Friday, September 05, 2008

Sleeping Schedule is Way Off!

As it always is when we return. It is much easier to go the other way - than to return. The seven hour time difference is a major adjustment, this way. But perhaps, since I did go to bed last night at a decent hour and got up this morning at my usual 4:30, I can get back to "normal" in the very short term.

Yesterday was a wash out. We didn't end up going to bed until after three in the morning - probably closer to four - and so getting up at 4:30 or five was out of the question. My Kids were not happy. Mommy is finally home and there was no walk. WTF?!? When I finally did crawl out of bed they were quite confused that our morning routine was so off kilter. When there is no walk, there is no peace in this household. There will be a walk, today, for sure! What a difference a month has made, though, here. When we left it was light outside shortly after four in the morning. It is five in the morning and still dark. We do not and will not walk in the dark. Too difficult to see if there are other furry creatures out there - specifically "C A T S!" But trust me, because I am up, my Kids are too. "Are we going today?" "Are you ready?" They are pacing back and forth and following my every footstep. Don't worry, we ARE going today...

The man who babysat the Kids for the past month and house sat for us did a spectacular job. I am so pleased with the way everything worked out so perfectly. He came highly recommended. He has been here in the Sandbox working for American families for almost thirty years! Thirty years! He has put his two oldest children through college and married off his oldest of those two on the income he has made laboring for us. He is from India. He has two younger children - a twelve or thirteen year old and and eight year old. His two older children are twenty-six and twenty-three. Quite an age spread there, I'd say, but considering the fact that when he first arrived in the Sandbox he only went home for three months every TWO years! Imagine being married and having your husband go off to another country for two years at a time and only coming home to visit you for two or three months. When my husband first came over here without me, as a contractor, he was here for eleven weeks and then home for two weeks. We did this for seven or eight months and it was beyond what I could take. How these workers that come here can do what they do for so long without family is unimaginable. But, I am very thankful and lucky to have found Preet. He did, as I said, a MOST EXCELLENT job!!! [I paid him handsomely, much more than what we had agreed upon, and before I left I asked him if there was anything he would like from the States - he wanted "pocket tee-shirts with a collar." Polo shirts. I brought him back a couple - and when he stays here again when we leave for the Holidays - I will bring him back a suitcase full!] My Kids were well looked after [yes, I had a couple of friends "check in"], my instructions were followed to a "t," and Preet went as far as taking The Boy to the vet last Monday because his eyes were so red [allergies].

In order to understand just how impressive this is... The Boy is a Great Dane. He is on the small side as Great Dane's go, but he still is NOT small. I am 5'7" tall. When The Boy stands next to me, his back is the same height as my hips. Preet is, at best, 4'10" tall [short?]. He is not a big man at all. The Boy absolutely luvs going for car rides - but once he realizes he is at the Vet he will spend the entire time there heading for the door. I laugh at the mere thought of The Boy pulling poor little Preet [who, is not a young man, either] toward the door. We can enter the Vet's office, but immediately upon doing so, The Boy is ready to leave and at 120-something pounds, The Boy has the ability to make his desire to leave quite well known. Preet told me that the women at the office gave him quite a ribbing for "riding his horse" to the vet. I bet they did, Preet. I bet they did. [I've heard them all... "That's not a dog that's a horse." "Who is walking who?" "What do you feed him and how much does it cost?"] Thanks, Preet. I truly appreciate all you did for my Kids. But to come home to an immaculately cleaned home on top of that... Oh, yeah. I'm reserving this man's services far in advance for the rest of our time here. Please do NOT leave the Sandbox before we do!!!

Preet called yesterday afternoon to inquire about The Boy's eyes to see if they were getting better and to remind me that he has to take his two pills in the morning and two pills at night. "Do not forget to give him his drops, Madam." Okay, Preet. I promise I won't. How sweet is that?!? Believe me, this man deserved to be paid what he was paid. And probably deserved much, much more!

Did I already say what a good job Preet did? Not only did he take most excellent care of my Kids - which is ALL I had required of him - told him NOT to worry about the house - I didn't care what condition it was in when I returned, and I really, really didn't [although I do appreciate that the bathrooms were cleaned, the floors were cleaned, and both refrigerators were clean...], Preet also went to the grocery store to get milk, bread and orange juice so that it would be here for us. Sweet! No eggs, though. Why? Because there were no eggs to be found at all three of our little grocery stores on the compound! It is Ramadan, here. We go through this every single year. The Commissary's run out of eggs and milk and other basic necessities during Ramadan. Who is doing the ordering? Might it not behoove you to look at last year's orders to determine that more eggs and milk are consumed during this time period than at almost any other - the only other time being perhaps Christmas when all the returning students are here with their families - we run out of flour at that time - every single year. I give Preet credit for trying to get us eggs. Not his fault that the person in charge of ordering for the grocery stores can't properly do his job and order a few extra dozen cases of eggs when Ramadan starts. So I went to the Commissary yesterday. Oh, yeah. I'm home.

I miss Food Lion and Kroger and Harris Teeter! And Loews Foods! [Lowes Foods has the best wine selection of all the grocery stores in Raleigh, North Carolina, as far as I am concerned!] The grocery stores are sooo, sooo different in the States. The selection. Oh, the selection! So much to choose from. I think while I was home but for just a couple of days, I went to one of the grocery stores every single day. Yes. I really did. And I enjoyed it! Yes. I really did. I could get ALL the items I needed in one single trip at one store! It is just one of those little joys that you will not be able to realize unless you have lived in other countries where grocery stores are something completely different than what they are in the States. Completely different. The size alone, of the grocery stores in the States is far beyond anything here. Oh, sure Geant is a huge store, but it is so sorely lacking of items that are typical of what Westerner's would consume. Oh yeah. Sorely lacking is an understatement, there. My little trip to our "big" Commissary yesterday made me homesick - and I'd been home for less than twelve hours... Not good. I cannot let myself start getting back to the "funk" I was in prior to leaving with being so discouraged and dissatisfied with absolutely every single aspect of life, here. Less than twelve hours is way too soon. Way, way too soon...

There was not a single package of U.S. meat available. I don't eat it - meat - but I still need it for DH. There was not a single bag of "salad," pre-cleaned and cut lettuce - just heads of lettuce. A head - very, very small head, I might add - of iceberg lettuce - which I hate - was priced at 25.50 Riyals [$7.56!], and a head of Boston Bibb lettuce cost 57.50 Riyals [$17.06!!!]. Not kidding. [I like the bags with the Romaine and red cabbage... None to be found. I am going to starve! Not a bad thing. I brought home an extra eleven pounds...] There was no low-fat milk. Only whole milk. I can't drink it. To me, it is the equivalent of drinking cream. There were only a few small bunches of those little squat bananas and they were green. "Lime green." I didn't buy any. It was not a surprise that we still cannot get canned potatoes or any canned seafood [crab or lobster]. Do I like canned seafood? Not really. My preference would be fresh, or at least frozen. I eat canned because it is all that has ever been available, here. To anyone that has read this blog before, it should not come as a surprise that I have shipped a case of canned potatoes over and two cases of crab meat...

My Mom is a fabulous cook. She doesn't think she is - and will say that she is a "baker" versus "cook," but that is an outright lie. She CAN cook. And she spoiled us while we were home. One night for dinner we had crab newberg on puff pastry, baked stuffed tomatoes, and avocado, orange, grape and sunflower seed salad. It was not only delicious - but had the eye appeal on a plate that I have yet to achieve for meals. That is just one example - there were meals like that served to us on a nightly basis. And for breakfast - every single morning - she "whipped up" something equally tasty and eye-pleasing. She spoiled my DH for breakfast and if he thinks he is getting that from me, he has another thing coming... But, I returned to the Sandbox thinking that I am going to try harder to do what my Mom does insofar as dinner-time meals. It will be impossible. I will never, ever be able to do it because I will never, ever be able to get all of the ingredients! Sorry, DH, but you are back to life in the Sandbox. I got some salmon for dinner last night - but then ended up "taking a nap" and sleeping through dinner. DH ate Hot-Pockets. Talk about let down...

So much more... Have to post my photos of the deer families from Mom's back yard. Amazing how something so small can have such an impact. Every morning I sat outside with my Bailey's in my coffee and my breakfast - Kool cigarettes - and watched the deer come for their morning corn. [I don't eat eggs, either.] It was peaceful and relaxing and one of nature's amazing gifts. I want to post about our trip home. Our trip to the beach [Andrea, my Dear, you outdid yourself on this one!]. And yes, more. But right now it is going on six o'clock. My two Kids are beside themselves that we are not going to get our morning walk if we don't get going NOW and they are right. It is still quite warm, here, and we need to get our "walking uniforms" on and get out to greet the day. Back to my life, here, and a daily routine. Perhaps more later. But there is much to do so not likely. I have all of YOUR blogs to catch up on... There is much unpacking that should have been done yesterday but what really happened what that I opened suitcases and moved the items from the suitcases to the dining room table and on to hangers that are hanging in doorways and not in closets... And, let's not forget that HB16 is gone and I am "house-boy-less!" The horror!!! I have no idea what is in the news, here. The papers from yesterday are piled on the papers that Preet neatly stacked for me for the entire month we were gone. [No, I do not cancel the paper. I will read them all, in time, and post on anything that would have been posted had I have been here and not in the States.] Okay. Enough for today - or at least for now...


  1. Very fortunate that you've found a reliable house and dog-sitter. I have dogs and cats and a good system now when we travel but there were some stressful times getting here. Someone you can count on is worth a lot (isn't it amazing that they're so hard to find?.... for anything!) Anyway, glad you came "home" to only pleasant surprises.

  2. You got that right, Wondering Woman. There ARE some stressful times... We've had "sitters" in the past, but only one that I felt I really trusted, so the Kids ended up in the Kennel for the entire duration while we were gone. This was so much better - to have someone here - and for the Kids to be home. Bad enough that Mommy left, but at least when she left, they were home...

  3. that's such good news that the kids were well looked after. Can Preet not work for you full time doing things around the house?

    I would love to visit you and cook, but there is the little problem of having to wear a garbage bag when I leave the house.....wearing black when having hot flashes is not a good thing.........oh and dh might have something to say about me leaving home!!!!

    Will you send me your email address first, as I moderate my comments and I won't publish it, then I can email you. I don't want everyone and their aunties knowing my email address!!!! LOL


  4. I have asked Preet if he could come work for me. He is busy full-time right now, covering for a friend that is home visiting his family. Perhaps in late October or November he can come a couple days a week and work. He'll let me know. Or perhaps, it was his polite way of saying there is just no way he will do it - babysit and house-sit, yes, but work for me? Ha! Let me tell you about wearing black in the heat and sun and having hot flashes!!! A friend of my Mom's said it quite eloquently. "Internal spontaneous combustion." E-mail is

  5. Sabra, welcome home. I hear you about the grocery stores although I'm sure it's at least 10 times easier in Oman, it's still difficult sometimes.

  6. Thanks, AIO. You haven't been in Oman long enough to know where shopping during Ramadan means that some regularly used items disappear faster - like milk and eggs - have you? Just curious.


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