murky, muddy, muck

we ventured home today.  and not a moment to soon.  i don’t say that because we were just dying to get to cleaning, i say it because as we were at sitting at the hotel we had a view of this

this was a paved drive last night.  the flood seems to be coming after us.  time for us to get moving anyway.  plenty of work waiting for us at the house.

i left a little before the rest of the family so i could detour by big c to pick up bleach and sanitizer and mops.  and when i arrived home our househelp, jim and khao, were already in the process of moving mud.  i joined them in a squeegee brigade.  jim pushed the muck to khao, and khao pushed it to me, and i pushed it on out towards a drain or a door.  and when the rest of the family arrived they joined in – and they were pretty chipper about it.



while the work continued on inside there was plenty to be done outside, too.



gade from the compassion thailand office stopped by to lend a very much appreciated hand.  i let her know that from now on when the office calls and asks if we need anything i’m going to answer, “i don’t know, you tell me.”

one of the things we did need today was water.  which we didn’t have.  the tessebaan shut off the water to our street this morning and it was late afternoon before it came back on.  that makes cleaning out the mud a much more challenging feat than it has to be.  but we got a lot accomplished and we’re all now exhausted.

michael’s now on his way to america.  a14 and i are going to be bunking together for at least tonight, my room is still in pretty bad shape, but it’s first up on the to-do list tomorrow.  and the boys are lounging and too tired to move from the prone positions they’ve managed to get themselves into.

the reports are that the typhoon has gone north and will not be causing more flooding for us.  that’s a worry off my list and makes the cleaning up seem like it’s not futile after all.

do the kids have to make up flood days

it has flooded.  people kept talking about it.  saying it was imminent.  or saying it wouldn’t reach us.  we weren’t sure who to believe, but we knew who we wanted to believe.  we did all the flood prep we knew to do.  and then we waited.

i went down to the bridge nearest our house and checked out the water levels.  they were definitely rising.  but the whole atmosphere there was so festive that it was hard to take it seriously.  food vendors were out vending food.  people were out playing in the first of the flood waters.  there were so many people gathered taking pictures and chatting and not being at all serious that it made it easy to for it not to feel “real”.


i made several trips out to check on the progress of the flood.  and while it was inching it’s way towards our house, it wasn’t inching in a way that was convincing to us.

and then it started on our street.  and then it started at our house.  and it kept it up at our house.  and we started feeling like the flood was a real threat.



and then the morning came and we woke to this.


yes, that is our car.  the tan one, not the black one.  but it’s good that the black one is in the picture so people can see we weren’t the only ones to not move our car to higher ground.

we tried to figure out what to do.  we had no idea.  we moved some of our already moved stuff around.  and then the cavalry came.


our faithful househelp.  i’m not certain it was wise to drive the motorbike all the way down our street and nong patty, their daughter, seems to not be certain that even getting out in the flood is a good idea (smart girl).  they helped us move the fridge to higher ground and the washing machine.  then they noticed things that we overlooked.  and then they noticed something we didn’t see at all.


the snake is trying to swim out on michael’s side of the window.  if you could hear what’s happening right now you would be deafened by the squeels and screeches of jim and myself.  luckily, michael got the window closed so it couldn’t escape.

khao killed the snake.  first he stunned it by whacking it with that stick several times.  he broke the screen doing it.  he did ask permission to break the screen, i thought a no longer living snake was a good trade for a screen.

a second after this shot was taken the back wall was splattered with snake blood.  that smack made sure it was good and dead.  and that snake convinced me that i’m not the kind that’s made of the stuff to wait out the flood in our flooded house.  that and the fact that the toilets would no longer flush.  that just makes for all kinds of ookeyness.

our rescue came from the compassion thailand office.  they sent a fantastic crew of guys out to help move us to a hotel.  luckily, they’d just had 2 days of disaster relief training.  little did they know they’d get to use it so quickly.

michael and i made a trip to the house this morning to check on the dogs.  things were definitely better.


tomorrow we will be returning to start the big clean up.  we’ve located a power washer to borrow and have the family on board.  we might regret not getting to it today, but the amount of water just outside the door made it seem a bit of a daunting task.  

there’s a typhoon headed our way and rumor has it that we should be under water again by tuesday.  i’m choosing to continue with my optomistic ways and think it won’t happen.  maybe i’ll change my mind before the water’s lapping at our front door.  but, hopefully, it really won’t happen.

chewing is such a nasty habit

one of our three children has an oral fixation.  and i find it to be rather disgusting.  also, it doesn’t go well with my like of the throw pillow.

in our downstairs living room we have an l-shaped couch.


yes, it is an awfully small couch for a family of 5.  it would be rather small for a family of 3.

the couch came with 6 pillows.  and i have added an extra pillow or two over time.  apparently the corners of these pillows are like crack cocaine to someone with an oral fixation because they are always wet, chewed and now permanently mis-shapen.  and it seems that at least 2 pillows have been eaten.  because they are totally gone.  no amount of “stop that” or “that’s disgusting” or “that’s a very, very nasty habit” or even “i think i saw the dog wipe his butt on that one” seems to bring change.  apparently, the sight of a pillow corner is just too much.

so guests in our home are treated to this.

IMG_7085 IMG_7084 IMG_7083

i would have taken  pictures of the 4th corners if i’d felt like moving the pillows.  but they are in the same condition.

but there is something missing from these pictures.  they can only give you a visual impression.  and that really doesn’t do the situation justice.  because what you miss out on by just looking is the cold, wet, slimy feel of a recently chewed on pillow corner.  it’s very ookie.  so as soon as i can get enough muscle in the same place at the same time we will be  trading this couch out for the one upstairs.  the one without throw pillows.

wonder how long the dts will last.

(i’ve learned all my drug jargon – crack cocaine and “the dts” being the extent of it – from sober house on vh1.  because you can watch vh1 tv shows on the internet here.  and that’s how i set my standard for what i will watch.  while i do not endorse this tv show i can say it has – once again – made me like andy dick.)

i could share some culture, but…

i still have a post brewing about loy krathong and i haven’t told you anything about the 3 day ban on entertainment.  it was kingdom wide.  but right now i have something else.  something that doesn’t involve quite as much any culture.

c14’s got a nasty ingrown toenail.  and because he refuses to let me take a picture of it i’m looking out for you guys i am not going to post a picture of it.  but it really is nasty.  swollen and pussy and oozy and gross.  who knows how long he’s had it.  he showed it to me saturday night – and it looks like it’s really taken root.  it made me cringe.  so today we headed to the doctor.  a doctor we have never seen before.  an american doctor.  yes, an american doctor who jumped through all kinds of hoops so he can practice here.  and it was lovely.  he talked to c14 while i just observed.  a new thing for us.  usually it’s me filling in all the blanks.  we have another appointment next week to remove part of the toenail.  and the best part of this?  yes, there is a best part.

today’s appointment cost us 100 baht.  and when you convert that to US funds we’re talking about $2.85.  yep, that says two dollars and eighty-five cents.  oh, and the antibiotic that the doctor prescribed?  $4.29 in US dollars.  can’t wait to submit those to insurance!

diagnostic all skate

i’m feeling better.  officially on the mend.  i know, that’s what i said way back when.  but i feel confident this time.  why, you ask?  well, because the diarrhea has stopped.  (you asked, i just tell it like it is.)  but i never got an official diagnosis.  i have michael’s diagnosis.  but he’s wrong.  so i thought i’d take guesses from the interwebs.

we’re gonna take this on house style.

but we’re gonna do it sans house.  i mean just cuz it now appears he really has two teams helping to jog his diagnostic brain doesn’t mean they could figure out my illness before i died got better.  plus, like i said before he’d probably kill me.

so, i’ve made the not so educated decision to take the doctoring responsibilities out of the hands of the doctors – or at least the people who play them on tv – and to give you full control.  it’s a much easier decision now that i’m not really needing a cure and i have complete confidence that you guys will come up with the answer.

lets start with the whiteboard of symptoms.

i was tested for both dengue fever and hepatitis.  both tests were negative.  michael still thinks it was dengue.  he’s wrong.  he’s all for the false negative.  so give me your answers.  what did i have?  make it as interesting as possible because i’m gonna make it my official diagnosis and tell people all about how i recovered from ______.


footnote:  and just to clarify, on my own i would never list gaunt as a symptom.  michael insists it’s a bad thing, i however know it’s really more of a side effect and fits nicely in the perk category.

another footnote:  i think it’s only fair that i share all pertinent info.  and as much as this pains me, as much as i don’t want to say this, i have been informed by a real life westernly trained medical doctor that the dengue test probably wouldn’t have shown positive, yet…  and she was willing to go out on a limb and give a diagnosis – which the dr i visited the other day didn’t do. but i’m talking way out on a limb.  i’m not gonna tell you what it was.  cuz no way am i gonna give any credence to the off chance michael might be right.

wikihow – the king of fruit

igoogle knows me so well.  it’s my homepage and we’re close.  like hold your fingers up and cross them – do you cross them or just hold them together? – close.  one of the gadgets i have is wikihow.  and with wikihow on my side, i am unstoppable.  just this past week alone wikihow has offered me –

  • how to start a record label – i’ve never considered starting a record label, but wikihow says it can be done in 9 steps.  it almost seems like a dare.  i’m thinking about it.
  • how to make a unicorn popup card – just as i’d begun worrying about what i might do for a christmas card.  it’s wikihow to the rescue.  of course, i might go with the how to make a reindeer popup card thing, but that just seems too obvious.
  • how too spin bad news – this might be the greatest parenting tool ever.  i am no longer forced to answer the question, “can we have another puppy?” with, “no, i hate dogs.  man, you kids must have done something awful in a previous life to get stuck with a mom who hates dogs.”*

and just last friday wikihow helped me with a struggle i’ve been having since we moved here.  should i or shouldn’t i?

how to eat durian.  honestly, i’ve been on the i shouldn’t side of this one pretty much from the first wiff.  but ocassionally i think i should be more open, more willing to try new things.  i won’t bore you with the whole how to, but i do want to share the parts that have helped me reach my final decision.

it has a distinct fragrance that some people describe as “old gym socks” or “rotting flesh” and that has gotten the fruit officially banned from many public places in Asia


as a general rule, avoid traversing crowded public places carrying durians. consider driving home or better yet, riding a bicycle. if you do the former, make sure you open windows if possible to aerate the car.


if the smell threw you aback, consider wearing noseplugs

obviously, the smell is atrocious.  and pungent.  and once it’s in your nasal cavity, it’s there for life hours.  but even if i could get past the smell, i’m not so sure that the description of the taste would be cause for me to change my mind.

“a rich custard highly flavoured with almonds gives the best general idea of it, but there are occasional wafts of flavour that call to mind cream-cheese, onion-sauce, sherry-wine, and other incongruous dishes. Then there is a rich glutinous smoothness in the pulp which nothing else possesses, but which adds to its delicacy…” -british naturalist alfred russel wallace describing the taste of a durian, 1856

remember, we’re talking about a fruit here.  and i’m am sticking to my guns and no longer feeling even a twinge of guilt over my obvious lack of stupidity courage when it comes to allowing this particular fruit to cross my lips or enter my home.

*no, i don’t really say these exact words to my kids… i don’t really believe that having me for a mom is a punishment, maybe more a challenge and i don’t believe in reincarnation.


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is that edible?

a few of us in our house seem to be passing germs back and forth. s8 was sick friday and saturday, a11 was sick sunday and monday, and today it was me. yay me. and being the sensitive gal that she is and hating to see her mother suffer alone a11 relapsed and had to be picked up from school. i’m pretty sure we’re not actually sharing the same germs, because we all have different symptoms. s8 had a sore throat and cough, a11’s problems are of the gastrointestinal variety and i had a migraine and some nauseousness – most likely caused by the migraine. and now a11 has a fever.

but illness will not stop the group project/study session/wii playing plans of 14 year olds. and it won’t stop them from eating. but a migraine will stop me from participating in any and all food preparation. and i discovered that four 14 year old boys in charge of ordering pizza is scary. at least to me. they were thrilled. they ordered 4 large funny crust pizzas. and i don’t mean funny ha-ha. i mean funny gross. they had a sausage and cheese crust. and i’m not exactly sure what they put in sausage here. it’s not like any sausage i’ve had. not pork sausage or italian sausage or link sausage or vienna sausages or even hot dogs. it’s gross sausage. and those boys loved it. and ate it all.

and then they ate all the peanut butter cookies i made yesterday. not one crumb was left.