Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Cold Front, Projects, and Other Stuff

A cold front has moved in. Yep. Really. When I went for my morning jaunt with The Kids yesterday it was stifling, outside. Over a hundred degrees with a LOT of humidity. One of the very reasons the high temperatures and heat here is so bearable is due to the fact that we do not have much humidity - most of the time. Oh, sure, there is that last couple of weeks in August OR the first couple of weeks in September when we expect it - humidity - every year, but during June and July - when it is 120° degrees every single day - there is no humidity and dry heat is much different than humid heat. The humidity this year has been with us since July, and according to friends who live here it continued through August [we were only here for the beginning of the month] and now, it is almost mid-September, and up until late yesterday afternoon it was absolutely wet, outside. I went outside with The Boy so he could do business when I got up at four o'clock [almost back to my regular sleeping schedule!], in my nightshirt and bathrobe, and it was almost chilly! The thermometer said 88° - it is dry - not an iota of humidity in the air - and there was actually a breeze. Damn! Time to get our winter coats out already. Yes. There is a huge - HUGE - difference in 88° that is dry as opposed to 88° that is humid. I know I am probably not going to garner much sympathy from anyone that lives in upstate New York or Minnesota or Canada...

Actually, I am almost glad that it was so humid yesterday. I was inspired to do some of the "chores" I wanted needed to do, because it was just too bloody uncomfortable to be sitting outside next to or in the pool. The two refrigerator freezers got cleaned out, organized and inventoried. Geez. I had no idea we had seven bags of frozen green beans! Just have to do the same with the freezer in the garage, now. That one needs defrosted and I need to do it in the next day or so because DHL called yesterday and our shipment has left the States and will be in Dammam on Monday. I'll need to put 30 cartons of cigarettes in the freezer and a half dozen large bottles of fish oil capsules...

And, I started reorganizing my book shelves. Big mistake to have HB15 take the books out, shelf by shelf, to clean and dust. HB13 has done this task in the past. He is coming this week - maybe even today - to talk to me about working here again. At least I will not have to go through the training process with him, and he knows that if you take the books out of the shelf, one shelf at a time, to clean, then they need to put them back on the shelf in the EXACT order in which they were removed them. HB15 did a miserable job. The books were out of order - half of them were upside down [this, from a houseboy who claimed to be able to read English!]. I only did the non-fiction hardcover shelves, so will have to finish the paperback shelves and reference books...
I made a good dent, though, in this project. Can finish it in an hour or so, later today.

Tomorrow morning a couple of us are going downtown - need to go to the market, again. Our Commissary has just gotten worse and worse and worse insofar as stocking the most basic foodstuffs and necessities. How can there be no low-fat milk?!? I'm going to go to the paint store, again, because I need some frustration. Tan paint. Taupe. How difficult can it be to get the right color?!? I wanted taupe for the living room and the living room is not taupe. And, DH's bathroom is going to be redone. I won't be posting all of the details like I did with the bedroom. But I will before and after pictures. No construction is going to be necessary - just a coat of paint - and there is another man that I will talk to about doing the work. There is no way I'm going to deal with Rev telling me he'll be here when I know good and well he won't show up. [There is a leak in the pool; Rev is "fixing" it. He was supposed to be here at three o'clock on Wednesday - he didn't show up until late Thursday morning. Big surprise, there. Not!]

This country is facing a labor shortage... Hey! Here's an idea: Put the unemployed masses, here, locally, to work. Problem solved. This article in today's Saudi Gazette says that the "acute shortage of foreign manpower" is due to "a sharp increase in the cost of living and high recruitment fees." Yeah. It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that other countries are willing to pay higher wages. Good grief. What do you expect when you are only willing to pay "unskilled workers from India between SR400 and SR500" a month? " the minimum salary is SR700." [SR400 = $107.23, SR500 = $134.04, and SR700 = $187.66] I pay my gardener SR500 a month - and he only works 12 hours a week! Perhaps if decent wages were paid the 70,000 workers that need to be imported every year could be recruited. "Locals" wouldn't even consider working for such measly wages. How can you possibly expect that foreign manpower will?

There are a couple of articles in today's Arab News on marriage. This one, "Marriage officials to be punished if bride consent not sought," is somewhat convoluted and misleading. Just your typical "passing the buck" kind of thing... And, this one, "Married with no legal rights," lays it all out in plain black and white.

Road carnage. Will it never end?!? Never mind. It's a rhetorical question...

That's all I have, for today. It is time to put my walking "uniform" on. Think I'll grab a sweatshirt this morning...


  1. Sabra - I'm looking forward to / not looking forward to winters here. While it may get down to 60 (and that would be wear your shorts weather back home), it feel like minus zero and the chill goes right through me. I get the worst 'brain freeze' headaches from the cold here.

    I think it would be a great idea to have locals work in various fields, but honestly I don't think I'll ever see such a thing in my lifetime. They have a mindset about 'labor' and well, it just won't fly.

    I keep telling the hub that skilled colleges would be an excellent thing over here! Think about it - plumbers / masons / etc. are pretty well paid in the states - why not do the same over here?!?!

  2. L-O - You are sooo right! I grew up in New Hampshire where winter is six or seven months long and it snows - a lot. Man-o-man, that first day of "spring," June 2nd, when it was like 65 degrees out - we'd have the windows open and shorts on!!! Here? It gets below 80 and I'm getting a sweatshirt to put on, and anything below 68 and we turn the heat on.

    Oh, and you did it, "nail meet head." Colleges that taught skills would be an addition that would keep this country afloat long after the oil dollars dry up. And until such time as that happens, no local is going to be doing anything that involves actual physical labor...

  3. Perhaps some of the horror stories about how Filipino and other workers are treated in the KSA might have something to do with the labor shortage..such stories have a way of percolating down eventually.

    And I wonder...does the inflation have anything to do with it, since th ewages foreign workers are paid simply go a lot less farther?

    BTW, I continue to find your site fascinating...sort of a look through the other end of the telescope.


  4. I've posted a lot on the mistreatment of workers, FF. Workers that go unpaid and are hungry; maids that are beaten or raped. I'm sure inflation does play a part - a minor part, for sure - since the people that are imported don't stand a chance of finding work in their own country...

    And thanks! What a nice compliment. Appreciate it.

  5. Please, please do not hire Rev again, he gives me a headache also!!!!! I think I would die if I had to live in Saudi with that heat and my hot flashes. I was melting today and it was only in the low 80's!!!


  6. Not to worry, Gill. Not going to have Rev and his guys do the painting, this time. I just know there is no way I could handle the "same" stress all over again.

    Oh, and tell me about hot flashes... I think I posted once before that there are times when I feel as though I could actually achieve "spontaneous internal combustion!" Put a black bag on - in the sun - and tell me that it's not possible...


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