Sunday, July 31, 2011

"Disney" Toys Are "Lots Of Fun"

Even though my kid has this preternatural, non-literate ability to recognize the things he wants me to buy for him, the subtleties of this one were lost on him. I suppose my wanting to take a picture of this one might have tipped him off.

You have to be really savvy to catch the fake.

The shop owners were also curious why I was taking pictures of it, like I might be some sort of korsan toy agent. Given today's anti-piracy climate, I suppose it was a fair guess. Either that, or it's just fucking weird to take pictures of hilarious things that I can't explain in Turkish why I think they're so hilarious. Also, since the poor kid has been to the dentist 3 times in the last 2 weeks (an ongoing issue with temporary fillings and treatments my spoiled foreign brain can't grasp, especially when they're applied to my 4 year old without Novocaine), the toy store guys probably think he's the most spoiled brat on earth, and I'm the shit mommy that's doing it to him.

It doesn't tell you how to fish. I checked. It may still be a good friend though.
As though I don't feel like a shit enough mommy because of the teeth thing.
In the end, I talked him into getting this toy. It's not just because of the cool Chinglish. It's because I'll be damned if I spend any of the money I earned in the trenches on even yet still more Bakugan crap, which requires dealing with by me all the time and then breaks within a few days. Let his dad buy him that shit. 
There's Chinese garbage and there's Chinese garbage, and I prefer the garbage that's cheap, money-wise. Even better if it's funny.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Oh, Ew! Or, Crap I Found Under My Sofa

Fucking ew! Laceball!
Remember that time I thought LE had eaten all the meatballs I gave him for dinner?

Of course you don't. That's because I save this kind of mundane shit for Facebook, though I don't actually post it there either. In fact, I generally keep the boring details of my thrilling life to myself, in order to make my life appear more thrilling to the people I imagine are watching me on the Internet. It's all about being conscious of one's audience. Whether or not said audience exists is irrelevant to the construct.

Anyway, you know what this crap I found under my sofa is?

That's right. It's the shell of a meatball that's been eaten to lace by ants. By the time I found it, it was dried out to the point of being something other than meat, with a few lackluster and disappointed-looking ants creeping around on it, plus some hair and some dust. Given how much I've been cooking lately, which is not much at all, I judged the laceball to be about 2 weeks old.

And you know what I did with it after I took the picture? That's right, I knocked it back under the sofa with whatever implement I'd used to get it out of there in the first place. You think I'd touch that shit? And hold it in my hand all the way to the garbage? Hah! I pay people to do that kind of thing for me, because I'm so fucking fabulous. And also lazy. And also creeped out by laceballs under my sofa. They deserve basically the same strategy as cockroaches, which is to be moved to somewhere I can't see them. Then it's kind of like they aren't even there at all.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Terror Scaffolding! An Adventure In Safety

You see that little door underneath the scaffolding? That's the door to my office. Up on the scaffolding they have stuff like mallets and drills and claw hammers, plus some rather well-worn and rickety-looking uneven planks for the guys to walk around on, precariously balanced across the scaffolding bars. The guy on the ground usually gets a hard hat. The guy up top gets a safety belt that isn't attached to anything.

As if working in the summer weren't bad enough, with all these unwilling and fed-up kids, we now have to walk under the terror scaffolding several times a day. When you're coming in to the office, the guy on the ground sometimes yells at the guy up top to stop doing whatever debris-dropping activity he might be working on. Going out though, there's nothing to do but be quick!

For our safety, there's some old plywood with rusty nails sticking out.

Today they've started drilling the wall. Bits of cement, large and small, drop to the ground and explode. Fortunately, they installed some safety panelling over the door.

There's also that extra scaffolding bar across the door for hitting your head on, in case the falling cement misses you. The other door has some "do not cross" tape across it, so I don't know if the tape or the bar implies more danger. Tell you what, though. I'm having lunch at my desk today. Breadsticks and hazelnuts.

At least the workers are a bit of eye-candy. Otherwise, I don't know what I'd do.

Carry on as usual, I suppose.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Trip To The Pazar: Short Film By LE

I've already gotten a notice from YouTube that MÜYAP owns the music, so this little achievement of mine may be short-lived.


Please don't sue me.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

WTF Is It? Thoughts On Bugs

There has been an influx of wildlife in my house recently. For example, the other day I spotted a little lizard, which ran under the bed. I was all, "Note to self: Capture lizard and show it to LE before it dies." And then I forgot to undertake the capturing project, so I do hope the little fellow made it out all right, preferably closing the way it came in, whatever that was.
I'm okay with you, little fella.

Reptiles, I'm cool with. I rather like them. I wish we had chameleons or geckos or something. Geckos are nice. You can hear their little sucky feet tapping around at night. Chameleons are super-cool with the stretchy fast tongues and mood-ring camouflage skin and all.

So far, we haven't had any birds in this house. Birds, I hate. There's something terribly wrong with reptilian features on a feathered creature. The feathers say, "Touch me, stroke me, I'm cute and soft," but then the eyes and skin say, "I'm a fucking reptile with staring, cold terror eyes and deeply unsettling pink skin and I'd as soon peck your eyes out than let you touch my lovely soft feathers."
Get the fuck away from me, bird!

At least reptiles are truthful. They say, "I'm cold-blooded. Do what you want with that, and let me be."

I have mixed feelings about bugs. On one hand, I do hate to be all girly and "Eek!" about bugs, but you know what? A lot of bugs are fucking scary, with creepy fucking legs and scuttling behaviors. So I've narrowed down my bug issues to those that I Can and Can't deal with:

Bugs I Can Deal With:
Completely un-scary and cute.
1) Bugs that I know for sure don't bite or sting. I love bees in theory but I don't want them on me.
2) Baby bugs that are very small. Very, very small.
3) Exceptions: Daddy-long legs and mosquito-eaters. I don't mind them a bit, except when you try to release them back into the wild, they can break. It upsets me terribly when I let one go and find a piece of leg in my hand after.

Bugs I Can't Deal With:
1) Bugs that are larger than a green lentil. That's about my limit. Sowbugs are cute and all, but there's a dead one on the floor now I'm not dealing with because it's the size of a jellybean. Also, see # 2, below.
2) Dead bugs. I fucking hate them because sometimes they come back to life.
3) Black bugs, unless they are extremely small.
4) Bugs with creepy legs. The creepiness of the legs seems related to size, but it's worth mentioning.
5) Shiny bugs, with the exception of very small, shiny, non-black beetles that I think are pretty.
6) Bugs with hair.
7) Bugs that might make any audible sound, crunching or otherwise, if you kill them.
8) Bugs that appear in groups larger than 3. Newborn spiders taking flight a la Charlotte's Web are fine, though, as long as they are outside and aren't on me.
9) Bugs that are on me by surprise. One of the worst bug encounters I ever had was a huge dead black beetle a little bigger than a piece of okra, that stuck to my shoulder while swimming in the sea in Mallorca. I looked at my shoulder and bah! It was right fucking there in my face!
10) Bugs that scuttle.

My approach to cockroaches (yes, they don't bite, but they're big and black and shiny with creepy legs so I hate them) is to stomp near them so they run away to somewhere I can't see them. That's my approach with most bugs actually. Just go where I can't see you and I'll leave you alone. I do, however, tend to remove large spiders, at arm's length with a cup and paper or something, with lots of girly "ew!" noises. I like spiders, even the ones I can't deal with, but I don't want them having 10 billion fucking babies in my house. Also, they eat biting bugs so I feel bad even if I wreck one of their webs.

This morning, there was this bug in my house:
And actually, I tried to move it outside but it scuttled under some drawers, and anyway, LE was pissed off at me because I used his book to try to scoop it up. So it started off as an okay-ish bug that I could halfway deal with at arm's length-- too big to touch, biting status unknown, but its legs were feathery rather than creepy. Only then it scuttled so it was definitely Not Okay.

WTF is this bug? And is it lurking under the drawers right now, looking at me? Or having babies?


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Kid X-Ray

LE has had 3 x-rays in his life. The first, taken after he stood up in a chair backwards and fell over headwise into the cupboard with an unpleasantly cracky thumping sound, was my favorite because you could see his not-yet-grown-in teeth lurking under his gums.

Also baby skulls are bulbous and funny.

The second was after a mishap involving a gazebo and a nose-high marble shelf that was exactly foreshortened to invisibility from LE's height at the time. I don't know where that x-ray is, but I feel like we should have kept it. It was the most expensive x-ray ever, taken at the ill-advised, shiny hotel-like Medicana hospital because I didn't yet know about the great deals over at Medi-Life.

I couldn't figure out how to get a good photo of LE's first head x-ray. Fortunately, his dentist has some super-cool dentist software that allows him to take digital, email-able jpg x-rays. I know all about the software because I got the dentist to talk about it once, instead of forcing him to make open-mouth conversation about Turkey with me.

My tiny, MS Paint ode to Allie Brosh, who hasn't posted in ages. Come back, Allie! I've been reading old posts just to make my face hurt and my eyes water painfully with laugh tears! I promise to buy your book if you'll just come back! I'll buy more than one! I'll come to Bend so you can sign all of them! I won't make fun of your dog! Maybe a little!
Naturally, I was thrilled with the x-rays. After the dentist had pointed out the cavities and I had cringed with shame for about a second, I wanted to know all about the other teeth, to which the dentist was cheerfully obliging because he's the kind of dentist who genuinely loves his work and can't hide his pleasure when others express an interest. That's the other reason I know so much about the software, whose development process I can't help wondering about. There's an entire industry that's a mystery to me-- medical tools and technology. I'll bet there are conferences and brochures involved, too.

Anyway, those are indeed his Big Boy Teeth forming under there. And I had NO FREAKING IDEA there was such a thing as 6-year molars or 12-year molars, but check them out, there they are!

Most of the time it seems like I manage to learn something every day. But some things I learn are astoundingly way fucking cooler than other things, even if I come by them in a really bad way.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

White Dread

In case you ever wondered what happens to a husky-ish dog who is never brushed, it looks a little like White Dog:

Remind me never,ever to have a long-haired dog around the house. Cleaning up all that hair, bit by bit as summer wears on, must be a Sisyphean task. White dog looks like he's lost about 10 pounds, all of it fluffy, floaty white hair.
This picture doesn't show the dreads as well, but I like it better because White Dog totally posed and smiled for the camera.

In the background, one of the neighbors was shouting, "Don't be scared! Don't be scared! They're okay dogs." LE kept his distance from the dogs because to him, they're massive and he doesn't like being licked in the face. Nor would I, I suppose, if I had a similar face-dog tongue ratio. I said, "I know they're nice. I'm just taking a picture," to which he replied, "*blink blink*" and walked away, because some things, no matter how normal they seem to me, just don't register with a lot of people.

Black dog, by the way, was there too. She (formally he, because I'm a little slow) now approaches cautiously and sniffs a proffered hand almost in shame. She's that kind of scared that makes me nervous, no matter how nice a dog is. Her wounds appear to have healed, even the one on her eye, but gone are the happy wiggles and exuberant head cuddles.

So it's either a happy or unhappy ending, depending on how you look at it and what mood you happen to be in at the time.

*EDIT* 21 July: Someone gave White Dog a haircut! He's svelte and dread-free!

Friday, July 15, 2011

I'm Covered In Either Ghosts Or Aliens

Here's a really weird picture LE took of me last week. I think he did it with one of the Instamatic effects, though I'm not sure which one.

Apparently it's the effect that makes the ghosts show.
Isn't that creepy? I have no idea what that light around my hands is, and that definitely looks like a malevolent face on my chest. It's also weird how my arm looks like it has blurry tattoos on it.

Eek! The worst part is that whatever it is, it's on me! Crap!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thrilling Developments

Whenever I come back from the US, I'm always shocked when my plants didn't die. Especially this time, since I wasn't entirely confident BE would bother to water, let alone follow the nit-picky instructions I left on each plant.

Remember those African violet leaves I stuck in dirt a couple of months ago? Check them out!

Hooray! I can't believe it worked!

This other plant is something I just thought was some sort of border grass, and I only bought it to fill out an ivy pot. I re-potted it when the ivy decided it didn't want a roommate anymore. But look!
After 3 years, it suddenly has tiny little flowers!
This other plant is getting massive and it keeps sprouting these weird little alien babies that turn into new plants. It also sends leaves off to the sides. When I get around to it, I'm going to have to figure out how to cut off the babies and replant them.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Istanbul Spor: A Trip To The Pazar

Note to self: Next time I feel guilty about not exercising, I should just remember how often I buy a bunch of crap and haul it home on foot. Since our house had almost no food in it, today was perhaps a little more than usual. Also, the pazar is just really cool.

Today's haul, cunningly arranged.
I admit I'm a bit sore, though it's hard to tell if it's from this, or from traveling and hauling shit around airports and in and out of cars, or both. And it looks like I'm definitely cooking tonight.

Back In The 'Bull: 2011

It's fucking hot. The airport was crowded (a small haci flight with their endless checked plastic bottles of holy water, dazed walking patterns and holier-than-thou pushing style, plus a flight from either Iran or Iraq, which has a special passport control area wherein like a thousand people comprise a heaving, shoving mass about 10 feet square, with assorted children and burquas flitting around the edges, in a giant space that could easily accommodate them if they believed in the queue) but we breezed through so fast we beat BE and MIL to the greeting area.

I accomplished this partly by cheating, where I abused LE's citizenship status by getting us into the citizen passport check (around 7 people waiting) instead of the foreigner passport check (around 50,000 people waiting). The officer kept tossing our documents back to us disdainfully, which I took personally, especially because LE has just gotten tall enough to peek over the top of the counter and any small, cute part of him is usually enough to melt the coldest officer heart. But as soon as we passed, the officer started yelling at another guy that he'd been waiting an hour for his break, so then it was okay and I felt better. At least he didn't tell me to fuck off because he needed a piss and a cigarette.

All here!
The other part that made it so quick was out of my hands: this was the first trip in 3 years where none, yes, NONE of my bags went missing. Last year, all of them went missing. In previous years, it was just some of them, but missing bags means waiting hopefully at the carousel for up to an hour and a half, and eventually coming to accept that none of the bags that keep coming around will be mine.

If there is a large crowd waiting for bags, it doesn't mean yours will come eventually. It means everyone's bags are lost and you'd better freaking hurry up to the Havaş lost luggage office, skipping the line waiting politely outside the window and muscling your way in to cheerfully grab a passing worker to sort things out. You have to get into the office before everyone else realizes they have to actually go into the office (the window is just a structural feint or distraction, as no worker ever goes near there). The worker is always happy to deal with a cheerful foreigner rather than attempt to help the increasingly angry and bigoted crowd of foreigners in the window. Sometimes, if I've made a foreign friend while waiting for baggage, I'll get him/her sorted out while I'm at it.

Anyway, lost bags have become so much a part of the Turkey entry routine that it was a bit of a shock getting through without it. And all the foreign friends I made while getting bags also got their bags, so I didn't have to worry about leaving anyone in the lurch.

I hasten to add that the Turks are not in the least at fault for the lost baggage. They're super-champs about finding stuff and delivering it to your door with a smile (though they do dick you around quite a bit until they have the bags where they can see them so it's pointless to call). The worst lost bag delay I ever had on the Turkey side was when it dumped a foot of snow and their home delivery trucks couldn't get through, but even then, they phoned several times with weather-based ETAs. It's the foreign airlines, in particular Delta (who are quick to blame it on KLM and Air France) and United (who always blame it on Lufthansa). The apparent purpose of so-called "partner airlines" is to create the ability to blame fiascoes on the other airline. British Airways also loses stuff too, but that tends to be more of a Heathrow problem than BA's. Anyway.

I get to pull my head out of traveling for now. Time for Back In The 'Bull 2011 Highlights and Lowlights:

1) Our toilet was leaking.
2) The kombi wasn't working.
3) BE was a complete dick.
4) BE had drunk all my gin, which explains some of the drunk-dials to my folks' house.

1) I get to learn some toilet-repair vocabulary with the plumber. Usually, I'm okay with toilet repair, but this is a new one (out the bottom, onto the floor). Also, the toilet was doing this when we moved in, but as broken things tend to do, it wouldn't perform the leak when the plumber was there so he pronounced the toilet fine. Up till now it's been intermittent enough to be fine, but any toilet leak is never fine because you never know if it's poop water or tank water all over the floor.

2) As for the kombi, I wanted a cold shower anyway. Maybe I would have liked to ease into the coldness a bit more but it was still breathtakingly refreshing.

3) Despite being a dick the whole ride from his parents' house to ours, BE still did most of the shit-work of hauling the four giant bags up four flights of stairs. Neither the plants nor the fish are dead. Sometimes I'm inclined to think BE's really a nice guy on the inside and only a dick on the outside. It's a fine difference, but worth mentioning. And man, am I glad he didn't leave me to haul the bags myself because I might have died. Especially because I was already teeth-grindingly upset about the dickishness on the car-ride over. And also borderline insane from the 20-hour trip and not having slept at all during said trip.

4) The gin problem was easily remedied. Plus I have a duty-free Grand Marnier nightcap awaiting me for the next few months. Ha!

I'll teach you to break, bitch!

5) And I fixed the fuck out of the kombi. After phoning BE to get the number for the plumber and ask if he knew any kombi secrets, I felt like I was being some shitty and helpless female, especially because I was still so relieved he helped get the bags up the stairs. So I got call him back, all, "Hey, I fixed the fuck out of the kombi." I just left out the part where I hadn't figured out how to turn the gas back on the first time I'd called (for some inexplicable reason, BE had shut off both the kombi and the gas, and the only reason I'd mentioned the kombi to him on the phone was because I thought he might know where the reset button is, like on my past problematic kombis). But also there was a flashing red button that I fixed by holding it down till it stopped flashing. Hah!

 Anyway, it's nice to see our house and air it out, and find nothing has gone wrong except there are a few scary dead bugs lying around.
 As for the heat, I'll just have to suffer. And our arrival home has coincided nicely with pazar day, which means I get to go do something fun, plus get some food in here because I felt rather like a bachelor with my dinner of cheese, bread, and olives last night.

Monday, July 11, 2011

I Completely Fucking Suck: A Family Heirloom

Last night, I broke the family heirloom 1000 Pipers scotch shot glass.

It had to happen sometime, but why did it have to be me?

I was drying it, and it slipped out of my hand and fell onto the counter top and broke. At least I cut my hand a little bit while cleaning it up, because I freaking deserve it.

The Family Heirloom Shot Glass wasn't just special because it's the only thing we have remaining from my grandfather's bar toys, which arguably makes it very important. It wasn't just special because we've always had it.

What made the Family Heirloom Shot Glass special was that it held shots about half an ounce larger than a normal shot glass.

Goodbye, dear shot glass. Don't tell mom.

And my brothers are going to fucking kill me.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Being Four: A Week Of Big Days and Mishaps

Monday: While playing softball, a neighbor stumbles while carrying LE and lands on top of him. I look over just as they fall to the ground and wonder, "Why the hell did she just tackle my kid?" Then I figured she must have known what she was doing because she has kids. Then LE was crying and the neighbor felt worse than he did.

A cuddle and a laundry basket full of sports equipment, brought out with impeccable timing by another neighbor, solved the problem and LE immediately forgot everything that had ever happened in his life before the laundry basket full of sports equipment. He shoved my face away with both hands, mid-cuddle, to get at the basket.

LE was only slightly scathed, with a small scrape on his forehead. He doesn't remember how it got there.

Then he got to stay up late and party with the grown-ups. He made it till 11.30 before collapsing in helpless whimpers about how he definitely did not want to go to bed.

His uncle didn't want to go to bed either.
Tuesday: LE gets his finger stuck in a wooden train track.
It's the hazards you don't think about that get you.

I heard this "Mama, wah!" while I was struggling with the Amtrak website to see if my friend's train was on time. I was all, "Hang on," and LE was all, "It's stuck." and I was like "Whatever," because he gets things stuck in things all the time.

But when I went to check, his finger was totally fucking stuck in that little hole, completely un-budge-able from any direction, and starting to swell. I tried soap and water and that didn't work. My mom came in and kind of panicked. I still thought it was a little bit funny and would have taken a picture if the boy hadn't been so upset about having to live with a train track stuck to his finger for the rest of his life.

We tried to break the track with a wrench and that wouldn't work. We ended up sawing the track off with this tiny coping saw my mom had for some reason, that was miraculously sitting on the top of the tool box. So that was cool.

Wednesday Morning: A large cavity in LE's molar starts bothering him a lot. I'd been putting off the cavity for far too long because I just didn't have time to deal with it, what with final exams and preparing to come here. I didn't want to deal with it here either because it's even more fucking expensive.

Worst Mommy Ever.
But the universe totally bit me on the ass for that one. Turns out the poor kid needed like a baby root canal. The dentist was all, "How the hell is this kid not crying all the time? How does he sleep?" thus sealing my label as the Worst Mommy Ever. Plus he has another small cavity next to the big one, and goodness knows what I will have to bribe him with to get him in to a dentist to fix that one, but it sure as fuck isn't going to be candy.

Lucky for LE, the Novocaine shot was so upsetting he fell asleep for the rest of the procedure. Then they let him take three prizes from the treasure chest. I'm thinking I need to get one of those dentist treasure chests for my house.

You can be sure I will show this photo to Babaanne as fuel for my pleas to stop giving him so much fucking candy, and yes, chocolate and gum count as candy. I only wish I had a recording of him screaming, "Ouch ouch ouch ouch Mama Mama it hurts so much!" That way I maybe could have also gotten her to stop giving him bowls of honey and fruit-flavored drinks and Coke.

Wednesday Afternoon: LE pretty much learned how to swim, at which point he more or less forgot about the tooth.

Knock on wood we can ride out the rest of Friday with no further developments.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Coolest America Stuff I Saw Today

Best parking lot fireworks ad ever.

Light fuse and get the fuck away!
Yes, but does The Works come with a happy ending?

My kid rocks.

Monday, July 4, 2011

America: Patriotism?

Here's a crappy America montage I whipped up with the crude video editor that came with my computer. My video editing skills approximate those of the average middle school student, but it took a really long time to make so just watch the fucker, all right?

Love, Stranger.