Sunday, February 21, 2016

Of Bureaucracy and Bad Smells

After stressing over paperwork for an international regulation I didn't even know existed, due to no financial advisor, and finding a container of decaying fried chicken behind the fridge in the process of scrubbing dried coconut milk inside the fridge, I'm ready for a nice scented soak in a bathtub that apparently wouldn't even be standard issue in a 4-bedroom house that could hypothetically be bought if we did find a financial advisor who knows things about mortgages and international tax regulations.

Maybe once the paperwork clears there will be a blog post (hopefully not too scathing) about the hassle of trying to find answers on buying a house, sharing a bank account, and paying taxes as an expat spouse....

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Sandman

"Can you call me instead of ringing the doorbell when you come? I just put Pippin down for a nap...." I text.

The sanding machine starts up with a roar five minutes later.

The workman warbles. The ladder creaks. I debate my choices.

It's been a good morning. My mother-in-law came by for coffee this morning, then 'parked' a bag with us to pick up later. "No problem, we'll be home all day," I had told her cheerfully, but that was before the workman arrived. A friendly bear of a man rang the doorbell holding a bucket and asked politely for some warm water. He said he'd be sanding and scraping today, and working on the old white wallpaper in the stairwell (who wallpapers a stairwell in the first place?) Since we three inside were having coffee and pastry, why not share? My parents used to make entire pots for workmen, and I feel very grownup to be able to offer some from my own kitchen.

The workman returns the coffee cup and plate at break time, and is treated to one of Pippin's wide-eyed stares. All is well with the world, and naptime is right around the corner.

And then the noise begins.

Thanks to the paper thin walls of the apartment, Pippin seems to wake and wail at every move the neighbors make. When they leave for work at 5:30 am. When they get home at 11 pm. When they make breakfast at 7 am, or turn the radio on at 1pm or 9 pm. But we've never had someone sanding our front door before on full power.

My options. I can turn on a movie and hope Pippin survives until bedtime without a nap. I can ignore him once he starts to howl and get at least 15 minutes of 'quiet' before I rescue him. Or, since it's a gorgeous sunny day outside, I can take him out in the stroller (making sure to be back before my mother in law picks up her bag.) The last option seems like the best one, if we can safely navigate the wet railings, loose wallpaper, and power cords in the stairwell.

The sanding machine keeps droning. I'm sure even neighbors across the street can hear it echoing.

I pull on my high-top sneakers, put my hair up in a messy bun, and head to our shared living room & Pippin's bedroom. I don't hear howling, so maybe the little guy is frozen in fear, or playing in his crib.


He's fast asleep.

Doesn't even stir when the door creaks open and I walk over to check.

I wonder if our neighbors would be ok with us hiring the sanding machine as white noise during bedtime and naptime. We'd never hear them again.

(Then again, depending on where we set the machine, we might never hear anything again....)

Friday, February 12, 2016

Party at J's House

Dorcas moved through the living room curiously, looking at the simple but homey furnishings. "Such a lovely idea to have a housewarming party. Your siblings will be here, of course, but it is a small apartment. I hope you weren't planning on too many other friends coming?"

"Oh, you'd be surprised how many people can fit when they're welcome." J's eyes twinkled. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Little Moments

Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders,
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away,
But these small hours,
These small hours still remain
-Rob Thomas

I'm sitting on the kitchen floor with my toddler. Lasagna is in the oven and we're licking the sauce pot. Soon he'll be off to play with blocks or demolish a pile of laundry, but for now, it's perfect.

It's the kind of homey relaxed moment I want my life to be filled with as a mama.

There are a lot of those moments in my days and weeks. But there are also other moments that are everything but homey or relaxed. And who takes photos of the tough times, or talks about those tear-my-hair-out and we-may-never-have-another-kid moments?