky sweet cotton candy flavored fluoride treatment. So, I decided maybe an ounce of prevention wasn't worth a pound of cure after all. Cause if the cavity creep already infiltrated their mouths he was gonna eat up that cotton candy goo like it was...well... candy. So I rescheduled the kids for October when hopefully this is all cleared up. Hopefully. Did I mention we're dealing with the government here? I think I did.

Remember I said we went to the dentist in Morocco once? Which was way, way different. And, much, much cheaper. You can read about it in one of my early posts from Morocco here.)

Now, I've had acne my whole life. Over the years I've tried everything. Ok, almost everything, to clear it. Then about 4 or 5 years ago, it finally disappeared with a cocktail of Yaz birth control pills and a topical cream called Tazorac. But, of course, it's not cheap. Before we left for Morocco Yaz was $60 per month without insurance and Tazorac was about $100/per tube which, thankfully, lasts about 3 months. But, like I said, that was over 2 years ago. When I went to the pharmacy last month to get generic Yaz, it was $75. I can't imagine how much those three letters Y-A-Z will cost you. Nor did I ask.

In the pharmacy in Morocco, I could get the generic Yaz called Jasmine for $4 a month. Yes, $4! And the generic Tazorac pictured above? Yup, $4! So while there is no assurance provided by the FDA that this isn't somehow hazardous to my health or made of camel piss or goat penis, who the hell cares? It's $4!

Oh, and then there's that other medication for ADD. But, you can't get that in Morocco. Because ADD doesn't exist there. It's true. Homosexuality doesn't either, just so you know. So those rampant rumors that the king of Morocco is gay? That everyone has heard, but no one talks about above a whisper? Obviously, they are untrue. And I'm sure he has a really long attention span too.

Sooner or later our insurance will be straightened out. All 4 of the kids will go to the dentist and it will cost us a small fortune anyway, even with insurance. I'm sure my acne will return when I get pregnant from not being on the pill. And yet, a whole country will still be in way more denial than I will ever be.

Friday, August 24, 2012


This is me first thing in the morning. This is as real as it gets. No make-up. No brush through the hair. Or teeth. (Thank god you can't smell this post.) Just dark circles. Greasy hair. Moles. I can't tell you how many years I spent obsessively loathing them. And my least favorite, my huge forehead, complete with wrinkles. Unless my thin stringy hair is my least favorite. Ok, let's just call it a tie on that one.

When I started this blog two and a half years ago, there is no way I would have posted a picture of myself on the internet like this. Hell, I wouldn't have even let anyone take a photo of me without make-up. Not that I've ever worn a lot of it. Except for those few times in college. But, as I've told you before, I'm a complete perfectionist. And this picture? It's way too truthful.

This is the real me.

You can see my inadequacy. If you look hard enough maybe you can even see my life long struggle with depression. Which I figure is an old bedfellow of my perfectionism. And, I suspect that my perfectionism and my depression may have had a ménage à trois with shame on more than one occasion. In fact, I'm sure of it.

I know this is gonna sound all Eat, Pray, Love-barf-in-your-mouth-ish, but I have been transformed. Oh, I'm still not confident. I probably never will be. I've accepted that now. Although, through writing, I've shed some of the inhibitions that were my toxic paramours. Not that they don't still linger and stalk me. They do. But they can't conceal me anymore. Because I've stripped away some of the layers to reveal the real me.

The one I'm just getting to know myself.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Thrift Stores and Chapstick

I have two addictions. Two that I will cop to anyway. I'd rather not admit publicly to my eyebrow maintenance addiction. No. I don't go to get them done. I'm a DIY girl. So, I dig out nearly invisible hairs with my Tweezermans. Sometimes drawing blood because I should be wearing my reading glasses to perform such a skilled operation. Although I never do. Ok, so I just confessed to that unspoken third addiction. Anyway, the other two are thrift store shopping and chapstick. Both of which are hard to feed in Morocco.

Now, of course, we're back in the states. But, after 2 months we still don't have our shipment from Morocco. So, the kids still don't have their bikes or the remainder of their clothes, which probably don't even fit anymore at this point. Since we've already spent megabucks on a new car, a washer and dryer, kitchen table, a computer, an an huge assortment of other new things like underwear, it's time to bargain shop and hit the thrift store. Yeeeeeeeeeeeesssssssss!

I score big time. A bike with a bald tire, but with great bones for Ember. Then a whole armful of clothes with something for each of the kids. And since they're all in school I can shop in peace without anyone nagging they're hungry or hiding in the clothes racks and jumping out in front of unsuspecting shoppers carrying styrofoam cups full of free, extra-crappy, extremely hot Goodwill coffee. I use the term goodwill lightly. Because of this kid-less anomaly, I actually have time to look in the women's section. Then, I see it. It's like it was totally made for me. I must have it. Cause I'm sure there's lots of people who wonder whether my really small chest is really real or not. It is. Although, I think I might feel more than a bit hypocritical wearing this super cool shirt with a push up bra. Or maybe that's just demi-guilt. Shhhhh...let this be my secret shame, ok?

After a day marathon errand running I saved up for all summer, I ended up at Whole Foods. And somewhere between the spinach and the feta, my lips start to feel dry. Actually, I always tell myself they are so I feel justified in scoring my next hit off the tube of chapstick. And just so you know, I'm using chapstick in that generic kleenex kind of way here. Cause god knows Chapstick is actually the shittiest brand of chapstick because it just sits on top your mouth like those wax candy lips. Not to mention the smell of it, which is akin to the pungent odor of the mothball, albeit, the more bashful cousin. When I remember this is the mecca of yummy chapsticks.

Excited, I bee line to the cosmetics aisle. Before I moved to Africa, I did what any addict does. I hoarded enough of my drug to make it through the duration if I rationed properly. So I stocked up on plenty of Dr. Bronner's orange ginger scented lube, in the brown tube. I wore every one of them down to the nub and then gingerly dipped my pinky fingernail in to scoop the last of it out. But wait. I don't see it in the vast array of balms. There is no Dr. Bronner's! Whaaaaaaaattttt? Are you kidding me? After I stop scouring the shelves because I'm sure I just missed it, I realized I didn't. So I settle for the the one that sounds most similar to my beloved Dr. Bronner's. Hugo's vanilla and sweet orange.

Sweet jesus! Sweet orange, my ass! Which is also what it smells like. And it tastes like castor oil. And guess what the first ingredient is? Yup, castor oil. Maybe I'll put it in the medicine cabinet for my chronically constipated child who maybe I can coax to try a swipe of Hugo instead of an enema. Although, I bet the enema would actually win.

So, what's the moral of the story? If you don't have it, fake it. But don't be a hypocrite or an asshole by pretending to be something you're not. Especially without a good lube.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Happy Dance

For two months now we've been back in America. And for two months now, I haven't had time alone. Until now. My kids have gone back to school. My mother-in-law has gone back to Florida. And I'm alone. Blissfully alone. So now I get to do whatever I want to do. And what I wanna do is a happy dance.

I have been waiting all summer to do that. You know, so I didn't turn the kids into chop suey or anything. I know you were questioning whether it actually was a happy dance or not because I didn't smile a lot. Dude, it's hard to remember to smile while you're balancing an effing sword on your head. And I never promised it was actually gonna be good. But, I got to dance all by myself. And the sword actually stayed on my head.

That alone makes me happy! The kids being in school is just bonus.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

So Inclined

I'm sure you've heard on the news lately that Colorado is the fittest state. But I can tell you from my two years plus absence overseas, that it isn't quite as fit as it used to be. The newest Colorado obesity statistics range from 20% to a whopping 50%. Like most things, I'm inclined to believe that the truth lies somewhere in that gray area. And this is the fittest state?

There are a couple of unique things about Colorado Springs that may help sway the numbers in the state. The Air Force Academy and the Olympic Training Center. Oh, and let me just add a third. The incline. What the hell is the incline you ask? It's a mile long trail that starts at the base of Pike's Peak that consists of wooden ties that act like stairs. And the best part? It's at a 40% grade.

Ok, so it's not actually in the springs, but our neighbor to the west, Manitou Springs. Probably the most alluring part of hiking the incline is that it's illegal. Which would make it the most broken law in Manitou. Well, next to all the illegal pot selling. And smoking. But since neither of these are violent crimes, it makes for a very fit and peaceful town. Cause frankly, the population is too exhausted and munchy to do much else.

But now, the city is going to turn it into a real trail. And real trails come with real fees for a real paved parking lot. Real stinky port-a-potties. And lots of real rules to follow like no dog allowed. Really. And a real stupid sign that states the obvious like this is an extreme trail. And maybe even more obvious, if you have difficulty walking up a flight of stairs, do not hike the incline. This is like the legal disclaimer on disposable coffee cups that coffee is hot. Duh.

So even though the city is attempting to suck the illegal fun out of it, all the way to the bank, we're still going to hike it. At least until they start hiking up the entrance fee which is currently free.

In other cities you might have to go to a strip club to see half naked people sweating and panting heavily. Here you only have to climb 2744 steps. And if you act really, really fast it's even free. (Parking excluded of course.)

Photo courtesy of nameless, sweaty, shirtless guy with the tattoo on the incline.

All this exposed flesh makes it a great meat market. (And a great place to set up a shop that sells sunscreen and water. As Colorado has some of the highest rates of skin cancer.) So, if you're single and in the market, Which one of my friends is, this is the best barr this side of the Mississippi. I mean really, could it be scarier than meeting someone on the internet? And you already know if your potential date has a hairy back or not. How bonus is that? Especially if it's a woman.

The views are gorgeous too. And not just the sweaty bodies, but the aerial view of Colorado Springs. Unfortunately, I got so distracted gasping for the unclean air that was my own b.o. stank (I don't wear deodorant remember) and considering whether I wanted to just lay down and die or impale myself on an old rusty rebar (for a timelier death), I forgot to take a picture of it.

Now, you can take the stairs all the way up, or you can cheat and bail out at Bail Out Point half way up. Either way, you can cross over to Barr trail and have a 3 mile trail run (or half that) back down. I know that sounds easy. But you have to try to avoid wiping out on the small gravelly stones, big boulders, transverse the switch backs and avoid the rattle snakes and cougars. Well, really just the snakes. The only cougars on the trail that day were us.

And you know it's all over when the ambulance arrives. Thankfully, it wasn't for any of us cougars because we'd already made it down. But, I was about ready to pounce on the paramedic so we could get a ride back to the car we parked way down the hill to avoid the parking fee.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Social Media Whore

This is my current Facebook picture. I am, you see, a social media whore. I didn't set out to be one. It just kinda happened. And I'm not the happy hooker kind either. I'm the one who's searching for a better life. One who's theme song isn't the plunking of my fingertips on the keyboard. (Wait, since I'm a writer, I guess that kinda is my song. Oh well.)
It started off innocent, the way these things do, with Facebook. Linking up with family, friends and classmates. Soon enough it took a turn for the worse. Constant requests for Farmville or whatever the flavor of the month game is that I have blocked the hell out of. Before you know it you're stalking people's photo albums to see if they had a mullet back in high school too. Because that makes you (I mean me) feel better about yourself (or myself). Until you realize you have some deep seeded inadequacy issues fed by the accessibility of the perfectly sanitized version of people's on-line lives. And you feel really dirty.

To clean myself up and try to feel more respectable about my cyber self, I started to write more. Then I started to use social media to meet other writers and find more readers. Thus started the period where I joined a few blogging groups. Ok, I joined a lot of blogging groups for a while there. I met a lot of people. But, sometimes I took things to the next level too fast with the wrong person and let them friend me. Before I realized that we just weren't right for each other. That our relationship was based on a mutual lust for success. And I felt skanky all over again. I hoped I hadn't contracted an STD (Socially Transmitted Disease) in the process. Then, my fingers did the walk of shame all the way to the delete button.

After that I buried myself even more in my writing. Sure that substance would prevail over sociability. However, substance is what substance does. So, no one reads substantive things they don't know exist. One simply must be sociable to some degree. So I tried a new angle, I joined some expat sites. Not knowing at the time that some foreign men use these sites like a directory to score American women. Who are a pretty hot commodity in certain parts of the world in case you didn't know. I had fallen right in the arms of the womanizer. How could I have been so naive?

I was so disheartened at the whole social scene and was ready to go into seclusion when one day I was at the library and saw the book Likeable Social Media. I didn't have any expectations. And the same message I had been told by other writers ran through it. Social media is invaluable. And the best place to promote your product? Twitter. Apparently, it's the biggest pimp out there. Crap.

Because of course Twitter is the one site I said I'd never join. Really, do I need to know every time someone I don't actually know in real life takes a crap or eats a hot dog. Or better yet, I could just use it to follow my favorite celebrities. Because evidently on Twitter the term following makes you feel more like a fan and less like a stalker. Even though you still are.

So I reluctantly created a Twitter account. I followed some of my favorite writers. And while I'm not much of a celebrity worshiper, I figured I needed to have a token celebrity to stalk, via the follow button, one. Just one. I think it's mandatory in the terms of use I didn't read when I signed up. So I know when said celebrity craps or eats a hot dog or eats a hot dog whilst crapping and tweeting. Oh and it's obligatory that they're hot. So who won my celebrity lottery? You'll have to go look and see who I follow on Twitter to find out. Even though I feel like a total twit doing that.

So, I'm not the best social media whore. In fact, I'm a total loser if you go by the numbers. It's way too important to me that the connections I make with people are genuine. Because in the end, I'd rather have substance than success. Ok, I'd rather have both, but I mean if I HAD to choose. Substance wins hands down.

(But if you'd like to help a little with the success part you can like my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter:  Rock The Kasbah@MarieLoerzel. No pressure though. And I promise not to tweet about my poop.)

Sunday, August 12, 2012


I've always felt different. I'm a lifelong tomboy who loves to play in the dirt, but hates to watch football. I do have girly side, but it doesn't involve a mani-pedi or watching musicals. Because I abhor both of those. Unless I'm in the right company, in which case I would do any of the above. Because even though I tend to be antisocial and despise these things, I love my friends.

I, like everyone else, am a series of contradictions.

I left for Morocco one person and returned different. Ok, not vastly different. I just totally contradicted myself. Kinda different. I can eat a bug without flinching. Well, not a big crunchy bug. But the little bugs that infiltrate care packages of crackers and cereal in shipment from the states. Definitely. They were simply casualties of my no crumb left behind policy. I protected myself with a patina of b.o. armor that has both sunscreen benefits and simultaneously repels diplomats and attracts Peace Corps volunteers. I must confess, even though I'm back in the states, I still have a ban on Ban. Cause really doesn't everyone want to repel diplomats? And we haven't even discussed my mad dirty towel bargaining skills I've acquired. Or how useful that is in the real world.

Don't worry, I'm still a huge dork. I still snort when I laugh. And god knows I will never master 9th grade math. You got me, 7th grade math. Oh, and I still have no interest in seeing Mama Mia. And my Sundays will not be spent in front of the tv watching the game. But what I am is a smidge less sensitive and a dollop stronger. I don't know if anyone else sees it. And honestly it doesn't matter.

Because I'm different now.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Antisocial Personality Disorder

I'm antisocial. I always have been. It's not that I don't like people. In fact it's just the opposite. I'm amazed by people. But I'm a watcher as opposed to an engager. I value your time, so I don't want to take it up by chattering on. Plus, I've never really been capable of chattering on anyhow. While I can string coherent thoughts together in writing, I'm abysmal and extremely awkward at doing the same verbally. And I've spent most of my life believing that I'm invisible. And really just realized in the last few years I'm not.

Damn it.

Because I've always found comfort in invisibility. Or I used to. From a very early age I knew exactly how to fly under the radar. To do things both efficiently and well, but, yet go unnoticed. Taking the minimum effort route to the greatest result, but insuring my aloofness at the same time. I, of course, had no idea at the timet that's what I was doing. Or that I was doing it to shield myself and everyone else from my glaring imperfections. Because the biggest fear of a perfectionist is being exposed for who we truly are. Imperfectionists. And perfectionists don't need to ask for help, imperfectionists do.

Damn it.

Now I've outgrown my invisibility cloak. Not that I don't still long to wear it. I do, but it doesn't work anymore. A piece of me always pokes out. Sometimes I crouch to try to make it cover me. Ok, I do that a lot actually. But lately I'm trying to slowly and painfully yank it off myself. Which I'm sure makes me look more like I have multiple personalities than antisocial tendencies.

So while I've started on this path to become a writer, I figured out something. While my craft is sitting alone with my thoughts and writing them down, the path to a successful career is going to involve *gulp* socializing with people. Which completely terrifies me. And the other thing? I'm going to need help to get there.

Damn it.

So here's the moment I need to choke the words out. (Insert deep breath here.) I need help. There. I said it. While I'm starting to figure out this whole taking my writing to the next level and writing a book, I need your support.

How can you do that?

You can just keep reading.

If you like something you read, you can share it.

If I start posting less often, hopefully you can forgive me.

You can like my Facebook page.

You can send me an encouraging comment.

Holy crap! Ok, I did it. I asked for help. That wasn't so painful. Thank god I didn't have to stand up in front of you and say it in person completely naked without my cloak.

But, that's therapy for another session. Cause time's up for today!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

T-Shirts, Trophies and Tiaras

We've been back in the states for about a month and a half now. But, I can't stop thinking about last summer in Morocco. Summer, when most of the expats skip town and travel to exotic destinations and my kids lose their playmates. The beaches are jam packed with locals in a flurry of pre-Ramadan playfulness. Then, when Ramadan did start, Rabat became a ghost town, at least until dusk. Our summer days choked, sputtered and stalled behind the walls of our 9 foot gate.

There wasn't much to do.

But this summer, we're in America. With a million things to do. And my kids want to do them all. All today. Yesterday would have been better. And to think, last summer they were content to make weapons out of sticks and duct tape in the yard. And they were happy. But now, we live in the land of t-shirts, trophies and tiaras. Where kids don't play with sticks anymore. And happiness can be bought. Or can it? Where it seems every kids activity has a mandatory snack, a free t-shirt, a trophy or a free coupon for a kids meal at Chick-fil-A. And worst case scenario, there's a tiara at stake. The only one I can tolerate is the free t-shirt. Unless it has an advertisement for Chick-fil-A on it.

It seems like it only took 3 seconds for the kids to transition from having very little to do in Africa to having to have everything in America. But it was probably more like 3 days. Maybe a week. I've kinda lost track of time this summer.

But in that time, whatever it actually was, a shift started to happen.

Suddenly, every drink requires ice. Lots of ice. Somehow, we survived fine without it for 2 years and our thirst was still quenched. Albeit at room temperature.

When we bought the new car we actually had to work out a schedule of who sits where to combat the constant squabbles. Gone are the days when we owned only one banged up piece of crap car that would reluctantly get us where we needed to go amid the sea of mopeds and donkeys. And we felt fortunate. Maybe we should have bought a goat instead.

Since we're back in the land of English and electronics, the kids are constantly asking to watch tv. We have a seemingly endless amounts of channels so there is always something on. And most of it is crap. I miss what a pain in the ass it was to download stuff from the internet, it made Dirty Jobs way the hell more dirty. And rewarding.

Then there's the shopping. Never in Morocco did any of the kids want to go shopping with me. I didn't want to go shopping there either. Now, they all want to come with me so they can beg me for things. I long for shopping in the Marjane where no one actually wanted anything. It was completely miserable. And a hell of a lot cheaper.

Now our fridge is stocked top to bottom, crammed full of Costco size portions. Yet, the kids will open it, stare blankly and proclaim there is nothing to eat. Which just freakin' pisses me off. Often times the fridge in Morocco was sparse. Barren even. (See above explanation on shopping.) Yet, there was always something to eat. Or maybe the sparseness just means they could see what was actually in the fridge better.

Don't even get me on kids with cell phones. My kids don't have any. Yet. Although all their friends do. So they say. Which I have argued is absolutely perfect because then they'll always have access to a phone. For free! I admit, I'd rather the kids have a phone than a tiara though.

Did they learn nothing in Morocco?

I'm starting to think we need to move to Bangladesh. Where I'm pretty sure there's no Real Housewives of Dhaka on tv. And I sure hope there's no Chick-fil-A.


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