excuse me, um… i farted

“you keep using that word. i do not think it means what you think it means.” inigo montoya, the princess bride

one of the first phrases i learned to say after i arrived in thailand was “excuse me” or “i’m sorry” and i’ve said it a lot. everywhere. all over the place. all the time. any time i felt i’d made some sort of error – which, really, was every time i had any reason to interact with anyone. you know, accidentally bump into someone, “excuse me”. not moving fast enough to get out of the way, “excuse me” i didn’t understand what was said and had no idea how to communicate that, “excuse me”. and the list goes on and on. today in language class i learned that i hadn’t exactly been saying what i thought i’d been saying. instead i’d been saying, “i farted.”

did i mention i’ve said it a lot?

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monday, is it over yet?

today started bright and early with parent/teacher conferences for s8 and a11. which means the kids were out of school, but bh and i had to go. so off we went.

we met with s8’s teacher first. he’s doing okay academically, but is a poor citizen. he’s rude to her and his classmates. he seems angry and he’s still having difficulty adjusting. and, as his mom, i so wanted to make excuses for him. but i couldn’t. i’m pretty sure they would have fallen flat. because the truth is he’s just not all that happy. i mean he has days that are great, but far more of them are not so great. and i’m not really sure it’s improving for him. so i sat with his teacher – and in all fairness to her she was wonderful, she fully understands how difficult this is and how he’s never been the new kid before – and i listened and tried not to cry. sat there and wondered what have we done? how have we damaged our son?

next up was a11’s teacher. an equally wonderful teacher. very understanding about our move and adjustment and all that goes with it, but… a11 isn’t doing well either. she’s withdrawn and really somewhat cold to her fellow students. the other girls in her class have given up on trying to be friends with her and now a11 has an uphill battle trying to make friends with them. and she’s become very unsure of herself. in the last year she has made some great strides in her self confidence levels, really come out of her shell. and now she seems to have completely regressed. so for the second time in an hour i’m absolutely certain we have damaged our kids.

also on the agenda today was a birthday party for c13, harp lesson for a11 and a school project work session for a11. i got c13 to the birthday party on time and got lost on my way home. which made us late for harp lessons. which made us late for the school project work session. we ended up getting home in time for me to make dinner and then head off to get c13 from his birthday party. and, of course, i got lost on my way to get him. and so you don’t think i’m a total loser – the pick up place wasn’t the same as the drop off place. it took me an hour and a half to find where i was supposed to be. turns out it’s only about 10 minutes from our house. so i was very late getting him. when i do get him he mentions that he left the change of clothes he was supposed to take to the party in the song thaeuw they had ridden in to get from the first location to the second. which might not be such a big deal if it hadn’t been one of the four pair jeans he owns. and since he will only wear jeans at this time – his thing, not ours – that leaves him 3 pairs and one of those three has a nice rip in the upper inner thigh (also known as the crotch). and then he says to the birthday girl, “the gift i got you got all wet, so i’ll have to get you another.” (they’d had a water balloon fight, thus the need for a change of clothes.) it was a gift voucher to swenson’s. not like we could take it back. so i gave it to her mother so she could lay it out flat and then they would be usable.

and now i’m home. working on a to-do list for tomorrow. it only has two things on it. one is go to cooking class, which i’m very much looking forward to. the other is call the counseling center and make appointments for our whole maladjusted family… we need help and it’s available so we’re gonna get it. i have no doubt that they are going to tell me that what we’re going through is normal, that it will all be okay and i’m hoping that they will give us all some tools to help us get through this and thrive here, i’m sure that they will.

yes, there will be an oprah interview

i have tricked you. i am ashamed. i am not the first and i’m sure i will not be the last. my reasons are basically the same as theirs…

  • “my mistake . . . is writing about the person i created in my mind to help me cope, and not the person who went through the experience.” ~james frey, author of a million little pieces, his personal biography that wasn’t exactly true.
  • “maybe it’s an ego thing — i don’t know. i just felt that there was good that i could do and there was no other way that someone would listen to it.” ~ margaret b. jones (real name – margaret seltzer), author of love and consequences, the book that she said was her biography, but turns out she’s not bi-racial & didn’t grow up around gang bangers.
  • “there are times when i find it difficult to differentiate between reality and my inner world.” ~ misha defonseca (real name monique de wael), author of misha: a memoire of the holocaust years, a book that’s not really her biography.
  • “my bad… i just liked the way it made me look thinner.” ~ transplanting me, photo taker – and now confessed photo doctorer – of a picture found on this very blog. turns out she’s really not that thin.

in an effort to make my blog more appealing to the webosphere i have recently started trying to improve my pictures. this has involved me delving deeply into corel paint shop pro. but i tend to find myself frustrated as i push this key to see what this does, oh, click on this i bet it’s cool. until i happened to luck onto the one function that i think is absolutely amazing. i would pay to have only this one function because it is the cat’s meow. i mean it is the bomb. it is thinify! the name alone makes me a little weak in the knees. by clicking thinify you can go from this – a photo in which i have lost a little weight, but i’m not certain it’s all that noticeable…

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to this, without giving up a even a bite of chocolate.

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but after all the compliments, the you look great, the how much weight have you lost – i had to come clean. and i think james frey said it best in his not originally included forward to his lie book. “i sincerely apologize to those readers who have been disappointed by my actions.” ditto that for me.

how do we get this thing home

so, with flights corrected, they were on their way. i dropped them off at the airport right after we dropped the boys off at school. i hung around until they were checked in for their flight – i wanted to be sure my corrected flight plans took – and then they were gone.

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mom, that pics for you. that’s the size of plane they fly between bangkok and chiang mai.

i’m slightly jealous because i know that this will be a trip a11 will remember forever, but those are good memories to have with her daddy. they get to bangkok and head straight to the harp center centre, getting there about noon.

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and now we come to another part of the trip i was responsible for – finding out the hours of operation for the harp center centre. and i did, the hours are wed – sat 10a – 7p. they got there at noon on wed. should have been fine.

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that’s a pic of a11 staring at the locked door. because it’s closed, as in not open. which the gentleman who came around from the side communicated to them. but he did point them to the harp school. which is right around the corner. and guess what?!? it was closed. luckily, bh has a very keen eye and while peeking in the windows he noticed someone in the school and managed to get their attention. they were able to help. and a11 tried out the harp and was pleased.

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and every one agreed she is the best harpist evah. but we knew that already. so they paid for the harp and made arrangements to meet back at the harp store at 5p. allowing the very nice people at the harp center centre to wrap the harp up and get it flight ready, since the plan was to take it as over-sized luggage on the flight home. bh has an appointment to make so they head that way. the appointment goes well and they still have some free time. so it’s off to starbucks.

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and then to toys r us – you know since they were there and all.

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and while at toys r us they happened to come across ken’s new friend

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why-buy-the-cow-when-you-can-get-the-milk-for-free barbie. thankfully, they did not bring her home. i mean we do have a teen boy in the house.

then they returned to the harp center centre. where the harp and their ride were ready and waiting for them. there was just one itty bitty problem. the harp people weren’t convinced that the airlines would allow the harp to be carried on as over-sized luggage. so they called the airlines. much speaking of thai happened and eventually they were sent on their way – with the harp.

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hmmm… perhaps the size of that box was the cause of the concern about taking it as over-sized luggage. these two nice gentleman load the harp, a11 and bh and head to suvarnabhumi airport. once their they discover that it’s a no go, it’s too close to the flight time. so much rearranging is done and another flight is scheduled, but it’s at don mueang airport – which is not so conveniently located on the other side of town. so, it’s back in the van for a not so very quick jaunt across town. they are arrive with plenty of time. get the harp unloaded and now it’s time for security. where a valiant effort is made to put the box containing the harp through the baggage x-ray machine.

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but surprise, surprise it doesn’t fit. the only option is to open the box and look for bombs. but what they find in the box is, well, they aren’t really sure. so they call for back up. and end up with 11 security people – and a11 – all standing around the open box peering in at a well packed harp. and it must have passed muster because they send it off into the special holding area for things they-aren’t-really-quite-sure-exactly-what-they-are-but-have-been- deemed-safe-for-flight.

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and now we come to my last responsibility picking up bh, a11 and the harp from the airport. s8, c13 and i get to the airport right on time and manage to get the best parking spot at the airport. we go in to wait. the flight is delayed. now, no one has communicated anything to me, so we’re there to pick them up at their original flight time. and just about the time the plane should be landing the phone rings – it’s a11. she says they’re at a restaurant. at the airport. in bangkok. i’m pretty sure she’s joshing so i ask to speak to her father. and he confirms that they are, in fact, at a restaurant. at the airport. in bangkok. we talk, figure out the harp won’t fit in our car anyway – someone might have suggested that days ago – and decide a taxi cab minivan is the way for them to go. i stop and make arrangements for the cab at the cab stand and head home with the boys. at 11p i get a phone call from bh – no taxi, no hope of a taxi. but one of the guys who works at the airport happens to drive a song theauw and is more than happy to give them a ride home. for a price, of course. so into the song theauw they go and by now it’s late. and they’re tired.

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once they are home it is imperative that the harp is unpacked, to check for damage.

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and just how big was that box?

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huge.

a11’s harp teacher came by this evening to tune the harp for us and set up a time for lessons. have i mentioned that her teacher plays for the queen? how cool is that?

my bad

bh and a11 are heading to bangkok today to look at and hopefully get a harp. it was my job to book the flight. and about 10p last evening i remembered they were e-tickets and i needed to print them out. no biggie, until i print them out. today is march 12, the plan was to fly there and back on march 12.

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hmmm… surely i can fix this. i booked them online, i’ll just book more. so i do, and i get as far as entering passenger information when i get the message you must book 23 hours in advance. oops. but i refuse to give up now. i know, i’ll call thai airlines. but part of me is resigned to have failed at this task. i’m sure they won’t be open this late and even if they are they won’t speak english. i’m ready to call it quits. but wait, the phone is answered – by a machine, but it’s still answered. and there is the option to press 9 for english. praise God. i start to get a little panicky when i’m on hold for a long time, but i finally get through to someone with wonderful english, amazing english. i know, i need to learn thai. and she can book the tickets. and cancel the other reservations, even though they are nonrefundable – my bad. and she can answer questions about flying with oversized luggage – you know, like harp sized luggage. and i don’t have to explain to a11 why she is going to school instead of harp shopping. whew. that’s a relief. i sure wish i’d paid attention to get the number of the phone representative so i could write a glowing thank you that would get her a bonus or maybe a raise or maybe a promotion or possibly all three of those things. because she deserves it.

it couldn’t be

*for those of you who got the rss feed of this post before i caught my error – i hope none of you were too shocked by the title “i couldn’t be” – cuz i ain’t.*

as i perused the internet yesterday i came across something that caused me to become nauseous and break out in a sweat, and no, it wasn’t snake related. it was this…

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you see before bh and i were married he spent a semester of college in rome – italy, not texas. and how does young love survive such a separation? by writing letters, long passionate letters that you wouldn’t want your momma, much less a perfect stranger to read. and so i wrote everyday, even started writing a few weeks before he left so he wouldn’t have to wait too long to read all about how much i loved him and missed him and couldn’t live with out him and how, oh how, were we ever going to get through 4 months apart… i sent other things, too. care packages, my wisdom tooth, things like that so he wouldn’t forget me. and he didn’t. he came back and one thing led to another and we got married. one morning, a few years into our marriage, i get a phone call from a dear friend. see, my mother-in-law was having a garage sale and she’d stopped by to take a peak around. now bh lived at home until we got married and so he had some stuff still there and his mom, tired of storing it, was selling it, too. it might be important to mention that bh had gone over to lend his mom a hand. back to the phone call… it went something like this-

carrie (that’s my dear friend’s name) – “hey, have you seen everything that is for sale over here?”

me – “no, anything good?”

carrie – “well, this lady just took a handful of letters up to your husband and he sold them to her for a nickle.”

me – “i wonder what she wants with mona’s old correspondence?”

carrie – “uh, well, that’s sort of why i’m calling. they’re not mona’s. they’re your and bh’s. you know, the.letters.from.rome.”

me – gasp, gasp, gasp

carrie – “i grabbed the rest of them and hid them in my car, but that lady made out with a handful of them.”

me – “thanks, you’re my hero. you didn’t happen to write down her plates, did you?”

these are only the letters i wrote to him. i have all of the letters he wrote me (all 4 or so of them), hidden, put away, where they can’t accidentally get sold at a garage sale. his defense was he was in a selling groove, couldn’t stop, he loves a garage sale. so, somewhere in irving, tx – or i guess in the last 10 or so years she could have moved just about anywhere – are those letters. in the hand of a stranger. being shared with who knows who.

did i happen to mention i might have been inebriated when i wrote some of them? (mom, dad – i said might.)

and i did click the link, we can all breathe easy now, it has nothing to do with my letters.

things that go bump on the tanon

as we were headed out today to run errands we came across this…

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(no one appeared to be hurt.) i’m guessing that the truck was probably loaded high with some sort of organic cargo (there appeared to be some leafy greens on the street) and it was attempting to make a u-turn (it was tumped over in the u-turn lane.) and because of the speed he was moving, the most likely precariously stacked cargo and the sharp angle at which he was attempting to take the u-turn some law of physics caused him to tump. i know, my sleuthing skills are astounding, not to mention i’m a physics whiz.

an hour or so later we’re headed to get the kids – i’m driving. i go to make a right turn – yes, i checked my side mirrors and my rear view mirror and, yes, i did signal – in my rear view mirror i see a guy on a motorcycle. i slow down and make my turn. well, when i slowed down the guy on the motorcycle thought he needed to pass me and even though i had my blinker on and even though i was partially in the lane of oncoming traffic – leaving plenty of room on my left, like a car could have passed me to the left – he thought it wise to pass me on the right. so, as i make my right turn i hear a yell and a bump, well, it was a little more than a bump, but i certainly wouldn’t call it a crash. i don’t know the proper i-was-just-bumped-into-by-a-motorbike-in-thailand etiquette, so i went with what i do know and that is move accidents out of the way of traffic. i finished my right turn, parked and started to get out of the car. the whole time thinking to myself, “how much is this gonna cost me?” well, really, i was only partly thinking that, cuz most of my brain was being used to try to stop the flow of tears so i wouldn’t appear to be a giant wuss. and then i noticed he’d gone on, hadn’t even stopped. i didn’t figure he’d been hurt, and i’m guessing his bike must not have been damaged. turns out the car was only marked with a smudge that will come off and a scrape that will for the most part buff out. i’m sure the motorbike guy went about his day with his tale of the crazy farang who plowed him down and i came home and went to sleep. and waited for the police to show up. which they haven’t. but for the rest of my life anytime the driveway bell rings instead of the obnoxious bing-bong i’ll hear, “bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when they come for you?”

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