making plans, dragging feet

time marches on.  it just won’t stop and i’d like it to.  i’d like to pull back on the reigns and say, “whoa” and have time stop.  and wait until i’m ready for it to move forward, but it won’t.  it just won’t.

right now i count the days by the thens.  michael’s in indonesia right now.  he’s been gone for almost 2 weeks and has another week to go.  then he’s home for a little less than a week.  then he’s in africa for approximately 2 weeks.  then he’ll be home for close to a week.  then he’s in america for 4 days.  (yes, he’ll spend almost as much time traveling for that trip as he will actually be there and he’ll spend way more time recovering from that trip than he will be there.)  then he’s home.  and for some reason that’s when time really starts for me.  time starts in april.  not sure what my mind thinks happens between now and then (mid Feb and early April), but for some reason it doesn’t feel real.  it doesn’t feel like progress.  about the same time michael returns from america family starts arriving.  aly (i cannot wait to see her, it’s been so long!!!), her boyfriend (we’ve never met him), my mom, and my aunt will all come to chiang mai.  and i’m crossing my fingers and hoping against hope that chan will also be coming (that feels like a bit of a long shot, but also not impossible).  we’ll have two weeks of family and tourist stuff and songkran and time not stopping.  overshadowing everything is the weight of “this is it”.  this is good bye.  this is our last smokey season (miserable, but we’ll miss it).  our last hot season (miserable, but we’ll miss it).  our last songkran (not always miserable and something i will definitely miss).  and i think what makes it harder is that it doesn’t feel like there are any firsts to come.  it isn’t our first time to live in america.  it’s not our first time to live in colorado.  it’s not even our first time to live in the house we’ll be returning to.  it feels like too much.  but it can’t be stopped.

so, we make plans.  there are the we need to sort this plans, the we need to do this plans – the logistical stuff that comes with moving.  those are sort of easy (easy to see, not necessarily easy to do.)  but then there are the we have to do this plans.  and they aren’t the same for all of us.  michael is ticking off some of his through work.  i know with each trip he makes he’s saying goodbyes.  and it’s not easy for him.   the hardest plan of all is the final how do we leave chiang mai plan.   figuring out how to do goodbye isn’t easy.

it’s much easier to say late july is forever away.

what we did and what we didn’t

you know that little list i had on the side bar of things we were looking forward to?  i thought it’d be a good idea to go through it and see what we managed to fit in.  and whether it was worth fitting in.

knowing, without a doubt, that public restrooms are not squatty potties, being fairly confident that there will be toilet paper available in at least one stall in a public restroom, being able to flush toilet paper – these definitely fall in the plus column.

channel surfing – really didn’t do much of this at all.  discovered it was difficult to get interested in tv knowing i would be returning to life without it.

drinking tap water – this i did.  and it was quite convenient.

hot water in the kitchen – not such a big deal seeing as how there are dishwashers there.

Panera – made it once. as good as i remembered.

bagels – had 2.  which is not enough.

tacos from Jack in the Box – only once.  again, not enough.

diet cherry limeades from Sonic – happy hour, but, once again, not often enough.

drive thru windows – how convenient!

Chipotle – substituted qdoba.

Target – made several trips to target.  lovely, lovely target.

Chick-fil-a – not as good as i remembered.

not getting the error message “this video is not available in your country” from youtube – watched no youtube

Noodles – no time for noodles.

but the thing that’s not on the list – and that we didn’t get enough of – was time with friends.  we saw plenty of friends.  but a lot more time was needed – and we just didn’t have it.

and what about the trip home?  well, it went better than expected.  once we arrived home all the kids were pretty positive about being back – yes, even s9.  he gave being home a 50% approval rating.  which, compared to where he was the day we left, is pretty high marks!

so now we settle back in.  school starts tomorrow.  i have a few coffee dates planned in the next few days and we’ll let routine take over.  and try not to think about how long it will be before we head back for another visit.

making a list, checking it twice…

i’m getting serious about the whirlwhind north american tour thing. c15 and i have our travel booked for india and now we’re just waiting for finalization of travel dates for america.  i’m constantly making lists of people we need to see, places to go, where might we stay, etc… and until now, i’ve never bothered to put a number to it all.  and by number i mean money.  us dollars, not thai baht.  it’s kind of put a damper on things.

it looks like the biggest expense is going to be car rental and there’s sort of no getting around without a car.  plus, we’d intended to fly between texas and colorado, but we only have enough points for 4 tickets and it’s cheaper to rent a car and drive it than buy one ticket.  but, if we drive it frees up some airline miles for visiting other people (and that means a side trip for me, alone, possibly to a beach.  i can’t really complain about that.)  we’ve also got stocking up to do.  undergarments are in high demand as are shoes, especially for me (thanks dad for the big feet).  and, of course, there are foods we won’t have had in 18 months that we just can’t live without.  but before we even get out of thailand the expenses are piling up.  there’s rent to be paid, our house help will need to be paid ahead of time for the entire time we’re gone, the dog will need to be put up somewhere – unless we can find someone to housesit.  and souveniers to bring back with us.  and i know there’s plenty more that i’m not thinking of, but it will come to me, i know it will.

the money isn’t a huge issue – we’ll most likely have 3 years to recover.  (that’s how long it’s likely to be before our next visit back to the states.)  and it’s possible we’ll find cars to borrow and, thankfully, it looks like we have plenty of offers of places to stay – so no hotel bills.

and besides that, as the mastercard commercial goes…

visiting family and friends…  priceless.

things to do. and a grammar update.

still more unpacking to do.   plenty of unpacking.  and storage to shop for.  never can have enough storage.

right now I’m taking a bit of a breather at the coffee shop – drinking a very pretty coffee.  no picture to show – the camera is still missing.  then I’m off to find a Christmas palm tree.  I have purchased lights, hung stockings and other various decorations, wrapped the presents I’ve found – I think that’s pretty good progress.  I have another hour or so until the stores actually open.  there is no 24 hour Walmart here.  and I have to get home in time for my Thai lesson.  or, rather, in time to clear a spot for my Thai tutor and I to sit…

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because I know curious minds are wondering just what it is I’m doing with my capitalization and comma quandry…

I’ve decided to capitalize almost all proper nouns.  the first word of a sentence may or may not be capitalized as it may or may not be a proper noun.  and I’ll throw a comma in almost every time I feel 100% confident it’s called for.  or try to.

i can cross that off my to do list

this afternoon i loaded up the trunk and headed to the post office to mail everything and anything i’ve been meaning to send to people. i’ve been stocking up. you remember way back here when i gave away not one, but two necklaces? and i went and told these ladies that they won. a necklace from thailand. expect it anyday. well, they are in the mail. they are packages #2 & 4. so sorry ladies, i have no excuse, but better late than never, right? expect it any day – or in the next two weeks. and i’ve gotten out my first dishcloth exchange package. it’s #6. and i was so excited to get this underway that i forgot to do any kind of blocking or anything. oops.

the other packages are thank you gifts and i miss you gifts and birthday gifts. finally, i’ve accomplished something this summer.

world malaria day

tomorrow, april 25, is world malaria day and the good news is that you can make a difference. compassion international has teamed up with youth specialties on a malaria net campaign. a one time, $10 donation from you will provide a mosquito net for a child. this net provides them with much needed protection that they are unable to afford. as i was writing this post this came into my reader. boomama (i’m pretty sure it’s supposed to be all one word like that) is challenging her readers to donate 50 nets in 50 hours. so why don’t you head over there and join the fun!

“if you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a room with a mosquito.” every african knows this is true because mosquitoes carry malaria—a tropical disease that kills over 750,000 children each year. that’s one child every 30 seconds. in africa, mosquitoes make a huge difference in the lives of poor families and children. and it all starts with a tiny bite.